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Fashion

Must-Have Bargain Coat

November 9, 2018

Last weekend while we were in Kansas City visiting family. I popped into Old Navy. Is it just me or has Old Navy been absolutely killing it lately? I’m the first to admit that not everything from Old Navy is a runaway hit in terms of quality, but sometimes you find a total gem at a steal of a price and this coat is one such instance.

I actually snagged it at 50% off the already reasonable price it was listed at as part of last week’s card-holder event, but even at full retail price I think it’s a great value and a beautiful coat for slightly dressier occasions in the winter when you don’t really want to put on your puffer coat or something more casual. I’ve been looking for a coat like this for a year, but couldn’t quite pull the trigger on more expensive options from retailers like J. Crew

FIND THE COAT HERE // Madewell High Rise Skinny Jeans // J. Crew Chambray //

Family

My Skincare Top 3

October 30, 2018

I get a lot of questions each week about skincare, which I LOVE. One of my absolute favorite things is to do personalized skincare consultations over email or in person to help people find the perfect products for their unique skin. Over the last 3+ years working with Beautycounter, I’ve learned there is NO one-size-fits-all solution to skincare, and more often than not, it’s a trial and error process to find the right skincare “mix” for you.

That said, frequently I’m asked what are my top few “must have” items if someone is interested in refreshing their skincare but wants to start slowly before diving headfirst into the world of BC. So, I’ve rounded up my top 3 favorite skincare products that are (nearly) universally favorable on all skin types.

1. Overnight Resurfacing Peel 
I’ve been loving + using this product since I got my hands on it in May at Beautycounter’s Leadership Summit before it launched to the public. It’s been a runaway hit since it launched in June, and for good reason. What I’ve discovered in my years of working with clients is that most people do not sufficiently exfoliate their skin. Sometimes people even ask me what an exfoliator is! If that’s you, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by not exfoliating your skin.

Our skin naturally sloughs off dead skin cells, but sometimes (most of the time?) our skin can use a little help in that process if you want glowing, radiant skin. If you apply skincare products to skin that hasn’t been sufficiently exfoliated, you’re also not getting the most out of your products because it can’t reach the under layers of the skin.

Most of you are probably most familiar with a mechanical exfoliator – such as a scrub or a tool like the Clarisonic. Personally, my skin has never taken super well to mechanical exfoliation (the Clarisonic and DermaFlash both made me breakout like crazy) but my skin tends to need plenty of exfoliation, which is why the peel as been so great.

It gently exfoliates the skin while you sleep using a blend of 15 different botanically-derived acids – some which sooth and plump the skin, others which slough off dead skin cells and help minimize pores, fine lines and sun spots. It’s really so good I could go on and on.

Tip: Don’t use it too often! Start slowly – once per week – and work your way up to two to four times per week. I found that twice per week was the right amount that left my skin feeling great without aggravating it.

2. No. 3 Balancing Face Oil 
Moisturizers are tricky, and recommending a one-size-fits-all moisturizer is nearly impossible, but the closest I can come is recommending this Balancing Face Oil. Beautycounter’s face oils are what originally drew me to the company. I had done a lot of research about the benefits of moisturizing your skin with an oil, and was looking for an oil that would be a good fit for my skin.

I’m SO thankful I found our face oils because the way my skin has improved since embracing natural oils in my skincare has been incredible. While you don’t want to use synthetic oils on your face (like mineral oil, which can clog your pores) using natural oils can be extremely effective moisturizing your skin while helping boost radiance and overall tone and balance.

The Balancing Face Oil is great for nearly everyone from those with oily and acne prone skin to those, like me, who have skin on the dry side but can still be prone to a breakout or two every month. I tend to use this in addition to my moisturizer, but it can be used as a stand-alone as well!

3. Rejuvenating Eye Cream
Another one of the first products I tried when switching over my skincare to Beautycounter years ago was the Rejuvenating Eye Cream. It’s formulated with antioxidants and caffeine to help reduce puffiness around the eye and combat those pesky wrinkles that arise over time. Don’t think you have wrinkles around your eyes? You should still be using an eye cream as a preventative measure!

Note: If your primary concern is dark circles, I would suggest the Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream instead.

Coming Up Next // Makeup Top 3! 

Family

Our Girls, Lately

October 17, 2018

It’s been a while since I did an update on the girls, hasn’t it? I was laying in bed just last night, thinking about how BIG sweet Ainsley is! I swear I was just blogging about her pregnancy with you all, and now she is inching up on four years old and suddenly seems so much older now that she is in preschool. And, as mommas of multiple kids know, the second kiddo just doesn’t stay a baby quite as long as the first did. Collins always has Ainsley to push and pace her, meaning this momma is always amazed and a little sad about how very grown up my baby is becoming, too.

