What Real Life Looks Like

I’m so over all of the perfect family photo floating around Instagram. That. is. not. real. This is what real mom life looks like. You know, just trying to get a photo of my family but Nolan refuses to wear pants (I have to sneak into his room at night and put pajama pants on him so he won’t freeze) and Colton has so much energy that I wish I could bottle it up and use it for myself. Kelsey loves giving me attitude, rolling her eyes and making me feel like I am a mother to a teenager. But, at the end of the day, I love them so incredibly much and sometimes (just sometimes) they look at me and smile. Other times, it goes a little something like this.

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Our Disneyland Spring Break Vacation

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We had the time of our lives on a three-day vacation to Disneyland! Last Sunday, we told the kids that we were going to a very early church service and as they were about to jump into the car we told them we were going to Disneyland instead. You should have seen their faces!

Along with my parents we arrived at the airport at 7am for an early flight to Orange County. It was Nolan’s first plane ride and besides being way too large to be a lap child, he was perfect! I’m telling you, this kid makes life with three so much fun (and actually not too difficult). When we landed, we persuaded my parents to give Uber a try for the first-time. It took a bit of convincing since my mom is certain that everyone is “out to steal her credit card” and Uber is no exception but after one ride, they are now believers.

We arrived at the hotel, dropped off our bags and boarded a shuttle to Disneyland! We were inside the Disneyland Park gates just in time to eat lunch with Darth Vader. Perfect timing! Below are some photos and stories from our Disneyland vacation. I had a hard time narrowing down photos for this post, so apologies for the photo overload.

 

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As I was waiting for Ryan and the kids to finish up a ride, Nolan and I were walking up and down Main Street. I was people watching and he was chasing anyone who had a balloon. About five minutes later, he decided to sit in the MIDDLE of Main Street. I apologized to about 50 people who had to walk around him, but then noticed that everyone smiled the minute they saw him. There is something about a cute pudgy baby that no one can resist.

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Disneyland_phoenix_momBlogger

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Our favorite California residents Aunt Lauren and Uncle Brian drove down from Los Angeles to meet us for dinner. About seven minutes into this plate of spaghetti I realized that I forgot to pack two important things: Nolan’s bib and my makeup bag. Looking back on this photo, the bib was missed the most.

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It took this picture just as we arrived at California Adventure Park. Since Kelsey “remembers more” from the last time she was here, she took Colton’s finger and started pointing at all of the sights – explaining to him, “this is this and that is that” – it was so incredibly cute! And, believe it or not, these two got along the ENTIRE trip. Not one fight between them. If you have two kids close in age you know how miraculous this is!

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*Colton is pointing to Cross street. 🙂

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Nolan woke up from his nap, jumped out of his stroller and strutted around Cars Land. This was the cutest moment … he looks like such a man on a mission.

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Talk about the thrill of the ride, these kids were obsessed with all of the exhilarating rides like Thunder Mountain. Which was so interesting to me because the last time we went to Disneyworld (seen here) they were more into the characters than the rides. It’s funny how quickly their interests change.

Ryan and I were riding Thunder Mountain with Kelsey and Colton – if you have been on this ride, then you know it’s a jerky rollercoaster with a lot of turns and dips – and, I don’t love rollercoasters, in fact, I’m pretty terrified of heights so I’m not the best one to partner up with. Anyway, as we were on our second dip my eyes began to water. This is new, I thought. Must be something that happens when you get old (ha!) but then Kelsey turned to me and I noticed her eyes were watering too. She and I busted out laughing and the boys just looked at us like we were insane. Guess that’s a genetic thing we do … we cry on rides.

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I love this photo. Colton’s face is so sweet, innocent and filled with joy. Ryan’s got our 18 month old on his own horse. And, if you look closely, you’ll noticed Ryan is strapped in. Yep. He is THE ONLY adult in history that uses a seatbelt on a merry-go-round horse. That’s my husband, folks. Mr. Safety First.

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I tried so hard to stay away from desserts on this trip, but when your son hands you his incredibly messy and melting Mickey Mouse ice cream and says he “is done” you kind of just devour the rest of it without thinking. And the churros … don’t even get me started on the churros.

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*That moment you realize you’re on a baby ride.

Bug’s Land was a trip. The kids loved the bumper cars but after Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain, the Bug’s Land “rollercoaster” just didn’t cut it. However, if you get the chance, do the Bug’s Life 3D movie. It was incredible and the kids enjoyed every second of it.

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*Spring was in full bloom at the park.

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* What happens when Grandpa is in charge of getting breakfast

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The kids wanted to go on Space Mountain (whose kids are these?) and Ryan snapped this photo just before we boarded the ride. Colton’s face symbolizes how he felt going in … and coming out. He wasn’t a fan but Kelsey took about 30 seconds to regroup and then asked if she could ride it again. Little thrill seekers, I tell you.

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My dad bought the kids these Mickey bubble wands. They light up at night and put out a gazillion bubbles. It added to the magic. Thank you, dad. And thank you for buying three of these things (Colton lost his first one on our last evening so Grandpa replaced it).

