Fresh Love #ilooktoher

I was scrolling though the Gram the other day (my social media of choice since I had to physically block FB on my phone so I wouldn’t just delete the app and use Safari to get at my people…I have a problem.), and I was really struck by a photo and its caption.

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photo credit: @susana_starbuck

susana_starbuck of Little Flower Studios posted a snap of two delicious bouquets of fresh flowers – which she often does so you should follow her for a little extra beauty in your life. What was different this time is that she captioned the photo, “When I’m pregnant during Lent (which is like always) I have to get creative. This year I’m giving up fresh (and fake) flowers in the house. So obviously I had to stock up this weekend.”

How often does this gal (who also shares my love for hot lipsticks) have fresh flowers around that she can give them up for Lent? I want to have fresh flowers around so much that I need to give them up for Lent. What a beautiful life that would be!

If Susana’s life is anything like the gorgeous photos she takes, I want a little slice of that. I want me some fresh flowers.

Maybe you’re hopespecting some for Valentine’s Day. Or maybe instead of filling your house with mucho disorden, you can make it your new treat yoself gift. I like the latter.

I decided to treat my momma with some nice purples last week. She just got herself two new knees, and that warrants a little floral celebration.

While my mom is a huge flower lover, she was never much of a recipient this time of year. It’s not that my dad is a jerk (he’s totally the best dad ever), it’s just that my mom spent years working in a flower shop ON Valentine’s Day, so she wasn’t around to actually celebrate it herself. She worked for the sole purpose of sending my brother and I to private school. That’s it.

So, beauties for my mommy:

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I feel like Leslie Knope right now loving on these two beautiful women, and that makes TWO Parks and Recs references in one post. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, add a little fresh to your home with FTD just because, or celebrate your favorite lady this Galentine’s Day (three).

Color Me Prepared

disclaimer stuff: got a product, words are mine, etc.

The little Christmas tree the kids begged me to keep up until Candlemas (hello and goodbye…), is mocking me in the corner. It knows Lent starts next week. Next. Week. As in the 10th.

What are you going to abstain from? How are you going to make it meaningful? What are your grand plans for sainthood? I don’t know!

I do have the coloring pages covered. We all know coloring pages are code for “I don’t have my act together, but I want to live liturgically with my kids.” (p.s. I am working on a new book for families called The Lazy Liturgical. Keep your eye out for it.)

But what if coloring pages weren’t lame, and they were actually thebomb.com, or more specifically, illustratedchildrensministry.com?

The kids and I plan on working through An Illustrated Lent for the next 40ish days. Coloring is my jam, and my kids share the love too. It’s the one thing I do right as a parent. (And if you’re looking for over-achiever status, try the Family Edition package with easy and adorable devotion pages.)

And these suckers are HUGE. Check it out. There are nine of these bad boys:

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2ft x 3ft x 2 cute feet

These nine original, meditative coloring posters each have a word in the middle to use for reflection, meditation and discussion. I can do that.

So, you just need to go over and get them now. Because Lent is next week. Next Week. And use the promo code CALLHERHAPPY for 20% off because I’m magic like that.

 

 

The Dream of the 90s is Alive in Detroit

This post is sponsored by Rack Room Shoes, but all of the words and pictures and dramatics are mine.
This past weekend, we triple dipped.

Saturday was the Feast of the Assumption and a Baptism; Sunday was Mass. Guess which family hit up the Saturday vigil. Boom goes the dynamite.

But fall before and after the pride situation here. Trust me. I said that correctly.

Before heading to Mass, Sam be like, “Mmmm rancid milk from Wednesday. Glad I stashed this back here. Suh-lurps.”

We made it through relatively unscathed, but you can imagine the fear in my eyes when I KNEW I’d be dealing with the milky aftermath while Mike was on a business trip this week. Which fine. I didn’t have to deal (thank you, Bragg and DigestZen). But, the thought, you know. It exhausted me.

In order to avoid any further insanity, I’ve been taking the kids on daily, nightly, hourly walks downtown to tire.them.out. As well as their shoes.

