Archives for June 2014

Month: June 2014

Monthly Favorites

julyfavsAbout 2 months ago I said I was going to start posting about my favorites beauty products every month. things that help me get ready and take care of my beauty needs. . . well here we finally are for my second round . . .

Pureology Pure Volume Shampoo : I finally settled on this as a new hair cleaner thanks to some of your and Kate from the small things recommendations. two weeks later and I love it. the tangles are still gone and my hair is fluffy as my mom says.
Neutrogena Naturals Acne Spot Treatment : For years I used Mary Kay acne treatment on my t zone every night and twice a day on blemishes – I loved it. Never had a problem and if I broke out which was rare it was usually because I had started using something else new on my face. Well, my consultant moved and I ran out before I found someone new. Luckily, I have found someone new, but I grabbed this to use until that happened. It’s a great alternative. I broke out a little on my chin during the first week, but no more than usual ( I also started using a toner which I haven’t done since high school at the same time).
threshold body wrap : I was in search of a new robe when I ran into these at target. I only use my robe to wear after a shower while I blow dry my hair and put on my face so these work great and they’re cute. I remember when I went to college it was ‘the thing’ to get one of these for the dorms, but I couldn’t find any to fit because I was so curvy up top. these fit!
Trader Joe’s Mid Summer Nights Cream : I go through lotion incredibly fast. it’s almost ridiculous especially considering I use more of it during the summer than in the winter. a tub of this has lasted me a good long while and it’s only $3
Sonia Kasuk Flat Topped Synthetic Brush : I use this to apply my bronzer and it’s magical. There’s just nothing else to say . . I used to find that I would get too much on with my fingers or a sponge – or it didn’t blend right. This fixes all those things.
There you have it! What are your favorites for the month?


High five for friday – vacation favorites

this past week has been pretty boring to be honest. I’ve been trying to get back in the routine of work and home life after our most recent vacation . . . and numerous loads of laundry trying to get the sand out of everything. My husband and I m ade a deal recently. Every 3 years we’ll take a big trip . . . and on the off years we’ll go to our spot – Fort Lauderdale. We love to travel, but we also have other life goals hat we want to accomplish, and we don’t have a money tree (yet) so we thought a big trip every 3 years was a good compromise and something we could figure out how to save for.


Fort Lauderdale is somewhere we know is good, safe, fun, and most important it’s an easy to plan stress free vacation for the 2 off years. So since I’ve been super boring this week and took no pictures . . . here are my top 5 favorite places in Fort Lauderdale


1. Snooze – Snooze is a smaller, boutique type hotel that we stayed at for the first time this year. The other times we’ve gone we’ve priceline’d a good deal at a big box hotel to be sure we’ve gotten a good clean safe room. . . well this year we went for it and goodness we’re so happy we did. it’s reasonably priced and you get so much for your money. the rooms are smaller, but you still have plenty of room to spread out – all of them come with a fridge and coffee pot and the bigger rooms even have a microwave and counter space so you don’t have to depend on the restuarants for all your food. everything is modern with clean cut lines but still soft and homey. the owner and the manager are very friendly and super helpful. the picture above is from a little porch they have that we sat on every afternoon.


2. Sebastian beach – In florida most of it just looks like one big beach to me, but there are certain parts that have separate names. In fort Lauderdale, it’s almost like every mile has a different name . . . my favorite and one of the few I pay attention to is Sebastian beach. It’s right out from our hotel and it’s a nice quiet space that even has some shade for super hot days. but it’s still close to the stores and restaurants.


3. Elbow room – The first time we came to fort Lauderdale as a couple it rained the first two days we were there . . . after one day of being stuck in the hotel we couldn’t take it anymore and just walked around and shopped in the rain. We stopped in here to get out of the rain for a few minutes and met mickey mooney – a beach bum with only a harmonica, bike, and some art supplies to his name. He drew us the picture above and it now hangs in a spot of honor on our living room wall. This trip through we saw him riding his bike and playing his harmonica  . . . and I freaked out like he was Leonardo DiCaprio.


4. Beauty and the Feast – inside the atlantic hotel is this restaurant. I craved the smoked salmon bagel for two years and finally got it again last week. it.did.not.disappoint. it’s a bit pricey but everything we’ve ever had here has been amazing.


5. Bubba Gump – it’s such a cliché of a restaurant but it’s a good movie and it’s good food. this photo op is how i’ll chart my husbands growth I think . . . and by growth I mean his grey hair. he will insist that I tell you he does not have any yet . . . but I’m watching.

