Peach Blackberry Sangria Recipe

Peach Blackberry Sangria Recipe

Happy first day of fall! After a couple weeks of heatwaves, I have been enjoying having my windows open in the evening and wearing something other than tank tops for a couple days (although it’s not quite “sweater weather” here in So Cal yet). This is a yummy sangria recipe that’s perfect for transitioning from summer to fall! I normally prefer a white wine sangria but I associate white wine with summer, since it’s a little lighter. Since this is a red sangria made with a summer fruit, peach, it’s perfect for summer AND fall! For my red wine, I used the CK Mondavi Scarlet Five. It is blended with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec. I’m not a huge red wine drinker but I really enjoyed this blend. Cabernet is my favorite red, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised! (If you’d like to learn more about CK Mondavi wines, please see this post.)

I encourage you to give this wine a try and let me know what you think!

Peach Blackberry Sangria Recipe

Peach Blackberry Sangria

Step 1 – Carefully muddle a few blackberries at the bottom of a wine glass.
Step 2 – Add ice and pour wine over the ice and blackberries. Fill the glass about halfway.
Step 3 – Add 1 or 2 ounces of peach flavored vodka. (I like Ciroc because it’s made with grapes, not grain or corn!)

Mix well and garnish with a peach slice and blackberry, if you wish.

Peach Blackberry Sangria Recipe

There, wasn’t that easy? Enjoy this delicious drink and the breezy fall weather!

How to Start a Blog

How to Start a Blog

In the past three years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve been asked one thing several times: “How do I start a blog?” Even in just the three years I’ve been at it, blogging has become exponentially popular, and the options for blogging have become a little overwhelming. If you have an idea for a blog but you’re not really sure where to start, never fear! I’m going to walk you through how to start a blog.

Now, I’m going to talk about the way *I* started my blog, and a few things I’ve learned along the way (aka mistakes). Please understand there are many, many, many options when it comes to blogging and my recommendations are just one way. This is the way that works for me, and this is what I always recommend to my friends when I’m asked for advice about starting a blog.

How to Start a Blog

Step 1 – The important thing here is to GET STARTED. Whatever platform you choose, whatever URL you choose, whatever … if you have ideas, get them written down! There are a million excuses to stop yourself from starting a blog, but ignore all of those and JUST START. Whatever “mistakes” are made, you can fix later. I promise.

Step 2 – Start on Blogger. When I started my blog, I set it up through Blogger (also known as Blogspot) for several reasons. The big reason is, it’s free. Your website is “hosted” on the Blogger servers (owned by Google) so you don’t have to pay for hosting space. The payoff? Your URL will have the word “blogspot” in it. For example, my first URL was http://budgetfairytale.blogspot.com. It was like this for six months! Blogger is a simple and no-risk way for you to set up a blog and see how you like it. There are lots of pre-made templates you can choose from, so you don’t have to be a designer or know any HTML. You can do slight customizations if you want but you don’t have to. At all.

Side note – What about WordPress? – Blogger and WordPress are probably the two most popular blogging platforms. You can create a free blog at WordPress.com, and your domain will be “yourblogname.wordpress.com.” Why do I recommend Blogger over WordPress? Simply because I think Blogger is easier to use for new bloggers. Secondary, I like that Blogger is a part of Google, and easy to integrate with your Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Adsense (more on that later). You are free to try both platforms and see which one you like best.

Step 3 – Choose your blog name and URL carefully. This is going to contradict Step 1 a little bit, but I advise you to take some time and really think about your blog name, and more importantly, your URL. Here are some things to remember about your blog name and URL:

  • You can change your blog name and even your URL later but it’s a real hassle. So try to think of something that will represent you in the long run. I see a lot of women start wedding blogs while they are planning their wedding and include “wedding” or “bride” in their blog name. Well, you may not want to be known as “bride” forever and your writing topics will likely change away from weddings after your wedding is over UNLESS you know specifically you want to write about weddings forever. I chose “Budget Fairy Tale” because it not only represented our fairy tale wedding on a budget, but my life in general, since I try to live a full life without breaking the bank. I knew this name would still represent me after the wedding, if I wanted to keep blogging after the wedding was done (and I did)!
  • Avoid using numbers if you can. Or else whenever you’re talking with someone about your blog you’ll have to explain if your URL mythreesons.com is the number 3 or if it’s three spelled out.
  • In this same vain, try to avoid using underscores or hyphens in your URL. It’s just tough to explain and will make your life that much easier.
  • Don’t make your blog name or URL too long. Keep it simple.
  • Don’t use the word “blog” in your URL. This is one of those irrational pet peeves of mine, because … if you have a blog, I know it’s a blog. It doesn’t have to be in your name. But the smarter reason to avoid this is, what if your blog turns into something bigger? A business? A corporation? A brand? You won’t want the word “blog” in your URL anymore.
  • Take inspiration from other blogs you like. What does their name represent? How did they come up with it?
  • Have an idea for a name? Write it out on paper. Put all the words together and make sure they make sense. I’m totally going to date myself here, but there was an episode of the sitcom “Empty Nest” where a character, a sailor, got a personalized license plate – CLOVER. He meant it to read as “Sea Lover” but everyone just saw the word “clover.” Don’t be that guy.
  • Once you have an idea for a name, put it into to Google and Facebook and make sure it’s not already taken. You don’t want to steal another blogger’s name or infringe on a trademark.
  • When all else fails, use your name. Your first and last name can make an easy enough blog name and URL, unless your name is super common, like Jane Smith. You can also integrate your real name into your blog name in a clever way, like the blog Sew Anita (a sewing blog), A Dose of Paige (lifestyle blog), or Simply Darrling, a play off Kendra Darr’s last name.

Remember, if you do grow to dislike your blog name or feel it doesn’t represent you anymore, you CAN change it. But, it’s best if you can pick something and stick with it. As my friend Lisa of Babes in Disneyland said when I saw her speak at a conference, “Choose your blog name carefully because it will stick with you. And people will yell it at you.”

Oof, Step 3 was a doozy, right? Don’t worry, picking the name is honestly the toughest part of setting up a blog. So now we’re almost done.

Step 4 – Write your first post and hit PUBLISH! Your first post doesn’t have to be your finest work. In fact, it shouldn’t be your finest work because you should always be improving. Have you seen my first post? It’s incredibly simple because I just wanted to get started. There’s a saying …. “Perfectionism is just another word for procrastination.” Don’t put off publishing your first post until it’s perfect, because perfection is impossible.

Step 5 – Once you have your first post published, try to think of five more post ideas. Put the post idea into the Heading of a new post and save it as draft. Try to think of 5-10 new ideas and get them written down. Then, next time you have a chance to sit and write, you’ll already have some ideas!

There you have it! You’ve started a new blog! Congratulations!!

Here are a couple other frequently asked questions and thoughts about running a blog:

– Note that the title of this post is not “How to Start a Blog and Make Money.” If you’re starting a blog with the sole purpose of making money, then you shouldn’t start a blog. Yes it’s possible to earn money with a blog, but it is not a “get rich quick” situation AT ALL and making a decent income online takes a lot of work, effort, education, research, and time. If you’re starting your blog on Blogger, yes you can go ahead and put up to three Adsense ads on your blog. Some people say you shouldn’t put ads on a blog until you reach a certain level of viewership. I say it’s okay to put them up on day one. It’s a matter of personal preference. But, don’t expect to make more than a few pennies each month when you’re first starting out.
– Even if you don’t know what to do with them yet, reserve your blog name (or something similar) on as many social media accounts as you can. Blogging success and social media sharing go hand-in-hand. The big ones are Facebook (create a page), Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
– It’s smart to set a posting schedule. I often get asked what’s the “right amount” to post and there’s no specific answer to this. A lot of full-time bloggers post five times a week, Monday through Friday. I also know bloggers who post new content seven days a week. I know some who post twice a day. Others post whenever they have something to share. One blogger I follow posts once a week, on Mondays. I recommend giving yourself a schedule to follow, whatever works best for you. But not setting a schedule puts you in danger of forgetting to blog at all!
– Here’s the most important thing to remember: Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Don’t compare your new blog to the big blogs and wonder why they get so many comments, why everything looks so slick, and why they are working with so many brands, and you’re not. That comes with time, so just get it out of your mind right now or you’ll drive yourself mad. For now you focus on writing and creating content, and that’s it!

Now that you know how easy it is, I hope this post encourages you to start a blog! And if you do start one, be sure to link it in the comments so I can check it out!

Image Source: Unsplash

Sunday Seven – Purple Purse, CHOC Walk, Hot Pink Halloween, and More!

The seven most interesting things on the internet last week:

Sunday Seven - Purple Purse, CHOC Walk, Hot Pink Halloween, and More!

