Summer Beauty Faves | Espresso and Cream

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done a beauty product round-up. Since I’ve discovered a few new favorite products in the last couple of months, I thought I would share a few of my favorite products that are keeping me feeling fresh-faced (and good smelling) this summer.

1. Bare Minerals BareSkin liquid foundation 
I am in love with this foundation. I’m not typically one to wear foundation because it feels too heavy for my skin, but I love the coverage of this concealer and the smooth, even way it goes on. Plus, it doesn’t feel heavy.

2. Lush Cosmetics Tea Tree Toner Water
Since I’ve become pregnant, I’ve been trying to find natural alternatives to fight acne and keep my skin looking even. This tea tree water has been a favorite of mine for months. It’s gentle on my skin and helps fight breakouts and uneven skin.

3. LaVanila Natural Deodorant (in Pure Vanilla scent)
I’ve been searching for a good, natural deodorant for what seems like ages with very poor results. But when I saw this deodorant reviewed on Cup of Jo, I just had to give it a try. I’m so glad I did, because it works like a charm and smells divine. I swear I feel pretty just putting this deodorant on, and that’s saying something for a deodorant!

4. L’Oreal Voluminous Original mascara (in brown)
Hardly a new or revolutionary product, but I’ve recently started using this mascara again and am kicking myself for not doing so sooner. What a great drugstore buy.

5. One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm 
One Love Organics products are always a bit of a splurge, but I love that they’re made of ingredients you can feel good about and all the products work like a charm. This balm is great for night because it’s ultra moisturizing; I also use it for under my eyes almost daily.

Madison

Vanilla Scone | Espresso and Cream
My sister-in-law, Ali, is one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. She married into the Hofmeyer family two years ago when she married Joe’s brother, Jason, and I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that Jason found a fantastic wife in Ali.

Some of you may also remember that when we were pregnant with baby #2 Ali and I were supposed to be due only 6 days apart from one another. We spent a lot of time texting back and forth that first trimester and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that our miscarriage was devastating and difficult knowing how to navigate the waters while she was still pregnant and I no longer was. To Ali’s credit, she was so gracious and compassionate in those months following, always careful of what she posted on social media while our wounds were still fresh and sharing just enough with us but not too much so that it would hurt even more.

In the months following our miscarriage I desperately wanted to figure out how to be happy for both of my sister-in-laws and their pregnancies while also mourning and grieving our own loss. Joe and I have clung to the verse, “Laugh with those who laugh, mourn with those who mourn,” and I wanted nothing more than to be able to do just that with our family. I found that doing things in spite of my pain was the most healing; I think the phrase I actually used was, “Every time I can be happy for someone despite my sadness, it’s like I’m saying a big ‘Screw you!’ to the devil, who wants to steal my ability to be joyful for others and make me bitter”.

BabyShowerPhoto
Part of that process included sending the maternity clothes I had purchased to Ali and planning to throw her a baby shower in Minnesota later in the summer. Of course, at the time I would have never imagined we would be pregnant again by the time the shower rolled around, but there was something remarkably sweet about throwing a shower this weekend, celebrating Ali and Jason’s baby girl, remembering our own lost little one and feeling so thankful and joyful for the life that God has blessed us with in His own timing.

The spread at the shower included scones with an assortment of toppers such as jam and butter. Of all the breakfast pastries I suggested making, Ali’s vote went to scones. Her only request? They needed to be dense and slightly crumbly and crisp around the edges, not fluffy and cakey like some bakery-style scones in the states.

I tested a lot of recipes in the weeks leading up to the shower and realized that there are a lot of people who have no idea how to make a proper scone. Finally, when I was totally frustrated with scone recipe testing I consulted Desserts by the Yard, one of my favorite baking books. Sherry Yard never fails to come through for me, and this time her scone recipe totally knocked it out of the park. If you’re looking for a truly lovely scone, I would highly recommend this recipe. They soften a bit the next day, so make them the day of for best results!

