Merry Christmas To Me: My Recent Beauty Haul

I got a chance to go out Christmas shopping, like, the day before Christmas Eve. While I was out, I picked up a few things for myself (sorry Paul), and I am so happy with my purchases, so I thought I would share them.

I mean, I didn’t SET OUT to buy these things, but they just… fell into my cart. I don’t know. It was weird.

Stop looking at me like that.

M·A·C ‘Prep + Prime’ Fix+ Finishing Mist • M·A·C • $22

I bought this because Jaclyn Hill loves it, I’m just gonna put that out there. I also love Urban Decay’s Chill All Night setting spray, but I have used this a couple times now as a refresher before I put on my makeup, and I like it. It hasn’t changed my life, yet… but I like it.

Boots No7 Youthful Eye Serum – .5 fl oz • Boots • $23.99 

I’m gonna sound SO “stay at home mom” right now, but I saw this on Dr. Phil, and the dermatologist that was on the show talking about this serum was pretty pumped about it, so I got pumped, too. I’ve only been using it since the 23rd, but I took before pics… if I notice a different, you’ll hear about it.
I love this brand, and I will pretty much buy anything that says Rose Gold. I used this on Christmas Eve, and I loved how dewy it made my skin. If you’re not a fan of “the dew” (like, if you carry mattifying papers in your purse to get rid of the first sign of shine), you might not appreciate this product like I do.

M·A·C Lipstick • M·A·C • $17 (in the shade Velvet Teddy)

I have been trying to find a dupe for Kylie Jenner’s stupid lip kit (I say stupid because any color would look amazing on lips that have been pumped full of plumper), and Jessica said this was a great option for Dolce or Candy, one of the two (they look pretty similar to me, but whatever, Kylie). And it’s true! It’s the perfect matte nude with a slight mauve undertone. I’ve worn it a few times now, and I’m a fan. Ironically, I’m lining my lips with MAC’s “Buerre” liner, which is what I first found almost two years ago when I began searching for Kylie’s colors. She has issues, but that girl also has some amazing matte nude lip colors. Bravo to her make-up artist, for real. I’m concerned that I’ve been Google-stalking Kylie’s lip colors since she was, what, sixteen years old? I need a life.

Drybar ‘Mai Tai Spritzer’ Sea Salt Spray • $25
I sprayed this in Sephora whilst Christmas shopping, and I had to have it. It gave my freshly-washed hair the perfect beachy texture without feeling too greasy, and it smells amazing. So, yeah. This is a staple now. I love that I can add it to wet hair for fuss-free waves, or I can add it to already styled hair to mess it up a bit. Ain’t nobody got time for perfectly curled hair anymore, it’s 2016 people!

What are your favorite recent beauty purchases? I am so obsessed with trying new products. Next up: a fantastic beauty oil!

Grown Up Things (Featuring Taylor Swift)

So, I didn’t originally plan to include the Taylor Swift GIFS with this blog, but once I found one I wanted to use, I couldn’t resist illustrating each point with my girl. I seriously couldn’t stop.

So, Taylor and I now present to you: some ways I know I’m officially growing up.

1. I make macaroni and cheese how I wanna.
I remember following the directions on the box STEP BY STEP as a kid – each time, reading it carefully like it was the first time. Measuring milk and butter precisely, having to check the box with each ingredient to make sure I was reading it right. “Ok, a quarter cup of milk, right?” Well, I made macaroni and cheese last night for Porter, and I realized that I don’t even know what the directions say anymore – I just know the suggested amount of milk makes it too dang runny, and I like it better with sour cream instead instead – it makes it thicker and more “homemade” tasting. Sometimes I mix in garlic salt, sometimes I add a can of tuna, last night I got a little crazy and stirred in some leftover shredded bbq chicken. I DO WHAT I WANT. I’m an adult.

2. I do shameful things, like eating in the parking lot.
The other day, I ran out to get Christmas shopping done and left the boys with Grammy and Opa. It was late, I hadn’t eaten, and there is a Panera in the mall parking lot. So, I drove through and got a quinoa and lentil bowl and a mango smoothie, and I ate every last bit in the parking lot. Not because I needed alone time, or because I didn’t want to share my food, but because I cannot physically eat and drive anymore. I would hurt someone. It’s a hazard, and I know that now. So, I listened to Christmas music and savored every last bit in the parking lot before I went home. Not sorry. Just over here adulting.

