It’s Time for Love

March 16, 2017 in Master Suite

I went back to school in January – 20 years after the first time I started college – and it’s a dream come true.

Today in class we were creating websites, and I really loved my site idea. It was a site all about my husband and me – our love story, our adventures and travels, our family life, our service, our struggles and triumphs, how we live, how we love, and all things us. I was ready go out and purchase the domain and start this new blog idea, but then I remembered…

I already have a blog!

Obviously I must have forgotten all about it since posting has been so few and far between. But maybe what I really need is to get excited about it again. I have a whole redesign in mind — for after the semester has ended. I already don’t sleep as it is. And let me tell you — living a college student schedule when you’re twice college age is no cakewalk.

I already have the first three weeks of summer vacation booked:

First week = sleep. All. Week. Long.

Second week = blogger conference (can’t wait!)

Third week = a quick little Vegas getaway for Steve and me. He’s planning the whole thing, booking the hotel tomorrow, getting show tickets, and I just have to pack a few things and hop in the car. Seriously can NOT wait!

Anyway… back to the blog. See how quickly I forget? I was talking about how much I loved writing all the gushy stuff about my favorite lifetime love story, and I really want to do more of that HERE on this site that I already own and love.

It’s really a whole new focus coming your way: Love. Love is what I am passionate about. Love for my hottie husband, love for my fantabulous family, and love of God that guides everything I do. So get ready for a lot more mush and gush. It’s comin’ atcha!


Lesson Learned: Never Update your WordPress Theme

January 15, 2015 in Office


Tuesday night after I got home from a meeting and the kids were all in bed for the night, I sat down to do a little blogging… and that’s when the nightmare started.

Let’s rewind a bit to the end of 2013 when I was just starting Forty Eighteen. I spent a LOT of time finding just the right wordpress theme for the look I wanted. I didn’t want to spend a million dollars, but I wanted some flexibility. Being able to customize it was a must, and there were some features I wasn’t willing to budge on. After a lot of searching and trying things out, I found the perfect theme for me. And the best part??? It was free! It still had tons of options and plenty of flexibility that you would normally expect from a fancy theme that cost a pretty penny, but mine was free and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

This miracle theme came with a warning. It was out of date and a new version would be coming soon. You could pre-order the premium version of the new update and get some extras. But the free version had everything I wanted, so I didn’t bother with it. I didn’t think much of the update. I figured I would see it when it was available.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. I logged into the admin side of my blog and found a few available updates waiting for me. For the first time EVER, one of them was the update for my theme to the new version! It’s time to update, baby!

This is where the nightmare begins. Like a complete IDIOT, I just clicked update. I didn’t look at the theme page, check out the demo, try out the live preview, or even look at screenshots. I figured the version I had was so wonderful that the update would be like that only better.

I cringe when I think about how naive I was.

The update finished and activated, I clicked on “Visit Site,” excited to see how amazing my blog looked now.








I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing. ALL OF THAT WORK!!! My header was gone, replaced by my blog title in a generic font. My sidebars were gone, replaced by nothing, absolutely nothing. All of my features and customization were gone. I had a generic title and a post and that was it. I was absolutely sick.

What was I thinking??? I know better than that!

I started frantically hitting ctrl+z hoping by some miracle that I could just undo that last little bitty change I had made to my site.

Did you know ctrl+z doesn’t work in every situation??? Aargh!!!

Google will know what to do! I started searching for how to rollback to a previous version of a WP theme. Surely I wasn’t the only one who had made such a colossal mistake, so there must be someone out there with a you tube video explaining how to recover all of my hard work.

Nope. Aargh!!!

Time to pull up my big girl panties and deal with it. I decided it was time to get to work. I had made this moronic mistake and now I had to live with the consequences and recreate my blog. But when I got to work I realized that some of my no-budge features weren’t even options in this new and “improved” version. Aargh!!!

Fine. So instead of recreating my blog with this new theme, it was time to intensify the search for the old version. Wonder of wonders! I found a zip file of my old version of the theme! Hallelujah!!! Time to install it.

The folders already exist. Installation failed. Aargh!!!

The folders already exist? Oh, that’s right, of course they do! I have to delete the current version of the theme before I install the old one. But when I clicked on the theme, “Delete” wasn’t even an option.

Back to Google! Unfortunately, Google told me to do exactly what I had already done to find the delete button. Luckily, that’s when I had an epiphany. I couldn’t delete the theme I was using! So I switched to another theme, and the delete button magically appeared. I clicked delete, accepted the warning that I wouldn’t be able to undo it (believe me – I know ctrl+z doesn’t work in theme installations), and watched it disappear.

That’s when it hit me… I just lost everything! All of my customization and settings and code that I had spend so many hours tweaking was all gone. Aargh!!! I felt sick again.

Oh well, too late to do anything about it now. I installed my zip file and miracle of miracles it worked!!! I clicked on “Visit Site” and stopped breathing again. My header was back, but my sidebars were still gone. Aargh!!!