So, in case you’ve been wondering what the girls have been up to lately, here’s a little Hofmeyer family update!

Ainsley //
-Attending preschool two mornings a week and LOVING it. She asks every day if it’s a preschool day. It’s a faith-based 3-year-old preschool and I can’t say enough great things about the decision to send her and all that she is learning about faith and the world around her.
-Participating in her first year of dance! I said I would never be a dance mom, but like all things in motherhood, you tend to eat your words in favor of what your kids want and desire.
-I know all parents think their kids are smart, but I’m always amazed at this kid’s power to reason. She is so curious about the world around her and how things work and I LOVE her little mind and the way it works!
-She is TALL. I suppose that doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me + Joe in real life. We’re both tall so our girls are following suit, always in the 90+ percentile.
-Loves to eat mac and cheese, drink milk, make homemade graham crackers with mom, and prefers jelly sandwiches over peanut butter sandwiches. As you can probably tell, her nutrition is something we’re working on and have plenty of strides to make. 😉

Collins //
-Wishes she was attending preschool like Ainsley. Ha! But seriously, I think this kid would happily attend preschool if they let mom come with.
-Which comes to my second point about Collins. She loves people, but she REALLY loves mom, which makes things like leaving her in church nursery r with a new babysitter quite difficult. Thankfully we have a handful of trusted caregivers that she loves and that I can easily leave her with without major tears.
-She is a climber! Ainsley was not a climber, so this is new to us. She climbs on EVERYTHING. She is very content to climb onto the dining room table and sit there for the longest time, just happy to be on the table. See also: She has a lot of bruises from trying to climb on all the things.
-Collins is also a pretty physically advanced kid (see above point) and does well keeping up with her sister, running/walking everywhere and trying to track down Ainsley.
-She understands nearly everything we say to her, but doesn’t talk a lot yet. Her vocabulary has grown since getting tubes (yay for passing her hearing test!) and she currently clearly says “Mama” “Dada” “Pippa” (sounds like Bopa), “Ainsley” (sounds like Cece), “Mimi” “Nana” “Papa” and more.
-Loves milk as much as her sister always has/does, eats nearly everything we put in front of her
-Has a general love for life and love for people and is such a happy little baby-toddler, can be needy at times and can never decide if she wants to be held by mom or running around

This season of life with the girls, while busy and crazy, is just SO incredibly fun. I find that I always feel I’m hitting my parenting stride in any stage when I’m getting SLEEP. So now that both girls are very consistent sleepers (though very early risers) it’s much easier for me to enjoy their ages and stages because I’m well-rested, too. We are able to up and go so much more easily than we have been able to in the past, and they are great travelers. Both our girls really love being “on the go” so I’m thinking it’s their way of telling mom and dad that they want to travel to more places. Noted, children!

I’m so thankful for their joyful spirits and what a gift these two are to their parents! We love you, Ainsley and Collins!

Family

How I’m Finding Mom Balance in a Crazy Season

October 11, 2018

The last couple months have been really crazy for our family. I try not to allow our schedule to get too packed during the weeks and weekends – particularly trying to avoid back-to-back weekends when we are away from the kids or traveling for work, or any number of things. And yet somehow our fall ended up much more chaotic than I had hoped or planned.

It started with me traveling to Nantucket for work for five days, followed by a weekend trip up to Minneapolis for myself and Joe, my birthday weekend, and another trip up north for a wedding. Add in Joe’s busy schedule with work and football coaching, the beginning of my busy season with Beautycounter (holiday collections and events!), Ainsley starting preschool and dance, Collins starting music class and trying to have any semblance of a social life. Well, you get the idea. It’s been busy. And I don’t, in any way, like to glorify the pursuit of busy. Because I think our culture’s obsession with being busy is gross. But somehow we’ve found ourselves in a little bit of an unusually fast-paced schedule as we’ve navigated these new roles, responsibilities, and activities.

During the first 2 years I was with Beautycounter and running my freelance business, I didn’t have many reasons to travel outside of the home. My work could nearly all be done from the computer and comfort of my home office or kitchen. But as my team and business has grown, and other opportunities have come my way through blogging and freelancing, I’ve found there are more and more occasions calling me outside of the home and on the road.

