Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015 #BEcap

I've been the worst blogger ever! The holidays have been so hectic & I've been trying to soak up time off with my little family, but don't worry - I'm back at it! You probably weren't worried, were you? ;)

Christmas was so fun & exhausting this year. I think it was a glimpse of Christmases to come. We stayed up way too late watching Muppet's Christmas Carol, painting Kess' IKEA table (talk about last minute, right?) & then finally assembling the table. I'll be posting an IKEA hack here in the next few days - it was beyond simple :)

Matt woke Kess up around 7:15 and brought her into bed with us. we got a good snuggle session in & then rushed to open presents. Kess didn't quite get what was going on, but the second she saw her little table, she was in love. It made all that dang last minute prep totally worth it! We had to pull her away to open the rest of her presents. We try to keep Kess' presents simple, mostly because she is ever growing, changing & honestly - we don't have the room for tons of toys. So this year we stuck to her little coloring table, some blocks & some princess magnets. She likes to play with the magnets on the fridge while I cook dinner, so I figured we could get some cute ones! She got some stuffed animals from grandparents, which she loved! She's a stuffed animals lover like her momma was!

After our little family Christmas we were off to Matt's parent's house! We started some breakfast casseroles before presents, but the little kiddos beat us to the punch, they snuck off & found their presents. It was actually pretty hilarious & they were really excited! Plus, how cute is that little shopping cart from grandma & grandpa?

After breakfast, Kess got a little grumpy. I'm sure the day is overwhelming & exhausting for these little ones, too. We decided to take off a little early & put her down for a nap. The little stinker dozed off in the car, so it took us a while to get her back to sleep, but she finally conked out. We, of course had to wake her up to get to my parent's house on time & she wasn't super pleased about that. She taught us a lesson by being a grump for a while. ;)

Kess got a little slide from my parents, she loves that too! She didn't quite get how to climb the ladder on her own, but we taught her so it makes our life a little easier! ;) We ate ourselves into a food-coma during Christmas dinner, so much food! It was delicious. We decided to head home to get our sassy girl into bed. All in all, it was a successful day full of love! It's super easy for me to get wrapped up in the presents and all the Christmastime activities, but I tried really hard to slow down & think of our Savior & His birth. What a glorious day that must have been! What a painful sacrifice it must have been for our Heavenly Father to send him to us. I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas with your family & friends!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Hunter Boots

Let me guess... you've been dreaming of Hunter Boots, but $150+ is just an 
unrealistic amount of money for rain boots? Ya, me too! I think they're beautiful, 
and super trendy, but that's a lot of dough... dough that could be spend of groceries, or baby clothes! #momlife

A friend of mine told me a secret... sells Hunter Boots for $80. $80!
Believe it! I snagged the tall gloss black in a heartbeat! Mine were back ordered, which was a bummer... but they totally shipped earlier than what they said! Bonus! To get this steal of a deal, you must be a member of Costco Wholesale (or know someone who is and borrow their membership number.)

 I was a little nervous about how often I would wear them. Let me tell you, I probably wear them
 too much. They pretty much go with everything! So, if you're hoping there are Hunter Boots waiting for you under the tree on Christmas morning. Head on over to & get moving! 
Merry Christmas to you!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving #BEcap

I have really been looking forward to the holidays this year. Last year was really stressful for me - it was our first holiday season with a baby. I had no idea what to expect and I was so nervous about balancing breastfeeding, nap times, eating food for myself and enjoying family, plus we were living out of town and had to drive in crummy weather to get home to see our family. We totally made it home without a glitch, even in the snowy weather, but Kess totally had a bad case of "stranger danger" and hated all the people around her, but she napped great and I just ate while she slept. We survived.

This year was great! Kess is down to 1 nap, in the afternoon. We decided to put her down a little early. She took a shorter nap and we made it to dinner on time. I volunteered to make the stuffing this year. I saw a few recipes on Pinterest and gave this Crock Pot Stuffing recipe a try. It was really yummy, but I didn't love the texture of it. It was more mushy, than fluffy... bummer.

I also found these super cute Thanksgiving Photobooth Props on Pinterest, and just had to print them out. They ended up being a hit and were so fun to play with. Matt was also beyond thrilled about these, obviously. ;)

I hope you all got some steals on Black Friday. I am a "stay in my jammies and shop from home" kinda girl. I stocked Amazon all day. Half of my Christmas shopping is done! Whoop! Any fantastic Cyber Monday deals that you know of? Throw 'em at me!

