fall box swap reveal
Swap Reveal, Sweet Progress

It’s finally here, the Fall Box Swap Reveal!! #SPBoxSwap


Fall Swap Box I’M BAAAACK!! It’s been way too long since I created a post. Too long. If you’ve tried to visit me over the last few weeks you may have noticed things weren’t working right. There were over 1,000 404 pages and no SSL certificate. It’s all been fixed now. 🙂 Anyway, because BlueHost took forever to figure out the issue- despite me giving them a deadline and telling what I thought the problem was, which it was– I’m behind on posting my #SPBoxSwap Reveal!!! I feel horrible that I’m one of the hosts of the swap and here I am posting this FIVE days late.

Fall Box Swap? #SPBoxSwap?

If you’re new here, I make up half of the happy mail loving team Sweet Progress Box Swap. My friend Ashley from Happy Pretty Sweet makes up the sweet pretty half of our box swap team. We both love happy mail and seeing bloggers connect and lift each other, so it kinda just made sense for the two of us to collab to create a bloggers only box swap. 🙂

When you sign up for a swap we ask that you are 100% sure you are able to be a good partner and send your partner a box. We understand that life happens and for that reason we always have a swap angel on stand by. This time I was an angel! See, mom, I’m an angel. 😉 I was partnered with my IRL gal pal Lowanda!!! Okay, so, we’re not hanging out at Starbucks or anything, but we have met in real life and I have known her for years. 🙂 Psst.. You can read a little more about Lowanda and I here.

I’m sure by this point you’re like, “C’mon woman show us the Fall Box Swap goods!” Okay, okay, here comes the goods.


Fall #SPBoxSwap Reveal Time

fall box swap reveal

I love that Lowanda decided to mix a little Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos for my Fall #SPBoxSwap Box. Not sure what Dia De Los Muertos is, you can read about it here and here. 🙂  I have a serious love affair for sugar skulls. My office is filled with sugar skulls, and recently I was commissioned by LA Mamacitas to create sugar skull art and a flier for their event. 🙂

Fall Box Swap Reveal Sugar Skull Card

I’m sure you can imagine when I saw this card and the sugar skulls peeking out behind all the goodies I was excited! Fall box swap.

This bag is going with me everywhere!!

Look, it made the perfect background for my photo props Lowanda sent. Sadly, I forgot to use them on HALLOWEEN!! But that’s okay, I will be ready next year. 🙂

(My teen and I picked up the hand to “hand out” candy, we only had two trick-or-treaters.  My tween didn’t want nothing to do with the monster hand, she handed out the candy. Guess we’ll have to save that for next year too.)

Aren’t these pencils the cutest?!?! I’m not sure if I’ll use ’em because they are too stinkin’ cute. I think I’ll save them for Halloween decoration for my office.

Fall Box Swap Reveal Halloween Pencils

Who doesn’t love a bath bomb? I can’t wait to try this apple scented one bomb, but I have a feeling a kiddo may beat me to it first.

I’m a major sucker for a face mask, major. I love all things pumpkin, so I have no doubt I’m going to L-O-V-E this mask. 🙂 Fall box swap.

Fall Box Reveal Pumpkin Mask

I thought it was funny that we both sent each other “corn”, it just seemed like the right thing to send in a fall box. 🙂 The box I put together had a Friendsgiving theme. Do you want to see what I sent? You can see the fall swap box I sent Lowanda HERE.  You can also, check out what everyone else received here.



Thank you so much for my goodies, Lowanda!! And thank you to everyone who participated in the Fall #SPBoxSwap!! I enjoyed this swap and seeing your posts. 🙂 Happy rest of Fall!!


And just because I never got a chance to share my Halloween with everyone….


Swap, Sweet Progress, Things I Love, Uncategorized

It’s the Great Fall Box Swap Sign Up, Bloggers! #SPBoxSwap

It’s Fall Y’all!!

