Friday, December 2, 2016

Gender Reveal

Little Lorimer Gender Reveal

If you are catching up, you can see our Pregnancy Announcement here, and our 15 Week Bumpdate here.  

Last Friday, we had our gender reveal party at my parents' house! It was really fun and a special moment to share with my family members in person, and our other family & friends online (we posted a video to my personal Facebook shortly thereafter). If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a photo we uploaded that night as well.

I wasn't able to write a post and share it that night, but I thought it would be fun to share a few photos with you of the decorations and method we used, and also just to share my excitement with my online community! Sorry for the poor quality iPhone photos!

We set up a few things in my parents' great room, including little pink & blue clothespins for everyone to wear their guess!

Our reveal cake!

Me, all excited and ready to go! 

This is right after we found out. I think my face might have been frozen like that! You can see the pink layer of frosting between the cake layers. :) It's a girl!

Ricky & I with my parents, and my sister's fingers in the foreground with the pink clothespin!

Mi familia--Dad, Kaylyn, Ricky, me and Mom

Of course afterwards we called Ricky's parents & siblings to let them know, and then we uploaded the video to my Facebook page to share with everyone else! We also shared the name we've chosen--Adaline Kay. We couldn't be more excited to be having a daughter. I'm still in disbelief sometimes! It makes it feel more "real" to me now that I get to call her by name, and of course I can't wait to decorate a little girl nursery. Thanks for letting me share that excitement with all of you!

An updated #bumpdate will be coming very soon!

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

15 Week Bumpdate

15 Week Bumpdate

Welcome to my first #bumpdate! I'll probably post these every 2-3 weeks or so. I'm planning on answering any questions you guys have for me, as well as the "regular" pregnancy questions people tend to ask in person.

I was unfortunately rear ended last night (twice!) at a stoplight, so I did have to go in to the hospital to get me and baby checked out. We're both doing okay--I'm a little sore but baby's heart rate was good so that's the most important thing. I'll deal with any ongoing care I might need in the future as well. It was definitely really scary and I'm not looking forward to any neck or back problems but hearing baby's heartbeat was a relief! Now I'm just dealing with insurance and claims and car repairs. Yay adulting! 

Size of baby?
The littlest member of the Lorimer family is at 15 weeks this week and about 4 inches long and 2.5 ounces--that's around the size of an apple! We had our first ultrasound at 11 weeks 3 days, and everything looked great--baby was kicking and moving all over the place, heartbeat was good, size was right on track. We're so grateful!

I was really hoping that my morning sickness would go away by far, no luck. And that's not the only symptom! It seems that you don't always hear about certain symptoms that are, let's say, less appropriate for the dinner table or mixed company. Probably because of the morning sickness, I haven't really gained weigh (in fact, I lost several pounds early on) but I know that that will start up any day now. I will say that I'm not quite as tired as I was a few weeks ago, which I appreciate, but I'm still in bed before 9pm most nights. #noregrets  It helps make up for the sleep lost due to bathroom breaks. Many people are telling me that the second trimester honeymoon phase will set in soon, and I hope they're right. But even if I keep feeling awful, at least it's for a good reason!

 I haven't had too many cravings yet, just lots of fruits & veggies. I've had more in terms of food aversions--I have a hard time around things that are too greasy (even just the smell) so Ricky has had to pretty much cut out fast food and pizza for my sake! I can tell that meat (which I really avoided during the first trimester) is back on the table, so maybe our next date night will be for steak. :)

Other than majorly changing our budget and savings plans, we haven't done a lot in the way of physically preparing a space for baby. We are fairly certain we're going to stay in our apartment for now and change our office/guest room into a nursery (you can see the floorplan in this post from when we moved in--it's our least "finished" room so I've never done a room tour) and then talk about buying a house next year. We have a family member who had their baby in an apartment and until he started walking, it worked out really well, so since we have the extra bedroom we're going that route to save up a bit more. I would love to have started on the nursery prep by now, but we are on the waitlist for a garage stall at our apartment complex and will need to have that storage space available to move the office/guest room furniture into to make room for baby stuff!

Ultrasound at 11 weeks 3 days

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Things to Do When You Find Out You're Pregnant!

