LuLaRoe review and giveaway

Have you heard of LuLaRoe?  It is a popular clothing company that is most well known for their leggings.  I kept hearing about how incredibly soft and comfortable their clothes were but I hadn’t had the opportunity to try them for myself until recently.  A LLR distributor reached out to me to see if I was interested in trying out a pair of leggings and she offered to give a pair away to one of YOU too!  Yay!  Of course I jumped all over that!

So she sent me some leggings and I have to say they TOTALLY live up to the hype about how soft they are!  I love the way they feel!  And they’re super comfortable too.  I so badly wish I’d known about these when I was pregnant because I practically lived in my one pair of maternity leggings and these would have been perfect for my big ‘ole belly!  They have “normal” colored ones like the pair I have on but they also have tons of fun and crazy prints too so there is definitely something for every personality.

I took some pictures to show them “in action”.  Y’all must know that I really love you to have done this because I am definitely not crazy about pictures of myself right now. (But getting there!  23 pounds down and counting!)  And of course my children needed to get in on the action so don’t mind Hudson and his cheesy grins and bag of pretzels.  #momlife

IMG_1888 IMG_1895 IMG_1898 IMG_1905 IMG_1917

Would you like to win a pair of your own?  Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leggings: LuLaRoe (obviously)
Dress: Loft maybe?  Or Gap?  It was a hand-me-down from a friend
Sandals: Target
Baby Carrier: Lillebaby

(P.S. HUGE apologies for how quiet it’s been around here on the blog.  I am way behind on the kid’s updates nor have I done a non-kid related post in ages.  Life is crazy right now but I do plan to *someday* get back at it.  Promise.)

So what about you?  Are you a LuLaRoe fan?  Never heard of it?  Totally obsessed?  Familiar with it but haven’t tried it yet?

my natural makeup search – what I found and what I’m loving

100 Pure and Alima Pure makeup reviewI’m dubbing 2016 The Non-Toxic Beauty Makeover Year.  Apparently being pregnant makes me want to totally overhaul things.  In January of 2014, when I was pregnant with Hudson, I decided to quit thinking about trying essential oils for a household cleaning solution and use my Christmas money to dive in and get a kit (and if you’ve been reading here long you know that decision has made a huge impact on how we care for our health as well as our finances).  In January of 2016, when I was pregnant with Parker, I decided to quit thinking about ditching my old makeup and trying to find something more natural – so again I used my Christmas money, threw out all my old makeup, did a bunch of research, and bought all new stuff.

Yep.  For someone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup I sure had quite the stash!  It didn’t help that I never threw any away unless I completely used it up so I had stuff in there from high school.  I gathered it all up and into the trash it went.  I kept a few things that I had been using on a regular basis (and weren’t expired like 99% of what I owned) just in case all the natural things I tried bombed or I needed something for a special occasion (so far I haven’t touched the stuff I put aside so I’ll probably throw it away soon too).

2016-01-29_12.07.21 copy2016-01-29_12.11.44 copyLook at all these lipsticks!  I don’t even hardly wear lipstick.  I sure like to buy it though!

Obviously the most natural thing to do makeup-wise is to not wear any at all.  Back when I first started my journey toward natural things I said that I would change a lot of things but I’d never give up my makeup.  I’ve learned to never say never, so I guess it’s potentially possible that someday I might go makeup free but I really don’t see that happening in the near future.  However I really wanted to find a better alternative to what I was using.

Most makeup is full of hormone disrupting, cancer causing components.  I don’t want that on my face (or anywhere on my body), not to mention I don’t want it touching my kids when I kiss them or snuggle their faces to mine.  I’d switched out all my other personal care products to safer, more natural options but hadn’t done anything about my makeup and decided it was time to get it done.

I did a lot of research.  I made a list of several companies that I’d heard were good non-toxic, free of harsh chemicals, natural options.  I then began looking at each one to see if I liked the products.  Some companies got thrown out, quite a few looked like good contenders.  Then I started comparing similar products from all of the companies (foundation from each company, eyeshadow from each, etc.).

In the end there were several that I was impressed with.  I only bought from two but there are really a lot of good choices out there!  (and I’ve actually heard of a few more even since I did my initial researching that I haven’t checked out yet).  I’ll include a list of all the companies I liked at the end of this post in case you want to try them out.

I really wanted to buy a little bit from each company so I could try them all out but when I realized that the shipping costs to buy an eyeshadow here, an eyeliner there, some blush at a third place, etc. was going to be pretty steep so I decided to just stick to a couple.

