Why I Started Writing Fashion Posts

When I started blogging seriously was around the same time I started feeling more self conscious of my body than any other time in my life–even junior high or high school. I was pretty darn pregnant and if I thought I hated my body when I had a round belly that was growing my kiddo, I hated it even more after the kid was out and I was left with inches worth of floppy, saggy skin, riddled with stretch marks.


Nothing I wore fit right. I didn’t feel confident in my body or in my ability to dress cute anymore. Let me tell you, that sucked. It took a major toll on my emotions. Here I was, someone who really used to enjoy fashion and getting ready in the morning, hiding behind my sweat pants and baggy t-shirts.

Eventually, I lost the baby weight. I got over my body issues. I looked good again, and most importantly, I felt good. But I had been away from dressing myself for me for so long. For over a year, I had been dressing for my son, and dressing for my insecurities. That old t-shirts I wouldn’t be upset about if they were vomited or pooped on, a hiatus from accessories that would inevitably be yanked on or ripped out, and baggy clothes to hide my post baby fluff.


All of this to say I was in a funk. A major funk. During this time, fashion blogging was on the rise. I had always thought fashion bloggers were pretty cool. “That might be fun to try someday,” I thought. Quickly, my inner critic spoke up.

“Who are you kidding?” she said. “You’re not photogenic enough to be a fashion blogger. You don’t have a unique enough sense of style.”

And I listened to her. Anytime I read a fashion blog I thought, “I could never be a fashion blogger.”


I think a lot of us feel that way. Maybe we love clothes and we love blogging, but we would never do an outfit post because we aren’t photogenic/pretty/thin/cool/confident/whatever enough to be a fashion blogger. Or maybe we’re afraid people would think we’re selling out, or just doing what everyone else is doing. Maybe we’re afraid they would suddenly look at our blog and think, “There goes another fashion blogger wannabe, chasing the free clothes.”

You want to know something though? I write fashion posts for me. There has been something so unbelievably liberating in getting right up in the face of my inner critic and saying to her, “Who do you think you are? I am absolutely photogenic enough for this. I do have a unique sense of style. I am pretty enough, and I am confident enough to do this. So sit down and shut up!”


That friends, is why I started writing fashion posts. And because I felt such liberation in trying something that scared me, because I have felt my confidence soar in discovering something else I loved and could be good at is one of the major reasons I approached Maegen about helping me to create The Creative Closet. Because dang it, I wanted other women to realize that they could do it too. There are no requirements for writing a fashion post. If you love clothes and you love blogging, go for it! Tell you inner critic to sit down and shut up and go out there and own your sense of style, and be confident enough to share it.


And while fashion posts aren’t all I write, I definitely love it. Because it’s changed me into a happier, more confident version of myself.

5 Things Every Blog Needs

You want to know something silly? I totally hate writing intros to posts like these. I always feel like I have to give some sort of reason for why I’m posting about blogging as if I actually know something about it–which  think I do because I’ve been doing it very seriously for a good amount of time now. But really, I think the fact that I have an opinion about the way I like to blog is good enough. I love reading what other people’s opinions on how to blog are. The thing with anyone’s opinion is that you have to take it in stride–if you disagree, that’s totally cool! Do what feels right to you. Anyway. :)

I’ve been blogging long enough to have formed a pretty solid opinion of the elements that make up a well maintained blog. To me, these 5 things are the 5 things every blog needs. Like really needs. Bad. No matter what kind of blogger you are.

5 things every blog needs

An “about me” page

The point of blogging (in my opinion, anyway) is to share yourself! What’s the point if you don’t make it easy for new people to get to know you? Every blog needs a one stop shop for new readers (or even old readers) to get acquainted with you better. Take the time to spruce up your about page. Keep it short, sweet, and true to your personality. If you aren’t a stuffy businessman, don’t write like that.


My about me page isn’t anything super exciting, but it gets the point across.

A few about me pages I totally love are: Living in Another Language, East&, and Love Grows Design.