We chopped down our christmas tree this morning. It was stinkin' cold, but we had a great time! Kess did really well for the temperature being well below freezing. She got to go sledding, play with the dogs and watch Frozen in the truck once it got too chilly for her. She even conked out for a bit in the car. I can't wait to see her little face light up once we get our tree up and decorated. Here's to hoping she keeps her sweet little hands away from the ornaments! #yarightmom

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for all of you and for the time you take to read my thoughts. So grateful for this community of mothers, family and friends!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Must-Haves

My Friday got a little crazy, so #fridayfavorites turned into #mondaymusthaves... did I just make that up? I should probably trademark that hashtag! ;) 

I'm sharing some of my favorite facial products today. I am always on the lookout for great moisturizers, exfoliates and cleansers. Always. I'm pretty willing to try any product, but they can't break the bank. Let's get real here... I have better things to buy than a $100 jar of wrinkle cream. So, first and foremost... do little things to take care of your skin. 

Keep heavy sun-exposure to a minimum. I'm not saying never tan or go out in the sun, but take care of your skin, even if you want to get some color on those cheeks of yours,  use a light SPF to keep burning at bay. 

Wash your face at night... no falling asleep with your make-up on. No no!

Exfoliate. Help cell turnover rates by sloughing off dead skin to keep it glowing.

Moisturize. A lot of people panic about moisturizer. I get it, you feel like your face is oily, so why add more moisture. If you think drying out your face is going to help, I'm super sorry to say that it most likely isn't. When you "dry" out your face, your body thinks it's lacking moisture and overcompensates by producing more oil. Finding a good balance is key.

I've been looking for a few great "saving face" products and I think I've found them!

Lush Let the Good Times Roll: Best exfoliant everrr. This is actually a dry product that you add water to. I keep it in my shower and use it as my cleanser/exfoliant everyday (well the days that I have time to shower.) You don't have to use this daily, but I like the way it makes my skin look and feel. It's an all natural product that smells amazing!

Lush Ultrabland: I initially went into Lush to find a good cleanser and was sold on this and "Let the Good Times Roll" instantly. This is an oil-based cleanser, which is what I was really wanting, because I didn't want my face to produce too much oil. I was hoping that with something oil based, so my face would find a good balance! Bingo! Totally did! This stuff is amazing! By far, my most favorite cleanser I have ever used. 

Biore Charcoal Pour Strips: I've noticed a blackhead issue on my nose... blackheads are a total bummer. They are kind of a pain to get rid of too... no amount of scrubbing helps. So I grabbed a packet of these strips at Wal-mart and they worked like a charm! Plus, I totally loved seeing all that gunk come out of my pours - but I'm weird like that ;)

And last, but definitely not least doTERRA HD Clear Facial Lotion. While my Lush cleanser does double as a moisturizer, I love this product for acne help. I've always had a fairly clear complexion, but as I get older and dare I say, a little more hormonal, I've noticed some acne. I think this product helps keep it at bay. Nothing is fool-proof, but the essential oils in this product are super helpful at keeping my skin clear and bright - and it smells good. Win win! 

What are your favorite facial products? I would love to give them a try! Comment on instagram @beautifuleffort or share below! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Passion Series: Fatherhood

I have been writing this post in my head for months now. As some of you know, I started the "Passion Series" to share some of the things that I've become more passionate about since starting this blog. We've talked about motherhood, but today is my husband's birthday, so I'm going to talk about Fatherhood.
I'll be completely honest, I knew very little about fatherhood, minus the fact that I have a wonderful dad who has helped me grow into the person I am now, but I only knew one side of fatherhood, and that was through the eyes of a child.

As I have watched the person I love turn into a father, I have realized the heavy dedication it takes to be a dad. In full disclosure, I didn't understand why Matt wasn't ready to have kids when I was ready. I was ready to have a baby about 1 year before we started trying for Kess. Matt was mid-MBA, mid-working full time & mid-exhaustion. Now, I'm not entirely selfish, the plan was the wait until Matt graduated, but I like to think about things way in advance and Matt is totally "in the moment"... I knew I had to start buzzing in Matt's ear about a baby well before I knew we would actually start trying, but the more he said that he wasn't quite ready, the more stubborn I became, even though I knew it wasn't time yet.

