Monday, December 9, 2013

Highs and Lows

Wow, has it really been 6 weeks since my last blog post?  Yep, looks like it.  Well guess I can throw this pledge right out the window.  Geesh, you think I would have learned by now.

Well since 6 weeks is a pretty long time let me update you on just a few of our family happenings.  Since my last blog post (which was October 23rd) here's the low down on some of our highs and lows.

Highs

Halloween was a blast!  My daughter went as a raccoon and my son went as a skeleton.  It was Kyle's first time going trick-or-treating with just his friends (no parents allowed).  I guess it's not cool to have parents tag along with a bunch of teenage boys (who knew? ha-ha).  My daughter Kaylee was a bit bummed about not having her big brother to go trick-or-treating with but she still snagged tons of candy so I'm thinking she still had fun.

My daughter celebrated her 10th birthday! We had a nice little birthday party for her at home and several of her friends came over to help celebrate.  After the birthday party at home we took her to It'z (kind of like Chuck-E-Cheese but with a buffet, more rides, and more games).  It was pretty fantastic.  A few days later Kaylee got her military dependent ID card.  I don't think she realized the significance of it but I certainly did.  I now have 2 kiddies with ID cards.  Makes me a tad bit sad and happy all at the same time.

Thanksgiving was a success! We had originally planned to have it just the 4 of us which I was perfectly fine with.  Then on Thanksgiving morning my husband got a text from one of his soldiers asking if he could come over for dinner (my husband threw out the invite at work so it's not like it was a total surprise).  I scrambled to make sure we had enough to seat and feed 5 and then a couple hours later my husband got another text letting him know his soldier wasn't going to make it after all.  Luckily that just meant more food more us!

We scored a couple of great Black Friday deals and then the day after we decorated for Christmas.  Here's our tree.  Isn't it pretty?  


Now for the lows...

Lows

One major thing stands out in my mind as a low. It was Saturday, November 2nd.  That is the day that I found out my cousin passed away.  It was completely unexpected, as are most passing's, and he was the same age as me, which made it even more unbelievable. Our family is different in that we don't see each other very often. My family lives all over (mainly spread out through Oklahoma, Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada) and since I grew up a military brat and married a Soldier I see my extended family, oh maybe once every 5-7 years (some times even longer) but when a family member dies it's still heartbreaking. No matter how long it's been since you've seen them, they're still and always will be family. 

So this Holiday season, even though I may not be with all my family physically I am certainly going to let them know that they are in my thoughts and prayers.

Well, those are my highs and lows.  I promise to post more often and I actually have a few projects up my sleeve.  Just need a swift kick in the butt to get them all posted!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nail Polish Dupe!

I actually happened upon this Essie nail polish dupe by complete accident.  I had a $1 off Rimmel nail polish coupon and decided to use it when I was at Wal-mart.  I saw that they had some Rimmel nail polishes for $1.50.  Say Whaaaaaaa?! That's right folks, only $0.50 for a nail polish (after coupon)!

I snagged a pretty lavender color and thought nothing of it until I got home and added it to my nail polish drawer.  I noticed right away that it looked exactly like another nail polish I already had and an Essie one at that!



Color wise they are pretty darn close and they're even closer once they were actually on my nails.  I did notice a couple of differences though.  The Essie brush made it easier to apply and the Rimmel formula seemed a bit thicker, but both lasted on my nails the same amount of time without chipping (around 5 days).



What about you? Have you ever bought an item only to get home and realize you had something similar already? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raise a Giant {and a Giveaway!}

Bullying. It's something we are all familiar with. It's something I'm sure at one point or another we have all been exposed to. 

I'll be completely honest and share that I for one hated High School.  I hated it with a passion.  Growing up a military brat I moved a lot, usually every 4 years.  So changing schools and having to make new friends was never an issue for me until High School. 

