Hot weather, hot jewelry

I am such a California girl.  I CRAVE hot weather.  Most of us Californians are used to pretty nice weather year-round, but this winter has definitely given us a run for our money.  So the fact that it’s March, and we have had a few beautiful days of weather has been enough to recharge my battery and get me back into my happy place again!

Speaking of happy places, I had the opportunity to preview Stella & Dot‘s spring line.  I had a few girlfriends over and we spent the night drinking wine and trying on Stella & Dot’s newest pieces.  Who doesn’t love trying on accessories with their friends and drinking wine?  Lindsey Trammell, a director with Stella and Dot, reached out to me to check out the amazingness of Stella & Dot and I jumped at the chance!

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Lindsey and I celebrating awesome accessories

My only experience with Stella and Dot was a ring I bought several years ago.  Since then, I feel like whenever I see someone wearing a cute necklace or earrings they tell me that it’s from Stella & Dot.  I was very impressed with how cute ALL their jewelry is, and what a wide-range of variety the line has.

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Such a great set up to shop from

Lindsey is sooooo nice, and being a mom of two also, I instantly connected with her.  She made the night so much fun, and she was so knowledgeable about all of Stella & Dot and accessory styling.  I was totally impressed.  She also was really helpful finding pieces that seemed to fit perfectly for everyone shopping that night.

Lindsey made sure to bling me out for the party.  I loved this Aven Layering necklace.

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The mixed metals on this piece allow you to wear it with so many different things

I was also dying for this Ezra Statement necklace:

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Big statement necklaces can make the simplest outfit chic

Something that I didn’t realize about Stella & Dot jewelry is that so many of the pieces are versatile, like the statement necklace above.  You can take apart the different layers to create completely different looks.  I love to get the most of out my money and my looks, so this is a great option when buying pieces.

I found that the collection had such a great mix of fun, chunky pieces as well as delicate, everyday pieces.  I love small, delicate gold bracelets, so I couldn’t resist getting myself this one:

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Love the knot detail

I also had my eye on these bangles that come as a set:

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The colors can really go with almost anything

With summer coming up I am ready to wear (or attempt to wear with my two boys) white! Tassels are very in right now and I am totally digging these white tassel earrings:

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These would look great with a bright colored maxi dress

I also tried on these ear jackets, which were really fun and totally something different for me:

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These are adjustable, depending on how you want them to fit on your ear

These pieces are just the beginning of my obsession with Stella & Dot.  If you want to shop any of the pieces in this post click here: www.stelladot.com/ts/7n4q6. I know you will love it ALL as much as I do!

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Thankful for friends AND accessories

Do you have any Stella & Dot pieces? xoxo- Lauren

Dry Shampoo = LIFE

It’s not exactly a secret.  Dry shampoo is the shit.  As a mom, this is probably my number one life hack.  Who has time to wash their hair, let alone, dry it and straighten/curl it more than like twice a week?  If you are like me and have a LOT of hair, this is quite a process, one that I am hardly able to face more than once or twice a week.  So, enter dry shampoo.  It not only soaks up the greasy shiz that takes over, but it just refreshes your hair, makes it smell good, and gives that blow out life!

Now, let’s be real.  Most of the time, when I’m just with my kids, running errands, having play dates, my hair looks like this:img_3936

So, yeah.  That’s life.  But when I actually put in some effort and I’m not washing my hair, and getting “glam”, I turn to dry shampoo to save the day.  Below are three of my favorites.

  1. Loreal Fresh Dust
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A great choice as far as dry shampoos go!

This was one of the first dry shampoos I ever fell in love with.  I went to Palm Springs a few years ago and got a blow out at a blow dry bar and they used this after.  Yes, dry shampoo does not only have to be used when your hair is dirty.  It is great just as a styling spray and really can give your hair some dimension and texture.  I was immediately in love with the smell and the way it gave my hair some texture.  You can order it on Amazon for $23.

