Friday Favorites: A Few of my Favorite Makeup Products

I’ve never been someone who wears drastic makeup (I just feel so not myself with dark/heavy makeup), but I  do enjoy wearing makeup and feeling put together! Plus, let’s be honest… as a mom, the most glamorous part of my day often consists of a trip to Hobby Lobby, a grocery store run, or taking Lively to the park; that being said, my daily makeup routine is simple and typically consists of concealer, loose powder, highlighter, a tiny bit of eyeliner, mascara, and sometimes bronzer. I’m by no means a makeup expert, but I thought I’d compile a list of a few of my go-to makeup products:

  1. L’Oreal True Match Lumi Powder Illuminator (the Rose shade): I use this as a highlighter and feel like it adds a natural glow that isn’t too over-the-top. I’m a newbie to highlighting, but I feel like I’ve been missing out, because I love the extra coloring it adds.lumi2. COVERGIRL Cheekers Bronzer: I don’t use bronzer every day, but I love the “sun-kissed” look and structure this adds. I don’t use too much of it, and this one it subtle enough that when I do use it, it fits into my daily routine well.

bronzer3. COVERGIRL Professional Loose Powder: I use this powder every day and feel like it gives a nice, clean, finished look. It’s lightweight and keeps my face from looking oily. I’ve used it for years and am a big fan!

loose powder4. COVERGIRL Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner: I usually just apply eyeliner on the outside corners of my eyelids, because I don’t like thick eyeliner on myself. Most of the time I either use the color Charcoal or Espresso. This eyeliner goes on super smoothly and is never rough (like some of the pencils I’ve tried).

eyeliner5. Clinique High Impact Mascara: This mascara is kind of expensive, but totally worth it! Mascara is my favorite part of my makeup routine, and I wear it every day. This mascara adds good color, doesn’t clump and adds lots of volume; I would for sure recommend it!

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Like I said, I don’t claim to be a makeup expert, but I wanted to share my daily go-to’s for my simple makeup routine. I’d love to hear some of your favorite makeup products!

 

Head on over to a couple of my friends’ pages to read some of their Friday Favorites: Arin and Stephanie.

 

Always and forever,

Alex

Friday Favorites: Favorite Places to Shop for Baby Clothing

One of the (many) fun things about being a mom is dressing my daughter! I know, I know…. she’ll outgrow letting me pick out her outfits… so for now, I’m just soaking it in and loving dressing up my little baby doll.

While it’s fun picking out baby clothing, it’s super hard to justify spending much money on them, because they outgrow everything so fast! So I’ve compiled a list of my 3 favorite clothing stores to shop for little ones that are both cute and affordable:

  1. Old Navy: This is where most of Lively’s clothes are from. Their clothes are always so adorable and stylish. Their clothes definitely fit Lively the best (the most true-to-size). And the best part about their clothing… there’s always a sale going on. Old Navy is definitely at the top of my list!
  2. Gymboree: This is another one of my go-to stores when looking for clothes for Lively. Their clothes are classic and well-made, and there’s oftentimes good sales, too. Like Old Navy, their clothes seem to be most true-to-size.
  3. TJ Maxx: This one is kind of hit-or-miss, but I’ve found a few really cute things here (i.e. I found Lively’s first pair of hot pink Nike tempos here, some trendy little sweatshirt and legging combos, etc.). They have some of the best prices for name brand clothing. A lot of the brands they carry seem to run a little small, so Lively does tend to outgrow them faster.

One of the biggest ways for me to not overspend on baby clothes has been to buy pieces that are easily mix-and-matched. Dressing little babes is so fun, and by no means has to “break the bank.” What are some of your favorite shops to purchase clothing for your little one?

These are some of my favorite outfits of Lively’s to-date from the stores I mentioned (and just a fun excuse to go down memory lane :))

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(this one is actually from Target, but I love it, too!)

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Take a look at some of my friends’ Friday Favorites this week: Arin, Lauren, Alex, Jenifer, and Jackie!

 

Always and forever,

Alex

 

 

Homemade Fruit Yogurt Pops

Lively has been a teething machine for the past few months; at 9 months old, she already had 8 teeth! To give her some relief, as well as a fun (and healthy) treat, I made her these fruit yogurt pops with my new Beaba Babycook blender.

For this treat, I used the Babycook to blend up the fruits and yogurt. What makes this blender so unique is that it can also steam fruits, veggies, and raw meat! It’s seriously the coolest thing and makes preparing your own baby food so practical. If you make your own baby food or plan on it, you’d absolutely love a Babycook!