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I have so many great memories from this trip, but the Electric Light Parade was particularly special. I remember seeing this same parade with parents when I was little, and here I am watching it with them and my husband and three children.

I twisted my ankle during a workout the day before we left for Disneyland (good timing, I know) and about 45 minutes before the parade started my ankle gave out on me. I told Ryan I would just sit alongside the street with Nolan to save our seats while he rode some rides with the kids. For awhile it was just Nolan and I in the center of Main Street watching the sun set over the Park. It was a special moment because Nolan just lit up my heart with his giggles as he danced in the middle of the street to the music. Moments later Ryan arrived with a churro in hand (he loves me so!) and we bundled up to watch the parade.

Disneyland has given me so many magical memories over my lifetime and this is another one I won’t forget.

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*No more pictures, mom!

There is something about Disneyland that gives parents freedom from judgement. Am I right? It’s like, if your child is throwing a tantrum or screaming in the middle of the restaurant … it doesn’t matter because everyone around you is in the same boat. At Disneyland, it’s like you’re in a safe zone because everyone around you “gets it”. I wish the world was more like that, don’t you? No judgement for parents. Just everyone living for the moment.

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I snapped this photo on our last night from the top of Tarzan’s tree house. We were climbing up the treehouse when I happened to glance back and see this gorgeous sight and it’s one I will never forget.

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And that’s a wrap! The kids (and my mom) have already started to plan for Disneyworld 2019. We have plans to go back to Florida with my brothers and sister-in-law. Maybe for Ryan’s 40th birthday? He wants to go to Europe, but maybe we’ll end up at Epcot instead. Or, maybe I can convince him to invest in both. Wish me luck on that!

Mornings with God and Family

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phoenix mom blogger many hats of a mom

phoenix mom blogger many hats of a mom

We made it to church this morning, besides the rain that tried to get in our way. Have you ever tried to get three kids, four umbrellas and yourself into a church building? It’s really difficult. Not to mention the fact that I was wearing heels. But, we made it and there is truly no better way to start the morning. My heart is full today. I would love to blog more and tell you all about what’s been going on in my crazy household, but Ryan’s out grilling in the rain and the fort I built my kids just caved in. Gotta run, but I promise I’ll be a better blogger soon.

The Happiest of Hours

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many hats of a mom phoenix blogger

many hats of a mom phoenix blogger

Friday night I called my best friend for an emergency happy hour. I had a lot on my mind and needed some time away from it all. Postinos and conversation with Angie proved to be just what I needed. A great way to kick off the weekend and recharge with the one who knows me best. She’s been my best friend since we were in 10th grade and totally gets it. I hope you have friends like that. They truly make the world go round. And this amazing Arizona weather was the perfect complement.

Oh, Make me over!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Beauty Counter giveaway (previous post). I got so many great entries and comments on what your favorite beauty products are. I wanted to share some them here so others could see. Now I know what I’m buying the next time I go to Sephora. Thanks to our sponsor Natasha at Beauty Counter for hosting a great giveaway and congratulations to Mahdi for being the lucky winner!

PRODUCTS YOU LOVE

Batist Divine Dark Dry shampoo
Beauty Counter Charcoal Mask
Beauty Counter Rejuvenating Night Cream
Beauty Counter Balancing Face Oil
Becca First Light Priming Filter
Benefit Erase Paste
Better than Sex Mascara
Black Tie Market Lip Balm
Butter London Sheer Wisdom Lush Lip Oil
Clarisonic Mia
Dr. Bronners Soap
Makeup Forever Lipsticks
EOS Lip Balm
Eyebrow Powder
Eyelash Curler
MAC Lipsticks
Marc Jacobs Color Correcting Stick
NARS Bronzing Powder
Pixi Glowtonic
Retinol
Rosewater Mist
St. Tropez Sunless Tanner
Stila Liquid Foundation
Tarte Shape Tape
Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Palette

Also, while we are on the topic of beauty, I went to visit one of my clients, Cake Skincare, in Seattle recently for their second salon grand opening. They are a skin care company that knows so much about choosing the right products for your skin. If you live in the Seattle area, stop in for a consultation or visit their online shop where you’ll find amazing products that have pure ingredients, are sustainably sourced, and provide effective results.

Here are some photos from my recent visit!

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Cake Skincare

cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger

cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger

cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger
cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger

cake skincare Seattle blogger

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Beauty Products I Love + a Giveaway (CLOSED)!

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Women supporting women who support women. At my core, I love supporting women in business which is why I was super excited when one of my sorority sisters reached out to collaborate on a beauty blog post! Natasha sells Beauty Counter products and offered to give one of you guys the chance at winning a Beauty Counter “Jet Pack” inclusive of $119 in products!

I tried out some of their products and I’m hooked! It’s high quality stuff that leaves your skin feeling super soft and hydrated. The best part? They are 100% safe of any ingredient proven to cause hormone disruption and other issues. That’s what really sets them apart from other beauty companies. Which got me thinking … what beauty products do you use every day that you love? I have a few items that I can’t live without (hello, eyebrow filler!) so I thought I’d introduce you to my favs. You’ll find the giveaway details at the end of the post.

