The one about accountability

At the turn of 2016, I decided I wanted this year to be "the" year that I actually cared for myself. Not about myself. For myself. I have always cared about myself. I hope everyone cares about themselves! 

But caring for myself? Not so much. 

Between caring for my children and caring for my husband and caring for my career and caring for my commitments and caring for my family and caring for my friends and caring for literally everything else on this planet....I simply ran out of time, or cares, for myself. 

Ahh, yes. 2015. The Year of What Wasn't. 

I wasn't healthy. 

I wasn't happy.

I wasn't the person I wanted to be.

I wasn't.

But this year, THIS YEAR, I decided that I was going to be #1 in my own life. Doesn't this sound strange? Can you believe I just said that? Yes. You heard it correctly. I am going to be #1 in my own life.

Before my husband. Before my children. Before everyone and everything (except God. Not going to mess with that). 

How could I be this selfish? How could I think so much of my own needs and not the needs of my loved ones?

Well, see, I have this ability that I believe most humans also have, where I can actually manage to care about my own needs AND the needs of my loved ones, simultaneously! There is enough room in my brain and my heart to allow me to have a life, dreams, interests, activities, and proper self-care in addition to the life, dreams, interests, activities, and care of my family. 

Shocking, I know.

I think we all have that is just about making it a priority. It is about making YOU the priority. 

Don't get it twisted. I am not talking about skipping your daughter's dance recital so you can go shoe shopping with friends (but if you did that, I wouldn't judge you too harshly). I am talking about finding the time in your day that you already have and doing something productive with it for your own self-care. 

This is why, when I exercise, I do it at 5:15 a.m. It is not fun to wake up that early, but that is the best time in my schedule to exercise. It guarantees that I get it done ahead of my busy day, and I can't lose my motivation as the day goes on. It also helps to keep me on track with eating right because I don't want to "ruin" all the hard work I put in at the crack of dawn.

It works for me, so I am going to keep doing it that way.

I find the time to plan meals and go to the grocery instead of eating out constantly. This is a sacrifice on my part because I meal plan and grocery shop typically in the evenings so I don't have to include my children in this task. I would rather watch TV or do some deep couch sitting, but having a plan is essential to success, in my opinion. 

I also prep our school lunches as well as my breakfasts and lunches once per week, typically on Sundays. I wash and chop fruits and veggies. I portion out protein, and I cook a few things ahead. Again, this isn't my favorite way to spend a couple hours or so on a Sunday, but it has to happen or else french fries become my main food group for the week. 

What I am trying to say is that these practices are sacrifices, but this is a way that I am putting myself first. See? It doesn't look selfish and rude. It looks healthy and happy, and that is what I am going for.

I am about to start my 4th round of the 21 Day Fix program, but this is my 2nd round of the extreme version. I am going to share my meal plans and updates with you to keep myself accountable, and also to give you some ideas or inspiration if you are also trying to take better care of yourself. 

I strongly believe that you cannot care for others if you do not first care for yourself. I want to be the best, happiest, healthiest mama for my girls, and taking care of myself is where it begins. 

I would love it if you shared any recipes or meal plans that make your tummy happy! I am always looking for new ideas.

And no, I am not a Beachbody or fitness coach...but if you need one, I know a few!

the one about friday/sunday favorites 3.13.16

Yeah, yeah. I have failed you.

My goal was to do my Friday Favorites on Fridays (imagine that!?). I missed last week because I was hosting a baby shower at my house and simply couldn't get it done in between stashing the giant mounds of laundry in hidden corners of my house.

This past Friday, my Noelle turned 6, and I was too busy eating cake.

But. BUT! I had some time this morning to really ponder what my favorite things are at the moment, and I am going to circle back around to my newfound love and obsession with these cosmetics.

So, I present to you, Friday Favorites on Sunday (because we all wish that Sundays were Fridays, anyway).

Maybe it's silly. Maybe it's vain. Maybe it's frivolous. Maybe I don't care? I am really trying to grow into owning my thoughts and feelings and wants in life, and I absolutely love putting my makeup on in the morning.

I have always loved doing "makeovers" with friends and taking "glamour shot" photos with my parents' Polaroid camera. My dad would buy the $15 film cartridge before he and my mom would leave for the night, and my best friend, Allison, and I would have crap tons of fun dressing up in my mom's clothes, putting makeup on, and taking photos to document it all.

I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that we did that. I won't share how old we were, but I will give you a hint. We were much older than we should have been.