3. Normal music offends me.
I don’t need to add much to that. If they play it on MTV, I’m seriously horrified. I used to not care about lyrics, but as an adult, I find myself listening to every word and saying things like: “omg, did he really just say that?” This summer, coworkers asked me if I’d ever paid attention to the words to Usher’s song “I Don’t Mind”. I hadn’t heard it entirely, just the catchy “gotta make that monaymonaymonay” to which I was like “yassss, Usher! We do gotta make that money!“*open laptop to begin my work as a report writer for a content management company*. So, Coworkers played it for me – and I almost passed out. ‘scuse me?

4. My favorite plans are cancelled ones.
I love you all. I really do. But 80% of the time, if you have to back out or re-schedule, I’m not offended at all. That means I probably don’t have to put on pants, or attempt to mask the dark circles under my eyes. But if you back out on a dinner date? I might defriend you for life. No one messes with my happy hours.

5. I wish someone would put me down for a nap.
As I lay my boys down each day, sometimes I fight jealousy. I would die for someone to tuck me in, kiss me on the forehead, and get upset with me if I got up. Maybe just once? It would be a dream.

Holiday Tradition | Annual Photo Ornaments

Paul and I started a fun tradition when we first got married. It’s not something that’s going to blow you out of the water. It’s not uber creative, it’s not super original… in fact, it’s not original at all. I’m pretty sure a lot of people do this.

We love getting an annual picture frame ornament each year. It’s so much fun to watch these evolve as we grow up and add to our family. Our first two are just us as a young married couple. Then the third year was an ultrasound photo, because Porter was due any day. The following year was his one year old self seated at his big gift for the year – the baby piano. Then, there was the three of us in a photobooth (pregnant-Simon belly not pictured). This year, we’ve added Simon to the mix – and tonight, I’m searching for our 2015 frame. And then I have to figure out which photo to put in there – probably one of the ones I put on our holiday cards (which we totally handed out this year, HELLO).

I’ve gotten ours from Anthropology, Target, and Restoration Hardware in the past, but I’m struggling with finding something different this year… I do love this sled ornament on Amazon, and since the year isn’t on it, I would just have to find a 2015 charm, which shouldn’t be difficult. This is just the right amount of fun and festive.
 Do you have any suggestions for photo ornaments that are not too cheesy, not too cheap? 
Here are a few I’ve found that I love – a few of which would need a 2015 charm added to them, too:

Weekend Rewind – Porter’s Birthday, New Make-Up, and Star Wars!

We had such a fun weekend – it was busy, as usual, but we also had some great family time as Scrooge The Musical came to a close at our church. Here are some highlights:

  • Porter celebrated his 3rd birthday yesterday (Sunday, December 20th). I cannot believe we have a 3 year old. We had a fun party for him last Wednesday – a Paw Patrol pizza party at his favorite restaurant by the train tracks – and he was seriously ELATED with the fact that his entire family and all his friends were in one room together. We sang happy birthday to him, and right at the end, a train flew by- and I thought he might cry from excitement. It was pretty epic. He thought we planned it, and it was amazing. I didn’t correct him, because his little eyes were so bright, it filled my heart in ways I didn’t know possible.
  • Porter got some amazing gifts, but I am seriously in love with his Paw Patrol Aquadoodle that his friends Carter and Charlie 😉 got him. I’ve heard of it before, but actually playing with it? A mother’s dream. No mess, no fuss. Can all toys be like that, please? (This isn’t the exact one he got, but it looks pretty cool with the metallic!) If I have to throw away cap-less markers or broken crayons one more time, I may lose my mind.
  • I seriously debate deactivating my Facebook every single day – or at the very list, going uber-private. Some people and what they share/tease/dig for just tick me off… if you don’t want to talk about it, here’s an idea: don’t post about it on Facebook. Ugh.
  • I love this lipgloss. My friend Jessica told me about it, and so when I was at Ulta the other day buying some Christmas presents (not for myself, pshh) I grabbed it. The formulation isn’t too sticky, and the color “Dahling” is the perfect cool mauve. If it were matte, I’m pretty sure it would be the PERFECT gloss.
  • I’m loving my new curling wand. It’s fast, it’s super hot, and the curls hold forever. I like when they loosen up a bit and look more beachy, which usually happens after I’ve slept on it for a night – I just take the wand through it the next day and add a few tighter curls/clean up a few kinks, and bamperfect waves. Look for coupon codes, too – I got mine on sale, 2 wands for $34!
  • I HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE SINGLE SOLITARY STAR WARS MOVIE. I know, I know. I’m not human. But I will festively and proudly flaunt this sweater from H&M when I see it, though – so cute! Ooh, or this one from Macy’s. I can totally get on board with Star Wars, guys.
  • We tried a new restaurant yesterday, called Indo Asian Street Eatery in Tacoma, and it was delicious. I had a Banh Mi, which I’ve never had before. I love a good sandwich, have I ever mentioned that? And a Viatnamese French Dip sounds confusing, but it was oh so delicious. It had pickled veggies and the most delicious beef broth. I want another one right now.
    Indo Asian Street Eatery | Tacoma, WA

