Recap of the year in blogging and goals for 2015

This past year has been amazing in my personal life and with blogging. I have the privilege of being a mom of 4, learning with my kids each day and growing in my relationship with them daily. I started this blog documenting my love for my household, daily life and fashion. However, because I have read mostly fashion blogs and magazines before actually blogging on this little space my blog has become a fashion and lifestyle niche, with the occasional parenting or DIY posts.
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Here is a recap of some of my favorite things about blogging so far:
-meeting new bloggers
-discovering new blogs & link ups
-co-hosting link ups and blog hops
-starting my very own link up on Tuesdays “Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me”
-entering GIVEAWAYS, hosting and or co-hosting giveaways
– joining some Blogging community facebook or blog groups
-finding out what my style is as far as outfits and realizing how it evolves.
– collaborating with brands and other bloggers to create “different” and “fun” posts.

As a blogger I have also realized that there are some places I am dissatisfied with while blogging that I think I will list and apply to better work on for you to view, sort of goals for this blog in 2015. Here they are:
-work on content
-provide better quality pictures/poses
– stay true to self and be more authentic not just “here is my favorite outfit” but incorporate more of daily life, feelings, etc.
– be more involved with blogging community groups and give more input.
– grow my blogging views weekly to 1,000 or more as they are now under 800 per week.
– continue to grow my instagram following to 20 new people a week.
-continue to grow my bloglovin following to 5 new followers a week.
– try to get 1,000 followers on instagram-will do a giveaway when this happens.
-try to get 500 followers on bloglovin by the end of 2015
– contribute to more giveaways

-collaborate with other bloggers and brands
– become more organized and set an editorial calendar for future posts.
-learn new camera (saving for, almost have my amount to buy).
-learn how to better reach out to bloggers and brands
-share more of my faith, my belief and love in Christ.

Now that you have viewed a few of my blogging goals, here are a few of my personal life goals:
– continue to implement reward sticker charts and marble jars for doing tasks or for potty training.
– start making sure my 3 toddlers brush their teeth twice a day.
-have a more set routine for the toddlers at home (consistency is so hard for me sometimes)
– clean the playroom and organize it
-pray daily not just at night, but at all times
-start an etsy shop for some of my surprise projects
– trust in God for the future, with my hubbies schooling, job, when or if I will teach full-time again, possibility of some income blogging.
– become better organized
-manage money better as the savings account seems to dwindle lately, watch spending.
-be more available and involved with church functions and my Kindergarteners school functions.

Thank you for sticking with me through these goals. Join me tomorrow as I give you a recap of my favorite posts as that post will be my last one until February (taking January off from blogging to meet some of the above personal life goals).

What are some things you would like to see more on my blog? How can I improve this blog? Is there anything you have liked about this blog? You can comment below or e-mail me at Rachel(dot)garay@me(dot)com to let me know. Thank you!

The $100 Starbucks giftcard loop giveaway on my instagram is almost over, (ends 12/31 at 12am) enter on instagram here. Goodluck and thanks for entering/following.

Rachel xo

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Bust to Must (Outfit recap of 2014)

As we near a new year I thought I would recap some of  this past years outfits worn on the blog and give you my opinion on what I liked the most and which ones were busts. Naturally, I also like to see how my style has evolved, along with poses and background.

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I am going to break down this post starting with the bust photos and then the must photos, with some inserts of my own opinion.

BUST:

bust1picsCertain patterns just don’t go together, or look good. The last outfit pictured is too plain.
Bust2picsTrying to mix accessories can be tricky when sometimes they just don’t go together well or with the outfit.
Bust3picsNot as great as I thought ….
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What was I thinking?

MUST:
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I have recently tried wearing more red in lieu of the holidays and can’t get enough, not only is it a strong color, but it is elegant and a new favorite of mine to wear. I feel confident in red.

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I always feel freer or lively in the color blue. To this day blue is my favorite color to wear. I can’t get enough of the looks above. Plus, I can’t get enough of my Michael Kors purses (my favorites).
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Sometimes pastels bring out the color in my skin, especially pinks and grays. I wanted to include my bold eShakti dress in (even though it is filled with neon) as it brings out the pink tones in my skin as well. Pink is one of my favorite colors too.
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A little dress to add some glamour and sexy is sometimes nice.
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Finally, everyday looks. These outfits are what I am comfortable in almost 95% of the time- a good pair or jeans (or leggings) and flats/flip flops (depending on the season) and a comfortable bulky or nice fitting tee.

