Rhythm.

2 years ago, almost down to the day, my daughter got her diagnosis.

Autism.

It wasn’t a slap in the face. It wasn’t something I didn’t see coming. I knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it any easier to hear. It didn’t make it any easier to deal with.

Her whole first year after her diagnosis was a wave of appointments, meetings, updates, navigation. It was nonstop. It was necessary, but overwhelming. I’m very fortunate to have family and friends that are very understanding and patient. Who are willing to ask questions and get educated, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t feel like I was doing this all on my own. Running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Her first year was a lot of checks and balances. Trying to figure out what worked for her and out family. Sometimes she did great and other times it felt like we had taken ten giant leaps backwards. It’s okay though, we were persistent and always came back out on top.

This past year has been more of a rhythm. We’ve figured out how best to help Kai make progress she’s capable of making and she’s doing fantastic. This year has showed me exactly what she is capable of and it eases my
heart. I know it won’t always be this easy, but it has showed me that we will able able to catch ourselves when we fall. And that’s comforting.

I am very grateful of all the people in Kai’s life. All the people who help her excel. The people who know she has potential and are willing to work through the shitty days because they know she can do it.

Teamwork.

Today was one of those days where I am so incredibly thankful for my husband.
Knowing that I have him to lean on in times of crisis makes me appreciate those who don’t have a partner to do the same so much more.
I did the single mom thing. It sucked. A lot. Granted, I only had Kai at the time, had a ton of help from my family and Kai was still pretty young when Nick came into the picture. Still, having a person to emotionally lean on is so very crucial in times of need.
I honestly don’t know how well I would have adjusted to the autism thing had I not had Nick.
He would probably tell you that I’m a little more grounded than what I give myself credit for, but he keeps me grounded. Knowing that, at the end of the day, he will be there 100% keeps me grounded.
When he got up this morning for work and saw the pure exhaustion on my face and knew I’d have my hands full with a sick toddler and a sick kid he offered to stay home. He knew our big kid needed to go to the doctor and our middle child needed to be dropped off and picked up at school. And he did it. Without complaining. I was operating on less than a few hours of sleep and I needed to run a million and run errands while comforting a pukey baby and giving the oldest breathing treatments.
This doesn’t always happen. He doesn’t always take the day off when the kids or sick or if I’m sick, but today he knew I just really needed his help. Most of the time I can manage without him, but today was different.
And I’m grateful for that. For him.

My SS ’14 fashion picks for girls.

I’ve been perusing the internet the past couple of weeks trying to get an idea of the girls’ Spring/Summer wardrobes. I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to my favorite trends and styles.
First up is my oldest daughter. I try to keep her clothes simple but stylish. She’s special needs and still have trouble with ties, buttons and zippers. While, I have no problem assisting her when she needs it, I try to encourage dependence.
Because of her autism and sensory issues, she’s not comfortable in certain clothes for an extended period of time, plus she is VERY active. She doesn’t have much of an opinion on her clothes, but I try to dress her to suit her. I would call her overall style athletic.
For the summer I have been eyeballing bike shorts, (knit shorts that are a bit longer than regular shorts and more form fitting) tanks and tees. Paired with tennis shoes, this is the perfect SS style for her. This allows her to really move around, but still remain comfortable.

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My youngest is still too young to voice any opinions about her clothes, so I just dress her how I want. I keep it simple and stylish for her as well. I really LOVE rompers for girls 2 and under. Easy on and off, which is perfect for that age. They’re usually made of light airy fabric as well, which is nice in the warmer months. I’ve also developed an obsession with moccs for toddlers as well. Easy to put on, but they stay put which is nice for toddlers who are on the go who also have a habit of taking socks and shoes off.

33900ac48a5256959e55ba91bba84c57 34aefa0b9f0052a523e3a846ad6832ee e115cb9d13702e79508e31326f49990dSo there you have it. Also, I purposely picked items from stores that have affordable clothes. Old Navy, Target, H&M. While I love supporting small businesses, I can’t always afford their clothes. And I understand that they’re prices have to be higher. I’m not asking for them to lower prices, but I definitely could not get my kids as much if I mostly shopped small. I do splurge on shoes, because I feel like shoes get the most wear and tear so I will spend more on more durable shoes. Which is why I love converse so much for kids. They wash easily and hold up.

These picks also might not be what’s in exactly trendy, but they’re the trends that suit my kids.