A search bar

If your blog doesn’t have a search bar, for goodness sake, install one right now! It’s not difficult and it will do your blog a world of good. Too many times have I gone back to a blog trying to find a post I loved that was written a while back, only to discover that there isn’t a search bar! No good! I either have to dig through months of posts or click away disappointed.

Blogs need search bars, and those search bars need some prime real estate. If we’re talking sidebars, I think the search bar is third in line of priority, after an about me image and social media icons.

Obvious contact information

If you want people to be able to connect with and collaborate with you, you better darn well give them an easy way to contact you! Whether you use a contact page in your navigation bar, an email social media icon (hopefully in an obvious spot), or a contact form somewhere on your site, just make sure visitors to your site don’t have to dig to find out how to shoot you a message. Otherwise, they probably won’t. And you’ll be the one missing out.


Your name on the main page

I don’t know about you, but I like to know the name of the blogger when I’m reading what they’ve written. I also don’t want to have to go specifically to the about me page to find it. I think it’s great to either have it with your about me image, in a post signature, or something! Introduce yourself by name on your blog! It makes me feel like we’re friends. :)

An easy way to navigate posts

If you want people to stick around your blog and read more of  your stellar content, give them a way to find that content easily. Having a drop down menu with topics works, as does a label cloud, or some sort of post category on your sidebar. It’s also a great idea to have your popular posts somewhere for people to find.

What things do you think are essential for a blog to have? Did I miss any? 

Today I’m excited to introduce you to Angelica from Syntaxx Errorrr! This girl is honest and real and I absolutely love her blog for that. Be sure to check out her posts where she wonders why we save “the good stuff”, 5 things she loves about Lucy (any Lucille Ball fans in the house?) and why you need to stop telling yourself what you should do. 


Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest // BlogLovin

What got you started with blogging?
When I was younger, like when people still used AOL for email, I “subscribed” to “zines.” Who remembers those?  I was fascinated.  I tried to start up my own, promoting it in chat rooms and making MS Paint headers and icons.  Then I moved to LiveJournal and DeadJournal and Xanga and all of that.  I wish I could remember my username so I can see what I wrote!  I finally decided to get serious and created a blog on WordPress to track my quilt making, a la Julie and Julia.  That never happened, but I did stick with the writing!

What are your favorite types of posts to write?
I love to write things that are personal, like chronicling my experience at a diner or getting sarcastic about the weird people who would hit on us at bars.  For a while, I shifted gears, but I’m opening up about my personal life a lot again, be it opinions of a new bag or nail polish color, a recipe I tried out, or a thought that’s been bugging me.
What’s the number one thing on your summer bucket list?
Eating as much ice cream as possible!
What are 2 of your favorite TV shows?
I am a closeted-no-more Real Housewives fan.  NYC is my favorite, but OC is always good for a scandal.  Food Network Star is also my go-to summer guilty pleasure show.  I love Alton Brown!  I’ve seen him live twice.
What quote do you live by?
Live is short, buy the shoes.  I also like to remind myself to revel in the every day – use the good silverware!

The Creative Closet | My Go-To Piece

Happy Tuesday lovers! I’ve been looking forward to this week of The Creative Closet–not because it’s something that challenged me to try something new, but because this prompt is 100% within my comfort zone. Actually, it’s within all of our comfort zones.

The Creative Closet | My Go-To Piece

We all have something in our closets that we wear over and over again, either because it makes us feel awesome, or it’s that magical piece that just goes with everything. For me, that’s my trusty J.Crew Vintage Cotton V-neck (they’re on sale right now, btw!). It’s so light and has just the right amount of slouch–it’s not too fitted and it’s not too baggy. Normally I wear it with my favorite boyfriend jeans (or yoga pants, I won’t lie), but it’s easy to dress up too.


go-to01 go-to03 go-to04 go-to05

Tee: J. Crew (40% off right now!)  |  Skirt: Mikarose (similar)  |  Hat: Forever 21 (similar) |  Shoes: Top Moda (similar)  | Bag: Steve Madden  | Ring: Thrifted (similar)  |  Earrings: Gift

This is something I would wear on a date with Dustin–AKA anytime I’m not with Joshua. I’ve said it before, but I really don’t love wearing heels with that kid. He’s too fast for me to chase down in any footwear that isn’t flat. We’re putting him in track the second he’s old enough. No joke.

