Month: December 2016



Ok, so if you know me you know I love a good deal. But I also love finding great products. I love thrift shopping, but I can also go out and buy a well-made, flattering swimsuit for $100 without batting an eye. So I’m going to let you in on my 10 favorite purchases of 2016, because I shouldn’t be the only person who knows about all of these products. And maybe you already know about them, to which I would say, why didn’t you share the knowledge sooner?



1. Cetaphil Skin Cleanser –  I went to the dermatologist this year because I was fed up with my acne. I’m pretty sure it’s an unspoken rule acne dissipates after high school, but my acne didn’t get the memo. While at the dermatologists office I met with a sweet older medical assistant with a kind smile. I asked how her face looked so good, she mentioned this bad boy, and I haven’t looked back. My skin is far from perfect, but it looks WAY better than it used to, and I attribute it to this guy. I got him at Costco. But you can pick him up at your local Target.


2. Jake’s Shark Vacuum – Have you guys seen those infomercials that have those overly enthusiastic salespeople? Well, one day I saw Jake glued to the tv watching one of these infomercials and the next thing I know we have a shark-vacuum-shaped box delivered to the house. He’s sometimes an impulsive buyer so I was skeptical. But he proved me wrong this time and I’m so glad. It’s awesome! No vacuum bag, super suction, and light weight. Also, this is kind of gross but with my long hair getting in the spokes, I have to give my vacuums a clean often (or a “haircut” as Charlotte has dubbed it), and this vacuum makes it super easy to!


3. The Magnolia Story – I’m obsessed with Fixer Upper. I’m also obsessed with anything Chip and Joanna Gaines, so when they wrote a book, it was definitely on my radar. So one day while in the checkout line at Hobby Lobby, I looked to my left and there it was. It was the only one around. I took that as a sign, bought it and finished reading it that same day. If you want to cry and laugh out loud all on the same page, read this book. Seriously, do it. Don’t even go buy it, come borrow mine. It helped me get into a better frame of mind. Corny I know, but it did. Something about hearing what they went through together made me feel grateful, proud and somewhat accomplished with my own little story. It’s a good read I promise. (Not pictured above because it’s currently in my bffs possession.)


4. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat – One of my friends asked me how my nails looks so good all the time recently and I thought she was joking. I like my nails to look nice but who has the time with two kids?  I like to do my nails at night while catching up on a show every other week or so, so not that often, but when explaining my routine I noticed I was doing something different. The Gel Top Coat makes all the difference. And I know you’re supposed to use it with Gel Color, but I don’t and it still looks good to me. It’s a bit goopy coming out but I’m sure it has to do with the whole reaction to the light thing. It seems to do the trick though and my nails take longer to chip! I’m also going to mention my two favorite colors because it seems fitting. Revlon’s Vixen (570) and OPI’s Bubble Bath.


5. Oxo bins – These are the coolest things ever. I told Jake I only want 2 things from our Tax Return Cash this year. Matching Towels, and some more of these bins. They make me feel like I’m adulting. There’s nothing that says you’ve arrived into adulthood more than cool see through bins. Now I can see my fruit loops as soon as I open the pantry, and there’s something that makes you smile about those colorful little loops, especially early in the morning. Maybe I’m weird, but I’m a firm believer that kids shouldn’t be the only ones that get fun things. The lid pops up and I feel organized.


6. Batiste Dry Shampoo – Definitely getting to the good stuff now. This stuff is gold. So good in fact, that Smith’s carries it. I can only imagine it’s because it flies off the shelf. I get the one with the brown coloring so that my hair isn’t dusty white like other brands, but there’s also a blonde. Moms should get a guide on how to survive being a mom at the hospital, and there should be a complimentary travel sized bottle of this in there. It’s a must-have.


7. Tyme Iron – Technically I got it for Christmas last year BUT I doubt I used it between Christmas and New Years and I’ve had all of 2016 to use it, so it counts. If your husband surprises you with one of these for Christmas, give him a big old smooch. He just did you a huge favor. It curls my hair in less than 10 minutes. My whole head of hair, and I have a lot. I cannot say better things about this thing. Curls and straightens. Jakey did good. The only downside is that it most definitely has a learning curve. It probably took me 5-6 times to actually start getting my hair to look like I wanted it to. Think back to your middle school days when your curls turned out all frizzy and uneven. Yep, it was a bit frustrating but definitely worth the hassle.


8. Maybelline Superstay 24 Hour Lip Color – If you’re in UT, you’ve probably heard about LipSense, because word travels fast around here. Its way cool, but I actually got turned on to something that works pretty darn similar. I can’t stomach the starter kit price and maybe this doesn’t work AS well as LipSense, but it’s good enough for me. I can kiss my kiddos a million times a day without having to wipe their cheeks afterwards, and that’s really all I want. My favorite color is Timeless Toffee (150) because it looks like a nude-ish coral color on me. Looooove it.