Alternate Valentine’s Day Guide: Women’s Edition

I am not a typical woman. I do not want the typical gifts *most* women ask for on Valentine’s Day. I don’t wear jewelry. Flowers don’t last and I can buy my own chocolate. If my husband is going to spend money on me I’d hope that he’d spend it on something that will actually get used. 

So I decided to create a gift guide for women like me, who would much rather get makeup over some dumb jewelry. Also, don’t be afraid to be blunt. Men aren’t mind readers. If you’re dropping mysterious hints hoping that he’s going to pick up on them, then you’re going to wake up on Valentine’s Day really disappointed. If there is something you want, just flat out say what it is. It doesn’t do anyone any good beating around the bush. 

1. Makeup. If you trust your significant other to buy your makeup, then it doesn’t hurt mentioning it to him that you need some new foundation or eye shadow. If you don’t, mentioning that gift cards are just as nice doesn’t hurt either. Plus they give you a reason to go out and shop. Beauty Subscription Boxes are all the rage right now and thankfully there are several options. If you’re not familiar with them, head to Google and do a little research and find one or two that you might like the best and mention them to your significant other. It’s nice getting something in the mail every month other than bills plus, they help familiarize you with new makeup products you wouldn’t have tried before. LUSH is also a great gift.Their products are handmade fresh using mostly all natural, raw and/or vegan materials. They really allow you to pamper yourself without spending a fortune on a day at the spa. (unless you like going to the spa) Again, if you don’t trust your significant other to pick out the right stuff, it NEVER hurts to ask for gift cards. I’ve already asked for a gift card to Lush so I can replenish my stash. (this cold weather is HARSH on my skin)

2. Media entertainment. This is going to encompass everything from books to movies to seasons to music. I’m a total couch potato. I love days where I can either read or watch TV ALL. DAY. LONG. After keeping up with the kids all week long, I really love to just veg out on the weekends. I’m always wanting new books/movies/seasons. I constantly keep an amazon wishlist full of any new media items that I want. Plus, it’s an easy reference guide. Game of Thrones season 3 on DVD and The Fault in our Stars are currently at the top of my list. 

3. New Bras/Underwear. Most women might not agree with this, but if you’re anything like me, you don’t buy this stuff new enough. It’s not hard for your significant other to go rooting through your underwear drawer to figure out sizes and styles, but again, gift cards are always nice in this department. 

4. Socks. I love socks. Not like regular old Hanes socks, but like socks with cute patterns or  wool socks. You may not think socks are a nice gift, but they’re nice when you want to keep your feet looking decent in those harsh winter months. 

Again, I’m not a typical girl. I don’t want my husband going out and spending hundreds of dollars on earrings or rings when I don’t even wear a wedding ring (GASP) that’s just not me. But get me some new lipstick, a great book and some cute wool socks and I am SET. 

 

Alternative Valentine’s Day Gifts: Men’s Edition

Now, some of you may be thinking, “you’re not a man, why are you writing this?” Well, because my husband won’t and because I feel like I know my husband well enough to write this myself. So I am.

I know some people don’t really care about Valentine’s Day, but we do so I’m going to do a two part gift guide. This one, for men. And one in a few days, for women.

My husband is not a “typical” guy. He doesn’t build things or like tools. He doesn’t hunt, or do any leisurely outdoorsy stuff. He doesn’t drink or smoke. Nor does he grill So when I’m on the hunt for great gifts for him, I get discouraged really quickly because a lot of men’s gift guides cater towards a certain subset of men. Now, I do know what my husband likes, but I also like to peruse gift guides for ideas that I’ve maybe not thought of. Something new, fresh and exciting. But I’m always let down.

HELLO ADVERTISEMENT COMPANIES! Not all men are into the same shit.

So here are my top five gifts for men like my husband.

1. Books. My husband loves to read. He especially loves books surrounding sports. And he does have a favorite author. I really can’t go wrong with something written by Jeff Pearlman. I know it will get read and that he will enjoy it.

2. Video Games. Yeah, my husband is a gamer. It’s pretty much a no-brainer that he’s going to ask for a new game around Christmas, V-day and his birthday. And I don’t mind buying him games because he’s not the type to play games all day and ignore me or the kids.(That’s not okay) He’s got his hobbies just like I have mine.

3. Clothes. My husband is a well-dressed man. He likes looking nice while wearing nice clothes. He’s got his jeans and tees, but he likes getting dressed up. I pretty much have his sense of style down pact so I’ve never really made a wrong choice for him clothing-wise.