So back to the fruit yogurt pops… they’re super simple, but here’s the recipe and directions:

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Ingredients:

3 5.3 oz. containers of vanilla greek yogurt

Strawberries (I used 8)

1 Banana

1 Peach

 

Supplies:

Container for freezing your yogurt pops

Blender (here’s the link to the Babycook I have)

Cutting board and knife to cut your fruit into smaller chunks

 

Directions:

  1. Cut the stems off the strawberries and blend them with one of the 5.3 ounces of greek yogurt.
  2. Pour the mixture into your freezing container; make sure to leave enough room for the two other layers and try to evenly disperse it. *I didn’t like the strawberry layer as much as the other two layers, because it wasn’t as smooth due to the seeds. When making these again, I would make the strawberry layer smaller than the other two.*
  3. Peel the skin off the peach and slice it into smaller chunks. Then blend it with one of the containers of greek yogurt.
  4. Pour that mixture on top of the strawberry layer (leave enough room for the last layer).
  5. Slice the banana into smaller pieces, and blend it with the last container of greek yogurt.
  6. Pour the banana and greek yogurt mixture on top of the other two layers.
  7. Put the popsicle sticks in place.
  8. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
  9. To get the yogurt pops out more easily, run under warm water.
  10. Enjoy! I hope you and your little one(s) enjoy these fruit yogurt pops as much as we did!

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Always and forever,

Alex

 

 

Train Travel with a Baby

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We just got back a couple of weeks ago from our train trip out west. We traveled by Amtrak out to Glacier National Park in Montana for a few days, and then on to Santa Barbara, CA for a week. Total, we spent 110 hours on the train over a 2 and a half week span. It was beautiful, so much fun, and we learned a lot of valuable information on the way, so I thought I’d share some of the things we learned with y’all and some basic information about train travel (specifically Amtrak) in general:

– Get the Amtrak app on your phone. It tells you if your train is delayed (which happens often). Our first train was delayed 5 hours; although most trains probably aren’t delayed that long, it’s common for them to be at least a little behind schedule.

-To go along with my previous point about the delays, don’t make any super time-sensitive plans (you really can’t be in a rush). Thankfully we had an overnight layover after our long delay, or else it would’ve really complicated things.

-But with that being said, do not be late getting to the train station, because the train waits for no one! The train station in Chicago is really busy, and we actually almost missed our train leaving from there. They tell you to get to the train station about 45 minutes early if you’re wanting to check bags, which we did in Chicago, but for some reason the baggage check line was super long, and by the time we got to the front of the line, our train was leaving in less than 5 minutes. The lady working the baggage check told us it was too late to check our bags at that point and we’d better run if we wanted to make our train. We literally sprinted to our train with with our stroller, 4 suitcases, and diaper bag and barely made it on in time!

We had a roomette during our time on the train. If you’re traveling with a baby or young child, I would totally recommend getting a roomette or a bedroom (the next size up). The next few tips are specific to people traveling in roomettes:

-Each roomette has two chairs, which fold down into a bed. We actually kept the chairs folded into a bed the whole time, because it allowed more room for Lively to be able to crawl around. The roomettes also have a top bunk that can be folded up during the day and folded down when you’re ready to sleep. *Just a forewarning, the roomettes are small (the size of a small closet), so when the bottom bunk is down, it takes up the whole floor (so there’s no standing room).*

-If you have a baby with you, he/she is going to need to sleep on the small bunk with you. Duncan slept on the top bunk, while Lively and I slept on the bottom. There wasn’t a lot of room, but it was still nice to have a bed to sleep in.

-When you have a roomette, there are 4 bathrooms and 1 shower in your sleeper car that you share with the other roomettes in your car. The showers are actually pretty nice, and towels are provided. Make sure to bring flip-flops, though, since you’re sharing a shower with so many other people.

-There is a luggage storage rack on the lower level of the sleeper cars. You have access to your suitcases there, so you don’t have to bring your big suitcases into your roomette with you (saves at least a little space).

-Each sleeper car has a train attendant. Your train attendant will answer any questions you have, make up your bed every night and take it down in the morning, etc. Make sure to bring cash to tip your train attendant at the end of your train ride.

-Meals are included, which is huge, because the meals typically range from $10-$40. They have a menu with 4 or 5 options to choose from for each meal. Most people eat in the dining car, but you can request to eat in your room if you’d like (just make sure to ask your train attendant). When you eat in the dining car, breakfast is first-come, first-serve, while lunch and dinner are done by reservation.

