Posts in “Lifestyle”

Tips for blogging

Monday, November 20, 2017

tips for blogging hello island mama pink blush flatlay pinterest

tips for blogging hello island mama pink blush

Today, I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned from blogging, that can help those interested in launching a new blog. My blog originally started as my makeup portfolio, before I was a stay-at-home with three kids. I find blogging to be one of my favorite hobbies. It helps me unwind and do something else while my kids are on their nap. Here are some of my favorite notes to share for those planning to blog, or who are new to it.

Know Your Topic

I started to blog about makeup and also photography because that is something I love to do. But as the years past and I became a mom, I also shared about motherhood, DIYs, etc. I think you will know what your favorite topic will be, based on what you love to do and what you are excited about sharing to your readers.

Know Your Readers Wants

It’s also good to know what your readers want to see on your blog. I tried surveys before, and even used Instagram stories to ask my friends and followers, what they wanted to see most on my blog. This is a good way to help you to determine what topic you should post about more often.

Use Side Bars

Aside from your profile photo and bio, try to use this area to promote your other posts, like your most popular ones. Be sure to put an email subscription form, so readers will be notified if you have new posts or giveaways. Adding a search engine helps too. It makes it easy for your reader to search for something on your blog, or to link your social media platforms like Instagram. All these tools help your readers connect with you.

Image Quality

Opt for quality vs quantity. I always like to take photos at home with natural light. I’m so in love with the lighting in our new place here in Galveston Island. It helps me take pictures easily and saves time, as I don’t have to sit down editing photos on my computer as much… If different lighting is something I need, I like to use my studio lights to help brighten the area where I’m shooting. For example, when I took pictures of our old guest bathroom, I needed more light, so I used studio lights. I also use editing software like Photoshop to edit my images as needed. Larger image sizes instead of thumbnail sizes are way better for viewing on blogs. I like to make my images around 600 pixels in width.

Naming Your Blog

It is always good to use a blog name that your readers will remember. If it’s too long and the hard to pronounce, chances are it will be forgotten…  I decided to use “Hello Island Mama” since I came from the islands of  the Philippines, and I’m a mother now. Try to connect your blog name to your personality or something from your life. Something catchy will be great!

Balance Your Posts

I like to balance my posts with images and words. I try not to show tons of images unless it supports the story, is a makeup tutorial, or has step-by-step info for DIYs. Arrangement of the images to flow with your post will look nice on the blog too. For example, you could do a portrait shot, then a whole body shot like I did for this post. I think it shows good movement or sequence when your viewers read your post.

tips for blogging hello island mama pink blush 3

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Lipstick from Beautycounter

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I hope these tips and advice help you if you’re starting a blog! Have fun and feel free to share your blog tips or new blog in the comments below! I love checking out new blogs!

Dress sponsored by Pink Blush. Floppy hat from Target.


My Easy Fried Rice Recipe

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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Before I came to America, I had been eating rice every single day; for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, when Brent and I got married, I compromised with the food we eat for our meals. It’s not that he doesn’t like rice (he loves it together with other Asian foods!), but of course, I want to serve meals that he likes from his culture as well. When I do prepare rice, I sometimes want to make it more special, instead of just plain, white Jasmine rice. Today, I want to share how I make my own fried rice. You can find the ingredients easily in the grocery store, or you may already have them in your fridge. The good thing about this recipe is that you can add as much veggies as you like. We also like to eat this alone and sometimes add chicken to it. My toddlers love it!


3 Tablespoons​ of cooking oil

2 beaten eggs

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 medium sized onion (chopped)

½ cup of water

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon

¾ cup of carrots (chopped)

4-5 cups of cooked rice (2-3 days old is better than newly cooked. See instructions below)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of broccoli (optional; you can also use cauliflower)

¼ cup of chopped green onions (optional)

¼ cup of green peas


Other ingredient ideas that I like to use are:

Cooked chicken







  1. Using a wok (we got ours in an Asian market, similar to this one here), heat 2 tablespoons of oil in medium heat. Pour beaten eggs to cook. You can move the wok to move the eggs around and widen its size. When it’s starting to become solid, flip it over and cook the other side. Start to break the egg apart into medium sized pieces using a cooking turner (similar to this). Remove from heat and set aside.
  1. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the wok and start to cook the minced garlic and chopped onions, until onions are translucent.
  1. Pour water and add chicken bouillon. Once it’s starting to boil, add chopped carrots for 2-3 minutes.
  1. Add cooked rice. I love to use leftover rice (2-3 days old that I refrigerate). It is perfect for asian fried rice like this, since new cooked rice tends to get soggy and mushy. It’s common that rice can stick onto the wok. Just make sure you mix the rice often while making this. After you fry the rice, you may add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add garlic powder if you’d like.  
  1. Start adding other veggies like broccoli, green peas, and green onions. Stir the veggies with rice. Let it cook for 5 minutes and stir occasionally underneath so the rice won’t stick to the wok.
  1. Next, add the beaten eggs back with the rice and stir with all the cooked ingredients. Serve it hot!


