Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Easy and Delicious Pot Roast Stew

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- 2 lbs roast beef
- 2-3 potatoes, cut
- 1 onion cut in large pieces
- 1/2 of a small bag of baby carrots
- 3-4 celery stalks, cut
- 1 box beef broth
- Red pepper flakes (adds some extra taste, don't add to much!)
- 1 Knorr vegetable soup mix (in the soup aisle, on the top shelf)
- Seasons of preference (we use Trader Joe's 21 seasonings and a bit of garlic salt)

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Place roast beef in crock pot and cover in veggies. Add beef broth and make sure all the meat and veggies are covered, you can add water if needed. I have a 5 quart Crock Pot and don't have to add any water, but you might depending on your cut of meat and the size of your slow cooker. Then add all your seasonings and mix it up. Let cook on high 3-4 hours, or low 4-6 hours. Once meat is fully cooked, we take it out and shred it and put it back in the pot.

This is one of my favorite meals, it's so perfect in cold weather. It's warm and yummy, and is a good hearty meal. It's perfect to put on Sunday morning and have it ready after church and football. We always pair is with buttered bread. It's so simple and makes me feel all cozy and nostalgic for childhood on the inside. I've had lots of pot roast in my day, but the combination of using broth and the Knorr seasonings makes such a huge difference in flavor. This recipe has a ton of flavor and is one of the easiest things I've ever made in my life. We've made it a ton these last few months, even using pork roasts instead of beef- which was also yummy! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Our Weekend

This past weekend was so much fun and easy. It's weekends like this that I love, when you get to spend time with family without any schedule. They're so few and far between it seems like every weekend we have parties or plans. I really look forward to weekends without any plans.

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Jacket (Old Navy two years ago, similar here) // Boots (on sale for under $75!!)

On Saturday morning, we woke up and cleaned around the house. Saturdays are typically cleaning days, we pick up throughout the week, but do our deep cleaning on the weekends. Then we ran some errands before coming home to play. We played so hard in Ellie's play room, we shopped, cooked, built block towers, and played with her cash register. It's so fun to watch her play and see her imagination at work. Then we got ready and headed out to meet Papa for dinner.

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We went a bit out of our way and ate at one of my favorite places- Cafe Rio! It is so good and I wish there was one closer to our house. I've been trying to get Matt's parents over there for a while because I know they would like it and his dad already can't wait to go back again! I always get the barbacoa salad with everything on it. It's so, so yummy and I would love to find a copy cat recipe for the meat. It's so sweet and juicy!

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The area has a nice little shopping area and a really cute fountain Ellie is obsessed with. It was a nice outing and I'm glad we were able to finally take Matt's dad there (his mom went out of town for the weekend). It was nice outside so we let Ellie play for a while in front of the fountain and just chatted.

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Then Sunday morning we went to church and I really enjoyed the talks and lessons. We only went for the first two hours, Ellie had a meltdown in nursery so we headed home after Relief Society. Sometimes she loves nursery and races in and plays so hard and this week and last time she cried for no reason and wanted to go home. Kids!

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I posted this last night on my Instagram, but I wanted to share it again. I finished this book, The Nightingale by Krstin Hannah this week and it was such an incredible book and I couldn't put it down. It's an incredible story about two sisters living in France during WWII and how the war affected them and the choices they needed to make to survive. It was such a page turner and if I read it before bed, I dreamt I was the characters and had so much anxiety about what was going to happen next!

We came home and had family over for dinner. It was such a slow, relaxing weekend, I'm already looking forward to next weekend. It was a great weekend that leaves you ready for the week ahead. Have a great week and happy Monday! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water Review

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If you’re a long time follower, you already know that I’m a beauty junkie! I love to try new products and trends and when I saw this Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water I had to get it and give it a go. According to the bottle, it’s an all in one product that takes all of your makeup off without harsh rubbing and also cleanses your skin without having to rinse. It’s supposed to lift dirt, oil, and makeup like magnet without drying your skin or having to use additional cleansing products. As a lover of multi-tasking, I was super excited to try this baby out.

