May Favorites

I know, this post is soooo late (SO Sorry! Arg!), but after debating between posting May and June Favorites together or separate, I decided it would be better to just keep them separate. Otherwise, we’d be here all day… Let’s get started!

Beauty
TangleTeezerI had several beauty favorites this month, but I couldn’t narrow it down any more, because all of these products are fantastic in their own way! First of all is the amazing Tangle Teezer. I have never used a brush that untangled my hair so effortlessly and painlessly! I use it both on wet and dry hair and it works through my hair without breaking or pulling on the strands. I’ve noticed fewer split ends and it’s great to blow out your hair because it’s less hassle than trying to work both a handled brush and blower dryer…at least I find it easier. I’ve never been graceful blow drying my hair with a brush… I highly recommend getting the Tangle Teezer, no matter what length of hair you have! I found my first Tangler Teezer at Target when they carried it briefly, but I’ve not been able to find it there since the one time, so now I get mine online.

Eva NYC Up All Night Volumizing SprayWhile we’re in the hair department, if you have fine hair like I do, I highly recommend the Eva NYC Up All Night Volumizing Spray. I got a sample of it in an Ipsy Bag and I was addicted! I ordered a full sized bottle from here. The spray is light enough to not weigh your hair down, but gives it texture and thickness at the same time. You can apply it as often or as little as you need throughout the day or even on your non-wash days to freshen up and give your mane a boost. It also helps extend your style longer throughout the day. I spray it on damp hair before I dry and style my hair and then on dry hair when it’s looking a little flat or tired. Plus, it smells amazing!

Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping CreamWith getting ready to turn 30 this year, I’ve been reminded more that I need to take care of my skin. I usually moisturize at night, but I hadn’t really paid attention to my eyes. I’d just use a little concealer in the mornings to hide any dark circles, but I’d yet to find anything to minimize the tired bags under my eyes. I started doing a little reading and research on eye care and discovered Garnier’s Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Eye Cream. It comes in a little tube that looks like it would be gone in a week, but it lasts forever! All you need is one little dot under each eye, TAP it in gently – don’t rub it under your eye! – and you’re set for the evening. When I wake up in the morning, I look more rested and the tired bags have been disappearing over time. I rarely wear concealer under my eyes now, since the dark circles are gone. While I’ve learned most anti-aging skin products cause me to break out instead of helping my skin look refreshed, this little eye cream does the trick!

Simple Micellar WaterSpeaking of skin care, I’ve been using Simple’s Cleansing Micellar Water in my routine lately. I first discovered micellar water after hearing several of my favorite beauty vloggers rave about it. I had used toners in my routine, but my skin would always get dried out and get super oily after a few days because the toner would strip too much natural oil from my skin. Micellar water is not quite a toner, but offers many of the same benefits without over drying my skin. Simple Eye Makeup RemoverIt also removes all my makeup, so for days when I’m in a hurry or have stayed up too late to do my whole night routine, I can still go to bed with a clean face. I also use Simple’s Kind To Eyes Eye Makeup Remover, which is a godsend for stubborn waterproof makeup or mascara! It takes off EVERYTHING, so my lashes are completely clean, helping them both stay healthier and making it easier to apply mascara the next day! Plus, it doesn’t irritate sensitive eyes or contact wearers. If you want to find out more about how micellar waters work, check out this post by POPSUGAR.

Maybelline Lash Sensational MascaraI need to post my review of mascaras soon, but after a few months of trying out different formulas and brushes that promise curl, length, volume, and all around amazing-ness, Maybelline won out for me with their Lash Sensational Mascara formula. I absolutely LOVE this mascara. I wasn’t expecting to find a mascara this great in the drugstore, but that’s just the icing on the cake! I tend to have naturally straight, kind of stubby looking lashes, that don’t tend to stay curled. I tried this mascara, not really hoping for much, but as soon as I’d done one eye, I could see a difference immediately! Even when I don’t wear a smokey eye or line my eyes, you can actually see my lashes now! My lashes stay curled and look longer, they don’t look clumpy, and it stays on all day. So if you’re like me and have been struggling to find a mascara that works, give this one a go!

Entertainment & Technology
As I mentioned in my monthly recap, audiobooks have been the best way for me to tackle my reading list this year! I’m working towards blocking out time in my day to sit down and read an actually hard/soft cover, paper pages BOOk, but for now, it’s just not possible. I still want to get through my list, though and I love hearing stories throughout the day. So, I’ve taken up my audiobook addiction again. But if you buy audiobooks, it can really make a huge dent in your budget, because most audiobooks cost more than the paperback version. Enter Overdrive. Overdrive is a free app that allows you to connect with your local library system and borrow audiobooks, right through your iPod! No need to go to the library, browse, and listen to CDs anymore. Now, sometimes, it may be difficult to find an audio version of the title you’re looking for, but most best sellers are available. So, all you need is a library card and the app! I’ve been able to listen to books while driving, doing stuff around the house, walking Pepper, working out, etc. It’s the perfect solution for frugal multi-tasking bookworms. 🙂

I’ve found three great shows that I’ve been watching on Netflix and Hulu this month. If you’re like me and love food, check out The Pioneer Woman. It’s like stepping into her blog and almost like a mini-retreat to see her home on the ranch, while she’s cooking up delicious meals. This show makes me want to cook and just eat! But with that in mind, I don’t recommend watching this show while working out. I made that mistake and my workout was torture!

But if you DO want some motivation and inspiration while you’re working out or just need a reminder that there are awesome and happy people in the world, watch Behind the Mask on Hulu. This show is about sports mascots and what all is involved in being a mascot. It follows four mascots from high school to pro teams and you get to know the person behind the mask. Outside their masks, most of the mascots are facing up hill challenges, whether that’s being the unpopular kid in school or reaching a plateau in their career. Yet, all of them are some of the most positive, hopeful, encouraging, and kind spirited people! It’s so encouraging to watch this show and see what they’re dealing with in their personal life, but that they find such joy in cheering other people up and getting others excited for their team! Watch it, it will make your day!

