Thursday, December 31, 2015:

Four Weeks to Due Date and I Can't Wait to...

Use the skincare "good stuff"!  I miss my retin-A so so much and I am craving a good chemical peel!  You can keep your wine, I just want to exfoliate my face off!  

Edited to add: I also can't wait to hold my baby ;)
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Monday, December 28, 2015:

Nesting? Here's a Fun Organizational DIY!

This nesting situation is out of control!!  I've gotten so bad that I think some of my symptoms have rubbed off on my husband!!  It's actually kind of nice sharing motivation to get stuff done!

My husband just spent a week at home with all of us for the holidays and I feel like this extended family time in our natural habitat has helped him to appreciate functional organization!

After doing some research I came across this IKEA hack and fell in love!  Often the queen of Pinterest Fails, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this came together!!!  Thanks Mommy Vignettes for the brilliant idea and easy-to-follow tutorial!

To show you how easy this really was, here's a look at how we tackled this DIY!

What You Need:

  • Kallax- IKEA.  One tall book shelf/bench and two square end shelving units 
  • MDF board- Home Depot. Cut to size for free (approx $10)
  • Cushion Foam-Walmart (This was the priciest piece at $16 for a 2'x3' piece.  We made three benches and bought four foam cushions and just jimmied around the cut outs to cover the bench.  Get foam that is at least 3" high)  
  • Batting- Walmart 
  • Fabric- IKEA (Hack alert- while in IKEA we found a table cloth that we liked for the benches.  Org. $18.99 on sale for $6.99. One table cloth was enough for two benches- with leftovers- hmm...pillows?) 
  • Staple Gun
  • Scissors
  • Hammer (we needed this in order to tap in the staples that were sitting a little high in the MDF)
  • Bread knife (for cutting foam)

Francois aligning foam cushion in order to cut to size

Batting over the cushion foam with cut outs at right

Stapling the batting around the foam and MDF board

We cut the table cloth in half and then just lined it up over the batting and foam

Mommy Vignettes recommended double folding the fabric before stapling to ensure a more secure hold



Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, December 25, 2015:

Merry Christmas!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, December 22, 2015:

What to do With All of Those Holiday Cards?

I wasn't planning on posting about this little holiday tradition I stole from my brother and sister-in-law, but after a few comments on a Facebook photo, figured I'd share!

I love decorating our tree with the faces of friends and family and the boys love to name everyone they recognize!  It helps me hold on to these thoughtful cards while eliminating cluttered mantels (for the record, I love a cluttered mantel, my husband, however, hates when they cover the TV remote sensors...fair).

So every year we save our cards by nestling them into our (cough...artificial) tree!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Sunday, December 20, 2015:

Stemming off of Yesterdays Smoothie Recipe- Another Yummy Beverage!

I'd like to begin this post by saying that if I EVER suggested we buy a 12 pack of $2 per can beverages, my husband would laugh at me.  ESPECIALLY if I said, "But honey, these drinks are full of antioxidants and powered by a 'super fruit'- the coffee fruit!"

So THANK GOODNESS my husband fell in love with these first!

Introducing the Coffee Fruit, Antioxidant Drinks of Bai- our personal favorite Gimbi Pink Gratefruit

So the healthy skin loving passionista in me loves the idea that so much of this beverage is derived from earth's natural resources and jam-packed with free-radical fighting antioxidants!  The champagne-abstaining, 34 weeks + 5 days pregnant mother in me loves the bubbles (and secretly cannot wait to "celebrate" our new arrival with a little Gimbi Pink Gratefruit and Vueve)!

What my husband loves about these drinks is that they are a low-calorie, caffeinated, and satisfying beverage to jumpstart his mornings!

The best part, Bai is up-cycling the pulpy coffee fruit (the coffee bean lives inside!) that's often discarded in the coffee bean harvesting process.  And to Bai, the coffee fruit might just be the better of the two ingredients!

Bai's coffee growing country of choice?  Indonesia.  So not only are Bai's drink infused with antioxidant power, but Bai is also infusing remote and frequently poor regions with long-term economic opportunities!  Cheers to that!

There is a lot of good that comes out of this yummy beverage!  Check out the website and the insightful FAQ's- might be worth adding this to your pantry!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Saturday, December 19, 2015:

The Final Stretch Smoothie Recipe- Six Weeks Out!

My due date is fast approaching at a snail's pace- why do these last few weeks of pregnancy always seem to go by

This is my third go-around and I am just looking forward to hitting the post-partum ground running.  The toughest part of the last weeks of pregnancy is the conflict I have between my physical capabilities and my ambitions!  I am a go go go kind of person but the extra baby weight and inability to actually take a full breath make it hard for my body to keep up with my busy-body mind!

Thank goodness I can blog sitting down!

So in this last stretch I am doing my best to just stay as active as possible and to eat as mindfully as possible!

We recently bought a Vitamix- it's beautiful!  Sadly, it will be returned- not because we don't trust the rave reviews about this miracle blender, it's just that my husband realized that they sell refurbished models for a LOT less!  You're welcome aspiring Vitamix owners, you're welcome.... ;)

While we won't be keeping this Vitamix, the purchase has inspired me to re-integrate healthy smoothies into my diet!  This pregnancy has come with a toddler-like appreciation for healthy food.  In other words, if it isn't sugary and high in carbohydrates, I'm not interested.  I joke that baby #1 received daily salads and lean proteins in utero.  Baby #2 received mostly salads with the occasional lunch of goldfish and puffs.  But baby #3...yikes- he's being built upon stale candy corns and pre-natal vitamins!