I hope you all had a great week. I know I did. This weekend is jam packed with family activities and I can’t wait!



Spicy Salmon Bites

Are you guys ready for the easiest recipe ever? I say that about half of my recipes . . .

But this one is really easy and it’s so good. I eat these for an appetizer or a quick, easy lunch.


1 piece of salmon

1 teaspoon of siracha

1 tablespoon of mayo


Slice your cucumber into thick pieces while you cook the salmon. Once the salmon is cooked chop it up into little square pieces and mix with the siracha and the mayo. Spread it onto the cucumber slices. I’ve found about 1 salmon gets you 4 pieces.

I like to add some parsley flakes and some garlic salt for a little flavor. sometimes I even chop up a sweet onion to add.  If you’re not a siracha fan (shame!) tobasco and paprika is a good substitute.



Horizontal Stripes

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I’ve always heard that we should never wear horizontal stripes. They make a girl look wider . . .

Well I wear what I want and my husband tells me I look good in horizontal stripes . . . so when I saw this dress while shopping for a new maxi dress to wear on vacation. I knew it was the one.

Guess what, it does make my boobs look wider . . .

Dress  :  Old Navy

Snakeprint flip flops  :  Target(old)

Wristlet  :  Coach (old)

Earrings  :  Target

Sunglasses  :  Coach

Dresser re-do

When I was in 6th grade (that was 17 years ago . . . wow), my parents and I moved from South Indianapolis to East Indianapolis. We built this big, beautiful house for me to continue growing up in and for my parents to have as their home once I was outta the house and they were empty nesters (I was the youngest so once I was out they were by themselves). I was very excited about the house – I even got to help pick out the colors and little details for things. But I had to move schools. . .

Looking back, I think my mom even then could see my love of making things pretty so she let me have full reign over what to put in my room. I got to paint the walls, put up art, I even painted my first piece of furniture for that room! So the dresser she and my dad got me to use in that room has some sentimental value.

living room2

It was the obvious choice for our dresser to use along with the ikea chest I told you about last week . . . but the light wood is not my style and it didn’t match. I was worried about painting over the finish, but I researched other blogs like crazy (mostly here and here) and found out all about this primer which they say grips to any surface allowing the paint to go on smoothly and evenly.

So I got some (here) and put on two coats with a foam roller and foam brush for the harder areas to reach  . . . then I let it sit for 7 days. I purchased the water based primer because I have this worry that oil based primers will turn things yellow, and it said to let it sit for that long. My worries got the best of me and I let it sit . . . while I waited I worked on the chest.


Once the long wait was over, I put two coats of paint on with another foam roller and foam brush – letting it sit 24 hours between coats. Our tv will be sitting on top so I finished with two coats of miniwax polycrylic (here) to protect it a little.


We used the same drawer pulls from Target as we used on the ikea dresser to bring some symmetry to the room, and I put some candles on either side of the tv for some color.


The drawer pulls are what really got me on this one. They just seem to make it seem like the perfect mix of an old dresser used in a modern room. Adding them in with the new chest the room is so much brighter now, and the fact that they don’t match perfectly brings some character to the room.


I have plans for making a stained top for the dresser so that it matches the chest even more. But for now I’m leaving it the way it is so I don’t rush into anything I’ll regret later. how about a budget breakdown while we wait ::

ikea chest : $99

dresser : $0 (had for 17 years)

primer: $15 on amazon (tons leftover)

paint : $8 at home depot (tons left over)

polyacrylic : $8 on amazon (tons leftover)

stain for chest : $8 at home depot (tons leftover)

new brushes and rollers because I was out : $10

20 new drawer pulls : $25

candles/vases/frames : $25

Total $200

a little glee action for you
a little glee action for you

I’m just really, really happy you guys. What’d we do with the money we saved? We go new nightstands, and then my husband won and we saved some of it. no new clothes . . .




No, I’m not a dr.  . . . duh . . . but I am pale and I do have sensitive skin. and this pale girl did just get back from the beach. So I’ve used lots of different sunscreens to try the best one. I have a bad habit of falling asleep whilst laying out and I can’t do that on day 4 and 5 of vacation if I burnt myself on day 1. Not to mention all the damage I’ve just done to my skin. Here’s my favorites so far all of which can be purchased at Target


1. Target up n up – you just can’t go wrong with cheap price and a good product. I’ve never gotten burnt with this stuff. I get the sport so that if I sweat a little it’s still stable. I only reapply after I get out of the pool or the ocean, and now they have it in the spray bottles so I don’t have to worry about getting globby. I wish it didn’t sting my eyes so bad though . . .

