Aileen Barker

Creative Entrepreneur & Mother with a Love of a Simple & Natural Lifestyle

Small Biz Saturday 2015

HolidaysAileen BarkerComment

I did a quick shout out to small businesses who wanted to be included in this little Small Business Saturday feature here on the blog and here they are below! This post is in no way sponsored, I just enjoy helping small businesses so please take some time to check out the shops below and consider them for your holiday gifting needs.

The Party Girl

At The Party Girl we're all about celebrating the every day, and The Party Girl Shop is making sure you can party like the pros. Cue the confetti and get ready to party, because we've got everything you need to make even your ordinary moments extra special. From greeting cards to cupcake toppers to everything in between, you can throw a Pinterest-perfect party with a little one stop shopping. And for those who aren't about the details, the Shop is also home to the Party box, a completely curated themed party in a box. Just customize, unpack, and order! We're making celebrating easy - so everybody can be a Party Girl. 

Stephanie's Photography

I sell high quality photo prints for people to hang on the wall. I'm specialising in photos that play with light and golden hour.


Sweet Scraps Shop

Receiving a card in the mail is a nice event, made even nicer by these handmade cards. Birthday cards, blank greeting cards, Hello cards and holiday cards are available in our shop.


CMYfabriK Box

The focus of the Box is to introduce you to new fabric you can't find anywhere else. We're tired of seeing the same ol' same ol' fabric, we bet you're tired of it too. We want to help you feel confident in your crafting skills, by giving you the tools you need to successfully complete your craft projects. Let's avoid unfinished projects and "craft overwhelm", it's a real thing!


Chloe + Isabel

Chloe + Isabel is a fashion destination for creative and confident women. We are more than jewelry; we are a lifestyle brand.

Thank you to everyone who participated this year! I hope those of you visiting found a little something for a loved one (or yourself). 

Atlas | 8 Months

Baby, Family, Motherhood, LifeAileen BarkerComment

Dear Atlas,

Please SLOW DOWN. I'm begging! I'm so happy to see you growing and changing. You're learning new things everyday and becoming more and more playful and active. But, as I think I ask in every monthly update, please chill out a little bit. I feel like even when I do my best to savor each moment, I can't get enough and you're going and changing on me again.

Right now you absolutely love jumping in your jumparoo and you are just barely starting to seem a bit clingy with your dad and I. In fact, this evening you kept whining, and even crying, when he would leave the room! The "airplane arms" you would always do when we held you are slowly relaxing as you learn to hold onto us for support and balance. When you were itty bitty you used to want to cuddle with us, but the last few months have been the opposite so I'll take the millisecond long neck hugs any day!

I'm laughing to myself looking at your list of nicknames. None of them have anything to do with your real name and they just keep evolving as time goes by. One day we'll start using your name, but for now I don't think you care either way. 

You seem to be sprouting some hair on that bald little head of yours and your eyes keep changing colors so I'm not really sure what you'll end up with. It doesn't matter though because you are and will always be ridiculously adorable.

While you have rolled from your belly to your back a handful of times we still don't have any rolling going on around here which is fine by me. I have been giving you little tastes of food and you seem to really like apples! I can't wait to see you try more food whenever you're ready, but for now I'm fine feeding you and rocking you because I know tomorrow I'll wake up and you'll be walking and talking.

Your smile is the highlight of my day everyday, little dude. We love you lots!



FRIDAY FREEBIE: "I Am Thankful for You" Thanksgiving Note Printable

FreebiesAileen BarkerComment
FREE PRINTABLE "I Am Thankful for You" Thanksgiving Gratitude Notes

In preparation for Thanksgiving next week, I thought I'd put together a fun little printable that might inspire all of us to tell people thanks. This printable is a regular 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper with three notes that you can write a little message on and sign (or sneak into someones desk anonymously) to show your appreciation for the people in your life. Your parents, your kids, your teacher, you coworkers, you name it!

I'd love to hear in the comments who you plan on giving them to. Let's spread a little gratitude this holiday season! 

5 Ways to Make Your Existing Content Work For You

BloggingAileen Barker4 Comments
5 Ways to Make Your Existing Blog Content Work For You - Don't Let Your Best Work Get Lost In Your Archives!

It’s been a little quiet around here lately as I’ve been working behind the scenes to make this blog everything I want it to be. Here’s the thing, I’ve been blogging for years. The last year or two I’ve been really focusing on great, helpful content and for some reason my traffic just hasn’t caught up to where I’d assume it would be. So rather than spending time on new content I’ve been working on making my existing content work for me. Here are some of the steps I’m currently taking.

Amp Up Social Media Sharing (& Consistency!)

To be honest, I’ve been kind of half-assing social media since… forever. I pop in here and there, schedule some posts here and there, and am just generally super flaky because I “don’t have time” to deal with it. But what’s the point of spending lots of time and energy creating great posts when I’m not even sharing them with the people who are following me? Duh. So I’ve been working on my social media strategy which I’ll talk about in more depth in a future post.

Pinterest Optimization

My biggest source of traffic for a long time now has been Pinterest. You know the drill. The best images for getting noticed and repined on Pinterest are vertical images, etc. So I’ve been trying to go through my archives and really make my images for my Pinterest worthy posts more attractive.

Some of my tips for good pinterest graphics:

  • Vertical images (1102 x 735 pixels is ideal) give you more real estate on the website
  • Clear images - it should be obvious what the image is with just a one second glance
  • White space - I’m not sure how true this is, but for me the images with a good amount of whitespace and aren’t too congested stand out to me
  • Close Ups - If your image is of a DIY or food then close ups are easier to see (especially on a phone) and catch more attention


P.S. If you need help with this, I can design pinterest optimized graphics for you!