9. Assets Spanx Leggings – I stumbled upon these on accident and it was like winning the lottery. After having a baby, you have certain areas you’d like to smooth out a bit if you can. While I was looking for colored tights to go with my favorite mustard dress, I saw these. Love at first sight. I’m a fan of anything Spanx brand already, and these leggings also had a high waisted band which is why the lottery was mentioned. It’s like someone asked me exactly what I wanted in a legging and made it, JUST FOR ME. They’re also only $28 at Target, so there’s that. PS, you’re welcome. I’ve since had a friend compare them to Blanqi leggings for a fraction of the price.


10. Hollister Jeggings – I used to work at Hollister. But after I left, I didn’t really look back. I used to own half that store when I worked there at 17, but that felt like a lifetime ago until a couple months back. I had finally lost the baby weight and I was searching for a better fitting jean. I had tried the usual places and while at the mall one day I thought I’d go visit my little sister who now works there. While I was there some “jeans” caught my eye. Distressed, but with a patch. Definitely mom approved. I slipped into a dressing room, with a double stroller I may add, and BAM. The cosmos aligned. Not to loose, not to tight, I could squat, and jump up in them at a moments notice… which I obviously tried out in the dressing room, because you can never be to prepared as a mom. These weren’t jeans at all but some comfortable jean look-a-likes. I now own two pairs in the same exact style.  I thought people who did that were crazy. But if that’s crazy I don’t want to be sane.



Again, if you’re still reading this.. Thanks. I can’t explain why writing feels good, but it does. It’s like my fingers and my brain have this desire to create. The things that come out may sound like mumbo jumbo but it doesn’t matter. It’s out there. It’s not so much about being heard by the whole world as it is about saying it. There’s something calm about imparting my “wisdom” in these blank web pages of previous nothingness. As if I’ve accomplished something by letting YOU know my little secrets to feeling put together sometimes, in hopes that it might help or brighten your day too. Hope you all have a happy New Year!

BEFORE                                                       AFTER

Before and After: Kitchen BacksplashBefore and After: Kitchen Backsplash


Two weeks ago we woke up and decided to go to Home Depot to buy a paint roller. Singular paint roller. Just one. Not two, JUST one. Guess who left with a single paint roller? Haha you guessed it, not us!


We left $140ish dollars later with a bunch of supplies and an idea of what we wanted. We hadn’t really planned it out, but that’s usually how most of our fun weekend projects happen. They’re spontaneous and unpredictable. I’m just glad I have an awesome supportive husband who spoils me and makes my ideas come to life.


Here’s a picture of what our kitchen looked like before installing the backsplash. We recently painted our whole house, which is a story for a later date, but I ended up loving the color Jake chose.



Although I loved my new paint color, there was something missing. Jake and I had discussed backsplash in the past, but with his work being extremely busy, and our two kiddos demanding most of my extra attention I wasn’t emotionally prepared to tackle this project on my own.


So when Jake went up the tile aisle, I knew it was finally happening. He’s the smartest, most talented man I know. Super hands on, down to learn and figure anything out, and definitely a born DIY-er. I’m all for getting my hands dirty, but he definitely has the vision, and takes lead on “most” of our projects.


He’s very opinionated and knows what he wants, but since we both happen to enjoy the show Fixer Upper, subway tile has been on both our radars for quite awhile.


Before and After: Kitchen Backsplash

We ended up buying 3 cases of Basic White Ceramic Tile from Home Depot that cost $1.76/ sq. ft, ($22 a case) which was perfect because we had maybe 1/6 box left over. We guesstimated pretty well. I originally wanted something like this, but it cost somewhere closer to $3.24/ sq. ft. so we decided the subtle difference wasn’t worth breaking the bank.


We also bought…


SimpleGrout – 1 gal. in the color “Natural Gray”


Ceramic Tile Adhesive – 2 gals. But we could have pulled it off with less.


Tile Spacers – 1/16 in. & 1/8 in. to decide on which spacing we preferred when we got home. I would suggest getting 2 small bags of your choice.


We already had…


A tile saw (Jake had borrowed it from his dad to re-install some floor tile last month)


Black Permanent Marker (to make marks for the cuts)


Set square


Measuring Tape




Grout Float




Notched Margin Trowel


Once we had measured the starting lines for the first two rows, the rest was easy-ish. The tile spacers kept everything even.


The most time consuming things were the cuts for sure. Once we had the two bottom rows finished under the outlets, we took off the outlet covers, measured where to cut, and marked the back with a permanent marker. Not going to lie, this took forever, or maybe I’m just impatient. Even when we thought we had measured perfectly, we sometimes had to go back and take off a little more here and there. And when I say we, I mean me. I let Jake do the ones that went into our cabinetry because those had weird designs.


Before we started we didn’t take into consideration how time consuming the “weird” cuts would take. We hadn’t researched this. We just guesstimated supplies and came home. We worked from 11am-3pm Saturday, had some dinner plans with family, came home and put the kids to bed, then worked 10pm-1am. And that was just cutting the tile and “sticking” it on the wall, (I don’t know the proper terminology for this kind of work haha) because wanted to let it dry overnight before we started on grout. This might have taken extremely long due to the fact that we’ve never installed backsplash before, we had our two kiddos at our ankles pouring entire BOWLS of water on their heads, or how much fun we have while working on our projects. Whatever the reason, if you’re anything like us, plan on this taking awhile.