Oh well, at least I have the right version of the theme now, so I know I can get it all back. Time to put on those big girl panties again and get to work! I started setting up my sidebars and recoding things. Then I scrolled down a little farther as I was moving things around and noticed EVERYTHING at the bottom of the page in an “inactive sidebar” section. I didn’t lose everything after all!!! Yippee! Wahoo!!!

It was 3:30 am by the time I got to bed. After a night of drag and drop, cut and paste, code and tweak, I was pretty proud of myself for fixing my major screw-up. My site was back – and I even made a few of the changes I had been thinking about making for awhile.

Most importantly, I learned a very valuable lesson: NEVER EVER update my wordpress theme!

Have you made any colossal mistakes lately?

Interested in some more lessons I have learned?

I attended my very first blog conference last year and learned how to rock it.


This little trick I learned has saved my sanity every school day morning.


When I learned what my family wants from our family home evenings, I was able to make it a better experience for everyone.

Improve your Family Home Evenings with this free printable from Forty Eighteen

I learned that my young kids are great at cleaning their rooms when they have some direction.

clean-your-room-chartWhat have you learned lately?

The 12 Days of Christmas Wish Lists: Bloggers

November 20, 2014 in Mailbox

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me… the greatest gifts for bloggers!

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on what bloggers want… or at least what this particular blogger wants. Hopefully Steve will sneak a peek at this list… 😉

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.


1. Canon PowerShot


Of course we all want fancy DSLR with a whole arsenal of amazing lenses, but sometimes it’s just not practical to carry around that huge fancy camera. Number one on my wish list this year is a compact camera with awesome features, and the Canon PowerShot SX600 has everything I’m looking for. It even has WiFi so you can share your images straight from your camera! Of course I want it in red, but it’s available in more traditional colors, too. This may just become my new favorite camera. It’s even on sale right now if you hurry! Save $50 Off a PowerShot SX600 HS in Black. Valid til 11/27/14 | or while supplies last. Shop now!


2. Jackery Bar


There are days when it feels like my phone is permanently welded to my hand. All of that work we do on our phones really drains the battery. A few months ago my mother-in-law bought me this Jackery bar for my birthday, and I am totally in l0ve. This handy little portable charger is even faster than my wall charger when it comes to charging my phone, especially while I’m still using it. I have taken it on vacation, to blogger conferences, and while I’m running around town on errands or picking up the kids. My Jackery has become a must-have item for me.


3. Fitbit Flex


As a blogger, I spend a LOT of time sitting – I mean way. too. much. time. sitting – and not nearly enough time sleeping. I love this Fitbit Flex Wireless Tracker for tracking activity and sleeping. During the day, it tracks steps, distance, and calories. At night, it monitors your sleep cycle and wakes you in the morning. The lights indicate how you’re doing at reaching your personal goal. While it’s kind of sad that I need a reminder to get up and move or stop working and go to sleep, it’s just reality.


4. Craft Table


Creating a perfect office work space is something I’m still working on, and this craft table is going on my list of things I want in my office. I love all the nooks and crannies to hold all the stuff I need daily, along with the HUGE work space that isn’t cluttered because everything is stored away in the nooks and crannies. Love, love, love.


5. Mixing Bowls


Is it weird that I’m totally addicted to mixing bowls? As a blogger who often posts recipes, I love to have cute dishes to use in my posts, but I also just love to buy any cute bowl I see, regardless of whether it will have a place or a purpose. These retro mixing bowls may just end up under my tree this year – To: Melanie, From: Melanie.


6. Laptop Tote


I’m also a sucker for a great bag. I have been known to buy things I don’t really need just for the free tote that comes with it. I know, I know… I’m a sucker. This adorable laptop tote, however, does not make me a sucker because it really is a great bag for a blogger. It has plenty of space for a laptop, camera (especially if you get that awesome compact Canon), phone, charger (I never leave home without my Jackery), and more! It’s sturdy, cute, and gets great reviews.


7. Smart Pen


I am a paper and pen girl at heart, but I love the convenience and portability of fancy tech. I feel like I carry my entire brain around in my smart phone. This Livescribe Smart Pen combines the best of both worlds for me. I can scribble my lists on paper and this pen makes them magically appear on my apple device screen. Ok, it’s not exactly magic, but it is some awesome tech. And no more silly auto-correct nonsense.


8. Olloclip



So many times we wish we could do more with our smartphone cameras. The Olloclip is the answer for iPhone users! Just slide it over your camera’s lens and you’ve got a fisheye, wide-angle, and 2 macro lenses to help you take amazing photos and videos. The storage bag even doubles as a cleaning cloth. How’s that for convenience?


9. Light Box


One of the biggest issues for bloggers is finding the perfect light to take amazing photos. Natural light is the best, but when that’s not an option, a light box is a great solution. You can find tutorials online to make your own, but this light box cube from Wayfair is all ready to go and a great price!


10. Cake Stands


I love cute props to showcase my recipes, and I absolutely love cake stands. I would love these Ivory Scalloped Cake Stands. I’m picturing a chocolate silk pie sitting on that stand right now….  mmmmm.


