Tickled Peach’s Picks for the 2017 Sephora VIB/Rouge Sale

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas, although I do love me some Christmas. It’s the 2017 Sephora VIB/Rouge Sale!

Every year, without fail, Target and Toys R Us send out their Christmas toy catalogs. My kids snatch those catalogs out of my hands as soon as they arrive. They gather around the kitchen table and begin to browse, circling their favorite picks with black sharpies. “Oooh!” and “I want this!” can be heard from the other side of the house. Even sweet Poppy gets in on the action, as her brothers show her baby dolls and Trolls figurines. That catalog will get carried here and there for at least a week, and it ultimately ends up in my purse, where I use it to shop for their gifts.

And then there’s me. While my kids might wait in eager excitement for the toy catalog, I wait for the Sephora catalog. Not only does it contain the latest holiday product releases, but it also contains… a COUPON! Holy smokes, friends, coupons for Sephora are unheard of. You better believe that I’m not different than my kids – I browse that catalog and make a list, one that is emailed to my mom and to Jason as my Christmas wish list. Of course, being that I’m not a person that does waiting well, I also pick a few things  for myself. I mean, its a COUPON. You have to use it, right? 😉

Read on, friends, for Tickled Peach’s Picks for the 2017 Sephora VIB/Rouge Sale!

Here’s the way the sale works. You must have VIB/Rouge/Insider status to shop. If you’ve ever been to Sephora, at check out they ask for your VIB/Rouge/Insider card. This is their store card that tracks purchase points (which you redeem for samples) and it also is needed to be issued coupons for the sale. If you do not have a card, you cannot shop the sale. These are all access codes, meaning the code is not tied to one person. However, you will have to sign in to your account (you cannot check out as a guest and use the code) and you must be at minimum an Insider to use the code.

  • For Rouge cardholders: Use code 20FORROUGE from 11/3/17-11/6/17. You can use this code again from 11/10/17-11/17/17.
  • For VIB cardholders: Use code 20FORVIB from 11/10/17-11/15/17.
  • For Insiders: Use code Insider15 from 11/10/17-11/15/17.

VIB and Rouge get 20% off while Insiders get 15% off.

If you are local and don’t have a card, let’s chat and maybe we can meet at Sephora for a shopping date!

I debated the best way to do this, but I think today I will just do my top picks of what I like to purchase from Sephora, and perhaps on a later date I can discuss holiday gifts sets and gift ideas. Let me know if you would be interested in that type of post!

Let’s get started! (You can either click on the pictures below or on my text links in the item description.)

FACE:

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Coverage Foundation: This is my go to foundation when I have an important event such as a wedding, holiday party, etc. It’s also what I use when I know I will be having my picture taken. It’s a medium coverage liquid foundation that blends like a dream. I don’t use this on a daily basis, so my purchase can easily last me a year or more.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: This was recommended to me by my friend Tricia, who is a makeup artist, and it is exactly what the name suggests: creamy. It’s so comfortable on your undereye area and it blends out like a dream.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer: I have three concealers I use on a consistent basis, and this is one of them. It has great coverage, yet it doesn’t feel heavy on your skin.

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder: Ok, I know at almost $40 this seems expensive. I won’t argue with that. But what I will say is that I’ve tried at least 4 other powders in an attempt to find a more affordable version, and nothing even comes close to the power of this setting powder. My makeup does not budge when I use this! I have no under eye creasing, no smudging, my makeup locks into place, and it doesn’t fade throughout the day. I’ve also been using the same container for over a year now and I still have about 1/3 of the product left.

Make Up For Ever Duo Mat Powder Foundation: As I age, I have stepped away from using powder foundation on my face because I have found it accentuates my lines and wrinkles. This used to be my go to foundation! However, I love this powder to set my makeup, and it has enough coverage to work as a foundation on its own. It would be great for oily girls, girls who like a low maintenance routine, or someone who needs a little extra coverage over her CC cream or foundation.

 

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush: I will forever sing the praises of Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush. They advertise that the blush lasts 12 hours, and it DOES. My favorite colors are Paaarty and Exposed.

Tarte Limited Edition Blush Bazaar Amazonian Clay Blush Palette: I have last year’s version on this palette, and it is such a fantastic buy. You get 10 blushes for $44.

Kat Von D Shade and Light Face Contour Palette: I don’t contour on a daily basis, but when I do I use this palette. I love that is has multiple shades, meaning it works for different skin tones and I can go darker or lighter with my contour depending on my mood. I also love that it is refillable, so that when I run out of one shade I don’t have to re-buy the entire palette.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess: I got one of these bronzers as a free sample about 4 years ago and I’ve been using it ever since. It contains Amazonian Clay, so it lasts, and I love that the color isn’t sparkly or glittery.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter Pressed Highlighter: There are a lot of highlighters on the market right now, and I have a lot of them. Ha! But one I consistently reach for is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter. It delivers a WOW highlight that you can notice from space. This is what you want to use if you want people to say “wow, you’re glowing!” My favorite colors are champagne pop, opal, and rose gold.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz: If you prefer a pencil to fill in your brows, this product is for you. It locks into place and doesn’t budge, even if you scratch or rub your brows.

Benefit Ka-Brow: I use this most days to fill in my brows. This is a brow cream that comes with a brush. I initially thought this would be difficult to apply, but I’ve come to love it more than a pencil.

Benefit 24 Hour Brow Setter Shaping & Setting Gel: This brow gel smooths down unruly brows and locks any color into place.

