Things I Bought and Liked – All Under $40!

There have been a few things I found this fall that have made me feel like have SCORED in the staying-sane-and-keeping-myself-and-small-humans-alive department (#winning). Some I have found in random shopping trips or browsing online, one was a stocking stuffer (ULTA, you hooked my husband up!) and a couple came on recommendation. Here they are in no particular order😁:

Corduroy Jumper

This cute corduroy mini-jumper has been one of my fav fall purchases from Birds of a Feather (BOAF)! I felt like I was having a mid-life crisis with this purchase because of the length, however I made all the girls at BOAF promise that I didn’t look like I was an old person trying to look young. 😂 I had an extensive convo with Jill (many many pics and texts) about how to style this and what kinds of places I could wear it. I’ve been so focused on building up my professional wardrobe, that I have sadly forgotten my fun, casual wardrobe. I was able to wear this to a concert for a parents’ night out! I paired it with a black mock turtleneck, black tights and leopard print flats. You could also add booties or a white ribbed shirt underneath.

Ice Roller

Don’t get me started about this. This $12 item has brought me so much joy in the past two weeks. I have been using it first thing when I wake up to “de-puff”. It also is great for headaches. I keep this in a plastic bag in the freezer and have it ready for use. This is so worth it – go get yourself one.

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer

This little bronzer packs a huge punch for its size. It is super pigmented, so you only have to use a small amount to create a bronze goddess look, use as blush or to contour. This size is great to travel with too! 

Firearm Kids’ Clothes

If you are a fan of Mini Boden, you will love Firearm. I’ve found some great dupes for half the cost! Best of all…it’s all available on AMAZON. The fabric is soft and breathable – enough for my two year old.😅

Universal Thread Booties

These adorable cut out booties are TARGET dupes for the more pricey Free People ones. They are only $32.99 (and there is a BOGO 50% off going on right now)! They are comfy and very on trend for Fall.

As a fellow (working) mom, I hope some of these ideas help you to stay chic, have $$ in your wallet and generally make life easier!

Xx,

Lauren

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Netflix and Shhh…I actually want to watch this!😉😂

Even though I don’t have an abundance of spare time, (you know, with the whole full time working mom, two toddlers and a husband thing🤣) these latest favs are totally worth carving out some time to enjoy! While some of my favs aren’t on Netflix, I CANNOT stop thinking about these latest movies, shows and podcasts:

 

“Crazy Rich Asians”

crazy rich asians.jpg

 

Based on the trailers alone, I thought this was going to be a comedy. It turned out to be a LOT more than that. The cast was awesome and the scenery of Singapore was breathtaking. (NOTE: Trip to Singapore on the bucket list!)

This re-mix Cinderella story made me laugh, cry and everything in-between. Awkwafina played Peik Lin Goh and was seriously hilarious. I majorly teared up during the wedding scene with all the DRAMA, romance and gorgeousness of it all. Pony up for a babysitter and take your Bae to see this ASAP.

 

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” – Netflix

to all the boys

 

Dead. I have been hooked on this since I watched it the first time. Yes, this is a teen rom -com; however my inner 16 year old girl is dying over this film. It’s “Clueless” with a little “10 Things I Hate About You” and some “She’s All That”. Remember the hot guy with the jeep in every rom-com, the first look of the girl coming down the steps, and the cute head on the shoulder that made you just tingle?! It really took me back! While it’s not realistic, it’s totally relateable. We so knew these people in high school and felt all the feelings!  SPOILER: It is a cheesy love story, but come on, sometimes we just need that little escape from reality.

Lana Condor (from X-Men: Apocalypse) plays Lara Jean Covey (half-korean…boom) opposite Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). There are love letters, fake dating and all kinds of perfect chemistry. It’s a super cute coming of age story, which I think this may have inspired my latest corduroy overall mini dress.😂

Peter Kavinsky + Lara Jean forever! “You gotta tell people how you feel when you feel it…you can’t just sit up in your room writing love letters that you’re never going to send out.”

PS – This is based on a trilogy of books by Jenny Han. If you want more, check them out!

 

“Great British Baking Show”- Netflix

Great british

 

I have gotten my whole family addicted to this show. It was originally aired on PBS, but has made it to Netflix. Something about Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedrovc make this show SO very British and SO very good.

This is NOT your American baking show with ingredients flying, contestants out of control, but brings a certain refinement and dry sense of humor to the show. I guarantee you will not have heard of many of these “bakes”, but nonetheless will be majorly entertained by the mix of contestants and challenges.  “On your marks, get set, BAKE!”

 

“The Lazy Genius”

kendra

 

This is one of my very favorite podcasts. Anyone else relish the 10-20 minutes in your car alone after you’ve dropped off the kids for school?? I don’t know about you, but for me, that is sacred time. Many times I spend it listening to The Lazy Genius. Kendra gives us ways to be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. She covers everything from cleaning your house, to cooking to planning your life (without becoming a robot). She is hilarious and so very REAL! You will love her and her story about how she met her husband.

 

“The Moth”

TheMoth-JimKrenn_Story-Podcast

 

I stumbled across this podcast during a drive back from a work trip. The Moth tells some of the best REAL stories from some of the most interesting people – some you will recognize and some you won’t. They are inspiring, funny and very eye opening. Check it out.