What’s your go-to piece from your closet? Let’s see how you rock it below!

Let’s take care of a few items of Creative Closet business real quick.

1) If you’re new to The Creative Closet, you can learn more about the linkup here.

2) If you are interested in being a co-host (yay!) click here to claim your spot.

3) We would love for you to share your prompt ideas with us! If you have a prompt you would like to suggest, click here. You’ll have the option to co-host any prompt you submit.

4) Be sure to check out the other half of the brains behind this operation, Maegen, and our lovely co-host Nancy to see their outfits for today’s prompt.

5) Share your look on social media using #thecreativecloset

6) Don’t forget to link up with us next week for All That Glitters. Link up an outfit from your closet that features sequins, glitter, your favorite gold watch–whatever you have that makes you feel sparkly and glamorous. :) And be sure to mark your calendars with the new prompts for August! We are so excited about each of them and we have some fabulous ladies co-hosting this month.


The Creative Closet
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July Beauty Favorites

Bare Minerals BareSkin and other beauty favorites

I don’t know about you, but 95% of the times that I buy new beauty products, it’s because I read a stellar review on somebody’s blog. I personally LOVE reading about new beauty products. It helps me feel really informed so that when I shop for makeup, I know what I’m actually interested in buying and what I might want to steer clear of.

These have been some of my favorite products this month:

In the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that if you were to purchase anything through the links in this post, I would get a commission. However, I never promote anything I don’t genuinely love. 

bareMinerals BareSkin Foundation

I cannot rave about this stuff enough. Seriously, I have never tried a foundation I have liked better than this one, and I have tried many. A little bit about my skin, just to give you a better idea of how amazing this stuff is: my skin is acne prone. I have acne scars that are very slowly fading, so I need pretty decent coverage, but I don’t want anything cakey or fake looking. My skin also tends to be on the oily side. I also have skin that is very difficult to color match. I’m fair skinned, but unlike most fair skinned people, my undertones are very yellow instead of pink.

The shade match (03 Bare Linen is my color, by the way) on this foundation to my skin is perfect, for the first time ever. The coverage is so incredibly buildable. I love that I can adjust the coverage and the amount of product I use down to the drop. I hardly have to use any concealer at all (a miracle for me!) after I put on the foundation. Best of all, it looks SO NATURAL.


Would you believe me if I told you I haven’t needed to edit out any of my blemishes once I started using this foundation? It’s seriously that good.

And actually, best of all is that my skin has improved since I’ve been wearing it. I noticed my skin was more luminous and my skin tone was more even after only 3 days of wearing this foundation. I am hooked. For life. End of story.

One thing to note: I don’t feel that the brush they market with the foundation is necessary. At all. I purchased it, and it’s a decent brush, but I much prefer applying the foundation with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush (found in this set, which I have and love). It’s cheaper and it does a better job. Plus the BareMinerals brush is really hard to clean all of the foundation out of.

NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray

In the summertime, my makeup tends to melt. I think that happens to the majority of us. The magic inside this lovely little black bottle keeps my makeup in place all day. For real. Previously, I have loved Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray, but for me the NYX setting spray works just as well and it’s half the price. That’s a big old win in my book.

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes

For me, this is the perfect neutral eye shadow palette. I don’t wear eyeshadow often, but when I do, I like a very natural look. This palette has gorgeous colors for day, night, and more glam settings. Some shades are matte, others are glittery. The colors are very pigmented, so a little goes a long way and the palette lasts forever. It also comes with a handy little guide that tells you how to apply the eyeshadow for different looks–it’s a nice reference if you need a little inspiration!

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipcolor in Siren

This is just the perfect summer color! I love the reddish orange. It’s vibrant without being overpowering. I like the formula of the lipstick too–I have this particular kind in a few different colors. It’s long lasting and it goes on nice and smooth.


 Yes to Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know I love me some coconut oil as a moisturizer. But for summer days, it was just a little too heavy. I still use it at night, but I still needed some very light moisture during the day. This stuff has been just the ticket. It’s very light, contains no parabens, pthalates, or other scary ingredients, plus it calms the redness that my skin is so prone to

What have been your beauty favorites lately? 

