beauty + lifestyle + parenting

a simple decision?



Sometimes I just want to scream...
 
I knew taking on a second job, even if it was just for like three weeks, was going to be hard, but I don't think I realized just how hard. I hate the fact that I am going to basically be and have been putting my son and family on the backburner until April 1, for one minor reason- I didn't want to screw over the job that has treated me very well for the past 23 months. Yeah, almost two years. Two wonderful, blissful years. And in those two years, I had only ever considered quitting once or twice.
 
And now... it's on my mind, every minute, of every day. It's a simple reason why I actually want to say peace out. For my sanity. For my son. For the plain reason that I don't want to work six days a week. But there are so many reasons why I choose to stay. For the money. For the friendship. For the good I feel I am doing. For my seniority. Because it's easy. It's easy to feel like I am making a difference at my new job.
 
Don't get me wrong, I am grateful. Grateful that the job has given and taught me so much. Grateful for the understanding and compassion I have been shown by my superiors on a daily basis. Grateful for the lives I have changed. Grateful for the lasting friendships I have made. Grateful for the fact that for the past two years, I was able to stay home with my son and only work on the weekends for some extra money. Grateful for the smiles and love that made leaving my son tolerable.
 
Now, I am embarking on a new journey. An exciting and meaningful journey. A journey that I can comprehend the players of the game, and why they do what they do. But this journey also has a decision. A simple decision that could mean that I close a door, but open a window. A decision that would mean less money for me in the long run. A decision to fully leave a job I have loved.

But until I make my ultimate decision, I am going to just be happy for what little time I am able to give to my son, and grateful for my husband and parents, who support me in every choice I decide to make. And continue to keep my bridge open.

**Linking up with Ember Grey. 
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a monday giveaway

I usually have a post drafted and scheduled for Monday, but considering that it is super late in the day, I figured I would just give you guys something fun :)

Have a great Monday, and good luck!
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Christine // Kelly
Magen // Tabitha
Margo // Christina
Kippy // Sarah 
Jessie // Sara
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A solemn goodbye


This week has rocked my family to its core. The sweet, adorable, and much loved little puppy that my parents had been carrying for, received a grim diagnosis on Monday, and on Wednesday, he went to heaven. 

Today would have been his one month birthday. He would have been one month today...


Yes, I am talking about a fur baby. And yes, we are grieving, because just like humans, a helpless puppy was part of our family for three and a half weeks; and loved.

He came into this world as a surprise, no one knew his mom was pregnant- not even a vet, and he was the runt of the litter. His mom tossed him aside two days later due to inability to nurse, and he was left for dead. Luckily, my parents graciously accepted to take in and attempt to raise the little guy.

Everyone knew it would be hard with round the clock feedings and constant care, but they really didn't care. Not many people are lucky enough to hold a life in their hands, literally, but we were. In the time that Ruger spent with us, my mother had been at his every beck and call. Sure my parents knew that raising a three day old puppy would entail round the clock feedings with a milk replacement and tiny bottle, and the normal things, but they were unaware of the unforeseen issues that would arise.


At a little over a week old, Ruger was diagnosed with cleft pallet and my parents were told that he would need surgery to close the gaping hole that was in the roof of his mouth. Everyone was stunned. But they were accommodating his newly bestowed special needs status. And Ruger was thriving. He was gaining weight and reaching his puppy milestones. 

At two weeks he was starting to open his beautiful blue eyes and could actually hear. He was loving, and showing his love by licking. 


On Monday, Ruger wasn't doing well. A trip to the vet revealed the possibility of fluid on his brain and it was ordered that he was to be tube fed, to avoid aspiration. At the visit, the vet said that Ruger would never be normal, and have issues for the rest of his life. They gave him shots of antibiotics. My parents were sad, but determined to give Ruger the best kind of life possible. They gave him two weeks. After that two weeks, if he wasn't doing any better, they would make the decision to release him in to heaven or not. Basically, Ruger would be walking a fine line between life and death. 

Tuesday, Ruger was doing better. He was still acting sluggish, but was slowly getting back to being the voice-truss little puppy we all knew and loved. 

Wednesday morning, Ruger walked. The vet said that he would never walk, but he did. And it seemed as if he was defying the odds. Unfortunately by the afternoon, he was seizing and was rushed to the vet. After injections of anti-seizure medications, the seizure didn't stop. The vet told my parents that if Ruger came out of the seizure, then there was a plausibility that half of his brain would die. 

At that point, my mom made a hard decision. She said that she didn't want Ruger to suffer anymore and decided to let him go. A shot was given and a three week old puppy, who was just two short days away from his one month birthday, went to meet his maker while being surrounded with love. 

Ruger was special. Not only to us, but to everyone he met. He will always be loved. 


Good bye my little Ruger Booger. You will always be in my heart. I love you. 


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10 awesome things about being a blogger

Even though sometimes it feels as if I'm nonexistent,  I still love this hobby of blogging of mine- even more than painting sometimes. Why? Well, because there are so many awesome things about it.

Love, Dream, Blog mug via tiny wishes creations

1. Being able to express myself. The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between has been shared in my space and I wouldn't change a thing. I can express myself,  my feelings and wants, and no one judges my for it (mostly because I moderate my comments,  but still).

