Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

We have been VERY busy this week. Nathan took this week and next as vacation, and his brother is in town so we have been going 100 mph to different events. It's been so fun!
A quick recap on the past two days: Yesterday morning we made sugar cookies at Nathan's aunt's house with the babies (Lyla LOVED it and London just wanted to be left alone with his toys). Last night I cooked a Christmas Eve Eve dinner which consisted of Tater Tot Casserole, corn, organic spinach salad, and french wine. It was delicious!
This afternoon we went to a Christmas Eve service at our church. Lyla had a great time in the childcare, but London was screaming his face off when we came to pick him up. :( I think being in childcare is just something he'll get used to over time.
Tonight we are going to Nathan's family's Christmas Eve dinner of pizza and posole. Tomorrow my family is coming over bright and early to exchange gifts, and then we are having brunch and exchanging gifts with Nathan's family. Then there is a Christmas dinner tomorrow night at Nathan's mom's house.
I'll actually be really sad when Christmas is over! But on the 28th is my sister-in-law's birthday which will be really fun. Then on the 29th, I have MY BIRTHDAY!! It's going to rock this year! We're having a big party at my sister's house. Complete with a fondue dinner and dessert, followed by dancing to Just Dance on the Wii. That game is SO fun! I can't wait!
Then of course there's New Years! We're going to this bash at the Q Bar that should be really awesome. I have a sexy purple dress I've been waiting to have a use for, so out of the closet it comes! Plus, my mother-in-law offered to stay the night with the babies! Yay for a night off! :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

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My New Favorite Foundation

My mom is a genius when it comes to finding amazing makeup. And she's always giving me new things to try. She recently gave me L'Oreal's Visible Lift Serum Absolute Foundation (whew that's a mouthful). It's ~$12-$15. This foundation is awesome! I think it's probably meant for older women that have more visible or deeper lines and wrinkles. But I have fine lines around my mouth and eyes that I hate, and this foundation really smooths out the lines to make them so much less visible. It also gives full coverage, but doesn't look all cakey or heavy so that's really nice. It goes on light and smooth.
I went on L'Oreal's website to look at what other colors they offer because I really loved the foundation, but the one my mom bought me was too dark. They do this customizing thing where you go through a series of questions and at the end it tells you what shade probably works best for you. It told me my shade is Creamy Natural, so I went out and got it and it matches my skin exactly!

I liked the visible lift line so much that I also bought the visible lift under eye base, which is great too. It's $10.

Both products have SPF 20 which is really nice. And necessary for living in the desert!
After I put on the foundation, I set it with powder (another product my mom introduced me to). It's the Airspun translucent face powder. It's been around forever, and it's great for setting foundation. I think this is around $7.

Also, I forgot to mention that before I put on the foundation I prime my face with L'Oreal's Skin Genesis poor minimizing skin re-smoother. It's makes for a nice canvas for the foundation. It's about $20 for a small bottle, but it's worth it!

Now that I've found these products that I love, I'm sure they'll be discontinued any day now. I hate it when that happens! But for now I will enjoy them!

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It's begining to look a lot like Christmas!

I am soooooo excited for Christmas this year. I finally had to sit back and actually think why this is, and I figured it out!
Last year during this time I had infant babies and was severely lacking sleep. The year before last I was pregnant with twins and was so nauseous at the site and smell of everything. The year before that (2007) I had so much going on with moving into our new house, changing jobs, and everything else that I felt like a complete wack-a-doodle.
This year, I finally feel like my normal, cheerey, festive self! I can't wait for Christmas! I put up all my decor and even put up the trees (yes, plural) a week before Thanksgiving.
I can't wait for my little twinkies to be excited about their toys on Christmas morning.
It's amazing how much your perspective changes once you have kids. You start seeing the world through their eyes. The eyes of a child. It's magical!
We're taking the twinks to see Santa tomorrow. It'll make for a cute picture, but I have a feeling that they'll cry!
Happy December!

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Happy Veterans Day!

I am very proud of all the Veterans in my family. My Grandpa Buttz (my dads dad) was in World War II in the Army. My Grandpa Gould (my moms dad) was in World War II for the Navy. My uncle John was in the Navy, my uncle Chuck was a Marine and my dad was in the Army and served in Vietnam. My cousin (uncle Chuck's son) is a super high ranking Marine, and my husband served in the Navy for 6 years, including going overseas and fighting during 9/11. Not to mention many of my friends that have also served or are currently serving. They have all risked their lives for our country and are more brave than I could ever be. I am so proud of them!

