A Toast To The Ones Who Make It Easier.

**This post contains an affiliate link or two, but that’s mostly from coincidence and that even without that affiliate link or two, this is what I was going to write about anyway. I think you know I only write about pretty awesome products or services.


It’s not even that a plugs post had to be written. I had been thinking about one for some time, but it grew very organically in the last month or two as I’ve been reflecting on the last two months that have passed since school and daycare began. We are thick into the school year now, with rituals and schedules and running into the school principal right before a photo shoot (calms the nerves) and spending part of Halloween with some of Des’ daycare crew. We are thick into this community, and if Halloween didn’t seal that deal spectacularly, it was already set in stone. It’s really the sword in the stone, and I’d be hard pressed to pull it out. I wouldn’t even try to disengage this blessed family from this wonderful town. We are so very here.

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I’ve noticed lately that there are people, places and things that have made my life dramatically better and easier. With anxiety, my biggest photography work surge to date, my sister’s big wedding with travel, and all of the adjustments here, there and everywhere, I have come to appreciate some old and new favorites. I have needed them all badly, and they should be noted. They should be shouted out here, there, and everywhere. And so I stand write before you, with my virtual toast:

– A toast to Des’ daycare. Childcare is a privilege for us, and not a necessity.. Mostly. I do need that time to work and he does need that time to explore the world a different way, but if we couldn’t afford it, we would make do. That said, with Des being two-years-old and totally ready to do something more than hang out with just me, day after day, it was time. The transition went better than I expected and it is a safe place for all of us. The toys kick a**, the other families are wonderful, and the two “teachers” (is that what you call them at daycare?) provide two healthy meals and a number of fun activities. When Des isn’t at daycare, he’s asking to go. When we pull up to their house, he screams with joy. Thank you, Miriam & Jill.

These next four photos were taken by Miriam or Jill.

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– A toast to iHelpers.NET (affiliate link alert!) for the best hosting for my two websites – photography business and blog. They were the only ones who could help me, one dark weekend, when both of my websites had connectivity issues and my old hosting company gave me the runaround. They were the ones to talk to me on the phone, like humans, and help me figure out what the problem was and what I needed to do. Also, did you notice how much faster my website got? It used to be so slow! Thank you, iHelpers, for the speed, the insanely good customer service, for being brilliant at what you do, and for this:

Website Hosting (Basic, unmanaged) – cheaper than my last host – Hostgator! $8.99/mo or $104 when paid annually
Move domains away from Hostgator to iHelpers $11.99 ea
Domain privacy $9.99 ea
Blog Transfer from Hostgator (or, you can do it yourself for free) $150
Troubleshooting/fixing all ‘wrong’ and broken stuff $75
Performance Package $99

Don’t ever change, iHelpers! Here’s Des cheering for YOU.


– A toast to Scarlet’s school. Although we are not wealthy, at all, we do have choices. There are private schools and charter schools and homeschooling options and choices of other public schools in this town, and surrounding towns. We are very happy with the elementary school that will be in our lives for many years to come. And I know we didn’t choose Scarlet’s teacher, but she deserves mention because she very honestly made me cry once. In a good way. And there are good ways to cry.

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– Also a toast to the other school moms and dads. From conversations about camera strobes to why women belong with other women, from whining kids and rude adults to people who annoy us, thank you for making me feel normal. Ish.

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– A toast to our hairdresser. For the last minute appointments and for the great haircuts. We salute you, Piper!

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– A toast to our favorite farm/restaurant/market/deli/butcher/orchard/ice cream/all-in-one. For the special breakfasts at the counter with whipped cream pancakes. For the egg and cheese sandwiches, apple orchards, and all-around great personalities. For the Easter Egg Hunts and fall hayrides. For the festivals and sunsets.

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– A toast to Mass Live for sending a wonderful reporter and photographer to our house, to interview us for our Doctor Who nerdiness. The article can be found online HERE. We were also in the Sunday paper! Bought a dozen copies!