Vanilla Scones 1 | Espresso and Cream

Perfect Vanilla Scones
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir until well-combined. Add the butter to the flour mixture and use your hands to break the butter up into small pieces. Then, once the butter has been broken up into small pieces, use your fingers to flatter the pieces of butter into thin discs.
  3. In a small bow, stir together the heavy cream, milk, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Use your hand to knead the dough gently 2 to 3 times or just until dough comes together.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and shape into a rectangle 1-inch thick. Cut into 12 small squares (about 1½ by 1½ inches or so) and place on baking sheet. Dust with additional sugar, if desired.
  5. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until scones are rich golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

 

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Detour Bar. Thank you for clicking through and supporting companies that support E&C. 

Now that I’m exiting the first trimester, I figured it was high time I do a post on what I’ve been eating. A lot of women told me how important it is to snack and eat smaller, frequent meals to ward of nausea, and they knew what they were talking about! At one point I even said I was just sick of food all together because eating was becoming a chore. (What?!) Here are a few items that have helped me through my first-trimester nausea:

SnacksCompilation1

1. Lemonade This might not fall into the “healthy” category, per se, but it’s certainly been a lifesaver for me. Something about the sourness of the lemonade I think. To keep calories in check, I’ve been cutting my lemonade with sparkling water and adding a few slices of lemon, lime or orange. Bonus: It almost feels like I’m enjoying a class of wine when I put it in a wine glass.

2. String Cheese I read somewhere that even when protein doesn’t sound good, if you can eat snacks with a little protein it will help keep sickness at bay longer. I’ve gobbled up more string cheese than I would like to admit because it’s delicious and convenient.

3. Detour Bars I was sent a few boxes of these nutrition bars to review through FitFluential and I’m so happy I’ve had them on hand. They really are “snack” bars, clocking in at 130 calories per bar. Since I’ve been trying to eat clean and read labels, I appreciated that they are low in sugar, have 10g of protein per bar and are a good source of fiber. I mean, let’s be honest, every pregnant woman can use a little more fiber.

4. Light Popcorn I have gone through a lot of bags of light-style popcorn (like Boom Chicka Pop and Skinny Pop) over the past 12 weeks. At first, I was snacking on saltines to ease the nausea, but I found that popcorn did the trick just as well and for a fraction of the calories.

5. B-Natal Suckers and Preggie Pop Drops Since we’ve been traveling quite a bit of traveling over the past couple months, the suckers and candies a co-worker gifted me have been a lifesaver. Perfect for work and travel since they store well in my purse!

Detour Bars

Find out more about Detour Bars:
Facebook.com/detourbars
Twitter.com/detourbar
Instagram.com/detourbar

Website: www.detourbar.com

madiandjoe

*First note of business: I’m terribly sorry for the lack of recipe posts lately. Just when I thought I was starting to feel better, I got hit with another round of morning sickness that has prevented me from making almost anything worth blogging about in the kitchen. I’ve been on a steady diet of sandwiches, smoothies and cereal, but I’m looking forward to *hopefully* feeling better soon so I can start cooking with more regularity! 

We are, with this little miracle baby, inching closer and closer to the end of the first trimester. Can you believe it? Because I certainly can’t. Standing in the kitchen two nights ago after our 11 week appointment, I was brought to tears thinking about how close we came to throwing in the towel on this pregnancy and moving forward with the D&C. But, despite everything we were told we are, by the grace of God, still here, moving forward day-by-day with the pregnancy our doctors said wouldn’t happen.

At our 11 week appointment on Monday we were able to hear our baby’s heartbeat on the doppler for the first time. We heard the heartbeat on the ultrasound a few other times, but for some reason using the doppler felt more real. And while those good appointments really do provide peace of mind, I find that the peace and reassurance is fleeting. Here I sit, two days later, wondering if everything is okay inside, praying continually that our baby’s heartbeat would continue to beat strong and that he/she would continue to grow and develop normally.

Part of this I’m sure is just a normal part of any pregnancy. What mother doesn’t worry a little bit? But as I was telling a friend last week, being pregnant after two miscarriages is not for the faint of heart. There is a deep fear, based in past experiences, that easily sneaks into everyday life if you’re not constantly on guard. Heck, even when I am constantly looking out for those negative, fearful thoughts they still creep back in.

