Archive for the ‘It’s the 3 Little Things’ Category

It’s The 3 Little Things: Fashion Capsules, Taking Care of a Hairy Situation, & Laugh-Out-Loud Books

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends. It is a happy Friday, indeed, because BACK TO SCHOOL.  I treated myself to an entire day of things I dreamed I would get to do when I was a stay-at-home mom, but in fact, do not do. I hit the gym for a dance class, I got my nails done, I got coffee, I went shopping for my Fall wardrobe, and I read my book in sweet silence. It was the perfect day!  I rewarded myself handsomely for a summer filled with children. I highly recommend finding a way to reward yourself too.  We had a great summer and I enjoyed every minute with them, but I am happily back to a normal routine and schedule now that we have started school. It was nice to treat myself to a me day, but I am back in the office and hard at work again.

Today’s things that are making me happy all surprised me wildly. Here is to some unexpected happiness for your week!

Unfancy Fashion Challenge

Making My First Capsule Wardrobe

Ever since I was a little girl I have been nuts about pretty dresses and clothes.  I was always the girl that they talked about at church who was decked from head-to-toe in a lovely dress, shoes, tights, purse, hair bow…you name it. And it all matched.  Thanks, mom!

I have carried on this extravagant luxury over the years with a pretty rocking wardrobe and take great pride in all of the things  I wear. This year though I am challenging myself to embrace a minimalist wardrobe which is absolutely INSANE for this fashionista.  I discovered this post on How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by unfancy and it inspired me in so many ways to start thinking about my purchases.  It reminded me that I have a closet overflowing with pieces I am not wearing, it reminded me that I can still be fashionable with less, and it also reminded me how smart I used to be when we were broke and I would make the most of every piece in my closet.

For this challenge, you can select 37 pieces and that is it for three whole months. 37 pieces sounds like a lot, but this is counting your shoes too which is another area that my husband thinks I have too much of. This is totally a first world problem that I am stressed about this and that I have been counting over and over and over again in my closet the items, shuffling them, and recounting. I think it is bringing out my OCD tendencies. That said,  I already love my stuff so much that I have already started wearing them and have put all my clothes that I can’t wear in storage for now. Maybe this will inspire me once and for all to pare down my wardrobe.

This week I have been researching and purchasing for my first fashion capsule and I am so excited to share it with you. It is a mixture of items purchased on sale, secondhand goodness, and items from my own closet.

I am in no way a fashion blogger, but I would love to share this with you. I purchased some photo lights and a white backdrop so I can show you some different ways  I am wearing the items to hopefully inspire you to find a new way to wear something in your closet or to embrace a minimalist wardrobe of your own.  I know this challenge is going to be so good for me.

My husband doesn’t think I can do it. That, in itself, is a powerful motivator.

Braun Silk Epilator

Taking Care of a Hairy Situation

Have you ever tried a new beauty routine that absolutely terrified you? Let me tell you, friends, using an epilator for the first time was the scariest thing I have ever done.  I may have lead you astray in my post about a hairy friend who needed wax strips. This is probably going to shock you, but I am the person who needed them. I know.  This happiness project goes out to all my brunette friends. The ladies who struggle with an armpit shadow even after they have shaved, the ones with the coarse unmanageable leg hair, the ones who have stray chin hairs that have suddenly cropped up since they hit their 30′s, the ones who get razor burn 24/7, whose skin becomes rashy from just seeing a razor, and the girl’s whose lily-white skin tells tales of painful hair removal routines.

I am fist bumping you right now.

I bought this Braun Silk Epilator on Amazon and am saying goodbye to waxing. It removes hair from your legs, your underarms, and your face. It has a million attachments which you can use to remedy whatever your hair situation. It rips the hair out by the roots. It feels as good as it sounds. It has forty tweezers that do it at the same time and can lift hair that is as small as a grain of sand. It really can because I felt every last pull.

The first time was really excruciating because I didn’t do a lot of research beforehand. Here’s what I advise- drink a gallon of wine,  soak in the shower for five minutes, exfoliate well with a loofah, shave so you aren’t grabbing long hairs out, hold it at a ninety degree angle right up close in the shower under the water,  and go all out with the highest setting. The legs are not terrible and the bikini line was a piece of cake since I wax.

The underarms…I almost passed out.  Probably the worst beauty pain of my life.

Now that I am over the first three times of doing it, I love it and am addicted.

Probably the same way people are addicted to tattoos.

It’s kind of sick, really.

I absolutely love how my legs and underarms look. My face is fuzz free.

I am living the blonde girl dream life!

 

This-Is-Where-I-Leave-You

Laugh-Out-Loud Books

I’m hosting my book club this month and I selected This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper as our book so that we can go out and see the movie together that is coming out soon. I love it in the way that I loved the movie Bridesmaids- so wrong and so right. Raunchy, hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming, and so perfectly pitched. I would highly recommend this one for fans of Arrested Development as it reads just like my favorite episodes of the early seasons of the Bluth family. The crazy family dramas are always my favorites and this family does not disappoint in the craziness department. For better or worse, they are family, with all that history and messiness and love. 

This was a fantastic little end-of-summer escape and I can’t wait to read more of Jonathan Tropper’s novels. I only hope they are as hilarious as this. I’m looking forward to seeing this one on the big screen. I hope it measures up to the hilarity of this book.

If you can’t handle adult language and scenarios, skip on over this recommendation.  I am planning a fun feast and book club around this one so keep your eyes peeled for those recipes and the discussion we share before catching the movie!

The bonus happy this week, of course, is getting those kids off to school! Enjoy this video that sums up perfectly our first week back!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

It’s the 3 Little Things: Steak Dinners at Home, Spinning Plates, & Fall Boots for Less

Friday, August 15th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

I hope everyone is having a great Friday and looking forward to the weekend! We start school next week so we are savoring this last bit of free time before life as we know it ends. You know the routine- living in your car and running your children from activity to activity, homework battles, and trying to keep up with all those papers. I am hoping to offer some solutions for the back-to-school craziness in the next couple of weeks since it is something we have been working on over here and I plan to share some of this year’s solutions with you!

In the meantime, here is what is making me happy this week!

Discounted Naturalizer Boots

Boots That Don’t Break the Bank

Fall is just around the corner and that means boot season is around the corner. I have had the same pair of chocolate colored boots from SEARS that I got for $29.99 for the last six years. On my last trip, the zipper just finally gave out.  I loved these boots so much and remember being in New York and people asking me where I got them and me saying,  “SEARS,”  but kind of trying to pull that French accent that people do with Target. It sounded all kinds of wrong- I don’t know how I can make that name sound fashionable (even though my boots were!).

I decided I could go boot shopping this year and needed a pair of chocolate and black riding boots. Can I just say that boot prices are outrageous? $200 on up to $1K for a pair of boots? Nope. I refuse.  Now that I am an old lady, I rely on Naturalizer for my shoe needs and discovered 6pm.

Have you heard of 6pm before? It’s like the world’s best shoe warehouse and they carry my Naturalizer brand for my wide foot & old lady back issues. Last season’s $200 boots that I wanted so bad (but refuse to pay for) were marked down to $89.99.  That’s still an awful lot for boots for me, but if I can rock my fancy Sears boots for six years, I can surely get that many out of a really good boot. From now on, I’m doing my shoe shopping on that site- I can’t recommend it enough for savings.

I’m pretty excited for my boots being delivered this week and I know I will be having happy feet all Fall long!

Restaurant-Style Steak Recipe

Mastering the Steak

We decided to have a little celebration dinner for the end-of-summer with our kids.  I took my kids the Gucci grocery store in town and asked them what they would like to eat. We settled on steaks and they loved a fun appetizer of mozzarella balls, salami, and kalamata olives that they had on skewers for us to sample while we were shopping. We bought beautiful filet mignons, fresh berries, heavy cream, and baby asparagus to go along with our steaks.

I forget that all of the fancy dinners we eat typically are on date nights and out with my husband. My kids don’t get to enjoy foods like that very often and they were so excited to help prepare it with me and to experience some of the foods that are our special occasion foods.

I’m proud of how far I have come in my cooking abilities, but my proudest moment this summer is finally mastering the technique for a beautiful steak.  It has taken a bit of the fun out of dining out and getting a steak because now that I have it down, I think I do a better job than most of the places we have been to.

We threw Carole King on the record player and ate the best food ever together, as a family, and it was pretty much perfect.

Then we said in fancy voices that we should have Filet Fridays instead of Pizza Fridays.

Then we remembered we have to live on a budget.

And we aren’t that fancy.

 

I wear Sears boots for six years, for goodness sakes.

It was a beautiful thing to share together.

Spinning Plates Documentary

Spinning Plates

I know that last week I shared about our love for the documentary, “Tiny,” on what was making me happy. I am in a bit of a documentary mood in the evenings and we watched Spinning Plates together as a family. As a disclaimer, there were two swear words (which my children pointed out), but overall, I felt this one is very family-friendly and so worth a viewing if you have a Netflix account like we do.

Here is why I think you should watch this one.  This movie is about people who are passionate about food and what sacrifices they make when running a restaurant. It is about the most successful restaurant, a failing restaurant, and the most intriguing community-driven restaurant I have ever seen.  It is heartwarming and beautiful. The passion for food is contagious and discovering the why behind their cooking is a beautiful journey.

I would say this is a good one for fans of Jiro Dreams of Sushi (and if you haven’t seen that yet, you haven’t lived!)

