Family

My Daily Top 4

July 28, 2016

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While I love playing around with makeup and changing up my look for special occasions, the products I use on a daily basis rarely change. With a busy 17-month-old running around the house while I try to get ready, I hardly have more than 5 minutes to do my makeup and maybe another 5 to do my hair before the day begins. It’s a fast and furious rush to get put together before the babysitter arrives. Any mommas relate?

Almost every week I get questions from people about “my top 3 or 4 products” from Beautycounter’s makeup line. And while I love answering those e-mails, I figured it made more sense to just put it all down in a single blog post to reference time and time again. This makeup routine is natural, fresh and super quick using a few of my absolute favorite Beautycounter products!

My Beautycounter Top 4 Makeup Products //

Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer 
I love this product. It makes my skin glow in the best possible way, giving me light coverage with moisturizing properties and SPF 20, which I’m a big fan of as I’m trying to avoid sun exposure the older I get. I use this product daily and find that it lasts forever, too, since the pump applicator prevents me from squeezing out more than I need.

Touchup Skin Concealer Pen
This concealer comes in a really handy pen application which feels fancy, pretty and makes applying the right amount of concealer a breeze. I use it on under eye circles, blemishes and any spots where my skin looks uneven.

Color Sweep Blush Duo (in Bloom/Tulip)
The two-color blushes are super versatile and give you the benefit of two colors in a single palette. I use the lighter color on the apples of my cheeks and the darker shade under my cheek bones for definition. Or, you can swirl the two together for a really natural look. Plus, this blush lasts forever.

Lip Sheer (in Petal)
I’ve never been a big lipstick person, so the lip sheers are my perfect match. I use the “petal” shade most often for a soft, natural pink that doesn’t even look like I’m wearing anything. I feel like it just brightens up my face in a really subtle way.

And that’s it! Well, I also use a brow pencil, eye liner and mascara to finish the whole look, but the products above are my must-have items from Beautycounter!

Madison

Family

Yes, I sell things. You probably do, too.

July 19, 2016

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Hello, my name is Madison and I sell things on the internet. And in person, too, but for the sake of this blog post, we’re going to focus on the business of selling things on the internet through direct sales (also known as MLM or “pyramid schemes” for the most cynical, and uninformed, out there.) For years I said that being involved in direct sales of any type was just not for me. Nope. Never. I didn’t want to leverage my network to promote and sell products on the internet or anywhere else. I had seen people do the same thing time and time again, coming off as spammy and pushy and lacking authenticity in what they said and it turned me off.

But on the flip side, I saw people, like my sister-in-law and a handful of friends, who had amazing success sharing about products they loved and building sustainable, flexible businesses and my heart craved doing the same thing.

There was only one problem. I hadn’t found a company that I loved and believed in enough to promote or share about with those in my circle. I knew that if I was going to do direct sales, I needed to do it right, with a company that I loved and products I believed in and would buy myself, even without a consultant discount or other incentives.

And then I found Beautycounter. I purchased their products for almost a year before becoming a consultant, using the skincare and makeup, falling more and more in love with the products over time.

Over the last couple months I’ve seen a lot of posts flying around the internet. “Dear MLM friend, I don’t want to buy your products.” You’ve seen them, too. And I get it! I’ve been approached by completely random people who tried to friend me on Facebook only to sell me product, and that feels icky. There’s no other way to say it. I don’t believe in feigning friendship to garner sales. Ever. It undercuts authenticity, your business and who you are as a person. Direct sales doesn’t, nor should it, ever be done that way.

But here’s the thing: Most of us are selling or promoting something around the clock. Whether you work in corporate America, like I did for many years, participate in direct sales, own an Etsy shop, blog and post Amazon affiliate links, or run a small business in your town, you’re promoting and marketing a product all day long. I used to work for a packaged goods company and spent my days promoting their products. Now I work for Beautycounter and am blessed to share with others about safer skincare, makeup and personal care products that my whole family uses and loves dearly. Is it more direct? Yes. But is it really any different? Not really.

Before I became a mom I was a little rougher around the edges. Less compassionate. Quicker to judge. I had ideas of how things should be done and how they shouldn’t, and I wasn’t very open to changing my mind about those things.

Eating your words? Well it’s never very fun, but I’ve done a lot of that over the years. But after seeing how Beautycounter has changed my life – both professionally and personally – I’m so thankful that I didn’t let that stand in my way! I’ve developed friendships with the women on my team who come from all over the country. I’ve seen our savings account for a new car grow by leaps and bounds. I’ve never felt more excited and passionate about going to work each and every day. How many people can say that?

So thank you to each and every one of you who have supported me on this journey. To the women who have joined my growing team of consultants and are sharing about Beautycounter authentically and encouraging me to become better every day. To the friends who “like” my Beautycounter posts on Facebook even if they aren’t interested in purchasing product. To the people who cheer people like me on, without a hint of snark or cynicism. You all are the best of the best. Thanks for making the internet a better place.

