Wednesday, April 29, 2015


A little background on our family situation for those who don't know me personally - my younger sister Santanna & I are married to brothers. Believe it! I married Matt in May of 2010. Santanna and Cole, Matt's older brother started dating in spring of 2011 and married in the fall. Ok, now that that's established...

Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week. Infertility is heartbreaking and more common than most people think. I was very unaware of how devastating infertility is, mostly because I wasn't ready for my own kids, yet. . Once my sister was ready to start trying for a family - I could no longer be blissfully unaware. I only saw a few negative tests before I became pregnant with Kess, and that in itself was very trying for me. For other's it's much more devastating...

Santanna and Cole decided to start trying for their family shortly after they got married... each month became more of an emotional challenge. Negative test after negative test... After a year of trying, they decided to see a fertility specialist. They were told they wouldn't be able to conceive without IVF (In Vitro Fertilization.) IVF is very extensive and expensive ($12,000-$15,000) So, Santanna and Cole took their time, prepared for the emotional, physical, mental, and financial roller coaster they were about the endure.

After months of prep, medications, prayers and tears... they were pregnant!! Their little boy, James Conrad Kaiserman was born March 30th, 2014

Last Saturday, we walked the Footsteps for Fertility Foundation 5K in Boise. We all joined Santanna & Cole's team! They were given a raffle ticket for each person that signed up under their team. The foundation was giving away multiple grants to go towards fertility cycles and there was even a FREE IVF cycle up for grabs! While we all hoped they would win, we figured they wouldn't. But, someone would win and what a blessing that would be for them! 
After the 5K, we all gathered around for the raffle. The Utah group gave away a free round of IVF and when the winners were announced their whole group screamed with joy! We found ourselves tearing up for them - what an amazing blessing for them! I can't even imagine how they must be feeling!
Next they were getting ready to raffle off Idaho's free round of IVF. The mic was quiet and we all had trouble hearing, but then they call, "BABY KAISERMAN!" My sweet sister just dropped her jaw and put her hands to her face! I obnoxiously screamed all while jumping up and down like a crazy person! I called my mom to tell her the news. I was ugly crying, you guys! I'm sure it was a lovely sight! What an amazing blessing! They are so excited!! They are so humble and just can't believe it happened! Yay for more babies! 

To all those you who struggle with infertility, know that you aren't alone. You are prayed for and truly loved! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Better to Smile

When I was in High School, I was pretty insecure. I'm sure this surprises some people, but it's the truth. I wouldn't even compliment people, because I was afraid that it would make me inferior to them. I would think they would have something on me, or think they were better than me. I didn't want to fuel their fire, when mine was dwindling.
My senior year, I decided to throw that mentality in the trash. My mom always told me to smile, because it will make people wonder what you're up to. I always rolled my eyes, thinking that she just didn't understand high school. But, I decided to give it a try. I smiled - at everyone! Walking down the hall, instead of looking at the floor and avoiding people, I smiled! If I made eye contact with people in class or at lunch, I smiled! It worked, people smiled back! But, I still had people not smile back. To this day, I'm still surprised that people don't smile back.  I still try to keep up this mentality, I try to smile when I see people at the grocery store, at church, at the car wash, wherever. If you run into me and I don't smile at you, it's not intentional.
I feel like smiling at people gives them the benefit of the doubt. I also believe in compliments! I have found that giving people compliments even makes me feel better! I wholeheartedly believe in compliments! I used to not take compliments well, because I thought if I said, "thank you", then it was considered stuck up, or rude. I'm going to blame Regina George on Mean Girls for that one ;)
As a girl, I really struggled. As a woman, I still struggle, but I believe in lifting each other up. I'm tired of being in a society that tears each other down because of their religious, political, parenting, marriage, living differences. It's getting real old.
I think that social media is scary, it's so easy to tear each other down because it looks like others have more than you. Maybe they do, but that's okay. I'm loving following people who inspire, uplift and love each other. That's what I want my blog and my Instagram feed to portray. Honest, genuine, real, love.
I hope that that is what you get from Beautiful Effort. I hope that you are the one that smiles, not the one that doesn't smile back. I hope that you uplift one another and understand that everyone is fighting a battle, so give someone the benefit of the doubt. I think this is a lifelong struggle, you can't always be perfect in the endeavor, but we sure can try.
Have a beautiful week, my friends!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shades of Plum

I have always loved make-up, but I've grown even more fond of it as I have become less fond of clothing - kidding, I love clothes, but it's not as exciting to dress a post-baby body as it is to play with make-up ;)
I have an unhealthy love for plum and burgundy colors... you should see my nail polish container - purples, plums, deep reds, etc.
I actually wore a great purple lipstick on my wedding day & loved it. But, I have yet to be so bold again. I decided to take the plunge after swooning over all these beautiful colors on Pinterest.


Kess girl & I booked it over to Sephora and picked out my perfect plum shade!

I went with the Sephora brand, mostly because I think it's a great brand for the price. Unless I have a specific brand in mind, I typically head toward the Sephora brand to grab whatever product I need.

 Sephora Collection Rouge Cream Lipstick in CRUSH

This is a pretty bright plum color & I think it's gorgeous. 
As you all know, I have a hard time branching out of my comfort zone, so I'm taking baby steps. Here's to breaking free of our comfort zone's and having some fun!

Monday, April 13, 2015

I constantly second guess myself as a mom...