 

“Unruffled”

Respectful-Parenting-Podcasts-Janet-Lansbury-Unruffled

 

Not only does Janet Lansbury have the most soothing voice, but she offers some real thought-provoking ideas in her respectful parenting podcast, Unruffled. She gives different scenarios posed to her from listeners, each week and addresses the behaviors described and gives practical ways to handle it. Have a child that seems to prefer biting to talking? or seems shy in certain situations? or likes to flip out in public?? Yeaaaaah, me neither. 😳 HOWEVER, if you have a friend that could use some advice, I’d send him/her to Unruffled. While I may not agree with all of Janet’s advice, it’s really nice to hear from a professional that I’m not permanently scarring my child with my parenting techniques.😂

I hope you are able to check out some or all of these and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your favorite movies, shows and podcasts too!

Xx,

Lauren

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Amazon Fashion Find of the Week!

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ll just say it – I have a serious shopping habit.😂 However, it has definitely taken a left turn in the last year. While I still love hitting the mall and outlets, my current situation (aka – mom life) has made me a habitual online shopper! While I am still loyal to my fav stores, I am a new convert to Amazon Fashion!

In my search for some on-trend, comfy, age-appropriate, casual outfits for the fall I was striking out in all my usual places. After hearing about Amazon Fashion and already being a “Prime” enthusiast, I had to try it. I spent several days combing through the Amazon Fashion pages, I was not having any luck. I came across pieces that look like this:

Yeaaaah, um no. That checks NONE of the boxes. However, in looking at the reviews it actually had some potential in the real life pics. I took the plunge and ordered it.

These cotton overalls were actually really cute and comfy (and not nearly as baggy as the pic)! I paired them with a white burnout t-shirt and my go-to Gigi Sandals. They are lightweight enough to start wearing now and you can easily throw on a long sleeved shirt or sweater as we move into Fall. This was such an easy piece and definitely “mom approved” – I could easily chase my toddlers and still feel somewhat pulled together.

This brand has some other really cute pieces, but I will say CHECK THE SIZING CHART! They are 1 to 2 sizes smaller than your normal size. Also, while they are Prime eligible, sometime when they are sold out, they will take 7 to 10 days to get to your house. I got mine in about 4 days.

I have definitely learned my lesson and am now scouring the “reviews” on Amazon Fashion to find cute pieces that look good IRL.

Happy Shopping!

Xx,

Lauren

(Affiliate links included)

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MISSION: Lasik Eye Surgery – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Who: ME!

What: Lasik Eye Surgery

When: July 2018

Where: LasikPlus, Columbus, OH

Why: Unassisted perfect vision, yo!

I have thought about getting Lasik eye surgery for the last 10 years. I’ve seen each of my family members get Lasik and ask me “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??”. My first evaluation was about 10 years ago. I got the “go” from the doc, despite my astigmatism and young (*ahem*) age. Besides the fact that I’d have to pony up 3 months worth of rent (in DC!) for the procedure, it just didn’t feel right. From what understood, my eyes should be stable for 1-5 years and many times prescriptions will change after pregnancy. At that time I wasn’t married and there were no kids in sight, so I backed out.

Fast forward 10 years and after suffering with increasingly itchy eyes around the spring and fall allergy seasons, it was time to take the plunge. I didn’t really plan to get Lasik this year, (if I had it to do over, I would have maxed out my FSA!) but after my brother’s pseudo-spiritual experience (😂) with Lasik, I had to get on the ball.

After copious amounts of research, I settled on LasikPlus in Columbus, OH. I made an appointment and because of scheduling, took my 4 year old.  He was playing a game on his Kindle and would yell, “YEAAHHH” or “WOOOO”, which freaked out the opthamologist checking my eyes. 😅 She double checked both eyes to make sure the side comments didn’t cause any mistakes. The appointment lasted about an hour and I got my results the same day. I was told I had a beautiful optical nerve and lots of cornal tissue which made me a candidate!! (Do they say this to everyone?) This news was so exciting that I made my surgery appointment on the spot. I had one month to mentally prepare myself.

 

DAY OF SURGERY:

So, if you read our aerial yoga blog post you know that I have a serious fear of the unknown. I have been known to dive head first into “fun ideas” only to FREAK OUT the night before the event. There were lots of thoughts running through my head before I went in for surgery (check out the Glitter Jungle InstaStories).

I had another full eye exam to confirm the results of the exam a month ago. During one of the exams, the tech put numbing drops in my eyes and asked if I wanted a Valium. Before I could answer, my husband said “yes, she would like a Valium.”😒 (I, of course, agreed with him). Once in the final waiting area, I watched a couple of people go in before me and literally walk in and out in 5 minutes, like nothing happened. My name was called and I didn’t even have time to stress.

MOMENT OF TRUTH:

Once I was in the surgical room, (aka giant fishbowl that everyone could see into) I was ushered into the first chair where a plastic dome was taped to my left eye. My right eye was fitted with another device that held it open. The surgeon explained that I would feel some pressure, my eye would go black and then it would be over.  I started my deep breathing and he began the 30 second countdown. My right eye was suctioned to the machine and felt some pressure. My vision went black, but it didn’t freak me out because I just imagined that I had closed my eye because of the pressure. The surgeon got to 3, 2, 1…and I let out a sigh of relief. NO pain at all. They switched the plastic dome to the right side and my left eye was propped open and suctioned. Same 30 second countdown, deep breathing and boom, off to the second chair. Did anyone else initially freak about not being able “to hold my eye open that long” or “thought I might look away”? Yeah, no chance of that with the kind of suction that was going on here.

Once in the second chair, I was informed that I would see a series of Green and Red lights and was instructed do my best to keep my eye on it until the 30 second countdown was over. At this point, I had the plastic dome taped to my left eye and my right eye was held open with a metal device. It wasn’t hard to keep looking at the lights. Towards the end, I did notice that the surgeon had folded the flap back into place and looked like he was painting my eye with a small paintbrush. Kind of disturbing, but I didn’t feel a thing. Same story for the left side.

Here’s how it all went down:

After the procedure, the surgeon asked me if I felt ok and advised me to get home and take a 4-6 hour nap. Just like the three people before me, I donned my sunglasses they provided and walked right out of the office. Luckily our hotel was in the same complex and it took us 10 minutes to get to our room. Let me stop here – I am a championship napper. I have joked that I should write a book about how to nap. Of course this day, I could not nap. The nurse told me that there would be 3 uncomfortable stages if I couldn’t nap. The first would be a feeling of onion juice being poured into my eyes, the second would be non-stop watering and third, dry eyes. Each stage lasted from 30 – 60 mins. I kept my eyes closed the majority of the 4 hours. I would not suggest peeking (oops) because that’s when I felt the pain. My suggestion would be NyQuil, if you aren’t a good napper.  I should also mention that I was given a series of 3 different eye drops and vitamins to take over the next few months. These are super important! After my “nap” John and I went to dinner (I wore sunglasses) and walked around Easton. I don’t know what was more impressive, that I didn’t have contacts in or glasses on, or that we were out past 10pm with no kids. 😂

The next morning I woke up and felt great. I put my eye drops in every couple of hours to keep my eyes from getting dry. Waking up and being able to see without glasses was awesome; even better was being able to watch a show before bed without glasses! No more falling asleep with glasses on. Hooray!

It has now been about a month and my eyes feel great! I would definitely recommend Dr. Thomas at LasikPlus in Columbus. He was great and I felt like I was in good hands. It sounds completely cliche, but this was one of the biggest quality of life changes I’ve made in a long time.

Have you had Lasik? What was your experience?

XOXO,

Lauren

 

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The People You See in the Airport and Other Entertaining Ways to Pass Time

At some time or another, we have waited at the airport, subway, for a bus or even just in the Starbucks or school pick up line. I think we can all agree that WAITING SUCKS! What is the first thing we do when we are presented with a wait (besides uttering four or five choice words)?? Pick up our phones, right?! We start scrolling though social media like a boss (you are MINE Snapchat filters!).  However, sometimes we are in areas with little to no (free) access to the internet – cue people-watching! During my last few kid-less flights (because we all know this isn’t happening when you are wrangling tiny people) I noticed a trend in the groups of people I saw in the airport. They might look a little different, but they all follow these general categories –

People You See in the Airport:
  1. Judgy old people – This is the couple or group of friends that finds something wrong with everyone around them: “those people are too loud”, “why so much luggage”, “that muffin top isn’t going to stay in those jeans for long”, “there are seats all around here [*there actually aren’t], why is this boy sitting right next to me”. Of course they are loud and everyone can hear them. Depending on your mood (and how close you are sitting to them) these people are some of the most entertaining ones.😜
  2. College/Grad students – They are always talking about how busy they are (HA! Get back to me in 10 years), what exams are studying for and what paper they have just written. They love talking about their coffee addiction and you’ll hear: “UUGGGHHH, I need a double espresso mocha latte…I haven’t had a coffee in hours”.☕
  3. Emo high schooler – This kid is wearing all black, has hair in their face and is scribbling in their journal or drawing some dark picture. 🧛‍♀️ 🧛‍♂️
  4. People with headphones – They like to pretend that headphones makes them or everyone else invisible, leaving them with no situational awareness. Someone needs you to move your giant bag so they can wheel grandma through the aisle? “Sorry, I neither see nor hear you.” (I have to admit that I am a recovering earbud wearer – they are basically an accessory in D.C.) 🎧
  5. Exhausted business travelers – These people get really irritated (somewhat like my toddler)  when anything delays their mission of getting home (*raises hand*).😴
  6. Over-packers – Its one thing to over-pack your checked luggage (it only harms your back and your wallet), but it is quite another to over-pack your carry on! There is always that girl – and I say girl because it’s 9 times out of 10 a girl – who has so much junk stuffed in her carry on and personal item, plus the 4 to 5 things she is holding, that you are praying that you don’t sit next to her on the plane, because you know that shiz is not going to fit under her seat and will most definitely be spilling into your personal space.👜 💼
  7. Food on the plane – Now I know that it is a necessity sometimes and anyone wearing a military uniform gets a pass on this one, but the people that bring STINKY FOOD on the plane…shame on you, just shame.🤢
  8. Overly friendly mid westerners – Ok, I know what you are thinking, don’t you live around the friendliest people ever? Yes, but while I appreciate courtesy and a friendly smile, I’m usually not looking to make a life long friend and bare my soul to the person sitting next to me on the plane. Sometimes people are interested in convo, sometimes they aren’t – check the body language, people.😂
  9. Over/Under dressed – Just recently I was on a flight with a guy in a full (and I mean full) Gucci get-up. It wasn’t gaudy and believe you me, I took note and appreciated e.v.e.r.y. piece. There are also always those people in their PJs. It’s a jungle out there.😎
  10. Family with kids – God have mercy on your souls. I know your pain but, have also already inserted my earplugs/headphones.🙏