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– A toast to Kerri at Undiagnosed but okay for having me guest post today HERE!

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About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


A Toast To The Ones Who Make It Easier. — 137 Comments

  1. Aww, so many great toasts and got to say for once I am speechless and not sure where to start, but will say I am so happy that you have up to this point had many great moments and experiences. And here is to many more – always πŸ˜‰

  2. I love this kind of post! Its so easy to not stop and think about the things and people in our lives that make our days a little easier. I think its so great that you are able to have some childcare for Des, so that you can get work done. When my son gets older, I’m hoping to do the same. I would like him to have a couple hours maybe once or twice a week where he can go and play and explore with other kids, and during that time I can get some work done. Its hard as a WAHM to work manytimes, because you have the little ones around that need you. Cheers to you for recognizing you need that time and providing a way to foster Des’ growth and development. πŸ™‚

    • I’m telling you, the part time daycare for a toddler is amazing. It honestly would’ve broken my heart if I’d had to do it when he was younger. I just couldn’t give up a baby easily. However, a two-year-old is really ready to explore. And I was really ready to explore my career!

  3. Okay, that stroller choo choo vehicle is amazing! They have one in the daycare nearby art school,
    Did they really take them to see a steam shovel and chickens? That is way cool! I would scream with delight too!

    • I think the steam shovel and chickens were just part of the normal Florence landscape! I’m certain they go by our diner too! Weird, right? Who could’ve predicted this in 1984.

  4. I’ve felt the need recently to stop and acknowledge those people that deserve thanks (or a toast!) in my life. They are the ones that keep up going, right? I’d like to toast you for that wonderful morning we had not long and the amazing photos you took of me. No one else could do that for me. No one!

    • Well I will toast to you for that amazing morning too! Thank you for hiring me. And thank you for feeling like I was the one for that job. It was a special job. Not hard, though! You certainly are gorgeous.

  5. This is fantastic. I think everyone should do one of these, even if you aren’t a blogger (send a note, post it on fb, tweet it) it’s a great way to show gratitude and acknowledge all the good. And there is lots of good.

  6. Thanks for the info on your webhosting . I am really wanting a new provider for any new sites I want to start ( just between me and you- Yahoo sucks!). I’m going to check them out. How cool that you were famous for a day in the paper! Love it. πŸ™‚

    • Just between us, I totally agree with about Yahoo and I broke up with them last year!
      My hosting was terrible. They would have outages and you just couldn’t reach them. They’re terrible customer service. It woukd take them about two days to get back to you want an open ticket.
      I would bet a lot of money that ihelpers will answer your questions promptly and awesomely.

  7. I’m in the market for a new host. I’m completely rebranding and looking for advice on where I should host my new site. My old one has too many outages for me. Thanks for the info! Also, so many people need toasts in my life and I’m looking forward to saluting them this holiday season!

    • Your holiday season will be awesome!
      My old hosting company had outages and terrible customer service. They were just jampacked their servers with people. They couldn’t even keep track of it. I would put everything behind iHelpers. I’ve never had a better experience.

  8. Your shed was in the newspaper! That is so cool! The picture of all those cute babies buckled in and watching the digger is priceless! I would be thankful for that kind of care too πŸ™‚ What a happy post, thanks for a nice start to my blogging week!

    • Well thank you as well!

      And the a little adventures they have in that adorable tandem stroller warm my heart. A little confession is that I sometimes want to show up early to pickup just so I can be a fly on the wall to see Des go through town. I never actually do it, but I think about it.

      And Cassidy worked so hard on painting the shed that it was nice to see it recognized.

  9. Your local daycare and school sound really awesome! I really hope I can find the best for Reiko soooon when it’s time for him to hit school. I’ve read the article about you online and that was seriously amazing! You guys are the ultimate fans! Also glad that you found a great web host and yes, your site is really way faster this time even with my slow computer here in our office. LOL

    • That’s great feedback, thanks! It must’ve been pretty slow in the past.