Imagine my deeeelight when Rack Room Shoes offered to send the kidlets (and even zee husband) a new pair of kicks. They’ve got all of the brands you know and some you want to discover. My fam went sporty.

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“Sam, stand up tall so I can see your outfit.”

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“A motorcycle. A daddy like dat.”

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Sam’s Choice: Skechers Drifters

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easy, breezy posing

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more natural stances

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Ellen’s Choice: Sweet Steps

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Mike’s Choice: Converse Street Mid Lea

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not pictured: camera lady extraordinaire laying flat in minivan trying to capture entire massive husband in shot

Also, this is the first time I actually remember wearing a decade’s fashion that is now back in style. But save yourself from the chunky black oxford heels, and go here instead.

Give Back

Rack Room Shoes makes it easy for shoppers to make a difference in their communities by allowing customers to donate to Shoes That Fit at the register upon check out in-store, or online. 100% of donations will be distributed in the area where you purchase by working with school liaisons to identify children in need of new kicks.

And Rack Room is matching your donations, dollar for dollar, up to $300,000. Through this annual fundraiser, they have donated over $1 million and ensured that kids don’t miss school because they can’t afford shoes.

Shop

I’m guessing your kids are heading back to hit the pencils soon, right? Can I get an amen? Unless you homeschool. In which case, teach me your ways. Anyway, they’re going to need shoes. So it goes, every year.

Take advantage of Rack Room’s everyday BOGO 50% off deal. And join the Rack Room Rewards program to get simple, instant savings on shoes for the fam. Some of the member’s only perks include exclusive discounts, coupons, and $15 in rewards for every $200 spent.

 

Find Rack Room on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

#5Faves: The Better Gift Guide for New Moms + Giveaway

If you’ve had a baby, you’ve probably been given your share of receiving blankets, cute onesies, stuffed animals and personalized knick knacks. And, while I am not one to ever complain about a person’s generosity and thoughtfulness, those suckers get played out.

And, after birthing a child, aren’t you a little bit, “What do I get??” Besides hemorrhoids and post-natal hair loss, not much.

So because everyone will be buying the new bundle a gift or two, stand out from the crowd and make the momma feel special with my Better Gift Guide for New Moms. Trust me, she will love this.

 

Create a new mom gift basket with these 5 inexpensive (and one optional spendy item) gifts. Sometimes I feel like maybe I want a little something after giving birth! My favorite part is the secret knot headband! I wear mine every day.

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Nude Quick-Dry Nail Polish: Nothing makes me feel more put together than having my nails done. Nothing makes me feel grungier than chipped polish. So, give a new mom a nice, nude polish that dries fast, looks classy, and doesn’t show chips as easily. This is Sally Hansen Bare It All.

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Knot Twisted Headband: Doing my hair means a top knot, and I’m totally cool with that. But, what if I want to fancy it up just a tad? Maybe I want to cover up some of that grease…because it’s not going anywhere. I love my Knot Twisted headbands for just those reasons. So. Freaking. Comfy.

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Simple Pedometer: Make sure you let the new mom know that she’s beautiful and not fat. But, what mom doesn’t want an easy way to burn a few calories and increase energy after being pregnant? I clip one of these to my pants and just try to get 10,000 steps somehow. It’s an easy, measurable goal that doesn’t require alone time, a gym membership or Jillian.

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Wild Orange Oil: I had to add something citrus in here, because it is so darn good for your mood and energy levels. Lotsa moms deal with PPD and other variants of that demon (or even just baby blues), so give a new mom a boost with some sweet orange smells.

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Graduated Water Bottle: Water makes ya skin nice. It makes ya lose weight. It keeps ya energy up. It makes ya feel better. I love the numbers on the side of this one because I know if I drink two, I have met my water intake for the day. Again, measurable goals work for this mama. Drink up.