This pregnancy in particular, with it’s rocky beginning and the fact that it’s a pregnancy after two failed attempts, has been one of the most challenging and trying journeys. Of course I’m trilled to be pregnant, but when the worst case scenario has been reality in the past, it’s hard to walk through the day-to-day with ignorance or bliss. Each day of this pregnancy has been stepping out in faith, trusting that God’s plan is higher than my plan, and that He has planned for our little family to come together in just the right way.

I wish I could say that I’ve conquered my fears, but it’s a daily battle that I’m waging. Reminding myself that it’s out of my control and that the best I can do is take it day-by-day are two things that I’ve found to be the biggest help when my mind starts to wander. Although it’s scary to admit that I’m out of control, once I’ve accepted it it’s remarkably freeing.

Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Madison

Dotted Blouse

I can’t tell you how pleased I’ve been with Stitch Fix over the past few months. The last 3 to 4 fixes that I’ve received have been so much better than I could have expected, and I’m really glad I stuck with the service and looked past the couple of fixes that were less than impressive.

I think one of the biggest changes has been the fact that I requested a new stylist and have really loved my new stylist. She seems to get my style and understand what I’m looking for. After my first fix from her, I requested to continue to get fixes from her, and it’s been great.

{PS: If you’re looking to sign up for Stitch Fix, you can do so here!}

Let’s get to this month’s fix, shall we?

Item #1: Amour Vert: Alessandro Abstract Dot Print Silk Blouse (above)
I was in love with this blouse at first glance. The neutral black and hunter green dots and abstract pattern were right up my alley. I really loved that this blouse was almost a little too big since I’m hoping it will last for a while through pregnancy. If you can tell, it’s quite long, which was another plus.
Verdict: Keep!

Kimono Top
Item #2: Pixley: Monty Scarf Print Kimono Cardigan
The kimono top was cute but it wasn’t something I would normally consider buying on my own. Surprisingly I liked the top when I put it on, but I couldn’t really see myself getting much use out of it aside from a very casual setting, and it was a little pricey for something that I felt I could buy at Target for much less.
Verdict? Return!

Sleeveless Blouse

Item #3: Skies are Blue: Witherford Colorblock Pleat Detail Blouse
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not a huge fan of sleeveless blouses and tops. I rarely wear them at work and when I do, I usually cover my arms with a jacket of some sort. Thus, sleeveless blouses just aren’t versatile enough for me. The blouse was pretty and I liked the neutral colors but when thinking about staple pieces that I would wear time and time again, this just didn’t make the cut.
Verdict: Return!

White Blouse

Item #4: Daniel Rainn: Bilson Embroidered Tab-Sleeve Blouse 
Oooh, this blouse was exactly what I’ve been looking to buy for quite a while. I don’t have a good basic white blouse, and I’ve pinned a lot of photos with white tops on Pinterest. I loved the sheer top layer and the built-in camisole underneath. Additionally, the top was long and loose around the middle.
Verdict: Keep!

Zebra Dress

Item #5: Tart: Teina Abstract Chevron Racerback Belted Maxi Dress
I’ve already Instagrammed this dress and worn it a bunch of times since I’ve received my fix. I just love it! It’s the perfect length, just barely touching the floor when I wear sandals, and the dress is made from a thicker, super-comfortable material that provides nice coverage and doesn’t show every little bump and bulge (a big complaint I have with cheaply made maxis). It was a little pricier, around $98, but I was willing to make the investment knowing I would get a lot of use out of this dress in the summer and the fall months to come when paired with a jean jacket.
Verdict: Keep!

I was tempted to keep the entire box to get the 25% discount you get when you keep all 5 items, but thinking about my capsule wardrobe challenge really kept me committed to keeping items that I truly love, not items I’ll only wear once or twice and give away later.

Find more of my Stitch Fix reviews here.

*Affiliate links used. Opinions are, of course, my honest opinions and strictly my own.

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