Friday, August 30, 2013

3 Days Of Bliss

Yay! The day has finally arrived! What a week it has been! With two new trainees at work and a veteran out it has been more than a challenge to complete the work week. I am ready to sit and enjoy doing nothing!
I'm linking up with Lauren to share with you my five highlights of the week!

1. Starbucks had an early release on their Pumpkin Spice Lattes! I am in heaven and will now be switching my regular order to this delightful cup of goodness!

2. Madison has had 7 days of successful preschool morning drop offs! No more meltdowns! I love it!

3. On the way to school we were able to enjoy the sight of two deers. It really makes you enjoy the small things when something like that happens!

4. Ice cream! Yum! I picked up a cup of my favorite, daiquiri ice! My mom and brother joined us. It was a nice ice cream social!

5. Girls night with the kiddos consisted of my bestie, an Italian feast, fruity drinks and good talk. I love when I get to spend time with my friends.

I am off to enjoy a countdown at work! Come on 5:00!

Any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 2013: Ipsy Glam Bag

It's time for the Ipsy Glam Bag reveal!
Everyone has heard of Birchbox but not many people have heard of Ipsy.
If you are one of those people it basically is a beauty box subscription for $10 a month.
Ipsy sends you different makeup bags filled with 4-5 beauty samples and voila you add beauty items to your collection!

I am not one to splurge and buy a lot of products I am not familiar with. Especially since so many of them cost a pretty penny. So this little bag allows the trial and error part of the equation to not hurt your pocketbook! Ipsy provides popular brands and products that you may have been wanting to try but have not picked up yet!

So let's see what Ipsy sent this month!

Noya Lip Balm in Cherry: $3.99
I have had the worst cold lately. We all know what that's like, breathing out of our mouth inside of our nose. Well this in my case causes chapped lips. Ipsy delivered the right product for me. This little lip balm stick provides great moisture and smells awesome too!

Michael Todd Pumpkin Facial Mask: $34.00
Ipsy really welcomed the upcoming season of fall with this product! Pumpkin is my go to scent in the fall and exfoliation is a requirement at the end of a crazy work week. I feel the need to remove any and all dull dead skin cells from my face. Plus, Madison and I usually love a good girls spa night on Fridays. This product smelled awesome and left my skin clean and smooth!

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream: $16.00
I haven't been totally sold on the BB Creams. I don't see the use for them or the difference they make. I am satisfied with my primer, concealer, foundation and powder. The cream was very light weight and did cover up some aging spots but nothing a little concealer hasn't taken care of. Maybe some of you beauty experts can explain to me why a BB cream is recommended?

MicaBeautyEyeshadow in Bronze: $14.95
Yay a color I could actually wear on a daily basis! This bronze eye shadow had great pigmentation and enhanced my every day brown eyes hadow. I will be using this daily.

Pixi Beauty Lash Booster Mascara in Blackest Black: $17.00
Another mascara sample! Whoo hoo! I LOVE using different mascaras. It is very hard for me to find a mascara that I can use daily. There is always a problem. Maybe I'm a mascara snob. Who knows. This sample seems to be decent but with only using it a few times I haven't made my mind up yet.

Again Ipsy delivered! I received all of the products that I would love to try and they all came out with a great review! I highly recommend if you haven't subscribed to visit Ipsy now and do so!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vacation Simplified

Recently I came in contact with a lovely woman, Kendra Thornton.

Before taking the position as a full time mother of three she was the former Orbitz Director of Communications.
Personally, she has been to 28 countries on 6 continents, and has been quoted
in the news about seasonal travel trends and destinations all over the
United States.
As a girl who loves to travel, any and all tips are always an added bonus when planning a vacation!
I'll let Kendra take it from here!
Summer Vacation Simplified
Happy August! It’s the end of summer, and for most of us, that means back-to-school shopping and getting ready for fall. It’s also the last hurrah for summer family vacations, but it’s not too late! With proper planning to reduce your stress level, you can get the kids out of their normal environment one more time before the school season. Vacations are a great way to spend quality
time away from everyday life; follow these tips for a well-planned getaway that can be the perfect cap to your family’s summer.
1. TSA Simplified