I was teary-eyed a bit through this one, but seeing people’s passion for food makes me so happy. I hope you can catch it if you haven’t already!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

 

It’s The Three Little Things: Tiny Homes, Messy Buns, & the Best School Uniforms

Friday, August 8th, 2014

3_little_things

Happy Friday, friends!  I had a whirlwind of a trip in Austin with Savings.com (where I ate my fair share of BBQ and even line danced)  and am leaving again, if you can believe it, for a quick trip to the Better Homes & Gardens headquarters for their BHG Style Showcase to learn about their beautiful line-up of products they are going to be carrying this year. I will be sharing those finds with you all this upcoming year as a BHG Live Better Blogger which I am so excited about.  You may recall, that I participated in a cook-off with Better Homes & Gardens. You will be happy to know that the pots that they gifted me are still being used by my dear buddy, Ed, which still makes my heart happy.

Continuing with our happiness theme…

Tiny-A-Story-About-Living-Small

Small Space Living Inspiration

I caught this documentary Tiny on Netflix this past week and it was absolute perfection. I have talked before about our commitment to stay in our home despite the pressure to go bigger around us.  I was so proud of our tiny shed renovation and how we made it into a livable and functional space for our family. We continue to try to improve upon our existing space and not take on more than what we really need.  I have to say that regardless of the size of the home you live in, there is so much to learn in this documentary about loving what you have and whittling away at what you don’t need in your life.

There is no preachy tone in this and very little talk about global footprints, but this documentary is more about giving up the constant maintenance of your home and embracing a smaller space. You get to follow a man with no construction background for a year while he works on building his own tiny house and hear the testimonials of others who have embraced really small spaces. When I say small spaces, I am talking SMALL spaces.

This one is family friendly and one of the best documentaries I have seen this year!  If you are looking for more ideas for a Docu-Pizza Night with your family (that’s what we call it!), head over to my Reality Bites Pinterest board for some fun suggestions!

double-bun-tutorial-2

double-bun-tutorial-1

Mastering a Messy Bun Updo

I have been growing my hair out simply because it seems easier at this stage in my life. I would also like to say that if you want to do anything cool with your hair at all and replicate the stuff you see on Pinterest, you gotta grow it out.  Now that I finally have some length, I have been Kate, from The Small Things, new #1 fan because she has the best hair tutorials in the world.  The second picture is blurry (hold it STEADY, 8 year-old child, geesh!)  and her Double Bun Tutorial is my new favorite updo. And when I say new favorite updo, I mean I haven’t wore my hair in any kind of updo since prom which was last year…so it has been a year since the last time…it feels like ages though.

The double bun technique is seriously genius for people who don’t have enough length to get all their hair up in one bun. You have to watch her tutorial and then head to her blog and just suck in all the hair goodness. For this updo, I swung by CVS and snagged some bobby pins and clear elastics. I like that she doesn’t make things complicated or perfect (a skill I am working on).

If you like the dress, you must follow Whoorl’s Closet Tumblr. I am kind of a Sarah James groupie so be sure to follow her beautiful blog too.  I snagged this Mossimo dream of a dress for a mere $20. I liked it so much, I bought one in Coral & Black too. I really wowed my hubby with these dresses and the new hair. I get to feel like Sarah James for a day- it’s quite grand!

dockers-uniforms

Uniforms that Don’t Wrinkle or Pill

Ugh! Talking about preparing for back-to-school does not make me happy, but we are in that mode right now. My mother-in-law purchased uniform skirts for my daughter for a holiday gift and these Docker skirts are seriously the best thing since gluten-free bread. These uniform skirts don’t wrinkle, they don’t pill, they always look amazing, and they are practically dry when you pull them out of the washer.  This year we skipped our yearly Old Navy run and just headed over to Sears and bought all Docker uniforms this year. The jumpers are made from the same material too although I haven’t washed the pants yet, but they look promising. Did I mention they are running a half-off sale? It made it the same price (or less) than the Old Navy prices!  You can utilize this code: DOCKERS9  (which I did not and now I’m upset!) for $10 of a $75 purchase and free shipping.

I have lots more making me happy this week- it’s one of those weeks where my cup is running over with goodness and gratefulness. I hope your cup overfloweth too!

 

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Are You Sure, New Music Tuesday, & An Altered Lifestyle

Friday, August 1st, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Today I am in Austin with Savings.com and I wanted to be sure to still get my happy list of three up for you all! There is a lot that is personally making me happy this week.  My husband actually dove into a book and absolutely loved it  (don’t miss this week’s Sundays With Writers for a book unlike anything we have ever read), the temperatures have been cool and ideal for spray painting (which just makes me about the happiest girl in the whole world), and I’ve been enjoying hibernating at home with my family this week.

Oh, and I also did an interview with Mint.com- definitely check that out!

Here are three things that are making me happy this week.

 

New Music Tuesday

New Music Tuesday

There is nothing that makes me happier than good music and Tuesday has become my favorite day of the week thanks to the Spotify New Music Tuesday playlist.  Each Tuesday they have this epic playlist of great music to check out for the week and I listen to it while I work on Tuesdays. I always find a new artist to add to my playlists and I love hearing new releases from old favorites. You don’t need to pay for a membership to access it, but we pay for the membership since I listen all day and in my car to Spotify.

If you are accessing it from Spotify- just click Browse, then Top Lists, then click on New Music Tuesday.

