Be Your Own Valentine: 5 Tips For A More Confident You!

We live in a world that constantly reminds us that we’re not good enough.  We’re not tall enough, thin enough, tan enough, happy enough, healthy enough….the list goes on and on.  It’s exhausting, honestly.  We are hit with a constant flow of information, via the internet, that tells us exactly how we should look, act and think.  Our senses are on overdrive trying to keep up with the latest workouts, trends and technology.  All we want to do is better ourselves, but what ends up happening is that we don’t love the skin we’re in.  We’re always searching for happiness and chasing contentment.  We always think “if just this one things happens, THEN I’ll be happy.”  Or “if I find this kind of man, THEN I’ll be happy.”  The truth is, you don’t find happiness, you make it.  If you can’t find peace where you are, then you never will.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.  While I agree that it’s always important to move forward, grow and better yourself, it’s most important to stop and smell the roses and LIVE.  To enjoy the present and love ourselves and those around us.  While truly loving ourselves on the inside is a little bit harder to achieve, here are five easy tips that will boost your outer self confidence.  When you look good, you feel good.  Outer self confidence will start to boost your inner self love!

1.  Go-To Jeans

There is literally nothing more important than having a favorite, go-to pair of good fitting jeans.  A cute pair of jeans can really boost any woman’s confidence.  Find a pair of jeans that can be dressed up or down.  While I’m normally chasing a good deal, jeans are one thing that I don’t skimp on – I’ll pay top dollar for a pair of good quality jeans.  My favorite jeans are American Eagle High Rise Jeggings.

 

2. Good Skin Care Routine

I am SO guilty on this one.  Luckily, I didn’t have skin problems during the teen years.  While that is a huge blessing, it’s a curse in it’s own way.  Because I never had to take care of my skin, I didn’t.  Last year, at 33, I finally got on board with a nightly skincare routine and I can definitely see the difference.  I keep my routine simple, but I still feel like it’s important.  Nothing makes a person more self conscious than to have a giant zit on their face that everyone is staring at (at least that’s how it feels!)  All skin types are different, but here’s what works for me (bonus: you can get this at the drug store for cheap!)

These Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes are literally the bomb.  They get everything off while still being gentle on the skin.  I even use them on my kids delicate skin after wearing dance competition makeup.

After thoroughly cleaning my face, I moisturize with Olay Firming Night Cream.  This stuff will literally make your face as soft as butter – and it smells good, too!

3.  Lipstick!

Even though I keep my lip color very “nude” most of the time, I make sure to incorporate a bold, fun lip color on date nights.  It’s also fun to wear a bold lip with minimal makeup – to switch things up a bit!  Here’s one of my favorite looks:

 

4. Pearly Whites!

This one ranks right up there with good skin care.  A healthy oral routine is very important to me.  No one feels very confident if their smile isn’t on point.  I’ve had teeth problems my whole life (lots of cavities – *eye roll*, ugh.)  As an adult, I try to take really good care of my teeth.  I brush two-to-three times daily and use this Listerine Whitening Mouth Rinse.  I’m not even kidding, I can totally tell a difference when I’m not using it.  A warm, happy smile goes a long way – share yours with others!

5. Head Swag!

I can not stress this one enough!  As women, we are constantly doing our hair.  If you’re anything like me, you probably dread doing your hair – it’s SUCH a process.  You might even plan your hair washing days around your social calendar (not that I would know anything about that!)  Here’s a tip that will help you out majorly.  Find several different styles of hats that you like.  Create a collection.  I have hats for most all occasions.  If you’re in a hurry, skip the hair wash.  Just throw your hair up in a messy side bun and throw on a cute hat.  You’ll look trendy and your husband will be happy that he didn’t have to sit around and wait on you!

While I enjoy slathering paints all over my face and jacking my hair to Jesus, it’s not because someone else made me feel like I need to do that.  It’s because I like it and that’s what makes me feel confident!  It’s not even because of my husband.  In fact, he would much prefer me in workout clothes, a ball cap and bare faced.  But I’ve come to realize what’s most important is making myself feel confident and beautiful.  That feeling is going to be different for every single person.  Your job is to figure out what makes you feel beautiful!

