Round-Up: August 2017

Round-Up: August 2017

“That August time it was delight / To watch the red moons wane to white.”  — Algernon Charles Swinburne

I loved August 2017!  This month was such a bright, beautiful, breath of fresh air.  I finally reached my third trimester, and hit a “turning point” in my pregnancy.  I mean, it has been a good pregnancy.  But there is something about being 30 weeks today and realizing that within 10 weeks I could have my baby in my arms!  My husband also graduated from his Army school and that was a big accomplishment, as well as a great move for our family.  It’s bringing our future assignment closer into view and we’re excited about that.  Plus, we had some unseasonably “cold” weather (meaning not 100* F) and for a moment or two I felt that “windy blow” of fall approaching.  It was a magical few moments, and is getting me incredibly excited about the cozy fall!!!!

But oh my goodness, I’m totally getting ahead of myself.  Here’s my list of to-do’s from my original August 2017 post:

  1. Enjoy two visits from my relatives.  So much FUN with my sisters and dad.
  2. Celebrate my husband’s graduation.  I’m beaming with pride and joy!  It was such a great day.
  3. Make an exercise routine.  I’ve been doing afternoon pilates and evening walks.  And loving it!
  4. Get my toddler back into a consistent nap and night routine.  She sleeps a good 12 hours a day now.
  5. Update my wardrobe/jewelry collection.  Did this a bit, but will finish it once I’m not pregnant. lol
  6. Catch up on my baby diary.  I made a lot of progress this month!
  7. Expand/develop one blog category.  My Mama category is my current target.  Read my latest post.
  8. Write a guest post.  
  9. Scrapbook.  I love scrapbooking and have almost completed our book!
  10. Make a crib mobile for my baby.  I’m needle felting little bunnies for it, and thinking of adding hearts.
  11. Get an editing program for images.
  12. Find a skin-clearing secret formula.  This toner right here.  Miracle worker for smoothing the face.
  13. Clear the basement boxes out.  I’m counting this as something I did because we are doing it this weekend!

I’m actually surprised that I got most of these done.  It was kinda a long list for me, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get quite so many done.  But I guess that’s what the elusive “burst of pregnancy energy” is all about!  lol

I already “recapped” my month at the beginning of this post, but I can’t sign out of August without bringing up a very heavy topic.  LWYMMD.  Words?  There are none.  I actually really like it.  I thought I would love it.  Then I heard it and was pleased.  I listened to it two more times and began to dislike it.  Then the VMAs happened and I have a whole new appreciation for it.  Now I’m a total fan of the song.  Probably because I am a tried-and-true Swiftie.  Anyone else?

Okay, I’m done. haha  Thanks for sticking around and reading about my August 2017 (and letting me ramble).  I hope you’ll come back soon.  My next post will be my goals for September…see you then!

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My Latest Craft Endeavors

My Latest Craft Endeavors - Nesting for Baby!

I think this is part of my nesting phase, but I have felt compelled to create a list of the projects I want to complete for my baby’s arrival! It’s definitely not my ordinary kind of post, though we all know I have a thing for making lists. haha I’ll include a few pics of my current projects, as well as some progress pics!

My Current List of Craft Endeavors

  • A fluffy pink tutu. Because, I mean, she’s a girl! The pattern I plan to use if from the knitting book “What to Knit When You’re Expecting.” I’m thinking of using light pink yarn by Red Heart called Kiss.
  • Soft, handmade burp cloth, made from the same book. (pictured below…still need to crochet a lace/trim border)

  • A Matching onesie and tee for my girls. I bought a pink onesie and tee at Hobby Lobby and want to cross stitch and embroider on them!
  • A felted bunny crib mobile. If anyone wants a tutorial for this, lemme know.  (one of five bunnies, pictured below)

  • An oversized chunky knit blanket. But like, way oversized and way chunky. I’d like to purchase through Ohhio but we will see!
  • Booties. Since babies hate shoes (at least mine do), but I’ll want something to put on over her little socks…since those are always falling off! I don’t have a pattern or yarn picked out…but I’m hoping inspiration hits me before winter does! (maybe using the yarn pictured below?)