If you're flying for your vacation, airline security is always a tedious task to deal with. To reduce your time in line, you can get online and print your boarding passes 24 hours before your flight is scheduled. In addition, it's always a good idea to put your kids (and yourself) in slip-on shoes, to make the security process that much smoother. Also, be sure to check out the TSA website
to help determine any other last minute questions you might have.
2. Do Your Research
This should go without saying, but picking a hotel with facilities best suited to your needs will vastly improve your family's experience. Don't just trust the website that says "family friendly", do some research online or with a travel agent to find out what amenities hotels offer. Kid-friendly menus, microwaves, fridges, swimming pools, playgrounds, and high chairs are just some of the things hotels can provide that can help save you money, time, and hassle. Also, I know from experience that traveling to a big city can seem like the last thing a family with little ones should want to do. However, taking your kids somewhere like my home city, Chicago, can be a tremendous opportunity to show your kids a new culture, and allow them to experience all the wonders that come with big city life. Do a little research ahead of time on a site like Gogobot, and you’ll be able to find plenty of family friendly hotels to house you on your next excursion.
3. Comfy Road Trip
If you're driving for your vacation, long road trips can be a breeding ground for the dreaded "are we there yet" question. Reduce whining by making sure your kids are comfy and relaxed while traveling in the car. Bring along pillows, favorite toys, and snacks to make your kids feel at home in the car, and let you focus on the driving.
4. Surprise, Vacation!
Surprise your kids this vacation by waking them up one morning and telling them you are leaving then and there for a fun vacation! The kids will love the prospect of going somewhere fun and new out of the blue. Just make sure there's a big "wow” factor involved with where you are going. If the destination is the same place they’ve gone with you many times, the excitement won’t be the same.
5. Same Old Routine

Even when you're getting away from it all, a daily structure is important to everyone's relaxation. This doesn’t mean avoid doing anything new or different on vacation, it just means to still incorporate a similar routine with things like naps and meals. Naptime doesn't go away, even in different time zones. Avoid cranky little ones by sticking to the old routine in a new place, and make sure snacks, naps, and mealtimes come right on schedule. With all the fun and excitement that comes on a vacation, your kids will need their rest to be able to handle it all.

I hope you are able to enjoy a family vacation this August before the kids have to head back to school. There is still time for all of you to have one last hurrah together!

Are planning one last summer vacation?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meet My Little!

If you are not signing up for the Bigs and Littles Network I would have to ask why not?

I love this network of bloggers. You are paired up with someone at random, you are now allowed to stalk their blog if you haven't already and you make the best friendships!

I look forward to signing up to one of these every time! I have met some wonderful people during this process.
My first friend that I was matched up with was Sybil. She blogs over at Peace It All Together and is such a wonderful person. She has the cutest little family and the best sense of style! Another blogger you should go say hi to now!
Back to my new friend, Megan! Here recently I have been reading more and more of her posts and getting to know her better. It's amazing how after reading someone's blog you feel more connected to them and can relate to on so many levels!
I'll let Megan take it from here!
Hey y'all!! I'm Megan and I blog over at Simply Megan

I was paired up with Brooke through Big's and Little's and have loved getting to know her!!

I am a full-time mom to my two crazy boys, Deqlan is 8 1/2 and Hayden just turned 4. 
They keep me busy with all of their activities and on top of it all I am a full-time student!
I hope to finish school in the next year and a half and be a paralegal!

I love all things that involve bowling, baseball, and hockey. 
The Boston Red Sox and Carolina Hurricanes are my favorite teams. 
Our lives revolve around bowling and baseball at the moment. 
Deqlan has been playing baseball year round since last fall so we spend lots of time at the ball field (which is fine by me!)
As a mommy, I know what it is like to maintain a busy schedule and keep your sanity. Every day is an adventure with little ones around. I know a lot of my bloggy friends are preggo right now and you all have me sitting on the edge of my seat. I can't wait to see their little adorable faces, or what outfit was bought next.
It's been nice getting to know a new friend and someone else in the blogosphere you can relate to!
I love the Bigs and Littles Network and if you haven't signed up in the months prior you should definitely do it this next time! You really don't know what you are missing!