Let me know in the comment box below if you try it! Enjoy!


Simple Self-Care Ideas For Busy Moms

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishInNoTime #SnackWithPurpose #CollectiveBias


I’m finally waking up to the fact that I will have another baby in the next few months in addition to my 2 active toddler boys. I’ve been starting to think and ask myself, do I have even have time to change my pajamas, get a good amount of sleep, or even to finish my food? I think probably not in the first few weeks or even months. My stay-at-home mom lifestyle is getting busier and busier as my kids grow and as my baby bump grows as well. But I noticed that whenever I take even a small amount of time for myself during the busy day, my stress and most especially my grumpiness are reduced 😉 I feel happier, more positive,  and even more confident. Do I need to feel guilty if I take some time to myself just for a short moment? I honestly can say no. For me, I take care of myself not only for my own benefit, but also for my kids and most especially for my marriage – because my kids and husband see a happy mom and wife. Today, I wanted to share some simple self-care ideas for busy moms which are easy, but which can make a strong difference mentally and physically.


Make To-Do List

Making a to-do list is my favorite thing to do even before I got married and had kids. As a busy mom, this helps me to see what the tasks are for the day. It’s a good feeling to be prepared and organized, especially when your days with the kids are hectic – and it saves time too!


Stay Connected

Even though it’s been 6 years now that I’m living in America since coming from Philippines, I love to get connected with my friends abroad. It’s a good thing that communication is convenient now because of internet and social media. I love how I am able to chat with my friends and update them on my personal life, and most specially to speak my native language. I have also found some wonderful friends here in Houston who I love to connect with by going for a ladies night out, a playdate with our kids, or even planning an outing to the thrift store with other moms.



Easy and Healthy Food

Breakfast is a big deal for me now that I have children to take care of for the whole day. Now that my days are getting busier and busier since I’m pregnant, I’m trying to make an easy yet healthy breakfast that fits my busy life. I found these on-the-go smoothies from Odwalla when I stopped by Randalls. They’re perfect for breakfast and offer great  nutrition for my body, with the added benefit of having no sugar added! They also offer wide variety of 100% juices and smoothies, protein, and almond milk shakes.


Do Some Hobby

I feel thankful that my kids are napping well in the afternoon. This is the time I like to paint, create fun DIYs, browse magazines or art books, and even blog, which I love to do now as a stay-at-home mom. I find it peaceful and relaxing when I engage in the hobbies I used to do before becoming a mother. These activities balance my busy life of motherhood.



Listening To Music

Whether at home, driving, or strolling with the kids, music can make you feel good and change your mood. I like to listen to Christian songs or other feel-good music like reggae while I’m doing some work or a hobby, because it relaxes my mind as well as my body. Any feel good music you like to listen to?




By the way, You can save $1 on your next purchase of in-store fresh cut fruit when you buy any TWO (2) Odwalla 15.2 fl. oz. (You’ll receive a print out coupon at the register.). Offer ends 6/27/17. simple-self-care-ideas-busy-moms-odwalla-instore


Any other simple self-care practices you like to do for yourself?

Don’t forget to check Odwalla’s Facebook page to know more about their healthy and on-the-go products.



Easy Steps To Feel Confident

Monday, April 24, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyRadiantLook #CollectiveBias

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As Spring has begun, I’ve been enjoying the sunny weather every day. I’ve been loving spending time with my kids, whether it’s indoor or outdoor.  But being a stay-at-home mom, I also love taking a few minutes in the bathroom for myself to freshen up, do something to make me feel good, and get ready for a busy  day with my kids. For today’s post, I’m excited to team up with Colgate® and their new Colgate® Optic White® RADIANT™ Toothpaste as part of my everyday routine to bring out confidence at the start of each day. I always believe that the best accessory is a smile that can create a great impact not only for ourselves but also for others – including our kids. It can lead to positive thinking and can cheer up an otherwise dull day. Here are some easy steps you can try to get some confidence!