Last Minute Boy Gifts

Last year, I did all my Christmas shopping online, and it was amazing. This year, I’m slacking… but I’ve been spending a good portion of my Saturday looking online for some great deals, and found these purchases for Porter and Simon that I’m excited about.

Step2® Little Helper’s Grocery CartTM • Step2 • $42.99
Porter is obsessed with “shopping”. We went to the North Pole for Santa pictures last weekend, and they had a store set up where you could shop for food, complete with carts and all. He wanted to take the cart everywhere! Our new house will be all hardwoods, so he can push this thing around all his heart desires.

Vintage-Style Food Grocery Box • $40
Because you need adorable groceries for the cart, of course. That cute little loaf of artisan-looking french bread!? I die.

Wooden Fruit Set • Pottery Barn Kids • $19.20
This will hopefully distract P from wanting to use a real knife.

Paw Patrol Paw Patroller • $75.99
Paw Patrol. ‘Nuf said.

Star Wars ‘Stormtrooper’ Rib Knit Beanie (Big Boys) • Star Wars • $24
Porter loves him some Star Wars. Can’t wait until he actually cares about the movie with his dad, and not just stabbing people with a Light Saber.

Melissa and Doug Toy, Fishing Magnetic Puzzle Game • Melissa & Doug • $9.99
This might be a little too advanced for Simon right now, but maybe not for long… I would love to help him with his hand eye coordination as soon as possible. And I LOVE the quality of Melissa & Doug toys!

Wooden Story Wooden Rainbow Stacker • $32
Solid wood for Si Si! Great for those new little teeth coming in.

Discovery Kids Toy, Laptop Computer • $29.99
For Simon, because he is constantly wanting to attack my laptop and I need him to just have his own… for under $30.

Holiday Giveaway: Jesus Calling

I wish I could properly convey to you what this book has done for me. Jesus Calling has been such a blessing, and in turn, I’m starting to really try to use it to bless others.

I talked to a friend recently who was really going through a rough time in her pregnancy + being a mama of a busy toddler. I totally get it. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old, and there are times where I feel like I can barely keep my head above water. I have a lot of grace and love for moms that are just trying to be the best they can be. So, there’s the weight of the most important job in the world, and then I’ve also been blessed (haha) to be ridden with all sorts of weird anxieties (which also came along with motherhood, how unfair is that? Like we don’t have enough to deal with). Anyway. I was screaming for some reminders about who God is, and what He wants for me. I never finish devotionals, because quite honestly, I just haven’t found many that click for me.

Until this one. My sister in law got it for me for Mother’s Day, and it’s blown me away ever since. This devotional is so timely. Almost freakishly so. Case in point: I was worried about flying to Vegas for a weeklong vacation, away from my kids, and my devotional the night before I left was about not having any idols above Him, and that includes your kids. Trust them to Him, and He will care for them. Calm your heart, mama, and know that God’s got them.

I about passed out right there; I felt God’s presence so strong with me in that living room on that night, that I still think about it often. I love how Sarah Young writes this devotional – speaking directly to you from God’s perspective, about who He is and what He wants for your life. She explains it a bit in her forward – the why behind the heart of this book – and I just fell in love. She spotlights His love in the purest and most beautiful way.

BACK to my story! I sent this book to my friend, and I hope it blesses her like it’s blessed me. It’s so cheap on Amazon, and you can ship it directly to people (shipping is free if you have Prime). If you know someone that could benefit from this devotional, I encourage you to send one their way – you can include a little note of encouragement, or just ship it to them anonymously.

Let me know if you’re doing this devotional, have done this devotional, or know someone that NEEDS this devotional. In fact, I would love to gift a couple of these books right now (this weekend – December 12th and 13th), so if you’re in need and can’t make the purchase right now, email me at and I’ll buy it and ship it directly you.

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Gift Guide: Great Gifts At Nordstrom For Under $200

Hey, guys! Yeah, you. You’re here because you’re trying to find a gift for that lady in your life, and you’ve resorted to clicking on blog posts someone tagged you in on social media.

It’s cool. Your secret is safe with me.