Anyway -- when I was younger, I would use any allowance money I had to buy the cheap makeup at Target. As I have gotten older, I have enjoyed spending a little more money on higher quality products. You name it, and I have probably bought it at some point...Smashbox, Bare Minerals, Urban Decay, Too Faced, Benefit, Tarte, etc, etc, etc.

And I have to say, I have been disappointed a few times after purchasing an expensive cosmetic item only to realize that it didn't work the $55 worth of miracles that it promised. Into the graveyard of cosmetics it would go (the back of my makeup drawer), never really to be worn again.

In my first Friday Favorites, I talked about how I had resisted the Younique brand for a variety of reasons. It seemed like everyone was selling it. It seemed like all the photos I saw online were of women and their mile long eyelashes that looked a little too extreme for daily wear. I would get Facebook messages from perfect strangers, inviting me to their online makeup parties. In general, I wasn't a fan.

Then, my friend, Candace, was running a sale, I think, and I just decided to try it. I started with the eyeliner, lipgloss, and the mascara (because I had to see what it was all about), and I was hooked. For a little while, I was embarrassed to admit that I loved it. I didn't want to be just another bandwagon rider.

However, I realized that you like what you like, and when you like something so much to keep buying it after it runs out, you feel like you want to share that love with everyone you know.

So, here I am, including my five favorite products for a natural face. I think sometimes when we see photos online of this brand, we tend to think it looks too fussy or too heavy for everyday wear. I get it. I teach small children, and if I wear a bright lip color, they freak out and ask me about it all day. I have to, for the most part, keep it pretty natural and understated.

Read on to learn a little more about the products that I have grown to love. Are these products pricier than drugstore brands? Yes. Are they worth it? I believe they are.

1. Precision Pencil Eyeliner in Proper. I don't wear black eyeliner as it looks too harsh with my coloring. I prefer a dark, dark brown, and this eyeliner is perfect. It wears all day long and sharpens nicely, which I love! My old favorite was a pencil from Too Faced, and each time I would sharpen it, the tip would continue to break in the sharpener. I even bought an expensive Urban Decay sharpener because the lady at Ulta swore that it was the sharpener that was breaking my pencil. Nope. Still broke every single time. This pencil sharpens great. I am still on my first pencil, and I think I purchased this one in October or November sometime. 

2. Glorious Face and Eye Primer. I have never worn primer much before. I believe I wore some on my wedding day to help my makeup last, but I hadn't given it much thought since. However, every presenter will tell you to order this stuff. My first bottle came with a collection I purchased, and from the second I put it on my skin, I knew I would wear this stuff forever. My skin is not smooth and problematic, so sometimes makeup doesn't look that great sitting on top of it. The primer helps to smooth out any lines and imperfections, and it also locks your makeup in place the entire day. It also keeps the makeup from getting into your pores, so for someone who struggles with breakouts (still at nearly 32 years old), this is very helpful. You literally use a pea sized amount for your whole face, so this stuff lasts forever. I am still on my first bottle, and I have had it going on 5-6 months now. I bought a second one a little while back because I didn't want there to be any chance of me going without. 

3. Lucrative Lip Gloss in Luxe. I just stinkin' love this lipgloss. I love that there is a mirror on the side of the tube. I love that it is smooth, not sticky, and tastes good. I love that even after I drink my coffee, there is still some on my lips. I love the variety of the colors. There is truly a shade for everyone. I own most of them! This color, Luxe, is my favorite for a natural lip color. It gives just enough color and shine with no sparkle. Glitter lipgloss is frowned upon after age 13, apparently. 

4. Addiction Shadow Palette Number One. So, how many of you have been eyeing the Urban Decay Naked palettes for quite sometime now? I actually have purchased two of the Urban Decay versions. I honestly don't know why I bought the second one, because I was disappointed after the first. First of all, most of the colors have glitter flecks in them (see #3 about glitter). Second of all, I noticed a huge amount of fall out from the Urban Decay shadows. This means that I would find powder under my eyes or near my cheek bones from the shadow not sticking to my eyelid and falling down onto my face. When I would go to clean it up, it would smear across my skin and ruin the rest of my makeup. 

Unimpressed with the expensive Urban Decay palettes, I bought a knock-off version at Target. I didn't care for this, either, because the colors were not vibrant once you applied them, and they creased and wore off very quickly. 

