Friday, August 31, 2018

How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Venue

Today, I am honored to bring you this guest post from Alex at The Berger Bungalow. Enjoy!

Hi, friends! My name is Alex Berger and I am thrilled that I am able to guest blog for Stephanie today! I run a blog called The Berger Bungalow, which typically focuses on travel and culinary articles, with some lifestyle scattered in. I also write a few articles here and there for The Knot Magazine, so I am into all things weddings! Today, I want to stick to my roots and talk about how to choose the perfect wedding venue. I have been married for three years now (it will be four in February) and I still remember the day that Ian and I found our wedding venue. It was so magical and I was so, so insanely excited. If you find the right venue, this is what you should feel, as well and I really want every single bride to feel this way, which is why I wanted to write this post! So, without further ado, let’s jump in:

How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Venue

Imagine Your Day
I know that everyone says that your wedding invitations are going to be your guests first impression of your wedding, but I do not think that is true. Instead, I think the first impression that your guests will get is your venue. When they drive up to the location and walk to the aisle, that is their first impression. So, when you are imagining your day, I want you to think about everything -

How will guests be greeted? What will the aisle look like? Where do you want flowers? What colors do you want in your wedding party? How many bridesmaids and groomsmen do you want? How many people are invited, all together? Will you have a seated dinner? What have you always imagined? What is most important to you? What could you care less about?

These are just a few of the many questions that you need to ask yourself. Once you figure out exactly what you want your day to look like, I need you to make a list. Make sure to include every single little detail that is important to you. Now, you do not need to write the exact dress style that you want because this could change after you find your venue, but if you have certain colors in mind, make sure to write that down because you do not want those colors clashing with your wedding venue.

Now that you have imagined your day and know what you want, you are armed and ready to start creating a budget and looking at venues!

Tour Venues
After you have your list and create your budget, start your venue research. Now, I know everyone’s first instinct is to look in your immediate area, but do not be afraid to search outside of your general area, or even your comfort zone. For example, Jeter Mountain Farm, which is a wedding venue located in Hendersonville, NC, says, “Our valued guests have traveled as far as California and New York. Our guests often leave with huge smiles and lasting memories, commenting it truly is an experience like no other.” Situated on 411 acres of rolling hills with jaw-dropping views of mountains, it is no wonder that guests from all over the country to tie the knot at Jeter Mountain Farm and celebrate with their friends and family. With over 35,000 square feet of barn and kitchen area, four wedding seasons under their belt, as well as many happy couples, the Hunsader family is committed to making your big day exactly how you dreamed it. After touring many venues of my own during my experience, it is rare to find venue owners that are this committed to each and every bride, and I believe this is just one of many reasons why Jeter Mountain Farm stands out and really goes above and beyond. In order to find your perfect venue, one that will be committed to providing you with the wedding day that you imagined, you have to be open to looking around you, as well as in places that you do not first think of.

Look At Reviews
Looking at reviews and testimonials from wedding venues is very important. Actually, before you book any vendor at all, you 100% need to read many reviews and testimonials on and off of their direct website. Unfortunately, I had quite a few mishaps during our planning process, as well as after our wedding, and it could have been completely avoided if I just would have spent more time reading reviews. Please do not skip this step! Even if you really like a person, vendor, or wedding venue, make sure you read reviews before signing a contract.

Get The Magical Feeling!
Last but not least, when you get the magical feeling that I first described at the top of this article, that is when you know that you’ve found the venue for you. Finding the wedding venue of your dreams is not as hard as you think as long as you follow the correct steps, stay within budget, and find vendors and a venue that really care about making the day perfect for you. When you find this, you will know!

I hope these tips on how to choose the perfect wedding venue will help any of you that are in the stages of planning your perfect day. Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sweets That Are Smart

Fun Fact: In middle school and high school, my nickname was Gummi Bear. I had a pretty unfortunate hairdo which reminded everyone of a certain Sunny Gummi from the cartoon, The Gummi Bears.

gummi bears, stephanie stebbins, candy
I never saw the resemblance, thankyouverymuch.

