Instagram Blog Hop {I'm co-hosting!}

Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm super excited to be co-hosting the Instagram Blog Hop this week! Make sure to link up and follow some of these fabulous ladies

1. Follow your hosts:

Katelyn- Instagram: @learningcreatingliving

Alyssa - Instagram: @alyssaleane
Blog Bloglovin - Facebook - Pinterest

Marisa - Instagram: @burlapandbananas
Blog - Pinterest - Twitter - Google+

2. Follow your co-hosts:

Melissa - Instagram: @MelissaSwenson1

Kendwy - Instagram: @mindofkiwi

Hilary - Instagram: @cutiecameras

3. Link up your Instagram web profile
Fill out the URL, Name & Email to link up your Instagram profile as shown below:
If this happens to pop up: "Error: The requested URL returned error: 500", that's totally fine! It simply means that it's unable to find a picture to use not that you have a link that is bad. Click on "Direct Image URL" if you have one or "Upload from Computer" and pick an image of yours to upload. If you still have trouble, you might be better off with using Followgram or Webstagram to upload your profile/picture.

4. Check out other Instagram profiles & make new friends!
After all, that's what this party is all about!

5. Share the Instagram Blog Hop & spread the party around so we can keep making new insta-friends!

If you're interested in guest co-hosting one week, email

Link up

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Hot pink & glitter gel manicure {How to embed glitter}

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I wanted a fun, bright manicure for Spring, but I was feeling a tad lazy. I didn't just want a plain color. I also didn't want to sit and do nail art since I'd just soaked off my previous set of gels. I decided a glitter accent nail would be a fun way to jazz it up without being too time consuming. Rather than use a glitter nail polish, I used loose glitter on top of my gel. The pink color is called Gossip Girl by Gelish MINI.

Here's a quick tip on how to add regular, loose glitter to your gel manicure: after applying and curing your base coat and colored gel of choice, use an eyeshadow brush to pick up some glitter and dab it on the nail. Continue dabbing the glitter on the nail until you get the coverage you like. Then shake off any excess glitter from the brush and nail. Use the side of the brush to press the glitter into the nail. Don't worry about ruining your gels- you've already cured the layers you have on. Pressing the glitter into the nail will ensure a smooth finish on your nail and the nail won't feel "gritty" when you're done. Then apply your top coat and cure it. Don't forget the free edge! I prefer two layers of top coat after doing glitter to ensure good coverage and a super smooth finish.

The great thing about this embedded glitter is that it won't wear or flake off at all! They will stay perfect looking for as long as you wear your gels, which is usually about two weeks for me

I think this mani will go perfectly with my new maxi maternity skirt.

What do you think?
For more tips make sure to check out my DIY Gel Nails tutorial.

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The funniest gender reveal reaction from my kids {video}

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I am so glad I had the camera rolling when I revealed the gender to our kids yesterday.

They came home from school knowing I'd be telling them whether they were having a baby brother or a baby sister, so needless to say they were excited. We walked right in the door and I sat them down, telling them I had something for them. I had 2 suckers hidden in my pocket and if I gave them a blue one it meant we were having a boy, and a pink one would mean we were having a girl. I grabbed my camera and started taping right before I gave them the suckers and here's what happened:

I was not expecting that reaction from Ayden! This whole time we'd been prepping for a bad reaction from Lily if we found out the baby was a boy, because she had proclaimed many times over that she did not want another brother. We were relieved and elated at our ultrasound Tuesday to find out it was a girl, and both mine and my husband's first words were "Lily will be so excited." We knew Ayden would be a little bummed about it not being a boy, but he's such an easy going kid that we figured he'd really be happy either way.

I cut the video off after 35 seconds (even though I really wanted to keep taping) because I felt really bad for him and wanted to make sure he was OK. Right after I stopped taping he stomped downstairs to his room shouting "I don't want to be surrounded by girls anymore!" He had a good little cry by himself for a couple of minutes and I heard him take of his shoes and throw them at the wall. Then he marched back upstairs, wiped his eyes, took a deep breath, and told me that he was actually OK with having another sister (thankfully- she's coming bro) and that he was just surprised because he really thought it was going to be a boy. Then I hugged him, kissed him, and told him to grab a snack and that he could play XBOX for the entire day if that would make him feel better. That cheered him up quite a bit, and he was totally fine afterwards.