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Before I start putting makeup on, I always make sure that I have clean teeth for a great smile on my face. I recently discovered Colgate® Optic White® RADIANT™ Toothpaste, a new product in Kroger which helps to boost my confidence every day. The best part is that it is safe to use to whiten inside and out. I love to smile (and most especially to laugh) with my kids, especially when taking selfies with them 😉 I think confidence starts from a great smile with white teeth!



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Simple makeup can make big difference throughout the day, whether you want to focus on brows, covering your dark circles or trying a new lip color. Makeup surely brings out some confidence. As a mom with small kids, I like to do a simple application  focusing on areas I like to enhance for me to feel awake and confident. After I wash my face and moisturize, I like to use eyebrow pencil, liquid concealer to cover dark circles,  mascara, a highlighter, blush, and swipe on some lip color. I like coral tone this Spring!  



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Creating a simple hairstyle is also a perfect way to add a cheerful look for Springtime, whether it’s a bun, braid or if you just want to have your hair up. I either do a side braid or half braid if I want my hair to look “pretty” and to match my look for a day.


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I love to wear lighter-colored outfits during Springtime. I think choosing a happy color and good style will make you feel great this season. It makes me smile  and feel inspired when I see fellow mothers who take time for themselves to dress up, even if it’s  just a simple style. Any mothers here who feel the same?



It’s hard for me to accessorize jewelry during Winter since I’m covered with a heavy jacket and too many layers (I don’t miss that season..)  But it’s Spring now and I’m happy to finally get to use my jewelry to match my Spring outfits! I like to keep it simple and wear either a necklace or earrings just to add a bit of style to my outfit.
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Don’t forget to check Colgate®’s page to learn about this new product to achieve radiant white teeth.

Any other beauty/ style routine or steps that you like to share to feel beautiful for Spring?


Cute Organizer Planner 2017

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


This coming weekend, we’re going to be welcoming the year 2017! Do you like to have a cute organizer planner for 2017? Do you like organizing your day and life with planners? I sure do! Traditional planners are effective for me to have throughout the year as I use them for: scheduling, planning, writing inspiring verses, making to-do lists, and to write out thoughts (like about motherhood). My husband has installed a planner and to-do list apps on my phone many times, but I could never get into using them. I’m still more on the traditional side where I prefer to write and turn pages. 😉 Over the past few days, I have been searching for a good planner to use for next year. I wanted thought to share some of the ones that caught my eye.

  1. Hidden Greenery Planner
  2. Kate Spade Pink Diary
  3. Floral Life Planner (sold out, but you may try their other planner)
  4. 2017 Crosshatch Planner
  5. Anthropologie Chambray 2017 Planner
  6. Floral WaterColor Planner With Scripture
  7. Anthropologie Bonheur 2017 Planner


Which one caught your eye? I think I like #7, simple and classy :-)


Simple Bathroom Makeover + Makeup Organizing

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I finally had the time to organize our bathroom last week, since we moved back to Houston and got our own apartment. If you follow me on Snapchat and on Instagram, you might have seen how I used window curtains for exterior shower curtains. I love how it turned out! It looks great and adds beauty to the bathroom. Another nice touch was adding some plants to make the bathroom feel relaxing and calm. I also love these wooden containers from my mom, made in my hometown in the Philippines. These kinds of containers will be on my shopping list the next time I go back there. They are so beautiful and well-made!


I love this round, wood container which I use for cotton balls bathroom-makeover-makeup-organizing-5


A wooden coaster for my rings, so I don’t misplace them.


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My husband loves how this curtain turned out too. It will also help during the cold season, keeping the cool air from getting into the shower. One issue that I encountered was finding longer shower curtains for the inside. Most stores only offered standard sizes, which were too short for our shower. However, I was able to come up with my own solution. I hand-sewed a piece of another shower curtain onto the existing one. This extended the length to help keep water from splashing outside. Our shower has two rods for holding shower curtains: one for the outside, and one for the inside. I moved the inside rod holding the clear shower curtain higher up, so that it wouldn’t be visible.  This helped make it look more aesthetically pleasing on the outside. You can see the changes in the before and after pics below.


