Ella’s First Birthday Party!

My mind tells me that I typed that correctly, but my heart is still in denial that Ella is one! It is such a cliché to talk about how fast the time goes, but wow does it fly! I distinctly remember every single detail of the ride home from the hospital like it was yesterday. The interstate seemed so big and out of control. I clinched the center console in the back and held on for dear life, even though we probably only drove about 25 MPH the whole way home. Ella was so tiny in her car seat. Her precious monogrammed outfit I had gotten her at Plaid Rabbit didn’t come close to fitting her tiny self, so she rode in a little pink gown that I had thrown in my bag at the last second. Then, I blinked and a year had passed. My tiny newborn angel is now a strong willed one year old who (kind of) walks and definitely talks. I don’t usually know what she is saying, but I know when she says Mama and that is really the only word I need to hear.

Her first birthday party was so special. I will have to tell her one day how her first party was during a global pandemic and things were pretty weird in the world at the time. We did not get to invite all of our friends and family that we wanted to celebrate with but they were there in spirit. We all wore masks and planned the party outside, however, with the extreme humidity that day it wasn’t possible. We kindly asked our loved ones to love Ella from a distance this year and myself and my husband were the only ones who held her. That was definitely a bitter pill to swallow, but everyone understood and we all came together and made the best of it! Now on to the party and the gifts. What in the world do you buy a one year old? Before having a child, I literally never knew what to buy for my friend’s kids, so I thought it might be helpful to share what Ella is loving at this age!

SHOP PARTY DETAILS HERE: http://liketk.it/2WMuq

**Our matching dresses are Gal Meets Glam and are sadly no longer available.
This little outfit turned out so cute and was perfect to wear during the smash cake! The hat was custom made.
Loved this plastic flatware! I wanted things to be casual for a kid’s birthday party, and this went along perfectly with the rainbow theme! Available here: https://www.partycity.com/pretty-pastels-ornate-premium-plastic-cutlery-sets-24ct-880571.html
Mimosas were a last minute decision and the adult guests definitely enjoyed them!

We did a pastel rainbow theme for the party to celebrate our very own little rainbow. As someone who is usually obsessed with taking pictures of everything, I am realizing that I don’t have a ton of pictures from the party. I was trying to enjoy every minute and not be on my phone the whole time. Luckily, my uncle took lots and lots of party pics which I haven’t seen yet but know they will be great!

My hubby and I decided to do our own balloon arch, and I love the way it turned out! We ordered it from Etsy and it was a labor of love but totally worth it! We rented a giant “1” and filled it with balloons, and I loved it. I tried to think of every single rainbow themed detail I could think of down to the flatware and it all came together so nicely for a child’s party! We decided to grab some mimosa supplies at the last minute, and I highly recommend that (depending on the time of day of your party). The adults definitely enjoyed those as the kids ran around. We decided to have all of Ella’s favorite foods for her party, so we got grilled chicken nuggets and mac and cheese from Chic-fil-A, sliced watermelon and pickles! The food was a big hit and we literally didn’t have one single bite left!

I filled the treat bags for the adults with a precious little rose compact mirror, a personalized lip balm that said “Ella is one”, a little hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works (hello 2020), some birthday cake caramels from Sugarfina that included personalized stickers that said “thank you from Ella” and matched the plates and invitations, and a personalized cookie. For the boys I included some Spider Man stickers, a little miniature football, a Spider Man jumprope and a cookie. We also had a bounce house for the kids and a pinata, which I highly recommend. I filled the pinata with lots of little toys and sunglasses and some animal crackers so it wasn’t just a bunch of candy, and they absolutely loved it! It helped to keep them entertained and they really had a lot of fun with those activities!

Okay okay, now on to the gifts. Ella truly made out like a bandit this year. Our friends and family were so kind to shower her with all kinds of special gifts. Since my living room currently looks like we have purchased every toy known to man, I thought it would be fun to highlight a few (even though we truly love and appreciate each and every gift).

SHOP TOYS HERE: http://liketk.it/2WMve

Ella truly loves each and every toy she was lucky enough to get from her birthday. The thing I am realizing about toddlers is that they love something one day and then want no part of it the next. That can make things difficult when shopping for one. However, the toys I listed are things that she consistently loves and plays with every single day!