Whether you’re spending your Valentine’s Day with your lover, your Galentine or you’re flying solo, make sure that you remember to love yourself first!

Hugs & Hearts,

Jill

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V-Day Gift Guide: Super Unique Gifts You Can’t Miss!

Who doesn’t like getting a gift? I realize that there are other “love languages” out there, but let’s be real, no one is going to to turn down a present picked just for them!!  If you are looking for some unique options that will up your gift game from chocolate and flowers for your parents, sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, and friends, keep reading!

Capitol Market

We stopped by this market on our way back from Aerial Yoga for some fruit and found a huge selection of tasty treats and drinks! There is something for everyone here. You will find everything from delicious candy, wine, coffee to cheese, meats and fruit. There is something for everyone here!

 

 

Birchbox Subscription

While this isn’t a new idea, Birchbox had evolved with the times and have started curating more personalized boxes of makeup, skincare, nail care, and fragrance options. I absolutely LOVED receiving these boxes each month with new beauty products to try. These start at just $10/month and now have them for the GQ men in your life. 😉

 

UE Wonderboom

This little waterproof, super portable, bluetooth speaker will change your life. The sound quality is awesome. This is a must-have for anyone with kids.  You can easily carry this speaker from room to room for dance parties and sound machine noises. It is also especially good for traveling.

 

Packing Cubes

For your organized friends (or ones that need some organization in their lives), these packing cubes are AWESOME! They are totally worth the less than $25 price tag. I used these when packing my kids for Disney and it was super helpful.  They come in several different colors, which makes it easy to identify whose clothes are in the suitcase!

 

Mousepad

While this might not be the most romantic gift you’ve ever given, I can say that this is one of the best mousepads I’ve ever used! My husband, who spends the majority of his day at the computer, recommended this to me and I haven’t turned back. It is super responsive and under $10! Your techie friends/family will thank you!

 

Silicone Ring

In addition to our Acro Yoga and Aerial Yoga adventures that you’ve seen, these rings would definitely be great for weight training or crossfit workouts. I got my husband one and he says it is super comfortable and would totally recommend it. These are less than $25!

I hope these unique gift ideas will be a great paring with the fun/romantic/crazy night you have planned with your boo or gal-pals!

XOXO,

Lauren

P.S. Make sure to check out the Sushi Bar at Capitol Market – they have some of my favorite grab-n-go treats (even my kids approve!)

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Sneak Peak Inside Our Winter Wonderland; Tips For Creating A Spectactular Christmas Tree

Ok, Y’all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, we’re not taking a trip to Disney World…..but we are decorating our home for the Holidays.  There is nothing, literally nothing, that I love more than creating a cozy, warm, festive environment for my family during the Christmas season.  Some people, ok…my husband, would say that I go a little over the top.  And you know what, he’s probably right, I am a little on the extreme OCD side.  But I figure there are a lot worse things that I could obsess over.  Honestly, I get it from my momma…and her momma too.  It’s basically a family tradition to over decorate in anticipation of the arrival of Jolly Ole Saint Nick.  As annoying as it may be, my overall goal is to make my house feel like the North Pole.  Not only do I love it, but my kids love it too.  Watching their little faces light up makes every second of decorating and preparation worth it.

I realize decorating isn’t everybody’s thing.  I know some of you mommas are lucky to get one tree up and practically dread every minute of it.  And that’s ok too!  But i’m here today to share a few tips and tricks with you to hopefully make your decorating a little more enjoyable.  Here’s a sneak peak of my trees!

 

The North Pole Tree

This tree is my absolute FAVORITE!  It has all of our special family ornaments on it, which includes my kids homemade ornaments!  (Every year I sob when I get them out and all.the.memories come rushing back.  Whhhhy do my babies have to grow up?!)  We also refer to this tree as the “everything but the kitchen sink tree” because it has all the things on it.  It has more items ‘coming out of the tree’ than hanging on the tree.  It even has peacock feathers.  (Here’s a hint:  ANYTHING can go on a tree – and I mean anything!)