Here are similar items you might like to check out for your bathroom. :-)

Window Curtain

Shower Curtain Rod

Soft Bathroom Rug

Fern Plants In Burlap Planters

3- Opening Rope Collage Frame

Oval Wood Tray With Copper Handle

Palm Tifton Canister

Cactus Mercury Glass Jar With Rope Trim

Wood Placemat

Wood Coaster

Any tips on how you organize your bathroom simply and make it beautiful?


An Emergency Diaper Kit For The Car

Monday, September 12, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SuperAbsorbent #CollectiveBias


As the mother of a toddler and an infant, I’ve learned to be ready with what I need to bring for my kids in our diaper bag. This includes items to pack for feeding, diapering, and extra clothing. But of course, there are days that I feel sleep deprived and forgetful; on other days, there are unexpected outdoor activities or restaurant visits.  No matter how well I’ve prepared, I sometimes forget to bring things like extra diapers. Today, I’m excited to team up with Huggies and Costco  to show you a step-by-step on how I packed an emergency diaper kit for my car. This is a life-saver and is super helpful for parents like me! Here’s how I created mine – it only takes 2 steps!

emergency-diaper-kit-for-the-car-6 1. Use a container that has a few inserts to help with organizing. This is an affordable bathroom shower container I used to organize the stuff I need for the car. It has a handle that is easy to carry if I need to move it around.


2. Pack what your child needs. As a mom of a toddler and infant, here are the things I put in my emergency diaper kit for my car:


  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Ready-to-go Bag
  • Extra Bag
  • Extra Clothes
  • Bib
  • Snacks (these get eaten very quickly!)
  • Toy and a book
  • Plastic Bags
  • Diaper Cream
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Moisturizer
  • Teething Toy

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Parent tip: Have a ready-to-go diaper bag in the emergency diaper kit which can be easily taken with you when needed. Fill it with only the basic things you need: a diaper, wipes inside a small ziplock, and a grocery bag for dirty diapers or clothes. You can also use a large ziplock as the bag to carry everything in.



My eldest son, who is two years old, knows how to use the potty now, so I pack extra briefs and bottoms. However, we still have him wear diapers during bedtime and long drives since he can fall asleep in his carseat. So having extra diapers inside the car is a must! Our youngest son, who just turned one year old, is wearing a size 5 diaper! I know, what a big boy! He has been much more active since he started to crawl, walk, and climb. I love how Huggies Little Movers Plus diapers (Size 5) absorb so well, protecting my son from any leaking. I used to use  a different diaper brand in size 6 for him for bedtime since he often leaks at night. However, since using Little Movers Plus diapers in size 5, I have not had to wake up and change his diaper due to leaking. The Huggies Little Movers Plus diaper also has comfortable grip straps, a perfect fit for on-the-go movers like him. These Plus diapers are only available at Costco.



Make sure to check out these discounts with free shipping below.

Little Snugglers Plus (Sizes 1 & 2) – regularly $37.49, $31.49 after $6 discount and free shipping. (Offer valid 9/1 to 9/25)

Little Movers Plus (Size 3, 4, 5, & 6) – regularly $42.99, $36.99 after $6 discount and free shipping (Offer valid 9/1 to 9/25)

Also, Little Snugglers Plus diapers are now available in size Newborn starting at $29.99. You may purchase them in select warehouses and online at




Are there any items you always forget to pack for your child that you need inside your car?



Living Room Ideas to Inspire You

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Living room ideas for your home. Get inspiration on how to decorate your own space.


Interior decorating is something I would love to learn more about, especially choosing the right color palette for furnitures and accessories. I always like the feeling of entering a living room that is inviting, clean-looking, and functional. Brent and I just moved into our apartment here in Houston, so I’ve been looking for inspiration on how to decorate it. We’re looking for the right kind of furniture and style to use for our space, while being kid-friendly. We are planning to furnish our space little by little, to accommodate our time and budget. However, this compilation of ideas is helping us think, plan and get creative with the type of atmosphere we want for our home. Here are some living room design ideas I’ve been inspired by, to browse. Enjoy!


Photo Source

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Add with Boho Pillows


Teepee Tent for the kids! Photo Source


Black and White Modern Style + Plants


Live like in Villa


I think Brent would love that door!


Beach life feel. I think this is one of my favorites even it’s not actually a living room (but a master bedroom).


Country Style


Another beach life feel

What kind of style or vibe would you like for your living room? Minimalist, tropical, country, shabby chic? Comment and let me know. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts and ideas.!


Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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