2. The community and friendship. Through blogging I have made more friends than I have in real life (no, I'm not a hermit) and those relationships have extend into emails, snail mail, friend requests on FB, advice and so much more. It feels good to know that I can email someone to bounce ideas off of or just to talk when I'm having a crap day.

3. The flourish of creativity. To be a blogger, there has to be some small bit if creativity inside of you. Through blogging, I have been able to sharpen my Photoshop and picture taking/editing skills,  and even had the desire and drive to open my Etsy shop.

4. The following. Every time I receive the notification of a new follower on any of my social media channels, I get all giddy inside. It feels good to know that my stats are growing and more people are out there reading what I have to say.

5. Pin & insta fame. I seriously never knew that like 20 some strangers would like a photo of my Starbucks... or a wine glass design. It's crazy! But if you put alot of time and energy into blogging,  you can become one of those lucky bloggers that rise to fame through various social media channels.

6. The money. Excuse me while I burst out laughing! If I was in it for the money, I would have quit sometimes ago. But it still makes the list because through blogging, there are ways to make money blogging.

7. The merchandise. I love how companies will send you free products, and all they expect back is a sponsored review. I have loved 90% of the products I have received, but in the end, I am being extra careful not to start just a sponsored post blog.

8. The love. Blogging is about community and love. I absolutely love how everyone supports one another and offers constructive criticism.

9. Snail mail. Blogger box swaps are the best!  I love signing up, getting to know a fellow blogger, and getting a present, even though it's not my birthday.

10. Frequent trips to Target because you know, blogging essentials. The dollar section, the pens, backgrounds for photos, planners, more wine and everything in between, Target is like a blogger's heaven. And it's pretty too!

*Linking up with The Grits Blog & Treasure Tromp

What do you love about being a blogger?
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five things I learned during my first week at a 9-5

On Friday, I had finally completed a week at my new job, and let me tell ya- it was LONG! Long in the sense that I've never been gone so much, long in the sense that I have yet to actually get myself into a routine- so I'm averaging about 5.5 hours asleep a night, and long in the sense that I really miss my family. But this first week has also been pretty nice.

So, the job. Well, I'm a tutor at the county juvenile detention. And yes, that means that I get to shape the minds of the children that happen to get in trouble. Do I like it? Well, I can't actually weigh in on that just yet, but I can tell you that it's not a bad way to spend my day. But I don't particularly like the fact that I really can't wear jeans 4 days a week (Friday I can). But it's just the territory. And I can deal with it.

I had learned quite a few things this past week and I wanted to share them with you...



1) A routine is essential to your work week. This includes going to bed, getting up, scheduling shower time, etc. When you have a set schedule, aka a Monday thru Friday 9-5, it's easier to have a routine set up. Why? Because like children, adults seem to thrive on routine and simplicity.

2) Going to bed at 10 or 11 at night is perfectly acceptable when you have to be up by 7a. Let's face it... we all need our sleep, or we can't function the right way. And you need to be on your game while working in a secure facility with juveniles.

3) The laundry, the dishes, and whatever cleaning there is to do, can wait; cuddles from a 4 year old that hasn't seen you all day, ranks number 1 on your to-do list. If you are like me, and going from stay at home Mom to full time boss lady, working at least 30 hours a week, your life is going to be hectic. And every thing is going to be thrown out of whack for a bit until a routine is set up. But you know who is going to suffer the most from not seeing you? The lil person who was used to having Mommy 24/7. Go ahead and give them the time they need and the adjustment period will go smoothly. Plus if no one is home all week, there is no one there to see your mess, right?

4) Flats are amazing for your feet, especially when they have cushion. I'm not going to lie- being on your feet sucks. In my job, I have to wear dress pants 4 out of the 5 days a week, and if you have ever seen tennis shoes with dress pants, it looks tacky. So what are your options, when you have to look nice, and are confined to closed-toed shoes? Cute flats of course. Fyi: I love these ones from Payless.

5) When starting a new job, it is perfectly acceptable to ask questions and most of all, for help. Also, some training can't be read, it's usually learned by thrusting yourself into the deep sea and hopefully you learn to swim.

This is my second 9-5 (well, it's actually 9-4, but you know...) and from what I can tell, it's going rather well right now. And I know I will be leaning alot more in the next week.

Have you ever learned anything from your 9-5?
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InstaNatural Essential Oil Review


Disclaimer: compensation for this review was in the form of the essential oils via Brandbacker & InstaNatural, but opinions are all mine.

I'm going to be real honest here... I've heard about all the hype surrounding essential oils, but before I tried the oils I am reviewing, I never actually used or had the inkling to use them. So why did I sign up to try them, you ask. Well, that one is easy- my mom. 

I was telling my Mom about the types of products that Bloggers are able to get and review and what not, and she asked me if I had any access to essential oils. I told her about a campaign via Brandbacker, and yes, she told me to sign up. She told me that essential oils happen to be extremely useful due to their anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, etc, ect, properties, and that they  happen to be all over Pinterest. Parents, I tell ya. 