4. Novelty Items. Okay, so my husband like to collect things. Toys mostly. And that’s okay, but sometimes I get a little burnt out going to the toy store for something random, so when I was told about and came across these two amazing monthly subscription boxes I was pretty impressed. If you haven’t checked out Nerd Block or Loot Crate and your man is into nerdy things, give them a look. Nerd Block is $20/month and Loot Crate offers monthly/ 3 month/ 6 month subscription options. With shipping Loot Crate is roughly $20/month as well.

5. Pictures of you. Okay what man doesn’t LOVE sexy pictures of you? Look, I totally get it when you’re not comfortable with how you look and getting Boudoir photos done can be expensive BUT if you’ve got a camera with a self timer, some cute lingerie and a basic editing app either on your phone or computer you really can’t go wrong. You can totally do them the way that YOU’RE comfortable doing them. Also, asking a close friend to help get certain poses that you may not be able to get on your own would be good, too. Again, if you’re comfortable with that.

So that’s it. I actually could add about 10 more things. My husband is super into music so anything music related he would enjoy (iTunes gift cards, CDs, gift card to a music store, anything for his drums, etc.) He’s also kind of a techie, so any tech item that would appeal to him would be good as well. Again, this was a list for the guys who aren’t Tim the Tool Man Taylor, don’t get boners over a camo teeshirts and aren’t wannabe Donald Drapers.

Happy Shopping Ladies.

15 minute makeup routine.

15 minutes because let’s face it, I wear a lot of makeup and 5 minutes won’t give me the look I desire. Although, this could easily be broken way down into a 5 minute routine. 

I’ve been wanting to get my daily makeup routine on the blog for a while, but I’ve just been so busy the last few months. But I actually took the time to document my routine this morning so now I’m sharing it with you. 

**I am NOT a trained makeup artist or anything, so if any of this routine isn’t technically correct, I apologize.**

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L to R Top Row: Picture 1- Start after washing and moisturizing, Picture 2- After BB cream and concealer, Picture 3- After brushing concealer in. L to R Bottom Row: Picture 1- After liquid and solid foundation, Picture 2- After Blush, Picture 3- End after total application.

Before I apply any makeup, I wash and moisturize my face. I usually do this in the morning when I wake up. I use African Black Soap as a face wash and usually whatever moisturizing cream I have on hand. Currently I’m using Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital.

When I’m ready to do my makeup I find all of the stuff I am going to be using that day so I’m not digging in my cosmetic bag.

FACE:

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L to R: Covergirl BB Cream, Sephora Perfecting Cover Foundation, MAC Studio Fix Foundation, Ulta Fabulous Face Natural Finish Concealer, MAC Beauty Powder

First, I start with the BB cream. It evens out my skin tone and allows for even foundation coverage. Then, I add my concealer. I dab it on where I need it then use my foundation brush to “rub” it in. 

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Foundation Brush

Once my concealer is applied I use my liquid foundation. I dab it on with my finger then use the same foundation brush I used for my concealer to apply the liquid foundation. Next, I apply my powder foundation using my all over face brush.

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All Over Face Brush

Next, I even everything out with my Airbrush brush. It’s especially helpful in the creases.

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Airbrush brush

Finally, I add a bit of blush to give my face a little bit of color.

EYES:

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TOP: Urban Decay Naked2 palette. BOTTOM L to R: Kat Von D Autograph Pencil, Urban Decay Primer Potion, Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel, Benefit They’re Real! Mascara.

First, I apply Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel to my eyebrows. It sculpts and smooths them out. While that dries, I apply Urban Decay Primer Potion to my lids. Then I apply my eye shadow. Today I used Half Baked, Chopper and Snakebite from Urban Decay’s Naked2 palette. These are my main day look colors. The ones I always go to. They give me a long-lasting day look without looking too dramatic. I use my all over shadow brush to apply my base (half baked) all over my lid. 

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All Over Shadow Brush

Then I apply my second color (Chopper) into my eye crease and to a little bit of my outer lid with my crease/blending brush .

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Crease/Blending brush

Finally, I add my final shadow color (Snakebite) to the far outer part of my lid and a little underneath my bottom lid with my all over shadow brush. After I have applied my shadow then I blend it all together from the outer lid inward using my crease/blending brush. When you apply the shadow it doesn’t have to look perfect because blending will even everything out. 

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TOP: after shadow application before blending. BOTTOM: After blending and mascara and eyeliner application.

