Happy Veteran’s Day!

Happy Veteran’s Day!

I have a special place in my heart for Veterans, because my husband is one.

Boot Camp, 2001 – skinny!

Jason’s desire to join the Navy was born out of both necessity and patriotism. In 2001, he was living in Illinois and working a factory job. He wanted to go to college and get a degree in agriculture, but the cost was beyond what he could afford. The economy took a terrible turn, and he was laid off. It seemed like he didn’t have a lot of options – he couldn’t afford college without taking out loans, and the job opportunities in Illinois were not promising at the time. He had always had this sense of patriotism and desire to serve, and it seemed like the perfect time to enlist.

So he did.

We met in 2003, when he was in Charleston South Carolina for nuke school. Jason’s rate in the Navy was Electrician’s Mate, and he was a nuke, meaning he worked on the nuclear reactor system of the submarine. He had to complete extensive, difficult schooling before being sent to the fleet, and he was in Charleston from 2001-2003. I was there at the time going to graduate school, and the rest as they say is history.

I had never had any desire to date a military member. I was convinced I would marry a hometown boy, get married, and live within 10 miles of my parents. It wasn’t to be. God knew better than I (isn’t that ALWAYS the way?!) and he lead me to a boy who served.

I can remember one of our early conversations when we were dating with crystal clarity. Submarines were sort of a foreign concept to me. I mean, I knew they existed, sure. I knew the Beatles had a song about them. But I didn’t really understand how they worked or what they did. Jason was trying to explain to me what he would be doing when he reported to his first duty station aboard a submarine.

“So, do the submarines have windows? So you can look out into the water and fish while you drive around?”

Jason had quite the laugh at my expense. The answer is no (the pressure would make the windows break, or they could leak = very very bad on a submarine, and the depth at which they cruise isn’t really conducive to fish exploration).

Change of Command Ceremony while stationed at Subase Bangor, WA

We got married in July of 2003, and moved to his first duty station of Kings Bay, GA that same month. He reported to the boat in August and was told they would be leaving in two short weeks for his first deployment. Our first four months of married life were spent largely alone.

The submarine force is voluntary – meaning, you have to request to go subs if that is where you wish to serve. Navy sailors have the option of surface (aircraft carriers) or subs. Jason chose subs, and was stationed on the USS Nebraska 739. The USS Nebraska is an Ohio class ballistic missile submarine. She carries trident ballistic missiles. Fun fact: there are submarines on alert at any given time in the sea for warfare situations. This means the submarines are locked and loaded – if they get an alert, they can shoot off the weapons they carry to virtually anywhere in the world.

Photo Credit

This is a picture of the submarine pulling into port. The tug boat guides the submarine into place, and the sailors stand on top as ceremony to usher the boat home. Best. Feeling. Ever.

A few weeks after we reported to the USS Nebraska in Kings Bay, GA we were told that the boat would be undergoing a change of homeport to Subase Bangor in Silverdale, WA. This was especially fun news, since we had just bought a house in Kingsland. Jason had actually had a conversation with his sponsor before we started house hunting – a conversation in which the sponsor never mentioned the impending change of homeport that would make our buying a house we would live in for one year seem foolhardy.

Fun times.

During his time on the USS Nebraska, Jason went on 6 patrols, ranging from 10-12 weeks each. During this time he was submerged underwater and as such, communication is very limited. I was allowed to send him emails whenever I wished; however, the boat only received emails when they would surface. As the mission of the submarine is stealth, that didn’t happen often. I think I have 20 total emails from his 6 patrols. We also had about 3 mail drops per patrol. We would be alerted of the date our drops were due, and would turn them into squadron. We had strict guidelines to follow – whatever we sent had to fit into a flat letter sized envelope. We would occasionally get letters back, but it wasn’t something you could count on. In all the time Jason ever was out on patrol, I never received a phone call. That is a luxury submarine wives just aren’t afforded.

The interesting thing about submarine patrols is that life kind of pauses when they leave. Don’t get me wrong – life goes on. You do what you do, and time moves forward for both of you. But it is almost as if you married life just hits pause, and resumes when they finally come home. The lack of communication just kind of puts you into a bubble where neither of you really know what the other is doing, so its kind of like life starts again once they come home.

Cooper, 2010

In 2008, Jason was eligible for shore duty, and we moved to Charleston, SC. He was stationed the Naval Weapons Station Charleston as an Instructor. This was quite an adjustment – our entire married life thus far had been patrol/refit/off crew/repeat and now he was home at the same time each and every night. We finally felt settled enough to have Cooper, and that decision is what led to Jason separating from the Navy in 2011. At this point he had served for 10 years, and he wanted to be able to raise his children without the fear of being deployed and missing major milestones. The military life was all either of us had known in our married life, but I supported his decision.