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BONUS FAVORITE – Netflix Subscription: She’s going to be spending time on the couch. Let’s face it. Let her face it with a binge sesh of Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, Sherlock, Portlandia, Parks and Recreation, Friends, ooh and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt...easily my new favorite show. I’m getting away with myself. Stop me.

Some links may be affiliate. Disclosure: I have received free Netflix streaming and a streaming device as part of my membership on the Netflix Stream Team.  All opinions expressed within this post are my own.

The Better Gift Guide for New Moms Giveaway

Link up your #5Faves below. But first, take a minute to enter the Rafflecopter for yourself or a new momma you love. You or her will receive a nude polish, a large flexi, a pedometer, witch hazel pads, a graduated water bottle and a 1-year subscription to Netflix. Woop.

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5 favorites

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Reusable Lent Calendar + Giveaway

Fun Fact:
Lent will be halfway over on March 12. Half. Way. I seriously just rolled up our Advent calendar. Have you thought about how you are doing with your commitments? I know I tend to stay on course more easily when I have tangible things to use as tools. I’m working my way through the Blessed is She Lenten Journal, and I also contacted Jesse Tree Treasures on Etsy about their Jesus Tree.

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What It Is:
“The Jesus Tree is a daily family devotional tool to observe the days of Lent. Follow this devotion through Jesus life, whether during Lent or any time of the year.

What is Included:
“47 disks for the 40 days of Lent and 7 Sundays, and 10 days to walk from Ascension to Pentecost. We have also included 7 bonus disks, including various holy days. Sort the ornaments by color to coordinate the weeks according to the enclosed card. Included is a chart listing the stories from each of the gospels to assist in devotion.”

How They Work:
Easy. During each day of Lent, draw the corresponding coin and read the Bible passage suggested. Since Lent is, date-wise, an ever changing season, a set in stone calendar is difficult to pin down. This method allows you to track the days of Lent in a meaningful way, but also lets you reuse the calendar each year to create a tradition for your family.

How to Use:
There wooden coins can just be drawn and returned to their pouch each day. They can also be made into magnets, ornaments or any other way you can dream up to display.

Perfect For:
I might be biased, but I feel these are great for young kids who don’t have a concept of time. We have a tangible way to count the days of Lent while learning about the life of Jesus.

Where to Buy:
Jesse Tree Treasures on Etsy

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Jesus Tree Giveaway

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Ellen Chatter + Giveaway

If you’re here for the Joules, scroll on down. I gots mines from Joules themselves, but opinions are all my own. If you’re here for cute kid words, look no further:

 

Watching a commercial of a girl eating fruit (that we’ve seen too many times):
(annoyed) “Mom, that girl always picks the plum…”

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Ellen woke up the other day, and before saying a word, let out a nice, loud toot and sleepily proclaimed,
“It said, ‘Good Morning.'”

Ellen: Mom, is Ms. Amanda (her swim teacher) married yet?
Me: Um, I think she is getting married tomorrow.
Ellen: Oh, so is she her usual self today?

“Dad, when we make the sign of the cross, do we turn into the Body of Christ?”
I feel like this is one of those deep, philosophical thoughts that I can say “yes” to?

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Seeing a picture of Red Rocks Amphitheater:
“That’s where Jesus went to college.”

Dropping a bucket of crayons on the ground:
“Aw, crickets!”
or another:
“Oh, double mix!!”

After spilling water on myself: Ellen, I am going to go up and change my shirt.
Ellen: And change your booby covers. They are wet too. You’re going to have to improvise.

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Screaming because Sam was coming toward her.
Me: Ellen, you’ve got to stop that. It’s ok. I love him. He is my son.
Ellen: Well, he’s not MY son.

Getting out of the car at night:
“Dad! I can’t see anything. I need to eat some carrots.”

Talking to my mom:
“When we get home I want to watch Frozen, and you can fast forward through the scary…wait…no no no. The TV is too tricky for you.”

Me: You can do a lot of things now that you are a big girl.
Ellen: Yeah, I can share. I can get dressed. I can put on my shoes. And I know to itch my butt on the outside of my underwear. My dad taught me that.