      And I’m sure you’ll find great schooling and care for him. We happen to live in a very education-oriented place, so I don’t think there are a lot of wrong answers. I’m not sure, though!

  10. Such a sweet post! I am so grateful for the amazing childcare Eve is in. She LOVES going there. I am so with you on it giving them a chance to do something different, to be with other children. There are a few other babies her age, plus a few older kids. She’s always so happy when I drop her off (and pick her up). And yay on great teachers in your children’s life! That is so important and amazing when it happens πŸ™‚

    • I think they told me he had an easy transition, but it’s funny to think that only two months ago, he’d even cry for a second when I dropped him off. It was really only a second, and that’s normal, but we have come so far.

  11. I am so glad that you’ve found some “ones” to make things easier! I’m also glad that I disappeared and came back and the kids were all settled in daycare and school and you were doing alright. I love it when that happens. I also second that toast to your hairdresser, because your hair looks FABULOUSLY luscious in the picture right below it!

    • Thank you so much! Although that was a cheating photo to use because my hair was professionally done that day.

      Isn’t it nice when you take a break and come back, and someone is doing better than they were? I have that happen with other blogs. You worry somebody might be falling apart and really they are just building.

  12. You guys all do have pretty awesome haircuts. I’m a bit jealous of that. To be able to write a post where you can see all the incredible blessings in your life is such a gift. It’s a good day. And that isn’t to be taken lightly, because many days just aren’t. I love the giant stroller photo — its like a carnival ride!

  13. Awww, I love your toasts! Seriously awesome.

    As a former childcare professional, to hear your admiration and respect for Des’ daycare was so touching. It’s a really tough profession to be in… and greatly underpaid. You rock for loving on them like that!

    Everyone is looking beautiful as usual.

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  14. Can I toast peanut butter? Or, wait! Put peanut butter on my toast! That’s my favorite breakfast right now! It looks like both of your kiddos are in great hands. And to answer your question (with a pet peeve), Yes, please call Des; teachers “teachers.” It may be day care or babysitting, but what they do is teaching, so they deserve the title. I always hated it when parents referred to my classroom as “daycare.” I had some of those kids reading at age 4!

    • You can definitely toast to the peanut butter on your toast.

      And I appreciate your input. I always call them teachers when I’m speaking about them. They are certainly teachers.

  15. First of all I gotta say your toasts are awesome, second congrats on being featured in the newspaper! I was thinking to myself that your shed needs official recognition!

  16. Childcare really is amazing, isn’t it? It’s so scary to take your kids to someone you don’t know, but then they get to know your kids and you get to know them and they become a wonderful part of your world. I just love this post — it’s so happy! And I’m happy you’re happy. I’ve been feeling pretty good about the way things are going in my life (even though there are still things I would change), it just feels good to have that lightness in my soul after a pretty heavy first half of 2014.

  17. Awww, loved this! It sounds like you really live in a great town/city with all of these wonderful, safe options and people in your lives. I really love posts like this, makes me think of all the things I’m grateful for, big and small.

  18. So cool that you guys were interviewed and in the paper! I LOVE all the kids in the stroller looking at the construction work. All the wonderful people in our lives do make things easier, don’t they?

    • It’s funny because I did have a new client who recognized me from the newspaper! Isn’t that kind of a scream? She was introduced to me as a huge nerd though.

  19. I love when affiliate links come organically…it’s truly the best combination. And thanks for the information, because I’m planning on jumping over to WP soon, and will need all the help I can get. I’ll be sure to come back to this link when the time comes!

  20. Aw yes sister wife. Me lovie the toasts – affiliate links and all because you weren’t a prick about them because you never are and are always awesome – and to Kerri (EEEEEEP I love when my blog buds meet and love) and to the paper and Dr. Who and YOU and Des and haircuts and your sister and ALL OF THE GOODNESS! <3

    • Kerri was one of the first bloggers I ever met. Two years ago. We sort of lost touch but I’m glad it came back. Maybe it was through you that I found her again!
      Sister wife, xoxo.

