Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend in Massachusetts

We spent the holiday in Massachusetts with my cousins, aunts, uncles and some of my cousins' babies (what's the proper term for how I'm related to my cousins' kids? How about my kids relationship to their kids? I don't know, but they can just call me Auntie and that works just fine for my easily befuddled mind!) It was so nice to see everyone, and observe how much all our kids look alike, and to watch them enjoy playing together.

The cousins we stayed with live just a hop, skip + a jump from Concord and Lexington. We attempted to take a walk on the Minuteman Wilderness trail, at the Paul Revere Capture site, but it was cold and windy, which made for a slow, whiny Olive so - we didn't get much of a walk. But it was a pretty autumn day, and driving through cute downtown Concord was fun.

I love my New England family and am so glad we got to spend some time with them!

P.S. I just had a freak out moment because I had this post almost completed and accidentally hit a button on the laptop and my whole post DISAPPEARED. Worst. Thing. EVER! As I was making my distressed, frustrated noises my clever husband came over and hit CTRL Z and the whole thing came back! Apparently CTRL Z is an "undo" button! I just fell in love with that man all over again. If you are not married yet, please look for a handsome computer nerd. They are so handy to have around. 

It's A Major Award!

Well, maybe it's not quite THAT major but it's still pretty sweet.

The very kind Bird On a Pencil nominated me for the Inspiring Blogger Award. I really enjoy her blog, especially her book reviews! She is always giving me ideas for new reads. Stop by her blog sometime and say howdy!

Now, as per blog award instructions, here are 7 things about me...

1. Taking horrible selfies is my forte. I have "a thing" going for that front facing camera on my phone. It enables me to get that "perfect" over-thought, totally ridiculous self portrait. Yes, at the time I apparently was feeling pretty full of myself thought this was a perfect shot. I think I had just finished a challenging workout and was feeling particularly tough? Yikes. If you were to steal my phone and go to my photos file you would find even more horrific selfies, and lots of them. And that is why my phone is password protected! I'm not the only one who does this, am I? Anyone?

2. My very first kiss was "THE kiss" on my husband's and my wedding day. And you know what? It was a sweet, romantic idea but a very horrible, awkward kiss. It'll make for an interesting story to tell the kids. And to give this story a happy ending, you should know that we eventually got much better at the kissing thing, so I don't dwell as darkly on the fact that our first kiss was a major dud in front of a hundred people, (at least not as much as I used to.)

3. I was homeschooled from pre-K through 12th grade. And yes, I was one of those stereotypical home schooled teens who wore jumpers and went to 4-H and was not very socialized. But I turned out pretty A-ok in the end. I think.

4. I have always loved the name Jude, and was going to name my first son Jude, but before I had the chance my Mom stole the name and named her little white Havanese dog Jude. Thus, the name is ruined. Forever. Yes I am still holding a slight grudge. (And the moral of the story is, never share the baby names you love most with ANYONE. They are not even safe with mothers!)

5. I always pour milk on my ice cream, and mix until it's the consistency of slush. I am pretty convinced my Dad (who taught me this skill) and I are the only two human beings on earth that eat their ice cream this way. And I have no problem with that.

6. I am a hypochondriac. Google makes this condition almost unbearable. I am, on any given day, dying of a fatal, rare disease.

7. I don't believe you can ever have too many pillows on a bed. Ours seem to multiply every year and by the time I'm 30 we may need to get a bigger bed.

I am tagging these lovelies for the award...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just A Little Dr. Seuss

I caught a very sweet moment between my kids the other day, as Olive was "reading" (er, reciting from memory) "Green Eggs and Ham" to her little brother. Silas was so into it too.

It's rare moments like this where I feel like everything is absolutely right in the world and that the future is bright and beautiful, you know what I mean? It's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Someone's Got My Back

Have you ever prayed for God to help you with things that sound kind of...ridiculous? I do it all the time. Like over the last couple of months I have been asking Him to help me lose a few pounds and to get over my addiction to impulse-shopping. Not that anything is too small or ridiculous for God to handle, but really - these are kind of embarrassing requests.

Anyway - He's been listening. To my silly prayers. And it's simultaneously hilarious and annoying.

For instance, this weekend we had not only Black Friday deals going on everywhere but also (my favorite) Cyber Monday sales. And I started attempting to peruse my favorite online stores, looking for the good deals that I use to justify my impulse-buying habit. And to my dismay, the sites I wanted to look at on Monday would not open on my browser, or kept popping up error messages. And if a site I liked worked, the items I wanted to purchase would not open up. I even got so close as to have a "shopping cart" filled with a few things I liked and when I hit the checkout button it froze and shut the whole browser down. I even tested this out by looking at some retail websites that I had no interest from buying from and they worked perfectly fine. Um, thank You Lord?