 

The Winter Wonderland Tree

This tree has evolved over the years.  It started out very simple and each year I add a few new things; it’s just taken on a life of it’s own.  It is “matchy-matchy” but it’s fun and it goes in our formal living room (well, as formal as it gets around here.  Let’s be honest; there’s still unfolded laundry on that couch 67% of the time.)

 

The Candy Land Tree

The Candy Land tree is a close second-favorite for me.  I created this tree for my girls because it screams all things feminine, fun and fantasy land.  This is a white tree with colored lights and looks like it walked right off the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Because this tree is less traditional, we usually keep it up much longer than a regular tree.  We always keep it up until Valentines Day and, one year, my kids convinced me to keep it up until Easter.  I should probably be embarrassed, but i’m not.

 

The Angel Tree

This tree is a new addition this year that I created for my momma.  As many of you know, my dad passed away in October.  The holidays are going to be very difficult without him this year.  In his memory, I created an Angel tree so he can be with us for Christmas.  (Keep us in your thoughts and prayers – it’s going to be hard; he was hero.)

 

Decorating Tips

  1. Organization really is key.  Make sure to store decorations, lights, etc away in a neat, organized fashion.  Also, be certain to label your totes so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for next year.
  2. There is nothing more frustrating than tangled Christmas lights – but, here’s a life hack.  Wrap the Christmas lights around a piece of cardboard.  When the lights have been wrapped firmly, plug the ends of the lights together to keep them snug on the cardboard.  This makes unwrapping the lights next year a breeze!
  3. When you take your tree down, make sure to place the items in the tote in the same order you take them off the tree.  By doing this, next year, the items that you need first will be on the top of the tote.
  4. Always keep crafting/floral wire handy.  I’m constantly wiring things in my tree if I can’t get them to stay with Christmas hooks.  You can buy green floral wire that’s the same exact color of the tree.  Total game changer.
  5. Before you start hanging ornaments, make sure your tree is level and sturdy.  If your tree is leaning to one side, you can place a small children’s book under one leg of the tree until you make it appear level.
  6. Another hack is wiring your tree to the wall.  I have two very small nails in my baseboards.  I wrap floral wire around the base of the tree and attach it to the nail in the wall.  This will hopefully keep the tree from being turned over by animals or small children.
  7. After building/fluffing the tree and applying the lights, my next step is to always put on the tree topper.  I use unorthodox tree toppers – never your normal tree toppers.  But I feel like it’s much easier to decorate the tree when the tree topper is already situated.  If you do the tree topper last you’ve always left too much room or not enough room.  This takes the guessing game out of things!
  8. To give the tree a three dimensional look, I love to have items sticking out of my tree.  I usually use glittery sticks, candy canes, snow balls, etc.  Basically anything that’s cute and I have on hand.  My favorite thing about building trees is to be creative and put unconventional items on the tree.  Don’t be scared to step outside the normal Christmas tree box.
  9. If you’re wanting to create a new tree theme, I suggest that you turn to Pinterest and find some tree inspiration.  Sketch out your ideas before you head to Hobby Lobby.  Once you get there, all of the options will be so overwhelming you’ll definitely want to have a plan up front.
  10. When starting a new tree theme, it can be really expensive (especially fancy ornaments.)  A cheap, yet pretty, way to take up some of that extra tree space is to use ribbon.  I like to use it in a fluffed, looped pattern all over the tree.  Make the pattern random for a more trendy look.

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season, my friends!  I hope your Christmas is filled with love and laughter.

 

XOXO,

Jill

 

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Ballin’ On A Budget

Our friend Tanner is back and with another hilarious guest post; this time he tells us about his favorite DIYs. Check out these super cute and totally affordable ways to up your decor game:

“Move into your own house”, they said. “You’ll love having a house- what a fun project!”, they said. Well, the cracked shower doors, weedy gutters and dead houseplants determined that was a lie. Moving into your first house is a big deal. Packing, moving, decorating- it’s all a huge adjustment that requires time, patience and a sense of humor. For one, everything you do is a new experience. If you would’ve told me five years ago that I would be using a laundromat and eating leftover hamburger helper, I would’ve laughed straight in your face. But here I am, on a first-name basis with the dry-cleaning lady and loving every minute of that pasta.

