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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Nail Files

I’m linking up with Fabulous But Evil and My Vickilicious Life for The Nail Files! What’s on your nails this week?

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Essie Bikini So Teeny

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Sephora Jewel Lacquer in Violet Quartz

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OPI Don’t Talk Bach To Me

What’s on your nails this week?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Potty Training 101

Let me preface this post by saying I am no expert on the potty training subject. These are just my experiences and opinions on the subject of potty training.

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Potty training has been major starts and stops for us. We’d get going and something would happen to break our momentum. He’d do well at daycare and not at home. Or he’d start doing super well at home and not at daycare. I am a firm believer in children leading potty training so I never pushed, and he’s trained at his own pace.

I’m very happy to report that Cooper is potty trained!

Last summer I introduced C to the potty. I purchased the frog potty from Fisher Price, and I let him sit on it whenever he wanted. He was around 17 months at the time. I didn’t push the subject and just encouraged him to sit whenever he wanted. We had a few peepee successes, but for the most part he wasn’t ready.

I highly recommend a stand alone potty when they first start to train. Yes, it’s gross to clean. However, I think it is less intimidating for toddlers. We also had this potty seat and as he got older, he prefers to use this.

As I said, I never really pushed Cooper to train. I wasn’t in any hurry and I don’t think you should be, either. Look for clues that your child is ready – is he or she able to go for long periods without wetting their diaper? Do they tell you when they are dirty? Do they take off their diaper by themselves when they wet? Are they showing interest in the potty? If so, they might be ready to train. I’ve read and heard a lot of stories that say if you push, you can actually set them back. If you child trains early; great! and if they train when they are 3, that’s ok, too. This isn’t a contest.

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C moved to the 2 year old room in January. This room has a bathroom and they take him to the restroom every 2 hours. His teachers reported he was willing to sit on the potty but only had about 1 success a day. I monitored their reports for signs he was showing more interest in the potty, but I didn’t push training at home.

Around March he started voluntarily using the potty at home. He would go into the bathroom, take off his diaper, and use the bathroom on his own. He was doing wonderfully at home, but he wouldn’t potty at daycare.

Around May he stopped going potty at home. This was frustrating and I could have pushed the issue, I suppose, but I didn’t. I did switch to Pull-Ups at this point at the request of daycare. I decided to just offer the potty at home and daycare, and let him go when he had to go. He went sometimes and sometimes he did not.

About a month ago, daycare reported he was going to the restroom every time they offered. I purchased big boy underwear and we had a test run at home. It did not go well. I talked it over with daycare and his teachers and I decided to just bring him to school in big boy undies and see how it went.

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He went to school in big boy undies last Monday and he only had one accident during the week! I am so proud of him! At first I was scared to death of going out to public in underwear, but he has done very well with telling me when he has to go to the bathroom. I ask him if he needs to go about every 30 minutes, and that seems to work well for us.

We do still use overnight diapers at night, and I don’t anticipate changing that any time soon.

I will say that it is a whole different ballgame attempting to train as a working mother with a child in daycare. I had to entrust the training during the day to someone else, and that can be helpful or disastrous. I’m lucky that peer pressure (his peers being trained) and the encouragement of his teachers has made training a success for C.

Potty Training Tips:

Use the questions above to see if your child is ready for training.

Let your child see you and your husband use the restroom. (I did ask Jason to sit when C was in the bathroom with him. At this point I think standing would just be hard for him to understand & he can’t reach the toilet yet anyway.)

Purchase some books and talk about using the potty. I like this book and this book.

I really like this app. It’s been very helpful for learning about using the potty, wiping, flushing, and washing your hands.

Switch to underwear when your child is ready. Avoid pull-ups if possible. If it hadn’t been for daycare, I probably wouldn’t have used pull-ups at all.

If you work and are able, use a long weekend to kick start your potty training. Take 3 days and put your child in underwear. Take them to the bathroom every 20 minutes. Celebrate your successes with candy (I gave him 1 m&m) and stickers. Use a sticker chart to show your child evidence of their success. Go absolutely crazy when they peepee or poopoo in the potty.

