Wednesday, November 26, 2014

30 for 30

In honor of Joseph's 30th birthday, which happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year, I thought I'd do something totally sappy and list 30 things I love about the birthday boy, AKA: my husband.

Here's a bonus one: He's very photogenic. HA!

We'll call it 30 for 30, 'cause I'm original like that.

Here's 30 things I love about Joseph:

1. His smile. (Not necessarily the one above^^^)

2. His kind heart.

3. He's an incredible, loving father.

4. Three words: tall, dark, & handsome.

5. His sense of humor.

6. He works so hard to support our family, and never complains.

7. The way he looks in those jeans of his I love.

8. He helps with the kids, in every aspect. He's a true co-parent.

9. He's a mean diaper changer.

10. Even if he's not a huge fan of what I've cooked, he still eats it and acts like he likes it.

11. He's not afraid of a little PDA.

12. He always tells me how much he loves me.

13. He's great about giving me time to myself away from the house (and kids).

14. He remembers the small and big things.

15. He's not afraid to be a little silly.

16. His generosity and selflessness.

17. He is patient.

18. He always knows how to make me laugh.

19. He's my best friend.

20. He'll do just about anything for anyone.

21. He smells good.

22. He still likes to date me.

23. He loves me unconditionally, even with all my faults (assuming I have any, muahahaha!!).

24. He's a Bama fan!! Roll Tide!

25. He's trustworthy.

26. He does a mean Carlton dance.

27. He tolerates all my music(and singing) when we're in the car.

28. He's crazy smart.

29. He respects our marriage and our wedding vows.

30. After almost 14 years together, he's still madly in love with me. (And I am with him)

I could go on and on, but then I'd have to change the title of this post.

Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to the love of my life, baby daddy, and best friend.
Don't worry, I'm instructing Hudson to inform everyone that you're now THIRTY just like you did for my 30th. Payback, ya know. ;)

Love you to the moon and back!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cover 'em Up!

Yours truly has some major dark circles goin' on, y'all. 
They've always been there, they're hereditary, and they've only gotten worse over the years. For this reason, the most important part of my makeup routine is concealer. It's one of the few products that I splurge on, because, as I've found, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to concealer. For many many years, I used Clinique. Until a few weeks ago. It just wasn't doing the job anymore and I needed to try out something new. I did a little research and made a list of what other bloggers out there liked and ventured to the mall where I decided to try out MAC. The girl at the counter was really helpful and suggested the Pro Longwear Concealer
She applied it under my eyes so I could see how it looked, felt, and worked on me and I was sold! 
It costs just a few dollars more than the Clinique I had used for years, but is a far superior product (for my needs, anyway) and unlike Clinique, when I put it on once, that's it. I was reapplying the Clinique periodically because it creased so badly and kind of faded away throughout the day. The Pro Longwear does not crease and the formula is just so much better for me. It's not oily, doesn't fade away, and is easily build-able for extra coverage. It claims that it lasts up to 15 hours and I believe it. I plan to venture out and try the foundation when my current foundation runs out.

Another favorite I've discovered recently is e.l.f. Mineral Infused Primer
This stuff makes my face feel so soft, makes my makeup go on smoothly, and helps it stay on all day. It just makes for a great, smooth canvas for your makeup.

I love sharing a good thing when I find it, so I wanted to pass these along. The concealer is a bit of a splurge at about $20, but trust me, it is so worth the investment if you have bad dark circles like me! It covers those bad boys and keeps them covered all day! And I'd put the $6 e.l.f. primer up against any of those big name primers that are easily 4-5 times the price.

Have an awesome Thanksgiving week!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

5 Things About Threenagers

We've all heard the phrase "the terrible twos"....although those "twos" are more like 18 months to about 5 or so.
I'm in the middle of this stage with Hudson, or as I also call it "The Threenager" stage.

*This picture's a year old but I just love it.*

Here are 5 things you need to know about your threenager. 
I could share more, but ain't nobody got time for that. You do have a 3 year old, after all. (or you might someday)

1. They're little tyrants. Oh, you thought you were the boss just because you're the parent?? Haha, that was your first mistake. Learn this now, your 3 year old IS the boss. The sooner you figure this out, the happier you'll all be.