However, what they don’t tell you about living on your own is that sometimes you have to get a little creative with what you have. This is where I found one of my new favorite things- DIY projects. Everyone has their favorite sites to find these ideas, but I enjoy Pinterest and Buzzfeed the most! After a couple successes, many flops and few mental health breaks, I found some winners!

1. DIY Frosted Windows

Don’t get frustrated if the paste looks white on your windows, at first. The paste will dry clearly after a few hours. I love this DIY, because it provides adequate privacy on your windows and still lets the natural light in. Plus, the lace adds a great texture to the room to compliment the room’s dimensions.

Materials:

paint brush

water

cornstarch

lace material

It’s easiest to use lace to prevent air bubbles, but you could probably use any type of thin fabric. First, clean your window to remove any dust. Then cut your material to fit the window and iron it. After, mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of cold water and dissolve in a cup and a half of boiling water. Stir until a thick paste is formed, then apply to the window with the paint brush. Once the window is covered in the paste, apply the material to the window. With the material on the window, apply another layer of the paste over the material. Brush the paste from the center to the edges and let dry.

 

2. Floating Bookshelves

This DIY is my absolute favorite, because this project totally gave my living room wall a facelift and I did the entire wall for under $20. These bookshelves are the first things my friends ask me about when they come over and the possibilities are endless with them, because they’re so easy to install- and so, so cheap.

Materials:

1 L-bracket per shelf you wish to make

3 screws that fit through the holes in the size of L-bracket you choose 1 drill driver

1 hardback book per shelf

1 command picture hanging strip per shelf

These directions are short and sweet. Lay the long side of the L-bracket against your wall and insert your screws through the holes of your L-bracket and into your wall. I would place at least two screws into each L-bracket to ensure stability.

Now it’s time to for the real magic. Take one, large hardback book and open the book where the back is swinging open. Place the book on the bracket horizontally, but leave the back hanging down. Pull out your command strip and stick one side to the bottom of the L-bracket and one side to the interior of the back of the book. This creates the illusion that the book is floating on the wall and you can stack more books on top, sit decorations on it or both!

I hope you love these projects as much as I do – Happy DIY-ing!

 

This would be a fun project to help unwind from the week or a group project with the kids.  Let us know how your DIYs turn out!

XOXO,

Lauren

Today’s guest contributor, Tanner Shepherd, currently resides in Ironton, Ohio with his two Airedale Terriers that outweigh him and remind him daily that he’s not ready for children. He is obsessed with coffee, romantic comedies and Hobby Lobby. 

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Super Simple, Yet Delicious, Chicken Casserole That Your Kids Will Actually Eat

 

If your kids are anything like mine, then meal time can be challenging.  As my kids have gotten older, their taste buds have definitely expanded, but this recipe has been one of their favorites since they were both tiny.   Best part is, it’s quick and easy to prepare.  Below are the items you’ll need:

 

  1. 1 Bag/package of frozen or thawed chicken breasts (I use the 3 lb or 5 lb frozen bags.)
  2. 1 Can of Cream of Celery Soup
  3. 1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  4. 1 Box of Stove Top
  5. 4 Tablespoons of flour
  6. 1 cup of milk

 

  • To start out, I make my chicken in the crockpot.  I usually put the chicken in the crockpot before I leave for work.  I cook the chicken on low for 6-8 hours, so it’s completely cooked when I get home.  (You could also cook the chicken in an instant pot or pressure cooker for a quicker option.)
  • Once your chicken is cooked, in a saucepan, on the stove top, combine 1 cup of cream of chicken soup, 1 cup of cream of celery soup, 4 tablespoons of flour, and one cup of milk.  Stir gently and often (be careful not to let this burn – it heats up quickly.)  Warm this mixture over medium heat, and stir thoroughly, until all “clumps” have disappeared.
  • Shred your chicken, either by hand or with your KitchenAid Mixer, then spread the shredded chicken all over the bottom of a baking dish (or cake pan for a larger serving.)  Completely cover the bottom of the dish with shredded chicken.
  • Pour the warm soup mixture over top of the shredded chicken.  Completely cover the chicken with the soup mixture.
  • Pop the casserole baking dish in the oven.  Oven should be heated at 350 degrees.  Baking time should be roughly 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.  (Mixture will appear more firm when it’s done with a golden brown tent.)
  • Make Stove Top stuffing, per the Stove Top directions on the box.
  • Once stuffing is complete, pour the stuffing on top of the casserole.
  • Cool and serve.