Ellen is really into rhyming these days:
Me: Ellen, you’re snuggly-wuggly.
Ellen: Mom, you’re fugly.

Joules Giveaway

Did ya like that chatter? Did ya like those wellies? How about these wellies? We love the Joules wellies.

Ellen totally rocked them out with her shorts, but I am also planning on putting some warm socks on her and using them as snow boots for the short bursts of time I allow them out to play in the snow during winter.

I am a big fan of mixing patterns, so I paired my bee wellies with my rose leggings, and today I wore them with acid wash jeans. What fun are patterns if you can’t expertly clash them?

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5% of the sale of the Black Bees wellies will be donated to the British Bee Keepers Association. I am not a fan of bees, but I actually would never want to see them go. They are kind of important.

Want your own pair of Joules Olive Horse Print Wellies? Rafflecopter, my friends.

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Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

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Let’s just get right down to this. I know what you’re here for, and I’m ok with that. Enter using the Rafflecopter below, and if you’re feeling lucky, enter my other giveaway where you can win TWELVE handmade gifts from a whole bunch of indie artist mommas.

Prizes

Sublime Stitching Metallic and Glow-in-the-Dark Threads
Set of 45 1″ Mini Embroidery Hoops

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Rafflecopter

(open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**visit Sew Mama Sew for complete rules and to enter more giveaways this week**

Your Guide to Buying Indie on Cyber Monday + Giveaway

As an indie artist myself, I know how much it makes my day when I open up my email to see an order in my inbox. And, while big companies employ lots of great people who need to make a living, I don’t think those companies feel that deep satisfaction every time a purchase is made.

So, consider doing a bit of holiday shopping from some of my personal friends this Cyber Monday. Many of them have great coupons and deals just for muh readers. AND, they are all giving away an item to ONE lucky reader. That’s a total of TWELVE gifts just for special you! It’s a beautiful thing.

Cyber Monday Indie Shopping Guide + Giveaway

Whole Parenting Goods

Artist: Nell
About: Textiles and knits for you & your baby with drooling & teething bibs, burp cloths, and blankets for baby! Little girl twirly skirts for your tot! And flaxseed heat packs and knit scarves for you. We source local and use organic fabrics and yarns whenever possible. With love from my home to yours.
Coupon Code: CALLHERHAPPY20 for 20% off for the next month
Giveaway: One Bandit Bib & Contour Cloth gift set in red and white polka dots! $40 value

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Rosaries by Allison

Artist: Allison
About: I am a Catholic convert (Easter 2013) and am passionate about praying the rosary. I have been designing rosaries pretty much ever since my conversion and don’t feel it’s a job because I love it so much! I love helping clients design their perfect rosary, one they won’t find in a store. That, after all, is how I got into this ‘business’ in the first place!
Coupon Code: CYBERMONDAYFREE for free shipping; through Christmas Eve: ADVENT10 for 10% off
Giveaway: Orange Matte Czech glass bead one-decade ‘pocket’ rosary with copper plated Rose center and crucifix

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Little Miss Pea Gifts

Artist: Jenni
About: Beautiful handmade gifts with careful attention to detail for that little extra touch. We have special luxuries for baby, unique children’s gifts, and lovely décor for your home.
Coupon Code: FALLFESTIVAL10 for 10% off
Giveaway: Cape, Crown, Magic Wand Set – color of your choice

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Harvesting Home

Artist: Caitlyn
About: Caitlyn is an amateur housewife and mediocre mama of two. She likes to run slow, drink coffee, pretend her garden is a homestead and sew. She also likes to drink wine and thinks everyone should do it in a pretty speckled glass.
Coupon Code: 
CALLHERHAPPY – Good for 15% any listing, expires December 15th
Giveaway: a pair of hand painted wine glasses ($20) in color of your choice

