2015 // a recap

I always love doing recaps of my year... it always brings back memories, and then gives me a big smack in the face, because I know I haven't printed out pictures for albums since Lil Man was two... Anyways, 2015 was the one year that made so much of an impact on my family and me. There were ups and downs, a family vacay, bits of happiness, and in true nature, there were a few life changing events that shook us to our cores. 

Lil Man had his first dentist appt and we made several trips back and forth to Chicago. The hubby had had back surgery in Nov and he was getting those follow up appointments so he could go back to work.

Blog wise, I talked about facial serums, gave some tips on how to stay beautiful in cold weather, attempted to start my Images of Happy link up, and got personal with my biggest regrets.

February was a nice lil month. Both the hubby and my dad celebrated birthdays, the hubby went back to work with his brand new wedding band, and the snow was relentless. We were also introduced to Lil Rugar, and I had an interview.

Blog wise, I filmed and posted my very first vlog, and penned a letter to all my future interviewers.

The interview in February landed me a job that made me happy and that I loved, thus resulting in a twenty day straight of working, due to not wanting to screw over my part time weekend job, Lil Man saw his first theater movie, and we lost Lil Rugar.

Blog wise, I talked about what I learned my first week at a 9-5, collaborated with a fellow Indiana gal on why we are awesome, and opened myself up in admitting that sometimes I am a distracted parent.

Beautiful Spring flowers started to make their appearance, Easter was fun, we saw a real live monster truck, and I received my first sunburn of the year after doing yard work.

Blog wise, I penned an open letter to Bruce Jenner, because spoiler alert, my father is transgender; showed you what to do with that stash of brown Birchboxes, and talked about my love for charcoal beauty products.

In May we celebrated Mother's day, my brother and I had dinner with my father's side of the family, we spent Memorial Day at the zoo, and the hubby and I went wine tasting. 

Blog wise, my job started taking over, but I talked about the things you would know if you really knew me, and the ten things that annoy me about being a licensed driver

June was all about my mom's birthday, father's day, and a fun car show that my brother-in-law had entered his car into. I also met Strawberry Shortcake, but unfortunately, my mother had knee surgery, & my grandmother found a lump in her breast. Also, we found out that my beloved Duce Moose had either cancer or liver failure. 

Blog wise, I talked about what happens when being a blogger isn't fun anymore and the main things that June taught me

In July, we celebrated the 4th, went to the county fair and an indoor trampoline park. My grandmother also had her lump removed (She had radiation in Aug/Sept, & I'm proud to say that she is doing well).

August was a bit better for me compared to June and July... My bestie came to visit, Lil Man's seat was upgraded to a booster, we borrowed my brother in law's 4-wheeler & we visited Lincoln Park zoo. Sadly, near the end of the month, Duce lost his battle to whatever was killing him, which was one of the worst days of my life, but my family took me to the beach the day after in attempt to cheer me up.

Blog wise, I shared my can't live without summer beauty products and penned one of the hardest blog posts I had in almost two years. 

September was my favorite month of the year. My hubby and I celebrated six years of marriage, we took a family vacation to Tennessee and Ohio, where we were able to paint with penguins and see two live Moose, I got a tattoo to remember Duce, Lil Man turned five, and we took a trip to the apple orchard. 

Blog wise, I celebrated two years of blogging (yay! Go me!) with a recap of the things I had learned, confessed why being married rocks and why in parenting you have to take the good with the bad, and gave some tips for a good marriage

In October, Fall was in full swing which brought on leaf pile jumping, bonfires, apple orchard visits, pumpkin painting, & Halloween. We also visited the Lincoln Train and I reached Insta Fame.

Blog wise, I filmed a vlog detailing one of my biggest insecurities, and then came back for round two and rehashed another one, and talked about five ways to deal with loosing a pet. Oh and I posted about my favorite mascaras

In November, I went to Washington, DC to see my bestie, started a new hair color endeavor, and ate some rather yummy turkey.

Blog wise, I talked about thirteen things I was sure of and, of course, what I was thankful for.

The highlight of December was turning thirty. We also took some pretty great family pictures at a Christmas Tree farm, I made a bunch of DIY presents, we celebrated Christmas, I gave out a total of 125 Christmas Cards, and the hubby and I went to see Star Wars. I also received another surprise, but I can't talk about it. 

2015 was a pretty great year. But I have hopes that 2016 is going to be WAY better.

Always say yes to the wine.