I really had to step up my healthy pregnancy game so these last few mornings have started with the following smoothie!  I hope to keep up this healthy habit!

  • Baby Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Skim Milk
  • Fat Free Yogurt
  • Tbl Spoon of Flax Seed
  • Tbl Spoon of Chia Seed
  • 2 Tbl Spoons of Barlean's (this stuff is so so good!)

Customize your quantities until you reach the consistency that works for you, blend, and enjoy!

Happy healthy blending!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, December 15, 2015:

Do "Something" About Gun Violence

Image from
Ok, so we're shifting gears from the skincare tips and kid toy reviews!  Gun violence is certainly a hot button issue- especially when it seems that once a week the news covers another tragedy!

Recently I posted a snarky article from The Onion regarding people's obsession with the second amendment (right to bear arms).  It stirred a thought-provoking debate on my Facebook feed (and let the record show that I am happy to share my FB real estate with smart commentary on hot-button issues!).

In response to that commentary, a former classmate of mine penned this post to help explain why most of the suggestions on what to do would not actually cause actionable change.  I wanted to share that post here.  I am still digesting the content myself and I certainly have opinions on the recommendations, but I think it's worth a read if you are interested in this issue.  Stay tuned for my thoughts on the matter.....

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, December 11, 2015:

My AllPakt Review

Ok!  We've had some time to play around with our AllPakt and the votes are in!!

First Things First- What is an AllPakt?:
An AllPakt is a durable and reusable kid-sized backpack that's filled with travel-friendly toys, activities and accessories road-tested and approved by road warrior parents!  The company's sole mission is to bring peace to parents and joy to kids en route to family vacations.  Side note: this idea started in a swim up bar...over a margarita.  I mean, how can the idea NOT be genius with that sort of foundation?!

Initial Thoughts:
Overall, I love the concept of this bag!  My son was first drawn to the sculpting clay (ok, and I'll admit that that item didn't even make it to the car), but all of the other goodies really kept his attention.  It helped because many of the items were new to him- and I think THAT's the key with the AllPakt.  An argument could be made that you could just throw current toys and activities in a bag and call it a day, but what really keeps the kids engaged are new and shiny toys they haven't yet played with. 

Two thumbs up for our AllPakt!

Part of the draw of this bag is the excitement of getting a travel pack that builds up the enthusiasm of going on a trip.  Sure, all items can be purchased on their own (and with my rough calculations that would be close to $65* making the AllPakt a steal!), but I see my AllPakt package in the same way I see those "Sealed With A Kiss" packages (you know the ones that I never received at summer camp....thanks Mom...  Insert side eye).  It's a travel care package for your kiddo that benefits parents too by keeping kids busy while on the road!  I could easily see this becoming a travel tradition in the Brochu household!

I also liked that the backpack was of good durable quality.  Zippers seem sturdy and I can see my son using the bag long after he's moved on from the goodies inside.

Honest Baby Wipes were included.  I am a wipe enthusiast (Wet Ones, Kirlands, name it).  I don't necessarily have a preference- I just prefer to have wipes within a sticky arm's reach at all times.  With toddlers, you can never have enough!  So the Honest Wipes were a nice touch in my honest (mom) opinion (couldn't' help myself).

While we loved the idea overall, there were a few things I could have done without.  Check out my breakdown by item below!

Thoughts by item: 
Magnetic Board with Magnets- I was surprised at how long my son played with this.  He even wanted to take it from the car to play with in the house.  The magnets diminished the amount of "Mom can you pick that up" requests and I liked that this toy stirred his imaginative play talents.  Ours was dino themed and we happen to be obsessed with Dino's in this house (ICYMI- dino jewelry for mom too :)

Plush Hand Puppet- eh, take it or leave it.  It's cute and fun.  But really only provided a few minutes of silliness between me and my son.  That might say something about the other stuff in the bag- too many other really neat goodies to be sidetracked by a hand puppet.

Doodle Pad- This is perfect for my four year old.  He is learning his letters and loves to write.  He also loves doodling and drawing.

Stackable Crayons- Smart! The anti-roll feature is just genius when it comes to travel crayons.  Ours were lego themed so provided both coloring and construction entertainment.

Bilingual Book- I am all about the bilingualism (we happen to be pushing French in this house- and by "we" I mean my husband and kids since I do not parle the francais).  I think any book would do but I guess it's always good to expose our kids to other languages.  Fortunately I happen to know a little espanol so was able to provide a stirring rendition of Jorge el Curioso.

Lap Tray- This was good.  Small, but it worked.  It provided a decent surface for coloring.  The edge around the trey helped prevent things from falling off which was significantly easier for my son to manage than the clipboard we had been using.

Wikki Stix- I could probably do without these.  My son lost interest in these pretty quickly.  My husband played a bit with them to show my son how he could sculpt and manipulate the stix to make funny shapes, but they still didn't keep my son's interest and I continue to find them crumbled on the floor or in the playroom.

Sculpting Clay- My son loves clay and Play-Doh so he was instantly drawn to this item first.  My only complaint, it would be better if this was stored in a reusable container (vs. the foil wrap it came in).  I think the Play-Doh mini's would be a perfect swap.  Otherwise, it's hard to reseal and pack back up into the bag (then again, as I write this, I wonder if maybe the foil was resealable and we just didn't notice it in our zeal to get it open....unfortunately we have already tossed the packaging and the clay because it dried out).

