Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites

Friends I really just don't know what to say about this week.  It hasn't been unreasonably long, there has been some amazing laughs shared between friends but I am staring at probably 5 loads of laundry that are not going to wash themselves!  Good news is my house cleaner came Thursday so we are at least starting the weekend with a clean house!  

I started this week with a post about my hair & makeup routine as part of Erika and Andrea's Let's Talk linkup.  My favorite part of these type of links is finding out about products I may have never happened across.  

Blake at Forever Callahan shared this Fave4 Twice As Thick - Thickening Cream and I really do think my fine hair might benefit from this.  It's worth a try!  I also was reminded by Katrina at With Southern Love to put on my foundation first with the concealer on top.  I remember reading this tip somewhere before but fell back to my old ways!
My friend Katy and I are super excited to start this new link up party!  We loved the idea of the Queen Bees link up but you didn't link and we listened!   We went back to the drawing board and have created a new link up party, Spiel the Beans with the Queens!  We have created some prompts we hope will inspire you to post.  Please, please mark your calendars and join the fun.  
I also shared some Mother's Day gift ideas which include these graphic tees.  I have a little issue with deferred gratification and already received the grey t-shirt and the pineapple tank.  The grey t-shirt is definitely true to size and I ordered a medium and am wearing it as I'm typing this post!  I didn't see even notice that by ordering 3 t-shirts I would receive a free "surprise" tee so I was super excited to open my package!  I also ordered the Te Amo Tacos tank and it's adorable.  I wish I could show you the 3rd tank I ordered but since my momma reads this blog and it is her gift I better not! The pineapple tank is so adorable but I do think I needed a large instead of the medium and the fabric is super duper soft which means it is sticking to places I really didn't need to accentuate!  
I mentioned on What's Up Wednesday this week our birthday dinner to celebrate Johanna's 40th birthday.  Finding a group of girls to let of steam with, pray with (and for), even curse a little with is just so heartwarming.  I seriously left this dinner feeling so light and blessed.  I have been friends with 3 of these girls for almost 15 years and that just seems amazing.  The other two I feel I've known just as long.  Whatever you do, surround yourself with women who lift you up and make you stronger!  
Having a day with my sweet hair stylist, Karli, is always one of my favorites.  I don't know if it's my hormones or what but my hair color has just not been "right" for months now and seemed to be grabbing too much orange/yellow instead of a true blond.  We decided today to take off a little length and darken it up quite a bit...start from scratch if you will.  Is it crazy that I thought this was quite a change but not one single person at my house even noticed?!!  You know you're an amazing mom when you just blend in with the woodwork right?  Haha

Thank you to Michelle at Grammie Time for hosting her Party at My Place linkup on Thursdays where I was more than surprised to find the Reality Bites post from last week mentioned as one of the top two most viewed!  And a special thanks to all of you who read and commented on the Unplanned Joy post yesterday as I'm positive your prayers are providing rest and comfort for our sweet, sweet cousin and her family.  

Wishing you all the very best weekend!  We will be heading to an art show Saturday morning and then straight to baseball.  Hoping to squeeze in a much needed pedicure along the way! 


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Unplanned Joy

Several months back I wrote a post about unplanned joy and the blessings I found through an unplanned pregnancy.  If there is one thing I know after 46+ years on this earth, God does not make mistakes.  I could not help but share this sweet story of hope today.  

If you are a regular reader you may remember in January our cousin lost her husband.  They were high school sweethearts and had spent the last 15 years building a beautiful life together and were blessed with four beautiful daughters.  I can only imagine the loss and loneliness she feels on a daily basis.  The thought of dealing with my own grief while guiding my daughters as they process theirs is just overwhelming.  
Put yourself in this spot for a moment.  Widowed at 36 years old raising a 13, 11, 3 and 1 year old. Tough card to be dealt and a total change in your plans.  Now, imagine a month after the shock of your husband's death, finding out you are pregnant.  This is where this sweet momma found herself.  