Things to Do When You Find Out 

You're Pregnant!

Finding out you're pregnant can be incredibly overwhelming, and a lot of people are in a haze, unsure of exactly where to begin. This list is by no means exhaustive, but maybe it can help give you a jumping off point once your head stops spinning & you can breathe again. :)

You can see more of my pregnancy journey here, and a bumpdate is coming very shortly!

1. Prenatal vitamins

God bless you if you can deal with the giant horse pills. I've never had problems swallowing pills before, but I gave those prenatals a shot and they were not compatible with my morning sickness! I've since switched over to these gummy vitamins from Walgreens (they're the generic for Vitafusion if you don't have a Walgreens nearby) and that has helped me a lot. They can still exacerbate nausea, so I would recommend taking them before bed when you have some food in your tummy rather than in the morning when the nausea is likely worse.

2. Decide how to tell your partner, and other close family & friends

I gave you a peek at how I told Ricky in my Secret's Out! post, but we also did some cutesy things for our parents & siblings. It's totally up to you if you want to keep things simple, but I enjoyed having a little mini "reveal" for each set of our closest people.
For my parents, I sent this Willow Tree figurine and then let them know that I had "accidentally" sent a package to their address instead of mine. I called on the day it arrived and told them it was breakable and asked them to open it to make sure it had arrived safely. :)
For Ricky's parents, we had them over for dinner the week after his dad's birthday, saying that we had one more little gift. I used a box of Sugar Babies and a sharpie so that it said "We're Having A...Sugarbaby!" It took a second, but their expressions were pretty priceless.
My sister was in Alaska, so I told her with a "best auntie ever" mug via FaceTime, and each of Ricky's siblings got a bottle of wine with "the best siblings get promoted to aunt & uncle" wine labels that I made on my computer.

3. Decide how & when to make the info public

For us, this meant scheduling a photo shoot with our awesome friends at Jeff Cloud Photography well in advance so that we could get on their calendar in time for them to edit & send us the image to use in our social media posts (as well as our announcement here on the blog). Again, you might decide to do something much simpler, that you can do yourself at home. Maybe you're not posting to the public at all, and people will just have to guess as you begin to show! You do you, babe.

4. Alter your exercise routine & diet--elminate risky behaviors like smoking & drinking. Also check your medications to see if you should stop taking any.

For me, this involved cutting out Diet Dr Pepper. I had one can on each of the first 3 days after I found out, and then I cut it completely. Even though it was probably harder than it should have been (#addicted), it's such a simple life choice to make that makes a big difference for your baby. Most websites & doctors say pregnant women can have up to 200mg per day, but I knew I would want to push that limit so I just went cold turkey. Interestingly, a little bit of caffeine can actually help if you have persistent headaches or migraines during pregnancy, and along with acetaminophen is one of the only remedies approved so we'll see if the headaches I'm having keep up or get worse before we make that call.
On the exercise front, you should be able to keep up about the same level of activity that you were at prior to pregnancy but it's always good to double check with your doctor. Specific exercises that tone your core, such as crunches, should be discontinued as well as ones that require you to lie on your back, as that can lower your blood pressure too much in the later months of pregnancy. Unless you're a high risk pregnancy, walking & jogging are highly recommended and will actually help you have good muscle strength for delivery. Again, check with your doctor  (or midwife) to get her specific recommendations for you!

5. Calculate your due date

The due date is generally calculated to be 40 weeks after the start date of your last period before pregnancy. Fortunately, I've been using the Period Diary app on my phone for the last couple of years, so I had that date on hand. Otherwise I'd never remember! Keep in mind that your due date is approximate--the doctor may change it based on your ultrasounds later on. But it gives you a good idea of how long you'll be cooking a little human!

6. Make a doctor's appointment

I would recommend doing this within a couple of days of finding out that you're pregnant, since the doctor's office will likely be booked out a few weeks in advance. Do some research on who you'd like to see (or even if you're going the OB route--some people choose to see midwives throughout their pregnancy instead) and then get on their calendar ASAP. Most doctors only see so many patients due in any given month, so there is a chance you would need a backup option. Getting on the calendar early helps avoid that. We were fortunate enough to have had lots of babies born around us in the last couple of years, and so we had a good idea of who we wanted to see before we even got pregnant. So far, we love her! If you're in the Lincoln area and want a recommendation, shoot me an email at and I'd be happy to let you know.