2. They're never happy. Seriously. Much like men see women, "threenagers" don't know what they want. You think that chocolate chip cookie you finally gave into after they've been whining about it for the last 3.5 hours is going to satisfy them? Rookie move. It might pacify them for a short time, but wait for it. Next it'll be that toy they saw in the store 17 weeks ago that they just now remembered, a grape (NOT cherry, are you crazy?) popsicle, they're mad because you had the audacity to turn the sound machine off in their room and didn't let them, or wait...a tiny drop of water got on their pants so now they absolutely must (with every ounce of ferventness inside them) change clothes. Not just pants. All of it.

3. They live off of fruit snacks and air. (and grape popsicles) OK, a little dramatic, but it is shocking the sheer amount of Welch's fruit snacks a kid wants to consume in a day. Sometimes it's not worth the battle and you should just let them have their 17th pack and move on. Kidding....just 13. ;-)

4. They are loud. Imagine someone who's a loud talker yelling into a megaphone, while simultaneously popping bubble wrap in your ear....and multiply that by 27. That's almost the decibel at which a 3 year old operates on the regular.

5. They still love their mommas. And daddies. They may be messy, loud, sometimes bossy and rude, but they love you more than anything. You are their world. Have patience with them, and most importantly, instruct them on how to express their feelings, how to play well with others, and how to be a respectful, productive citizen of the threenager stage.

I've already decided that when the twins hit the threenager stage, they'll just enjoy a trip to boarding school for a couple years or so. ;-) Joke! But seriously.

*Just for disclosure, I certainly do not let my child be the boss in the house, nor does he eat 13 (or 17) packs of fruit snacks a day. It's more like 2. Trust me, he gets disciplined, and he eats healthy foods. 

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Inside The Mind of My Husband

I thought it'd be fun to play a little game with Joseph, so I threw out some random topics to him and told him to tell me the first thing that came to his mind.
That went....well, just read for yourself.

And of course, this is my blog and I can expand upon or explain some of these if I so choose. :)

Me(as in Lauren): "Yoga pants" (He claims this is supposed to be a compliment. Somehow it didn't read.)

You(as in Joseph): "Luckiest man in the world." (Making up for that yoga pants comment, there, are we?)

Marriage: "Partners in crime." (We've only committed like 3...4 crimes, tops!)

Blogging: "Waste of time" (Thanks?)
FL/GA Line: "Terrible"

Food: "How many calories are in it?" (Yes, he's serious. He counts every calorie he puts in his mouth. This is how he's lost 50+ pounds in the last 7 months.)

Drink: "Diet Mountain Dew"

Money: "There's never enough."

Football: "Roll Tide!"
TV Show: "Kardashians" (face palm)

Sex: "Is it Saturday?" (Somebody's got jokes!)

Facebook: "TMI"

iPhone: "My love" (I get yoga pants, the iPhone is his love. Super.)

Dance Moms: "Ugh...hate that show."
*This and other uber-flattering pictures sprinkled in at my discretion. Maybe next time you'll think harder about some of your answers. Toooootally love you, babe!*

Continuing on....
Working Out: "Never"

Shopping: "Are you sure that's all we need?" ('Cause we make like 37 trips to the store a week!)

Auburn: "Sucks"

JalapeƱos: "Yum"

Skinny jeans: "On men? disgusting." 

Yard work: "I'll pay for someone to do it." (And he does)
Kids: "I want more." (You're on your own with that one, bud.)

Favorite song: "My Song from Moulin Rouge" 

(moving along)

Onions: "Did you make it without them?"

Kanye West: "Poser"

Ice cream: "Ice Dream Cone from Chick-fil-a. Small. 170 calories." (like I said, every. single. calorie.)
Sweater Vest: "Auburn sucks."

Decorating: "Waste of time."

Vegas: "I should've listened to my wife." (When his wife said put it on red, not black!)

Capri pants: "Soccer mom."

MC Hammer: "Pass." (seriously? I left you wide open for something along the lines of "Can't touch this!")

Thanks for playing my game, babe.
I love you, but this will probably be the only time I ever ask you to play.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

{As Good As Dessert} Sweet Potato Casserole

I didn't always like sweet potato casserole. I'm not quite sure why, and I really don't have a clue what was wrong with me back then, but boy, am I glad I eventually saw the light?!?!
I went from not liking the stuff, to basically appointing myself as the resident sweet potato casserole maker for holidays and gatherings. It's easy, yummy, you can make it the day before, then pop it in the oven, and I just always volunteer to make it.