The day she told me I laughed and I cried.  Our prayers shifted as we begin praying not only for her and the girls and their grief but for the health and safety of this new little baby.  This baby that will bring new life and hope and joy to their house after such a tragedy.  

This past Sunday the big sisters hosted a gender reveal party.  The envelope was sealed the day of the sonogram and only they knew the secret.  They did such a terrific job and for a day in their life there was joy to be found as we all gathered around to support this little family.  

Every last detail was perfect.  They decided to handle the actual reveal with confetti stuffed balloons which mom would throw darts at until she found the right one.  Super cute.  
Their sweet invitation encouraged us all to wear the color for what our guess was and I'm telling you after four girls I was definitely wearing blue!  Carly Jo was sure it was another girl and y'all she was right!  We are tickled pink to be adding another girl cousin to the mix.  

Thankfully this mom has been raised by a strong, compassionate, Godly woman and her faith in him is strong.  While there were so many smiles and laughs and joy over this sweet new addition, this mom went home to a house where she missed her husband.  I know that there will still be many tears for these girls but God is with them.  He has shown there is hope in tomorrow and despite our tears we can still find joy.   

Holly shared a link with to some wonderful bible verses for woman in need of love, reassurance and strength and you can find those here.  I know for certain this particular verse is so true of this momma's heart.  
God is within her, she will not fall - Psalm 46:5
 Please join me in praying over this sweet family.

Linking up with all my Thursday favorites and all the weekly faves here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday {April}

Today I'm linking up with ShayMel & Sheaffer for this months What's Up Wednesday!  The questions are in green so check it out and join the fun. 

WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK

Do you have a Johnny Carino's Italian in your area?  Did you know on Monday they have 1/2 price family platters?  I did know this but had no clue it also applied to takeout.  I planned to take dinner to a family with a new baby on Monday and decided to grab Carino's and I mean while I was there I might as well feed my family too right?  These are just some of the options to choose from and each meal comes with 4 side salads (or soup) and bread.  We grabbed the bowtie pasta and the chicken parmesan and there was enough for Keith, Carly & I to all have leftovers for lunch today...and maybe tomorrow!  Definitely a great option for a busy night.  

Tonight we have this crock pot pork chop recipe on the menu and it is so simple and always a crowd pleaser at my house.  We serve with brown rice but mashed potatoes would also be a winner.  I originally used bone in pork chops but they would literally fall apart so I now use the boneless but either works.  

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT  

Almost 15 years of friendship with 3 of these girls!  Today is Johanna's 40th and realizing that I've known her since she was 25 was a wow moment!  My daughter, Jordan, works for Johanna & her husband now and to think she is the same age Johanna was when we met was a shocker.   How could that much time have passed already!!  

WHAT I'M LOVING

Apparently I'm loving graphic tees!  After styling a graphic tee for The Blended Blog Style Perspective series, I've ordered the grey tee and the pineapple tee above.  The green scalloped shorts from J. Crew Factory also showed up this week and I can't wait to try this together!  

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO

Carly is super excited about the tomato plant and herbs we planted and has been very diligent about watering.
We also renovated our bathroom shower and the tile around the tub in the kids bathroom.  Still waiting on our new shower door but super exicted with how this turned out.   

WHAT I'M DREADING

Next step at the house is having all our the back bedrooms and the kids bathroom repainted.  Since moving in 12 years ago 100% of the painting has been done by me and this time I decided to hire this out.  I'm excited about fresh paint but really dreading the process.  I'm going to move the kids rooms around though so hopefully once this is done their rooms will be fully purged and functional.  

WHAT I'M WORKING ON 

My sister Queen, Katy, and I began the Queen Bees linkup last July and in a year we just could not get the party rolling even after throwing out some prompts.  After some feedback and a little blog meeting we went back to the drawing board!  
Introducing the new and improved linkup, SPIEL the Beans with the Queens.  Next Tuesday, May 3rd, will be the first opportunity to party with us and we would so love to have you.  The biggest feedback we received was everyone loves a good prompt.  I really hope we have created something you guys can embrace!  You will definitely be seeing this all in your face so just do yourself a favor and come play along. 

WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT 

My nephew is graduating from college and I'm super excited to see where this next step in life takes him.  Super proud of him!  

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING


I've been reminded on two occasions recently how crappy I am at being a good listener.  Part of my issue is not being able to keep my mouth shut.  I started reading Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All this month and it is excellent!

And you guys, I am the most pathetic Netflix watcher there is!  I have been watching Friday Night Lights and Gilmore Girls since October and am FINALLY on the the last season of FNL but cannot stay focused.  I'm ONLY on the 3rd season of GG but dying to find more time to binge a little on this one.

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO

Definitely just a mix of music lately. I've been very non committal to any genre. I have been listening to the Lancaster Jethawks play some baseball at least when I can stay awake that long!  The only thing worse than Riley being so far away is him being in a different time zone!  

WHAT I'M WEARING 

Looks lke spring layers has pretty much been my jam.  Lightweight scarfs, my new white denim jacket and my military vest have been favorites.  I have also been getting lots of wear out of my Ugg leopard wedges and the DV floral wedges from last year.  My fave color for me this spring has been fuschia so far!  

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND

Since March I have been looking forward to the one free weekend we had until the second weekend in July and guess what?  It must have been wishful thinking because I just totally failed to add a baseball tourney to my calendar.  So...surprise, surprise we will be watching Dillon and his team play. I am excited it has been moved closer to home and to a venue we love due to nature walking trails and a catch and release pond.  It does make me happy when my Dutchy can come along.  

But first we will stop by the school district art show where Carly has a piece of art on display!  Here is her self portrait Picasso from last year!  

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH

Lots going on in May!  Carly & Dillon both have field trips, the 4th grade talent show, Carly's dance recital, more 7 on 7 and baseball tourneys AND 4th grade graduation. Of course the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL will be the grand finale!!  Summer you are so close we can almost taste you!!  

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

I may become a fur grandma this week.  Jordan is picking up a dog which has been in a foster home and giving it a trial run.   Hoping to meet her tonight!  

WHAT I'M GIVING (OR WANT TO RECEIVE) FOR MOTHER'S DAY


Tuesday I shared 10 Mother's Day Gift Ideas and I would love any of these!  I would love to share what I ordered for my mom but y'all she reads this blog.  

Can't wait to see what everyone else is up to this month!!  Hope you are having a super week.  

Want to know where else I'm linking?  Pop over here and check out all my favorite linkups. 


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

10 on Tuesday - Mother's Day Gifts

Mother's Day

Mother's Day will be here before we blink!  This is always such a hard category for me because if there is one thing I'm good at it's shopping for myself.  I always have a hard time finding just the right gift for my mom and grandmother as well.  Here are 10 ideas for the Mom's in your life!  

A Good Read

I love a great, uplifting read.  For the Love and Sparkly Green Earrings are such fun and easy reads that will have you laughing and feeling like you can tackle anything at the end.  I recently downloaded Looking for Lovely based on a review from a friend and I also think this would be a great read for a mom or any woman in your life.  

Fun Coffee Mug

I cannot even count the number of coffee mugs I've given my mom over the years but she loves them (or at least I think she does)!  I saw these at Morning Sunshine Shop on Etsy and I'm totally in love with them all!  If you are crafty you might like to try your hand at making your own and here is a great little tutorial.  My friend Holly also has a great little post showing how the Sharpie colors appeared before and after baking here.  Add a Starbucks card or some gourmet coffee for an extra kick.  

Graphic Tees

Now that I finally figured out how to Style a Graphic Tee, I'm definitely ready to add a few more.   I ran across this tee from Oliver & Ottis (also found at Shop Ella Scott) and I knew it had to be mine!   I think these cute pajama shorts would be perfect for mom paired with one of these two graphic tees. I have also already ordered the Pineapple tank (#deferredgratificationmuch) and the scalloped shorts arrived today so I can't wait to see if I can pull this together with a blue jean vest
***Update....I ordered the grey t-shirt in the top row in a medium and it is a perfect fit.  The pineapple tank is absolutely adorable but a little thin and will require a camy or something underneath plus it's super soft material which means it hung up in all the wrong places.  I ordered in a medium and wish I would have snagged the large.   Hoping the blue jean vest might help! ***

Pampering

I love massages, facials, pedi's...any type of pampering really but I won't often purchase a massage or facial for myself.  This would definitely be a winner for me!  