Madison

Family

Thriving in the Chaos of Motherhood

July 15, 2016

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Confession time: I’ve never been someone who functions particularly well in a state of chaos. Raised primarily as an only-child, I’ve always been accustomed to a specific level and amount of quiet in my everyday. An introverted extrovert, I’ve always needed my own space to unwind and adored a quiet, tidy house at the end of the day.

And then motherhood happened, and maintaining my sense of balance, order and peace became a whole lot harder. If I’m being honest, the last couple months have left me frazzled. Work has been busy (a huge blessing!) and life has been full of summer commitments, cookouts, and weekends away (also wonderful) but my life feels off kilter.

There are a lot of things that are important to us as moms. I don’t “do it all” because of pride or because I want others to think I have it all together. I try to do it all because there are so many things that are important to me and I have a hard time giving any of them up. Things that make my short (long) list of important activities, in no particular order, are:

Time in God’s Word
Working out
Making meals for my family
Freelance/Beautycounter/Contract Work/Blogging
Spending intentional time with Ainsley and Joe
Time with friends
Maintaining a clean and organized home
Paying bills, staying on top of freelance bookkeeping
The list is bigger than this, but these are the things that come to mind…

Last night, in a state of stress and anxiety, I asked Joe, “Do I just need to lower my standards? Should I just be OK with chaos and disorder? What’s the answer?!”

Joe quickly pointed out that perhaps we weren’t using our time quite as wisely as we should be using our time. For example, instead of crashing on the couch after Ainsley goes to bed and watching three episodes of Suits (so good!) maybe one episode would suffice, using the rest of our time to do a little extra cleaning a few nights a week, working our quiet time into a more intentional space in the day, and getting up a little earlier to get that workout in, wasting less time on the black hole of the internet.

I love these ideas. And my heart’s desire is to implement them into our day. This isn’t a magic pill; I’m sure a little chaos will lurk as long as we have kids in the house, but my hope is that it will be greatly diminished by being a wise steward of the time we’re given.

So today, I got to work. Instead of pushing my workout until late in the afternoon, when I knew I would be rushing to get things together for a busy weekend away, I set the alarm for 4:45 and got my butt to the gym. Instead of browsing Facebook for 10 minutes before Ainsley woke for the day, I jumped in the shower and tossed in a load of her laundry. Small, simple changes that made my morning less chaotic.

To you other moms out there (especially moms with multiple kids) how do you manage the chaos and keep a sense of order in your day-to-day? I’m all ears!

Madison

 

Family, Fashion

KEEP Collective // Memory Piece

July 14, 2016

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It seems fitting that the week I shared about finding hope in miscarriage over at Risen Motherhood, I would also share about a piece of jewelry that honors our babies, both living and in heaven. Holly Peterman, a designer with KEEP Collective, reached out a few months ago about working together to create a custom piece of jewelry, and after some thought I knew what I wanted to create.

After some back and forth with Holly, who was super helpful mocking up design options and inspiration, I settled on this leather bracelet adorned with two arrows (one for each of our babies in heaven) flanking the letter “A” for Ainsley.

I am so impressed by the quality of the jewelry and the endless options for creating something that felt personal and unique. For someone like me, who doesn’t love the look of traditional keepsake jewelry, this is much  more my style. Looking through the look book that Holly included with my order already has me dreaming about my next piece of jewelry. The collection includes everything from bracelets to earrings, watches and key fobs.

Holly was so sweet to agree to hosting a KEEP Collective Mystery Hostess Social, meaning that when you shop using the link below, you will be entered to win the host rewards from the social. It’s a great deal for whoever wins while supporting a fellow small business owner.

Shop Espresso and Cream’s Mystery Hostess KEEP Collective Social
PS: If you want more details, there is also a Facebook group set up for the social. 

*This post was sponsored by KEEP Collective by Holly Peterman, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that help keep Espresso and Cream running. 

Family, Fashion

Denim Shorts for Moms

July 11, 2016

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I know we’re already half way through the summer, but it took me about that long to find good shorts for summertime. Now that I’m a mom, I feel like there is a little bit more of an obligation to dress with a bit more modesty, but I’m not about to hang up my denim cut-offs in favor of Bermuda shorts. I’m sorry, I just can’t.

So, I’ve scoured the internet for the best shorts, asked you for recommendations, and tried on pair after pair and here are my favorites!

ALL-AROUND WINNER // American Eagle Tomgirl Midi Shorts
Pretty much the perfect pair of shorts in my book. Comfortable, relaxed fit; short but not too short that you feel uncomfortable wearing them. I have both the frayed pair and a pair without any rips and wear them all the time. They run a tad large, so order a size down.

BEST DEAL // Old Navy Boyfriend Cuffed Shorts 
For only $12.95, these shorts are a steal! I don’t own them personally, but I’ve tried them on in the store and they are really cute! If you’re not sure you want to invest in a pair of shorts, these are a very low-risk option.

BEST SPLURGE // Mavi Jeans “Emily” destroyed cutoff denim shorts 
These are the most expensive pair in the bunch, but I’m telling you that they are sooo incredibly comfortable. Extra bonus points? When my little sister (who is a teenager) was around me last week, she said they were cool.

Madison

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