  • A christmas stocking for baby. I have knit one for every member of my little family, and now it’s this baby girl’s turn!
  • Baby bundling and matching hat. This one is actually finished, but I wanted to put it on my list because it was my first official baby project. I made the set with Knit Picks yarn called “Billow.” The bundting is from the same book, “What to Knit When You’re Expecting” and the project is called: . I made the hat pattern up myself…it’s just your average ribbed baby hat with an enormous pom-pom.  (bundling collection pictured below)

Thanks for reading about all my aspirations! I have found craft endeavors to be therapeutic, as well as constructive during this busy and emotional nesting phase. It’s nice to keep my mind and hands busy, but it’s even nicer to see finished items that are meant just for my baby. It really makes her arrival feel real and fast-coming. I can’t wait to hold her in my arms! And wrap her in my bundting. haha Thanks for stopping by!

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Glam Bag Unboxing: August 2017

August 2017 Ipsy Glam Bag Unboxing

The August 2017 ipsy glam bag finally made it to my front door!  I don’t know why, but it felt like I waited so much longer for this one.  Whether I really did or not, it was SO worth the wait!  The products were all “full-size”…every single one of them.  And the theme was boho…which I’m all about!  I can’t say enough good things about the bag, so I won’t even try.  Let’s just say it was one of my favorites of the year!  And now, let’s jump in and look at the contents:

Vitamasques Yoghurt Mask Duo Kiwi and Strawberry

I can’t think of anything more “boho-skincare” than a mask made of natural, foodie ingredients.  The kiwi mask is said to soften and revitalize, while the strawberry smooths and illuminates.  I’m super excited to try these, as right now I only use two facial masks.  I use this overnight mask every night, and this mud mask once every two weeks or so.  A new yogurt mask would totally be a fun way to shake up my mask routine!

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the Balm Cosmetics the Balm Voyage Vol. 2 EyeshadowKuwakaribisha

I love anything that is the Balm.  And this Balm Voyage eyeshadow is no different!  Kuwakarisbisha is a pale-neutral shade, with quite a bit of shimmer.  It has a total glow factor that reminds me of a highlighter.  Apparently, the reason the Balm eyeshadows are so buttery and soft is because the pigments are triple-milled.  They are so soft, that one dig of the finger into my eyeshadow pan resulted in the huge divot you see pictured above.  Courtesy of my toddler!  🙂

Aurora Pro Cover Up ConcealerPale Ecru

This one doesn’t immediately scream “boho” to me, but then again, neither does dark circles or hyper-pigmentation.  I guess you could say this product is “under-cover boho.”  ha!  This is my second Aurora product from ipsy, as my first was a felt-tipped eyeliner in my December 2016 glam bag.  In ipsy’s description of the product, they mention that this can be used as a highlight or even as a contour (not this shade) if it doesn’t match perfectly.  I could definitely see this working as a highlight, especially since it is a full-coverage product.  If you’re wondering why full-coverage highlights matter to me, visit my My Maskcara Beauty Haul & Review to read about this new epiphany in my makeup life!

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Pacifica Coconut Blush Duo – Beaming and Tenderheart

I was floored when I saw this product in my ipsy bag.  A coconut blush single is currently retailing at Ulta for $12.00, and my entire ipsy bag cost $10!  So I’m looking at $24.00 worth of blush in my $10 ipsy bag, which so happened to contain 4 other products…SUCH A DEAL.  Digression over.  Since coconut is a main ingredient here, these blushes are not only beautiful, but also healthy for the skin.  While they are intended for blush purposes, I will definitely be trying these as eyeshadows.  The shades are too beautiful not to!  Plus I think having an eye look that imitates a cheek look would be super beautiful, especially if both were worn at the same time.  I’m pretty excited this arrived in my glam bag!

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SLMissGlam BrushT35 Precise Blending Brush

But…there is nothing I was more excited for in the August 2017 ipsy glam bag than THIS BRUSH.  I received my first SLMissGlam brush in my November 2016 glam bag, the W20 Angled Eye Brush (in diamond white).  Then, my sister gave me another W20 brush this past summer.  So now, this is my third SLMissGlam brush and the excitement is making me think I should probably just invest in a complete set.  I can’t put my finger on why I love them so much, but I feel like the faux diamonds are 98% of it.  I think the bristles are soft and perfectly dense.  The brushes hold up very well during cleaning, and I haven’t seen a single bristle come out!  Unfortunately, I did stain on of my W20’s and haven’t been able to get the stain out.  Doesn’t matter because they are still my favorite, stains and all!

