Amazon Prime Day Deals for Moms

It’s the biggest shopping day next to black Friday – Amazon Prime Day! I personally appreciate Prime Day so much more because it’s not forcing people to work on a holiday and I don’t have to stand in a crowd of grumpy people to save $20 bucks. Prime day is a sale that only lasts a few hours, so you have to act quickly if you see anything you may want! It is available for Prime members only, however if you don’t want to pay for a full membership, you can sign up for the free 30 day trial and you’re good to do! Alright, that’s enough babbling. I tried to curate a list of items that mom’s especially would benefit from, so here are some of my picks for Prime Day 2018!

Baby Items

The pure cool mist humidifer is perfect to keep in babies room year round. Because let’s be honest, babies get sick, they get congested and the air in their bedroom gets dry. I like to keep a humidifier running in my daughter’s room especially in the Winter months to help keep her skin from drying out too bad. A cool mist humidifier is best to use around little ones, so this one is perfect!

The Nuby Garden Fresh Fruitsicle Frozen Pop Tray is a real winner in my book ya’ll. The silicone mold is super easy to clean, and any frozen treats will pop out with ease! For the wee little babes, you can make milk pops with breastmilk or formula to help with teething. For the bigger babes, fill them with their favorite puree or juice!

The Babysense Video Baby Monitor with two cameras is also a great find! This has pretty much all the bells and whistles you could want out of a baby monitor. From a two way talking function to a temperature monitor it does it all! Even if you don’t have two children, two cameras are perfect for the little one who loves to wiggle all around their crib in the middle of the night.

The OPOLAR Handheld Portable Battery Operated Rechargeable USB Fan is a real blessing for Summer’s in the South! This is perfect to keep around little ones in the carseat, in the stroller, or anywhere else the heat is just unbearable! The enclosure keeps little fingers from breaking the blades (my kid already destroyed one fan) and it has a rechargeable battery, yay! 

This Melissa & Doug Wooden Construction Building Set is so adorable! Whether it’s for a little boy or little girl, I think this is absolutely perfect! It can help develop those fine motor skills for the little ones, and even serves as a fun crane for the older ones to play pretend with! 

The Cuddles & Cribs 2 Pack GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Fitted Crib Sheet. Because let’s be honest – poop happens – pee happens – drool happens – it all happens. And it happens a lot, so you can never have too many crib sheets! These are organic cotton and super soft, perfect for your little one to nuzzle up against every night!

8 in 1 Wooden Activity Cube Bead Maze. I have been looking for one of these for such a long time for my daughter! These wooden activity cubes are timeless to me, and I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t like them. The solid wooden ones can be hard to come by these days, so this one is absolutely perfect!

JOOVY Qool Stroller. this one is pricey ya’ll, but it’s worth it. This little beauty converts from a single, all the way up to a triple stroller! If I could go back, I would buy a stroller like this from the very beginning. If you’re hoping to have more than one child, a convertible stroller like this is one of the best purchases you can make! Anything that Joovy makes is going to be high quality, so I imagine this stroller will sell out quickly.

Items for Momma

The Original Make-up Eraser. If you buy anything from the sale for yourself this needs to be it! If you know me, I am all about using as little chemicals in my home as possible, and that includes my makeup and skincare. This makeup eraser is seriously awesome. It’s a soft textured wash cloth that removes all your makeup just as well as a remover wipe, but all you have to do is moisten it with water! When it gets gunky just toss it in the washing machine, and you’re good to go!

Parker Baby Diaper Caddy. I guess this technically could have gone under the baby section, but I’m including this for momma’s because it’s a real sanity saver. Any diaper caddy in general is such a blessing because everything you need to take care of a new babe is within your hands reach, and it’s portable! The neutral color matches any decor and it has plenty of pockets for extra storage!

Sarah Wells Abby Breast Pump Bag. Not going to lie, a main reason I love this bag is because it looks like a longchamp. It’s gorgeous! But it’s real leather straps and a lifetime warranty are an extra special treat. It’s loaded with pockets to store your pump and any of your supplies, and it can wipe clean with ease! Even if you don’t use it as a pump bag, it’d make a super cute diaper bag too!

Leather iPhone Case. Keeping up with your kids is hard enough, let alone your wallet. This iPhone case is perfect for a busy momma, with card slots along the back to keep your most used cards close! And it’s actually stylish. Most cases with card holders are bulky and unattractive, but I think this one is so cute!

For the House

Space Saver Vacuum Storage Bags. Because kids have so many clothes and blankets. If you’re hoping to have more kids, you probably don’t want to totally purge their closets yet so these vacuum bags are perfect for storing clothes and toys in half the space!

6 Piece Hotel Luxury Soft 1800 Series Premium Bed Sheets Set. There is nothing better at the end of a long day then settling down into your nice comfy bed, and these sheets are perfect for that. I bought a set back in November, and they’re the only sheets I’ve kept on our bed since then! They have extra deep pockets and elastic to help everything stay put on our massive mattress, and they have washed and worn so well. I will definitely be ordering another set!

The Instant Pot. If you don’t have one, you need one. I really don’t need to say anything else. It’s the kitchen appliance you never knew you needed, perfect for the lazy cook like me!

The Cricut Explore Air 2 Bundle. If you’re a crafty gal like me, this is truly a must have. I could devote an entire post to the cricut (which I may do later). If you have ever thought about purchasing one for yourself, now is the time to do it!

Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker. Because who doesn’t love a cup of fresh cold brewed coffee in the Summer, am I right?

And that is all for my Prime Day roundup! I hope you guys found something you’re interested in! The deals go live in different increments throughout the next day, but several deals start at 3pm so make sure and stay on top of things if you’re interested! Happy shopping!

Why a Closet Declutter is Important for your Self Confidence

We’ve all been there. You’re already running late. Your toothbrush is hanging out of your mouth while you sort through hanger after hanger, and you can’t find anything to wear. Everything in your closet either doesn’t fit, or makes you long for your body in college – so you wear the same exact outfit you wore the last seven times you went out. This makes you feel bad about yourself, so when you do put on that outfit that fits, your self image has already plummeted to the floor. That my friend, is how you know it’s time for a closet declutter.

Now I’m going to start this post off with a real sucker punch to the throat for you. If you know me in real life, you know I am petite. I am an overwhelming five feet tall, towering over all the little kids in Target. (You get the picture. I’m tiny.) HOWEVER – It is COMPLETELY possible for petite girls to have issues with their self confidence and body type. Let me say that one more time for the people in the back.

IT IS COMPLETELY POSSIBLE FOR PETITE GIRLS TO HAVE ISSUES WITH THEIR SELF CONFIDENCE AND BODY TYPE.

Alright, I’m going to go off on a little rant before we start to talk about the whole closet declutter thing. If a petite girl goes shopping with her friends, and makes a negative comment about her own body, she likely is immediately met with comments like “oh please, you’re so skinny” or “yeah right, you can wear anything you want!” Now tell me – how is that being a supportive and uplifting friend? Yeah, it’s not. Just because petite girls may not have the same issues as their beautifully curvy friends doesn’t mean shopping for jeans is all unicorns and rainbows. Because let’s be honest – it’s a real shot to your womanhood when you can wear a dress from the girls section in Target.

Anyways – whatever your reason is for dreading getting dressed in the morning, it’s time to tackle it and get rid of it. For me, that means going through your clothes and finally getting rid of those things you’ve been holding on to for three years that “might fit again one day.” I find the easiest way to do this, is to empty out all of the contents of your closet, and go through each piece one by one. As you put items back into your closet, make sure they actually fit your body today – not last year.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment with all your old clothes. You were so much smaller when that cute maxi dress fit, but now it’s more like a tube top on you. Your thighs didn’t rub together when you used to wear that pencil skirt, but now you can’t zip it all the way. That peplum top fit you so well until you started breastfeeding, and then your boobs said otherwise.

Whatever your reason, whatever the memory – get rid of it. It can be so depressing and a huge blow to your self confidence to wake up in the morning and look at the same closet full of clothes that don’t fit anymore. They serve as a constant reminder of what was, instead of what you are today.

Now I am preaching to the choir in this post ya’ll. Like I said earlier, I still am a fairly petite girl, but pregnancy took my body out back, beat it with a stick, and left me with a jiggly mess. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my pre-pregnancy body. However I’ve come to love my body the way it is today. My flat stomach is now graced with a beautiful mom pudge that hangs over my pants – and that’s ok. It’s a reminder that my little body GAVE BIRTH to a 7 1/2 pound baby girl. My thighs are much thicker than they used to be and are covered with stretch marks. But that’s ok, because they helped support my ballooning belly for nine months. Because of these things and many others, so many clothes in my collection don’t fit anymore.

Let’s even go beyond the fit of your clothes. Chances are, you aren’t going to wear that sequined tube dress that you always wore on your GNO’s in college. If you’re a working professional now, you probably don’t want to wear that tube top to the office. If you work from home or are a stay at home mom, you may not need quite as many dress slacks and blouses. It’s ok for your style needs to change as your stages in life change. Don’t hold on to pieces just because of the past.

Anyways, every time I got dressed, I would pick out the same cute little tank top and think to myself “maybe today’s the day it will fit.” And every time I was met with the same result. It hugged my belly much tighter than it used to, and it would be impossible to nurse my daughter in. Today I decided to stop being so hard on myself and remove the temptation for those negative thoughts. I purged my closet of all the clothes I’ve been holding on to for the last year and a half that “might fit again one day.”

Now when I open my closet doors, I am met with satisfaction. I can see all the pieces in my wardrobe that fit my body today, not tomorrow, TODAY. Is my wardrobe as large as I would like it to be? Of course not. I will hopefully add new pieces to my collection over time. And that’s ok! Our wardrobes should be like our stages in life, constantly changing and evolving to keep up with one another. Don’t let your closet become a place of despair and harsh thoughts. I challenge you to go home, declutter your closet and leave yourself with a little bit of happiness when you get dressed in the mornings.

PS – anyone else find the number of Target hangers in their closet disgusting? 😀

 

An Honest Stitchfix Review

Alright guys, I finally bit the bullet and tried out the Stitchfix clothing subscription box. If you haven’t heard of it before, it really is a neat idea. You fill out a pretty extensive ‘style profile’ where you answer questions about your lifestyle, clothing choices, likes and dislikes and so on. You are then ‘matched’ with a stylist and they curate a box of five pieces and send it your way. The initial styling fee is $20 just for the box to be curated, and then you have the option to purchase each piece on top of that – so keep that in mind. You are also given the option to set a budget for each type of clothing and accessories, based on how much you’d like to spend per piece. It really is a neat idea if shopping has become a hassle to you, whether it’s because of a lack of time, little ones, whatever! So here it is, my honest Stitchfix review.

