This post has been sponsored by Healthy Essentials. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
One thing I’ve really wanted to focus on this year is skincare. I am 35 and I am also pregnant, which makes for some interesting skincare challenges. What I look for in skincare is simplicity, great ingredients, great brands and effectiveness.
I shared my skincare routine with you all a few months ago, and since then I’ve really been wanting to find more affordable drugstore skincare gems to incorporate into my routine. I know we all may not have the biggest budgets for skincare, but luckily I’ve found a lot of great items for fabulous prices.
We are void of seasons here in Houston, but I do find myself switching my skincare routine seasonally between warmer and cooler months. In the “winter” (I use that term very loosely), I find myself using heavier moisturizers and more facial oils, while in spring and summer, I lighten things up a bit. If you’re looking to spice up your spring skincare routine, I’ve certainly found some great gems for you to try!
Today, I want to share with you some of my favorite affordable skincare finds for spring and how to shop for them on a budget—all are pregnancy safe!
Finding Great Skincare Products on a Budget
The drugstore is your friend. So many brands have improved the quality of their products. There truly are so many great items to try, and I can get lost reading all of the labels every single time I walk into my local drugstore. I’ve said this many times, but I will always choose an affordable product over high end if it performs just as well. With trusted brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear (all a part of the Johnson & Johnson family), I always know I will find a winner. So, my biggest piece of advice is to not let the drugstore scare you. Walk in, read the labels, and spend some time researching. I guarantee you’ll find products that will fit your skincare needs.
My second piece of advice is to be a deal seeker. I always search for coupons, offers, and promotions. One promotion going on right now that’s absolutely worth mentioning is that you can get a $10 reward from your $30 purchase of participating Johnson & Johnson Family Consumer Companies products.
Get a $10 REWARD with your next $30 purchase (excluding tax) of participating Johnson & Johnson of Consumer Companies products. Keep your receipt and redeem your reward online.
(Activations valid until 04/30/2019 – See offer website for full details)
Now that you’re ready to shop, let’s chat about which products you should pick up on your next trip!
Spring Skincare Routine on a Budget – Pregnancy Safe!
I have been a fan of Johnson & Johnson products since I was a teenager. There’s something for everyone in the family, and I know that I will not be let down by their skincare products. Like I mentioned, Neutrogena, Aveeno and Clean & Clear are all part of the Johnson & Johnson family—all brands I consistently love and trust. Let’s get down to my affordable spring skincare routine with all pregnancy-safe products!
The Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes are ultra soft and remove everything—including waterproof mascara. These are extremely gentle and great for all skin types.
Clean & Clear isn’t just for teenagers, you guys! If you’re like me and still get those pesky breakouts well into your thirties, you’re not alone. Also, it’s not fair. I really like simple cleansers without a bunch of added exfoliants (no salicylic acid in this one) , and this one fits the bill. The Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that contains Vitamin C and Ginseng. The citrus cent is perfect for spring.
I love a good toner to remove any extra traces of dirt and makeup and to give me a gentle exfoliation. This Clean & Clear Lemon Juice Toner is alcohol free! It contains Vitamin C and lemon, which is a gentle exfoliant. Not only is this great for acne-prone skin, it’s also ideal for anti-aging. Exfoliation definitely helps in both cases! Also, can we talk about how cute this packaging is? It screams spring!
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that hyaluronic acid is one of my favorite skincare ingredients. It’s weightless hydration and really does an amazing job of keeping the skin plump. The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum is a fantastic affordable option that contains purified hyaluronic acid. It’s completely lightweight, not greasy, and will not clog your pores. If you move away from heavier moisturizers in the spring, this is a fabulous product to incorporate.
Daytime & Nighttime Moisturizers
I always use a different moisturizer for daytime and evening. I usually go for a more hydrating option for nighttime, and I must always have a moisturizer with sunscreen for daytime.
If you are not wearing a moisturizer with SPF every day during the day, you need to start! Spring or not, it is a non-negotiable for me. Sun protection is of utmost importance in any stage of your skincare journey. I always look for mineral SPF when it comes to my daytime moisturizers. First of all, it’s safer for pregnancy. I’ve also found that it gets less greasy than chemical sunscreens, and you also avoid the sunscreen smell. Options can be limited at the drugstore, but luckily the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 is an amazing option. It contains mineral sunscreen, is a very light and weightless texture, and is fragrance-free.
I’ve sung the praises of the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel for years! It is, by far, my favorite drugstore moisturizer. It is deeply hydrating but never feels heavy or greasy on the skin. It contains hyaluronic acid, is oil-free, will not clog pores, and perfect for all skin types. If you have very dry skin, they have an extra dry skin option that is also fragrance-free. I cannot say enough great things about this product.
If you’re looking to do a little extra exfoliation, check out the Aveeno Positively Radiant 60 Second In-Shower Facial. It’s a 1-minute mask that you apply in the shower, leave on for 1 minute, gently massage, and rinse. The active exfoliant in this particular product is glycolic acid, which is generally safe in pregnancy. This product only needs to be used 1-2 times a week. It’s kind of a genius product. I have never seen anything like it before. It’s also so convenient that it can be used in the shower so you’re not taking out any extra time for skincare treatments. I love that it tingles a little bit, and it really does make my skin feel so much softer after each use.