That’s a wrap for my August 2017 ipsy glam bag unboxing!  Thanks for sticking around to see what I got.  Are you an ipsy subscriber?  If so, please leave a comment below letting me know what came in your August 2017 ipsy glam bag!  And if you’re not a subscriber, but would like to be one, just follow this link.  *Subscribing via my link will not compensate me with any money, but it will credit my account with bonus points to use on fun products!*  Thanks for stopping by and come back soon.

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8 Pregnancy Rules I Decided to Break (and Why)

8 Rules I Broke While Pregnant

You’ve been told a LOT of “rules” ever since you got the positive test.  And while the information can often be conflicting, there are some laws that seem to consistently harmonize.  I have found many of them to be true.  Unfortunately, one of those was the no-eating-raw-cookie-batter rule.  That was completely true.  🙁  But there were some definite “golden rules” that I chose to break and it worked out for me just fine!  My first pregnancy was delightful and culminated with a healthy baby.  I’m about to begin my third trimester with my second little baby, and still am enjoying breaking these 8 rules.  I’m certainly NOT advocating that anyone else feel obligated to, nor do I think anyone else needs to!  These are just the rules that I chose to break, and enjoyed doing it:

Rule One: Eat for Two

I broke this one right off the bat–mostly because of all my food aversions!  But as my pregnancy continued, I found that “eating for two” wasn’t necessary or possible for me personally.  I found myself eating more frequently, rather than  eating larger portions.  Many doctors will advise that your nutrient intake doesn’t need to increase until at least the second trimester, and this ended up being the case for me.   All the vitamins and minerals (and calories) that my babies needed were easily supplied by my body without any additional food during the first trimester.  There is nothing wrong with listening to your body, and in my case, my body didn’t want or need any “extra” food until the second (mostly third) trimesters.  And even then, I couldn’t handle a lot of food at once.  All my meals had to broken up into snacks.  It’s just what worked for me!

Rule Two: Lose the Baby Weight After the Baby is Born

It’s pretty normal to go through a shrinking period after you give birth.  I mean, there is no need for all that extra fluid once the baby arrives!  But I didn’t wait until after birth to begin exercising.  It’s much easier to workout BEFORE you have a tiny newborn in your house.   Trust me.  While I did find it was important to rest up during my pregnancies (and I really did rest a lot!) I definitely didn’t leave the working out for the post-birth time.  I found my body had a significantly easier time bouncing back to pre-pregancy size because I worked out during my entire pregnancy.  And it made me feel happier and more confident during my pregnancies.  Bonus: being fit made the delivery infinitely easier too.

Rule Three: Buy a Pregnancy Wardrobe

I kind of blame this on the fact that my babies are small, and that nursing has become my jam.   But I never bought a “pregnancy” wardrobe per se.  I bought a few loose fitting tank tops and that was pretty much it.  I did, however, buy a nursing wardrobe.  So my personal advice to nursing moms: don’t spend more on your pregnancy wardrobe than on your nursing wardrobe.  By the time you need to buy pregnancy clothes, many mommies-to-be are expecting their little one’s arrival in the next 6 months.  So why invest in a wardrobe that will only last for 6 months, when breastfeeding can easily go on for 12 months or longer?!  Again, it’s totally a personal preference thing, but I recommend keeping the pregnancy wardrobe smaller and “more simple,” because you’ll want to have the funds/space for beautiful and versatile clothes during all the months that you breastfeed.

Note: I only own one or two things specifically designed for nursing.  My nursing wardrobe consisted of “normal clothing” necklines that stretch.  For me, there were plenty of “regular” clothes that worked great for nursing–but they weren’t things I owned when I first took my baby home.  I found myself needing to purchase quite a few new tops postpartum because my regular clothes were not nursing-friendly!