I shared about the tension of work and mom life briefly on Instagram stories the other day, and so many of you expressed that you had similar feelings of push and pull, of loving your babies more than life itself and yet feeling called to embrace and pursue opportunities outside of the home, too. I’m SO thankful that my work is so flexible and allows me to be around for preschool drop-off and pick-up most days and putting dinner on the table at 5:30 most evenings for my crew, but I’m also stepping into different roles. The opportunities that sometimes mean I’m not at preschool drop-off and that take-out pizza is the most viable dinner option. Sometimes it means dad puts the girls to bed while I work or travel occasionally.

While I’m certainly still learning the balance for our family and figuring out how to make it all work, there are a few things that I’ve found which seem to ease the crazy seasons and travel for everyone in our family. Here’s what we’re finding works for our family:

  1. Make the Plan Clear
    Since Ainsley was really little she has always felt more secure knowing what the plan is for our day or days to come. We frequently talk about “the plan” for our days together, and it’s especially important when I’m going to be away for any period of time longer than usual. She always does SO well while I’m gone, but I want to make sure that I do my part to make my travels easier on her.

    We talk about who will drop her off and pick her up from preschool, who will be with her at night (dad!) and who will take care of her during the day. Joe usually tells Ainsley how many sleeps it will be until mommy gets back which also seems to help her get a feel for the length of a trip and when she can anticipate mom being gone.

  2. Anticipate Challenges
    It’s always hard for me to leave my crew! Although I’ve found it’s gotten a little easier with more practice and reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. That said, it’s inevitable that there will be challenges, such as lots of tears from Ainsley or that feeling of guilt when I leave or ask Joe to take vacation time for me to be gone. I’m not the type of person who likes to burden others with my needs or ask for special schedules or allowances, so it’s hard for me when I have to do any of those things. But I’m thankful for those around me that push and encourage me when they know how hard it is for me to leave.
  3. Be Intentional
    This is something that I’ve been working on doing a better job of even when I’m not traveling. I’ve realized that it’s so easy to be “with” your kids without really being present, meaning that I’ve found plenty of times when I’m physically around my kids but mentally absent – thinking about my to-do list or checking my phone or just up in my own head. So especially when I have a crazy week or limited time with the girls, I’ve been laser focused on spending time with them in a very intentional and focused way. More play time together, a few extra books at bed, really looking at them and listening to what they are saying, doing less multi-tasking. It helps me to really focus on deep connection when I’m with them and not feel guilty when I’m away or even just off at a coffee shop to work.

This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, just a few of the big things that come to mind. Of course, I should also add that PLANNING and COMMUNICATING as a family and as a couple is crucial. I’m not necessarily the most organized individual (ha!) but it’s an area I’m working on improving upon out of necessity.

That means very clearly noting who will have the kids when, putting out clothing for school and what Ainsley will bring to show-and-tell while I’m away, and making sure the house is stocked with easy meals, snacks, prepped lunches, etc. While Joe is an exceptionally (emphasis added) capable parent and navigates my absence with such grace, I try my best to make my leave as smooth as possible by being prepared and helping the day-to-day to run well while I’m gone.

Madison

Healthy Taco Casserole

September 23, 2018

Happy Sunday, friends! I’m doing a little slow Sunday morning meal prep and planning for my weekly meal planning newsletter and this is one of the recipes that will go out in a bit! If you aren’t signed up yet, each Sunday I send out our family’s meal plan to serve as inspiration for you in your meal planning efforts. It’s nothing fancy, but I hope it’s helpful, and it certainly keeps me on track! You can sign up HERE if you’re interested in getting a meal plan sent to your inbox each week.

I’m always looking for more family-friendly recipes that aren’t terribly difficult to make and are pleasing for little kiddos. This recipe is just that – easy to make, pleasing for nearly everyone, filling yet healthy. If you are looking for a new casserole recipe to add into your rotation this fall as temperatures drop, I highly recommend adding this into your rotation.

This week I divided up the recipe into five lunch containers for Joe’s lunches this week. I’m also including some lettuce and sour cream on the side so he can top this with some traditional taco toppings before eating. While I doubt the chips will stay good and crunchy throughout the week, I’m hopeful it still tastes great!

Healthy Taco Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium orange, red or yellow sweet pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups hot-cooked brown rice (I like Trader Joe's frozen brown rice bags)
  • 1 cup mild or medium salsa
  • 1½ cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (not the "taco" cheese with seasoning)
  • 1 cup crushed whole grain tortilla chips
  • Lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream for serving, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until onions are browned and peppers are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, brown ground beef; drain. Return beef to skillet and add in ½ cup water and the taco seasoning mix. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in the brown rice and the sauteed peppers and onions, along with the salsa and 1 cup of the cheese.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup of the cheese and the crushed tortilla chips. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings.