Monday, October 20, 2014

Quick and Dirty: The Cutest Sweater Ever

Last Tuesday, we got together with our family because we had relatives visiting from Utah, and Shepherd got to wear his elephant sweatshirt. Is this not the cutest thing EVER?

I bought it before he was born at a consignment shop a town over. I've been waiting and waiting for him to grow into it and here he is! Such a big boy. I just knew that it would be perfect for my baby and it sure is. Everyone at the party loved it. 

I can't believe it's already time for potty training! Eek!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hanna's Wedding

A few weeks ago, I was in my friend Hanna's wedding! She got married to her long-time love, Seth and it was a great time! She, of course, looked stunning and everything went perfectly. I was honored to be chosen as one of the girls standing next to her. Here are a few quick photos I snapped in between bridesmaid duties: 

Her dress was a bit wrinkled from all the events that day, so Mandy, another bridesmaid, (who also happened to grow up in our neighborhood. My sisters and I were friends with her and her siblings. It was so neat to see each other again) steamed her dress to make sure everything looked perfect, 

I sat next to Mandy as we ate and, while the food was great, we got such little portions! Most of us hadn't eaten a real meal since the morning and we were like... this is not going to cut it. So Mandy, myself and another bridesmaid, Christina, all went through the line with the guests to get seconds. No shame here! When we were first served, we didn't get a salad, so all three of us got a nice big green salad and a little more veggies and chicken. Colleen's dad let us cut in line because we were so starved. A salad has never tasted so good. 

That would be my one tip to all brides, make sure to clearly communicate with your vendor to provide more than enough food for your party if they are being served. You, your now husband and your wedding party have all had an amazingly long day and you will be starved! Make sure you are adequately fed because the work does not stop after dinner! 

Colleen and I managed to get a quick photo together in the trailer that was parked for us!

These are some of the professional photos of us. If you need a photographer, check out Raquel Leal Photography! She was great to work with, so speedy and so sweet! Colleen did Hanna's hair and I can't remember who did Hanna's make-up. Shoot. I'll try to figure it out. My sister Kari did my hair and I did my own make-up. I loved my whole look! And, I was pretty proud of myself for making it happen. 

This is Hanna's niece, she was the sweetest thing ever. We watched over her in the trailer while her Mom did family photos with Hanna and Seth. I was making sure to keep the grapes rolling and she walked up to me and said... "Hey! .....I love you." Such a beauty.

Colleen had to leave early to be with Benjamin, so I made sure to snap a few photos of the first dance. It was pretty dark out by that time but this one managed to come out okay! 

It was such a beautiful, long day. As much as I loved it, I also kept reminding myself that I don't have any other weddings to be in until Denise gets married, and I am kind of glad about that. Whether it's yours or someone else's, it sure takes a lot out of you! Totally worth it though. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Help Support Bryan!

As you know, Bryan is a musician and he recently entered the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter competition with a BRAND NEW song!! (One that I happen to really, really love.)

Can you help put Bryan on the leader-board by watching his video and sharing on your Facebook/Twitter/Google +? If you have a blog, would you blog about it? If you do, come back and leave me a comment and I'll be sure to link to you! 

I would so appreciate it! Click here and THANK YOU!!! 

A Birthday and A BBQ

The weekend of September 20, my sister, Alison and her family moved back to Hanford after being gone about 13 years away. It just so happened that the day they were hauling all their belongings up from San Diego was Emma's birthday. Not wanting the big Tenth Birthday to slip by, our family got together for a birthday celebration for sweet Emma on Sunday. 

It ended up being such a beautiful day! The party was held at my sister Kari's in-laws house. They have a gorgeous home in the country. The kids had a ton of fun and I think we succeeded in loving on our girl!

After the birthday, we headed over to Visalia to go to another BBQ on Bryan's side of the family. It was really fun and relaxing! The kids had such a great time playing and watching the big kids swim. At one point, Shepherd and Isaac were looking out the window, so we propped Logan up with them. It was sweet to see them all together. These boys are going to be nothing but trouble as they grow up!

Gotta love days that are jam-packed with family! I especially love when Shepherd gets quality time with his cousins. He has so much fun playing around other kids and I love to watch them interact. I'm so glad that almost all of Shepherds cousins live in our area. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ipsy September Glam Bag Review! (Review, Swatches and Value!)

*This post contains affiliate links. A small percentage, stipend or credit helps support my blog without any additional charge to you. Thank you!

Oh, hi.

Work and school have literally kicked my ass the past few weeks. I've been such an Eeyore lately and a few nights ago, my beloved husband says, "You know... You haven't blogged lately." and I said "I know. I've just been such a downer. I don't want to drown my blog in my sorrows when I have no solutions to them... especially cause I'm not READY to have solutions to them. I just suck." And he pauses for a moment and says ".....Maybe you need to write again so that you can work through it all."

He knows, as I do, that I'm a better person when I write. Seriously. It's no secret that my mind is clearer and things are revealed when I write. Which is why I hate doing it. It's emotionally exhausting even THINKING about writing for me. I can't handle emotional exhaustion on top of physical and mental exhaustion from work and school. Facing my never-ending issues is just too much.

BUT..... You know what is NOT emotionally exhausting? MAKE-UP.

Oh make-up, how I love thee. I wish I could just play all day long with make-up.

The only problem is that you only have so much face. You get what I'm laying down?

ANYWAYS, today I'm going to go over last months Ipsy Glam Bag!  Because I am nothing if not timely. I took these photos so long ago and I never even looked at them. Hopefully I did an okay job...

Heeey! Not too bad. The September 2014 Glam Bag was themed Street Style. It was a little edgy and grungy and I liked it a lot. For those of you that may not know, Ipsy is a beauty subscription service that costs $10 a month. A subscriber receives four to five deluxe size samples (with the occasional full size thrown in!) and a cosmetic bag monthly. 


What: Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss by Cailyn in Basic Instinct
Value: $19
Review: The first item I pulled out of the bag was this Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss by Cailyn. It's a very smooth formula, not sticky at all and is a really pretty color. This is a full size lip gloss and I've used it a bunch the past month! It is extremely opaque. Here is a swatch (excuse the Fitbit): 


Value: $6.99
Review: One of our previous Glam Bags had a Crown Brush Shadow Brush in it and I wasn't wowed. It wasn't very soft and it was so large that I couldn't use it well on my small, hooded eyes. However, I love this brush. I have used it over and over again throughout the past month. It is sooo soft. The shadow side is still really large for me, but this is so soft I can actually use it as a crease blending brush with no problems. I'll lay the color with the crease brush side (the small pencil brush) and then blend it out with the large shadow side. I'll also use this to quickly set my shadow primer with a skin-toned shadow as well. I don't typically like duel end brushes because it's hard to store them (they should be laid flat) but they are amazing for travel. Would definitely recommend this brush! 


Value: $4.50
Review: Come on now. Another full size product?! Go Ipsy! I love this shadow. It's pigmented and so so pretty. Easy to blend, all that. Want to really amp it up though? Prime your eyelids (I like Behind the Scenes by Lorac), then Maybelline's Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk  AND THEN pack on NYX Addiction. The two together are just absolutely beautiful and it's pretty enough to be a one color shadow look if you're in a hurry. Love!


Value: $8.75~
Review: This product has the longest name ever. Sheesh. This is a great product. I use it most often after I've curled my hair and brushed it out. This smooths the hair and renews it. The sample size is generous - definitely enough for me to figure out if I like it. I would consider purchasing this as full size even though the price is pretty steep, only because I believe is seriously would last FOREVER. A little goes a long way. 


Value: $11.00 (Cheaper at Target, usually)
Review: I was so not impressed with the shadows that we received in a previous Glam Bag so I didn't know what to expect. I think the swatch below is pulling blue because of my Fitbit, but it is a really pretty color. The formula is smooth and soft on the eye... however, this is a natural vegan brand and sometimes people with oily skin don't see long lasting results. By mid-day, my oily eyelids basically broke down the formula and it was gone. If you don't have oily eyelids this could be a product for you! If you do have oily eyelids, prime those babies, lay down a trusted black liquid liner and then maybe layer this on top? Haven't tried it yet, but it may work!


