Monday, August 24, 2009

What a difference a sink makes!

When we purchased our 4 year old home in February, we quickly learned that "builder grade" really means "boring and cheap". We've done a few upgrades around the house to make it less cookie cutter and a little more "us". For example, Ryan and his dad hung crown moulding all throughout the living room and dining room downstairs. We also installed a natural stone tile backsplash in the kitchen.

Saturday night, our kitchen went from this:


Isn't she purrrrty?!?! The new sink and faucet totally upgrades the overall look of the kitchen and just makes things look NICE. My awesome dad works for a company that sells these materials (sinks, faucets, tubs, toilets, etc), and got us an AMAZING deal on the sink and faucet... basically, we paid $80 for $800 worth of sink and faucet! How about that for an inexpensive upgrade?? And Ryan's awesome dad worked his tail off to help install the sink and faucet.... we are certainly lucky to have family who have great hook ups and are incredibly skilled!

Ok, one more gratuious shot of the new sink in our kitchen....

We have a couple other upgrades we're planning on for the house.... I can't wait to bring this house out of boring, cookie cutter builder grade to a fantastic and stylish home!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I can see clearly now...

There is no shortage of people to tell you that a baby will change your life. People will remind you that you'll maybe have stretch marks, so make sure you use that cocoa butter. People might even inform you that in order to lose those last 10 pounds, you will have to work harder than when you tried to push that little precious baby out and into the world.

But not a SOUL informed me that after having a baby, my skin would look similar to that of a 14 year old smack in the middle of puberty!

The breakouts started when I was pregnant with Campbell. I just kept reminding myself of the old wives' saying "Boys give beauty, girls take it away". I was diligent about washing my face, but honestly, I was the size of a small whale, so I figured that clear skin probably didn't make too big of a difference in my overall appearance. Plus, I am a make-up queen, so I was pretty good at hiding a nasty breakout most of the time.

I figured once Campbell was born, the breakouts would quickly fizzle out. Ok, fine- I was positive that the day after Campbell was born, I would not have any more icky breakouts! I didn't have breakouts before Campbell was born, so I figured that as soon as she was out, I'd be back to my old self. Yeah right.... if the swelling that occurred was any indication, it would be at least 3 weeks, if not longer until my skin was back to it's pre-baby self.

Helloooo.... 14 months later, I was still battling breakouts. My skin was NOT smooth.... I had little bumps covering my cheeks, and I was riddled with large zits that took weeks to get rid of. So, here I was, still trying to lose those last 10 pounds and covered in a face of zits!

I tried everything.... but I wasn't ready to admit that my skin needed serious help in the form of a well advertised product called ProActiv. I've always been able to use Neutrogena or something similar, but alas- we can't keep doing what we've always done. I wasn't ready for the committment with ProActiv though, and found some great reviews with AcneFree. Based on price ($14.99) and convenience (you can buy it at Target, Wal-Mart, etc), I decided to try AcneFree's Clear Skin system.

People- my skin is CLEAR! It has been one week and I have been using the system exactly as it describes (AM and PM, 3 steps each time). My skin is smooth, and I have no breakouts! I, do, experience a tad bit of dryness, but it is a small price to pay for the smooth, clear skin I am now enjoying! My hope is that I can go without wearing make-up more often (before, I wore make-up almost no matter what).

So, for all of you who are having skin troubles, I definitely recommend you check out AcneFree!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Who doesn't love a wedding?

OOOHH I love weddings! I just love wedding dresses, seeing the wedding party, watching the bride come down the aisle, and all that jazz. I cry EVERY TIME the bride comes down the aisle. I don't know what it is, but I just up and cry like I'm getting married. Never mind the fact that I actually laughed as I walked down the aisle... maybe I'm making up for the fact that I didn't cry?

And, oh yeah, if I'm in the "crowd", I definitely mentally critique the bridesmaid dresses. I just sometimes do not get the dresses that people wear in weddings. Maybe the bride is trying to make everyone else look hideous so they look exponentially wonderful... who knows. I tried to make an effort to have my girls wear dresses that they could wear again, and I actually know at least one of my maids who did!

So imagine how over the moon I was when one of my bestest girls in the world decided that she would let the BRIDESMAIDS pick out their dresses? Well, actually I kind of got nervous because we all know that people's idea of appropriate are all over the place. Thank GOD Megan put down some ground rules for her dresses (ex. no cotton, must be black, not too short, not floor length, etc). I searched and searched for a dress.... and folks, it just came in the mail today. I was not photo ready, so no pics of ME in the dress, but here it is from JCrew's website:

Of course, it's in black.... but oh goodness it is WONDERFUL. And I will certainly wear it again. I jumped for joy all over my bathroom after putting it on. The fit is perfect (thank you, amazing customer service people at JCrew... you are WONDERFUL!), and I am so pleased with it. And it doesn't hurt that it was on sale for $99, from it's original $215, either!

And speaking of Megan's wedding... she's getting married in the gorgeous Hendersonville area (think NC's Smokey Mountains) at the Pinebrook Manor. One of my other besties, Angela, and I decided that we wanted to have a more homey stay than just sitting in a hotel, SO, check out the cottage we booked for ourselves and our men.....

The Gardener's Cottage

Now, I just have to cool my jets until the big day.... September 26th! I'm so excited to be part of Megan's wedding... and of course to see my wonderful SBC girls! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Drop Everything and Read....

The Time Traveler's Wife.

No, I'm serious. If you haven't read it.... stop what you're doing (well, wait... finish reading my blog, of course) and read this book. It is AMAZING.

I was on the search for a good book to read during our beach trip, and the movie trailers for The Time Traveler's Wife made me curious. Seriously folks, after reading this book, I get chills every time I see the movie trailers on tv. It is THAT GOOD.

The basic premise of the book is that Henry, a time traveler, has a genetic defect that causes him to time travel to various times and locations. During his travels he meets Clare, who in present time is actually 8 years younger than him, but throughout his travels he sees her at various times in her life- the earliest at 6 years old. I know what you're thinking.... that this sounds crazy and not at all engaging, but you have to read the book to really understand how this happens... it makes much more sense than how I'm explaining it. The book is about love, loss, longing, life, parenthood, and friendship. It has a comedic undertone in the book, but if you aren't moved to tears at least once while reading this, you my friend are heartless.

Home Sweet Home

I do love traveling... and even more so to the beach.... but I also love coming home. I do hate to leave the beach, though. We had gorgeous weather (though it was fairly windy most days), and the family time is fun too!

Campbell liked the beach way more this year than last. Last year, I could hardly walk her down to the water without her screaming (she was 9 weeks old). This year, she would just plop down in the wet sand by the water and play for a good amount of time. And we made it away without her eating too much sand! Thumbs up!

Finding shells

Eating goldfish crackers on the beach.... is there any better time to eat them?

Don't even try taking my tootsie pop....

Every year, I take some black and white pictures on the beach. Campbell acted like she was on "America's Next Top Model", picking up sand and letting it blow in the wind, rolling around in the sand, and running out to the water. We got some amazing shots, and I can't wait to get them framed and hung around the house!

*Sigh*.... I can't wait till next year.... only 51 more weeks! :)