But my Mom was right. As soon as I signed up for the campaign, I took to Pinterest, and enlightened myself.



-----THE BACKGROUND-----


InstaNatural is a cruelty-free company that produces products that are free of harmful alcohols, parabens or sulfates, and currently, "InstaNatural is a leading online distributor of a collection of nature-inspired beauty and cosmetic products. All of InstaNatural's products are produced in small batches and packaged in FDA-certified facilities in the USA to ensure freshness and safety for customers. With results-driven products backed by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, InstaNatural is focused on providing the best collection of beauty products to address a wide variety of skincare needs." (http://instanatural.com/pages/our-story) 

The company features body care, hair care, and essential oils. I have tried their eye serum, eye gel, retinol serum, retinol moisturizer, emu oil, and now two of their three scents of essential oils. 

What is an essential oil? According to Google, an essential oil is "a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted". They have been used for thousands of years for cosmetic, medical, and cleaning purposes, and are made by careful steam distillation or cold pressing. 

-----THE PRODUCTS-----

InstaNatural sent me their lemon and peppermint essential oils. I was also supposed to get their lavender oil, but due to issues, I was unable to. 

Both oils were, quite frankly, rather strong. When I received the box of oils from Amazon, I could already smell the lemon, and it wasn't even opened. Once I opened both bottles, I really liked their smells. Each one was crisp, fresh, and fragrant. 

-----HOW TO USE-----

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. Possibly the most common way, is to use the oils in conjunction with a diffuser. A diffuser creates a mist that purifies the air- basically you fill with water, and then add a few drops of the essential oil. 

You can also use the peppermint oil as a standalone product to soothe nausea and motion sickness, clear your sinuses, relieve headaches, clean your toilet, provide allergy relief, and more; and the lemon oil for cleaning due to it's antibacterial properties, to refresh your house, banish cold sores, clean leather, lightening hair, to clean gum out of somewhere, etc. 

I used the lemon oil for cleaning. I added a few drops to a bucket of water and vinegar, and went to town on my cabinets, and stove. Yes, my house did smell like lemon for about twenty-four hours, but I loved the fact that if my son put his hand on the stove after I cleaned it, he would be ok. And I didn't have to use bleach or any thing else. Plus the scent was nice for Spring.

I used the peppermint oil in the shower. Several times, I ran a hot shower and added some drops. Why? Because I was having sinus issues. After breathing in the diffused oil and water (steam), my sinus cleared up and I have unfailing optimism about the products.


-----THOUGHTS-----

I really liked the idea of using essential oils for cleaning, due to their non-toxic nature. I do recommend the lemon and peppermint oils from InstaNatural and believe that they are worth the money. Plus, I will be Spring cleaning very soon, and I have a feeling my house will be smelling like lemon.

If you want to grab your own essential oils from InstaNatural, they run about $20 for a 4 fl oz bottle, and you can do so from the InstaNatural website or Amazon.

Have you ever tried essential oils?
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Images of Happy vol. 3

Today is the third volume of my Images of Happy link up! Last time, I had a couple of other people join me, and I was super happy about it. Because, let's be real, I really didn't think anyone was going to join.

Anyways, the Images of Happy link up was born out of a love for photography... I love the idea behind photography, and I love that so much emotion can be captured in one Instagram photo. I wanted to give people a place to share their happy photos with others and show that there are happy things in life. A reminder to just breathe and take in life's little moments.

This week I decided to showcase my personal images in a collage...


If you follow me on Insta, then you would have seen a majority of these pictures, but not understood the story behind them. And for those of you who just follow way too many people ( I am guilty of this), and don't have a chance to keep up with my stream, I will bring you up to speed. 

For the past week an a half, my parents have been taking care of a puppy. A puppy that due to its special needs, its mother had tossed him to the side like a piece of trash when he was two days old. When he was given to my Dad, the little black puppy that resembles a bear, was tiny and cold. And close to death. My parents, being my parents and knowing that they really didn't need or even want to add another mouth to the family, took in the puppy and the obligation that followed with raising an orphaned puppy. 

They (my Dad) named him Ruger (yes, like the hand gun), and the following chronicles his past two weeks of life. 

one // Ruger's one week birthday. The first week with lil Ruger was touch and go- he cried alot, wasn't gaining that much weight, and after a trip to the vet, my parents found out that he has cleft pallet (meaning that the roof of his mouth isn't closed and he doesn't have the ability to actually suckle) and will eventually need surgery. But despite how time consuming he was, my mom (his actual caregiver) was ever patient and reveled in the milestones he was/is making. 

two // Puppy selfies. I swear to you... I am in love with this lil guy. Sure, I may change my tone if I was the one who had to get up with him at night to feed him, and was always peed on, but until then, I am happy taking cute pictures with him. And apparently he likes my smell, because right after I snapped this, he licked my cheek :) Yep, he's a licker. 

three // Lil man & his new friend. Lil Man LOVES Ruger. One of the reasons my parents took in a puppy, besides just being good human beings, was for Lil Man. They wanted Lil Man to have a friend to play with, mostly due to the fact that almost every other dog in both mine and my parents household has a tendency to get tired of and start growling at him. He loves going to see him, and even gets upset if he can't hold him. 

