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!!!

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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!!

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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...

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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!

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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! 

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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!!
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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!).

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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.  :)
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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!!

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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

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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!!

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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. 

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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!
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