The box arrived within a week of my initial contact. Everything came wrapped up nice and neat within this tissue paper and pretty box – points for presentation!

The first item in the box – the Liverpool Mirabella Capri Skinny Jeans. These jeans were $68, which would make them the most expensive pair of jeans in my collection. Let me preface the rest of the post by saying this. I am a bargain hunter. The clearance rack is my best friend and I never pay full price for anything. I recently saw a cute romper in Target that I loved, and it’s full price was $24. I waited and waited for it to go on clearance, and recently purchased it for $8. So needless to say, I had a really hard time justifying $68 for these jeans.

I will also say, I had a really hard time not purchasing them. I didn’t buy them mainly because of the price of the whole box, but we’ll get into that later. But anyways, these jeans ya’ll. They were amazing. As you can see, they don’t have the typical zipper and jean waistband – they’re elastic. ELASTIC YA’LL. They rose high enough on my midsection to hide my mom tummy and kept it nice and tucked in. I’m also extremely short, and the length on these jeans were absolutely perfect.

I will also be vain for a moment, they made my butt look good. I seriously loved everything about these jeans. The material, the stretch, the waistband, they were a great pick to include in my box. I will definitely be on the lookout for this brand in department stores, and hope I can score a cheaper pair!

Next is this sweet Callum Tulip Sleeve Blouse. This is the only item from the box I kept, priced at $38. Now $38 is a high price for me to pay for a blouse. But I’m currently in a state of awkwardness after having my daughter. I’m not unhappy with my body at all, but my body has changed so much that most of my dressier clothes don’t fit very well anymore. This top fits me perfectly, and made me feel so pretty!  It’s a soft polyester and has a light texture all over, with overlaying cap sleeves. It falls at my hips just right, and doesn’t hug me in any of the wrong places. I mainly kept this top because I can easily dress it down with jeans, or dress it up with a nice pair of slacks. It was definitely another winner of a pick in my box!

Next we have the Romey Cold Shoulder Knit top, coming in at $28. It is a super soft cotton blouse that is light and airy, perfect for summer.

I loved the detail of the sweet cold shoulder sleeves, and how they gathered into a subtle knot at the edge. Cold shoulder tops usually look funny on my petite frame, but this blouse hit in just the right spot on my shoulders. This blouse was very pretty and fit me well, I just couldn’t justify another $28 on a cotton t-shirt.

Lastly, we have the Tasha Knit Dress for $48. This is the main reason I did not keep my entire box. The dress fit well in length, and didn’t fall too far down underneath my arms (which is a usual problem for me). But the style of the dress just wasn’t me. I felt it made me look a little bit older, and I didn’t see myself wearing it often. The material felt nice and was decent quality, it fit very well, It just wasn’t my style.

I also received a pair of earrings that I totally forgot to take a photo of, so here’s a photo from their website.

They were very pretty, and would have fit into my collection very well! I just can’t justify $28 for a pair of costume jewlery earrings. I will say they were nice quality and by no means felt cheap, they just weren’t worth $28 to me.

So let’s round all of this up. Separately, all of these items would have cost me $210. Which is just absurd to me. However purchasing the entire box was $157. My favorite items were really just the tulip blouse and jeans, and I honestly saw myself donating the rest of the items within a year or so. Coming down to those two main pieces I loved, It just wasn’t worth the $157 to purchase the whole box.

If that’s within your price point and in your budget, then that’s wonderful! This is definitely a great service to receive pieces you may not find on your own. I’ve just reached a point in life where I regularly clean out my closet (or entire house) and get rid of the things I don’t find myself using or wearing. For $150, I just felt like I could go out and purchase more items that I would love and enjoy much more.

I will say that they nailed the fit of all of my clothes. As I said before, I am very petite and finding clothes that fit me well (especially post birth) has become difficult. I was anxious to see how these clothes fit without being able to try them on first, and the stylists absolutely nailed it – everything fit perfectly! Ten out of ten stars in that section!

For really matching my style, I’d say they got a four. The tulip blouse I purchased is perfect, and really matches my style. The other items I did think were cute, but if I saw them while out shopping in Loft or JCrew, I may have just walked by them.

And lastly, the cost. Four out of ten stars here, and the reason I won’t be ordering another box. The prices of the items weren’t awful, but definitely more than I usually spend on myself. You also have to keep in mind the $20 styling fee as well. If some of the items felt a little higher quality, I may not have such an issue paying a higher price tag, but for me the quality just wasn’t there. Overall it was a fun experience, receiving a surprise box of clothes and accessories on your doorstep is something new and exciting for sure! If you have the room in your budget and are looking to treat yourself – give it a try! However for me, things just weren’t worth the extra cash.

 

DIY Wooden Farmhouse Sign

Hey friends! Today I’m sharing with you a super easy project that even the crafty challenged can complete! We all see those gorgeous farmhouse signs all over Pinterest, but they cost an arm and a leg. I’ve got a quick tutorial for you so you can make your own DIY wooden farmhouse sign!

Supplies

To start things off, take a trip to your local craft store. For me, that’s Hobby Lobby. I’m usually not allowed in there unsupervised 🙂 Just browse around until you find a few things that speak to you! I picked up these sweet scalloped edge wooden signs. The unfinished wood is perfect for the farmhouse feel.