The two companies that I chose were 100% Pure and Alima Pure.  Here’s why:

100% Pure

  • – TONS of options.  This was one of the biggest reasons.  There are a lot of great companies out there but many of them only carry a few things but not everything that you need.  100% Pure has every makeup item that I use and pretty much everything I could think of needing so you can do a one stop shop and not have to buy from multiple places.  Instead of just loose mineral powder they offer pressed powder, tinted moisturizer, BB cream, liquid foundation, and cream foundation.  The have primers, multiple types and colors of eyeshadows, tons of colors and types of lipstick and glosses, and so much more.
  • – Free shipping – no minimum order required
  • – Free returns.  This was a biggie too because I was making a huge leap buying makeup that I hadn’t tried before.  I wasn’t convinced that I’d find anything natural that actually worked so I liked that I could return anything if I didn’t like it (and I have since used that feature and it was an incredibly smooth process)
  • – Lots and lots of reviews on their website so I was able to get real feedback on products I was interested in.
  • – Organic, vegan, cruelty free products.  (I don’t care about vegan but I know that’s important to some people so I threw it in here for your info)
  • – Most of their products contain more than just minerals, they’re made with fruit and flower extracts too.
  • – Offered pressed powder foundation and eyeshadow.  I’m not a fan of loose powder and loose eyeshadow, I feel like it’s super messy.  But since most natural makeup companies use mineral makeup then it’s usually loose.  I liked that I could get pressed!
  • – They also have a rewards program where you get points for each purchase you make and once you’ve accumulated enough you can redeem them for free product (they did not have this when I placed my original order so it’s wasn’t a factor in my decision but they’ve since come out with it and it’s something that I really like so I thought it was worth noting!)

Alima Pure

  • – Another one that offers pressed powder foundation.
  • – Offers little sample sizes that you can buy to try the powder before you commit.  They also have sampler pack thing where you can try multiple shades.
  • – Good reviews
  • – A ton of foundation color choices, probably more than any other company I looked at
  • – Free shipping over $35.
  • – I had found a $10 off coupon that I could use on my order (and I have one for you as well at the bottom of this post!)

100% Pure makeup packagingI bought the majority of my new makeup stash from 100% Pure since they had so many choices!  Here’s a picture I snapped of my haul when it came in – the cardboard tube packaging is cute too!

Here’s what all I currently have and what I think about each one:100% Pure and Alima Pure makeup review

100% Pure luminous primerLuminous Primer – I had gotten used to using a primer because prior to my switch I was using Bare Minerals (not as natural as one might think…) – a primer with the powder foundation and mineral veil.  I loved that smooth feeling it gave my face and how easy my makeup went on so I was excited to find that 100% Pure had primer too!  It feels and works great too.100% Pure foundation powderFruit Pigmented Powder Foundation – I was worried about picking the right color (but since they have free returns I figured I could always switch if I needed to).  I chose the color Creme and it was perfect for me.  The coverage is a little lighter than what I was used to so that took a bit of adjusting but honestly it looks more natural on me and after the initial adjustment period now I like it better.  I don’t have major blemishes, my issues are more about splotchy redness and this does a great job of covering without being heavy.

At $39.00 it was expensive but comparable to what I had been paying for Bare Minerals so I was ok with that.  However, it does not last nearly as long!  I’ve been using it since the end of January (so 3 months) and I don’t even wear makeup every day (maybe 3-4 days a week) and you can already see the bottom of the pan!  That’s my biggest complaint.
100% Pure tinted moisturizerFruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer – I did not buy this in my original order, this is something I added just in the last week.  I’ve actually never used a tinted moisturizer before but I thought it might be nice as a very light way to even out my skin tone.  So far I like it!  It has a sheer coverage like the powder but goes on easily with my fingers.  I do have to put a light dusting of powder over it (once I’ve done blush, bronzer, etc.) otherwise it looks a little too dewey/greasy.  Even though I got Creme powder, based on the reviews I read I bought a shade lighter in the tinted moisturizer (Alpine Rose) and it is a great shade so I think that was the right choice.

100% Pure cocoa bronzerCocoa Pigmented Bronzer – This stuff is intense!  I just barely touch my brush to the compact and still have to use a very light hand as I apply!  You can still see the “100% Pure” words in the powder so I’ve barely used any of it.  I got this the same day I got my foundation powder and always use both products so you can definitely see a difference in how much I’ve used of this versus the foundation (actually I’ve used this more often than my powder since I sometimes use another powder or tinted moisturizer but always use the same bronzer – a little goes a long way!).  As long as I’m careful applying though it gives a nice warm bronzing color.

Alima Pure satin matte foundationAlima Pure offers pressed powder foundation as well but they have a crazy ton of color choice, which is nice for finding the perfect match but hard because there are so many options. I picked four colors that I thought were close to what I needed and I figured once I picked my color then I’d buy the pressed powder version.  I haven’t even tried them all yet but so far the coverage is good – light like the 100% Pure powder.  Of course it’s messier than I prefer since it’s a loose powder but really I can’t tell a difference in this versus other loose (not as natural) mineral powders that I’ve used.100 Pure eyeshadowI chose the Pretty Naked Palette that came with Pink Champagne highlighter, a blush (Pretty Naked), and three eyeshadows (Flax Seed, Toffee, and Chestnut) to save on buying a large individual blush, highlighter, and multiple eyeshadows.  I also bought individual shadows in the shade Ginger (with my first order) and Sugared (in a later order).  As you can tell I tend to stick to a pink and brown theme.  As I order more I’ll try to add some variety into my collection.