Make sure your spouse is fully on board for training.

Keep a potty kit in your car. I have baby wipes, Clorox wipes, antibacterial gel, and a portable potty. I know, weird and gross, but there may come a time when you’re in the car and your child has to go NOW. I haven’t had to use the actually potty, but the white top is great for when you have to use public restrooms. It collapses and fits into the green bag so I can store it easily, and then fits across the top of the toilet. This potty is $13 at Babies R Us right now!

Lastly, I wanted a share an email I got from a blog reader, Sarah, with some advice on potty training:

I have potty training advice! :) Our little guys are close to the same age (if I'm remembering right - yours is a month or so older than mine) and B is 100% potty trained during waking hours (we're not ready to move to completely diaper free - he pees too much while asleep).


I say skip the Pull Ups completely - I bought a pack and what a waste of time. To B, they were exactly the same as diapers and peeing in them didn't bother him one bit. I started him bare bottomed when we potty trained (we did a 3 day boot camp type deal where we were super focused one long weekend with nothing but learning to pee on the potty) and I wish we had just started out with underwear - once we moved him to underwear, I sort of felt like we had to start over.


When he's first learning to go in the potty, I would prompt B non stop "do you have to pee pee?" "do you have to pee pee?" over and over. I made him sit on the potty every 20 minutes or so and gradually lengthened that out.


Reward hits! We used M&M's as a treat - one every time he did a #1 on the toilet and two if he did a #2. HUGE celebrations, big cheers, lots of praise and even a few booty shaking moves from mom & dad every time he'd make it on the toilet made it fun for him. Down play the accidents - they're going to happen - just remind him that pee pee goes in the potty (or whatever terms you're going to use).


GOOD LUCK! Let me know if you want more advice - I have loads! Ha ha

Again, I’m certainly not an expert and I’m not trying to be. These are just my experiences with training. Feel free to email me any questions, and please leave your advice in the comments for anyone who may be reading!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Splurge Vs. Steal: Concealers

I hope you guys enjoyed my last post in the Splurge Vs. Steal series – foundations. Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a goody bag full of my favorite drugstore products!

Today we are talking about concealers!

133Pretty and slightly cross-eyed. It takes a lot of concealer to look decent!

As I’ve gotten older, concealer has become more and more important to me. Honestly, in my younger days I never needed it. Foundation was sufficient to cover any imperfections I may have had. As I’ve aged & experienced pregnancy, I’ve developed undereye circles, dark spots, and breakouts. Concealer is absolutely necessary now!

The good news is that there are great concealers out there is all price range! Here are a few of my favorites.

I’m in love with the MAC Studio Finish Concealer. At $18, I think it is a decent price for the amount of product you get. I picked this up when I (Cooper) misplaced the concealer I had been using, and I love it so much that I will repurchase when I run out. I highly recommend you purchase this concealer in a shade lighter than normal. This really helps to brighten your undereye circles.

I also love, love, lurve Benefit’s Erase Paste. It’s a little bit more expensive than the MAC concealer at $26 but it is a ton of product. I wouldn’t recommend it for overall concealing, but it is fabulous for undereye circles. It has a bit of a pink tint to combat the blue of your undereye circles.

For a budget concealer, try Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer. It’s a steal at $6.00! It provides “heavy duty” coverage and it actually does a great job on my dark spots. I do find it is a *tad* oily so I wouldn’t recommend you use it under your eyes.

The Maybelline Dream Lumi Concealer is a decent knock off of the much more pricey YSL Touche Eclat Concealer. At $7 it is much more budget friendly than the $40 YSL product.

I haven’t personally tried this yet, but the ELF All Over Cover Stick looks pretty promising ($1). The stick would be a pretty heavy duty cream concealer. I haven’t seen this at my Target yet but I’ll keep looking and will let you know.

What are your favorite concealers?