  • Play kitchen: I can not recommend this enough! It seemed very daunting when we got it and there were 40 steps in the instructions, but it honestly was not that bad and Ella loves it! It is so cute and the attention to detail is great! Ella loves opening and closing the cabinet doors over and over.
  • If you buy one thing listed here, let it be the little pots and pans set! Ella is literally obsessed. The little pots are tiny and perfect for her size! She also spends so much time with the little Velcro fruits and veggies. Truly a favorite and it goes great with the kitchen.
  • A walker: this is a great option if you are buying for a baby that isn’t fully walking on their own. It provides some security as they are learning balance and Ella truly loves all the activities that come along with this one.
  • VTECH activity cube: This is large and bright and you probably think you don’t want this in your living room, but Ella loves it. It keeps her attention which is not easy at this stage!
  • Ball set: One of Ella’s most favorite toys ever is a ball! They bring her so much happiness and she loves these “nubby balls” that have an interesting texture.
  • Stacking cups: simple but Ella loves these an often reaches for them among her million toys.
  • Jelly cat stuffed animal: this is a huge favorite in our house ,There are a million different ones and they are so soft!
  • Piano: this is a really great gift! The keys are very reactive when you touch them and Ella loves to bang on them and make noise!
  • Radio Flyer tricycle: Ella loves to ride this around. She feels like she is in control when actually you are the one steering. It provides a little more independence than a stroller and as she gets older, there are little pedals! So cute and Ella really loves it.

Whew…is anyone still there? This was obviously a very special day for us and I had so much fun planning. I hope this gift guide is helpful if you need ideas for a little one. These will all work for boys or girls and are tried and true faves! Anything pictured in pink also comes in other neutral colors!

Fall Trends I am Loving for 2020

Let’s be honest here, 2020 hasn’t been the best year for most people. It’s been crazy all the way around, and a global pandemic is just the icing on the cake. We are all still dealing with the dreaded coronavirus and it has inevitably affected every single person’s life in one way or another. So, lets all try to laugh (when we can) to keep from crying and try to find the bright side. For me, Fall is always the bright side. I love Fall! I love Fall fashion, Fall candles, cool crisp air, pumpkin everything and all of the other basic things you associate with this time of year. I get excited every single year to stock my closet with fall goodness. Also, every single year I say that I am not buying any more sweaters because it doesn’t get that cold where I live, but alas I have already bought several this year so what are you going to do?

Now I am not Vogue magazine, but I have seen several trends for the upcoming season that I love! I was searching around for Fall trends recently and I found things like wearing a veil, everyday wedding dresses and so on. I will not be sharing these kinds of trends. I am sharing wearable things that I personally love! Some are trends that are hanging around from last year and some are new to this lovely year!

1. Tops and dresses with details including a high neck or wide overstated collar: This is one of the trends that I am the most excited for! I always tend to swoon over clothes that look like they could have been worn in another time when ladies wore corsets and there was no such term as “athleisure”. So I am here for this trend. For me, this is a look that I love all the time, but if it just something you want to try out, I suggest shopping somewhere like H&M or Target so you don’t break the bank .This way if you don’t wear these pieces next year, you are not out a ton of money.

Shop these looks here: http://liketk.it/2UVWw

high neck

2. Puff sleeves: This is another trend that I love. I have been rocking the puff sleeves all Summer long and I tend to continue right into Fall.

Shop these fun puff sleeve look here: http://liketk.it/2UVWW

puff sleeve

3. Fun sneakers: Golden Goose sneakers were literally everywhere last year. Some people loved them and some hated them, but either way there is no denying that they set the scene to wear sneakers with everything from jeans to dresses. If you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for the designer, destructed version, there are a million cute options available.

Shop these sneakers here: http://liketk.it/2UVXh

sneakers

4. High waisted jeans: This is a trend that took me a little bit of time to come around to. These can look awkward if not done right. I find that my favorite way to wear them is with a simple puff sleeve white top tucked in. If you are more daring, they look adorable with a crop top and a cardigan for Fall.

Shop these jeans here: http://liketk.it/2UVXJ

5. Equestrian Influence: This is a look that can be classic and elegant, but can also read costume if overdone. As someone who grew up riding and showing horses, this equestrian vibe takes me back to my childhood and I love it!

Shop the equestrian look here: http://http;//liketk.it/2UVXV

These are just a few of the styles that I think will be popular this Fall. Other trends seem to be fringe, oversized ponchos, jewel tones, shearling and lots of leather. One thing I know is that in today’s world, really anything goes. Its fun to participate in some trends here and there but at the end of the day you just have to wear what makes you happy! If you see me I will probably be wearing a dress that makes you want to sing “Home on the Range” and I am totally okay with that!   