2. Not Your Mother’s Shampoo Dry Clean Freak (unscented)

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A great affordable dry shampoo

 

I found this product from a friend when I was needing to try out some different dry shampoos.  I love that is is a) affordable, and b) doesn’t smell like gross chemicals.  This is just your average, run-of-the-mill dry shampoo.  It freshens your hair up and gives your style life again.  You could use this all the time and never get tired of it! I got mine on Amazon for just under $10.

3) Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam

 

Omg. Omg. Omg.  This is hands-down, my most favorite hair products probably ever.  This hair care line was created by Jen Atkin (the Kardashian’s hair stylist), and at first I was like no way, not going to support that.  But then I kept hearing more about it, and I became completely intrigued.  I mean, it was a dry shampoo that was a FOAM??? I couldn’t wrap my head around it, so I decided I had to try it to find out what it was really all about.  Holy shit.  It’s as amazing as everyone was saying.  First of all, it smells AMAZING.  Second, it’s just like a hair mousse.  You squirt some in your hand, then apply all over your roots.  It does NOT leave your hair greasy at all.  By some magic, it just kind of disappears but leaves your hair completely refreshed.  It’s kind of like magic.  After one use, I was HOOKED.  It’s a little pricier ($28 on Sephora.com), but completely worth it.

I hope you guys liked my dry shampoo picks! Let me know what your favorite dry shampoo is in the comment section below! And let me know if you end up loving any of those above!

A Whole Lotta Love for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Almost! I’m feeling proud that I’m actually ready ahead of time for this holiday! I bought the boys some cute little Valentine’s gifts today and I have left to do is get them each a Valentine’s day balloon.  Because let’s face it, all my kids need to be happy in life is a helium balloon.  Any other mommas out there swear they will not go overboard on these silly little holidays and then when it comes down to it, you just can’t help yourself?  I can’t be alone!

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Love is in the air around here lately…

 

I wanted to share with you guys this week a few little things that have been making us all happy lately…

Field Trip to Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory

Last week, I took the boys on a little field trip to Mrs. Grossman’s sticker factory in Petaluma.  I had no idea, but Mrs. Grossman’s is the ONLY sticker factory left in the United States.  They also make wine labels, which is kind of cool as well.  We had so much fun touring the factory, actually watching thousands of stickers being made right in front of our eyes.  The best part is they give you TONS of stickers throughout the tour.  At the end, they gave us even more stickers and a chance to make a little craft.

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Sticker crafting at Mrs. Grossman’s in Petaluma

The whole thing lasted under an hour.  You have to have reservations for the tour, check it out their tour information HERE.

Kissable lips for Valentine’s Day

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Obsessed with these lipsticks from Benefit

You know I’m a complete makeup junkie these days.  I’m currently loving these They’re Real BIG Sexy Lipsticks from Benefit.   These lipsticks have a built in lipliner RIGHT INTO THE LIPSTICK.  Who has time to put on lipstick, let alone, line your lips??? The shape of the lipstick makes your lips actually look a little bit better.  Always a good thing!

This cute little kit comes with four colors: a rose, orangey-red, red, and pink.  I really love all the colors, especially the rose color.  And you get all four colors for $29, which is a fantastic deal!  Get those lips ready for some Valentine’s day kissing!

Smoothie Time

I’m back on that healthy life kick.  This is my year of health and I’m really proud to say I’m starting to see results.  I’ve been back in the gym 3-4 times a week doing a mix of pilates, bootcamp, and strength-training.  I even took a two hour workshop last week on learning how to use the pilates reformer machines with my friend Hahna.  Along with all the gym stuff, I’ve been making a serious effort to fuel my body with things that are good for it!

One of my favorite healthy breakfasts these days are my Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie.  If you know me, you know I have a SERIOUS peanut butter addiction.  It’s not even funny how much I love peanut butter.  And you know that when you are trying to lose weight peanut butter is not your best friend.  Sure, it’s got a lot of protein, but it’s also loaded with fat.  Thank goodness for PB2, which if you don’t know what it is, it’s a powdered peanut butter you mix with water, and it only has like 40 calories per two tablespoons.

