Friday, November 30, 2012

Add a Scarf to Dress up an Outfit

Turn a simple what some might consider just a drab sweater into a cute mommy on the go style in seconds.  For this particular outfit I paired a green sweater (gifted) with a geometric scarf from Banana Republic Factory, then added a pair of boot cut jeans and topped it off with some ballet flats. Having a toddler you moms know I only had another ten to fifteen minutes to finish off the look so I opted for quick and easy makeup using Mac Mineralize Skin Finish in Semi Precious Pearl,(unfortunately this was a collector's edition but they will have other products that are similar) Eyeshadow in Jest and Lip Gloss in Viva Glam V. That left about eight minutes for hair so I broke out the Hot Tools Styling Wand (1 inch flipperless curling iron) to take my hair from frizzball to yeah I am going to say it frickin fabulous.

Step by step tips for beachy waves hairstyle
1. Day old hair is the best to start with but if you just washed your hair just dry somewhat straight it doesn't have to be perfect.
2. Curl a small section with the curling wand. Repeat all around your head.  Make sure to hold the curling wand in the downward position, wrapping the hair around the barrel downward.  (watch your fingers it gets hot)
3. Take the smallest front section and pin back w/ bobby pins
4. Finish off with a small amount of hairspray (optional)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Whether you are caring for a parent, sibling, child, friend or spouse...Whether the disease is alzheimer's, old age, an accident, autism or mental illness you may be suffering from the trials and tribulations of being a caregiver.  Interesting facts about caregiving found on the CDC website.

Family Caregiving: The Facts

  • More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability (AARP, 2008).
  • An estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities (NAC, 2004).
  • Unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 90% of the long-term care (IOM, 2008).
  • The majority (83%) are family caregivers—unpaid persons such as family members, friends, and neighbors of all ages who are providing care for a relative (FCA, 2005)
  • The typical caregiver is a 46 year old woman with some college experience and provides more than 20 hours of care each week to her mother (NAC, 2004).
  • The out-of-pocket costs for caregivers who are caring for someone who was age 50 or older averaged $5,531 in 2007. About 37% of caregivers for someone age 50 and older reduced their work hours or quit their job in 2007 (AARP, 2008).
  • Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%) (NAC, 2004).
  • About 73% of surveyed caregivers said praying helps them cope with caregiving stress, 61% said that they talk with or seek advice from friends or relatives, and 44% read about caregiving in books or other materials (NAC, 2004).
  • About 30% said they need help keeping the person they care for safe and 27% would like to find easy activities to do with the person they care for (NAC, 2004).
  • Half (53%) of caregivers who said their health had gotten worse due to caregiving also said the decline in their health has affected their ability to provide care (NAC, 2006).
  • Caregivers said they do not go to the doctor because they put their family’s needs first (67% said that is a major reason), or they put the care recipient’s needs over their own (57%). More than half (51%) said they do not have time to take care of themselves and almost half (49%) said they are too tired to do so (NAC, 2004).
One of the most rewarding yet hardest things I have had to do in my life is to be a caregiver for a loved one. (and after reading these facts I know I am not alone) There are so many changes that can be very stressful not only on yourself but the whole family unit. Then having to deal with these changes and trying to figure out what to say and how to say it has become an internal battle so much so that sometimes you may feel that you're actually hurting more than helping. You notice that not only do your finances take a hit but your own health starts to decline from all the worry and stress...You start to feel broken...What to do?

Certainly I am not a quitter and always live in faith that things will get better with a whole lot of love and knowledge so thanks to google, the library and my family's help I am finding more and more resources to give hope and strength to caregivers.

A couple of websites that have helpful information is The Family Caregiver Alliance, Brain Injury of America, and CNS Center for Neuroskills.

A quote that was forwarded to me by my sister

"I considered why it might be better to make a mistake---and learn from it ---than strain to get everything right"

and another one
Hope lives on in the person that still believes.

and some I found on pinterest



Helpful Books

Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal

Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark



 A few things that I have learned throughout the process.
  • Be a positive role model
  • Remain calm in high stress moments
  • Always put yourself in your loved ones shoes before you react
  • Know your limits and ask for help when needed
  • Keep the lines of communication open
  • Find for yourself a getaway moment for example a trip to Starbucks, a favorite exercise class, or get lost in a book
  • Have many levels of support systems in place, family, pastor, friends, therapist and support groups. You will need each and every one of them.
  • Never don't ever forget that imperfection is perfectly perfect

    Please leave a comment if you have been inspired by any helpful resources and/or stories related to caregiving...Knowledge is Power. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Disappearing Act