After Matt graduated with his MBA, we thought we would start trying for a baby. Then Matt asked if we could just wait for summer to be over. We could enjoy our last summer without kids with camping and hiking. While it was a great idea, I was still miffed. I remember selfishly saying, "Why does it even matter to you? I'm the one that will be pregnant. I'm the one who is going to be breastfeeding. I'm the one who is going to be staying home. I'm the one who is going to be getting up in the middle of the night. Having a baby hardly affects you." How arrogant (and rude) was I? That selfish comment has replayed in my mind over and over again as I watch my husband wake up in the middle of the night with our daughter, as he walks me out of her room because I'm exhausted and at the end of my rope, as I watch him hug and kiss Kess the second he walks through the door, or as we climb into bed at night, we check the baby monitor one more time and he says, "I love her more than anything."

I have two very clear images in my mind relating to Matt and Kess. The first is the moment she was born. They sat her on my chest and Matt touched her tiny hand and she wrapped her bitty fingers around Matt's. I will never forget that, ever. And, the very first night we brought Kess home, I was terrified and exhausted. I was so nervous for her to wake up in the middle of the night. I remember that first little cry that woke us up out of our sleep. Matt turned on his lamp, flashed me a huge smile and said, "I'll get her!"

So, I am constantly reminded about my selfish comment by the way he treats Kess and I. On top of that, I can't imagine the stress that comes with earning the primary income for our family.
Matt isn't a flawless dad, just like I'm not a flawless mom, but he works so hard to provide the life that we dreamed of for our family. We often talk about how important the motherhood role is, and I wholeheartedly think that fatherhood is just as important.

Happy Birthday Matthew, I cannot imagine my life without you. How incredibly lucky are we to know that we are each other's forever? You are the husband I dreamed of, the husband I prayed for. And now, you are the best father Kess and our future children could ask for. We can't wait to celebrate with you tonight! We love you more than you could ever comprehend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Weekend Shenanigans & Date Night

Alright, I'm a day late, but I thought I would post about our busy little weekend. I was dying to take Kess to the pumpkin patch, mostly because I have never actually "picked" my own pumpkin. I only wanted one tiny one for Kess, so we decided to head out to a small pumpkin patch. I'll be totally honest with you - picking your own pumpkin isn't all its cracked up to be. I was waiting for this magically perfect Instagram world of hot cocoa, wagon rides, lush green wines with perfectly shaped pumpkins on them... not so much. But, nonetheless we had a great time. My momma joined us, so we got to pick a few pumpkins for her porch & we found Kess a tiny, cute pumpkin. Kess actually seemed to enjoy herself despite having tripped over pumpkin vines a few times.

Matt had some work to finish up, so my mom, Kess and I went to lunch. We have officially reached the age where Kess really isn't all that pleasant to take out to eat. She gets pretty restless and needs entertained a lot and most things don't keep her attention for long. Then I turn into that mom that's offering her iPhone to her toddler... dang, did I just admit that? Words eaten. So we inhaled our food & got Kesser back home for nap time #favoritetimeoftheday (after bedtime, that is)

Later that afternoon once Kess woke up, Matt's mom came over to watch Kess so Matt & I could get a date night in. Matt and I actually suck at dating each other. We go out quite a bit, we have our great moms and some awesome babysitters, but we rarely go out just the two of us. This was a treat. We basically picked the cheapest date ever since we had a Cheesecake Factory gift card from last Christmas (see, not so good at the dating) and we had 2 movie tickets. We hadn't seen a movie since I was pregnant with Kess. We were pretty dang pumped. We even bought popcorn and a drink, because we had so much room left in our stomachs after demolishing our Cheesecake Factor food. This is why I have a "mom-bod" ;) We saw the Martian, which was fantastic. Totally recommend it! I laughed, I got teary-eyed and I had a nervous feeling in my tummy because ti was so suspenseful. Go see it. We also got stuck in traffic on our way home due to an accident, but it was kinda nice to sit quietly next to each other. It's funny how the little things can make a date night so wonderful.

I think it's so important to date your spouse. It's honestly really hard to do, especially when you have kids. It ends up being our savings grace. This week we had a bad case of the "reeeers" at our house. We were tired, worn down and grumpy. A night away was just what we needed. It is tricky to balance your "love life", when you're also building careers, homes and families, not the mention figuring out what to cook for dinner and remembering that you've got wet clothes in the washer (since yesterday)... marriage is a ton of work and I'll admit it's easy to let it fall by the way side, because you know you love your spouse, but it's even more important for them to know that you love them. It's easy for that message to get lost in translation. So, put in a little extra effort & go on a date. ;) What is your favorite date night activity? I want to know! 