Benefit Cosmetic Bigger & Bolder Brows Kit: This would be my top recommendation if you want to dive into the world of brows, or if you want to try the Benefit products I’ve mentioned above. This kit is how I got turned on to Benefit brow products. It comes with smaller sizes of Ka-Brow, 24 Hour Brow Setter, High Brow (a highlighting pencil), and a stencil set.

Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance: I use and buy these two eyeshadow primers interchangeably (meaning, I don’t have a preference for one over the other). I feel they perform the same. The one positive of the Urban Decay Primer Potion is that it comes in smaller sizes, so you can purchase a mini version for cheaper.

Tarte Toasted Eyeshadow Palette: This is one of the items I purchased from the sale. I love Tarte eyeshadows – they are all infused with Amazonian clay so I find they last longer that other shadows. They blend perfectly, and I love the mix of shimmers and mattes.

Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette: I’ve had a few people ask me recently what eyeshadow I was wearing on my Instastories, and this is likely the answer. I’ve been using this almost daily lately. I’m a nude girl when it comes to eyeshadow, and this palette delivers both nude shades in shimmers and mattes. LOVE.

Tarte Pro Amazonian Clay Palette: This is another palette in heavy rotation. Tricia also recommended this one, and I held off on buying it because I don’t love mattes as much as I do shimmers. However, these mattes as so easy to work with, and each row is built to work perfectly together for a eye look.

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette: I also ordered this palette from the sale. I’ve heard mixed reviews: people who love it LOVE it, and people who hate it say it is terrible. But those GLITTERS, y’all! The good news is Sephora has an awesome return policy so I know I can try it and return if I don’t love it.

It Cosmetics Tightline: I can’t remember where I heard about this, but someone told me this would do amazing things for your lashes. The brush is super small and dense, meaning you can really get to your roots and just work to build volume and length. It really makes your lashes pop!

Benefit Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara: This really does what it promises. My lashes are stick straight, but with this mascara I can curl with a eyelash curler, apply this mascara, and my lashes are curved and lifted all day.

Tarte Picture Perfect Duo: I have long used a Revlon eyelash curler, but a few months back the pads fell off and I started to worry about chopping off my lashes, ha! A friend posted on Instagram raving about this eyelash curler, so I picked it up. I love how heavy it feels, yet the clamp allows you perfect control. Bonus: it comes with a trial of mascara!

Edit: I can’t believe I forgot eyeliner! It’s the one thing I would probably take with me if I ever got sent to a deserted island! What was I thinking?!

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper: This right here is my holy grail eyeliner. It is the stuff a makeup lover’s dreams are made of. The felt tip allows you to create a perfect, smooth line, and it is truly waterproof. I have allergies, and I wear contacts, so my eyes water and I rub them throughout the day. This liner truly locks into place and stays all day.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense: I remember when I was in high school. I wanted to start wearing makeup and my mom took me to the cosmetics counter for a 3 step skincare routine and I also got to pick out some makeup. One of the things I picked out was the Clinique Cream Shaper eyeliner. That was over 20 years ago, and I’m STILL using this eyeliner. It’s been repackaged and the name has been changed, but it’s still the same product. It does an amazing job of just gliding on your lid with no tugging at all, and it smudges out so easily. I love that the new packaging comes with a smudger on one end to make that really easy. I’ve never experienced any transfer of this eyeliner – it really does last all day.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil: My second pick for pencil eyeliner is this Urban Decay liner. It, like the Clinique liner, really just glides along your eye, which is important when dealing with the delicate skin of that area. It also does not budge. I highly recommend this pencil in particular for lining your waterline.

Stila Magnificent Metals: Now, I know this is sort of an “extra” item. Glitter is by no means a necessary part of a girl’s makeup routine. But why not, I ask you? Glitter is FUN and with the holidays approaching, it will elevate any look. I love adding a dab of this on top of my lid for just a little extra sparkle, or if I really want to go all out, I’ll cover the lid with several layers. My favorite shades are Kitten Karma and Gold Goddess.

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Bold Lip: I’m not really a person who will walk into Sephora and buy a lipstick. However, I do love these lip kits! You get to try out a bunch of different colors/brands at a great price. It’s a great way to build up your lip collection. There is also a nude version of this kit.

Buxom Perfectly Plump Collection: I love Buxom glosses, and the kits are a perfect way to get different colors. They a thick yet not sticky, and last on your lips.

Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick: This is my top pick for lipstick at Sephora. It feels so comfortable on your lips, and it is creamy and has a sheen so you don’t need gloss. You cant beat the price!

Smith’s Rosebud Lip Balm: The tubes and tins are available in the checkout line, and I always buy a few to stash in my nightstand, purse, and car.

Sephora Collection Mud Mask: This is a dupe for the much more expensive Glam Glow mask. I have it and have to agree that it is a dupe! It really does a great job at pulling gunk out of your pores.

Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads: I use these as an (chemical) exfoliating toner each night. It does a great job of removing problem congestion and blackheads.

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm: I take my makeup off each day with this balm. It completely removes makeup and mascara with no tugging or pulling (which leads to wrinkles and lost eyelashes!).

Origins GinZing Eye Cream: This is a great eye cream for the morning. It brightens and de-puffs the undereye area. I’ve been using this for years!

Well, that’s about all of my recommendations for today. Please know that the links above are affiliate links, meaning if you purchase the product I may receive a small percentage of the sale. I appreciate your support of my blog!

What are you buying from the Sephora sale?

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small percentage of the sale if you decide to purchase the products. Thank you for supporting Tickled Peach!

Halloween Happenings

Hey friends! Did you survive Halloween? I AM EXHAUSTED. I feel like I’m been on a hamster wheel and I can’t get off for the past few weeks. We have absolutely no plans this weekend, and I am so looking forward to one solid Saturday of lounging in my pajamas, watching some bad television, and eating a big crock pot of queso. I can’t wait!