Total Value: $50.24
Overall Thoughts: For me, this months bag was a hit! I really loved the products and I feel like the value of the Ipsy Glam Bag is astounding. I definitely feel like I'm getting my money's worth this month (and pretty much every other month!)

What do you think? Have you signed up for Ipsy yet? Do it! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pushing My Limits

I've always been afraid to fail. I think everyone has varying degrees of this fear. It's not uncommon, by any means.

Last Sunday at church we spoke about detours. We've all had them in life... You're chugging along going one way and all of a sudden some life event comes along and you're sent spiraling down a different path. Some are chosen and some are not. Some detours you want to be on and some are downright awful.  It was a really good subject for me, as I feel like I've been on a giant detour for the past two years.

We expanded on the topic last week in our Journey group and one of the attendees said something that flipped a switch for me. She said that she was going to college and ended up dropping out and getting married. She knew that she was supposed to be a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom and be the office manager of her husband's business. She knew that was what was going to end up happening, but she wanted that degree. She enrolled back in college and halfway through the semester she was pregnant. She said after a lot of soul searching she realized that she wanted the degree not because she was going to necessarily use it, but because she wanted to have it. There was pride in it. She wanted the degree for the title.

Obviously, not everyone is called to be a stay at home mom. We all know the moms that work who wish they were home and others who stay at home that wish they were working. We know moms that should work who do work and moms that should stay at home who do stay at home. I know many moms that need or want to work and stay at they find a way to do both.

If you've been a long time reader you know that I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom. It's been very hard for me to let that go. After I heard her story though, something nudged in my brain. I just had this light bulb moment that said that I'm not a stay at home mom because of my fear. Staying at home for me would be staying in safety. My fear of failure was a partial motivator in my desire to stay at home. 

Remember, this is just for me. It has nothing to do with any other woman out there or their reasons for doing what they do/don't do.

My epiphany also clarified that my fear of failure was not the only factor. I also have a grand fear of success. Deep down in my introvert soul I have always wanted big things. I've always wanted to be a well known author. I've always wanted to write children's books and fiction novels. I have always wanted to run a small business that grows into a BIG business. I have absolutely always wanted to be in politics. I've dreamed of starting local and moving up the ranks.

But when asked, I always said I wanted to be a stay at home mom. For me it was easier, safer, than explaining that I want big, big things and I'm scared I'll never get them. I'm afraid of failure and I'm afraid of success.

More than that, I worried that the reason that I wanted these things was because I wanted recognition. It was my desire to be noticed. To be well known. To take something small and make it big. To run public office. To achieve any of those things you must be noticed... For someone who goes through life largely unnoticed, saying that these were desires I had made me feel ridiculous.

A more important question would have been - what are my motives behind wanting to achieve those goals?

I always wanted to write children's books because books saved me as a kid. Books kept me company, kept me safe. There were times that things were so bad in my house that I would hide in the back of my closet in my safe place and the books I read would take me far away from my reality. If I wrote only one book and only one kid read it and felt that way, I would consider myself successful.

I love small business. I love seeing the little guy succeed and I believe that you have can have a big business that feels small. That cares about its community and provides more than just goods or services. Big business does not have to feel as corporate as it often does. I want to employ good people, sell or provide quality items and be a benefit to a city and it's people.

We need honesty in politics. We need normal people that have good heads on their shoulders and good business practices in government. We need someone to remind people that the government shouldn't be helping the sick and down-trodden but the PEOPLE should be. We should be rallying up our neighbors that are worse off than ours, not callings for the government to do it. A lot of people make the government care so they don't have too. Not to mention we need ethical people back in government.

My intentions for having these goals are good, but because they put me in the limelight, I felt like it was self-serving to want them. Who says I'm the right person to do any of it? Plus, how could I possibly succeed in any of those areas?

I've held myself back by the things I've decided I can't do without even trying to test my limits. 

Sure, there is the unknown in parenting and child-rearing and running a business or brand can be a baby on its own. Both avenues have uncertainty and scary parts. I'm not discounting that at all. But for me, staying home would be safer that attempting to reach any of those goals and failing OR succeeding.