It’s a great mix of mainstream and hipster awesomeness.  This week I am obsessed with this Kanye West cover that was on the New Music Tuesday playlist. It’s a musical narnia, I tell ya!

Seriously, you must check out the selections each Tuesday. There is always something delightful to listen to!

 

Sure Deodorant

Feeling Sure- Raising My Hand High

 

The only deodorant that works and perfect for sensitive skin is this Sure Deodorant. Call it hormones, call it global warming, call it old age…this girl is a sweaty mess. After trying a million different kinds, this is the only thing that works for me.  If global warming has you down, see if this helps. The best part is that it costs a lot less than the expensive brands I have tried and works twice as good.

 

Stitch Fix Alterations

Clothes That Truly Fit

I feel very blessed to have a closet of clothes that I love.   Unfortunately, none of them fit anymore after all my stomach issues the last couple of years.  I don’t want to buy new things, but when I swung by Flourish Boutique last week to pick out a dress for a speaking engagement this week, I found out that you can get your clothes altered right at their store. You can have them pin your items right there and the seamstress will pick them up, alter them, and then drop them to the store for you. It’s like a world of maxi dresses opened up to this five foot woman. The possibilities are endless now.

Since I had a closet full of stuff, I snagged the card for the seamstress at the front desk and  took in a handful of stuff to have her take a peek and see what was worth altering. Her prices were so affordable ($11 to hem jeans with the seam intact- say what?) and she had great ideas so we didn’t have to move zippers and to keep the shape of my items at an affordable price.

This skirt was from my first Stitch Fix box, but I was swimming in it. This is the first thing I had altered and they charged me FORTY DOLLARS at the dry cleaners to do it. I have had a closet of stuff that I was spacing out monthly for alterations so I would have things that fit.   I love this skirt so much that, in the end, it was worth it. This lady I found though will do it for just $5-10 so no more of that expensive alteration business.

I dropped off my winter coat, many dresses that I love that look ridiculous on me, and just about every skirt in my closet to her home.  I look forward to wearing clothing that fits and that looks just like me. I love my things and I don’t want to part with them because of sizing issues. I also am tired of waiting to see where my weight ends up landing once I am fully on the mend. By that time, they will be out of style so… Cease the day.

Seriously, visit Flourish Boutique and ask about their awesome alterations that they offer and get yourself things that you can feel confident in.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s the 3 Little Things: So American, Spot Free Dishes, & a Little Dystopia

Friday, July 25th, 2014

3_little_things

Happy Friday, friends!  If you are anything like me, I know that you are looking forward to this weekend. I have quite a few fun projects I am tackling for the site and am jetting off to Austin next week with Savings.com for a fun weekend of learning! In the meantime, it is a mad dash of laundry, deadlines, and playing catch up on the house. The usual.

Here are three things that are making me happy this week that I think you will love too!

The-Americans

Television We Both Love

As you may or may not know, we ditched cable so we either have to purchase a series through Amazon or wait for it to come through our Netflix or Hulu subscriptions. My husband signed us up for Amazon Prime this year and they have a partnership now with HBO and are offering several FX series shows that I am not able to get on Netflix or Hulu. Since we are paying for this membership, we are doing our best to get our money out of it and one way is through our television-watching.

I kept hearing great things about The Americans and we are only three shows in and I am absolutely in love with this series already. It’s a little Mr. & Mrs. Smith and a little Alias. The story is set in the ’80′s and centers around  the marriage of KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington DC.  The show is set during the Reagan presidency and follows Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, two spies who are in an arranged marriage.

The fight scenes are amazing, the acting is superb, and the plot just keeps thickening.  A marathon of this show is on our weekend agenda and that makes me very, very happy!

lemishine

Goodbye to Spotty Glassware

Summer is the season of wine glasses… oh, wait… maybe that’s just me (*ahem*).  We have hard water and by hard water, I mean miserably hard water that builds up in my coffee makers, on our shower heads, coats our sink fixtures, and makes for the world’s spottiest dishware. I didn’t know what to do other than donate our cups each year and get new ones. We got a new dishwasher and it still wasn’t helping even with vinegar in my rinse aid and running all of our different cycles.

As I researched how to get rid of spots, I ran across this Lemi Shine in a “hard water woe discussion forum,”  and it has changed my world. You add this where the dishwasher tablet usually goes and then put your dishwasher tablet in the other compartment. It boosts your dishwasher soap and makes everything shine like the top of the Chrysler building (said with my best jazz hands). Seriously, if you struggle with hard water, give this a shot and tell me what you think.

the-girl-with-all-the-gifts

A Great Summer Escape

Let me preface by saying that this book is so very far out of my genre that when I picked it up, I wasn’t sure if this was ever going to be a book I could get into. I am just done with dystopian societies, I hate science fiction, and I really am not into shows like The Walking Dead.  I got an advance reader of The Girl With All the Gifts from NetGalley and I can’t believe how much I enjoyed it.  This book is wildly imaginative, suspenseful, and leaves you wondering who you should be rooting for as the story develops. I really, really loved this book.  Unfortunately, it is just the kind of book that you shouldn’t talk about so that each reader can go on the journey with this child and find out just what makes her special.