Removing “Bad” Posts

When I first started blogging I had no real vision of what I wanted to do with it. This was back in 2009 so I was 21 and just kind of used my blog as a journal. Because of that there are a lot of posts that are kind of pointless. While I still consider this a lifestyle blog, with an emphasis on creative entrepreneurship, there are plenty of rambling posts with broken images that can easily be deleted without any despair. Any lifestyle type posts about my home or son, for example, are more carefully curated and thought out than they were before and it’s much easier to read and, hopefully, more interesting too.

Link Everywhere (Within Your Website)

You want to make sure that the people reading your posts move along to any other posts that might interest them. So if you have 3 posts on Evernote (my fave!) then make sure to link within each of them so your reader knows that content exists and doesn’t head back to google for more information.

You should have links...

  • on your sidebar
  • within the text of your post
  • related links at the end of your posts


Most of us have posts that are years old, but are still bring us a large portion of our traffic. Find a way to repurpose it with a new twist on the subject. Or you can break the post down into specifics and elaborate on the details in a couple different posts. One of my most popular posts was How to Sell on Instagram. I had no idea it would be so popular, but once I saw it was I did a Part 2 answering some questions from the comments of the original post. Shortly after that I even created a How to Sell on Instagram Ecourse that has made me several hundred dollars and continues to make me a few bucks here and there years later. 


Make sure that if you have a lot of good content you’re not just letting it disappear into the archives! You work hard to create value for your readers, make sure they can find it. I’m sure there are other ways that you can make your existing content work for you that I haven’t thought of yet. I’d love to hear any ideas you might have for existing content. 

Mama & Baby Favorites | 4 Months

Baby, MotherhoodAileen BarkerComment
mama and baby favorites

It’s time to share our mama and baby favorites for Atlas’ 4th month and I hope this helps other moms figure out what they might need for their own babes. A lot of the favorites I’ve talked about in the past such as the Merlin Magic Suit and the Aden and Anis Blankets continue to be our favorites, but we also have a few new ones I’m excited to share! 

Zip Up Fleece Sleepers

Atlas basically lives in these sleepers these days. It’s less about it being a thing we’re obsessed with at 4 months and more an “It’s cold!” thing. He has so many clothes, but most of the day and night he’s cozy and warm in one of these. My favorite are the fleece kind with the zippers instead of snaps. Trying to get a dozen snaps to line up at 2am in the dark after a diaper change might be the most frustrating thing ever.

Coconut Oil 

I’m a big fan of coconut oil and have been using it for Atlas since he came home. I get mine at Vitacost because their prices are pretty good. We use it as his lotion instead of a baby lotion. I usually just slather him in it after his showers which he gets just a couple times a week. He also has had some cradle cap for the last few weeks and it’s been going away using coconut oil. What I’ve been doing is putting a generous amount on the dry part of his scalp, waiting a few minutes and then gently rubbing it with a soft baby brush. After just two or three times most of it is gone!

Mr. Bug

We love Mr. bug! He’s Atlas’ carseat friend. We give him Mr. Bug every time he’s in the car seat and he plays with him until he falls asleep. I think he’s just the perfect size for Atlas to grab and has lots of fun colors for him to look at.

Jeep Stroller

The one we got was secondhand, but it’s very similar to the one I pictured and linked to. Now that Atlas is a little older he really wants to sit up and see what’s going on, instead of being stuck in a lie-down position in his carseat while we push him around. So we recently started putting him in his Jeep stroller and he absolutely loves being able to watch the wold go by. He’s not sitting on his own quite yet, but with the harness buckled he’s plenty secure and happy. It’s also a lot easier to maneuver than the snap n go stroller we used for the first few months. 

Lasinoh Momma Bottles

After trying out around 5 different types of bottles we got rid of most and these are our favorites! Since Atlas has mostly been breastfed up until this point the nipple shape is great for him to latch onto and there aren’t half a dozen pieces to clean like a few others we tried. 

Avent Bottles

These were the very first bottles we tried just because they’re such a popular brand. At first we didn’t like them, but now that Atlas is able to hold his own bottle a lot of the time they are great because they are easy for him to grip onto. Even though his adjusted age is over 4 months, we use the newborn nipples to keep the flow slow so he doesn’t choke and to kind of pace him. 

Ingenuity Seat 2-in-1 Booster Seat

Though we have just started using this seat, I can tell we’re going to continue to love it for months to come. It has a slide out tray that stores underneath and it’s a great way for him to sit down (similar to a bumbo seat) without assistance. We have it on our dining table so when we’re having meals he can sit in it and play while at the table with us. As he gets older the colored insert comes out and it becomes a booster seat that you can strap to a chair. These are the kind of baby contraptions I like, the kind that grow with your child and aren’t so short lived.

Doorway Jumper

The actual jumper we have was a hand me down from family and has been discontinued, but is pretty much the same as the one I pictured and linked to. It has a little tray that you can put some toys on and easily attached to the doorway. Atlas has been loving standing up lately so he’s been spending a few minutes each day hanging out in this. He hasn’t really started jumping yet, but he does enjoy standing and kicking around.

Crib Mobile

Although we’ve had this mobile for several months now, it’s only really the last few weeks or so that we’ve been using it consistently. Previously when we’d turn it he would seem to get excited. But now that he’s learning to fall asleep on his own the mobile is a great part of his fall asleep routine. 


Those are our mama and baby (mostly baby) favorites for month four!