Then today, I stopped to grab my husband a coffee from our favorite coffee shop and thought, "I'm going to order some gluten free muffins for the weekend. I've been really good with food and exercise the last month, it'll be fine." And as I asked the barista about how to go about ordering these gluten free muffins, he told me "Um, our bakers quit last week and we're not doing gluten free baked goods anymore." Seriously, Lord?

Do you have chills yet? Or are you just laughing at me?

You don't have to answer that.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

For (My Own) Fun

10 Years Ago...
I was 16. And it was not sweet. I have no desire to be a teen again - worst years of my life. Moving on...

5 things on my to do list...
1. Successfully get through Level Two of Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" without having to take a breather.
2. Get started on Christmas shopping.
3. Score some sweet deals on Monday (hopefully?) Online shopping is where it's at. 
4. Eat a second Chick Fil A peppermint milkshake. 
5. Knit infinity scarf

5 snacks I enjoy...
1. Popcorn with coconut oil
2. Atkins chocolate chip cookie dough bar. Not as gross as it sounds.
3. Mini Oh Henry bars
4. Applesauce
5. Turkey pepperoni

5 favorite things...
1. Date nights
2. Benefit Benetint cheek/lip stain
3. Iced Americanos
4. My bed
5. Afterglow photo app for iPhone

5 places I have lived...
1. Lowell, MA
2. Gerradstown, WV
3. Greenville, NC
4. Winchester, VA
5. VA Beach, VA

5 things most people don't know about me...
1. I'm scared of bugs
2. I love ABBA
3. I can't sing or dance
4. My fingers are double jointed
5. I hate wearing socks. I pretty much hate socks in general.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

26 Things I'm Thankful For

1. 26 years of life on this crazy but beautiful earth.

2. God's Word and teachers who help make it come alive.

3. My ever patient, ever so handsome husband, Matt. I still can't believe how lucky I am to be with him. 6 years next month!

4. Olive, who challenges me (in good ways and bad bust mostly good) and keeps me laughing all day.

5. Silas, who lets me snuggle and kiss him all day long without showing too much annoyance. 

5. A strong body that tends to treat me pretty well as long as I take extra good care of it. Fair enough.

6. Loving family and in-laws.

7. Wonderful friends, especially my girl friends who let me talk their ears off and occasionally sneak me away so I can have some grown up time!

8. Being able to stay home with my kids (and that my husband has been blessed with a good job that he also really loves.) I never, ever want to take this blessing for granted!

9. That my husband can work from HOME! Even though we do all get on each others nerves every once in awhile, it's still a dream come true.

10. That I live in the USA and even if I sometimes feel my beliefs and values are being belittled, mocked and and bullied at least I still have the freedom to say what I believe.

11. For almost 3 years of living la vida gluten free and feeling so much better for it!

12. For coffee. Particularly iced Americanos.

13. For our family doctor who has helped our family through some scary times the last 2 years.

14. For our reliable car.

15. For my treadmill. It takes the brunt of a lot of frustration and anger, and afterwards always makes me feel better. My treadmill has become a friend and a therapist of sorts. 

16. For Netflix. 

17. And Spotify.

18. And Instagram!

19. For date nights.

20. For the really hard times. You know the ones - we all go through them. They're the ones that leave us crying on our bathroom floors. They're what God uses to bring beautiful growth and wisdom.

21. For my lactation consultant, Jane, who took upon herself the role of being my interim "mother" when I so desperately needed a mother after Silas was born. A lot of tears were shed on Jane's shoulder, and she took such good care of me. If I ever have another daughter, she might just be named for Jane.

22. For my camera, and all the fun we have together.

23. For American Apparel jersey pocket skirts. I swear, every girl should own at least one.

24. For a year of pretty good health for our family, and only a few cavities.

25. For coconut oil. I declare, it will just about solve anything. So let it be written, so let it be done.

26. For blogs that inspire me to be the very best version of myself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Let's Talk the Voice (Ridiculous and Picture Heavy!)

First, does anyone even watch this show besides my husband and I? And does this make us lame? I admit, we often admit to each other that we feel kind of lame getting so into it, and I feel rather lame dedicating a whole blog post to it, BUT it IS my blog, and I suppose I can rant on about silly TV shows if I want to. Right? 'K. (Also, I stole all these pictures from various Google image searches. I hope that's ok.) (Also, I know I'm late on this, but I watch the show on Hulu after it's aired so bear with me. And don't tell me in the comments who is in the Top 8 before I can watch the recap tonight!) (Also, I WILL use the word "amazing" way too much.)