My overall opinion or observation: I have noticed that in my “bust” photos I tended to wear older clothing (either out of style or just plain) and tried to hard to accessorize them, not giving a care to the out dated or mis-matched accessories used. In my “must photos” I add in a trendier outfit or accessory or favorite color to give off elegance, confidence, etc. I also want to point out that the clearer the background or the more natural my poses (like laughing or smirking) the better or more real and confident I am.

What else do you notice?

Do you have any busts in outfits from this past year? What makes them busts? What do you feel most comfortable in?
*A few bloggers and myself are having a $100 Starbucks instagram loop giveaway that you won’t want to miss, it ends on 12/31 at 12am CST. Just go here on my instagram to enter- must follow the rules to be eligible to win. Goodluck!

Linking up today with:
Whitney with Personal Style Monday.

God Life Happy Wife

InDuffinitely Me

pleated poppy


Shopping My Closet

still being molly

Andrea of Friday Favorites at momfessionals.com

Stylin' In St. Louis



The Fashion Canvas
Bless Her Heart Y'all

The Fashionista Momma
Style Honestly
PinkSole

Linkup Button

Rhea for #styletoinspire
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Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders (+ GIVEAWAY)

It is hard to believe the holiday Christmas is over with, however our celebration of Christ is not. How was your Christmas? I will be honest I had a lot of great moments with family, and I got a lot of needed things though, so that is nice. Visit my instagram here to see some of my favorite holiday moments.

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Today’s outfit is just my favorite so far. I recently got this poncho from White Plum boutique with a gift card and did not pay shipping- so I got this baby for free. SCORE! (exact poncho for purchase here). I just LOVE the sweater feel of it, and the fact that it has sweater sleeves is an extra bonus so a long sleeve shirt to wear underneath is not required like most ponchos.

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The leggings were a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law from Kohls and although they are nice they kept riding down, so I kept having to pull the leggings back up- very annoying!

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I have seriously worn this poncho twice now, and I can’t wait to find other ways to style it in the near future.

Outfit details: Poncho (White Plum (exact here)//Necklace: Redeemed Jewelry (exact here)//Leggings: Kohls ($16.00, gift)//Boots: Belk ($90, got for $20)//Earrings: thrifted gift.
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The necklace you see on me contains some of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs called Oceans by the worship band Hillsong. (If you haven’t heard this amazing song I have found the lyrics here for you to read).The necklace was part of a giveaway with Carrie and Sherri and the shop that makes the necklace is called Redeemed Jewelry. (shop exact one here). This shop sells cute necklaces with messages of hope, worship song lyrics, scripture and images. I am obsessed with how lovely it is, and it came with an arrow and anchor charm. I just love jewelry that involves a story behind it or a biblical truth such as this pendant here. When I wear this necklace (worn 3 times now) and feel discouraged I just look at it and am reminded to just trust God, with my feelings, day, situations and future.

What about you, do you have a favorite article of clothing or accessory that just speaks to you or reminds you of some dear things in life? Leave me a comment and let me know, I would love to hear about yours.

*Also today starting at 7amCST and thru 12/31 12am CST a few bloggers and myself are having a $100 Starbucks instagram loop giveaway that you won’t want to miss. Just go here on my instagram to enter- must follow the rules to be eligible to win. Goodluck!

Linking up today with:
Whitney with Personal Style Monday.

God Life Happy Wife

InDuffinitely Me

pleated poppy


Shopping My Closet

still being molly

Andrea of Friday Favorites at momfessionals.com

Stylin' In St. Louis



The Fashion Canvas
Bless Her Heart Y'all

The Fashionista Momma
Style Honestly
PinkSole

Linkup Button

Rhea for #styletoinspire
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Featured 5 Ladies from Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me link up and Christmas photos