You see I attended three different High Schools.  Three very different High Schools.  But the one thing that these schools had in common were bullies.  Whether it was the guy that was bigger than everyone else or the "mean girls" each of those schools had them. During my 2 years at one particular High School the only thing I ever looked forward to was graduating!  To this day I am so thankful that the Internet and social media wasn't around.  I can not even imagine how students today cope with that.  Which is why I believe now, more than ever the children of today need our help.




It's time we as parents take a stand and do what is right for our children.


Just because we physically can't be there every second of the day (especially for our school aged children) we still have a responsibility to let our children know we are emotionally there for them no matter what.  I believe it's imperative that we let them know we are here to help.


That's why I am so honored to be taking part in the Raise a Giant campaign.  Green Giant is encouraging parents to write letters to their children on bullying, the effects it can have, and what to do to stop it.  To find out more about their Raise a Giant Campaign be sure to visit their website.  There you can write your own letter (to your children, nieces, nephews, etc) as well as read the encouraging words left by others.

Here is the letter I've written to my own children:

Dear Kyle and Kaylee,

I want to start by letting you know how much I love and care about you.  You two are incredibly smart, kind, beautiful, and generous children and I am truly blessed to be your mother.  I am so proud of everything you have already learned and accomplished in your young lives. As much as I may not want to admit it I know you are getting older.  I know you are becoming young adults.  This time in your lives can be very exciting but for some it can also be scary.  Some children aren't as nice as you. Some children are mean and pick on others who have done nothing wrong.  These kids are bullies and they are not cool. They are no better than you or me.  Bullies do not possess any special powers so don't for one second fear these kids.  No matter how big or scary they try to portray themselves.  If you see someone getting bullied you must say something.  Say something to a teacher, a bus driver, a principal, a parent.  Say something to your classmates or your friends and if you have enough courage say something to the bully.  Tell someone, anyone, about what is going on.  Tell them it's wrong and that it needs to stop.  Stand up and defend those that can't defend themselves. Then, be kind to the child that was being picked on.  Smile at them.  Give them a wave.  Say hello.  No one, absolutely no one, has the right to make another person feel bad about themselves. Please know you will never get in trouble for doing what is right. I hope that you will always lead by example and I trust that you will have the courage to stop someone from being bullied.  Whether it's at school or online I trust that you will do what is right when you see that someone is being mistreated.  I trust in you, my amazing children, and I always will!

Love,
Mom

In order to encourage you to write your very own letter I have a fun giveaway planned! The amazing folks from Green Giant and General Mills are offering a $25 gift card to one very lucky reader.  Want to know how to get involved and possibly win a prize? Well look no further...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This is a sponsored post for My Blog Spark and Green Giant.  It's purpose is to raise awareness about bullying.  However, all thoughts and feeling expressed in this post are 100% my own.  A $25 donation to Pacer's Center for Bully Prevention was made in my name in return for my completed blog post.*

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thrifty Cooking Tips

I have some unexpected (but totally in a good way) tricks to help make cooking easier and I can't wait to share them with you.  Some of these have been in my family for years while other tips I've learned only recently. There are so many ways to use ordinary items from our fridge and cabinets to help make preparing meals (and cleaning up after them) easier. I think you'd be surprised.  So let's get to it!


1.    To prevent grease splatters just add a few dashes of salt to your pan before beginning to fry foods that can splatter.  You'll be able to cook without pain and you won't have to clean off all that grease from your cooktop.

2.    Want to know a secret to making fluffier omelets?  For every 3 eggs used just add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.  It works like magic!

3.    To keep a pot from boiling over there are 2 easy tricks you can use.  The first is to stick a toothpick, laid flat, between the lid and the pot.  The little space will allow steam to escape thus preventing the pot from boiling over.  You can also use a wooden spoon, laid straight across the pot.  I use this simple trick all the time and it really does work!