Now, on to business. Let's talk the Top 10.

Last night's Top 10 show was really good. It's getting harder to hate on any of the contestants (ok I don't really hate on them, but I have weird/high standards for singers, and I thought several contestants this year were really lame. Yes, I use the word "lame" a lot.) Out of these 10 it is pretty impossible for me to pick a top favorite, I have several favorites, and now I am going to tell you who they are and why.

Melanie Martinez is probably my top favorite, (and by that I mean, I would be most excited for her album than the rest of the contestants'.) She is so dang cute, and seems really authentic and unpretentious. She is like a breath of fresh air when compared with all the other Christina-Aguilera-wannabes. She is also super creative with her song arrangements. (YouTube her performances of "Bulletproof" and Britney Spears' "Toxic" for proof.) Her arrangement of "7 Nation Army" last night, (which is such a great song) was genius in my opinion. I think she's too indie to win the whole thing but I hope she goes on to make albums, because I. Will. Buy. Them. (Also she's a great photographer. HERE is her tumblr.) (Also her Cruella DeVille inspired hair is kind of amazing. That is all.)

My second favorite of the Top 10 is crazy Nicholas. (He's Matt's top favorite.) He is so strange, but in a wonderful, iconic way. I love watching him perform, and while I wouldn't bet on him winning the whole competition, (though I really wish he would) I really hope he goes on to make lots of albums. Please You Tube his performance of Barry White's "You're My Everything." AMAZING.

Terry, the classic-rocker from Scotland. Bad hair, cute accent and personality, great stage presence, and AHMAAAZING voice. He's one of our top favorites. I love watching him perform, even though I'm not really into classic rock.

Amanda Brown used to sing back up for Adele, so obviously she's amazing. She was my top favorite after her performance of "Dream On" (which gave me chills it was so good. Best performance of the season!) but her last two performances have been blah. There's no denying that she has an amazing voice though. Someone sign Amanda now so I can buy her album!

I could not stand Cody in the auditions and knock out rounds, etc. But he's kind of growing on me. We about died laughing watching his performance of "Crazy in Love" last night. It takes a lot of...something...for a short, bearded guy to get up and do the Beyonce song. His performances seem to get better and better as the show progresses.

Cassadee is another artist who I could NOT stand from the beginning. But her performance last night kind of changed my mind about her. I think she has been wasting her time singing aggressive pop/rock songs - she sounds SO much better singing country.

Bryan is good, but I feel kind of "meh" about him. He still has a good chance of winning I think, mainly because he is male and that seems to get you farther on "The Voice" than pure talent. I can't stand that about these kinds of shows but I digress. I did dig Bryan's rendition of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black."

Oh Sylvia. I like her a lot, I really do, but I just don't think she has the talent that the rest of the contestants do. She's had some really crummy song choices. And she has seriously awesome hair.

Oh Trevin, my Trevin. I think he definitely SHOULD win the whole thing. His voice is just incredible, especially considering his age and lack of training. I love his humble, sweet attitude. He doesn't take anything for granted. And even though I winced through his whole performance of Usher's "Scream" (really, Trevin? Really? Blech.) he is still my favorite for the win. His biggest competition is (ridiculously)...

Dez. Oh, I have hated on Dez all season. I can't stand these N'Sync style boy singers who get to the top solely on the basis of all the votes they get from the hormone-ravaged, teen girl squad (sorry teenage girls. I was you once. I know how you think. But still, it's "The Voice" not "The Prettiest Boy Face.") Granted, Dez can sing, but I don't think his talent holds a candle to Trevin's.

Oh but I'm not done yet. ((Shakes finger in your face, diva style.)) We haven't talked judges yet.

I'll keep it brief...

Cee Lo. He simultaneously fascinates me and annoys me. I mean, he's so out there it's pretty impossible not to love, but his animal friends and very odd critiques kind of confuse me. He's entertainment personified.

Adam. Adam is cute. He was much more endearing last season when he was fighting with Christina. That's pretty much it.

Xtina. When did she become such a mean girl? She's so negative and snotty to everyone who isn't on her team. And then she's overly, ridiculously nice to her own mediocre singers. She's kind of like Jekyll and Hyde, and so is her wardrobe. Each week I wonder who's going to come out, "Normal-ish Christina" "Bizarre-O Christina" or just "Christina's boobs."

Aww, it's Blake Shelton. I pretty much love him. And I don't even like country music! He seems so normal compared to the other judges and I love the way he encourages and interacts with his team.

And before I close up, I have one more thing to say:

Is Carson Daly the most awkward host ever, or is it just me? He always seems like he's reading from a teleprompter. I think he's hilarious.