Fall box swapAnd it’s been too long since our last seasonal box swap. Heck, it’s been too long since my last real post. My life has been a bag of jelly beans- all mixed up, colorful, with a few yucky flavors, but nonetheless full. I plan on sharing it all, but honestly I haven’t had time to sit still and let it out. Along with that: the world, people, the world! Things have been crazy, right? What the world needs now is love sweet love… happy mail works too. 🙂 Or at least that’s our hope, to bring some smiles, happiness and possibly new friendships into this world.

We missed summer, but we’re ready to welcome in FALL!!


Box Swap

It’s time for another Sweet Progress Fall Box Swap!!

What is Sweet Progress Box Swap?

My lovely friend Ashley and I created Sweet Progress Box Swap to give bloggers a way to connect via good ol’ mail. The two of us swoon over happy mail, so naturally this collab is a match made in heaven!  It’s so much fun to see relationships build and to see all the goodies everyone receives.


Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Fill out the form below
  • We’ll email you the button to display on your blog once we receive your signup
  • Place the button on your blog sidebar or in a post. Please send us the link when you do.
  • Send your box out before October 24 Make sure to send your partner the tracking number for their box.
  • Linkup with us on October 31 to share your #SPBoxSwap reveal

Additional Information:

  • This swap is open to the U.S. and Canada. We would love for you to spread the word, we would like multiple swappers in Canada.
  • Partner info will be sent to your inbox on October 18.
  • We will have a partner spreadsheet, it’s up to you to contact your partner for more information and address info. This is a great time to get to know your partner. 🙂 Ice breaker?
  • You must confirm that you have received your partner’s info.
  • We ask that you spend $20 before shipping.
  • If you share on social media don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtag: @Akaleistar @Mrs_AOK #SPBoxSwap
  • If you are not able to send out your package on time please let Ashley, your partner, and I know in advance. No flaking allowed.

It's the great fall box swap, bloggers! Come join the fall fun and signup to swap happy {fall} mail with other bloggers. :)

Are you in? Sign up here:

Need some ideas?

  • Coffee mug
  • Nail polish
  • Notebooks or journals
  • Tea
  • Local goodies
  • Book
  • Candy
  • Fall Magazine
  • Scarf

Still Need More Ideas? Check out these past box swaps!

Why and how it all began #SPBoxSwap 



The Sweet Progress Box Swap is open to bloggers 18 and over. Once we put you in contact with your swap partner we CANNOT be held responsible for the outcome of any contact of any kind made between you and your partner. We also cannot be held responsible in the event your partner does not respond. By submitting the form, you are confirming that you have read this disclaimer. We do hope you use common sense and if you decide you feel uncomfortable, let us know. We wouldn’t want you to do anything you don’t feel 100% about. Happy swapping!

The Fall, Back to Blogging, Birthday Giveaway! I'm so happy for: the start of fall, getting back to blogging after my hiatus, and my birthday, so I decided we should celebrate with a fall giveaway!! No need to follow, like, heart, and hula hoop just take a guess . :)

The Happy Fall, Back To Blogging, Birthday GIVEAWAY!!

It’s been waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long! I’m excited to finally get back to blogging, and when I say excited… (pause here for overly eager animated voice) I mean throwing candy corn in the air excited. 🙂 Because I don’t eat candy corn, but I love it. {Weird?}  Anyway, some of you may have followed my journey from South Carolina to Washington state on Instagram, I sort of turned my IG into a microblog. If you did follow along THANK YOU! If you have not been following along you’ve been missing out!!

That’s okay because I’ve put together a recap of my crazy last few months that will go live next week. (The first installment of Across The Country with Three Kids, a Dog, and Our Sanity is kind of a tear jerker, bring Kleenex.) I had ZERO intention of taking a two month break from blogging. Honestly, I didn’t completely take a full-on break because I did post every Sunday (eh hem Mommy Monday Blog Hop) plus I still was a part of #MotherhoodChat on Twitter. (Shameless plug: this Sunday will discuss bullying with Bowling To End Bullying, come join us!)