I wanted to write about our Halloween Happenings before we move on to the next thing – Thanksgiving and Christmas! Wahoo! It’s my favorite time of year.

Before I get started, I want to address what will probably be the elephant in the room. Yes, you will see my children in different costumes. No, I don’t go out and buy a different costume for every event or party we go to. I shop at consignment stores, we use our dress up items, I build off dresses I already have in Poppy’s closet… Halloween is fun! Why not wear different costumes? I always get a bit of side eye from people about this but have you met me? Come on. I do everything big. It’s just my personality. There are no rules! If you want to wear more than one costume, go for it! If you want to wear one single costume and throw it away at the end of Halloween night, yay for you! We don’t pay each other’s bills so I say do what works for you. 🙂

First up was the Halloween party at my dad’s work. My father works for SCE&G as a lineman, and each employee has the opportunity to pay into a event fund that they use to plan family events. They do a Halloween party, a Christmas party, and a Easter egg hunt. I’m always amazed to see what a group of guys can come up with for these parties. The food is absolutely delicious – we seriously look forward to the company that caters all year. They have bounce hours, a bonfire, a haunted hayride, games, and a costume contest with prizes.

As you can see, we had a unicorn, a pirate, and a french fry. Sullivan had planned to be the costume he picked out for this year – a hot dog – but he said he wanted to save it for Halloween night. We improvised with our pirate dress up jacket. We already owned Poppy’s dress and I ordered the unicorn hair clip earlier this summer.

I had high hopes for the costume contest. Poppy has won for the past 2 years, but this year she wasn’t the reigning champ. That went to a different pirate. Whomp whomp. She still looked adorable though!

I talked a little about this earlier this week, but one of our fall traditions is to go to Steed’s Dairy, a local farm. They have so much to do – a corn maze, jumping pillow, huge slides, hay ride, and more. It’s so much fun. We let the kids lead us in the corn maze and it took us about 15 minutes to get out, so it wasn’t too bad. I had to laugh because in the collage above you can see that Jason and I do a corn maze picture every year – it’s like a progression of us aging. Yikes!

I had all these plans to do fun themed food during the month of October, and all I managed was our Boo to You Halloween dinner. I did pull together some mummy dogs and zombie brains, and we did have a pumpkin roll I purchased from Publix I made from scratch. 😉 We carved our pumpkins (even Saylor is in the picture above!) but sadly, the haunted house cookie kit still hasn’t been touched. Maybe this weekend we will tackle that.

This past Saturday we went to Boo at the Zoo, which is another Halloween activity we try to make an annual tradition. Jason’s mom has been in town, so she went with us, and my mom and niece met us there. My niece is far too cool for photographs, but I promise she was there. Poppy was Princess Poppy from Trolls, Cooper was someone from Star Wars (his costume from last year), and the hot dog made an appearance! I tell you what, this hot dog was the hit of the zoo. We had people stopping to laugh all night.

Every year I go back and forth on if we will return the next year to the zoo. We love the zoo, but it is dark and the animals are for the most part asleep or have been moved out of their enclosures. It’s so crowded and they’ve moved away from giving candy and instead give little coloring/information cards. Our annual membership doesn’t cover this event, so I just don’t know that we will go next year. Remind me of my misgivings when I talk about my October plans next year!

This past Monday a local bakery had a story time event where they read a book, the kids decorated a cupcake, and they got a treat bag. Unfortunately we were 5 minutes late and missed the story, but Sully and Poppy did enjoy their cupcakes.

Poppy’s outfit was purchased last year in a Facebook wholesale/buy in group. It was way too big last year, so she didn’t wear it, but it fit perfectly this year. I’m saving it for future dress up!

Tuesday was Lily Moms, and they encouraged the children to dress up. I purchased this dress last spring before a certain movie came out. Can you guess what she is supposed to be? I should have had her hold a book.

Sullivan refused to be photographed, but he wore his fireman dress up coat you see above. He refused to wear the hat because he apparently really liked his hair that day. Ha!

Yesterday morning I woke up and started browsing through Facebook like I do pretty much every morning. The “On This Day” feature always gets me. This was the first year in 4 years that we haven’t dressed up in a family theme, and I was so sad! The boys are getting older and have opinions now, but I knew that I could easily put something together for Poppy and I to match on Halloween night. I borrowed some wings from my friend Wendy, attempted some artistic makeup, threw together what I thought looked like a fairy braid, and called it a day. I actually already had the skirt (it seemed like a good idea at the time) so I just pulled from things I already had.

The makeup involved lots of glitter, ha! Poppy’s costume had glitter on the dress and wings so there is glitter everywhere in our house and car.

Poppy’s costume is from Cracker Barrel (random, but they have the most gorgeous costumes!) and the boys’ costumes are from Target. Poppy’s dress actually has LED lights sewn into the skirt and it lights up.

We went to our church’s Fall Festival, and it was amazing. I’m so happy to be a part of a church who pours out its resources into the community. The church is located out in Appling, which is considered the country, and many who live there don’t have safe places or neighborhoods to trick or treat. They bring in bounce houses, games, petting zoos, pony rides, free food, popcorn, cotton candy… it really is HUGE and it made me tear up to see all the families there. It also made me greatly appreciate my church family, because it took a massive amount of people to volunteer: parking attendants, ride attendant, food lines, games, cooks… I was grateful to see so many church members show up to make this happen. Sometimes the comments I hear or read from non-believers or people who don’t attend church is that the church doesn’t serve… well, ours DOES and I’m so happy to be a part of it.

How was your Halloween? If you have children, did they dress up?

