Back on Track

A year after the batteries in my scale died and I shoved that bad boy in the back of the closet, I weighed myself. For the first time in a year. The result? Up 8 lbs and a big explanation of why I'm not feeling so hot. So I'm back on track as of today.

My mom and sister are coming into town and it's a holiday weekend, but I've got to stop sneaking bites of raw cookie dough and trying to go chip for chip with my husband when we get Mexican. Even up 8 lbs, I'm still a good 20 lbs lighter than I have been before, but I don't want to get back to that place. 

When I was working as a Nutritionist, we used to tell our patients that "knowing doesn't equal doing". I'm singing that song more than ever these days. Knowing all I know, but still shoveling all the wrong things in my open maw.

So bye bye, waffle fries (for now, I'm sure we'll meet again when I can be trusted to consume you in moderation) and hello lots and lots of water. I didn't miss you, but you really help me out.

See ya, Hershey Kisses. Sure, you're only 25 calories a pop, but 10 of you in a row? That's a different story. Hello, lean proteins and lots of veggies. Personally, I think you can be really bland and boring but I'm determined to give you a makeover and make you delicious. 

If I'm being honest, it's not about swimsuit season (because I've found the perfect swimsuit no matter what), my sister's upcoming wedding, or even the number on the scale (that's just what I use to jolt myself back to reality), it's about feeling good. 

So RIP, nachos. I'll miss you for a while.




Drugstore Beauty Buys

If you were to walk into my bathroom at 7:30 in the morning, you'd see a number of things. 

My toddler, overnight pull-up discarded on the floor, squatting on her training toilet in full tutu and tiara singing "I'm peeeeeing!". A very big iced coffee or latte on the counter (depending on whether or not we've braved the Starbucks drive thru), me in some variety of yoga pants with the most spectacular bed head you've ever seen, and the following slew of products on the counter.

I love, love, love a drugstore beauty buy for two reasons:

1. They're cheap
2. They're easy to restock

There are few things more inconvenient than having to take a toddler into Sephora or Nordstrom because my MAC powder has run out, so I try to find the best drugstore options for most of my beauty items so I can snag a refill while doing our twice a week yogurt and paper towel run at Target. So basic. So happy.

Drugstore Beauty Buys

Dry Shampoo | Brow Gel | Eyeliner | Lip Balm | BB Cream | BB Body Lotion | Moisturizer

Let's start at the top and work our way down.

Dry shampoo is on the beauty buy list of most women I know, especially women with children. If I'm being honest, it's not that I don't have the time to wash my hair every day. I really easily sit Olivia with the iPad and hop in the shower. It's just that I don't have the inclination to wash my hair every time I'm in there. It takes forever to dry and is generally just a huge pain in the butt, so I like to stretch my wash a little bit with dry shampoo. I love the Not Your Mother's brand so much because it's super affordable, comes in a giant can, and doesn't have a weird odor or residue.

I like a strong brow, nothing new there, but I don't always want to take the time to really carefully fill them in (are we sensing laziness is becoming a theme here?). A quick swipe of the Maybelline Brow Drama gel tames those bad boys and fills them in with just enough color to satisfy my bold brow dreams. I know a bold brow isn't for everyone and once in a while I get carried away and Steph has to tell me I've crossed into drag queen territory, but it's ok.

I hardly use eye make up any more (because I got lash extensions about 6 weeks ago and they have rocked my world fo reals), but I'll occasionally throw on some eyeliner and the Nyx Two Timer liner has a felt tip liquid liner on one end (I love a good winged liner) and a pencil liner on the other. Bam. Two birds, one stone.

I'm seriously in love with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream Moisturizer for Spring and Summer. It's super light weight, smells amazing, and really gets the job done. I've been using some pretty powerful acne fighting products that can dry my skin out and after a night or two of using this, the dry skin story is o-v-e-r.

As for face makeup, I like to keep it a little lighter in the Summer and have always loved BB Cream. I recently found the Maybelline BB Cream that has 2% salicylic acid which is a dream for the acne afflicted like myself. It's light but still decent coverage and I like to think that it's battling acne while I battle with the toddler.