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

I am going to preface this post by saying that I was very disappointed in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale last year. I promise to always be 100% honest about the things I post. I had a terrible experience with the sale last year and swore I wouldn’t shop it ever again. I have had a year to get over it and certainly a lot has happened since then (2020 has been a crazy, am I right?) There is always so much hype around the sale and the past few years I have been left wondering if the hype is real. I have to be honest when I say that the constant coverage of the sale is exhausting, especially since most of the good stuff sells out immediately and what is left over is well, left overs.

Last year I had a TERRIBLE with the sale. I shopped the sale the moment it opened on the second day and 9 of the 10 items I ordered were cancelled. The one item that was shipped to me was the wrong color. The customer service was atrocious. I saw countless comments on Instagram from people who had a similar experience. I understand that Nordstrom wants to reward people who spend a lot of money in their store, but I think the way they structure their sale is annoying. They let certain people shop first based on your card holder status and don’t open the sale up to the general public until way later. I assure you by the time the sale is open to the public everything remotely good is sold out. As usual, certain influencers get free merchandise sent to them before the sale so they can hype it up and make the rest of us want the products. However, by the time you try to buy those products, they are sold out. I just don’t really understand the process. I know that I am not making you very excited to shop this sale but I was just left with such a bitter taste in my mouth last year. I have browsed the sale and I do think there are some really great things included this year. A lot of the items seem pretty standard for the sale and aren’t that exciting, but there are some things that I think are totally worth trying to snag for the sale price. I am going to include my picks below and you can shop them here:

Women’s Clothes: liketk.it/2Tctl.com

Women’s Shoes: http://liketk.it/2Tctg.com

Beauty: http://liketk.it/2TcsX.com

Home: http://liketk.it/2Tct3.com

Baby: http://liketk.it/2TcrH.com

I am only including things that I genuinely love and think are worth the money! I really love each and every item included here!

If you are interested in snagging any of these sale items, here is when you can shop! You can preview all the sale items at Nordstrom.com and create a wishlist of your favorites so hopefully when the sale opens up you can snag a few!

Three pairs of shorts for people who hate shorts!

Let me begin this post by saying that I literally went years without wearing shorts. I live in TN where the Summer time is about as hot and humid as you can imagine, however, I suffered through jeans and other various wardrobe options to avoid the ever dreaded shorts. My legs and upper thighs are one (of many) parts of my body that I just can’t seem to deal with. My thighs are big and lumpy and generally make me feel very self conscious. The thought of wearing shorts was just a hard pass for me. I would see other people walking around in the cutest pair of denim cut offs and I would always wish that I could throw on a pair with an awesome tshirt and look effortlessly cool. But, I convinced myself that shorts weren’t really my style and I would just stick with dresses.

Don’t get me wrong, dresses will always be my first love but sometimes, it’s nice to just throw on some shorts and go. My husband has told me for years that he loves when I dress more casual. Now, super casual just isn’t my style and probably never will be but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my moments. As I have gotten older, I have realized just how short this life on earth really is. My world absolutely fell apart a few years ago and I think going through grief really changes you. I have had times in my life where I obsessed over my weight and simply just hated myself for being overweight. But at this point in my life, I have decided to just be happy. If I want to wear shorts, I just wear the shorts. If someone looks at me and doesn’t like what they see, then they are free to look elsewhere. I am a work in progress. I think even the most seemingly perfect looking people have things about themselves that make them feel self conscious. So, I have decided for now to just wear what I like, enjoy my baby girl, smile, be kind to people and choose to just be happy- fat thighs and all 🙂

If you are in the same boat, or even if you aren’t, these are all great shorts. I have a thing for denim cutoffs, so I am sharing two different pairs that I love! You can shop my looks here: liketoknow.it/shoppingwithsum.

1. Universal Thread denim shorts: These are truly the first pair of shorts that I put on and just loved. As I tried them on, I fully expected to hate them and had already decided they wouldn’t work. However, as I slipped them on…magically….I didn’t hate them! I started thinking about all of the ways I could wear them and my mind went crazy with options. They are the perfect amount of stretch, a great length and just overall feel amazing! They are currently on sale for $15 are one of the best purchases I have made all Summer!

2. Wild Fable paperbag shorts: I love these shorts! They are high waisted and elastic and oh so comfortable! I have worn them with t shirts and loved it and also dressed them up with a cute eyelet blouse and wedges and felt a little more dressed up. They are around $20 and oh.so.worth .it!