4.    Don't want to lay that wooden spoon on the counter after you've been cooking with it? No problem! You know those holes in the handles to your pots and pans? Just stick your wooden spoon in there.  Now there's no need to worry about cleaning extra food or spills off the counters.


5.    Need to soften hardened brown sugar? Chip off a piece of the brown sugar and wrap it up in aluminum foil.  Then bake it in the oven at 300 degrees for 5 minutes.

6.    Want to know the neatest trick when it comes to dusting your cake pans or muffin cups?  Put flour into a large salt shaker and sprinkle away.  Then just keep it in your pantry until you need to use it again! I think kids would really get a kick out of this.

7.    To help keep rice from sticking together add a spoonful of lemon juice to the boiling water while cooking.  When the rice is done just let it cool for a few minutes and fluff with a fork before serving.  Easy as rice pie.

8.    There's a faster (and easier) way to clean that cheesy cheese grater.  Just use an old tooth brush! It works like a charm and you don't have to worry about tearing up a wash cloth or sponge.


9.   To get stubborn burnt-on stains off enamel pans soak the pan overnight in saltwater.  The next day just boil the saltwater in the pan, the stains should lift right off.

Last but not least...

10.    To keep your cookbook (or one you're borrowing) from getting splattered cover the book with plastic wrap. You'll be able to read the directions and keep the book clean at the same time! Pretty nifty eh?



There you have it, ten tips that will hopefully make cooking and cleaning a little easier!  Have any other tips you'd like to add?  Feel free!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thrifty and Fabulous Accessories Giveaway

Wow, has it really been 2 months since I did a Thrifty and Fabulous Accessories Giveaway?! Well, I'd have to say it's about time to have another one! Sound like a plan?


So what's up for grabs?  How about $25 store credit! That's right, one lucky winner gets to spend $25 in the Thrifty and Fabulous Accessories shop any way they'd like!  Here's just a few lovely items available in the shop...

 



 
Well let's get on to the fun part shall we?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

No Hair Dryer, No Problem

Lately I've been on this quest to get my hair in healthier, shinier shape.  My hair is naturally dry so when I get it highlighted every 8 weeks, use blow dryers and straightening irons on it every day, well I'm certainly not doing my hair any favors. It was not only dry but it was starting to become brittle.  So I asked myself, what is one thing I could give up in order to give my hair a break?

The answer?  I decided to give up my hair dryer!


I started out by washing my hair every other day (I used dry shampoo on the days I didn't wash it) and then let my hair completely air dry.  I won't lie, I was not looking forward to styling my hair after it had air dried.  I loved the volume I would get from a blow dryer and I had a feeling I was going to be stuck with flat, lifeless, limp hair.

Here's how my hair would normally look after I blow dried it and straightened the ends.



The first time I styled my hair after it had air dried it was a little flat but not nearly as flat as I had thought it would be.  That's when I knew I could totally go a week without using my hair dryer.   By Day Five I could tell my hair was healthier and my volume was coming back thanks to a new shampoo and conditioner. 

Well one week went by and before I knew it I had gone two whole weeks without using my hairdryer!  Now I know to some ladies this challenge might seem silly but I'm telling you I was addicted to my hair dryer. I was using that sucker every single day (or damn near). So to go two whole weeks without it was a pretty big deal.   

I snapped a quick selfie around day 10 and looking at it now my hair looks the same (volume wise) as when I used the hair dryer.  It wasn't flat at all! And it even looked shinier!


Now it's been about a month since I originally started the get healthier hair challenge and I've used my hair dryer a total of 3 times.  On those 3 days I ended up having my hair air dry about 3 quarters of the way and then I did a quick blast, set on cool, directed at my roots. Oh, and I only used the hair dryer on days when I was really rushed. But 3 times in one month isn't all that bad, at least to me it isn't.

What about you? Have you done anything crazy for the sake of your hair lately?  Are you addicted to you hair dryer?  Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Little Kitchen Update

If you read this post from August then you'll remember when I mentioned how badly I wanted to add some knobs and/or handles to our kitchen cabinets.  We actually installed the drawer handles over a year ago but never got around to adding any other hardware. 