2. Last year I tried SuperGoop Every day Sunscreen for face and body and I LOVED IT! It doesn’t feel oily on my face and it didn’t cause me to break out at all.

3. Sometimes when I feel like spending more than $4 on Target brand I ‘ll grab this. My favorite thing about it is that I don’t feel it at all . . .

What’s your favorite?






High five for Friday – I’m on vacation!!

I hope you all have had grand week … I have had the best week. All of my pictures and adventures from the week are for another post when I tell you all about my lovely vacation. I’ve seen lots of these types of posts on other blogs . . . So for today . . . I thought I would do 5 random facts about me.


  1. My mama had me when she was 40 years old. Everyone told her I would most likely have mental health issues because of her age. I don’t . . .  No jokes . . . be nice . . . That also means that all of my siblings are much older than me. They were 18,16,15 when I was born. My oldest niece was born when I was 5, and is more like my sister since we grew up in the same house. Here is my sisters, brother, and I with or grandpa. I was about 4.


2. I never learned to ride a bike. My big brother was teaching me along with my dad and I got really good with training wheels . . . then he left for the Navy and I wasn’t interested anymore. My dad didn’t push me since he thougth I eventually get back up, but I never did. I want to learn now, but I never have the time, don’t have a bike, and I’m almost 30 . . . it’s sort of embarrassing, haha!

 3. I like the beef – steaks, hamburgers, etc. – I eat to be extrmely rare. People always freak out about how rare I ask for it to be, and my sister likes to mention that I will eat straight up raw ground beef. As gross as it may be it’s true . . . it tastes 10 times better to me and I’ve never once gotten sick or food poisioning. This was a delicious piece of something from a work party – side note : I ate this steak about 2 hours prior to meeting my husband for the first time.


4. I once broke a girl’s arm by accidentally stepping on it during a game of soccer. A few months later a girl stepped on my knee and my jerking reaction caused my knee cap to break and my acl to be hyperextended. Pay back is a _____

5. I have no idea what I wanna be when I grow up . . . except a mama I know I wanna be a mama.

See ya next week 🙂

Paleo french onion soup

I’ve always had a thing for French onion soup. I even occasionally choose it over broccoli and cheese at Panera . . . I know, major. So I decided to make my own . . . and make it (sort of) paleo. And it’s in the crock pot . . .

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4 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons almond meal

8 ounces of beer

64 ounces of low-sodium beef stock

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

gruyere cheese, sliced

once your onions are sliced mix them with the garlic and brown sugar and cook for 1 hour on high – go in and mix it occasionally to be sure the carmelization is happening.

Then add the almond meal – mix – and wait a few minutes – like do 50 squats. 
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours.


Once you’re ready to eat, put it in a baking dish and cover in cheese slices. Then boil it for 2-3 minutes – until that cheese is gooey and a little brown on top. Yup that cheese isn’t paleo . . . don’t. cuuur.


Yum! It was sooooooo delish!

Vacation organization

Remember earlier this week when I told you about vacation makeup . . . I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m uber organized; so, I thought I’d share how I keep all of our stuff organized when we travel. They key . . . lots of little bags and planning. Everything is broken into categories and each category has its own bag.


The categories are : outfits, accessories, toiletries, makeup, first aid, carry on. We’re not flying this time so carry on isn’t necessary, but I’ll still have a separate bag with these things in it since they are the most valuable/important. Below I have a fun print out I made of what goes in each bag. It even includes a beach bag section which is made up of things from each of the other categories.


vaca list


Most airlines allow you to take a bag that will fit in the overhead, an extra bag (which I consider the carry on) that will fit under your feet, and an extra item like a labtop or an umbrella. When we fly, this is all we take – that’s why I write out my outfits. I simply don’t have the room to just throw in whatever I want. And yes I roll most of it. You’ll notice pajamas and beach towels aren’t on there . . . the beach towels get thrown wherever they happen to fit (usually my husbands clothes section) and I know myself well enough to know that I will throw in an extra dress or an extra tank top which can be used as pajamas for the week.