Here is my uncle accepting an award while in the Marines and stationed in the Philippines. This newspaper is dated 1966.

Here is my uncle Chuck, my dad James, and my other uncle Johnny all in uniform:

Here's a picture my grandpa had photoshopped. It's my Grandpa, uncle Chuck, dad, uncle Johnny, and my cousin Scott (Chuck's son):

Nathan, circa 2003:

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Deep Conditioners

I have been bleaching my hair for the past year or so. I do this because I don't like the way regular blonde dye on top of my dark brown hair turns out, so I've always been a fan of the bleached look. I've found that I either look good with super dark brown hair or super light blonde hair. This is known from years and years of experimenting.
Anyway, I had bleached my hair for the last time. It was seriously breaking off and fried to the core. It just doesn't bounce back from the bleach like it used to when I was younger.
So, I had to go dark brown. I've dyed my hair brown on top of bleach before and never had a problem. Until now.
My hair got completely and utterly fried. I mean crazy fried. Think of the worst possible hair you could ever think of, and then times it by 10. The worst it has EVER been. I seriously thought it was all going to just fall off. The only choices I had were to deep condition or cut it all off. And by cut it, I mean up to like 2 inches from my scalp. Well, I look better with my hair in a bun or pony than I do with super short hair. So, conditioning it is. Along with drinking a lot of water, taking prenatal vitamins, and laying off the heat.
I don't even want to get into the emotional roller coaster my fried hair has put me on this past week. You really don't realize how much your hair means to you until it's ruined. I think women hold a lot of power and sexuality in their hair too, if that makes sense.
This past week I've been experimenting with deep conditioners. I have found two amazing ones that I wanted to share. Even if you don't have damaged hair, these are great products to use for extra "umph".
The first is Aussie 3 minute miracle. It really does work miracles!

I read online that you can leave it in longer for more damaged hair, so I left it in about 30 minutes. When I rinsed it out I could already tell a difference. My hair was a lot smoother and felt so much better.
Another one that I love is Garnier deep conditioning masque ($4).

I also left this on a bit longer, maybe 20 minutes, and when I rinsed it out my hair instantly felt better. Smoother, shinier, and not as frizzy.
Finally I've also been using the Garnier leave in conditioner ($4) and it's been working pretty well too.

My hair is far from healthy, but at least I know there are good products out there to help me along the way!
And if anyone has any suggestions regarding deep conditioners, I'm all ears!
Oh, I forgot to add that for shampoo I've been using L'Oreal's Everpure. It's sulfate free, vegan, and super gentle for color treated and damaged hair. It's been good except I'm not in love with the smell (rosemary and juniper).

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Makeup Brushes

My current makeup brushes (Face Secrets from Sally's) are at their end. It feels like I am using sandpaper to put on my makeup (especially my powder and fan brush). I was waiting as long as I possibly could to get new ones because money is tight these days. To be fair, my brushes did last about 2 years, and I wouldn't say I cleaned them as properly as they should have been cleaned.
After TONS of research, reading reviews, watching youtube videos, etc., I've decided on the Sigma brushes. Apparently they are the best, even above MAC. I don't know this for fact, just from what I've researched.
They aren't cheap, but I'm willing to spend the money because I'm sure they will last and my makeup application is important to me.
I was going to get this black set that comes with the brush roll ($99):

But then I saw that it comes in PINK!!! (Although I do wish it were more of a hot-pink... I'm so picky, lol)

I just ordered them on Amazon and I can't wait to get them!!!!!

Also while I was checking reviews on things, I found a few other goodies I want to try. Ardell Brow & Lash Growth Accelerator ($4.78) has pretty good reviews. It's very inexpensive, so I'm going to give it a try:

Also, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($18):

I've always wanted to try this Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Regenerating Serum ($16), and after reading the reviews I'm going to give it a go:

I'm kind of obsessed with makeup and skin care these days. There are sooo many things I want to try, but I'll just have to take baby steps. :) If you have any favorites of makeup or skin care products or whatever, let me know! I'm open to try anything!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! So I was JUST about to hit submit on my order when I decided to check out one more thing. I was looking through the travel kits of the Sigma brushes and I found this!!:

They come in hot pink and they are more of what I wanted (3 face brushes) and less of what I don't need (all those eye bruhes). PLUS, it's only $59! YAY!!!!

