how to look the best at everything. supposedly.

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.)


vivi at twenty (months.)

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.

babble and bapples.

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.


carpe the chocolate diem. (updated with even better photo.)

My grandma is allergic to chocolate. While I’m not a chocoholic, I can appreciate good chocolate and appreciate a bit here and there to feed my emotions when necessary.

We all know the term “Like a kid in a candy store.” But what I never understood about the term was A) sure, you can put a kid in a candy store but who’s going to buy the candy? (the parent, that’s who, and that’s me.) and B) no one is going to let the kid eat all the candy they want because that’s just a terrible idea for a lot of reasons.

Tonight however, I was an adult in a candy store, a See’s Candy store to be specific. I didn’t quite understand what the big deal was, a See’s Candy opening in Indianapolis. Doesn’t everyone have See’s Candy? I know I grew up with it and their dark chocolate caramels are the way to my mom’s heart (she grew up in Southern California where See’s started, in her words “See’s Candy is what everybody gave to everybody when I was a kid.”) Turns out it’s a big deal because Indianapolis never had a See’s Candy, until now.

I went to a media preview grand opening thing tonight not knowing what to expect but hoping there would be at least a few pieces of chocolate involved.

You guys? Once I realized they weren’t going to say no to any of us asking to try any of the chocolates I carpe-d the absolute diem out of tonight.

Scratch “Like a kid in a candy store” and change it to “Like a PMSing girl at a See’s Candy grand opening event.


I won’t admit specifics to how many pieces I actually ate (I ran out of fingers to count on, but not toes…so there’s that) or that I was shaking and talking really fast by the time the evening was over, but I can report back to you in full confidence that I did not put a single terrible thing in my mouth tonight, even the things I thought I wouldn’t like, I LIKED. Some of the things sounded super iffy, but ended up being my favorite (Pineapple and dark chocolate? Winner of the night, Possibly year, followed closely by lemon and dark chocolate.)

While the other people there were fairly dainty about their samplings (Emily, Jen, Sarah and Shireen) I didn’t say no. How often have you walked by a candy counter and wanted to TRY THEM ALL? How often is someone given the opportunity to go to a candy counter and try them all? Not very often. If at all. It was a bit of a childhood fantasy come true to be honest. I even got to pack a box with Emily, Lucy and Ethel style. (Fun fact: The episode where Lucy and Ethel stuff their mouths, hats and shirts with chocolate? Filmed at the See’s Candy factory in L.A.)

Emily and Casey pack chocolate Lucy style as Mary See looks on. (Probably in horror.)

(photos by whomever was holding our phones while we participated in the intense competition of chocolate packing. (how cute is Emily’s dress?))
See’s Candy? Amazing chocolate, adorable staff, well run family oriented company, American made. (not paid, just honest opinion after spending an hour and a half with them tonight.)

If you buy a five pound box you get ONE OF EVERYTHING. I vote for the Pineapple, Blueberry and Lemon truffle. The dark caramel, the milk Butterscotch square, the dark California brittle and the Scotchmallow (rumor is you put one of these on a s’more and angels sing.) Most popular is their Dark Bordeaux, it was good, but it was super rich and had a bit of a maple flavor (although there was no maple in it, it was brown sugar) if you’re into that kind of thing? You’d like it. If you’re a milk chocolate lover the Milk Chocolate Butter is your best friend.

Clearly I had to try as many as possible, RESEARCH!

(Also, I’m good without eating chocolate for awhile. Thanks. Also again? I may have turned into a TOTAL chocolate snob tonight. ALSO ALSO? Free sample whenever you come to any store, they give away over a million pieces of candy a year. A MILLION. (They sell 31+ million, if you need perspective.))

Are you a See’s Candy fan? What’s your favorite? Would you be dainty with your sampling or TRY IT ALL?

Disclosure: I was invited to the event as a media representative. I was only compensated in copious amounts of chocolate (Which I’m sharing with Cody, somewhat reluctantly.) Opinions, as usual, totally my own. If you’re in Indy, the new store is in the fancy new food court of the fancy new Keystone at the Crossing mall.

clutter snap.

Something snapped in me this week.

The clutter that surrounds me is overwhelming at times.


My mantra lately has been “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Right now everything does not have a place.

I have been reading articles about de-cluttering and the psychological reasons clutter.

It’s a rough one, if someone wanted to come do it for me (or at least hold my hand) I wouldn’t hate it.

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I know it will be worth it.

Hello Kitty, Hello Addie

I took before pictures of my bedroom last night. When I look at my bedroom, I just see my bedroom. When I look at the pictures however…whoa man, that’s an entirely different story.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris

I’m working on it Will, I’m working on it.