CubeBot- My son thought this was neat but it may have been a little sophisticated for him.  He didn't really understand what to do with it and tossed it to the side to play with the other items.

Honest Travel Wipes- Always a win.

Our Surprise- Wipeable Activity Cards- Super Smart and I will definitely keep these on hand (except, maybe I'll hand them out one at a time so I don't have to pick up 100 cards off the back of the car again...and again!).  These little activity cards are genius and include mazes and little scribble activities.

So speaking of handing out items one-by-one, that's probably the best way to handle the AllPakt.  I found that my son was over stimulated with all of the options- sort of like when he opens a bunch of gifts for his birthday or holiday.  He is excited to play with each toy but eager to move on to the next. For the sake of making the most of a long car ride or flight, best to spread them out and encourage your child to really engage with each activity before moving on to the next.

Are you interested in an AllPakt- Take advantage of the Friends & Family Special Offer- $5 off with promo code TU1D5LB

Important notes:
I received our complimentary AllPakt in return for a fair and honest review
*My calculations are cursory at best!  I did a quick Amazon search and ballparked prices when exact items weren't available.  I also added on a $5 "surprise" toy charge.
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, December 8, 2015:

Some Tuesday Truth (and Motivation)

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Monday, December 7, 2015:

AllPakt Has Arrived!!

I've been anxiously awaiting the delivery of our AllPakt and it's finally here!  What better time to review a children's product than right before the holidays!!??  Good thing Santa's elf brought this to us early- just in time for holiday travel!!

Ok, so what is it??  
The AllPakt backpack is a bag stuffed to the brim with travel-friendly goodies for your kids.  Designed specifically for pre-schoolers, the AllPakt team creates the perfect travel bag for kiddos.  Easy, engaging, and (so far) mess free!  Perfect for the jet set kiddos out there!  

If I had any self control, I'd hold on to this until Christmas (ok, and maybe I'd probably wrap each item separately to get some serious gift points- did you see how many items are in this bag??), but both my four year old and I were too excited to hold off on unpacking!

I think part of the fun of these book bags is unpacking the AllPakt and discovering all of the goodies!!

We have yet to take the book bag in the car and already my son is eager to try all of the goodies!  

Before my official review I feel it's only fair to give the kiddo some time to explore all of the swag!  But just take a peek at all of our goodies!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Thursday, December 3, 2015:

As the Mom to All Boys...

...including one who frequently identifies as a "Dinosaurus", it's my maternal obligation to buy these.

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, December 1, 2015:

My AllPakt is On It's Way!!

Have you guys heard of this new children's brand- AllPakt??

A backpack stocked full of some serious travel goodies for kids! How genius!

We are fresh off of our Thanksgiving travels and bracing for potential Christmas commutes so the timing could not be more perfect!  Stay tuned for my review once we have a some time to play!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Wednesday, November 25, 2015:

Thankful For Facials!

I love coming "home" and getting pampered!!!  Today I am thankful for the amazing aesthetic services at Spa One at The Plastic Surgery Group :)  

And heads up!!  Today is the last day of their holiday sale!!  Spend $100 on a gift certificate, receive an additional $25!  Happy Gifting!!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Sunday, November 22, 2015:

Making Progress!

"Genuinely impressed"- my husband.  

Maybe he's just being nice because today is my birthday but I'd like to think that he doubted me, discouraged me, and ultimately thought it was a waste of time (and money) only to see the progress and admit that maybe it's not such a bad idea.... (remind me to tell you about our home renovation because I'm starting to notice a pattern).

Here are some progress reports!  Most of the big stitching is done, just have to tighten up some of the cording along the seams, tailor and iron the skirt, and add strings to secure the back panel (which we left open so that I can easily remove for washing and hopefully it gets rid of some of the extra fabric on the back panel)!!

When will my husband ever realize that the most motivating thing he can tell me is "no"-  come to think of it, this applies to my goals beyond a slipcover!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, November 20, 2015:

Midnight Slipcover Making by a Nesting Mom!

This latest post is brought to you by an hour-long power nap that snuck up on me while putting the boys down for the night!

I. Can't. Sleep.

And despite my efforts to Chatty Cathy my husband into a conversation, he fell asleep mid-sentence (seriously, the guy sees a pillow after 9:30pm and he's already completed an entire REM cycle).

What's an uncomfortable pregnant woman to do at 11pm when she's wide awake with no one to talk to (and, more frustratingly, no updates on Facebook despite a dozen refreshes)?

Make a slip cover, of course!

My mother-in-law happens to be a professional seamstress but why on earth would I believe her when she says I'm crazy to do this (for what it's worth, I'm sure my French speaking MIL didn't say I'm "crazy".  What she probably said was, "mon dieu, zis iz so ambitious"!)?

The "crazy" was likely added by my tooootally on-board and supportive husband- right Hun?

Anyways, here are a few "before pics".  Fully acknowledging that this is an accountability post and now I have no choice but to follow up with the afters!

Ok, side note- why is it that on the nights I'm willing to pop out of bed for additional tuck-ins and sips of water, my boys sleep like rocks?  Yet on the days I'm dead tired, they're up one million times (no exageration)??

I will regret this 2am post in the morning...good night to you.  As for me, I'll just be laying here with my eyes closed wishing I hadn't "napped" at 7; attributing my nocturnal activities to nesting.