I've told y'all before, I'm not the best about measuring accurately(unless I'm baking a cake or something) and I adjust to my own taste. These measurements are probably pretty accurate, but it's always better to add a little at a time, until you get the flavor you want.

Not my best picture, but you get the idea.

{As Good As Dessert} Sweet Potato Casserole
4-5 sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed
1 stick butter (softened)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup eggbeaters)

1-1 1/2 cup brown sugar (I use light brown)
3/4-1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans


1. In a large mixing bowl, mash potatoes well and add in softened butter. Heat from potatoes will melt butter. Stir until well combined.
2. Add in sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir well. Check for taste. I love the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg. They give the potatoes a little something special and make them just a little more decadent.
*Make sure you do this and get it the way you want it before you add in eggs. I add in eggs last so I can make sure the flavor is right.*
3. After you've added in eggs and mixed well, pour potato mixture into 13x9 casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Now, with all the butter you can probably get away without spraying it, but go ahead and do it, just to be safe. 
4. In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients until well incorporated. Spoon mixture on top of potatoes and spread all over. Sprinkle more pecans on top if desired.
5. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until light brown and bubbly.

*If you make it the day before (which I do quite often), let it sit out at room temp for an hour or so. Not too long since it does have eggs in it, but this will keep it from cooking unevenly and taking an insane amount of time to heat up in the middle if it goes in straight from the cold fridge.

Serve with your Thanksgiving turkey, ham, and other side dishes, or just eat yourself a big ol' serving of it alone for a tasty treat, since it's practically your PJs. I won't judge.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making Over Thanksgiving Dinner

If there's one thing this girl loves, it's Thanksgiving food. The turkey, dressing, potatoes, cranberry sauce (I happen to LOVE the canned jellied sauce, thankyouverymuch).....I mean, what's not to love?? It brings out my inner fat girl. If I had to eat one meal for the rest of my life(and gain about 200 pounds), that'd be it. I remember my sophomore year of high school, I got my wisdom teeth taken out TWO days before Thanksgiving. Do you have any idea the torture???
I think I got to slurp down some soup that year. I do not recommend it.
In my family, we usually do Thanksgiving all out. That's probably my fault. For a few years, we went out to eat and I made a big stink about how I hated going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, making others miss time with their families by having to serve us. I always enjoyed the togetherness at home, helping to prepare the feast, and knowing so much work and love went into what we were about to devour. Sitting around, pants unbuttoned after that extra slice of pumpkin pie, smiles on the faces, laughs echoing around the house, now that's Thanksgiving!
We typically do Christmas a little smaller, maybe with some sandwiches or chicken salad, etc. And that's fine by me. By then, we're all ready for a break from all the big feasts and goodies. Something lighter is welcomed.

I made my very first turkey on my own last year and it actually turned out edible. I was so proud. Haha!
As a said before, there are some Thanksgiving dishes I absolutely must have: the turkey (obviously), dressing, and sweet potato casserole. But as much as I love the "traditional" Thanksgiving foods, sometimes the same ol' stuff gets predictable and you want to see something different and fresh on the menu.

I've come to love some roasted brussels sprouts. I made some Saturday for Joseph's family get-together. They couldn't be simpler and if they're cooked right, they're tender on the inside, and just slightly crispy on the outside. I cut mine in half, toss them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven at about 425 for 20 or so minutes(longer if they're big), until they've turned a little brown on the outside. Saturday I tossed some crumbled bacon in with them too. You can guess how that turned out. Bacon is everything, after all.
These garlic lemon and parmesan brussels sprouts also look divine.
I've also seen them with pomegranate seeds and pecans....I'm not sure how I feel about that one.

Another vegetable I've learned to like is cauliflower. You won't ever see me eating the stuff raw, even with ranch dressing. But roasting it makes it tastes so different and SO much better. Again, it's simple. Cut into small pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast.
This recipe sounds yummy.
I've made cauliflower mash before, in place of mashed potatoes, and it is such a versatile vegetable. It'd also be great as a gratin, loaded with some cheese. But if you're wanting to keep it in its most natural(and healthy) state but don't like it raw, try roasting it. I promise you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Squash casserole is one of my favorite things. It's cheesy, creamy, and crunchy. No brainer.
Sometimes we'll have mac & cheese with our Thanksgiving dinner, but this is a good alternative you can feel good about. Yes, it does have cheese, butter, and Ritz crackers, but it's also loaded with squash so you can feel a little less guilty about that second helping.