Please let me know your opinion – do you like this series? Have you found it helpful? Will you try any of these products? Feel free to ask questions if you have them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Funnies From Cooper

My boy says the funniest things. I swear – he has a sense of humor just like Jason. He cracks us up most days with his little expressions.

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He refers to gas  as “grass.” Every time we pull into the gas station he says “Mommy, you need grass for the car?” Even if you correct him, he still says “yeah, Momma, grass!”

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A few months back we went to the Columbia, SC zoo. As you enter the zoo, they have posters with the faces of animals, and as you exit, you see the backs of the animals. We were in a super long line to enter the zoo and Cooper was screaming “I see zebra butt! I see monkey butt, Mama!” *shakes head*

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The last time we went to get his hair cut, he kept saying “I have feathers!” I couldn’t understand what he meant until he picked up a few pieces of hair that had fallen on his cape and said “Look, Mom, FEATHERS!”

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He has pep talk with himself while he uses the bathroom. Poor bug suffers from a bit of constipation and as he poops he says “poopy, you come out! Come out of my belly!” It’s funny but sad at the same time! As we’ve been potty training, he says the same thing while he goes #1 – “peepee, you come OUT!”

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The last time we went to get groceries, the manager helped us out to the car. As he was walking away, C said “Oh, that was a sweet sweet man!”

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Everything I have is Cooper’s, apparently, from my phone to my car. One day Jason needed his tire changed so he drove my car to work. We walked outside to head to daycare, and Cooper said “Mommy, where is our car? We drive Daddy’s car to work?”

Kids say the darndest things. Smile

Monday, August 27, 2012

Giveaway: Minted

Hey friends! I have teamed up with my friends at Minted to offer you a fabulous giveaway! Read on to get the details on how to enter!


I’ve long been a fan of Minted. Their designs are just so clean and classic, and the quality of their products can’t be beat. Their cards are printed on high quality cardstock and feel heavy and thick in your hand. You know sometimes those “other stores” print our their photo cards on paper so flimsy it bends in your hand? Not Minted!

One thing I love about this company is that the idea behind the website promotes independent designers. Minted holds monthly design challenges and invites designers to submit their work. The community (me and you!) selects their top picks, and the winner’s design is sold on the website. How cool is that?!

Here are some of my favorite products:
Click on any picture to be taken directly to the product.

I think every mom should have mommy calling cards. They are great to hand out at play dates, give to teachers, etc. Isn’t this design so sophisticated?

If you aren’t a mom or if you work, perhaps you need business cards? These cards are  professional yet still pretty. 

Do you have a party coming up? Minted has invitations for both adult and children's parties. Cooper is obsessed with pirates right now and I think this would be a great option for when he turns three!

What I really want to talk to you about today’s is Minted’s holiday collection! It is never too early to start thinking about Christmas cards, am I right?!


I love that this doubles as a holiday letter and a Christmas card. 


This is absolutely adorable and is totally something I would have purchased before I had Cooper. Yes, I am the person that sent out holiday cards of my dogs. (True story.)


Oh, this card (and baby!) is simply adorable. 


I may just send out Halloween cards this year. Wouldn’t Cooper look adorable on this card in his yet-to-be-decided Halloween costume?

Start thinking ahead and check out Minted’s holiday collection today!

Now for the giveaway! Minted is so generously going to give one of my readers a $50 credit + free shipping on their site! All you have to do to enter is tell me what you could purchase with your credit. It’s that easy! Leave a comment below.

Thanks, Minted!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Social: All About the Internet

 

Today I’m linking up with Ashley and Neely for Sunday Social. This is the first time I’m joined this link up and it sounds like lots of fun! I’m currently sitting in a completely silent house as both the husband and the toddler are napping. This is BLISS.

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In case you are new here, I’m Andrea, a 33 year old mommy to Cooper, who is 2.5. I’m a social worker by profession, and I like to imagine myself as a wannabee makeup artist. I love all things beauty related. Makeup, hair, nails… I get as excited about those topics as some people do about politics. Add in some reality television and an US Weekly and you’ve completely made my day.