 

I usually serve our chicken casserole with green beans and a salad.  (The kids prefer fruit over salad, because well….they’re kids.)  This meal is always a huge hit at our house!

For super picky kids, I suggest that you “mix up” the casserole on their plate, rather than leaving the stuffing on the top.  If you mix it all together, the soup takes over and makes it look more like creamy chicken rather than casserole.

Kid tested, Mother Approved.

 

 

XOXO

Jill

PS:  Also, if you notice, we broke out the fine china for this dinner.  (I should probably be embarrassed, but i’m not.  Didn’t have to do dishes that night – total mom win!)  And yes, my oldest was eating on the couch.  We keep things really classy ’round here.

 

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Don’t Miss Out Before the Summer is Over!!

The first day of school is fast approaching for some of you and for others it’s still weeks away. Either way, grab your family and make the most of the rest of the summer with these ideas!

 

 

 

  • Neighborhood bike rides – Self-admittedly, I don’t have a bike. My son is just to the age where he’s psyched to take “bike rides” (which consist of going round and round in the driveway). I borrowed my dad’s bike and “rode” around with my son. He LOVED it (especially when I crashed into the grass). Remember those fun family bike rides? Get out there with your kids and spend some quality time.

 

  • Pool/Splash Park day – Lather up the kids with sunscreen and park your blanket in the shade. Here’s the blanket I found this summer and love.

 

  • Baseball game – Make a weekend of it! You’ll see pictured above my group of friends (minus a couple of new additions) at our annual family baseball outing. We’ll catch a game on a Saturday and spend Sunday at a museum or aquarium. We love it and I bet you will too – so grab your family friends and get out there and support your team. Don’t skip the hot dogs and ice-cream in the mini-helmet.

 

  • Dinner and a Movie – For those of you with younger kids, a matinee and early dinner might work better. Pick a fun restaurant that your kids like and settle in to chat about their favorite parts of the movie. If they are tired/restless, download a new app for them to play while YOU enjoy dinner. 🙂

 

  • Hike in the local or state park – If you can get away for a weekend, find a state park and book a cabin. Take in those natural wonders and let your kids experience something new. If you need to stay local, lace up, get your bug spray and get those kids out in nature. I’m not a big hiker, but I don’t want to raise a Purell-dipped kid (even though I love my hand sanitizer), so I get out of my comfort zone every so often for the sake of raising a well-rounded kid (did anyone else watch that video on Facebook?).

 

  • Cook out – Fire up that grill and add some hotdogs, hamburgers or chicken. Get your kids involved in the prep. While you are grilling, set up those corn hole boards, volleyball/badminton net or soccer goals and challenge your kids to a game or two (and keep score – see video above).

 

Do you see a pattern of food here?? Ha. In all seriousness, another summer is almost over and those littles are growing up. Does anyone else feel like the years are going by faster and faster? I’m learning that we need to get in as much memory making as we can, because those eighteen years go by fast.

Happy Family Fun!!

XOXO,

Lauren

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A Few of Saxby’s Favorite Things – Dog Products You’ll Love

Saxby is our first, our fur child.  She is my (un)registered emotional companion. She has gotten me through a bar exam, two pregnancies, numerous cooking disasters, and plenty of other highs and lows. If you are like me, one of the best parts of the day is coming home to a very very happy little animal who, seemingly, has been waiting by the door for you all day. Saxby is high energy and very athletic, so I have made it my mission to find toys and products that will stand up to this schnoodle, while not killing myself trying to entertain her.

In honor of her upcoming birthday in August (#5, I can’t believe it!) I’ve compiled a list of her favorite things and added in a few of my own.