I loved Lily's reaction too- how she just sat there with a huge smile on her face staring at Ayden crying. Then her proclaiming "Yay! It's a girl!" while he wept made me giggle. She also thought he might forfeit his sucker, which didn't happen.

Besides that little hiccup in our gender reveal, we are all now super happy and excited about adding another little girl to our expanding family. And I learned a valuable lesson here- always record big announcements like this, because people's reactions, especially children, are priceless! I'm sure we'll be laughing at this video for years to come.

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Gender reveal time- it's a...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

OK, today was the big day. Ultrasound day! I'm 20 weeks and 1 day today and waiting this long has felt like some kind of torture, let me tell you. I knew much earlier with the previous two babies and I'm a very impatient person. I woke up at 5am this morning and slept like a kid on Christmas Eve because I was so excited for my 9:30 appointment today. Anxious doesn't quite put into words what I was feeling when I finally went out the door with my husband!

First off, check out my bump update.
I definitely "popped" this week and look pregnant now.

The first 15 minutes of the ultrasound were full of all the not-so-fun but very important stuff, like checking out the heart, brain, head size, and measuring all the parts of the baby to make sure everything was good. I kept looking at my husband and he was antsy. I think he thought they were just going to get us right in there and go for the money shot! Baby was laying face down for part of it, so I had to lay on my side so we could get a good look. We finally got an opportunity and here's what we saw:

There was no mistaking it- there's definitely a baby girl in there! The ultrasound tech was very sure of it and checked and double checked and we didn't see any boy parts at all. We have one healthy, very active baby girl on her way! I was so excited I started crying and I looked over and saw my husband do a little fist-pumping "yesssss!" action. He really wanted another girl.

After the ultrasound I met with my doctor and she said baby girl looked great and all of my tests and blood work came back perfectly. The only issue they found was that I have placenta previa, which means that my placenta is laying partly over my cervix. This isn't good because you don't want to deliver the placenta first when you go into labor, and it can result in needing a C-section, which I'm terrified of. My two previous births were normal and perfect and I'm absolutely scared shitless of having a C-section. I don't want one. I will avoid it all costs. My doctor said she's about 90% sure things will shift around in the next 20 weeks and I'll be able to have a normal delivery, but just to be sure I can't workout and I have to abstain from relations with the husband until they check me again. So no exercise and no sex. Dang. (haha). Hopefully things change before it's delivery time. I really, really don't want to have a C-section. Did I already mention that?

So now that I know I'm having a girl I can finally start...well, doing stuff to get ready to have a baby. I need to get working on the baby room. I know quite a few people who have offered me girly baby items, so I need to round those up and start collecting them. I need to figure out what colors/theme I want so I can start a quilt and decorate. I'm so excited to start shopping! Shopping for a baby girl is so fun. I'm sure I'll have everything I need in no time flat now that I know what I'm shopping for. I also need to start thinking of some names, because we don't really have any picked out yet. Time to put my thinking cap on!

Exciting stuff! Looks like I've got a lot of work to do.

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Lighten up for Spring

Monday, March 17, 2014

I hope I'm not speaking too soon here, but I think our winter weather is just about over. It's been looking more and more like Spring around here and last week we were actually in the 50's and had some sunshine. Watch out...heat wave! Of course, we've also been having a ton of rain and even a thunderstorm, but I'm pretty confident that the snow and freezing temperatures are gone. Fingers crossed.

The warmer weather and the change of season means it's time to change up the hair. I've been doing the ombre thing for a while now and I contemplated getting rid of it altogether this winter. I'm so glad I didn't now though because I decided to kick it up a notch and lighten up my hair a bit more. Thankfully I have some awesome hair friends that I went to beauty school with, so we set something up and she came over with bleach and foils in hand and we got started. I asked her to bring the foils up around my face more and it came out better than I imagined.

I'm so happy with the results! Everything blends perfectly and it really lightened the whole thing up a lot. The great thing about ombre is is that it's such low maintenance. There are no roots to deal with, which is a huge plus for someone like me because my hair grows really fast. If I did regular highlights I'd have roots showing in about a week. With this color there's way less up-keep. 