The Happy Fall, Back to Blogging, Birthday Giveaway!!! I'm so happy for the start of fall, back to blogging after my hiatus, and my birthday, so I decided we should celebrate in true fall fashion!!  No need to follow, like, heart, and hula hoop just take a guess . :)

So, in honor of getting back to blogging, my favorite season, and my birthday (on Wednesday 😉 ) I’m sharing a giveaway! I did the same type of giveaway last year and it was tons of fun. I think people enjoyed it because it took us back to our childhood class parties where we would lean as close as we could to the jar without touching to take a guess. I encourage you to lean up to your computer screens and get to guessing! No likes, follows, hearts, or hula hoops needed just a simple guess will do ya 😉 Leave your guesses below in the comments and if you would like to share that would be great too! I have the answer taped to the bottom of the jar (my team counted and wrote down the number). I will reveal the number & winner on October 2, next Friday. I cannot wait to see your guesses!!

Happy Fall Y’all!!

The Happy Fall, Back to Blogging, Birthday Giveaway!


(This giveaway is open to the US and Canada only)

Getting to know Me, Giveaway, holiday

Ten Things I’m Thankful For {Fall Edition} Five Senses, and Surprises

Soooooo, yesterday I never posted my 10 Things I’m Thankful For post because LIFE. I’ve been trying to stick to the Back To Blogging Challenge, but yesterday I fell off.  I started the post but never finished it…. does that mean I lost?  Well, I don’t give up, therefore this post is a combined post 10 Things I’m Thankful For and Five Senses of Fall… that’s right a twofer!

Fall Edition: 10 Things I'm Thankful For

1) Family. I’m always, always, always thankful for my family.  Fall time for our family means plenty of family time doing various fall activities.  After Wednesday’s post, in which I sang the I-Miss-Fall-Time-In-Illinois-Blues, I’m hopeful we’ll find some fall fun here  in South Carolina.

My Halloween {Family}

The Fab Five

2) Pumpkin everything!  I don’t care what the pumpkin haters say, I love pumpkin, I loved pumpkin before it was ‘cool’. I love pumpkin seeds, waffles, pancakes, soup, scones, muffins, and of course… Pumpkin Spice Lattes. The taste of pumpkin in my opinion is the official taste of fall 🙂


My Favorite Pumpkin Patch

I know, I know, here comes the eye roll from the PSL haters, look, I know what’s not in a PSL and what is.  I’m a grown woman, who makes grown decisions, me drinking a PSL sporadically throughout fall is a treat.  I treat myself.  I think I deserve a treat every now and then, and FYI I’m the OG of the PSLGangstas 🙂 I have to drink a few PSLs this fall or else…. I’ll be drunk-out. As much as I like to eat and drink my pumpkins, I love to decorate with them.  I just love pumpkins.

Fun Fact: When starting my blog/Etsy Shop I was considering using pumpkin in the title.




3) Cool crisp days, I love when the air is crisp for SO many reasons!  When there’s a nice chill in the air that first cup of coffee is the best, right?  Going for a jog in the fresh morning air is the best during the fall.  I love how the breeze fills my lungs, and the pavement keeps me wanting more.  Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of the cool crisp fall morning and the sound of crunching leaves under their feet?  The change in the air means layering too.

Fall Pavement

4) Layering.  I love fall fashion. I am NOT much of a fashionista, I’m just a girl who enjoys pretty things, and has a far more stylish Pinterest closet than real life closet {womp womp}.  Leggings, sweaters, boots, scarves, and Halloween socks.  I have a growing collection of scarves and a crazy collection of Halloween socks.  Actually, I have quite a fun collection of colorful and seasonal socks, but I by far have more Halloween socks 🙂

The Furbaby & I {my writing companion}


5) This may be weird to be thankful for, but I am…. fall scented candles!  I love ’em!  I’m happy the shelves are overflowing with the scent of fall right now.  This winter when fall candles went on clearance, I went on a binge.  I don’t care about seasonal suggestions cinnamon, pumpkin, apples, and autumn leaves always smell good year round, to me 🙂

My son: “Mommy, you’re a candle lady.. huh?”  I think this boy is going places, he knows the way to his Mama’s heart, because after he said that he said get the candle 🙂

6) HALLOWEEN!  I LOVE Halloween!  I love to decorate for Halloween, all the Halloween shows/cartoons, and of course Halloween allows me to get creative 🙂  I’m happy to make Halloween memories with my babies each year.

