Monday, January 26, 2015

If You Miss "What Not To Wear..."

...Then you should read this interview Stacy London did for Into the Gloss. She spills all the deets on the history of her famous "gray streak," how she went from Vogue to TLC and even shares her personal hair + makeup regimen. Also - the included pictures of her awesome home! (As Stacy herself would say, "SHUT UP!")

Sunday, January 25, 2015

No News Is Good News

This has been a weird month. The bad has been really, really bad - BUT - the good has been really, REALLY good!

The bad: we've all been taking turns being sick. No one has escaped, and it seems like just when one bug ends and we all breathe a sigh of relief and say "whew, we survived," not a moment later someone is down with a new bug. Hi January - why you so mean to us? 

The good: January has been a good month in learning discipline, tackling bad habits and learning new things. I think it's more than just the full-steam-ahead excitement of following new resolutions - I can see in Matt and myself a strong desire to really be committed to health in 2015 - physically, spiritually and mentally. I think we're off to a good start. This month I've hit my yoga mat at home at least 3-4 times a week. I've learned that waiting for Olive in the school parking lot is the ideal, reliable quiet time I need to study the Bible on a regular basis (seriously, this has been a life changer for me.) And through it all I've been able to totally wean myself off a medication I had been taking for PPD that is really hard to wean off of - a HUGE answer to prayer. All in all, sickness and cabin fever be darned, I'd have to say January has been a good month...

...But it's also been a pretty uninspiring month. Blogging has fallen to the wayside in the midst of all this, and I'm missing it. Some inspiration is heading my way soon, however - did you catch the clue in the picture above? 

Next week I'm leaving the U.S. for the first time in my life! Matt is taking me with him on a work trip to London and we're taking an extra couple of days to go grab a quick peek of Paris. I'm still in shock that this is actually happening and something I get to do in this season of life. I'm having a bit of a hard time wrapping my brain around it. I'm planning on documenting the heck out of the whole trip, and you can count on me to over-share all of it when I get back!

Until then, you can find me trying to read alllll the Rick Steves' guides while simultaneously watching You Tube videos on how to pack for 10 days in a carry on bag and not look like an American tourist in Europe. ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ice Ice Baby

Living on the west shoreline of Lake Michigan unfortunately means brutal winters. A typical snowstorm up here (when combined with our plentiful lake effect snow) can easily last days. Last week we had a very big storm roll in, and got loads of snow, wind and freezing temps. Just in time for Holland's annual ice carving competition!

It's so cool (har har) to see these guys work their magic on these huge blocks of ice. I have no idea how they manage to put so much intricate detail into their sculptures using saws and torches. The finished products are always amazing!

The ice carving competition is just one of the creative ways Hollanders have made these hard winters actually fun. Not an easy job, but they do it well!

Birthday Celebrating

Oona was surprised with her first two teeth on her first birthday! It made for an extremely cranky birthday girl. She was not impressed at all with our attempts to please her with colorful balloons and a fancy homemade cake...

Oona cheered up considerably when given her own little smash cake - which she smashed right into, with gusto! 

I still can't believe it's been a whole year since this day. It's just crazy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy Birthday Oona!

The baby is ONE!



What a fast year it was. We can't remember life before Oona Caroline anymore!
She's cute and snuggly and adventurous and sneaky and silly. We sure do love her!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Beauty Favorites / January

Hi again! We're into a brand new year, and I'm itching to try something new on the blog.

So, confession: In 2014 I got waaay into YouTube beauty channels. I love watching other girls do their makeup and try new products. I love learning about new techniques, methods and tools. It's an admittedly frivolous pastime but one that I love. I think it might be because motherhood is pretty messy and unglamorous most of the time, and learning about/experimenting with a little makeup makes me "feel like a woman" again. *Wink.*

Second confession: don't even THINK about seeing me with my own YouTube channel because (other than being incurably awkward and unphotogenic) up until a few years ago I used zero make up and am afraid I will never catch up to the wisdom of girls now 15 years my junior. I experiment in baby steps, and still feel like I'm most likely doing everything wrong, but it's FUN you guys, and I like to talk about it. So, I'm going to try to do a post about makeup and what I've found that works for me once a month this year. Because there's something about frivolous, girly topics that are just good for the soul (amen?)

Third confession: I'm desperately seeking a diversion from reality while my whole family battles a most awful stomach bug. What is it about stomach bugs and January? It's becoming a weird family tradition for us. After almost a week now, I feel like we're NEVER getting over this one. Sigh...