Until now folks! I found the perfect brushed nickel knobs at Lowe's for around $1.47 a piece.  We needed 21 and since Lowe's offers a 10% military discount I got all the knobs for under $30.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Installing the knobs was easy as pie.  My husband and I were able to install all 21 knobs in under half an hour.  I measured and drew the dots where we wanted the knobs to go and he drilled the holes.  I cleaned up the sawdust left behind from the drill and he screwed in the knobs.  We actually worked pretty well on this project. I know, even I was surprised.

So ready to see how our kitchen is looking now?




I got to admit I love how they look! I know the knobs on the upper cabinets are a little lower than normal and I'll take full blame for that.  BUT considering I'm super duper short (I'm barely 5'2) their placement on the cabinets actually work out great for me (and my kiddies).

I think when it comes to kitchen updates we're pretty much caught up.  Eventually I would like to add a tile backsplash and I'm debating on removing the vinyl decal (seen in the pic above) but nothing is set in stone.  For now I'm just loving the updates we've already done.  The new faucet and hardware help personalize this room so much, it actually makes me want to get in there and cook!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Curried Quinoa {Gluten Free}

I have a delicious gluten free recipe to share with you all today! I got this recipe from a Clean Eating magazine several years ago (I'm thinking back in 2009) and ever since it's been my favorite go to recipe whenever it comes to quinoa.


Gluten Free Curried Quinoa

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp curry powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup quinoa
2 Green onions, chopped (optional)

Add stock, curry, cayenne, salt, and pepper to a medium size saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat (uncovered).  Add the quinoa, bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat. Finally, remove the lid and fluff quinoa with a fork. 

If you like, feel free to top with chopped green onions. Since I have a ton of green onions on hand (I recently harvested over 200 green onions from my garden) I decided to add some to this dish and boy is it YUMMY!



My daughter is also a huge fan of curried quinoa.  I actually had to double this recipe the last time I made it so there would be enough for everyone.  That little girl can eat an entire dish all by herself, easily!

Well folks, I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we do.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Purdy Flower

A few weeks ago I found myself in the makeup department at Wal-mart.  My mission? To find some killer drug store makeup deals! Not only did I succeed in my mission but I discovered a new beauty brand that I'm absolutely obsessed with.  The brand? Flower by Drew Barrymore (which is exclusive to Wal-mart).  I had heard good things about her makeup from one of my favorite beauty gurus Essie Button but it's when I saw the line of nail polishes that I really fell in love. I wanted each and every nail color Flower made.  Since that wasn't possible I chose one and that one ladies was Good Bud-dy.



This stuff lasted an entire week without chipping! It's incredible to say the least.  Here's the link where you can view all the other available colors.  They are gorgeous and I'm fairly certain next time I'm in Wal-mart I'll be making my way back to the makeup department so I can pick up another nail polish.

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and the price is extremely reasonable (under $5).





Have you tried any products from the Flower line?  If so what did you think of it?  I've only tried the nail polish but I might have to pick up one of her lipsticks, or blushes....

Thursday, October 3, 2013

September Beauty Favorites


Wow, is it October already?  I swear September went by so fast! September has always been one of those odd transitional type months for me.  It's not really Summer and it's not exactly Fall.  It's weird.  One day it's warm enough to wear shorts and sandals and the next it's chilly enough for boots and scarves.  It's weird I tell you!  But enough about our can't-make-up-it's-mind-weather, here are some of the beauty products I happened upon last month that I am absolutely swooning over!


1.   L'Oreal Ever Creme Shampoo. I discovered this gem while watching one of my fave You Tuber's Essie Button.  She raved about this line of shampoo and conditioners so of course I had to give it a try. I decided to go with the Intense Nourishing line since my hair is extremely dry. Well I have to say, it's pretty amazing folks.  It not only smells incredible but it's sulfate and paraben free.  Love, love, love.