  21. I love that you acknowledged those that make your life easier.
    The newspaper coverage is awesome. It is the little things that offer a way to sink into gratitude.

    • You are so right.
      And it’s funny how you can really think about all of the people in your life that have contributed to the ease. And of course I’ve had to pay most of them, but it’s money well spent.

  22. This is such a great idea for a post. I’ve been thinking about writing about the things and people that help me out in life the most. I feel so ungrateful though – I’m so busy doing other things, it seems I never get back on track to thanking the people that matter the most. This was lovely, and you’ve inspired me to remember to thank those who are important to me and make life better for me. xoxo (and your pictures, as usual, knock my socks off.)

    • I was telling Rudri above that of course these are things I’ve had to pay for, but it is money well spent. All of them have competition that I didn’t use for a reason.

      Thank you about the photos. I think you were the only one who commented on them! You know me and loving visuals.

  23. What an awesome post! I love all of the toasts!! I am hoping you plan on going to NYC for BlogHer. I’ve never been to BlogHer, my husband has never been to NYC, and it’s about time we meet. πŸ™‚

    • I’ve never been but I feel like every three years it is on the East Coast and it would be a real waste to miss this one. Two years ago was Chicago and last one was California. So I feel like if I don’t go, I may be waiting a while again. Just to not have to pay for a flight.
      Meeting you would be so awesome!

  24. I loved that article on you guys! And I seriously love your town. It sounds so quaint, fun, and utopian. I have driven through a number of times and my step-uncle lives there. It is incredibly picturesque. Just don’t go to the Denny’s on Christmas Day (like never ever go!). I think it’s a Denny’s.

    • I don’t even know of a Denny’s in Northampton! Was it in one of the surrounding towns?
      I don’t know if you saw my status today, but we went downtown because it’s a special day and it was a stressful morning and I promised the kids that we could get cake pops at Starbucks.
      We walked out of the door of Starbucks to see a parade start at that exact second.

    • That makes sense! Not my favorite place. I try to avoid it but on our first date Cassidy and I went to a Friendly’s in Holyoke. That was before I knew a thing about Western Mass.

  25. So many wonderful things to toast! Education is so important, and it is awesome that you are in a place with so many options. And, what a fun Doctor Who feature! What did you think of the finale?

    • I actually struggled with it. And it’s weird because I never struggle with Doctor Who. It’s like I hated it. I loved it but I hated it. I can’t even think about it without wanting to cry.
      How about you? Did you have a reaction to it? Assuming you’ve seen it? I was careful not to do spoilers.

  26. So many great toasts! I would like to toast my amazing family and friends who have been helping out a LOT since I’ve been so sick with baby #2. I don’t know how I’d be getting through this without their help with meals, playing with Luke, and just generally being sympathetic. It has made all the difference in the world!

    • I’m so sorry to hear! Did that happen with your first too? And I hope it passes quickly. I love that light switch that happens when you suddenly feel fantastic.

  27. Can I add a toast?
    A toast to awesome supporters like you!!
    One more! And great mothers like you, too!!
    Cheers to the good life, and being grateful in it πŸ™‚

  28. Love this. It’s so important to stop and acknowledge and appreciate those in our lives who support us. Definitely something that I need to do more of, especially the teachers! I love that you were in the paper. That is so awesome. And a toast to you for helping to keep so many of us connected in this blogging world!

  29. What a cute photo of Des in the stroller with other kids at the construction site. What a dream come true for boys!!! Great photos of Des and Scarlet in the field of green!!! You have great hair!

    • Thank you so much although that photo was a bit of a cheat, because it was after it had been professionally styled for the wedding.

      And he loves construction sites!

  30. So great to hear of that hosting company – I was in the dark before. I’l check them out. I love these photos btw….the calm before winter hits huh?!

    • Actually, and this is embarrassing, those photos are from May. That was the dog park. It’s actually pretty mild this week, but if I took photos there today, it would probably be more colorful.