Finally, I've spoken of my love for the Jergens BB Body Lotion before and the love affair has continued. I swear this has made the stretch marks on my stomach (thanks, pregnancy) disappear almost completely, and feels really silky, not sticky after applying.

So there you go. Next time you're in Target and feel the need to stock your cart with some beauty finds, these are my favorites, so throw 'em in there. Assuming you have room with all the throw pillows, area rugs, and knick knacks you're also buying. Because you went in for toothpaste.

A Weekend to Reconnect

Hey, friends! 

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are ready to tackle the end (seriously, the end?!) of May!

Before I drift off to sleep while writing my to-do list for tomorrow, I thought I'd recap a fun weekend that I spent primarily with my hubby!

My mother in law was in town this weekend and she basically told us that she didn't want us around. She said it much more delicately than that, but she was clear. She wanted time alone with Liv (aka the stage five clinger when I'm around) and that we should get out.

So we did. 

We had three date nights this weekend. Yep, three. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We went on drives, saw Pitch Perfect 2 (it was hilarious), ate at a couple of not so kid friendly restaurants we've been wanting to try, and had the long conversations we used to have before we became parents.

We talked about O, our life, our goals. We shared french fries and even managed to sort out a sticky issue or two. The kind you can really only work out over nachos and wine at 4 in the afternoon.

Then we came home refreshed. Ready for the tantrum that was waiting for us two minutes after we walked through the door, and ready to handle it with renewed patience and the ability to look at each other over her flailing little body and laugh. 

Pictures?

I've got none. Just didn't take any. It was a nice break. Maybe next I'll try not posting on Instagram as much, though the withdrawals may do me in.

Tomorrow we're back to the usual routine, which is great because I like when things are nice and boring around here (honestly), until Friday when my own mother (and sister!) fly in!

Have an awesome week!

xoxo

We Need an Ark

It's been raining in Houston for a year.

Ok, four days, but if you have kids you know how I feel.

O's been standing at the window saying "Oh no, mama! It's waining!" for days and I feel bad that I keep telling her we can't go outside. It's rained hard enough that I probably could have shampooed her hair and then sent her out for a rinse and called bath time done. But enough talk about wasted opportunities. If it keeps up much longer, I'm just going to strap a raincoat on that kid and we're going out, wet or not. 

So what have we been doing?


Stickers, lots of stickers. We've baked, we've colored, we've painted, we've watched Disney movies an embarrassing number of times, we've played dress up princesses until we have no clean clothes left, and made good friends with the staff at the indoor playground.

But we miss the outside. Our pool is overflowing and a ten day forecast that calls for more rain has me feeling cabin crazy. So hit me, mamas. What do you do to pass the rainy day time?


Small Business Series: 3 Tips for Getting Started

If I had it to do over again, I'd do it differently. 

I started WC kind of fly by the seat of my pants and it took me a while to figure things out. Granted, I wasn't thinking "I'd like to start a business", it was more "well, um, maybe I'll start an Etsy shop?" and it evolved from there, but I've definitely learned a few things along the way. Some things have panned out fantastically and other things? Not so much. So let's talk about my top three tips for getting started once you know what it is you want to do!

1. Figure Out Your Logo/Branding in Advance

I didn't have a set logo before I opened my shop and it took me five or six tries and six months to find one I liked (and we're actually in the process of slightly modifying it right now), but this is really important. Your logo will be front and center on your site (whether its Etsy or your own dot com) and on your materials.

Here's the original logo thrown together in Pic Monkey

and our most recent, more professional logo:


We slap this bad boy on everything. Postcards that we mount the headbands and clips on, on the stickers that go on the outside of each package, on gift cards and coupons, you name it. 

Speaking of materials, I used to print a lot of mine at home and they just didn't cut it. They weren't as professional and it's worth the cost to have them professionally printed. I love Fed Ex office or Vista Print because the quality is fantastic and there's always, always a 30% off coupon on retailmenot.com so they can be really affordable. It's worth your while to sort this out in advance so that when your first orders come in, you're confident when you send them out. If your first customers are impressed with the quality of not just your product, but your packaging and presentation, they'll be return customers and spread the word.

