Favorite Things


I got knocked on my feet by the stomach bug on Sunday night. As I watched the Seahawks kick tail to make it to their second Super Bowl ever in franchise history! my stomach rumbled like a freight train, and about 20 minutes afterwards, I lost it. Quite literally.

After spending all Sunday night in full-on sickness (so bad I even fell off the bed and knocked over a lamp and got a huge bruise), I did absolutely nothing yesterday but lay in bed and sleep. (And watch Property Brothers and Love It or List It.) And as I drifted in and out of consciousness, my amazing husband (who had the stomach thing just the night before me), took care of every single little thing, including laundry. He’s pretty incredible.

Now that I’m fully rested and able to eat something more than Saltines, I feel like throwing caution to the wind today and sharing a few of my favorite things right now! I’m just so happy I’m not sick anymore, I had to share the joy with the world.

birchbox-logo copy


I have seen other bloggers write about their Birchbox subscriptions and been intrigued, but never was ready to pull the trigger until now. And so far, I’m a fan.

What it is. Birchbox is a monthly subscription to a selection of beauty/grooming/skin care/etc samples. For just $10 a month, you get four to five samples of products that are either well-known brands or emerging ones. They are sample sizes of each product, so you can try out a ton of new products without committing to a full-size product and realizing after two tries your skin or hair hates it, or it just doesn’t work for you. There are boxes for women and men (men’s are $20; would make a great gift!) and include everything from skin care to makeup, and sometimes non-beauty extras.

The Shop. If you decide you love any of the products and want a full size of it, you can shop online and receive points for every purchase. You also get points for referring friends to Birchbox. Collect enough points and redeem them for any purchase.

What I Love It. There are many reasons this has been so fun for me:

First of all, a box of beauty products in the mail!

Second, I live in the mountains where purchasing beauty products is limited to what’s available at the grocery store.

Third, I’m closing in on 41 now, and $5 grocery store skin care isn’t going to cut it anymore. Times past when I’ve upgraded to something more than $9.99 at CVS or whathaveyou, at least half the time I’ve thrown away the items after less than a week of using them because they make my skin break out, or I hate the product completely. With Birchbox, I’m able to try something new without committing to an entire full-size product, which will always cost more than the $10 I paid for the box.

Lastly, it introduces me to products I would never have otherwise tried. I’m not a habitual Sephora or Ulta shopper, so if it’s not Neutrogena or L’Oreal, I’m ignorant.

You Should Try It Too! If you’re interested in giving Birchbox a try, you can do so by clicking right here! You can cancel at any time with no cancellation fees. Basically a win-win.



Have I written about Stitch Fix before? I can’t remember. But it’s like Birchbox in that it’s a monthly subscription, too, but it’s for CLOTHES! And, it doesn’t have to be monthly…you can schedule it to arrive anytime…be it every five months, once a year, Whatever you want! Unlike other bloggers, I have not taken any pictures of what I look like in any of the items, because I simply cannot find any poses that don’t make me look awkward or constipated. So I am sparing you.

What it is. First you go online and answer tons of questions about your personal style and what you like/don’t like in regards to clothing. Then for $20 per box, you receive five items of clothing ranging from pants to shirts to dresses to accessories. Try on each thing in the privacy of your own home, and you have three days to decide whether or not you keep it. For any item(s) you keep, your $20 goes towards the purchase of that item; send back what you don’t want in the prepaid envelope. Then go online and fill out a questionnaire about what you kept, what you are sending back, and why. Pain less.

What I Love It. Again, I live in the mountains. If I do get to the Big City to shop, I pretty much only have time to swing by Target, Old Navy or Kohl’s. And that gets really boring and puts me into a significant rut.

I have to say — Stitch Fix has sent me items I would have completely overlooked had I been in a store — and turns out I love them and keep them after all. It’s opened me up to things I would have otherwise passed over. Also, I don’t do the monthly subscription — I end up requesting a box every other month or so. Doing it that way for me makes me spend less, because I’ve always kept at least one thing each time. I just can’t help myself.