Last week when I heard her story, I realized that my detour is definitely about growth. I've experienced so much in the past two years and I am so far from any type of comfort zone. I feel so lost and unsure of myself. I enrolled in this program knowing that I only had half of the money to pay for it, but sure that I'd figure it out. Beyond that... just the fact that I enrolled in this program, that I'm striving to move up in school business, that I've decided to pursue being a CBO at a school district - it's SO FAR from anything I thought I could do.

But look at me. I'm doing it.

I've had this war going on inside me for the past two years... Part of me is travelling this path kicking and screaming, with a hefty amount of skepticism, resentfulness and sadness.... but part of me is excited to see where my detour leads me. The part of me that I keep hidden, the part that wants to be successful and make a difference, it's rejoicing... anticipating some fresh air and maybe even a little sunlight.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I dropped an F-bomb right before Journey Group...

Wednesday evening was our first small group, which our church (it's weird to say type that) lovingly calls Journey groups. Makes sense. They encourage their rather large congregation to break off and get to know each other and walk through life together.

Bryan and I have been attempting this thing called attending church. Bryan is all for it and I'm on the fence. Considering that out of the four weeks we've gone, I made us late to three of them. Last week, I'll have you know, that I was ready a half hour before church began. So you know, I'm amazing. It only took Bryan and I getting into four fights about it before we collectively decided that while he got to sleep in (like every other day) I get to wake up at my normal time (too early) so that I can get ready in peace.

So last week I got to sleep in a whole zero days. Add in a rather frustrating project on charter school petitions which meant lots of late nights. Dumb.

Back to Journey Group. Let me set the scene by going back to Sunday. Sunday we went to church but while we were there, I started not to feel so good. Like... not at all good. When I got home, I got straight in bed and ended up with some weird stomach flu/virus thing that made me not eat for more than 24 hours. I felt absolutely terrible. I missed work on Monday and I've just been thrown off my game all week. Food is not a friend, you get what I mean?

Bryan hasn't been feeling so hot either so we're just amazing to be around. I told Bryan on Tuesday evening what was for dinner on Wednesday AND THEN reminded him in the morning to take out some tilapia from the freezer. How irritated was I when I got home and was told that we would not be cooking dinner because there wasn't "time". Frying up some fish, microwaving some green beans and there wasn't time?????

I decided not to pursue a fight because I am extremely mature and decided we'd pick something up. Bryan had been in charge of figuring out the details of our group because he is familiar with the people who are hosting it. Do you know what he didn't do? Figure out the time, place or phone number of the hosts. We had zero information about where we were going.

Add another layer of irritation.

I keep pushing Bryan to help me figure it out and get Shepherd ready so we can get out the door to grab food and he's about as helpful as a bump on a log. In complete frustration I call HIS MOTHER and she gets me the information which..... sigh. It is now 5:56pm and we're pretty sure the group starts at 6:30. I'm like hustling to get everything together and we leave.

We had a hard time deciding where to go. I wanted to go to a Subway that was close to where the house was. Bryan decided to go to Port of Subs which was farther away from the house. We go in and there is a line. When I go up to order I ask Bryan what he wants and he says he doesn't want anything.

I'm so sorry, but I almost lost my SHIT right there. Like, we started whispering back and forth to each other in that way that married couples do when they are pissed at each other in public... You've either seen it or done it. No judgement.

I inhale my sandwich and we arrive right before 6:30....................................except there are no cars. We got there a half hour early. Group starts at SEVEN. As I was getting the diaper bag out of the car I made some comment that most definitely had the f-word in it. I just ate food in .2 seconds when my stomach has been completely ridiculous all week. I paid for that all evening/night long.

As the host is doing last minute house cleaning and dishes and getting coffee set up, she's also making small talk with her lame guests that showed up thirty minutes early.

It was all good. It's par for the course for most people trying to get to church, something always goes wrong. I am never more of a heinous biotch than I am on Sunday mornings. We will all face adversity when we are trying to breathe something good into our lives.

That adversity may cause us to utter a few cuss words or bicker with our significant others, but the end result is worth the struggle. Soon there will be less and less of the adversity and the joy of attending, creating new relationships and strengthening others is worth it. A routine will be formed and the struggle you faced trying to better your life will be a distant memory.