I was also a pretty hardcore sugar addict who was never without my favorite candy of the same name. I mean, I still am pretty much a sugar addict but I was then, too. Not much has changed since then, except I have a better handle on what to do with my hair. Also because of said sugar addiction, I've become quite a bit chubbier as well. The super fast metabolism I used to have has left the building, for sure.

I suppose I grew into my nickname after all.

In the past two years, however, I have decided that I need a change. I switched out sugary soda for diet soda and I drink more water. I limit myself on sweet snacks and only have them on my one cheat day, if at all. More veggies, less carbs. More fresh food, less processed junk.

I am serious business about it.

humor, stephanie stebbins, dog

I just couldn't seem to let my beloved gummy bear candies go, though. Luckily, Tara Bosch from Smart Sweets swooped in with an awesome new snack just in time! 

Smart Sweets is revolutionizing the way candy is made. Using Stevia instead of just sugar, she has made it so most of your gummy favorites only have three grams of sugar. Not only do they carry gummy bears, in fruity and sour flavors even, Sweet Fish and Sour Blast Buddies are also available. 

Did I mention there are only three grams of sugar in them? Not only that, they are sugar alcohol free, non-GMO, peanut/tree nut free, dairy and lactose free, low calorie, no artificial anything, and made right here in the USA.

Stephanie Stebbins, Blogger, Influencer, Marketing
Gummi bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere...right into my belly.

You can join the Smart Sweets Kick Sugar Movement (hashtag it!) by grabbing your own at Whole Foods, Amazon, or right on their website

Have you tried to kick sugar? Let's chat about your alternatives in the comments below!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sing With Me: Wrists, Shoulders, Hands, and Bones

The fun thing about getting older is all of the parts of your body that refuse to work anymore.

It's the best.

One of the awesomesupercoolfun things I get to do now is look out for products that make my everyday life much easier. I have fully invested in things I never would have guessed I would twenty years ago. You live, you learn, right?

I am an author and spend A LOT of time at my computer so the very first things I began looking into were products that would keep carpal tunnel at bay. Writing is how I make my living so I am absolutely terrified of not being able to/being in too much pain to type or write!  Luckily, Cherry reached out to me to try their brand new MW 4500 Ergonomic Wireless Mouse!

Since I had such a good experience trying out their products before, I was excited to try out this wireless mouse! I received my package a few days ago and was ready to test it out immediately. To the lab we go!

I have never seen a mouse like this before! The ergonomic design reduces wrist strain immensely because the mouse sits at a 45 degree angle, resulting in a natural posture that reduces discomfort in the joints and tendons. Along with the usual left and right mouse buttons, there is a clickable scroll wheel and two more side buttons for better web surfing. It is compatible with a PC or MAC and the pointer speed is even customizable! I had no idea I needed this mouse, until I tried it and I am never going back to a regular one now! My hands, wrists, shoulders, and bones are thanking Cherry for this awesome mouse, that's for sure!

If you would like to snag one for yourself, it's on sale for $31.24! You can order by clicking here. I hope you will find it to be just as fantastic as I did!

What are your favorite products for reducing strain because of long hours sitting at a computer? 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

New Hope For Those Who Live With Pain

When I was a teenager (about one million years ago), the thought of using any type of hemp to cure pain was absolutely out of the question. The fear and misunderstanding of the medical benefits of this plant were strong. No one could research, much less talk about, the beneficial properties of this plant. 

Luckily, most people have changed their mind about that with the legalization of marijuana sweeping across many states in our beautiful country. 

As I have written about before, I have been dealing with some pain issues for a long time on top of being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my 30s. Believe me when I say I have tried everything. Pain is just part of my life and I have grown accustomed to it, I guess. 

The one thing I had not tried yet was CBD oil. I have heard many good things about it from friends who also deal with their own chronic pain issues and when Nganic reached out to me to try their product, I thought it couldn't hurt any more than I usually do to try it out. 

I decided to try the peppermint CBD hemp oil oral solution. It had a sort of earthy taste underneath the peppermint but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't stomach it. The peppermint actually does really well at masking the taste. I took about three drops and sat back and waited for the magic to happen.