Other Ways to Pass Time:
  1. Zulily – Do you all know about this site?? I think most people think babies when they think Zulily – but not so! You can get everything from Egyptian Cotton Sheets to Swimsuits (for the whole family to yoga mats and kitchen appliances.
  2. Shop It To Me – If you love bargain shopping but hate surfing the web 24/7, Shop It To Me does the work! It is a completely free, daily shopping update for the clothing, shoes and accessories you love. You pick your size and favorite brands, and Shop It To Me searches hundreds of online stores  to find your favorite items on sale in your size.
  3. Poshmark – This is an easy way to buy and sell your fashions! There are over two million sellers and millions of shoppers. I have sold and found tons of great items on this site. Use the code: LAUR_SAV to get $5 when you sign up!
  4. Virtual Library – I have recently rediscovered the awesomeness of my local library! There are tons of books that you can “check out” virtually and read them on your kindle/iPad/phone. If you live in Ohio, check www.clevenet.org. It has one of the most expansive virtual libraries.
  5. Ebates – The Ebates Cash Back Button gives you Cash Back while you shop! It even applies coupons automatically at checkout so you’ll always get the best deals. I was really skeptical of this at first. How does this work? Is there some type of bot that follows my purchases? What are they getting out of this? Well, I have to say, I have regularly been receiving checks since signing up! Sign up with my referral code and you will get $10 right off the bat: Ebates.
  6. Ted Talks – Want to learn about your sleeping disorder? Need some parenting advice? Want to know what it’s like to go undercover in North Korea? Plus tons of other interesting videos? Check out Ted Talks. They are some of the most interesting and inspiring videos of varying lengths.

What are your favorite ways to pass time??

Have a great vacation and here’s to all those entertaining co-travelers!🍹

Lauren

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How To Create The Perfect Bronze Glow With Self Tanner: Part 2

 

Although self tanner is currently the new rage, I’ve been using it since way before it was cool!  I can remember being a Freshman in High School and having a big show choir performance coming up that I just had to look perfect for.  It was early in the spring and I was as pale as a pregnant lady with morning sickness.  I knew I had to do something and there was no time to get a real tan, so I bravely decided to try “man tan” {as my dad so lovingly refered to self tanner.}  I literally went.to.town with the self tanner.  All over me, everywhere; rubbing in every direction imaginable and paying no attention to the “problem areas.”  It quickly started to show color and I was SO proud of myself.  {Look at me, gettin’ all tan and stuff.}  I was beyond excited, until I woke up the next morning to the zebra stripes all over my hands, wrists and feet.  Ironically, my body wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.  Needless to say, self tanner has came a long way since the 90’s and I’ve learned a lot in regards to the application process.  Many of my friends refer to me as the “Self Tanner Queen” (a title i’ll proudly wear) so i’m here to share my opinions on everything self tanner!

Helpful Tips For Application:

1.  Before applying self tanner, make sure to moisturize your problem areas: hands, wrists, ankles, feet, knees and elbows. Lather those areas with lotion before AND after self tanner application. Those areas will grab the color much easier and appear darker than the rest of your body. Be very sparing when applying self tanner to those areas.

2.  ALWAYS wear gloves during the application process. I always wear latex surgical gloves. Some self-tanners even come with latex gloves included (Like Toma Self Tanner- i loooove Toma.)

3.  Rub in a circular motion and stay concentrated in one area until that area is fully covered (don’t get crazy and just start rubbing it everywhere!)

4.  Apply self tanner in a cool room or in front of a fan! DO NOT apply self tanner in a hot bathroom that is full of humidity or on skin that is sweaty/moist. It will cause the self tanner to run/streak. Always apply self tanner to cool, dry skin.

5.  To apply self tanner on your back, I have two suggestions: If you have an awesome husband like me, ask him to apply it – the back is very flat and pretty hard to mess up! So far, my husband has a good track record. If your husband/significant other isn’t an option, then I suggest keeping a can of spray on self tanner for those times that you need to wear something backless! The QuickTan listed below is great for this.

6.  To avoid self tanner build up, I suggest exfoliating once or twice a week. The easiest way to do this is to buy a body scrub that has the little “scrubbing beads” included in the body wash.

7.  To blend any areas that are either too dark or too light, I suggest using the leg makeup that’s listed below (as mentioned before, you can use this all over your entire body!)

8.  Once the application process is complete, make sure to wash hands thoroughly and once again apply lotion to your hands – specifically around your palms, knuckles and wrists.

9.  After applying self tanner or bronzer, make sure to allow adequate time for the product to dry!  Do not rush and put your clothes on.  I generally wear a towel after application and I also keep an old robe that I often wear when the tanner is still fresh.  I would suggest that you wait 20 minutes or more after application before putting on nice clothes.  Be particularly careful with tight undergarments – especially your bra!!  If you put a bra on too quickly it will create “tan lines.”