And here's a sense of what I'm going for...
Image from Style Me Pretty Living Blog's a work in progress...

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Thursday, November 19, 2015:

The Verdict is in....And it's Yummy! Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake

Have you been following along?!  Well, ICYMI, this is the yummiest and easiest chocolate lava cake recipe ever!  What I loved most- three items at the grocery store*- chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips.

For those of you who know me, I am certainly no culinary expert.  So the fact that I pulled this off is a testament to the easy-factor of this recipe.

While discussing with girlfriends, our greatest concern was that we wouldn't get that ooey gooey lava flow- welp, take a look at the picture below!

This was delicious.  I used a sugar-free pudding (because, you know, now suddenly it's super healthy ;) but would probably opt for the regular pudding next time.  I also forgot the vanilla ice-cream which is so essential!

The greatest challenge with this recipe is storage.  After some perusing online, I ultimately decided to just scoop into a pyrex bowl and store in fridge, spooning out individual portions on to a microwavable plate, zapping and serving.

Despite our healthy eating efforts, this might just become a staple in our home!  Here's the easy Tasty Tutorial, again!

*You also need eggs, milk and vegetable oil.  Miraculously, these are all items I already had in the house!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Wednesday, November 18, 2015:

Chocolate Lava Cake in the Slow Cooker!

So if you follow me on "the book" you may have seen my recent drool-worthy post on the world's easiest chocolate lava cake.  Well, it's in the works folks!!

Special thanks to this little guy for his help!  Mwah!

Stay tuned for taste tester feedback courtesy of a two and four year old- chocolate cake connoisseurs!

And here is the Tasty link to the super simple tutorial! 

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, November 17, 2015:

So This is The End...

These past few weeks I have had such an amazing amount of energy!!  It's been so nice feeling like I was on top of everything- the kids, the house, and even my dogs benefitted from my boost of motivation.

But no sooner did I hit week 28 of pregnancy and enter into that last trimester- poof the energy is gone!

I have so many things I want to accomplish- make a slipcover, finish the nursery...just typing this makes me out of breath!

Please let the pregnancy powers that be bless me with a few more weeks of motivation!!
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Thursday, November 12, 2015:

Great Brands are Organic- Love Me Some Donny Deutsch Intel

Watch me turn a Rachel Ray interview with Donny Deutsch into Deep Thoughts with Kate Brochu...

The other day I was at the gym plugged into my ellpitical while watching Rachel Ray and Donny Deutsch talk about his new show, "Donny".

While I highly doubt I'll carve out any time to watch this show (even though it does sound hilarious), I always find Donny's marketing insights to be right on the mark (no surprise here seeing as how he built an advertising empire!).

While talking about his character in the show, he admitted that it is, in many ways, based off of him and his real life experiences...following up by saying that "Great brands are organic."


Since I have a tendency to apply everything to ME (working on that...and active listening...and a lot of other things!), I couldn't help but agree.

I struggle with trying to identify what The Kate Brochu Blog is.  In the past it's been a little edgy (do ya recall "Karmama's a Bitch") and at times it's super warm and vulnerable- pitting my content and blog title against one another.  In an effort to carve out my niche, I often felt like I needed to dive deep into one, specific genre of the greater me.  Was it skincare, parenting, or something else??

When I focused on skincare, I felt an entire facet of my personality was being neglected.  And when I focused specifically on parenting, selfishly, I felt like I was diluting my "me-ness" (that whole "more than a mom" thing that I struggle with).

It wasn't until changing the blog's name and tagging it with "a daily lifestyle brand" statement that I felt free to just brainstorm, edit and post.  On any given day I can publish the stuff that inspires me and I don't feel the need to filter and check if it works with my niche (I do, however, try to integrate a common thread or angle in every post- parenting, beauty or both!).

And as I post my daily lifestyle ramblings- from parenting to skincare- I feel like my organic brand is sifting through my posts.  My personality is better translated in my writing.  And my brand is more organically cultivating itself (vs. the square peg in a round hole situation I was previously struggling with).

Which brings me to my next point.  Sometimes in life I feel like I make things harder for myself (quoting an old boss here!).  I have this idea of how I want things to be, I over schedule, I set lofty goals (ok, no plans on changing that....but stay with me).   And sometimes in doing this, I stress because the schedule isn't working out or someone gets sick or the universe just isn't aligned that day.  I get stressed and angry and usually regret my actions.

Other times, things just seem to happen...well, organically.  A casting comes up for a skincare brand I genuinely adore, an audition is booked on a day when I know I have childcare, a call comes in from a friend when I am kid-free and mentally available for a conversation.  OR, a small window of time allows me to get gas before pre-school pick up (the little things, people...the little things).

This all probably seems pretty trivial, but on the days when things just organically fall into place, there is a deeper sense of peace and accomplishment in my home.  When I let things happen on their own, it always seems to have a much higher success rate than when I try and force things into place.

I'm sitting here trying to figure out if there is a word that incapsulates this thinking.  Or is it more than a it just me, finally just being me and putting it all out there and giddily seeing things fall into place (despite having spent so much time trying to shove them into place?).

BUT, big caveat here.  As much as I like to "willy nilly" my days away, I am also a firm believer in preparedness and preparation- "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"

I'm just hoping my organic brand and preparation meets the right opportunity!  Preferably as an on-air brand ambassador (but, you know...I'm going to let that happen organically!).