I was initially disappointed because the eyeshadows were not nearly as pigmented as what I had been used to (I was mainly using eyeshadows from the Urban Decay Naked palettes).  However, after using them I’ve come to actually prefer the more subtle shades – I think it looks more natural. Also, I apply with a brush, I think if you used an eye shadow sponge or even added a little water you could get much more pigment.

The highlighter is very pretty and the blush is not the color I would have picked on my own if I’d been buying it separately but I like it just fine.

Alima Pure eyeshadowI also tried out one of Alima Pure’s pearluster eyeshadows in Taupe.  They only have loose eye shadows and it can be a bit messy so I don’t reach for this one as often as I do the ones from 100% Pure.  However, this one is a lot more shiny so I like it when I’m trying to dress up my eye a little bit or want to brighten up the matte look some.

2016-04-19_09.23.40 copyIt came with this plastic piece with holes in it but (and maybe I’m missing something) I can’t figure out how to get it to work other than to shake some into the lid, which is messy.  So I just took the plastic piece off altogether.  I wish I could figure out how to get the eyeshadow through the holes though without making a big mess.100 Pure and Alima Pure eyeshadow swatchesI am by no means a beauty blogger or expert or anything but I did attempt to swatch the colors on my arm so you could see them in action.  However I didn’t do a very good job and they look a lot more similar on my arm than they do on my eyes (at least, I think so).  It’s hard to tell the difference but I promise they are all (subtly) different.100% Pure mascara and Alima Pure eye linerMascara was one of the products I was most nervous about.  I’d heard it is really hard to find a natural mascara that actually works.  But I must say that I have been incredibly pleased with 100% Pure’s Maracuja mascara.  It lasts just as long as my old mascara, is a good color, thickens my eyelashes, and smells nice and fruity.  It also comes off very easily with coconut oil (my eye makeup remover of choice).  It is not waterproof, which I don’t care about, but that might be important to you.

The eyeliner came from Alima Pure.  Initially I was not impressed because I could get a good, dark line on my lower lid but I could hardly get it to make a mark on my upper lid on top of my eyeshadow.  It did fine on bare skin but wouldn’t work on top of eyeshadow unless I wet the pencil and worked really hard to get it on there.  However, after I sharpened it the first time it started working fine.  I’m guessing there was some kind of coating or something on the brand new tip that caused it to not work as well.  It’s great now and I’m pleased.

Alima Pure, 100% Pure, and Young Living lip sticks and lip glossAnd finally, lips!

I got a lip tint from Alima Pure in the color Petal.  It is very sheer and pretty much the exact color of my lip so I guess that makes it the perfect nude shade.  I really don’t wear lip color often so I’m good with a barely-there color.  It also makes a nice base under lip gloss.

I tried 100% Pure’s lip glaze in Watermelon (not pictured) but it was the only product so far I haven’t liked (and so I used their fab return policy and sent it back).  The color was nice but the color collected in a line on my lips and settled in my lip creases so I wasn’t impressed with how it wore.

Then I tried 100% Pure’s creamstick in Perfect Naked Berry.  I used to love Clinique’s chubby sticks (like a big, fat lip pencil) and this looked very similar.  I wanted the Perfect Naked Pink (I tend to always choose pinks or corals) but it was sold out so I tried the berry.  It was darker than I tend to wear (although not dark by most standards) but I got several compliments on it (probably just because it’s unusual to see me in lip color at all!) so I think I’ll keep it and step outside of my makeup comfort zone.  This lip product did not settle in my creases or anything and actually stayed on much longer than most lipsticks (which is one of the reasons I don’t wear much lipstick – I don’t like having to reapply all the time).  Now that I’ve tried one of the creamsticks I want to get them all!  I hope the pink one comes back in stock.

I also already had two lip glosses.  Young Living doesn’t carry any other makeup but they do have three different lip gloss/essential oil blend combos (gloss on one end, oil blend to use as perfume on the other).  I have the red gloss/amoressence scent (that’s the bottom one with the yellow oil blend) and the pink gloss/summer scent (top).  I bought the red/amoressence becuase I loved the smell of the amoressence.  I was hesitant about getting red but it’s not red at all and it’s not dark either – more of a sheer berry color.  The pink gloss is definitely my favorite color though!  I like it best out of all four of my lip color options.  Since it’s gloss it wears off faster than lipstick but thankfully it wears off evenly (instead of settling in creases) and it’s not sticky like some glosses so I really like that.

2016-04-19_09.20.24 copyI did hang on to one of my old products – this Tarte concealer.  I honestly rarely use concealer (my issues are more all over redness rather than blemishes).  Tarte is more natural than many but still not quite what I would want, but since I rarely use it I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on another one so I’m going to keep using this for now.

Again, I am no beauty blogger nor am I much of a selfie taker so try to look past the awkwardness of these next pictures.  I wanted to show you what the makeup looks like on so that you could see that it looks just as good as what you might buy elsewhere.  I feel like that’s better seen in person but I tried anyway so maybe this will help!

no makeupNo makeup at all.

face makeup onlyFace makeup done (primer, pressed powder foundation, bronzer, blush, highlighter) but eyes and lips still bare.

makeup done with 100% Pure, Alima Pure, and Young Living makeupFull face of makeup.  I think the lip color is the 100% Pure creamstick in berry.