Now, on to the questions!

1. What is the first website you log on to each day?

When I wake up in the morning, I grab my phone and check my email, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Reader.

2. Give us some funny websites you visit that we need to know about.

Honestly… I don’t really visit websites anymore. Is that weird? I read blogs and check social media. I do like someecards, but I mostly see those in Pinterest and Facebook.

3. Pinterest or Facebook? Why?

Pinterest stresses me out. I worry about all the things I’m not doing as well as others, from cooking to decorating to educating my child. Facebook is pretty much the only reason I know anything about my extended family.

4. Twitter or Instagram? Why?

Both! I prefer Instagram, but I check Twitter to see what my friends are doing and talking about.

5. Favorite youtube video...post it!

I don’t really watch funny YT videos…. I know I’m lame. I watch hair and makeup tutorials on YT. Kate is currently my favorite hair guru.

 

6. Biggest online pet peeve?

I hate when people create rules for others. Like “it is so tacky to wear bright colors on your nails” or “you shouldn’t wear sandals in September even though it is still 100 degrees in Georgia.” Just do what you want and don’t worry about what others put on their nails or feet. 

Thanks for stopping by! Smile

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Splurge Vs. Steal: Foundations

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Give me your opinion on what beauty topics you'd like to see covered on the blog and be entered to win a beauty bag full of some of my favorite products.

It seems like we frugalistas all have one thing in common: we want high quality products for the least amount of money possible. You want drugstore makeup with high-end results. I get it! I like to get a lot of bang for my buck as well. I'm here today to talk to you about what products you should splurge on and what products you can find for a steal.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let me get up on my soapbox for a second. Sometimes you just need to spend a little money. It's pointless to pay less for a drugstore product but not get the results you want or need. Sometimes drugstore products are just as good (or better) than high-end products. But sometimes they are not, and there is nothing worse than buying makeup that inevitably gets tossed because it doesn't give you the results you were looking for.

My other piece of advice is to always buy makeup from stores that will accept opened makeup. Ulta, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens will accept opened makeup with a receipt. Sephora will give you a refund with a receipt; without they will let you exchange or give you a store credit.

Today we are talking about foundations.

SPLURGE

LIQUID FOUNDATIONS

I think you should always splurge on foundation. I've tried high-end foundations and I've tried drugstore foundations, and for the most part high-end foundations are superior. Think of foundation as the canvas for your makeup. You want to start with a blank slate and erase imperfections. You want to take away blemishes and dark spots and bring out the very best of your complexion. It's important to find a foundation that will not only do the above, but that will do the above until the end of the day.

I absolutely love Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Cover Foundation. I have long been a powder foundation girl, and this made me covert. Typically liquid foundations make me oily beyond belief. This fully covers my imperfections and provides oil control throughout the day. It also doesn’t feel thick or oily on your face.

A bottle of foundation typically lasts me a year. I don’t use the same foundation daily – I rotate between three, but daily use I think would be 4-6 months.

My problem with drugstore foundations is that you can’t try them on in the store, and it is very difficult to find your perfect match without seeing the foundation on your skin. If you buy drugstore foundation, take a friend and compare the color in the bottle to the skin near your jawline or on the underside of your wrist. Be sure to buy from a store that accepts returns because your chances of purchasing a dud are high.

High-End Recommendations: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Cover Foundation ($38), Makeup Forever HD Foundation ($42), MAC Pro Longwear Foundation ($30)

Drugstore (If You Must): I’ve heard good things about the Revlon Colorstay Foundation ($12) and Revlon Colorstay Whipped Crème Foundation ($14). I have not personally tried these products.

SPLURGE

POWDER FOUNDATIONS

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’m a foundation snob. I know what you are thinking – am I ever going to recommend a drugstore product? The answer is yes, but not yet.

My HG (holy grail) powder foundation is Makeup Forever Duo Mat Powder Foundation. I will repurchase this product over and over, which is something I don’t say often. It is perfect for hot summer days or days when you want something on your face but you don’t have a lot of time.