four // Another edition of puppy selfies. My hubby tells me not to get attached.... but it's super hard. I think that he doesn't want me getting attached for the simple fact of Ruger being special needs, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't need love. It's simple. And there is no need to save myself from attachment or love. 

five // Sleepy lil bear. Taken on Ruger's two week birthday and after I had just been peed on, after I fed him (yes, I do take over some responsibilities when I visit my parents).... and I am in awe. I still can't believe how I can fit a living, breathing, thriving life in my two hands. I mean, it's a bit cray cray. But in this pic, you can gauge how small and just how darn cute he is. 

six // Saturday night puppy love. I'm a mom and almost 30, so I really don't go out hittin up the bars on Saturday nights, especially when I have to work the next morning; so I love to stay home and cuddle. This past Saturday night, Lil Man and I inducted Ruger into out cuddle routine at my parents house, and we were watching a movie. It. was. perfect. 

-Currently, Ruger just celebrated his two week birthday with loads of cuddles and love. He weighs 12 ounces, and his eyes just finally opened! My mom is doing an amazing job with him- and I have to give it to her. It had been almost 26 years since she had actually cared for a "new born" full time and she didn't crack taking care of a two day old puppy full time. With her patience and guidance, I have a feeling that Ruger will grow into a spunky lil fur ball. My mom truly is an amazing human being. So is my dad.-

Those are my images of happy. And now, I want to see your Images of Happy!

The rules are simple enough that everyone can join me in celebrating the images that make you happy...

The Images of Happy link up rules:
1 // Post as many photos as you want that make you happy. You can post one or post ten- it doesn't matter. As long as it makes you happy, then it's good :) (and you can also post a collage of photos like I did above)
2 // Add a small description as to why the photo/photos make you happy.
3 // Either grab the button and add it to your post, or link back so everyone can visit the other linker-uppers.
4 // Visit other participants and leave some genuine heartfelt comments. Not mandatory, but would be much appreciated.
5 // Come back every third Tuesday (Tentatively the dates for the linky with be April 21, and May 19) and share your Images of Happy.

Tweet or Insta using #imagesofhappy and I will be sure to retweet/comment! Also, don't forget to tag me... @tl_tinywishes

a hundred tiny wishes






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You might be from Indiana if...



I am a born and raised Indiana girl, Hoosier if you will, and I wouldn't change it for a minute. I love the feel of grass on my bare feet, the sun on my face, the privacy a field of corn provides, bonfires, camo, pickup trucks, watching tractors in the fields, and the like. I live about an hour and a half outside of Chicago, and about 45 minutes from Michigan, and in the place I live, I have noticed some differences between me and other people. The people not from Indiana.

You might be from Indiana if...

one || You know what FFA and 4H stands for and you know that there wouldn't be a county fair without the 4H. This is number one out here folks. It's crazy how many people say that the county fair wouldn't be there with out the food, the rides, or the entertainment acts. But you know what... the projects in the 4H building, and the animals in the adjacent buildings... yeah those are the framework on which the fair has been built and with out them, there wouldn't be a fair. 

two || Your idea of giving directions is "oh, past the second corn field on the left... yeah the one with the big rock... that's where you turn right, and it's about seven minutes down the road." It just happens. Apparently that's the easiest way to give directions, because half of the time you are takign the back roads and just don't bother to learn the road names. Plus they are all number and directions. So minutes are an acceptable measurement of distance. 

three || The biggest rivalry you have ever encountered has been IU vs. Purdue. We Hoosiers are serious with our basketball. And the biggest decision of your HS career just happens to be which one you will be going to, not what your career will be. But just fyi, Purdue is more agricultural and IU is more medicine. 

four || You giggle when you see a line of cars behind a tractor and curse that tractor when you happen to be one of those cars. Seriously one of the best things about the Midwest is seeing $100,000 combines going down the road pissing off city folk. 

five || Your idea of going "down south" is literally going 1.5 hours south and going to town is going 10 minutes up the road. My parents do this, and they aren't the only ones- I know some people live in small towns, like there is one with like 500 people in it, but we live in an unincorporated area and we love it. 

And I'm not the only one who lives in Indiana AND loves it... 
I have the wonderful Faith from Life w/ Mrs. G and the Artist here with me!

Take it away Faith- 

I love everything about Indiana .. from the crazy weather and the small town festivals to the theme parks and the movies we are known for. :) And of course the rivalries between sports teams! 

Faith's 5 "You might be from Indiana if ....."


one // you can laugh when towns of 2000 people call themselves small towns...



I have lived in Indiana for most of my life. It is and always will be home to me. I grew up in a little town WAY at the bottom of the state and I always laugh when people talk about population and all that because ... trust me ... you don't get much smaller than the town I grew up in. I grew up in a little bitty town called Grandview, Indiana and the population as of 2013 was .... are you ready for this? 743! That is less than a 1000 people ya'll!! I know what a small town is. Everyone knows everyone AND their business! It's cray-cray ...



two // when you had a field trip every school year to Holiday World & family vacation in Gatlinburg TN.... 