Rule Four: Wear Nursing Bras

Speaking of breastfeeding: you might have to set aside all your current bras during the pregnancy and after.  But if you’re one of the many expectant mothers weeping over your vast Victoria Secret collection–no more tears!  Not everyone ends up finding a nursing-specific bra they like.  Most demi cut bras are completely nursing compatible, and come in a variety of support types: wireless, underwire, push-up, etc.  The sky is the limit with those!  Keep in mind that throughout your pregnancy and nursing journeys, your size will fluctuate to accommodate lactation growth, so be aware that what works for a few months may not work later on, or vice versa.

Also, most breastfeeding mothers are advised to wear bras to bed–and the demis will still work in this case.  Be aware certain bras can lead to mastitis, especially at night.  But don’t feel like the only bras that won’t cause mastitis are bralettes–because there are plenty of “normal” bras that are nursing-friendly too.  It’s really about finding your own style and what feels comfortable.  You don’t have to sacrifice looks for comfort or safety, but those two should definitely be at the top of your list of requirements when shopping!

Rule Five:  It Took 9 Months to Gain and Will Take 9 Months to Lose

No.  It takes your body as long as it takes YOUR body.  For me, it was a lot closer to 9 days than 9 months.  For some, that’s a matter of weeks and for others, a matter of months.  Don’t hold yourself accountable to someone else’s metabolism, breastfeeding habits, sleep cycle, and genetics.  Treat your body well and give it time.  Comparison is the their of joy and trying to “recover” the way someone else did will only mislead you in taking care of your body.  Remember: the grass is greener WHEN you water it–so try hard and make great efforts to help your body recover.  But realize it is the effort and not the wishing that will make a difference.  The most important thing is focusing on your body’s health and peace, not on the clock or calendar and wondering if it’s taking too long to “bounce back.”

Rule Six: Get Over the Fact that You’ll be Wearing a Hospital Gown

Maybe I’m alone here in feeling like the gowns are itchy, uncomfortable, and look horrible on my skin.  BYOBG.  Bring your own birthing gown.  Most hospitals will let you (check before you don it).  If you don’t want to purchase a birthing gown though, there are many options out there.  Consider making your own or altering a nightdress you already have.   As long as your gown has straps instead of sleeves, the only adjustment you’ll need to make is cutting a long slit down the back from the neck to the hips (which you can attach ties or velcro to so that it closes).   Get something that is soft and dark in color…you’ll be so much more comfortable in your own gown than in the hospital-issued gown!  For my first birth, I wore this.  And for my second, I’m buying this.

Rule Seven: Rock the Bump

This one is again a TOTAL personal preference.  Probably the most “personal” of all preferences in this post!  I have seen so, so, so, so many beautiful pregnant bumps that look super cute when accented.  So many women have found “rocking” their bump to not only help them celebrate their pregnancy blessing, but also to come to terms with the fact their body is changing and so is their wardrobe.  It looks GREAT on them and I think they should totally go for it.  But all of a sudden when I found myself pregnant, I found the bump-hugging styles didn’t suit me!  I partly attribute this to the fact that I carry my babies high, and that I carry them small.  It takes me months just to get a “bump” and I think the long and slow progression never inspired me to find bump-rocking styles.

I was discussing pregnancy wardrobes with my grandmother, and she told me in her time that pregnant women gravitated towards lose-fitting, concealing outfits.  I thought I would give it a try and ended up LOVING it!  My pregnancy jam became leggings, shorts, or tight-night pencil skirts paired with a flowy or non-fitted top.  (I have summer pregnancies so tank tops were my go-to).  It didn’t bother me that people couldn’t tell I was pregnant, because I tend to bring it up in conversations all the time! haha  I just felt really relieved that I had finally found a style that looked good and felt right for me.  I can’t advocate enough that a HUGE part of pregnancy confidence for me was a finding a style that worked.  It surprised me that my pregnancy style was very different from my non-pregnancy style, but that’s just how it worked out!!