10.  Because it takes several hours for the full color to develop, I always apply my tanner at bedtime, when I’m fresh out of the shower.  Clean skin and a full overnight for the color to develop will bring your best results!

 

***One leg bronzed and one bare leg.  The difference is unbelievable.***

Favorite Self Tanners:

1.  My Current Favorite is Tanwise One Hour Sunless Lotion.  This can be found at Sally Beauty.  This gives a very rich, deep color; like you’ve just been to the beach.  This is a more drastic look, which I prefer.  If you’re going for a subtle tan that people won’t notice, this may not be the one for you.  However, this gives the most natural looking color I’ve ever found!   No cheeto look with this one, ladies.

Tanwise One Hour Sunless Lotion

 

2.  Next up is Toma’s Perfect Tan Self Tanning Lotion.  This can also be found at Sally Beauty and also gives a deep color.  This is a VERY close second to the Tanwise.  Anytime they’re out of Tanwise, I get Toma’s and it never disappoints.

Toma’s Perfect Tan Lotion

 

3.  Body Drench Quick Tan Bronzing Spray:  For years, this was my go to!  It’s like an at-home spray tan.  It’s in an aerosol can and the color is amazing.  It actually has a 5 star rating, and for the most part, I would agree with that.  However, the last two cans I’ve purchased, the aerosol spray lid has malfunctioned causing me to lose/waste some of my tan.  Therefore, I’ve rarely purchased it lately because who wants to spend $20 on self tanner and then have the bottle malfunction.  This aerosol tan is perfect for a “top layer” of tan to give you a very bronzy glow!  Do one layer of Tanwise lotion and then apply the QuickTan Spray the next day for a seriously deep tan!

QuickTan Bronzing Spray

 

4.  Loreal Sublime Luminous Bronzer:  I’ve used this one for years.  It’s good, not as great as the tanners listed above, but it’s a very good substitute if I only have time to run in the drug store and grab something quick.  You can find this one at most pharmacy’s, Wal Mart, Target, etc.  I almost always keep a bottle of this one hand as a back up.  It’s also slightly cheaper.

Loreal Sublime Luminous Bronzer

 

5.  Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer.  This product is fresh on the market, and so far, I’m loving it!  This provides a gradual, subtle color.  Although you will notice some color after the first application, it will take 2-3 applications before you notice substantial color change.  For someone who is scared of applying self tanner, this is definitely the place to start!   Here’s the wild thing about this one – you literally apply it to wet skin, fresh out of the shower.  As crazy as it seems, it works!  I do pat my skin semi-dry before applying.  {Sidenote: I have applied it to completely dry skin as well and it worked just fine; no streaking.}   This gives you just a nice sun-glow look.

Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer

 

6.  Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, Deep Glow Leg Makeup – Ladies, this is a game changer!  Literally, keep this in your makeup kit at all times.  This is foundation for your legs (and can be used on the entire body to cover up anything that you want to hide; tan lines, blemishes, scars, *self tanner fails!*)  This stuff is amazing!!  It’s in an aerosol can and sprays out like hairspray, but has the same consistency as foundation for your face.  This has immediate color and gives your legs a flawless, airbrushed look.  Once it dries, it rarely budges.  The only time I’ve ever had it get on my clothes was at a football game when it was approximately 100 degrees and we had been tailgating for hours.  My sweat (gag) did eventually make it slightly rub off on the inside of my shorts.  However, it did not ‘run’ or cause any major streaking.  I often use this on top of my self tanner to just give it an even more natural look.  I highly suggest buying a can of this, like right now.  You’ll thank me later.  This product can be found at your local drug store or Wal Mart.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Leg Makeup

 

7.  St. Tropez Self Tan Express – This one is a FAN FAVORITE, hands down.  Even the ladies at Ulta swear by this one.  It has the most radiant bronze glow and it rarely streaks!  While I highly recommend this one, it does come at a much higher price tag!  If you’re committed to your tan and want to take it to the next level, you must purchase St Tropez Self Tan Express!

Ladies, I hope this information was helpful!  As always, we would love to hear your feedback if you decide to try any of these products!  Comment with any questions below!  If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and subscribe to our blog!

 

XOXO

Jill

 

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Say NO to B.O. – Go Native!

B.O.  It’s just one of those things that is not socially acceptable, unless you are living in a commune or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think any of those people are reading this blog. 😂

In my pre-teen or early teen years I started using deodorant (mostly because it was cool and a bit because I needed it).  I progressed from Teen Spirit to Secret to Dove and that’s where it ended. I have tried all varieties of Dove over the last 15 years, but recently noticed that it hasn’t been working as well.

About that same time, a friend of mine (thanks Jenna!), asked if I had ever tried Native deodorant. I had heard of Native but never really gave it a second look.  Since I am trying to eat/live more simply (I had a party in the Target aisle when I found a 4 ingredient granola bar for the baby), I thought I might as well try to do the same for the things I put on my body.