Monday, August 26, 2013

When Besties Reunite

Back when Madison started daycare she met her best friend, Cash.
They were inseparable. Constantly following each other, mimicking each others every move and spending countless hours laughing and smiling together.
This weekend Cash's mom and I surprised the two of them with an all day visit to the zoo and dinner.

Cash had known about the surprise all week but I kept the secret safe and had Cash show up at our doorstep to tell Madison the news.
The look on her face was priceless. Cheesy smile and all.
The two hugged and just couldn't believe they were hanging out again.

The weather was very warm but a perfect day for the zoo.
We saw many animals, enjoyed the train and carousel ride and took many photos.

The two kiddos played around in the water park area and had the best time.

It always warms my heart when I see two kids so happy and content together.
They are both wonderful kids and I find such joy in finding time to bring them together.
Their friendship has grown over the last year and continues to blossom.

I cannot wait for future play dates. As much as I wanted them to attend the same preschool I love seeing them grow in their own ways but still remain together.
During the car ride they talked about their teachers, cubbies and nap time blankets and pillows. Too cute!

I remember my childhood and the friendships I made. I have many great memories engraved in my mind. I hope that someday Madison looks back on her life and remembers all of the great times she shared with her loved ones and enjoys every minute.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Let The Weekend Begin: H54F

Happy Friday friends!
So tonight I have some major and I mean major cleaning to do!
Welcome to a mom/wife's typical Friday night.
At least in my household anyway.
I believe that if I accomplish all of my cleaning and laundry on Friday then I have to relaxing fun days to spend on Saturday and Sunday.
As long as I don't spend the night on the couch watching episodes of "Orange Is The New Black" then I should complete my to do list for the week.

Here's a few highlights from my week:

1. My bloggy friend Lara sent me some goodies in the mail and I cannot wait to share them with you! Aren't the ladies of the blogosphere the best? Building friendships through this little blog of mine means so much.
2. I think Madison is finally over her morning meltdown sessions at preschool. Although not every morning does she sprint off to play with the kids she does stand with the teacher, give me my usual loving and doesn't cry. I keep telling myself baby steps.
3. I am impatient, let me say that first. I jumped onto the scale too quickly and received this message. Error, can you believe that? I mean I know I packed on a few lbs during my vacation but gessh ERROR? All jokes aside I think it was a sign that I need to stop eating out so much and cut out the late night snacking. I might even need to give up a couple of visits to Starbucks each week. GASP. I know crazy right?
4. I believe in Karma. What goes around comes around. So why not continue the good karma? I picked up this super cute fall jacket for the bestie and dropped it off to her. I really love seeing the smile and appreciation that one tiny gesture can cause. Pay it forward!
5. DOTS. My new favorite store! Capris for $12, buy one jeans at regular price get each add'l for $10 and shirts for $6! Talk about a heck of a deal! I scored some super cut fall outfits that I cannot wait to wear!
It's been a pretty good week and as long as the kiddos can stay clear of the school sicknesses that are going around we have a special day planned for Madison tomorrow. Her daycare bff who she hasn't seen for almost a month invited us to go to the zoo! I can't wait for them to spend the day together!
Happy Friday! XO

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The One Thing I Really Need You To Hear From Me

You know that feeling you get inside when you hear a song and you just sit there.
You listen to every word and you think to yourself "Yes, someone gets it!"
You put the song on repeat and listen to it over and over.
It's the song that you relate to in every aspect of your life.
The music plays in your heart and moves you.
Every last line puts a smile on your face.

Here recently I have two songs that do just that.

They are completely motivational, heartfelt and sound amazing.
Similar as everyone might say, but powerful and strong and will have everyone dancing on top of tables shouting the lines over and over.

I hear these songs and I feel my heart exploding with happiness and motivation.

As Madison is starting her first year of preschool I have already heard of some things being said between her classmates.
Kids picking on other kids.
Comments said about Madison that she didn't like and so forth.

We have all been there.
A girl who picked on our clothes and hair.
Someone disagreeing with something we said.
People judge.
What we do with their comments is our business.
I use to be the scrawny, stringy haired tall little girl who had no sense of style and wished to look like a super model but then I grew up and realized that everything is not based on looks.