The last show that we’ve been loving as of late is Parks & Recreation. I don’t where we’ve been and why we haven’t been watching this show before now, but it’s just as funny if not sometimes more funny than The Office. I adore Leslie Knope and she’s just deepened my girl crush on Amy Poehler. My husband has now ranked Chris Pratt as one of his all-time favorite actors this year and Jonathan’s now incorporating Tom Haverford-isms into his daily vernacular.  All of the characters are lovable and there’s not one episode where my hubby and I don’t just crack up over something! Even though we didn’t watch this show when it was airing, I like that we can binge watch it on Netflix and not have to wait an entire week for the next episode. If you need a heavy dose of humor, want to add some flavor to your vocabulary, or want to feel like taking on the world, this show is for you. 🙂

Food
HelloFreshWe did some fun cooking this month and discovered a few new favorite dishes! I got an intro offer with my Martha Stewart Living magazine for HelloFresh. HelloFresh is a meal subscription service that sends you all of the fresh ingredients and recipes for three meals a week, for two people. HelloFreshOur first box arrived with all of the ingredients completely chilled and refrigerated. We tried the Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Roulades with Kale and Couscous Salad, Burst Tomato and Squash Fusili, and our favorite, Mustard Pork Chops with Green Beans and Crispy Potato Cakes! Everything was so delicious! We enjoyed trying new recipes and flavors, plus, I love that HelloFresh sends you just the right amount of ingredients for each dish so there are not a lot of leftovers, but the dishes are so filling.

And now we have the recipes to make our favorite dishes again! I love that the scheduling is flexible, even when you sign up for a subscription, you’re not locked in to receiving every dish, every week. You can skip a few weeks if you want to or need to, and you can also pick your preferred day to receive deliveries that works with your schedule. If you would like to try HelloFresh and get $40 off your first box, use the code: XVXVWR. Even if you’re a picky eater like me, I promise you’ll find something you like! 🙂

What are your favorite recipes? Have you found a holy grail beauty product that’s made your routine easier? What TV shows do you live to binge watch?
Tell me in the comments below!

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Monthly Recap – June

Well, another month has flown by! Is it just me, or is time on hyperdrive lately?

I’ll be honest, June was a tough month for me. I don’t want to start this post off negatively, but I feel I need to be honest. In a nutshell, there were several surprises for us that weren’t too pleasant and I struggled with my depression a lot. For those who struggle with depression, you’ll probably understand; it just gets you down, zaps your drive and energy, and it can take a while to get out of the funk. But despite the rough stuff, we DID have some bright spots!

30 for 30 Progress
As I mentioned in my May Monthly Recap, I’ve been working on saving and making more money through couponing and rebates. During the month of June, I kept utilizing those tools and I’m hoping to write some posts soon on my methods. In the same vein, I feel like we’ve got our monthly budget routine pretty nailed down. As for staying within our budget consistently, we’re still working on that!

2015-06-01 21.41.11I started working on #4 “Work on landscaping and gardening.” We’ve been trying to stay on top of our lawn and greenery this year, but due to my hubby’s work schedule, we can’t go out and manicure our lawn every weekend. With all the rain we’ve had these last two months and investing in a weed management service, our grass grows so quick!2015-06-01 19.09.59 But thankfully, one day, we were both able to get outside and tackle some yard work. While my hubby did his thing, I decided that I’d trim the bushes that were taking over our front window. After about five minutes of trimming, I was reminded of how much I hated one particular shrub. So, in a moment of slight frustration and a spur of the moment decision, within 20 minutes, I’d taken a saw to the bush and trimmed it clear down to the ground. It was both satisfying and shocking at the same time. But I honestly can’t wait to pull out the other two hedges and plant some miniature boxwoods and flowers in that front bed! Budget and weather allowing, I’m hoping to finish the project before the season changes. We’ll see.

2015-06-15 18.11.33In another spur of the moment decision and whittling down my 30 for 30 List, my hubby and I decided to move our home office. Our home office had been in a spare bedroom right next to my hubby’s man cave, but I always kept the door closed and rarely spent time back in that room. We had painted it a darker color than the rest of the house, but the room doesn’t get a ton of natural light, so it was always too dark to see anything. Plus, we still had some boxes that hadn’t been unpacked and there were still things to organize, hence the reason it was on my list this year… On the other end of our house, just off our kitchen, we have a bonus room. 2015-06-15 18.12.56We’d been using it as a dining area when we hosted friends, but other than that, it was just a big room. So, on one of hubby’s days off, we just decided to move the office into the bonus room. Turns out, we’ve ended up having more space, the room is brighter, and more functional. Plus, now we actually can use the spare bedroom as a guest room until we have kids! We’ve almost finished setting everything up and getting organized, but I can already tell you that it is far more functional and enjoyable to spend time in than the other room! I love it! I plan on writing an office tour post with lots of pictures once I’ve got it all finished!

Books Read
The Girl on the TrainI was able to read two books this month! Thanks to audiobooks, I love technology… I finished The Girl on the Train. I honestly kept waiting for this book to get interesting. But it was a little confusing at times and somewhat annoying. But not terrible overall, just not my cup of tea.

EnchantmentThe other book I read was Enchantment by Donald Spoto. I adore Audrey Hepburn and have a special place in my heart for classic movie celebrity biographies. I grew up watching classic movies from the 30s-50s. While my peers were watching movies and cartoons from the 80s and 90s, I grew in up in a world of musicals and black and white film. No regrets! I always find it it fascinating to learn about the actors lives off camera and how they grew up. Audrey Hepburn’s life is no exception. It was interesting to learn about her young upbringing and see how it influenced who she became as an adult. She was such a loving woman with an incredibly generous heart, but there were also a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. It made for an excellent read. If you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan, it’s a must-read!

