Fashion

Natural Nail Polish Smack Down

April 6, 2016

NailPolishReview

In an effort to clean up my beauty routine, I decided to target what might be the worst offending category – nail polish. Seriously, guys, I don’t even want to know what’s in most conventional nail polish. As Ainsley’s gotten older and I’ve thought about painting her nails I just didn’t have a lot of peace about using regular nail polish on her little nails. So, I asked for recommendations of your favorite natural brands, ordered them all on my own dime and started testing them for a month in order to take the guess work out for you. It’s a tough job, friends, but someone has to do it! šŸ˜‰

The Best of the Best //
1. Smith and Cult in Kundalini Hustle $18
I can’t even believe that I paid this much for a nail polish, but once I applied it and wore it day in and day out without chipping, I was sold. You guys, this stuff is pure gold. It’s 5-free but wears better than any conventional nail polish that I’ve used. It goes on flawlessly and I think you could get away with a single coat if you wanted.

2. Butter London $15Ā 
I wasn’t crazy about the shade that I purchased, so I wouldn’t recommend that specific color, but the polish was lovely. It went on well, dried reasonably quickly and two coats was sufficient coverage for what I was trying to achieve. The formulas are 8-free, too!

Middle of the Road //
1. Zoya $10
This polish was the closet to my typical Essie nail polish that I’m used to using. It performed well and covered nicely. I didn’t love either of the colors that I picked, but that’s more my personal preference and less of a knock on the brand itself. I loved the price point, too, which was much more on par with what I’m used to spending on polish.

2. Ten Over Ten $18
The polish colors offered by Ten Over Ten are some of the best! They have a great variety and the polish applied nicely/wore well. I put it in the middle category because I loved the Smith and Cult better for this price point, but this is still a great option if you’re looking for a wide variety of colors.

Pass on TheseĀ //Ā 
1. SpaRitual $12
These polishes are vegan and 5-free, which is what attracted me in the first place. I will say that I loved the color going on. It was a little thin in consistency, but two coats provided nice coverage and it dried quickly, which I love, but it wore terribly. The nail polish chipped within a day, and within a couple days it looked pretty awful. I’m a big believer that safe beauty also needs to work well, and this didn’t pass the test.

2. Ella + Mila “Mommy” LineĀ $10.50
I have the same complaint about this polish as the one prior: the wear was horrible! I really wanted to love the brand because they have great colors, great branding and a really nice list of ingredients they don’t contain,Ā but once again after just a couple days of wear it was very chipped and didn’t hold up well to every day life. I will be giving their kiddo line a try in the future to see if it works better for Ainsley.

Madison

Food & Recipes

Weeknight Dinner // Baked Garlic Ham & Cheese Sliders

April 5, 2016

HamSammies_1

Nine times out of 10 I try my best to put a really wholesome dinner on the table. I love feeding my family and make every effort to fuel our bodies with food that not only tastes good but leaves you feeling good, too. But let’s be honest, sometimes hungry husbands and picky toddlers win out and you just want a recipe that’s going to be a weeknight winner. Am I right?!

On nights like those, I know that I can count on the following food groups to make a meal that’s always a hit: Meat, cheese and carbs. This recipe has all three in abundance – and to top it all off, it’s incredibly easy to make a full pan of sliders for a big family or leftovers for lunches. I can see these sliders also being a popular addition to game day during the fall while we binge watch hours of football on TV.

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Baked Garlic Ham & Cheese Sliders
Author: 
Serves: 12 sliders
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 small Hawaiian sweet rolls (such as King's Hawaiian)
  • 8 oz. shaved deli ham
  • 3 slices sharp cheddar cheese, each cut into four squares
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325Ā°F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the butter and garlic powder. Pour 1 tablespoons of the butter mixture into the foil-lined pan. Use a pastry brush or rubber spatula to evenly coat the pan with the butter mixture.
  3. Fill each roll with some of the ham and 1 square of cheese. Arrange rolls in pan in rows. Brush remaining butter on top of rolls to coat. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  4. Cover rolls loosely with foil and bake 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and rolls are hot. Remove foil and cook 5 to 10 minutes more, just until rolls are slightly crispy and browned on top. Serve warm.