I try to keep it light & positive on the blog, but today I think I need to touch base on something that I believe every mom goes through - at least, I hope I'm not the only one. In my series with Be Bona Fide, I decided to be as honest as I could be, yet I hope to inspire, uplift and help others (and myself.) So here it goes.

Before I was a mom, I was the best mom ever. My kid would never do wrong. She will sleep, she won't throw fits, she will be a great eater, I will discipline her from the get-go. Well, I've eaten my words, and they didn't taste good. Kess is a very happy baby, but as she has gotten older she has developed the sweetest, yet sassiest personality. In the last few weeks even changing her diaper has become a fight (picture me leg locking my child just to get a fresh diaper on her cute bum.) Kess used to also sleep through the night. 12 hours, bam! Mom of the year, right here. From about 5 months on, sleep has been a struggle. I read every sleep book I could get my hands on, which I think helped for a while. Matt actually hates when I read baby books, because while I've convinced myself that I'm reading this with a grain of salt - I know that at times I'm really not. I'm taking every word to heart and it's disheartening. Every time Kess does something that doesn't line up with how I'm trying to raise her, I'm mad, upset and worried that I've ruined my child for life.

My ultimate goal as a parent, besides loving my child unconditionally, is to avoid creating bad habits because I was too tired or lazy to do things the right way. Yet, I feel like based on social media, parenting books, and other people's children, that I'm constantly doing something wrong. I should let her cry it out (but don't do that or your child will feel abandoned). Don't feed them at night after 6 months (but your child might be hungry at 5:00am). Definitely don't feed them at night after 9 months (unless they go right back to sleep after you feed them). Breastfeed (but don't breastfeed). The list goes on. Heck, even when I feel like I'm completely on top of my game as a parent I can't help but wonder if I should be doing something different because it's "better."

Motherhood is the greatest gift I have ever been blessed with. My partnership with my husband goes right along with that. Parenting, however is exhausting, irritating, rewarding, blissful, annoying, and the list goes on and on. Motherhood is my favorite, but having to parent... totally sucks. I am always telling Matt that I love being a mom and I love Kess more than I ever thought I would. I now understand that there are different types of love, something I personally don't think you can know unless you are a parent. However, there are times that I don't like being a mom.

I used to cry to Matt about how awful I felt because I didn't like every minute of being a mom, and I feel so guilty because becoming a mom wasn't hard for me. I have family and friends who have struggled to become parents and some who are even still struggling. I have been eternally blessed with a child to call my very own - I should love every minute, right? But that isn't life. In reality, motherhood is hard and exhausting. It's okay to not love every minute. So to my momma friends, if you're feeling sad, lonely, exhausted or wondering if you're cut out for this, or if you're questioning whether you're doing a good job ... I'm here to tell you that it's okay and you're doing a great job! You love your children with all your heart and soul, so it's more than okay to not like parenting from time to time! It takes a village. Thanks for being a part of mine.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend

Kess' first Easter was a success. She didn't actually know what was going on, but she wore her bunny ears like a champ. We decided to not go overboard with Kess' first holiday's. We didn't want to waste money on little things that she has no interest in. So, just like with Christmas we bought a few things she would repeatedly use and keep for a long time. I opted for a little splurge and bought some Babylit books. They were on sale through Brickyard Buffalo, so I bought 4. They are little board books that teach kids counting, colors, etc. Yet, they tie in literature stories. Kess now has Romeo & Juliet, Pride & Prejudice, The Adventures of Huck Finn, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We also got her some headbands. She has lots with bows, so I opted for something a little more casual. I'm a huge fan of the Withering Iris Etsy shop. All of her stuff is so beautifully made and her customer service is awesome. I've become a huge fan of shopping small, so on this little blogging adventure of mine you will probably hear a lot about new shops that I like and handmade items I've purchased.

I decided to get crafty on Saturday and make a little bunny cake for Easter dinner. My mom used to make these for us as kids and I thought I would give it a try. Like I've said before - I'm not the best baker. I can bake, I would just rather cook. I had left over batter, so I made cupcakes with the extra & put little Easter decorations on them. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself at this point - they look so cute!

Sunday morning rolls around and after cleaning up breakfast, I figure - I better try my cupcakes to make sure they are ok... I grab one, and set it on the coffee table, and start playing with Kess. A little while later Kess starts fussing so I pick her up. I'm trying to get LDS General Conference on. Matt is in the other room, so I've got Kess on my hip and am fiddling with the remote to get it to the right channel. Then I realize that I've got the entertainment center blocked off with pillows because Kess feels the need to push all the buttons on the receiver, so as I'm juggling Kess and the remote, I get the pillows moved and decide to sit down... right on my cute cupcake. (insert the not amused emoji here)... For the record, the cupcake felt light and airy as I squashed it, so that's something, right?! I head to Matt to have him help me and he's laughing so hard he can barely talk. Nice. He finally spits out, "Please tell me you got a picture!" Real nice. I honestly couldn't help but laugh!

(pre-cupcake smashing)

Matt helped me clean up my cupcake butt and we finally settled down to watch Conference, which was perfect. I love hearing what the Apostle, Prophets and other General Authorities have to say. So uplifting! Plus, it was a great day outside, so we took a little trip to the park with Kess.

I hope you all had a fabulous Easter Sunday and I really hope your baking went better than mine. Also, I finally got around the eating a cupcake - so.dry. -but the cake was delicious! Go me!

Have a great week, everyone!