So, my Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie is my way of still feeling like I get to enjoy peanut butter and I also get a whole serving of dark leafy greens as well.  It’s a win-win.

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Delicious! Even my kids love it!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

1 banana

Handful of frozen blueberries (or any frozen fruit you like!)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons of PB2

1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (mine is HERE)

1 cup of power greens

ice

*Combine all in blender then ENJOY!  You can also add chia seeds if you like!

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This little monster can be very sweet when he wants to be

That’s all for this week! I hope you enjoy and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with all your loves!

January Beauty Picks

 

This post is a very long time coming.  I have been trying to write it since right after Christmas; at that time it was called “December Beauty Picks.”  Then I got swallowed in winter break and then it was time to head back to work.  Since then, it’s been one thing after another it seems.  My best friend came into town (yay!), I got sick (boo!), Brian and I went to Tahoe (yay!), then my son got sick (boo!).  And, I won’t lie to you, I’ve had a very hard time getting the motivation to sit down and do the damn thing! I love this blog so very much; I just don’t know what it is about me and motivation sometimes.

I have declared 2017 my year of health.  I’m making a very concerted effort to work out more consistently, which seems to keep getting derailed by illness in my house.  Ug.  Weight watchers is starting this weekend, because let’s face it, when you weigh more than you did right after you had your second child, shit has to change.  My youngest son, Asher, is finally on the mend with his chronic ear infections, and hopefully will be getting tubes in his ears as soon as possible.  So yes, this is a year of health for not only me, but my family as well.

In between all of the craziness of this new year, the boys are becoming the best of friends.  Watching their relationship develop is one of the best parts of parenting I have experienced so far.

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Making mud pies after all this rain

They definitely fight their fair share, but they have such a strong brotherly bond.

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Water and dirt, nothing better!

Onto my January beauty picks:

Agadir Argan Oil Spray Treatment

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I have been using this in my hair for probably the past six years.  At first I was so leery, oil in my hair??? I have SUPER thick wavy hair and have always had to use a spray-in detangler after getting out of the shower.  Once I started using this I replaced my spray-in detangler with this spray treatment.  It makes my hair really easy to comb through and just makes it shinier all over.  It’s very lightweight and will NOT weigh down your hair.  If you blow-dry your hair and use styling tools on it, it is SUPER important you protect your hair before doing so.  And it’s only like $12 a bottle.  So cheap!

Benefit Goof-Proof Brow Pencil

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Have you noticed how in the beauty world it’s all about eyebrows these days? Aside from occasionally plucking mine to keep up their shape, I have NEVER cared about mine.  Until lately!  Suddenly I have found myself in this obsession with my eyebrows and filling them in.  Nothing crazy, because I’ve got no time for anything high-maintenance, but I like to fill them in just enough to give them a little bit more structure.  I had tried using an Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil at first but I just didn’t dig it.  Then I got this Benefit one and it was a game-changer.  I love the angle of the pencil; it seriously makes it so easy to use.  I basically know nothing about eyebrows and I feel like I am able to actually use this!  When my best friend came into town at the beginning of the month I used it on her and she went home and immediately bought it because she could’t believe how easy it was either.  They aren’t kidding when they call it “Goof Proof!”

Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Collection Palette

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I got this for my sister for Christmas.  Long story short, when I went to buy it for her at Sephora I had both boys with me, and Cooper ended up looking like this:

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Cooper did his own makeup!

It was a bit of a stressful shopping trip so I grabbed myself one of these palettes as well, because momma needed something to look forward to after that experience!  I’m so glad I did because it is one of the best palettes I have ever used!

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The colors are so beautiful and you can definitely do a complete look using just this.  I like that there are so many basic colors but also they threw in some fun ones to change your look up.  I feel like the colors are really pigmented and stay throughout the day.  Also, it smells like peaches! Seriously! It’s a little more pricey, but absolutely worth it!

