Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Family Holiday Card Photo Fails

Oh, I'm sure I'll laugh about it someday. The ritual of taking the family holiday card photo.

The husband's grumpy anytime he gets his picture taken, the kids don't want to sit still, and if the dog does sit, she's facing the wrong direction.

This year I decided to go casual to fit our lifestyle and hopefully have everyone feel more comfortable. The kids got to take a mom-approved break from homework, but once they were changed, it was almost impossible to get them to stop running around and come outside for pictures. We were off to a great start (sarcasm).

Luckily, my parents showed up on our doorstep at the most opportune time and I roped my dad into being the photographer. Thanks, Dad!! Otherwise it would've been a drawn out, bumbling photo session with the self-timer.

So here are some snapshots of the ones that won't make it on to the Christmas card, to take you on our complicated journey to getting a good shot (and realize it's not just your family).

Adding a family pet to the mix definitely makes things more complicated, on top of the unwilling participants in the photo frame. A young dog doesn't want to sit when you want it to (much like young children).
Then, people don't look at the camera.
Or they make stupid faces.
Or talk to the dog..."sit!" "stay!" "STAY!"
I think it was our last shot of the afternoon, and this picture perfectly sums up everyone's feelings.
The boys are acting silly, Dad is annoyed, and I'm grinning and bearing it.

Luckily, we did get two useful pictures, making us look like a happy family. And we are a happy family...happy that we're done taking the holiday card photo!

Yes, portrait photographers really do earn their money.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Outfit of the Day (OOTD)

A good friend recently called recently to share a little statistic with me: The average women spends 170 hours a year figuring out what to wear.

I believe it. I feel like I get amnesia the minute I walk into my closet. What goes together? Why do I always wear the same outfits over and over again?

One thing I'm starting to do is snap a picture of my outfit when I put something together I like. Ultimately I hope to be able to scroll through my photos to quickly find an outfit from my "outfit library."

So, in the spirit of sharing. I'll post some of my favorite outfits for inspiration. I know I'm no competition for many of the gorgeously modeled and styled outfits on Pintrest, but you know I'm about real life. So, no pics in front of an urban warehouse or mossy field here. It's pictures around my house for this gal. I'm still figuring this all out and still feel a little weird about taking pictures of myself for the blog. But hey, you've gotta start somewhere and there's only room for improvement from here!
Shirt: 41Hawthorne (Stitch Fix) | Shorts: Calvin Klein | Shoes: Sperry

Anyhoo, this is an outfit I wore to run errands, including getting my hair cut and then a PTA meeting later in the day (oh, the exciting life of a stay-at-home mom).

Although it's November, it still feels like June here in Florida, and we are still wearing shorts even though we are so ready to put them on the back shelf! I've transitioned from light colored shorts to dark. It's the least I can do in the spirit of the season until the weather cools.

I pulled out my "dressier" blouse instead of a cotton shirt and I felt so much more put together than usual! I love this shirt but I usually feel like I need to "save" it for more than just everyday. Of course, there's no reason not to dress it up on an errands day and get more wear out of all the pieces in our closets.

So there it is, friends. Let me know your thoughts and if you want to see more of my outfits.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

My Holiday Pre-game Plan

I have never been an early bird when it comes to planning for the holidays, I'm a wait 'til the last minute type of gal. I work best under pressure. But as I get older, I'm learning things. Like I don't want to repeat the stress and craziness that rises up every year and usurps the fun of Christmas.

This year, is going to be different.

The time between Halloween and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get a head start. There is so much to do and no reason to wait. This year, I hope to spread the preparations out and hopefully enjoy that magic of the season that has escaped me the past few years.

While I usually hate that stores put out Christmas decorations so early, I'm afraid now's the time, as an experienced mom, to come on board.

If you care to join me, in the next three weeks, I'll be tackling my pre-holiday To Do list.

First Week in November
  1. Take our holiday card photos. I usually take a family picture on Thanksgiving when we're wearing something other than bathing suits/athletic clothes/shorts. No reason not to take it now. Maybe we'll plan a dinner out afterwards as long as we're all showered up.
  2. Create a list of gift recipients and start thinking about gift ideas. I have a great, fantastic, can't-live-without-it app called Santa's Bag that helps organize all of this. Get. It. Now.

Second Week in November
  1. Buy teacher gifts. I usually prefer to contribute cash to a class gift, so I'll get in touch with the class mom and see if she's planning to organized a group gift. If not, I'll get a gift card along with smaller gift cards for the secondary teachers. It's one of those errands I put off until the uber busy last week of school. This year, I'm checking it off the list early!
  2. Get gifts for the hair stylist, newspaper delivery, etc. Again, no reason to wait until the last minute for these.
  3. Spend a day researching gifts and ideas online.
  4. Order the holiday cards.
  5.  Figure out our Christmas Eve/Day plans. What are we going to host? How are we going to balance spending time with our families? Better to discuss it now when we don't have extra stress.

Third Week in November
  1. Create wish lists for the kids, myself, and the husband to give to any family members who ask for gift ideas.
  2. Think about holiday outfits and shop the closet. What pieces do I want to pick up for holiday events?
  3. Go Christmas shopping. The stores are pretty empty before Thanksgiving week! Pick up some things from the list and order online.
  4. Buy hostess gifts to have on hand for December.
  5. Buy postage for holiday cards.

Fourth Week in November (Thanksgiving week)
  1. Address the holiday card envelopes. Set them aside to mail in mid-December.
  2. Plan the holiday menu.
  3. Find the advent calendar and get goodies for inside. 
  4. Bookmark items for online Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.

And there you have it. A procrastinator's attempt to get a head start on the holidays. On a side note, we're almost done with the first week of November and I haven't tackled anything on the list. But, hey, at least having a list makes me feel somewhat organized and ahead of the game!

What tasks do you check off your holiday prep list before Thanksgiving? 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Eyebrow Tinting!

One of my favorite, easy-to-wear beauty tricks is having my light brown eyelashes tinted black so I can skip applying mascara every day. Now I've discovered something equally as fabulous.

When I was having my lashes darkened, my esthetician asked me if I had ever heard of eyebrow tinting.


She went on to explain that darkening my eyebrows would help frame my face and bring out my features more. She applied eyebrow mascara in a slightly darker shade for me to wear home to try out the look.

She was right on. I really liked it. 

The next time I scheduled my eyelash tinting appointment, I added on the brow tint. It only took a couple of minutes to apply and it cured while she worked on my eyelash color. She gave me a medium-brown color.

I loved it! I had eyebrows!
At first, whenever I saw my reflection in a mirror, it seemed like such a big difference. I felt like having the darker eyebrows balanced out and complemented my hazel eyes.

It's one of those things you can do that subtly changes your look. I mean, someone's not going to walk up to me and say, "Hey, I like what you've done with your eyebrows!" But it definitely makes a difference.
Why yes, I have done something new to my eyebrows!
The tint lasted for about four weeks. And now I'm hooked. No eyebrow penciling for me. I never could make it look right anyway.

So if you have light eyebrows like me, you may want to give it a try. You might be surprised what a difference it can make!

Do you have any beauty secrets that you love? Please share!