Have a great week, friends!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Favorites

When starting this blog, I decided to put forth more effort to make Kess' day to day life more exciting. I know that she probably won't remember things for a while, nor does she probably appreciate the little things I do, but I will remember them forever. I want to know that I did little things in my children's live's to make their days magical. 
I'll be honest, I fall short pretty much every day, but someday's I totally pull it off & feel like
 "Mom of the Year!"

I saw these cute candy corn popsicles on Pinterest and I just so happen to have bought popsicle molds at IKEA when I was in Utah this summer. I had all the ingredients in my fridge (Score, that like never happens) I put vanilla Greek yogurt in the bottoms and let it freeze, then orange juice and let that layer freeze. Then for the finale, pour some pineapple juice in there & let it freeze. They look a tad bit un-perfect, but Kess woofed them down! 

I'm dying to try this White Chicken Chili recipe. I think it sounds amazing! I have never had chicken chili, so it will be fun to give it a go! Plus soups make me so happy when it starts to get chilly outside! 

My crazy talented friend Cortney, has a super fun Etsy shop called TreeHouseDesignz with the cutest stuff! She just helped me with a vinyl for this great sign that Matt built for our kitchen. She let me be super picky with the fonts, too! As soon as the sign is finished I'll be posting away. Go check out my new favorite Etsy shop! I dare you do not buy something! 

We are pretty boring around here. It's been a long week between teething, crazy work schedules and a house that never seems to stay clean. Matt & I are being selfish this weekend and going on 2 dates. On tonight & another Saturday night! Don't worry - we are taking Kesser to the pumpkin patch Saturday morning to pick out the perfect little pumpkin! 

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Favorites & a simple fall treat

Happy Friday, my sweet friends! We are gearing up for our 1st annual Harvest Party! My sister & I decided to plan a little get together with a few friends for some homemade chili, yummy fall treats and a few games! We are super excited about it! We've been in party planning mode all week! Weeee!

I don't know what it is about having a child, but holidays are so much more exciting! I've been finding the cutest Halloween gear, so I thought I would share some of our favorites! In full disclosure, I don't purchase all of these things! We just don't budget for all sorts of frills, but it's fun to buy the occasional holiday goodies!

Of course, I love all the little kiddo Halloween clothes. I think this little kitty cardigan is to die for! And it can be worn past Halloween because it's plain and simple! I found these cutest little skeleton jammies at Burlington for under $8 - I just had to snag them. They even glow in the dark which is dang cute, but keep in mind that the glow is bright! ;) I totally caved when I saw this adorable "moewlloween" tee from Positively Oakes! It was on sale, so I went for it!

I've been thinking about this Halloween Chex Mix for weeks. I'll probably add popcorn in, instead of so much Chex mix! I love candy coated popcorn! 
I'm getting ready to make Chili for our 1st annual Harvest Party (as soon as Kess starts her nap this afternoon), I'm super excited to stuff my face with chili and too many fall treats! 

I figured this would make a super easy and yummy treat at our party tonight. It's also great for "Booing" if you do that with your family! We do it for a mutual/youth activity! This is the treat we will probably be sharing!

Sprinkled Donut Holes 

powered sugar and milk; mixed to a "frosting" consistency. 
dip donut hole partially into frosting mix,
then dip into sprinkles.

I love this little treat because it can be used for any occasion! 
Super easy to use whatever sprinkles you want! 

Cheers to the weekend! ;)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Favorites: Teething

Kess got her first tooth at 6 months and I'm happy to say that our teething experience with her hasn't been awful... until now. Poor thing has 3 teeth cutting through right now, 2 of which are molars. Once these 3 teeth cut through she will have 10 teeth! She's a champ, but I can tell she's miserable. She's normally a phenomenal sleeper and this last week or so, our nights have been doozies. I actually took her in to her pediatrician because she was tugging at her ears, too. She's never had an ear infection, and her ears ended up looking just fine, so those darn teeth are giving her a run for her money. 

Here are a few things that work for us as far as teething goes. We use a lot of essential oils - we are firm believers in using both modern and alternative medicine, so both get used in our home. 