Flowers

Fresh flowers will always bring a smile to my face and it doesn't really matter what kind.  Keith has brought home hanging baskets for me and the grandmothers several times on Mother's Day and it always makes me happy to have some color on my porch.

Pictures

Are you the photographer in the family?  Well I am so I am always behind the camera instead of in the pictures.  My family knows that one of my favorite things is to have our pictures taken professionally so a gift certificate for a professional sitting would definitely be a winner for me.

A Clean House


Even if it is only one time, giving your mom the gift of a cleaning service is an amazing gift.  Or send your mom out and surprise her when she returns with a house that is spic and span.  I promise she will be oh so grateful.  

Car Detail

If you could see the state of my car right now you would understand why I would be totally ecstatic about my car being detailed.  It isn't even about the money but more the time to take my car to be detailed.  Having my car nice and clean would definitely be a super Mother's Day surprise. 

Alone Time

A day to be free to stay in my pjs as long as I wanted, drink coffee in bed and read or watch Netflix admittedly sounds amazing to me.  I love these people but sometimes a mom just needs some quiet to reflect and recharge.  A few hours by 

Sweet Words

Sometimes I think the most meaningful thing you can give a mom are words of encouragement or appreciation.  Receiving a sweet, heartfelt card is often bigger than any gift.  Do this for your own mom but stretch yourself a little further and grab a 10 pack of cards and think of some sweet moms out there you would like to surprise with sweet words this Mother's Day.  

I can picture it now, Keith brings me a cup of coffee and takes the kids out for the morning so I have some quiet time and they of course have some fun.  They arrive home around noon with lunch, flowers and a gift certificate to the spa.  I spend the afternoon getting pampered and come home to a clean house with dinner on the table and we have some quality family time.  I'm laughing now because I know the likelihood of it actually happening is slim to none but it's good to dream right?!!  

Joining Karli for 10 on Tuesday and all the lovely ladies at Tuesday Talk today.  Hop on over and see where else I may be linking this week here.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Let's Talk - Hair & Makeup


Today I'm joining Andrea & Erika for a little girl talk about Hair & Makeup!  I will be straight up honest with you gals, this is not necessarily my strong suit but I'm sharing what I'm doing nonetheless.  So let's take a look at what my currently beauty arsenal looks like shall we?
First up, I've been using Rodan & Fields for awhile and originally started with the Reverse regimen which took care of lightening some dark spots and worked to brighten my skin.  I've now moved on to using the Redefine regimen for basic anti-aging results.  
The multi-function eye cream is an addition I will not do without. I have definitely seen improvement since starting this and it typically last me about 4 months.  My little tip is to use this not only around the eyes but also around the mouth for those stubborn little wrinkles that want to show up from all the puckering.  

