let’s talk about makeup.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetFirst things first: I am the furthest thing from a beauty blogger. You already know this.

A weird thing happens when you get to be in your late-twenties. You suddenly have a makeup and skincare identity crisis on the regular. What chemicals are in this? How do I treat these little wrinkles? What the heck is BB cream? Brushes vs. sponges? Should I wear sunscreen on my face every single day? Can I pull off red lipstick? Should I buy cheap or expensive mascara? OMG WHY DO I STILL HAVE ACNE?!

…..or maybe that’s just me?

A recent vox chat with my friend April led to many voicemail minutes discussing these very important topics. Together, we reached the same conclusion.

WE KNOW NOTHING.

Having said that, I’m a big fan of trial and error when it comes to painting your face. I like to do things like Birchbox from time to time and buy Sephora sample kits to figure out what works best before I invest in full size products. I always ask for makeup for Christmas because I hate spending money on something as vain (yet necessary) as makeup.

Over the years I’ve found a few tried and true favorites, but I’m still on the hunt for the perfect red lipstick and I still need to know if using a makeup primer is necessary. Suggestions welcome.

Here are the current beauty products I can’t live without:

1. Dr. Jart BB Cream – I got this in my Birchbox way back when (circa 2012?) and have been using it religiously ever since. I apply it right over my moisturizer (or a primer) and use it as my main foundation. It glides on smoothly, provides great coverage, and has SPF 25.

2. The Beauty Blender Sponge – You guys. This is singlehandedly the best makeup tool I discovered in 2014. I got it for Christmas and haven’t looked back since. GAME CHANGER.

3. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer – I mean, the name itself warrants giving it a try, no? This is my go-to under eye concealer, and it only costs $7. Can’t beat that. I use the applicator to dab a few spots under my eyes, and then blend with the beauty sponge. Done and done. For blemishes and touch-ups, I love the Boi-ing concealer by Benefit.

4. Feelin’ Dandy Lip & Cheek Kit – I got this for Christmas and I could not love it more. I apply the posie tint on the apples of my cheeks with my fingertips, and dab a little bit of high beam on my cheekbones.

5. Maybelline Define-A-Lash Mascara – This is my go-to, everyday mascara. I’ve probably tried more than a dozen drugstore mascaras over the years, but I always come back to this one. I like my eyelashes to look long and defined, not necessarily super full and thick. If I’m going out on a date or want to look extra glam, I use Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara on top of this one.

6. E.L.F Eyeshadow – I only wear eyeshadow a couple times a week (if that), and honestly, I cannot tell the difference between the $2 and $22 kind. So I usually stick to the $2 kind. The e.l.f. brand always has a ton of neutral palettes for under $5 and they work fine for me. I also really like their jumbo lip crayons for a tiny bit of color.

7. Hello Flawless – For powder, I rotate between the Benefit Hello Flawless (when I need more coverage), and Sonia Kashuk Pressed Powder (when I need less coverage). Both of these last a long time.

8. Brows-a-go-go – I’m pretty sure Benefit replaced this with Brow Zings but this stuff lasts forever so I’m still working off my original brow set. Let’s file this under: Makeup I Discovered Too Late In Life. Seriously though, well done eyebrows might be the secret to a well done face.

Alright, I showed you mine. Now show me yours. What beauty faves can you not live without?

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these two.

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I love them so much my heart could burst. I made a promise to myself this week to pick up my camera more often. Between the diapers and snacks and 30-minute nursing sessions and dishes on top of dishes on top of dishes, it’s easy to let weeks fly by without taking a single picture of these two. But don’t let my laziness fool you—they’re still my favorite photography subjects.

p.s. I’m over at Coffee + Crumbs today talking about my least favorite advice from well-meaning strangers, “Enjoy this time, dear.”

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to be brave with your art.

WMHR-1It is probably the goal of most writers to get their words in front of other human beings. Writers want their writing to be read, right? (Say that three times fast.)

When I first started writing for an audience of zero, it was liberating. I had thoughts and I wrote them down and I hit publish and I questioned nothing. No regrets, no doubt, no worrying, no panic. Just think, type, publish, repeat. Think, type, publish, repeat.

Everything was simple.

Over time, my audience grew to three, and then four, and then five. And then maybe twelve. And then more. I stopped counting. I have no idea how many people are reading this now. I can look up how many people click on this page, sure, but I have no idea how many people are actually reading this. There is a difference. A big difference.

Something weird happens when you start writing for more people. You become acutely aware of what you are saying. You analyze your sentences more often. You write with an open thesaurus because you want to make sure the words you use are the words you actually mean to say. You second guess some of the words, and some of the sentences. You delete this, delete that. Re-write that thing, re-write this thing. I am learning to be a better editor, and I think that is good for me and good for my writing.

But then a tiny wave of panic rolls in, and you start to write something else.

You start writing negative comments in your head, filling in the blanks as you go.