3. Free People cut offs: I casually strolled into Free People recently to browse and would have bet my house that I wouldn’t have walked out with a pair of denim cut offs! I couldn’t never fit into a pair of Free People shorts right? WRONG! My husband encouraged me to try these shorts on when I found them and kept going on and on about them. I didn’t want to go to the dressing room only to experience disappointment when I couldn’t even get them on. However, I was feeling wild and decided to give them a try. I am so glad I did because they are everything I have been looking for in a pair of shorts. They are trendy with the frayed edges, high waisted so they suck you in and have just the right amount of stretch to be comfortable. They are a little shorter than I normally wear but I have to say they make me feel great. I have worn them twice all day and they hold their shape and don’t stretch out. They are great quality and hands down my favorite pair of shorts I have ever owned!

If you had told me last Summer that I would be writing a blog post about my favorite shorts, I would have laughed and thought you had probably been drinking or something. However, letting go of fear has really felt good (literally felt great because it is SO HOT HERE). I hope this post has offered some encouragement for you if you struggle with your body and don’t wear what you love because of it. I promise you that life is too short to not wear what you love. Just try it and see what happens. I am pretty sure you will love the results <3.

Save vs. Splurge-Makeup Edition

Its no secret that I love makeup and skincare products. I am always on the lookout for that magical product that just blows me away! Even though I love to try out new products, I have certain ones that I go to over and over. These are my tried and true products that I have bought and used for years. I find myself using a variety of makeup products everyday–some from Sephora, and some from the drugstore. So, I thought it would be fun to highlight some basic makeup that we all use everyday and share which ones I love from the drug store and which ones I feel are worth the splurge!

1. Foundation: If you have read any of my blog posts before, you might know that I love to try new foundations. I am in my mid 30’s and have very dry skin. I struggle with dullness and fine lines around my eyes. I love a glowy, dewy makeup look.

Save: I LOVE the Loreal Infallible Pro Glow Foundation! It is my all time favorite, go to foundation that I always come back to! It has great coverage, gives an amazing glow and is so affordable! I would say the coverage is about medium, but it is buildable and it blends right in with your skin. It doesn’t crease around the eye area either, which is always so important to me. I have spent way more money than I would like to admit on foundation and this one always takes the cake! I cant recommend it enough!

Splurge: DiorSkin Forever Undercover Foundation: This is my high end all time favorite foundation. It is just wonderful. It will make your skin look flawless! I have used this off and on for years and still love it. My mom, who is 65, also loves this foundation. It works for a wide variety of skin types. This is definitely a full coverage foundation and is much heavier than the Loreal Pro Glow. This is what I use if I am going full glam for a wedding or something fancy like that. The price tag is much steeper than the Loreal, but you only need to use a small amount, so one bottle will last you a really long time! Also, this foundation will stay on for hours with no need to touch up- it is definitely long lasting!

2. Mascara: This is another product that I love to try out. I have never had lash extensions but I love the look of big, bold lashes! I have tried every mascara out there and I have narrowed my search down to two really great ones!

Save: Maybelline “The Falsies” Push Up Angel Mascara: This mascara is fantastic! I have a friend who has the most beautiful lashes and of course I had to ask her what kind of mascara she uses. She recommended this one by Maybelline and I never looked back. The brush is very small and narrow and is great for separating individual lashes. I love to layer this with other volumizing mascaras or use it on its own for really long dramatic lashes!

Splurge: Lancome Big Monsieur Mascara: This is my holy grail mascara. It is so good for creating big, voluminous lashes. It doesn’t clump or flake and I love it! I always recommend this one to anyone looking for a new mascara. I honestly love to do one coat of this for volume and then one coat of the Maybelline to lengthen and separate. Such an amazing combo!

3. Lip Gloss: I love lip gloss! It is one of the things that I cant help but buy over and over. I honestly rarely go through a full tube of what ever random lip gloss I impulsively buy, but there are two that I have loved and purchased over and over.

Save: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Lip Shine: This stuff IS AMAZING. I have very dry, flaky lips and this is the most moisturizing lip gloss you can buy. If I wear lipstick, you can bet that I layer this on top. I have used many lip glosses that temporarily make my lips feel hydrated, but dry them out as soon as it wears off. This one makes my lips feel soft and smooth long after it wears off! I cant express my love for it enough!

Splurge: Buxom Full on Plumping Lip Cream Gloss: If you buy one thing from this blog post, let it be this. I love this lip gloss passionately. I have about ten tubes because I want it in my makeup bag and in every purse I have so I am never without it. I love it. It comes in so many beautiful shades and stays on better than any other lip gloss ever. It does offer some plumping to your lips but doesn’t have the burn or tingle that other plumping glosses have! Definitely worth the splurge! P.S. My favorite shade ever is Rose Julep!