I hope you guys enjoy this months picks! I got a bunch of Sephora gift certificates for Christmas and I bought a bunch of new products that I will be including in my February Beauty Picks next month!

Christmas Cookies and Cocktails

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We are deep in the holiday spirit around here.  And by deep, I mean, I’m not even close to being done Christmas shopping, our Elf on the Shelf has already appeared in the same places multiple times, and every night I have to break the news to Cooper that yet again, it is not the night Santa is coming.

Besides being totally unorganized and still just trying to make shit magical for my kids, we had a successful cookie decorating session with our friends last week! Last year, my friend Kristin came over and we attempted decorating cookies with Cooper and her daughter, Emery.  Kristin had just had Blakely, her second daughter.  The older kids, who were only two at the time, decorated about one cookie each and then were over it.  Kristin held her baby, and I sat and decorated the rest by myself.

This year, we had quite a bit more success.  Cooper and Emery both sat and frosted and sprinkled for the majority of the time.  Asher and Blakely toddled around doing what they do best.  And Kristin brought over a yummy cocktail for us moms to enjoy, which made the decorating all that much better!

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Delicious “Warm Apple Pie” cocktails provided by Kristin

Warm Apple Pie Cocktail Recipe

1 shot of vanilla vodka

1 cup of apple cider warmed with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick

Cranberry or Pomegranate spritzer (Kristin got hers from Trader Joes)- add as much or as little for color and adds a yummy flavor

Apple piece sprinkled with cinnamon for garnish

This drink was seriously so yummy and festive! It really got me in the Christmas spirit! Kristin is a master of decor and perfect finishing touches.  She served us the drinks in cute mason jars, which made the drink super cute as well!

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Drink this!

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Cooper, mastering the green frosting

My sugar cookie recipe comes from my mom, who makes the cutest sugar cookies for pretty much any occasion.  She always makes several type of Christmas cookies, but her sugar cookies are ALWAYS the first to go! I love to make the frosting super bright and colorful, which is how she always does it!

Sugar Cookie Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

*With electric beaters, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg, lemon juice and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients; gradually beat into butter mixture until well blended.  Divide dough in half; flatten into a 1” disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or longer.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  On a floured surface roll dough to 1/8” thick.  Cut with a cookie cutter.  Place 1” apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned around edges.  Cool on a rack.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Icing:

Beat 1- 1/2 cups powdered sugar, a few tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until icing is glossy and can be spread.  I totally play with the amounts; add more milk if it’s too thick, or more powdered sugar if it’s too thin.  Add food coloring (I use William’s Sonoma food decorating paste– the colors are much more intense than regular food coloring) and let the fun begin!

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Having fun with this kid

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Asher couldn’t get into decorating, but he sure loved the finished product!

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Checking our their work

Dining Out with Kids

Last week, I took the boys out to dinner by myself before the Christmas tree lighting.  It was the first time I have ever taken them out to dinner totally by myself; no husband, no grandmas or grandpas, aunties, or friends with me.  The second we got to our table, Asher started screaming as I put him in the high chair, and Cooper was alternating between laying down on the bench and pulling on the Christmas decorations behind our table.  I began panicking and sweating, wondering why in the hell I thought that I would be able to handle this all alone.  However, I did survive the meal, everyone was fed and happy.  Asher only threw his plate of macaroni once all over the floor (gulp).  After doing some thinking on the topic, here are my top tips for dining out with children:

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High-chairs are a MUST!