You Should Try It Too! If you’re interested in giving Stitch Fix a try, you can do so by clicking right here! You can cancel at any time with no cancellation fees. Basically a win-win.  You can also select your price point for clothes — from cheapest possible to high-end. Your call. (Side note: they have pretty lengthy wait times right now due to popularity, so if you’re interested in getting started, I’d sign up now!)



please pardon the selfie.

I found these earrings over Christmas at Francesca’s Collection…they are matte gold large ball stud earrings, and I have worn them basically every single day since I bought them. They are perfect for everyday wear; they add just enough pizzaz to spruce up your blue jeans without being too dressy for your Old Navy quarter-sleeve top. (For example.)

Sadly, Francesca’s doesn’t have them online, but these are the closest I could find. (They’re from Etsy and I can assure you I paid nothing close to the cost of these.)



the grab-n-go. just darlin’.

After four years with a folding wallet that would rival George Costanza’s, I decided it was time for an upgrade.

I bought this wallet at Target (see?!) over Christmas and I LOVE IT because it’s easy to grab for those moments you’re running into the coffee shop for your afternoon drip with two shots. (For example.) It’s big enough to hold my phone too, so if I’m doing a grocery run I can just grab this instead of my entire lip-gloss filled purse. There’s plenty of slots for credit and gift cards, receipts, everything. And that front part is a pocket too. It does not have a checkbook  holder in it, which is perfectly fine with me because it’s 2014 and who writes checks for things like groceries or coffee anymore? You can get it here.

Alright friends. That’s all for now. I was going to try to come up with another thing to end on five, but I’m feeling a bit woozy and think it’s time to eat something and get some more Gatorade.

Don’t forget to tune in next Tuesday when we start the A Beautiful Life blog series, with guest posts from some of My Most Favorite People. It’s going to be so awesome.

Have a great Tuesday!

(Please note: I was not compensated for this post, and my opinions are truly my own. However, if you do sign up using one of my links for Birchbox or Stitch Fix, I do get referral credit, which is just lovely.)

Thanksday #69

I stayed up until 12:30 last night with my mother-in-law.

On purpose.

And that’s not even a late night for us…we’ve been up as late as 1:30 am before. I have what you’d call an abnormal relationship with my mother-in-law. Meaning…I adore her. I know most people have the awkward, tense, get-this-over-with kind of relationship, but y’all — I hit the jackpot in in-laws. I really did. So we stay up gabbing at least once on any visit to The Big City. Usually it’s the first night, and then we’re running on empty the next day and vowing not to do that again.

Yet, here I am. Up at 11:02 and not close to ready for bed.

So I write.

Thankfuls for this week:

1. Disney Pixar’s Brave. Anytime we even mention the movie Brave, Paxton says, “No Mommy, it’s ‘Disney Pixar’s Brave’.” Which is a sad, sad commentary on the amount of Disney Junior in his life. Regardless, I took Jaana and her cousin to see it tonight, and it was such a sweet movie. Very much a mother-daughter film…so much so that Jaana said, “It should have come out on Mother’s Day.” Which is really a very astute marketing observation that I think Disney Pixar overlooked. And so much so that during it, Jaana cuddled close to me and said, “I’ll never get mad at you like that.” And I replied, “And I’ll never make you marry someone you don’t love.” Because that is very, very true.

2. Pools. And having gone swimming three times in the past four days. (Don’t hate me because I’m tan.) And Paxton will now “paddle, kick, paddle, kick” instead of latching onto me like a lemur. And the cousins have just finished the pool at their new house and how awesome is it to have your own pool? I’ll be back A LOT this summer.

3. Air-Conditioning. Because y’all, it was 98-degrees in The Big City. And I always think of Ma Ingalls cooking over a hot stove and how did she do that without some central AC? Lord have mercy, I was born in the right millennia.