-Each person is allowed to bring 2 personal items and 2 carry-on items (be sure to look at their website for specific details). A stroller, car seat, and diaper bag don’t count toward those, and you can either carry them on with you or check them through to your destination if you won’t need them/don’t want to mess with them until your final destination. You can also check your 2 “carry-on” bags if you’re not going to need them until your final destination. Most of the time we checked our 2 biggest bags (except for when we almost missed our train in Chicago), so we made sure to have our toiletries and enough clothes in our smaller suitcases.

-If you’re staying in a sleeper car (either a roomette or bedroom), check to see if the stations you’re leaving from have a Metropolitan Lounge (I know for a fact Chicago, Portland, and Los Angeles have them). They’re basically nicer waiting rooms you can relax in while waiting for your train to arrive. They oftentimes provide free snacks and drinks, and you can store your luggage in there if you want to go out and about for a couple of hours. It was so helpful being able to know our luggage was in a safe spot while we explored Portland during our 4-hour layover there so we didn’t have to carry it around with us.

Traveling by train with a baby is quite a bit of work, but it’s also such a fun adventure and a memorable experience. If you have questions, I’d love to answer (I’m sure I left out some important information)!

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Always and forever,

Alex

Tips for Traveling with a Baby

Since Lively was born, she’s been to the mountains (a 15 hour car ride), the beach (a 10 hour car ride), and on a few flights. Traveling with a baby definitely changes things, like making car rides longer and adding extra luggage, but at the same time, it makes trips so much more special seeing your little one having fun exploring new places! Our little family is leaving on a train trip out west soon; I’m super excited, because we’re going to be visiting places we’ve never been before (I’m excited to share it with y’all, so stay tuned :)), and it will be Duncan and Lively’s first time traveling by train!

In honor of our upcoming trip, I wanted to share a few helpful tricks we’ve learned that’ve made traveling with a baby a little bit easier. I know some seem super simple and common sense, but I know as a mom, sometimes I forget the most “simple” things… mom brain, I guess!

  • Make a packing list! I’m a check list person anyway, but a packing list is really important when you have a little one, because there are so many different items necessary for daily life with a baby you do NOT want to forget (maybe not all necessary, but at least make daily life way easier).

For long car rides:

  • Bring a handful of books and/or toys to entertain your little one. I’ve memorized a few books of Lively’s that are pretty short and simple, so they’re easy to recite to her in the car; some of her favorites are “Where’s Spot?,” “I Like to Squeak! How Do You Speak?,” “Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You.” Having some of the books memorized means we don’t have to bring as many with us!
  • Sing songs and tell your little one(s) stories. Lively LOVES this and it soothes her best if she’s starting to get fussy on a long drive. I think it helps, because she’s still in a rear-facing carseat, so she gets a little lonely in the backseat, and I like to reassure her that we’re still there!
  • Bring snacks (if your baby is old enough). Little snacks help when it’s getting close to a feeding time, but there’s not a good place to pull off the road for a little ways. They usually help hold Lively over until we can pull over, and I can feed her.
  • Duncan or I usually sit in the backseat with Lively for at least part of a long drive, so she’s not by herself the whole time. She gets so happy when someone is back there talking to her and playing with her!

For airplanes:

  • Arrive with plenty of time before your flight, as everything takes a lot longer with a little one. We had to go through special lines since we had a lap-sitting infant, and they involved long waits every time.
  • We flew Southwest, and they have “family boarding,” which means if you don’t have “A” boarding, you can board between groups “A” and “B” if you have a little one. We didn’t know this for our first flight, and waited until group “C” since that’s what it said on our boarding tickets. It makes it so much easier when you can board earlier!
  • For landing and take-off, I was told to either be feeding Lively or make sure she had her pacifier in her mouth (so her ears didn’t pop). It totally worked!
  • Once again, bring little snacks (in your carry-on).
  • Also, bring a couple of toys and maybe a book or two in your carry-on.

These are just a few of the tips and tricks I’ve learned while traveling with a baby. If you have some more, please share; especially for a train, since this will be the first time we’ve taken Lively on one!

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My dress in these photos: PinkBlush

 

Always and forever,

Alex

Post-Baby Clothing

Towards the end of my pregnancy it felt like my wardrobe was super limited, as hardly anything fit anymore (maybe a couple of t-shirts and a couple pairs of Nike tempos). It made me excited to have a few more clothing options after Lively was born. I didn’t realize, though, how many things either wouldn’t fit the same for a while or that I wouldn’t be able to wear while breastfeeding.