Then I add a little eyeliner to the top and bottom lid in the outer corners. Finally, I apply my mascara. Once all of that is finished I go back to my brows and fill them in. I use Blackout from Urban Decay’s Naked2 with a brow brush.

LIPS:

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TOP: MAC Lip Liner in Redd. BOTTOM L to R: ELF Lip Exfoliator, Forever21 Matte Lipstick in Brick.

Finally, I do my lips. I start with ELF’s Lip Exfoliator to rid my lips from dry, cracked and dead skin. It smooths and moisturizes my lips allowing for a smooth lipstick application. Then, I apply my lip liner to prevent my lipstick from bleeding. Finally, I apply my lipstick. (Side Note: This lipstick from forever21 is amazballs. It goes on smooth and lasts long. It’s pretty great for only costing $3.50)

This seems like a lot of steps, but it really does only take me 15 minutes to apply everything. You could modify this into a quick 5 minute routine by just doing the face steps along with filling in your brows. Once you’re done applying your makeup, you should clean your brushes. Its increases their longevity as well as keeps breakouts and bacterial infections at bay. ELF makes a really good daily brush cleaner and it’s only $3.00. And it lasts a while. Plus, you should deep clean your brushes every two weeks (which I am terrible at) but there are tons of really good tutorials on pinterest. 

Anyways, I hope these tips are helpful. And again, I am not a makeup artist so please don’t take these tips as what you NEED to do. There are tons of beauty routines out there and they all vary based on a person’s personal preferences. Also, I apologize for this pictures. They’re not super high quality. 

Being a better family.

I’m not saying we are a bad family, because we aren’t. But there is always room for improvement.
I get into this weird family time obsession over the holidays. I try to come up with as many things we can do together. And this year it’s a little ridiculous.
2/3 of the girls are in school for half the day and Nick works until 6pm M-Th. So, Friday through Sunday we try to spend as much time together as possible.
But I don’t want to be better solely trough the holidays. I want to be better all of the time.
At the top of the list is eating together as a family. Currently, Nick and I eat dinner in the living room in front of the tv. Kai may not always eat exactly at dinner time, Elliot eats in her high chair next to Nick and thus leaving Avery to eat dinner in the kitchen all alone. There isn’t a single reason why Nick and I need to be eating in front of the tv. Especially since the girls are only up for another 2 hours once Nick is home. I also think eating as a family would be good for Kai to try new foods. After a crazy day of constant running around it would be really good for us to use that time to reconnect and just be present.
Another thing I wanted to do was have family movie and/or game night. Probably on Fridays. I could have the girls help me make a homemade pizza (or several because this family loves pizza) and we could enjoy a movie.
These obviously aren’t much, but they are easy things to do. I’ll probably think of more ideas later, but for now these two very simple things will work just fine.

DIY Witch’s Broom candy sacks

I get bored just filling up ziplock bags with candy for holidays so I like to scour the internet to find cute ideas for treats. I found a post about making a brown paper bag filled with candy look like a Witch’s broom. A lot of the time Pinterest doesn’t link back to a DIY so after looking at the picture I didn’t think it would be hard.
First I gathered up some sticks from my yard, which I have plenty of. Then I gathered up all of my supplies I needed.

1. Gather supplies. Sticks, paper bags, twine, scissors and filler (I used candy you can use whatever. )

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2. Break the sticks down to size. They don’t have to be perfect. Mine are a little too short IMO, but they worked. I say the length of your hand or a little longer is a good size.

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3. Grab two paper bags. Cut one down short, and cut one a little taller. Cut strips on the taller one. You need two. The shorter bag holds the candy the taller one acts as the broom.

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4. Fill the short bag with filler then place it inside the taller cut bag. Use enough filler otherwise the bag doesn’t round enough to resemble a broom.

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5. Cut some twine then place your stick inside the bags. Tie the twine tight. Cut the twine long enough so you can wrap the twine around the bag and stick a few times.

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6. Admire your work! These take a bit of time. I made 5 to start and will do 5 a day until they are done. I just don’t have time to do 30 bags in one sitting with three kids.

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DIY Halloween Costumes- Vampirina Ballerina and Pubert Addams

So this year I was REALLY over buying 20 dollar costumes that looked cheap and were made cheap that did not last. So this year I vowed to start making the girls’ costumes out of every day clothes so they could keep wearing all or part of the costume all year long- or until they grew out of it. We are a family on a budget so buying cheaply made costumes just isn’t justifiable anymore, but neither is not enjoying halloween festivities.