Fitness
As I mentioned above, I struggled with depression this month. From being sick the month before and overwhelmed by other life “stuff,” my fitness goals kind of took a back seat. In all honesty, I found that my stress-eating had gotten out of control and I ended up gaining back all the weight I’d lost. I still logged my food and worked out on my bike, but I’d lost my self-discipline and motivation. My efforts were bare minimum and half hearted. So, I’m back at square one, but July will be different! I’m tired of this lack of motivation and the setback in progress was so frustrating! July will be different.

Travel
No travel this month. And, I’m not sure that we will be making any trips until the holiday season. I plan on writing an update, but I’ve decided to change goal #12. Instead of taking a vacation this year, we’re planning on adopting another puppy into our family. There’s no set timeline on this yet, but after talking about future goals and plans, along with discussing our budget, we realized it was unrealistic to do both a vacation and adopt a puppy this year. So we picked the puppy. 🙂 Who wouldn’t? Like I said, I’ll keep you posted on this, but I can’t say when, just yet! Stay tuned. 😉

Watched
For Fathers Day, my sweet dad wanted to go out to a movie with all of us. My husband was only able to join us for brunch before he had to go to work, but it was a fun time to spend the day with my sister and parents. It’s not been just the four of us for a while. InsideOutWe decided to go see Inside Out. I. Was. Stoked! I have been waiting a year to go see that movie, because I’m a huge nerd and love Pixar! This movie isn’t your typical Pixar, though. Yes, they have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything from toys to cars to animals to monsters (you get the idea), but this concept was unique in the fact that they were able to give a face to emotions. I LOVED it and I think it’s a great way to understand the basics of how our emotions influence us and how they contribute to developing our personality. The amount of detail and subtleties that I noticed reflected so much research that went into the film. I learned a lot as an adult and I think this would be a great movie for kids who are growing up and trying to understand why they feel the way they do…and realize that it’s ok to feel different feelings, that we need all the various feelings to make sense of life. They all serve a purpose and that we shouldn’t be defined by one feeling or another. The animation was as always, amazing. Plus, the cast was just perfect. If you’re an Office, Parks & Rec, or SNL fan, you’ll love it! I could keep raving, but I think you should go see it for yourself. 🙂

In other news, Pretty Little Liars is back on! The pilot and first few episodes of season six have been so good! My A theories are evolving… So You Think You Can Dance also started up again. Audition weeks are my favorite, so we’ve been enjoying those. Plus, they’ve been on Hulu, so I can go back and re-watch my favorite routines. It’s gonna be a good season!

Listened
I mostly listened to my audiobooks this month, like I mentioned above. So nothing too new in the listening department.

Memorable Moments
2015-06-09 21.02.49-22015-06-10 14.29.20My husband turned 28 this year and we had a great day celebrating on his birthday. We enjoyed a dinner and I baked him a cake, then later on he enjoyed a guys day out watching Jurassic World and hanging out with his guys. Our parents were able to have dinner with us and we tried the new Pepperoni Grill that opened nearby. It was incredible! All in all, I think he had a pretty good birthday this year!

Spoonflower-HedgehogsI entered another Spoonflower contest in June, which you can see here. I didn’t win, but I love entering their contests because it offers a great creative outlet, plus a fun community of artists! When they have contests, it’s neat to see everyone’s interpretation of the same subject. Every single one is different!

This Made My Day
2015-06-17 20.59.36I had a random mish-mash of things that just made my day this month. At a family gathering, my aunt gave my a Diet Coke she’d found with my name on it – spelled CORRECTLY! That never happens.

Jonathan and I enjoyed a random nostalgic jam session while we were moving the office. We found our mixed CDs from high school and had a great time guessing who the artists were. We got to explain our weird eccentric tastes and the influences behind them at the time.

2015-05-27 15.34.47I got sunset hair this month! I’m a natural brunette, but I’ve been a red head for the past year or so, which I love. I’ve never felt more myself than with red hair! But I decided to shake it up a little this time and add purple to the ends. 2015-05-27 11.32.47My stylist did an excellent job and created a color melt between the red and purple so that they transition in a more “natural” looking way… Since I work from home and don’t have to adhere to a dress code, I decided why not? I love it! 2015-05-27 16.52.27The only draw back is that my shower looks like a purple minion got splattered all over the walls when I wash it, but other than that, it’s perfect! It’s just subtle enough where you don’t immediately notice it, but in the sun, it looks kind of like an upside down sunset. 🙂

Monthly Moral
June taught me that positivity is a fight! Happiness is fleeting and joy is a choice. It doesn’t come easy. It’s a daily choice to look for the good around you or to change your perspective of your situation. The world is fallen and we are not perfect. It’s so easy to spiral into depression and despair, but we are not doomed to that. We have the freedom to choose what we make of our day and how we choose to look at it. We can’t control other people or what may happen to us, but we have full control over our response and attitude. It took me a while to remember this truth this month, but I finally did and I’m thankful. I plan on making July a better month.

How was your June? What was the best part of your month?

Gallery

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

#TBT

In honor of food and summer and Throwback Thursday, I felt like sharing a yummy recipe from my old blog! Yes, I once upon a time wrote a blog that mostly consisted of recipes. *I was in a crazy cooking phase as a brand new newlywed in a tiny apartment kitchen… Ah, those were the days!

But aside from the nostalgia, this is a pretty delicious recipe if I do say so myself! It goes great with a fresh salad, grilled veggies, grilled chicken, or a plate of pasta (for my fellow carb lovers)!

Hope you enjoy and hope you all are having a lovely summer!
What’s your favorite summer dish?

The Red Shoe Chef

We were both surprised at delicious this tasted tonight! Neither of us are crazy about fresh tomatoes usually, but we both devoured this dish!

Tomato Bruschetta

-about 12-15 grape tomatoes

-1 garlic clove

-parmesan cheese

-olive oil

-black pepper

-Italian seasoning

-fresh basil

-Pepperidge Farms frozen garlic bread

Dice the tomatoes, chop garlic, and basil. Blend together in a bowl with olive oil. Add parmesan, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Make sure it’s all blended well and chill in the fridge for at least 15-30 minutes. It can be chilled longer if necessary. Bake bread according to the directions. (My husband has me beat on baking this bread, he gets it perfect every time!) Once the bread is toasted and ready, spread the chilled bruschetta over the top and enjoy!