I love the fact that Native deodorant is aluminum free – which helps with the laundry situation and clogged pores.  (It is also parabens, phthalates, and talc free.) If you are like me, you might wonder if all of those eliminated ingredients would make the deodorant less effective, so I tested it out in several scenarios.  My first test was a day at the office, not much activity, but can we say stress sweat?!? 😂  The Native deodorant passed with flying colors! The second test was a high intensity workout AFTER a day at work. I didn’t reapply and jumped into the workout. This was another success! I was super sweaty but didn’t have that dreaded B.O. smell. The third test was a day at home with my two toddlers. It was an 85 degree day and we were in and out of the house. I probably sweated the most this day. While I didn’t HAVE to reapply, I started feeling a bit gross, so I swiped on a couple more times. 😂

Native gives some helpful tips when making the switch:

One drawback is that you can’t pick up Native in local stores. However, they do offer a subscription, so you aren’t stuck without deodorant! Also, it’s free shipping and free returns (music to my ears). I would definitely recommend Native and hope you like it as much as I do! If you order now, you also get a free travel sized deodorant, here: Native.

We’d love to hear your deodorant experiences. Let us know if you make the switch!

XOXO,

Lauren

 

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Major Life Hacks From A Military Momma! How To Streamline The Moving Process And Make Friends Easily!

 

My name is Lorin Beier, and I’ve been married to an Air Force pilot for 11 years. We’ve moved 8 times to 6 cities and one foreign country. At any given time, I’ve got friends on just about every continent, in 10+ countries. We’ve got 3 kids who were born in Alabama, Japan and Georgia; and one on the way.

 

Over the years, I’ve gained some insight that I want to share with you! How about some moving tips?!

 

Moving Tips

  1. Valuables in your trunk! Our first set of movers taught us that. Jewelry, personal papers, etc.  Keep those in your possession!
  2. Plastic totes. We bought 30 from Big Lots and they lasted us through 4 moves and we lent them to a friend for her move as well. It was a tad expensive to do, but I really don’t have to save or buy new boxes every move.
  3. If you prepack, use your linens! Also, paper plates in between your dishes works great.
  4. Label your boxes by room. Make sure the movers place the boxes in the correct room at the new house. It’ll make the unpacking way easier.
  5. Take out your trash. They will pack it. Including dirty diapers {gag.}. I remember thinking surely, they know there’s TRASH in the cans, but if it’s not nailed to the floor, it’s gotta go in the truck or the crate. They’ll also pack drain stoppers, the rack in the dishwasher, and water hoses with water still in there. But heaven forbid they pack non-perishables.

 

Making new friends

In the military spouse world, we call this friend dating. Often times when you get somewhere you have to decide on someone very quickly to be your go-to person for those emergency contacts.

 

  1. Find a church!! And look what social opportunities they have. Whether it’s a mom’s group, playgroup, bible study or couples social group.
  2. Ask ol’ Facebook who you already know in the new location. An option would be to search for ‘Name of City’ Play group, or Mom’s Group.
  3. Once you get your kids in activities, try to recognize other parents who are there often and introduce yourself.
  4. Try to befriend your kids’ friends’ parents at school.
  5. Good golly, go meet your neighbors. Nothing says hello like a box of cookies! We have an inflatable, when we blow it up in the front yard, kids come out of the woodwork.  Great way to meet their parents too!

 

How to help kids adjust

This might be the hardest thing. Sure it’s hard on you leaving familiarity, friends and comfort zone. But, depending on kids’ ages, it’ll be nothing or the hardest thing they’ve ever gone through. And I think it all depends on your kids, their maturity level and your parenting skills.

 

  1. Start early. I will prepare them for an upcoming move several months in advance. Sometimes I know where we’re going, sometimes not. But we will play the “what type of house” will we live in next game. My son’s vote is a red pizza cabin mountain house. My daughter thinks it’ll be a yellow beach house.
  2. Look up their school and find an activity they can join. Special interest groups are instant friends with similar likes.
  3. Google the new city and what to expect. Will there be mountains or a beach? How about an aquarium or skating rink? Of course, find a Mexican restaurant, cause mama needs a margarita.
  4. Find fun things to do. For the first several weekends we will pretend to be tourists. Go find fun places, parks and restaurants, no chains!
  5. If you get farewells, I’d suggest giving stationary and switching addresses; so the kids can have a pen pal. Shoot, that would be great as an adult. It’s really cool at Christmas time getting cards from all over the world.

 

I know the inevitable will happen and the kids will get sad. My daughter is 6.5 and I think this is her first move out of 5, that she fully understands what is happening. Best advice I ever got was to let the kids be sad. Let them cry and feel the weight of the moment. But its really important that they don’t stay there. Kids are more resilient than you think.  It’s going to be fine, momma!

Guest Contributor & World Traveler,

Lorin Beier

 

 

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Packing Hacks and Must Haves for Family Vacations

I have noticed that there are two camps when it comes to packing for vacation. Those who pack everything and the kitchen sink and those who try to take as few bags as possible. I generally fall into the first category. 🤪 This leaves John to try to juggle at least 4 or 5 bags while I wheel the kids through the airport. In this scenario, we usually (A) break down and pay one of the porters to help us, (B) John hurts himself (and is grumpy the rest of the day) or (C) we rent one of the carts (which you can never find where to put them when you are done).