For paint, this little beauty steals the show. I used a basic white acrylic that I already had at home, and I picked up this beautiful blue chalk paint. Chalk paint is the key to getting that true farmhouse feel. It dries completely matte and is a bit easier to distress than your typical acrylic.

Next choose some pretty embellishments. I went into the scrapbooking aisle and found these gorgeous fabric flowers. Less is more when it comes to a farmhouse style, so you don’t want to pick anything too crazy and distracting.

And that’s it! Pretty simple supply list, and you can easily find everything for under $15.

The Process

Now for the fun part! Take your wooden piece and give it a quick white wash with your acrylic paint. I used a sponge tip brush and only applied one coat to the surface. Since we’re putting the chalk paint on top, this coat doesn’t have to be perfect! Make sure you cover the edges evenly so the piece will look good from every angle.

Once the white coat is completely dry, it’s time to have some fun with the chalk paint. For this step, I used a wide and coarse bristled brush. Typically when you’re painting you want to use even strokes to minimize brush lines, but that is not the case with this project. I applied the paint in smaller amounts at a time, and let the coarse bristles of the brush do the work for me. You want to be able to see the white paint through your brush strokes. If you find that the paint is applying too heavily, keep a wet paper towel close by, and wipe down the paint as you go to give it the distressed look. Once you’re pleased with paint, it’s time to move on to the creative part!

The Stenciling

This next step is where things get fun, and you can get creative! Search around for a sweet quote, word or whatever you would like for your sign to say. I created these signs as mother’s day gifts for my mom and mother-in-law, so I decided to cover the majority of the sign with their name, and then a simple quote underneath that reads “(noun): one who spoils; gives lots of kisses.”

Once you have your quote picked up, you can choose how to stencil them onto the wood. You can pick up some letter stencils in your craft store and easily piece together your phrase or word, or you can make a stencil yourself, or you can even freehand it! The point is to paint your quote on, however you decide to do it. Instead of applying a perfect vinyl cutout or overlay, the slight flaws and blurry lines from stenciling give that perfect rustic touch to the farmhouse feel.

I myself have a Cricut Explore (I highly recommend it) so I decided to create my own stencil through their design space. I chose a font that had a typewriter feel to it, to help the text look more authentic to the farmhouse style. I cut the phrase out on thick cardstock so the paint wouldn’t bleed through, and started painting! To paint the letters on I used a dense sponge brush to make sure the paint was as evenly distributed as possible.

I used the same acrylic white paint that I white washed the pieces with. It took about two coats for me to get the paint as opaque as I wanted it. Make sure you let the paint fully dry before removing the stencil, or you may have a mess to clean up!

Here’s a close up of the text on the wood. I love how the style of the font is still clear, yet the imperfections from the paint and stencil make it look worn and rugged. I’m usually such a stickler for my projects looking perfect, so this was really refreshing! It was nice to not have to worry about every little detail of the stencil, and the end result is beautiful and rustic!

 

The Final Product

Here are the two finished farmhouse signs! Once all of your paint from the stencil is completely dry, you can add whatever embellishments you want – or leave it be! There is so much beauty in a simple farmhouse style, so you can totally just paint your piece and call it a day!

I however chose to add a few embellishments for a little more flair. I glued on the beautiful fabric flowers with some basic all purpose glue to each of the corners. For a finishing touch, I added some white mini clothespins so each Grandma can clip their favorite photos of their grandbabies to display. Because let’s be real, there aren’t many grandparents who don’t enjoy showing off their grandkids.

And that’s it! Wasn’t that a simple project? These simple farmhouse signs are kind of like the perfect pair of jeans. You can easily dress them up with a few simple embellishments, or you can leave them simple and let them speak for themselves. They are fully customizable, the possibilities are truly endless! I hope you found this inspiring and helpful, happy crafting friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to the Hopeful Mom on Mother’s Day

a letter to a hopeful mom

a letter to a hopeful mom

Dear Hopeful Momma,

I don’t know you, but know that I am praying for you. I know that what is supposed to be a day of smiles and joy, often brings heartache and sadness for you. Each year Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of past events and tears shed. Take heart in the following words, and know that you’re not alone.

Life is hard, and social media makes it harder. Every new day brings a friends new post announcing a pregnancy, someone’s gender reveal video, and a squishy newborn hospital selfie. And with every post you put on a smile, give your congratulations and scroll right along. But your story doesn’t end there. You close your phone, lay down at night and let your mind take over. It’s in these quiet hours that you feel exposed, lonely and depressed. Will you ever be on the receiving end of those instagram comments? When will it be your turn to host a “touchdowns or tutus” reveal party? Why are you the only one in your circle of friends who can’t call themselves ‘Mom’?

Maybe you’ve been trying for months, or even years, and are beginning to give up. Maybe you’ve been through several unsuccessful rounds of IVF, only to lose hope. Maybe you’ve carried children, but lost them through miscarriage or stillbirth. All of these things will leave a girl distraught and lonely, asking herself all of those questions to herself at night. Your husband and family members are there for you with a listening ear, but it’s just not quite the same unless they’ve been through it.