I am sure you all thought we disappeared. I know it's been too long since our last post. What can I say but Thanksgiving turned out to be more of a chore that I had in store for myself than I had originally anticipated.  I had to remind myself that I am truly thankful besides the crazy things swirling around inside of this crazy house.  Let me get you up to speed...My Thanksgiving Holiday started off with finding water trickling through the is where I am was trickling into the storage area not hurting is where I am not so much...Dishwasher would be out of commission for not only one but two Thanksgiving Dinners...yes I host both I just can't eat Thanksgiving Dinner on paper plates...I tried I bought them but I just couldn't argggg.  Then my husband decided to get crazy drunk forgetting that he wasn't in college anymore...yeah football was on but come on...Thankful that he messaged my family to apologize and promise that that would never happen again...Last but not least I was putting away the dishes...opened the drawer below the oven and while closing almost took off my entire right big toe...Thankful that the cut after applying pressure and several band aids looked like I did not have to spend the night in the emergency room...Phew  So now that we are back to "normal" and I don't have any hosting jobs till next year I would like to share what my family was thankful for...

There was one rule you couldn't just say family and friends because that is a given...

-For all the food we have now
-All things lace and sparkly
-Beer, Wife, Children and Family, Golf Clubs Happy to host Thanksgiving and spend time with the people I love.  (yes this was from the drunk guy)
-For my house, health and love from my family and veterans freedom
-For my sight and being able to watch Ava grow
-For my blessings (from a six year old)
-For walks
-For my loving parents and brothers. Also how they work hard for me to dance.

Great ones from years past
-For turkeys that are free (not like free from the grocery but running around free)
-For my life (written from a seven year olds perspective)
-Cutting the grass (not from an adult)

If you don't do this Holiday Tradition you need to start it is such a creative way to capture your yearly thanksgiving thoughts.  Just cut pieces of cardstock into a tag style of your choice. This year I just cut the paper into 3x3 squares and attached a small ribbon at the top.  Find branches from your own yard, place in vase, have everyone write their name on one side and what they are thankful for on the other, then hang on the branches. Save the tags and set out every year to reminisce.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Basics No One Should Be Without

No matter what the season is outside there are basic pieces your wardrobe cannot be without.  We've already discussed one, the much loved cardigan and in this post I wanted to focus on the tank top. I know what you are thinking a tank top in the winter, for all seasons? answer absolutely. It is an essential layering piece for a cardigan, sweatshirt, sweater or blazer. You will need at the very least a white and a black one. My favorite tank tops for the price and fit are from Target and JCrew Factory.  Next is a pair of boot cut jeans...the ones I have on are Mek jeans. I have to admit that although the fading, color and inseam is perfect (I am 5'7 and need an inseam of 34 or 35 in.) there is just one pet peeve I have with them...the rise seems to be just a half inch too low. I didn't notice until after I had worn them but they stretch just a little which in turn causes them to slip down just a bit more. Let me tell you it is no accident that my cardigan is long enough for a bend over and pick something up moment...Can I get that belt any tighter?  I love to pick out a "special detail" that adds a little something extra on a traditional piece so on this cardigan the chiffon trim was what jumped out to me. Well that and the price...last season I picked it up for only $10.00.


Cardigan Ann Taylor found similar, Tank Top Victoria's Secret found similar, Jeans Mek from Nordstrom Rack found similar online, Earrings Banana Republic Factory found similar, Necklace Ann Taylor Loft found similar, Shoes DSW Chinese Laundry
So we were out at Charming Charlies and what did I spy a chiffon flower on a knitted hat. Had to try that on. Loving the grey and the blue together. eek

Me looking at my sister are you sure this is cute?

Top Ten Essential Wardrobe pieces.

1. Tank Top/Cami
2. Jeans
3. Cardigan
4. Trench
5. Blazer
6. Trousers
7. Skirt
8. Blouse
9. Shorts
10. T shirt
(11. A knitted hat with a chiffon flower)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Behave, Or Not To Behave, That Is The Toddler's Question


My toddler chooses to behave. YEP you read that right. Well since implementing tactics from my therapist who happens to also be an attachment parent, she does.

You may be like me (listened to all the books, websites, parents) & gave your toddler lots of choices. Choices build self esteem and self confidence. Choices on what to eat, what to wear, what fun activity to do, but have you given them a choice on how to behave? 2 year olds and toddlers in general are very strong willed, they want the control. Really its because their world & bodies are always changing they seek out control at an opportunity.

Let me give you some examples. Let me preface the below by saying get on their level or at the very least look them in the eye & say their name. I end most of the examples in this post with "what is your choice?" but you can end it with "you pick" something to that effect.