Holiday world was THE place to go for a field trip growing up. Or if you were my family. It was a great place for your grandma to take you and your cousins every summer too. Score when you got to go twice in one year. You remember when it was only one park and not two. You remember what it was like BEFORE the 3 roller coasters were put in. And you have multiple pictures with your classmates and cousins in front of the santa at ALL times of the year!!! My family was a huge fan of holiday world AND Gatlinburg TN for vacation. We have so many pictures and memories from Gatlinburg with friends and family. My mom's whole family {grandma, mom and her brothers and sisters and their families} went a couple times for christmas..it was so much fun!


three // the rivalry between IU & KY is for REAL and HOOSIERS...




So if there is any doubt in your mind that there is a rivalry between Kentucky and Indiana then I will have to doubt your status as a Hoosier..ha! We lived right on the border of Kentucky and our church had many people from Kentucky in it so to say we knew about the rivalry was an understatement. We LIVED the rivalry every year through March Madness...it was crazy! And of course .. if we weren't watching a IU vs KY game we were made to watch "Hoosiers" at least a hundred times!

"Coach Norman Dale: I would hope you would support who we are. Not, who we are not. These six individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, to put themselves on the line 23 nights for the next 4 months, to represent you, this high school. That kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect. This is your team."


four // cornfields and annual festivals...

I love that everywhere you go in Indiana there is cornfields! As far back as I can remember I remember corn. We lived near cornfields, we played in the cornfields, and picked corn from the cornfields. I love pictures of cornfields when they are ready for harvest..it always reminds me of home and growing up and all the good times. The hayrides and bonfires..it was so fun. And every little town has it's own little festival unique to them. I love those things. They are always in downtown on the square. Kokomo had Haynes Apperson festival, Martinsville had Fall Foliage, Carmel had Bach & Art and Film festivals and Grandview had Lazy Daze of Summer festival. Every little town I've lived in has these little festivals that celebrate different things and I love going to them because its the simple things in life that make it fun and enjoyable.


five // the weather

And we couldn't get away with talking about Indiana and NOT mention the craziness of the weather! Indiana is known for it's cray-cray weather. It can be sunny and 60 one day and 20 below and a blizzard the next! I like seasons ... don't get me wrong but mother nature can't seem to make up her mind which season it is in Indiana.


I love everything there is to love about Indiana and thankfully...I'm not alone. :) 

What state do you live in? And what do you love about it?
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Fri-yay! {a weekly recap & some blogger love}

As you are reading this, I will be working my very first day at my NEW JOB (therefore I am writing and scheduling this the night before)! I am so super excited and hope the day goes well. I am also super anxious and my anxiety has pretty much taken over, for the simple fact that I have been a stay at home mom- that only works weekends- for the past two years, and now I will be working a M-F day job. And until April 1, I will also be working seven days a week and twelve hours every Monday, due to not wanting to just leave my other job hanging (after that I will be at the new one M-F, and Saturdays at my other one.... yes, 6 days a week- until I get burned out). 

Anyways, I'm not here to chat about the new job and all the anxiety I am feeling about it... I am here to talk about my week, share some blogger love, tell ya what you missed on the blog this week, and let you in on some upcoming posts.



-----My week-----

This week had been crazy, but kinda fun! 

One || If you have been following me on Insta, then you know that my parents have "adopted" a puppy and named him Rugar... his mother wouldn't take care of him, and pushed him aside at two days old. Today is my lil friend's 2 week birthday and he is growing bigger and bigger. I will be featuring him on Tuesday for my Images of Happy link up (btw, I would love for everyone to join!) 


Two || To calm my anxieties this week, I have been doing alot of painting... meaning that I will have a tutorial about up-cycling your Birchboxes next week :) 


Three || I really think spring is coming... it hit over 50 this week, and the snow is practically gone. Unfortunately, there is alot of mud going on and my front yard is full of the dog crap that has been accumulating all winter... I guess it's about taking the good with the bad, huh?


Four || Last Saturday, I worked a late shift and I was able to take Lil Man to Home Depot to make some bookends, and then we had lunch at Culver's. Honestly, I don't think I've had so much fun, and it was definitely the breathe of fresh air that I've needed :) 


Five || I started the daunting task of Spring Cleaning this week... ugh. I really need to learn to clean. Haha. I've been going through clothes, toys, boxes, closets, you name it. I really don't feel like posting a pictures, but just know that it sucks. 

-----Time to share some blogger love-----

Every week, I try to highlight some of my favorite posts from some fellow bloggers... And there are different reasons that I usually pick the ones that I do. I mean, they could be funny, they could have been something that I pinned, they could be something that I liked... basically there are a bunch of different reasons that I pick the posts that I do. Most of the time, I want a place to save them. Anywho... 

Let's Catch Up || The Rachael Way

It's the Little Things || Love the Here and Now

He Pulls Me Higher || Ember Grey

10 Ways to Double Your Page Views || Classy Yet Trendy


-----In case you missed it on the blog-----

I am finally getting over what I had known was a sinus infection, but the doctor had diagnosed it as being the flu, so I have been a bit absent this week. However, one of my goals for this month is to post at least three times a week, and with me starting the job, it means that they are going to be scheduled. 


