Tuesday, March 25

ABCs of Spring

I'm beyond stoked, as I'm sure you are too, that Spring is upon us! I really hope that Old Man Winter doesn't want to make one last appearance anytime soon either. From what I hear, there's a chance of snow this week. Noooo!! I'm already hooked on the sunny days, blooming flowers, and brighter clothes to wear to turn back now. Is there some sort of Indian rain dance we can do for sunshine??

So for today, I'm going to do something a little fun. There's no rhyme or reason... it's just 'cause.
A is for Activities. I plan on doing lots of things outside this spring. Staying active is the key.

B is for Bikes. I'm really excited to ride the trails in our city. 10.2 miles, here we come!

C is for Cleaning. I don't love the cleaning aspect but I love the decluttering and organization.

D is for Daffodils. We don't have many of these around, but I love seeing blooming flowers.

E is for Energy. Something about the sun and longer days gives me the umph to do more!

F is for Friends. Warmer weather brings more friends out to hang with. Come chill with us.

G is for The Gatherings concert. If you don't know about this, look it up. They plan lots of "space" music, which we love. We'll see you there.

H is for Hair. I'm pumped for the thought of how long it will be in the coming months. Grow!

I is for Ixthus. I plan on doing more studying of the Bible in these next few months. It's interesting learning things I didn't know anything about as a kid. Keep your minds curious and you'll never stop learning.

J is for Job. I start a new job next week so this season is a season of change. Yay!

K is for Katy Perry. She's coming back to Nashville in a few months and it'll be a blast.

L is for Learning. I'd love to make the time to learn more about Gimp, sewing, makeup application, etc.

M is for May. It's my birthday month (the 7th) and I'm ready to plan another Cinco de Mego party!

N is for Nails. Time to break out all of the pastel, neon, and white nail polishes. Gahh, I'm such a girl.

O is for Outdoors. My non-green thumb has lots of landscaping ideas for the house.

P is for Parrrrties. Bring on the multi-colored patio lights, bud light, and slip-n-slides!!

Q is for Quote. I'm itching for some ink and I'm think about getting another quote. But maybe not. We'll see.

R is for Railway. We might be up for a trip with Amtrak. Trains always fascinate me.

S is for Swimwear. I've got tons of swimsuits but it's always fun to buy new ones with the pretty floral prints.

T is for Travel. We've got another overseas trip planned this season. Can I just be a professional traveler?

U is for Uno. I LOVE playing cards during the warmer months. I don't know what it is about it, just do.

V is for Visits. I really want to get away from my normal routine and start visiting more people.

W is for Water. It will soon be time to get out on the lake and/or beach and relax away all of the stress.

X is for eXcitement. I'll be like 2 minutes from my favorite Japanese place with this new job. Yum yum.

Y is for YOLO. Boy, I wish this restaurant was still open in Nashville. I need to find a replacement. And soon!

Z is for Zion. I'm looking forward to lots and lots of nephew time.


What things are you looking forward to most about Spring??

Monday, March 24

Kendra's Fashion Challenge: Epcot Style


I don't know if Mickey's on the brain or if everyone is itching to get away from one of our worst winters and actually enjoy some sunshine, but I have seen many people vacationing to Disney this year.  I mean, what's not to love? You've got choices of going on safari, visiting space, and even experiencing the cultures of different countries.

While visiting this magical place can be stress-free and exhilarating, bringing along the whole family can be the complete opposite especially when you're the person planning and packing. I was contacted by Kendra Thornton to participate in "Kendra's Fashion Challenge" to put together one day and one evening outfit as if I were the one visiting Epcot, one of Disney's four theme parks. At first, I was a little hesitant because it can be hard to envision things when you're not the person going. But to be able to play stylist for the day?! Challenge accepted!!

Kendra is known well for her travel tips and deals and she shares it all to millions of us viewers across several TV stations and networks. She has made regular appearances on ABC, NBC, and CW in cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles. She reached out to me because she wanted to find some ideas on how to fuse together home life with three kids and a vacation to this tropical paradise.

With all of this in mind, I thought the best way to pick a day and night outfit was to find pieces that were versatile. It will free up some space in the suitcase as well as free up time for the next destination in the park so that you're not stuck changing every single thing you had on during the day. And I think I've got some ideas on how to do this.
Kendra told me that one of the attractions they'd be visiting within the park was the Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium. With it being an indoor attraction, I began planning an outfit that would suit AC temps but would still allow it to be removed once they walked outside.