NAPS (most tantrumed activity in our house pre behavior choices)
"Ava, you can take a nap with the door open or I can shut it. What is your choice?"
"Ava, you can take a nap with mommy or all by yourself. What is your choice?"

Teeth Brushing
"Ava, You can say ahhhh all by yourself or I will have to help you open your mouth. You pick."

"Its Laura's turn, you can take turns with your friend or we can go home & take a nap. What is your choice?"
"Hitting is unacceptable behavior. If you're angry you can stomp your feet or go to your room. What is your choice?" -Ava hasn't hit but I know this is common for toddlers

"You must eat a vegetable you can pick broccoli or carrots what's your choice?"

Out (when we go x, your expectations are x, consequences are x & remember to follow through these are smart human beings small but smart)
"Ava at the grocery store you must sit in the cart or the boba to help me shop, if you don't, we will leave. What is your choice?"

So lets assume they don't make a choice you've given (it will happen) "Is that a choice?" "you're making poor (unacceptable) choices." "How can we behave?" If that doesn't work start the 1,2,3 in a non threatening manner "1,2,3 okay now its time to leave" remember follow through!!

Tantrums in our house have reduced from one every hour to maybe once a day on a bad day even then its super mild. I hope this post helps your toddler and your sanity. It has certainly helped mine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A sight for sore eyes

I've been meaning to make an eye appointment & I did it & yes I got glasses. I didn't realize how lucky I was in having my vision until they showed me the scar. They dumbed down the picture for me, the small round circle is my pupil the big mass is a scar, had that scar been any higher I would be blind in that eye. Done, never to see Ava, but I am lucky. It further reinforces that I should be here, I want to be here, to watch Ava grow, to see her sassy behavior. the sweet moments & the frustrating.

My right eye refuses to focus for distance so wearing the glasses 24/7  (not while sleeping) for 2 weeks will hopefully retrain my brain. So my glasses are Kate Spade ooh la la. I did not know this till I got my receipt, thank you vision insurance. I took Jeanne with me because she's the family fashionista but she was no help (except she did pick the glasses I choose ::cough name brand cough::) The girl that helped me was awesome, so if you have to go, trust them, they really know what they are talking about. Now I did pick the one who's style was like my own. In fact the glasses she was wearing was in my top 3 picks.

We did talk about screen time and she said that there is no difference between iphone vs laptop screen "damage". That its not permanent damage but does result in strain. Now the way to lessen the strain is to  **REMEMBER TO BLINK**

So my friends if you have insurance definitely go get your eyes checked!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Feeling a Little Bit Country

Last week after a night of the CMA's I was inspired to dress a little bit country. Well I guess it would be "old country"...a lot has changed over the years and I just don't think I will ever be able to pull off the new country look.  Didn't it seem like everyone was in tight leather pants?  I am not going to name names either but I think I saw someone in a curtain yes I said looked like a curtain on starch steroids. Then just as my eyes were adjusting...I think someone had stolen Ronald McDonald's boots and dyed them black who you say I'll never tell.  Let's just say if they need a stylist I am definitely available. My Top Red Carpet Looks of the night Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Neetles, Jana Kramer and Taylor Swift.

Jacket BCBG outlet found similar, Dress Kensie found  here or here, Boots Ugg (purchased at TJMaxx) found similar, Earrings JCPenny (free they sent a $10.00 free mailer) found similar, Necklace Forever 21 found similar, Ring Charming Charlies.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Creamy White Chili

Yes we are stuck on chili. It's cold outside and it really warms you up to your core. This one is totally different I swear. One of my good friends shared this recipe with me unsure where she got it? (I googled it I think it is Taste of Home) I am telling you it is so darn good and bonus easy to make. What can be better than that?

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken cut into 1/2 cubes
1 onion chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
4 cans (15 1/2 oz each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans chicken broth 14 1/2 oz each
1 can diced green chilies 7 oz
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream (can substitute milk)

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve immediately.

Crockpot version: Still saute chicken, onion and garlic powder until chicken is no longer pink. Add chicken, onion, beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Let cook for 4 hours on low. Add sour cream and whipping cream. Let cook for 15 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hygeia Enjoye Breast Pump Giveaway

Hygeia is not paying me for this post and the pump is from my own hard earned money. Words are all my own. I simply love Hygeia. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Now granted it is used but Hygeia is multi user so totally safe to share. Also my pump has a little less than a year on the warranty but hey its a warranty, I do not know any other company gives a 3 year warranty on their pumps.