A close second is MAC Studio Fix foundation.

Recommendations: Makeup Forever Duo Mat Powder Foundation ($34) or MAC Studio Fix Foundation ($27)

Drugstore (If You Must): Loreal True Match Super Blendable Powder ($9) and NYX Stay Matte Powder Foundation ($10)

STEAL

SETTING POWDER

If you use a liquid foundation, I highly recommend you use a setting powder as a last step after you apply your foundation. This tones down any oily areas and “sets” your makeup. Here’s one area where I say save your money! I had been using Makeup Forever HD Micrcofinish Powder, which is pricey at $32. ELF’s High Definition Powder is virtually the same thing for only $6!

Recommendations: ELF’s High Definition Powder ($6) and ELF Translucent Mattifying Powder ($3)

High-End (If You Must): MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder ($24)

STEAL

BEAUTY BALMS

Beauty balms are all the rage right now. I have an in-depth blog coming up on this subject, so I won’t get into a lot of detail here. Basically, a beauty balm is a multi-tasking product: a primer, a moisturizer, a brightener, and a foundation in one. It’s coverage is greater than a tinted moisturizer but less than a foundation.

Almost every brand, both drugstore and high-end, that I can think of has come out with a beauty balm. I’ve personally tried the Garnier BB Cream and the Smashbox BB Cream. I liked the coverage of the Garnier BB Cream, but the lightest shade is a tad too dark for me and it makes my skin look slightly orange. I am currently using the Smashbox BB Cream, and I like it – but it is a tad heavy, me thinks.

Unless you are very fair, I’d recommend the Garnier BB Cream.

Recommendation: Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream ($13)

High-End (If You Must): Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream ($39) or Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm ($39)

Obviously, there are probably great products out there – both drugstore and high-end – that I can’t recommend because I have not tried them. Here’s where you come in! What’s your holy grail foundation? Will you try any of the products I listed above?

Weigh in, please!

Beauty on the Blog

Well hello friends! 

(I say that like you have been absent, not me. What can I say... I like to deflect blame.)

So. I'm been wondering what direction to go in with my blog for some time. I like blogging updates and such, but I also want to blog about the things that make me happy - namely, makeup & beauty topics. I know we aren't supposed to blog for our readers, but I want to share information I find interesting and balance it with things you actually want to read. Ya know? My Chihuahua Bites will not be turning into a "beauty blog" by any means - but I will be writing more about those topics. 

So. 

A few days ago I posted this note on Instagram.  


I got some GREAT feedback from my followers on Instagram, and now I want to know your opinions! What beauty topics would you like to see me vlog or blog about? Is there a tutorial you'd like to see? Or just a general topic you'd like to see me cover on the blog?

To sweeten the pot, I'm going to give away a beauty bag full of some of my favorite products to someone who gives me feedback on the blog, Instagram, or Facebook. Comment below to be entered!

Stay tuned for the first in my beauty series - Splurge Vs. Steal!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Obsessed

I’m very much a person who is easily influenced by other people. I’m all about peer pressure, y’all. That’s why I have a Erin Condren Life Planner and tons of chunky costume jewelry.

So how about I influence you? Ha! These are a few of my recent obsessions.

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I’m pretty much obsessed with braiding my bangs and putting the rest in a ponytail. 3 day hair say what??

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My boo is obsessed with play dough.

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Weight Watchers. Yes, again. I joined last week. My first weigh in is Wednesday so there will be a more in-depth post to come.

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Monograms. On everything and anything. I kind of wish the awful tramp stamp tattoo I had gotten (years ago, pre-baby) was a monogram instead. But I was young and foolish, so now I have to deal with having a stupid butterfly plastered across my back.

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Chevron. It never gets old. (Wal-Mart dress – $14 for the win!)

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These Yes To Cucumber Facial Towelettes are the bomb.com. No, really. They take off every last bit of my makeup, and leave my face feeling very refreshed.