2.   L'Oreal Ever Creme Conditioner.  The conditioner smells just as good as the shampoo but it's not as rich as I would have liked.  Ir's great in that it doesn't weigh my hair down but I definitely have to add a leave in conditioner after I rinse this stuff out of my hair.  Overall I really like it.  I believe they make an Ever Creme deep conditioning mask, so I might have to give that a try.

3.  Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft and Sexy Eye Shadow Collection.  This is my 1st ever eye shadow palette (well higher end palette anyway).  OMG it's amazing! I have no idea why it took me so long to buy an eye shadow palette.  Ok, I'll admit it, it was the price tag that held me back.  But I'm telling you it's probably the best makeup investment I have ever made.  The colors in this palette are so soft and dreamy.  The eye shadows in this collection are very soft and neutral, not at all harsh. Plus the names of the eye shadows are kind of fun too (see pic below). I'm obsessed to say the least.

4.  Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder.  This powder is one of my all time favorites.  It's light weight but it stays put all day, which is pretty incredible.  Since I never have to do any touch ups whenever I wear this powder I have a feeling this stuff will last me a while.

5.  Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat.  I haven't used a nail polish base coat in years! Until now.  This little baby extends my manicure by 3 days...easily! I've also noticed that my nails seem healthier and stronger since I've been using this.  Maybe it's a coincidence, maybe it's not but all I know is I'm happy I stumbled upon this little find.  I'm not super crazy about the smell but considering I love everything else about it I'd say it evens out.

6.  Almay Color+Care Liquid Lip Balm.  This stuff is a little tube of happiness (that's what she said)! It's lip balm and lip gloss in one.  It's not that sticky, glittery kind of lip gloss though. So no worries there. I got the shade Blooming Balm and it's the softest pink ever.  I carry this baby with me everywhere.  I have another color in this line but the Blooming Balm is by far my favorite.

7.  Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss.  This is another lip gloss I am loving! I got the shade Super Natural and it's exactly that, light and natural.  I like to wear this lip gloss whenever I go a little bit heavier with my eye makeup.  It gives my lips just the slightest bit of color without being too overwhelming.  It's perfect.






As you can tell from the pic above I've been using the heck out of that eye shadow palette! Aren't the names fun too?  The only name I'm not familiar with is Sugar Walls.  I'd google it but I'm afraid of what I might find. Or God forbid immediately after there's some freak accident, cops are involved, and everyone is made aware of the last thing I googled.  Hahaha.  So if anyone wants to elaborate on the meaning of Sugar Walls feel free!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our Subtle Front Lawn Makeover

Want to know something super embarrassing?  Around early Spring our front lawn looked like this!



Hideous isn't it?  For the longest time we could not figure out why our grass kept dying. I attempted to lay some grass seed covered with compost (which usually did the trick whenever we had smaller patches of dead grass) but no matter how much I watered it nothing would happen.

I didn't want to throw a whole bunch of money away on sod because I had a feeling something was going on underneath the soil.  Sod would have only been a temporary fix (and an expensive one at that) but since we live in a neighborhood with HOA we knew we had to fix our lawn and fast.

Well long story short I eventually found the root of the problem (no pun intended).  It was grubs! Gross, disgusting, grubs.  So once we discovered what the problem was we headed up the road to Lowe's and bought some handy dandy grub remover.  It was one of those treatments that attaches to a hose and you just spray away. I can't remember which brand we used but it worked like a charm!

A few weeks later our grass seed finally took.  We were still dealing with some patchiness by the garage when it hit me! Why don't we extend the rock area?  Both my husband and I hated the tiny triangle space filled with rocks that's located right by our garage.  To this day we have no idea why our builders/landscapers designed it that way.



