My religion does not observe Lent, but I’ve always liked the idea. Gathering together in solidarity and going without for a greater purpose.

Alli asked me if I would participate in the Forty Days of Water campaign through Blood:Water Mission this year to help build wells in Uganda and bring awareness to Blood:Water’s mission.

The idea is that when it comes to beverages, to only drink water for forty days. No coffee, tea, soda, juice, milk or tequila. (Thankfully the coffee, tea and tequila aren’t vices for me to overcome.) The money saved from purchasing these extra beverages will be donated to build wells in Uganda. Give clean water, by drinking only water. Cool idea right?

Of course I’ll participate!” I’m well aware of how blessed I am to have clean water pour fourth from multiple faucets in my home, it isn’t until you have to go without that you realize just how good you have it.

Forty days isn’t that long! I could do some real good here!

Then I started thinking about it. Huh, I’ll be in Mexico for the first five days. It’s cool, I can go without Mexican Coke and virgin Pina Coladas, surely the beach is just as wonderful without fruity little umbrella drinks. The next week I’ll be in Utah for a fancy wedding. I’m sure they’ll have good water, and I’ll bet that burritos taste just as good with water as they do with Vanilla Coke and crunchy ice. No, really. I’m sure of it. Root beer and pizza isn’t that big of deal. Cookies and milk? Oh, well. It’s only 40 days. I mean, really all that’s left before March 30th is Blissdom, who needs bubbly beverages at a conference? Not this girl! Then there’s my monthly Red Bull indulgence, and my love of orange juice with breakfast. Water is good for me, it’s only 40 days.

I guess I’m just being honest that even though I want to do good, there’s still that little selfish person inside of me that loves a frosty cold bubbly beverage with dinner on occasion. I don’t even consider my bonus beverage habit to be all that extravagant either. If you’re loyal to Starbucks, can’t make it through the day without Diet Coke or reliant on a little glass of something after the kids are in bed? I totally get how this whole 40 day thing may not be your thing. It’s barely mine and I don’t drink coffee or Diet Coke.

But consider what you’d be doing with the money saved.

You’d be helping build wells in Uganda, for families much like yours to have safe reliable water to drink, wash, and cook with for the rest of their lives.

My heavens Uganda looks beautiful. My grandma has always said “I’ll travel to any continent but Africa. I have no desire to go there.”

I hope to make it there someday. Until then, I’ll raise my sippy cup in solidarity and help build wells.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to see one in person as well as the joy it brings to the people it serves.

Alli’s sidenote at the end of her email inviting me to participate read:

Blood:Water understands that their job is not to go ‘help’ Africans, but to partner with them. We, as Americans, may have more financial riches, but the riches of spirit and community in Africa makes Americans look like the poor ones.

Think you may want to give it a shot (pun!) and get involved? You can get more information on how to participate here.

Want to follow my journey and see what I give up and how much I donate? Find my profile here or follow the #40Days hashtag on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

While I am being compensated for participating in this program, I will be donating everything I make back to Blood:Water Mission, I figure that makes up for my lack-of-a-Starbucks-habit-donation.

We can all agree that Facebook keeps track of some pretty strange facts.

Did you know that Cody and I didn’t get married on Facebook until after he got a real job? He was afraid if a prospective firm looked him up, saw me, then found my blog it would be game over. It was a big day to change from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘married’ to Cody.

Oh Cody. I love him so much. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s a damn fine dad and have you ever seen his biceps? They’re amazing, which is probably why I could never get behind the whole skinny vampire thing, I like my man arms strong, round and meaty.

You want to see his bicep now don’t you? Okay!

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I went to Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday to acquire a pot rack because I bought new pots and they’re so amazing I can’t bear the thought of them all leapfrogging over each other in the cabinet and getting scratched, see also: a pot rack makes your kitchen look SUPER official. Like, I COOK SO MUCH I KEEP MY POTS ON SPEED DIAL! It also makes for fun rack jokes with visitors.

Anyway, back to BBB. Vivi insisted on walking, which is cool because I’m a second time parent so I’m totally more laid back with my second toddler walking along behind me in a big store (aka: I lost my first one so many times I’m much better at keeping track of the second one.) You can’t go into BBB and not do the big loop, so Vivi and I did the big loop before buying our amazing pot rack, as we passed through home textiles I looked right at the pet beds then back to Vivi.