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Monthly Recap – May

Good grief! I’m sorry this recap post is soooo late. Better late than never, though, right…?

May was an extremely busy month, but it always is for us. Between both of our families we have dozens of birthdays and wedding anniversaries, along with Mother’s Day and any weddings or graduations we may be invited to in the middle of Oklahoma’s infamous tornado season…  Despite the busy schedule, May was a pretty good month!

30 for 30 Progress
During May, I realized that I focused on several of the money related goals from my list. I’ve been doing some freelance work for a few clients and during May, working from home began to take over my schedule. I’m grateful for the work, but I’m also realizing how much time building your own business and serving your clients takes when the separation between work and home is not as clearly defined. I’ve been putting together plans and doing research to officially start my business while also keeping up with my deadlines for my clients. I’m looking forward to getting more done in this area in the months to come. Prayers appreciated though. This is a bit daunting.
I also worked on our budget plan and tried to find more ways to utilize coupons and rebates. The encouraging thing that I realized in doing all of this was that in the first five months of this year, without having “a real job” outside the home (hope you caught the sarcasm…), I brought in a little over $800 of extra change here and there. Nothing steady, but it’s become really helpful and nice to get “surprise” rebate/reward checks! 🙂 

Books Read
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I read Amy Poehler’s, Yes Please book and it was really good! I thought it might be similar to Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and it is, but it is also so much more! I have a new appreciation for Amy and who she is as a person. I loved how open and honest she was in her book and how you can see her reflecting on her overall life growth. The book had depth that I wasn’t expecting. I “read” the book by listening to the audiobook, which was quite enjoyable listening to the author read it. Plus, she also had special guests read portions of the book, so it’s a great listen! I want to buy the hardcopy because I would love to jot down several good quotes to remember. Read it. It’s good. 😉 

Fitness
Ok, here’s the thing. I’m one of those people who rarely gets sick, but when I do…it’s bad! I noticed I had a sore throat for a few days that wouldn’t go away. I thought it might be strep, so we went to the doctor. It ended up being tonsillitis. Long story short, I ended up missing several workouts and got off of my workout routine. So my fitness progress took a little bit of a hit this month. 😦

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
2015-04-06 23.09.11-1I watched a lot of season finales in May! Mad Men had to be the most memorable season finale, though. My husband and I are big Mad Men fans and have watched the series all the way through. It’s one of the few shows that we both “watch” without being off and on our phones or just having it play in the background… When the last episode aired, we both had different reactions to it. Most of the time, I can’t stand good shows, movies, books, or stories ending. I want them to go on forever because I love staying in those worlds. Sometimes I’m not a fan of endings because it’s telling that the writers didn’t know quite how to tie up all the loose ends, but I have to say that the writers for Mad Men did a fantastic job! I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the ending. My husband was not so excited, he was left kind of miffed for some reason… But to each his own. If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy time traveling through Mad Men, I highly recommend it! 

Listened
As I mentioned above, I listened to a few audiobooks this month. I’ve been trying to catch up on my book list and the most efficient and realistic way for me to do that is to listen to audiobooks. Having worked in the publishing industry, I understand that there is a lot of debate and valid reasons as to whether audiobooks “count” as reading or not… I tend to approach is as another method to consume a story. Personally, I don’t have as much time to sit down and read a book. Unfortunately, I tend to fall asleep and loose my spot… #KeepinItReal
I listened to Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and then began reading The Girl on the Train. I’m planning on writing Pepper’s Bookshelf review posts on both, soon! Stay tuned!

Memorable Moments
Family Celebration
May is chock full of opportunities to get together as a family! Since there are so many birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, we decided to just pick one day to celebrate everything! We all went over to my aunt’s house and celebrated two birthdays, two anniversaries, and Mother’s Day. It seemed like almost everyone got a card or gift, and then we also had everyone’s favorite desserts.
Since it was May in Oklahoma, we expected a few tornadoes, but this year had to be one of the most memorable tornadoes. Flooded StreetThankfully we didn’t experience any damage or have any close calls where we live, but the internet went crazy with #Tigernado. Read more here to find out more of why, but it was probably one of the most unusual storm days we’ve had… Along with the tornadoes, we had record breaking rainfall which caused flooding around the state. Thankfully, though we are now out of a long drought!
We celebrated our four year anniversary this year! It’s crazy to think that we’ve already been together that long, somedays it feels like we just tied the knot and other days, it feels like we’ve been married forever. It was such a good day! Read more here.
Two more milestones happened this month: we’ve officially been homeowners for two years and I left the corporate world a year ago. Time is just flying by so fast!

This Made My Day
Who I Carried Today
I had a guest writer on my blog this month! Memorial Day is an important holiday in our home. I had already planned on writing a post on how I’ve come to view the day and what it means to me. With my husband being a former Marine, I knew he was planning on remembering the day in his own way, but when he came home, he surprised me by asking if he could write a blog post to share his thoughts on Memorial Day. I was a bit surprised, but also excited that he wanted to share. If you knew my husband, the adage “still waters run deep” fits him perfectly. He tends to be a deep and internal thinker, so I love when he opens up to share those thoughts. He’s an excellent writer and I was so encouraged that so many people loved his post! His single post has been the most viewed post on my page so far. I’m pretty proud of him!

Monthly Moral
This month, “grace” was the dominant theme in my day. I began to feel like I’d failed at life or that I would never get caught up from being sick and getting behind on a lot of my projects and daily tasks. I was feeling so discouraged and overwhelmed. When I stepped back and looked at the situation or what was bogging me down, I was reminded to give myself grace. I am not a robot, life happens, I may not even have enough time in the day to tackle my mountain of tasks, but it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world, it will eventually get done. But just because I didn’t get it all done, all in a day, or all perfectly, does not mean that I’m a failure. It’s a challenge to hold onto that mindset, but I’m working on it.