For the past few weeks, I’ve used the water daily to cleanse my skin. I’ve gone back and forth for using it first to remove makeup and using it second after a face wash/makeup remover. My skin looks and feels great, really smooth and soft and I’m really happy about it. I thought I would experience some drying since my skin tends to be a bit sensitive and prone to drying out, especially in the winter, but my skin is smooth and moisturized.

Before I delve into my thoughts about the product, I want to say a few things about my makeup that will help in understanding how the product works for me. I don’t wear waterproof makeup, I sometimes wear a face primer, and almost always wear an eye primer, and use 1-2 coats of mascara. I don’t feel that I wear a lot of makeup, but would say I wear a lot of products. That might sound contradicting, but I mean that I don’t wear heavy makeup. It’s not caked or packed on, I use a light hand when applying my makeup.

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With that being said, here are my thoughts about this new cleansing water:
- Has virtually no smell at all
- Lots of product for the size/cost
- It takes off all my face makeup
- Takes off eye makeup
- Is not oily and leaves no residue
- No need to rinse face after use
- Leaves skin feeling soft and clean
- Great to spot remove makeup errors

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Overall, I really like this cleanser a lot and I think it will be a repeat buy for me. I do have to put in some elbow grease to get all of my mascara and liner off, but I expected that. I have heard that the waterproof version of the cleanser is better for that whether you wear waterproof mascara or not. So I will be buying that bottle next. I typically shower at night (to save time in the mornings) and wash my makeup off in the shower and then will use this cleanser after to remove any remaining makeup/dirt and to cleanse my skin. If I don’t need to shower at night, I’ll use this to clean my makeup off. It takes me three cotton rounds front and back to get all of it off and thoroughly cleanse my face. It’s quick to do and I don’t have to do harsh rubbing, but definitely some work on my eyes. I wouldn’t suggest this product solely as an eye makeup remover, but definitely recommend the water as a cleanser.

What products do you like to use for removing makeup? I also really like Neutrogena’s Natural Cleanser and their wipes for on the go.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Recent Beauty Purchases

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As I was taking pics for this post I had to keep taking more pics because I would forget about stuff I've bought and haven't used yet, but wanted to include in the post. I've bought a thing here, an item there, several things have seemed to just jump into my cart at Target. That happens to you too, right? You go to Target for five, maybe six things, and you leave with a full cart. Then you're unpacking and putting things away and realize that you have two eyeliners, a mascara, mousse (which I did forget to include in this post, it's L'Oreal ), a top, and some home decor. It never fails!

On Sunday, I cleaned out a spare makeup drawer and threw out a few items so I don't feel quite as bad about my totally unnecessary purchases. I really need to toss out so much more. I try a lot of new products and brands it really starts to take up a ton of space. It's not as bad as it used to be when Nordstrom, Ulta, and Sephora were all just around the corner from me. Now Ulta or Sephora is a 20-30 minute drive and the closest Nordstrom is a solid 45 minutes away. For some reason, I don't really buy makeup/hair products online, so my beauty hauls have slowed down. Plus, taking a toddler anywhere that has beauty samples is a nightmare!!! Maybe I should just order online...

Anyways, here's what I've bought the last couple of weeks. Some of them are repeat buys, but a lot of them have been purchases to try something new. I've tried a few of them already and have shared my first impressions about them below.

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Meg tried this and liked it, so I bought it. Did I need it right now? Nope. I haven't used it yet, but Meg gives great reviews and tries a ton of stuff and when she mentioned this I snagged it so I wouldn't forget! I always really, really, want to try NYX HD Concealer which is supposedly a dupe for NARS so that will be making it's way into my makeup bag on my next Ulta trip.