Copycat Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup

I know, I know. You are thinking “another soup recipe?!” I love making soup during the fall! I can make a giant pot that guarantees at least two meals and a few lunches. WIN.

I love Chili’s. I don’t actually love the food itself at Chili’s – I more love the side dishes and appetizers. I could eat queso, chips, and salsa all the day long. I usually will order a queso and then for my “meal” just order a bowl of the Chicken Enchilada Soup. SO GOOD.

I wanted to try my hand at making this soup at home, and this is what I came up with. I started out by reading this recipe and going through all the recommendations in the comments. I took the advice of some of the reviewers, and I think it turned out pretty great!

 

Copycat Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (or 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)
  • 1 box chicken broth
  • 1 cup masa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cans red enchilada sauce (I used mild)
  • 16 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can Rotel (do not drain)
  • 1 small can diced green chilis (do not drain)
  • 1 package taco seasoning

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in pan. Add onions and cook until soft.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (2 minutes).
  3. In a large measuring cup, add the box of chicken broth and one cup masa harina. Whisk very well.
  4. Add to pot.
  5. Add water, enchilada sauce, Velveeta, black beans, chili beans, corn, Rotel, and green chilis.
  6. Add taco seasoning.
  7. Stir until cheese melts.
  8. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  9. Add chicken.
  10. Simmer 20-30 minutes.
  11. Serve with avocado, sour cream, and cheese for garnishing.

Note: Masa Harina can be located on the international foods aisle, or it may be with the enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, etc. It will say MASA on the front and it looks like a package of flour.

A Perfect Fall Tunic

It is finally starting to cool down here in Georgia. Today it is a balmy 50 degrees and it feels positively divine! I get so excited when the temperatures change because I love fall clothes. I love layering, leggings, tunics, scarves… all things warm and comfortable!

Dress (color is Black Floral)($22)

A few weeks ago I ran into Old Navy to grab a few items for our family photographs. Specifically, I needed a sweater for Cooper, a shirt for Jason, and a pair of jeans for Sullivan. Somehow I found myself migrating over to the women’s department even though my husband was waiting for me in the car. This dress was in the women’s section (our store doesn’t carry plus size clothes). I normally don’t even browse the women’s section at Old Navy because other than tank tops and cardigans, there isn’t anything that fits me. But the colors in this dress really stood out to me, and when I pulled it off the rack it looked big and flowy.

Knowing Jason was counting the minutes until I came out of the store, I slipped it over my clothes and it fit. I figured I would buy it, try it on again at home, and then return it if it didn’t work.

It worked! I am a size 22/24 at Target and a 3x at Target or Torrid. I purchased this dress in XXL and it fits perfectly!

I paired it with black leggings and some old Target boots. I’m also wearing large hoop earrings – I’m thinking I’m going to bring hoops back!

The dress also comes in a beautiful green floral ($22), a geometric print ($27), and the store also had several colors: plum is one I almost bought but put back.

Speaking of family photographs, here are a few sneak peaks! If you are curious about what the rest of us wore, I had Jason wear jeans and this button down shirt ($25) from Old Navy. I really love Old Navy dress shirts for Jason. He wears them to work and to church. They wash really well and don’t fade, and I can dry them without shrinking. I love that they come out of the dryer without wrinkles.

Cooper wore jeans ($15), a white button down shirt ($14), and a blazer ($25) , all from Old Navy. Again, I just feel like I get a lot of bang for my buck from Old Navy. I can usually score kids jeans for less than $12 (with coupons and/or the military discount), and they hold up without ripping (we bought some Cat & Jack jeans last year that all ended up with holes in the knees). The button down shirts are usually on sale, and I like to have 1-2 in his closet for church (2 because stains are inevitable with my boys, and they wear white dress shirts with bow ties to church). The blazer is made of sweatshirt type material and is fleece lined – it will be great for winter!

Cooper is skinny so I usually put him in skinny or karate jeans.

I had originally intended for Sullivan to be in jeans as well, but I loved these rust pants ($13) with his shirt ($13).

I talked about what Poppy and I wore HERE.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small percentage of sales or a very small click fee. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Life Lately – September Edition!

I’m not sure about you guys, but I feel like we go through periods were life is calm, comfortable, predictable even and then BAM! Something happens and all of a sudden I am part of the crazy train. That’s how it has been since August for us. Our summer was slow and easy and then all of a sudden August hit and I felt like I was on a roller coaster and I couldn’t get off. Jason was out of town, then he was participating in Chief season, then he rolled right into 3rd shift schedule/6 days a week for work. In the meantime, we had several birthdays: my mom’s, Poppy’s, Jason’s, and Sullivan’s. I started teaching a 9 week bible study at church, my volunteer service to LILY Moms (formerly MOPS) started in September, Bible Study Fellowship began, and we were finishing up a season of sports for Sullivan. We started some diagnostic testing for Cooper, and that ran throughout August and September. It was a busy time, and since Jason was working such odd hours, I felt as if I was handling it all on my own. I’m SO glad things are finally starting to get back to normal.

That brings up to a little Life Lately: September Edition! (I’m throwing in a little bit of October, too, since I’m planning a Halloween specific recap for later this week.) I want to do a better job of documenting my life, and I think (hope) that it gives you a glimpse into who we are as a family and what we’ve been up to. Fair warning: this is a picture heavy post.

First up, this big girl. I feel as if I blinked and all of a sudden she’s a preschooler. Seriously, I dressed her one Sunday for church and as I took this picture I said – WHEN did you get so big? Where does the time go? I’m having such a hard time with her growing up because she is 100% our last baby.