If you’re looking for a few more things to put under the tree for the woman in your life, you can just start here and thank me later. Click the links directly below the pics, or at the bottom of this post, for more information and to order directly from the store, or just to get more information so you can run down to your local Nordstrom and pick it up yourself. All of these gift ideas are under $200.

These are products I love, products my friends love, products that bloggers I know love… they are tried and true, thoughtful gifts that I’M telling you to buy so she (your girl!) won’t have to.

Now, of course, I don’t claim that ALL of these products will be welcomed with open arms – after all, you know her way better than I do and some girls may be super annoyed with a $100 hat.

So, maybe just start here and see if I can at least provoke a little gift-giving inspiration! 🙂

This is a tough season, but I’m a tough mother.

Selfish shopping basket – roses, cookies, and food for ME!

Being a mom of two little ones, while trying to work efficiently from home, is harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would have challenges, but I think I’m right in the heart of the stress – complete with a 3 year old with lots of energy and demands, and a 1 year old that is a mama’s boy, though and through. I cannot be in the same room without holding him, he just thinks that is a total disgrace. Add these demands together with a job that needs my full, analytical attention? Yeah.

The other day, I reached max capacity.

Red alert.

Where’s my white flag? I was waving one in my mind. Frantically.

Simon and I were sick with head colds, and he randomly started throwing up – no fever or anything, but it seemed like it was from his congestion. I was trying to keep up with Porter’s demands, catching puke in a towel, replying to IMs from work, and was barely able to comprehend my life through the fogginess of bad sinus pressure. I just needed to sleep. I wanted it to be silent.

I was able to escape. My mother in law came home, saw me in a literal puddle on the floor, and told me to leave – go see Paul, who has been pretty much living at the church due to Scrooge The Musical being in full swing, or do something I wanted to do. It was up to me. I could have chosen the good wife route, and went to the church to be near Paul, even if that meant playing Cooking Dash on my phone in the dark while he obsessed over the soundboard during rehearsal. I could have done that. I could have brought him dinner or a coffee. Not saying he doesn’t deserve those things, but I think in that moment, I realized that I really needed to have some me time.

I don’t remember the last time I was alone. I can’t count the fleeting moments when both boys are napping at the same time, because let’s be honest, the universe never allows that to happen for more than 5-10 minutes at a time, every few weeks.

I decided I wanted to go sit at a coffee shop and work. Like I was a student with no other responsibilities except for good grades and a maintained caffeine buzz. Maybe people would think I was some naive nineteen year old with a whole lot of psychology homework to work through on a Monday night. (Ha. Yeah, right – the bags and swollen eyes alone don’t let anyone believe for a second that I am a day younger than 30).

I wanted to drink a hot coffee that I didn’t make (and then subsequently, forget) on my Nespresso – preferably something with pretentious art. I wanted to eavesdrop on people having casual convos or engaging in frivolous gossip – seriously, does anyone remember what those convos are like? I wanted to eat a pastry without feeling guilty because my kid has seen me way too much sugary crap and WHO IS GOING TO GET HIM TO EAT BROCCOLI IF I DON’T DO IT.

I did all those things, and it was marvelous. I had a raging headache from my cryfest earlier in the day, but I felt… calm. At peace. I had listened to Christmas music all the way there, and I didn’t think about anything. Not anyone’s health. Not how little I’d seen of my husband. Not when our new house will be done. Not the piles of laundry waiting for me when I returned. I thought of nothing, and it was so wonderfully refreshing.

I drank a homemade marshmallow (like, handmade marshmallows, people) latte and I focused on things like graphs and unique pageviews and average session durations like they were my biggest concern. I finished two large reports that I’d been piecing together for the last 8 hours between puke sessions and naps, and I was able to also “live update” a horribly awkward first date at the table next to me. It was magic.

When I left, it was still raining, but I can’t believe how much lighter I felt. I was ready for the night – as sleepless as it could be. I was ready to make it home to brainstorm a way to fix the broken train track Porter was playing with, to hold Simon until he passed out in my arms, to sit and chat with and watch a show with my exhausted hubby (who barely beat me home to our babies, by the way).

This is a tough season, but I’m a tough mother. I know I was made for this, but I have been running on fumes too often to remain healthy – for myself, or my family.

I’m a huge proponent of “start your day with Jesus”, and that is something I need to take care to do as well, each day – but what I was battling was even more than just that. I needed to start or end my day with me. I needed to be alone, to remember who I was and what made me tick.

I know God challenges me, in my spirit, to be the change I want to see – but if I want my family happy, healthy and fulfilled – I cannot expect to take them where I am not, myself.