 

The Kong

This has been one of our best investments.  Saxby has used this since she was a puppy. We put a teaspoon of peanut butter inside the Kong and stuck it in her crate when we were training her.  She always seemed happy to “go home” when it was time for us to go out or for her to go to sleep.  Now, she will chase and bite the Kong mercilessly. No cracks or wear to speak of!

 

Dingo Twist Sticks

These Dingo Twist Sticks have been a great treat for Saxby.  She loves them and they take a little while to eat, so it keeps her busy.  These especially come in handy when we have company and don’t want Saxby to jump or lick.  The Dingo Sticks will distract her enough to stop barking when the many Amazon boxes are delivered to our front door.

 

Racquetballs

This was an accidental find.  John and I like to play tennis and one winter, decided to try our hand at racquetball. After I crashed into the side of the court repeatedly and John got beaned in the back several times, we gave it up.  Our two attempts ended in a literal ROFL situation.  We got dirty looks by the veterans at the club in northern Virginia, and needless to say, we quit. Saxby reaped the benefit of this #epicfail. These balls are super durable and don’t get coated in the same amount of grime that a tennis ball does. We’ve only been through two cans of these balls in the last five years.  (The first three balls went missing over the fence…oops.)

 

Lean Treats

We got these from our vet’s office.  Saxby loves them and they are great for training.  We used these to get her to wipe her paws before she comes in the house, dance, sit, stay, lie down, and speak.  She used to be able to differentiate between her toys when she was a puppy.  These treats were crucial in having her bring us “Pinky”, “green rope”, and “bone”. (These toys have all gone by the wayside or are chewed up.)

 

Bubbles

This was also a coincidental find. My son loves bubbles. One evening, I was blowing bubbles for him and Saxby started chasing them too. Two-for-one! Entertainment for the kids and the dog – major win.

 

Harness

This is the first and only harness we’ve owned.  It is awesome. Not only does it prevent that horrible choking sound your pup makes when she pulls, but also evenly distributes her weight.  The Worthy Dog brand is top notch. I’ve made a few repairs, but it has been a good buy.

 

Doggy Bags

I got this set up at Marshalls, but have linked another option above.  This makes clean up after your pup easy.  No one likes another dog’s poo in their yard.  Don’t be that person; take a doggy bag.

 

Chew Toy

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law dog-sat during one of our vacations and Saxby confiscated their dog’s Nylabone. This particular one is great for very active chewers. There are little grooves on the sides of the white part which also help to keep teeth clean.

 

Brushes (Slicker and Comb)

We use the slicker comb (blue handled one) to go over Saxby first.  This gets out all of tangles and dead hair.  We then use the comb (yellow handle) to get more stubborn tangles and matted fur.  These are super effective and keep her looking well groomed.

 

MOVOFLEX

Saxby’s vet recommended these homeopathic supplement for joint discomfort.  Saxby is regularly contorting herself when jumping to catch balls, ropes, frisbees, etc. Also, she occasionally slips on our hardwood floors while chasing or being chased (by whom I’ll never tell). Our vet recommended this product and it has been awesome.  There are different formulas for small, medium or large dogs, so check with your vet before you use these.

 

 

Saxby and I hope you and your pups love these products and want to hear all about your favorite products!

XOXO,

Lauren

[Affiliate links included]

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My Nightly Routine – Skin Care Edition

Skin.  We all have it and at one time or another have abused it.  It has been burnt, bruised, cracked, peeled, flaky, dry, oily, you name it. While I have been guilty of all of these at times, I am a big proponent of loving your skin and taking care of it.

I grew up with a Korean mother, so my skin care regimen was set in stone, basically from birth. I have memories of my Harmony (aka Korean Grandmother) massaging my nine-year-old face with cleansers, masks, and creams.  (I don’t know why but she seemed to take pleasure in ripping masks off my face…all in love, of course).

I will tell you what I have been told by my family, if you want to avoid looking like this prematurely, read on:

Related image

 

Step 1: Remove your makeup

pre run1 (2)

(Post-run selfie)

FOR THE LOVE…do not skip this step, unless you want tiny wrinkles and lines under your eyes at the ripe old age of 30.