7. Take a before or early pregnancy photo

This will be so fun to look back on in a few months to see how far you've come. You're creating a person! It's pretty awesome. Normally I wouldn't be excited about gaining weight, but now I'm almost looking forward to it. (A reasonable amount, hopefully!)

8. Start a pregnancy journal

Again, this will be a keepsake that you'll love looking at later on. Include details of how you're feeling, any pregnancy milestones, cravings, prayers for your baby, how you tell friends & family, their reactions, stupid stuff people say to you (and that list will be a doozy)....anything and everything.

9. Keep a to do list & a list of questions for your doctor

A lot of websites have great pregnancy to-do lists by month or by trimester. I like keeping those lists printed out and in a planner along with to-dos that I've come up with as well that are more specific to our situation. Keeping a list of questions is really helpful because at the end of a pre-natal appointment where you've received a ton of info, it can be tough to remember what questions or concerns you were meaning to bring up.

10. Look up symptoms & any tips on how to deal with them

I tell you what, I'm about ready to do anything to help me deal with nausea. The biggest thing for me seems to be to eat well and often, in small portions every few hours. I still get sick, but it's definitely worse if I've let my stomach get too empty. Meat hasn't sounded appealing to me very often during the first trimester, and if you're normally a meat eater and going through the same thing, it's important to concentrate on getting other sources of protein and iron into your diet. To combat the nausea, I've even started keeping crackers or dry cereal on my nightstand and munching on them when I wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom--it helps so that I'm not going 9 hours without putting anything in my belly. There's lots of tips out there for nausea and other even less fun symptoms, but remember to take them with a grain of salt--there's no one "proven" way that works for any of them.

11. Start thinking about birth classes and getting educated on some of the less clear cut topics regarding babies & parenting. I recommend not just going off your friends' advice--look at some medical journals and peer reviewed articles as well. These topics can include things like vaccinating, medication during birth, circumcision, and breastfeeding. Read up on the different schools of thought and make decisions for your family based on the evidence. It's up to you how much you want to share about those decisions with friends and family, but don't feel like others have a right to know or to weigh in on your choice. Know that even parents who think totally opposite of you are just trying to do what's best for their babies, just like you are!

12. Start a savings plan

Birth is pricey, y'all. We calculated how much our birth costs would be (make sure to count your OB's cost as well as the hospital costs) and then started setting money aside monthly to meet that amount. We've put it all into a savings account until we need it so we don't forget or accidentally spend it in our checking account, which helps have a clear idea of where we're at. Plan on spending more than what your doctor quotes you--they're going off the basic, vaginal delivery with no complications, but we all know we can't plan what exactly will happen with birth so it's very possible for those costs to rise. Ask how much extra things like C-sections, delivery assistants, etc will cost and plan to save for at least some of those.

13. Check out your insurance info regarding birth

Find out what your insurance policy regarding maternity and infant care is. Make sure that understand how much you are responsible for, and also how to change your plan to include your little one after the birth. Insurance companies are also required to provide you with a breast pump (although they vary widely about what kind they will provide) so make sure to contact your carrier and get that info before buying one for yourself. I also plan to call our provider and ask about items that may not be covered by the insurance even after the deductible and co-insurance amounts have been met--some carriers don't cover things if they're determined "non medically necessary" like epidurals or skin-to-skin contact. It's good to know up front which costs are covered and which ones aren't so you can plan your budget accordingly.

14. Drink a ton of water!

It seems like for every pregnancy ailment, the recommended course of action includes drinking a lot of water. Many people don't drink the recommended 64 ounces anyway, and it's even more important when you're pregnant. Your blood volume will increase by 50% during pregnancy, water intake reduces constipation, it helps get nourishment to baby, it helps prevent bloating from salt, etc. etc. etc. Plus, if you're having a lot of morning sickness (like I am) you're not keeping all of that water down, so you need to be extra sure to keep hydrated. Luckily less Diet Dr Pepper = more room for water. I do try to drink a little less close to bedtime since I'm already waking up twice in the night, but I keep a bottle on the nightstand and drink a fair amount right when I wake up in the morning.