Sullivan, 2013

We moved to Augusta, GA in 2013 and Jason began working for Southern Company at Plant Votgle. He missed the military. That desire to serve just wouldn’t go away. In December of 2013 he enlisted in the Navy Reserves.

The commitment to the Navy Reserve is for (at minimum) one drill weekend per month (Saturday/Sunday) and two weeks of Annual Training. There is, of course, always the possibility he could be called up for a deployment.

November 2017

Jason separated from the Navy as a 1st Class Petty Officer (E6) and in September of 2017, he was pinned as a Chief Petty Officer (E7).

September 2017

I truly am so thankful and grateful for my husband, who sets such an amazing example of true patriotism and service for our children. Thank you to ALL our Veterans for your service, and a special thank you to all the loved ones and family members who make their service possible. Happy Veteran’s Day!

Dupe Alert? NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer VS Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

One of the things I always hear when I ask for feedback is that people want to know about makeup dupes. If you aren’t sure what I mean when I say dupe, a dupe is a product that performs just as well as the original. Oftentimes people want to find more affordable dupes for expensive, high end makeup. Sometimes companies can pull it off, and sometimes it is a big old waste of money. I’m working on a series of drugstore product dupes – I put them to the test to find out if they are worth the money!

First up in this series is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer VS Maybelline Fit Me Concealer. Is it a dupe? Read on to find out.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $30 at Sephora

I first heard about NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer from my friend, Tricia. She is a professional makeup artist and this is a concealer she uses on herself. It is exactly what it says: creamy. It just applies extremely smoothly, with no tugging or pulling. It really does glide across your skin. It provides full coverage and it doesn’t crease or wear during the day with the proper setting powder. I’ve been very pleased with this concealer, and it is one I’ve used often in my own makeup routine.

Pros:

  • Comes in 16 shades
  • Lives up to its name: applies easily and is light and creamy on the skin
  • Lasts all day when it is set properly

Cons:

  • At $30, this is expensive for such a small amount of product.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $5.48 at Amazon and $6.99 at Ulta

I’ve been hearing great reviews of this Maybelline concealer, and several YouTube beauty vloggers have stated that it is a dupe for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I decided to put it to the test! I have to say, the application is very similar. Obviously the more expensive NARS product comes in a more beautiful, luxurious package. But this concealer is extremely pigmented, applies well, and lasted all day! My one concern about this product is that it burned the area under my eyes slightly as I applied it. The tingle did go away once I had blended it in, but upon application there was a brief burning sensation. I’m not sure if that is just me or if it has happened to other people.

Pros:

  • At $6, this is extremely affordable.
  • It applies easily and blends well.
  • It lasted all day with proper setting.

Cons:

  • I did experience a slight burning sensation upon application. This did go away quickly, and my skin wasn’t red or irritated. However, it is a little off putting, to say the least. I wouldn’t let it stop me from using it, because it didn’t harm my skin or continue, but just be aware this could happen if you have sensitive skin.
  • It only comes in 6 shades.

So… which would I recommend? Well, I plan to continue to use my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer until I’ve used all the product, but I would definitely use the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer instead of purchasing more of the high end product.

Is it a dupe? I hesitate to say it is an exact match, but it is VERY close.

If you’ve tried this, please let me know what you think!

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!

All About Dinosaurs!

I originally published this blog post back in 2014. I was updating my category lists for my blog and stumbled upon the post, and I’m planning on doing a DIY dinosaur dig with Sullivan and Poppy soon. I hope your dinosaur loving kids love this activity!

I have a dinosaur obsessed little boy. It all started when he discovered Dinosaur Train on PBS. He loved watching and naming the dinosaurs, so I started brainstorming hands-on ways I could teach him more. I started off by buying him a few things from Amazon.

I love, love, love the National Geographic Kids line of products. They are so well made, easy to understand, and very educational products. I purchased the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs. The text is very easy to read (beginning readers could read to themselves) and is written in a way that even the youngest readers can understand. Cooper and I read the book together, and we used the play set below to match up dinosaurs to their names.

I also purchased the Animal Planet Big Tub of Dinosaurs. It’s a 40 piece set that comes in a storage tub. It contains a variety of dinosaurs, a printed mat, trees, rocks, and volcanoes. Cooper was really happy with this, as you can see! Update: this set is still going strong three years later. It is played with frequently around here!

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After reading some reviews, I also ordered the My First Dino Kit. This kit encourages hand and eye coordination and observation skills as kids become paleontologists. It comes with a fossil block and excavation tools. I also loved that it came with a booklet of discussion questions and activities.

After we got these items and started to play with them, it dawned on me that I could make my own All About Dinosaurs! DIY Dino Dig at home.

