Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Favorites: Loungewear

More Fall favorites here!  So I am like a lot of other women and, for some reason, find a way to use Fall (and Winter here in Florida) as an excuse to wear loungewear as often as possible.  Seriously... leggings and yoga pants all day, every day.

You would think finding a comfy, flattering pair of leggings or yoga pants would be easier than it is.  But A LOT of brands (especially those that have a lower price tag) make somewhat translucent loungewear.  Why, hello undies!

To help avoid others from experiencing accidental flashing incidents I have compiled a few of my favorite comfy options below.


Yoga Pants - T-Party

I discovered these yoga pants while searching Amazon for affordable comfy options that would look somewhat put together while running errands outside of the house.   At the time, my son was an infant and wearing "real clothing" just wasn't happening.  But I didn't want to be that mom in her jammies all day either.   These pants are surprisingly flattering, made of a thick, soft material that manages to NOT show undergarments and also NOT look or feel like nylons.  They also have a pretty low price tag considering the quality of this product is high.  They usually run between $10-$16/pair.

Leggings

Victoria's Secret PINK

These leggings are pricier than I'd like but I received a free pair of their black leggings with purchase of some tops.  And those free leggings that I said "Sure, why not?" to.... they are now my favorite pair.  I prefer leggings that, again, are not "tights" and not made of a nylon material.  You know what I mean.  Those leggings  that look more like tight cotton pants  (even though that sounds hideous) rather than pantyhose. These leggings are high in quality, comfortable, flattering, and cover your booty.   The price is a little high for me... but I would purchase more if these if I ever found them at the outlet store.

Target - Mossimo

Target carries a variety of leggings.  And they are all different when it comes to quality and fit.  The ones I like DO NOT come in those pantyhose-looking packs.  They are usually hung on racks like pants, have a wide waste band and, of course, more of a cotton feel and opaque look.  They are difficult to find in the stores near me so I usually end up buying them online. 


Tops
Victoria's Secret PINK and Target are again my go-tos for loungewear.  I usually stick to short sleeve and long sleeve solid colored tops just to make it easier to put an outfit together when I'm in a rush in the morning. VS's are comfy and flattering but again, the price tag for a short sleeve shirt is iffy  for anyone on a budget.  Target makes VERY similar tops for less (and they are often in the clearance section.  I just bought one for under $3.)

Left: PINK           Right: Target

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Favorites: Quick, Easy Pumpkin Spice Cookie Recipe

Fall is here!  And while it is still nearing 90 degrees here in Florida, we still like to get into the Autumn spirit.  Even if we are still feeling the Summer weather.

One of my FAVORITE  Fall treats comes from Peanut Butter Fingers.  I got this recipe several years ago from the awesome fitness/health/lifestyle blog and have made it every year since.  It only requires two ingredients (one of which being REAL pumpkin) and takes a total of about 15 minutes to make.

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cookies


Ingredients
Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
1 can of 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree 

Directions: 
Mix the two ingredients well in a large bowl.  Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet (or one lined with aluminum foil and then greased if you hate clean up like I do.)  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 -12 minutes. 

Eat as is or for those who want a little extra sugar - frost cookies. 

These are "cake cookies."  They have a soft texture and are not meant to get crispy. 

Now wasn't that easy!?!  Enjoy!



Friday, October 17, 2014

Mean Stinks! Joining Secret Plus My Bullying Story

October seems to be the month of awareness for many causes.  Most known for being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Bullying Prevention Month.  Bullies have been around since the beginning of civilization.  However, we are now seeing how deep of an issue this is not only for individuals involved but also for society as a whole.   Now that I'm a mom, the topic of bullying hits even closer to home.  Its something all parents fear in some way.  "I don't want my child to be bullied," and "I don't want my child to BE a bully," are common thoughts of most parents today.

This is why I decided to join the Secret Mean Stinks campaign.  While this campaign focuses specifically on girl on girl bullying (and I have a son)  it is still something I can relate to and something I feel needs to be supported and highlighted.