  31. Happy that you love where you live and that you’re so integrated into the community πŸ™‚ So awesome that you were in the paper there! The community here is too large, too many people.. I joined the PTA last year and that resulted in nothing lOl. I’ll join again at some point, I should anyway – Getting back into the swing of things after visiting Newport, RI – that area is gorgeous πŸ™‚ Loving it! Happy Hump Day Tamara! -Iva

    • Thank you! In the very beginning, they would send me texts all day so that I would know he was okay. It tapered off as it should have, but I love that they still keep up the photo collection to send us.

  32. Girl don’t worry about people hatin on the links! Those bad boys bought me a new sink!!
    I am in awe of both your internet community and real life one. You’re truly surrounded by so much love πŸ™‚
    PS. No spoiler alerts! I’m on season 3!!!

  33. This was nice to read…it’s good to be thankful for those that make our life easier. I’m saying a toast to all my friends who have driven my kids to practices and games when I couldn’t be in 3 places at once. I don’t know what I would have done without them!

    • That is big! When you have three such active kids. I only have two and they don’t really do activities yet. I get so winded from two school drop offs. I can’t wait until that changes in three years.

  34. I MAY have to look into iHelpers because HostGator has been causing me a few too many issues lately and they don’t really help me anymore to figure out a solution – They used to be great but…. They screwed me a little bit these past 3 days, however, my blog is back to being OKAY but I feel like I cannot install any fancy plugins without them getting their panties in a bunch!

  35. A very beautiful post, Tamara. It is so important to see and value the things we have, every day. They are part of our life, but because they are seen as ‘normal’, so often they take a back seat. When they shouldn’t. Shout it out! Praise, where there is praise due.
    p.s. I already had a look at iHelpers after you previous post, but… I am too lazy to switch right now…

    • I was too lazy to switch too for a long time, until HostGator screwed me up for the fourth time. I’m still bitter!
      I really love seeing value in the daily things. They have become my normal, but I find them to be extraordinary.

  36. So many great things to be thankful for. Yay for iHelpers! I see people talking about switching in the comments haha…coming from Hostgator. I don’t blame them. I did see you briefly on Facebook that you were in the paper. So awesome, Tamara. I love the one stop place that you all have in your town. I’d love to go there one day. πŸ™‚

    • It’s actually the closest restaurant to us. It happens to be my favorite, but even if it weren’t only a mile or two away, I would still go there.
      And I keep seeing more and more hostgator complaints!

  37. I LOVE this idea for a post, Tamara! Is it okay if I borrow it, pretty please?!:-) And agree, having good people in our lives, from teachers to hair dressers, really does make everything smoother than the alternative…(bad hair stylists?! now there’s something that can really break your day!!!)

    • Yes, absolutely borrow it! I can’t wait to read it.
      I have moved so much that I swear I had used the same dentist and hair dresser in New Jersey, years longer than I should have. Like, when I still lived in California and I would just schedule appointments on my trips home.

  38. Piper does a great job! I love your curls. That stroller at daycare is the shit!!! It looks like a portable roller coaster, which is exactly how I would use it (or abuse it). The newspaper article is so rad and I loved what the writer wrote. I also liked what you wrote on your guest blog <3

  39. Love this idea of Web Toasts!! I may have to do one of my own at some point.
    That’s so cool that you were in the paper for your awesome Tardis shed. My husband loves that shed. Our garage door is already painted blue and I could see the wheels turning in his head……. after Christmas honey – then go crazy.
    I was so blessed to have not one, but two wonderful daycare ladies in my life before I made the decision to stay home. My son still talks about them years later.

  40. 1. I’m going to warm my hands on the warmth here.

    2. I got to spend some time at the girls’ school in the past few days. To see their teachers, past and present, was a great reminder of how fortunate we’ve been to have them in their lives.

    3. I predict that if there’s another dearth of Dr. Who episodes, those same people are going to treat your shed as a shrine. Which is pretty cool.

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