Fairy Tutu

Made that Baby PSY Halloween


Bones and dirt pretzels

7) Food.  Yes, that’s right fall food.  I love to get in the kitchen and make chili, try my hand at pumpkin recipes I spy on Pinterest, and my kids’ favorite slow cooker apple sauce. The smell that permeates your home when you make applesauce using your slow cooker is the most glorious aroma!

Slow Cooker Applesauce

8) Thanksgiving. Sometimes, I feel bad for Thanksgiving it’s sandwiched in between Halloween and Christmas, people are getting over their sugar high and stressing over Christmas.  Thanksgiving in my house is usually filled with my family all in the kitchen making a big dinner and pies, as well as making thankful leaves.  It’s warm, cozy, and yummy.  Last Thanksgiving we {my family and I} didn’t really get to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving, we were moving.  We drove into South Carolina on Thanksgiving night, we ended up ordering in, we had Waffle House 😀



9) Snuggles.  Fall is a snuggly season, don’t you think?  I like to snuggle on the couch with my family, and enjoy fall television.

Snuggly Puggy

10)  Although, I haven’t been happy with all the bad news coming from NFL lately, I’m a sucker for football.  Here at the AOK house we like to make football snacks and  watch the games as we track our Fantasy Football scores 🙂

Friday Night Lights

What are some of your fall favorites?  

I shared some of mine, but I want to really share some of mine with one of you.  Let’s play a fall game shall we?  In celebration of my birthday and fall!

Win my fall favorites!

CandyCorn Guess


CandyCorn 309

Annnd the winner is……


Shelly from DIY Mama

Her guess: 313!!

Here are the rules:

This game will run until the October 8th

Open to the United States only… I’m sorry.

Leave your guess in the comments below, with your email address.

Whoever guesses correctly or the closest first will win.

I will email the winner.

What do you win?  Some of my favorite things… Scarf,  Socks, Candle, Starbucks Gift Card and maybe a little something extra.


Fall Loving.

Today I had technical difficulties (plugin problems) thus this post is late.


Day 3 of Back To Blogging Challenge: Fall Picture

Fall Loving

I’m a Texas girl, a Central Texas girl, fall wasn’t filled with many colorful leaves and numerous pumpkin patches growing up.  Nonetheless, autumn has always been my favorite season, maybe it was because fall meant birthday time, perhaps it was the excitement of Halloween or Mama’s Thanksgiving stuffing, whatever it was back then, I LOVED fall, and I still do.  There are ample reasons why I love fall, but 8 years in Illinois magnified my love of fall on many levels.


Lately, I’m missing Illinois, a lot.  Of course, I DO NOT miss the bone chilling days when your back aches from the harsh winter days of Illinois, but I miss the crisp cool days of fall and all our special spots there too. My family has so many great memories there.  I loved our town back in Illinois, a family town for sure.  There was always plenty to do there especially during the fall months.  Thankfully, we didn’t waste away those fall days we usually took part in most of the fall festivities.

We picked our pumpkins every year at the same pumpkin patch.




 The pumpkin patch is also a farm that has some the best honey crisp apples, ever.

I hope we will find good apples here….


Every Halloween the little downtown area would hold a trick-or-treat for the kids followed by a Halloween festival.

Baby PSY Halloween FestI also had a kooky fall tradition…. on my birthday, I liked to walk around our little downtown and take family pictures.

The Kiddos & I

This particular Illinois-birthday I took a plethora of pictures, and had the best wannabe photographer luck.  While my husband was taking pictures of me and the babies, a real life photographer came up to us and asked if she could help.  She took a few pictures of the five us, free of charge just being a kindhearted midwestern.

I’m ready to make some Southern fall memories..