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This is a heavy subject that I don't really like talking about, but there has been a lot of talk lately of bullying. More and more students and young people are committing suicide because of bullying. It's horrible and sad. Thankfully people are speaking out against it and trying to stop it. I'm not even sure I'll publish this post, I'm really just writing it to get it off my chest.

I too, was a victim of bullying. I was bullied by both girls and guys. My reaction only made things worse. I never fought back. I always smiled and laughed with them or rolled my eyes with a giggle and pretended to not care or shrug it off. That totally made me an ever easier target.

It started in elementary school. This red headed boy used to chase me during recess everyday until he trapped me into those long cylinder thingys that you crawl through. He would get me in there and have his friends block both ends where he'd try to pull off my clothes. I don't think either of us knew what he was doing, but it scared me more than anything. I hated being trapped in those cylinder things.

In middle school I had a bottom locker and this girl that had the locker above me would purposely drop her books on my head and laugh every single day. I still don't really know why. There was also this boy that sent me a letter asking if I liked him (circle yes or no) and I circled no because I didn't. Well, he decided that in class he'd stand up and shout that "Tara is fat!" followed by, "Well, not fat, just chunky! That's her new nickname!" Then he got the class to chant "Chunky! Chunky! Chunky!" over and over.

Also in middle school, this boy called me on the phone asking if I wanted to go out sometime, I decided I'd bide my time and asked if I could put him on hold. I really just hit the mute button and I was sitting on the line when he said to his friend on the other line "Do you really like her dude?" and the guy said "Yea" and the other guy said "I don't know dude, she's kind of fat", and the other guy said "yea, you're right." So then I hung up the phone. It's kind of funny to me now. I was never fat, but I did have some chunk to me. But you can imagine the effects this had on a middle school girl. I won't even get into the long term effects this had on me.

When I was a freshman in high school this boy left a note on my car saying that he had something of mine and to come by his house and get it after school. I was naive and went to his house. When I got there he asked if I'd have sex with him. I was horrified and shocked (I was a good church girl) and left immediately. Well he decided he'd make my life a living hell at school. He proceeded to call me a bitch every day and he'd go out of his way to come over my locker to call me a bitch. He told all his friends that I was a bitch, and they all started to call me a bitch.
Also in high school I had one girl specifically that would always threaten to be "waiting for me in the parking lot" or telling me to watch my back because her cousins in a gang were going to beat me up. Thankfully I managed to avoid them because I'd take alternate ways home from school and so forth. I never knew what prompted her hatred of me, all I did was smile and be nice to her. Which I guess was the wrong thing to do. She and her friends proceeded to threaten to kick my ass all through most of high school.

I also had these other two girls decide to start horrible rumors about me. And this guy that constantly made fun of my high pitched voice.

I could go on and on, but I just don't have the time.

I never told anyone what was going on at the time. I never told my parents. I only recently mentioned a couple things to my mom and she was so surprised and asked why I never said anything to her. I don't really know why. I guess I was embarrassed. I didn't know what they would think of me. And I especially didn't want my mom or dad showing up at my school making things even worse for me.

Sheesh, sorry for the heavy material. I'm not looking for sympathy. I just wanted to get it off my chest I guess. I'm just glad that there's been a lot of recent publicity speaking out against bullying. Especially now that I have kids. I'd hate for them to have to go through stuff like that.

On a happier note, the girl that dropped the books on my head in middle school ended up applying for a job where I was an Administration Assistant. As soon as she walked in the office I recognized her. She tried being all nice to me. I didn't even have to do anything mean, she ended up not getting the job and that made me happy.
Also the guy that made fun of my voice, years later I ran into him at a concert and he said, "wow you're hot" and I said "too bad you made fun of me all the time in high school now you'll never have a chance." He was all embarrassed. He had also gotten super fat. Very satisfying. :)

Ok, I promise my next post won't be so depressing. :)

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My New Ankle Boots

I've been really wanting my first pair of ankle boots for this fall. I found some really cute ones at Charlotte Russe and I just had to have them!

They were $32.50 but I got them for $15! Yay!

Now I need to work on finding some tights, a cute new coat, and some more dresses and cardigans. I love fall!!!

Oh, and these boots will also look cute with my skinny jeans!

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A Day in My Life

I'm a stay-at-home mom of 15 month old boy/girl twins, London and Lyla. They are the absolute loves of my life. They are a huge part of who I am as a person now and everything changed (for the better) when they entered my world.