While my color was processing, Ayden got a hair cut too.
Usually I'd cut his hair myself, but with this pregnancy I haven't been wanting to do it at all. Unless he just wanted me to shave it off, but he wasn't too excited about that idea. I'm thankful I have a great friend who makes house calls!

Speaking of warmer weather, the kids started swim lessons at our local YMCA to get ready for summer. Neither of them really knows how to swim, and I figured now is the time since I'll be hugely pregnant this summer. I don't want to have to haul my big ol' butt in after them if they start drowning or something, and next summer I'll have three kids to keep an eye on (which is crazy to think still). They are loving lessons and I love watching them practice and show off their skills.

So what do you think of my hair? Ombre- yay or nay?
And what's the weather like where you're at? I hope it's warming up a little.

Don't forget- Tuesday is the big day! Ultrasound day!
Can't wait to update you all with the big news.

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Changing your gel color- without soaking them off first

Friday, March 14, 2014

I've got a quick reminder, or "refresher," for you gel nail lovers today. (Get it?!)

You've heard me talk about doing my own gel nails and you all know how much I looooove gels. I posted my DIY Gel Nails tutorial and it's been viewed over 200,000 times now! Then I showed you an easy way to take off your gels with my DIY Gel Nail Removal tutorial. But then I showed you another option- refreshing or "filling" gel nails when they grow out. In that tutorial I transformed my 2 week old black gel manicure into a shiny new black gel manicure. Today I just want to remind you that you can also change the color of your gel manicure during this process.

 I did these nails for Valentine's Day.

After Valentine's Day came and went I wanted something different. These ones had only been on for about a week and were in relatively good shape. They weren't chipped or peeling, and I had minimal grow out and was ready for a change. But I didn't want to sit and soak my nails off in acetone first.. I hate soaking gels off. I'm just so impatient and I didn't want to do that and do a whole new manicure in the same sitting. It hurts my back to sit hunched over for that long. Since my nails were still in good condition that made them a good candidate for refreshing them, rather than removing them entirely.

Here's what you need to to do to prep your nails for refreshing:

I gently buffed off the top coat and removed the shine from the entire nail. I had one little spot on my thumb where the gel had lifted up just a little bit, so I used my cuticle nippers to clip that part off, then I used a 180 grit file to carefully blend the gel down into my natural nail and remove the little "ridge" the gel created. (You want to be so careful here that you are holding your file parallel to the nail and are only filing on the gel- not the nail. If you angle your file at all you will file into your nail, damaging and thinning it. Big no-no! Keep that file parallel and keep it on the gel only). You'll also want to buff off any nail art or glitter that you may have previously applied.

After that, you're ready to follow the instructions I provided in this tutorial here, starting at the "preparing the nails" step.

You can totally change up your polish color during this process, as long as you are going with something that will cover what you previously applied, such as a darker color. I decided to go with Make You Blink Pink, which is my favorite hot pink color by Gelish.

They look like a brand new set of nails, don't they?!
You'd never know that my old gels were hiding underneath these gorgeous, shiny nails.

I love refreshing my nails because it saves so much time. Plus I kind of like the added strength that the extra layers of underlying gel give you. As long as you buff them down a little bit they won't end up too thick. I only recommend refreshing them once though, and then soaking them off the next time, otherwise they will end up too thick and bulky and you may start to get problems with lifting or peeling. But it's a great way to save a little time every other time you do your nails.

So what do you think? Had you ever heard of filling or refreshing gels?
Isn't it a great time saver?

Let me know if you've tried this and what your experience was like. And as always, if you have any questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them. You can also email me directly by clicking the little envelope icon in my right sidebar underneath my picture.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram!
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He or she- which will it be?!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I can't believe I'm almost halfway done with this pregnancy. I also can't believe that I still don't know if this little baby is going to be a boy or a girl. It's killing me guys, for real. I knew Ayden was a boy at 17 weeks, and I knew Lily was a girl at 15 weeks. I'll be 20 weeks and 1 day when I go in for my ultrasound next week and the wait has been torture! I'm a planner, and I need to know everything, so having to wait extra long for this bit of important information has been super hard.