If you’ve been following the blog this year, you know that one of my resolutions is to travel more. So far, I’ve been to the mountains of WV, NYC and now sunny Florida! After each trip, I vow to pack less. Besides the packing and lugging it through the airport, there’s the UNPACKING!😭  This trip I dove in and tried minimalist packing!!

As you all are probably aware, traveling with kids really makes you want to curl in the fetal position changes the game. So, one big caveat to this minimalist packing experience is that I knew that there were (easily accessible) laundry facilities at our condo. Here’s what my minimalist packing looked like for a 4 year old:

Here is what it looked like for my 1 year old:

All-in-all, I was super happy with the experience. It really did streamline our check-in (yay Southwest – and yes, I did sit next to the window; if anyone was getting sucked out it was going to be ME!) and we generally had everything we needed. Believe it or not, we didn’t even use everything we packed! While, I’m sure my over-packing days aren’t over, I am going to try my darnedest to pair down my packing. There really is something to be said for simplicity (especially when you will be spending the majority of the time in a bathing suit).

Just to clarify, the items above are just the clothes portion of the packing. After all of our travels with a baby, baby + toddler and two toddlers, here is my MUST HAVE non-clothing packing list (click on the pink links below to get a better look at the product described):

Pack ‘n Play – If you have a baby, this is the numero uno crucial item. We were lucky because one of my mom’s friends had a smaller pack ‘n play that she gave us after our son was born. This was awesome to take to grandmother’s house and also to travel with! If you can, find a smaller one than your large one with the bassinet and changing table, you will be glad you did. This Costco one is only $50! Not only is is smaller, but lighter! Your baby won’t know the difference and you can have a little peace of mind bringing your own. Another option is to use the one at your hotel or condo. I was weirded out by that with my oldest, but the poor second child has used the hotel’s several times, after a clorox drench wipe down.

Toddler Cot – This might sound weird, but we got this idea after seeing our kids sleep so well on the cots at school. Our kids were introduced to cots at 18 months (or earlier) at their “school” and there’s something about them having their own space. It’s smaller than a pack ‘n play and if you can get away with it, it’s less to pack (it can even fit in a suitcase)! This Regalo one took the cake. It comes with a case and a sheet  – win/win.

Car Seat Cover – We like the J.L. Childress brand for the car seat travel bag. It is durable, can be worn like a backpack and fits most car seats. It’s always a struggle to figure out what will be less of a hassle – taking car seats or renting them upon arrival. What we’ve found, is that if you are renting a car, rent the seats. If someone is picking you up at the airport, take your own. There is nothing worse than being trapped in a rental line after a tiring flight with cranky kids, when everyone just wants to get to the destination.

Umbrella Stroller – We love the UPPAbaby 2015 G-Lite Stroller. Anyone who knows my husband, knows that he researches like crazy to get the best deal. This stroller has proved to be great for ages 1 – 4 (we don’t have anyone older than that, ha). The best part about this stroller is that the shade has an extra extender part, that keeps the sun off the kids. I also love the mesh back and it has a strap so you can carry it over your shoulder. It is crazy lightweight and worth every penny. It made it across the Pacific Ocean and back and still looks brand new.

Stroller Cover – This gate check stroller cover has been super durable and it prevents parts from going missing or wear and tear to the stroller.

Sippy Cups – I seriously might have all the sippy/insulated cups ever created and sold in the U.S. market. When traveling, my fav and go-to is the CamelBak. I like these because they hold a lot of liquid, can clip to a stroller hook and the spout can fold down to be less exposed to whatever gross stuff it might come into contact with. The runner up is the Thermos Funtainer. This is a little heavier and not as convenient to hook to a stroller or backpack. However, the spout is completely covered and it does keep things cold/warm longer.

Sunscreen – Toddler tested, mother approved. My son tans really easily and we haven’t had a burn (knock on wood). My daughter is super fair, like her Dada, and I was pretty frantic about finding a non-toxic sunscreen to provide crazy coverage, without tons of re-application. Here’s what I found, Babyganics. We applied this once in the morning and once in the afternoon and girlfriend didn’t get pink! Hooray!

Bumpers – These hiccapop bumpers were recommended to me by a friend (thanks Brittany!) and whoa!! total GAME CHANGER. Forget lugging those bulky plastic or metal bed rails/guards around. These take up little space when rolled up and have treads that keep them in place under the fitted sheet. Not only are these great for traveling (*read – you don’t have to drag the toddler cot around all of the time*) but, they are also great when transitioning your toddler to a big bed. Buy them, you won’t regret it.

Packing Cubes – I can’t stop talking about these.  Here’s the latest review: packing cubes.

Things to NEVER forget (and might be best in a carry-on):

Blankie

Favorite Stuffed Animal

Sound Machine

Tablets/chargers

Snacks/drinks for take-off and landing

Time Savers

  • If you are going to be somewhere for a week consider ordering essentials: diapers, wipes, formula, baby food from Walmart and have it delivered to your room (2-day shipping 🙌 ). Amazon Prime works for this too!
  • Walmart has free grocery pickup in tons of locations now. You just order online and they will load your groceries for FREE! Here is a $10 coupon to try it: Walmart Grocery Pickup
  • Many grocery stores offer free shipping to your room/condo if you order over $50 (which is super easy with 4 people).
  • If you want to stay in one night and don’t want to cook, check with GrubHub or Seamless. These services deliver from tons of participating restaurants.
  • Look really strung out and desperate in the airport…lol. TSA usually has mercy on our souls and lets us through a shorter line.