-----Coming up-----

I know I've hinted to some upcoming posts above, but I wanted to tell you all about the Images of Happy link up coming on Tuesday, March 17.... basically it's a simple linkup: post one or ten pictures that make you happy, tell everyone about them, and link up with me. That's it. I would love for everyone to join and spread the happy around. Also, I have a fun DIY, another beauty review (this time on essential oils), and I will be collaborating with a fellow blogger as we talk about out home state. It's looking like it's going to be a good week, and I am super excited. 


How has your week been? 
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Pura d'or Hair & Body Care Review


Disclaimer: compensation for this review was in the form of the argan oil, shampoo, and conditioner via Brandbacker & Pura d'or, but opinions are all mine.


Honestly, my hair tends to suck... it's thin, damaged from 15+ years of hot tool use, flat, and tends to get oily fast. But it doesn't look like that. In the past few years, I have learned what works and doesn't work with my hair. I have also learned that sometimes I have to splurge in order to get the results that I want. And sometimes, it's a type of Russian Roulette.

A few weeks ago, Brandbacker and Pura d'or gave me a chance to try out a few Pura d'or's products and I was super excited. Lately, I have been looking to natural and organic, but essentially cruelty, paraben, and harsh chemical free beauty products. And Pura d'or's products are all of what I am looking for. "At least 95% of their products are made with organic ingredients certified by the USDA, CCOF, Soil Association Organic and the Canada Organic Regime", their "paper inserts, brochures, cartons, bags, and shipping boxes are made of 100% post-consumer recycled materials using sustainable manufacturing processes", and their ingredients are "sustainably grown and raised with respect for the animals that eat them and the people who produce them."


 -----THE PRODUCTS-----

Premium Organic Argan Oil Based Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo
Do to all the damage in my hair, my hair tends to fall out when I was it in the shower. So when Pura d'or sent me a bottle of their shampoo and it claimed to prevent hair loss, I was super excited. I loved the fact that it contained many different chemicals to creates thicker hair and prevents from further hair loss, but did not contain artificial colors, artificial fragrances and harsh preservatives. It also contained biotin, which is great for hair and nails.  

Premium Organic Argan Oil Based Conditioner, Lavender Vanilla
Honestly, this conditioner smells ah-mazing! It's fussed with argan oil to add shine, body and moisturizers, and is fortified with multi-vitamins. Plus its ingredients promote control, manageability and superior smoothness.

Pure and Organic Argan Oil
Argan oil is the stuff that every one talks about... because it has so many benefits; it helps create smoother skin, restores nutrients to cells, reduces scars, helps repair hair damage, and more. Their formula is imported from South Western Morocco, cold Pressed, and unrefined with no chemicals added.


-----HOW TO USE-----

When I first used the products, I used them together. I wet my hair, and lathered up with the shampoo. The directions say to let it sit for two minutes, to allow the formula to infuse to your strands. After rinsing out, I added the conditioner. Left it on for another two minutes, and rinsed it out. Once I got out of the shower, I towel dried my hair. I used a drop of the Argan oil on my semi-dried hair, and started to blow dry.

Unfortunately, I realized that my hair was super heavy, and worst of all- greasy. So I had to re-wash my hair. I used the shampoo again, and a bottle of conditioner I already had in my shower. After I dried my hair again- I skipped the Argan oil- my hair felt light and nowhere close to greasy. A few days later, I washed my hair again, and only used the shampoo.

During the past few weeks, I have used the shampoo more than the conditioner. Even though the conditioner is labeled for all hair types, I feel as if it is too heavy for my thin hair.

The Argan oil was also used on my face, but it just felt too greasy. And I started to break out after using it- but I'm not positive if the breakout can be contributed to the Argan oil or hormonal changes.

-----THOUGHTS-----

I did notice that as I used the shampoo, there was less and less hair loss, which made me happy. And even though the conditioner smelt ah-mazing, I felt as if it was too heavy for my hair; which I felt the same way about the Argan oil.

Out of all three products, I would recommend the shampoo to anyone looking for something to help with their hair loss or thinning.

If you would like to buy or learn more about the products, you can do so by clicking on the links:
If you choose to buy from their website, they feature amazing customer service and free shipping to anywhere in the continental U.S.
  
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Motherhood 101 | on yelling and being the distracted parent


I was reading a Facebook shared blog post Saturday night- you know those posts that were written like two years ago, but gained so much publicity, aka went Facebook famous, that they are still shared. As I was reading the post, something hit me like a ton of bricks… Everything the author talked about, I have been doing myself… the blog post was about being a yeller. The author described how she had two small children- about 3 and 6, I believe- and every time they made a mess, didn't listen, or had normal child hood mishaps, she would yell at them. It finally dawned on her that the reason that she would “fall apart” and yell was because of the stress of everyday life and normal distractions that were out of her control. The stress that we as parents have come to accept as normal. The stress of trying to be the perfect mother. And the distractions of “excessive phone use, commitment overload, multiple page to-do lists, and the pursuit of perfection”. The author said that her defining moment was when her daughter had climbed into the cupboard, knocked over a bag of rice, and started crying with fear in her eyes. The author said that she was mortified that her own daughter was scared of her. In that moment, she decided that she needed to change. 