It lagged a bit in the middle and there were times I was skimming through some of the scientific portions because they were so lengthy, but overall it was an amazing read that found me irritated every time some real-life activity had to interrupt my reading time. It’s been a long time since I have felt that way about a book like this.

I have reached out to the author for an interview, but he’s kind of a big deal… I am not sure if he will reply to my messages. I didn’t want to let this read slip through the cracks though so I am mentioning it today if you want to try something new.

It does have graphic violence and graphic language. Power through.

Don’t read the reviews, it will spoil your journey and discovery of Melanie and all her gifts! 

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!


It’s the 3 Little Things: World’s Best Toast, No Boys Allowed, & Crimes Against Words

Friday, July 18th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! It has been a happy week, indeed. It has been unseasonably cool here, but just perfect weather for flinging open windows and enjoying good books outside. Speaking of good books, I hope you have been following our Sundays With Writers series because you are in for a treat this Sunday with a very special book & interview! You can catch up on all of the interviews over here, if you haven’t been following along with the author series.

Here are the 3 things that are making me happy this week!

Three Bakers Whole Grain White

A Better Morning Toast

Move over Udi’s Whole Grain White there is a new bread in my freezer. Three Bakers Whole Grain White Bread was on sale at our local supermarket for $4.99 a loaf so I thought I would give it a try.  It wasn’t just the price that lured me in, but the packaging that stated there was 58% MORE in my loaf which means I could get through a whole week of morning toasts for $4.99. The real question is, would I be disappointed? Would it taste terrible? Would I be sad that I saved money this week and be forced to eat a month of terrible toasts (because I bought four loaves…hello, they were on sale!)?

I am happy to say, that this bread is AMAZING. It tastes just like homemade bread. It’s airy and light, flavorful, and sturdy enough for your toppings. If you haven’t tried this one, I highly recommend it. They also have a 7-grain that I am hoping to try soon, although my store was out of loaves.

Gluten-free bread that tastes like homemade real bread? BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.

Amy's Treehouse

My New Treehouse

I am telling you right now, that finishing our shed into a bonus room has made me a much more happy and adjusted mom.  I now have somewhere to escape in the evenings and during the day that is away from the chaos of our home.

I had been grabbing my iPad and reading and watching shows in there, but with the a/c unit kicking on, the volume was minimal on the iPad and I was struggling to hear anything when I wanted to indulge in an episode of Parenthood.

Crosley Record Player

Record Player

You may recall that my amazing girlfriends had gifted me (on the most amazing night of my entire life) a beautiful record player. This Crosley Turntable  was in my office and now is out in my “treehouse” (AKA as my shed). My husband peeked at the back of it and figured out that there was an auxiliary in so he grabbed a cord like this and now I have the sound coming out of my record player through my iPad movie theater which works perfectly for this little space.

I had my best friend over this week and we watched A Little Bit of Heaven on Netflix, with big glasses of wine, and a load of tissues. As we are sitting there crying and sipping, my husband walked in to grab a glass of wine, looked at us, shook his head, and backed out quick…

As I shrieked at him that the sign was flipped to CLOSED!

No boys allowed. Hit the road, Jack!

Every mom needs a space like this where she can play her Dirty Dancing record on repeat without any eye rolling. I wish this for each of you.

 

Crimes Against Words

This video really made me, LITERALLY, laugh out loud. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Lining Those Eyes, Making it Sleek, & Tea That’s Just Right

Friday, July 11th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I missed sharing this post last week with you, but it was nice to take a break over the 4th of July weekend. There has been so much happening over here that I can’t wait to share with you. If you are following me on Instagram, you might have caught a few sneak peeks- this whole ’60′s home is going through some major transforming this year.   We are putting the finishing touches on some home projects that will completely blow your mind. I can’t believe this is my house.   I can’t wait to reveal all of that to you soon! In the meantime, here are some things that are making me happy this week!

L'Oreal Sleek It Iron Straight Heatspray

I Finally Have Frizz-Free Locks

I have the coarsest hair and in the summer months, it frizzes up in the heat and humidity.

Monica in Jamaica

I don’t want you to be wondering what that might look like. It looks just like this.  I bought this awesome L’Oreal Sleek It Iron Straight Heatspray and I finally have frizz-free locks. It was one of those things that I picked up on a whim and decided to give it a try, but had no expectations that it would work well because it was only around $5.  The first day I used it, my girlfriend asked if I had done something different with my hair. It works that good.  Although I have never been able to go three days without washing my hair, it holds for that long and does a great job straightening your hair with just a blow dryer or can be used dry with your hair straightener. I highly, highly recommend this for your arsenal of hair tools.