Rule Eight: You have to Give Up Coffee

It’s TOTALLY important to limit caffeine during pregnancy, most especially during the first trimester.  And I did.  While I didn’t even want coffee for the first few months of pregnancy (hello, food aversions!) my nurse found it perfectly fine for me to enjoy a cup once a day, however.  Most research will conclude a safe caffeine limit during pregnancy is 200 mg, leaving room for an average-sized cup of coffee–about 11 oz.  That’s only IF you’re comfortable consuming caffeine though (because it’s your choice!).  And if you’re more of a soda and chocolate person than a coffee person, then just remember to go by the same caffeine guidelines.  Sneaky trick: in order to drink “two” cups a day, I ended up making 1/2 caff coffee, so that my caffeine was split into two mugs over the course of the day.  Teehee!

It’s possible that I’ve broken more than 8 rules… haha!  However, there are many rules that I totally followed (and am following right now!)  Again, I’m definitely not trying to say that everyone should break the rules that I chose to.  In fact, I really want everyone to know that I believe you should live your pregnancy as YOU feel is best.  But I’m sharing what ended up working for me because sometimes someone else’s positive story can be helpful when evaluating your own pregnancy goals.  Maybe something that worked for everyone isn’t going to work for you?  Or maybe something that works for you is something no one else can handle!

Every person and every pregnancy is so unique, and that’s really special.  Thanks for taking the time to read about mine!  Please leave a comment below if there is a rule you broke, and why!  I’d love to know.  I hope you come back soon!

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6 Things Army Wives Hate About War Movies

5 Things Army Wives HATE About War Movies

 

So we don’t have “every” war movie–but we go through seasons of “being able” to watch them and avoiding them at all costs.  Can you relate?  These are a few reasons why we feel that way…

1. We hate how they remind us of the realities our husbands face.

Every Army wife knows her husband could (or in some positions, will) face a dangerous situation.  We know that deployments are an inevitable part of the job.  But we try not to spend our days thinking about that.  During our non-deployment seasons of life, we try not to live in fear of the what-could-be future.  That isn’t to say we pretend it isn’t going to happen.  But we choose to not live in fear.  Our husbands live out life with courage, and so do we.  Watching a movie that centers around the possibilities our loved one could face (or has already faced) are sometimes an unnecessary “reality check” we don’t appreciate.

2. We hate how accurate they are.

I know not all movies are accurate–by any stretch of the imagination.  But there are war movies that really nail one aspect or another of combat, deployment, high stress situations, etc.  Once again, we know it exists.  Many of our husbands have lived through that, and in a different way, we have lived a tiny part of it through them.  Getting an extremely vivid experience of something that is a reality for us hits home in a tough way.  It’s not entertainment, it’s just a visually aggressive portrayal of something we already think, feel, or experienced.

3. We hate how inaccurate they are.

There is nothing more annoying than a movie which attempts to display the accomplishments of the US Army, the feelings of a soldier, or the relationship in an Army family–and completely falls flat.  Sometimes it’s borderline disrespectful.  Most of the time though it’s just irritating.  Okay, maybe some points are laughable, considering how wrong they get it!  But really, with so many civilians who can’t even fathom the rhythm of the Army and the experiences of our families, it’s nothing short of frustrating to have our lives and our soldier’s accomplishments smeared across the screen in some kind of attempt at vainglory or Hollywood cheese.

4. We hate watching the wife and children cope and struggle because it is all too familiar.

Some things really get to you on a mental level.  You see a soldier saying goodbye to his comrade in a fast-paced, sweaty, all-too-soon 3o second interval.  And you look over at your soldier and can’t help but wonder who he is thinking of.  Did he go through that with a battle buddy, or does he sometimes think of saying goodbye to you?  You get caught in a mental struggle.  But then to see a wife or her children attempt to make it through the emotional trauma of war and separation hits you on another level.  It’s no longer a mental struggle.  You are engaged emotionally in the movie as you literally watch your own thoughts and feelings pulled across the screen.  You feel worn out and drained.  The hour or two you spend watching her world fall apart, pulls at the emotional balance of yours for that short period of time.  You have been there, and you just can’t help but feel so many of those feelings all over again.