So, I took a chance on the Addiction Shadow Palette, and holy mustard-- I know why they call them "Addiction." I started with Number Three, which is a pinky/purple toned palette. I absolutely LOVED how rich the colors were, how they didn't fall down onto my face, and how they wore all day with no creasing (especially if you wear the primer on your eyelid before applying - see #2). The shadows are such high quality that they almost look like cream shadows on first appearance. They do not have large flecks of glitter, and every shade is wearable. You can create natural eye looks, dramatic eye looks, and everything in between. I love the palette idea because you know that any combination of the colors will go perfectly together. 

After loving palette number three, I purchased number one. This is the brown/nude tones, and this is PERFECT for everyday wear. To me, this palette will work with all skin tones, all hair colors, and all eye colors. I wear this one nearly every day, and again, it is nowhere close to being gone. I apply them dry or wet for a more dramatic look. These suckers do. not. crease. They last from 6 am until 10 pm. I am not kidding. I wouldn't lie to you. 

I also love that these shadows are made in Italy. Everything about them feels rich.

5. Beachfront Bronzer in Sunset. I wear bronzer year round as blush. I like the natural look, and I can always use a little color on my face. In the summer, I wear it a little more. Several months ago, I went to Ulta looking for a new bronzer that was not full of shimmer and also wasn't the color of mud. I had one that I really liked from Too Faced for a while, and when that one finally ran out, I decided to purchase the Beachfront Bronzer in the color Sunset. This color is for lighter skin. I absolutely love this bronzer. It has a matte side and a shimmer side, but the shimmer is very subtle. The color is natural and not red or mud colored. When you are fair skinned and wear bronzer, it is important not to look like you just participated in a Tough Mudder. Unless you just participated in a Tough Mudder, and in that case, go on with your bad self. 

So, can you tell I am obsessed? When you click the above links, you will see that I am listed as a "presenter." I am not really a presenter. I have never hosted a party. I don't have a presenter Facebook page. I am simply a presenter to get the presenter's discount on my own products because it is silly not to.

I dare you to replace one of your daily wear cosmetic items with one of these. You'll be hooked, no doubt.

What are some of your favorite products for a natural makeup look?

the one about the days

Six years ago, I sat down to eat a fancy dinner with Luke at Olive Garden.

It would be the last dinner we would have "just the two of us." Sure, we have been out on dates without the kids since then, but upon the birth of our first child, we realized it would never truly be "just the two of us" again. Not in mind. Not in heart. Not in conversation.

We were young. We were inexperienced. We were scared. We were excited. We were thrilled to have enough money in our bank account to eat at Olive Garden, given our incomes as 3rd year elementary teacher and 3rd year medical student.

I remember what I wore. I remember what I ate. I remember that my nose had swollen to cover nearly 1/3 of my face. Pregnancy nose is real.

I remember waking up after a night of very little sleep like a kid on Christmas morning. We had an induction scheduled at 38 weeks, 2 days, because even back then, my cervix was shitty. I had just watched the episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians where Kourtney Kardashian literally pulled her own child from her womb in the delivery room, and I was both thoroughly grossed out and secretly motivated to do the same.

My expectations were a little skewed, to say the least.

I think I have mentioned this before, but I remember having a very lengthy internal dilemma about whether or not I should remove my underwear when they gave me my hospital gown to change into.

Silly, New Mama Me. Now a days, I prefer to just go flying onto the labor and delivery floor fully clothed until the last possible second and then POOF. The baby is out. Like magic.

It takes years to work up to this level of skill, so be patient young grasshoppers.

Alright, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Six years ago, I didn't know anything about childbirth, taking care of a baby (outside of the robot baby I took care of for one night in high school), or raising a baby to be an awesome human being. I still don't know much, but I am a little more experienced and a lot more comfortable with it all.

With each pregnancy, with each child's birthday, with each passing day, I come a little closer to letting go of perfect idea of motherhood I once put inside my soul and a little closer to accepting the "what is."

There are days when I am amazed by my patience and my flexibility. And then there are days when I am pretty sure my head spun around not once but twice mid-argument with a tiny human or two or three.

There are days when I am proud of my productivity, time management, and organization of our calendars, bills, events, and papers (I didn't say many days, but there are some days), and then there are days where I watch an undisclosed amount of shows that involve teen moms and housewives and little people.

It's called balance.

Over the past six years, I have learned that there are days and then there are days.

Whether good or bad, they pass by in a hurry.

You'll be shocked you survived day one.

And then, before you know it, you'll be standing there on day 2,191, tears rolling down your cheeks because, well...


Make the days count.