Feeling lazy? When I’m exhausted or generally not in the mood to mess around, I will use the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and Wipes. This does a pretty good job of wiping the day away.

Feeling ambitious?  I try to use the Queen Helene Professional Cleansing Cream, Triple Whipped at least twice a week.  Massage this all over your face and then gently wipe off with a tissue.

Face wipe (2)

 

Step 2: Wash your face with a cleanser

Feeling lazy? I use Cleansing Story, Natural Facial Deep Foam Cleansing – Aloe. I got mine at Marshalls). I pretty aggressively rub this on my skin, taking it easy around my eyes and then rinse off with warm water.

Feeling ambitious? One word, Clarisonic.  This is piece of equipment is transformative. My skin has never felt more exfoliated and bright.  I apply the Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser (which smells amazing) on the brush and use as directed.  This is great because it is rechargeable, so you don’t have to worry about changing out batteries.

 

Step 3: Pat a skin softener on your face

softner

softner dime size

Feeling lazy? Clinique Clarifying Lotion.  I used this product for most of my high school years.  It’s a good product, if you are a skin care newbie.  If you need a little boost, see below.

Feeling ambitious? I use the Korean product, IOPE, Plant Stem Cell Softner, Skin Perfection.  This one bottle lasts me at least a year and is totally worth it.  I love it.

 

Step 4: Gently spread the skin serum on your face

serum

serum size

Feeling lazy? Skip this step.

Feeling ambitious? I use about a dime size amount of IOPE, Revitalizing Lifting Serum. I definitely see some lift and firmness with this product.

 

Step 5: Massage a cream on your face

after

Feeling lazy? Clinique dramatically different moisturizing gel. has been my go-to for years.

Feeling ambitious? Try IOPE Revitalizing Lifting Cream. I generally dot my face with the product and then smooth it all over. Ok, even in my early 30’s I want to fend off the early signs of sagging and dullness. This does the trick!

No matter your age, there is still time to get started on a routine that will keep your skin firm and bright.  While fillers and botox are always a fall-back option, this skin care routine will be much less expensive and way easier to keep up. You got this!

Let me know your favorite skin care products! I always love learning about new ones.

XOXO,

Lauren

[affiliate links included]

 

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The Strapless Bra You Can’t Live Without! Large Chest Approved

Ladies, rejoice!  I have finally found the PERFECT strapless bra!! (Insert praise hands.)  Several of you have asked about what strapless bra I prefer to wear with my off the shoulder tops and dresses.  Until recently, I had a strapless bra I wore, but I didn’t really love it.  I’ve been searching high and low for a comfortable strapless bra and i’m happy to report that I’ve finally found one that I’ve fallen in love with!  It provides coverage, support, comfort and (most importantly) it has a minimizing effect rather than a “pour your boobs out the top of your shirt” effect.  Here’s the crazy part, it’s made out of spanx material!  Sounds wild, right?!?  I know….when I saw it hanging in Macy’s I thought for sure I wouldn’t like it.  But then I tried on like 47 different strapless bras (of course I left this one ’til last, because apparently misery loves company) and as soon as I slid it on, I knew it was the one!   I have to tell you, it has not let me down.   I wore it to a wedding and danced the night away and I did not tug at it once.  Seriously amazing.  It’s like the bra gods crafted it and sent it directly to me just to make life better.  Ok, so here are the deets you’ve been waiting for:

 

Lilyette by Bali Minimizer Strapless Bra

 

Does strapless bra shopping have you feeling like this…….

 

Then you definitely need to check out the Lilyette Minimizer Strapless Bra, it’s worth every penny!  Thankfully, it doesn’t break the bank.  It’s reasonably priced at $40 and mine has already been put to good use.

 

 

If you decide to purchase, let us know.  We would love to hear your feedback!  I hope you love this bra as much as I do!

XOXO

Jill

 

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10 Things Millenial Parents Need To Stop Doing Immediately. Are You Part Of The Problem?