One of the AWESOME things about this, one of the world's largest aquariums, is that aside from watching the fishies swim in their tanks, you can actually go SCUBA diving with all of the sea creatures! But like most of us, you probably aren't SCUBA certified.... Not to worry, though, because in The Seas with Nemo & Friends section of the aquarium, you can ride a shuttle underwater to one of their sea bases to explore it all. What kiddo wouldn't love that?!?

First things first. Rather than giving Kendra some sort of themed look, I wanted to find some pieces that were simple yet still chic. One of the must-have items of Spring is a floral kimono. It will give her a little warmth while inside the aquarium but as soon as she moves to the next attraction, it can be removed and stuffed in a bag. Kimonos are light-weight so it won't weigh her down. Sweet!

And with the kimono, she can pair a tank, some comfy boyfriend shorts, and some leopard print sneakers. Floral and leopard print? Yep. They look so good together! Something else that she might not think to pack is a watch. With the kids being so close to water, checking the time on the phone might not be the best idea. And plenty of other accessories can be added at her discretion.

And, of course, all of these items can be tweaked to Kendra's liking.

After an exhausting day, I'm sure Kendra is ready to relax in the warm beach air. That's right! You can find a beach within driving range of Epcot. I wanted to find an evening look that would work whether she was visiting the sandy shores or whether she stayed to view one of the park's live shows. While I'm sure Kendra would like a date night with the hubs, she might not be able to bring someone along to babysit. So we've got to be a little practical. I've still got something up my sleeve, though.

I had thought about pairing something with white jeans because they are very chic, but they can still be heavy and hot. That kimono I was talking about earlier, find one that works both open and closed. Wear a tank that doubles as a dress and you won't have to do anything with your evening outfit except for taking off the shorts. If Kendra is comfortable with her body, keeping the kimono open with the tank as a body-con dress works as well! If not, bring a scarf and tie it at the waist closing the kimono. Adding some peep-toe booties, something with a platform, even if it's tiny, will keep them comfy.

If they decide on going the beach route, switch the shoes for some sandals and wear the bathing suit underneath, tied closed or not. There's nothing more romantic than a picnic dinner on the beach, sipping on cocktails, while the kids are playing in the water.

To top it all off, the right shade of lipstick will pull any outfit together. If red is too bold, a gorgeous coral should do the trick. I'm not too shy to try any bright color, so I picked out something she should try and I beg her to message me and tell me how much the hubs loved it, loved the whole thing for that matter!

To read more about Kendra and her PR company, visit this site and keep reading!

And a handy little site that I learned through her, Gogobot, is a tool you can use to find different attractions based on listed information and reviews. How cool is that?! I've got my own trip plan at the end of May and I'm excited to see if this will help us.

I'm linking up with Monday Morning Gossip, Mix it Monday, Manic Monday, and Funday Monday.

Friday, March 21

Five on Friday

Happy Friday, peeps! As I sit here writing this, I've got one more week left of work. YEP! I've got a new job with another orthopaedic doc coding for that practice so all I've been doing is training this week. While it's sad to say goodbye to all the people I've met at my current job, I'll be moving on to meet other wonderful people and I'm excited! Change is good, real good.

Things haven't been too exciting lately but here's a look back at my favorite things from the week.

one | cheetahs, rawr--These sneaks were on sale at Target a few weeks ago so I just had to snag them. They are cute and casual and will go with EVERYTHING.

two | 7 years ago--Jerry and I met 7 years ago on 03-13-14. I know that was last week, but I didn't write a Friday recap post last week, so whatevs. (If you want to read more about this story, read this.)

three | adventurous--I don't really know how this started, but we decided to let the cats out of the house recently on one of the warm days and they loved it. And their favorite thing? Rolling around on the concrete.

four | handy dandy--I know you've probably seen organizers like this one or this one, but I randomly passed an aisle in Lowe's and saw these tiny pipes for like 30 cents or something. All you need is a few of the Command Strip velcro pieces and you're good to go! No more clutter on the counter!

five | sweet banana bites--I'm still dying over these things! Such a yummy snack and you should definitely try them yourself :-)

I hope everyone is having a splendid Friday and has lots of Spring-type weather planned for the weekend. Although, we've got more 40 degree weather coming up next week, I'm going to soak in the rays while I can and I hope you do the same!

I'm linking up with H54F, Five on Friday, Friday Favorites, That Friday Blog Hop, and Fresh Face Friday.