Budget Friendly Meals | Kai Ping Bowls

Once upon a time, I used to nanny the most awesome girls. They had two stepsisters. The youngest of those stepsisters was an itty bitty Chinese thing name Kai Ping. She is one of the most darling children ever, and also one of the pickiest eaters I have ever come across. When she and her sister would come to visit the girls I nannied, there was only one thing I could ever get Kai Ping to eat: rice bowls with ground turkey, spinach, and egg. It might sound weird to you, but it’s actually an incredibly delicious combo that I grew to love a lot. And so, Kai Ping Bowls were born.

Kai Ping Bowls are budget friendly, healthy, and delicious rice bowls named after a girl she used to babysit.

Because Kai Ping Bowls are budget friendly, good for you, and a great way to use up leftover rice, we eat them pretty frequently. At least once a month, if not twice. It’s a meal that lends itself really well to variation as well. Sometimes we use ground beef instead of turkey, sometimes we add broccoli or other veggies that need to be used up.

Kai Ping Bowls

serves 4

2 TBSP olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked rice
3 large handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped (we like to use a spinach/kale blend)
1/4 cup soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Brown the ground turkey. Move the ground turkey to the edges of the pan to create a well. Add the beaten eggs and scramble. Add the rice, spinach, and soy sauce. Cook until rice is heated through and the spinach is wilted.


That’s it! This meal seriously couldn’t be any simpler. Enjoy! :)

What’s the story behind your favorite meal?

The Blog Tools I Can’t Live Without + Win a Canon Rebel T3i

Posts like these are so fun for me to read (and incidentally to write) because I absolutely love talking about all things blog. I love to hear what helps other people and I love getting a behind the scenes look at other blogger’s processes. These 4 things have been absolutely indispensable when it comes to the way I run my blog. I literally cannot work without them anymore because using them has made my process better-faster-stronger. You know? ;)

My essential blog  tools for organizing, managing, and creating a successful blog

1. A Cute Calendar/Planner

Before I started using a planner for my blog posts, my posting schedule was….not a schedule at all. It was totally erratic and it was extremely stressful. Not too long ago I bought a cute, $7 planner at Target and I’ve started using a sticky note system to plan my blog posts. It has worked wonders for my efficiency.


2. Passionfruit ads

Once I started my sponsorship program up again and people started having more interest in it, there was no question in my mind about whether or not I should use Passionfruit  to keep my ad spaces organized. It makes my life so easy–I don’t have to worry about rotating ads or starting them on time, or taking them down when they’re done. For me, it’s one of the key elements for how I run  kick butt blog sponsorships.

3. A social media manager

Writing blog posts is only part of successful blogging. Social media promotion of your own posts as well as promotion of your sponsors is paramount. Using a social media scheduler like Hootsuite makes social media management super easy. I can schedule Twitter and Facebook posts right after I finish writing a post so I don’t have to worry about doing it the day the post goes live. I also use Hootsuite to schedule all of my tweets for the day using my Twitter schedule.


For Instagram, I use an app called Latergramme to schedule posts. It doesn’t actually post them to your feed because Instagram doesn’t let 3rd party apps post for you, but it sends you a push notification at the time you scheduled the photo to go live. All you have to do is swipe and click to post. Super simple. :)

4. My DSLR

I don’t even really want to talk about the quality of my photos when I first started blogging. It was bad. Not only because I lacked a good camera, but I had zero knowledge of photo composition. It’s true you can still take great photos with your smartphone, but I really couldn’t live without my trusty Canon Rebel XTi. I bought it used on eBay about 2 years ago and it’s still going strong.

If you don’t have a DSLR, don’t worry about it. These 22 bloggers and I want to give you a chance to win one! How would you like to get your hands on a brand spankin’ new Canon Rebel T3i? Yeah, we thought you might. Just use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Win a brand new Canon Rebel T3i!