4. Eye liner: I never really thought eyeliner mattered that much to me until I randomly grabbed a few at Target and realized that not all eyeliner is created equal. I always use liquid liner and love a good cat eye. Some liners have thick brushes that make it difficult to apply. Others wear off easily and make the cat eye you worked at for 20 minutes uneven, and that just isn’t acceptable! Here are my favorites.

Save: Loreal Telescopic Precision Eyeliner. I have repurchased this eyeliner more times than I can count. Its very user friendly and goes on very smoothly. The color glides on very saturated which I love.

Splurge: Tom Ford eye defining pen. Okay Tom Ford makeup is crazy expensive. Lets just be honest. It is just way overpriced but its so good. Ugh…I love this eyeliner a lot. I don’t buy it often because I like the Loreal one and its so much cheaper but if you ever feel fancy like spending some money, buy this eyeliner. Its pretty fabulous and it does last for a while so that makes it a little easier to spend $60 on eyeliner (insert big wide eyed emoji here).

5. Lip Sleeping Mask: This category is a little bit different. I was going to talk about lipstick here, but I have so many favorites that it was honestly really hard for me to narrow down to two. I love Charlotte Tilbury, YSL, Maybelline, Urban Decay and so on. So, I thought it would be fun to talk lip masks.

Save: I am going to be honest here and say buy yourself a good ole tub of Aquaphor. Slather it on your lips at night and wake up with soft, kissable lips. You really honestly can t beat it. A tub will last you forever and you can use it anywhere that needs some extra love (like your heels during sandal season).

Splurge: Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask: I have very dry lips and I have fallen into every trap ever advertised for a magical lip sleeping mask. I find that most of them make your lips feel amazing at first but still flaky and dry by morning. I love a lot about this Mamonde one though. It feels like heaven when you put it on. I think it makes my lips more moisturized by morning than most lip masks I have used. One jar will last for a very long time which is nice. This product has a very thick, rich texture which feels luxurious. I really like to apply this product while I am putting on my makeup and my lips are nice and soft by the time I apply lipstick. I really like this but honestly I would rather use Aquaphor and save my money for other products!

Okay, here are my top 5 save vs. splurge makeup products, These are all products that I have used for years and have purchased over and over. I am not someone who believes that makeup has to be expensive to be great! Don’t be afraid to try out products from the drugstore because I will guarantee that you will stumble on something that you love! Shop here: http://liketk.it/2Rfey.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

I think we can all agree that dads are pretty special. I think we can also all agree that they can be really hard to shop for! This Father’s Day is different for me because not only am I celebrating my dad, but also my husband. This is his first Father’s Day and I want to make sure it is one that he remembers. My dad is someone that I depend on so much. Since becoming a parent, I am hyper aware of the fact that moms and dads each bring something unique to the table, both equally important. My dad is someone I can always call when I am melting down as I do from time to time. The last few years of my life have been met with a lot of difficulty and my dad is always the one that can talk me off the ledge. He is always honest with me and always speaks the truth in a very loving, supportive but real way. He is someone I know I can call no matter the situation or the time and he will be there 100%.

I can already see my husband playing that role for our daughter. He is the one that is strong and logical about things when I am totally freaking out. He takes care of her in a different way than I do and it is really interesting to see. Having a baby during a global pandemic has been interesting and my husband has totally stepped up to the plate and put himself out there to take care of us so that I could stay home and tend to our baby girl. I am certainly not one for traditional gender roles and I hope this doesn’t come across that way, but he has definitely been the “hunter gatherer” for our family lately. In the thick of the Covid pandemic, he has strapped on a mask and gotten us anything we needed so that I didn’t have to go out and worry. He has worked hard so that I could take a step back from my job and stay home with our girl. He has tirelessly planned for our future and made sure we are on a savings plan when all I want to do I shop lol. I say all of this to say that I have two REALLY important dads in my life that deserve to be spoiled this Father’s Day. So, I thought it would be fun to put together a few ideas incase you are struggling with gift ideas for the father figure in your life! I hope this is helpful!