So in case you haven’t gathered from the post I’ll recap here: I have been incredibly pleased with the makeup I’ve gotten from 100% Pure and Alima Pure, both in the fact that it’s so much better for me than my old makeup and in how well it works.  Of the two companies 100% Pure is my favorite but both are great.

Natural makeup is, as with most natural things, more expensive than their counterparts.  I typically bought brands like Clinique, Mary Kay, Bare Minerals, Urban Decay, etc. so I was used to spending a little more on makeup than if I’d bought it from Walmart, Target, etc.  However that might be a little bit of sticker shock for you so I wanted to give you a heads up!

I wish I had a coupon for you for 100% Pure since that’s definitely my favorite but unfortunately I don’t.  However if you sign up for their emails or like them on Facebook and watch their sales they do run lots of good sales, as much as 25% off which is pretty good!

I do have a discount code for Alima Pure though and they have great stuff too so worth a try!  Click here to get a $10 off coupon emailed to you for your first order (I think I might get a credit on my account too so thanks in advance!).

In case you are curious here is a list of the other companies I looked at and some of my thoughts about them.  Most I would like to try at some points, it’s just like I said before that didn’t want to pay shipping for so many different companies so I had to narrow it down.

  • Beauty Counter – This was (is) in my top 3 compaines that I want to try.  I’ve heard great things about their makeup (especially their Tint Skin Foundation) and one thing that they have that the other compaines don’t (that doesn’t matter to me but I know matters to others) is that their makeup is not mineral based.  Still natural, but not minerals like most compaines.  I don’t have an issue with mineral makeup but I know it makes some people break out, so here is another option for you.  I haven’t tried this yet but it’s on my list to try in the near future.  When I originally started my research a family member had mentioned that she was thinking about becoming a Beauty Counter consultant so I wanted to wait until she decided so that I could order from her if she did.  I had also already spent quite a bit on my makeup overhaul so there was that too.  Their selection isn’t huge but it’s a decent size and I would guess they will add more as the company grows.  I linked directly to the website but fyi this is a direct sales company so if you decide to try their stuff find out if one of your friends is a consultant first and order through them to support them!
  • Root Pretty – I was very impressed with these products too.  Lots of options, offers lots of samples (more than just foundation samples) you can purchase to try colors before you buy, more budget friendly than some of the other companies.  This is another that I would like to try out in the future.  I was not impressed with their customer service when I reached out to them which is why I didn’t order from them during my initial order.
  • Juice Beauty – Pretty good selection, including liquid foundation.  Free shipping over $30.  According to their store locator our local Ulta carries Juice Beauty (although I’m not sure how much) so that’s a plus if you like to check things out in person rather than order online.  I don’t go to the mall much but next time I do I’ll go check out our selection.
  • Sweet Savvy Minerals – This is a relatively new company founded by a fellow Young Living distributor.  I defintely like to support a fellow YL colleague but their selection is still pretty small and they only offer the loose powders and eyeshadows so it’s something I’d like to try in the future but it didn’t make my initial order.

There were a couple of other companies I checked out that were not as natural as they claim or who have since (as in, since I did this research in January of this year) closed their doors and/or rebranded due to some internal scandals.  I’m not going to name names as my goal here is not to call out other companies.  These listed here are ones I suggest either from personal experience or my research as of a few months ago.  I’m sure there are other great ones out there, I just suggest you do some digging on your own to see if the makeup you are looking at is really natural.

And there you go!  If you read this far give yourself a pat on the back!  I know that was a lot of info.  I hope it’s helpful and that you’ll see that it’s a lot easier to switch to natural makeup products than you might have thought.

Disclaimer: I bought all of this makeup with my own money.  None of these brands know who I am and I didn’t receive any products for free.  This is my honest review based on what I purchased and my own experiences.  

Have you tried any of these brands?  What were your thoughts?  Do you have any questions about what I tried?

no ‘poo no thanks

No, not that kind of poo. I’m talking shampoo.  Have you heard of going no ‘poo?  I’ve been hearing about it for a couple of years on Pinterest and blogs; basically you stop washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner and use other natural options.  There are several methods of doing this but the most commonly talked about one is baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  You “wash” your hair with a baking soda and water solution then rinse and “condition” with a vinegar and water solution.

It had mixed reviews, as most things do, but the majority of people had good results and said if you’ll stick with it through the transition period then your hair will be ah-mazing.

Well, who doesn’t want ah-mazing hair?  And I’m nothing if not up for a a good ‘ol crunchy hippie girl challenge.  So tried it.  For a month.

I started October 7, 2013 (Yes, last fall.  A year ago.  And I’m just now getting around to blogging about it.  Don’t judge.) and I was so optimistic.  I wore my greasy hair in buns, covered it with big headbands, used a DIY dry shampoo, and tried to wait it out until the transition was over.

Well, that never happened for me.

It was bad, y’all.  I’ve always had greasy hair (like, it would start looking greasy less than 24 hours after I washed it) but this was beyond horrible.  My hair felt gummy and gross and looked awful.  My scalp was itchy and flaky so I looked like I had dandruff on top of the nasty grease.