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Big White Farmhouse

Artist: Ashley and Andrea
About: Named after our great-grandmother’s farm in Maine, Big White Farmhouse was founded by cousins Andrea and Ashley as an online boutique specializing in home décor, accessories and gifts.  Through the shop, we hope to share our love for both the old and the new. We believe in the value of quality versus quantity, which is why we strive to find the best products from independent American designers across the country. We welcome you to our family’s store and hope you’ll find heirloom-worthy items to have in your own homes!
Coupon Code: CALLHERHAPPY for 15% off throughout December
Giveaway: Pewter Joy Heart Ornament

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Pretty Handmade Design

Artist: Laura
About: I started up-cycling t-shirts into memory quilts in college and have continued doing so for family and friends over the past 10 years. To craft away the long Michigan winters and whittle away at our students loans I recently opened my Etsy shop. I currently offer custom t-shirt quilts and plan to add other knit and sewing creations as well.
Coupon Code: CHHFriends for 15% off, expires at the end of Dec.
Giveaway: Ultra-soft t-shirt quilt throw (4’x4′)

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Scents of the Saints

Artist: Joelle
About: I am a suburban, Polish, homesteader housewife trying to find ways of feeling closer to Our Blessed Mother. This perfume is created in honor of our heavenly mother, Mary. It is called “Mary’s FlowersTM“.  Packaged in a seed box which will bloom into garden of flowers when planted. A meaningful gift for mothers, sisters, daughters and friends that need a little something inspiring.
Giveaway: 1 Bottle Blessed Mother Perfume

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With Joy Calligraphy

Artist: Elise
About: Elise blogs at {in endless song}, and owns the etsy shop {with JOY calligraphy}. A handwriting artist, Elise creates pieces she hopes will inspire your heart. A new line of printable designs is now available in the shop, in addition to handwritten art pieces, and calligraphy for wedding invitations & escort cards. Custom work is always welcomed and makes for a wonderful and personal gift!
Coupon Code: 10% off purchase with code CALLHERHAPPY {through December 12, 2014}
Giveaway: winner’s choice of any print in the new printable line 

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Signs of Love by Rakstar Designs

Artist: Rakhi
About: I’m a full time wife & mom of 2 who works part-time out of the home and all of the time at home. Having always flirted with art, I am finally taking the plunge to share my creative endeavors with others. My hope is that the artwork here will capture the whispers of our hearts and bring them to light…or at the very least lighten our hearts!
Coupon Code: 15% off with CALLHERHAPPYXMAS
Giveaway: choice of 8×10 “Dream Big” print or 8×10 “Play Hard, Pray Harder” print

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Carrots for Michaelmas Cookbook

Artist: Haley and Daniel
About: Daniel and Haley are Catholic converts who love food, Flannery O’Connor, and learning about their faith. Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simply Living for the Christian Year is an ebook that includes 23 simple recipes and a handful of simple traditions to celebrate the liturgical year and lives of the saints as well as reflections on the seasons of the Christian calendar.
Coupon Code: HAPPYFEAST (25% off if purchased before December 15th)
Giveaway: one copy of Feast! and one copy of the new ebook we have coming out (it’ll be more recipes to go along with Feast!)-ebook versions.

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Sarah G. Ortiz Photography + More

Artist: Sarah
About: Sarah G. Ortiz is a wife, stay at home homeschooling mama, and a photographer. This shop offers acollection of prints and other delights depicting my images from around the world. Each item is of the highest quality and ready to be shipped directly to you.
Coupon Code: 10% off through December 31st: CALLHER10
Giveaway: An 8″x10″ ready to frame print of ‘Nighttime in Nicaragua’

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Call Her Happy

Artist: Jenna
About: These tiny embroidery hoop necklaces are perfect for anyone who likes to stitch, sew, craft or create. They are dainty, adorable, simple and charming – all of my favorite things. Materials: unbleached muslin, bamboo ply hoop, antique brass chain and findings, felt backing for comfort. Measurements: 1″ diameter hoop, 18″ chain
Coupon Code: Free domestic shipping with code CHHFREESHIP {through December 31, 2014}
Giveaway: winner’s choice of any 1″ necklace – even custom!