 

Our generation of parenting has it harder than any generation before us.  Sure, other parents have faced obstacles in the past too.  We could even suggest that they’ve seen more struggle, but parenting in an instant-access, media filled world has created quite the challenge for us.  Social Media, if used in a positive manner, can be amazing.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to imagine a world without y’all in it!  But social media can also be a very dark place.  Many parents scroll through Facebook daily, mentally sizing up their family, constantly comparing them to the fake lives that others are displaying online.  “Keeping up with The Jones'”, or The Kardashians, is at an all time high.  Unfortunately, we all fall victim to this sometimes, myself included.  But as I sit back and compare my (amazing) childhood to my kids’ childhood, I realize that parents today are forcing themselves to perform at a much higher level.  A level that 80’s parents would’ve literally belly-laughed over.  We consider ourselves to be personal chefs, cleaning ladies, chauffeurs, scheduling assistants, pediatric nurses, family therapists….ohhh, and yeah, we actually have real careers too!  It’s absolutely understandable why we’re always feeling overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted.  We are micromanaging every.single.moment of our children’s lives, and i’m here to tell you, it’s time to stop!

 

Stop Doing These Things Immediately:

 

1.  Stop comparing your kids to their friends.  Quit worrying about the fact that your baby isn’t walking and someone else’s is.  Don’t stress over the fact that someone else’s child won 5 awards and your child only received a participation medal.  Our lives are hard enough without this added pressure.  99% of the things we worry about as momma’s doesn’t even matter in the long run.  I promise you, your child will be potty trained before they go to Kindergarten.  Quit stressing!

 

2.  Stop the insane amount of extracurricular activities.  Stop living vicariously through your children.  Stop enrolling your child in every activity known to man just because you weren’t allowed to do those things when you were little.  Stop getting so involved in your child’s craft that you act like it’s your own personal victory.  Let your child find something their passionate about and make it fun!

 

3.  Stop hovering and constantly intervening when your child is interacting with other children.  Let them work out their own problems and create their own solutions.  They’ll need this skill later in life.  Mommy won’t always be there to fix everything!

 

4.  Stop acting like your 8 year old is “going pro.”  It’s time to say no to year ’round kids travel sports.  Kids aren’t  collegiate athletes!  (Not to mention how expensive travel sports are.  Parents are being bamboozled on the daily!)

 

5.  Stop making Homecoming and Prom seem like a wedding!  It is literally insane the amount of money that parents are spending on Prom these days.  I think some of these Prom dresses cost more than my first car!  And let’s not even talk about the fact that girls are wearing $1,000 dresses while their dates are in khaki’s and chucks.  (insert major eye roll.)

 

6.  Stop doing everything for your kids; teach them life skills and lessons – make them accountable.  You will not be their personal assistant forever (even if you’d like to be.)

 

7.  Quit giving your child the best of everything.  Let them know a little struggle so they’ll appreciate the finer things in life when they earn them!  Teach them to work hard for their goals (and give them a chore chart while you’re at it!)

 

8.  Stop making them believe that the world is full of unicorns and rainbows.  Don’t allow them to be sensitive, offended “snowflakes.”  Teach them to be tough and to always stand up for themselves.  Teach them that the world will be cruel but that they’re strong enough to handle it!

 

9.  Stop allowing your kids to be fully involved in electronics.  Just say no to kids and cell phones!  I’m all about some iPad time, but 7 year olds do not need functioning cell phones.  Don’t cave to the pressure, momma.  Stay strong!   Send your children outside to play and tell them to do what we always did – wonder around til you find a friend!  You know, actually talk to someone face to face.

 

10.  And for the love of everything holy, stop constantly trying to out-do each other.  Stop trying to throw the biggest baddest birthday party or gender reveal.  Stop trying to always top each other.  This isn’t a competition, we’re all in this together.  And honestly, I don’t want to have to book Cher for my kid’s birthday party in 2020, so just chill.

 

Whenever you’re feeling the urge to hover and micromanage, channel your inner 80’s mom.  Light up a Pall Mall and turn on some Dallas and remember that your mom would’ve never, ever done these things.  She had her own agenda to deal with, and guess what, you turned out just fine!

 

XOXO

 

Jill

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