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I have a lipstick from this collection in Blushing Beige 915 and really like it so I wanted to try the shade darker and about Nude Lust 920. I'm super happy with them both! I don't know if I have a preference of one over the other, they both are creamy and great shades. 920 does have warmer pigmented color to it. I usually top them both off with MAC Boy Bait or Urban Decay Walk of Shame.When in doubt, wear nude I always say!

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As you can tell from yesterday's mascara review post, I love mascara and wanted to give this Lash Sensational one a try. The wand's bristles look like they could really help in pushing up your lashes and giving extra length. I don't typically care for short bristles on a wand, but I think that the mix of long on one side and short on the other might me a good mix to really coat your lashes. I've heard good things, will report back.

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The NYC Eyeliner is a re-purchase, it's an amazing eyeliner! I never would have tried it, but makeup artist Brittany Layne (Jason Aldean's wife) raves about it so I tried it and fell in love. It's true black that doesn't fade and lasts all day long. I've heard good things about NYX so I picked this one up too.

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Typically, I like Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair conditioner, but I've been liking a lot of L'Oreal's hair products lately and thought I'd try this Damage Erasing Balm a whirl. The bottle that one use can repair up to a year of damage? That sounds like a challenge to me!

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L'Oreal has some really great hair products and one thing I hate doing is blowdrying my hair. I don't know why, I just style the front and crown and flip my head over for the rest and it takes me all of 7-10 minutes to do the whole thing. Still, I loathe it. Obviously, this Quick Dry Primer Spray needed to make it's way to my bathroom. I've tried it twice and the first time I felt a difference in time, but not so much the second time. I'll keep using it to see if it was just a Jedi trick or if it really works. It smells incredible though.

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Another repeat buy for me. I really dig a light leave-in conditioner for my ends. All of the bleach, styling, and heat can be killer and I need a little extra to save my tresses. I don't love this one, but it's light weight and works for now. I swear a few years ago every brand had a leave-in conditioner, but I can't find any now! It seems like they're a thing of the past. Do you use one? What do you like? What should I use instead?

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So I've been using a stretched out purple scrunchie around the house and to separate my hair while styling since 1995. 1995!!! It was a Christmas gift from my dad (aka, grandma) and I only know the year because it was the first year my parents had separated. I'll hold onto the scrunchie forever probably, but I really needed some new ones that had some actual stretch. Laugh all you want about it, but these are so soft and don't pull your hair at all. These feel like heaven when your hair is pulled up in them.

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My favorite moisturizers are from Image, but I've also been using Aveeno and it had just ran out so I picked this Neutrogena one up to replace it. Veronika recommended it and I really like it so far. I use my Image ones at night and have been using this one in the mornings.

What are some of your favorite beauty products? Have you tried anything new and loved it lately? Hope you're all having a fantastic day, thank you for reading!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Drugstore Mascaras Review

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One of my guiltiest beauty pleasures is mascara, I just love it! I have my Holy Grails (see below), but I still like to try new ones all the time. Mascara is the only beauty product that I think every woman can benefit from wearing. It emphasizes your eyes and applying just one coat can be enough to get you out the door. There's lots of beauty products that are worth spending the extra cash on, but I don't think mascara is one of them. The two brands I'm most loyal to is L'Oreal and Maybelline, I really like their formulas and I think they give lashes a ton of drama. My favorite type of lashes are extra long lush ones and have found that mixing two mascaras give me the best look. I use one coat for length and another for thickness. I've tried a ton of mascaras and reviewed the top ones here for you.

Maybelline The Rocket Volum Express: B+
This mascara is really close to being an A, in fact I gave it an A- to start and changed it to a B+ because I think the Maybelline The Colossal Chaotic is superior between the two. I really like the brush, it’s very full and the tip narrows just a bit making it easy to apply to the inner lashes and bottom lash line. When using this mascara, I think it pairs amazing with my Holy Grail L’Oreal Voluminous to give lashes both volume and length. Alone, this mascara is great, it adds a ton of volume, but it can be pretty tough to get off on its own. I don’t have a problem removing it when I layer it on top of another mascara that I use as a base. I moved this mascara down to a B+ because I don’t think it gives you as much length as other mascaras and it does flake a bit at the end of the day.