Do you have any clutter advice or words of encouragement?

Smart Trike Dream (a giveaway!)

Perhaps some of you notices Vivi’s sweet new wheels in recent pictures. The bike is a Smart Trike Dream and it’s kind of amazing. I wrote up an entire post about it over at Babble, complete with photos, red leopard boots and Vivi’s chubby little knuckles. The best part is I get to give one away.

For the full review, check out my article on Babble, then come back here for bonus entries for simply checking out where Vivi stores Bunny and how your child can get even more use out of the Smart Trike Dream. (Sorry it’s kind of a funny way to do a giveaway, there’s a reason, but it’s pretty boring. I’m just excited for one of you to win this sweet bike for someone little in your life!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided one Smart Trike Dream in purple in order to facilitate my review. Opinions are my own, as usual. The Smart Trike Dream is available at Toys R Us for $129.99.

the last 72 (in photos)

a bunny and a glove.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

Addie at 8

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny and a glove.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

try some snow!

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

Addie at 8

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.


Saturday – Hang out with Shireen, eat copious amounts of food and leave our server Shireen’s number because I know fireworks when I see ’em. Come home, terrible things happen to my stomach but I keep them hidden because as far as Cody is concerned nothing terrible ever happens to my digestive tract. Keep calm, carry on. Uh-oh. Sulfur burps. Gross. I mean honestly, is there anything grosser? Fall asleep fitfully, sleep terribly from stomach discomfort.

Sunday – Sleep in (thank you) awake to Cody mumbling “You need to be with the girls. I have a stomachache.” Oh dear. Two down. Kind of want to say something snide to Cody about the flushable wet wipes he makes fun of me for buying, realize now is not the time. Somewhat uneventful day, realize through twitter and Facebook it seems as though EVERYONE has or has had stomachflupocalypse. Perhaps Saturday night was the worst of it for me and Sunday the worst for Cody?

Monday – Normal day, bit of a rumble in my tummy but nothing major. Urban hunting and gathering at Costco and Nordstrom Rack. Normal night. Cody has recovered.

Tuesday – Wake up and realize I’m not doing better, dry heave a few times because dry heaving is totally amazing (not.) Rely on horizontal parenting from the floor and Sesame Street to keep everyone happy and out of the knife drawer. At night Addie sulfur burps ten feet away from me, “Addie? Do you feel okay?” turns out the kid has felt horrible, barfed in private because she didn’t want to bother me and is having backend issues as well. Three down. (This is where I mention that Vivi is the one that started all of this last week, she’s exempt from this terrible list.)

Wednesday – Addie sleeps in, feels better. I ask Cody to take Vivi to daycare so I can catch up on SO MUCH WORK. As soon as they leave a wave of nausea hits me. “Oh no.” Vomit. Crash on the couch. Wake up at noon. Attempt to eat, realize eating was a horrible idea, vomit, crash back on the couch until 3. Try to watch TV but realize that would involve sitting up to get the remote, I don’t watch TV. Cody brings home pizza, I manage to eat a little something bland, surely the worst has passed.

Thursday – The worst has not passed. Sobbing is involved as soon as I awake. Vomit, so much vomit. I have a bruise on my forehead from where I smacked it on the faucet in the midst of a terribly powerful heave (fun fact: while pregnant I learned that when it comes to dry heaving and/or vomiting bile the kitchen sink is a much more accommodating place to toss cookies (or lack thereof in this case.) Realize I cannot parent. Call Cody. Call the doctor. Cody takes Vivi to daycare (bless you drop in daycare) and I collapse on the couch. Call confirming a prescription of Zofran comes at 1, beg Cody to pick it up for me at 1:01. Zofran on board around 1:13 and *knock on wood* so far so good.

Silver linings:

Zofran. Bless you Zofran and bless you Dr. C for giving it to me.

Drop in daycare. Seriously. When you don’t have family or friends around? Drop in daycare is pretty much the best thing ever.

Cody’s job. He’s five minutes away and the pharmacy is right between his office and our house.

My job. One instance where work from home wins everything.

I am really good at vomiting. All that practice from pregnancy, you know? So while I may hate it, it’s really no big deal as long as I’m not expected to be a functioning human being.

Birth control. Yeah, I haven’t been this sick outside of pregnancy ever. But what I went through yesterday and today would be considered normal days during pregnancy. Guess who’s staying on birth control for a REALLY LONG TIME? This girl, right here.

Cats. Wink and Percy have probably had the best three days ever, a warm body to sleep on for at least 18 hours out of the day? I’m such a cat person and I love mine dearly.

If you simply have to be sick, be sure to have a couple of these guys  around.

So how about you and yours? Have you made it through the stomach flu of 2012/2013 or are you next?