Beauty Products I Love + a Giveaway (CLOSED)!

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.


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.


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.


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!



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!




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

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

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!

Sunday Funday with Friends

When our good friends, Teri and Danny came over with their newest bundle (baby ClementiMe – as Colton calls her), I couldn’t help but imagine what my life would be like with another baby in the mix. But then that notion was quickly squashed when I was holding baby Clementine and couldn’t keep my eyes on the three other kids running around my feet and trying to crawl into my lap. Props to those families with over three kids. I couldn’t do it!

In fact, while we were visiting, it suddenly became very quiet in our house (which is always an indicator that something is up). Sure enough, Nolan (my 16 month old) comes strolling out of the bathroom with my eyeliner on! All I could think of was … OMG that stuff is so expensive! That little squirt. Which proved even further that I wouldn’t be able to function with any more children.

We’re so thankful for fun Sunday’s like these. The circus tent in the background is super fitting … considering parenthood feels like a bit of a circus sometimes. Anyone else with me on that?






Colton just loved on her so much! He kept asking to hold the baby and would slowly pet her head. He couldn’t get enough. He’s one sweet boy.


And there’s baby Nolan, rocking mom’s favorite eyeliner and his best Zoolander expression.

New Years Day!

We got breakfast burritos for the kids and took all of their bikes to the park. Sounds normal, but it was an important day because Kelsey started riding her new bike WITHOUT training wheels! Hallelujah! All it took was a bigger bike and a bit of confidence and she was sailing.

many hats of a mom

I was a nervous wreck (does that feeling ever go away?) trying to stay within feet of her so I could catch her when she fell. She didn’t need me or Ryan though, this girl was cruising. Colton is starting on his “strider” starter bike. We love it! Have you seen this thing? No pedals to help them glide and learn how to balance. I wish we got one for Kelsey when she was learning to ride.

These little monkeys bring so much joy (and stress, let’s be clear, there is a lot of stress!) to our lives, but the pure love that radiates around us when we are all together is magic. It’s going to be a great year, I can’t wait to discover what’s in store for us.

Happy 2017, friends!


many hats of a mom blogger phoenix


many hats of a mom blogger phoenix


Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

paleo pumpkin chocolate chip holiday cookies

paleo pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

I have a love/hate relationship with holiday cookie exchanges. Mostly because since joining Whole 30 back in June, I’ve lost 30lbs and never intend to go back up in the scale. However, my weakness is SUGAR and anything sweet. Seriously, it’s a problem. I would forgo chips, cheese and dairy any day of the week but put a chocolate piece of cake in my face and it’s game over.

That said, I have to make six dozen cookies for an upcoming holiday cookie exchange so I researched a “healthier” alternative to the typical sugar cookie. I ended up finding an amazing recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies that are gluten and dairy free. Surprisingly this was super easy to make. I know people who bake say that all the time, but I don’t bake … in fact, I’m pretty horrible at it, so if I was able to master this, then you can give it a shot.

Tip: Before flattening the cookie dough at the end, I added a chocolate chip or two on top just to ensure you see the chocolate chips when its done baking. I think it looks prettier this way.

Original recipe source 

Makes: 2 dozen
Best part: Paleo, Gluten free, Dairy free

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, almond butter, pumpkin puree, coconut sugar and vanilla. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the blanched almond flour, sea salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.
  3. Once the dry mixture is well combined, slowly mix it into the wet ingredients until fully absorbed and a cookie dough forms. Lastly, stir in the dark chocolate chips.
  4. The dough will be sticky – I recommend chilling it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes at this point.
  5. Once the dough is chilled, roll into 24 balls and place evenly on both cookie sheets. With a separate piece of parchment paper, flatten each ball into a cookie shape of about ½ inch thickness.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Remove from oven and allow to sit for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Senior Graduation Photos

I had the pleasure of photographing Samantha’s senior college photos. She’s graduating from North Arizona University this month and will embark on her career as a teacher! We had so much fun together trying to find the perfect ways to capture the magic of this special moment in her life. Congrats, Sam! Success looks great on you.

senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

All Aboard the Polar Express Train!