A wish for you

Hey there friends! I just wanted to stop in and say...

I hope your holiday is enjoyable, that you got everything that you wanted, and that you are surrounded by love! 

Always say yes to the wine.

last minute gifts anyone will love

So I have a confession... I tend to procrastinate during to holidays and half the time I'm shopping on Christmas Eve... of course this year, the reason that I'm still shopping is because I anticipated that the hubby's check would go in on the 23rd, and it didn't.  Oh well.

Anyways, since I tend to procrastinate, I've narrowed down some pretty awesome last minute gifts. And bonus: most are diy.

last minute christmas gifts anyone would love

For your man // the "man bouquet"
Super easy and he will definitely love it... take a beer mug, add some tissue paper covered styrofoam, glue or tape his favorite things to sticks, and stick it in the styrofoam. 

For the kids // diy Snowglobes
Kids are always about something cute and personalized. Snowglobes are fun, entertaining, and keepsakes.

For your girls // diy Bath bombs
These take about 12-24 hrs to dry, but are so worth it. You can add an essential oil of your choice, and the only ingredients that you need are baking soda, cream of tartar, epsom salts, and an oil of choice (canola, almond, coconut).

For your Grandparents // Rice heat bags
Sometimes heating pads aren't very portable, so a microwavable rice heat bag would be great for travel or even to take to work.

For your mom/ sister/ sister-in-law // Spa day basket
Super easy and thoughtful. Just buy a basket and fill with lotion,  nail polish, manicure/pedicure set, candle, towel, body wash... whatever you think smells pretty. Pack everything in your basket,  get some plastic wrap, and gift.

Grab a cute mug, and throw some single use hot chocolate packets in it. Simple, and thoughtful.

For anyone // Cookies
Everyone loves cookies. They are yummy, easy, and fit anyone. Here's some of my favorite recipes.

Always say yes to the wine.

hey there friday... you sexy day of the week

So I haven't been exactly feeling the whole holiday spirit lately, but this week wasn't a total loss… besides being extremely sick with a sinus infection combined with the stomach flu (which explains my absence since Tuesday), I was chosen as this week’s featured blogger by the H54F gals! Have you ever heard of The Lauren Elizabeth blog? Well, she is Kate "the Pinterest hair gal’s" sister, and she use to hold a link up. When she “retired” from the linky, four amazing women took it over. And they chose me as this week’s featured blogger. So go tell them hi, ok?

Ok, so back to this week…

Um… well, we already talked about the bad, so all that’s left is the good, huh?

One. You know my Christmas Card project that I mentioned at the beginning of the month? Well I surpassed my goal! I currently have 114 cards that I will be sharing with lovely people! 114! And if you want one, there's still time- so go fill out the form here :) 

Two. I finally got my hands on an actual curling iron… allow me to explain-
After I received my Kiss Instawave, I apparently threw out all my actual clip curling irons for some reason (maybe I didn't throw them out, but I still can’t find them). And when I went to try Kate’s tutorial I posted last week, my curls wouldn't hold with my automatic curler. So this week I bought a Conair 1" curling iron for like $15. I'm not totally impressed with it- I think I need a bigger one... like 1.25". But it does the job.

Three. My family Christmas cards finally arrived from Tiny Prints and they look amazing!

Four. I am about 75% done with my Christmas shopping. My goal is to not be shopping past Monday next week. I still have to buy for my inlaws, hubby, and one of my brothers... and I still have to bake some yummy cookies!

Five. My Popsugar Must Have box arrived unexpectedly yesterday... which is weird, because I didn't get any tracking. The box is pretty good- I will share it next week- but I am proud to say that I finally cancelled my sub. I haven't been impressed lately, and spending upwards of $35 on a sub is not cool if you aren't happy.

So I guess this week wasn't all bad... 

Always say yes to the wine.

favorite christmas cookies & candies

I love to bake. I hate to cook, but oh man, do I love baking. Especially around Christmas. And I love cookies. The best thing about baking Christmas cookies is that I get to share the experience with my son. Last year, he ran the mixer and he was such a pro at it. Last year, I also realized that my oven ran 50 degrees hot, and none of my cookies turned out... so I ventured into the world of no bakes and truffles. 

After some hits and misses, I finally complied a list of my FAVORITE Christmas cookies and candies. And I am sharing some of  them with you today.

christmas cookie recipes

Easy, good, chocolate, caramel, seat salt. Easy yummyness.