I can’t get over the fact that tomorrow is Christmas eve! My little family will gather in the morning around the Christmas tree and open gifts to one another and then spend Christmas day with our family members for some good food, games, presents and time remembering what Christmas is really about- Christ’s birth.
The celebration of His life is so overwhelming. I am thankful for Christ coming to this earth and changing lives not only through physical healings and renewals but for cleansing our sin and renewing our lives through His ultimate sacrifice, his death and resurrection.
I know that there is so much joy in this holiday season as we celebrate His birth, but I also know there is sadness and perhaps lonliness. There are people in the world and probably reading this who have lost some loved ones whom they shared this glorious holiday with, going through financial or family problems or only God knows. But God is right there, He is the Almighty and can do all things, heal the broken hearted, lonely, hurt and outcast. If you just believe that He can then He is waiting with open arms for you to come to him with your anger, frustration, and even praise.
I could go on and on about Christmas and the reasons to celebrate but I will leave you with some family Christmas photos taken recently from our photographer Cary Elizabeth and the final five featured ladies that linked up to Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me last Tuesday.

Family Photos from the Garay’s! Merry Christmas!

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These are just the cutest photos! The kids were so difficult, but some good ones came from the trouble of rounding up kids. What do you think?
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The best group shot we could get!

Now for the Featured 5 bloggers from last weeks link up:

Fashion:
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Dawn of @fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com linked up an adorable Aztec printed cardigan that I couldn’t help but share with you guys as I loved it. I also slightly envied her time spent at the mall and by a firepit in these photos- both sound amazingly nice right now. You can check out the original post here.

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Heather of @thriftstories.me posted two very exquisite and lovely outfits that you will need to be sure to check out here. This chica even got her outfits through thrift stores too.
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Jill of @dousedinpink.blogspot.com added in a post on her new cute poncho along with a childhood story on her first recollections of a poncho. You can read that story and view her nice casual outfit here.
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Tina of @tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com reviewed an eShakti dress perfect for her husbands holiday party. The color and make of the dress just stood out to me, most of all Tina looks so lovely in it. You can read about the review here.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Maria of @notsofancyjustlife.blogspot.com posted a recipe that is one of my favorites to make. It’s easy, cheap and delicious. I have seen many bloggers do this same recipe alongside Maria, but I just had to share it as we do this recipe all the time at our house. You can view the recipe here.

As a reminder last weeks link up was the last of 2014. It has been a joy to host this link up and meet some new bloggers. I hope you will enjoy todays featured. I look forward to the link up to continue in February as January will be a month long break from blogging for me. Enjoy!

 

Nothing on Clark Kent and Velma

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I normally have a hard time coming up with the first few sentences and introduction to my blog (fact!). Sometimes the title is the challenging part, but today all I can think about is Clark Kent and Velma. You must be asking yourself why? and maybe its because these two icons are not only awesome, smart and dorky but wear glasses, and I just adore them as icons.
Nothing on Clark Kent and Velma, but today, you are getting your first glimpse of me in glasses here on the blog. Fact, I am near sighted but cannot, I repeat CANNOT see ANYTHING but blurred visions far away, so I normally wear prescription glasses. A few months ago I made a visit to my eye doctor and purchased not only some contacts (which I normally wear) but some glasses, and I actually like them and learned a bit about how face and eye shape can either make or break the way glasses will look on you, so at that appointment I was careful to select squared shaped ones, with the help of the sales attendant. I came away with some nice ones.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a Global Online optical store called Firmoo.com to select a pair of glasses to review. Taking my knowledge from my appointment a few months back I carefully selected the ones that you see pictured on me.
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I choose this pair here because I wanted something dark with some brown tones to go with my hair color, and I liked how the shape was similar to my previous bought glasses. On the Firmoo.com site there were options to select and enter prescription numbers and PD (pupil distance) numbers for a more accurate lenses clarity. I was lucky to get the prescription numbers from my doctors office but could not get the PD from them so instead I had to have my hubby take a mm ruler and measure this. To measure the PD my hubby had me look straight ahead, and taking the mm ruler to the bridge of my nose he measured the pupil (black dot part of the eye) of my left eye to the right pupil. He must have taken 5 to 6 measurements to be sure it was accurate for me to record on the website before ordering my glasses. Once measurements and prescription was in on the site my glasses were ordered and check this- sent to me within less than a week.
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I was highly satisfied with my glasses when they came in. These glasses came in faster than my doctors office glasses (which needed to be specifically ordered and shipped to my doctors office, and took almost 2 weeks) so that says a lot about how I feel about Firmoo’s quick shipment. The glasses prescription is perfect and aligned with what I needed. Not only that but they are cute, different in style from my other pair and just wonderful in power.