March & April Favorites!

It’s crazy how time flies! Since I totally missed my March Favorites (and I’m honestly cutting it close on April’s favorites), I decided to just combine them with April. So, buckle your seat belt, there’s a lot! 🙂 As always, these are just items I fell in love with and wanted to share. I’m not sponsored by any of these products…

Savings
2015-04-01 22.12.52
We decided to go ahead and answer “yes” when the Target cashier would ask if we “had a Target REDCard.” We applied for the debit card and I honestly was a little nervous the first time I used it, but after I got my receipt, I was pleasantly surprised! 5% off adds up quick and I really love how you can see how much you saved per trip, but also how much you’ve saved so far for the year! If you shop at Target as much as I do, it’s silly to not get a REDCard (debit that is…). You can stack the 5% savings with their Cartwheel app, getting $.05 off for every grocery bag you bring, coupons, and sales, so you can save quite a bit for every trip!

Products
2015-03-24 17.28.33
I had shattered my phone screen (again) on my iPhone 5, so we started comparing the price of upgrading to a new phone or just replacing the screen… 2015-03-24 17.18.27After some debating, we decided it would be a better deal in the long run upgrade. I am in love with my new iPhone 5s. I got the gold color, and found a cute white an gold case from the Dollar Spot at Target for $5! By the way, the Target Dollar Spot has been having quite a few cute phone accessories for cheap lately. Some are worth buying like the phone cases and arm bands, and then some are just cheap and not worth it, like the battery operated phone chargers and speakers… Just sayin’.

2015-03-27 19.52.44I finally got a Fitbit! And I love, love, love this little guy! I love it even more because I got it for a great deal by buying it from a friend of a friend. They decided that they wanted a different kind of Fitbit after having this one for a short time. I was able to buy it from them practically brand new for about half the retail price! Having my Fitbit has been more motivating to get moving in my day and really insightful to see how much sleep I actually get each night. I’m hoping to keep upping my activity since I have an easier way to track it. I’ve already asked for new bands for my birthday…

2015-03-16 15.48.26I’ve re-fallen in love with all my candles again as I’ve been trying to use them up around my house. My house feels cozy, I’m using up what I have (so I can eventually get new scents), and I’m gaining new glass canisters for storage after the candle is all used up!

2015-05-27 14.58.03I finally found a good pair of sunglasses! I tend to be pretty picky about my sunglasses, mostly because of how they impact my makeup during the day… I don’t like sunglasses leaving little marks on my nose or cheeks from settling in my makeup. With summer coming up, I needed to find something that would work! I found some cute shades at Target and they are light enough to just rest on the bridge of my nose and not leave any weird marks…

Beauty
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I rediscovered an old love. After using a variety of cream moisturizers and not quite finding one that offered everything my combination skin needs, I remembered using Garnier’s Moisture Rescue Refresh Gel Cream a while back. I bought a little jar of it and fell in love all over again. I forgot how much I loved this stuff! It gives my combination skin everything it needs to feel moisturized and comfortable all day. It’s not oily or greasy, but offers hydrating moisture all day. It’s light and helps my foundation glide on smoothy. I think I’ll stick with gel moisturizers over cream for a while!

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.35.47 PMI’d been hunting for a blendable eyeshadow palette for a while. I’d tried Maybelline’s The Nudes  palette and a few other neutral quads, but nothing quite was the right color collection or powder formula. I heard a lot of buzz from the beauty bloggers I follow on YouTube about the L’Oreal’s Color Riche La Palettes. While at Ulta, I decided to go ahead and buy it, despite it’s kind of expensive (for drugstore) price tag. I got the Nude 1 palette, since it has more of a neutral color variety. The Nude 2 palette had more violet tones and not really what I would wear on a daily basis. The color pay off is some of the best in drugstore options I’ve found so far. The only color I’ve been disappointed with is the darkest brown. I like to use colors like this for liner, but the color didn’t show up as dark as I was expecting, so I still use one Maybelline quad color for my liner. Other than that one color, I’m in love! The shades blend beautifully and offer a wide range of look options from day to night!

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.36.33 PMI found my holy grail of mascara! Maybelline’s Lash Sensation Mascara is by far the best mascara I’ve found thus far! I know that I mentioned Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes in an earlier post, but this Maybelline mascara is better than a dupe for Tarte! The price is just right ($8.99 compared to Tarte’s $21.00 a tube!), it offers length, volume, and impact, plus it holds the curl in my lashes all day! It does require an eye makeup remover to take off at the end of the day, but it comes off pretty easily with the remover. Any other mascara would have pretty big shoes to fill at this point!

Entertainment & Technology
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Since the Oscars had just aired…way back in March, eh hem… I discovered a really great documentary called And the Oscar Goes To… by TCM! I love movies and I love history, so this documentary was right up my alley. It went through the history of film and how the Oscars began. It’s pretty amazing to see how it’s changed and grown through the years! If you love film, I highly recommend it!

Over March and April, I discovered a few new favorite shows, which I promptly binge watched when I could, because they are just THAT entertaining! Younger is so fun to watch! I absolutely love Sutton Foster in everything I’ve seen her in. Her dead pan and whitty humor is reminiscent of classic film dialogue from Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant movies, but with the pacing and pop culture references of Gilmore Girls. The flavor of the show reminds me of a clean Sex in the City, with the girl bonding and city living, which makes total sense thanks to director Darren Star! My favorite thing about the show is the optimism of the main character as she’s rebuilding her life and choosing to throw age right out the window. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a go!