White Fir: I rub a little bit of this on Kess' gums; wherever her new tooth is cutting through. This numbs her gums a little and does a great job and easing her pain. She will even open her mouth now, whenever I grab the bottle and rub a little on my finger. I figured that was a good sign :)

Clove: When I can tell that she's in so much pain that White Fir isn't cutting it anymore, I dilute (heavily) clove into Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO). (1T FCO:2-3drops clove.) Clove is great for numbing the gums. Kess woke up in the middle of the night just bawling, and I knew it was her poor gums, so I rubbed her gums with diluted clove and she conked back out. 

Roman Chamomile/Lavender/FCO Blend: In a 10ml roller bottle -10 drops of Roman Chamomile, 10 drops of Lavender, then filled the rest of the way with FCO. I roll this onto her cheeks and massage into her jaw line, I also massage it on the bottoms of her feet, this helps calm her jaw pain and also helps her sleep. 

Hyland's Baby Teething Tablets: Kess eats these like candy. I actually have to hide them because if she sees the bottle, she points and asks for them. They dissolve really quickly and easy teething pain with 4 homeopathic ingredients. We get ours at Wal-Mart or Target. During rough teething days/nights, we use these as much as directed. 

During lunch or snack times Kess has frozen yogurt pops. I just bought some individual yogurt squeezes and froze them. I cut them in half and Kess loves them. I'm sure the cold helps ease her gum pain and they taste good, too! 

And, like I said before, we are firm believers in modern and alternative medicine, so we aren't above giving Kess' Acetaminophen* or Ibuprofen. We typically give these to her at night, because with essential oils, consistence is key, so they get applied often, but at night we want her to get the rest she needs to recover, so we do essential oils and a dose of medicine, as well.  

*I've done the research on Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen and feel comfortable with giving my child the occasional dose.*

What teething remedies do you use in your home? I would love to hear them! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Passion Series: Motherhood

I started writing this blog in January. My daughter, Kess was 6 months old. We were living out of town and traveling for my husband's job. Kess' routine was dwindling (along with my sanity.) I felt like I wasn't quite cutout for this whole motherhood thing. I loved Kess, of course, but I felt like I wasn't doing right by her. I knew that my role of a mother was important, I just wasn't seeing it clearly. I wasn't seeing "results" of my mothering, the long nights and the routine building. I decided I needed something to make me, me. I talked (and cried) with Matt and told him how I was feeling. I told him I needed to try new things, to get out of the house, to go on a hot date and to be more than just a mom.

It felt great to try new things, to try a new date with Matt, to put effort into aspects of my life that hasn't seen effort in months or years. Then I realized something really important...

I loved being a mom. You see, my daughter didn't stay teeny forever. We taught her things like how to say, "momma" & "dadda." We helped her sit up, crawl and walk. She now snuggles me back as I sing primary songs to her before bed. She has become my little best friend. I absolutely love teaching her new things, watching her little mind work, making a new lunch for her to gobble down. I love that I know her. I know her likes and dislikes and how she likes to dance to the Octonauts song, or how she squeals when she sees her big puppy, Kane in the back yard. I love that she brings me my makeup and says, "dis?" Or how she claps whenever I praise her by saying, "Yay!"

Being new to this whole motherhood thing, I didn't know that this is what my life would turn into. I thought it would be long nights, making routines, painful breast feedings, and exhaustion forever. It wasn't. It's a whole new world of love, of understanding, of eternal gratefulness to my Heavenly Father and still a little bit of exhaustion ;)

In the early months of Kess' life I felt a little obsolete. I knew she needed me, but I didn't realize how much I needed her. I know that sometimes as mothers we feel like our job is tiring, boring and  thankless and heck, we don't even get paid to do it. I know that we sometimes lose sight of who we are when we become moms. I am trying hard to create balance in my life, to be 100% committed to being a mom, a wife and myself. It's not an easy thing to do and that's ok. I love being a mom to Kess, a wife to Matt, because they make me, me.

I started this blog to find passion and I won't stop looking for ways to branch out, trying new date nights with my husband, or teach Kess new things, but I now know that I am incredibly passionate about being a mom. I can honestly say that it completes who I am. I am way more than just a mom, I'm her mom.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekend Shenanigans & THE Green Smoothie

We just got back from a fun-filled weekend in McCall, Idaho. Actually the weather was a little blah, so it made it the perfect weekend to do nothing. We bummed around with friends, ate late breakfasts, read books, chased Kess (a lot) & stayed up too late watching TV. A lazy weekend in a beautiful place! 