I tried and tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t take it anymore!  One Sunday morning after I “washed” my hair with the baking soda and vinegar then dried my hair to get ready for church I just wanted to cry because it felt and looked so nasty.  I jumped in the shower, re-washed with my old shampoo, and ahhhh…talk about some ah-mazing hair.  After a month of grossness it felt SO wonderful.  (Well, I quit on November 3 so almost a month, but close enough)

I had told very few people that I was doing no ‘poo because I didn’t want everyone to think I was gross.  But after I washed my hair for the first time in a month I got several compliments on it so obviously it didn’t look good while I was doing it if they noticed that big of a difference.

So, would my hair finally have transitioned if I had kept at it?  Maybe.  But honestly after a month of trying I wasn’t willing to keep going.

Would I try it again?  Actually, I might.  Not any time soon, but maybe someday.  I’ve since heard that if you have hard water (and we do) that the apple cider vinegar isn’t the best thing to use so that could have been my problem.  I might just need to tweak some.

Why am I telling you all this?  I have no idea.  I know this works really well for some so I’m not trying to discourage you from giving it a try, I guess I just thought I’d share to show that it doesn’t work for everyone.

After I gave up the No Poo I went back to my conventional shampoo for a while.  I’ve now switched to a natural shampoo and conditioner from Young Living and I think it’s a good balance – better for my hair without quitting cold turkey.  I had a transition period with this but it was very mild and didn’t last nearly as long.  People who don’t like the no ‘poo method often prefer to do “low ‘poo” by using a natural shampoo like I’m doing or trying to shampoo every few days instead of every day (or just washing with conditioner – I’ve heard of that one but I’m not sure how that works exactly).

Here are some pictures from during that time period.  I didn’t get any close ups because I didn’t think about it nor do I think you could really tell anything from a picture.  Looking at these pictures that really don’t look that bad but trust me, in person it looked bad and it felt worse.

IMG_8505 IMG_8493 IMG_8480 IMG_2623

So what do you think?  Have to gone no ‘poo?  Would you try it?

(I’m hoping ‘Becca will weigh in here on why I had such a hard time with no ‘poo, maybe she’ll have some insight.  Of course if any of the rest of you do then please share!)

Jamberry Nails review and giveaway

Jamberry candy chevron and teal polkaCandy Chevron (discontinued) with a Teal Polka accent nail

Have you heard of Jamberry nails?  They are great!

I am not a nail polish girl.  I think polish makes my nails feel weak after I take it off plus I just can’t stand the hassle of painting, making a mess, letting it dry, trying not to mess it up while it’s drying, chipping, etc.  I keep my toes painted all the time but very, VERY rarely paint my fingernails.  It’s been well over a year since I painted my nails.

I started hearing about Jamberry Nails and I’d seen a little bit about them on Facebook but didn’t know what they were exactly.  A few months ago my friend Gina invited me to an online Jamberry party.  I attended, had a lot of fun, played some games, won some free stuff, and purchased some Jamberry nail wraps to try.

Since then, I’ve been wearing my Jams pretty much all the time and Gina loves them so much that she started selling them
(check out her website here)…so we decided to team up and do a giveaway!  Yay!

Jamberry Mad ModMad Mod

So what are Jamberry Nails?  Think fake nails but in sticker form.  They are stickers that are shaped like your nails – you cut them to the length of your nail, apply a little heat, stick them on, do a little filing, and voila…pretty nails.  It really is super easy.  It takes me maybe 15 minutes to do my nails and the best part is that I can stop in the middle if I need to.  There isn’t any drying time so if Hudson wakes up and needs me and I only have two nails done it’s no big deal, I can go back and finish the rest later and I don’t have to worry about the fact that they aren’t dry and might get messed up when I pick him up.

Jamberry black and white polka and bubblegumBlack & White Polka with a Bubblegum accent nail

How do you use them?  I alluded to that in the previous paragraph, but here’s what I do: Buff my nails and wipe with some alcohol to make sure the are clean and smooth.  Cut the Jam to approximately the length of my nail, hold in front of the heater, stick to my nail, smooth down, then file the tips. Jamberry sells an application kit (with scissors, a buffer, nail file, alcohol wipes, etc.) and a heater.  I won the application kit during a party I attended and then Gina was kind enough to send me the heater to use for this review.  I love having the application kit and the heater and I think the heater is definitely easier to use than a hair dryer, however, you totally can still use the nails without having all the Jamberry equipment so don’t let that stop you!

Jamberry application kit and heater

There are bunches of You Tube videos about how to apply your nails and I recommend watching a few of those to see what to do before you start.

How long do they last?  For me, about a week.  I find that after a week my nails have grown so much that there is noticeable (to me, probably not to others) growth at my cuticles and that the ends have started to get a little worn.  But for me a week is plenty and I’m ready to move on to a new pattern anyway, plus that’s still way longer than my polish would have lasted.

Jamberry August hostess specialHere’s one set the day I put them on
Jamberry after one weekAnd then a week later (I just realized I took a picture of the other hand, whoops).  You can see some growth but overall they still look pretty good.

