Nicole Etolen

Nicole is freelance writer, blogger, and mom to a wild, wacky 8-year-old boy. She is addicted to coffee, tends to hoard books, and watches way too much television. Her favorite thing about being a writer is wearing her pajamas to work every day!

Simply Beautiful Gifts that Make Anyone Feel Special From Simpli Stamped + $40 Gift Card

Simpli Stamped Teeny Tag Lotus

Between sweet sixteens, graduations, baby showers and random birthdays, the summer and fall is filled with major events for the people I love. I’m always looking for a special gift, something unique that I can’t find on the shelf in a store or in a mass-produced catalog, to go along with whatever else I’m giving. Something that says “I thought of you when I saw this,” rather than “I couldn’t think of anything for you, so I got this.” I’m not knocking gift cards, cash or insanely cool gadgets, I just think sometimes a little something extra can mean a […] Read more »

Tomato Avocado Carousel Sandwich Recipe with Nature’s Harvest Bread + $25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Natures Harvest 5

This post is brought to you by Nature’s Harvest®. All opinions are my own.   When you have a busy work-at-home-lifestyle, it’s easy to forget to eat. When I do remember, I’m usually eating in front of my computer, taking a “working lunch.” Usually it’s more work than lunch! Sandwiches are the easiest way for me to work and eat at the same time. I’ll be honest, my sandwiches are pretty boring because I’m such a picky eater. When Nature’s Harvest® bread challenged me to come up with an original recipe, I had to think outside my usual routine.   My […] Read more »

NatGeo Teaches Kids How to Take Amazing Pictures

NatGeo Photography

As far as photography skills go, Jacob has some pretty amazing genes. My grandfather was a Navy photographer back at the end of WWII, before it was an official rating. When he got out of the Navy, he worked for several different television companies. He even did the closed-circuit video for the Miss America Pageants. I always joked that if my grandfather could have a camera surgically implanted in his eyes, he would! Jake’s dad is also a photographer. He spent 6 years as a Navy journalist, then years as a news photographer (mostly video). He also worked at the […] Read more »

Tips for Hanging Out From Morris the Cat + Q&A with the Star Kitty Himself!


This post is brought to you by 9Lives. All opinions are my own. Morris the Cat is probably the world’s most famous kitty ever. Known for his role in over 50 9Lives cat food commercials from the 1970s up through today, he’s THE face of “charmingly choosy” kitties. Morris gained even greater fame when he became an advo-cat for kitty adoptions with his “Million Cat Rescue” initiative, and just this year, he took a trip to South by Southwest as a feline technology correspondent. It seems like Morris is one insanely busy kitty, always on the go! He still manages […] Read more »

No-Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Dip Recipe

Got a craving for cheesecake but don't want to spend hours in the kitchen? Make this yummy no-bake chocolate hazelnut cheesecake dip recipe in just ten minutes!

Happy National Cheesecake Day! What a fantastic holiday! I absolutely love cheesecake, but I’m not the best at making it. I can pull off a simple no-bake deal, but I wanted to do something a little more interesting for this post. If you’re a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, remember in Dead Man’s Party when Cordelia says “I’m the dip”? Well, that’s me! As in, that’s what I bring to this cheesecake party! No-Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Dip Recipe Cheesecake dip is awesome because it’s super simple to make. You really can’t mess it up. Seriously, if I can make it, so […] Read more »

Get Sparkling Clean Dishes + Amazing Deals with Finish® Jet Dry® Offers

Finish Max in One 2

Washing dishes can either be one of the easiest household chores or a total nightmare. It really all depends on your dishwasher. Years ago, I was the dishwasher! When we moved into this house, I was thrilled that it came with a working unit! No more standing over the sink for an hour scrubbing! Alas, the house also came with cruddy water. Not unsafe, just not good. It’s hard, sulfur well water. We can’t drink it and it tends to make our dishes look less-than-sparkling unless we use really good dishwasher detergent. Finish® is always one of our go-to brands […] Read more »

What Do You Need to Know Before Bringing Home a Snake? #ReptileCare

New Snake Essentials

This post is sponsored by petMD Reptile Center, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers. petMD® and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article. Many moons ago, when I brought home my iguana Clyde, we didn’t know all that much about reptile care. In fact, we knew exactly what we were told at the pet store. With no internet back then and no access to experts, I went off that one conversation for the entire four years […] Read more »

Must-Have Beauty Staples for Your College Dorm Life

Look great day or night at college with these dorm living must-have beauty staples! Pare down your huge makeup collection to just a few essentials that work for every occasion.

Today I’m going to share some of my favorite college dorm room beauty staples. Heading off to college is an exciting time. It’s all a bit nerve-wracking. I remember when I did it. I was so nervous, especially about sharing a bathroom with like a million other people! Okay, a million is exaggerating. Still, it feels that way! Then there’s your dorm room. You know those tiny houses that are all the rage right now? Prepare to live in one for the next four years! If you’re used to having a cabinet full of beauty supplies and sprawling out across […] Read more »

We Got Carried Away with Summer Reading + Giveaway #SummerReading

Scholastic Week 3

This post is brought to you by Scholastic and ENERGIZER® Batteries. All opinions are my own. As you know, Jacob has been participating in the Scholastic Summer Reading challenge this year. He does it every year. I think it’s a great way to encourage kids to read, especially since they have such fun rewards throughout the season. Jacob’s been unlocking cool extras, like bonus stories from some of the hottest children’s authors. I’ve been checking out all the amazing resources for parents. Throughout the month of July, we participated in some fun challenges with Scholastic! I shared them on my social […] Read more »

Touch of Betrayal Promo Blast + Book Giveaway


For fans of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent comes the second novella in the scintillating SIN & HONEY series featuring the Bible’s most powerful and seductive women… So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength.”—Judges 16:6 Delilah would do anything to escape her past. Falling for Samson only got in the way. Taryn Scarlett’s lush reimagining of Samson and Delilah uncovers the hidden truth behind the girl who became the most infamous seductress in history. Delilah has come to the quiet valley of Sorek to start a new life, but when a man blackmails her […] Read more »