Since I am pregnant, I cannot use any retinols, but that is 100% something I would suggest incorporating if you haven’t already (and are not pregnant). The Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair is a great affordable option that I’ve used in the past.
Now that I’ve saved a little money and “spring-ed” up my skincare routine, I am ready to rock that pregnancy glow.
I hope you found this post helpful! Luckily, there are so many gems from the Johnson & Johnson family; you’ll be sure to find something on your next shopping trip.
Visit www.activaterewards.com/family either on your mobile device or your desktop computer, enter your information, and submit the image of your full receipt by 4/10/2019.
Friends! It has been so long since I’ve done a favorites video. The last time I filmed a monthly favorites video was…. uh… September of last year (not counting my yearly favorites). I have to say, it felt so good to film this and get back into the monthly favorites routine. It is my goal to keep this up, because it truly is one of my favorite videos to film.
I have to say, I’ve been using a lot of the same things recently, although there were quite a bit of amazing new releases. I have a lot of fun things to share with you today, and I’m certain there is something on this list I know you’ll love!
February 2019 Beauty Favorites
February Beauty Favorites | bareMinerals, Physicians Formula, Persona Cosmetics, and more - YouTube
February 2019 Beauty Favorites – Products Mentioned
Frownies Facial Patches // Since I can’t get Botox while pregnant, I’m trying to find safe alternatives. One of those I’ve been trying out are these facial patches.
Physicians Formula Butter Eyeshadow Palette in Tropical Days // I know we all love everything from the Physicians Formula Butter line, and these shadows are the quality we know and love! I’ve been loving their new eyeshadow palettes. The shadows are pigmented and creamy – they also blend out really nicely. If you’re looking for an affordable eyeshadow palette, definitely give this one a try!
Essence Cosmetics Pure Nude Highlighter in Be My Highlight // I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try this cult-favorite drugstore makeup product. This highlighter is freaking amazing. If you aren’t into the blinding highlight look, I guarantee you will absolutely love this. I’ve actually been using this product a little unconventionally. If I feel like my skin looks a little too matte from my foundation and powder, I will lightly dust this powder all over for that lit-from-within glow. It’s absolutely stunning.
Persona Cosmetics Cali Glow Highlighter in Zuma // Now if you love that blinding highlight, you will absolutely love this highlighter. It has that gorgeous wet look and it just stunning on the skin. This is not subtle at all. And I am here for it.
Wet ’n Wild ColorIcon Bronzer in Sunset Striptease // I hit pan on my beloved Butter bronzer and was almost completely finished with it, but it broke. In the trash it went, and I needed something to “hold me over” until I could grab another one. Well, this bronzer has been holding me over for almost 2 months and I am absolutely loving it! It’s not a chalky matte (much like the butter bronzer), has a gorgeous neutral undertone, and works well on my skin. It’s also $10 cheaper than the Butter bronzer, so if you’re looking to save even more, this is the ticket.
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Full Coverage Treatment Concealer // I use this concealer every single time I get a breakout but always forget to mention how much I love it on my blog and social channels. I prefer to use a different concealer on my breakouts/around the face than what I use under my eyes. I usually go 2-3 shades lighter for my under eye concealer, and I stay skin tone for my blemish/face concealer. This particular concealer is very full coverage, and is chock full of great ingredients to actually treat pimples rather than clog pores even further.
BareMinerals BarePro Longwear Lipstick in Camelia, Spice, and Bloom // I am absolutely loving the formula of these lippies. If you’re tired of wearing a liquid lipstick but want something long-wearing, you would absolutely love these. They’re super creamy and comfortable, but not drying on the lips whatsoever. And they really do stay put super well!
Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Lip Cream in Brazilian Sunset and Soaking up the Sun // This lip cream formula is amazing! It’s like wearing a super hydrating balm with the pigment of a lipstick and the shine of a gloss! I am really into glossy lips at the moment, and this one has stolen my heart. Like with any other lip products like this, it’s not meant to be a long-wearing formula. But I don’t like to wear a long-wearing lipstick every day.
What are you loving lately? You know I need to know! Leave a comment so I can add it to my never-ending wish list!
Disclaimer: We were given a discounted media rate for our stay at the Dolphin for four nights. We paid full price for our first night at the Swan resort. Thoughts and opinion are always 100% honest!
We just got back from a super fun family Disney trip, and I got a lot of questions on Instagram Stories about where we stayed! All but the last night, we stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. I am doing dedicated post to this hotel because we really loved it and found that there were lots of benefits of staying at the Swan and Dolphin.
We stayed the very first night at the Swan (the Dolphin was sold out) in a double queen room, and then the next four nights we stayed in a King Resort view with Balcony (this room has a pull-out bed). We prefer staying in rooms with king beds and pull-out sofa beds because our girls sleep fine on those and we get to spread out a little bit more in king bed.
Swan vs. Dolphin
It ultimately does not matter whether you stay at the Swan or the Dolphin – both are part of the same resort and you have access to all amenities. Both properties have been recently renovated in the interiors and rooms, and are really lovely and modern. The Dolphin is a bigger property and has more restaurants, but the Swan has the big character breakfast (but it’s a short walk if you stay at the Dolphin). Like I said, I don’t think it matters where you stay. If views are a big deal to you, you’ll probably get better views at the Dolphin (we had Epcot firework views from our balcony!), but we could also see the Tower of Terror out our window at the Swan. It’s a toss up for me!