About 15 minutes later, I began to feel my neck and back loosening up and getting warm. Thirty minutes later, I decided to move around a bit and see if it would still work well for my pain as I did a little bit of housework.

It absolutely did. I was quite surprised.

I decided to do a little more research. I found a pretty informative article on the difference between CBD and THC on medical marijuana news:

                     "Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most prominent cannabinoids found in Cannabis, the plant genus that includes both hemp and marijuana. While there are over 100 different cannabinoids so far identified in cannabis by scientists, CBD and THC are by far the most extensively studied and best understood.
CBD and THC both interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system, a vital signaling system responsible for regulating a wide array of functions, some of which include:
  • Pain
  • Appetite
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Immune response
  • Sleep
  • Cycles of cellular life and death
Their chemical makeups are similar to the body’s own endocannabinoids, which allows them to interact with the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid receptors to alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Despite their similarities, CBD and THC have distinct differences that influence how they interact with the endocannabinoid system and subsequently the natural effects they elicit."
Two hours later, I was still going strong after using just a little bit of the Nganic CBD oil. I was still surprised that it worked so well and I was able to finish my household chores in record time.
Anything that helps me get things done quicker around the house is definitely a winner in my book.

I'm really glad I gave it a try and Nganic definitely has a customer for life! They have all kinds of CBD products, the oral solution I mentioned, as well as vape oil, topical salves (which I will be trying next), and capsules. I would love for any of you to try it as well so right now, I have a coupon code for 15% off all orders over $125! Just type in the code STEPHSTEB when you checkout! Don't forget to come back and tell me about your experience in the comments!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Third Day Beauty Is My Every Day Beauty

I have been looking for the perfect moisturizer for my face and neck for a long time now. 

Good news! I HAVE FOUND IT!


You see, I have this weird skin that is half oil slick and half desert. I always wanted to wear moisturizer, but it either broke me out or made it drier. So, for far too long, I put it off. Well, now that I'm in my forties, I can't go without it anymore.

Third Day Beauty is specifically made for women or men over 30. Founded in San Diego, Third Day Beauty focuses on using high quality, research based ingredients to provide the perfect cosmetics. They are the masters of making potent, science based anti-aging products without mystery ingredients or gimmicks. I could not wait to try them out! I received the Ageless Eye Revitalizer, RESTORE rejuvenating night formula, Sculpt and Firm for face and neck, and the Revitalizing Moisturizer.  

I am seriously in love.

Let's start with the Eye Revitalizer. I have been at war with the bags under my eyes for at least 5 years now. Believe me when I say I have tried everything and I still look like I haven't slept in about a decade. So, I wasn't too confident that I was going to see results. I was wrong. The cream is very light and has a cooling feeling. I even started to see results within a week. FINALLY! I have found my forever eye cream!

The RESTORE rejuvenating night formula is just so lovely! It's light and makes your skin so soft. I've added it to my routine every night.

The Revitalizing Moisturizer is a perfect mix of all of the products Third Day Beauty offers. It's perfect for quick application if you're in a rush and can't apply everything as usual. It's light like all of the products and leaves your skin so soft!

Now, my very favorite product is definitely the Sculpt and Firm lotion for face and neck. I love this stuff! I am starting to get the little smile lines around my mouth and of course, the sag is starting to set in. Within a week, A WEEK !!!, I could already see the skin around my mouth and cheeks firming up and I am over the moon happy about it! This lotion is for real! I am going to go broke buying this to use forever!

Right now, because I love this stuff and want everyone to have it, I have an amazing deal for you guys! Visit Third Day Beauty by clicking here and enter the code STEPHSTEB for $25 off any product on their website! Don't forget to come back to the comments and tell me what you got!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Soap And Body Products With Sparkle

I am absolutely in love with bath and body products. It's a little luxury I often give myself as it is mostly affordable, yet makes you feel so expensive!

Recently, I tried some great new products by Sparkle Soap & Body Products and just had to tell you about them!

Having been taught by her mother since a young age that being a business owner was something she could aspire to, the owner began selling water balloons, cupcakes, and candy to the kids in her neighborhood. She began to focus more on college and once she got her undergraduate degree, she began to think about owning her own business again. She sat down and had a good prayer session and making natural soaps came immediately to mind. 