It's how we carry ourselves.
How we treat others.
How we speak to others.

We all have a fire burning inside and we should never and I mean never let anyone dim that fire or take it away.
Your voice should be heard.
Your trends should be shared.

If you are different that is ok.

If you haven't been told today, let me tell you something.
You are amazing.
You are unique.
You are wonderful.
You have a purpose.
Someone in this world needs you, wants you and loves you.
Don't ever forget how special you are and how much someone out there needs you in their life.
Never give up!
As Sara Bareilles says "Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out, honestly I want to see you be brave!"
Be you and never stop.
Listen to the songs below and be prepared for a jam out session!
Go ahead, turn up the music and party like a rock star!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One Month From Now

Can you believe we are one month away from summer ending?
I mean I don't know about you but it really feels like I've only experienced summer for a month.

I've had a handful of cookouts, went swimming maybe three times and have not and I mean have not managed to get my tan on.
What a drag.
The only thing keeping my spirits alive?
Yes I said it. My favorite season.

What comes within this time period that is so grand? Let me show you....

The beautiful changing colors of the leaves. What an astonishing view at this time of the year.

Nothing says fall like pumpkin pie! Yummo!

Taking a trip to the pumpkin patch has to be one of my all time favorite events.
Running around like kids picking out pumpkins to carve and everything else there is to do is a thrill for me.
Everything that I experienced as a child I want to show Madison and so much more!

The smell of cinnamon is everywhere. In the stores, in people's homes and in my own.
The aroma relaxes me and calms my nerves.

 What fun is fall without getting that brisk, cold, red nosed and frozen fingertips feeling on a hayride.
I went on a haunted hayride once, let me say I hate clowns now and will never and I mean never do that again. Yikes!

Oh yes people, the Pumpkin Spice Latte returns!
All of you Starbucks fanatics, you know exactly what I'm talking about and how happy this makes all of us!

Decorating for Halloween and long sleeve shirts!
Two small things but big in my book.
I love tucking my shirts over my fingertips and snuggling up under a blanket.
Madison loves decorating every inch of the house and I love sharing these moments with her.

Everything just seems more relaxed, free and breathtaking during the fall season.
What's your favorite season and why?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Another Angel Returns Home

As I sit and stare at Madison, I can only feel the happiness, love and joy she has added to my life.
Her innocence, her laughter and her existence make all of my days worth while.
Every parent knows what this feeling is like.
It's indescribable.
It's love.
True love.

Two weeks ago I wrote about a beautiful baby girl struggling to survive, Finley.
I am sad to say that she passed away August 16th.

In the last week before her death the family had a photo shoot with Finley.
Seeing these snapshots brought tears to my eyes.
You can feel the love, the hope and the bond between this family.
Baby Finley was a blessing to Noelle and Tim and I know without a doubt they now have an angel watching over them.

Noelle posted on Facebook this post the day Finley passed away. What an uplifting and hopeful outlook during such a tragic time.

"Thank you all so very much for the love and support you've all poured out on us over the last three weeks. We could not have made it without all of you.

And just because God didn't heal Finley's earthly body, we still have faith that He can use this tragedy for the good. The Lord doesn't always give us what we ask for, because sometimes while the thing we want may be good, God often times has things in store that are better.

As we pick up the pieces of our lives and attempt to compile some semblance of normalcy, we must remember that some day these wounds will be healed. It may be months, it may be years, but these wounds will be healed and we will eventually move on."

And this was the update given by Noelle after Finley's passing:
"Tonight after battling the effects of HIE and changing the world for 21 days, our little Finley went home to be with Jesus and her Pop-Pop (Noelle's dad).

She was surrounded by friends and family and a doctor and two amazing nurses who loved her tremendously and cried with us throughout the battle and as she left this earth. We have a long road of healing ahead of us, and as happy as we are that Finley has been healed and given a perfect new body in heaven, we are deeply saddened and stricken by sorrow because our precious angel has left us."

In these photographs you too can appreciate life and love and what the world has to offer.
Never take a moment for granted.


If you would like to visit Finley's Facebook page to express your prayers and thoughts please do.
This family needs all of the support we can give them right now.