I’d say out of the two rooms, we definitely preferred the King bedroom with the balcony and resort view. The room was a little bigger and the views were absolutely spectacular. Not to mention, it’s like being at at deluxe Disney resort without the price tag.
Swan and Dolphin Tour
I made a video of our trip to Disney World, and if you want to see a room and resort tour – check out the first couple minutes of the video! And at about 5:00 in to the video, you can see a few clips of the character breakfast offered at the resort.
Our Family Babymoon to Disney World - Walt Disney World Travel Vlog 2019 - YouTube
A few Hotel Room Photos
Guest rooms are comfortable, completely renovated and modern, and plenty of room for families.
Is the Swan and Dolphin a Disney Resort?
This resort is technically on Disney property and called the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. However, it is a Marriott property and not technically a “Disney” resort. The resort itself does not employ Disney cast members, but they are Starwood/Marriott employees. Don’t let that deter you because the staff was absolutely amazing and we received Disney-level customer service!
What You Don’t Get Staying at the Swan and Dolphin Hotel (and why it didn’t matter to us)
Magic Bands. This didn’t matter to us because we had our own and linked them to our park tickets before leaving. If you don’t have your own Magic Bands, you can order your own fun colors on ShopDisney.com, in Disney Springs, or even in the parks. It’s not a necessary thing to have. It’s just convenient to wear when entering the parks and tapping for Fast Passes.
Magical Express shuttle service. This could be a big deal for some families, especially very large families. However, this wasn’t a big deal for us. Our thought is we were saving on our hotel costs (even if we were to pay full price for our room, it’d still be less than the deluxe Disney resorts) and were still saving more money even with the transportation expense. There are other transportation options (shuttles) for an additional cost, or you can Uber straight to the hotel for about $30-50.
Disney Dining Plan. This was another thing that didn’t matter to us. After tallying up how much we spent on food while at Disney, it was significantly less than what we’d spend on a dining plan (even the quick service option). I honestly think the only way I’d do the dining plan is if it were in a free dining or discount package deal. Or if I planned to drink alcohol.
Benefits of Staying at Swan and Dolphin
LOCATION, location, location. This is quite literally the best location you can get without having to spend hundreds more on a Disney deluxe resort. It is situated right in between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, right next to Disney’s Boardwalk. This is a huge benefit. Huge.
Park Transportation Options. Official Disney transportation buses run to and from this resort. No need to rely on a third party shuttle that runs on their own times. When we stayed in the Disney Springs area this is one thing I did not care for – the transportation was a little unpredictable. The buses run to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs very frequently. We never waited more than 10 minutes for a bus to and from parks and Disney Springs. Along with the buses, they have Water Taxis (technically called the Friendship Boats) that run to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Epcot and Hollywood Studios are Within Walking Distance. This is a huge one! We were able to walk to both of those parks within 15-20 minutes. It’s a nice walk that is not crowded at all. Because of the short distance, we were able to visit these two parks more frequently and very leisurely. It’s not a big ordeal or event to get over there. Want a nice dinner over at the world showcase? Walk to Epcot! We really enjoyed this the most about the resort. It’s so convenient.
I took this photo walking back from Hollywood Studios. Not crowded with tons of people, and a nice walkway!
Extra Magic Hours. Yes! You can take advantage of extra magic hours in the parks when staying at this resort. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, it means that you can have early access to different parks on different days before they technically open to the general public.
Early Fast Pass+ Selection. Staying at the Swan and Dolphin gives you the benefit of being able to schedule your Fast Passes 60 days in advance, much like the other “on property” Disney resorts. If you stay off property then you can schedule 30 days in advance. This is really big benefit, especially when planning far in advance!
You Can Earn and Redeem Marriott Points. We have been Marriott rewards members for over 10 years, so being able to get points for our stay here is a huge bonus for us. (Side note: Marriott and Starwood merged so it’s all one rewards program now.) If you are frequent travelers to multiple destinations, this could be a big benefit for you. Also, why doesn’t Disney have some sort of rewards program without having to do Disney Vacation Club? That would be genius.
Deluxe Style Resort for Less. I know I’ve mentioned this a few times already, but it really is like staying at one of the Disney deluxe resorts but for less. There are lots of room options and suites for different family needs. Rooms are extremely comfortable (the beds were amazing!), we did not feel cramped at all, and absolutely loved it. Like I mentioned before, we stayed in a King Resort View with Balcony. It has a pull-out couch bed which was perfect for our kids and plenty of room for Greg and I to spread out. We loved the fireworks and resort view from our room and felt super special.
Lots of Resort Amenities. There are lots of restaurants on property, coffee shops, a beautiful resort pool area, swan boats, a sandy beach, spa, and much more. We kind of wish we had one day where we didn’t go to the parks so we could enjoy the resort more and take advantage of more of their amenities.
Great Dining Options. There are a multitude of restaurants on property, including a character breakfast that is offered Saturdays and Sundays. That was really nice because it was a much slower pace than the parks but we still got to meet Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale!