I have this suitcase, and I absolute love it. Not because it’s hard . . . because each side is the same size. So all of my accessories go in the back part that can be zipped up. The shoes and hair goo goes in grocery bags so nothing else gets dirty. If I need a beach bag other than my carry on it gets rolled up in here too.


Toiletries are kept in a clear plastic bag so we can just throw it in the shower and then wipe it down before we leave. I know some people think buying travel size are a waste of money, but we travel enough that it works out for us. AND we’re able to take it on the plane without any worries. My only rule is I buy basic smelling products so we both can use them (like dove). . . in other words so my husband doesn’t smell like a girl. For a weeks vacation, 3 oz of your normal necessities last us two vacations.



I think it’s pretty weird when people don’t take a first aid kit on vacation – and I know a lot of people who have told me they don’t. I’m sure the hotel has one, but if I cut myself shaving I want a band aid immediately – not after I run down to the front desk. And if I’m gassy or something upset my stomach I just want to handle it myself. This little bag stays packed year round and it sits in a basket of the full size products so when we run out I just take a little from the full size and put it in here. If it’s not clearly labeled I write on the back what it is.



I have yet to find a bag that will work as both a carry on and a beach bag . . . That sounds silly when I read it back, but it’s my truth. It makes so much more sense to just have one bag and then take the stuff you don’t want at the beach out, but I just haven’t found one that is acceptable to me and is a reasonable price point. So for now I use this old nine west bag I bought in college for our carry on –it makes me feel very professional. It has a front pocket that I keep lip balm, hair ties, cell phone, gum, lotion, etc in . . . and a small zipper pocket I can keep pens, small charger, a rolled up scarf if I get cold, snacks, and extra sunglasses in . . . then the bigger part has the things I’ll grab a lot in the plane like the ipad or a magazine as well as my wallet and the folder with the important docs I’ll need when we arrive. It also zips and locks which is very convenient. But it’s just not cute enough for the beach 😉

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My husband makes fun of me a little because I do unpack when we arrive. He says it’s like preparing to spend time in the organized hotel room . . . but I see it as preparing to spend as little time in the hotel room as possible because I know where everything is.


 Any other vacation organizers out there? Tell me I’m not the only one who obsesses.

Ikea dresser . . . no ikea chest . . . huh?

Back in the day when I told you about our new bed – remember we saved so much we were able to get new dressers as well! $500 isn’t that much to spend when you need 2 dressers and 2 nightstands . . . put that together with my DIY and sentimental heart . . . and you get a trip to ikea.

the closest ikea to the Hoosier state is almost 2 hours in Ohio . . . it was worth it. I love our furniture . . . I love ikea . . .I’m just in love.

First we have two shorter dressers at home, both of which are in good shape – they just need some love since they don’t match anything – and we need a lot more storage. So the Tarva dresser . . . I think it’s really called a chest . . . with it’s 5 drawers was perfect – tall to play off whichever shorter dresser we chose – and unfinished wood so I could make it look however I wanted with a little paint/stain!

After some pinterest searches I decided I wanted to paint it white, but add in a little of the wood look. Here it is after 2 coats of primer . . . I let each coat dry before putting on the next coat.


And then I waited 24 hours and put on 1 coat and some touch up of rustoluem bright white semi gloss paint. to keep everything on smooth with no brush marks I just used a foam roller from Lowes for $3. Here she blows . . .and sorry for the super grainy pictures. All the painting happened on weeknights after work so there was no natural light.


You’ll notice I painted everything but the top . . . that’s where I used my stain. Once the paint had dried for 2 days I taped off the tops drawer and stained it with a cheapo brush. the color is miniwax jocobean . . . you know I like it dark.

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Later that night once it was dry, I added 2 coats of miniwax polyacrylic . . .  and then I walked away. If you’re like me at this point you put your husband in charge of keeping you occupied so you can let it properly set and dry before you start decorating. It’s just so exciting to finally see something how you’ve imagined it in your head.

24 hours later my husband screwed in these knobs, and we moved it to the bedroom. I could have screwed them in myself. . . he’s just stronger.


I could have.

There you have it. On top I put some ikea vases, a frame/bowl/anchor all from Target, along with the monogram that was done by Forever Flowers from my wedding bouquet.


In a couple days I’ll tell you how I made one of the shorter dressers match. But for now let’s all just stare at the pretty pictures of my ikea dresser. Every time I look at it I smell swedish meatballs  . . .  yum

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