Sullivan’s birthday was September 4th, which fell on Labor Day. He is still Mickey Mouse obsessed (I think I’ve used these decorations for 3 years now). We started off the day with a doughnut breakfast, had a full day of playing, and then finished off the day with a big old chocolate cake. I go big for a lot of things, but I let the kids’ birthdays be pretty low-key. We either have family over for dinner or we go out to eat, we do something fun of the birthday child’s choice, and we have cake and presents. Easy peasy! I have great memories of my Aunt Beth and the way she celebrated her children’s birthdays – she always had the family over, made a homemade cake, and it was a special celebration. Years later I remember the time we spent together, not the gifts that were given, and that’s what I want to pass on to my kids.

I’ve been a part of a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group for 3 years now. I’ve been part of the Leadership Team for 2 of those years. This year we cut our ties with MOPS and re-branded/renamed ourselves LILY Moms (Life in the Little Years). I am volunteering as Social Media Facilitator and I am also a Table Leader. I feel so passionately about supporting and empowering women, particularly those in this chaotic and crazy stage of life, so LILY Moms is a great fit for me.

Before our first meeting in September, we joined all our friends for an introductory play date and popsicles in the park.

On September 15, we finally reached the end of Chief Season and Jason was pinned! I talked a little about this journey in my August recap, but this is the culmination of years of hard work and a grueling 6 week initiation period. Cooper and I pinned on Jason’s anchors – SUCH a proud moment. I have this hope that one day the roles will reserve and Jason can do the same for Cooper.

We got a lot of laughs that day – I was consumed with pinning Jason’s anchors in the right spot, but apparently Poppy and Sullivan were being little hams to the audience.

Photo Credit: Joey Workman Photography

Jason went straight from Chief Season and pinning into an outage schedule at the plant. During an outage, he works 12 hour shifts 6 days a week, and his assigned shift was 6pm – 6am. He’d leave for work around 4:30pm (it’s an hour commute each way), work until 6:00am, come home around 7:00ish, eat, sleep until 3:30pm, and then start it all over again. We were like ships passing in the night but the great thing about the outage is that it doesn’t last forever. You can do anything for a little while, right?

This all sounds pretty positive, I know, but the reality is that I was worn down. Jason was gone for 2 weeks in early August for Navy training. He came back and went straight into Chief Season, which meant he worked his regular 9-5 and spent his evenings training and doing projects. We never saw him, at all, and then as soon as that was done he went into 4 weeks of outage in which we only saw him once a week. It was hard. I was stressed. I didn’t always handle things correctly or well, but on the plus side, all the one on one time with my kids is truly special, and Jason and I always do have a greater appreciation of one another during these times.

Even if I did want to run away the minute he returned to a his normal work schedule. HA!

It was during this time that the kids begged to go to Target to try on Halloween costumes. Sure, I said. Can we be food for Halloween? Why not, I said. I was obviously worn down and tired at this point. LOL.

Jason was working so much that he missed most of the start of the college football season. Poppy had to put on her cheerleader uniform to cheer on the Gamecocks and we sent it to Daddy since he was working. Daddy responded with a big “NO BELLY SHIRTS” rule. Poor PG. If he’s already worried about her clothing at 2 years old, her future fashion choices are looking pretty restricted.

Jason’s work was absolutely fantastic during Chief Season. They allowed him to flex his schedule, and his co-workers covered for him during outage so we could go celebrate at the Khaki Ball. I talked a little about my outfit HERE.

It was a fun night but I was unprepared for the fact that they would call the new Chiefs up to dance with their spouses in front of the crowd. Jason and I are NOT dancers. At all. I have zero rhythm and I can count on one hand the number of times we have danced as a couple. It’s just not our thing, and it isn’t like we lead a lifestyle of going to “da club” or balls, you know? So when they called us out onto the dance floor I was like — Where do my arms go? Do I loop them around your neck like I did at the 7th grade dance? Do I put one arm around your neck and hold your other hand? Are we swaying awkwardly? PLEASE GOD LET THIS SONG END.

It was terrible. We were surrounded by people with far more talent and rhythm, scooting and swaying and practically doing the dang waltz. Still, we persevered.

We just didn’t look good during the persevering.

Cooper’s school had a Fall Festival, and I rallied to take the kids. They had a Scholastic book fair at the same time so they all got to pick out a few books. Cooper has developed a new love of reading and is working his way through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Do y’all have any other series recommendations that are not scary or supernatural? I went to the bookstore a few weeks back and the pickings were slim. Everything was either Goosebumps or vampires.

The kids all had a dentist appointment in September. This was Poppy’s first appointment. Cooper had his first cavity. BOO. Apparently it isn’t a brushing issue but the enamel didn’t form properly on his molars, and the tooth is soft and weak.

Once the outage was over, we headed to Charleston for a quick getaway. This is when we brought Saylor home!

Saylor update: she is doing SO well! She’s gained almost a pound and is eating and drinking normally. We went back to the vet last week and she had a wonderful check up. He said he would consider her fully recovered! Now that her sickness is behind us, I have to get down to business trying to potty and crate training her.

It is not going well.

We had our family pictures in October. The last time we had pictures made of the kids, Poppy was about 7 months old. We haven’t had family pictures done since I was pregnant with Poppy. I wish I had a better excuse, but I just haven’t wanted to be in pictures lately. I don’t love the way I look and the idea of capturing my flaws for years just was the last thing I wanted to do. I do know it is important, which is why we finally had them done, but being real – I would honestly just prefer not to be in the pictures at this point.

(Which if you are reading this you are probably thinking — but she takes selfies! And outfit photos! Somehow in my head it is different. My kids won’t be looking at my selfies in 25 years, but they will look at our family pictures. Does that make sense?)