MV5BMTc3OTEyMTEyMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDk4OTc0NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Another fantastic show is the Netflix original, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt from the clever mind of Tina Fey. It’s totally wacky, colorful, and completely quotable. I adore Ellie Kemper from The Office. She has the same Amelia Bedelia character personality and there are so many other fantastic characters and cameos played by notable actors. The entire time I watched it, I kept saying, “oh that’s so and so from this show, and that show!” Both my husband and I were laughing out loud through the entire season and I’m really hoping that they decided to make more seasons! If you need a good dose of fun TV, you can binge watch the first season in a weekend. “Hashbrown, no filter…” 🙂

March brought us the Pretty Little Liars‘ season 5 finale, “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” Oh. My. Goodness! Holy Cow! Fellow PLL fans will know what I’m talking about! This had to be hands down, one of the most intense and best episode in this entire show, in my opinion! I couldn’t look away and there were so many times that I gasped out loud. I finally feel like there WILL be answers revealed and that it’s all building to the root of WHY all of this has been happening to the girls. I cannot wait for the season 6 premiere! It should be a good one. 😉

2015-04-06 23.09.11-1In April, the final season of Mad Men FINALLY came back…after a year! My husband and I are huge Mad Men fans and had been waiting and watching for when the last half of the season would air. I’ll give my final thoughts on the end of the final season in next month’s post, but it was so fun to have the show back in our weekend viewing.

While we painted our kitchen, we rediscovered our love for the Flight of the Conchords. We have both season 1 and 2 on DVD and just played episode after episode. We were cracking up the entire time we painted! Can you see a trend with the shows my hubby and I love, we love to laugh! 🙂 If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the Flight of the Conchords, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect show to watch if you need to just laugh!

Food
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I’ve been enjoying the deliciousness that is Brookside Dark Chocolate Crunchy Clusters. I found these at Target and had a Cartwheel deal for them. They look healthier than a bag of M&Ms because they have granola-like crunchiness and fruit gumminess covered in smooth dark chocolate. See what I did there? Granola…fruit…dark chocolate… Those are all healthy, right? Regardless, they’re so yummy and have taken up a regular spot in my grocery cart.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.44.54 PMIn other healthy pursuits, I’ve started drinking Special K’s Protein Shakes when I need a quick breakfast or want to satisfy a sweet tooth after a workout. They’re loaded with protein, but don’t taste like a protein shake! They’re smooth, cool, and just like iced coffee or a milkshake. I tend to get the coffee or chocolate flavors, but they have other flavors available too. The only downside is that I have to try to enjoy them before my hubby gets to them! He’s been on a pretty heavy protein kick with all of his workouts.

2015-04-21 22.39.57This last snack is far from healthy, but it’s so good! If you like those airy, sweet, crunchy cinnamon twists from Taco Bell, you’ll love Cheetos Sweetos! They’re a limited edition Cheeto product and they’re little puffs of sugary airy loveliness! I have to ration them out, otherwise I could eat an entire bag! And unlike my protein shakes, my hubby doesn’t like them. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but oh well, more for me! 😉

Miscellaneous
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In March, I got samples from my Spoonflower shop! If you haven’t discovered Spoonflower yet, it’s chock full of incredible art and inspiration! I’m excited to work on some new collections soon.  Right now I just have one small collection, but I have lots of ideas and just need to buckle down and get them out of my head and in my shop. For all my fellow creatives, take a look, enter a contest, and get inspired. I love entering their contests, they have great ideas to get your juices flowing.

What did you enjoy last month? What are you most excited to try?

Also, what kind of things do you like discovering on Favorites lists?

Status

Monthly Recap – April

I feel like I say this every month, but April was a crazy busy month. I don’t even know where the time went! A lot happened, but it just flew by… I was so busy, I realized that I didn’t even have time to post a monthly favorites for March! (Sorry…)
I’m linking up again with The Lady Okie‘s Project 12 on her blog. Check her out if you haven’t already!

30 for 30 Progress
I can actually cross 2 things off the list!
2015-04-27 19.42.12Pepper graduated from her Beginner Training Course…just barely. 😉 She’s definitely doing better than she was before. We’re still working on the loose leash walking and not jumping up on people, but she’s improved what little training we tried to do on our own. 2015-04-09 10.30.22She even learned a new trick, she loves to shake your hand now! We celebrated with a puppachino from Starbucks on the way home (her new favorite treat, if I come home with a frappachino now, she thinks it’s for her…)!

2015-04-17 09.27.44We also had a garage sale! This was my first time holding my own garage sale – EVER – and I was by myself for half of it too. We didn’t expect to make a fortune, but for what little we had to sell, we did pretty well. The weather was rainy too, so I was pleasantly surprised that we even did as well as we did! 2015-04-17 10.43.29Plus, I took all 3 boxes of books that didn’t sell to Half Price Books and made some cash back from that. While browsing in there I found the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld on DVD, so that was even a bonus!
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We painted our kitchen! So that’s another item almost off the list. 2015-04-14 12.57.31It feels so nice to have a different color in there! It’s amazing what color can do for the mood of a room! We also added hardware to all the cabinets and drawers. We’re getting closer to my dream kitchen! If nothing else, it feels fresher and more functional.

Books Read
What is wrong with me?! No progress whatsoever. I’m so behind. 😦

Fitness
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I’ve now lost a total of 9 pounds! (Follow my progress here) I kind of plateau every now and then and this month was no exception. With all the crazy that went on, I’ve not been able to be as aggressive about my fitness as I’d like, but I still am logging my calories daily and working out in some form or fashion at least 5+ days a week. I still love my Fitbit and am earning cash through GymPact. All this, despite both my hubby and I getting the flu. We both felt miserable, but on the bright side, he got to stay home almost an entire work week!

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
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Like I mentioned above, we acquired the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld and we’ve been enjoying that during my hubby’s dinner breaks as our replacement for Friends. I had never watched the show growing up and had only seen a few reruns here and there, so it’s been fun to watch it together. My hubby’s family are seasoned Seinfeld fans and quote the show often.