My favorite thing about Jamberry Nails is that I get to enjoy having pretty nails without the hassle of painting or the cost of a nail salon.  Having my nails done makes me feel happy and pretty and put together even on the days that I’m covered in spit up.  I also get to branch out past my normal red or pink polish to fun patterns and colors.  I never thought I’d be a nail girl but now I am and I love them!

Now it’s your turn to try out the Jamberry goodness by winning the giveaway!  One of you will win a $25 product credit to use towards some Jams!  How exciting!

We’re also having an online Jamberry party if you’d like to join us, learn more, play games, and maybe win even more cool stuff!  That’s right, there will be even more giveaways in addition to the one we’re doing here on the blog!  Plus, joining the party will get you more points into the giveaway so definitely do that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

new mom hair – Lilla Rose review and giveaway

ditch the claw

Hudson is a big time hair puller.  In fact, since he was four days old he’s been grabbing on to and yanking anything he could get his hands on (I learned the hard way and haven’t worn dangling earrings since he was four days old…).  Needless to say, my hairstyle of choice most of the time is up and out of his reach.

That gets pretty boring and usually means a lot of ponytails.  Lots and lots of ponytails.  They’re fast and easy…but not very exciting.  At home I was using a beat up old claw clip to flip my hair up in a twist (hello middle school!) but couldn’t bring myself to wear it out in public so when I went out I mostly stuck to ponytails.

Enter Lilla Rose.

I don’t remember when I first heard about the Lilla Rose Flexi Clip but it’s been quite a while, maybe even a few years ago.  I remember being intrigued but never pursued them any further; then a few months ago I stumbled across them again on Pinterest and really wanted to give them a try.  The Flexi Clip looked like a perfect, updated substitute for my beloved claw clip up do.  I got hooked up with Independent Consultant Linda Sears and she helped me determine what size would be best for me.  I ended up ordering one clip and then she sent me a second one to try so I could write this review and she is also sponsoring this giveaway for one of you lucky readers!  Yay!

I really wanted to be able to wear my hair all the way up and back, so based on the sizing video and Linda’s recommendations I ordered a medium.  There are so many beautiful designs and colors, but I wanted to start out with one that was simple and would match everything so I choose the Celtic knot pattern.

It was perfect!  I wear my hair in a french twist of sorts probably every other day now.  It’s almost as quick as flipping my hair up in a claw but looks much more polished!

And, bonus, it holds so well and is super comfortable.  There have been many days that I have put it up in the morning and basically forgotten about it.  I can go all day being pretty active and not have to re do my hair; in fact, I’ve even taken a Sunday afternoon nap and then gotten up to go to church again that night and not had to fix my hair since it still looked good!  Wow!  My head doesn’t get sore, either.  The Flexi Clip isn’t tight or put pressure on my head like bobby pins or barrettes do so I can leave it in all day and it doesn’t hurt.

lilla rose celtic knot french twistLilla Rose Flexi clip Gibson Tuck

Linda then sent me an extra small to try out so I could so some other hair styles.  The extra small is perfect for a loose half up, a tails up, or a pony tail.  When I first tried putting it on my pony tail I was nervous about how tight it was, but then I realized it needed to be that tight in order to keep the ponytail in place.  It ended up being exactly what I needed!

lilla rose Hawaiian flower half uplilla rose Hawaiian flower ponytaillilla rose Hawaiian flower braidLilla Rose Flexi clip tails up

I just can’t say enough good stuff about Lilla Rose.  I feel much more put together now that I have an alternative for my hair.  I’m able to get it away from Hudson’s grabby hands but not have to wear a boring old ponytail anymore.

Lilla Rose has other products besides just the Flexi Clip.  They have these You-Pins that I really want to try.  My other previous go-to hairstyle (besides the pony tail) was a bun.  My Flexi Clips aren’t big enough to hold my hair in a bun (and I think it would look kind of silly anyway), but the You-Pins look like they would be perfect for my buns so they’re on my wish list to purchase next.   I’m especially crushing on the Sparkling Star and the Open Flower!



They also have some beautiful headbands, hair sticks, and bobby pins.


So….do you want one??  The good news is one of you will win a Flexi Clip of your very own!  Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below to enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win?  Don’t want to wait?  Ready to Christmas shop?  Think you’ll need more than one?  Then go ahead and purchase one (or more!).  Linda has a special for new customers – buy 3 get 1 free.  Grab a variety of sizes to try or buy several to use as stocking stuffers for the girls in your life.

Before you purchase, make sure you watch the sizing video so you know what size you need for your hair type and length.  It is super helpful!  If by chance you order the wrong size, Lilla Rose will gladly exchange your flexi for free within 90 days. There is also a one-year guarantee on defective items.

(Fine Print: Giveaway is open to US residents only.  This giveaway is sponsored by Independent Consultant Linda Sears.  I was sent a Flexi Clip in exchange for my review but all comments and opinions are mine.)