11. Reclaimed Pallet


From photo backdrops and crafts to DIY furniture and storage solutions, there are so many uses for reclaimed pallets. I have so many things I want to do with reclaimed wood, but I’ve never know where to find some when I don’t have an old barn or wood fence falling apart on my property. Who knew The Home Depot was the answer? Order a few and get free shipping, too!


12. Hobby to Hot Bundle


I blog because I love what I do. Forty Eighteen is all about home and nurturing family whether through food, service, work, teaching values, or spending time together. That’s my whole life, and I am passionate about it. I love to write all about it and share that passion. But it’s also nice to be able to help support my family and make all that nurturing possible. Bonnie at Hobby to Hot teaches bloggers how to take their blog from a hobby to a business. If your blogger wants to learn how to take their blog to the next level with this amazing course – that really works – at an amazing price, you won’t want to miss this Hobby to Hot Black Friday Bundle.


Check out all 12 Days of Christmas Wish Lists for more help finding the perfect gifts for the ones you love.

  1. Geeks and Gamers
  2. Bloggers
  3. Grandparents

My First Blog Conference – Lessons Learned

February 11, 2014 in Office

I am seriously considering a career change. I want to live the life of a blog conference junkie. Is that a thing? Build Your Blog Conference 2014 was so much fun! I just want to travel the world attending conferences and meeting amazing bloggers from everywhere!

I would also love a chance to relive some of my favorite moments and try to do a few things better. Because I want my next conference to be even BETTER, I made a list of some lessons I learned at my first blog conference.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#1: Dress for comfort. I’m not talking sweats or yoga pants, although if that’s what you want to wear – go for it! You can dress up or go casual, but either way make sure you are comfortable in what you’re wearing. You don’t want to be adjusting and stressing about your outfit all day. And for the love of all chocolate, wear comfortable shoes.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#2: Don’t be shy! One of the main reasons you attend a conference is to network. This is not the time to be a wall flower. Say hello, reach out, ask questions and really get to know people. The friends you make will be your blogger network and your support group. And you never know when you will make a lifelong friend.

#3: You don’t need a bajillion media kits or a thousand business cards. Definitely bring business cards and media kits, but don’t overdo it. Even if 1,000 bloggers will be attending your conference, you won’t be able to meet all of them. There’s only so much time in a day, after all.

#4: Write notes on the business cards you collect. Include reminders of how and when you met or something to help you remember the blogger later. You will leave with MANY cards, and you will want reminders to help you follow up later.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#5: Stay on the property! Even if you’re local, take advantage of any hotel discounts being offered and stay in the middle of the action. Totally worth every penny! No worries about weather, driving conditions, driving time, or trying to leave the kids again in the morning. Not to mention the convenience of walking downstairs to the workshops and extra time you get to play with your roommates and new friends! You can ask for roommates if you want to split the cost (or just have more fun). If the rooms are all full, you shouldn’t have any problem finding someone willing to take you on as a roommate.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#6: Take advantage of local discounts, offers, and any extras offered through your conference. We got to enjoy fabulous waffles for breakfast, fresh from the Waffle Love truck that parked right outside the hotel just for us. We had special shopping discounts at the local mall. A group of us were able to have a free dinner at an amazing restaurant provided by one of the sponsors. Indulge and enjoy any extras that are part of your conference.

#7: Unless you’re going to a hands-on photography workshop, don’t bother with the big fancy camera. Between the swag bag (or two), snacks, notes, business cards, media kits, and everything else, you already have enough to carry around. You know you will be attached to your phone, (aren’t we all?) so be best friends with your phone’s camera. Speaking of cameras…

#8: Take a million pictures. I know, I know. What kind of a blogger has to be told to take photos of everything? Apparently me. I was shocked to get home and discover I hardly had any pictures! That is definitely one thing I would change if I could do it over.

#9: Choose the right bag. I brought a backpack. I regretted it the ENTIRE weekend. Too bulky, too awkward, and too inconvenient. Make a better choice than I did. Next time I think a cross body messenger bag will be perfect for me.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#10: You don’t need to pack so many snacks. Seriously. This one is for me. After the dinner (it was so dark in the restaurant that I couldn’t get a good photo on my camera, but trust me, it was way more amazing than it looks), fabulous breakfast, big lunch, snacks in the swag bag, and treats offered by just about every sponsor, I didn’t even touch my snacks until the very last afternoon when I had a few almonds and a bit of chocolate. I basically added extra weight to my load for nothing. I’m sure I will still pack a few snacks next time, but I will keep it small.

#11: Set goals. What do you want to get out of the conference? Why are you here? Make some goals and then focus on them throughout the conference.

13 ways to ROCK your first blog conference from

#12: You will be overwhelmed. You will. It’s ok. In fact, it’s totally normal. You just learned a TON of stuff in just a little time! Don’t stress about it. Just choose one new thing and implement it. Then add another when you’re ready. Don’t try to do it ALL at once. Just choose something and do it.

#13: Relax and have fun! No need to stress or worry. You will have a great experience, so be sure to enjoy it while it happens because it will be over before you know it!

Have you been to a blog conference? What did you learn? What advice would you give to a first-timer?

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