You’re not alone my sweet friend. There are hundreds of thousands of women who have gone through the same struggle of starting a family, myself included. My husband and I lost our first child through miscarriage in 2015, and it messed me up, plain and simple. We weren’t ‘trying’ to start our family yet, however it was a welcome surprise. No matter the surprise, the weeks and months after our miscarriage were the hardest of my life – half because of hormones, and half because I let my thoughts take over. I placed my self worth and identity in something that was mine for a mere 10 weeks, and it was suddenly gone. Thankfully, I opened my heart to some kind and gentle souls around me and healed – slowly – but I healed.

I say all of this to hopefully offer a lending hand and a listening ear to you. Mother’s Day can be one heck of an emotional roller coaster for the woman struggling to start a family. While having all of these emotions is completely normal and healthy, don’t let them dictate your thoughts and identity. We all hold many titles on this earth – mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend. But that’s the thing – those are all EARTHLY titles. Just like your current emotions, those titles are only temporary. So why do we get so caught up in these things of the world? We must focus on the eternal, and our identity in Christ!

If you become so caught up in finding your identity in things of this world, you will be sorely disappointed. The Bible says our joy and identity are to be found in Christ alone! Think about it for a moment, to trust Jesus as your Savior means that you believe AND receive that he died on the cross for your sins. When we accept Jesus, the old is laid to rest and we are made new – our new identity in Christ. It is up to us how seriously we take this!

So my hopeful momma, I know you’re hurting. I know another Mother’s Day is coming, and you are dreading the thoughts and emotions of the day. Now more than ever, you are questioning if you will ever be able to give yourself the title Mom. It hurts to want something so badly, and not know why you haven’t received it. But please hold on to this. No matter how much you long for a child, God longs for you even more. He wants to have a lasting, personal relationship with you. He wants to guide you through these trials, so that you can come out stronger. I will leave you with this. Stop looking for approval and satisfaction from those in this world, and place your identity in the one who knows and loves you best – Jesus.

A Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mothers day gift guide

Alright friends, Mother’s Day is only a week and a half away! We’ve all graduated from the days of macaroni necklaces and artwork with our handprints. It’s time to step it up and get mom a gift she’ll truly love! If you’re still wondering what to get your momma, look no further. I’ve rounded up some of my most favorite things that would make a beautiful gift for mom! Consider this your one stop shop for the perfect Mother’s Day gift!

Lisa Leonard Stackable Rings

Lisa Leonard Jewelry

Ya’ll. You if your momma wears jewelry, you can just stop right here – you’ve found your gift! At $59, this beautiful hand stamped sterling silver ring is a real winner. You can choose from a variety of metals, and they are fully customizable! My husband got me this sweet ring with our daughter’s name on it, and besides my wedding ring it’s the only jewelry I wear every day. You could even have your siblings pitch in, and get your mom a ring with each of your names since they’re stackable! These are seriously so so sweet and I can’t say enough good things about them. If mom isn’t a fan of rings, they also have custom necklaces and bracelets to choose from as well! Shop the rings here.

Custom Watercolor Family Portrait

Watercolor Photo

These portraits are absolutely perfect for the momma that loves her family photos. If I had to pick one item off this list, this would be the one. If you’re mom is anything like me, they likely have photos throughout the entire house. (I even have photos in our guest bathroom. No shame). So instead of getting another enlargement framed, why not get a beautiful watercolor portrait made of her favorite photo? Aubrey at September Ocean creates the most simple, beautiful pieces from any photo you like. You can choose either a 4×6, 5×7, or 8×10 print size and the prices depends on how many are in the photo. She’s even running a special promotion for Mother’s Day, and offering 20% off her whole site! Head over to her instagram page to check out her work, you won’t be sorry!

A Beautiful New Cookbook

Magnolia table cookbook

Let’s be real. Even if your mom doesn’t like to cook, this cookbook would look gorgeous just sitting on display in her kitchen. The Gaines empire has done it again, and Joanna has released a beautiful cookbook full of yummy recipes (and I’m secretly hoping this is my Mother’s Day gift 🙂 .) Also – does anyone else feel like they could just sit down with Joanna, eat her yummy biscuits and jam, and instantly become BFFs? Or is that just me 🙈. Seriously though, everything about this book is beautiful. It’s crafted well, looks and feels beautiful, it’s easy to follow along with, the pictures are descriptive and the recipes are to die for.  I know lot’s of momma’s that would love to receive this as a gift!

A Sweet Mug

coffee mug

Like usual, Target knocks it out of the park when it comes to those cute and trendy coffee mugs you see all over instagram. In store right now they have so many sweet momma themed coffee mugs! If your momma is a coffee lover, pick one of these up and fill it with some sweet treats for her. Maybe some fancy chocolate, her favorite coffee, hot cocoa, whatever! If you’re looking to make it a bigger gift, why not pair it with a new coffee maker?

Mommy & Me Tees

Mommy and me clothes

Matching Mommy + Me tees are such a cute trend right now, and Ooby Dooby Baby is such a sweet little shop to get them! I’m all about supporting small businesses and ‘mompreneurs’ (if you can’t already tell) so I would be amiss if I left this awesome company out. Their sizes range from newborn to adult and everything in-between, and every style can be found in every size. Their t-shirts are even unisex, so dad can match too!

That’s all I have for you today folks! Whatever you end up getting for your mom, she’ll love it anyways because that’s what mom’s do. Spend the day together and make memories!

Your Self Image as a New Mom

The Duchess of Cambridge has done it again, and gifted the world with another beautiful baby heir to the Royal throne. Here in America, we are so drawn to British culture and find ourselves counting down the days to Royal events. The addition of a sweet baby boy to the Royal family is no different.