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Patriotic scarves, even when it isn’t a patriotic holiday. I shall show my America pride year round.

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Getting out of my comfort zone and wearing something different. Leopard print skinnies, yay or nay? I haven’t worn them yet…

And just because I believe in promoting small businesses and sharing when I receive amazing customer service….

Dulcie is a fellow submarine wife and we’ve “known” each other for years. She is a Disney expert and a few years back became a Disney vacation planner. She is helping me to plan our trip to Disney World in December. Y’all, this process has been so stress free. I told her how much we wanted to pay, where we were thinking about staying, and she guided me through a ton of options for our vacation. She makes the hotel reservations, can help you decide if a dining plan will work for you, will make your dining reservations, looks for any deals that will save you money…. and more! There is no cost for her services if you book your stay through her. Definitely contact her, and let her know Andrea sent you! Check out Dulcie’s Pixie Vacations Facebook page!

I’m not being paid to share this. She’s just that awesome.

What are you obsessed with right now?

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Little Bit of This…

And a little bit of that… otherwise known as random bits of nothing.

131My boys before church

I’ve been saying we needed to find a church since we moved here. Well, we never did. Jason’s schedule got changed and he was working weekends, and I didn’t want to take Cooper somewhere new all by myself. A few weeks ago, I went out with some fellow Southern Nuclear wives and met a very sweet girl, Margaux. Margaux invited us to her church, which started a couple’s bible study on The Five Love Languages last week. We went to the bible study and were welcomed with open arms, so we went to the Sunday service this weekend. I am so happy – I think we’ve found a church home!

102Trying to take a before work OOTD and getting photo bombed by C

109Big boy undies!

C’s been halfway potty trained for some time now. I started introducing the potty when he first turned 2. He did very well at home – he would go whenever I took him to the bathroom, and then he started going into the bathroom on his own. But he wasn’t using the bathroom at school (he was still in diapers at this point). I used up all our diapers and moved him to pull-ups, and he started consistently using the potty at school, but not at home. It’s been this start and stop for months. He will go to the potty if I take him, but he won’t tell me he has to go or go on his own.

This weekend I decided to try big boy underwear, which he was very excited about! We did very well for half a day, and then when I showered he had an accident and Jason put him back in his pull up (!). I think Jason must have fussed at him about having an accident, because by the time I showered, got dressed, and came downstairs C was over potty time. AHHH. All that progress, down the drain. He was in pull ups Sunday because we had church and errands. I need a weekend where I stay at home and just hardcore train, I think.

I talked to his teacher at daycare and they think he’s ready to just make the move to big boy underwear. I’m ready, but I need Jason to be ready so he can support this as well. I think he doesn’t really understand that there *will* be accidents, and we’ll just have to deal. So I think a come to Jesus is in order.

The reason I want to get him trained ASAP is that daycare will move him up to the 3 year old room (he’ll be 3 in January) if he’s trained. They do much more “school” in that classroom so I’d love for him to make the move.

Advice? I know I just need to be consistent. He’s there, he knows what to do…. I think Jason and I just need to be really regimented about training, which we haven’t been yet. It’s so hard with us working. I have to give the training to someone else during the day, and I don’t know for sure how they are handling things.

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LG asked me on Instagram this weekend to blog more OOTD/makeup pics, so I shall. I post them all the time on IG, but I don’t really blog about them. This is my OOTD for church. My dress is from Lane Bryant. The necklace was purchased from Very Jane, watch from Accessory Auctions on Facebook, bracelet from NY&Co, and earrings from Handpicked.

I hot rolled my hair. My makeup is black liquid liner and Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lips in Muse. I’m pretty much obsessed with this stuff. It stays on forever!

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I am so excited – I finally got to meet a blog/Twitter friend this weekend! On Sunday, I met up with Makeup By Tricia and her sweet son, S. We got the boys together for dinner Monday night. I wish she lived closer!

Ok, that’s all for now. I must put Coops to bed.

What’s going on with you guys? What did you do this weekend?



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