Another favorite show started up this month for us: MadMen! 2015-04-06 23.09.11-1We are huge MadMen fans and are glued to the show when it’s on, in other words, it’s one of the few shows we watch without our checking our phones periodically. It’s like a time machine, you’re taken back to a different era, but the stories are so multi-layered, they’re applicable to many current topics too. I love the fashion, the ad designs, and the overall way the show is filmed. The show itself is art.

I’ve also gotten into watching Private Practice on Netflix, since I’ve finished all the available seasons and franchises of my guilty pleasure of The Real Housewives. Private Practice is a spinoff show from Grey’s Anatomy (another fave of mine!) and is just as dramatic. I’m usually watching it while I’m waiting for my husband to get off his shift, so when he walks in the door, he usually will stop – while holding all his gear and Pepper jumping all over him – and ask what’s going on or say something to the effect of “why do these people have such tragic/dramatic/crazy lives?!” I have to agree, but that’s also why I can’t stop watching!

And speaking of Grey’s Anatomy… If you’re a fan, you know what I’m referring to. THE Episode that made my Facebook feed blow up with spoilers was hard to watch. Especially since I had the spoilers, I was bracing for the main character to disappear at any moment. I had a feeling it was coming from the previous episode, but it was still not an easy one to watch… When is this show going to end, now that almost all the original characters are gone?! *It’s a TV show, Kellie, calm down…

Listened
I haven’t heard too much that stands out this past month, just car jammin’ and listening to my regular lineup of podcasts while I walk Pepper or work around the house… 🙂

Memorable Moments
I’m thinking of retitling this section to “Memorable Moments” from “Family Moments,” since there are other things outside of just Pepper and Jonathan that happen (believe it or not).
2015-04-02 12.58.45This month, Pepper turned 1! She’s still a puppy to me, but she’s gotten pretty big and is growing up (just a little) in her behavior. We gave her a giant rawhide bone to chew and I even made a “cake” out of treats and dog food for her. I’m so thankful that we adopted her! 2015-04-02 18.12.59She’s been such a blessing to both of us, but I especially am grateful to not be sitting up at night waiting for Jonathan all by myself anymore. It’s amazing how comforting a sleepy puppy can be. 😉 I highly recommend any LEOW ladies getting a family dog if you can.

2015-04-05 13.40.45We had a fun Easter Sunday with my family. Jonathan thankfully had the day off and his parents were able to come up and visit. We all went out to eat with my parents and sister for lunch. I absolutely love my in laws and am blessed that both of our families enjoy spending time together! I love the rare opportunities when we can all get together.

This month was a month that fit the adage “When it rains, it pours” to a tee!  2015-04-09 09.50.18-1We had been aggressively saving all during March with our spending freeze, which was good, because we ended up needing some of that savings for all of April’s craziness. Between taxes, hubby’s car breaking down, our fence blowing over with spring storms, vet bills from an ear infection that Pepper got, and other miscellaneous expenses, we felt like we were handing out money left and right. But the reassuring fact was that we could take care of everything and still keep our head above water. God provided during this month with extra refund checks, rebates, garage sale cash, and other little ways! 2015-04-24 17.01.38We’re learning to trust God to provide even more and learning that we can live on less. It’s caused us to talk through finances even more and keep planning ahead together…as much as we can. Plus, we’re learning new things, like how to repair a fence ourselves and installing cabinet hardware, which will help us be more prepared and knowledgeable in the future!

This Made My Day
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Despite all the crazy this month, I had several sweet moments with lunches, coffee dates, and phone calls with some special women in my life. I’ve also realized that I have always struggled to make friends, so it’s been a little of stretch for me to reach out for some of those relationships and maintain others, but it’s been so rich and rewarding to cultivate good friendships. I find myself leaving those conversations feeling so blessed, recharged, connected, encouraged, and like I can conquer whatever’s on my plate. You ladies are such a blessing to my soul. You challenge me, you encourage me, you keep me accountable, and you help me know that I’m not alone. For all of you that I had the pleasure of spending time with during April, thank you! You ladies are my superwomen!

2015-04-19 17.00.51Another special moment during April was the opportunity to go see one of my favorite films in theaters with my Granny, my Aunt, cousin, sister, and Mom! My Granny took us all out to see The Sound of Music (or as I affectionately referred to as “Doe-A-Deer-A-Female-Deer” as a kid) for a special limited showing. It was SO MUCH FUN to get to see it on the big screen and notice things I’d never seen before. I know the movie by heart and found myself noticing other details like the costume design and set detail, as well as realizing the historical context. When you grow up watching a film, certain things get cemented in your brain as one thing, but then you watch the movie as an adult, you realize all the things you missed as a kid or misunderstood (for example, when Maria sings “What’s so fearsome about that…” in the “I Have Confidence” song, I didn’t hear the words separated out as a kid, I thought “whatsafeesum” was one word…). After the movie, we all went out for a bite to eat and it was fun getting to visit together and hear stories from my Granny!

Monthly Moral
I’m learning that I can’t do everything and sometimes you will get a harsh reminder of that. I’m learning that I need to take time to rest. I’m learning that I need to give myself grace. I’m learning that I need to trust God and let go of trying to make everything happen in my time-table. I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May?

What’s In My Bag?