While watching the Today show this morning, coverage of “baby watch” had begun when Prince Charles and the Duchess were spotted on their way to the hospital. It would be a matter of hours until the little royal’s arrival! Here’s the kicker. Hours later, the Royal hairdresser was spotted entering the Hospital – which meant the baby had arrived. Not long after the hairdresser’s arrival, the Prince and Duchess of Cambridge made their first appearance on the hospital stoop, announcing the arrival of their new baby boy. This was a mere seven hours after she had given birth to an 8 1/2 pound baby. And. Kate. Was. Stunning.

Of course she was stunning. She had her own personal hairdresser tend to her after giving birth. Heck, I don’t even think I brushed my hair until I had been home from the hospital for three days. This is where, as a blogger, I get to be a little sassy and share my opinion.

Now I am fully aware that the Royal culture is in a league of it’s own, and there are many rules and traditions to follow. And I applaud the Duchess for doing so in such a graceful manner. But let’s get real for a second and talk to each other, mum to mum. Can you imagine getting dolled up and addressing an entire Nation (or really world) just hours after giving birth? Forget an entire Nation. Even just your visitors in the hospital.

For the superhuman strong women that labored in a face full of makeup and hair extensions, I give you a standing ovation girl. For the women that don’t touch a tube of mascara for weeks after having a baby, I raise my mug of cold coffee to you. The expectations we place on ourselves and other women during the postpartum weeks are absolutely absurd. We scroll through instagram and see our friends posts from the hospital or birthing center, and their faces are glowing with the perfect highlight and their lashes are curled to perfection. Me? The only glow I had going on came from the happiness of my epidural, and my lashes were crusty with three day old mascara.

That is the reality of postpartum life, and it is beautiful. Yes, the day will come when we find our new normal and remember how to apply winged eyeliner (it’s like riding a bike, you never really forget). But until that day comes, soak it all up and love yourself. Love your bare skinned face and greasy mom bun. Because from here on out, your priorities have shifted.

Your tiny little newborn will only be this small for just a few weeks. That sweet newborn smell will quickly be replaced by the smell of poop and smushed bananas. And the best part is? That squishy little newborn is going to love you with or without mascara. You are their world right now. You are their source of nourishment, love and affection. Those first few weeks are so crucial to building that sweet mommy baby bond, and it is so hard to not let anything get in the way. But I’m here to simply say this. You are beautiful mama. You just gave life to a sweet little babe, and you have just risen to a whole new level of beauty. Don’t let your surroundings set the standard for your happiness. Be patient with yourself and let yourself heal. If I had to guess, there is no Royal press awaiting your arrival, so just embrace the moment and learn to be comfortable in your mommyhood.

3 Must Have Products for Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

I don’t know about you – but I love Spring cleaning. I’m a strange woman, I know. I’m just that type of person that can’t go to bed while the house is a mess, it’s a downfall truly! While I was in college I procrastinated from doing my homework by cleaning my apartment. Let me tell you, I probably had one of the cleanest apartments at that University. Five years later and I still haven’t lost my touch!

After the Winter months are over, it’s time to open those windows and let the fresh Spring air inside! Colder weather causes us to spend more time inside, which means more gunk and dust builds up in our homes. More than likely, you entertained and had house guests at some point over the holidays – leading to even more gunk and grime in your home. The warm Spring weather gives you the perfect opportunity to freshen up your home and give it a good cleaning!

Now I know, everyone has a different definition of clean, so I’m not here to tell how you to clean your house. I don’t have a perfect schedule to help you clean your home top to bottom in 30 days. I don’t have any crazy cleaning hacks to make your home clean itself. Instead, I’ve rounded up some of my most favorite products to help you clean your home – no matter how or when you decide to do it!

A Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Spring Cleaning Multipurpose Cleaner

The first and more powerful item in our lineup is a great multi-purpose cleaner. You want to find a cleaner that you can use on multiple surfaces because let’s be real – you don’t want to be walking back and forth throughout the house with 3 different bottles of cleaner. Find something that is safe and effective for all the surfaces in your home!

I personally love this All Purpose Cleaner from J.R. Watkins. It can be found in many grocery stores, but I usually buy mine in Target. It comes in several scents, I love this coconut one – it will make your whole house smell like the beach 🙂 While this isn’t an all natural cleaner, I love to use it because it’s free of harsh chemicals, dyes, perfumes and bleach. I can use it around my daughter while she’s playing and not worry about the fumes bothering her!

As far as it’s cleaning power goes, I have yet to find a mess that this won’t clean up. I use it on our kitchen counters, kitchen table, shelves, coffee table, you name it. That’s what makes this so easy to use, and that’s why a multi-purpose cleaner is so important! I grab an old wash cloth and spray any surface in my house I want to wipe down. Within 10 minutes I’ve wiped down surfaces in our bathrooms, the living room and kitchen all with one product – and it’s clean and smells fresh!

A Powerful Disinfectant

Spring Cleaning Disinfectant

Germs germs germs. Nobody likes them. Nobody wants to share them. Yet they spread like wildfire. That is where a great disinfectant comes in! Specifically, a spray disinfectant. A spray disinfectant is one of the most efficient ways to cover all the surfaces in your house, and keep them germ free (relatively 🙂 )

This spray disinfectant from Seventh Generation is relatively new to me, but I LOVE it. I currently have it in the Eucalyptus, Spearmint and Thyme scent. They also have a Lavender one I’ll try next! The beauty of this specific spray is that it cleans without using harsh chemicals, meaning I can use it on all of my daughter’s things. Unlike other sprays, it doesn’t require rinsing – even on children’s toys and food contact surfaces! In other words, you can literally spray this everywhere. Remotes, toys, faucets, counters, couches you name it. It’s definitely a one stop shop in terms of the disinfecting department!