I also signed up to participate in a Jesse Tree Advent ornament exchange with some ladies at church. This is the devotional we will be using. Let me know if you want more information on how this works!

Whew, if you’ve made it through this whole post thanks for reading.

I want to know – what has your family been up to lately?

Five on Friday Halloween Edition!

Today I’m joining in for Five on Friday! Lots of random but fun things. Make sure you pop in on Christina and April if you want to partake of the fun.

ONE / Oh, the annual visit to the pumpkin patch. I look forward to these pictures all year. Cute, coordinated outfits, beautiful backdrops, sibling love….

And this is what you end up with. My children act as if the light of the sun scorches their eyeballs every single time we step foot outside. Poppy wouldn’t look, Cooper whined about how bright the sun was, and Sullivan just wasn’t happy with the world that day.

The pumpkin patch had this area set up so you could take photos – I have to admit to being a smidge irritated that this lady in the background would NOT move out of the frame. We stood there for awhile waiting for her to move, and she wasn’t budging, so every shot has her in the background. None of them were good anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter, but… girl. Move your hiney when you see people using the designated spot for photos.

Rant over.

TWO / We were booed!

Our neighborhood isn’t the best at this sort of thing. I’m not sure why, so basically me and my neighbor just gift each other back and forth for every holiday. I have amazing neighbors, that’s for sure, but I wish my entire subdivision was more child friendly. (We actually have a house in the neighborhood who puts up signs on Halloween night saying no one is allowed to step on their lawn. Yep.)  I tried to boo all my surrounding neighbors the first year we lived here and it never went any further. Whomp whomp…

You can’t see them, but my neighbor included two boxes of Duncan Hines mug cake mix. For sure going to tear into that tonight!

THREE / Thoughts? For me it is that weird taffy-ish candy that comes in the orange, black, and tan wrappers. Tootsie Rolls and Sugar Daddies come in a close second.

Speaking of, are you a “buy really nice, brand name candy” person (Snickers, etc) or are you a “buy the cheap candy” person? I fall somewhere in the middle. I buy good candy and then I pad it out with Dum Dums and bubble gum. NO SHAME.

 

FOUR / Finally got myself together to have our annual Boo to You Halloween Dinner. We had mummy dogs, zombie brains, and some pumpkin shaped pasta with sauce. We did manage to carve our pumpkins but that Halloween house kit is still sitting in the box.

This is random but we call it Boo to You Halloween Dinner because years ago the Disney channel had a song that played all throughout October that went  – “ghosts and goblins, vampire bats, witches in their pointy hats, something something something something the best you’ve ever seen! Boo to You Halloween!”

No one remembers? Just me? Ok then.

FIVE / I am SUPER excited that Instagram live just released an Instastories update that allows you to go live with another person! Patricia is a long time friend of mine and we share a love of all things beauty. She is a professional makeup artist, Rodan & Fields representative, and she blogs over at Jacksonville Moms Blog. We are going to do an Instagram Live together next Thursday, November 2nd, at 10:00 a.m. Please tune in!

That’s all I’ve got for today! What’s plans do you have this weekend?

Buffalo Chicken Chili & Pumpkin Muffins

Have fun with that title, SEO. 🙂 (I am the WORST at the technical side of blogging, friends. If you consider yourself an expert and you want to mentor me, I would LOVE you forever.)

I mentioned last week that the cooler temps of fall immediately make me start to crave soup. I think you are either a soup person or you’re not, and I’m definitely a soup person. There is something so comforting about the hot bowl of yummy goodness, preferably eaten in a comfy chair in front of a good show or movie. #sorrykids #youeatatthetable #iputastrawintheirbowls #momhack

Chili is a fall staple at our house, and a few years ago I stumbled upon a recipe on Plain Chicken for Buffalo Chicken Chili. I love the buffalo wing sauce flavor, so this has become a huge hit at our house. As with everything else, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, and my changes are noted below. You can visit HERE for the original recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 cans chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 box of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 cups water

Notes: You can absolutely use ground chicken in this recipe. In fact, that’s what the original recipe calls for. However, our local grocery store rarely has it, so I often sub for ground turkey. In addition, 1 cup of buffalo sauce is HOT. If you aren’t a super spicy person, just use 1/2 cup buffalo sauce. Lastly, I like this particular chili recipe to be soup-y instead of thick. If you like thicker chili, omit the water listed at the bottom of the ingredients list and use less chicken broth.

I’ve been told it is hard to find chili beans up North. The brand I purchase is Bush’s Chili Beans. Chili beans are just pinto beans in a flavorful sauce – they are GREAT in chili recipes. You can sub out for plain pinto beans if you can’t find chili beans.

Directions:

  1. Cook your ground turkey. I use a non-stick skillet and don’t find it necessary to use olive oil or spray, but you certainly can if you like. Drain off any excess water or oil after the meat is fully cooked.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes for flavors to combine.

I serve the chili with a dab of sour cream and diced colby jack cheese on top. This is so good, and the recipe listed as above fills a large dutch oven. It’s easily enough for 3 dinners for 4-6 people.

I usually serve chili with Mexican cornbread, but I wanted to try something different. I’ve made pumpkin cornbread in the past, but it was basically just cornbread with a can of pumpkin, and my family was not a fan. I started searching for another recipe, and I came across this recipe from Once Upon a Chef. What makes these muffins different is that they truly taste like a cross between pumpkin bread and cornbread. Served with butter, they do something incredible to the chili. I confess I ate about 4 muffins, steadily dipping them into the juice of the chili. SO SO GOOD.

I made a few very small changes – you can visit HERE for the original recipe.