I apply the Redefine mask and let it sit on my face while I brush my teeth and get ready for bed and then use my Clarisonic Mia to remove.  I have 100% seen a change in my skin from using the Clarisonic even before using any R&F products.  If nothing else you need this tool.  
This was the very first Rodan & Fields product I ever tried and I only used this with a previous anti-aging regiment for a couple of years.  I love this stuff!  When my skin starts looking a little dull, mostly from my failure to wash my face at night, I can count on the Micro-Dermabrasion Paste to brighten me right up.   If you think Rodan & Fields might be of interest to you, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Here I am makeup free after using the Microdermabrasion Paste and my skin care.  Full disclosure, I do have Dysport (similar to Botox) injections typically every 6-8 months. About two years ago I took advantage of a discount offer at a reputable location in town and I decided it was worth it.  I have injections in my forehead, above my eyebrows, between my eyebrows and the corners of my eyes.  I am not saying this is something anyone should do without lots of research, but wanted to be sure this was noted.  I truly believe the best thing you can do for your skin is wash your face every night (I suck at this), drink plenty of water (totally notice when I do not under my eyes and my smile lines) and use some sort of sunscreen moisturizer every single day.  
I would say I'm kind of a makeup hopper.  I have rarely committed to a product for more than one use but the Cover Girl concealer is an exception.  I've tried so many concealers at all price levels and some are just too heavy and end up looking cakey.  This is cheap and it works for me.  I've been using the Two Faced Hangover primer a girl at Ulta talked me into but I do not care for the smell and will be going back to the Urban Decay primer or trying some drugstore brand.  Do you need primer?  I do think my makeup stays on better with than without.  I switched to the Lancome 24 hour foundation about a year ago and have been happy enough to be a repeat buyer.  TheBlender Sponge I'm using is much cheaper than the others I've seen but I have really liked the results.  I'm desperately in need of blush right now and I really think this sucker is almost two years old.  I am loving this Lancome highlighter/contouring pencil but I'm sure there is something cheaper out there.  
I also grabbed this over a year ago and carry a smaller bottle in my purse.  It was kind of weird at first to spritz something wet on top of my just finished makeup, but it really seems to set everything to stay for the day.  I often spritz my face again in the afternoon or on the drive home and it is just really refreshing.
This is my favorite lip combo right now.  Loreal Toasted Almond paired with Bare Essentials Marvelous Moxie gloss in Trailblazer.  
Here is a look at my finished face.  I was a little over done for a baseball game....blogger life.  I am seriously still learning how to put makeup on at 46.  This little commercial is one of my favorites of all time because I so can see this happening to me! 

Moving on to hair.  If I hate spending time on makeup I hate spending time on my hair even more which I mentioned in the Hairy Tales post last year.  
Moving on to hair.  The first day I wash my hair is definitely reserved for blow drying and straightening.  I am not committed to any hair products either but these are two I bought that I have actually been using.  This past winter I had some hair braking off out of the blue and knew it was from heat so I decided I better work on protecting it.  The sexy products seem to work well with my hair so I use the blow dry for the hairdryer followed by the straight sexy hair for prior to using the flat iron.  
I changed to this hair dryer over a year ago and have been super happy with it.  
If you don't have a Wet Brush then add this to your Target list especially if you have young daughters. This brush really did save some whining at our house.  
Here is a quick look at how I store my hair tools too.  I saw this in an organizing post on Pinterest and decided it could work.  I just pop this back under the sink when I'm all done.
On day two or three I typically will curl my hair and I'm still using an old school curling iron.  I've tried a wand once and I am just not coordinated enough to make that work!
I can only dream of how much better my hair might have looked growing up had Pinterest been available to clue me in to the fact I was always curling my hair the wrong direction!!  Curl away from your face not towards your face!  
End results are some nice soft waves.  This still takes me way longer than I think it should but I'm typically happy with the results.
I received this Living Proof Dry Shampoo in my April Birch Box and I might be sold.  I love dry shampoo but so often it leaves my hair feeling sticky and, well, dirty.  I end up touching my hair all day more than I should which I'm sure makes it worse.  I was really happy with the ability of this dry shampoo to make my hair actually look clean again without being stiff or sticky.  
I actually stretched my hair from Monday to Saturday this past week thanks to the dry shampoo and my failure to make it to the gym even once!  I finally figured out how to get my hair into a tiny top knot on Friday and was so excited I decided to push it one more day for baseball on Saturday.  I had Carly video me doing this but, well, let's just say the angle was all wrong.  
If you have fine hair like mine, a teasing brush works really well for doing a little teasing and getting some life into your hair and really helps when creating a messy pony or top knot.  I have only been using the past several years and seriously think it was life changing....at least where my hair is concerned.  


Can't wait to see what everyone else's favorites are and maybe I'll learn a few new tricks.  

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