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Making the Most of Quiet Time #StreamTeam

Disclosure: I have received free Netflix streaming and a streaming device as part of my membership on the Netflix Stream Team.  All opinions expressed within this post are my own.

I’m not into wielding parenting advice, because, come on, look at me. And we’re all just hanging on and pretty sure we’re messing up, right? RIGHT? But, I will tap out a ditty for you all about how I make the most of quiet/nap time in this 1920’s Dutch Colonial we call home.

I’ll start with some of the best parenting advice I received given to my by our doula, Vicki. It wasn’t this:

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Instead, she said to do all the chores and housework while the kids are awake, then don’t lift a finger while they are resting. It sets a good example for them to see you working and doing adult and responsible things like wiping down the couch with baby wipes and letting the baby eat fruit loops off of his sister’s art project and calling it a snack.

And then, when blessed nap and quiet time comes, you plop that sweet bass down on the couch like it’s no treble, and sit until you hear the faint whimpers of awakedness from the fruit of your well-rested loins.

In order to make the most out of happy hour, you’re going to need to plan ahead. Don’t waste precious quiet minutes gathering together supplies. Have that ready to go. Because, let’s be honest: when you can finally get all kids sleeping and resting at once? That’s a milestone. Here is what I require:

Acceptable Snacks and Bevvies:

  • cereal
  • popcorn
  • Cookie Butter
  • ANYthing I am not really willing to share

Facebook:

  • Check all notifications
  • Refresh
  • Take an important quiz to find out which 90s TV character I am
  • Refresh

Netflix:

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This part is muy importante. Be sure to have a show at the ready. You want to make sure that you can binge properly, and if you’re fuddling around trying to decide on something each day, well, you’re in for it. Sample some of my tried and true.

  • Gilmore Girls
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Babysitters Club
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Parks and Rec

And obviously I am all about finding new goodies to stream, so lay them on me, my friends.

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Oh Hot Damn: Tips for Your Jams

I know. I know. I’ve been doing a lot of sponsored posts lately, but I hope they are at least…helpful? I had quite a few backed up after my break, so you’re getting them now. And, best of all? They are all my own thoughts and opinions! Woo!

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I like having my nails done. As a matter of fact, I went to a nail place a month or two ago to get a gel manicure. I love those – when they are done correctly. This time it was, like, $60 for a real disaster of a job. I vowed that I’d had it. Mama don’t got that kind of cash flow for nonsense. 

Mama don’t got that kind of cash flow for nonsense.

So, I started a Facebook hunt for something cheaper that would still last. I came up with a great base and top coat combo, but I also found Jamberry.

Lots of Pictures of Phalanges

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Fancy for a wedding

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What’s left after one mani on Ellen

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Toes last up to a month

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Pros

  • Last up to two weeks, although they do start to look like they need a change by then
  • Fancy colors and graphics that are impossible to create by yourself no matter what Pinterest tells you
  • No drying time
  • Depending on how big your nails are, it comes out to about $3.75 per mani and pedi

Cons

  • Definite learning curve (my third time was a charm)
  • Take a long time to put on (30 minutes), but I guess if you consider getting a manicure at a salon and drying time, this is MUCH less time consuming.
  • Not as many solid colors; I’m a plain Jane
  • I don’t know if this is from the gel or from the jams, so I can’t really say for sure, but my nails seem a bit brittle right now. I DID peel gel off my fingers instead of getting it removed, so there’s that…

Tips

  • There are a few methods for applying your jams (check Youtube), but stick with the traditional heat method on the package. It lasts much longer.
  • Once you initially heat the wrap and place it on your nail, use tweezers to really stretch it out over your nail to get rid of wrinkles
  • Heat up your tweezers and use them to iron out any imperfections or to seal the tips of your nails
  • If you are really hard on your nails, consider sealing the tips with a bit of nail glue
  • Tips and videos from Jamberry .

Follow Jamberry on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook: @JamberryNails

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