Somebody asked me the other day "Do you ever get bored at home every day?". I think this is so funny. Bored is the last thing I'd ever say to describe my days.

So, a bit of back story, when I had the twins I went on paid maternity leave for 6 months. Then I took a one year leave of absence. Then I finally told my boss that I wasn't coming back. It was very hard to leave. It wasn't a hard decision, I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. But I LOVED my job. I loved the people I worked with, the work I was doing was exciting and innovative. My manager was the best boss I had EVER had. Everything about my job was everything I had ever wanted. Saying that, I'm living my DREAM job now. I get to stay home with my kids and watch them grow up right before my very eyes. It's amazing and I love it more than anything!

So, getting back to the question I got about if I get bored at home, I thought for fun I'd write what my typical day actually consists of:

I wake up at about 7:30 or 8:00. London is usually the one that is stirring and babbling in his crib and it wakes me up through the monitor.
I go to the kitchen and grab their sippy cups of milk and head to the nursery. I give Lyla her milk, she's usually sitting up in her crib, and then I give London his milk while I pull him out and change him.
Then I take him out to play in the front room or play room, and do the same with Lyla.
At about 8:45 is I give them breakfast in their high chairs. After breakfast I read about 3 books to them and practice some sign language. So far, they know how to sign dog, milk, mama, dada, ball, all done, more, eat, water, and some other ones that I'm forgetting right now. This is VERY helpful since they can't fully talk yet. I highly suggest baby sign language to those of you with kids or having kids in the future.
Anyway, at about 9:30 they go down for a nap that lasts until about 11 or so. During this time I check my email and play around online. I also clean, pick up, shower, or do anything else I need to do. I don't nap. I think I've taken maybe 5 naps total in the time since they've been born. I just have a hard time sleeping in short amounts during the day.
When they wake up, I follow the same procedure as the morning. Then at about noon or so they eat lunch and I do all the books and signing again.
Sometimes they take a second nap at about 2 or 3, but lately they haven't been so I think we're slowly transitioning to one nap.
During their awake play times, we'll play with toys in the house, or I'll take them on a walk, or we'll go play at the park up the street. My mom also has a swing set that I like to take them over to play on. And my sister has an awesome play area in her house and a bounce house in her back yard, so some days we go over there (she's just up the street).
I try to do new things every other day or every week so that they don't get bored with their same toys.
At about 5:45 they eat dinner. At 6 pm Nathan comes home and plays with them for about 45 minutes and then close to 7 pm he gives them each a bath. Then I get their pj's on and get them ready for bed. At 7ish we bring them out in the front room to sit on our laps for a bit more milk and bedtime stories. Then we put them down in their cribs and they sleep all the way until 7:30 or 8 am. Lyla can sleep until 9 am some days.

So at about 8 pm I have the rest of the night to myself to watch my tv shows or do whatever else I want to do. I'm usually pretty tired, but I stay up until about 10:30 or 11 anyway. Some nights I go out dancing, the past month or so I've been teaching jive every Wednesday night and that's been so fun. Nathan and I have a date night every now and then where we'll go to dinner and a movie. Sometimes I'll just go have a drink with a friend.

When Nathan is home he is very hands on and helps a lot.
But during the week day, if I ever want to go run errands by myself or anytime I need a break or some help I can just call my mom. She's retired and is always ready and available to help me. It's SO great having her. Even though I have a horrible time asking for help and I'm very independent, I try to let her help because I know it's not only good for the babies, it's good for me. And she loves to spend time with them.

Some days are harder than others. There's never a dull moment around here, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

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White Teeth

I get asked all the time how I get my teeth so white, so I figured I'd write a post about it. Even my dentist wants to know my secrets! lol... I had to get a crown and they didn't have a crown white enough for my teeth, so they had to bleach one and then put it on.
I'm not going to lie, I've always had somewhat white teeth ever since I was little, but I have done things more recently to keep them staying ultra white. However, I've never had them professionally whitened. Too much money!
First and foremost, I take care of my teeth. I brush everyday, and floss every other day.

For my toothbrush I use the Crest Spinbrush (pink!).

For toothpaste, I most often use Crest Pro-Health Whitening toothpaste.

Floss, I use anything that glides.

I love these little floss sticks for my purse or diaper bag.