We actually lived in McCall for a few months while Kess was teeny tiny. We moved there in September of last year and moved back home in March of this year. So Kess spent about 7 months of her life traveling back & forth from McCall to Nampa, so we could be with Daddy while he was working & we drove back to Nampa so Mommy could work. It was a wild ride, but we are oh so glad we did it. 

We obviously ate way too much junk while we were weekending. We have actually had some unhealthy food habits going on for a few weeks now between bring home that giant chocolate Costco cake, to birthday celebrations, to fair food, to weekend getaways... we have been bad. I'm pretty sure even Kess could use a juice cleanse at this point! ;) 

My favorite way to make sure I'm getting some good nutrients is to make a green smoothie. Now, there are a million different green smoothie recipes. I've tried quite a few and could never find one I actually liked, until this one. My sister got this recipe from a good friend, and loved it, so I gave it a try. So good. Kess even loves it, which is awesome because sometimes babies aren't the easiest of eaters, so this insures that she gets some good healthy food in that cute little belly of hers.

3/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries
3/4 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt (I use vanilla, because I hate plain)
1 frozen banana
a few handfuls of spinach
1 T of Chia Seeds 
1 Cup of Orange Juice.

I would have never thought to freeze the banana, but it helps keep the smoothie from going weirdly frothy. Bonus. 

It's super easy to "smoothie prep" with this smoothie. I slice up the bananas, place them in plastic bags, and put them in the freezer. They are easy to grab quickly and easy to blend because they are in smaller slices. I recently decided to be "pinteresty" & blend my spinach because it would go bad before I could use it all. I added some water and handfuls of spinach into my blender & blended until it was all liquefied
, poured it into an ice tray and froze it. After it was fully frozen I broke it up into pieces and put them in a plastic bag in my freezer, they are easy to throw into the blender.

I found Kess a few tiny tumblers to drink her smoothie from. She loves them, but the only tricky thing with tumblers is that she can pull the straw almost all the way out, they get caught at the bottom which is nice, but it still makes quite the mess. I grabbed a rubber band and wrapped it around the straw at point that hits under the tumbler top. Then she can't pull it out at all. It makes for a much easier clean up! :)

Do you have a favorite green smoothie recipe? I would love to give it a try!

Happy Monday, my friends! Have a great week! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fair 2015

#BEbucketlist #15

I love the fair! Mostly, I love the food! OK, all I love is the food! We didn't go last year because Kess was so teeny tiny, so I was really looking forward to a corn dog this year! ;)

We celebrated my momma's birthday at the fair!! So we threw caution to the wind and ate 4,753 calories.

Kess is just like me when it comes to animals... she likes to look, not touch!

We tried to take the babies on a few family rides, but they were too little, even with us riding with them. So we walked around played a few games. I was dying to go on the swings, so my parents watched Kess for a bit and Matt and I hopped in line for the carousal swings. I must be getting old, because I basically paid $10 to feel nauseated haha! At one point I looked back at Matt and he asked how I was doing, "Only okay!" "Same here!!" Yep, not quiet the adventurers we used to be.

Matt loves to look at the art in the expo building, so we wandered around. Kess really wanted to push her stroller so I let Matt look around & we found an open area to "stroll."

We (again) grabbed a bit more food. Kess got to eat grandma's ice cream potato, which she loved. This babe woofed down half a corn dog, a good amount of lemonade, more sips of Pepsi that we intended & got a snocone. Don't worry, we actually feed her healthy food from time to time ;)

The babies were officially done & ready for bed, so we took off & washed the fair off of Kess & got that girl to bed. My parents came by & we played a round of Klondike Rummy. At that point I was delirious because it was so late (11:00pm)... We wrapped up cards, I lost, and went to bed! Such a fun weekend! I love when we get a chance to do something we wouldn't normally do. Most of our weekends are filled with yard work, house work, or other little odds and ends, so when we get a chance to play in Boise, or go to the fair - it's a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cost Per Use

Ok, let me preface this post by saying that I feel kinda goobery for posting things that I've purchased. I feel like I'm bragging about things I bought, but I had some people wondering what I snagged while shopping in SLC.

We had saved up for my SLC getaway for a quite while. I wanted to be able to shop without remorse. Well, that's just not in my personality. I feel buyer's remorse for everything. It's the dumbest thing, really. Can't get over it, no matter how I try. I have come to terms with the fact that it's a good thing; it keeps me from over spending.