For something different with green beans, I like to make green bean bundles.
They're the perfect little packages and everyone can just grab one or two and plop them on their plate. And again, if bacon is involved....then....duh!

Succotash probably isn't something you think of when you think of Thanksgiving, but I love a good succotash. This one from 30AEats looks so yummy. Heavy on the okra and bacon. ;)

As far as desserts go, it's usually all about the pies....pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan.
For something different, and for beautiful presentation, these apple pie baked apples certainly make me want to drool.

I've also seen these pecan pie cookies floating around and really want to try them.
I love the addition of drizzled chocolate to the top. Chocolate pecan pie is so yummy! 
I can just imagine both of these desserts, served warm, with a little vanilla ice cream. Nom nom!

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? 
I'd love to hear and get some new ideas from you. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Change Is Good.

First things first.....

I did it!
*Thanks, Instagram, for making me look jaundiced!
I can't believe I got up the nerve. I went back and forth about 47 times in my head but walked in the salon and immediately told my hairdresser(who's awesome BTW), "Let's do it. Let's cut it." I had to actually verbalize it so I wouldn't back out. While I do miss my hair a little bit, I am really happy I chopped it. I feel like it looks better for my face shape this way and it sure is easier to wash and dry!
I attempted to style it myself this morning and it's gonna take some practice to get down the right technique with the curling iron with this shorter length.

My SIL, Melissa, had been planning a visit for a while so we decided it'd be a great time to have Joseph's family over for a little pre-Thanksgiving get-together. It's Melissa and Jonathan's year to do Thanksgiving with his family in PA, so we probably won't get to see them again until Christmas. We watched Bama beat MSU (ROLL TIDE!!!), ate our weight in lots of tasty food, and enjoyed spending some quality time together.

Gimme a reason to make deviled eggs and I am IN!

We also got to snuggle with our nephew Rylan.
He'll be 3 months old in just a few days. Pure sweetness!

These guys are pretty sweet, too.

Joseph was so proud to be able to use the countdown timer on his iPhone to take a big group pic.
hashtag nerdalert

We're so thankful everyone was able to come up, for the delicious dishes and treats they brought to pitch in for dinner, and for the time together to catch up, laugh, and watch the little people play (or fuss).
Hudson was also really excited to have Aunt Lissa spend the night Saturday night, to have breakfast with her Sunday morning, and he thoroughly enjoyed having someone else to boss around in the playroom. :)

I hope your weekend was awesome!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

'Tis The Season?

I'm currently sitting here, eating some popcorn as a late lunch ('s a vegetable, right?), typing this post while the 3 littles nap. 

Let's just take a moment to give props to nap time. Yes...and amen.

This week has been a doozy. Nothing major, but as you can imagine, being home with 3 kids can be just a tad exhausting. That alone leaves me frazzled most weeks, but this week Raegan has been really fussy (which isn't like her at all) and hasn't felt her best. I believe growth spurts and teething have been the 2 biggest culprits. A certain big brother agitating her hasn't helped either. ;)

So, instead of doing dishes or laundry, or prepping dinner or cleaning the house, I am enjoying this nap time by stuffing my face with some butter popcorn (butter....dairy, healthy), a piece or two of chocolate, and painting the nails on the hand I didn't get around to painting last night. I thought about starting a new trend of having each hand painted a different color, but I thought "nah, people ain't ready for that."
Maybe over in Europe.

I also have Christmas With the Kranks playing in the background. If you've never seen that movie, get on it! So cute! It has Tim Allen in it, so you know it's good. 
I have it (along with about 8 other Christmas movies) saved on my DVR from the last couple years.

See, I'm normally one of those people...ya know, those people who post things on Facebook like "It's October 25th, is it too early to put up my Christmas tree if I put Halloween things on it?" or "It's November 1st, is it too early to decorate for Christmas?" or maybe there's a caption under a picture of a completely decorated tree and mantel that reads "I know it's only November 8th, but I couldn't wait any longer." Know anyone who fits that description?
Now, I'm not knockin' 'cause like I said, I'm usually that person. But this year, I'm not quite sure what it is. I haven't gotten there yet. And I know some of you are thinking "And you shouldn't be, it's only November 13th." And you'd be right.
It seems like the last 3 or 4 months have flown by and it was just July 4th and now here we are and it's 2 weeks from Thanksgiving. I know "time flies when you're having fun", and it flies even faster once you have kids, but I just don't understand how the middle of November got here so fast, outta nowhere!