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (sub with ground cloves or extra cinnamon if you don’t have this)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, milk, honey, sugar, and eggs together in a bowl. No need to use your mixer – a bowl and a whisk will work for this recipe.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients and spices. Fluff together ingredients with a fork.
  4. Melt butter on stovetop or in microwave.
  5. Add wet and dry ingredients to the same bowl. Add melted butter. Lightly mix, just until ingredients are combined.
  6. Pour into a greased muffin tin. Fill the batter to the top of the individual tins. This makes enough batter to fill all tins.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
  9. Serve!

If you try this, please let me know how you like it!

Mommy & Mini Style

I certainly do not consider myself a fashionista. These days I pretty much exist in workout pants and some sort of stained tank top or t-shirt. My fashion style lends towards the practical, “what can I wear that will be both comfortable and will withstand the harsh chemicals I use to clean my children’s messes” variety. However, I do love getting pretty. Makeup, styling my hair, wearing a nice outfit… it’s amazing what that can do for your mood. On days when I’m not leaving my house, I look like a hobo. But on days that I have meetings, church events, bible study, school volunteering, or on the ever-so-rare date night… well, let’s dress up baby!

On thing you should know about me: this is not a blog that will be advertising every item of clothing available at Nordstrom, featuring $300 shirts, designer jeans, or expensive shoes. I just don’t have that sort of disposable income. (More power to you if you do, though! No judgment here!) I shop primarily at Torrid, Lane Bryant, Old Navy, Target, and Walmart. I don’t purchase shoes that are more than $50. I buy my tank tops in bulk from Target or Walmart. My jeans are Ava and Viv. In short…. I ain’t fancy. I do like to look cute, but I have to do it on a budget. I imagine many of you feel the same way!

In addition to shopping on a budget, things are further complicated by shopping on a budget for plus size clothes. Curvy girls, do you know what I mean? Lane Bryant and Torrid have really stepped up their fashion games lately, but unless you shop a sale or use coupons, their clothing can be pricey. (Subscribe to text and email alerts – there is always a sale or coupon code!) I’m really happy that both Walmart and Target have been putting out affordable, trendy plus size clothing lately! The Ava and Viv line at Target carries my favorite jeans as a matter of fact.

I thought it would be fun to do a series on plus size fashion… and include some of my mini-me’s recent purchases as well! Introducing Mommy & Mini Style!

This first picture is the outfit that I wore to the Khaki Ball. The dress code was cocktail attire, and I wanted to be comfortable. I love me a full skirt, and the velvet kimono added the perfect touch to tie my booties and clutch together. The booties are SO comfortable. I have a lot of foot pain and can’t really tolerate heels anymore. I danced, stood, walked to and from our car and felt no pain all night. I plan to wear this outfit out during the holidays!

The Ava & Viv tank tops are amazing – long enough to cover my tummy and booty, thick, and they don’t shrink when you dry them.

Tank top /Skirt/ Booties /Clutch

The necklace is over a year old and was purchased from Forever 21. I can’t find the kimono online, but it was from Torrid. THIS has a similar vibe and I think it would look very cute with the skirt.

Next up is Sister! This leopard dress is short sleeve but it will transition well to fall and winter with a cardigan or jean jacket. I got the vest at a consignment sale this fall, and the puppy purse is from Target (of course). The booties are Old Navy!

Dress

I also found a long sleeve version of this dress that has a fuller skirt. There is also a matching dress for your older girls! Since the vest was consignment, I can’t find the exact match online, but this Carter’s version is only $12. I would size up so you can wear for a few years. Her exact booties aren’t available online anymore, but this is a taller version. I also can’t find the puppy purse, but I purchased it about 3 months ago, so I guess that’s to be expected.

Note to self: if you are going to do outfit posts, you might want to post them while the items are still sold in stores.

I love these little floral dresses from Old Navy. They’ve sold them for 3 seasons now and I always snap up multiple pairs. They wash well (wash on cool and air dry so they do not fade), are comfortable, are lightweight, and you can easily layer them for more warmth. These dresses look adorable on their own, with a vest, with a denim jacket, with a cardigan… you can really dress them up or down. Plus… they are cheap! Old Navy is always running some sort of sale, so I’ve always been able to score them for $12 or less.

Her shoes were purchased in a wholesale FB group back in the summer.

I love, love, love her socks. They are knee high cable knit socks and they look adorable with dresses, boots, or flats. She’s worn them for two years now.

Dress (comes in many different colors and patterns) / Socks (sold as a 5 pack for $14!)

A note on the socks: I ordered the 1T size and she has worn them for 2 years. They do run a size big, so just keep that in mind when ordering.

This last picture is from our family pictures, and I adore both of our outfits. My outfit is from Torrid, and the boots are from Amazon. Poppy’s vest is consignment (although it is an Old Navy vest that they currently sale in the stores), and the dress and boots are Old Navy as well.

My Boots/ Poppy’s Fur Vest/ Poppy’s Dress / Similar Booties

I can’t find my shirt online (BOO), but I did find a few options that would give you a similar look. If you like the orange/rust color, THIS dress is cute and would look adorable with a jean jacket and booties. It’s on sale too! I also really like the color and cut of this shirt, and it would look great with jeans. If you like the high/low design of my shirt, THIS is similar and comes in a white floral pattern that would also work for fall.

The jeans are Torrid’s new Premium Stretch Skinny Jeans. I normally would never pay that much for jeans, but they had a pair on their clearance rack and combined with a promotion, the price was $25. They do incredible things for your body – sucks in all the places that need to be sucked in, lift up our booty, etc. The inseam comes in extra short, short, regular, tall, and extra tall and being 5’3 the short work perfectly for me as ankle jeans.

