Monday, May 13, 2013

My May Must-haves (beauty and health edition)

Let's just not even talk about how long it's been since I blogged. :) I'm back with another list of items I adore. Leave me a comment and tell me about something(s) that you love!

1. Loreal BB Cream. The cashier at Walgreens gave me a sample months ago. I found it about a week ago and tried it out of curiosity. I was instantly in love! I've been hearing people talk about BB Cream for months (maybe years?) now, and never knew what it was. That day I still didn't know what I was, but I know I looked airbrushed, and it felt light and easy, and I knew I would be buying some next time I went to the store. I just (right this second) googled "what is BB cream?" The best synopsis..."for women who apply a moisturizer, a primer, a foundation, a setting powder, and an SPF sunscreen every morning, BB creams seem like a small miracle. These are one-step products that can protect, conceal, and correct skin texture and tone." Voila! I'm hooked. And here is the kind I now use...

2. Jergens Natural Glow. The same day that the (very excited) Walgreens lady gave me the BB sample, she also gave me a Jergens self-tanner sample. Last month I was headed to a bachelorette party and planned on wearing a strapless dress, so I decided to try the sample. I really wasn't expecting much, but what could it hurt? There were three days in the sample and I only used the first day and saw a HUGE difference! I was so pumped! So I decided to use "day 2" before a wedding we attended last week, and still loved it! I thought you had to use it several days in a row to see a difference (that's what they market), but I guess I'm white enough that I can see color after one use! :) Anyways, I recommend it if you need some color! (and I would've never bought the "Medium to Dark" bottle, but that's the sample I received and it worked like a charm and didn't seem fake or orange, so that's what I bought. :)
3. Suave Professionals Shampoo and Conditioner. I know, right? Surprising! I've always been a bit of a shampoo snob, buying Bed Head or some other salon brand. When I was in Midland a few weeks ago, my cousins had this "rosemary + mint" shampoo and conditioner in their shower and I LOVED it! It smelled good and made my scalp tingle when I was using it, and then the best part was when my hair dried, it looked really shiny and felt so soft! I kept thinking about it, so a week later I bought some for myself. :)
Note-my sis has the Suave Professionals "almond + shea butter" and that one smells super yummy and makes my hair soft and healthy too!
 4. Arbonne shakes and nutrition bars. I've been losing weight, and I could NOT do it without my yummy Arbonne shakes. I drink one every day, and most days I drink two. They are satisfying and filling and healthy and best of all, tasty! I love the fruit bars and chocolate bars too! They're especially handy when I'm running out the door, if I know I'll be away from home for awhile. Guilt-free snack! Yum! I'm so so thankful for finding Arbonne, and I truly do believe it's the reason I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight! Can't beat that!

So what products are YOU loving these days!? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