 

  1. Go early.  Seriously.  Like early-bird special early.  My kids go to bed usually in the seven o’clock hour.  So that means dinner is around 5:30.  I don’t know about your kids but when mine start to get hangry, melt-downs quickly ensue.  Don’t leave it to to chance people! I know it’s not super hip or glamorous to go to dinner when the sun is still high in the sky, but your kids need to eat when they are used to eating.  Also, if your kids start melting down in the restaurant there will be WAY less people to witness it.  Also, less people means you will get your food much more quickly, which is a good thing for everyone!
  2. Go somewhere kid-friendly.  No kids menu = not a chance.  You’re not trying to dine out at the French Laundry with your children.  But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for only Applebees either.  There are TONS of restaurants that are kid-friendly and have good food (suggestions for Sonoma county kid-friendly restaurants coming in a future post).  Cooper had so much fun last week making his own little pizza, which was part of the kids meal.
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    Making our own pizza kept us busy and got us excited to eat dinner!

  3. Go somewhere loud.  Not like a bar.  But a quiet restaurant could be a disaster if your children decide to sing the “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” at the top of their lungs.  The louder the restaurant the less likely you are to get stares from people when your toddler starts flinging his french fries across the table at his brother (tell me this is not just my kids who do this!).
  4. Bring something to do.  Always have crayons in your purse.  Or small toys.  This is a no-brainer if you are a mom.  Always have back up! 

    Cooper’s bestie, Emery, having fun at dinner last week

     
  5. Go with friends who have kids.  Misery loves company.  Just kidding.  But seriously, if you have friends who have kids, go as a group.  Restaurants will most likely seat you at a big table, away from others.  The kids can run around and play together, and you can drink and eat with your friends.  If that doesn’t work, make the husbands chase the kids around the restaurant while you and your other mommy friend relax. You will feel like a human for awhile.  Just ignore the fact that it’s 5:30.

    Moms eating dinner while the husbands chase the kids!

Holiday Gift Guide

I’m so behind already in buying gifts for Christmas! I always tell myself that each year I will be more organized and make lists so throughout the year I can write down reminders for myself about gifts for each family member.  And there is always the hope that I will begin shopping in July and will be done well before Christmas.

Of course, this never happens and December comes along and I find myself just beginning my shopping.  So while I am still scouring the internet and shops for the perfect gifts for family members and loved ones, I thought I would put together a list of the things I am coveting for Christmas this year to help you with your shopping.  These items are specific for us moms, so husbands, take note!

1. Navy blue booties img_3497

I have been seriously craving a pair of navy blue booties.  I have both gray and tan booties, and I thought navy would be a fun way to add some color to my outfits, without being too crazy.  This Jessica Simpson pair comes in several colors and is on sale right now! I may or may not have already bought them as an early Christmas present to myself…

2) Light-weight jacket img_3498

 

I am obsessed with jackets.  I am finding that with my kids I need something a little more light-weight that will also keep me warm during the winter.  I love taking the boys out on walks but wearing a big heavy jacket is too cumbersome and my long sleeve workout tops don’t keep me warm enough.  I’m really hoping to see this Patagonia one Christmas morning!

3) Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow Peach-Infused Highlighting Paletteimg_3504

This is a brand new product from Too Faced, and Sephora’s website says it’s coming soon, hopefully in time for Christmas.  If it’s not, my Sephora gift cards will be put to good use.  I love me some highlighting makeup magic, and I’m dying to try this one.

4) Kendra Scott Stone Tassel Necklace img_3500

I don’t buy jewelry ever.  The pieces I wear on the daily have all been given to me by my husband and my parents and sister. On the day of my sister’s wedding she gave me this Kendra Scott necklace, which started my obsession with Kendra Scott jewelry.  I tried a RocksBox subscription and they sent me this tassel necklace and I was obsessed.  I was so sad when it was time to send it back, so I decided I’d be asking for one for Christmas this year.  I’m really digging the green stone one!

5) Zella leggings

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You can NEVER have to many pairs of workout leggings.  Ever.  The majority of mine come from Old Navy so I’d like to step it up a notch.  I have heard fantastic things about the Zella brand from Nordstrom, so these definitely made it onto my list this year.  How cute are these in green with the cutouts at the bottom?