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Monday, November 9, 2015:

Because Sometimes You Need Permission

A while back I shared an AIM conversation I had had with my husband.  The kids were playing nicely, I had spent the morning doing the busy-body housekeeping stuff and even clocked in a few minutes on the blog.  

I was stressing over whether to bring the kids to the pool or playground.  Weighing over my options I asked my husband for his input after revealing I'd prefer to do neither.  His feedback was objective, yet hard for me to absorb.  

Just relax.

That's all he told me.  And I literally felt this weight off my shoulders.  Someone giving me permission to just relax.  

So in the event there is another mom out there seeking permission to just pause, here you go.  :)
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, November 6, 2015:

What's in My Bag

Ok you guys, here you have it!  I don't know why I thought this was so fun but I am always curious what other folks are packing so figured I'd share what's in my cosmetic bag.  I've added some product intel, too.  Still getting used to some of my Ulta purchases!

1. Mario Badescu Moisture Magnet & Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum
Loving these products.  They are so reasonably priced but still pack a punch.  I love the size of these products too- easy to toss into my Vera Bradley cosmetic case and use throughout the day!

2. Benefit Porefessional Pore Minimizer
So far I am really impressed with this product.  I really love the smooth and silky application and while I don't think it's actually minimizing my pores, it is minimizing their appearance.  The consistency of the cream is so smooth that it really just fills in the pore making concealers do the rest of the job to cover them up.

3. Maybelline Eraser Concealer
This is working for me.  I use it for under my eyes and for spot cover ups.  I love how thin the applicator is- it's easy to go and "pencil" in the coverage I need.

4. Laura Geller Spackle Primer
I bought this primer in Ethereal and I'm wondering if maybe it was the wrong shade.  I haven't fallen in love with it yet but still going to give it some time.  I can't figure out whether or not to use this before my Maybelline Eraser Concealer or after.  They both seem to cancel each other out.  Right now I am missing my Laura Mercier Primer but I'll give the spackle a few more days before throwing in the towel.

5. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone
This came with my Becca Radiant Glow Collection.  It's nothing super wow-worthy, but I do like to play around with it for highlighting and I think once I get the right primer, it will be more impactful.  I also love the size- super small and does't take up a ton of space in my cosmetic case.

6. Nars Blush in Orgasm
I just blushed typing in the name, BUT, this blush is my ol' faithful and I love it.  I recently swapped my Nars bronzer for a Jane Iredale bronzer but I think I'll be going back to Nars once my Jane runs out. I just don't seem to see the bronzing effect as much as I did with Nars.

7. Trish McEvoy Eye Shadow
Note: the link goes to colors that I don't actually have BUT, what I love about Trish's eye shadows and glazes is that you can pick out the colors you want and plop them right into a compact.  I love this because then you aren't stuck with colors you never use!  You can custom create your own palette and it's a lot of fun.  I picked out my shades at Blue Mercury.

8. Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector
This has been fun to play around with but I ACTUALLY like using it on my lids for some highlight.  I'm not sure it's the right shade for under my eyes but then again, still working out the concealer and primer situation so once that's adjusted, this might work better.  Oh, and the pregnancy swelling doesn't help when applying under eye creams! Ugh.

9. Revlon Eyelash Curler
Shout out to my trusty eye lash curler.  No bells.  No Whistles.  Just does the job I need it to do.

10. Jane Iredale So-Bronze Bronzer
I really LIKE this I just don't LOVE it.  As mentioned above, I think I need a bit more color/pigment that I found in the Nars Laguna Bronzer.  I really like that "sun kissed" look (especially as we approach the winter months when my skin turns a lovely shade of sallow pale blue- oy).  The Jane Iredale gives more of a glow/shimmer and might even do well on top of the Nars Laguna primer for some highlighting...hmm, I'll have to try that.

11. Eco Tools Brushes
I bought these rather impulsively at a local beauty supply shop and really like them.  Super soft but still feel like I can control the application.  I bought a little travel size version too and some of the smaller brushes are great to just throw into my cosmetic case for traveling.

12. Shimmering Skin Protector Spotlight
Another piece from my Becca Radiant Glow Collection.  I haven't quite figured out what to do with this one if I am being entirely honest but it does pack a good highlighting punch so I've been experimenting on my lids and cheek bones.

13. Trish McEvoy Eye Base Essential Brightener
This is perfect for my deep set and often shadowed eyes.  While it's supposed to serve as an eye shadow primer I actually find that using it alone gives a certain natural brightness that i like.

14. Smokey Eye Shadow Pencil
So sad but the brand has actually rubbed off on this pencil.  I think I received it as  Sephora special offer!  I use it when I am going for a bolder night look.  The truth is, it doesn't spread really well so I probably wouldn't recommend it (so not the worst thing in the world that I don't know what brand it is!).  But it's fun to play with so long as I have some instrument to help smudge out the deep grey.

15. The Body Shop Eye Definer
No joke, I think I've had this for five years!  Surely past it's expiration date, it's perfect for a subtle eye-lining and I use to fill in my brows when I am doing heavier make up/camera make up.

16. Sephora Angled Eye Liner Brush
This is the perfect brush for lining eyes with powdered liners and eye shadows.  I use this to line-out my dark Trish McEvoy colors and then I'll smudge with my finger or shadow brush.