Love,

Monica in Jamaica

Liner That Stays

Revlon Colorstay Eye Liner

Ever since I first started wearing make-up, I have always worn Cover Girl Eye Liner.  I have found though that in the summer, within hours it had faded or had moved under my eyes in other places.  I decided to try to find a new eyeliner to help remedy that and discovered Revlon ColorStay Eye Liner. It is the first eyeliner that I have tried that stays on until I go to bed. It goes on creamy, stays on all day, and is easy to remove with a little eye make-up remover.  I can’t recommend it enough. Perfectly lined eyes in the summer months are definitely making this girl happy!

Honest Tea

Tea That’s Just Right

Have you ever had Honest Tea before? This has been one of my favorite treats since I gave up my soda. It’s the perfect summer drink and has just the right amount of sweetness in it. I have been a longtime fan and the company emailed and asked if they could send me a box of tea to enjoy this summer- no obligations or anything (which is pretty rare when you are a blogger.) I absolutely love it and I have had so much fun trying all the different varieties. The Pomegranate Blue has been a big family favorite and I have enjoyed the Peach White Tea and Honey Green Tea at the pool this week. I like that these aren’t overly sweet and that the real flavors pull through in these drinks.  If you love tea, you will love these. Honest.

Bonus Happy!

And for a bonus happy this week, you can check out this fun dance routine that I got to do with my dance teacher Abbi, from Tu Sei Bella, that was so much fun to do for her YouTube channel. What says summer more than Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It? I mean, seriously. Who wants to go to dance class with me? You can learn all the moves on her channel!  They also happen to be running a Groupon this week for the classes so you don’t have to spend very much to try it! Just type in “Tu Sei Bella,” and the current Groupon should appear.  And saving money always makes this girl get jiggy wit’ it!

If you saw me in dance class, you would witness one of the happiest moments of my week every week.  It has been a life-changer for my spirit and confidence not to mention my favorite things to do with my girlfriends.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Cheesy Popcorn, Probiotics, & Fizzy Water

Friday, June 27th, 2014

It's The 3 Little Things

Happy Friday! It’s a good Friday for us, indeed, because we are taking our first family vacation since last Spring. The Ohio Visitor’s Bureau offered to host our family for a weekend visit and show off all of the fabulous things we can do in Ohio to share with you all this coming month. Today we are exploring Columbus and I am so happy that this is a trip that we all get to do together instead of me traveling alone. I can’t wait to share what we discover in Ohio. I have a feeling that our vacation will be on my happy list next week so you have been warned! :)

Let’s chat about what’s making me happy this week!

Bio-Kult Probiotic

Probiotics That Actually Work

I have to tell you that if you aren’t taking a probiotic, it can be such a game-changer especially if you have digestive issues. My dietician recommended this Bio-Kult Probiotic to help heal my gut when I was so sick this past winter. I started feeling so much better after a week, but when I ran out, I headed to the store and got a cheaper brand of probiotics that I thought looked roughly the same. It did not work the same and once again, my stomach was a mess. I learned a lesson that this multi-strain formula works the best for me and, if I am eating what I am supposed to, that I feel like a normal person with a normal digestive system. Having a working digestive system, indeed, makes me happy.

La Croix Berry Water

A Great Substitution For My Soda Cravings

I gave up Diet Coke two years ago and I am so proud of myself for doing that. Other than the occasional one at the movies, I am completely soda-free. In the summer months though, I crave something bubbly, but since I quit soda, even flavored waters can taste artificially sweet to me.  I had seen the La Croix Sodas  pop up in my IG feed one day and when my girlfriend let me try one at her house, I was hooked. These have no artificial flavors, coloring, sodium, or calories. Or as my husband says, “Or taste.” If you like soda, these might not be your favorite.

This has been my midday treat and I prefer a hint of flavor and all the bubbles now that I kicked the soda can to the curb. I would say if you like sparkling water or even prefer drier alcoholic drinks, this might be a great substitution. The Berry and the Cherry-Lime have been my favorites so far! I’m anxious to hit Target and snag some of their exclusive flavors that they are carrying on shelves this summer!

All the bubbles, none of the junk. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

Smartfood Popcorn

A Guilt-Free Snack (Unless They Catch You Licking the Bowl)

For Easter, my mother-in-law gave me a bag of this popcorn to enjoy while everyone snacked on her famously delicious and oh-so-amazing sugar cookies. If anyone chooses to eat gluten-free for a fad diet, I pity you. Why in the world would you choose this?  I can’t stand that I have to miss out on the treat table for holidays and this was pure torture… until I started munching on this popcorn. And I proceeded to eat the whole dang bag, licked my fingers, and raided my children’s bags for more popcorn, and may have licked the bottom of those bags too. Don’t judge.

If you like cheesy popcorn, let me introduce you to my little friend called Smartfood Popcorn.  White cheddar is dusted on every heavenly little piece and it goes great with that bottle of Chianti and whatever your latest Netflix binge obsession is this week. Snacks that feel like a guilty-pleasure are definitely a fun addition to any happy list!  Don’t believe me? Serious Eats conducted their own little taste-test and this popcorn won hands-down. So boom! ENJOY!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Beach Waves, Ladies Who Lunch, & Chocolate Covered Cherry Coffee

Friday, June 20th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Thing

 

Happy, happy Friday, friends! I am so excited that we have another weekend ahead of us and thrilled that we have ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE TO BE. Hello, giant chair and book! We are going to be great friends this weekend. I hope you are still enjoying this feature and I love hearing about the success stories of things you have been trying from this list! Share those success stories in the comments below and let me know if you have tried something that made me happy that, in turn, made you happy. I love full circle moments.