Now I should mention when I came up with this great idea it was in the middle of summer and our average temps were in the high 90's.  At the time my husband seemed pretty pumped about doing some DIY but I should have known that hot weather plus physical labor don't exactly make him a happy camper (which is why I don't have any during photos).  Lesson learned!   

Back to the project...First, we had to buy the metal edging (which is what we already had in our yard).  Lowe's didn't have any in stock so we had to drive a little further to Home Depot.  Luckily they had plenty of edging in stock so we grabbed 2 just to be safe. 

Our landscaping rocks took a while to find because Lowe's and Home Depot didn't sell our type of rock.  We were getting a bit discouraged when I remembered that we have a local rock shop just a few miles from our house.  Words could not describe how happy I was when we arrived at the rock shop and the first thing I saw was our landscaping rock! Not only because they carried it but because our builders had decided to go with a local business when they did our landscaping. Got to support those local businesses!

We loaded up both our vehicles with a couple hundred pounds of rock (which I think came to around $15) and we were good to go! Once we were home we got to digging.  After the edging was in place and the rocks were laid out I added more grass seed (as needed) and 2 weeks later our yard looked like this!








Much better don't you think?  I'm so glad we were able to tackle the grubs and get our grass to grow back.  Even though the rock portion of this project was a bit stressful, I absolutely love how it turned out. Definitely adds more curb appeal. 

Ready for the before and after?



So much better isn't it?! What about you all?  Have you tackled any yard projects lately?  Or dealt with yucky grubs? Do tell!


New and Improved

Well it's here! A new blog address AND a new layout.  Pretty fancy don't you think?

I don't know about you but I am absolutely loving the new look and it was all made possible thanks to the lovely ladies from Designer Blogs.  My goal for this blog was a calmer and cleaner look.  I definitely think Designer Blogs and their amazing team helped me achieve that.  I worked specifically with Lindsey and she was such a joy.  Anytime I had a question or concern she was there with a solution. Their customer service is truly impeccable.

If you haven't checked out their site already you got to add it to your must do list!  They have an array of affordable Blogger and Word Press blog templates and they also offer custom web designs.


This was the 3rd time I've worked with them. I love them that much!

I have some plans to tweak a couple of things in order to help make this blog easier to navigate but nothing major.  When it comes to codes I'm definitely learning as I go so who knows how long the process will actually take me.   

So what do you think of the new layout? I hope you love it as much as I do!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Who are you, really?

I found this link to a personality test via Story of My Life which I happened upon thanks to Incredibly Smitten.  Jenny from Incredibly Smitten is doing the Blogtember challenge and I am totally digging all the amazing blog post ideas coming out of that challenge.  I love how it encourages you to think outside the blogging box. Any who, back to this personality test.

The 72 question Personality Quiz can be found here and it is definitely worth taking! Once completed I couldn't believe how accurate my results were. 


It notified me that I am an INFJ (Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging). It even listed at the bottom of my results famous people that also share the same personality trait.  I was shocked to see Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nicole Kidman all shared similar personalities with me (um, WOW).  The results summed up that I am very much an introvert but an introvert that is very good at listening and sympathizing with others.  It also explained that because I can interact well with others, people may confuse me for an extrovert.  That piece I found very interesting. The quiz also touched on how reluctant I am to trust others, that I'd rather have a small circle of devoted friends over several acquaintances, that I very much stand for victim's rights, and a career in social work or teaching would suit me best.  Needless to say it was pretty darn accurate.


Immediately after taking the quiz I told my husband and kids about it.  Both my kiddos took the quiz and answered the questions to the best of their ability (some questions didn't necessarily pertain to them but they got the idea).  I was surprised to find out that my both my children share the same exact personality traits! Well part of me was surprised, the other part of me knew they were much more similar than they'd like to believe.  I laughed at the results that said they should both seek a profession in entertainment.  They are certainly characters who love attention so I couldn't help but crack up. 