One topic that is particularly important that parents today might not necessarily be able to fully relate to is Cyber Bullying.  This is something the new useful technology (that wasn't around when we were kids) has unfortunately brought with it.

I recently witnessed cyber bullying of a young lady very close to me.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Nasty comments, doctored pictures, and full on cruel conversations with this young girl as the subject were plastered all over social media sites. I'm talking hundreds of posts. It was intense, beyond teasing, and quite frankly, shameful.  The target of this bullying handled the situation with dignity.  She's a confident girl with a strong support system and didn't let this incident destroy her.  But I definitely see how this kind of tormenting can seem inescapable. 

After viewing cyber bullying that touched so close to home... I wondered... "What is wrong with these kids?! Do they not care?  Do they not have a heart?" and then I realized... The internet has become a place of not only anonymity for many bullies (though this was not the case for this group),  it has also made bullying less personal for the bully while giving them a further reach for their attack.

Now I love the internet and I think we can all agree that overall the internet is awesome.  But think about it.  These kids don't have to see their victims' face, hear their cries, or even risk having another person step in and put them in their place while they are bullying online.  Its easier to be cruel when you don't see the effect live and in person.  What I saw when I was viewing all of the insensitive posts were kids playing a game.  They were seeing who could come up with the most clever put down or who could get the most replies.  It seemed they had forgotten their victim was even on the receiving end of this form of entertainment.

It made me angry, it made me sad, it made me thankful, and it made me scared.  It made me angry that these kids thought it was ok to treat anyone that way; especially someone close to me.  It made me sad to see the victim upset and also to think that these kids had nothing positive to work/focus on and contribute.  They instead spent that time  adding to the cruelty of the world.  It made me thankful this technology wasn't around when I was a kid.  And it made me scared of whats to come for my son when he becomes of school age.

Unlike bullying in person... these kids didn't receive any consequences for their actions that night. Another reason cyber bullying has become so popular.

While cyber bullying was simply not possible when I was younger, I do have experience being bullied that I want to share with you all.  This isn't a story I often tell but it is fitting for this post.

When I was in elementary school, my family decided to move from our hometown to North Carolina.  I was nervous about moving to a new place, but was certainly not expecting the treatment I received. I will give you a back story to help paint the picture.

Growing up (I would say even up until my senior year of high school) I was a shy, quiet girl (the shy eventually faded and I was just "reserved").  I was a people pleaser and tried to be helpful to everyone.  I had a solid group of friends but was also friends with many different "cliques."  I wasn't the girl all the boys were gaga over but the boys were my buddies...even though I wasn't a tomboy.    I did well in school, followed the rules, but wasn't a "suck up." I wasn't boy crazy and for as long as I can remember my focus was on getting into college and having fun with nice friends that I felt comfortable around.  Pretty much I was classic "fly below the radar" material.

Now my hometown had become a true "melting pot."  The once rural area was now rapidly expanding and developing.  I remember we had a "new kid"  at school at least once every few months for years on end. Because of this, "new kids" were welcomed and always had someone to give them a tour or eat lunch with.  Groups of kids would insist the new student eat lunch with them and "No! Sit next to me!" arguments would ensue. We would all ask about the new student's hometown, family, and favorite color/hobbies/activities with genuine interest.  Within a couple of weeks the new student was at home in their new school with a large group of friends.

So while I wasn't expecting to be welcomed quite as enthusiastically as the kids at my school were, I was expecting everyone to at least be nice. Boy, was I wrong.  I entered my new classroom and a group of girls instantly disliked me, for whatever reason.  We will call them Regina's group (Mean Girls reference) for the sake of the story. Things were different in North Carolina than my hometown.  It was much, much more rural with tobacco farms and cow pastures and rapid development had not yet started. I made friends with a few of the girls who seemed nice and soon after started receiving various forms of "teasing" (that's what we called it back in our day, right?) from Regina's Group.  Confused at what I had done, I now know I was simply different than what they were used to.