17. Becca Beach Tint Lip Shimmer in Raspberry Opal
This was another piece of the Becca Radiant Glow Collection and while it is labeled "beach" I think it's actually perfect for fall!  I like it and use it for a little pre-k drop off pop!

18. Nivea Lip Care with SPF 30
I love having this in my cosmetic case.  It reminds me to protect my lips from the sun while giving me a nice gloss.

19. L'Oreal Superstar Mascara
Not entirely sure I love this.  It's a fiber mascara which is very clear when I try to remove it with my eye makeup wipes.  While it goes on fine, it comes of crumbly and I am never certain I've gotten it all of at the end of the day (and sleeping with eye makeup on drives me insane!).  I'll likely switch back to a basic mascara that comes off more smoothly.

Ok, that's it!!  Wow...a small bag that has a LOT of stuff!!  Are there any beauty staples that you can't do without that I should try!  Specifically in regards to swapping out some of the products I've listed and am not crazy about (primer, mascara, bronzer...)?  I'd love tips!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Thursday, November 5, 2015:

Profound Words

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I heart you Darphin Age-Defying Dermabrasion <3

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Wednesday, November 4, 2015:

What's in My Bag

This is a teaser because I want to take the time to actually make this look legit, but I always find myself mesmerized by the "What's in My Bag" feature of USWeekly.  I love scoping out the "must have" beauty products that the celebs use and love when they have some down to earth products like drugstore chapstick.

Well, after my recent purchases at Ulta, I did a little cosmetic bag reno (complete with a purchase of a cute little Vera Bradley cosmetic case- seriously those bags never go out of style!).

Well here is the teaser photo and if I can get my act together, I'll edit so it's magazine ready- USWeekly, call my people and we will schedule a photo shoot!!  

Oh and I am definitely doing this for my purse.  It will be far less sexy- right now I'm rocking Boogie Wipes and a crushed NutriGrain bar.  The glam life of motherhood!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Monday, November 2, 2015:

Shopping at Ulta- My First Experience

Simply walking through the doors gave me a thrill even though I had no idea what to expect!

Initial thoughts- Sephora meets Walgreens.  And I think I like that...

There was a wall of high end skincare products (Philosophy, Murad, Bare Minerals, etc) on one side paralleled by drugstore beauty brands on the other- driving home their current tag of "All things beauty.  All in one place."

It's always fun to take a lap and look around but very quickly I became overwhelmed and unsure about what I wanted needed.  I needed an expert in the latest beauty buys....STAT.

Unfortunately, the store fell a little short in the client experience category.  I asked for help and admitted that I wanted to give my makeup case a full renovation.  Essentially I was opening up my purse strings to the salesperson and even went so far as to say, "If I love it, I'll buy it."  

You would have thought she'd take that and run but instead, she only showed me a quick lesson in contouring which left me unimpressed.  I reluctantly added the contour kit to my bag only to put it back after taking a lap around the store and filling my bag with products I was eager to try.

Despite the subpar sales person experience, I did end up spending over $200 (ok, but how does that happen?!?  And, now that I think of it, maybe the sales person was doing me a financial favor!).

My purchases:
Chloe Perfume Pen Spray (which I've been wanting for forever!).

Ok, so I guess the above list explains how I made it to $200+.  Oops!  Stay tuned for reviews on some of the products listed!  And click here for their current promotion- 25% for first time visitors to their salon. 

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

First Ulta Experience!

I've recently started seeing promotions for Ulta Beauty.  I vaguely recognized the brand but couldn't get a sense of the caliber of beauty products that the store sold.

A recent commercial that highlighted well-respected brands convinced me that it might be worth a visit and lucky for me (!) a brand new store opened up in the next town.

I'm not even in the door but felt the need to post my enthusiasm for all of the beauty and skincare potential!!!  Woohoo!

Update- Check out my review on the store here!
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, October 30, 2015:

Amazing How it Changes

As I start to nest in preparation for baby number three I find myself amazed at the maturity of my big boys.  Today, for example, I picked my four year old up at school, drove to the barber, parked my car, unloaded my two year old and walked into the barber's.  We arrived and my four year old hopped right in the chair (and proactively engaged in conversation with the woman cutting his hair).  I'm sitting here as my two year old patiently waits his turn and can't help but appreciate how far we've come!

Update- my two year old just notified me that he needs a diaper maybe there are still a few toddler challenges to overcome ;)
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, October 27, 2015:

Last Sick Day

Ok!  While I am officially on the mend, it's not until JUST now that I'm getting some energy back.  I spent the morning doing the pre-school shuffle and now I am wrapping up a little elliptical loving but when I leave the gym today I WILL have makeup on and I WILL NOT look like the walking dead!  That's my pledge to finally kick this cold!
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Monday, October 26, 2015:

Ok, and I am Back!

It is crazy how a head cold can so easily derail my motivation!  Especially when the head cold ends in a skull crushing sinus infection (slight exaggeration, but I was dealing with a lot of sinus pressure, ok?).

So after a night of praising modern day medicine and antibiotics, I think I am finally on the mend!

And it is a good thing because this is Halloween week and between the parades & parties, we will be in a constant state of motion!

So, with that, your Monday motivation!

This.  As I've segued out of the corporate world and into the craziness of parenthood, my career goals have shifted significantly.  The truth is, in my past career, I didn't have tangible goals.  I was always distracted by the future of my family, even struggling with the decision to stay home or return to work before I was pregnant!