5. We hate war movies because it’s way too “everyday” to be called entertainment for us.

Okay so for most Army families, war movies are not a script of their lives.  But still, we spend all day living on post, washing uniforms, and cooking dinner alone: living-sleeping-breathing the Army.  Which don’t exactly mind.  But when it’s time to settle down for some entertainment, we don’t want to watch more Army stuff!  It’s time to break out the RomComs or family flicks!  This is definitely a personal preference thing–but I don’t see how something that’s all business for us can become a form of entertainment, no matter how appealing the scenery or soundtrack is.  It’s kind of like watching a movie about running 500 errands on a Saturday, when that’s your current weekend routine!

6. We hate the reception war movies get by the civilian public.

The only thing more annoying than an inaccurate movie, is a glowing reception from the public about how “moving” and “great” a cheesy war movie is.  On the flip side, it’s also just as upsetting to watch an “accurate” war movie, and hear the public tear the military to pieces because of the exposure they happened to glimpse.  Either way, it can be pretty upsetting to read reviews about war movies.  Almost as upsetting as watching them ourselves…

Did I miss something, Army wives?  What is it that you don’t like about war movies?  Or if you’re in a season of watching them, please share a comment below about how you’re feeling when watching!  Thanks for reading and come back soon!

 

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The Best Mascara The World Has Ever Known

the best mascara-- L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara

I wrote a post about this very product over a year ago.  But this mascara is so good, that it totally deserves an annual recognition post.  It is basically begging for a yearly publication saying, “this mascara I always rave about–yeah it’s still the best.”  Because this mascara really is the best.  And I don’t use the term “best mascara” lightly.  I have tried so, so many mascaras.  (Scroll to the bottom to see my hoard pic).  But I keep coming back to this one, and always will.

I first heard about this product from Sam Schuerman, on one of her youtube videos.  She was saying that she owed so much to Carli Bybel for bringing the product into her life.  With two trusted references, I thought I should give it a go.  After all, I was a long-time L’Oreal mascara wearer.  It had been already been one of my go-to mascara brands for quite a few years.  I had been wearing the Voluminous Original Mascara since high school.  Then I upped my game and began using the Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen after college.  I have to admit I was slightly skeptical about this particular version of their mascara being so wildly different and “perfect” considering L’Oreal mascara wasn’t new for me.  But still, I gave it a go.  And–Oh. My.  Goodness.  I am so glad I did!

If I would have to pick one specialty that this mascara gives, it would be lengthening.  That’s it’s hallmark attribute.   And I know clumpy lashes or really full ones can be a coveted look.  But those looks aren’t very noticeable without length accompanying their fullness.  And the fact that this is one of the few mascaras that actually CAN add (or emphasize) length means that a variety of eyelash looks are possible.  You can go for the super long, fanned out look.  Or add 3 more coats and you can go for the thick and clumpy-long look.  I would absolutely have to attribute the formula to this lengthening phenomena.  But, the mascara can do more.

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The BRUSH is the catalyst behind the perfect lift that this mascara gives your eyelashes.  Besides lengthening them, the slender, short-bristled brush pushes the eyelashes upward for maximum lengthening effect.  Because let’s face it, eyelash length is severely diminished by straight, uncurled eyelashes.  And the brush takes care of that.  At first glance, the brush doesn’t look like anything special.  In fact, some have complained that its so small and flimsy that it can’t POSSIBLY do anything.  But, it can do it all.–I would agree with the sentiment that you want to be somewhat gentle with the brush when pulling it in and out of the tube, as it isn’t the world’s most crazy-sturdy brush ever.  But that’s a small price to pay for such an amazing product.–Bonus about the petite brush size: it works great on under eyelashes, as it’s not bulky.

Pictured above in gold is the Telescopic “Original” Mascara, while the black tube is the Telescopic “Carbon” Mascara.  I have used both, and buy them interchangeably.  I have not noticed, in my 3 years of wearing them, a detectable difference.  Some have commented that the black tube is a darker formula than the formula in the gold tube, and has a slight sheen.  Others have said the difference between the two is that the black tube gives longer lashes while the gold gives fuller lashes.  Again, I have not found any of these claims to be true, as I do not notice a difference between them. The only thing I notice is how much BOTH make my eyelashes bolder, longer, and fuller.