I use Crest Whitestrips Classic about once a month. People seem to think I use these every day or something, but really I only use them once a month at the most. They are kind of pricey, $33 on Amazon, but at the rate I buy them I can swing it. There are later versions of whitestrips, but I know the classic ones work for me, so I don't bother spending even more than I have to. If you have bonding on your teeth like my husband does, than whitestrips will probably not work for you.

So when I put the whitestrips on, I first brush my teeth, and then I put them on and leave them on for about 30-40 minutes. While they are on I can do my makeup, or anything else I need to do. They are pretty comfortable. I can also drink water with them on, but I don't. I'd avoid drinking anything with these on.
If you're using them for the first time, then you'll put them on twice a day for 30 minutes. And I think you'll do that for two weeks, or until you get your desired result.

So that's it. Those are my big secrets, lol.

Whenever I think of really white teeth I always think of that Friend's episode where Ross over-whitened his teeth and they were glowing in the dark. LOL... So funny!

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New (Old) Purses!

I was browsing the antique mall when I came upon these purses. I knew they were going to be pricey, but I asked to look at them anyway. I drool over purses, especially Dorset-Rex. Purrrrrrrrr.

So the first one is this little pink straw purse. The lady said the top part is lucite, but I have my suspicions. Still it's adorable and in really good condition. The inside pink satin looks great. No tag, just says made in Italy. The price said $55 firm. I asked her if the price was negotiable, and she said "Well seems like your lucky day. This is my booth and I wasn't even going to come in today. So I guess you can make me an offer." I knew I wanted to look at the other purses and then offer her something for all the ones I wanted.

The next is this Dorset-Rex. The price said $125. It's in good condition, the inside has some age spots though, like mold spots or something. Still the outside looks great, no scratches on the top.

And lastly, another Dorset-Rex. It's price was $85. Good condition, except one minor scratch on the lid. However, the whole lining is coming undone. Pretty easy to fix though.

So all three of these was $265. I offered her $150 (I knew it was ridiculously low, but I thought I'd give it a try) and she came back at $175! I think that's a great deal for these three! :):):)

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My Wish List

It's a new day, and although I'm still sad about Zeus (the breeder is giving our money back, by the way) it's time to move ahead and think about things that make me happy. Things I want! :)

The shoes are soooo cute and they are on sale like half off at Kohl's!

I also LOVE these shoes but they're a bit too pricey for my liking. That's why this is my "wish" list. They're sold out anyway. Pinup Girl Clothing:

I'm not a fan of repro, but this sailor dress is SO cute! This is also from pinup girl clothing:

I desperately need some coasters and I just haven't gotten any yet. I was thinking maybe about these:

I saw these cupcake pajamas on 30 Rock when Liz wears them and I though they were so cute:

And they also sell cherry ones!!

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. :)

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What a Terrible Day :(

I noticed the past couple of days that Zeus has been really lethargic. I called the vet and asked if I should bring him in. They said to give him some wet food with his dry food and see if he eats more and keep watch of him. So I bought wet food and sure enough he was eating it and drinking water. But he we still just soooo lethargic and walking funny. He was hardly meowing and just seemed like depressed or something. So this morning, I found him laying against the wall in a weird position and I thought, that doesn't look right. So I picked him up and he started having a seizure. :(
I called my mom and she came over to watch the babies and I took off to the vet, no makeup, hair not done, nothing. I barely remembered to change out of my pajamas.
The doctor said he was critical and that he's become hypoglycemic. Basically he was freezing. His body temp was 94 degrees (should be close to 100), and his glucose level wouldn't even show on their machine it was so low. They had him on hot water bottles and were giving him sugar water. He was starting to come around and then just like that, he was gone.
I feel horrible. This is the second cat I've lost in a year. I only had Zeus two weeks, but I grow attached to animals really fast.
The doctor said that he was not 2 months old like the breeder said, but that he was closer to 5 weeks and had possibly not been weaned from his mother yet. :( But she said even so, he should've been fine eating kitten chow. She thinks there was definitely more of a problem, possibly with his liver or the way he processes sugar.
I'm so sad. He was such a sweet kitty and I wish he didn't have to go.
Ugh, I just can't believe it!
And to top it all off, come to find out the breeder we got him from is not registered. So he's basically breeding illegally. We're going to see if we can report him to animal humane.
Sorry to be such a debbie downer. :(

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Cute Find

I found these adorable pink shorts with anchors all over them on clearance at Walmart for $3! They were even the right size for Lyla!

I couldn't help posting a pic of my model, Lyla, showing them off:

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