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I choose to style my glasses with a oversize sweater, and distressed flared jeans for a look of comfort.
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The sweater is actually my hubbies, and let me tell you it was all I needed on a cold day like the other day as it was warm enough against the cold winter air to make me feel like I was curled up near the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee. Not only was it so warm (no coat needed) but I felt great in it. My hubby actually thought I looked sexy in his shirt, which is a GREAT thing too.

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I had the pleasure of wearing this outfit and glasses out to see the movie “The Hobbit” in theaters with my hubby, and walk around his college campus where these pictures were taken.
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Besides our date and the glasses there were many more goodies that came in with my glasses, such as a glasses case, drawstring bag for the case, glassed repair kit with screws and cleaning cloth. I didn’t receive this luxury with my glasses from the eye doctors.

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While I might have a hard time coming up with a great catchy blog introduction, I might add that I can end with saying that I am highly satisfied with the service and my glasses from Firmoo.com, my hubbies sweater and our date. Nothing on Clark Kent and Velma here.

Do you wear glasses? What shaped glasses do you wear or would like to try? Avaitar? Round? Firmoo.com has a selection and shapes for everyone.

Outfit Details: Glasses (c/o Firmoo.com)//Sweater: hubbies from Old Navy// Pants: gift from a friend//Boots:Kensie Wear (gift)//Necklace: old, gift.

*This post is a sponsored post/collaboration post. I was given a free pair of prescription glasses in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Linking up today with:
Whitney with Personal Style Monday.

God Life Happy Wife

InDuffinitely Me

pleated poppy


Shopping My Closet

still being molly

Andrea of Friday Favorites at momfessionals.com

Stylin' In St. Louis



The Fashion Canvas
Bless Her Heart Y'all

The Fashionista Momma
Style Honestly
PinkSole

Linkup Button

Rhea for #styletoinspire
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Fleurty Bands

For a few days now I have had a household of sick toddlers, my boys even had left ear infections and respiratory infections. You can imagine the lack of sleep and the trying to hold everyone as all they wanted was to be held, and held to sleep. Luckily, they seem to be better as of today. Thank you to some of you who knew and for your thoughts and prayers.
With sick babies and the cold front this winter there is little motivation to go anywhere but to the grocery store or to get gas. I have been a homebody for the past week, going out some for appointments and will be headed to Nevaehs gingerbread house party this afternoon with her kindergarten class. When I have gone out though I have donned a comfortable outfit and shoes, hair pulled back and minimal accessories. With the exception of this cute purple chevron head band that is from Jasmine the creator of the etsy shop Fleurty Bands.
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I haven’t worn a head band since last spring or early summer and even then I had store bought ones that seemed to slide off often. With Fleurty Bands though they do not slide off, they are made to stay put. The band is held by a hidden elastic, and the shop has so many different designed bands and for different purposes as well, such as for sports/dance, holidays and just for fun. The fleurty band I am wearing today actually came to me via a giveaway that I entered that several people could win all at once and I was one of the lucky along with 4 or 5 other folks. I love how it not only stays put, but looks stylish at the same time, turning a boring up do or down do to something more.

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My sister Annalise (who graciously did these photos) is a big fashion guru and sports player and she loved it as well, and didn’t mind styling it with her matching purple sweater, vest combo. She thought it was so cute and this is coming from a fashionista that wears headbands ALL THE FREAKIN TIME, with being into sports and all.
Jasmine of Fleurty Bands is graciously offering 10% off her items to my readers when you use the discount code GARAYTREASURES10 and this discount will be good until 12/31/2014. Many of her bands sell for $7 up, and if you are not into head bands she also sells equally as cute and designed hair ties for $4.50. Below are some of the cutest pieces from her shop that I think you might like and all for $7-perfect for Christmas gifts to others or to yourself.
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Rudolph & Friends             Here Kitty Kitty                The Shipyard

For a night of shopping I have also worn this lovely band this way:
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That’s right with hair down (on a rainy day I might add) and cardigan sweater and leggings. I just love the tiny chevron detail. What about you?

Do you wear head bands? When do you most wear head bands?

*Fleurty Bands provided me with this band via a giveaway and a MAJOR discount code for more items in the store in exchange for this review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Are you a running or know someone running an etsy shop or small business and want more promotion? I would love to collaborate, you can e-mail me for inquiry or check out my sponsor page here.