  • “Dad jokes” book: Who doesn’t love dad jokes? If you are more into getting your dad a funny gift, then this is a great option that won’t break the bank!
  • Yeti tumbler: I had to include this because my hubby has 2 of these and uses them EVERY single day. They are great for keeping things hot or cold and my husband won’t drink his coffee out of any other mug! This one comes in several colors and fits in the car cup holder!
  • Adidas Ultraboost: These sneakers would make any dad happy! They are stylish and have great reviews. They also come in several color combinatons,.
  • Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones: Sometimes even dad needs to just zone out. My husband has these and loves them. He uses them while working, mowing the yard, and travelling. They are totally worth the money.
  • Anker wireless phone charging pad: This is a great gift for dads. No more fumbling around at night to find your super short iPhone cord. All you have to do with this is just lay your phone on it and it will be charged by morning!
  • Chef multi tool: I had to throw this in there because dads love tools. My husband is the chef in our home and he would love this multi tool! No more searching around for a hundred different utensils, they are all right here in one convenient tool!
  • WeMo electrical plugs: If your husband or dad is anything like mine, he loves “techy” gifts. These WeMo plugs are the perfect man toy. They connect to an app on your phone so you can control any electrical outlet in your home through your smartphone, Alexa or Google home! They actually come in so handy!
  • Photo book: This is a no brainer! Any dad (especially a first time dad or granddad) would love a personalized photo book. If you are anything like me, you have 10,000 photos on your phone so you might as well make them into a beautiful book.
  • Dad and kid matching t-shirts: These are too cute. My husband has a full beard and my little girl loves to pull on it, so this is the perfect gift for him! If your hubby or dad isn’t a bearded man, there are so many different options to choose from on Etsy!
  • Comfy joggers: Dads love loungewear too! These are great for dad to throw on while hanging around the house or anytime he wants to be stylish while being comfortable.
  • Night Sky print: These prints are too cool. They show constellations from specific nights and specific areas! You can choose several different colors and you enter your location, the date you want, etc and receive a beautiful, unique print! Choose the date your child was born and give dad a truly special gift!

If the dad in your life is as hard to shop for as mine, I know you have your work cut out for you! I hope you found some good inspiration here. Click here to shop the gift guide: http://liketk.it/2QnCE.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I have a wonderful mother who is definitely my best friend and I have always tried my best to make her feel special on mother’s day. However, this mother’s day has a whole new meaning for me this year. I have always been so grateful for such a wonderful mother and love to celebrate her, because man does she deserve it! But, I never knew just how incredibly special this day could feel for me personally. I am so incredibly honored to get to celebrate as a mother this year. Being a mother is not something you can you put into words. It is the greatest honor of my life. It is my most proud title. It is a million little moments that create a joy that is immeasurable.

I understand that mother’s day can be an incredibly difficult time for some people. The sadness and pain that this day can hold is not lost on me. If you want to be a mother and aren’t yet, if you have lost your mother or never really had one to begin with, I hear you. I feel you. I have been there with you. For you, I hope you can get through this day surrounded by people who love you and support you. I hope they hold you up and carry you through this day.

For the rest of you mothers, I hope you enjoy every second of this day and what it represents. Being a mother is incredibly difficult at times but is the most important job of your life. You are raising the next generation. You were given your child or children specifically. Jerimiah 1:5 says, “Before you were formed in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart”. That is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and personifies to me that Ella was mine long before I knew Ella was mine. She was created to be my child and I was created to be her mom. So, on the long days that are exhausting just remember that you were chosen for this. Women, mothers, are a force to be reckoned with. So keep on keeping on and know that what you are doing is amazing. I hope your day is filled with love and gratitude…..and hopefully a nap.

I love these matching dresses so much! They are called the “Rosie” dress, which is such a special name to me. I knew that it was meant to be that Ella and I had to wear these dresses on mother’s day! You can shop them here: http://liketk.it/2OwjB.

Billie Razor Review

I literally feel like every other post I see on Instagram is about the Billie razor! Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have seen numerous posts about the majestic razor that is sure to change your life forever. At first, I brushed these rave reviews off and kept scrolling. However, I find myself getting curious when I see every single blogger on the internet pushing a product. Is this razor really the best thing since sliced bread? I have never really cared about my razor before to be honest, but I decided to give this a try. I thought I would give my totally unpaid, unsponsored review of the product!

Okay, I think quarantine has gone to my brain because I decided to post a no makeup picture right out of the shower LOL
This is the magnetic shower holder for the razor

Okay now that I have posted a picture of myself fresh out of the shower, lets talk about this razor. I have never been someone that really puts much thought into my razor selection. I have used disposable razors, refillable razors, , razors for sensitive skin, men’s razors, cheap ones, expensive ones and so on. I have never found one that I necessarily think is any better than another. So, I tried the BIllie razor and here are my honest thoughts!