Using her kitchen as her laboratory, she began to test and try her hand at making soap, all while she attended graduate school! Eventually, she found her perfect recipe and now has her own line of body products! Making the products as natural as she can, she uses a variety of plant oils, including almond, apricot, avocado, coconut, and aloe vera gel scented with (or without, there are unscented products) fragrance and essential oils. These oils provide a protective, moisturizing layer to the skin that are quite soothing. 

My favorite, besides the bath salts is definitely the perfume sticks!

You can find Sparkle Soap & Body Products here, on Instagram, and Twitter. I highly recommend them for a luxurious bath experience at a great price!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kind Clouds

I used to do a lot of E-juice reviews on my old blog and YouTube channel for my vapefam, but as you can see, I have moved on to reviewing many different products.

There's nothing like going back home, though! So, today I am lucky enough to bring you a review of Kind Juice, a premium organic juice!

Pictured here with my new Smok Priv

I was sent Custard's Last Stand to try. The flavor of this juice is so fresh and vibrant! I don't normally vape any custard, cream, milk or cereal flavors, so I wasn't sure if I was even going to be able to review this juice honestly. I decided to give it a try anyway and was pleasantly surprised! 

The description on the website says it is a butterscotch creme brulee topped with a caramelized aged cognac glaze.

Well, alright.

I don't know what creme brulee or cognac glaze whatever tastes like. 

Custard's Last Stand, while it is a creamy/custard flavor, is VERY nice. The flavors pop and are very strong. I have to say, it is legitimately awesome for a creamy ejuice! I liked it instantly and had to double check that it really was a custard! It has a bit of a strawberry/berry flavor from somewhere that is subtle but lovely and the custard was a truly pleasant finish (and may have changed my mind about custard/creamy flavors)! It has a smooth and authentic flavor that produces ginormous clouds!

Kind Juice even gave me a discount code to share with you guys! Just type in STEPHSTEB when you place your order here and you will get 20% off of an order of $99 or more! Don't forget to check out other awesome deals on their juices (I have my eye on Key West Sunset for my next purchase)!

What is your favorite type of ejuice?

Monday, August 13, 2018

SockSync Sorts Your Socks

My favorite part about doing product reviews is getting to try brand new products. Especially brand new ones that no one has heard of yet!

Image result for yay gif

This one is pretty neat. It's the SockSync and it makes folding socks so much faster. I love it because the chore around the house that I hate the most is folding socks. 

This one was fun to try out, too!

First, you put the socks over the tubes. The blue top spins so as you find new ones to match, you spin to the next empty one.

Of course I didn't buy brand new socks to do this demonstration, don't be silly.

Once you find all of the matches, you start "folding." You push the match through the tube and that pair is done! On to the next one.

Once you are finished with all of your matches, you can take the blue spinner top off and you have a basket full of clean, folded socks! 

I  love awesome new stuff that makes things easier. If you want to get one for your home, you can find it here!

What is your go to for making your household chores quicker? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

3 Lessons They Didn't Teach You In Real Estate School

The housing market is on fire as of late. 

    Just take a look at homes for sale in Charlotte, North Carolina. With all of the growth, missing out on potential commissions is probably the least of your concerns. After all, if there was ever a time to be a realtor, today could very well be it. But what if there were imperative things real estate experts knew which weren’t taught to you in real estate school? While some of the tips and tricks you may have missed out on are directly related to commission, some of what you may learn the hard way have more to do with your general peace of mind.
Focus on YOUR Business Plan

One thing is for sure when becoming a realtor: You will have to be receptive to your clients’ needs and wants. Sometimes, when dealing with many clients in a busy market, this can mean trying to handle several issues at once. Attempting to field all the phone calls, texts, and general requests can truly be overwhelming. In all the chaos, many realtors forget to focus on their individual goals and business plans. Getting caught up in the day-to-day pandemonium can mean sacrificing your objectives. Through all the insanity, do not forget to stay the course and focus on your long-term goals. Keep a marketing plan in mind, meet your own personal business objectives, and remember that you’re in this for the long haul.