Complimentary Parking in the Parks. I don’t know why you would want to take your car to the parks when the transportation options are seriously amazing, but if you did, you can park for free.
Would we stay at the Swan and Dolphin again?
100% yes! Even if we weren’t paying a media rate we would choose this resort again over others. And, remember, we did pay full price the first night of our stay at the Swan. All of the benefits I listed above makes it a total winner in our book. I’d say our number one favorite thing about the resort was the location and how easy it was to get to the parks.
I hope this blog post on the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando was helpful! Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any additional questions about the property and our stay.
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If you like these travel tips, be sure to check out some of my other posts:
Thank you to Winter Park Resort and Devil’s Thumb Ranch for sponsoring this blog post and providing us with a fabulous family vacation. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!
A few weekends ago, we had the opportunity to visit Winter Park Resort and Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Colorado. Greg and I have been wanting to plan a ski trip for years, and this could not have come at a better time for us! We were so excited to do this as a family.
In this blog post recap, I’m going to take you through our itinerary of everything we did, where we stayed, what we ate, and all of the details I can possibly think of! We truly loved our experience and hope this is helpful if you are planning a trip to Winter Park. We spent the first two nights at Winter Park Resort and our third night at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, so I plan to talk about our trip in these two sections.
How to Get to Winter Park Resort from Denver Airport (and back)
There are quite a few options for transportation out to Winter Park Resort. What we ended up doing is using Home James Transportation. They picked us up right from baggage claim and took us straight to Winter Park. It took about 2 hours to and from. Since this is a shared shuttle, we had a few stops to pick up other passengers going back to the airport from Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Each ride in the shuttle there were no more than 10-11 passengers. We had plenty of room to spread out and our luggage was safely held in the back of the shuttle. If you don’t want to rent a car, this is a really great option to get you to and from Winter Park. We’re glad we didn’t rent a car because we are not experienced mountain drivers.
Where to Stay at Winter Park Resort
All of the lodging within the resort is owned and operated by the resort. When you’re looking for a place to stay, you aren’t looking for different hotel chains in the area, you will just search for accommodations right there on their website. There are lots of different options depending on your needs and price point. We stayed at Fraser Crossing/Founders Pointe. We were really happy with our 2-bedroom 2-bathroom condo. It came with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, fireplace, balcony, and plenty of room for everyone to spread out. The master bedroom had a king bedroom, the second bedroom had a queen, and there was a pull-out couch in the living room. It was perfect for our family of four, but you could really sleep six in the unit if you use the pull-out couch in the living room. All accommodations are close to everything, including the ski lifts, restaurants, and the village. You really can’t go wrong staying on property.
One thing we learned while you were there – they have a complimentary shuttle that will take you off-property into town for anything you’ll need. If you’d like to go to a restaurant in town or the grocery store, they can take you there! We wish we would’ve figured that out earlier, then we would have definitely made a grocery store trip for breakfast and snack food to keep in our condo’s kitchen.
The Snowcat Tour at Winter Park Resort
On our first day we were able to take a Snowcat tour through the mountain at Winter Park Resort. It was super fun and totally worth doing! You get to ride up the gondola and then the Snowcat will take you through the various trails and views up on the mountain. It was especially cool for me (and the girls) because I wasn’t going to ski this trip, but I got a taste of what it’s like up on the mountains and trails. Lots of cool photo opportunities!
Ski Rentals at Winter Park Resort
Ski rentals were a breeze when we got there the first day. We filled out a little bit of paperwork, they fitted everyone for gear, and then we were on our merry way. The process took less than 30 minutes. We grabbed a little wagon and took our gear back to our condo building. All lodging has ski lockers which makes it really easy to store all of the gear.
Dining at Sunspot
If you have a chance, definitely grab a meal at Sunspot. You ride the gondola up and dine on top of the mountain. It’s so beautiful all times of day, and sunset is particularly gorgeous. We had a fabulous dinner our first night there. They offer lots of tasty options that the whole family will enjoy. I loved my surf and turf!
Ski Lessons at Winter Park Resort
Greg is our skier of the family, so he didn’t need a lesson. He went right up the chair lift and had the time of his life. I wasn’t going to ski this trip because I have actually never skied before, and it probably wasn’t the best idea to start at 11 weeks pregnant.
Kennedy and Caroline were enrolled in a half day of private lessons, and I am so glad they were able to do that. Caroline was really whiny and crying “Mama, mama” for the first part of it, so I walked away for about 30 minutes. When I came back she had gained so much more confidence and was beginning to ski on her own! Kennedy took to skiing really fast and was pretty much fearless! This surprised me quite a bit because she has also been a scaredy cat for the majority of her life. I was super proud of the both of them.
They both said they had the best time and wanted to ski again the next day. Andrea with the Winter Park Ski + Ride School was so incredibly patient and gave them the confidence they needed to ski down hills alone. They would go up a little bunny hill on the “magic carpet” and practice going down over and over again. I have a feeling we will be repeat skiers!