The booties I purchased from Amazon. I found a similar pair in beige on Jane a few years ago and I wore them until the heel fell off. I was browsing on Amazon and came across these boots and fell in love! It has a 2 inch heel so I can run around town doing errands, stand, walk to and fro and my feet never hurt. You do need to wear no show socks with these – nothing worse than seeing socks peek above your booties!

This post does contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small percentage of the sale if you decide to purchase any of the items I linked to above.

Let me know what you think of this post – do you want to see more fashion posts?

Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice

This is a post I originally published in 2016. I am re-posting with a homemade syrup recipe option if you don’t wish to purchase the Starbucks syrup!

One of my very favorite fall drinks at Starbucks is the Caramel Apple Spice. I’m not a huge Pumpkin Spice Latte fan – but a Caramel Apple Spice? Yes please. Something about this amazing blend of warm apple juice, caramel, and spicy goodness is heaven in a cup.

img_6759Here’s what you will need:

I purchased my Cinnamon Dolce Syrup at Starbucks for $13. You can walk into any store and they will sell you syrup if they have it on hand (they keep it in the back and not on the shelves). Here it is on Amazon but this is a liter and it costs $31. Unless you just love Cinnamon Dolce Syrup and will use up that giant bottle, I recommend buying in store. If you don’t have a Starbucks nearby, you can try Torani Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup, which is cheaper and is also available on Amazon. I’ve seen Torani at my local grocery store.

 

Another option is to make your own homemade syrup!

Homemade Cinnamon Dolce Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Add water and brown sugar to saucepan.
  2. Break up the cinnamon sticks into small pieces.
  3. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer. Continue to stir until water is no longer boiling.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until water has thickened into a syrup consistency.
  6. Store in a mason jar or other airtight container in the fridge.

So, what do you do with whatever syrup you use decide to use?

Instructions:

  1. Pour entire jug of apple juice or cider into the crockpot.
  2. Add 1 cup of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce syrup.
  3. Cook on low for several hours.
  4. When you are ready to serve, pour in glass and top with whipped cream and caramel sauce!

Now you can certainly make this easier and heat mug by mug in the microwave. I recommend 2-3 tablespoons of syrup per large mug.

This really couldn’t be easier and it would be PERFECT for a fall gathering or party.

Let me know what you think if you make it!

Spooky Halloween Dinner

Y’all who know me know that I love any excuse to celebrate. I also love traditions. I love the looks on my children’s faces when I take the time to elevate a seemingly normal day into something special. It’s my hope that one day, when they recount their childhoods, they will look back and remember these days with fondness. I hope they continue these traditions with their children… and if not, no worries. Grandma will have it covered. Ha!

Every fall we have a Spooky Halloween Dinner.

I set the table with “spooky” decorations. I’ve got quite the stash going by now, so I don’t really *need* to buy anything, but my go-to spots for holiday decorations on the cheap at the Target Dollar Spot, the Christmas Tree Shop, the Dollar Tree, and Walmart.

I plan a menu. For the kids, simple is always best. Typically I include mummy dogs, zombie brains, pumpkins, jack o’lanterns, and some sweet treats.

Mummy Dogs

You will need a pack of hot dogs, ketchup, and a tube of crescent rolls. If you can find the sheet of crescent rolls, that will make less work for you. Simply roll out the crescent rolls and pinch two together to make a rectangle. Cut into strips (I use a pizza cutter). Then wrap the strips haphazardly around your (uncooked) hot dogs. Don’t be neat – loop over and around just like mummy wrappings. Place the hot dogs on a cookie sheet and cook according to the directions for the crescent rolls. Make eyes with ketchup.

Zombie Brains

These are cut frozen meatballs that I cook in the crockpot. The sauce is a jar of grape jelly and a bottle of chili sauce. (Don’t be scared of the chili sauce – it isn’t hot at all.) If you can’t find chili sauce or you don’t wish to use it, you can sub with a bottle of red BBQ sauce.

Jack O’Lanterns

I mean, this couldn’t be easier. I used boxed macaroni and cheese, served it in clear cups, and drew a jack o’lantern face on the front.

Pumpkins

The pumpkins are mandarin oranges, peeled, with a small piece of celery used as the stem.

Ghosts

I don’t have a picture of the ghosts, but you can make these by peeling bananas and creating eyes and a mouth by sticking the pointed end of a chocolate chip into the banana.

Mummy pizzas are also an October stable in our house! You can customize the pizzas with whatever toppings you want, and you just create the mummy effect with mozzarella cheese cut into strips.

Mummy Pizzas

I use french bread as the base. Cut into half length-wise and cover with pizza sauce. Use whatever toppings you desire. You will need to use sliced mozzarella cheese that has been cut into strips. I alternate directions and place them diagonally on the bread. The eyes are just sliced olives. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes – make sure to watch these so they don’t burn.

My kids love tombstone puddings! I don’t make these every year, but I do when I can find the tombstones. They are just peeps! If you can’t find peeps, I’ve also used milano cookies and written on the cookies with icing.

Tombstone Pudding Cups

Use a clear cup, and fill with prepared pudding (either homemade or buy pre-made to make it even easier!). Crush up oreo cookies to use as dirt and place on top of the pudding. The tombstone is a Halloween peep I found at Target in the Halloween food section. Gummy worms provide a spooky finishing touch!

Our Spooky Halloween Dinner is typically when we carve pumpkins and/or decorate our Halloween gingerbread house. We actually haven’t yet had our Spooky Halloween dinner, but its on the schedule for this week. I’ll be sure to post pictures of this year’s dinner once we have it.

Tell me – do you have any Halloween traditions? I’d love to see your pictures if you decide to have a Spooky Halloween Dinner of your own!