So I asked the two older girls what they wanted to be. Kai told me she wanted to be a witch, again, and Avery said Vampirina Ballerina. And in classic mom fashion I decided what Elliot was going to be, Pubert Addams. I was happy when Kai said witch because her costume, that we got for free last year and was homemade, still fit. Also I was happy because Avery picked something relatively easy to figure out.

But I had nothing for Avery or Elliot. As I said up above, Avery’s costume was easy to figure out. Elliot’s was more tricky as I needed a plain gray sleeper and for some reason baby clothes need graphics all over everything , but I finally found one online.

This was the inspiration for Avery’s costume. Vampirina Ballerina is in the middle.

vampirina

This is what I came up with: there isn’t much of a DIY tutorial here, because nothing really needed to be assembled. I did change the leotard from the picture from strapless to long sleeve because it’s cold here on halloween. And I opted out of the webbing for the underneath of the arms because I didn’t know how to add it without ruining the leotard (I don’t sew).

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Leotard- ebay, Skirt- Carter’s, Tights- Target
Total cost: $26.00

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Shoes- Payless, Hair accessory- Hobby Lobby
Total Cost: $22.00

I spent a little more than I wanted to, but I justified it because I knew she could wear everything, but the headband, again.

To make the headband: I got a three pack of stretchy headbands from Hobby Lobby and a bag of white feathers. I just kept hot gluing the feathers to the headband until I thought it was “full” enough. I stretched the  headband several times to make sure the feathers wouldn’t come off.  Shoes: I just added two long pieces of ribbon to the shoes with hot glue to give them a more “ballet” look. After halloween I’ll just cut the ribbon off so they can be worn normally. I’ll finish the look off with a little bit of makeup. White face, (lightly done since Avery is already very fair skinned) red lips and eye liner.

Like I said, it was super hard to find a plain gray sleeper, but I finally found one at L’ovedbaby and ordered it, it killed me to pay shipping, but I got over it. It came really quickly so that made up for the cost. (I ordered it on a Friday and it was here Monday. From California.) I still needed to turn it into Pubert’s outfit from the movie once I got it. It took me all of 15 minutes to complete so it’s not a super hard costume to DIY.

1. Gather supplies. Sleeper, felt, paint, paint brushes, hot glue and scissors.

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2. Make the collar. Cut some felt the width of the sleeper collar then hot glue it to the sleeper. Try to cut the felt as long as you can so you can hide any imperfections on the backside of the sleeper. I cut mine 7 or 8 inches long. I did one side, then the other and then cut a strip 5 inches long to fill the gap in the back.

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3. Paint the spider. Place some extra felt or cardboard in the sleeper to stop any bleeding. Paint the spider on. I used acrylic paint because I couldn’t find my fabric paint. My spider is too big IMO.

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5. Admire your wonderful work! As I said, super easy, quick DIY. I’ll finish the look off with some washable black hairspray and a mustache. Another option would be a black knit hat, but Elliot doesn’t keep hats on so it would have been pointless for me.

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Sleeper- L’ovedbaby, Felt- Hobby Lobby
Total Cost: $21.00

 

 

Easy DIY Halloween Centerpiece

Last year I found some cheap Styrofoam Halloween decorations in Target’s Dollar Spot. Two types of pumpkin and a skull. Covered in glitter. For $1 each, I couldn’t pass them up. Last year I used them as a coffee table centerpiece, but we’ve since gotten rid of the coffee table and this Halloween we have small hands touching everything. So they got moved to the kitchen table. Well they were loose and my older two girls were constantly messing them up. So I decided to mount them onto something light yet sturdy. I found an old Mott’s applesauce box and cut it up.

1. Gather Materials. Halloween decor, piece of cardboard, hot glue and scissors.

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2. Place the centerpiece. Mess around with placing before mounting.

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3. Mount. Because of the glitter, the hot glue didn’t want to hold, so make sure the glue is HOT and you may need to use a bit of glue to get a nice strong hold.

4. Remove excess cardboard. Cut the cardboard down so it’s not totally obvious the decor is mounted.

5. Place on table. Admire how good of a job you did!

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*Some tips*- You could paint the cardboard to match your tablecloth to make it even more invisible. You could also mount to another thin piece of Styrofoam (I would paint that and use an exacto knife to remove any excess).

 

This took me all of 5 minutes to complete. And it’s so cheap you could make a few and they would be fun for Halloween parties. Enjoy and have fun!