4. Publix. We don’t have a Publix where I live, and I miss it immensely. So in the past 24 hours I’ve eaten my weight in Savory Tarragon Chicken Salad and drank about 50 litres of Mango Iced Tea. Strange occurrence today though…as I was placing my order for a pound of chicken tenders in the deli (they are the most amazing chicken tenders), a woman approached and said, “Now there looks like someone who could use a rose.” ??? And she gave me a single red rose. ??? And the lady serving me the chicken tenders had one too, as well as a lady working produce. ??? So there’s that.

5. Target. I went there today and bought things. It was good.

6. Greg. He preached a mighty fine sermon on Sunday while our Senior Pastor was away. MIGHTY FINE. I’m always love hearing him preach, I really do. It’s like he amazes me with the ease in which he can do it. He’s such a natural. It’s truly a gift. (And if you want to watch it, you can view it here. It’s called “Epic Encounter” from June 24.)

5. Survey Results. I posted a poll on Monday and had such great response and feedback to it. Thanks to everyone who took a few minutes to participate. It really, really helped a lot and will be great information as I write my book. (And it’s not too late to take the survey if you want to click here and do it.)

6. Advil PM. I had the most killer headache in my entire life this week. All day. To point where nothing was helping it go away, and when I crawled (literally) into bed that night, I curled up in a fetal position and wanted to cry and vomit it was so bad. I’m telling the truth when I say I had thoughts about my head bursting in the night and coming to in heaven and what would go through Greg’s mind finding me that way? Morbid, I know. But right before I literally crawled into bed, I took a few Advil PM. And when I woke up the next morning, wouldn’t ya know? The headache was gone. And then I figured God wasn’t ready for me to depart quite then. So it’s all good.

7. Organix Macadamia Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve been using Jaana’s conditioner for weeks since I’ve been too cheap to buy anything else. And it’s not that hers is bad. It just has cartoon-type characters on it. And I’m pushing 40. So I went to a drug store and bought big girl shampoo and conditioner. And while I’ve only used it once, I have to admit my hair looks extra hydrated and shiny and healthy. Score! And aloooooooooha.

8. Soapboxes. This is my Official Facebook Soapbox: 1) Political ramblings are a waste of time and energy. I’m certain no one will change an opinion or vote differently based on a status update. (However, simplifying or explaining something without snarky commentary is okay.) 2) Teens liking photos with captions that say, “I just want to know you’re thinking of me” from pages called “He Doesn’t Text and I Don’t Know Why” makes me sad. 3) Profanity is not only unclassy, it’s uncreative.

It’s my blog and I’ll preach if I want to.

7. Moves Like Jagger. Paxton will sing this and even get all the up-and-down “ooo ooo ooo’s” just like Adam. He just won’t do it on video, so I can’t exploit share it.

8. Fourth of July. I’m excited about celebrating our country’s independence. I just don’t have any specific plans or traditions. Or Old Navy t-shirts. Or really anything red, white and blue. But it’ll be fun, that you can count on.

9. Flexibility. I’m so grateful to be in a position where I can take the kids away for a day or two on a whim. Or swim with them at the pool for a few hours a few days a week. Or take a nap somedays, hello?? It’s been a long time a-comin’ for me to have this kind of don’t-have-to-be-married-to-my-phone-or-computer summer, and I’m lapping it up like a shake from Chick-Fil-A with whipped cream and a cherry. Or something like that, I just don’t know.

10. You. I’m so grateful to my faithful readers who provide such great feedback and encouragement. Y’all are pretty awesome, and even though I haven’t met some of you in person, I like to call you friends. And I’m pretty proud to say the three of you have grown to about ten. So well done, my friends, well done.

Your turn! Let me know what you’re thankful for this week and share the love. Leave a comment by clicking the bubble at the top. It’ll be as fun as burning the midnight oil with your mother-in-law. Or not. Whichev.