Well, my first was born and I knew I had no interest going back full time.  That was one of the hardest decisions ever.  Even though I wasn't totally passionate about my career, I loved (and continue to love) to work!  And walking away from something that had provided me with so much fulfillment left me constantly wondering if I would regret it.

But in the years that followed, my passion for work was redirected towards goals and opportunities that were much different than the corporate trajectory I had been on.  Skewing way more to the creative side and channeling the energy from my Page days, I continue to pursue on-air brand ambassador opportunities and even with each "pass" at an audition, I am still left feeling energized, excited, and, above all else, OPTIMISTIC!  Feelings that I never felt in my past career, even during times of great success.

Yes, it stinks when you've made it to the final round of call backs and it's a "no", but, as one of my mentors once said, "You're in the conversation".  And that's important to me as someone who was in an entirely different (corporate) conversation just a few years ago!

And you know what fuels me even more...The people who snickered when I told them about my new goals.  The people who giggled and said, "It's just funny, that's all".  Tempted to question why, exactly, they thought my goals were funny, I passed and redirected that frustration and hurt into more motivation to pursue my goals.  And it helps!

On the days that I am feeling discouraged, the insults are the motivation I need to refuel!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, October 23, 2015:

Friday Funny

I'm not a huge Kim K fan, but I can appreciate this ;). Have a great weekend and I promise more posts next week when I finally kick this horrible head cold 

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Wednesday, October 21, 2015:

Go Go Go Until You Gotta Stop

I'm a busy body.  I enjoy scheduled relaxing time but, mostly I like to be busy.  I find that having scheduled activities makes my day A LOT easier with the boys.  Occasionally I'll keep a morning or an afternoon free- it's important for them to have downtime, but for the most part, we're go go go over here...

Until we're not.  Horrible head colds have invaded our home, complete with the dreaded post nasal drip of death!!  My youngest started showing signs this Saturday with a runny nose that just wouldn't stop!  Add a family bonding weekend getaway and WHAM, Mom is on the fritz 😩.  

I could feel it coming on as early as Sunday but tried to tell myself it was just allergies, but the last two nights have been miserable.  I hate to cancel plans but sometimes you just have to stop everything and rest.

My youngest is good, but still sleepy from the sleep loss that comes with a cold.  After much debate, I sent him to his morning "school" program (even though he fell asleep in the car on the way there).  And my four year old (who apparently has an immune system of steel!) is off and getting in some serious social time.

While I'd rather be anywhere but on my couch, I'm taking advantage of the kidfree morning, resting up, and getting the energy I need to kick this cold!

Maybe this is mother nature's way of forcing me to slow down...shrugs.

So, if you need me, I'll be on my couch, eating candy corns and sipping orange juice.
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, October 20, 2015:

Pregnancy & Parenting Deep Thoughts

Am I too hungry to sleep or too tired to get out of bed to eat? 😕
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, October 16, 2015:

Lunch Dates with a Two Year Old

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Wednesday, October 14, 2015:

Date Night Words of Wisdom

After a well-deserved date night with my husband I crunched into this piece of fortune cookie wisdom.  "Spot on," said every mom in the universe

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Tuesday, October 13, 2015:

Proud Accomplishment- I Cleaned Today

It's actually sad how satisfied I am by this accomplishment!!

My attic was an embarrassing mess.  I'd throw things upstairs and just keep piling on the clutter!  

Maybe I've been spurred on by early nesting or maybe I remember how little energy I have towards the end of my pregnancy.  OR- maybe I should have never let it get this bad in the first place!!

I've vowed to shake out this house from top to bottom before baby #3 arrives. 
Channeling my KonMari (even though the method doesn't promote storage bins...but seriously, they are just so much better than trash bags!!).



I'm honestly considering making these "after" photos my screensaver.  I'm calmed and satisfied simply by looking at them!!  Clean attic zen!!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Monday, October 12, 2015:

Monday Motivation!!

Don't waste anymore time pursuing anything less than your dreams!! #focus

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Friday, October 9, 2015:

Time for Parental Leave Changes

I recently read this article about the struggle many parents feel about returning to work after baby.

The fact that most women are only offered six weeks of maternity leave is shocking.  I could go ahead and pull all of the data that suggests how this is detrimental to both mom and baby.  I could identify the countries that have better parental leave policies.  But that's been shared before.  Since this is my blog, I figured I'd share my personal experience.

I always knew I was going to be a stay at home mom.  I just didn't see myself being comfortable leaving my child with another caregiver everyday while I did the 9-5 shuffle- and I am incredibly lucky to have the option to be home.  But the truth is, I really didn't want to leave the workforce.  I was afraid of the isolation that comes with SAHparenthood.  Sure, we can do playdates and mommy & me classes, but at the end of the day, you are on someone else's schedule (and that someone else has a cruel sense of humor when it comes to naps and feedings...).

I desperately wanted to work in some capacity and not a day goes by that I don't think about what my life would be like if I had something outside of my home- just for me.

Somedays I am certain I'd be more patient.  Maybe I'd yell less.  I'd like to think I'd take advantage of the snuggles more often instead of running off to do another load of laundry (but as I type this, I realize working parents have laundry to do, too.  And sometimes it just has to get done during snuggle times).

I wonder if I would be more engaged with my kids (vs. blogging as they play around me and make a mess of our "office").