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama: B- (would be an A, read below why!)
The silicone cupped bristles on the wand really intrigued me and their marketing for the new shape totally sold me! I snagged up this mascara and went to town on my lashes. Right away I fell in love with the mascara, it’s formula and wand had a huge impact on my lashes giving them both length and thickness. My lashes nearly looked fake and one coat really coated my lashes while a second gave them extra drama. However, after a few weeks of wearing the mascara exclusively, my eyelids started to get really dry. One of my girlfriends had mentioned that to me when I bought it, but I wanted to test it out myself. My eyelids got so dry my skin started to flake and my under eye concealer looked terrible! It took over a week of not using the mascara and heavy moisturizing before my lids went back to normal. I’m super bummed about it because other than that this probably is the best mascara I’ve ever tried. I really hope they change the formula, I’ve tweeted them but haven’t heard any response. Has anyone tried this mascara and had the same issue? It’s so weird!

Maybelline The Colossal Chaotic: A-
Each coat of this mascara really grabs your lashes, and the bent end of the wand helps lengthen your tips for extra oomph. This is a mascara that definitely works all on its own to really amplify your lashes. The formula is thick and the directions tell you to use the bended tip to mess up your lashes, but I don’t really care for a crazy look, but that tip really does help to add extra volume you the tips of your lashes. I love the overall look this mascara’s formula and wand give, my only complaint is there can be a bit of fall out at the end of a work day, hence the minus in the grade. I consider this one of my Holy Grail mascaras, it just works amazing at building up your lashes!

L’Oreal Voluminous Original: A
This mascara is my Holy Grail and I always go back to it to use alone or use it paired with other mascaras. Its formula is great and builds really well to give lashes a natural look with a dramatic touch. It’s great for every day, it doesn’t smudge or flake and washes off easily. Typically, I use this mascara paired with another mascara for more length. I have gone through countless tubes of this over the years.

CoverGirl Lash Blast: B-
I bought this mascara in waterproof, which I typically don’t buy because I don’t need it on an everyday basis. I needed some staying power though for the birth of my second baby and wanted to cry those happy tears without having any black streaks run down my cheeks. I really like the wand, I think that shape really helps to build fullness on lashes which is a total win for me. It's very similar to the Maybelline The Rocket Volum Express, but with shorter bristles. At first try, I totally got what all the fuss and cult following was about! After a few wears, the excitement for me kind of died down. I didn’t need to use it every day, so I didn’t use this mascara until the very end, but I just remember thinking that although I liked the mascara, it wasn’t enough to buy another tube of it. So that’s my review, it’s just good enough, not anything extra.

L’Oreal Voluminous Superstar: B-
Primer and mascara in one? Sold! I really like the primer on this mascara, I think it coats each lash well and helps to hold a curl. The mascara is so so. The primer wand is hour glass shaped, which I like, I think this shape really helps to coat lashes from more angles and the mascara wand is curved, which I do not really prefer. I don’t think the curved wand does anything extra for your lashes and doesn’t give you the ability to coat your lashes evenly. The mascara itself is pretty thin (probably to go with the primer and prevent clumps) and is quick to run. The mascara really lengthens your lashes, but doesn’t do much for fullness. The lengthening is really great though, very long and spider leggy (if that’s your thing- I like spidery and full personally). Overall, I don’t think this mascara is a Holy Grail product, I think the mascara wand should also be hour glass shaped and would prefer the formula to be a bit thicker to better compliment the primer. Nothing about this mascara or primer wows me and I would be surprised if it lasted as part of their collection.