Life Could Be a Dream // Dearest Love // Simply Clarke // Rachel Rewritten
Casual Claire // My New Lines // Happily Ever After // The Wetherills Say I Do
Wearable. // Two Places at Once // Believe in the Sparks // Just a Trace
He and I // Chez•Nemmar // Oh Simple Thoughts // Elizabeth Loves
Rad Maverix // A Faithful Passion // Health, Love & Fire // The Ashley Maria Blog
Lot48 // Homegrown State of Mind // So Fill Your Heart

The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on July 24th until 11:59 pm EST on July 30th. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only–sorry international friends! Please be honest with your entries because no one likes a cheater. Good luck, and be sure to visit the other bloggers who helped bring you this opportunity and give them a big “THANKS!” :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 Years | What We’ve Done and What I’ve Learned

It’s so crazy to me that Dustin and I have been married for 3 years! I’ll spare you the mushy stuff about how I’m so glad I met him and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without him, although all of that is true.



I love thinking back on all we’ve accomplished together in these 3 years–the adventures we’ve been on, the lessons we’ve learned, and the ways we have grown together.

In 3 years

What I’ve learned

1) Love languages are a real thing, and it’s super important to know your husband’s and communicate love to him that way.  My girl Amberly has some awesome posts on the subject of love languages–check ‘em out sometime.

2) It’s totally okay to go to bed angry. In fact, it’s better for our relationship if I do go to bed angry rather than trying to hash out a problem when I’m tired. In 3 years of marriage, I have yet to wake up feeling the same anger I felt the night before–most of the time I wake up and apologize for being a dramatic baby and we move on with our lives.

3) My husband needs me to speak positively about myself. It hurts him when I belittle myself and it hurts the feeling in our home.

4) Date night is even more important after having a baby.

5) The strength of our marriage is so dependent on our personal relationships with God. I have seen time and time again that as we attempt to strengthen our relationship with God both individually and as a couple, we grow closer together and there is so much more harmony in our home.

Tonight, we were originally going to go on our first overnight adventure since Joshua was born, but our babysitting arrangements ended up falling through. Bummer. We’ll have to go backpacking another time. We still get to have a date (thank goodness for neighbors who will watch your kid for a few hours at the last minute!) at our favorite food truck. Delicious waffles, here we come! :)

The Creative Closet | Pattern Mixing

The Creative Closet | Pattern Mixing

I have a confession to make. I have never in my life worn a pattern mixed outfit before. Well, intentional pattern mixing at least. I’m sure at sometime in my childhood I probably mixed dots or stripes when I was learning to dress myself. I’ll be honest, I specifically put pattern mixing as a prompt because I’ve always wanted to try it, but I kept talking myself out of it because I was afraid I wouldn’t do it well. Once I put the prompt list out into the universe though, I had to do it.


The key is finding a common color between your pieces and making sure you have differing pattern sizes–one large pattern, and one smaller pattern. So says the information I gleaned from Pinterest anyway. I did some research before putting this outfit together. Kind of silly, I know. :)

patternmix03 patternmix01patternmix04


Top: Thrifted (similar, similar)  |  Skirt: Ampersand Avenue  |  Bag: Versace from high school (similar)  |  Shoes: Aldo (similar) Bracelet: From a trip I took to Venice years ago  |  Earrings: Gift 

Now, for a bit of housekeeping:

1) If you’re new to The Creative Closet, you can learn more about the linkup here.

2) If you are interested in being a co-host (yay!) click here to claim your spot.

3) We would love for you to share your prompt ideas with us! If you have a prompt you would like to suggest, click here. You’ll have the option to co-host any prompt you submit.

4) Be sure to check out the other half of the brains behind this operation, Maegen, and our lovely co-host Laura’s outfits for today’s prompt.

5) Share your look on social media using #thecreativecloset

6) Don’t forget to link up with us next week for My Go-To Piece! We all have something in our closets that makes us feel awesome or that we wear over and over again. We want to see what that is for you!


The Creative Closet

Let’s see what awesome pattern mixing outfits you put together!