This is my FOUR HUNDREDTH post on this blog. That's kind of cool. It also may be the reason I've been m.i.a. lately. Last time I hit publish and saw that it was my 399th post, I thought "oooh, I need to do something cool for the 400th!" But then that just paralyzed me, because no idea seemed worthy of the sacred 400th post. I know, right? It's ridiculous! I think I'm the only one who can see how many posts there are anyways. Oh well. Here are some things I thought about blogging the past few weeks, that didn't seem good enough...
-how much I adore Michelle Obama. (surely you've seen her evolution of mom dance? or maybe you saw her Good Morning America interview where she discussed how childhood obesity has started declining (halleluiah!), or possibly you caught the end of the Oscar's when she presented for Movie of the year?) yeah, I really like her.
-our wonderful trip to Oklahoma where we got to visit with Zac's amazing family whom we only see once or twice a year, but it feels so comfortable and fun, you'd think we hang out on the reg. And how Drew and Sheperd are ten days apart and your eyeballs almost explode when they are in the same room because the cute factor is off the charts.
-I consider blogging about all sorts of mom stuff, but maybe that would go on the other blog anyways. Actually I should just open a mom twitter account, because most of my thoughts are one liners anyways.
-We started an amazing series called Homeland and we CAN'T. GET. ENOUGH! We actually just finished season one tonight, and I know I'll have dreams about it! If you aren't familiar, consider watching. Such a great show! listing all those unimportant things to blog about, I accidentally blogged about them all. Concise little ice breaker. Cheers friends!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I love Valentine's day! I know some people roll their eyes about it, but I just adore it. The idea of a special day to celebrate LOVE! It's also the pink, the candy and chocolate, the flowers, perfume, massages. The possibilities are endless, and no matter what the gift-it's a romantic and special day just because it's Valentine's day!!
I don't consider it to just be about couples, for me it extends to family and friends too. It's like the 'thanksgiving of relationships' in my eyes, if that makes any sense at all. Such a neat day to deliberately appreciate and share your love with the ones who mean so much to you. I consider myself an affectionate person, with a lot of gratitude, but even I can admit that we take our family and friends for granted. We get used to who we have in our lives, and having them, and forget that it could all change in a split second! Anyways, I love this holiday and everything it stands for. Maybe it is a "commercially fabricated" day, but I love it nonetheless. Really, I've always loved Valentine's day. Fun story---> 13 years ago tonight I spent the evening filling out Toy Story 2 cards for family and friends. I wrote one out to Dr. Cline, and taped it to my ileostomy bag. I was going to be having surgery the next day (yep- my ostomy reversal was on Valentine's day, 2000) and I knew he'd see my bag before it was removed for surgery. I just told him how thankful I was to have such a kind and talented surgeon, and that I'd been praying for him and the staff. Apparently it was a big hit, because he still mentions it (13 years later!) when I see him for my annual appointments. :) I stashed the rest of the cards in my hospital bag and had fun passing them out to family and friends as they came to see me after surgery. Random memory, but that could be another reason Valentine's is special to me...I got to get rid of that awful ostomy bag! :)
So anyways, I love valentines day. I am kind of missing not working in a school and being around the hype and glory of this sweet holiday. My students would always get giddy and there would be a buzz in the air, and suddenly all my kids would be "going out" with someone. So cute and funny! But this year I have the best Valentine of all (sorry Zac), and his name is Drew. That little guy redefined the word love for me. My heart explodes just thinking about it. Such a deep intense amazing feeling, this being a mom thing is. I hope each of my girlfriends is able to experience this. You can't understand it until you're in the thick of it, but geez it's a life changer! Well, I better go now before I choke on the giant lump in my throat. :) Happy Valentine's day y'all!!! And if you want some more sap, read my V-day post from 2010. It's pretty sweet, if I may say so myself. And what do you know, three years have gone by, and I still agree with every word I said.
PS-Love you too Zac! More than you can ever know. And watching you be a dad, and an amazing dad at that, has only increased and multiplied my love for you. Thank you for being the roommate, husband, co-parent, and best friend I could only dream of, but don't deserve. You're really something else. XOXO

2010 Valentine's Day
Can't get enough? Here is my 2011 post. :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


There's too much to say about the past year. Too many amazing highs surround a few difficult lows. Words can't recreate those 365 days, but here are a few snippets to remind my forgetful future self about 2012.

I started the year hoping I was pregnant, only to be devastated (again!) that I wasn't. We decided to get proactive about it and went to a fertility doctor, and got pregnant within the first month. This was obviously one of the most exciting things of the year, or should I say just the beginning of THE most exciting thing of not just 2012, but my life.

My Baw died in June. The pain was unfathomable. I physically ached. I feared it would hurt my little baby inside of me. We mourned and grieved and prayed, and one day, a sense of peace came over me. I released the pain and anger and replaced it with happy memories and the satisfaction of knowing she was in Heaven with my Grandaddy and God.

We spent the spring and summer stressed about Zac's job situation. Would he return to his current job, would be move to Austin, should he take a higher paying job that required a very lengthy commute. Silly us for worrying, God knew all along where Zac would be. It all worked out, and he's back in the town where we live, and quite enjoys his new gig. He's home about two more hours per day than he was the previous two years. Thankful!

Good things happened for friends and family. My sister had her third beautiful child, Stacy got engaged,  Ramsi fell in love, my little brother-in-law got engaged, Bez opened several new stores and moved to a new place, JT finally got his dreamjob as a fireman, Ellen had a baby, Robin got married, the list goes on. The people around me are seeing their dreams come true, and I get to witness it. Their blessings also bless me. I get happy off their happiness.

We had some health scares with Molly and I feared we would lose her. I was saddened that her life would change so much with the new addition. She is still here, happy and healthy. The worrying was pointless. She's a soldier, my Molly girl. She love her brother like we do.

Drew arrived in October and exceeded all my expectations. I knew I'd think he was perfect and cute because I'm his Momma, but then he really was. People tell me so everyday. I got sick and then I got better. The first weeks were easy, then it got harder. But we loved him so deep and this bond is indescribable. How can being a mom be so "ordinary?" There is nothing ordinary about this fierce and intense love. It defines me. Yes, I'm still a daughter, sister, wife, friend, but mostly I'm a mom. He owns me, and I love it. I live for him. What was the purpose of life before him?

So yeah, 2012 was the year I was born. It was a remarkable year that we will never, ever forget.