BeBand three ways – Works for Me Wednesday

At the beginning of my pregnancy I bought a BeBand from Target.  A BeBand is basically just a stretchy, spandex-y, tube-top-ish piece of fabric that you can use to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy pants.  The idea is that you leave your too-tight pants unbuttoned/unzipped and then wear this band over it and it holds your pants up (sounds like something I could use more than just during pregnancy!). I used it a few times but didn’t really like it.  It would never stay in place and either rolled up or down and drove me crazy.  I think most of that was due to the fact that my pants were already too tight and pushing their limits even before I gained that first pregnancy pound.  I ended up just moving into maternity pants pretty early and wearing long shirts to cover us the saggy belly/crotch area until my belly filled out enough to actually warrant needing maternity pants. The BeBand went into my drawer for months.  I actually offered it to someone else who was pregnant but she wasn’t interested so I just hung on to it.  I’m glad I did, because as the months went by I found some more uses for it. The second way I used it (the first being for its original purpose) was as a tube top of sorts.  I struggled with so many of my maternity tops being much too low cut.  At the beginning of pregnancy I just layered a tank top underneath to bring the neckline up a little higher.  As my belly grew the tank tops got too tight around the belly.  I wasn’t about to buy a bunch of new tanks though!  One day a thought popped in my head and I grabbed the BeBand and put it on like a tube top.  That worked perfectly!  It covered everything that needed to be covered and raised the neckline, but it didn’t restrict my belly or have annoying straps that kept falling off my shoulders. IMG_8978 I used it as a tube top for several weeks leading up to delivery.  Then after delivery I found yet a third use…as a girdle. You see, after you have a baby your stomach is all loosey-goosey.  It used to have this big baby in there, plus a placenta and fluid and all kinds of other stuff… and now all of the sudden it’s empty.  It just feels weird and it’s hard to stand up straight because all that weight that you were used to carrying around is gone.  I found that in those first few days I much preferred wearing my maternity yoga pants that had a full panel that went over my stomach because that stretch panel gave me a little support and it felt like it was holding my stomach together.  I really wanted to wear all my pajama pants but they were just normal-waisted and didn’t give me any support like the maternity pants. Enter the BeBand. I wore the BeBand around my stomach…not to hold up my pants in this instance, but to hug my tummy just a little bit and give it that extra support.  That way I was able to wear my loose pajama pants.  I only needed it for about a week before that strange empty stomach feeling went away, but it was wonderful to have while I needed it. I had actually considered buying one of those very expensive support girdles for after pregnancy that are supposed to help your stomach shrink back.  I decided it was probably not that effective and didn’t want to waste my money.  I also bought a cheaper post-natal support belt from Motherhood Maternity, but it was too stiff so I took it back.  The BeBand ended up being perfect – it gave me support but wasn’t too tight.  Do I think it helped my stomach shrink?  Probably not (not that the expensive girdles necessarily do either), but it gave me that little extra hug my waist needed. So don’t write off your pants extender after the first few months!  If you’re like me you’ll be able to extended its life (pun totally intended) through your pregnancy and beyond!  Who knows, I might even find more uses for it in the future. Oh and a bonus…this YouTube video shows you how to use two t-shirts and a belly band to make a DIY baby carrier.   Pretty cool.  A fourth use for your belly band! The BeBand (and it’s many uses) works for me! And a Hudson picture…just ’cause he’s cute :). Photo Feb 09, 12 52 28 PMIt’s hard to believe this little guy lived inside my tummy for nine months…no wonder if felt all strange and empty after he was born!

P.S. Come follow My Chocolate Moments over on my new Facebook page!

What I Wore Wednesday

I actually like these outfits for a change!  Dressing my pregnant bump has been challenging in that I don’t usually feel like my outfits are really all that cute.  Mostly as long as they fit and don’t look too tacky or outdated, then I’m satisfied, but I don’t typically look back at pictures and particularly like the way they looked.  The ever changing belly, the clothes that fit one day and not the next, the awkward way the clothes are made in order to accommodate several months of body changes; these things just make it harder to find things that fit well I suppose.

Anyway, this week I had some winners that I’m proud to show off :)

gray maternity sweater26w3d

sweater – Motherhood Maternity
skirt – Motherhood Maternity
boots – Madden Girl via Marshall’s

DIY pumpkin belly maternity shirt26w6d

shirt – Hobby Lobby (jack ‘o lantern face added by me)
jeans – Motherhood Maternity
shoes – Toms

I was inspired by a picture of a shirt that a friend texted me many months ago (I’m sure it’s on Pinterest but I can’t find it right now).  This was so easy to make – I just bought an orange shirt from Hobby Lobby, cut the jack ‘o lantern face pieces out of black felt, and sewed them on with a zig zag stitch.  It probably took less than 30 minutes.  The only think I didn’t like was that because the shirt was just a regular t-shirt and it had to be big enough to fit my belly, the shoulders were way too big.  In hindsight I might have tried to track down an orange maternity shirt so it would fit better, although for one day of wear and less than $4 I can just deal with the big shoulders, huh?

purple and yellow scarf27w3d

shirt – Old Navy maternity
sweater – Limited
scarf – Rugged Wearhouse (aka Gabriel Brothers)
jeans – Motherhood Maternity
boots – Gianni Bini via Hyder’s

Linking up with Lindsey

pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday + a Bellaboulie Boutique giveaway!