My husband also took the personality test and it was definitely an eye opener.  His results explained that he was very much a work-aholic.  It touched on how he sometimes struggles with personal relationships because of his need to succeed at his job.  Talk about hitting the nail on the head.  There is no doubt that man is an outstanding soldier.  He works 14+ hours days for months at a time and his crazy behind will volunteer for deployments every chance he gets.  Whenever I bring up that he's already deployed 5 times he always replies with "I know but the job isn't done.  They still need people to go.  I'm willing, I'm able. Why not me?".
 
The crazy part is seeing his results actually made me feel better.  It helped me realize it's not that he wants to get away from the people he loves, he just takes his job very, very serious. He said the results of the quiz did help him see that it's ok to not be so work oriented all the time.   Oh and we couldn't help but laugh at the list of  famous people who shared his personality traits. The majority of the names were Generals and Presidents!


If you find yourself with a few minutes to spare I highly recommend taking the quiz.  It's so worth answering the 72 questions and who knows, you might learn something new about yourself (or your loved one). 

If you do take it feel free to comment with what personality trait you are (or what famous face you share a personality trait with)!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Welcome Changes



First let me start by saying I've been a bad blogger.  Earlier in the year I expressed my desires to blog more often.  I had these high hopes of  maintaining a blogging routine, for example at the very least posting twice a week.  Well I think it's safe to say with September almost over and realizing I only published 4 posts this month, I sucked at that goal ladies and gents.  Truth be told I actually have a whole notebook filled with blog posts ideas and I have about 25 blog photos just sitting on my computer, waiting to be edited.  So what's the problem? Me!

I'll be all prepped and ready to type a post but once I'm sitting there in front of that blank page my mind goes blank as well.  Then I start to question if the idea I had for my post is even worth sharing.  Like, do people really want to see another DIY chalkboard?  It's been done about 20 million different ways, what makes mine so special?  Or, the discovery of an amazing new hairbrush that I found at Target that completely rids my daughter's hair of tangles (in under 1 minute no less).  Well wait a sec, why would anyone else care about that?  If they (or someone they love) doesn't suffer with tangles (how lucky are they?) then I just completely wasted their time...and so on and so on.

Then there's life in general that gets in the way.  Sometimes this is a good thing, a thing I very much welcome and other times, well it can be frustrating.  It's finding that all too elusive happy balance that not only I but we all struggle with.  A happy balance of family life, work life, commitments to others, and everything in between. 


My current goal is to bring that happy balance to my blog.  To help motivate me and get this blog going in the right direction, I'm currently working with some very talented ladies to update this blog's look.  Hopefully, it will be ready to debut by next week (fingers crossed).  I've worked with them in the past and they are nothing but fantastic!  I can't wait to see the new look and I really think you all are going to love it.  Think modern, cool, and crisp.  That's the look I'm going for at least (ha ha).

I also want to focus on the main purpose of my blog, which is to share. My mission statement is to create a blog that has substance, a blog which serves a purpose, and that purpose folks is to share.  I want to share things that make me happy, things I find interesting, things that are beneficial to others. Basically if it brings a smile to my face (or the faces of those I love) I want to share that with you!

I also never want this blog to be a place filled with negativity or whining.  I honestly believe EVERYONE has troubles in their life.  Mine are no better (or worse) than anyone else's.  Erika pity parties are not welcome here.  At the end of every blog post my goal is to share something that I've learned in hopes that my readers will learn something new as well. 

So thank you to those that have stuck around through out my sporadic blogging! You are truly amazing and I can't wait to share more creative tidbits with you all.  Especially once I get over this fear of "Is it good enough?". Also, if you have any tips on how you find balance in your life please feel free to share! Or if your life is a beautiful mess feel fee to share that as well.