Do Not Create a Lifestyle Which is Unsustainable in Down Markets

If your existence depends on your next big sale, you’ve got problems, unbeknownst to you at this time. While the market may be hot, and you genuinely think you're untouchable, beware. Housing sales will pullback at some point, and if you're not ready for a lull, rethink your living situation. Far too often, a realtor gains licensure during an up-trending market. They genuinely think this is the norm, and that they’re immune from downtrends. A belief that the climb will continue forever can create an unrealistic and unsustainable lifestyle. Remember that all markets are cyclical and be prepared for the housing apocalypse, even if it’s unlikely.

Make Time for Yourself and Your Family

Turning away business is tough. It's even harder to neglect clients when you know a stout commission is on the horizon. But what's the real worth if you sacrifice your own well-being, and time spent with your loved ones? This is perhaps the most significant lesson realtors are not indeed taught in school. More income is always significant, but time is truly invaluable. Create a balance between your work life and your home life. Try to separate the two and set boundaries on when to take calls and when to let your voicemail pick up. Similarly, keep your family informed on when you expect things to become chaotic. Communication is so important, with both your clients and your loved ones. Odd hours are generally likely when becoming a realtor but remember: Family should always come first, and most clients will be able to relate to your personal obligations.

Is there anything else you would add to this list? Comment below!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Webinar Alert! Simplified Identity Theft: Child Identity Theft Awareness

 Since the very first case reported, (yes, really in the bible), identity theft has  been a fairly common crime, likely to happen to anyone. There are many instances of identity theft throughout history.

Now, it's gone digital.

For those who aren't aware, my very first website got hacked. I was livid. I immediately did a straight nuclear on my Facebook account and deleted everything I had on that website for the past ten years. Shortly after that, the Cambridge Analytica Data Facebook debacle happened and I have never been so happy to have scrubbed all of my stuff off of a website! I do have a page right here 

I saved everything I wanted to and then just deleted it. It was weird to see it in real data. 

It is disconcerting how easy it is to have your identity stolen in our digital world today. 

I know because my husband had his stolen.

I am going to attend a webinar, because who are we kidding? I never leave my house, and thought I would share it with you since they are talking about the new, fun things criminals are doing. 

They are stealing children's identity. 

JM Paul of is holding the webinar on Friday, August 15, 2018 and is giving away a free copy of his Ebook: Simplified Identity Theft: Cyber Security Solutions Made Simple! I am definitely going to be there. It's going to be like watching true crime, the prequel. You can find more information about it on his website! See you there 💓

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Freedom Of Freelance

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I have been writing since I learned how to and there isn't anything else in this world that I would rather do. 

I am living my best life every single day, these days.

Not to say that it has been easy. I have always had the ability to stubbornly take the long way down the wrong path on a few occasions. It's something that I have learned to watch out for as I've grown older. 

The ability to be able to work anywhere, whenever I want, and write about whatever I want always had the most appeal to me. I never thought that I would ever be a published author, but now I am. I never thought I would go back to blogging, yet here I am writing and writing and writing and loving every second of it!

Freelance may not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me!

While I have the writing down, sometimes I am not so good with design. I like to think that I am, but luckily I know my limits.

To the freelance designers I fly!

I found an excellent freelance design service through! AskLorem is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and instantly connects you to a developer whether it is 3 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. This especially works for me because I am often plagued with insomnia. There have been more than a few times that I have been up late, late at night and decided to just get up and work since I obviously wasn't going to sleep. I would note the questions I had to ask someone the next day, only to finally collapse with exhaustion and miss the best time to contact them!

Insomnia always wins.

With AskLorem, I can immediately chat with a designer and get a quote for the work I am looking for, whether it be website design, theme design, site growth, or help with an ecommerce shop! All of these are right at my fingertips at any time of the day. The prices aren't bad either, and with my code Influencer10 that I am able to share with you for an extra 10% off, it's definitely in my budget! 

Now, that I have finally found a way to do what I love by being a freelancer, I try to use other freelancers as often as possible. It can be tough. It can be competitive. But, it's worth it. 

So very, very worth it. 

Are you living your best life today?