Loving Lately – Hair & Personal Care

 

If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter, you’d know that I’ve been on the hunt for a new dry shampoo and products to maintain my crazy curly hair. While I haven’t found my perfect shampoo & conditioner yet, I have three other hair products I’ve been loving lately that I want to share!

Hair

When my hair is natural and curly, I need something to control the bottom half of my hair because it gets frizzy and becomes poofy if that makes sense. The aveda be curly serum has really helped let my natural curls shine and be lightweight and look more put together. I got this at my local salon during my last visit and I plan to dry out their damage remedy line for shampoo and conditioner as I’ve heard great things about it!

My most popular hair style is just my loose waves/curls. I have to straighten my hair first and then curl it (curly hair probs) and always need to use a spray to keep them in place. The one I’ve used and love by far out of any sprays I’ve had is this one by Chi. It keeps my curls lightweight and never sticky if you know what I’m talking about.

I saved the best for last! I’ve been a lover of dry shampoo since I had Royce. I didn’t use it too often before because well, I had the time to wash my hair! Anyway, I tried a dry shampoo from Batisse that I got from Marshalls months back and while it got the job done, it didn’t do much and I wasn’t crazy about it. I definitely didn’t like how much white residue it left. To be honest, I think people only like it because the bottles are pretty and it smells good! I grabbed the grapefruit scented Herbal Essence dry shampoo when I was at Target and all I have to say is: GET IT! It’s so lightweight which is huge for me because I have thin hair and don’t need anything that’ll weigh my hair down. It’s also really inexpensive AND can be found at most drugstores so if you forget one and can’t stop at your local salon or beauty store, you can still get it!

Personal care

I know, totally not something I’d normally review but I have to tell you about the new line from Summer’s Eve. Back in high school and college I was misinformed and thought using products down there was safe and key to good feminine hygiene. WRONG. You shouldn’t use anything down there really because the woman’s reproductive parts are self cleaning. I know, this is weird to talk about. BUT Summer’s Eve has the Simply line out and all the products are free of harsh chemicals, dyes, alcohol and parabens. Of course these aren’t something you need to use every day, but it’s nice to have safe products to use on your body after your monthly or just because to make you feel cleaner down there. What I love about these compared to competitors is that the scents aren’t overbearing – my favorite is the mandarin but the coconut is really soft and sweet too. I literally always have a few travel wipes with me in my purse!

 

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Royce’s 1st Birthday Party

 

This post is a littttle behind, but better late than never, right?

Royce is officially ONE! If you’ve been following me from the start, I have two things to say to you: Thank you & I love you. Without my close friends, family, and YOU, I wouldn’t be the mom I am today! Getting pregnant with Royce at 20 was terrifying and I was unsure if I’d be a good (or a decent) mother. Now that he’s one and turning into an intelligent, loving, and outgoing toddler, I feel much better about my parenting skills but know that I owe a great deal of it to those who have kept up with us and offered kind words and hugs, even if they are virtual.

Behind this sappy message is going to be details on his party, I promise! I seriously just want to express my thanks to everyone who has helped me become a better mother in any sort of way. Even through simple Instagram DM’s and Facebook messages, I have taken those words to heart. I want to hug each and every person who has had a part in both of our lives thus far!

All of that to say that his 1st birthday party was small(ish) but filled with fun! My plan was to NOT spend a lot because well, he’s only one, and everyone knows the first few parties are mostly for the adults 😉 For “real” food we had pulled chicken sandwiches, chips and black bean + corn salsa, a french onion dip, and a nacho cheese dip. We also had a fruit and veggie tray, baked mac & cheese, and cheesy potatoes. YUM. The dessert table shown above looks fancy but it was actually really inexpensive. All of the decor was from Oriental Trading, the Target dollar spot from this year + last, and surprisingly Meijer’s craft section! The little debbie cakes were a hit (and saved me a lot of money from buying themed cookies that would be $2+ each) and everyone LOVED the hot cocoa bar. My sweet cousin helped me with the smores on a stick and even those who aren’t huge s’mores eaters enjoyed them!