Steph and I talk about this all the time, actually. Think about when you order something that you're super excited about. Then it finally comes and it's crammed in a tiny little envelope that's all crushed and the packaging is just disappointing. It's kind of a let down and takes away from the whole experience. We really want people to get our products and love the headband as well as how it's packaged. That means that it arrives in perfect condition and looking professionally packaged. Just my two cents, though!

2. Learn Photography or Hire it Out

Your photos will be what sell your product. I have to say that this is the second most important thing you can do to grow a business (I'll talk about the most important in a future post). Without being able to hold your product and see if in person, customers need to be drawn in by the photo. The photos have to sell it. My early photos were a joke and I'm downright embarrassed of them.  I've learned a lot of about photography and take all our lay flat shots and a good portion of our modeled shots to make up about 75% of our shots. We pay our favorite photographers to get about 20% of the other shots (mostly modeled) and we only work with photographers whose work we love and who understand our style - crisp, bright, and simple. The other 5% of shots come from customers who we love and have some major talent!

The photo philosophy extends to Instagram as well. When people first find your feed, they decide whether or not to follow based on their first impression. Dark, sloppy, or just generally unprofessional photos aren't going to help you, regardless of how amazing the product is.


I use  a couple white poster boards glued together to make a white box and move that box wherever the light is best to get product shots. I mostly use a nifty fifty lens when I shoot and try to shoot as many angles as possible so that each listing has multiple photos.


I also have a white backdrop in my studio for taking photos on kiddos (fortunately my friends have the cutest little ones and let me borrow them from time to time!).

3. Research Your Competition

In my arena in particular, there are literally hundreds of other businesses offering a similar product. Headband and accessories shops are a dime a dozen it seems, and researching others in your market is important for two reasons:

- you can learn a lot from more established shops
- it will help you identify what's already being done so you can find something that's uniquely yours.

We try really, really hard not to offer the same products as anyone else. Once in a while we see someone using the same lace or a similar style piece, but we really make an effort not to use supplies or products that others are using. For example, I started out with a lot of felt hair bows and decided that wasn't really my favorite, that other people did it better, and I wanted to be known for something different. We're known now for our lace headbands and while we offer a variety of pieces, lace headbands are our signature and I'm proud of that. They're my favorite items to make, sell, and see on our customers.

Think about what you want to be known for, make sure you're unique and use researching your competition as a way to make sure you are.

I feel like I could talk on and on about this stuff and maybe it's not particularly riveting, but they're easily the three biggest things I wish I'd done before I started!

Mother's Day

Motherhood has taught me a lot, like how to do seven things at once, change a diaper nearly one handed, and I can wrap a mean swaddle. It's also taught me a valuable lesson in adjusting my expectations, which is a lesson that came in handy this weekend.

Ryan was out of town working, I woke up with lock jaw and around lunchtime our garbage disposal exploded, leaving rotten food all over the kitchen and two sinks that wouldn't drain. A glam, brunching Mother's Day it was not.

BUT.

Motherhood has also taught me to enjoy the little moments that really matter, and after a quiet cuddle with my best girl, many many minutes of Facetiming with my own mother, and a sweet phone call from my hubby, all was well.




Well after that and four bottles of draino plus a plunger.

One of my favorite aspects of blogging has been getting to know so many other mothers, getting to pick their brains, and watch their kiddos grow up, so I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and Mother's Day, spent with the ones you love most.

A Week of Wear

Another week of suburban mom style comin' atcha.

It's taken me literally my entire adult life to find a style/pieces that work for my figure (post partum or not) and that make me feel comfortable and stylish (using the word stylish really loosely here).

I really prefer skinny leg pants, a loose top, and wedges or chic flats. I mix up the bags here and there and keep the jewelry minimal and it works for me. Here's what I wore this week!



Old Navy Dress | Old Marshalls Sandals  | TJ Maxx Tote




Old Navy Shirtdress | Jack Rogers Sandals | J Crew Factory Bracelet

Hope you all have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!
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