Many of you have asked me for these tips, so I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any favorite products you can’t live without when traveling. I love hearing new ideas!

Happy Vacationing!

XOXO,
Lauren

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‘Rent The Runway’ And Steal The Show! High Fashion, Low Cost!

 

I’m normally a planner!  I love having a schedule and creating to-do lists.  I like mapping things out in my mind and checking off my tasks – especially if it’s something really big and important!  But as luck would have it, this year we decided to go to the Museum Ball at the last minute.   When I say last minute, I mean FOUR days before the ball!  FOUR. DAYS.  I was absolutely, one hundred percent unprepared.  I didn’t have a dress, shoes, hair appointment….nothing!  I quickly started scrambling; browsing every single dress website that I could find.  I knew what I was looking for – I wanted full length with long sleeves.  I kept running into the same problem over and over.  All the dresses I liked were either $350 – $500 (ohhh sweet Jesus! I can’t even.) or they wouldn’t ship until next Month (yeah, thanks but no thanks.)  After hours of searching, I finally decided to try Rent The Runway!  I quickly found several dresses that I loved….but this gold beauty caught my eye immediately.

 

I debated back and forth most of the day, trying to decide if I should try Rent The Runway.  I knew several people who loved RTR, but I also knew how very picky that I am (finding something flattering for this c-section x 2 tummy isn’t always an easy task!)  But I weighed my pros and cons and decided that I would take a chance this time.  If you all know me, you know I was really living on the edge by doing this.  I mean, what are the odds that this dress will fit and that I’ll actually like it?!?  Ironically, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be.  I guess I realized that it was my only option at that point.

So here’s how it works if you’ve never used Rent The Runway before.  You get to pick your dress in two sizes (in hopes that one of the sizes will work.)  As a first time user, you also get to pick a back-up dress.  You can rent the dresses for either 4 or 8 days, depending on how long you’ll need them.  They overnight the dresses to you (you typically get them the day before your event.) At the end of your rental, you take the dresses back to the UPS store and overnight the dresses back to RTR.

This process is SO perfectly streamlined.  It’s like a well oiled machine.  The dresses ship/arrive in an extremely heavy duty garment bag (they do not come in a box or typical shipping bag.)  The dresses are neatly packed deep inside the garment bag.  Once you are finished with your dresses, you pack them back into the garment bag, zip them up, change out the shipping label (they even provide the return shipping label for you!) and overnight them back to RTR.  I’m not kidding, it’s really that simple.  Aren’t these bags SO neat?!?!

 

 

When you’re scrolling through all the dresses on RTR, you’ll notice that there are TONS of reviews for each dress (pictures included!)  It tells you on there what size formal gown each person wore compared to their regular clothing size.  It tells if they sized up or down or if they felt that the dress was true to size!  It also tells the person’s height, weight and chest size.  This was particularly helpful when trying to decide on a dress size!  I normally size up a size or two when buying a formal gown, but nearly every review I read on my gold dress said that it was true to size.  I went out on a limb and ordered my true size and the size up.  But, just like everyone else, I ended up wearing my regular size.  I feel like the reviews were EXTREMELY helpful in picking out a dress!  Total game changer.

The dress I chose was technically a high neck with a low cut back. However, I noticed that one user reviewed that for short girls, it worked best to wear the dress backwards (seriously, who would’ve even thought about that?!)  But let me tell you, she slayed in that dress.  She was my total inspo.  Just like me, she was approximately 5’2″ and curvy.  So when my dress arrived, I decided to try the dress both ways and she was totally right.  The dress was so much more flattering when worn backwards!  (That’s probably more cleavage than I’ve ever shown in my entire life {YOLO!  Your welcome, husband!})

As for their customer service, I can not praise RTR enough!!  When my dresses arrived, they had sent the wrong back-up dress to me.  In my panicked state, I called and talked to the sweetest guy at customer service.  He told me how sorry he was, that my backup dress had accidently sold out so they just sent me something similar (it wasn’t really similar at all, but I couldn’t be mad at him!  ha!)  He found my original backup dress in a size down and he overnighted it to me for FREE!!!  So now I’ve received four dresses for the price of one – how amazing is that?!?  And sure enough, it arrived on time – before noon on the day of the event.  And although I ended up wearing my original gold dress, I can not tell you how thankful I was that he sent me my backup dress!

 

Here’s the cool part: if you absolutely fall in love with your rented item, you can purchase it.  The website tells you the rental fee vs. the purchase price.  My rental fee was $80 but full price for the dress was $700 (I might faint!)  Although i’ll never splurge and spend SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS on a formal gown, that dress was totally worth it.  It made me feel like a princess – and that was really fun for a middle aged momma!

In case you’re on the fence about trying Rent The Runway, here’s a Glitter Jungle Coupon Code for $30 off your first rental!

 

It was approximately 900 degrees in there!  I went full on Hollywood star and did a hair change mid gala.  Thank god for bobby pins and complementary hair spray!  I should’ve just brought that backup dress and had a wardrobe change as well (don’t even think for a second that I didn’t debate it! ha!)

Happy Shopping my friends – you’re going to look fabulous!

XOXO

Jill

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