In the spirit of spring cleaning and because I wanted to swap the purse I’ve been carrying around all winter, I thought I’d do a “What’s In My Bag?” post. I love watching these kinds of posts on YouTube because I just find it interesting to know what people carry around with them, what products they use, or what they carry their stuff in. Plus, I’m just nosey… 😉

I needed to clean out my purse, since I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that, but I also am reminded every time I go to the grocery store that I need to carry a bigger purse so I can take my Target grocery/shopping bags with me. (You can save $.05 for every bag you bring for your items, instead of using plastic bags. You don’t have to only use bags you bought from Target, but if you can’t find or don’t have bags, you can buy them for $.99/ea. Plus, if you’re environmentally conscious, it helps with that too…) But even after changing purses, I’m not sure I’ll be able to carry my grocery bags without some reshuffling before my next grocery trip… Since I’m saving up for a designer handbag, the purses I use now are pretty inexpensive, but still great bags! I tend to buy my purses from Target (do you see a theme? I heart Target!) because they have great designs and are affordable. NavyPurse All winter, I’ve been carrying this nifty navy purse that I bought from Target for about $30-40. I like that it has three outside pockets and is open in the center. I like to keep my keys, my phone, pens, and other items that I need to be able to find quickly. NavyPursePocket1 I like to keep my keys and phone (not pictured) accessible in the front pocket. I also like to keep my pens and pencils accessible…and apparently chocolate! I love Sharpie pens, they just have a nice smooth flow of ink and come in a range of colors, plus they don’t bleed through the page. Chuao chocolate is so good! If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. They offer so many unique flavors! Each bar is a little pricey, but the chocolate is high quality, rich, and surprisingly, not high in calories. 😉 NavyPursePocket2 NavyPursePocket3 In the other two pockets, I like to keep my headphones, charger cord, mobile charger, and memory stick easy to reach, especially when I’m in the car and need to charge my phone. My mobile charger is handy for times when I can’t get to an outlet or my car. For whatever reason, I’ve also been carrying around a tape measure. Hey, never hurts to have some tools on hand! NavyPurseTop NavyPurseCenter The center section of my purse holds pretty much everything I could need while out and about:

  1. Blogging notebook for jotting down ideas on the go.
  2. Coupon wallet/folder. This is what I keep all of my coupons in, however I don’t take this to the register with me, since it would take too long to hunt for all the coupons I’d use. These folders are perfect for couponing, they’re cute, durable, and they don’t cost much!
  3. My GorillaPod was a gift from my mother-in-law and it’s helpful for taking steady photos with your phone or camera. It’s a flexible tripod that can wrap around or attach to numerous surfaces while still providing grip to help stabilize your shot.
  4. A lady “always” needs necessities for that time of the month…
  5. Trident gum. I like this container because you don’t have to worry about a wrapper, plus if you want to share with people, there’s a lot more gum in one of these containers than a little packet.
  6. Planner. Find out how I use my planner here.
  7. Password log. I don’t always keep this with me, but it depends on what I’m doing or where I’m going as to whether I need it or not. I know that there are password apps that store your passwords and protect them, however I’m old school and I like to keep our passwords in a booklet.
  8. More gum… I like Orbit, but these packets tend to spill in my purse or get lost.
  9. Granola bars for when I need a boost of energy or I need a snack. Lately I’ve been enjoying Special K bars and the Simply Balanced nut granola bars. They’re good for you and they taste  good!
  10. My wallet. I keep all of my cards, sometimes cash, business cards, gift cards, and always at least one giant paperclip for my coupons. I love that this wallet zips closed so nothing falls out.
  11. Sunglasses case. I keep my sunnies and some lens cleaner in this nifty little case.
  12. This metallic pouch is where I keep all of my little beauty things that could get lost in the bottom of my bag. I’ll show what’s in this pouch in further detail below…
  13. Hand cream. I like to use Bath & Body Works hand creams both for the fragrance and because they soak deep into the skin quickly. My hands tend to dry out easily since I wash my hands a lot, so having lotion on hand is a must for me.
  14. Apparently I need to carry two of a lot of things… I like to always have hand sanitizer in my bag. You never know when there might be gunk you could get on your hands, plus these smell so good! Both of these are also from Bath & Body Works.
  15. Tums Smoothies. This is a nifty travel size that I bought before a trip and I just keep in my purse now and refill it as needed.
  16. I guess I need chocolate on hand at all times… I mentioned these in my February Favorites post. They’re so yummy!
  17. This is the one shopping bag I can fit in my purse right now. I got this at Pier 1 a while back up at the register. I like that this bag folds up to this little size and fits in a little pouch so it stays neat and compact.

TanPurse I decided to switch to a tan purse for spring. This purse is a little bigger, but does not have pockets to help contain like items. So, I decided to add a few more pouches to help keep items together and make them easier to find. Since I’ve been subscribed to Ipsy, I’ve collected a few little makeup bags that have come in handy for organizing my purse items. SilverPouch

  1. Tissues. These are always a good thing to have on hand…
  2. I like to keep these Colgate Wisps in my bag in case I need to brush my teeth while I’m out. You know when you go out to eat and sometimes you feel like you just need to brush your teeth right after? These are perfect for those times.
  3. Dental floss. See above… Dental floss is never a bad idea.
  4. Band-Aid Friction Block Stick. I love this little dude! It looks like a little deodorant stick, but it’s for your feet. It helps prevent blisters from forming when you rub it on areas that you tend to get blisters or when your shoes feel a little tight. This item has saved my feet on long days or late nights when I’m wearing heels!
  5. Nail file. You never know when you might break a nail…
  6. Soap. This is a little nifty packet of lavender soap leaves that I picked up from Pier 1. They’re nice to have when I find myself in a public restroom that’s run out of soap in the dispenser. You can just take out a little sheet of soap, run some water over it in your hands and it foams up!
  7. Powder. I always keep an extra compact of powder in my purse for any necessary touchups I may need while I’m out and about. This is Neutrogena’s Shine Control Powder.
  8. Oil blotting sheets. These are also helpful for touching up your makeup, especially in Oklahoma summers. I like these Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing sheets. The Body Shop also has some nice tea tree oil sheets that work well too!
  9. Lip gloss. Always. Currently I’m carrying around Rimmel’s Show Off Lip Laquer in 101 Celestial. It’s a nice nude/pink shade that has been going with any makeup look I happen to be wearing. The formula is moisturizing and stays on like a lip stain.
  10. Bandaids. It never hurts to have some bandaids… PenPouch ElectronicPouch

I added these two pouches to my bag, since I don’t have any exterior pockets or additional pockets on the inside of my purse. The first pouch holds all of my pens and pencils. The second pouch corrals all of my electronic accessories and tools.

So that’s pretty much it! What essentials do you carry in your purse or bag?

What kind of purse do you like to carry?