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DIY Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

DIY Laundry detergent is not a new thing. The idea has been around for a long time and there are a ton of different takes on the same few recipes. It may come as a surprise to some of you that despite the fact that I homemake many of my beauty products and cleaning products, I’ve never made homemade laundry detergent. I’ve wanted to, because making your own detergent is cheaper, and it eliminates a lot of icky chemicals from your home. But see, Joshua has extremely sensitive skin and I was worried that homemade detergent would cause his eczema to flare up. So I never tried it, until now. And I couldn’t be happier with the results!

DIY laundry detergent for sensitive skin. Borax free. Works amazingly on stains and doesn't irritate eczema.

This recipe doesn’t call for borax like most homemade laundry detergents do. I’ve heard conflicting information about how borax affects sensitive skin, so I left it out. It cleans just as well without it.  It also doesn’t call for anything like Purex crystals, as those would definitely cause Joshua’s skin to flare up due to the added fragrances and yucky chemicals. This laundry detergent has exactly 3 ingredients: baking soda, washing soda, and grated Castille soap.

I used 1 bar of peppermint Castille soap and 1 bar of lavender. The smell of this detergent is AMAZING! I love that I can actually use a scented laundry detergent now, and because the scent comes from all natural essential oils and not icky chemicals, Joshua’s skin doesn’t break out. It’s a wonderful and exciting thing for me. Next time I have to make detergent I’m going to try Eucalyptus Citrus. :)

DIY Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

8 cups of baking soda
6 cups of Super Washing Soda (in the laundry aisle)
2 bars Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap, grated

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. If you want, you can pulse the grate soap in a blender or food processor along with some of the baking soda to make the soap finer. It blends better that way–up to you!

To use

Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of detergent (depending on the load size) to the detergent compartment of your washing machine. If you want to eliminate fabric softener from your list of things you buy that has yucky chemicals in it, add 1/2 a cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment. Your clothes come out just as soft and there is no vinegar smell. :)

DIY Laundry detergent for sensitive skin

Now, let me answer some questions I know will come up:

Does this work for HE washing machines?

Yes! Yes it does. I have an HE machine and it works just great.

Does this detergent work on the cold setting?

Yep! The soap dissolves just fine in cold water.

Does this work for cloth diapers?

Yes! In fact it works better on Joshua’s diapers than any other detergent I’ve ever used. That includes Tide Original Powder, Rockin Green, and Charlie’s Soap.

Does it work well on stains?

Yes! I still pretreat really icky stains before I wash, and this detergent works just as well (if not better!) on stains as my previous store bought detergent. Joshua gave my laundry detergent the ultimate test the other day when he had diarrhea. I had to wash all of his sheets, clothes, and stuffed animals and there was zero stainage or poop smell after I washed. Huzzah!

How much detergent does this make?

I usually wash 1 load of laundry per day, and this is about a 3 month supply.

DIY Laundry detergent for sensitive skin

Have you ever made homemade laundry detergent?

New & Improved

So, I hate to point out the obvious, but did you see that this little blog of mine got a facelift? :)


I have been planning this redesign for a while now. For the first time in my entire blogging career, I sat down and thought long about what my design needed to be like to help me accomplish my goals and visions for this blog. It also occurred to me that I didn’t want to do this redesign myself. What I wanted for this design was a little outside of my expertise (since you know, I only design for Blogger blogs and this bloggy is on WordPress), and between work for actual clients I don’t ever have the time I want to dedicate to my own design. I knew I needed to hire someone else to do my design.


As for who I wanted to do my design, it was a no-brainer for me really. Bethany from Love Grows Design is one of the most talented chicas I have ever come across. Not only is she a crazy talented designer (would you just look at her beautiful site?!), but she is also an incredible blogger and a savvy businesswoman. I have major love for her creativity. I am 100% thrilled with what we accomplished together. Bethany was so organized in her process–her talent and her professionalism were worth every penny and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. If you’re looking for a designer, I highly recommend her.

Part of what I really wanted for this design was a really simple, comfortable, and  friendly feel as well as increased ease in finding new content. My new sidebar has a lovely categories feature that lets you get super specific with what you’re looking to read more of. Go ahead. Mouse over it and see what happens. :)


I hope you love the new design as much as I do! Happy navigating. :)