6) Weekender Tote

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I’ve talked to you guys about my obsession with VICI in a previous post.  This large tote is not new to their website but I’ve been lusting after it for a few months now.  I think it would make a great new bag for work and perfect for throwing all your kids necessities for a day out.

7) Too Faced White Chocolate Chip Palette

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This is another Too Faced product that I can’t wait to try.  When it comes to makeup, I’m all about spending a little bit more to get a palette with several eye shadows that I can use instead of buying individual eye shadows.  I think you get more for your money with palettes, and let’s be honest, who really has time as a mom to pull out several tiny little eyeshadows to make a complete look.  Palettes have colors that are meant to go together which helps someone like me, who is pretty inept at doing makeup.

8) New Balance sneakersimg_3508

Can you guys tell that I love gray? Lol.  It’s my favorite color.  So, of course, I couldn’t resist adding these to my list.  They also come in a greenish color.  I love cute sneakers for days when I’m running errands with the kids.  A cute pair of sneakers makes any pair of yoga pants look way more chic.  Get these ladies!

I hope my gift guide gave you some ideas! What are you wanting for Christmas?

Christmas Kick Off and December Book Review

Our Elf on the Shelf came back.  I’m not quite sure why I started this tradition.  I swore when I first heard about it years ago I would never partake.  But last year, I just couldn’t resist.  I’m pretty unoriginal with his naughty antics, however, Cooper loves it and I need to make him believe that someone is reporting to Santa about his behavior during the month of December.  Although, I’m not sure how well that actually works…

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The boys looking up to something at our holiday photo shoot

Anyway, the holiday season is upon us, so I thought I’d share a new holiday tradition we started this year.  The town of Windsor annually has an amazing Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove every year. Hundreds of small Christmas trees are sponsored by local businesses, organizations, classrooms, and families.  Trees often have themes and there is a “decorating day” the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.  This year we sponsored a tree with two other families.   We had so much fun making decorations and decorating the tree with the kids.  The kids made “sprinkle” ornaments and my friend laminated pictures of the kids and us moms.  The kids have all been friends since they were babies, so it was very cute to see the old pictures on the tree!

The first night of December is the annual Christmas tree lighting in Windsor, so we headed down with the boys to walk around and view all the hundreds of Christmas trees.  There is even a snow machine that makes snow twice a week!  The boys LOVED experiencing the fake snow; I am hoping we can take a family trip up to the mountains this winter to experience the real stuff.  Asher loved running away from us and attempting to pull every ornament off the little trees.  Cooper even got a glimpse of Santa but was feeling a little too shy to go and tell him what he wanted for Christmas.

I’m really hoping that sponsoring and decorating a tree with our friends will become an annual Christmas tradition.  What are some holiday traditions your family takes part in?

DECEMBER BOOK REVIEW

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I just recently finished reading Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.  I had no idea what it was about when I started it; it just kind of feel into my hands.  I am so thankful it did.  It is a memoir written by Melton, focusing on how she took control of her own life and saved her marriage as a result.  I found the book not only inspirational, but highly motivating as well.  Melton’s life before her marriage was a mess; she was an alcoholic and a severe bulimic.  She suffered from terrible self-esteem and found her life basically falling apart around her until she discovered she was pregnant.

The pregnancy forces her to turn her life around and she gets married.  She becomes a successful writer and seems to be conquering this thing called life to a degree.  Then her marriage suddenly falls apart before her very eyes.  What she does next is the inspiration and motivation piece: she works on HERSELF.  She starts to realizes she has to figure out who she is and what she needs before she can fix her marriage.

I loved this book because as a mother and a wife to two small children, marriage is often not my top priority.  It’s hard to work on a relationship when you are so exhausted it’s all you can do to give your partner a “good night, I love you,” at the end of every day.  Melton’s memoir taught me a lot about what goes into a relationship and the work and care not only our relationships need but what each partner needs as well.  I cannot recommend this book enough!

Let me know if there are any books you are interested in for future book recommendations or your favorites that I should read!