We kicked off the holidays (and celebrated Colton’s 4th birthday) in Williams, Arizona. We drove 2.5 hours north to embark on The Polar Express train ride that takes you to the North Pole and back. It was truly THE MOST magical experience for Ryan and I and incredibly memorable for the kids. Beside that, we saw snow! The minute we spotted snow on the ground, Colton excitedly asked, “Mom is that really snow?” At that moment I realized he hasn’t seen snow since he was one years old so of course this was a huge deal for him. Nolan on the other hand was more interested in the rocks on the ground than the snow, but he’s still figuring things out.



We arrived on Saturday afternoon at The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel where we booked their hotel package that includes free breakfast, dinner and train tickets. It was the cutest little hotel in the heart of a really charming town. We got checked in and immediately let the kids loose to run around and throw snowballs at each other.


polar express Arizona

We then grabbed appetizers at the hotel Pub (and took a few glasses of  wine back to our room) so we could snack and gear up for the evening. We dressed kids in matching holiday pajamas from Hannah Andersson (our favorite!) and watched as they ran around the hotel room giddy in anticipation for what’s to come.



It was 28 degrees so we had to bundle up which unfortunately hid their cute jammies under big jackets but that’s the price you pay to avoid freezing your face off. Nearly every family was dressed in either matching outfits or pajamas (my kind of event!). It was really darling to see so many loved ones grouped together.

One family had grouped a few tables together at the hotel’s restaurant and had a game of Monopoly going. I thought to myself, that’s a huge commitment as no-one can finish that game in under two hours, but nevertheless they had the right idea. Grab some hot chocolate, snuggle up by the fire and indulge in game night with your family. Moments like this one where happening everywhere you looked.

As for us, we left our hotel room at 5:10 to get into the train line by 5:15 (it was that close of a walk). The kids had their train tickets in hand as we approached the station. “Don’t lose your ticket, Colton”  Kelsey would remind him. “That’s what happened to the kid in the movie and we don’t want that.” She was right. We were in train car J so we made our way through a crowd of excited families to find a conductor waiting to welcome us aboard.




many hats of a mom blogger


You get reserved seats when you buy tickets (just indicate if you’re doing two separate reservations that you’d like to sit together). We were so excited to find that our two rows were located in the back of the train car, making the ride feel a bit private and cozy. The train cars flip around (thank you to the kind lady who pointed this out) so we were able to face each other during the train ride and better contain our wiggly and always-in-motion toddler.


As the train took off from the station I caught a glimpse of Colton starring out the window. He was stiff as a board and perfectly poised during the initial moments of the train. You could tell he was a little nervous and excited for what was to come. The team did a REMARKABLE job of bringing the Polar Express movie to life through the talent and decor aboard the train. I was incredibly impressed.

Less than five minutes into the train ride they started handing out hot chocolate and huge chocolate chip cookies. The hot chocolate was served at the perfect temperature for our kids little taste buds and must have been made with chocolate heaven because Ryan and I “got ours to share” but I really devoured most of it.

They played Christmas tunes as we entered a “magic tunnel” – the tunnel helped us jump into time so we could get to the North Pole much faster. They read the Polar Express book so bring your own if you want to follow along. As we approached the North Pole, Colton and Kelsey ran to the other side of the train and glued their faces to the window to get a peek at Santa and his reindeer.

We saw little itty bitty elf houses and some other scenic buildings from Santa’s hometown. As we slowed down and started going back to Arizona, we were told Santa boarded the train! This was super exhilarating for the kids. As we waited our turn for Santa to join our train car, they gave us song books and we sang Christmas carols. I’m telling you … does it get better than this?

It does because Nolan started getting sleepy and curled up into my lap as Santa arrived and greeted the kids, giving them ‘jingle bells’ just like in the movie. Colton got an extra special birthday bell and off Santa went. Ryan and I couldn’t have asked for a better evening with our family.

We highly recommend it if you get the opportunity. Next year we plan on visiting the North Pole Experience in Flagstaff, Arizona. Please let me know if you’ve been and if you have any tips!