I've tried so many mascaras over the years and these are my most used or most recent used ones. I've already bought another mascara to try that's hiding in my makeup drawer. What are your favorite mascaras? Do you go high or low end? Please share your favorites below so I can try them too!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Stripes and Fur (with the fur) OOTD

Striped Tee // Fur Vest // Black Skinnies // Booties (super old, similar here)

Happy freaking Friday everyone!! The days have been short this week, but the week has seemed to be so long for some reason. Anyone else feel like that? No? Just me?

Anyways, I had Wednesday off this week and wore this outfit out and about. These skinny jeans are my favorite. I want more of them. They're soft, thin, and make you look way skinnier than you actually are. Plus, they're super comfortable and that alone makes them a must have for me. The striped tee I snagged on a whim at Target and figured it would be good for layering... although I haven't layered it yet, wouldn't it be so cute with a chunky knit? I need to level with you though. I'm on the fence about the fur vest. It's a super trendy item, I think it kind of had its run last year, but I still like it when I see people wearing them on my IG feed. What do you think? Keep or sell/giveaway?

Hope you have a great weekend! What are you plans?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Gallery Wall for a Toddler with Minted

Hello, good morning! I am so excited to share today's post! I've collaborated with Minted to share a gallery wall of independent artist's work to complete Ellie's big girl room. Over the last 6 months or so, we’ve been slowly transitioning Ellie’s room. We've made little changes here and there, but have been stuck with what to do for the main wall that her bed rests against. Then, a fairy godmother of Minted sent me an email and her room was done! I was pumped to work together with Minted to help take Eleanor’s room from a nursery to a big girl room.

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Greatest Adventure // Favorite Books // Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Wild Rabbit // The Fountain // Bonjour Ma Fleur

Ellie is in love with her new wall, The Fountain print is her favorite! She shows it to me every day and it's the one she's focusing on in the pics. My personal favorite is Favorite Books, I changed two of the books to include The Princess Bride and Little Women which are my personal favorites that I look forward to reading with her.  

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Wild Rabbit (8x8) // The Fountain (5x7) // Bonjour Ma Fleur (8x10)

Minted has many amazing art pieces and their website is really user friendly. What I love most about their projects, is your ability to personalize and preview your options. Minted offers a large range of sizes, and if you’re a visual person like myself, they have pictures that show you the sizing against each other so it’s easy to choose the right sizes for your home. You can also choose to have the pieces you’ve chosen framed or unframed and preview each frame with the picture. There’s lots of choices you can make for each art piece to really have it fit your home, but it wasn’t overwhelming or daunting, again, their site and set up is simple to navigate. It was an awesome experience working with them and it was really easy to visualize and see how my favorites would fit together to complete her room.

We are so happy with how the gallery wall came out! I love the colors, the sizes, and the art work. The hardest part was decided which pieces to choose! There are so many amazing art work pieces, I plan on ordering some for our play room too.

*** The artwork was provided to me, but all opinions are of my own. I had a great experience- you should check them out!***

Monday, January 4, 2016

Recent OOTDs

One of the biggest things about my style recently is that it's been mostly about ease and simplicity. I've been wearing items that are easy to wear, just throw on and head out, and can be worn for different events. Especially since I'm nursing, I don't want to wear anything that's going to be a hassle to nurse or pump in. These two outfits have been on repeat and I love the tops!

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Sweater // Jeans // Booties (super old, similar here)

I picked up this sweater I had in my shopping bag on Black Friday (check out the link to see what else I scored), and I've worn it several times already. The fabric is really thin and soft, the sizing runs a bit large so you probably could size down depending on how you would like for it to fit. When I don't know what to wear and I want to look and feel good without a lot of effort, I put this top on with some booties and head on out. I've worn it to work (with slacks and ballet flats), a sorority cookie exchange, and Christmas Eve with the family.

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Holy comfortable Batman! I want to live in this sweater, it's so dang cozy! It's extra soft and warm and I love the cowl neck in the front. It's perfect with leggings or some skinnies and super easy to just throw on and head out of the house. Plus it has pockets!! Anything with pockets is a win in my book!