Now the start of Ava & my breastfeeding relationship was NOT pretty or heartwarming but Hygeia changed that. I had even used a hospital grade pump prior to the Hygeia Enjoye and I could NOT tell the difference, yes the Enjoye is just as good as the hospital grade pump I used. Ava would not nurse from my right side for the first 3 months of her life. The Hygeia Enjoye kept my supply on that side up & I was able to produce just as much as my left side. It also helped me pump for her when I returned to work & had pumped enough for a donor baby.

I picked Hygeia for many reasons but here are a few

  • WHO-code compliant!!
  • Warranty is transferable to new owner
  • They have a recycling program
  • Closed system so can have multi users (safe to share & no yucky mold issues)
  • Customer Service. I've worked in customer service & could never even attain the awesome level of service that Hygeia does. They are amazing specifically Kate Gulbransen who can be found on twitter as @HygeiaKate they have some great info at @HygeiaBaby also.
The only downside? The pump I bought that I'm offering to you does not have the internal battery so you must have access to a outlet. Now this was not a real issue once I bought a pumping bra which I have & can send with the pump if you want it. Multitasking for the win!! Again Hygeia has not offered me any money or items but they are offering the winner of this giveaway their very own (new) accessory kit. 

You can buy it here at Hygeia 

or enter below. USA only, sorry my international friends. Starts now and  Ends November 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm est.
  • Comment below you can just say you need it or you can tell your story (I welcome all stories it makes it seem more normal that its not all rainbows and angels singing but I like those too)
  • Please subscribe to Posts (see in left hand side)
  • Optional: Like us on Facebook
  • Optional: You can get extra points by sending friends to vote for you, they can "vote" for your comment by commenting that the pump should go to you (name that you used on your comment) Also you get extra points if they also subscribe to our posts & like us on Facebook)
I am sad my & Ava's breastfeeding relationship ended the way it did after the accident and this is like the final key in my mental healing of that. Thank you my friends for following our story.
Enjoy Enjoye 

Giveaway closed ****** thank you all for entering and congrats to Kim MamaDaisiey, please DM me your address. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Oh Cardigan, How I Love Thee Let Me Count The Ways

Last week after my sister found out that I was wearing my winter coat in the house for warmth (former California girl here) she took me shopping for some warm clothes. First we went to the thrift store where I found a lot of sweaters but most were pilled or had small arms which would be perfect if I was a dinosaur but unfortunately I'm not. Next we went to Target I found the cutest cardigan on sale for $15 Target Boyfriend Cardigan by Mossimo. (I've linked to it here but online its back up to $22.99.) I went daring and veered from my normal black, brown, blue and picked yellow. Now they have lots of other styles of cardigans but this was the only one with pockets and with a toddler the more pockets the better.

Counting down the top five reasons why I love my Target Boyfriend Cardigan

1. Affordability. I was able to get mine on sale for $15.00. Regular price is $22.99.
2. Pockets. Perfect size for either your phone, keys or a snack for little one.
3. Color. The colors are amazing they have ten colors to choose from. Mine is Sierra Gold.
4. Comfort. Target not only thought of the perfect shape and length but also used a sweater fabric that is super soft and warm.
5. Stylish. Cardigans are so versatile that they can be worn with any type of skirts, shorts, leggings, dresses, pants and my fav skinny jeans. 


Cardigan Target, Top Thrifted found similar, Wedge Boots gift found similar, Clutch Nine West gifted from Ross found similar online.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Post Halloween Candy Mayhem

How many of you guys woke up this morning with a chocolate hangover? I found myself trying to eat enough cheerios to soak up all of the sugar realizing that I just might have to...hold on a second...this is hard...give up chocolate.  Well some of it at least.  So when I received the email from our Orthodontist I was convinced to participate in their charity event.

Mark your calendars for our 2nd annual Smiles Change Lives Candy Exchange: NOVEMBER 3RD ! Bring your extra candy and come by the Landen office to help support our troops!! Enjoy food, drinks, entertainment and visits from our firefighters and military men and women!

Northeast Orthodontic Specialists

Being a dental assistant if you don't live in an area where your dentist participate in this program here are some tips to try to avoid cavities.

  •  Limit suckers  hard candies.  These are the worst because the sugar is not only on the teeth for the amount of time they are sucking on them but for at least thirty minutes after.
  •  Always have them brush their teeth after eating any candy. Especially the sticky stuff like sour patch kids, swedish fish or tootsie rolls. Those types of candies stick into the grooves of the biting surface of teeth guaranteeing a trip to the dental chair.
  • Starting at the age of three always see your dentist every six months for a routine thorough cleaning.