Change for the better. 

At the end of the bog post- a page and a half- I realized that I am slowly becoming the parent that the author described and the type of parent that I dread. The parent that always yells. The parent that bitches about the issues, but never comes up with a solution. The parent with a short fuse. The non-understanding parent. The distracted parent.

I realized that I have been the type of parent that blames child raising issues on my child- we used to go on play dates and I would talk about how I loved being a mother, but I hated all the animosity within the family unit. Animosity that until now, I had no idea that I was actually the cause of. 

In the ten-ish minutes of reading the blog post, I decided that I too, need to change. I need to lighten my load… I mean in the past week, I have been consumed with selling clothes and makeup on Facebook or in my Etsy shop, replying to emails, trying to keep up with the blog and sponsorships, laundry, cleaning, trying to get a job, and so much more. I have been consumed with non-important things. I have been shoving my child in front of the TV and telling him to play with toys, and not spending an ounce of time with him. And in the little time that was spent with him, I would be correcting everything that he did. Even though it would be the right way to do something in his eyes.

I realized that all my distractions were adding up and stress was mounting, so instead of blowing up in public, I too, like the author, fell apart behind closed doors and took out my frustrations on my tiny, loving, but occasionally annoying child. Granted I don't resort to violence, but yelling is still a horrible thing. It teaches children to cower and fear the person that is supposed to love, cherish, nurture, and guide them through the most crucial years of their precious life. The person that is supposed to love no matter what.


My defining moment was not when I was reading the blog post (the blog post put things into perspective for me). In fact, it was about an hour and a half before, when I was sitting on the couch with my son. We were sitting next to each other, and of course, I wasn't there.

Not mentally. 

I was distracted with my phone, and doing my nails. Stupid, I know. My son got up, stood in front of me, and motioned to sit on my lap. I told him no. I literally told him that I had to do my nails, and I was looking for pants on my phone. He sat back down next to me, and fell asleep in less than five minutes. 

There was no pouting, there was no crying, or even getting mad. There was just silent normalcy. To him it was normal for Mommy to deny affection in some situations, to be distracted by her phone, and essentially, in his eyes, for Mommy to tell him that he wasn’t important. 

And no child should feel that way. Especially at four years old. Especially at such a critical time in their lives. 

That was really hard to write. Even now, my eyes are welling up with tears and I feel horrible. It’s often hard for me to admit when I am wrong. 

Once I realized he was asleep, I picked him up, cradled him in my arms and kissed his forehead. I told him how much I loved him and that I was sorry. In that moment, I knew I needed to change.

So here I am. 

Today, I am making a public vow to change my yelling and being distracted ways. I am going to stop yelling, and attempt to take a calmer approach to parenting. I am going to say no to the distractions. I am going to put the phone down. I am going to remind my child how important he is to me every day, and show it. I am going to breathe. I am going to ask for help. 

Now, most of this is easier said than done, but it needs to be accomplished. And I know it’s not going to be overnight. But I have hope. Hope that I will and can change. For the better. 

*Linking up with Anne

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10 sure fire ways to make yourself feel better while being sick

For the past almost week, I have been dealing with, what I actually thought was a sinus infection, but actually turned out to be the dreaded flu. I have literally felt like DEATH. And it has sucked. I really hate being sick... granted I kinda don't know anyone who actually likes it, but for me, it's the worst!

But me, being me, I have decided to take a bad thing and attempt to make it good. Aka... write a how-to blog post about how to get over being sick. So...


one | Stay hydrated. Being sick sucks, but that doesn't mean that you have to refuse all substance. Drinking non-carbonated beverages like water, tea, and Gatorade are good for you and if you have some type of sinus thing going on, staying hydrated can actually help thin the mucus that is preventing you from breathing. 

two | Take a shower. Sure, it may feel like the Grim Reaper has you in his sights, but c'mon, do you really think he deserves to be met by a stink? Not really his thing (I'm guessing). Anyways, taking a shower can help you feel better, like it did for me, but at the very least, your loved ones will thank you for it. 

three | Add in some medication. For the flu, there really isn't a magic pill to make it go away, but there are some over the counter medications you can take to at least manage your issues... Ibuprofen helps with the aches and pains, Afrin can help with that nasty sinus congestion (but it's only recommended for 3 days at a time), saline spray also helps with the sinus, and cough drops can soothe a sore throat. *Also petroleum jelly can help with the upper lip area and menthol chest rub can help with a cough. 

four | Lip balm is essential. Let me tell ya, sinus congestion + having to breathe through your mouth can make for some pretty dry lips. Find a non-minty lip balm (mint tends to dry out lips), and make it your BFF.

five | Use a cool mist humidifier. A humidifier helps put moisture in the air and will help you breathe better. Plus the nice humming sound can soothe you to sleep.

six | Menthol tissues are the bomb. Yes it sounds a bit funny, but I swear that the menthol tissues I used for three days helped open up my sinus cavities. If you are not partial to the menthol ones, please for the sake of you nose, just invest in some tissues with lotion. You will thank me later.