I’ll make a final note for those wanting long, full and false-looking lashes: this requires multiple coats.  But not multiple coats as in you need to wait 2 minutes between each coat.  I simply mean you need to apply the product over one eye for about 10 seconds, then do the other eyelash, then go back and do each eye again for 10 more seconds.  So yes, it’s a total of 40 seconds of putting on mascara.  But when you think about it, that’s only 20 seconds per eyelash.  And no set of falsies goes on under 40 seconds!  It’s WORTH it.  And I’m only pointing this out so that if you swipe your eyelashes once with this product, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get enormous Bambi eyelashes.  The Bamb-ness will come, but you need to applying the product for like 40 seconds to get those big, gorgeous falsies!

And now, I’m going to ask:

Have y0u tried the L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara?

If you haven’t, you need to drop everything and head to the drugstore right now and snag a tube.  It lengthens, lifts, and has the ability (with multiple coats) to create the fullest natural lashes you have ever worn.  Is there anything else a mascara is supposed to do?? But before you head to the store, what is your current go-to mascara?  I promise it will be this one once you try it!  This is truly the best mascara in the entire makeup world.  Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you back soon.

**While I would love to say that L’Oreal Paris sponsored this post, alas this is just all ME talking from the heart.  No sponsorship.  No free products.  Just a girl and the best mascara in the world.**

The hoard

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5 Ways to Save Money in the Military

 

Whether you’re a military family or not, saving money is probably something your enthusiastic about.  And most of those “how to save money” hacks are applicable for military and civilian families.  But, there are some ways to save money that are specific to military families only!  Go us!  🙂  Today I rounded up my 5 favorites:

1.  Live Off-Post

I’m putting this one first because it has the power to be the singular MOST effective way to save money.  Obviously, you could purchase a house well beyond your means and it would only be a financial sabotage.  Or pay rent/bills above your BAH, and that would also be ineffective and detrimental.  But I suggest researching your BAH (literally, google it) and then shop for houses whose monthly average cost (including upkeep) is lower than your BAH.  If you set aside $200 of your BAH every month for only a year, that would still be $2400 in savings.  It adds up!

 2.  Check the LES Monthly

Errors, overpay, underpay, unfair withdrawals…don’t wait and get money revoked!  This one is unfortunately not a guaranteed “money-maker,” but it can be.  It can be an extremely effective preventative against losing money that is supposed to be yours.  One of the most common complaints I’ve heard from wives is that their soldier is incorrectly charted for eating on the DeFac meal plan (aka: the family isn’t receiving their BAS–basic allowance for sustenance).  Fix it!  The Army will backpay you for ANY missed funds, so be diligent to get all the money you deserve!  But don’t let the Army accidentally overpay you either.  If your soldier is no longer supposed to be receiving jump pay, but is–fix it!  The Army always, always, always notices, and it’s a big headache (and heartache) to have to backpay the Army for months of unearned pay.

3.  Save All Military Clothing

My word of advice: don’t throw ANYTHING out.  Save the “not-so-favorite” socks and uniforms for packing lists, field uniforms, etc.  There may be times where he has to have a pre-packed bag full of items, and he won’t want all of his favorites to be in there.  He also probably won’t want to shell out the cash to purchase dozens of brand new items that are going to go straight into his pre-packed bag, completely unused.  Those mandatory packing lists are the perfect place to stuff old and used items that he isn’t going to need available in his locker.  The best part about old?– FREE! Occasionally (again, extremely infrequently) he will get to trade in some of his items for new items.  This rarely happens.  But when it does, you don’t want to be missing some items that you are supposed to be trading in.  Also, you don’t want to have to pay out of pocket for something he is supposed to be turning in, but no longer owns!

4.  Use the Free Resources the Army Gives You

Did you know that the Army offers discounted tickets to many, many events around the country?  This is not just a military discount at Disney World (though boy do they offer deals on that!)  The MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation association) has an entire ticket chart offering discounts at various attractions around the country–for things as small as tour rides in Savannah to things as big as passes at Universal Studios.  Look into the MWR ticket offers before you make big purchases!  Also, the Army offers a variety  of free workshops– resume builders, career networking, etc.  You can earn scholarships as dependents (wives and children) and get financial aid for school.  The list goes on and on.  While you will still have some fees to pay, many of the paid-clubs on military installations are a fraction of the cost of their civilian opponents.  If you’re looking for a casual soccer league for your children, or a summer pool pass, definitely look into the opportunities on post before you decide to go elsewhere.