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It honestly didn’t even cross my mind that I wouldn’t be able to wear hardly any of my dresses out in public as long as I’m still breastfeeding. Thankfully, off-the-shoulder dresses are popular right now, and they make it SO easy to breastfeed! *Side note, as a 90’s baby, I’m so happy seeing tie dye back in style!*

One of my favorite breastfeeding tips I’ve heard is to wear a strapless swimsuit top with strapless, off-the-shoulder, or thin-strapped shirts and dresses.

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If you’re breastfeeding, pregnant, or neither of those, PinkBlush has so many cute and flattering clothing options! They make you feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, no matter where you are in your pregnancy journey.

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On a different note, Lively is obsessed with water… the pool, ocean, bath… any water! So we took her to this creek a couple of days ago, and she had a blast! Ha, she kept trying to sit down in the water and splash around (her clothes were definitely drenched by the end). We love our little water baby!

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Dress: PinkBlush

 

Always and forever,

Alex

3 Things I’m Learning From 3 Years of Marriage

Just like life, marriage is a never-ending growing process. It is a humbling journey, making me a better person every day. In order to become a better person, though, it’s necessary to have the difficult conversations and hand over our flaws to God.

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In honor of Duncan and I celebrating our third wedding anniversary last week, I wanted to share 3 things I’ve been learning throughout our marriage the past 3 years (and I’m sure I’ll continue to learn and have to grow in).

  1. Expectations are so dangerous. I can’t tell you how often I’ve built up expectations in my mind and failed to communicate them to Duncan. Every single time it has led to frustration and disappointment, both of which were totally avoidable had I simply communicated. I can’t reiterate the importance of communication enough in any relationship, especially marriage.
  2. It is critical to humble ourselves and admit when we are wrong. I have a super hard time with this, because I hate being told I’m wrong… in school I never once missed turning in an assignment and never turned in an assignment or test with a blank space, because I did not want to leave any room for a teacher to get onto me. I got the best grades I possibly could, because I didn’t want to get a single question wrong. Yes, it is important to work our hardest on everything we do, but it becomes a problem when our motives aren’t right. And this has played into my marriage, in the form of me having trouble simply admitting when I am wrong and not wanting to apologize. God has been using Duncan, though, to open my eyes to the value of correction. We’re never going to grow without being stretched, corrected, and humbled.
  3. Live in the now, but never stop dreaming together. Happiness is something you have to choose NOW (not, “Things will be so much better in 3 years when my husband is finished with school,” or “We’ll be so much happier when we live in our dream location”). This is something I fall prey to, but life is so, so much better when we choose happiness now. With that being said, it’s crucial to never stop dreaming, either. Some of my favorite conversations with Duncan are about our top 3 destinations we’d want to live, where our current dream vacation would be, how many children we want to have, etc. It is the best being married to someone who challenges you to be happy (truly joyful) now, but who is also willing to dream big with you.

Thank you, Dunc, for 3 wonderful year of companionship, teamwork, and growing together!

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Always and forever,

Alex

Being an Intentional Mom

Becoming a mom is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Period. It is humbling, unleashes a whole new love you didn’t realize existed, and makes you realize how quickly time goes by.

My mom has always been so good about being intentional with me and with her time in general. She makes me feel like the most important person in the world when I am talking to her. I think technology and social media have value, but one of the things I’ve always appreciated most about my mom (especially looking back) is how she never whips out her phone or makes me feel like second priority; when she is with someone, she is genuinely all there and fully present.

That’s been one of the biggest things for me lately- realizing, even though Lively is only seven months old, she’s going to notice and remember how present or absent I am with her. I don’t want to be the mom who is constantly on my phone, who’s prioritizing social media over the people who are right in front of me… I want Lively to know how valued she is and how she is 100% worth my time. I want to show her the beauty in being present and be that living example for her, because it’s true that actions speak louder than words.

Time is fleeting, but I at least want to be able to look back and say I lived in the moment every step of my life and did everything I could to love my children to the best of my ability (not that perfection is attainable, but that I work towards becoming a better wife, mother, and person every single day). It’s an area I’m trying to work on and have been asking Duncan to keep me accountable in 😉 It’s humbling to realize I’ll never be the perfect mom, but I can keep bettering myself and praying for the areas I’m lacking, knowing God will grow me and fill in the gaps.

With Mother’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking an extra lot about all things motherhood and about how grateful I am for my own mom. If you’re like me, you probably feel like you can never repay your mom for all she’s done, but if you’re looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift for your amazing mom, Jord Wood Watches has some beautiful  women’s watches (and men’s watches) that you can even get as an engraved gift for your mom (engraving is FREE now through Mother’s Day).