2013 resolutions...
-lose weight
-grow out my hair
-care less about what others think, and more about God thinks

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sweet Little Jesus Boy

Last night I went to the WGMS (my old school) Christmas Choir Concert. It was phenomenal, as usual! The past couple years I got to help judge which kids should get solos for the winter and spring concerts, and the choral director asked me again this year. He assumed I'd be bust and say no, but I was so excited! So since I got to pick which kids should get solos, of course I had to go to the performance to see it all put together. There was one song that made me quite emotional (literally! goosebumps, lump in throat, tears in eyes). Partly the words, because they were so powerful, but mostly because of this little eighth graders AMAZING voice. I found it on youtube, and would love you to take a listen...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

New favorite place

Zac and I recently found the most magical and charming little neighborhood! It's in south Dallas (in an area called Oak Cliff), and it's called the Bishop Arts District. There are restaurants and shops, and everything is so close together, you can walk from place to place, like a real neighborhood.We miss Austin and living in the big city, and we love traveling. This neighborhood reminds us of being in San Francisco or something.

Sunday we met Zac's family on their way home from Oklahoma (Eli competed in an IronMan! Holla!) at a Vegan restaurant called Spiral Diner. They have the best vegan nachos, and I'd go back again and again! Zac had a meatball sub (which obviously wasn't really meant, just like my nachos weren't really cheese) and he even liked it a lot! It's a cute little funky place with tons of food and drink options. I told Eli that if I had choices like that everyday, I could be vegan too! :) On the way home from lunch, Zac and I were talking about how much we loved that area, and we need to make a point to go back and try some of the other places there.
Little did we know, that would be two days later! :) Tuesday I had a doctor appointment in Dallas and wasn't feeling too swell, so Zac took off work to go with me. We left the office around 4:20, and the traffic was horrendous. We took a different route to avoid IH-35 and ended up really close to the Bishop Arts area. Zac had been wanting to try this pizza place, so I told him we should have an early dinner and avoid the mad rush on the highways. We ate at Eno's pizza and then walked around for a bit. It was so fun and different, that we felt like we were on vacation, even though we were only about 30 minutes from home! :) In one of the shops, Zac said "your mom would like this place a lot! You should bring her here!"
So I did. On Thursday, mom and I loaded up and I drove her to Bishop Arts to see our new favorite hot spot. We ate at the Greek Cafe and Bakery and both loved our food! She had a gyro and I got a greek salad. I've never had chicken that was marinated or cooked better than that chicken! Yum! After lunch we walked around and I got Zac a giftcard to one of the shops he liked a lot, for his birthday. We went to Dude, Sweet Chocolate and mom bought some exquisite dark chocolate that had sea salt and feta cheese in it! Sounds weird, but it was phenomenal! :) We also went to a cute children's boutique, where I decided it was a very good thing for our bank account that I am not having a girl! Those bows and tights and dresses are too cute! We were in the 'hood for a total of about 3 hours, and left so happy, and only slightly tired. (although my pregnant feet puffed up quite a bit, lol!)

Saturday night we were so sick of being stuck inside from the rain (and from me not feeling very well, due to typical 38-weeks-pregnant uncomfortableness) and wanted to go do something low-key. I had on sweatpants and a UT t-shirt, and it was still raining, but when we got in the car, we decided to brave the weather and go use his gift certificate to Epiphany. (with baby coming in a week, who knows when he'll be able to go again) Even though the rain made me a little anxious, and I still wasn't feeling 100%, it was such a memorable evening, and I'm so so glad we went. We looked around the shop for awhile and Zac decided he wanted to wait to spend the money. We walked (close together under an umbrella, which is kinda romantic) to Oddfellows and got drinks and chocolate beignets for dessert! It was rainy outside and warm and friendly with great music playing inside, and I had one of those moments where I felt like I was in a movie. Don't you ever have those times? "Surely this can't be my real life. This must be a scene from a movie."
So yeah, four times in one week. I think we like this area. I know we won't be going back for awhile, but it's so chill and laid back, we already plan on bringing Drew and Molly next time we do come. I can just picture us eating breakfast on a patio one Saturday morning, with Molly at our feet, and Drew in his stroller. Strangers walk by and smile (because everyone is happy and smiling here), and they tell us how cute he is. And again, I feel like everything is perfect, just the way life is supposed to unfold...