seven | Take some time off work. Sure it may sound impossible, but if you are sick as a dog, try to take a sick day. Yes, I am talking to those Type A people. It's ok to take ONE day. Sure you may need more, but at least take one. And if you are a parent, try and see if someone can take your little one for the day/night. You don't want to get them sick. At the very least, use some hand sanitizer when you are around the little germ factory. :)

eight | Rest is essential. Rest is good for the body, because as the saying goes, the body heals itself with sleep.

nine | Surround yourself with a favorite blanket. Sure, it may sound childish, but when you are sick, it's ok to tap into your inner child and snuggle up in your pjs and a warm blanket. It will help you feel better in the long run, and if it doesn't, at least it will help you sweat out that fever you have brewing.

ten | If all else fails, dust some translucent powder on your face. Just because you feel like death, doesn't mean that you have to look like it too. If you are going out, aka going to work or running to the store for some soup, skip the full face get up, and just use translucent powder and mascara; the powder will add color to your pale face and cover up the redness from blowing your nose too much. At the very least, when you look in the mirror, you won't feel sorry for yourself.


Being sick is no fun, but those ten ways could just make you start to feel better in half the time. 

Have you ever had the flu? 
How did you make yourself feel better?
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february beauty favorites




I've realized that I haven't done a monthly beauty favorites post in a hot minute, so for February I am sharing my absolute favorite products- aka the products that I have used almost every day in the month. Spoiler alert: they all come from Birchbox.

I really think all Amika products just smell amazing! You can use this product as a daily conditioner or a weekly treatment- I've done both with the same results- it makes my hair soft & smelly good. It also helps keep my blow out, meaning that my my hair isn't a greasy mess within a day. 

I am a huge fan of Laura Geller products- I have two cream eye shadows and love them. When I received a sample of the mascara in my February Birchbox, I had been on the hunt for a new mascara. Well, this one definitely fit the bill. It goes on super smooth, doesn't clump, makes me feel like I am wearing falsies, and stays all day. 

Seriously love this stuff! It helps with my under-eye bags and moisturizes extremely well with its 99% all natural ingrediants. I will be super mad when I run out of the sample size I have been using since January. ps. it's a Birchbox exclusive. 

If it seems as if I am saying that this is only my favorite of February, then please let me correct myself- and say that this is quickly becoming my favorite dry shampoo of all time. I tried it back in November (I think) and since then, I have thrown out all of my other dry shampoos for this amazing smelling, cleaning, and non-residue leaving formula. It runs a bit expensive, but let me tell you that it is well worth it! 

I love the subtle color that this CC cream gives. The formula looks dark, but easily blends with your skin color and stays all day. IT would be awesome in the summer with the 35+ SPF. The only con is the price... 

Have you ever tried any of my favorites? 
What's your favorite dry shampoo or bb/cc cream?

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a few things...

Did you ever wake up in the morning and immediately think to yourself, "Well, today I think I'm going to have a case of the Mondays"? And have you ever done it, actually on Monday?
Well, that's where I am coming from today. So please forgive me. 

I thought about actually scheduling this post, but then I didn't. Um... yeah. So today I am coming at ya live from my living room, while my son visits my Grandmother, and I am suffering from a nice lil thing called a sinus infection. Yeah, again... 

And you know what? I really hate sinus infections... I mean, I get one whenever the weather decides to change, aka go through its own little hissy fit or when the seasons change or when someone sneezes on me or when allergy season hits... yeah, you get the point. I usually have a nice little sinus infection about... wait a minute, I don't remember the last time I really didn't have anything wrong with my sinuses. But then again, why am I actually talking about this? I'm going to blame it on my watery eyes, and the faucet that has become my nose. Holy crap- maybe this is actually an allergy attack. In the dead of winter. 

Anyways, this post has a point. I swear. 

The reason I brought you here today is to tell you about some things....

-Last week I received my package from my Pretty Little Beauty Swap partner, Brandi from Lipstick and Tractors


I had been wanting to try out the Bare Minerals mascara- Lash Domination- and Ms. Brandi included it in her package! I was so happy to see it! 

-Remember when I told you that I had applied for a job and was waiting to hear back? Well, I received a voice mail on Friday and the director said that she would love for me to join their personnel.... which means I GOT THE JOB! Holy crap! I am so super excited! 
I don't know when I start just yet, the lady is waiting on a call from some people and then she can give me a date! 

- I feel the need to apologize for all of the beauty reviews lately... I know I have throw alot at you guys and I just want to say I'm sorry. One of the perks of blogging, is the free stuff that you get, but most of the time, you have to do an accompanying review on the product... yeah. So I have decided that Thursdays will now be my only sponsored beauty review post days. Sure I will still review the stuff that I have bought for myself and what not on the the other days, but the sponsored ones will only be on Thursdays. Or at the very least, only once a week. 

- I am thinking about making this picture my new profile picture, or at the very least, making a blog button out of it... what do you think? 


Hahaha! :)

Well, that is the end for me y'all. I am going to go blow my nose.

*Linking up with the PLBS gals

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