Love you, mean it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

August Beauty Favorites

Wow, can't believe it's already September! I was originally planning to post my August Beauty Favorites last week but this dang cold got in the way.  So not fun.  Thankfully I have some lovely beauty products that can help make me look better...even if I'm still not feeling 100% myself.  Got to even the playing field some how, am I right?

So here are the beauty products I was loving last month!


1.  The Body Shop Moringa Body Mist.  I picked this up at our PX for around $9 (which as I'm typing this I see that it's on sale online for around $6!).  I am absolutely in love with this scent.  It's light, fresh, and floral and in no way overpowering.  I have a feeling this body mist will be a favorite of mine for many, many months to come.

2.  Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub in Brazilian Nut. Oh My! This stuff smells like coffee! This is one of my all time favorite body scrubs.  It leaves my skin feeling so silky smooth and I go ga-ga for the scent.  It may say Brazilian Nut but it reminds me of a nice cup of coffee.  So naturally I'm addicted to this body scrub.

3.  Revlon PhotoReady BB Cream.  I decided to give this BB Cream a go.  I've heard conflicting reports when it comes to BB and CC creams.  People either love them or hate them.  I figured I'd see what all the fuss was about it.  I got to say I love this line of BB creams.  I definitely use this more as a makeup primer than actual foundation.  It makes my makeup go on smoother and last longer.  Overall I really like it.

4.  Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer + Brightener.  I am obsessed with this! I got it on the same shopping trip as the BB Cream and I'm so happy I found it.  I use it as an eye primer and under eye concealer/brightener.  This product works wonders! It not only brightens my dark under eye circles but it keeps my eye makeup in place all day AND prevents it from creasing.  This stuff is A-mazing!

5.  Rusk Deep Shine Repair Restorative Masque. I got this deep conditioner in hopes that it would soften and repair my extremely dry hair.  Wow, does it ever! I use it once a week and I like that it penetrates deep like a normal hair mask would.  However, it doesn't weigh my hair down or leave it looking greasy like other deep conditioners. This is definitely a keeper.

6. Rusk Thermal Flat Iron Spray.  So to say my hair needs some help is a bit of an understatement.  I'm currently taking it easy when it comes to heat styling (more info on that in another post) but I can't put down my hair straightener just yet.  So in the mean time I've been using this hair protector.   It gets sprayed on dry hair just prior to using a flat iron.  It feels a bit like hair spray when it goes on but doesn't leave my hair feeling dry or crunchy.  I am loving it so much that I think once it's empty I'll definitely have to repurchase.

Well there you have it! My beauty faves for the month of August.  Can't wait to share with you my favorites for September!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Dress Up Box {Giveaway}

Boy, do I have the cutest Giveaway for you folks today! The wonderful Miss Wendy from The Dress Up Box is giving one lucky winner their pick of ANY item from her adorable shop.



I absolutely love that Wendy's shop is centered around handmade children's clothing and accessories that specialize in Military themes.  Seriously, I wish her shop was around when my kids were itty bitty!  I would have totally got my son this ACU Bow Tie and my daughter would have looked adorable in this Army Tutu Dress.  But enough about me let's get to know Wendy!

I opened The Dress Up Box as a place for the community to find military themed children's clothing for homecoming ceremonies, photography sessions, special events, or day to day wear.


I made my first pettiskirts for my daughters to wear to greet my husband on his return home from his deployment last year. I got such a great response I started making dresses, bow ties, ties, skirts, and other items. I'm so pleased (and a little overwhelmed) at the wonderful response and support I've received from everyone. I'm so thankful and I love knowing that what I create is making other military family's special events a little more special.

While I use new fabric on most items, I can also use up-cycled fabric from a donated uniform (on some items depending on amount of fabric needed). Making an outfit or accessory out of a parent's uniform just makes it even more special! 

I currently have ACU and NWU (Navy) fabric in stock. My master plan is to soon offer each service branch's uniform colors.

Here are just a few of the adorable pieces she offers in her shop.




Too cute for words, am I right?!  Now for the fun part!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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