Tuesday, February 25

3 Spring 2014 Nail Trends To Try

if you can pull white off, go for it!

With spring just around the corner, it's time to start sporting those pretty nail trends we saw on the runways for 2014. Here are three of my favorites to try now!

pink is always pretty

i have this lavender in my collection now

Monday, February 24

Book Review: Making Piece, a memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie

I'm going through my yearly memoir addiction.

After reading a review on one that sounds exceptionally good, I headed straight to my local library in hopes of checking it out.  Naturally since I had just read the review in the current edition of a magazine, the book hadn't quite hit the shelves.

Disappointed to see it was on order, I quickly placed my name in the hold queue, behind about 70 other patrons who can't wait to read it as well.  Not to be discouraged, I headed over to the biography section to comb the shelves for something equally as interesting, and came across not one but about five new-to -me memoirs.

This one above appealed most to me, likely for the simple fact that it's premise seemed to be all about pie. I've been making pie myself since childhood, and after coming across this book just realized it had been quite a long time since I assembled our family favorite, apple.

In fact, typically I bake quite a few pies around Thanksgiving but due to being in my first trimester with our second son this last holiday, it was a near miracle I was even able to plan and prepare the meal.  To save a little time and energy, I did the sacrilegious act of purchasing commercial-made pies.  Not my most proud moment as a home cook and baker, but we couldn't go that holiday without it's designated dessert.

I think I've made up for it though; since picking up this memoir I've made three apple pies with help of my son.  One I gave to our neighbor for helping my husband with a few car mechanical difficulties, and the other two made their way safely into mostly my mouth.

Of course this memoir isn't all just about pie; the author works her way through painful grief after the death of her husband, and even does some exciting RV traveling alone from our home state here in Washington down south to L.A.  It was especially entertaining to read her description of many places I'm familiar with in the Seattle and Portland areas.

But most importantly, the story ignited my passion for making pie and reminded me what a simple effect of joy it can have on others.  So far I've got quite a list of names going who I can't wait to be on the receiving end of my next creations.

Sunday, February 23

Tory Burch Eau de Parfum

tory burch perfume review
my new favorite fragrance in front of a maternity photo with my first son

Every once in awhile a fragrance hits the market that has the ability to completely transport.

Not once a season, not even once a year, but occasionally, if you're lucky, one hits the market at just the right time. Not only will this fragrance now reminisce me back to this time during my second pregnancy, it also has just the right notes to put me exactly where I always long to be; on and warm a breezy beach.

We've been powering through our cold and wet winter season here in the Pacific Northwest, and let me tell you waking up to damp and gray clouds daily is beginning to take it's toll.  Days are spent indoors, either at home or at a family-friendly place such as the library or children's museum; layers and layers are piled on to keep dry and warm; and the option to just stay in bed all day is always ruled out due to regular daily responsibilities.

So if I'm required to get up and out of bed each day, and face the gloomy cold, wet day in layers that just aren't comfortable in this 3rd trimester of pregnancy, the least I can do is spritz on a bit of this beachy scent and pretend I'm somewhere south for the winter.

With notes of mandarin, peony, and vetiver this fragrance uses the perfect blend to evoke a fresh, laid back state of mind.

Friday, February 21

Absent for Months


For any of my readers still out there, here goes...

When I started this blog I had the greatest intention of posting on a regular basis about a variety of topics from beauty to motherhood, to some of my other interests such as cooking/baking and books.  I began with great gusto and did somewhat well in the beginning.

But then, like everything creative I begin in my life, suddenly I find my life getting in the way.

What starts out as a fantastic creative outlet for me begins to feel like a chore, and then before I know it months have gone by and I've let a million ideas slip through the proverbial cracks.

Most importantly, I let myself down because this habit seems to be somewhat of a pattern for me.

I tend to be the type that sabatoges myself sometimes before I've even begun.  To be somewhat fair, I have had some exciting events happen that did lead to my posting negligence... 1) I was promoted at work right before our busiest season of the year, and 2) My husband and I discovered we were expecting our second child.