If I say this, they’ll say ____________.
If I say that, they’ll assume___________.
If I say this, they’ll think_________.

And so on and so forth.

It’s….crippling. Pretty soon you’ve written enough one-star reviews to fill up an entire online gossip forum, all based on what? Fear? Doubt? Your own multiplying insecurities?

I’ve recently come to terms with something: I am never going to be a good writer if I write safe. And truth be told: I write safely a lot.

The bigger the audience grows, the safer the stories I tell. I’m going backwards, I can feel it in my bones. God keeps giving me more and more, and I keep telling less and less. I’m writing small instead of big; scared instead of brave.

Enough of that.

I’m writing this today in case you also find yourself going backwards instead of forwards. In case you also find yourself creating art from a place of fear and doubt instead of courage and confidence. Let’s not waste another day crippled by our own insecurities. Let’s take the talent God has placed in our hands and be good stewards of those gifts. Let’s write the truth and use all the paint colors and sing every note and dance with our whole bodies.

Let’s be brave with our art.
Let’s start today.

***

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

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line in the sand.

line in the sandEver since Carson was born, I have been caught in a never-ending hurricane. Working from home with one kid was….dare I say….easy? Simple? Uncomplicated? We had a routine, Everett and I—babysitting hours and a babysitting swap and solid naps every day. I was still cramming work into the nooks and crannies of each day, but it was rather manageable. I still had plenty of time to read Elmo books on the couch and walk to the park and bake cookies in the afternoon.

And then sweet little Carson came along and knocked me over. I gave myself a three month maternity leave to soak up his tiny fingers and toes, to breastfeed on demand, to take naps in the middle of the day, to shower or not shower. I needed that time to rest and breathe and find my groove as a mother of two.

Once January rolled around, it felt like a fresh start, as the new year always does. I was coming out of the sleep deprived fog a bit and craving some semblance of a routine. I was ready to get back to it—to the place where I could thrive as a mom and a writer and a wife and not feel like I was constantly paddling under water trying to stay afloat.

It became increasingly clear that the lines between motherhood and work were too blurry. I was trying to be a good mom all day, and I was trying to be good at my job all day. I was working while I was mothering and I was mothering while I was working.

Needless to say, that wasn’t working. For anyone.

I think the greatest challenge of working from home with two small children is this: there is no line in the sand, no clear boundaries, no separation of church and state. I’m answering e-mails while doing puzzles. I’m jotting down writing topics while I breastfeed. I’m working on editorial calendars while racing hot wheels. My two hands are constantly doing two different things, and it’s starting to feel a little insane.

This week marks a big change in our house. I’ve lined up babysitting for Everett for two whole mornings a week, effective immediately. It feels good, and weird, and there’s a tiny bit of guilt but not much, and I feel lighter already.

It all boils down to: I want to be a good mom when I am mothering and I want to be good at my job when I am working. In order for that to happen, I need to stop trying to do both of those things at the same time.

It’s not going to be perfect, but this is my tiny attempt at drawing a line in the sand. You have to start somewhere, right?

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lactation cookies.

Lactation Cookies | Where My Heart Resides-1

I had never even heard of lactation cookies until one of the moms at MOPS brought me a meal shortly after Carson was born. Sidenote: do you know who brings over the best meals after your baby is born? The MOPS team. I’m talking salad, drinks, a kick-ass entree, and dessert. Those girls aren’t messing around.

ANYWAYS. One of the moms, Tracy, brought us over an awesome meal (which included a loaf of warm, fresh-from-the-bakery bread, HELLO), and with it, a ziplock bag of frozen cookie dough for lactation cookies.

I was like yeah, mmm-hmm, you had me at cookies. They were delicious.

I don’t really have any supply issues (that I know of?), but my motto with lactation anything is: it can’t hurt, right? Carson was born four weeks early and only weighed five pounds when we brought him home. Last time he got weighed, he wasn’t even on the growth chart. Nobody was worried about it per se (I’m not either), but of course I want to make sure he is eating enough. His four month check-up is this Thursday so over the weekend I whipped up some lactation cookies to give my supply a little boost. I mean, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, and this way Brett is sure to stay away from them (he refuses to eat anything with “lactation” in the title). More for me! Plus, they’re for the baby, so I don’t have to feel guilty when I eat five in one sitting. I’ll report back with an update on how well they work.

In the meantime, here’s the recipe*!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups slow rolled oats
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Mix the flaxseed meal with water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Using a mixer, mix together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix until well-blended.
  • Add in flaxseed and mix until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and brewer’s yeast. Mix well and add to butter mixture.
  • Stir in oats and chocolate chunks. Mix until well combined.
  • Use a spoon to scoop out cookies and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until slightly browned on the top.

*slightly modified from this recipe – I used chocolate chunks instead of chips, and used more of them, because duh.

p.s. If you have real supply issues, I tried the mother’s milk tea a few weeks ago out of sheer curiosity and DANG. Sent my supply into overdrive with one cup. Highly recommend!

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