15. Add some baby apps to your phone & pick up a pregnancy book or two.

I have BabyBump, What to Expect, the Bump & BabyCenter all on my phone. I don't think having four is necessary, but they do send out little articles & reminders that are helpful--plus the classic "What fruit is the size of your baby this week?" notices which are fun weekly updates on baby's progress.
I also have the classic What to Expect When You're Expecting and the Bump Pregnancy Planner & Journal in print form, which I enjoy making notes in and reading before bed as I'm winding down to sleep.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

September Favorites

September Favorites

Thank you all so much for the amazing response to my Secret's Out! post last week!! We are so thrilled that you are all so excited for us. Feel free to ask any questions you have here or on social media and I'll answer them in my next post!
Now--on to monthly favorites! I moved them to the second week of the month instead of the first since the other post was a little more exciting. ;) I didn't notice until I was putting this together the wine-colored theme, but I'm kind of loving it!

$22.50 (but always wait for these to go on sale--it happens often!)

This candle is like baby angels singing. According to the website, the notes are Ruby Red Pomegranate, Sweet Apple Cider, Muddled Blackberry, and Star Anise. All I can say is that everyone who comes to our house feels the need to write down the name so they can pick it up--it's that good!

$6.50 (same thing--lots of sales!)

Ricky & I have decided that this is our go-to hand soap for the bathrooms. I like something with apple or citrus for the kitchen, but this one is definitely our favorite. In fact, I cleaned out the linen closet the other day of all other soap scents--this is what we're sticking with! The website calls it an addictive blend of dark cherry, black raspberry and sumptuous merlot. 

Apples & Caramel Dip

Apples are at their peak right now in the US and I've been taking advantage! This has been one of my go-to snacks lately and it's always satisfying. Crunchy, sweet, delicious. Bonus points if you visit an orchard and pick your own!

This is more of a guilty pleasure of mine. My mom actually called me "Noodle" sometimes as a kid because of my deep and abiding love for pasta. Lately Noodles has been calling my name! I often get spaghetti, but I like to branch out and get the whole wheat tuscan (above), pad thai, or steak stroganoff as well. I haven't tried their various mac & cheese options, but they look tasty!


I tend to think that 15 bucks is a bit expensive for a "drugstore" item, but this bronzer is amazing and lasts forever so it gets a pass in my book. It's a creamy formula, which helps it look really natural on the skin, and it smells amazing. I wish they'd make some darker shades, because right now they have "light bronzer" and "bronzer", both of which look like they'd work on light or light-to-medium skin tones, but nothing that would work for medium-to-deep. Come on, Physician's Formula--give the people what they want!

I got one of these back when I was trying out the Julep Maven boxes and fell in love with it. Again, the creamy formula really blends into the skin, so it doesn't look like you're wearing a lot of makeup. I have the "Golden Guava" color and am thinking pretty seriously about the "Desert Rose". I usually use my fingers to blend into the apples of my cheeks. Look, when you have morning sickness every day, you need something to bring a little color back into those cheeks!


I have raved about Colourpop's lippiestix in previous favorite posts. Recap--I really like all the formulas except the original mattes. (They're too drying for me--the new matte X formula is much better). This particular shade is in a sheer formula which can be built up to as much color as you like. The shade is really perfect for fall and I'm loving it because it looks great with just mascara and liner, which is often all I have time for! Plus, it's just $5--so if you've been thinking about trying Colourpop and haven't gotten around to it, now's the time!


I love this lip mask because it works as a lip treatment that I can wear during the day as a lip tint. It comes in clear or a sheer pink, but I like this rosy color best for that purpose. Any day that my lips are too chapped for regular lip products (which will be more often as we move into the colder months) I can pop this on as my lip color and know that I'm repairing my lips instead of drying them out more. Win-win!

And there you have it! A round up of the things I've been obsessing over this past month. What have you been loving recently? Let me know in the comments below!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Secret's Out!