Side Note: If you’re OCD like my husband and want to lay tile down behind your stove, in case you ever buy a new one, use Black Gorilla Tape to keep your tiles up. That stuff is AMAZING. Those tiles weren’t going anywhere, and it actually took some old paint off our wall when we took it off, so be careful where you use it. PS my obsession for DP is real.


Sunday before church, we woke up and admired our work. Jake started grouting behind the stove so we could put it back, because at this point our kitchen looked like a tornado hit. Kids toys were mixed in between tiling supplies, dry adhesive and lots of Dr. Pepper and Mtn. Dew cans.



Grouting was also something that took longer than anticipated. Putting the grout in the cracks didn’t take so long as much as cleaning up did. You add the grout and then after a section, go back with a wet sponge and clean it up. Be sure to dip your sponge in a large bowl, or bucket of water constantly to help get the grout off easier. And yes, Charlotte took a bath in the grout water after she pulled it off the counter directly on top of her head. I bet this process took another 3 hours.


All in all, I would do it again in a heart beat. It made such a huge difference in our kitchen and I’m obsessed. The one thing I would do is plan a little better. I would have tried to start earlier, dropped off my kids at their cousins for a few hours if possible, and would have adjusted my expectations on our timeline. I was under the crazy impression we could have pulled it off in the 4 hours we had before dinner that Saturday, HA!


Here are some more Before & After pictures because let’s face it, these are everyones favorite.


Before and After: Kitchen Backsplash

Before and After: Kitchen Backsplash

Huge shout out to my flipping awesome husband! Thanks for working hard at work, at home, and just in everything you do. You’re kind of incredible. I love learning new things from you and building our lives together. For those of you who are still reading, thanks for stopping by.



I got this shirt for $3 at Savers last week.


My sister-in-law and I have this thing we do after Mutual sometimes. We have “us” time, which for us means shopping for good deals & eating delish food. That usually consists of going to Savers and then to Cafe Rio (because it’s the best).


When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. It just wasn’t something we had.


That was fine with me because we ate amazing meals (my mom was/is a wonderful cook) and we had plenty of fun things to play with, especially since my imagination was that of a small undiscovered genius. My parents were always hard working and made sure they provided the essentials, but we didn’t go to “regular stores” for our clothes.


It didn’t really phase me when I was itty bitty, I didn’t know there was another way of living other than the way we did it. But then middle school hit, and it was like everyone of us changed over night. Brand name clothes started mattering, kids were being mean for no reason it felt like. Some of us were getting taller, growing, and….. some of us weren’t.  We were all just a little bit more on edge. Middle school was stress-FULL.


One day, out of nowhere, I heard some kids making fun of the thrift store Deseret Industries also known as the “DI”.


I shopped there.


My whole family did.


I couldn’t let this get out. No one could know. Or I would get made fun of!


This was probably the biggest fear I had in middle school, getting made fun of. That, and cute boys who thought I was “really funny”.


I don’t know why it bothered me so much. Maybe it’s because we all have to go through that stage in life where we want so badly to fit in. But I’m here to publicly announce those days are behind me. I’m no longer embarrassed to say I shop at the DI or Savers. I let others opinions make me feel bad about myself those many years ago, but I don’t anymore. I LOVE thrift shopping now. I’m not afraid to scream it from the rooftops. Why wouldn’t I want to shop somewhere that only costs a fraction of the price? I’m so glad my mom instilled the desire of getting a good deal into my bones. I didn’t know it back then, but boy did she do me a solid.


If I could stress one thing to my daughter (when she’s old enough to sit through this conversation lol) is that life is about being happy with the person you are, not name brand clothes, or fitting in. Not everyone you meet is going to be nice, you’re not always going to fit in, you might get made fun of, and you will have differing opinions than other people….. and guess what? That’s ok. The sooner you figure this out, the better.  Don’t let others opinions of you bring you down. You’re allowed to be hurt by unkind words, but then let them go. Don’t add to the negativity.


Random Side Note: I love Mean Girls. It’s hilarious and has some great one-liners. But I love one of the quotes the main character says…


“And that’s when I realized, making fun of Caroline Krafft wouldn’t stop her from beating me in this contest. Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”  Cady Herron in Mean Girls



I guess what I’m getting at is that I’ve never regretted being kind or positive. So let’s all try a little harder not to judge others or say unkind things.



I haven’t always been this happy, and I still have bad days. But being happy is a choice for me now. I choose to be grateful. I’m a glass-half-full-kind-of-gal. I don’t let thing affect me the way they once did. Why? Because the funnest most contagious people around just exude happiness, and I want to be like that. I want to change someones day because of the way I interacted with them.


My thoughts are messy. I’ll blame the time of night I’m writing this. I apologize if they don’t make sense sometimes, but it’s definitely super therapeutic being able to write it all down. It’s like my thoughts have somewhere to go now, instead of just floating in my head. If you’ve made it this far, TTFN. Ta-ta-for-now.