1. What better way to kick off my first Sunday Seven in a while than a gorgeous Disneyland wedding? This one featured on Every Last Detail certainly fits the description.
2. On Tuesday I participated in a Twitter party to raise awareness about Allstate’s Purple Purse campaign, which suppors women stuck in domestic abuse situations. A couple days later, a friend of mine wrote a very personal post about her experience with a form of domestic abuse rarely discussed: financial abuse. Thank you Katie for being brave and sharing your story to help other women.
3. I am still raising money for CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County)! Every dollar helps! And if you want to walk through Disneyland with me on October 12, please sign up and join the Disneyland Brides and Grooms team!
4. My friends Chandra of Oh Lovely Day and Sara of Burnett’s Boards shared these ideas for Disney wedding decor. I’m not sure why they had to throw in the “T” word but I’ll forgive them this time!
5. If you help putting together a wedding day emergency kit (and yes, you should have one), Hairspray and High Heels has you covered.
6. Okay, this pretty Halloween backdrop is from last year, but I just discovered it, okay??? Thanks Style Me Pretty for proving that pink fits in EVERYWHERE.
7. My friend Anita continues to rock my Cookie Lee jewelry with her hand-sewn tops. Check out her latest lacy creation!


Have a great week!

Dapper Day At Disneyland (and a Big Surprise!)

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Last Friday was the fall Dapper Day event, and I was so excited to hang out at Disneyland with my friends, and finally got to wear my new Pinup Girl Clothing skirt to the parks! I missed the Spring Dapper Day this year, and the Fall Dapper Day last year because it’s on a Friday and I was working. Even though the sun was burning down on us with 100 degree temps, and my kitten heels permanently ruined my feet probably, it was still a wonderful day.

Dapper Day At Disneyland
My Dapper Day look this year:
Skirt: Jenny Skirt in blue castle print by Pinup Girl Clothing
Top: An old Marshalls find
Belt: Target
Cinderella locket necklace: Target
Bracelet: Cookie Lee
Pink Minnie Ears: DIY!
Shoes: From a Pinup Girl Clothing yard sale about 8 years ago


Click here to read my post highlighting the new Fairytale Fantasy collection from Pinup Girl Clothing

My friends and I arrived to the Resort around noon and first went to check out the Dapper Day Expo at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. This was the first time the Dapper Day organizers had arranged an expo for the event and it was really neat! They had a ton of fun, vintage and vintage-inspired vendors selling clothes and accessories. One of my favorite brands, Besame Cosmetics based out of Burbank, was also there to give out lipstick sampler packs and do mini-makeovers. There was also a styling suite where the ladies could get their hair done (for a fee of course) and a portrait studio where artists were doing sketches of guests in their dapper ensembles! The fee was $40 for one person or $80 for a couple. The sketches were amazing! Finally there was some official Dapper Day merchandise for sale, such as parasols, scarfs, and tote bags.

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

After window shopping at the expo, our group headed into Disney California Adventure for some lunch and libations. We needed somewhere air conditioned and Carthay Circle fit the bill. Apparently we were not the only ones with this brilliant idea, because there was a queue of guests to get into the lounge! This is the first time I had ever seen an organized queue here … usually you just have to walk in and look around for an empty table. The queue at least was in the shade, so we decided to wait a little and see how long it took. After about 15 minutes in the queue, we were taking some photos when two strangers approached us and asked how many people were in our party. We assumed they were maybe trying to gauge how long the wait would be, so we told them we were a group of four people and we had been waiting about 15 minutes so far. Then they said something that made our collective jaws drop: “Would you want to join us inside 1901?”

Ummmmmmmmm … yes?

It all happened very quickly. We followed our new friends through the unmarked door into 1901 and waited while they checked in. We could hardly believe it – the place was EMPTY except for us! No other guests at all! If I had a membership for 1901, I would practically live there … just sayin’.

Our new friends said we didn’t have to sit together but we insisted … we all sat around a couple tables near the bar and ordered our drinks and a couple snacks. I ordered the flatbread per the recommendation of our new friends, and my friend Lacey ordered the deviled eggs (which I failed to photograph). The drinks and food were outstanding. You may remember I was lucky enough to visit 1901 once before but it was a very quick trip and I didn’t get to eat, drink, or take any photos. This was a much different experience!

A couple members of our party ordered table side drinks, which is just what it sounds like: the bartender brings over the ingredients on a bar cart and makes the drinks right by your table, including the infamous ice spheres!