Coca Cola Tube Park at Winter Park Resort
I was really looking forward to going tubing, especially since I was the only person in the family who didn’t ski. It did not disappoint! The tube hill has a bunch of different lanes, from fast to slow, and you can go down as many times as your heart desires within the hour you buy your tickets for. You can also pick faster or slower tubes, and even ride in tubes that fit two people.
Kennedy really loved the tube hill. She wanted to go over and over again, and wanted to go in the fast lane! Caroline tolerated it. Haha! She definitely didn’t cry, but she was like “Well, that’s enough” after a few runs down the hill. Pretty good for a scared-of-everything 4-year-old!
One other thing that’s fun is you take a little cabriolet from the village over to the tubing hill. It’s another opportunity to get some fun views of the resort on a free ride over.
Pizza at Hernando’s
It’s totally worth leaving the resort to have a yummy pizza dinner at Hernando’s! We took the free shuttle from the resort into town and enjoyed such a lovely dinner. We got the Antipasto salad, pesto pizza, and the girls split a small cheese pizza. It was so delicious! This place is really popular among locals and very family-friendly. The restaurant is super fun and quirky, with dollar bills adorning every wall in the place. My kids thought that was really cool. It was the perfect way to end the long day of skiing and tubing.
Exploring the Winter Park Resort Village
Situated next to the ski lifts and gondola is what’s called the “village” at Winter Park Resort. The village is full of restaurants, shops, and lodging. There’s a Starbucks, the ski rental shop, and so much more. It’s really convenient to have so much in one spot!
The girls and I spent our last morning at the resort wandering around the village while Greg had another half day of skiing. We had crepes and pancakes at Goody’s (so good! You must try breakfast here), playing on a playground, getting to pick out a souvenir, and wander around the village. We were never bored and had a great time exploring the village!
Our second part of the trip was visiting the beautiful Devil’s Thumb Ranch. It is a gorgeous resort only a short drive away from Winter Park Resort. They have a complimentary shuttle that will pick you up from Winter Park Resort – all you need to do is call their front desk to make the arrangements.
We spent our last 24-ish hours at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, and it was the perfect finale to our trip.
It’s definitely a different pace than Winter Park Resort – very relaxed, slower, and less people. Both are wonderful experiences, and I’m glad we got to do both. I’d say that Devil’s Thumb Ranch is the perfect place to go for relaxation, pampering, and stunning views.
The property has been around since 1938 and is a functioning ranch. It’s very expansive and beautiful with lots of buildings around the property. There is a main area with lodging, restaurants, and the spa, and there are various accommodations spread out beyond.
This past week I hosted an adorable Galentine’s Day party at Latitude Med Center. I rounded up a small group of my favorite blogging girlfriends and we all caught over gorgeous views, decor, and bites.
I had the opportunity to tour Latitude Med Center before the party and once I saw the building I immediately knew it would be an incredible space to get together with my friends! Latitude Med Center is a brand new luxury high rise in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. This 35-floor building offers luxurious and convenient apartment living with access to the largest medical complex in the world. They have 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments and penthouses, all with designer features and contemporary finishes.
Latitude Med Center has a number of offerings for residents including a club room with a pool table, bar and lounge; a fitness studio with yoga, spin and pilates classes; a business center; and an outdoor terrace. The rooftop has an infinity edge pool, cabanas, outdoor grills, and a Sky Club with bar and entertaining areas. I grew up in a real estate family so I’ve always been into fun residential buildings, houses, and high rises. I’m bummed something like this didn’t exist when I was in my twenties and I could enjoy city living a little more!
Now, let’s get to the party!
We had our gathering in one of their three-bedroom penthouses, and let me tell you – what a fun way to escape reality and dream. The unit we gathered in was 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and approximately 3,433 square feet. The interior of the space was designed by Cantoni, which was incredibly beautiful and complemented the unit perfectly.
One thing you may not know about me – I love to entertain! I’m not much into decor, but I love cooking and entertaining a group of people. Lucky for me, all I had to do was message Tiffany (the owner of Glamfetti) my vision for decor and she brought it to life! Glamfetti has some of the cutest event and party decor you will see – I am a huge fan of her balloon garlands and arches.
For the food, I made a few dishes to share, and then Sweet Paris provided some yummy brunch crepes for our group. Crepes are always a good idea.
I’ve always been a really extroverted person and have thrived around other people. After all, I was a teacher for ten years. Now that I work from home, I treasure any time I can with my friends and like-minded business women.
It can feel pretty isolating working alone and doing your own thing, and I am always refreshed after getting together with some of my blogging girlfriends. I really appreciate the community of creators here in Houston. They are so supportive and truly are women I admire. I am thankful for these ladies!
If you’re feeling a little in your head, I encourage you to get out and get together with like-minded women. Schedule a girls’ night with your closest friends. Meet one friend for coffee or a tea after the kids go to bed. You’ll be surprised what it can do for your spirit. Big events, large groups, and parties can be overwhelming, so start with a small group.
Bringing people together is one of my favorite things to do. I try to do that every day here on my blog and social channels, and I make it a goal in my personal life.
If you’ve been around a really long time, you may remember my pregnancy updates with Kennedy and Caroline. It’s crazy to me that I’ve been blogging that long, but most of my readers and followers have been around post-Caroline. I also can’t believe how much better my photos have gotten, haha.