Secret's Out!

Photo by Jeff Cloud Photography

Ricky & I are incredibly excited to announce that we will be welcoming a new little member to our family in the spring!

If you've followed my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I took the last few weeks off from posting, both here and on various social media platforms. It's been a hard secret to keep--plus I pretty much go to bed at 8:30 or 9 every night. :) 

I told Ricky he was going to be a dad on Friday, 8/12. I had found out the night before, but didn't quite believe the test (the first test read "error" so I thought maybe the package of tests was too old?) So that morning I purchased two more tests and took them at work--definitely positive results! So I got Ricky some dad shirts, a book, baby bibs that read "I Love Daddy" and a bag of Sour Patch Kids, stuck them all in a gift bag, and presented it to him that night.

Ricky's "Daddy bag" announcement
I loved his reaction--shock, disbelief, and so much excitement. I took a video on my phone (although I made the classic mistake of shooting in portrait because I didn't want him to know I was filming) and I know it will always be a great memory to look back on.

We told our parents & siblings in cutesy ways as well--we had to tell mine over the phone, but Ricky's family lives here in town so we were able to tell them in person.

My sister finding out from Alaska
It's still becoming real to us that we're going to be parents soon--such a crazy feeling. Physically, it's been rough, but a week ago we had our first ultrasound and seeing the baby & hearing the heartbeat definitely makes it all worth it.

For those of you not interested in kids or not at that stage of life, don't worry! This blog won't turn into a mommy blog, but I will definitely share bumpdates and things like nursery organization along the way. Leave any questions you may have for me in the comments and I will answer them in my next post!

Love you all!

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Monday, August 8, 2016

July 2016 Favorites

July 2016 Monthly Favorites

July has flown by, and I can't believe August is here! Even though I'm not currently a student & I don't have kids, I still get all giddy at the miles of school supplies that have started popping up in the stores. I also love it because it means there are plenty of options for file folders to make my favorite DIY New Parent Gifts!

Last week I came down with a couple of different infections. I tend to need antibiotics the first week of August each year--how strange is that? So I'm a bit late with this post but I'm really excited about these items!

Some of you may remember this donut pool float from my Instagram page back in May on National Donut Day. Well, my sister in law was paying attention and picked up this beauty for my birthday!
I've gotten to use it a few times, the first being at my aunt's house for July 4th, and I absolutely love it! It's nice and big and holds up really well, doesn't tip over too easily, and my cousin discovered that the bite section can be used for a friend to cozy up next to the float. :) 

This book shares a title with the Dakota Johnson/Rebel Wilson comedy, but that's about all it shares. The novel follows a writer from New York who travels around the world researching how being single, dating, and relationships work for women in different countries. It also follows four of her friends back in the city. It's definitely a humorous book, but I found a lot of it really fascinating and it went in depth and to the "unpretty" places of women's emotions as they navigate through single life. 

This night cream is amazing. It smells vaguely citrusy, is not super light or super heavy, and I can feel a difference in my skin in the morning. It's very hydrating and almost smoothing. Origins also makes a really good night mask for intensive moisturizing that I tend to use once or twice a week as well. 

Ricky & I have been outside more this summer than in the last few years (he's gotten into the Pokemon Go craze, and I've been happily accompanying him on walks to the park) and we've been using this sunscreen pretty exclusively. We both have acne prone skin and I always feel like sunscreen tends to make acne worse, so I was excited to see sunscreen that actively fights against that. I don't feel like it clogs my pores, and it's pretty easy to wear makeup over or under as well, which is another thing that can be hard to find. I tend to wear mine in conjunction with a moisturizer or primer that has SPF in it, since 30 isn't always enough, but I've seen that they make an SPF 55 version so nab that if you see it!