Copied from wikipedia, just in case you want to know more about this special place...
"Neighbors and visitors enjoy an eclectic mix of restaurants including Oddfellows ( classic, American, Espresso) Bolsa, Cafe Brazil, Chan Thai (Thai), El Jordan (Mexican), Eno's Pizza Tavern (Italian), Espumoso Coffeehouse (Coffee and pastries), Greek Cafe and Bakery (Greek), Dude, Sweet (Chocolate), Gloria's, Hatties (American Bistro), Cretia's (bakery), Hula Hotties Cafe & Bakery (Hawaiian), Hunky's (Hamburgers), Spiral Diner & Bakery (Vegan), Tillman's Roadhouse (American), Vera Cruz (Meso-American, Mayan, Aztec) and Zen Sushi (Sushi), Lockhart Smokehouse (Central Texas-style Barbeque), and Lucia's (High-End Italian).
Bishop also includes many stores including, Shambala (Soaps), Indigo (Clothing), Epiphany (Clothing), Cozy Cottage (Children Clothing and Toys), GreenPet (Pet store), Alchemy Salon (Hair Salon), Bishop Street Market (Gifts, candles, home decor, bath products), Fete-ish (Assorted), Dirt (Plants), Make (Hand-made Pillows, Bags, etc.)"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Today I like... I woke up in the middle night with the idea to make my own homemade decaf iced coffee, and actually did it this morning! :) I made a small cup of decaf 'breakfast blend' with my Kuerig first thing, then put it in the fridge. About an hour later I added milk, chocolate syrup and a little creamer, poured it on ice, and VOILA! Guilt-free coffee drink for me! (well, there's still sugar, but the milk is skim, and there's no caffeine!)

...that (good) TV is starting to come back. I'm not a huge television person, but it's refreshing that there are some new shows and some old favorites returning. The past two nights, Zac and I have watched The Voice (I like Adam, Zac loves loves loves Christina Aguilera...let's just say he's way more obnoxious with his "crush" than I am with mine! LOL), and a new show called "The New Normal." If you haven't seen New Normal, I recommend you check it out. It's no Modern Family, but there are some great characters, and I think we're really going to like this show. Also, speaking of TV, we love Big Brother so much it's ridiculous, and I saw online yesterday that the Fierce Five are going to be on BB tonight!!! Woohoo!!! :) Oh, and Ellen's back and in her first two days, she's had P!NK, Patrick Dempsey, Fierce Five, Britney and Simon Cowell, and

-Psy from Korea. My morning radio show (shout out Bobby Bones Show!) has been talking about Gangham Style for awhile now, and I finally watched the video yesterday, and then he was on Ellen! Funny how sometimes you've never heard of something, then all of a sudden it's everywhere you look! Allow me to introduce you to some K-Pop (Korean pop), if you aren't already acquainted. If this video doesn't make you smile (or at least scratch your head), I don't know what will...

-and last but not least, I also liked this article, discussing the "7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics." I think know people on BOTH sides could stand to read this. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th

I can't believe it's been eleven years since that day. Not just because eleven years flew by, and it seems like yesterday, but because I can remember the day so well. This is just my personal story of the events, which I wanted to put in writing to be able to re-read one day, when I don't remember it as well.