Things that made me different? I spoke differently (no deep Southern accent for this girl.)  Fashion trends were also different at my new school.  In my hometown girls in elementary school commonly wore cute dresses with leggings or biker shorts (hello 90s) underneath. Here the girls were wearing designer high rise jeans, blouses that looked like they belonged on high school girls and even *gasp* bras.  They shaved their legs and their topics of conversation were also a lot more adult than those of my gymnastics loving friends back home.

ALL of these differences contributed to them making comments, laughing, and even trying to get me into trouble with the teacher throughout the school year.  I never said anything and just kept to my few friends I had at school and in the neighborhood.  The bullying stayed at school because that's the only place I saw Regina's group.  They couldn't reach me at home.  They couldn't touch my sanctuary.  And this made it much less worse than it could've been had internet had the same presence and power it has today.

Within a year we moved back to my hometown and I left Regina's Group and North Carolina behind me.  I again flew under the radar and never really had another incident.  Today I don't even remember those girls names.  And I barely remember what they looked like.  But, as I said, had the internet been around, or had my family not decided to move back so quickly, things might be different.  I might not have learned to love the things that make me different.  I may not have learned to allow myself to stand out or shine.  Or to be proud of "my weird." I may not have developed such a strong sense of self (that kept me from being peer pressured and making dumb decisions growing up) so early in life.

Looking back at that time, I feel sadness.  Not for myself. But for those girls.  Now that I'm an adult I see that bullying is an outward expression of an inward feeling.  That feeling is usually some type of anger or, more likely, fear.  Fear of what is different. And while those in my hometown had expressed welcoming the new and the different with open arms from a young age,  these girls pushed it away and tried to crush it.  I can only hope they didn't hold on to that view their entire lives and eventually learned to view any situation that was unfamiliar, unplanned, or different to them as an opportunity for greatness, instead of fearing it would destroy or cause harm.

But wait!  There is a beauty aspect to this post!  Along with visiting MeanStinks.com for more information and "acts of nice" to complete and submit for a chance to win the title of "Nicest. School. In. America.", using the hastag #MeanStinks, tweeting @MeanStinks to share stories and advice, girls (and hey, why not? Guys too) can paint their pinky nails blue to show support for Bullying Prevention.  Search #bluepinky on instagram, tumblr, and twitter for some creative ideas or come up with a great look of your own.

I am still coming up with my own but have my blue pinky already! I will post my completed look on Twitter and Facebook once its complete!





Friday, October 10, 2014

Mom's Night Out - Beauty Edition!

So I've told the story of my first Mom's Night Out (click here if you missed it.)  But I left out a very, very important part of the night.  Our beauty routines and products.  I wanted to dedicate an entire post to this very important process we women go through before our night out.  If done right, it can become a fun ritual you experience with your closest girlfriends.

So what products did we use?  Check it out below!

Hair

For our hair we used a variety of products.

The night before our big day I decided to do a hair treatment to make sure my hair would be on its best behavior. Of course, being a busy mom I don't have all of the time in the world to wait on a hair treatment.  So I decided to go with Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle Treatment.  I used Strong knowing I would be using heat products on my hair the following day.  I definitely felt a difference in my hair.  It seemed smoother and less brittle.  I also didn't notice the usual damage I see after using heat products.

Speaking of the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Collection, I also used the Moist treatment a couple of days after our outing and was left with super soft, happy hair.

Now for my routine the day/evening of Mom's Night Out.  Of course, a shower is due before anything else can begin.  I used Herbal Essences Naked Volume collection.  My hair is straight and fine so volume is a must.  I loved how light the shampoo and conditioner felt.  I was left with bouncy, clean hair without having the over-drying result I usually get from volumizing products.

I also used the Herbal Essences Naked Sheer Shine Mist for an extra boost of health and shine.  This spray didn't weigh down my hair and left it smooth and shiny without any sort of sticky feeling.

After being out all night I came back to our hotel and again took a shower.  This time I decided to use the Herbal Essences Naked Moisture Shampoo and conditioner.  I figured my hair may need a little extra TLC after a night out.  Again, my hair was moisturized without feeling greasy or weighed down.