I have a normal cake lady that I found on Facebook and used for Royce’s baby shower, but unfortunately she was sick and couldn’t do his cake. I went back to the good ol’ Facebook and found another amazing local cake lady who made this beautiful birch tree cake. NO ONE thought it was real! Thank goodness I got photos of it before my cousin poked her finger in it and made a huge dent on it because she thought it was a tree log! If you’re in Rockford, search “Simply Sweet Expressions” and let her take care of the cake for your next event!

Funny story… Royce was not a happy camper when we sang to him. I think he was so overwhelmed by how many people were there and everyone singing at once that he started bawling. A week later on his actual birthday we took him to see Santa and he also cried then! Of course it’s not fun seeing him cry but he’s still so cute when he does.

Buffalo Plaid mug tumbler

The last super cute item that fit in perfectly with his birthday party theme is this travel tumbler from Made by Crafter Hours! I got several compliments on it at the party. I bought an adorable monogram clutch from this same shop maybe 2 years ago and I still use it once a month. The shop owner is the sweetest and really timely getting back to you about something. If you love monograms like me, definitely check out her shop (she’s also doing 12 days of deals on IG right now!)

Once again, thank you to everyone who helped make his birthday party a success and showered him with love. I can’t wait to plan another party and see what the trends are around this time next year!

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My Favorite Everyday Sweater & Bag

Sweater: Pink Blush | Jeans: T.J. Maxx | Booties: Zooshoo | Sunglasses: Diff Eyewear | Tote: Barrington Gifts | Earrings: Target (old) 

 

If you have that one piece in your closet that you wish you had in every color and could wear for the rest of your life, then you know how I feel about this sweater! I bought one and loved the fit so much that I went back and literally got every color except one (only because I have a different sweater in the same color). You can wear it off the shoulder to one side or the “regular” way on both. It’s so comfy and cozy that I usually wear it how I am here with jeans and booties and go home and change into pajama pants for the evening!

As for my bag, I feel the same way! I wear it all the time and although it was definitely a splurge, it’s something I’ve wanted for months and couldn’t stop thinking about. I wear it probably 4 days a week because it’s so big it also serves as Royce’s diaper bag. I can fit two bottles inside of the pockets, about 5-10 diapers, his wipes, my wallet, planner, and makeup bag ALL in this tote. This would be a great gift idea as well for a college student because I also take this bag with when I need to bring my laptop and bigger planner with me. It’s definitely the one bag I think every girl needs!

Last thing: My booties shown are now on sale for under $35. I’ve linked a bunch of my favorite cozy sweaters(under $50) and similar booties below. I’m trying to get as much wear out of my booties as possible before snow hits the ground!

 

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Holiday Traditions You Can Start This Year

Plaid pajama set on Royce: Target

 

The holidays are here and I couldn’t be happier! I mean, who doesn’t like walking into stores decked out with glitter, lights, and humming along to Christmas music? One of my favorite things to do is go to the mall and see the giant Christmas tree and Santa Clause in front- that’s a big tradition for many families, and I plan to take Royce this year too!

I want to start a few traditions because we didn’t really do any when I was younger, so I always felt like I was missing out. I want the holidays to be a time where my family comes together and has something to look forward to every year. It’s really important to set aside time to bringing your family closer whether it’s around the holidays or not.

I will tell you that one of my family’s traditions will NOT be elf on a shelf. For one, the elf kind of creeps me out… and two, I don’t think I’d remember to move him every day!

If you’re like me and need some creative ideas for holiday traditions besides making a gingerbread house, here’s a few that your family will enjoy:

  1. 25 days of giving – For the days of December leading up to Christmas, do something nice for someone each day. It has to be something you wouldn’t NORMALLY do. For example, opening a door for a woman (or a man) doesn’t count. Aim to buy someone’s coffee, take on someone else’s chores, shovel the snow for your neighbor, leave a snack for the UPS/USPS/FedEx delivery person, etc. I’m sure you are even more clever than me! Have each member of your family write down what they did for someone else each night and discuss.
  2. Sponsor/adopt another child – This is the first year I’m doing this and I’m really pumped! A local shelter has hundreds of children whose parents can’t afford to get them gifts, so we have taken on that child’s list and are trying to get them everything they are asking from Santa! I love being able to give back to my community and make sure a child has a very merry Christmas.
  3. Movie & game night – Ever want to do something fun but didn’t want to spend the money? Put on your favorite pajamas, grab a bowl of popcorn, and watch a holiday classic! I love Home Alone and the Polar Express and they’re great for the whole family. Movie marathons don’t work for many families because someone will get antsy after the second or simply doesn’t like the movie choice, so opt for a board game after the movie!
  4. Out with the old & in with the new – Feel like your house doesn’t have room for your children’s new clothes and toys? Now is the time to purge! Ask your children which toys they no longer love, and donate them to a child in need!
  5. Christmas church services – Getting young children to love going to church can be difficult. The holidays is the perfect time to introduce them to church again or find the church you love. Most services around this time will be more fun and interactive for the them making them want to keep coming back. It’s also a great way to start a new year resolution of attending and being involved in the church more!

 

Don’t forget to look at my holiday gift guide, and let me know what your favorite traditions are!

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The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Every Girl Will Love

2017 Gift Guide Every Girl Will Love

It’s that time of the year again! I’m posting my favorite items that I know you’ll love too and rounding them up into a gift guide! Go ahead and send this to your boyfriend, husband, parents, or even your bff… these items aren’t just Christmas related – they’re perfect for winter and beyond!

The pink coat from J. Crew (which will be perfect for a Valentine’s day date!) is one I’ve seen on different types of women and looks great on every one of them. I picked up a similar version at Loft last year but in an eggplant color and always get compliments when I wear it!

I’ve been needing a new pair of sneakers that are practical and comfy but still cute. These white and gold Nike Roshe Runs should be on your list because 1. They’re less than $60 so they won’t break the bank, and 2. They’re one of the only pairs of shoes I can wear all day and my feet don’t hurt me!

The gold monogram bracelet is my #1 favorite item because it’s more personal, and you can either get the recipients initial on it, or yours (if you’re cheesy like me ;). I may be getting one with an R one it for Royce because treat yo’self!

If you’re still stumped on ideas, think about who you’re shopping for and places they go on a weekly or monthly basis – gift cards to the nail/hair salon are useful and ALWAYS appreciated. They are also more special than a Starbucks gift card or prepaid Visa giftcard because it shows you remember the salon they always go to!

Drop your favorite gift guide item in a comment below, or the best gift you’ve ever received for Christmas!

 

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Casual in Camo

Pink Blush Jacket Camo Scarf Old Navy Target Velvet Sneakers

Jacket: c/o Pink Blush (camel shown, also comes in cream) | Scarf: Old Navy (sold out, similar here) | Striped tee: Old Navy | Velvet Sneakers: Target | Jeans: Old Navy | Sunglasses: c/o Diff Eyewear (up to 50% off for Black Friday from 11/23-11/27) Photos: Brown Eyes Photography

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done an outfit post and I’ll admit that one huge reason behind that is my lack of “cute” outfits. When I think of outfits to post on here, I usually try to put together something really eye-catching that I wouldn’t wear every day, but I know you probably want practical, casual outfits too! It’s hard to dress up every day (nor do I want to!) but I truly feel SO much better when I wear something other than a baggy shirt and leggings, even if it’s still comfy and relaxed!

Lately when I’ve been shopping I’ve been looking for pieces that I can get more use out of, so this jacket from Pink Blush is a must for every girls closet! It’s more of a shirt jacket and great for layering and super soft. I’ve also worn the striped long sleeve shirt from Old Navy underneath about four times since buying it last month and I plan to buy more in different color options! Every time I go there I end up with way more than I planned on getting, but they have the best basic tees and are ALWAYS running a sale so naturally it’s become one of my favorite stores – Check out this post featuring a ton of their items too.

You may have seen I mentioned that Diff Eyewear is having an awesome Black Friday sale! I love Diff and how much they give back to others, and of course, how cute their sunnies are! What are your favorite Black Friday sales to go to each year? I’m definitely going to take advantage of the deals this year to save on presents for Royce and would love to hear your suggestions!

 

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Firsts & Beginnings

 

 

 

I’m so excited to tell you that Royce is officially walking as of last week! Time is passing by so quickly and I want it all to slow down. There’s been so many big firsts this year and as we’re rolling into the end of the year and Royce’s birthday, I know we’re just starting. Soon he’ll be running throughout the house and eating off my plate, ha!