A Microfiber Cloth

Spring Cleaning Microfiber Cloth

Last in our lineup, and probably the most versatile is a microfiber cloth. These little babies are truly awesome! I try to use paper waste as little as possible in our home, so microfiber cloths have been a great addition!

There are so many brands out there that you can buy, some more expensive than others. People tell me I need to dive into the Norwex world, but honestly these little $5 cloths from my local grocery store work perfect for me! I keep two different colored cloths in our home. I use this brown one for dusting, and I keep green ones in our bathrooms and kitchen to wipe down surfaces daily.

The main purpose of microfiber cloths is to clean surfaces without any added chemicals. I find that they’re perfect for the more tedious tasks around the house! I’ll wet them and wipe down the baseboards, cabinets, windowsills, blinds, pretty much anything you don’t want to spray a cleaner directly on to. They also are perfect for cleaning glass and mirrors without leaving streaks. Once you’ve used up every bit of the cloth, simply toss it in the wash! I will add, most companies recommend not to put their microfiber cloths in the dryer, as their static charge can be ruined.

And there you have it! Three simple products to help you get your home freshened up and ready for Spring. I love all of these products because they serve multiple purposes, work effectively and are safe for me to use around my daughter. They can tackle any area in your house from the everyday wipedowns to the nasty forgotten baseboards.

What are some of your favorite items to clean your home with?

Wiseman Family Photos

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to photograph the Wiseman’s before they move across the country. My husband Brandon and I have taught in our children’s ministry at church alongside Tonia for the past few years, and we have taught their children as well. They are such a genuine family with real love for one another, and you can see that through their photos! Family photos are probably my favorite shoots to book, mainly because they’re so near to my heart personally. Every family deserves to have recent, beautiful photos with one another!

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Here’s just a few of my favorites from the collection. Be sure to head over to the gallery to view the full collection of photos!

A Spring Skincare Guide

A Spring Skincare Guide

It’s no secret, the harsh Winter air and cold temperatures can wreak havoc on our skin. We bust out the heavy moisturizers and slather ourselves all Winter long in desperate hopes to keep our face soft and moisturized. That one of the many reasons I’m always happy to see Spring roll around! Now that temperatures are warming up and our skin is bouncing back from the dry heat, it’s time to change up your skin care routine. I think it’s just as important to have a strong Spring skincare routine as it is a Winter one! Spring is a time to focus on restoring the moisture and prepping your skin for the Summer sun! Here are a few products that I think make up the perfect Spring Skincare Guide to get you ready for Summer!

A little disclaimer before we get started. Every single person has different needs for their skin – so what I recommend may not be the best option for you! It is best for you to know and understand your skin in order for you to treat it. I have extremely dry sensitive skin with minimal acne (thank you Lord!) I also have found that the less heavy products I use, the better! As soon as I started cutting out any products targeted towards acne, products with harsh chemicals  and heavy perfumes, I noticed a huge difference in my skin! So take my suggestions with a grain of salt, and make sure to keep your own skins needs in mind when choosing products to use.

A Great Makeup Remover

Spring Skincare Cleanser

I cannot stress this one enough ya’ll – and it’s number one in our lineup for a reason. We load our faces up with makeup, and they absorb so many chemicals and pollution throughout the day. It is SO important to remove it all at the end of the day! You already know it, so you don’t need to hear it from me, but your skin is your largest organ. It is so important to let it breathe while you sleep at night – which is why you have to make sure you cleanse well before bed!

Now I’m not a totally “crunchy” person, but I like to use as little chemicals as possible on my skin – which is why i absolutely adore these makeup removing washcloths from Sephora. They work just like the Makeup Eraser cloths, they’re just much cheaper! These little babies come in a 2 pack, and they’re better than disposable wipes because they’re completely free of chemicals and reusable! Just pop them in the wash with the rest of your towels to clean them. I usually wash mine once a week, so rotating between the two in this pack is perfect. Ignore the appearance of mine, I promise it’s clean, just well loved 🙂 But all you have to do is wet these under warm water, rub it in circles around your face and BAM – your makeup is gone! I honestly hardly ever use an actual cleanser because between this and my next product, my makeup is completely gone. You can buy these beautiful babies here.

Coconut Oil

Spring Skincare Moisturizer

If you guys get anything from this post – make sure it’s this. COCONUT OIL YA’LL. I absolutely adore coconut oil, and I use it for so many things in my beauty routine. It is the absolute best makeup remover and moisturizer all together in a sweet little jar. We all want beautiful radiant skin, especially as Spring and Summer are approaching because we typically wear less makeup. This is seriously the best way to cleanse your skin without drying it out!

I keep a jar of coconut oil on my bathroom counter and use it daily. For the days when I wear heavy makeup, I’ll scoop out about a quarter sized amount and emulsify it in my hands. Once it’s warmed up, I simply rub in small circles, really concentrating on my eyes (that’s usually where the most makeup is for me). It’s gentle enough to use on the eye area, and it conditions your lashes instead of ripping them out (can I get an AMEN). AND when you’re done cleansing, you smell like a tropical vacation.