5.  Look to the Army’s Opportunities to Lessen your Financial Debt

Do you have college loans?  There are *some* programs that can help pay for those <– for the soldier’s loans at least.  Do you have high car insurance and credit card interest on your account?  You can get those refinanced through a military banking source.  Navy Federal has one of the best rates for car payment interest, and USAA offers some of the best credit card deals.  There is also a Military Star Card that offers On-Post discounts on gas and shopping.  Look into the military options you qualify for because they can almost always shave off some of the debt and bills that your past civilian life heaped upon you.

It goes without saying that any department store you shop at is a good place to ask for a military discount.  Don’t be shy!  It’s your right as a military dependent–and there is no shame in flaunting that.  You’re not begging for a free handout, you’re giving stores the opportunity to [willingly] show their support of our troops!  Unfortunately, many stores do not offer military discount (don’t ask me why…grrr).  But there are more ways to save money than a token 10% discount on four tee-shirts at Old Navy.  <–they have a great military discount program for the record.  Do you have any techniques?  Share them in the comment section below!

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August 2017

August 2017

“eighth month commences / august as in grandiose- / resigned to the heat.” – Laurie Kaz

I am SO happy August is here.  It is one of my favorite months, and I really think that this year it will reign as a favorite.  I’ve got my usual list of “to-do’s” compiled–which feels but exciting but longer than usual.  I’m just really looking forward to August 2017, and have high hopes for it.  Hopes that include:

  1. Enjoy two visits from my relatives.  My dad is visiting, as are three of my sisters!  YAY.
  2. Celebrate my husband’s graduation.  I’m so proud of him and can’t wait to celebrate with him!
  3. Make an exercise routine.  Walking and pilates are my two favorite, but I need a consistent mix of them.
  4. Get my toddler back into a consistent nap and night routine.  We’ve made progress and regressed. lol
  5. Update my wardrobe/jewelry collection.  Not necessarily shopping, more like weeding thru what I own!
  6. Catch up on my baby diary.  I wasn’t going to add this, but now that I’m making progress I want to finish!
  7. Expand/develop one blog category.  Even if that just means contributing a few posts to it.
  8. Write a guest post.  I’ve done this before, and would like to do it again!
  9. Scrapbook.  I love scrapbooking and want to do some this month!
  10. Make a crib mobile for my baby.  I’m needle felting little bunnies for it right now.
  11. Get an editing program for images.  Just something small, to get me started!
  12. Find a skin-clearing secret formula.  Maybe no such thing exists?  I have hope…
  13. Clear the basement boxes out.  Something that should have been done a few bats ago…

I could add some more but I should probably start there before I get carried away!  I guess my love for August has just created some pretty high expectations.  But maybe there is nothing wrong with that?  I can tell that I’m not really seeing this month as the beginning of autumn, the way I usually do.  Maybe it’s just the South and all this heat?  Or maybe it’s because my baby is due in the LATE fall?  But I can’t help but feel this August is going to just feel like an extension of summer.  I guess that’s not a bad thing though…is there such a thing as too much summer?!

Oh, but before I forget (AGAIN), I need to make one last goal.  Back in January, I established a plan to choose a virtue/skill/strength and try to embrace it during the month at hand.  In a few of these monthly check-ins, I forgot to do it formally.  But I almost always have some kind of emotional/mental goal running through my mind and making an appearance in my month.  For August 2017, I want to focus on being present.  I have a LOT coming up in the future: more Army school, my second baby being born, and a second move within a 12 month period, just to name a few.  I don’t want to live in anxiety or in the future, because I have everything I need right here, right now, in front of me.  I’m so blest and I want to savor that grace and be grateful for it!

And now I feel like I can sign off.  I have a long August in front of me! lol  And I’m so happy about that.  If you are a list-maker, please share some of your own August 2017 to-do’s in the comment section.  I would love to hear your plans!  Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll come back soon.

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