Makeup Monday: Perfect Nude Lip

I feel like there are so many good nudes out there, I cannot get enough!!

I don’t spend hours a day getting ready, and when I see a fab look I have no shame in asking that pretty girl how she achieved that glow! I was at Ulta before the holidays, and one chic lady working there had the most perfect nude lip!

I went right up to her, complimented and asked what she was using.

Her answer–

I’ve worn it a TON and I do get compliments too, so I had to share my find! I love that it’s a high end (MAC pencil in Stripdown)  mixed with a drugstore lip Maybelline Super Stay, color: Driver. The MAC pencil is super soft and glides right on! I do apply some chapstick first (Younique lip bon bon) and then the pencil, followed by the Super Stay.   Honestly sometimes I just do the bon bon and the pencil if I’m super short on time!  The Maybelline has a nice smell/taste too, which is key. I HATE when lipsticks taste weird!

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I will admit that it doesn’t stay ALL day, but It’s easy to apply and lasts for about 3-4 hours.  It’s

I’ve been trying to up my makeup game a bit more, while trying to stay low maintenance and keeping things simple.

And a little fun Monday vibe–

Have a great one dear readers!!

Happy Half Birthday – to Me

37.5 years on this earth.

That’s really freaking close to 40 people.

The older I get, the more I want to not necessarily slow down, but savor life?  The little in between moments.  The quietness in the middle of all the chaos.  Amongst the rush, the crazy, the real world day to day insanity that pulls.

In 6 short months I’ll be 38.

It will be hot, sunny & hopefully I’ll be sipping on some fabulous dry rosé, Veuve perhaps?

My husband will feel like a new man.  My children will be even more awesome than now, (if that’s possible.)

Life will be ebbing and flowing as it always does, throwing curveballs and strange things, but perhaps maybe it will just be that much better too.

2019 has been a bitch so far, I said it.

My heart is overflowing with emotions to share, but I’m not quite ready I suppose.  We are all doing well, so thank you so much sweet friends for reaching out, commenting and checking on us.

I’ve been so lucky to find my better half and feel a love that I’m not quite certain every person actually feels…I wish that everyone could feel it!  It takes hard work, dedication, compromise and a lot of communication, but the love I have for my husband and he for me I know from the depths of my soul is real and true and pure.

I am strong and he is stronger.

I know that each year we will get better together, no matter what obstacles are thrown our way, and trust me there are always lots!

I miss writing, sharing, feeling, reflecting…

Happy half way to 38 Jennifer Lynn; you are doing an amazing job at navigating life. Sure it’s messy, confusing, scary and sometimes all too much–but the good parts?  Oh they are so sweet & juicy!!   And I truly believe they are on the horizon.

Here’s to making mundane moments magical and always finding the silver lining…

Being Brave

In the midst of two very special birthdays, coming off of Christmas and well into the New Year, I finally find a minute to breathe.

It’s within these stolen moments where I can reflect on, count, and re-count my blessings.  Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we intended it to; in fact, it doesn’t go the way we in which we planned at all.

I’m learning to lean deeper into surrendering and to focus on the now, the present, the little bit I can control and letting go of all the things I don’t.

This New Year has been nothing short of intense, painful and quite life-altering. It’s been hard, unfair and there have been more tears than smiles.

This too shall pass.

I believe there is a bigger picture, a plan in place and I have no choice but to let go and let God.

If you’re looking for comfort, then do what it is that gives you that feeling.  Life is short, and so uncertain.  If there is one thing I keep coming back to in these brief 16 days of 2019, it’s to embrace what we are given, with the people we have in our lives.

I’ve begun a small journey with a new devotional, 100 Days to Brave.  I’ll admit I was so angry at the words I was reading and literally said to myself, “You are far from brave.  You are so not brave it’s not even funny…” and then I cried.  After a few moments of stumbling through my own in-coherent thoughts I thought about what I needed most in my life.  And then I acted on that thought.

And you know what dear reader?  That made me brave.  Acting in the face of fear, no matter how small, makes you courageous.  You do not have to go fight an actual battle to be considered brave, but you do have to figure out your next right move, (thank you Oprah) and have the desire to change.  Put one foot in front of the other.  For me it was reaching out to a friend whom I hadn’t seen or really spoken to in quite some time.  It was asking for help.  It was stepping down from “trying to do all things alone because that is what bravery is.”

No.

Being brave is doing the thing you didn’t really want to do, but that still small voice inside of you won’t be quiet and so you must act.

Do the thing, and you will have the power.  — Emerson.

The universe has my back, and I am highly attune to all the small things.  Rachel Hollis said on her live video with her husband yesterday something that made me stop dead in my tracks.

She said that it’s not going to get easy.  If you think for a second if you just work really hard and then one day poof you’ll be flying high with no cares or worries, you’re sorely mistaken.  (I know I’m improvising her words, but still the same meaning is there…) essentially we are all going to have struggles and stumble.  Through sickness and in health marriage will be hard work, babies will be hard work and living a beautiful and meaningful life will be hard work.

Just don’t quit.  You can fail. You can rest. You can do whatever you need to do temporarily, but the moment you give up?  That’s where it ends.