I was determined to buy things I needed, but I wanted to buy a few things I had been eyeing on a few fashion blogs I follow, too. So, I decided to make a list of the things I needed, buck up, get over my shopping guilt and enjoy!

I actually rarely shop - we don't budget for it. I don't even have a monthly "fun" allowance. We have some financial goals that keep getting in the way of fun ;) I get birthday money & Christmas money. I try to make it last as long as possible. My birthday is in June, so if I plan well, I can stretch my birthday money all the way until Christmas & a wonderful cycle ensues.

I never know if something I buy is going to be worth the money or not. Fashion bloggers always seem to be snagging the most expensive stuff & swearing by it. Well ya - it better be worth it if it costs that much. I always seem to be looking for a "dupe" of whatever product I'm on the hunt for. Sometimes that pays off, but sometimes you end up needing to "invest" in the more expensive product. When needing to invest, I take on a "Cost Per Use" mentality when shopping. How much is this product going to cost me each time I use it? Will I get my money's worth?

I recently bought a pair of jeans that were super inexpensive. I caught a good sale & had a store coupon. I liked them for about a month, then they lost their shape and I always felt like they were saggy around my but, unless I was washing them after each use. Not cute. So, during my Utah shopping trip I was determined to find a great, long-lasting, comfortable pair of jeans. And I wanted jeans, not jeggings, not lots of stretch. Well, I found some on sale! Thank you, #nsale. Thankfully they were not the original $225, but still. (insert heartbroken emoji here.) After much convincing from my sister in the dressing room and one hesitant swipe of my card later... I'm the proud owner of these beauts! I know, kinda cringe-worthy. But, I have zero buyer's remorse. Really. If I break these down with my "cost per use" tool, I actually don't end up "spending" much per wear. I constantly wear skinny jeans. Almost everyday, actually, even in the summer. I'm most comfortable in them, and I think they are flattering. Even if I wear these for 1/2 of the year, my cost per use is under $1/day. I can justify this because I know it is a fact that I will wear these until they die. That's what I do.

How do you justify expensive clothing? Do you just go for it? Do you debate back and forth like I do? Or do you veto expensive clothing and continually buy less expensive (a choice I often make)?

Here are a few more staple items I bought while in SLC -
Caslon Pencil Skirt - purchased in black and navy for church. I like to look "dressed up" at church. I typically stray away from a casual look, but I am chasing Kess around now, so that changes my church attire. These skirts are durable, comfortable, flattering and on sale! Bonus!
Pleione Pleat Back Woven Top - Blouses were one of the top things on my shopping list and I snagged these on sale as well. I bought 2, because they were 2 for $60, and they still are if you're in need of a great blouse! I would normally cringe at a $30-$40 shirt, but these were comfortable, super flattering and could be worn with my new pencil skirt, or my new jeans... #winwin. I bought Cream (which is actually more white than cream) and the Blue Mazarine. There are actually more colors online than there were in store, which tempted me to purchase 2 extra colors (Pink Hush & Purple) I am a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl and I'm trying to feel less frumpy, more put-together and these are the perfect blouses for that.

I hope this was helpful for those of you trying to decide if something you want is going to be worth it.. plug in "cost per use" ;)

I snagged a few things from Lush that I am loving as well! If that sounds interesting, let me know & I'll share a few of my favorites!

Happy Wednesday! xoxo

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Girls Trip to SLC

My sister, Santanna and I have been planning this get away since we were knee deep in diapers, baby vomit and breastfeeding. We decided that once we were both done breastfeeding that we would jet the heck outta town. Easier said than done - because we are kind of emotionally attached to our babies! We were all talk for a little while, but we made it happen. It was a glorious weekend.
Our husbands worked from home on Friday, so we took off around 9:00am. We drove straight through Salt Lake City to Draper... Hello IKEA! I had never been to IKEA, so I was pretty giddy! I already can't wait to go back! So many IKEA hacks floating around in my brain!

We checked into our hotel downtown SLC, grabbed some food and rented an overly priced movie in our hotel room. Worth it. 
We didn't really sleep in... mostly because we are moms and our brains are programmed to wake up early, so we got ready, grabbed a quick breakfast and walked around Temple Square while we waiting for City Creek Mall to open. We started in Nordstrom so we could focus our energy into the #Nsale!! We didn't plan to be in Salt Lake during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale - that was a very happy coincidence! To make a long story short, we shopped until we dropped. We took a small break and drove to Toys R Us to grab toys for the babies, and then went back to City Creek to snag all the purchases we were unsure about before ;) Instead of venturing out and trying some fancy restaurant for dinner, we grabbed personal pizza from Pizza Factory, (not enough) chocolate from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, changed into our jammies and ate pizza in bed. So cozy.