Ā 

Family, Food & Recipes

Building Your Mommy Tribe

April 4, 2016

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of The Women Bloggers in association with @KendalKingGroup and #SoapboxInfluence; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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When we moved back to Iowa last year I was a little nervous about finding new mom friends. Sure, I grew up in this small town, but I had no idea what to expect living here as an adult. Thankfully, we got plugged in fairly quickly and I’ve been working on building relationships with other women and mommas in the area. I’ve learned that new mom play groups are a necessity for both my sanity (especially during the cold winter months!), Ainsley’s enjoyment, and for building community. Since my new schedule is fairly flexible, I have Tuesday mornings with Ainsley. Two Tuesdays each month we head to mommy-toddler play group at our Church where the kiddos play and the moms sip on coffee and chat.

Last week instead of hosting the gathering at the Church nursery, we took the party to my house where the moms sipped on homemade lattes and the kiddos played in the ball pit and ate snacks. Opening up your home to others can feel so vulnerable, can’t it? Like you’re saying, “Come on in and see what I’m really about!” But over the years I’ve grown increasingly comfortable with doing so, finding a nice rhythm and routine to entertaining that doesn’t stress me out but feels a little special at the same time.

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Despite my best efforts to make healthy food for Ainsley’s lunches each day, she has been going through a fussy phase and has a mind of her own about what she will and will not eat. For our little mom and toddler gathering I kept the food easy and kid-friendly by serving snacks, which are always a hit even if lunch and dinner are hit or miss!

One thing we certainly do not have to beg her to eat is the Gerber Lil Beanies that we had at our party. These bean-based snacks contain protein + fiber and no artificial colors, which is super important to this momma. Plus, they taste pretty darn good, too! (I may have snacked on a handful or two…) Oh, and did I mention that the first ingredient is actually beans? I appreciate that the product is true to its name. I snagged a few cans for our party at our local Walmart while shopping for groceries a few weeks back.

Here’s what we served at the party, in case you want to recreate something like this with your momma friends!

For the Moms //
Homemade Latte Bar (with an assortment of milks and flavorings)
Homemade Blueberry Muffins
Fresh Cut Fruit (for the moms + kids)

For the KiddosĀ //
Gerber Lil Beanies
Gerber Yogurt Melts
Gerber Lil Whoos Baked Snack Crackers
Gerber Graduates Animal Crackers

Madison

Family, Fashion

Pretty in Purple + Tiny Tags Giveaway

March 31, 2016

StitchFix_3

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StitchFix_4Outfit Details // Brixon Ivy Lace Detail Dress (Stitch Fix) // Tiny Tags Mini Dog Tag Necklace // Shoes from my wedding five years ago!

The Christmas before Ainsley was born, there was only one thing on my wish list: A Tiny Tags mini dog tag necklace inscribed with Ainsley’s name. I’ve never been a huge jewelry person, but I saw the necklace on my friend Natalie’s blog and just had to have one for myself. Thankfully, my Aunt Gwen listened to my plea and gifted me with one of my favorite jewelry items of all time. It’s simple, delicate and has my favorite girl’s name on it, meaning I can take a reminder of her with me wherever I go.

What to know something funny? We didn’t share Ainsley’s gender with many people before she was born, deciding to keep it secret, but I wore this necklace for two months before her birth, hiding it under my dress or shirt so people couldn’t see. Crazy, right? Sometimes I would catch it out in plain daylight and was sure someone would notice! Thankfully it was small enough that our secret was kept safe until she was born.

With Mother’s Day right around the corner (Sunday, May 8th!) I’ve already been thinking about some of my favorite gifts for new and expectant moms. I purchased a Tiny Tags necklace for my sister-in-law a couple Christmases ago because I thought it was such a special, classy gift. And I have a feeling that the mom’s in your life would also appreciate a necklace of their very own.

The good news for E&C readers? Tiny Tags is giving away one Mommy Necklace in Sterling Silver! See below for three chances to enter!

**Note // If you’re interested in buying a necklace, be aware that the cut-off for standard shipping is April 21st. Each necklace is a customized piece of jewelry, so think in advance and get your order in on time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fashion

Natural Contouring Tutorial

March 29, 2016

NaturalContour

Good afternoon, ladies! Thank you all so much for your great response to my last makeup video tutorial. I may not be the most skilled at heavy makeup, but I’m your girl when it comes to natural looking, easy makeup. Today I wanted to share with you my easy, natural routine for contouring your face. It’s great for giving your face definition and shape but not so extreme that you look like you’re ready for a red carpet or photo shoot. Lots of contouring = really bad. A little contouring = magic!

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to shake things up and make you look like a better version of your natural self, then check out the tutorial below!

PRODUCTS USED:
Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer
Color Pinch Cream Blusher in Caramel
Color Sweep Blush Duo in Whisper/Tawny
L’Oreal Magic Lumi ConcealerĀ 

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