November Beauty Picks

So, once again, it’s been awhile! With the holidays now here, I’m finding that every thing from the kids to work has been busier than ever!  I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving filled with lots of family and good things to eat.   This year is Cooper’s first year in preschool, and I was so excited to get to take him to his Thanksgiving Feast with his class.  As a teacher and now a mom, I have been DYING to be on the parent side of things.  It was so adorable to see him interact with his teacher and his classmates.  I loved every minute of being a parent helper and hanging with my little turkey!

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Preschool Thanksgiving Feast

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Getting down with pumpkin pie

Every year on Thanksgiving Eve we participate in a throw-down competition, ala Bobby Flay style, with our friends.  This year the category was macaroni and cheese.  It is a night always filled with good food, wine, and friends.  It gets a little competitive.  Sadly, Brian and I have yet to win one, and I don’t think I can eat macaroni and cheese for about six months. Next year is another chance though!

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Brian and I at the throw-down competitio

Moving on to something I love almost as much as the holidays: beauty supplies!  All my fellow moms out there know: you seriously don’t have very much time for yourself with littles.  Most days my hair is totally unwashed, in a mom-bun and I wear zero makeup.  However, I do think it’s important to take care of yourself and getting ready and putting on makeup can make you feel like a human again.  I love makeup, skin-care products, and hair products so much.  I’m hoping every month to feature a few of my all-time favorites as well as try new products for you guys.  I am very loyal to the products I love, but I also get so excited to try new things.  I also believe in using an assortment of high and low-end products; I believe you don’t have to break the bank to look great, but there are some areas you just don’t skimp on.  So, the following are my December beauty picks:

1) Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Waterimg_3311This stuff is AMAZING for taking off your makeup.  I never used to use a makeup remover, I just used face wash and scrubbed really hard.  It was super harsh on my eyes and I wear contacts so it was all kind of a mess, as you can imagine.  I used coconut oil for awhile, which I also loved until I discovered this cleansing water.  It is so gentle, and seriously has no smell.  I use it every night to take off my makeup with a cotton ball.  I also use some on a cotton ball for the mornings that I’m really lazy and don’t want to wash my face.  It freshens you up just enough so you don’t feel so grubby! It’s just under $7 on Amazon; I have also purchased it from CVS.

2) Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanserimg_3312This face wash is seriously wonderful.  For probably fifteen years of my life I used Neutrogena Deep Pore Cleanser, but I started hearing about charcoal skin cleansers and I was super intrigued.  I bought this also at CVS (the link above is to Amazon- FYI) and I saw such a difference in my skin.  I have pretty combination skin, but I MUST use an oil-free cleanser or shit gets crazy in my skin.  This charcoal cleanser really cleans my face and somehow makes it feel a little bit tighter.  It also seems to have evened out my skin somehow.  I highly recommend it!

3) Maybelline Master Conceal Camouflaging Concealer img_3317Okay, so another great drug-store find.  I owe this one all to my sister.  I told you I was loyal to products, for years I used Benefit Boing concealer (which I’m still obsessed with, look for it in a later blog post) and then Benefit Erase Paste for my under-eye circles.  Guys, I have serious dark circles under my eyes most of the time.  With two little boys who really prefer being awake to asleep at night, I look haggard a majority of the time.  My under-eye concealer was just not cutting it and I noticed my sister using this Maybelline product.  She swore by it so I tried it and I’m now totally a convert.  I use the shade Light, and put it on like big upside down triangles under my eyes and go to town blending it in with a Beauty Blender sponge.  Life changing!

4) Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundationimg_3313This pick is definitely more of a splurge, but I really do believe that your foundation is not something to cheap out on.  You need the color to match your skin tone and you need that shit to blend REALLY well.  If it’s sticky or watery, you are going to hate life.  So, pre-kids I wore just a Benefit BB cream.  It was kind of like a step up from a tinted moisturizer. After kids I quickly realized that is was not enough coverage for me.  My skin, thanks to two pregnancies, was super uneven and covered in awesome dark spots (not!).  I needed more coverage.  However, I do not want to look like my foundation is an inch thick or like I’m wearing a mask.  This past summer, while I was getting my makeup done by an awesome makeup artist in Hawaii, I asked her what she recommended for foundation.  She recommended these Make Up For Ever foundation sticks.  She actually used it on me for the wedding.  As soon as we got back I got myself to Sephora and picked one up.  I love the way the foundation goes on smoothly and evenly.  I apply it to my cheeks, nose and forehead and again, use my Beauty Blender sponge to blend it all in.  It has great coverage but feels so lightweight.

I hope you guys enjoy all my November beauty picks! Please let me know what type of products you would like to see featured next month below in the comments!

Halloween Recap

It’s November first! I blinked and October is over.  This year Halloween was so much fun!  It stretched over several occasions, and both boys loved every minute of it.  Asher was only a few months old last year, so Halloween didn’t mean much to him.  Although this year he’s only a year and a half old, he was able to participate in all our Halloween activities.  Cooper was so excited this year for Halloween; he told me on several occasions that he was sad because “Halloween was taking so long to come.” He is fascinated by things that are “spooky” and we watched Curious George’s BooFest movie probably about 50 times since the middle of October.  Here is a quick recap of our Halloween this year:

We had a family day to the Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch a couple of weeks before Halloween.  I have gone to this pumpkin patch with my kindergarten classes for the past several years so I knew the boys would have a fun time there.  There are SO MANY pumpkin patches in Sonoma County, but I particularly love this one because it’s not super huge, but it has A LOT of stuff for kids to do.  The boys loved running through the hay maze, playing in the corn pit, picking pumpkins, and taking a hay ride.  This was a great way to kick of Halloween.

The Friday night before Halloween a friend of mine had a little Halloween “party” for our friends and kiddos.  All the kids have been friends since they were born and they had such a fun time playing together in their costumes.  Our host made us moms delicious “caramel apple mimosas” and we had chili and cornbread.  It was perfect for a rainy Friday night.

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The kids enjoying some treats and play dough at the Halloween party

Cooper has been obsessed with skeletons since last Halloween, so he insisted on dressing up as one.  And he insisted Asher be one as well.  Not exactly the costumes I would have picked for them, but I do think they make pretty cute friendly little skeletons.  I actually got inspired to search Pinterest for some type of cute Halloween snack for kids and came up with the fun doughnut spiders up above.  Cooper helped me make them (by eating most of the M&M’s).  They were totally my type of Pinterest creation, not too labor intensive, and actually turned out how they were supposed to.

The night before Halloween we ventured over to Sonoma, to visit with our good friends, the Miller family.  My friend Lauren (featured in my previous Dressing Room Diaries  blog post) is an amazing hostess and loves holidays.  She throws fantastic little get togethers for our kids throughout the year.  Her boys are almost exactly the same ages as mine and they are all great friends.  They had fun decorating pumpkins and running around like crazy.  The night ended with both of my boys throwing up from a combination of the running and too much yummy food!  It made me thankful for friends who understand what it’s like to have kids!

Finally, we made it to Halloween.   When Cooper woke up in the morning I told him “Happy Halloween.”  He got so excited and said, “It’s Halloween mama? Right now? Outside?  What’s happening out there?  It’s spooky out there right now?”  I had to explain that trick or treating didn’t happen until nighttime as he was insisting we go after breakfast.

Pretty much the whole previous week leading up to Halloween it rained and on Halloween day the rain stayed away basically until 3:30 in the afternoon.   We got a tiny break while we ate dinner with our friends here in Windsor and then again began pouring when it was time to trick or treat.  We made it down the street on both sides and that was enough for all the kids in our group which us grownups were thankful for.  They boys came back with their bags of candy and I promptly confiscated the Reese’s peanut butter cups…

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!