I used to think that truffles were out of my league, but these turned my idea around. You mix, roll into a ball, set into freezer to hard, and once hard, dip in melted chocolate and wait for it to harden. 

These were a big hit last year- my hubby kept getting into my cookies, because they were his favorite.

So good. And so bad for you :) 

I don't think I have ever made something so easy! And they are super good.

Easiest thing ever! You mix, and lay out by the spoonful on wax paper to harden. There are also variations: peanut butter, chocolate, adding marshmallows, etc.

Not picture: Peanut Butter Fudge
I usually use my Grandmother's recipe, but this one is the same... spoiler alert: it's made with marshmallow fluff and sooo addicting. 

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie or candy?

Always say yes to the wine.

Hey hey! It's Friday!

This week has been super dooper fun! Can you tell the sarcasm in my voice? Now, I really can't say that this week has been horrible I mean, we finally put up the tree, it looks like Elsa upchucked snowflakes all over the walls (stick-able & removable of course), and the mood is full-on Christmas over here, but there are some things going on that I can't talk about and it really kinda sucks. 

...like there are some medical issues going on with ME and I want to talk about them, but I don't want to jump the gun, because I have to get some blood tests done tomorrow to confirm some suspicions. And I'm not ready to get sympathy when sympathy is not due. You know? I mean, it's not like I would actually want sympathy... maybe a "sending hugs" kinda thing. Wow... I sound horrible. Scratch all that and please move on... 

...and then there's my birthday surprise that I hinted to yesterday, but I'm not allowed to talk about it... because there are "ears" and there are some people who aren't allowed to know about it. At least for now.


So on to some good news I can actually talk about... 

one \\ I was so stoked to receive a birthday gift in the mail this week.  One of my readers, who has become a friend, sent me a Moose book! I was super surprised and she will be receiving a Thank You card very soon! (Ash, it's in the mail!)

two \\ I. am. obsessed. with the new Adele cd! OMG! That woman is so amazing and her voice speaks to me! 

three \\ The hubby and I have been tag teaming the whole Elf on a Shelf thing and hells yeah, we are starting to rock this shiz! Be sure to follow me on Insta for our antics :) 

four \\ I am getting lots of reposes for my Christmas Card venture- I want to send 100 this year, but if you haven't filled out the form yet and you want one- here's the form--> fill me out! 

five \\ I'm thinking of doing a giveaway here very shortly... can anyone say Sephora :) 

six \\ I finally found a great collage making site... and it's free. Have you tried Fotor?

seven \\ I love reading blog posts- I am a blogger- and love to support my fellow friends... this week I loved these posts: 

DIY: Dyeing Bottle Brush Trees | Love the Here and Now
I love a fun and pretty DIY! 

The Worst Songs of 2015 | Helene in Between
I laughed through this WHOLE post!

Just read it!

The whole freakin blog... usually I can pick a favorite of the week, but this week she is on point and making me laugh my ass off. Btw... are you following her on Snapchat? Just do it! You won't regret!

How to refresh and revive hair for day two & undone waves step by step | The Small Things Blog
Kate is a hair goddess! Her tutorials are amazing, and I am so grateful for these two!

How was your week? Do anything fun? 

ps. does anyone wanna swap a button? I need some pretties on my sidebar :) 

Always say yes to the wine.

On being ok with being thirty

So it happened last week... I turned 30... And I'm totally ok with it.

Why? Because it was a really good birthday! 

I decided to work a half day instead of taking off. So after I got off work, I stopped at Starbucks for some FREE yummy goodness, and then came home to a surprise that I can't really talk about right now. Just know that I'm pretty psyched and can't wait to share the news with everyone.  Then we went to take Christmas card pictures at a Christmas tree farm a few towns away. If I could handle a real tree, I would so have one! And the pictures turned out really good... well the ones where my Lil Man wasn't being a total goof! 
After pics, it was dinner at the OG. That's Olive Garden, if you don't know :) My parents and one of my brothers joined us, so it was a real treat. And of course, my mom told the waiter it was my birthday, which wasn't so bad when I got a free desert... and my family sang to me.

After dinner, my parents took Lil Man, and the hubby and I stopped by the liquor store for some champagne. Then we went back to my parent's house to eat the cake my hubby and Lil Man got me. Then we went home, Lil Man went to bed, and I did too shortly after. 
Of course, I didn't go out or have a huge party, because simply put, that's not what was important to me. Getting the new Adele cd (which I am smitten with) and spending time with family is what was. Of course, not in that order.