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I have this Zebrawood and Navy Frankie Series watch and love it (featured in these photos). It is such a cool watch and goes with everything!

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Annndddddd one of the most exciting parts of all of this… you can enter to win a GIVEAWAY for a *$100 gift code to use on the Jord site*! All you have to do is go to this link and enter your name and e-mail address (super easy 🙂 ).The contest will close May 21st, with one lucky person winning the $100 gift code, and everyone else who enters receiving a $25 gift code.

*The contest will close on May 21st at 11:59 p.m. and gift codes will expire June 30th, 2017*

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Make sure to make your moms feel extra loved and appreciated this Mother’s Day. And Happy Mother’s Day to all you new mommies out there!

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Always and forever,

Alex

 

 

Dating When Time & Money are Sparse

We can probably all agree, whether you’re married or not, dating is fun and exciting. Once you get married, I believe continuing to date your spouse is super important and honestly still just as fun (if not more fun), because you know the person so well and are becoming closer every day.

Since Duncan started medical school, our lives have changed and he’s definitely busier than he used to be. We also have our baby girl, who takes a lot of my time and attention (not that I don’t love it, because I totally do!); these drastic changes combined have made a big difference in how much time and money we have… BUT despite all of that, dating each other is more important than ever and honestly more cherished. Our marriage is super high priority, no matter what season of life we are in, and we want to treat it that way/nurture it by spending intentional quality time together.

Most of our dates are simple and really affordable (and include our favorite little third wheel)! We love going to the parks near our house; there are a couple within 5 minutes, and Lively loves them, too! We just got an attachment for our bikes, so Lively will be able to ride with us… it’s a win/win… exercise and quality time all at the same time! We also love icees, snow cones/shaved ice, and Sonic drinks, so runs to go get one of those are high up on our list of favorite things to do. Another one of our favorites is watching TV series together on Netflix… we always have a show we are watching together; if you ever need a list of shows you should watch on Netflix, I’m pretty sure we’ve got you covered, haha. We love to go to the store and get steaks, too, for Duncan to grill at home (probably even more than we love going out to eat!).

We live close to Memphis, so when we have a little more time, we like to go into the city and find different things to do there, whether it’s trying new restaurants, walking around outdoor shopping areas, visiting the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, etc.

Really, whatever we’re doing, it’s nice to have time to talk with no distractions. We both enjoy talking about our hopes and dreams, places we’d want to live someday, destinations we want to visit… just continuing to get to know each other better, despite the chaos of daily life.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite date ideas!

Here are some pictures from some of my favorite dates from over the years:

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Dinner date on our honeymoon in Naples, FL

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Dinner date at Nakato’s for our 6 month anniversary of being married (it’s the restaurant we ate at the night we got engaged)

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Weekend getaway Duncan planned (to literally the middle of nowhere, haha)

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Chick fil A run for frosted lemonades

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Weekend getaway at Big Cedar Lodge

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Icee run after we found out Lively’s gender (we sent this to our friends and family asking if they thought we were having a boy or girl- blue or pink)

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Best snow cones in Memphis!

 

Always and forever,

Alex

 

Beach Baby

A couple of weeks ago was Duncan’s spring break. To say we love when he gets a break is an understatement, and it is even better when we get to go on a vacation! Duncan and I both love going to the beach and could literally sit out on the beach all day, from sun-up to sun-down (I read while he fishes).

This was Lively’s first time at the beach, so we were curious what it would be like with a baby and how things would be different; come to find out, Lively also LOVED the beach! Watching her feel the ocean breeze and hear the waves for the first time melted this momma’s heart!

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Our daily routine was pretty much get up, eat breakfast, and put sunscreen on, then hurry out to the beach! Our daily must-haves included a big umbrella (Lively laid under it basically all day; the shade, warm breeze, and sound of the ocean put her right to sleep and helped her nap better than ever). We also brought out a big blanket to lay under the umbrella, my nursing pillow, my feeding cover, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Lotion, a sunhat for Lively, and lots of water (because I always feel parched when I feed Lively, haha).

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In the evenings, it was so fun walking Lively along the beach! My WildBird carrier was perfect, because Lively is comfortable, she can look out and see, and she can easily fall asleep in it. It was so special watching Lively enjoy the beach… we love our little beach babe! We can’t wait for many more trips with her and memory-making adventures!

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Always and forever,

Alex