This is a new fave of mine. I just got this little duo of the new Bare Minerals Gen Nude Liquid Lipstick & Lipgloss a couple of weeks ago and fell. in. love. Like I don't want to use anything else right now on my lips. The duo comes with a liquid lip in the shade "Boss" and a gloss in the shade "Sugar." I'm really pleased I got the duo to try out before committing to full size products (a tip I always recommend--makeup is a personal thing and this isn't a drugstore priced brand). I'm especially pleased with the shades they included because Sugar goes with everything and Boss is a deeper shade than I probably would have selected on my own, but it's beautiful and actually works well with my skintone! The gloss is great but the real star of this duo is, for me, the liquid lip. It goes on smooth & thin, not goopy or streaky like some other liquid lipsticks tend to do. It stays on for hours, has very little transfer, and when it does wear off it does so evenly without chunks or flaking. Of course you'll want to prep your lips, especially if they're chapped, but it's not nearly as hard and fast a rule as it is with other liquid lips I've tried. Big thumbs up! I already have my eye on Weekender and Infamous. 

How to Get Away With Murder

Ok, so this show definitely plays out a little like a soap opera, but I've been guilty-pleasure watching it this last month. I was really drawn in by the Viola Davis character--a strong female lawyer who stops at nothing to win her cases, and also teaches & employs law students. I don't want to give anything away, but if you're into mystery & drama, you'll love it!

And there you have it! A round up of the things I've been obsessing over this past month. What have you been loving recently? Let me know in the comments below!

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Top 5 Drugstore BB/CC/Tinted Moisturizers

Top 5 Drugstore 

BB Creams/CC Creams/Tinted Moisturizers

In the summertime, it can feel like overkill to wear a foundation on your skin every day. It can feel heavy in the heat, and who wants to worry about whether their makeup is melting off when it's 90 degrees and 100% humidity? 
Enter BB & CC creams and tinted moisturizers! These beauties feel like a moisturizer, add some SPF (always a must in the summer!) and best of all are light and dewy on the skin. Here is my roundup of my Top 5 favorites from the drugstore!

This one from Neutrogena also has skin clearing agents to combat acne! Since breakouts can be worse during this time of year due to sweating, and since acne is often a reason people reach for a heavier coverage option, this product is one of my favorites! It helps me battle those breakouts so that I'm more comfortable with the lighter coverage it offers. 

This CC cream from Aveeno feels very creamy and emollient and offers a little more coverage than a BB or tinted moisturizer but not quite as much as a foundation. It's a great in-between option for me on those days when I maybe have something that needs a little more coverage but it's blazing hot out. 

I like this Rimmel option because it just seems so easy. I can use my fingers to apply it like a moisturizer, smooth it all out, and because it's a lighter coverage it doesn't look like it requires blush or bronzer afterwards!

This Garnier BB cream is one of the first I ever tried, that really sold me on BB creams. It feels silky on your skin and sinks in well, has good longevity, and feels like it's really hydrating your face. 

This one has been my go-to recently for "no-makeup, makeup" days. I can throw it on as my moisturizer, add a little cream blush & mascara and be put together without looking like I've tried too hard. Big thumbs up from me!

Check out my Top 5 Drugstore Primers & Top 5 High End Primers as well, and keep an eye out for more in the Top 5 Makeup series!

Do you enjoy lighter makeup in the summer? Or do you stick to full-coverage foundations? What are your favorites from this list? Let me know in the comments!

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*Some links above may be affiliate links. This does not change the price you pay. Thanks for your support. 



Monday, July 18, 2016

Please Don't Stop The Music--Playlist #2


My Current "Get Ready" Playlist 

(See previous playlist here)

I don't know about you, but I need some mood music to get me up & going in the morning. Music is and always has been such a big part of my life! I like creating playlists each season or so of songs that I've been really into, and going back and listening to old playlists puts me right back in that time frame. Last fall I shared a playlist that I was using to get ready to in the mornings, but of course I've updated that list a few times since then. The only song that is on both is "Angeles" by Steve Carlson featuring Jensen Ackles. It's actually entirely sung by Jensen but just appears on his friend Steve's album. And it's heavenly.
The whole vibe of this playlist is ethereal, whimsical, and chill. It doesn't shock me awake, but it does give a good background for a pleasant morning.
I've also included my Spotify playlist & YouTube public playlist at the end if you'd rather listen along on one of those platforms.
Hope you enjoy! 

