15 Free Stock Photos: The Bloom Collection

Last month I released 15 totally free stock photos and you guys seemed to love it. So, I'm back at it with... flowers. What blogger or Instagrammer can't use a few more flower pictures. It's Spring after all. 

15 Free Stock Photos: The Bloom Collection

I've compiled 15 photos of some gorgeous flowers: pink, white, purple, and more. 

I love pictures of flowers — so versatile to use and saves you time when you need to upload a picture. These are all high-resolution photos taken with my DSLR camera. Feel free to crop them however you like! 

Hint, my favorite tool for editing photos is Canva, and here are a few others, too. I show you how to use that here.  

A sneak peek of the photos you'll get:
free stock photos preview
 You can use the photos however you like — on your blog, Instagram, or wherever. 

Flowers put a smile on your face. They are great to lay over with text or brighten up your Instagram photos. Can't wait to see how you can style them? Click here to get your free photos!

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I Don't Want Kids, Am I Bad?

I grew up Catholic. I attended a Catholic grade school and went to church every Friday for all-school mass and Sundays with my parents. I remember, before I went to sleep, I'd close my eyes and pray for everyone I loved. I'd try to picture every aunt, uncle, 2nd cousin, friend, and teacher, asking God to protect them. 

Then I entered an all girl's Catholic high school. We were taught to serve others, do our best, and try to make a real difference in the world. We were taught not to have sex before marriage and to follow natural family planning (aka no birth control).

When my husband Michael and I met at the tender age of 17, we held similar views on what it meant to be a good person. We'd both been taught that the path involves having a good job, getting married, having kids, and serving your community. 

But somewhere along the way, through our decade of dating, we both came to the same conclusion: maybe having kids isn't for us. 

Saying this aloud always makes me feel as if I'm a bad person. Surely there's something wrong with me for not choosing the path I should be on. We must be selfish or shallow to not want kids. There must be something wrong with us.

Michael's family is also Catholic, but with more rigid rules and strict guidelines about right and wrong. My parents were very open and honest with me and let me see the error of my own ways. Which worked fine for me. I was always a self punisher and felt immediately bad when I did something I knew I shouldn't. They were (and are) laid-back Catholics. They may not go to church every Sunday and they don't necessarily believe everything in the Bible, especially about birth control. 

But again, despite growing up in very different Catholic households, Michael and I managed to reach the same notion: we just don't want kids.

Michael and I differ in lots of ways. Politically and socially, we have different views. But when it comes to lifestyle, we agree. We want to travel, we want to have lots of money in savings, we want multiple dogs, we want to be comfortable, and we don't want kids. We love kids, but they don't fit in with our plans.

When people ask us why we don't have kids I feel a tinge of indignation. It's honestly none of your business. I could very well have issues trying to conceive or have personal reasons why I don't want kids. When it comes to having kids or not, there's a lot of disagreement about how people should talk to one another.

But the fact is I don't. And because of this my Catholic guilt creeps in and I wonder where I went wrong. I read articles about how having a child changes your perspective on everything, how you've never really loved as deeply until you have a child. But to me, having a kid means thwarting my mission to take over the world. Just kidding. But I know that having kids throws a wrench in the system. It's no longer about your needs and wants. It's about theirs, as it should be.

I don't want a tiny human form inhabiting my body for nine months and costing me financial freedom. I really really like working. And I don't want to stop. At age 29 I still have a baby cold

Let me be clear, I have no problem with others wanting kids. More power to you. You have one of the toughest jobs out there and I appreciate and respect that you are raising our future.

My parents weren't sure about having kids. Mom had me when she was 33 and my twin sisters at age 39. So I know my mind could eventually change. But for now, this is how I feel and I don't see this wavering. I also know that if I do, I'll have to answer to all my friends and family, who'll laugh, "We told you so!"

Maybe it's Catholic guilt or societal norms that tell me I'm supposed to want kids. All my friends seem headed down the kids path. So I feel alone in this. And feeling alone can make you question your choices.

I think we have to live the way we see fit, with as little judgement of others as possible — within reason. You want to live together before marriage? Do it. You want to have kids and never get married? Great. You want to be single and just travel the world? Go for it.

What do you think? Is it okay to choose not have kids?