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You’ll need the following supplies:

  • 3 boxes of cornstarch ($1 per box at the grocery store)
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic dinosaurs (I used the Assorted Dinosaur Fossil Skeleton from Amazon but after I ordered them I discovered dinosaur fossils at The Dollar Tree) (Cost = $3-$8) (If buying at The Dollar Tree, you will need multiple packages)
  • Plastic container ($1 at The Dollar Tree)
  • Excavation supplies – I used a paintbrush, magnifying glass, and a Popsicle stick

dinodigDirections:

  1. Pour the three boxes of cornstarch into your container. Add an 2.5 cups of water and stir vigorously to remove clumps. Add more water as needed until the cornstarch is a smooth, thin consistency.
  2. Add in your dinosaur fossils.
  3. Set it outside to dry (or in your garage if you are expecting rain). It will take 24-48 hours to fully dry.
  4. As the cornstarch dries, it will shrink, and water will pool at the top. Check the container every 8 hours or so and pour off any excess water.

dinodigcollage

When your DIY Dino Dig is fully dry, you are ready to excavate! I did this outside as it is super messy. I laid down paper on our outdoor table and carefully popped the block out of the container. I laid out a few supplies – a paintbrush, a Popsicle stick, and a magnifying glass. Then I told Cooper to go to town. He broke up the block with the wooden stick and then started chipping away at the dinosaur fossils. Once they were free, he brushed them off with the paintbrush.

This was a fun activity for a dinosaur loving child!

I would say this activity is best for ages 3-6. The younger the child, the more assistance they will need in this project. Older children can participate by excavating and labeling each dinosaur as it is freed!

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!

Instant Pot Sausage Mac and Cheese

I shared my intense love of the Instant Pot with you a few weeks ago and since then I’ve left you hanging with recipes! Well, no more. I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite recipes that are adapted to or made for the Instant Pot with you in the next few weeks.

First up, what is an Instant Pot? Well, it’s a pressure cooker, but it’s so much more. It can pressure cook your meals, saute meats or vegetables, make yogurt, make the best dang hard boiled eggs you’ve ever had in your life… I could go on and on. Read my post HERE where I talk about how it took me a long time to jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon and how once I did, I was hooked!

Need an Instant Pot? I’ve got you covered.

Instant Pot LUX60 V3 6 Qt 6-in-1 Muti-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer: This is the Instant Pot that I own. It’s plenty big enough for my family, but I have friends (and my mom) who have the 8qt and they love the extra room for big roasts, soups, ribs, boston butts, etc.

Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer: This is the bigger Instant Pot. There isn’t a HUGE price difference so if I had to do it all over again, I would probably buy the 8 quart.

Now on to the recipe! The very first thing I ever cooked in my Instant Pot was Macaroni and Cheese. I shared how I was super intimidated of the Instant Pot at first, and I asked my Instagram friends for advice on what I should cook first. My friend Sarah sent me this recipe, and it was amazing.

Dads Cook Dinner: Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

I mean, you could make it exactly as it’s listed in the link, but I wanted to try and make it into a one pot meal. Adding sausage to the recipe and switching up a few ingredients gives it a little extra protein and a much needed calorie boost for Cooper (don’t worry, you can skinny it down some if you want).

Instant Pot Sausage Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • Butterball Turkey Sausage (not an affiliate link, but so you know what to look for)
  • 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or 1 teaspoon hot sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk OR 8 oz milk OR 8 oz heavy cream
  • 16 oz extra sharp cheddar
  • 6 oz parmesean cheese

Directions:

Cut up your sausage and add to the Instant Pot. Hit the SAUTE button. The inner bowl will begin to heat and you can brown your sausage on both sides.

While your sausage is browning, add your Dijon mustard, Sriracha, and salt to a measuring cup filled with 4 cups water. Whisk together ingredients. If you do not have Dijon mustard, you can use regular, but I’m telling you that the Dijon mustard does something amazing to this macaroni and cheese. I use Sriracha but you can use another hot sauce (I’ve successfully used Frank’s before because that was what I had on hand!).

Pour into the Instant Pot and add your elbow macaroni and butter.

Lock the top into place and hit the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. Make sure the pressure valve is turned to “Sealed”. Hit the “Manual” button and adjust the time to 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will briefly show 4 and then will turn to On.

It will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure. Once it does, you will hear a beep and the timer will turn to 4 and begin to count down. Once the cycle is complete, do a Quick Release – this means turn the valve to the right and the pressure will release. Keep your hands and face away from the valve until no more air is being released. Once this is complete, you can open the lid.

Note: you will not be able to open the lid unless the pressure had been released. It is a safety feature of the Instant Pot.