Wednesday, March 19

RECIPE | Sweet Banana Bites


One of my friends used to make this amazing treat and I just HAD to share it. I completely forgot about it until I saw something similar on Pinterest. So I just had to make it over the rainy weekend. It's another one of those snacks that's not the most healthy of treats, but it's way better than eating candy or cake. Mmm, cake.

It's super simple to make and you can adjust it how you like! If you want to add some nuts with your bananas, go for it. If you want to trade the cinnamon for brown sugar, be my guest :-)

INGREDIENTS

2-3 bananas
A drizzle of honey
A sprinkle of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the bananas and lay them flat on a baking sheet close together. Drizzle the honey lightly across each slice until they all have at least a little on top. Then sprinkle the cinnamon in the same fashion. Pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes. I couldn't remember how long to cook them myself. I started with 5 minutes but they didn't look "done" so I cooked them for another 5 minutes and they were perfection!

And you're finished!! I dare someone to tell me that this snack isn't DA BOMB! I like to munch on these to replace a craving for something worse like ice cream. Speaking of cold treats, these would be so good cold/frozen. Just an idea.

I'm linking up with That Hump Day Blog Hop, Random Wednesday, and Your Whims Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 18

March '14 Birchbox


It's sad to tell you this, but this post is for my very last Birchbox. I know I said I'd give it a year to decide whether I was convinced to keep it, but in the end, the boxes were still just "eh" like they were from the beginning. So I just went ahead and cancelled it. I still have access to their online store if I ever do want to purchase an item from them.

This month's box is all about "Spring Forward". They wanted us to focus more on our daily routines with the extra hour we got earlier in the month. They also wanted to show us how to get more out of the products we already use with different tricks.

Sounds handy, right?!

COOLA
Tinted matte SPF 30 for Face | Full-size, $36
  WHAT  Organic tinted moisturizer with lasting sun protection that evens tone and masks flaws.
  HOW     Smooth a thin layer onto clean skin.
I think I first sampled this brand in one of my very first Birchboxes.  I love that it's an organic product, but it's TINY and I'm not about to pay almost $40 for a full-size of it. I do like that this is a tinted matte SPF, but still. No thank you.

DDF
Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew | Full-size, $42
  WHAT  Derm-developed oil-free formula that leaves skin soft with a luminous finish.
  HOW     Apply a thin layer of this fast-absorbing hydrator evenly over skin.
Ever since I've seen those Vaseline commercials about the spray-and-go lotions, I've been thinking about trying them. And I actually really really love this stuff. It goes on like a lotion, but it's lighter, almost like a mix between lotion and germ-x.  You know how an anti-bacterial dries pretty quickly? It's like that. Pretty cool.

English Laundry
No. 7 for Her | Full-size, $90
  WHAT  This fruity scent mingles feminine floral notes with a vanilla-almond base.
  HOW     Spritz onto pulse points. You might just be tempted to flounce around in a pretty frock.
The spray thing on this sample doesn't work but I could still smell its' scent. It's extremely similar to the Artelier perfume I got in a box several months ago. And because of that, I'll stick with the other because this one is WAY too expensive. I already feel like I'm getting robbed paying $70 for perfume. But $90? Nope. Not gonna happen.

Gilchrist & Soames
London Collection Body Lotion | Full-size, $16
  WHAT  This fast-absorbing hydrator leaves skin silky-smooth with a light, earthy scent.
  HOW     Massage generously into skin, focusing on trouble zones like flaky elbows and knees.
First off, the scent is VERY earthy, almost just like grass. I will argue that it's not as fast-absorbing like it claims to be, but it's still a good lotion. I'm just not sure I want to smell like this stuff. Just a personal preference, I guess.

Ojon
damage reverse Restorative Hair Treatment + Restorative Hair Treatment Plus | Full-size, $33 each
  WHAT  Two generations of a cult classic hair-restorer, which hydrate and add megawatt shine.
  HOW     Warm between palms before applying generously to hair. Leave 20 minutes, rinse, and shampoo.
I felt this stuff through the packaging and it feels like clay or something. I guess that's why they tell us to warm it between your palms before applying it. The oil in this treatment is supposedly only found in rainforests of Central America so that's pretty cool. I'm not exactly sure the difference between the two. The only thing I can think is that one claims to have antioxidants and the other doesn't.

.....A TREAT FROM GHIRARDELLI.....
Take a timeout to embrace Ghirardelli's Cherry Tango Square. After you try the unique blend of deep dark chocolate, tangy cherry, and satisfying almond crunch, we dare you not to do a little happy dance.
I'm not much of a cherry and chocolate kind of girl but I tried it anyway to see if my tastebuds have changed. Nope, they haven't. I gave the rest to J and he devoured it.