Fail To Plan? Plan To Fail.

Here’s something super inspiring, today from my Instagram:

All I wanted was a matching Christmas pajama pic. Inspired by this photo, from a blogger I love:

​First of all: nailed it. Clearly. I mean, I did buy the same pajamas. Second, the underlying lesson in all of this is to not force something that just isn’t meant to be. At least not right now.

Here’s my reality:

Right now, my life is hectic. I don’t have perfect lighting because we’re living in a basement waiting for our house to be finished (yes. Still waiting). My youngest is just now learning about his freedom, and has no interest in a camera. None at all. It was 10pm when I took this, WAY past their bedtime (they are night owls like their parents).

My perfect photo was doomed to fail.

I think my point is that, sometimes, it’s ok to be realistic. It’s fun to be a dreamer, and I am a dreamer by nature for sure… but, it’s ok to embrace reality sometimes, too. If I wanted this cute holiday picture, I needed a better plan. I needed better hours, better lighting, better moods. I forced it, and it wasn’t what I wanted (although, angry Simon is pretty cute).

I think there are probably some areas in your life that feel forced right now, and I think all you need is a better plan. Maybe it’s your health, maybe it’s your Christmas shopping, maybe it’s innovating at work! Time to make a plan to:

  • prioritze your work tasks so you have the mental capacity to think of something amazing for your clients 
  • unplug for the weekend to focus on relaxation and family, so your stress doesn’t impact your health 
  • make a list and shop for one person at a time for Christmas 

If you’ve struggled or if you’ve failed, be intentional. Get a plan in place and try again. Then, let me know how it works. I like success stories.

Hallmark Movies Madness: My Top Picks

I am proud of a lot of things. Birthing two children. Paying my tithe at church. “Dating” while married. The fact that as I grow up, I’ve gotten better at actually finishing beverages rather than just collecting half-empty cups in whatever room I pass through. You know, true growth and empowerment. However, when I introduced my friends to Hallmark Christmas movies, I pretty much felt like my life was complete.

Then, I got a text that just said:

“Lori Laughlin just touched a snowflake on her wall and was transported down a North Pole slide.”

And I felt fulfillment that I just can’t explain.

I couldn’t tell if she was impressed, or amazed, or disgusted, or if it was just sheer indignation… but no matter what the foundation of that text, she could not believe that she was watching what she was watching. I think she was probably meaning to show me just how insane these movies are, but I didn’t take it that way.

I was proud.

You’re welcome. I mean. Just, you’re welcome.

I have a few favorites. I’m not a cat person, but the Nine Lives of Christmas was stellar. Especially when they told each other they loved each other on their first date. It’s fine.
Oh, this was a fun one. In A Very Merry Mix-Up, girlfriend goes home with the wrong guy’s brother (because they basically has the same name as her fiance… an honest mistake. I mean, Bill, Will, it’s close enough) meets his family for the first time, and of course falls in love with the brother… all while her real fiance is a successful jerk and doesn’t seem to care about getting a hold of her when she didn’t show up at his actual family’s house. It was intense.
I just watched Crown For Christmas, with Winnie Cooper Danica McKellar, and loved it. Basically, she was fired from her maid job at a ritzy NYC hotel and was offered the position as a governess for a King and his daughter because she didn’t steal a watch from a wealthy hotel guest. Or something. I don’t know, but it was very Maid In Manhattan meets Princess Bride, so I was a fan.
But, my favorite – my all time favorite, so far – is last year’s Let It Snow, with Dj Tanner Candace Cameron Bure. In fact, I would watch anything with her in it, but this was the best. She works for her dad (Alan Thicke), and she’s high up in his development firm. They buy a lodge and she travels to visit it over Christmas as the project lead, basically to make plans to demolish it and start over with a very “apres ski” type resort. But she falls in love with the down home feel, much to her father’s disgust, likes how she looks in puffy jackets, and basically decides she wants to celebrate every Christmas there, forever and ever amen, with the guy she’s crushing on and his sweet family. I could watch it once a week. It’s just a feel good movie.
In all seriousness: it’s so refreshing to have feel-good movies playing, and I truly do love them. I know they are unbelievably cheesy, but as long as there are Christmas lights in the background and a balsam candle burning… it just feels right.
What’s your favorite? And if you’re not ready to admit it, that’s fine. I’ll just be over here watching them on my TV all day, every day. You admit when you’re ready.

Honorable Mention: Tis The Season For Love, Ice Sculpture Christmas, North Pole: Open For Christmas