So this took a back seat to all that.  What should have only been a couple of months of absence has turned into nearly four.  And since my dream is to one day write a memoir, I really need to kick it into gear and continue honing my writing skill here, as well as fulfill my desire to share some of my interests as mentioned above.

In order to actually realize my goals, I need to face the fact that I have these tendencies to begin projects and then abandon them, that time-management is a skill I could severely work on, and above all the most important goal right now is just to write and forget all the nay-saying nonsense that creeps into my head.

With that said, I hope some of you are still out there, and stay tuned for some beauty reviews on new Spring products, kiddo updates, and maybe a few life-lesson tips I'm trying to follow along the way.  Oh, and don't forget to comment, because although I know I need to write no matter what, I still love the conversational dialogue that it can create,and simply crave community.

Tuesday, October 29

Jordana Blush in Tawny Beige

Since fall of last year, I've been wearing a blush compact from Laura Mercier called Illuminating Powder Quad in Pink Rose. 

I really loved it and used it up to the last speck - you know, when there's barely anything left and the once-pressed product becomes a crumbled mess. 

So when it was time for me to replace this item in my makeup bag, I could have just pulled out my tote of other blush colors waiting to be used up, but decided to try something new. 

For months I've been reading fantastic reviews online about Jordana makeup, so when I came across a display at the drugstore I popped a pretty one in my basket.   It was a toss-up between a warm and a cool color, and having trouble deciding I enlisted the help of my five year old son, who to me has impeccable taste when it comes to beauty and fashion. 

Though I was leaning towards the cooler tone, he wasted no time choosing the warm one, and we went home with the shade Tawny Beige.

Jordana Tawny Beige Blush is now on my list of must-replenish beauty items.  It's a very pretty naturally fresh tone that gives the entire face just the glow it needs.

Complimenting nearly every eye color I wear, I really can't imagine living without it. 

Not only this, but for such an inexpensive item it's highly pigmented and long-wearing. If you're looking for a new blush color that compliments your skin tone perfectly and wears all day, give this one a try.

Thursday, October 24

October Kiwi Crate: Glow In The Dark

Our October Kiwi Crate arrived just in time - right after all the excitement of my son's 5th birthday party.

 It couldn't have dropped on our front stoop at a better moment; there isn't an easier way I can think of to come down after a thrilling time than to immerse ourselves into something crafty and familiar. 

This month's theme was glow in the dark, full of two fun projects that illustrated just that. 

The first was a jellyfish craft that included glow in the dark stickers to apply all over the body. My son enjoyed this part, and we also learned the fun fact that jellyfish have been around since before the dinosaurs (he was really impressed by this!).

Next up was an adorable glow worm made with a tube sock and cotton stuffing.  He colored it all over with glow in the dark markers and named it Smiley.

This crate was fun but I was really hoping for a Halloween themed one this month.  It looks like that unfortunately had to be ordered separately.  We'll need to remember that for next year.

We're on our 6th month of this craft box subscription, and so far we love it and always look forward to it's arrival each month.

If you're a busy mother who loves doing crafts with your little one but just can't seem to find the time, consider the Kiwi Crate Craft Box subscription an excellent solution - we love it.

Wednesday, October 23

Kiehl's Creme De Corps Body Moisturizer

If a more hydrating and luxurious body cream is out there, I have yet to find it.

Although there are loads of other body creams on my shelf that I do love, this Kiehl's Creme De Corps Body Moisturizer takes the cake.

With it's second ingredient being squalane, a derivative of olive oil - and loaded with shea butter, sweet almond oil, and cocoa seed oil - you can imagine how nourishing it feels on the skin.

This time of year my skin gets really dry and itchy; if I forget to apply this at night I find myself awake scratching my arms wildly for relief. For being such a moisturizing lotion, it's not greasy at all.

In fact, absorption is within one minute, then you can dress as normal.  Your skin will feel like it's had a giant glass of water.