Since we’re talking about food, I wanted to let you know about something that every mom and mom-to-be should be checking out! Enfamil is hosting a free formula for a year sweepstakes (this seriously could have saved so much money for me if I won)! You probably know that formula wasn’t my original plan for Royce, but I am so grateful that I don’t have to feel bad about it because he’s baby is getting all the necessary nutrients to grow strong and healthy. Because of his lip tie he wasn’t able to latch on correctly and we’re actually getting surgery on it this month!

The first brand I knew of was Enfamil because of their Beginnings kit, and I was able to try out a few different kids to see what worked for him. Royce is currently on Enfamil Reguline (which isn’t pictured in this post but can be found at Target, Walmart, Walgreens, etc) and since we got him on that, he hasn’t had any tummy issues. Enfamil Family Beginnings truly helps prepare and aid you for the future with you and your baby like it did with us. It has already helped save me over $100 on formula with the coupons delivered monthly, but you also get nutrition tips delivered in your email!

When you sign up for Enfamil Beginnings, you’ll get up to $400 in gifts AND a chance to win free formula for a year. I don’t know about you but I could definitely use that! Click here to sign up, and watch the cute little video Royce & I made below!

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How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night

This post is NOT sponsored by coffee and dry shampoo, but it should be!

Let me begin by saying that I am no doctor or expert in parenting. In fact, I’m far from it. However, every new mom that layers on concealer to cover up the bags under her eyes (if you even have time to do your makeup) knows that most frustrating question is, “Is he/she sleeping at night yet”?

The first few weeks after having my son was miserable if we’re going to be honest. Between the baby crying, pumping as soon as he fell asleep, and recovering from a c-section, I got NO sleep. I was a zombie. There was actually a time when I fell asleep on the couch and my mom was taking care of my son, Royce, and he began crying and I started patting a blanket next to me because I thought he was laying next to me… totally hilarious, right?

I tried everything – white noise machine, singing to him, every brand of pacifier, sleeping with him, the rocker, swing… he just wasn’t having it. I was fed up and was pretty confident I just wasn’t cut out for motherhood. I was 100% sure I wasn’t having another baby EVER.

Fast forward to now, Royce is 10 months old and sleeps SO well. He’ll have a rough night here or there or I make the mistake of letting him fall asleep at 7 pm for a nap… but we’re both sleeping good. There’s actually times when I wake up and pick him up from the crib and we’re both smiling. Now I can ACTUALLY picture myself having another child one day. I want to let other moms in on my secret to getting him to sleep through the night if you’re on the struggle bus I was in.

My #1 tip: Patience. 

Looking back, I realized that a lot of the times I was tired was because I was also stressing myself out by trying to be super mom. Let others help you if they ask. You’re not a bad mom for letting people do your laundry, cook for you, or clean up the house. You’re not a bad mom for letting someone hold your baby while you get a nap in either. You definitely need it, and baby also needs a happy and stress-free mom. Plus you’ll regret not taking up the opportunity when they’re toddlers!

Don’t be too hard on yourself because some sleep method that works for 3 of your mommy friends on Facebook didn’t work for you. As I said before, we tried EVERYTHING but the only thing that worked was me being patient and letting time do the rest.  He was a very clingy baby and still is. We bedshared for a while and still do occasionally (I know, God forbid, right? I was making him be so attached to me that he couldn’t sleep! 😉 and I never once let him “cry it out”. If you want to give your baby all the cuddles in the world, do it. If something like the CIO method doesn’t feel right to you, even if all your friends are telling you to do it and their kids are “fine”… don’t.

Being patient is hard, I know. If you’re still looking for suggestions on what to do or try, here’s what I really did that I believe helped and guided us to where we are now.

I established a routine and recognized his sleep habits, like him sleeping for 3-4 hours at a time when he stayed up later. I began keeping him awake from 7-9 p.m. as much as I could by placing toys around him, playing upbeat music, or even holding him and moving around a lot to spark his curiosity and keep him up. We started giving him baths every night or putting on his Otteroo so he’d swim and wear himself out. While in the tub & after, we used his lavender scented bath products since lavender is known to help you relax, destress, and sleep!