I didn’t see her.


Then one of the curtains giggled.

when i looked behind me i couldn't see her so i called "vivi?" that's when i heard the curtains giggle.

Toddlers are the most fun you’ll have wearing yourself out.

February is about to hit warp speed for me. Lots of travel, lots of giveaways (I’m telling you, feast or famine when it comes to giveaways, partnerships and sponsored content.) Anyway, you’ll have the chance to win not one, BUT TWO Windows phones, some original artwork and other fun little goodies. There’s also a redesign going on behind the scenes, my first one in YEARS. My second one EVER. LOOK ALIVE! February may not be a complete waste of time after all!

Over on Babble (because sharing is caring):

Do you like coconut? I sure do. I’ve managed to curate some of the most delicious raw, organic, vegan, gluten free, paleo and dairy free coconut snacks and treats. (Don’t get turned off by all those healthy words! SERIOUSLY! THIS STUFF IS SO GOOD.) If you don’t trust me: Samoas. There, are we friends again?

I rounded up the best pictures of Vivi from January. Half of them were taken with my DSLR while the other half are off Instagram. I’m officially to the point where I love both mediums so much I couldn’t pick a favorite, could you?

I finally sat down and wrote down everything I would tell you (if you would listen to me) about going on a Disney Cruise. This is one of those posts that I worked really, really hard on. If you’re a pinner, I sure would appreciate a pin if you have a board related to Disney or Travel. Thanks. Also? I talk about this, which may be the best Disney souvenir ever in the history of time.

character signatures on disney cruise

Last. THIS:

Perhaps you’re familiar? Get the full story here.


This is the moment where I mention that I have had the privilege of working with some really amazing companies, Tide being one of them. They changed the way I looked at white clothing last year and this year I was able to be a part of their campaign in cooperation with the NFL which all led up to the big game on Sunday night.

The scene was this: Cody looked up from one couch during the game, when the commercials came on Cody looked down and I looked up. A few got Cody’s attention but there were only a handful that got both of us giggling. I would glance back and forth between my computer and the television, seeing what Twitter had to say about each ad.



“I don’t get it. At all.”

“I want to move to the country and raise Clydesdales.”


“I’m so offended.”

“Way to go!”

“Bring back that underwear guy!”

“Oy with the dubbed over face sucking!”

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I once had an older woman walk up to me in a department store and ask me if I had a baby.

“Yes! I do!” I was honored that this woman thought I looked like a mother even when my baby wasn’t with me.

“Honey, you’re going to want to step into the bathroom, you’re leaking.”

I was confused.

She pointed at my chest and said “Guess you’ve been away from that baby for too long!”

I looked down and realized there was a wet-looking stain right over my…well. You know.

“OH THAT? That’s a very unfortunately placed ranch dressing stain from lunch.”

Yep. I was lactating creamy buttermilk ranch, or at least it seemed that way.

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If you ever watched Sex and the City then you probably remember the episode where Charlotte admits that she actually enjoys a night home alone where she can sit with her magnifying mirror, uninterrupted, so she can stare at her pores.

I like doing the exact same thing (but not with a magnifying mirror, I’m not a masochist.)

January was all about decluttering. I’d say I did a 65% effort with another 20% just waiting for warmer weather. The other 15%? That’s what the spare bedroom with a door is for.

February is going to be all about learning how to use the fancy makeup I own. As part of my decluttering I tossed a lot of old expired crappy makeup and stuff I have either never used, or never would use (bright gold liquid eyeliner and sticky red lip gloss being two of the tossing victims.) I realized I have a lot of good stuff, either from gift cards, samples, Birchbox, or stuff I have bought on the suggestion of others. Bad news? I barely know how to use any of for its true intended purpose or to its true potential.



I’ve scoured beauty blogs (whew, those are kind of exhausting), Pinterest (in the case of makeup tutorials, PINTEREST LIES) and YouTube for how-to videos. I plan on visiting a few makeup counters for a few bonus tips and tricks when I have the time/ability. I’m certainly not going to wear a lot more makeup a lot more often, but when I do put it on I want to wear it right. I tried out a really fancy eyeshadow tutorial tonight and realized I’m not cut out for 30 minutes an eye so I only did one. (The special effects made my 30 minutes of effort feel way more satisfying.)