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In no particular order, I love Stowaway’s Lip & Cheek Rouge (Peony color). It’s a tint that goes onto your cheeks to add a nice color. I only use a tad (a little goes a long way) and it makes a huge impact. It’s only $16 and I can’t function without it.

One of my clients, Cake Skincare, introduced me to Hannes Dottir’s Mineral of Mist spray. I shake the bottle to mix up the minerals and then spray a little onto my face. I swear my face is better because of it.

Nighttime is the best time for your face to repair and relax. I live in a really dry climate so lotion of some kind is imperative. Natasha gave me Beauty Counter Restorative Night Cream and it’s become my go-to cream before bedtime.

I have to admit, I’m a lipstick loser. I average about three days of owning a lipstick before I lose it. When it finally shows up again, I have already replaced it with another. Hence why I have a ton of lipsticks lying around my house. My favorite is Maybelline’s matte colors – you can find bright pink, purples and great natural shades. My lip color de jour is Lust for Blush by Maybelline.

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I also started using NeuLash and I can actually see a difference! My lashes are looking fuller after three weeks of use. They say it takes 30 days to notice anything, so I’ll loop back around once my 30 days are up. It’s a super easy application that you put on (kind of like liquid eyeliner) at night and voila! Fuller lashes in just a few weeks. I bought mine for $95 at Nordstrom but when I was looking up reviews on the stuff, I found it much cheaper on Amazon.

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Beauty Counter has a Charcoal Mask that looks a little off putting (it’s like real charcoal) but works wonders! They have a charcoal cleansing bar too that I was thinking of getting. Your face will thank you for this one.

Okay, this is hands down my favorite must-have. Anastasia has changed the way I see my brows. I get my eyebrows waxed at the Anastasia brow bar, located inside Nordstrom Fashion Square in Scottsdale. My brow girl (hi, Erin!) is phenomenal and introduced me to their Brow Definer. My face just doesn’t feel complete without using this product. Get it!

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HOW TO ENTER THE BEAUTY COUNTER GIVEAWAY

That’s it for me. What are you favorite products? I need a good mascara. Any brands you like best? Do tell! In fact, if you leave a comment sharing your favorite beauty must-have, you’ll be entered to win a Beauty Counter “Jet Pack” inclusive of Natasha’s favorite things. PLUS, if you follow Natasha on Instagram (here) you’ll get another entry!

– Body Wash in Citrus Mimosa
– Hydrating Body Lotion in Citrus Mimosa
– Daily Shampoo and Conditioner
– Charcoal Cleansing Bar
– Travel Bag
– Plus, the all-new Dessert Sunrise Palette!BEAUTYCOUNTERGIVEAWAY

Good luck! Winner will be notified by email by Saturday, February 18th. Thanks for playing along.

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Happy birthday, Kelsey Jean!

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She’s seven! Seven! Seven! I say this every year, but wow … time flies! I told her the story of the day she was born and watched as her face lit up. I have a feeling I’ll be telling her the fun details from that day over and over again. I hope those are memories she can carry with her too. The part she loved best is when I told her her daddy stole her first kiss. Which is true! He scooped her up and gave her a huge smooch before I could. Those two have such a special bond and it’s been there since the moment she was born.

I took her to the bookstore yesterday and we walked around looking at books upon books. I always tell her if she was a Disney Princess that she would be Belle from Beauty and the Best because she loves to read. At the bookstore, I taught her all about Fiction, Mystery, Romance and all the different categories. We flipped through tons of books and ended up picking out a few favorites to take home. She’s really into chapter books so we got a few of those too. Hey, can we start a petition for more bookstores in America, please! It was way more fun that browsing Amazon.

As we were leaving, I asked her if she wanted to get her ears pierced. She was super shy and nervous about it but I could tell it was something that she really wanted to do. So, I offered to take a lap around the mall with her while she thought about it. We went to the pet store, got a soft pretzel, and then we were ready. She took it like a champ! The girl didn’t even flinch. She told me not to, but I snuck in a video of the entire thing anyway.

Today was indicative of just how Kelsey is. Incredibly strong. Brave. Confident. Beautiful. Smart. I couldn’t be more proud to call her my daughter. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this girl. She’s going to do great things.

The cutest little boutique that ever was

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phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

Have you been into T.Madison before? It’s a darling little shop on Chandler Blvd and it has so many cute trinkets. The merchandising alone is reason enough to swing by. Plus, it’s located inside FOUND, a super cute furniture store, so you kind of get two-for-one. I had about 45-minutes of free time yesterday so I swung by the shop and picked up Kelsey’s birthday present (well, one of them). A little, dainty gold necklace with a faux diamond. It’s perfect because on February 10th (the day after her birthday) she’s going to a Daddy/ Daughter dance at her school. I hope she’ll want to wear her new necklace. And if not? I’ll take it for myself. ha!