I Love You-Alex & Sierra

Stay-Eli Lieb

Roses and Violets-Alexander Jean

Angeles (feat. Jensen Ackles)-Steve Carlson

You Are Mine (feat. Holly Maher)-Spencer Combs

In My Veins (feat. Erin McCarley)-Andrew Belle

Kings and Queens and Vagabonds-Ellem

I Get to Love You-Ruelle
If this song existed four years ago, we totally would have danced to it at our wedding. 
I think this one is gorgeous!

Kindly Calm Me Down-Meghan Trainor

Make it Rain (from Sons of Anarchy soundtrack)-Ed Sheeran

Come Home-Jon Foreman

You and I-Ingrid Michaelson

A.M.-One Direction

You First Believed-Hoku

You're That Way-Jon Troast

Still Got Tonight-Matthew Morrison

Goodbye to You-Michelle Branch

When I'm Alone-Nevertheless

Wildest Dreams-Taylor Swift

Your Love is a Song-Switchfoot

Spotify playlist version , YouTube playlist version

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Budget + Free Printable!

Budget + Free Printable!

Today I'm excited to share with you our budgeting plan & a free printable for you to print out and use at home. We would really like to be able to buy a house & start a family in the next couple of years, and hopefully this plan will help us do that--and help you reach some of your financial goals as well!

This spending plan is the one that Ricky and I have been using the last several months to keep our monthly budgets. We have used the Dave Ramsey program in the past and had a lot of success with that, but fell off the wagon sometime last year. This spending plan is based loosely on that concept of a zero balance budget (that is, budgeting out even the money you will save or use for "fun money" so that the amount at the end is zero each time). I've made this plan into a printable for all of you in case you're curious, so you can click on the link to download it and use it yourself!

Allocated Spending Plan
(Downloadable version doesn't have Ricky's & my names on it ;) )
For each paycheck, you can enter the pay period & amount at the top, then deduct expenses all the way down. For Ricky & I, since we are a two income household and we are paid bi-weekly, we use one budget for each month and in the pay period date box, I also put (J) or (R) so we know which paycheck we are working with. You can adjust to your own pay schedules as well. 

We tend to combine this with the envelope system, making it even more Dave Ramsey-esque. Again, we were on fire with the envelopes for about a year and a half and then once we missed a month, we just never got going again. So this is my commitment--making it in public that we will start up again!
Using envelopes for your cash categories instead of always using a card helps keep track of what you're spending your money on, but the bigger benefit for me is that it makes the spending feel more "real"--I'm less likely to make impulse buys because I'm watching the amount in that category dwindle down. 

If you're not sure what I mean by "the envelope system", it's a way of taking your budget one step further by taking certain categories (for us, it's food, entertainment, clothing, gifts, travel, household items, etc) and taking out the budgeted amount of cash each paycheck and keeping them in "envelopes". You can use real envelopes, but most people use a form of expanding file or wallet. Then, when your money is gone for that category, you can spend any more for that type of item until your next paycheck fills it back up. If you have excess, you can roll it over to the next pay period. The rolling over helps save up for things you want or need but don't want to spend all at once--you can set aside a smaller amount each month and because it's no longer in your account you won't accidentally spend it. 

Please let me know in the comments if you think this will be helpful to you, or if you have any questions about how to use either the spending plan or the envelope system! You can also check out my Contact Me page and get a hold of me via email as well. 

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Friday, July 8, 2016

June Favorites

June 2016 Favorites

Hey everyone! I can't believe we're already a week into July. I feel like this summer is flying by waaaayyy too quickly! (Not a feeling I ever have about, let's say, winter.) June was a crazy month in my life--very high highs, like my birthday & wedding anniversary, and very low lows, like my grandmother passing away. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster so I'm hoping for a more low-key vibe for the rest of the summer. Without further adieu, here are some of the items I've been loving in the last month! 

Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation & Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
I'm pretty sure I've talked about these before in a favorites post last summer, but I don't even care. They are so so good. Besides the amazing cocoa smell, which I love & am addicted to, they are just my go to products. I use the powder foundation as a setting powder with a big fluffy brush, a light dusting all over my face when I finish my makeup, and I use the bronzer to warm up the perimeter of my face and on my cheeks. They're very smooth & blendable powders and they give you a matte but not dry appearance. I've gone through at least 3 of each so far, and I'm almost out of my fourth cocoa powder foundation right at the moment. #thededicationisreal #chocolatemakeupalldayerrrday

The champagne glow collection by Becca x Jaclyn Hill (Jaclyn is a YouTube beauty guru who has amazing tutorials) came out in June and the beauty community lost. their. minds! The collection originally included this face palette (shown above, limited edition), the original champagne pop highlight in pressed, poured, and liquid forms (permanent items) and an eye palette. The eye palette was actually removed from stores after Jaclyn & Becca Cosmetics realized that a new lab that had been making the eye palette was using lesser quality ingredients in some of the, so they pulled it from the shelves and offered refunds to anyone who wanted to return their eye palette. I was bummed that I didn't get a chance to try the eye shadows but I think the commitment to quality is pretty impressive.
Now that you have the backstory, lol, I did get the palette with some birthday money (thanks grandparents) and I've been loving it! There are two highlight shades, Champagne Pop & Prosecco Pop, one shimmery blush called Rose Spritz, and two matte blushes named Amaretto and Pamplemousse. The blushes are crazy crazy pigmented, so be sure to tap off your brush before applying, especially if you have a fair skin tone! It also has one of the best mirrors I've ever seen in a compact. #bonuspoints

Just a few days ago, Jaclyn announced the final items for the collection, the split pans (shown below) which are limited edition. They will be available July 14th and they're a great way to get to try out the options from the face palette if you missed it! 

Maybelline recently came out with this line of lip paints that seem very similar to Too Faced Melted Liquified Lips and I'm a big fan. The two shades that I got are above, in the shades called Stripped Down & Never Bare which are great dupes for Too Faced's Peony & Chihuahua shades. They really do feel like a melted lipstick, they're a velvety texture that's not quite matte, not quite cream. They're not liquid lipsticks in the sense that they're not the drying, transfer proof formula that's gotten popular in the last couple of years, but they are fairly long wearing and they have some beautiful shades! I imagine there are a few more Too Faced dupes in those shades as well. At $9,99 they're not exactly cheap for the drugstore but they are a much more affordable option than the $21 Too Faced ones. 


If you feel like the world around you is going down the toilet and losing intelligence by the day (and who doesn't lately?), you need to check out Smarter Every Day. Destin Sandlin, an engineer from Alambama, makes detailed videos about various scientific facts or processes, but breaks them down in such a way that the average person can understand. He also got to interview President Obama this year, and it was great to see two intelligent men who approach life from very different vantage points but who both want to make the world better and are respectful of each other's opinions and thoughts. He's incredibly entertaining, a stand-up guy, and an aspiring astronaut. I've learned a lot about a lot of topics that I never would have run into in my regular life by watching his videos and really enjoy him as a creator. Check him out!

I've been using these a lot more lately for papers that I don't want to file in a multi-pocket or in a filing drawer. Putting individual projects or tasks in here allows me to carry them around, file them in one place here and another later, and the little tab on the side holds them in so they don't fall out easily. I have four personal ones that I carry back and forth in my workbag each day, and I use them a lot in my job as well. You can color coordinate your categories, or just enjoy the rainbow. :) 

I'm not going to give away all the goods today, but I've been making a few tweaks to my balcony lately. The chairs above are involved, but you'll see the whole thing, along with a source list, in my Summer Home Tour series very soon! You can see how I started the process last summer (which was our first time ever having outdoor space!) in this post here. Sadly, our cute beverage holder/table combo lost it's top during a severe storm this spring so now it's just a standing cooler, no tabletop option. But I think we can make up for it in other ways. I wouldn't call it a full reveal, but I'm excited to show you guys the changes we've made!

And finally, I couldn't not include my Grandma Lois & my family in this post. Everyone has really come together during this difficult time & loved on each other and I really appreciated getting to spend some time with them, even though it wasn't the ideal circumstance. Family has always been a big part of my life, and even though I live 6 hours away from my hometown, it was a good reminder to put some focus on the people who matter in your life. Hug your loved ones for me!

And there you have it! A round up of the things I've been loving this past month. What have you been loving recently? Let me know in the comments below!

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