Getting older makes you think more about the responsibilities and priorities that you have and the fact that you are an adult and maybe getting shit faced and nursing a hangover with a five year old really isn't a good idea. And maybe lying about my age is going to be a thing of the past, because I have to admit it, I think I look damn good for thirty!

Always say yes to the wine.

seven things I really want for my birthday

Today is the day... the day I turn 30... my birthday. And I am kinda happy about it.

The one thing that I always look forward to on my birthday is gifts. I love makeup, clothes, hair stuff, nail polish, and all that girly stuff! But those are all materialistic items... and there are seven things that I absolutely would love to get on my birthday. And bonus- the majority are free!

one | To be happy. Blissfully happy. 
No bills, no stress, no being an adult. Just happiness. For 24 hours. 

two | To spend uninterrupted time with my family. 
No tv, no phones, no outside interference, no distractions. Nothing. Just being with each other.

three | To be able to go to the bathroom alone. All day.
I'm a mom, therefore 85% of the time, I have a tiny shadow following me. 

four | To eat whatever I want and not think about the consequences.
Cake for breakfast, why not. Wine before noon, hell yeah.

five | An everlasting supply of peonies. 
I love the smell, but hate the bugs and the fact that fresh flowers tend to die. So I want an everlasting supply of fresh peonies, in a vase, and changed before they die out. 

six | Big, Beautiful Blowouts every day.
I want to wake up to a great blowout. I want my hair to shine and be bouncy. But I don't want to have to do it myself.

seven | For it to be snowing AND warm out.
Every year since I was a little girl, I have always asked for snow on my birthday... a few years here and there it actually happend. Living in the Midwest where the weather is a little on the finikie side, it actually happened a few times, but it was always cold... I want to be able to go outside in a sweatshirt and jeans and play in the snow. I want it to be warm out... I want a S'winter like Phineas and Ferb... 

Well, Happy Birthday to me :)
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20 things I learned in my 20s

Confessional spoiler alert... today is the last day of my twenties...

For the past few months, I have been dreading the big three-oh. I saw it as something bad and the fact that I am that much closer to forty... to a mid life crisis. I have been trying to savor the last few months of my twenties, because, well, the majority of the 30 years that I have been on this earth has been spent doing what society has always taught us to do: go to school, marry, & have children. And yes, I am happy, but it seems like I am having a hard time trying to get into the whole "I'm thirty" mentality.

One reason I could be dreading the whole number change, is the fact that I still haven't mastered the whole self-confidence and self-awareness concepts. In some ways, I still can have that whole HS mentality, even through my twenties. BUT that's ok. Because your twenties are supposed to be the party years. The college years. The I'm making mistake after mistake, and I'm fucking up, but that's ok, cause I'm learning from those mistakes.

It seems like people in their thirties finally have their shit together, and I'm ready for that phase. To finally have my ducks in a row and to be blissfully happy, overwhelmed, and stressed at the same time.

But before my thirties actually begin... let's talk about the few things I have learned in my twenties...

twenty things I learned in my twenties

one. Stop trying to please everyone. 
Just stop... because in truth, you can't. The only one you can please is yourself.

two. Don't always try to be the leader. 

three. Life isn't always about money. 
Sure money pays the bills, the huge student loan payments,  and can get some pretty amazing things, but it's not just about money.

four. You don't need to be popular or have a lot of friends to be happy. 
All you need is five people that you can call, talk to, or be with.

five. Sometimes you just outgrow people.

five. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. 
Some opinions you may not like, and feel strongly against, but you have to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. No matter how wrong they may sound. 

six. Pick your battles. 
Especially with children. And on Facebook. 

seven. Life blows sometimes...
Just roll with it. 

eight. Weekly mani/pedi are just not worth the money.

nine. But weekly massages are.

ten. Always take your makeup off before bed. 

eleven. Moisturize moisturize moisturize.

twelve. Self acceptance is a hard thing to achieve. 
But it's something that everyone needs to strive for. 

thirteen. Mistakes are a part of life and happen often. 
You learn from then. and It's ok. Unless someone dies. Then you fucked up somewhere. 

fourteen. Don't be trashy.
If you are going to go to the bar for a girl's night, don't get shit-faced. Know your limits. And know what you are drinking. Don't have a one-night stand and wake up the next day wondering what the hell you did. Protect yourself. 

fifteen. Creativity is key. 
So is individuality and being authentic.
Unless you are in the military.

sixteen. The 3 topics never to bring up in casual conversation are religion, politics, and abortion. 
Just don't do it. And if you do- remember number five...

seventeen.. Buy the shoes. 

eighteen. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable. 
If you love someone, tell them. If you screwed up, and hurt someone's feelings, then tell them you are sorry. 

nineteen. Stop making excuses. 
Don't place the blame somewhere else.

twenty. Once you confront a fear, then it no longer holds power over you.
Try new things. Ask that guy/girl for their phone number. Take a trip to an exotic place. 
Just don't touch a spider. That's a fear that doesn't need to be confronted.