Again, I’m no expert; these are the methods that worked for my family. If you think your baby’s sleep patterns are unusual and there was an underlying problem, I’d speak with your pediatrician about it just to be sure.

The biggest message I want every mom to get from this is that you are doing a great job and the best that you can. There’s no secret trick to getting your baby to sleep – no rice cereal, no magic sleep suit, no essential oils that can help your baby if he/she just isn’t ready to sleep for hours at a time yet. The time will come when your baby is ready and the best thing you can do until then is be the most thankful and loving mother while they’re awake. Plus, less sleep means more precious moments you get to experience, right?

 

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Mom Style Monday: How To Wear A Statement Scarf

Tee: Old Navy | Scarf: Old Navy | Jeans: Old Navy | Booties: DSW | Purse: Ross | Necklace: 2911 Design Co

 

Welcome to Mom Style Monday, a monthly link party where my fellow stylish mamas and I share our favorite outfits and trends! There’s a new theme every month so be sure to join in next month with your own Mom Style! This month we’re sharing our favorite fall scarves and how we style them!

I absolutely love scarves and styling them in different ways. I had a phase where I only wore infinity scarves… then it turned into blanket scarves, and now I’m loving lightweight scarves simply tossed around my neck! This scarf is from Old Navy and under $20 – but I scored it when they were having a sale and it was marked down to $10!

Old Navy has been my JAM lately. My entire look minus the booties is from there – if you get their emails, you’ll know that they’ve been having some super good deals so that’s why I keep going back! I also got these booties when DSW had 25% off everything. I’m loving them so much that I might snag them in another color!

Side note: I originally paired this look with white sweater but it was in the high 80s all weekend long. There was NO way I could take photos in that, but this look will be perfect with an off the shoulder sweater too!

Now it’s time to link up! Share your favorite fall scarf style (or any recent outfit post) and be sure to comment on at least one other blog post in the party! Then join us next month (the last Monday of every month) for our next theme: Fall vests!

link up


 

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Cherishing Everyday Moments with Artifact Uprising

 

 

From the beginning of my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to have some sort of book to document special moments in. Facebook is fun and all, but what if I can’t access it one day? I know that the best times are the ones that can’t be written on paper or snapped in a photo, but I still wanted something to pass down to Royce when he’s older (and use to embarrass him in front of future girlfriends)!

My mother has expressed that one of her biggest regrets when it came to parenting is actually keeping photos! While we have some photos of my childhood and the typical school portraits that you can order wallet size prints of, we don’t have a ton and have lost a majority over the years. Modern baby books like The Story of You from Artifact Uprising let you simply keep photos together and jot down special things about each one. This is definitely something my mother could have used! If you’re attending a baby shower soon… keep this is mind so they don’t make the same mistake my mother did!

The best thing about this book is that it’s so easy to customize. You can download their app and order your own products (and prints) right from your phone. With the purchase of a book, you get free prints – that was a game changer for me!  Technology is obviously amazing and it’s so convenient that we can snap photos of almost anything, anywhere, simply using our phones. The only downside of that is that I know a majority of people don’t print out their photos on their phones.   Letting you in on a little secret here: A majority of the photos I put in Royce’s book where from my iPhone! I love that I actually get to share these photos somewhere else besides Facebook and Instagram!

The biggest thing that sets this book apart is the prompts. It really focuses on little moments and reflecting them rather than asking you to put a specific day something happened. When I glanced through another baby book, I felt really overwhelmed because it asked for you to write down almost every little detail about your pregnancy and baby’s first year. I didn’t know how I’d keep up with it all! The Story of You helps us busy parents feel less guilty and stressed about forgetting things. As I said before, it really is a game changer!

A baby book is definitely something I recommend all new parents to get, and especially for them to pick one that they know is good quality so it lasts for generations – did I mention that this one is made with a high quality linen fabric that’s good to last for years? If you’d like to save 10% on The Story of You for yourself or  expectant mama you know, use the code “TheStoryofYou10” (valid until 10/31/17). You can learn more about Artifact Uprising below. Head’s up – they make a ton of other themed books, so if you know a couple that’s engaged, keep this company in mind as well!

 

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