It could have something to do with the fact that as a SAHM, the days and weeks creep by for me. Most days I rely on my phone to tell me what day of the week it is.
I think I'm also dreading trying to keep the kids out of everything once it's all up, so maybe that's why I'm not as amped up as I normally am.

Last year, I knew we were going to be hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas since we had 2 newborns, so I started my decorating around this time, 'cause I knew it'd take me a while. I like to have the house decorated for Thanksgiving. Who says you can't be Thankful and Merry at the same time? 
You're not forgetting about're siting there eating turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie with your friends and family, aren't you??! You can celebrate and recognize Thanksgiving whilst basking in the beauty of your Christmas tree.
Everyone eats so much that they have to have special Thanksgiving pants, right?

Plus, it sure is a lotta work for just 3 weeks or so of enjoyment. I will say, I don't do the outside until at least the week of Thanksgiving, usually after. Our neighbors are now sporting their outside Christmas lights. So...yeah.....

Please tell me I'm not the only who feels like the holidays just came out of nowhere!! 
I've got to get in that mindset. They are upon us. The weather sure confirms that. Brrrr!
I do know I need to start in the next couple weeks, because who knows how long it will take to finish. I have to get in a little decorating here and there, whenever the kids are asleep, playing, etc.
Maybe I'll bake a batch or two of cherry chip loaf and that'll help put me in the spirit. 
Nom nom nom.

When do you plan on decorating this year? Are you usually a traditionalist who holds out until after Thanksgiving, or are you one who is always busting at the seams to get the house all decked out?

I say, to each his own. Do whatever makes you happy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

I totally stole that title from a Bubble Guppies episode. I've gotta get out more.
But anyway, that's a whole 'nother post....

I'm considering making a change to the hair. Hair seems to be a theme this week.
Why is it so hard to pull the trigger on chopping off your hair? It is just hair, after all. I see other women make the cut and I think it looks fabulous.
I've gotten too attached to mine and I guess since it took me so long to grow out after wearing it in a bob for all those years, I just get very apprehensive about cutting it.
A few months back, I had 3-4 inches cut off and I seriously grieved my hair way more than a normal person should.
I've had my hair long (or longish) for about 2 years, but started growing it out almost 3 years ago. It was quite the task. I used to get to that one point (maybe just under my shoulders) where it'd look awkward and I'd give up and chop it again. I finally gave it good go, got regular trims and shape ups to keep my hair from looking like a mushroom(have you seen what this Alabama humidity does to hair??), and did it!
Having long hair, personally, makes me feel feminine. That probably sounds weird. And with fear of sounding a little hair is one of my favorite features and I feel like it's prettier when it's long and flowy.

More recently....
I typically wave it a little with a curling iron. It looks better with a little movement to it, than it does stick-straight.
After we shut out TAMU!! RTR!

Here's where it's been in the past....

Too short! Not going there again!

You know how there are some people who just look astonishingly better with either long or short hair? And maybe they don't know it, so they're wearing this hair style that's all wrong for them and nobody will tell them? My fear is that's me with the long hair. I've asked my (amazing) hair stylist before, and she says that I look great with either long or short hair and if I didn't, she'd tell me. I believe her, but I also know she wants to keep my business. :-)

I really love this does pretty much everyone, since it's been pinned about 748,000 times.
I also like how it's layered, although I'd probably need more layers around my face.
I also love the color, but since I don't color my hair, I'll just admire it for now.

I also like the popular "lob". (I'm trying to see if I can break the record for the most times the word "also" is used in one post.)

I realize that none of these cuts are that much shorter than my current hair. But there's something about going to the shoulders or above that makes it feel SO. SHORT.
For some people, short hair is easier to maintain. For me, it's actually longer hair that I find easier to keep up. A lot of times, I'll shower and wash my hair at night, then all I have to do is run a flat iron or curling iron through it and it looks fresh. When my hair is shorter, it tends to look super flat when I do that, without as much volume. For that reason, I usually have to wash and style it in the mornings so it has enough body, which is just more time I have to spend getting ready.

So, the struggle continues. Real serious stuff here, I know.
We'll see if I pull the trigger on it or not.

Have you ever chopped your hair and immediately regretted it, or maybe you've wondered "why didn't I do this sooner?"