Outfit details: Headband- Fleurty Bands//Black Jacket: Liz Claiborne Active Wear (gift)// Black Pants:via gift//Tennis Shoes: via Target last winter.

Have you linked up to “Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me” link up? If not you can do so in the widget below.

Garay Treasures
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Rachel xo

Linking up with:
Whitney with Personal Style Monday.

God Life Happy Wife

InDuffinitely Me

pleated poppy


Shopping My Closet

still being molly

Andrea of Friday Favorites at momfessionals.com

Stylin' In St. Louis



The Fashion Canvas
Bless Her Heart Y'all

The Fashionista Momma
Style Honestly
PinkSole

Linkup Button

Rhea for #styletoinspire
linkupbutton

Ada

Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me #15 Link

Hello and welcome to the 15th link up for Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me. I want to thank the numerous new and come back bloggers who linked up last week, there were so many awesome and inspiring posts that it was hard to choose my favorite 5 to feature today. I hope you will enjoy those featured today and meet some other lovely ladies linked up. I wanted to also report that this will be the last link up of 2014. You can still link up and come back next Tuesday to see my featured 5 ladies but I just won’t have a link up widget up next Tuesday. I want you to be able to enjoy the Holidays and New Years coming. As I mentioned in this post here I will be taking a break for most of the month of January but will resume blogging again in either late or early February. I can’t wait to read what you link up today!

Here are my favorites from last weeks link up-

DIY/Fashion:

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Heather of @thriftstories.me linked up a very intriguing post on how she thrifted her sweatshirt and then created the gems design on it. Her idea was to spend less money creating something trendy than spending butt loads of money on something similar sold in the stores. Hop on over to this post here to see how she did. Doesn’t her look just remind you of the 90’s grunge? Hello Claudia, Noami, etc.
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Jill of @dousedinpink.blogspot.com linked up an adorable DIY holiday décor project under the cost of $5. She created these adorable mason jar holiday scenes décor that I think you will enjoy trying for yourself, I know I will. You can check out what she did and materials here.

Fashion:

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Hannah of @sweeterthanserenity.blogspot.com linked up a beautiful holiday dress that I think is just stunning for those already here or coming holiday events, plus who doesn’t want to party unless in some glam and sparkle. You can view the entire outfit post here.

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Leanne of @classyyettrendy.com linked up a fun Aztec printed cardigan and boots combo that I just loved. I have been looking into getting ankle booties in this same color so of course her look inspired me with just one of the many ways to style my future tan or camel colored booties. I also like how she added a dresser look to her outfit with the lovely statement necklace.  You can view her post here.

Leggs
Ashley of @fabellis.com linked up a nice review of her new L’egg pantyhose and I reminisced to my younger days where these were THE PANTYHOSE in my families household so I believe in them. I don’t wear pantyhose much anymore (I am a leggings girl what can I say) but I just though Ashley looked lovely as she made a summery look go fall/pre-winter with just the touch of ankle booties and long sleeved shirt. You can view her review and post here.

**Before you start linking up I want to acknowledge Ariana W, as the winner of my 1 year blogiversary, 500 plus instagram follower giveaway last Tuesday. She won a $10 Starbucks giftcard, bracelets and homemade apple butter.  Thank you to all who entered. I will be participating in a loop giveaway on Instagram a few days after Christmas and a few more after my blogging break.

Now the rules and link up:
1). Please link up recent posts and include the link up button or post this URL link back on your blog. The posts can be about fashion, DIY projects, recipes, inspiration, tips, etc. *If you link up other link ups or giveaways please be sure you share this link up on your link up post to share the blog love and I will be sure to link up to yours. Also please follow me in the below social medias and let me know how you are following and I will follow back. Thank you!

2). Please follow your host Rachel of Garay Treasures either by Bloglovin, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter or all.
Comment below and let me know how you are following so I can follow back.

3). Stop by and check out the other bloggers who have linked up and be inspired.

4).Depending on how many link up I will feature 5 bloggers and their posts for my next “Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me” link-up or series.

5). Have fun! Comment below if you have any questions! Thanks for linking up!

Garay Treasures
<div align="center"><a href="https://garaytreasures.wordpress.com" title="Garay Treasures" target="_blank"><img src="https://garaytreasures.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/bloggerswhohaveinspiredme.jpg" alt="Garay Treasures" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Rachel xo