I still question a lot of my career/life choices, but the only thing I know with confidence is that I was NOT ready to return at six weeks nor was I ready to return at 12 weeks.  Why?  Because I didn't even know what day of the week it was, let alone was I able to shower and get myself dressed and out the door along with my infant son (with diaper bag, breast pump, car seat and all of the other stuff that parents have to lug around with an infant).

Around six months I had the opportunity to work part time- two days in the office, one day from home.  And it.was.perfect.  It was for a great company that was right in my "baby and me" wheelhouse.  The people I worked with offered the daily stimulation I craved.  This three day week afforded me alternating days of being the SAHM and the working mom.  And the best part, one of those days we kept our sitter late so that my husband and I could actually eat dinner together and catch up on life.  And another "best part"- I actually would sit at my desk and eat breakfast, sipping coffee as I checked emails and caught up on current events.  Oh, and another plus- I had topics to contribute to the conversation outside of diaper changes, playdate activities, and tantrum stories.

Gosh, just reflecting on this makes me realize how amazing that set up was....

The problem with my ideal three-day-a-week office job....It didn't last.  There was pressure to come on board full time.  And once again, I just wasn't ready to surrender the daytime care responsibilities to someone else.  So I walked away.  I am certain that it was the right choice for me. But it doesn't mean I don't miss work.

Some people without kids might be reading this, rolling their eyes saying, "EVERYONE would like a three day work week.  Not just parents".  Well...this article isn't for you.  Because regardless of what side of the "mommy war" you fall on, I think most parents agree that working out of the home isn't a three day work week when you spend the remaining days caring for your kids.  It's all work.  So unless we agree on that, this article won't be relevant.

If the parental leave landscape was a bit different- a bit more accommodating to new parents- would I have made a different choice?  If I had an entire year to spend with my child, would I have felt better about returning to work?  Or if I had an opportunity to stay part-time, would I have stuck with it?  I think so.  And somedays it is tough to swallow that.  The "if's" when it comes to parenting....

I am plugging away in a new direction. I miss work- I miss the paycheck, the friends, the stimulation and sense of fulfillment.  But I do my best to find balance.  I write when the kids are engaged and during nap times (which are not always guaranteed).  Or, as mentioned, when they are sticking playdoh between my toes, but, otherwise engaged.

Some days are super intense and just not how I imagined SAH parenthood.  Other days are very rewarding and I am grateful to see and experience my children's growth.

And yet, as I sit here writing this "ho hum" post, I am struck with the fact that I am one of the lucky ones.  I am one of the parents who chose to go back despite having the ability to stay home (not that a single income has been easy).  I am one of the parents who had the option to give up her job when the pressure to choose became too much.

The expectations we are setting on new parents is just too much.  The workforce is losing valuable, highly efficient workers because it can't bend to accommodate the work/life balance that is so necessary for a happy family.   And people who don't have the choice are forced to plug away to make it work.

When will company's stop ignoring the serious importance of work/life balance and start practicing it?

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In

Monday, October 5, 2015:

Boppy Bloom Renewing Body Oil (aka the yummiest smelling oil I've ever used)

If you stopped by in the last few days you may have noticed that I am a lucky member of the WeeSpring Parent Panel!  My first tester samples arrived the other day and I am so excited to finally give them a go.

I want to first say that I am not paid for this post and if I don't like one of the products, I have no interest in brand-shaming, I just simply won't share it with all of you here!  With that, I hope you can read this as an authentic post and that it helps you make purchase decisions in the future!

Moving on to the good stuff!

I am 24 weeks pregnant with baby boy #3 (yikes!) and the skincare enthusiast that I am, LOVES the idea of Boppy coming out with a pregnancy-specific skincare line!  As moms, we need all of the help we can get.  Short of Boppy providing me with a night nurse and a full-time nanny, these Boppy Bloom products might be just the next best thing for me ;)

So tonight I wanted to try my Boppy Bloom Renewing Body Oil.  First things first, YUM.  The scent is so nice- citrusy and light, not overpowering at all (which is good because this pregnancy nose is NO joke- honestly, it's a serious problem in my house because I smell everything x100000000).  The scent I'm trying is the White Citrus Shea and it really is nice.

The Boppy Bloom Renewing Body Oil touts non-greasy stretch mark protection and after two previous pregnancies, I need all of the protection I can get!!  It's also hypoallergenic, non-greasy, paraben free, and phthalate free- always a plus!

The truth is after my second, my stomach was just never the same (come to think of it, after my first, my stomach was never the same...but number two really did me in!).  I want to prevent as much stretch mark damage as possible this time around, and if it smells as nice as the Boppy Bloom Renewing Body Oil, well... that's just a plus!  Not to mention that this is affordable at just $10!

This body oil is fast absorbing and glides on smoothly- you can feel the hydration immediately.  It is very liquid-y (note image below) and leaves a little residue but I'm ok with that because it feels indulgent and effective.  I can see myself leaving this at my bedside for nightly belly love!  I might even use this on my hands, feet, and other dry areas on my body- especially as this cold, dry weather moves in.

It's only day one (well, technically, night one) but I do plan to use this for the remainder of my pregnancy- both day and night as the directions suggest.  I'll be adding the Boppy Bloom Stretch Mark Cream tomorrow- so stay tuned for my thoughts on that!

Are you interested in giving this product a shot?  First off, these are some of the most affordable pregnancy skincare products I've seen in the marketplace.  Better yet, use Promo Code BLOOM50 at for 50% off all Boppy Bloom products.  You can't beat that!

Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This Share to Linked In