How does it work? Billie is a subscription service that sends you razor cartridges based on how often you usually shave your legs. Initially, you purchase the razor starter kit, which includes the razor handle, two blades and a magnetic holder for your shower. The razors have 5 blades and the handle is supposed to have a rubber back to prevent slipping. The cost of this initial bundle is $9 and then you can choose to receive the refills once a month, every two months, or every three months based on how often you shave. The refills are also $9 and come with 4 refill blades. You can also choose to add on different products to your order like body lotion, shave cream, or face cleansing wipes. All of the products are made in the USA and are considered clean products (free of a lot of gross ingredients like formaldehyde, lead and artificial dyes).

I initially bought the Billie kit one day when I was shopping at Madewell. I know that sounds random, but they did a collaboration with Madewell and the kit included the razor, 2 refill blades, the shave cream and a cute travel bag. I was excited to get this unicorn product that I had heard so much about. According to the internet, this would provide the closest shave of my life and would cut down on how often I had to shave.

The first few times I used this razor, I was not impressed at all. For starters, the razor cartridge kept popping off the handle every single time I tried to use it. It was very frustrating and annoying. I was hesitant to use the magnetic holder because I have a marble shower and I was somewhat unsure about sticking the holder onto the marble and causing damage if I tried to remove it later. The next time I got in my shower and tried to grab my razor, I found it was very stuck down and I had to work hard to get it removed from the bench in my shower. There was a thick layer of white residue left behind that I had to scrub off. Apparently, there is a charcoal soap surrounding the razor which is meant to provide protection as you shave. It is also very, very sticky when wet. Now onto the shave cream. It literally felt like I had rubbed wet slime down my legs. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was a really icky consistency and I really felt like it kept the razor from getting as close to my skin. Needless to say I went ahead and threw it away.

After a few times of trying the razor and it continually popping off, I decided I must have had a faulty razor. Surely everyone on the internet was seeing something that I was missing, so I decided to go online and order another starter kit. I chose to receive my cartridges every three months as you can always change the frequency if you need more.

Pros:

It does provide a nice, close shave.

I definitely did not notice any razor burn or any nicks with this razor (which I have experienced with other razors).

The cost is very low. I am shocked at how expensive some razors are!

Very convenient. It is very nice to have the razors mailed to you and you never have to think about it!

The razor is cute. Let’s be honest, we buy things just because they are cute.

Although I really did not like the shave cream, I don’t think you really need anything at all because of the charcoal soap surround.

Cons:

The charcoal surround is very messy if you choose not to use the magnetic holder. It will stick to your shower or anything else it is placed on to dry.

The razor pops off frequently. It didn’t seem to do this nearly as much with the second one I purchased, but it did still happen occasionally. I promise this is way more annoying than it sounds.

The shave cream is very slimy.

I find myself not using up all of my refills before I receive a new shipment. Maybe I don’t change the blades as often as I should, but such is life. You can go online and pause your refills, but I don’t know my password and it requires a lot of effort. Just being honest.

I do think this razor provides a nice shave, but I definitely don’t think you have to shave any less with this than any other razor you can buy anywhere.

Overall, I will continue to use my Billie razor for now. The main thing I like about it is the convenience of having the refills mailed to me. It is one less thing to think about. It’s a decent razor for a great price. Do I think it will change your life forever, ummmm no. Do I think you will be pretty satisfied about something that really doesn’t matter that much, sure.

So, that is my totally unfiltered review of this razor. About 10,000 bloggers will tell you otherwise because they all seem to really, really love this product. Maybe I am missing something, but I think I gave it a fair chance and my life is still unchanged. My leg hair still grows and still has to be shaved just like when I used a Bic. But hey, at least this razor is a fun color!

If you are interested in purchasing the razor and trying it out, you can shop it here: http://liketk.it/2OofL.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

I want to start this post by noting that what I am about to say may sound cliché, but I truly mean it more genuinely than any words I have ever spoken. The day I birthed Ella was the day that I was truly born. I have never wanted for anything so badly in my life. I prayed, no-I begged God to give me this child. The first few days I was in the hospital after having her, I would literally cry every time I looked at her because I was just flooded with such joy. The day she was born I became so much more than anything I had ever been. I became a mom. If you are a mom, you will know what I mean. There is no love like the love between a mother and a child. It is fierce. It is deep. It is a God given love that can not be explained. So, with all of that being said I truly and genuinely feel like Ella is my mother’s day gift this year. At the same time, us mamas work hard, so we deserve to be spoiled. All I asked for this year was to be able to sleep in until I wake up and to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast. That sounds pretty darn good to me. But, its also fun to think about a wish list of items that would make great gifts to spoil the mom in your life. I have rounded up a few of my favorite things just incase you need a little inspiration!