In the end, the products in Birchbox just weren't something I'd buy in the real world. Yeah, it was totally fun to see the surprises in the box every month, but I'd rather get more practical things. I tried adjusting my profile online but it didn't help much.

These were solely my opinions so I hope I didn't sway you in the wrong direction. If you've been interested in any of the products that I've posted about over the months, then you should give them a shot! Visit their site and follow the instructions on how to sign up.

Monday, March 17

Look what I got!! Oh wait, that's a LOT of orange.

I went to our local flea market (between two cold snaps) a few weeks ago and it was HEAVENLY. I don't know about you, but I could spend some serious money there. They've got food, makeup, furniture, jewelry, pet items, clothes, and other home items. You can even find some good lube and baby dolls; whatever tickles your fancy.

I told myself that buying from the flea market was okay because it was cheaper and I wouldn't be spending much even if I did have a basketful of makeup items in my hand. And if you're wondering, yes, I'm still sticking with my spending budget. As of this shopping trip, I still had some to spend. BUT, by today, it's all gone. I'll have to wait until May when I get more for my birthday.

These are the things that came home with me that day. And as you can tell, there's quite a bit of orange things. Why, you might ask? 

As you may or may not know, orange is one of spring's hottest colors. I discovered a beautiful orange shade of lipstick by Rimmel back in the Fall and have been in love ever since. I know you might turn your nose up at the color, but with the right shade, it can pair very well with your skin tone. Just trust me on this one. Come find me, I'll find some lipstick for you and you'll see how amazing it is.
1 | Revlon PhotoReady Blush in Coral Reef
I have a new found love for creme blushes. I was always uncomfortable with the application so I just didn't fool with it. I found this stuff pretty cheap buried beneath some other crap and it's a beautiful color! It seriously is just the right amount of coral to brighten your face.

2 | Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick in Coral Sheen
This blush stick actually came from Wally World, but I bought it before I got the Revlon product above. They are 97% the same shade. I'll probably end up returning this one. It has a little bit of shimmer to it, which can be nice, but I'm digging the other one more.

3 | L'Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara in Blackest Black
I wasn't in the need for mascara at the time, but I love this brand usually ONLY for their mascaras. This one's good to take with me while I'm on the go. I have others that I use when I want more drama.

4 | Maybelline Eyestudio Gel Eyeliner in Eggplant
Gel eyeliners are always so much fun to play with, especially when they're purple! Gel glides on smooth like a pencil but it's so quick to be a mess like with liquid liner. If you haven't tried gel, why not get it with a funky color?! Purple is dark enough that it looks just like black.

5 | Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya
I've also just recently began a love affair with Revlon's lip butters. They are so freakin' nice feeling on my lips. I could just purse them together all day long. This one is my suggestion if you're wanting to try out the orange but are scared with your first pick. This is a sheer orange and super moisturizing like chapstick so I'm sure you can get the hang of it.

6 | Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendevous
See? I told you I got a lot of orange things. If you've already tried out the color, this one is a must!! The lip crayon is easy to apply and is this gorgeous coral color. I wear it at least once a week.

7 | Covergirl Blast FlipStick in Cheeky
This one I have yet to wear in public. I tried them both on when I first brought it home but I've got a trillion lip products at this point and it's hard to choose just one!! This shade has a beautiful coral and a lighter, shimmery coral on the other end. Muey bein!

8 | Covergirl Color Sensational Limited Edition Lipstick in Fuchsia Fierce
I cannot get over this HOT summer color! I think I'm just going to start buying all my friends a shade like this for birthdays and Christmas and such and break them away from their usual makeup routine. I'm telling you, a lipstick like this will change everything.

9 | Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Darling Cherie
This shade is straight up lilac and I've honestly never worn a color like this. On my lips, it's different than I would have expected. The pastel perks up any outfit and I love getting a little bold with it. Why not try out lilac on my lips, right?!

10 | Sally Hansen Zero Bumps Bikini Spray
I don't know who thought of this stuff but it's pretty amazing! Whatever chemicals are in it really do what it tells you it will do. There are times where I have horrible razor bumps in my bikini line and they aren't all that pretty. This spray helps them go away! All you gotta do is spray it in that area, and the ingredients start to work their magic. It's pretty cool.