Without further adieu!

Beach Waves

Beach Waves

You know when people essentially curl their hair and look like Shirley Temple instead of that pretty tousled beach wave hair?  Yup. That would be me. Instead of continuing to suffer, I found this amazing loose waves tutorial from my friend Sarah, over at Whoorl, and it changed my life. Have you heard of the Whoorl Curl? It’s a game-changer.  After following her directions, I FINALLY successfully pulled off a loose wave and I couldn’t be prouder. She offers advice on using a curling iron with a clamp and one without so you can use the advice with what you already have.

My Conair curling iron from HIGH SCHOOL finally bit the bullet after being dropped for the five thousandth time.  Since it was held together with one screw and had to balance without the stand, I decided to replace it with the exact same one because, hello? What lasts that long and only costs less than $20.  I use that and this Nexxus Touchable Hold Hair Spray for holding my beach waves (while still allowing for softness & movement). I highly recommend both, especially if you are on a budget.

We hit a beautiful wedding (dress from Luxe Wagon, designer Voom by Joy Han) and my beach waves made it until dancing the robot in the photo booth. That’s way strong, yo.

I have often thought of buying an expensive curling iron, but I would be this girl. I just know it. Why? Because I turn that heat UP to eleventy. I’ll stick with the cheap stuff.

Feedly

Feedly

Is it bad to be a blogger and share that you don’t read blogs? My own blog had taken over my life and I started to feel separated from my own community.  I decided to get back to blog reading and I started using Feedly as my reader. I absolutely love it and I think it has been so good to get back to blog reading again. While I eat lunch, I bookmark items to save for later that I think would fit well with our weekly notebook and I also have started bookmarking them for our Facebook community. Each day at 2:30 (eastern time), I post things to talk about. I think it has added so much more to both my life and our community and I am proud to be supporting people that make me think differently about life. We won’t always agree on these pieces, but I love the conversations that flow from these shares. It has been pretty dead over there so this is how I am working to restore that sense of community.

I can read all my blogs from my phone, my iPad, or from my computer.  Instead of scrolling endlessly through Facebook at piano lessons, for example, I am reading, learning, and bookmarking things to share with you. It’s a much better use of my time.

Although I don’t want to plug myself here, you can also subscribe to our site through Feedly. We need to change the title because it is listed under The MotherLoad, but you can find me over here.

Cacao Powder

Chocolate Covered Cherry Coffee

What better way to wake up than a cup of coffee that tastes like a Chocolate Covered Cherry?  For the last year or so, every morning I add a scoop of Cacao Powder to my coffee.  I had given up my coffee creamer, but I felt that the almond milk was too thin and bland compared to the creamer I had been using, so I started adding a scoop of this superfood to my coffee.  Here are some of the health reasons I recommend trying this in your coffee cup. One bag typically lasts me a month since I only add it to my first cup of the day. Once you try it, I doubt you will ever want your coffee any other way…that is, until I introduce you to Michigan Cherry Coffee Beans.

I am a Midwest girl who loves her Meijer Supermarket and Meijer has a whole bean (and ground coffee) in the Michigan Cherry flavor that is absolutely heavenly. They just price dropped their gourmet bags of coffee to $3.99 for WHOLE BEANS which is incredible so I buy a bag of this and brew a pot of it for myself every morning. It has great cherry flavor, but does not taste synthetically cherry-filled. Couple that with a spoonful of cacao, a little almond milk, and stevia and bring on that happy!

If you don’t have a Meijer, you could substitute with something from your own coffee house or buy a bag online. Regardless of where you get it, give it a try!

That’s my happy list for the week!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Summer Lips, Red, Red Wine, & Comfy Sandals

Friday, June 13th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

I love it when Friday rolls around, don’t you?  I’m excited to showcase the 3 things that are making me happy this week with a bonus happy or two for your day!

I have been getting asked lately if I am going to run out of things for this feature. I really hope not because I have heard from many that this is their favorite day of the week on here. I have a running list that I jot things down on to include each week, but it definitely starts to become more challenging as the weeks go by. I promise to try to do a good job though and not recommend things I am not completely nuts about because…hello? How would that benefit you at all? I am now looking for little things at the stores to share with you. I call this “business research.” Often conducted at CVS and through online shopping. I hope I can write it off for my taxes.