Here’s what I have used for a long time that I would buy again/always have on hand:

Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer. I also really like the illuminating one but only for special occasions. The illuminating one doesn’t come in oil free so it feels a lot heavier which, sad.

Blotting tissues. I don’t really care the brand. I think the ones I have now are Boscia.

NARS blush in Orgasm (seriously, looks good on everyone.)

Urban Decay Naked One and Two palettes (One has a more equal number of matte/shimmer while Two is really shimmery.)

Make Up Forever HD setting powder (If you’re going to be having your picture taken? THIS.)

Fresh Sugar Lip Balm, my favorite color is Rose but the straight up colorless balm works wonders as well. (I have a tube in every bag and room in my house.)

Benefit Eye Bright pencil (I put this in the corners of my eyes and on my browbone and BOOM. Wide awake. I like this one better than Benefit’s High Brow)

Smashbox BB cream (this one is still earning its wings, but I’m pretty sure it will be one that sticks around.)

Clarisonic (Enough said. Everyone should get one of these when they turn 21. Period.)

Honorable mention goes to The Balm Hot Mama Blush, it’s really similar to Orgasm but with more of a warm golden shimmer.

I’m not a total nail polish crazy, but I do love Orly Bonder. Best basecoat ever. Their Sec N Dry is good stuff too.

My lashes are already pretty well behaved so I couldn’t really suggest one mascara over another, but I really like Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes. If there’s anything I’ve tried a ton of, it’s mascaras, in fact, I could do a whole post dedicated to mascara. Concealer? It’s between Benefit’s erase paste (40% of my vote) and Cargo One Base (60% of my vote).

I am a sucker for samples which is why Birchbox day is one of the best days of the month for me.  I could do snow angels in makeup samples if you gave me the opportunity. Those little tester boxes where you get five smaller versions of bestselling products for $15? Those are my crack. When Sephora has holiday specials of best selling mini mascaras or eyeliners? WHOO!  I once tried the Boscia black mask which Shireen swears by but it ripped every hair out of my face including the ones I wanted on my face so I never did that to myself again.  Queen Helene’s Mint Julep mask is cheap and seems to work pretty well but it smells like sulfur which is gross (the smell doesn’t wash off either.)


Queen Helene and her Royal Mint Julep


Let’s talk about the GLAM GLOW Super-Mud Clearing Treatment. I was reading over the package at Sephora when an adorable girl with the hair I dream said “I love that stuff! Have you tried it?” The box said things like “vacuum extraction” and “sebum” so I was a little wary of her glowing endorsement. “WANT ME TO MAKE YOU A SAMPLE?” she asked.


Back to Charlotte and examining her pores, Cody is watching a basketball game with friends tonight so it’s just my pores and me. I busted out the sample. She told me it goes on dark grey, dries to a light gray and wherever it managed to suck crap out of your skin (blackheads, oil, general grossness) it would turn black (which sounds terrifying doesn’t it?) I smoothed it on, a little minty, a little smelly but not terrible.


It dried in about 10-15 minutes and THERE THEY WERE. The little black spots where supposedly garbage had been sucked out of my skin. Well played Super-Mud, I’m intrigued.


I rinsed it off with a washcloth and warm water and YOU GUYS. Those little black spots on my nose in the above photo? Those were blackheads that are now GONE. I actually look dewy, refreshed and glowy! I’ve never had a mask, face wash or facial anything leave me looking this…good. To be honest every other mask I’ve ever used leaves me looking like I just ran around the block and slammed my face into a brick wall. NOT THIS ONE. Is it worth the $60 price tag? I can tell you I would not have been disappointed had I actually paid for it. (But really, you should have a Clarisonic before Super-Mud.)


I feel I should also mention the red lipstick. That’s new too. I love red lipstick and this one may be my new favorite. It’s actually a pencil and it stayed on through washing my face (twice) as well as eating and drinking. I’m not going all in just yet and say I’m 100% on it but it’s looking VERY promising. It’s by Bite and the color I have on is pomegranate.