So while I may have a few obstacles to overcome in life, no one and nothing will stop me from going on.  I know that there will be so much good after so much pain.  Without rain, we’d have no flowers.

What helps me be brave?

  • Reading inspirational books
  • Talking to people who understand me
  • Exercising
  • Acting even if I’m scared
  • Trusting God

Top 10 Books I Read in 2018

I started the year out with a goal of reading 52 books in 2018.  While I am bummed I did not hit 52, I did read 41 and I can’t be mad about it.  I would never have read that many if I did not set a goal to begin with! (I will share my full list on another post!)

Reading is a passion of mine and I am obsessed with getting lost in a good book.  Ever since I was little I remember falling in love with fictional characters, story lines and allowing my imagination to run wild as I read though words on pages.  It’s become tricky to make the time nowadays, but this is the year of #noexcuses.

I went to school for many years to become an English teacher and I honestly wonder how many books I read through my 4 years in undergrad and then a few more as I completed my Master’s Degree. I didn’t read many books for pleasure during those years, but I did read some great books!

Out of the 41 books, I chose these 10 as my “WOW” books.  These are books I think of often, connected with, learned something and really just had a great vibe with.  As you can tell, I read all types of genres!  I really want to up my memoir game, so if there are any you’d recommend, let me know.  I love me some professional development and typically listen to the audiobook version.  Hands down, my favorite way to read is an actual hardcover book, but I do use my phone/iPad with the Kindle app, Audible and Overdrive apps too.

My top 10:

Braving the Wilderness

I do appreciate Brené Brown’s books.  She puts forth a lot of research and shares her thoughts unapologetically.  This book was really worth the read, especially if you’re someone who struggles with the past election.  She talks about how we can all be different, have different viewpoints, but we must stop attacking each other.  While I am not here to debate whether our president is a good fit, she makes some valid points about how we should act.  If you get offended over mockery of Hillary Clinton, then as a HUMAN you should get offended over mockery of Donald Trump.  I had a photo I thought about sharing, of a bunch of Women marching, with signs of genitals and horrible things said about Republican women and such.  It proves Brown’s point of how is that acceptable? What are we teaching our daughters by tearing down other people simply on their political views?  My favorite quote from this book, “Stop looking for ways you’re not belonging.”  Wow.  So true!! If you look for it, you will find it.

Educated

Wow.  This memoir is so beautifully written and Tara endured a life that doesn’t even seem like it could have happened–but it did.  She didn’t receive any formal education until the age of 17.  Can you fathom? The way her father controlled her and her brothers and sisters as well as her mother, was so bizarre and yet from Tara’s point of view, as the reader you can empathize with why and how this family lived (ie. Mormon survivalists)   Her will power and perseverance is undoubtedly some of the strongest I’ve encountered.  It has some hard to read moments, but at the same time is absolutely worth every page flip. Tara is an extremely talented writer and the literary elements are beyond expectations.  If you are a lover of words and language, she strings sentences together so beautifully to tell her story.

The Wisdom of Sundays

If you love Oprah and her courage, optimism and voice, get the audio version of this book!  There are many little interviews from other amazing people, authors with their spiritual lessons.  I will most likely listen to parts of this book again this year.  (You will find other books to read from these authors!) We only get one life and Oprah helps us uncover how to live our best lives and feel everything along the way.  Our spiritual connection with other humans and purposes is one that will elevate us to the next level.

Little Fires Everywhere

Get ready for a book hangover with this book!  It’s so wonderfully written–this story and its characters will stick with you for awhile.  This coming of age story, intermixed with interesting topics of adoption– is motherhood more about blood relation or is is the bond of love?  You will be turning each page in anticipation to see where the story leads and will not be disappointed.

The Last Mrs Parrish

Coming off of The Wife Between Us I had a total book hangover. I wanted to call the characters and see what was going on.  I didn’t think this next book could hold a candle to it as far as keeping my attention or desire to read another book right away. Boy was I wrong!! I read this one probably even faster?! It had such great detail, and right away your instincts and detective skills are trying to figure out what this main character is up to and what is really going on.  You love to hate some of these people and you really develop a desire to know how it will all unfold.  It will keep you up reading til midnight.   I loved how the book ended, and while I won’t give it away, I will say it was a little over the top…but in a good way.  Sometimes what seems perfectly perfect, may not be so perfect after all.  Definitely a must read in 2018!

Where the Crawdads Sing

This was one of my last novels of 2018 and it was a quick listen! I could not put it down.  I fell in love with the main character and felt for her every step of the way.  Basically abandoned at her home in Marsh, Kya’s tale of survival and success is so beautifully told.  You’ll empathize with her in more ways than one and I promise that it’s totally worth reading until the very last sentence!  You’ll love some characters and despise others; I recommend finding a reading buddy to chat about what happens.