While the Instant Pot is coming to pressure and cooking, I get my cheese ready. I like to get blocks of cheese and shred them myself. Yes, it’s extra work, but somehow it just tastes better. This is two 8 oz blocks of extra sharp cheddar. You will see in a picture below that I didn’t end up using all of this cheese. I probably used a block and a half, but the actual recipe I adapted this from calls for 16 oz of cheese. It’s up to you how cheesy you would like for this to be! You will also need 12 oz evaporated milk and 6 oz Parmesan cheese.

Note: I switch out the evaporated milk for whatever I have on hand. I’ve used whole milk and cream before. If I know Cooper didn’t have a great calorie day (we struggle with his weight), I will make this with all the cheese and heavy cream. It’s something I know he will eat and the calories are good for him. However, once I made this and Jason said “oh my gosh, this is amazing, what did you do different?” and I realized I never even added milk. Apparently I used 5 cups of water instead of 4, and I just mixed in the cheese. It still tasted amazing, and Jason actually prefers me to omit the milk now.

This is what it looks like after you’ve removed the lid. All of the water has been absorbed and the pasta is cooked perfectly. Now add in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, and the milk. Mix together and pop the lid back on. The Instant Pot goes into warming mode once you’ve completed the timed cycle – let it stay on warming mode. Walk away for a few minutes, clean up, and when you come back the cheese will be melted.

This is what it looks like after the cheese has melted! I’m telling you, this is a HUGE hit at my house. It’s the one thing I can make that I know every single person will eat and love. Is it perfectly healthy? Eh, no. But we don’t make it every single week.

I like to serve this with a salad – arugula is our favorite, and it’s the easiest salad ever. I just use arugula, Parmesan cheese, a little pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. The acid of the lemon and the natural peppery taste of the arugula help to balance out the intense creaminess of the macaroni and cheese.

If you try this, please let me know what you think!

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!

The Most Important Thing

If there was one word I could use to describe my life right now, it would be CHAOS. Some days it is controlled and some days it feels as if I’m careening around the store we call life, knocking everything off the shelves and in general making a mess of everything. But one thing that never changes: things are crazy around here.

I was telling Jason the other day that my life has gotten progressively harder with the birth of each child. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t change things. I’m happy with my life. But with the birth of each child has come more responsibility and more STUFF. Doctors appointments, sports, classes, school, church, therapies, medications, homework… the list goes on and on. It’s good stuff, most of it. It’s necessary stuff. But sometimes I feel as if I’m drowning.

The reality of life that is that I have two young children at home with me. Each and every single day, they are at home with me. I have a husband who commutes to work for 2 hours each day. He works 8-10 hour days on top of his commute. He isn’t home a lot during the week, and when he is home, he is tired. I have a child with special needs, and he requires more attention and care than perhaps other children of his age. My husband’s family lives in another state and we don’t see them often. My parents still work and they aren’t around much, either. It’s hard sometimes. It’s worth it, 100%, but I won’t lie and say it isn’t hard.

And yet I’m thankful for this opportunity to stay at home. I won’t lie and say that I don’t miss working sometimes, because I do. I miss the socialization and I miss my coworkers and clients. But I am grateful to my husband, who works so hard to provide for us. His hard work allows me to stay at home with my children.

I think most of us who stay at home would say that we are grateful for the opportunity to do so. We love our children and we are thankful that we get to have the joy and responsibility of this precious time with them. But I also think most of us would say that sometimes it is difficult. Sometimes we are overwhelmed. Sometimes we desperately need a break.

I had this great idea, as a working mom, that if I ever got to stay at home that I would have TIME. Time that would be spent with my children, sure, but also time for myself. I could craft, and cook, and decorate, and blog…. oh, the time I would have.

No. LOL. I feel like I had more time to myself when I was working than I do now.

Throughout each of my days, I can find myself stressing about time. It seems like each day I have a to do list that is overwhelming, and if I am honest, it seems like that list never gets completely done. Every day I make a checklist, and most days I don’t complete it. I get mad. I get frustrated. Why can’t I get ahead?

There are times, in the midst of my chaos, when I have to stop and remind myself of the most important thing. I’m not here to clean my house. I’m not here to schedule appointments. I’m not here to pay bills, or fold laundry, or even complete my bible study homework.

I’m here to raise my kids.

Yes, those other things are important. They must be done. They must be somehow fit into the holes of your day. But the most important thing – those kids. My kids.

I can’t get so bogged down in my to do list that I forget that they are the most important thing.

Maybe it means you push aside laundry to read a story. Maybe it means you forget the cleaning and instead go to the park. Maybe it means you say no to commitments because there are more pressing matters inside your own home.

I write this as a reminder to my own self: sometimes the most important work we will do is inside our own homes.

Let’s not forget that.

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.

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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?