So January. After an indulgent December, going into January my skin and hair feel dehydrated and lackluster. Besides eating more greens, less sugar, and drinking tons of water - I've found a few other tools to get my hair and skin looking fresh and healthy.

I read about the Alfaparf Milano serum on A Cup of Jo and it has been a miracle product for me. A tiny bit of this stuff goes a long way, and leaves a weightless gloss to my frizzy/flyaway hair. It also smells like the best thing ever

I've tried several different root lifters over the last two years, while dealing with a couple of annoying rounds of postpartum hair loss (the WORST.) I really like this Big Sexy Hair Root Pump. It gives a lot of lift, and best of all it lasts over a period of 2-3 days. (I try to not wash my hair more than 2 or 3 times a week in the winter.) 

The L'oreal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer has been another great winter trick. I have been putting this on after I wash and moisturize my face, focusing mostly on under my eyes, my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and jawline. It gives your skin a shimmery glow that looks kind of crazy on its own, but when you layer your foundation or BB cream on top of it, suddenly your skin looks dewy and fresh. Bonus - it's a primer, and makes your foundation look so much more smooth and even.

Usually I stay away from foundation. My number one makeup philosophy (whoa, that sounds serious,) is that it has to look natural and I find that foundations always feel too heavy and look too cake-y. I much prefer BB cream (Maybelline's is my tried-and-true-always-go-back-to-it favorite.) But one day Target was out of my BB cream (sob) and I picked this Almay foundation up instead. It has turned out to be a great winter makeup because it's really hydrating without being too greasy, and it really does match my skin color perfectly. If you like a dewy look, this is a good foundation to try.

Blush scares me (bronzer scares me even more, but that's another story for another day.) I have a really round face and it's always been hard for me to know where to apply blush. Factor in the confusion of brushes and application techniques and I've found I've pretty much always left blush out of my makeup bag. Then I found these Maybelline Master Glaze sticks and they have been a game changer. I have a nude colored one and a light pink one. I like to swipe the nude one on right under my cheek bones and blend in up and towards my temples. It gives a subtle contoured look that still appears natural. I apply the pink one lightly on the apples of my cheeks and it gives a natural, just-in-out-of-the-cold kind of look. These blush sticks are creamy, not powdery, and blend in really nicely with a (clean!) finger - no brushes needed. 

This might sound weird, but I don't really mind having a little tiny bit of darkness under my eyes - I don't know, it just makes my face feel more natural. So I've never been into under eye concealer. In 2014, however, it became clear that I needed something under my eyes - chalk it up to getting older or the number of my children, but I looked exhausted all the time. This CC cream is wonderful. It's a metal roller applicator, which feels cold and soothing under tired eyes. The formula is lightweight, not cake-y, and is still sheer enough to look natural. I recommend it to allll the tired mothers.

Maybe you've picked up on this already, but I'm a drugstore makeup kind of girl. I just can't justify spending money on higher brand makeup right now, especially since I don't really know what the heck I'm doing anyway. I made an exception this Christmas, when I took myself to Sephora and bought a very extravagant...drumroll...eyebrow pencil. A what? Yes, you read that right. 2014 was the year of the eyebrows, wasn't it? I feel like all the beauty bloggers and vloggers beat that point to death last year, and maybe it was for good reason? I really like a strong brow. I've always thought my eyebrows were pretty strong on their own but after seeing so many tutorials on filling them in and the difference it makes, I wanted to try an eyebrow pencil. The problem was that most drugstore brow pencils are too reddish. They didn't look natural on me. I read really great reviews on the Anastasia Brow Wiz and can honestly say now that, for me, it was worth the price. It matches my color perfectly, and the pencil point is so fine, when you apply it really looks like you're adding hair to your brows. I think it makes a big difference to my face when I fill my brows in a bit and I'm really happy with this purchase.

My last January favorite is Maybelline's Color Tattoo eyeshadow in the shade "Bad to the Bronze." This product comes in a little pot, and the formula is very creamy rather than powdery. I blend it all over my eyelid with my ring finger and when I'm done, it seriously looks like I spent 10 minutes working on my eyes. It's so easy, and the color is so neutral/natural with just the right amount of shimmer - perfect for every day and occasion. It's my favorite. 

Well, that was fun (for me!) :) What girly, make-up-y things are you loving this month? Spill the deets!