I was a freshman in college, and it was a Tuesday morning. It was the first time I'd ever spent the night away from my dorm. I'd gone to a cheer friend's apartment after practice, and ended up spending the night there with another girl from our squad. I was driving to class the next morning, (which was weird since the past two weeks I'd just walked across the quad to get there) and listening to the radio in the car. I was so annoyed that they were talking instead of playing music (stupid me!) that I didn't even stop to listen to what they were saying. I tried turning to a few other stations, and got exasperated they were all so serious (again, stupid me for not picking up that something major was going on) that I put in a CD and jammed the rest of the way to campus. When I parked and started walking to class, the campus seemed bare. I figured I was running later than I'd thought I was, and just assumed everyone was already in class. I heard a mutter or two about New York, but in my rush to get to class, I still didn't catch on that something major was taking place. Something that would change our world.
I got to class and only about 8 of the 30 people enrolled were actualy there. The professor wasn't even there. Like myself, the others in the room seemed clueless. My professor walked in and had a grave look on his face. As he got closer, I realized he'd been crying. This big tough 40-year-old history buff had been crying. He explained that we wouldn't be having class today, then briefly told us what what going on. I STILL didn't understand the gravity of the situation (remember, I was just a few months past 18), but suddenly knew that whatever it was, it was a BIG deal. I ached for my mom, and called her on my cell phone, on my walk back to my dorm. There wasn't much we could say to each other except "I'm okay, are you okay? Okay, well keep in touch." and I walked up to my room. My roommate was glued to her TV and I remember watching over and over and over the video of the planes crashing into the second tower. Later in the caf, it seemed there was an eerie calm. I remember that later that day we found out the football game had been cancelled for Saturday. I decided I'd go back to Austin and spend the weekend with my family. Rumors swirled that gas was about to run out nationwide. I took my car to the gas station across the street from
Campus and waited almost two hours just to top off my tank. Of course we learned later that wouldn't happen, but being a gullible college kid who wanted to make it home for the weekend, it seemed the right thing to do. Although I was saddened immediately, I think it was still souv bigger than I understood for quite some time. So senseless, it was almost impossible to try to make sense of it. I remember thinking "I'll tell my kids about this one day!" and never having had such pride in my country. We all did! Flags hung everywhere. I learned about Nationalism in social studies, but never realized how powerful it could be. Although it was such an awful time, it was inspiring and beautiful to see the whole country lean on each other. I remember watching President Bush's speech, and even political discourse had melted away in the aftermath of this tragedy. We were all on the same team. Americans.
Years later, Stacy and I took a trip to New York City. We went to see Ground Zero and my strongest memory was coming up from the underground subway. Normally halfway up the stairs you could hear the city buzz, and with each step it got louder and louder. But as we walked up the stairs to daylight near Ground Zero, there was a reverent silence. Everyone was quiet and mournful, and although it was still pretty much a hole in the ground, with a fence around it,  there were some memorial portraits and signs. A lot began to sink in for me on that trip. I'd always thought about how 9/11 affected our nation, but never specifically how it affected the city of New York. People we stayed with lived on the 43rd story of their building. They said that for MONTHS after the attacks, they were terrified every time they heard a plane. The whole city went through so much, and I can't believe it took me years to consider their points of view, and what they faced and felt.
I know others understood immediately. I'm not proud that it took me so long to grasp how horrible it truly was (not just that thousands died, but that it would change our history, our policies, send us to war, affect us financially...all of these profound impacts), but I'm not ashamed either. Looking back, I was a kid. A sheltered and protected kid, who until then would've listed the David Koresh 'Branch-Dividians' event as the saddest day ever.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today I like...

...The new Matchbox Twenty song, She's So Mean! I absolutely loved Matchbox Twenty my senior year of high school, and had the entire album 'Mad Season' memorized. So this new song kind of reminds me of those happy memories...similar sound and all!

...Pinterest! Yes, I'm a little late, but I'm finally aboard the pinterest train! I made my first recipe tonight and ohmyword, it was SO easy and very delicious! (Except next time I'll add a little cinnamon. They're just a teensie bit bland, and I think some cinnamon would be a nice touch.) I almost hate to share the recipe, because this could be my new go-to dessert I bring to parties and whatnot, but I love y'all too much to deny you this. You're welcome.

...Gatorade! I had to drink so much of it in high school and college, I kind of went away from it. It started tasting salty to me somewhere along the way. But lately I've been drinking one every day, and I love it.

...the new Bourne movie! Zac and I went to see it Saturday night and I'm still thinking about it. Same great action, complex storyline, and clever characters. Zac said he thought Jeremy Renner (whom he was once confused for in San Fran, no lie!) was even better than Matt Damon. I started to argue with him, because Matt Damon is awesome, but then I realized I thought Renner was really great too! Let's just say they were both amazing! :)
...No Doubt's song Settle Down! I loved Tragic Kingdom and the Clueless soundtrack ("Just a Girl"), so naturally the nostalgic side of me wanted to like this too. I wasn't sure what I would think, but I saw the video EARLY this Saturday morning (VH1 top 20 countdown) and FELL IN LOVE with this song and video. Also, if I was still a teacher, I can promise you that I'd sing the part that goes "get-it-it in line and settle down!" to my class all day long! Enjoy...

Friday, August 24, 2012

If you're going to San Francisco...

be sure to wear some flowers in your hair make a photo book on Shutterfly!
I got an email from Shutterfly yesterday reminding me that they're rolling to a new style of photo books. I checked "my projects" to make sure I didn't have any unfinished books in the old style, and whatdoyouknow, I did! I started this album almost two years ago but never quite finished it. So I spent a chunk of the day today finishing it, and reliving all of the wonderful memories we made in San Fran. Zac and I loved that city so much! We'd move there- if we could afford it, and didn't love seeing our families so stinkin' much! :) But we definitely plan on taking our kids to our favorite American city one day! Until then, we will flip through the pages of this photo book and relive the fun! Hooray!
PS-Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Shutterfly? I don't know what I'd do without them! Address labels, stationary, cards for all occasions, photo books, large name it, they're the best! I'm already looking at little boy birth announcements! So exciting! :)

You'll love award-winning Shutterfly photo books. Start your own today.