I got a text from Matt on Saturday saying, "Kane did it, so Kess wanted to..." with this picture attached! I almost died from the cuteness! This babe is an outside girl! She loves being in the backyard with Kane!

The next morning we sorted through all of our purchases, packed our bags, called down to get our car (we paid for valet parking - one of the best decisions of the entire trip), and headed off to Bruges Waffles... best waffle of my life. I wouldn't lie to you. Santanna and I ordered the basic waffle with strawberries and whipped cream. We figured it would be good because - let's face it, a waffle is a waffle, right? Wrong, dude. Not all waffles are created equal. These were sweet, crispy, sugary deliciousness. I'm not sure I can ever eat a regular waffle and not feel some disappointment. Ok, that was a really long paragraph about a waffle. Moving on...

We drove a little too fast to get home to our hubbies and babies... go figure. Kess girl was asleep when I got home. I was a little bummed, but got over it quickly when Matt said, "So... show me what you bought!" Once Kess woke up and I gave her a bottle, let her wake up for a minute and then she gave me tight squeezes! Oh it was the best feeling ever! She has never hugged me so tight! She looks so big in this picture, too. She's still tiny, don't worry! ;)

I'll do a post on my shopping budget and how I decide if something is worth purchasing or not. I like to get more bang for my buck! ;) I found some great staple pieces over the weekend that I am oddly giddy about! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kess' 1st Birthday

Celebrating Kess' 1st Birthday was bittersweet, but mostly sweet. I know I've mentioned this before, but I wasn't sure I was going to survive motherhood. It was so much harder than I had anticipated. I was so sure that I would never get used to having her around, never get used to carting her with me everywhere and most certainly never get used to putting her needs before mine. Then all of the sudden, all of the things I was so worried about became my new "normal." I can't imagine my life without her and I know Matt feels the same way. We often talk about how we don't only emotionally love her, but we love her spiritually as well. What a blessing!

This last year has been the hardest of my life (so far), but it has also been the most magical. I have never known a love like the love I feel for Kess. To watch her grow, develop, learn and change has been one of the best things I have ever witnessed. Being a parent is truly magical.

I picked Kess' watermelon theme waayyy before I should have even been thinking about her 1st birthday. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on her party, even though it's a milestone for our family - I have seen too many people drop way too much money into what should be a simple, yet exciting occasion. We decided on a backyard bbq with our parents, grandparents and siblings. It was great weather! Started out hot, then overcast, then down-poured right after the cake smash - excellent timing.

We had the typical BBQ cuisine - hot dogs, hamburgers, an array of homemade salads (thanks to everyone who brought food), fruit & veggies, and homemade desserts! I decided to make Kess' smash cake and the other sweet treats, mostly because those things add up quickly.

My sister & I made watermelon shaped sugar cookies with royal frosting. It was our first time making and using royal frosting - trickier than it looks, kids! I think they turned out great & we only had one toddler/cookie incident - bonus! ;)

I made the cupcakes, (my favorite) buttercream frosting and the cupcake toppers. The cake was just a box cake, but split into 3 pans and dyed different shades of hot pink. I had never done an ombre cake before, so that was fun to try! The toppers were super easy, just scrapbook paper, cut into two different sized circles, glued together & cut in half! I used the same paper to make her "ONE" banner, using this printable template.

Kess girl was totally spoiled by all of her family - so many toys (as if she didn't have enough already.) I actually kept some packaged up and stuck them in the closet to pull out later. I am trying to rotate her toys. Little babes seem to get bored of their toys quickly, so I figure if I have a rotation going we can avoid that.

Kess' cute watermelon dress is from Alligator Lane. This was the only thing I couldn't make for Kess - I mean, I could have tried, but I figured I would save myself the frustration & buy something well made. This dress was perfect, so adorable and she will still be able to wear to church or out and about.

Thanks for all your party detail inquiries, I love being able to share this stuff with you all! I really enjoyed keeping Kess' party low budget, intimate and fun! It was the perfect day! Have a great weekend you guys!!