So there you go. This is the stuff I would tell you about if we went into Sephora together. I love makeup, but I don’t wear it a lot nor am I an expert at putting it on. You could say I’m realistic! Relateable! And over the next month I’m going to be learning a lot more about it.

Next time you’re by a Sephora get a sample of the Super-Mud and let me know how it goes.

What is/are your favorite beauty product(s) you would tell me about if we went shopping together?

(nothing sponsored. no freebies, just some samples. links are affiliate.)


So toddlers. SUPER CUTE.

SUPER high maintenance.

I forgot how exhausting these little people can be. Maybe when kids are closer it all just kind of blends together into one sticky fingered blur, but I had a good four year break from toddlers and four years is MORE than enough time to forget what having one around is like. When I tell Addie to do something she generally does it, it may not be done perfectly well and while she gets distracted an awful lot, stuff gets done.

Telling Vivi to do something? It’s basically like telling a cat to do something. They look at you as though they understand (and you’re pretty sure they do) yet they keep on doing whatever it is they want to be doing. She also has a terrible habit of running directly for escalators. Vivi + escalator + me = Gladiator at the mall.

BUT, this phase is so funny, she picks up on the strangest things and marches right along to her own little belly thumps with bunny tucked up tight under her arm.

Sunglasses? Upside down.

Working hard at being Vivi.

Favorite accessory? Addie’s underpants on her head.

She really liked the salesman at Macy’s tonight and basically ended up using her little chubby hands as window wipers on his glasses as he bent down to say goodbye to her and bunny, all while squealing “WIGGYWIGGYWIGGYWIGGY!” He didn’t seem to mind.

She’ll randomly forget where she left bunny, stop dead in her tracks and call for him. “Bunny. Bunny? BUNNY!” Her calls get progressively bossier.

She loves to slurp noodles.

Bunnies can't eat soba noodles, but they can watch you eat soba noodles.

She eats the bubbles in her baths no matter how many times I tell her to stop.

Whenever we park the car she yells ‘READY!?’ as though we’re headed into battle.

If you stand in her way she will orbit you as though it is the greatest game to ever exist.

She nearly jumped out of the car today to wave to an airplane.

She still stacks her piggies.


She calls elephants “Lee-Lows” and sticks her tongue out as she says it.

If you ask her a question she’ll shake her head and said “Uh, no. Uh-uh.” and walk away from you.

She kissed herself in every mirror at Macy’s tonight, which is clearly why all of us continue to be so healthy.

kissing mirrors

Whichever arm isn’t clutching bunny swings with purpose as she walks.

Girl loves to be naked. Laughs like it is the funniest thing she’s ever experienced.

She feeds bunny (or in this case, puppy) a bite of everything she eats (bunny gets very dirty.) She even makes little “nom nom nom” sounds for her pets as they eat.


I wish I could remember ever silly little thing she does. I’m doing my best, but my entire days with this child are filled with so much silliness. (She will not say “silly” she will only giggle if you ask her to say it.)

When she gets up from her nap she’ll start out with an “Addie?” as though she’d like to see her. Then it progresses to “ADDIE?” as though she’s remembering how much she likes her. By the third “ADDIE!” they’ve generally found each other and Vivi squeals with joy that her friend is back.

When she waves goodbye she puts her little paw right up at her cheek and waves with just her fingers. “Bye!” If you’re lucky she’ll blow you a kiss too.

vivi and the mirror

That was an awfully fast year.


Vivi answered 48 questions over on Babble. Most of her answers involve bunny or cheese.

By Me:

5 tips for overcoming the winter photography blahs.

How to be a happier person for the rest of your life.

On surviving high school and finding grace.

A four minute video of the very best parts from the first half of our Disney Cruise.

By Cody:

Cody gets all misty about Addie getting bigger.

Scientific proof that two girls are the recipe for a happy family? We totally agree.

A legal explanation of what President Obama did in his plan to reduce gun violence.

Should gun owners feel guilty for owning guns?

Cody got his gum stuck in Vivi’s hair, Vivi ended up with a very crude haircut.

Finally? Vivi calls apples ‘bapples’ and it’s adorable.