The Herbal Essences Naked products definitely achieve optimum results with their residue-free, paraben-free, and dye-free formula. I love how great they feel, the results they give, and even their clean, refreshing fragrance.


Face

Now that that shower is done, its time for MAKEUP!

For my foundation I used my trusty COVERGIRL  Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 foundation.  As usual, this go-to foundation applies quickly, easily, and smoothly while keeping a flawless finish all night. It has become my all time favorite foundation.

Blush and lips were perfectly done thanks to the help of a couple of MAC products.  My go-to blush, MAC Mineralize Blush in Gleeful ,provided a natural flush that didn't budge even after being caught in the rain once or twice.  All three of us ladies used MAC Lipsticks in different shades.  MAC lipsticks provide everything you could want in a lip product:  Vibrant color, moisture, smooth texture, and longevity. I don't think any of us had to touch up our lipstick the entire night.  Even after dinner and drinks the lipstick looked perfectly placed.

And finally, my favorite, eye makeup.  For eyes we used a TON of COVERGIRL products.  We used the Flamed Out Shadow Pots as our eye shadow (Melted Caramel was my favorite.)  These eye shadows are affordable and they provide highly pigmented color all night.  They are also easily blended into each other for a more glamorous look.  We also used the Flamed Out Shadow Pencils for added dimension.  These have the texture of a cream shadow and are so easy to apply.

For liner we used COVERGIRL's Ink It! Liners.  These easy to apply gel liners are one of my favorite COVERGIRL products.  I will admit, I have issues applying gel liners with a brush.  This makes it so much easier to get the liner exactly where you want it. 

And the stand out product of the night for me?  COVERGIRL's Professional Super Thick Lash Mascara. This mascara gives the same look Mally's prized Volumizing Mascara gives...but for a fraction of the cost.  It has become my new daily mascara and I feel much better using it knowing its not going to cost much to buy a replacement.


And there you have it.  A break down of our favorite products from Mom's Night Out! Try them out and see for yourself just how fabulous they are!

Friday, October 3, 2014

September Obsessions/Favorites AND GIVEAWAY

It's that time again!  Favorite products of the month- Let's get to it!



1. Belli Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub and Anti-Blemish Facial Wash


Loving both of these natural face products. The scrub is awesome for smoothing out your skin and preparing it for a face mask. I can really feel a difference in the texture of my skin since using this scrub. I also LOVE the pepermint scent.
The Anti-Blemish Facial Wash is a great option for those looking to use a natural facial wash without any medications. This is perfect for pregnant women or even just women who are looking to keep their face clear without resorting to harsh ingredients.


2. COVERGIRL Professional Super Thick Lash Mascara


This mascara gives a look similar to Mally's Volumizing Mascara... but at a fraction of the cost.  This has been my new daily mascara. Easy to apply and lasts all day!

3. Episode: Choose Your Story App

I'm so addicted to this game. Remember those choose your own ending books we had when we were younger? This app is the electronic version of that.

4. Clevamama - The Splash and Wrap Baby Bath Towel
This company has so many great products to help moms and dads  get through those precious (yet sometimes difficult) first few years with ease.  My favorite of their products are the Splash and Wrap Baby Bath Towel and the ClevaBath Extra Long Bath Mat. The Splash and Wrap Baby Bath Towel is thick, soft and so large that it even fits my big boy toddler.

5.  Clevamama - ClevaBath Extra Long Bath Mat

This product is a must have for anyone who has a wiggle worm or active child.   My son has slipped while moving in the tub even with the grips we have installed on the bottom of the tub.  This mat stopped that completely.  Plus it comes with a kneeling pad to ease the strain on your knees when bathing your child.  (The pad can also be used as a comfy pillow for mommy when she takes a bath herself...just saying!)


****GIVEAWAY ALERT****

If you would like to try #4 and #5 of this month's obsessions for yourself, you're in luck!  Follow the steps below to be entered to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Looking to purchase Clevamama products?  Use code CLEVAM20 at checkout here


You can also find Clevamama products at
Walmart.com
Kmart.com
Sears.com
Amazon.com