I thought I would bring back pregnancy updates because this is officially the last baby I’ll ever have and I probably would kick myself if I did not document it somehow. So, if nobody reads this, that’s okay. But, obviously, I’m happy to share my journey with you.
I went back to read some of my older pregnancy updates and I like the way I formatted them, instead of the usual survey you see going around on blogs. I used to type out thoughts, feelings, and key moments of the week, and that is how I’m going to update this pregnancy.
Anyway, today I am 12 weeks. The very last week of my first trimester! Yay! And now that I think about it, for my last two pregnancies… a “new week” begun on a Friday, as well. How in the world did we manage to conceive three babies on the same day of the week? That’s pure magic, y’all. (Wait, that’s how it works, right?! LOL)
I loved this pic we shot on Monday at Devil’s Thumb Ranch so we’re just going to go with it as my 12-week photo! I literally don’t look any different 4 days later. Haha. There really isn’t much of a bump to show, just a little bit of me pushing my belly out.
Thoughts This Week:
We should know and reveal gender to the world very soon. I’m being very vague here for a reason. Like I mentioned in our reveal post, I had my blood test on January 28 and the benefit of doing that early testing is getting to know gender super early. Our plan is to reveal to the girls in a fun way, tell our family, and then announce it to everyone else!
I really miss breathing properly through my nose. Along with the classic pregnancy rhinitis, I caught a sinus infection that ended up progressing really quickly. It’s made breathing even more of a challenge. I thought it was just a cold but then my fever spiked and I felt like death so I went to an after hours urgent care. My thought this year is that we’re hitting our out-of-pocket max with insurance so even if I’m on the fence about going to the doctor over something, I’m going to go (or take my kids). I’m glad I went because upon examination, my ears and throat looked infected (although thankfully it was not strep or the flu) and they put me on amoxicillin. I felt so much better in the span of just a few days.
Traveling this past weekend was super fun and a wonderful getaway! We went to Winter Park, Colorado and had the best time. I’ll have more details in a blog post and video coming up soon, but I didn’t really feel sick or gross throughout the trip. There were moments where I had to take it slower and I definitely went to bed earlier than normal, but I did great! I traveled a lot in other pregnancies, and this one has been easy, too. I will say, though, the one thing that was terrible when I was pregnant with Kennedy and Caroline was that I had extreme motion sickness on airplanes. Every time during the descent I would get extremely nauseous and sometimes puke. This made me nervous flying to Colorado but I did not get motion sickness at all! Thank goodness.
Snoring was something that I did the last two pregnancies, but started in the third trimester. Apparently I started snoring – and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact I got sick last week. But, I bought a wedge pillow to elevate my head some more and prevent Greg from having to move upstairs. After sleeping on it for the last three nights, Greg has reported I have not been snoring! Hallelujah! I plan to use this pillow through the end of my pregnancy.
I haven’t really gained any weight at all the entire first trimester, despite my extreme exhaustion, not eating that great (or not eating much), and not being active. I am really hoping to pick up my activity in the second and third trimester. When I was pregnant with Caroline, I went to the gym up until just a few days before I had her. I think it really helped with recovery and not gaining too much weight for my frame.
As far as being sick, I think I’ve felt the worst with this pregnancy, but like I mentioned before, it’s still on the easy spectrum. My main “symptom” is exhaustion. Pure exhaustion. But I do feel really lucky that my girls are so self-sufficient and older that I can really take the time to rest if I need to. Much different than having a 2-year-old in the house.
The things I miss the most right now are Botox and breathing through my nose. Call me vain (and I literally don’t care if you think I am) but man, I’m starting to look tired. Haha.
We aren’t 100% decided on names, but once we do, we will not share publicly until he/she is born. We did that with Caroline and I am glad we did. It really avoids the weird conversations where people try to tell you their ill feelings of your name choices. I just don’t get why people think their opinion will change your kid’s name, but at least when they’re born there is less of a chance of that.
I got a call today with some blood work results and apparently I have low thyroid function and a Vitamin D deficiency. My doctor is going to re-test my thyroid in my second trimester and advised that I take an extra Vitamin D supplement to help with that deficiency. No wonder I’ve felt so tired!
Happy Friday, friends! Hope you enjoyed my first official pregnancy update of the third baby! Yay!
Looking for the best drugstore eyebrow pencil? I’ve got 5 options you should try. All are affordable and perform just as great as their high end competitors. Look out, Anastasia Brow Wiz. I think we’ve broken up for good.
I remember when the Anastasia Brow Wiz came out and changed the brow game. It was my holy grail eyebrow pencil that I swore I never would stray from. At the time, it was a revolutionary product. The tiny micro-fine pencil really allowed you to sculpt, define, and even draw little hair-like strokes into the brows. It truly was a game changer for me and for many.
Over the years, the drugstore brands caught on and have since released lots of brow products. I discovered the NYX Micro Brow pencil, dubbed it as my favorite Anastasia Brow Wiz dupe, and the rest is history.
It used to be so hard to find a great brow product while perusing the aisles of the drugstore, but now I don’t even bother buying high end brow pencils. So many great options. Not to mention, I burn through them so quickly, it saves me quite a bit of money.