11 | Scunci No Damage Polybands
I have been ON THE HUNT for these tiny elastics for the past few months. My hair has just gotten several inches past my shoulders and is at prime braiding length. It just sucks because the only hair ties I have are the skinny black ones. I knew stores sold the plastic bands but all I could find were packs of like 5000. My friend stumbled upon these, a pack of 75, for like a buck.

Have you been doing any beauty hauls now that Spring is quickly approaching?? Comment below and let me know if there are more products I need to look in to or if I need to hunt them down at the flea market!

I'm linking up with Mingle Monday, Manic Monday, Monday Morning Gossip, Mix it Monday, and Funday Monday.

Wednesday, March 12

Broccoli Straw Salad


I've got another side salad that I wanted to share that I don't feel so guilty eating. Yes, it's probably still not the healthiest version of veggies I could be eating, but it sure as hell beats eating starchy foods like potatoes and corn. So that's a plus!

Here's what you need.

1 16oz package of broccoli straw salad (if you can't find that, broccoli cole slaw mix will work too)
2 3oz packages of chicken-flavored ramen noodles
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 cup of unsalted nuts (it calls for peanuts, but any will work in my opinion)
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of cider vinegar

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli straw salad, broken noodles, and green onions.

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, and ramen seasoning packets. Pour over the salad and toss so that it's even coated. Put it in the fridge, covered, until it has chilled. Before serving, top with the nuts of choice and sunflower seeds.

Because ramen noodles is like eating a brick of salt, here's another alternative. Instead of buying ramen packages, you can buy chinese/chow mien noodles. Instead of using that seasoning packet, you can use sodium-free chicken bullion cubes. They still pack some sodium but it's WAY lower than the ramen noodle seasoning packages.

Look at it this way. Chicken flavored ramen noodles are 1660mg of sodium. Making it the alternative way can get it down to 150mg of sodium. HUGE DIFFERENCE!!

Recipe yields 10-12 people and if you find even more healthy alternatives or if things can be omitted to your liking, please me know. I love this stuff. It's one of those "light" salads that goes beautifully with grilled chicken. It's a definite Summer recipe for me.

Monday, February 24

NYX Wonder Pencil--My dupe.

VS.    

I don't have a problem admitting this, but I follow a lot of beauty bloggers. I think we can all say the same. If we gear more towards makeup and skincare, we should follow beauty bloggers. If we only post about fashion or your life as mom, it's fitting to follow that particular topic of interest.

There's a specific blogger I just recently started following, like two months ago, and she posted about the NYX Wonder Pencil. Heard of it? Nope, me either. BUT! I have heard of NYX and tried a few of their products so I was interested in what she had to say.

She talked about how this one pencil could be used in more than one way. And as cheap as NYX is, I was excited to add it to my online shopping cart and wait for its' delivery.

After I did my mom's makeup a few weeks ago, I realized I had a product very similar to this beauty blogger. So rather than wasting $6 on it, I should try out what I already have, right? Right.

If you remember from that post, I used the L'Oreal Double Extend Eye Illuminator Eyeliner in Black Quartz. Which I'm not really sure why that's the name because it's a brown pencil. The other end of the pencil is the illuminating part and is almost exactly the same color as this NYX Wonder Pencil.

So I'm taking the advice of my fellow beauty blogger and trying out her tips. Here are four different ways you can use an illuminating pencil like both of the products we have.

[ONE] Bump Cover-up
If it's light enough, this pencil can be used to cover up a bump that appeared overnight.

[TWO] Tear Duct + Waterline Highlighter
If you swipe the pencil a little in the inner corners of your eyes, near the tear ducts, or along your waterline, it will give you a bright-eyed and awake look. I know there are some mornings that we all need that!

[THREE] Invisible Lip Liner
This is where it could get a little tricky. Some highlighting pencils have some shimmer to them. So if you are using this as an invisible lip liner, just BLEND BLEND BLEND. But if there is shimmer, only apply it at the cupid's bow and beneath your lower lip. Still blend away.

[FOUR] Brow Highlighter
This one is the easy tip. Swipe the pencil just under your eyebrows to highlight that point. It can also give more definition to brows after they've been filled in with brow shadow. But don't leave it looking like a drawn line. Blend it so that it's seamless from your brow to the eyeshadow-filled crease area.


Have you tried the Wonder Pencil yet? Or do you have a dupe like me just chilling in your makeup bag that you didn't realize was even there? 

What other pencils have you tried similar to these? Do you have any other tips to share? I'd love to hear in your comments :-)

I'm linking up with Manic Monday, Monday Morning Gossip, Mingle Monday, and Funday Monday.