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

We all sat and chatted with each other while enjoying our drinks and appetizers. We found out that one of our new friends has a daughter who just had a Disneyland wedding! They got married at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel at the Parkview Terrace, with the reception in the Sorrel Room. She showed us a couple pictures on her phone of her daughter and her new husband, and she was stunning. I gave her my email and told her I would love to feature their wedding on my blog so I’m crossing my fingers I get to see more of this lovely wedding!

Our new friends encouraged us to walk around and look at all the details in the lounge and take pictures, which is exactly what we did! The club is jam packed with memorabilia and cool photos of Walt and his associates. It’s just a really cool place to hang out.

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

In total we spent about an hour inside 1901 before our new friends had to leave (we couldn’t stay in the lounge without the member present). We were so appreciative for the time we got to spend there and for the pixie dust these strangers bestowed on us. Thank you, kind strangers!

Dapper Day At Disneyland

After leaving 1901 we decided to head over to Disneyland for some Dapper Day people watching. After stopping for obligatory pictures near the castle, we headed into Fantasyland where we discovered Dumbo had a very short wait time! How could we resist?

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

After Dumbo we headed to New Orleans Square for more picture opportunities and decided to ride Pirates of the Caribbean just for the AC! Hehe.

At this point we said goodbye to our friends who had dinner reservations, and we went back to DCA to meet up with some other friends for a drink! After that we headed back to Disneyland and at this point it was later in the evening, around 8pm, and it had gotten CROWDED. It was not only a typical Friday night at Disneyland, but it was also Dapper Day AND the first day of Halloweentime! We fought our way through the crowds for dinner at Village Haus but after that, we decided to just call it a night. After spending the day in the hot sun, I didn’t have the energy to fight through the crowds! Plus my feet had had just about enough of walking around in kitten heels all day.

All in all, it was the best Dapper Day ever! Our surprise invite to 1901 was a memory I’ll never forget.

I didn’t get a chance to take many photos of others in their dapper attires, so I pulled some of my favorites from their Facebook page. I love how people really get into it!

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Dapper Day At Disneyland

See you at the next Dapper Day in Spring 2015!

Dapper Day At Disneyland

Enter the Cutest Kid Moment Contest on Brides Entertainment

Hello! Please read me! This is a sponsored post. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write this. I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will be good fit for my readers. All opinions are my own.

Today I want to tell you about one of my favorite moments that happened during our Disneyland wedding ceremony. We didn’t have too many kids at our reception but one of them was our niece and flower girl, Sevi. Little Sevi was only 11 months old and hadn’t learned to walk yet, so her mom (my sister-in-law Marisa) was going to carry her down the aisle. When she got halfway down the aisle, Marisa decided to see if Sevi could walk a couple steps with Marisa’s assistance. Sevi tried … one foot … then the other foot … then …. plop! She fell back on her tushie. Of course all the guests laughed and said “awwwww….” and thought it was adorable. I missed it all because I was in the back waiting to make my grand entrance! Luckily our friends caught it on video so I could see it later. Just one of hundreds of amazing memories from our wedding. Oh, and Sevi started walking on her own just a couple weeks later, in case you were wondering.

Enter the Cutest Kid Moment Contest on Brides Entertainment

Do you have a memorable, funny, or sentimental wedding moment featuring kids captured on video? Be sure to submit it to Brides Entertainment for a chance to win a Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera and two lenses, valued at $550! I know a lot of my fellow Disney brides have amazing wedding moments that are just waiting to be shared with the world. How about ring bearer running down the aisle at full speed? Or an adorable moment dancing with Mickey and Minnie? Or a flower girl catching the bride’s bouquet? Your unique wedding moments could make you a big winner! The promotion will run from September 15 to October 14, 2014 so be sure to get those videos in ASAP.

Enter the Cutest Kid Moment Contest on Brides Entertainment

Don’t want to enter the contest yourself? Be sure to still visit Brides Entertainment and vote for your favorites. Maybe you’ll see some Disney bride and grooms among the entries! The most popular video will win the grand prize, so be sure to vote for your favorites!

Brides Entertainment

What is Brides Entertainment? Brides Entertainment is an online wedding resource where users can earn points and prizes for engaging with others, like we do every day. For each video Like, Share, or Comment, users will be granted points that can be exchanged for prizes. Watch wedding videos, get inspired, and earn free stuff! It seems like a really cool site, especially for wedding junkies like me.

If you submit your video for the Brides Entertainment contest, be sure to let me know so I can check it out and vote!