This was last week, at 18 weeks pregnant:

Here's a little secret: I haven't bought a single baby item yet. Nada. Zilch. I have nothing for this baby right now, not even a onesie! Granted, a friend of mine is giving me her crib, changing table, car seat, and stroller (all unisex, thankfully!) But other than that, I've got nothing. I just recently got rid of the last few baby items I'd been holding onto from my previous babies, and now I'm kicking myself for it. I really thought I was done having kids so I gave away or donated everything I had. As soon as I know the gender I can start shopping for the things I need. I just feel like I can't do any of that right now not knowing if I'm having a boy or girl.

I have so much to do and I don't feel like doing any of it. The baby room is still just being used as a "storage" room for all of our extra boxes full of junk. See?

I need to organize it and start figuring out how I want to decorate and set everything up. I know I still have about 21 weeks left to do it all, but at the halfway mark I feel like I should have something more to show for it than I do right now. And I should probably do it before I get hugely uncomfortable, right?

On the plus side, we'll know very soon if this sweet little baby is a boy or a girl, and I can't wait to share the news with you all. We're leaning more towards a girl, simply because it would great for my niece to have a little playmate close to her age. She's surrounded by boys right now! Also, I have a few people willing to give me baby girl items if I do end up having a girl, so that would be majorly helpful. If it is a boy though we will of course be just as excited and ecstatic. All of my tests and blood work have come back normal, so as long as we have a healthy baby I will be over the moon happy.

So what's your guess? Boy or girl?
And please, kick me in the butt and tell me to get cracking on everything!

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Lily turns 6- here's your cat!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Saturday was my daughter's birthday. I seriously cannot believe that she is six now. It's crazy to me to think that it's been six years since I was in that hospital room getting ready to meet her this sweet girl.

She's so big now. She's halfway done with Kindergarten and she's doing so amazing in school. Her teacher loves her and told me at her parent-teacher conference that she's a teacher's dream and that she wishes she had a class full of Lilys. (side note: I struggled with this spelling- is it Lilys, Lily's, Lilys' or Lilies? It's plural but not possessive, but it's a name. Apostrophe? No? Drop the 'y' and add 'ies'? Why am I still thinking about this?) Anyway, she is loving school and she is doing so great at everything. She's a big girl now, and super excited about being a big sister soon.

We made hot pink cupcakes with sprinkles for her class.
(We're getting really fancy with the boxed cake mix!)

Monster High doll & a secret diary, complete with a lock and key.

As is our birthday tradition around here, we went to Red Robin for lunch. We love birthdays at Red Robin. For one thing, the birthday kid eats free with a coupon we get emailed to us every year. And for another, you get a free birthday sundae and they sing to you. Oh, and they have balloons. Don't forget the balloons!
She got some cool, big-framed pink sunglasses that she rocked for the entire meal. When it was time for the birthday sundae and singing she pretended to be shy, but she secretly loved the attention of the entire restaurant on her. I could not believe she ate that entire sundae. By the time she was done it was scraped and licked clean!

I think her favorite part of her birthday this year was the cat she got to pick out and bring home from the Humane Society. We had been talking about getting her a kitten now that we are in our new house and have the extra room, but we wanted her to pick it out herself. We looked everywhere and could not find any kittens, which was crazy to me. Apparently it's not "kitten season" and everywhere I looked told me to check back in April. Well, we weren't having that, and there were plenty of sweet adult cats that needed homes. She ended up choosing a big, fat, fluffy 6 year old cat she named Muffin. No joke, Muffin is seriously obese and needs to go on a diet. I'm going to schedule her a vet appointment to see what we need to do to get her to a healthy weight and to make sure she's OK otherwise. But she is the sweetest cat and I've actually grown to love her already too, and I'm not the biggest cat fan. I'm so happy for Lily. She loves cats and had been wanting one for some time now. Her dream of being a crazy cat lady can now be fulfilled.

What a perfect end to her birthday weekend! We'll be doing a little more celebrating this coming weekend too when my husband's family visits. Any excuse to go out to eat and bake more cupcakes, right?!

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