Small Great Things

This is one of my first Jody Picoult books and wow.  Just wow! I listened to it over the Summer when we were in the South taking in all the history, so it truly was a perfectly timed read for me.  It delves into the topics of White Supremacy and racial issues; an African American nurse is refused by a white couple to deliver their baby, and the baby dies shortly after birth.  This story was well researched and beautifully told.  It gives insight as to how or why people act, say and do things they do.  I’m for sure not saying that they are right, but you only know, what you only know–and this book is a must read for everyone.  I absolutely loved listening to this book.

Girl Wash Your Face

Ah, Rachel Hollis.  I could and should devote an entire blog post or two to her.  She’s a firecracker for sure and lays it ALL on the line.  She tells ya how it is, like it or not, take it or leave it.  In my humble opinion, those that resonate with her, are like her.  Real, honest, raw & truth-seekers.  Those that continue to attack her, her Christian faith, her ideals, morals, her choice in running an empire and the ways she mothers, really blow my mind, but like I said, another blog post.  The book itself helps out women at any age re-discover that yes, her happiness matters.  Yes, it’s okay to put ourselves first as moms and wives.  It’s okay to want to work and build an empire–she almost gives permission to go out and fail, live out your dreams, no matter what the age. My mother gained a ton from reading this book, friends of mine have and clearly I am huge Rachel Hollis fan girl.  If you are questioning your life’s purpose, self worth or what the hell am I even doing?  Read her book.  She talks to you like a friend and spills a lot of her soul; you may just find out that yes sister, you were indeed made for more.

Think your Way to Wealth

Throwing in some good stuff here.  This old school book would get some feminist panties in a bunch I tell ya! Haha.  I love Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, the “O.G.” as my husband calls it.  This is his interview with Andrew Carnegie so there are a lot of simialr themes throughout this book, but told slightly different.  I 100% agree with some of his philosophies on how to make money, stay wealthy and the steps along the way to get there. One of my favorite quotes from the book was, “Idle Minds tend to develop ailing bodies.”  Whoa, ain’t that the truth! If you surround yourself by garbage and feed your brain nothing but crazy, your body will probably fail you earlier than if you are constantly re-inventing yourself, becoming a better you each and every day.  So often I see people play the victim and sit back and give every excuse in the book as to why he’s not better, richer, smarter, more in shape, whatever.  Either you want it, or you don’t.  “Do the thing and you will have the power.” – Emerson, from this book.

The Wife Between Us

It’s been awhile since a book has really held my attention and made me devour it in a sitting or two.  This book did exactly that!! I couldn’t tell who was who, what was really happening, who was the crazy one?! It had so many twists and turns, that it kind of did feel a little loose at the ending. I won’t give anything away, but I am still left with questions…that are unanswered and that always annoys me!  However, this book was JUST what I needed to get back into the reading saddle.  I despised some characters, felt sorry for some, and really was thrown off by a few things that came up.  There was some bothersome subject matter, but overall this book kicked off our book club and if you like Gone Girl type books, I’d say totally pick this one up or at least at it to your TBR pile.

 

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Hello 2019, you Sexy thing!

I may have had a quiet night in and no, I didn’t even see the ball drop.  I think the last time that happened I was at my Grandma Owl’s house sleeping on her pull out couch? I feel like I spent NYE there quite a few times and loved it.

It was a long Winter break full of lots of sickness, but all is well.  I will miss my little girl today! I’m not ready to send her away all day.  There were moments of pure bliss where I would just stop and watch her and Bradley play so well together. (There were also time-outs and some fights but eh, I like to focus on the good!)  It made me miss having her around so much.  I haven’t had her all day long for over a week since August!

Since I was pretty much stuck at home with all the illness (myself included but I rebounded fast, thank you God!) I was able to really organize and de-clutter my office, Brooke & Bradley’s rooms.  I still need to go through the basement playroom, but after wandering around my extremely messy house aimlessly for about a day or so, Oprah finally told me, “what’s the next right move?” I was seriously starting to go insane not even knowing where to start or what to do with myself and the insanity that was surrounding me.

It’s so true though, just break down your overwhelmingly large to do list and just do one thing. SOME thing. It can be anything, but just do it.  Now all of the odds and ends are out of my office and I am actually sitting here typing my little blog here on a clean desk. #winning

Baby toys are gone and all broken, missing pieces, fast food toys and little annoying pieces of I don’t even know, are now removed from my son and daughter’s rooms and everything has a place, I mean EVERYTHING! We are only on day 3 of this, but so far so good! If they know where something is supposed to go, it makes pick up a whole heck of a lot easier.  Plus it will help with the random, “hey let’s dump all the toys out so I can find that one thing I am looking for!”

So my word of the year?

 

Simplify

I started a few years back with choosing one word and trying to repeat it to myself throughout the year.  {2017: Success & 2018: Be}

I know my life is chaotic but I believe it could be a more organized as well as simplified chaos.  I want to focus on what matters most, what has to happen/get done and what fills my soul with happiness.

This week off was unexpected. I thought we’d be here there and everywhere doing all the ‘fun things’ as well as having some down time.  But honestly?  This is just what I needed as well as my little family and though I would not wish sickness on ANYONE especially the loves of my life, I am glad I could be the one to take care of all of them.

So here is to an amazingly epic & simply sexy 2019!

What is your word or resolution for this year?