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Things You Absolutely Need (That You Didn't Know You Needed)

Sometimes you see something and you just need it. You didn't know before that you need it, but now that it's there, it all makes sense. Like this gold pineapple candle. Basically, I saw it and had to have it. The full story was on Snapchat (helenesula). Also, these bracelets just make me want to party.

Y'all. I've found some of the coolest gadgets around. Instead of holding them for myself I've decided to be my very generous self and share them all with you.

You can thank me later. Or in the comments.

P.S. If you don't pass this knowledge on to at least 3 friends you will have bad luck for the next 18 years. Or... Maybe that's what my chain mail told me.

Okay, that was an intro to my first fav thing ever: Unroll.me. It's an app for your iPhone that lets you unsubscribe from any emails you find obnoxious. I don't know about you, but I have about 300 ridiculous emails I receive a day.

Next up, are the Thriyve Wireless Headphones. Why didn't I have these ages ago? You charge them and then place your phone (or any other device) and it syncs up instantly. Now I can listen to Audible (aka Harry Potter binge) whenever I like. Particularly during workouts. Those things that go over your arm and the you have your headphones through your shirt? They suck. It never seemed to work on me, these just slip on your ears (these have a special ear thing-a-ma-jig that makes  it really easy to put in and stay put) and then you can listen to "Panda" on repeat and dance around the room without your phone jiggling out of your hand (or sports bra.) Currently, they're on sale!

I like knowing that I live in a world with this shirt. Also, these sunglasses are $269. Which is really really out of my price range. But I love them. I never knew I liked designer sunglasses until I had them. Luckily you can get them (and other designer sunglasses) for $24 a month at Ditto. Code "HELENEINBETWEEN" for a free month. Seriously, this is the coolest idea ever.

Camera here. 

Same goes for this one. Can we go ahead and say it's jorts season?
Can we pause over chokers? I love them. We went to a baseball game last night and I wore a white flowery one. Michael was looking at me funny. I looked at him and said "WHAT?"
He answered, "So, you're wearing chokers now."
"Um, yeah."
"What are you, in 7th grade."
"Maybe I am."

Lastly, I'm obsessed with my fitbit. But it's kinda ugly. There's some new tech gear that's pretty and functional.

Sometimes when I get obsessed with something I go a little overboard. Case in point, the photo above of pineapple ring, pineapple socks, and pineapple mug. So, I just ordered this bag and headband. WHOOPS. I needed it.

So, that's all I got. What have you found recently that you absolutely need that you didn't know you needed?
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14 Days to A Better Blog - FREE eBook

Crack open a Diet Coke and get excited for this one. I locked my office door and told my husband to go away while I worked on this. I wanted to create a road-map for bloggers to create a better blog. Plain and simple.
14 Days to A Better Blog - FREE eBook

So, I sat down and wrote a 32 page eBook with super actionable, fun advice on improving your blog right now. There are tasks to do everyday for the next 14 days that I guarantee will grow your blog. Oh, did I mention... this is totally free. Oh, no? It is. 

You guys, this is the real deal holy field. And because I am the type to stick ahead, you don't have to wait to get all 14 days. It's a full e-book, so if you want to do more than one task because you're a go-getter, you can. I'm really pumped about this, and hope you are too!

We all want to create a better blog, and this eBook is designed to help you create a blog you'll be more excited to post on, you'll start a community, your blog will look great, and you'll see BIG improvements. In just 14 days.

Every single day is full of actionable tips and strategies. NO FLUFF HERE. Along the way you'll get tips, examples, and tasks to help improve your blog, right now. 

Take on the challenge at your own pace. 
If you have a few hours, you can complete many of the tasks. If you have just 15 minutes you'll be able to tackle this step by step. It's up to you. 

Who is 14 Days to A Better Blog for?
- Bloggers that want to refresh their blogs
- New bloggers that want some direction
- Bloggers that want to grow their community
- You want to gain more page views
- You're struggling with blogger's block 

If you want to improve your blog, this is for you. Taking small, actionable steps to succeed online will dramatically help you with your blog.

Download your copy, and start your journey to a better blog. Grab the FREE, 32 page eBook right here. 

I'm so excited about this jam packed work book. Most people would charge this. I'm offering it for free! HURRY, I'm not sure how long I'll offer this for free. I have plans to charge for this eBook, so grab it while you can.

Dramatically improve your blog in 14 days. Click here to download, now!

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