I genuinely love each and every piece in this collage! Some of these items are splurge items, but this day is supposed to be special. I couldn’t pick a favorite off of this list because they are all my favorites, but I will say the silhouette necklaces are pretty amazing. I think this would surprise any mom in the best way possible! I also included some cute sneakers for a busy mom, a face mask so she can pamper herself and the perfect throw on dress that is comfy but still so chic. Go on and treat the mom in your life this year and make her feel as special as she is <3. Shop the collage here:http://liketk.it/2NRTM.

Shop the silhouette necklace here: https://lepapierstudio.com/collections/silhouette-necklaces/products/tiny-silhouette-charm-necklace-1.

At Home Gel Manicure!

Let me start this post by saying, I am in no way a professional manicurist. I have no training whatsoever, other than what I have googled to use on my own nails. About 5 years ago my husband got really tired of hearing me whine when I would take the time to do my nails at home, only to inevitably mess them up five minutes later. He finally did what any desperate husband would do and headed to Amazon. There, he found me an at home gel manicure UV light and immediately added to cart.

So, here we are 5+ years later in the middle of a global pandemic. I truly never would have thought my self training as a nail technician would come in so handy, but alas it has. Since no one is able to get out and get their nails done, I thought it might be helpful to do a quick post featuring the gel products that I love and have used for years. I do go to the salon and get my nails done sometimes too, but it is very expensive and time consuming. When I do my own gels at home, they last just as long as when I go get them done….I just miss the hand massage and warm towels.

I have purchased all of these products from Amazon or Sally Beauty or Walmart. I will link everything used here: http://liketk.it/2Nz2p.

You can look at my UV light and tell that it is very well loved!
The finished product…let me just tell you how incredibly awkward it is to take a picture of your hand…

First step: Soak your nails in warm water for a few minutes and then gently push your cuticles back. Sometimes my cuticles look so bad, that I use the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover and cuticle clippers. I find that it works really well at removing excess cuticles. Wash it off really well and then grab your nail clippers and file!

Next, clip your nails to your desired length and then shape them! I like mine short and square, but there are so many options. You can do round, oval, almond, or anything in between! Once you have your cuticles clipped and your nails shaped, then you are ready to get started with the fun part! You want to make sure you nail is nice and clean and free from any oils or lotions before you begin. You can purchase a solution (that is similar to nail polish remover) and give your nails a swipe to make sure they are prepped and ready. I have also used acetone nail polish remover and it works great too!

After your nails are prepped, you will want to apply a pH bond agent to your nails. This goes on just like a very thin, clear nail polish. It is very quick and easy to apply. This acts as a dehydrator so the polish can really bond to your nails. After you have applied the pH bond, the next step is to apply your foundation coat. Please note that this polish is very thick and a little more difficult to apply than regular nail polish. It is very important that you know that once you apply this foundation coat and cure under the UV light, any imperfections on your nail will be baked on. For instance, if you have any air bubbles, or a tiny piece of lint, it is there to stay until you remove this polish!

After applying the foundation coat, you will want to let your nails bake under the UV light for 60 seconds. This coat will be dry when you remove from the light and you are ready to apply your color! This is the part where you can really go crazy! Pink, blue, yellow, purple, whatever you desire you can do! Today, I have the color “Passion” on my nails by Gelish. It is the perfect pinky-coral and is great for summer! I usually do a thin coat of color and cure my nails for 60 seconds. Then, I do a second thin coat and cure for another 60 seconds.

Lastly, you are ready for the “top it off” coat. This is also a very thick top coat. One you have applied this coat, you will want to let your nails bake for 2 minutes, and then voila, you are finished! Your nails will be completely dry, which is wonderful! No chipping or worrying about messing them up! The last and final step is to take the nail cleaner that you used way back in step one, or a swipe of acetone nail polish remover, and run it over your dry nails. This will remove the “tackiness” left behind from the top coat, and also make your nails nice and shiny! I usually add some hand cream and sit back and admire my handiwork! Just like anything new, this takes a little bit of practice. But, once you get the hang of it you will love the convenience of doing your own nails at home. I prefer gel manicures to dip but if you like dip, you can also do those at home as well. I hope this was helpful, and I hope you will have fun experimenting with this while you’re hanging out at home.

One more note, just like the gel manicures you get at the salon, these do have to be soaked off in order to remove them. I usually soak a piece of a cotton ball in acetone and place it on my nail bed. Then, wrap the nail in aluminum foil with the cotton ball on your nail. Let that soak for 20 to 25 minutes and then remove the foil. You should then be able to easily scrape off the remainder of the polish!