I have a feeling that thirty may not be as bad as I thought... maybe it will be awesome. I mean, wasn't it Jennifer Garner who said "Thirty and Flirty and Thriving"? 

awesome things about December

December is the last month of the calendar year, and happens to be one of my favorite months... it's the last 31 days to complete a goal, to make some pretty awesome memories, to get things in order, and so much more.

My Birthday. I will be 30 this year... yikes! My birthday is usually a week after Thanksgiving, and about three weeks until Christmas. So, it's celebrated a couple of times, and it's far enough away from Christmas that my family doesn't pull that "combined birthday and Christmas" present crap.

Holiday Cheer. People seem to be a lot nicer and giving during the holidays. I love that! I love the giving and "paying it forward" and the helpfulness. Granted this type of this is like a rollercoaster, with the giving and cheer happening around Thanksgiving, then there is the rampage and fighting like you are Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (it's an 80s movie reference, FYI) because you have to get that "best deal of the year", but then something magical happens... you know what it is.... and it restores your faith in humanity. Truly a wonderful time of the year :)

Moose. I have a slight obsession with moose, and during the winter months, everyone seems to want Moose everything! AND I love it!

Family. Even if you don't see your family throughout the year, you will (almost) always see them on one of the major holidays. Like me... my life is rather hetic and busy, so I don't get to see my Grandpa except at Lil Man's birthday party and on Christmas. It's really nice to at least be able to see them once a year for a couple of hours.

Decorating. I have never been a real tree kinda person, plus I have allergies, so I could never actually have one either. I love getting all of the Christmas stuff out of storage, putting it up, and decorating the tree. I also love the fact that my super awesome penguin pillow, that sits on my couch year 'round, actually looks like it belongs for a couple of months.

Magic. Not to be confused with holiday cheer. I have always loved the magic of Christmas. I loved going to see Santa, buying a toy for some child off the Angel Tree at the mall, going to see all the lights, etc. Unfortunately, when I learned the secret of Santa, and grew up, I could no longer bring my teenage self (well I was younger than that when I learned the 'secret') to willfully sit on some old creepy dude's lap at the mall, and the magic faded away.

Queue birth of Lil Man. 

Since Lil Man has come into this world, I have a renewed sense of the phrase 'Christmas Magic'. It's amazing to see the terror excitement on his face when he goes to sit on Santa's lap, and when he sees all the decorations and lights, etc. And when The Elf comes out to play... oh man he loves it! 


Holiday drinking. Since Lil Man's arrival, I am no longer a drinker. The holidays give me a nice excuse to have a glass of spiked eggnog or a wonderfully tasting wine (well, I can drink that at anytime) and it's nice.

Cold weather. I was born on one of the coldest days of the year, so I have no excuse but to like cold weather. Personally, I love it. No, not the frigid cold, that makes the tips of your fingers want to fall off, I love the just right, cold weather that makes you want to bundle up, and go play in the snow.
And... I hate dressing in the summer, because I hate my body (a post for another time), so winter gives me an excuse to wear jeans or yoga pants, and big comfy sweaters.

Tradition. Holiday traditions are about the only traditions that we have in my family. Since starting a family, me and the hubsters have tried to incorporate traditions from each side, therefore we decorate the tree with Lil Man, go to my Memaw's on Christmas Eve, go take pictures with Santa, etc.

Gifts & Cards. Who doesn't like getting gifts? I love the buying or DIYing, wrapping, and giving gifts. It's a nice feeling to see the genuine happiness on someone's face, when they open your present. Or Instagram your super awesome Christmas card!

And speaking of Christmas Cards... I want to send you one. Sending a card is like my favorite thing about the holidays. So, if you want one, fill out this Google Doc, and you shall receive! This is open worldwide! :)

*Linking up with Anne.
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