And that is my rant on "The Voice." I feel so much better now that it's all out of my system.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dear Coolest Baby Sister

dear holly,

sometimes i doubt that we're related because, well, you are like 150 times cooler than me.

i loved what you wrote about your political thoughts on your blog. when you speak your mind so boldly and clearly like that i just step back and am like "geesh, she is so smart. and cool." and then i feel kind of old.

thank you so much for the autumn mix cd you sent me in the mail, (and the cute card!) your mixes are the best. seriously, where do you hear about these cool artists? i am working on a mix to send you, but i'm sad because i know it will not be as cool as the one you sent me. i'm afraid there may even be some rihanna on it. because i'm kind of into rihanna right now, ok?

anyway, i miss you - all the time. make a delicious peppermint mocha, you cute little barista, you, and drink it for me (because i'm trying to not eat/drink sugar right now and i hurt a little inside every time i walk by those big delicious looking posters of the holiday drinks at target's starbucks.)

love you forever + a day! xox

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scenes Of the Weekend

(1. Ingredients for homemade stir fry - my favorite meal! 2. Primer for a DIY project I'm doing, inspired by this pretty lady. 3. Matt brought me home flowers this weekend! This little act always makes me feel loved. 4. A cute little treat my mother in law made.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012


If you have not heard of THIS APP, please get it as soon as possible. It is SO good and so much fun. It's really sparked my creativity and I love when that happens.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November Ipsy Bag Review

This month's Ipsy bag is definitely my favorite to date! They seem to be getting better and better. November's theme was "Party Perfect." Everything in the bag was festive and fun and jump started my excitement for the upcoming holiday season. (Now if only I had a party to go to...)

"Nailtini" glittery nail laquer, in "Millionaire." I tried some on over my existing nail polish and the glitter is really condensed and fun. Gold and green sparkles in various sizes and shapes. I can't wait to try it over black or dark green polish.

"Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie" lipgloss, in "Dare Devil." This is the best lip gloss I have received from Ipsy. It feels amaaaazing on (think Burts Bees lip balm) and the color is so flattering. This is the reason I love this service - I would NEVER buy this shade of lip color on my own!

Me wearing my new "Marvelous Moxie" gloss! 

"the Balm Meet Matt(e)" matte eyeshadow in Matt Batali. I died when I saw this packaging. So cute. (I AM partial to the name Matt.) It's a nice brown/charcoal color.

"Starlet" eye pencil in "all i want is peace, love and chocolate." I use eye pencils way more than any other type of eyeliner so I was pleased with this. Especially since it's a brown shade, which I prefer with my skin/eye coloring.

"Chella" eyebrow defining gel. I have never used anything like this (my eyebrows are usually totally ignored, as they're usually covered with my fringe.) But I tried it and it really does smooth and shape my brows.

What I loved about this bag was that I definitely will use every product I received, and I was as always pleased with the generous sizes of the products. Good brands in this bag too.

I am not sponsored by Ipsy or any of these brands that I review. I found out about the company back when they were called "My Glam Bag" via other personal style/beauty bloggers. I have really enjoyed this company's product. It's a lot of fun + merchandise for $10 a month, and the surprise factor really spices up my stay-at-home mom's sometimes-humdrum-life. I think a subscription would make a great gift for some of the other girls and women in my life. I definitely recommend giving their subscription service a try!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Senior Moments and Milkshakes

This has been quite a week. And our brains are obviously fried, because we keep having "senior moments." Like...

We had a conversation just a couple of days ago where we discussed some things we needed at Lowes. And tonight on our way to Lowes we could not for the life of us remember what we needed. And we were utterly ridiculous as we tried and tried and tried to remember.

Matt finally figured it out (it was new smoke detectors) after "mentally walking through all the Lowes aisles." That man loves Lowes and knows it like the back of his hand. I worked there for several months as a teen and I don't know it half as well as him haha.

And now, we need to talk about something important...

They're baaack, and it feels like the holiday season has officially begun. I have been very serious about limiting sugar and dairy in my diet over the last few months, but I have been looking forward to this silly milkshake since last Christmas. It's my favorite.

Matt, "mentally walking the aisles of Lowes." 

Me and my girl, excited for ice cream!

My darling boy looking like hot stuff in his new sweater.

Lowes is all ready for Christmas and Olive was giddy over all the obnoxious blow up yard ornaments and singing, blinking trees. But she was kind of nervous about the life size Santa. (Whaaaat?)

Taking the kids through Lowes is so much fun. Olive gets so excited over the funniest things. Like carpet samples.

I want some of this stuff in our next house. FUN!

Sometimes the simplest outings are the most fun. I really love my little family. I'm a blessed girl.