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!