There's no scent, so this also layers beautifully with your favorite fragrance.

And if you happen to be pregnant?  Lather it on all over to prevent stretch marks; I never missed a day during my pregnancy and am gratefully mark-free.

Monday, October 21

Seasonal Trend: Olive Eyes

For the last week or so I've been wearing all shades of green on my eyes. 

My favorite so far is the olive-ish shade found in the warmest of these palettes. 

Typically I keep my eye makeup pretty light, but something in this season is possessing me to wear these warm green tones.

In fact I'm a bit occupied with all the shades of fall, and can't get enough of the coppers, golds, purples or greens.

I also happen to be getting a lot of compliments on these shades, so I feel I'm doing something right. 

We have about 8 more weeks left of this season, and it looks like cosmetic routine is set.

Saturday, October 19

Kiddo Birthday Idea: Photo Booth

For my son's 5th birthday, we had a bmx and skateboard themed party at our house where all his friends could bring their bikes, skateboards, scooters and anything else they wanted with wheels.

I picked up all the decorations a week before - in colors like yellow, blue, red, and black to tie in with the theme.

The morning of the party I was busy finishing the cake and slow-cooker chili, so the decorations took a backseat to all of that.  Thankfully my brother in law, who came from Oregon just for the party, offered to help get them started.

When my husband and I began hanging everything I realized how fun it would be to have a place where all the kids could have their picture taken with their wheels of choice. 

Once the guests arrived - after an hour or so of them warming up - I asked each one if they'd like a photo of themselves; most of the kids were excited to pose.  It was super cute to see them each get cheesy for the camera, and the photos turned out really well.

This photo booth was a great feature to the party, and worth giving a try for your next kiddo birthday bash. 

You can get as creative as you want with the theme - though since mine was last minute, I simply used a plastic yellow tablecloth and streamers in alternating colors of black and red. 

I love the way the photos turned out, and especially how easy it was! 

Friday, October 18

Second Hand Steal: Land's End Maroon & Gray Striped Cardigan

About 3 weeks ago I headed out to our garage to retrieve all the winter sweaters I'd stored away last spring. 

After a 20 minute search, and no sweaters in sight of the now very organized garage, I determined they were long gone. 

My husband went to work on our home and garage over the last 6 months, and lots of junk finally got thrown out.  Unfortunately my stored sweaters accidentally made their way to the junk pile as well. 

Sadly among them was a very well-liked sweater dress given to me by a close friend, of which I was in love with and couldn't wait to wear again this season; and an alpaca wool vintage ski sweater that I will dearly miss.

Faced with this dilemma, and in much need of some immediate warmth, I headed out to my favorite thrift store and started scouring the racks.

After 10 minutes my cart was full of 20+ sweaters, all of which I loved but of course some had to stay.   I made my selection of about 5, and among them was this maroon and gray Land's End cardigan that has become a true staple in my closet.

I wear it to work, on outings with my family, and even to bed occasionally. 

It's supremely warm but lightweight, and it came in a large size so it drapes nicely over everything. (I never let size deter me when I'm thrifting; some of my favorite items aren't properly sized for me, and I love the fit even more.)

While it's not an alpaca wool vintage ski sweater, this is one I'll definitely pack properly come spring, so as not to lose it during another garage spring cleaning purge!

Thursday, October 17

Neutrogena Rainbath Refreshing Shower and Bath Gel

Every fall season like clockwork since 2004, I head out to replenish my Neutrogena Rainbath refreshing shower and bath gel. 

I literally can't live without this when the weather begins to turn cooler.  There's nothing better than coming home after a long day at work or play to take a supremely hot shower or bath on the most chilly of nights.

The spicy smell of this product fills my entire bath with warmth and leaves me with a sense of relaxation that is well needed at the end of the day.

I will usually pick up the limited edition jumbo size that becomes available this time of year, but was delighted to find this travel size in the drugstore while browsing for other travel beauty essentials.

If you've never tried this product before, and are looking for just the right scent to spice up your bath this season, pick up a travel size for a decent trial run of it. 