I am the type of person who prefers the fine/micro type of eyebrow pencils, so that’s what we’re going to focus on here today. There are also some great pomades and brow gels available, but I suppose that’s another story for another time. Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you need a recommendation!
Looking for the best drugstore eyebrow pencil? I’ve got 5 options for you to try. I’ve linked everything at ULTA for you to make shopping easier!
Best Drugstore Eyebrow Pencils
I have to say, out of all of these, I wouldn’t recommend one over the other. They really all are so similar (formula wise!) and you can’t go wrong with any of them. I am giving you these options so you don’t feel as limited while at the drugstore, and you’ll be able to grab one for the best price! I know shade ranges may matter a bit here, especially if you’re a blonde, red head, or have almost-black hair so I will be giving details on that!
This drugstore eyebrow pencil comes in 5 shades – Blonde, Dark Blonde, Light Brunette, Brunette, and Dark Brunette. I don’t think it’s the most comprehensive shade range, although they do not ever pull too warm-toned on me. I use shade Brunette in this pencil.
This pencil comes in 8 shades – Taupe, Blonde, Auburn, Chocolate, Ash Brown, Brunette, Espresso, and Black. It is the most expensive drugstore eyebrow pencil on this list, but it does have the widest shade range. I feel like they nailed it there!
This one definitely wins with price and shade range! If I reeeeeeally had to pick a favorite, it’d be this one. This baby comes in 10 shades – Blonde, Taupe, Soft Brown, Auburn, Warm Brown, Medium Brown, Brunette, Espresso, Blackest Brown, and Black! I’m just saying… the Brow Wiz comes in 10 different shades. So perhaps this should be crowned my new favorite dupe! I really like how this one has options for warmer and cooler tones. The only thing is – L.A. Girl is a little harder to find in stores. I don’t see it in a lot of drugstores, but it is for sure in ULTA. And can we also talk about the name of this one? It’s my fave. Haha.
The shade range with this is a little lacking (okay, a lot lacking), but if you’re brunette and this is the only eyebrow pencil you see in the drugstore, grab it. They for sure make 4 shades of this, but I’m only seeing 3 online at ULTA right now. They do manufacture the shades Soft Blonde, Soft Brown, Honey Brown, and and Rich Brown.
The next time you’re at the drugstore or shopping on ULTA.com, don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve got you. I hope you’ve found this post helpful!
Shop the Best Drugstore Eyebrow Pencils:
Let me know if you’ve got a favorite drugstore eyebrow pencil not on this list? I’d love to try it out if I haven’t already!
Love this post? Make sure to check out some of my other drugstore beauty blog posts!
This may come as a shock and surprise to many, but I guess life is more fun when you’re on your toes. We’re expecting our third baby in August, and we are so thrilled!
We’ve been keeping this secret since the week before Christmas, and I’m so excited to finally share.
I have certainly been through every emotion in the world. Am I too old? Are my kids too old? What are we thinking starting over again? Will I still be able to do this? I don’t know why, but I have been more worried this time than when I was with my other two pregnancies. It’s a strange feeling to “get out of the weeds” that we know as the baby and toddler years and then start over. My kids are pretty self-sufficient, we all sleep really well, and we have a pretty good routine.
However, the more and more I think about this, the more I think it will be a blessing. A baby is always a blessing to begin with! Greg and I will have a lot of helping hands. We’ll also have a lot of one-on-one time with this new baby. My girls will be in school, and I don’t have to worry about “going back to work” in the traditional sense. One of the things that caused me the greatest amount of worry with my last two babies was the terrible maternity leave I had as a teacher.
This time around feels different in so many ways, but we’re ready for the next adventure.
When we told the girls, we filmed their reactions and it was the best thing ever. Watch the video below to see for yourself and have a good laugh.
Telling our Kids We're having ANOTHER baby?! Baby #3 Announcement - YouTube
Here are a few answers to your possible burning questions!
Were you trying? Kind of. I’ll spare you the explicit details (haha), but we’ve always been back and forth on whether or not we’d have a third. We had a “why not?” moment. So we “tried” one time and here we are.
How far along are you? I’ll be 11 weeks on Friday.
How did you find out? I was being very diligent about tracking my cycles with the Clue app and noticed I was few days late during the week before Christmas. Greg ran to the store and grabbed a digital pregnancy test. We were both sitting in the office waiting for what seemed like an eternity. The word “PREGNANT” appeared after the longest three minutes that have ever existed. We couldn’t focus the rest of the day. LOL.
How did you tell your family? We told my family on Christmas because everyone was in the same room and it was fun to tell everyone on Christmas. We left for Austin that evening and told Greg’s family that evening, too. It was a fun little addition to the holiday season.
When did you tell the girls? We waited until January to tell them, after my first doctor’s appointment. It was so hard to keep the secret from them for over three weeks! I am so glad we filmed their reactions. It’s something we’ll cherish forever.
How are things going? I’ve already had two doctor’s visits. I also had full blood work done yesterday for chromosomal conditions (I believe the technical name for this is NIPT – Noninvasive Prenatal Testing). I also think the blood work tests for any other abnormalities. Since I will be 36 years old at delivery, my OB recommended this early testing. My OB is not worried about my age at all (even though I’m technically considered “advanced maternal age”), it’s just something to give us more peace of mind and to get a head start on more in-depth testing if anything irregular shows up. We’re going to take advantage of as many scans and tests as we can to make sure we know what to prepare for. Another plus of having that blood work done this week is that we can find out the gender earlier! We will likely know within the next two weeks.