 

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Great Summer Lips

I love a fresh summer lip and this year my new favorite is an oldie, but goodie called Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey.  If you haven’t tried this lip color it is universally flattering and beautiful and I promise does not look anything like what is in its tube. You can pick it up at your favorite Clinique counter in the department store or they have it at Sephora. I absolutely love this shade for summer and I think you will too. It goes on like a gloss and moisturizes the lip. It’s the one you will want to buy extra tubes of so you can grab it and keep in your purse so you can touch them up while you are out and about.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

I like when people show me what lip color looks like on so here is a terrible selfie I took of the lip color for you so you can see why I love it so much. Isn’t it perfect for summer? Between that and my favorite BB Cream with the built in sunscreen, I feel set! This retails for $15 a tube so it is a splurge, but I promise you that you will love it and get your use out of it this summer. If you have a universally flattering shade you love, please share it with me and I will see about making it a part of my happy list and featuring it here too. I am always on the lookout for a fresh shade!

Santa Bacelli Chianti from ALDI

My Favorite Red Wine + Orange is the New Black

Red wine is my favorite and in the evenings we have been watching the second season of Orange is the New Black while we enjoy a glass of red wine. My new favorite red might surprise you, but I promise if you are a red wine drinker that you will absolutely love the Santa Bachelli Chianti from ALDI. The bottle retails for $4.99 so you might overlook it as a good wine option, but this bottle is on par with bottles I have bought in the $12-15 range. It’s one of their award winners and I try to buy a few bottles to keep in our wine rack for entertaining. It’s rich, dry (but not too dry), with a rich black cherry and plum flavor. It’s best paired with the new season of Orange is the New Black.

We are only a couple of episodes into Orange is the New Black, but it’s already my guilty summer pleasure. If the show is too racy for you, I totally get that. I highly recommend picking up the book which is more G-rated and just as fascinating as the show.

If you are as into the show as me though, you might enjoy taking this quiz to find out which character you are. As if you didn’t find me boring enough, the quiz says I am Piper. Lucky for me, it seems she is getting tough this season so watch out.  I was really hoping for Crazy Eyes though.

Payless Dexflex Sandals

Comfy Summer Sandals

I bought two pairs of these Dexflex Comfort Vicki Low Wedges for summer and I can’t rave enough about them. The true test of a good sandal is if you can go on a trip, walk through the airport, and put in a 12-hour workday standing the entire time and not have back pain, go to the airport again,  hop off the plane, and then dance the entire night until 2AM to celebrate the world’s greatest person at a party. These sandals did that for me on my last trip and people kept stopping me in the airport to ask me where I got them. They happen to be on clearance right now (lucky you!) so the pink are for sale for $12 and the black are on sale for $17. That is a lot less than I had paid for them. I got these when I bought my favorite nude pumps- it was a great shoe day, I tell you.

There are no buckles, the elastic hugs your foot, but they don’t squeeze them too tight (important if you have a wide foot like me). The heel is low and the shoe is well supported in the heel. I I bought a pair in pink and in taupe at the beginning of summer and have been wearing them nonstop.

 

Fleetwood Mac Rumours T-Shirt

Luxe Wagon

Here is the pair that I am wearing non-stop in taupe. I don’t know if your store might have them, but I absolutely love them. These look great with my Fleetwood Mac t-shirt that I scored from our Luxe Wagon in town. Seriously, fashion on wheels? Be still my beating heart. You gotta check it out! I got the cutest things from there and the Fleetwood Mac Rumours album happens to be my absolute favorite record so I had to have this t-shirt.  I would call that a bonus happy to pair with these shoes.

Last Day of School

Dress: site sponsor, Flourish Boutique

 

My other bonus happy this week is that we are FINALLY done with school. I may have been toasting myself with that Chianti because I survived my first year with two kiddos at two schools AND my first year of middle school.

I can honestly say that this was one of the hardest years I have ever experienced as a parent. The transition to middle school was a tough one for my son and for me. I am so proud that we made it through and that he did so well with his grades. I wouldn’t torture him by posting a picture, but know that I am so proud of him. He worked very hard this year and we had excellent teachers and volunteer tutors from IUSB that donated their time after the school hours to help him succeed. It took a village this year, but we did it and I am so, so proud.

My Emily also had a fantastic year.  She got an Outstanding Student award and I can’t say I helped her too much with that because I was so preoccupied with middle school homework. She’s a hard worker and makes my job so easy. Her happiness is contagious and when I volunteer at school, she always says, “That’s MY mom,” and hugs me. At eight, my days are numbered so I am savoring it while they last.

What could make you happier than being a proud mama?

Chris-Bohjalian

Now that the kids are done with school, I am excited to tackle my summer reads at the pool. I happened to post about my latest NetGalley releases (remember that post about advanced readers?) and LOOK WHO WAS ALL LIKE, ” Happy reading, Amy,” on my personal Facebook status. Are you kidding me? Chris Bohjalian, well-played. Your book, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands has moved to the top of my book stack. I haven’t even read it, but I am going to recommend it for his comment. He is one of the greatest writers of our time so I already know it will be amazing.  Between that and our Scribd freebie membership this week, I won’t have to go to the library for awhile. Oh, who are we kidding, I already went yesterday.

 

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!