And you won't be out but a couple bucks. 

Wednesday, October 16

Simple Kiddo Birthday Cake

We celebrated our son's 5th birthday on Sunday by throwing him a super fun BMX and Skateboarding party. 

All his neighbor and park friends came, and for two hours our front yard and sidewalk were filled with kiddos and wheels of all sorts.

Some brought their bikes, some brought their skateboards while others brought scooters, and a few kids brought all three. 

Our son had a blast riding around with all of them, taking turns going up the ramp my husband built, and only breaking to fill up on hot cocoa and chili. 

I made the cake the morning of, and although I wanted to bake it from scratch, there just wasn't enough time for me to do it all.   My two days before the party were packed with work obligations, and in between those I had to fit in time to pick up all the decorations and food for the party.

I woke that morning at 6am to begin the prep, and while I was being a little hard on myself for using a box cake, I quickly got over it as I watched the time on the clock melt away. 

We'd just finished hanging the last of the streamers for the party before the first guest arrived, and from then on it was non-stop fun until the last of the kids left at dark. 

I did make the frosting from scratch though, so points for me on that... and nothing dresses up a box birthday cake more than a massive amount of sprinkles.

Tuesday, October 15

Seasonal Trend: Copper Lips

As the colors of the leaves turn outside, this time of year becomes one of the most inspiring when it comes to selecting shades of cosmetic colors to wear each day.

In fact, just recently when I was on the hunt for a new lipstick in a trendy seasonal color called Oxblood, I came across this gorgeous shade of copper.

With just the right amount of gold and red, this Wet & Wild Copper Dust lip color does not turn orange-y even in the slightest.  It also has a very creamy consistency that wears beautifully without over-drying the lips.

I wore it out for the first time on our trip to the Pumpkin Patch, and I think it would also be an excellent color to wear to work or out with friends.  Someone who likes bold lip color on a daily basis might appreciate this color in place of their usual red or other dramatic color.

Since it's so close to the colors we're seeing in nature right now, I think it can also possibly be passed as a neutral for some?? 

Well maybe not quite... but if you tend to wear more neutral shades on a regular basis, and are looking to step it up just a bit until Christmas, by all means put this shade on your next shopping list.

Saturday, October 12

Why We Nurtured Our Child's Interests For The First Five Years

When my son was just 13 months old, he began riding a skateboard that belonged to my husband around the house. 

He'd hop on it wearing his cute baby DC's, sitting on one knee while pushing himself back and forth with his other foot.  We'd watch him do this over and over again in our kitchen, recorded his performance with our video camera, and basically couldn't get enough of it day in and day out.

Now, four years later, he rides his own skateboard with strong balance and grace, at the skate park among kids three times his age.  He can perform many of the tricks the older kids do, and never tires of practicing new ones.  And through it all I feel nothing but gratefulness. 

In a world where kids are growing up in front of numerous screens (computer, tv, and now smartphones and tablets) and little opportunity to just play freely on their own outdoors safely, I'm happy my son has found a passion in something he absolutely loves more than anything, thanks to my husband showing him how.

When our son was born (5 years ago tomorrow) we knew without reservation that we wanted him to be engaged in the world around him.  While I stayed home with him for the first 3 1/2 years, there wasn't often a full day where we would just be at home.

Even in the colder winter months, we bundled ourselves up and headed outside to at least one of the favorite places we liked to visit: the park, the library, our neighborhood market or hobby store, or just our neighborhood business district in general. 

This fostered a generous curiosity in his soul that I know wouldn't be there today if we hadn't begun from the very beginning.  It was sometimes exhausting trying to keep up with his curious mind, but now that we've hit the five year mark, I'm thankful for all the hard work we put in.

Studies show that if a kid doesn't have a burning passion by the age of 5, he may have missed the boat. Whether or not that study rings true, I'm relieved to know that as we approach the big day, his first 5 years really have helped shape who he is to become.

how to nurture a child's interests
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