Are you hoping for a boy or a girl? We want whatever we are given. Would it be cool to add a boy into the mix? Sure. But we’ve got this girl thing on lock down and would be incredibly happy to have another one.
What will the age gap be between your kids? Kennedy will be 7.5 years older, and Caroline will be 5 years older.
How are you feeling?I’ve always had easy pregnancies, and this one is relatively easy so far. I haven’t thrown up at all, but I have felt pretty nauseous, extremely exhausted, and just an overall feeling of “yuck” throughout the first trimester. I’m pretty sure I’ve said “I feel like garbage” about 47 times. I also cannot breathe out of my nose… I’m so stuffed up all the time. I have gotten headaches/migraines here and there, and luckily my OB put me on a pregnancy safe migraine medication. That has been a life saver. I’d say that this pregnancy has been the “hardest” so far, but on the spectrum of hard vs. easy pregnancies, it’s still on the easier end.
Any cravings or aversions? Ground turkey has all of a sudden been the worst smell and taste ever in life. I haven’t really been into meals that are a piece of meat with veggies on the side (random, I know). I have really just been eating a lot of small meals. In fact, if it were up to me, I’d just have hors d’oeuvres all day. I’m not much of a fast food lover but I’ve gotten Whataburger twice. (Whataburger is my comfort food – when I would have a really bad migraine it was a great fatty/salty meal to help take the edge off, and it has also helped with pregnancy nausea/headaches.)
What does this mean for your blog? I’ve always incorporated my children into my content, and I’d love to share this pregnancy with you along the way! My usual beauty content will not change and you can always expect that from me. We’ll just have a little added bonus of the baby. Essentially, there will be more content! A lot of things in the baby world have changed since I was last pregnant, so I’m looking forward to sharing those new discoveries with you. I’ve also completely changed up my skincare and beauty routine now that I can’t use Retin-A or get injectables. I’ll definitely be exploring all kinds of pregnancy safe alternatives and plan to share them with you!
We are so excited for this new journey, and our kids are, too.
To celebrate, we have a little “Babymoon” with the girls to Disney World in a few weeks. We are also headed to Colorado this weekend for a partnership with Winter Park Resort. Travel isn’t taking the back seat (until the end of my pregnancy), and we also have two trips planned at the end of this year after the baby is born. We’ve never let kids interfere with our love for travel before, and we don’t plan on changing that mindset anytime soon!
So, on that note, cheers to new adventures. Thank you so much for your support throughout the years. I can’t wait to take you all on this journey with us!
Looking for a trendy handbag but don’t want to break the bank? There are so many cute and cheap Amazon purses you can find for under $40!
I know we all have a love affair with Amazon. Sometimes I don’t even bother if I can’t get what I need with that amazing 2-day shipping. My life basically revolves around our Amazon Prime subscription. Relatable? Haha.
I have to say, I have found the cutest purses on Amazon! Lots of designer dupes and really high quality stuff. I’m not much of a “luxury” girl, but I do like looking as if I care about trends. I enjoy keeping up without the splurge. I’ve always been that way (hence all my drugstore makeup dupe posts).
I have been so pleasantly surprised by the price and quality of the Amazon purses! I’ve ordered a handful of them and plan to continue. For this blog post, I’ve rounded up 5 of my favorites – 3 of which I have bought and 2 that are highly-rated and on my shopping list.
I own two of these in different colors! I own the blush one and the burgundy one. The size fits my phone, wallet, keys, and a few extras (makeup compact, lipstick, gum). I think the size is absolutely perfect. They have also held up incredibly well for me and look so much more expensive than they actually are. I cannot believe this purse is under $15! I’m carrying the burgundy one in this photo:
This is a really cute Chloe dupe! In fact, someone complimented me on my “Chloe” at an event. I felt like a fraud and I was like “yeah, um, I got this on Amazon for under $40.” Haha! I have the gray one, and it goes with everything, and can also be worn year-round. I would say that this bag fits the least amount of items, but it still fits the essentials.
This little handbag gives off YSL or Gucci vibes. I like the simplicity of it, that it comes in a multitude of colors, and is under $20! It fits quite a bit (my phone, wallet, keys, compact, lipstick, and a few extras). I’m currently carrying this one around in black, and have been complimented on it a few times.
This is on my wish list! It looks a heck of a lot like one I got from Nordstrom for quite a bit more. (I also have to say it looks a lot like the Madewell totes, too.) The reviews on it are also amazing. I love that you can switch it back and forth from black to cognac and that it has a little pouch that comes with it. Not to mention, it’s under $35? Count me in.
Here’s what my reversible tote looks like… it’s so similar!
This is another Chloe-esque type bag that I’ve had my eye on. I like that you can wear it crossbody or backpack. It’s got such a cute and unique design to it. It has a lot of great reviews and it seems to hold quite a bit. Best of all, it’s under $25! I am 100% certain this is next on my list to purchase.
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