………………………giveaway is now closed………………….

I am so excited to share a giveaway with you today!  An old friend of mine (that sounds bad…she’s not old, we’ve just known each other since we were little) runs an online boutique called Bellaboulie Boutique.  They sell fun jewelry, accessories, and clothes.  She contacted me to see if I was interested in doing a review and giveaway…ummm, yeah!!  So she sent me a few pieces to try out for myself.  Here’s how I’ve worn them over the past weeks:

to a wedding:

teal Old Navy maternity dress24w2d

dress – Old Navy maternity (buy here)
tank – Gabriel Brothers
boots – Gianni Bini via Hyder’s
necklace – Bellaboulie Boutique

bellaboulie jewel tone statement necklaceI love this Jewel Tone Statement Necklace.  It is perfect for fall!

to church:

pink checked Motherhood Maternity shirt24w3d

shirt – Motherhood Maternity (buy here)
skirt – Motherhood Maternity
shoes – Target
necklace and earrings – Bellaboulie Boutique

bellaboulie monogram initial gold pendantMonograms are hot, hot, hot right now and I was excited to get my very own Monogram Initial Gold Pendant (“K” for my last name, I haven’t changed how I spell Caitlin…just in case you were wondering; although the swirly next to the “K” kind of looks like a “C” anyway so that’s pretty fun)

bellaboulie pearl cluster earringsThese Pearl Cluster Earrings were probably my favorite item – they are just so versatile and can be dressed up or down!

(apologies for the horribly awkward picture of the side of my head)

orange and turquoise fall outfit25w3d

dress – Old Navy
tank – Gabriel Brothers
boots – Gianni Bini via Hyder’s
cardigan – ??

to work:

shades of gray25w5d

shirt – Motherhood Maternity
pants – Gap maternity
shoes – Shoe Carnival
headband – Gussy Sews
necklace – Bellaboulie Boutique

bellaboulie pretty in turqoise necklaceAnd finally, the Pretty in Turquoise necklace.  I was a little unsure of how I would wear this; I thought it was a bit dressy with all the diamonds.  I decided to give a try with a normal work outfit and I thought it turned out great!  Yay for taking fashion risks!

Birds of a Feather Scarf

This beautiful Birds of a Feather scarf is what one lucky reader will win – just recently added to the shop for fall!  You can earn three entries by completing some or all of the Rafflecopter tasks below; I’ll announce the winner on Sunday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait to get your hands on some of their yummy items?  From now until October 31, use the word “chocolate” to get free shipping on your order!

Linking up with Lindsey

pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday

Fall break really cut in to my blog-worthy-outfits since I spent most of the break at home working hard on the nursery and scrapbooking, but here are a few cute ones (in my opinion at least) from the past few weeks.
flowerdy shirt22w6d

shirt – Old Navy maternity
jeans – Motherhood Maternity
boots – Gianni Bini via Hyder’s

I love these boots so much and want to wear them (it is October after all) but I’ve only gotten a few chances so far.  It’s still just much too warm many days.  Come on cooler fall weather!

black and white stripes and polka dot toms23w1d

shirt – Gap
jeans – Motherhood Maternity
shoes – Toms
necklace – made by me

black and white polkadots23w3d

shirt – Motherhood Maternity
skirt – Motherhood Maternity
shoes – Payless

Remember how a few weeks ago I wore those red shoes and Josiah told me that he liked my “red boots”?  Well, last week he was visiting family and Tiffany said he went into his aunt’s room, got out a pair of her red heels, and said “Look!  Red boots like Missy Caitlin’s!”.  How adorable is he?!?

tan stripes and polka dot toms23w6d

shirt – Motherhood Maternity
long sleeved shirt – Limited
jeans  – Motherhood Maternity
shoes – Toms
owl necklace – Amazon

Linking up with Lindsey

pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday

Another Wednesday – time for pregnancy fashion!
teal Old Navy dress22w3d

dress – Old Navy (get it here)
tank – Gabriel Brothers
shoes – Payless

I just got this dress from Old Navy Maternity this week.  It is so soft and comfy, plus I love that teal color for fall!

I’ve reached the point in pregnancy where I no longer feel stable in high heels.  The last time I wore heels to church (that was basically the only time I ever wore them anyway) I felt a little off balance.  I guess my center of gravity is shifting, so for now I’m going to stick to flats.  These shiny red shoes fit the bill of dressy enough for church but still flat and comfy.

puzzle(obligatory cute child picture…)

Funny story about my shoes: after church Josiah bent down, touched the tip of my shoe sweetly, and said “I like your boots, Missy  Caitlin!”.  He was wearing some little cowboy boots and must have thought that mine were boots, too, since the toe was pointy.  Love him and his funny comments!

raspberry top and skinny jeans22w3d

shirt – Motherhood Maternity
tank (underneath) – Old Navy
shoes – can’t remember, but probably shoe carnival

Linking up with Lindsey

pleated poppy