Between this little beauty and my makeup remover cloths, I can easily remove all my makeup within minutes. I buy this Simply Nature Coconut Oil from my local Aldi. It’s 100% refined, Cold Pressed, Virgin oil. You can substitute it with any other Coconut Oil you like to use! I would just suggest that if you cook with Coconut Oil, to buy yourself a separate jar to use in your beauty routine.

A Purifying Mask

Spring Skincare Mask

There are so many masks out there, and they all have these amazing claims – and I feel like I have tried them all. From the classic green mint julep mask from Queen Helene, to the crazy peel off charcoal masks that were all over instagram, I always have some sort of mask in my beauty regimen. I can honestly say that this little beauty is the best one I have ever had in my arsenal. And let me just throw out there – I am not in any way affiliated with Beautycounter, nor do I sell it or plan on selling it – I just love this that much. If you are interested in trying out some Beautycounter products, here’s a link to my Beautycounter Rep’s website!

Anyways, this charcoal mask is the bomb.com ya’ll. I use it twice a week, usually on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s. It has such a fresh invigorating scent and leaves my skin feeling so soft and replenished, not dry and tight!

Beautycounter Skincare Charcoal Mask

The real magic of this masks happens while it’s drying. (Don’t mind this gorgeous glamour shot 🙂 )If you look closely on the bridge of my nose, in-between my eyebrows and on the sides of my nose, you can see where the mask has pulled excess oil out of my skin. And I have super dry skin ya’ll. Even in the dead of summer I use a pretty heavy moisturizer, and I don’t get that oily. This mask still manages to pull out extra gunk and oil every time I use it! It’s truly worth it’s weight in gold – I highly recommend it!

A Good Toner

Clinique Toner Spring Skincare

I feel like toners get neglected in the skin care world. And that is so sad, because they can make such a huge difference in the quality of your skin! After cleansing and using masks, your skin is stripped of some of it’s natural moisture – no matter how gentle of a cleanser you use. Toner’s help to restore your skin’s PH and replenish moisture back into your skin. That’s why even if you have oily skin, it is so so important to follow up your cleansing with a toner!

I have been using this Clinique Clarifying Moisture Lotion for over 2 years and there’s no turning back anytime soon. Clinique skincare is one of the most customizable lines out there, and I LOVE it. You can mix and match between products based on your skins needs. This toner is “Number 1” in their toner line, and provides the most moisture of them all. I simply squirt a few drops onto a cotton pad and gently wipe it across my entire face (minus the eyeballs). My skin feels so great after I use this, and it even helps remove any makeup that my cleansing routine left behind!

Serum Serum Serum!

Beautycounter Serum Spring Skincare

After my toner I apply this little beauty – the newest member of my skincare family. I can’t speak on the longterm effects of it yet but I’m already a raving fan.

Serum’s are so hot in the beauty community right now, and after using this I totally understand why. This is the Rejuvenating Radiance Serum from Beautycounter, and it is a rockstar of a product. I apply it after my toner and before my moisturizer, and I feel like my makeup goes on SO much smoother after using it!

It claims to help even your skin tone, improve hydration and diminish the appearance of wrinkles. It has become such a great pair with my moisturizer, I can’t wait to see what long term effects I see!

A Tried and True Moisturizer

Clinique Moisturizer Spring Skincare

Ah, old faithful. In my 26 years of life, I have gone back and forth between so many different facial moisturizers – it’s almost disgusting. And somehow, I always end up coming back to this little guy. This is the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +. Once again, Clinique carries several different moisturizers based on your skin type and this is the perfect one for me. Even if you’re an oily skin girl, it’s still so important to moisturize, you just have to find the right one!

This moisturizer applies so lightly and blends into your skin like butter. It absorbs in a matter of minutes, so you don’t have to sit around and wait before you apply your makeup! I apply it in the morning and at night as the very last step in my routine. I can genuinely say that if I miss a few days of using this moisturizer, I definitely notice a difference. It keeps my dry patches at bay, doesn’t break me out and keeps my skin looking radiant! If I had to choose one holy grail item from my skincare routine, hands down no question, it would be this moisturizer.

A Gentle Exfoliant

Aveeno Exfoliator Spring Skincare

Ah exfoliants, a dry skinned girl’s best friend. Exfoliation is probably my biggest tip to you when it comes to having radiant, Spring ready skin. I’ve honestly used countless exfoliators over the years, and all of them seem to perform fairly well for me. The past few months I’ve been using this Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub, and I really enjoy it. I use this little guy while in the shower, mainly because I hate to try and rinse an exfoliant off over the sink (I always end up flooding the bathroom. Anyone else?)

The exfoliant particles in this scrub are gentle enough for me to use as often as I need and they have never irritated my skin!

And that my friends, is all I have for you today. I hope you’ll do some research on these products and find something similar to give your skincare routine a good boost for Spring! I love being able to feel confident about my skin in the Spring and Summer months, so I don’t feel like I have to cake up the makeup every time I leave the house.

I’ve repurchased the majority of these products time and time again, and will continue to. I’m definitely an advocate for less is more – especially with skincare. My skin is currently in the best shape of my life and I honestly think it’s because I cut out the unnecessary products, and stick to the few things that work for me!

What does your skincare routine look like, and what are some of your holy grail products?