Category Archives: notes

Shop Small Spring Series is Here!

Shop Small Spring Series

I’ve been hinting on social media for a bit around my Shop Small Spring series for a few weeks… and it is finally here! I cannot wait to share with you each and every one of these wonderful shops over the next few weeks. Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. Although I am a summer girl at heart, the world waking up through blooming, blossoming, and warming weather makes me so excited about life. Everything is new and growing and the earth just whispers that summer is near.

Spring also comes with a season of busy. Weddings, showers, holidays, and a lot of family birthdays. Throw the start of baseball season, graduations, and summer vacation in there, and I always just feel as if the weeks fly by! During this Shop Small Spring series, I hope to make some things a bit easier with giving you some great ideas for all of these springtime events. Easter baskets, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, wedding showers, baby showers, and more, there is a lot of gifting opportunities and I have partnered with some of the BEST shops!

Starting tomorrow I will start sharing with you some of my new favorite entrepreneurs and allowing you to enter their stories about their shops, their journey and tips for success, and how they manage to balance a small business with family, friends, and everyday life. The best part? You can also help support them as we explore their great products together by purchasing one of their items for all of these great gift giving events this spring!

Are you ready?!

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

Thank you, Honeywell Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier, for sponsoring this post, 5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter. I was selected for this opportunity by Honeywell through Influenster; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

I don’t know about where you live, but Illinois is absolutely frigid. Terribly cold. Brr.

At heart, I am a summer girl. My hair, my skin, my health, my happiness are all better in the warmer weather with an abundance of sunshine and pool time, but living in the midwest, I get to enjoy all seasons at their fullest, including winter. One of the reason I have such a hard time in the winter months is due to the fact that my skin and hair become extremely dry during this time. It is so hard to feel good about my look when my hair is static clinging to everything and my face and legs feel like sandpaper. So when winter rolls around, the colder temperatures, dry air, and wind affect the look and feel of my skin and hair, I do everything I can to keep myself looking radiant all winter!

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drinking water isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I will grab a cold RC Cola over a glass of water anyway, but in winter, I have to drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated. Lack of hydration may cause dry and flaky skin during the winter months. I like to drink my first glass of water in the morning while I’m at my vanity while putting on my makeup. There’s something refreshing about drinking fresh water while getting ready for the day! I also drink water when I take breaks from working each day and when working out as well. I don’t go to bed without a glass of water next to my bed at night for those moments when I wake up feeling thirsty and during the early hours of nursing baby Ollie.

My Camelbak is something that has helped me out tremendously with this. If my water bottle is next to me and full, I’ll drink it. I do a thousand times better with staying hydrated with my Camelbak than I do with a plain glass of water. There has to be some sort of science behind this… but whatever it is, this has helped me keep my water intake up.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

2. Exfoliate Once a Week
Exfoliating can help get rid of dead skin cells to reveal newer skin underneath. Use a gentle scrub during the winter months to remove dull skin cells. During the fall months, I have been using a simple charcoal and brown sugar scrub; however, for Christmas, I received my all time favorite scrub from Basin, their orange vanilla shea salt scrub. I “test” this scrub out each time we visit Disney Spring and it is the best! I cannot wait to add this product into my weekly routine.

3. Moisturize Twice a Day
Moisturizing is necessary for keeping my skin looking the very best during the winter months. I moisturize in the morning and at night. Moisturizing is one of my favorite routines of the day because I feel so much better after I give my skin the extra moisture it needs. Skin is best moisturized soon after bathing or showering. I have been sticking to the same moisturizer that I used during my pregnancy, Fruit of Earth Vitamin E Skin Care Cream. It is my cheapest skin care item I own, and my favorite hands down.

Your hand also could need moisturizing! I try and get at least two deep conditioning treatments over the winter months at the salon and boy, do they make a difference! I also deep condition my hair at home every other week as well. It is so helpful to keep my hair from being a static mess all winter.

4. Lukewarm Showers
I am super guilty of taking hot, hot showers in the winter time; however, the best type of shower during the winter months is lukewarm. Hot shower actually dry out your skin! It is hard to make the switch and cool down the temperature of my steamy showers, but I know it is so much better for my skin.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

5. Use a Humidifier
This is my best kept dry skin and hair secret. The air gets dry in the winter and lack of moisture in the air may cause your skin to crack, leaving your skin feeling itchy, and my hair just a mess! Our home thankfully has a whole-home humidifier; however, we sleep with a room humidifier in our bedroom as well as in Ollie’s bedroom. You would not believe the difference it makes.

We have a thermometer in the house that tracks our humidity levels in our room. From the nights that we run on humidifier compared to the nights that we do not, there is a drastic difference. A healthy humidity level for your home should be in between 40% and 60%; however, the nights that we do not run our humidifier, our humidity levels in our house drops below 30%!

I am in love with our Honeywell Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier because it is so easy to refill late at night as we are getting ready for bed. The top-fill feature means that you don’t have to disassemble the humidifier and hold the tank under a faucet which makes a bigger difference than you might think in terms of convenience and ease of use. The controls are simple, one knob that you turn cockwise to control output. It is super quiet when it is running and is easy to clean.

I cannot believe the amount of people that do not sleep with a humidifier every night and honestly, this has been the most helpful item that I have added to my list. It helps with my skin, hair, and overall health — keeping my throat less scratchy and sore, nose less dry, and more.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

3 Grocery Shopping Secrets

3 Grocery Shopping Secrets

Anybody that knows me personally knows that I am an extremely type “A” person with a budget. I love being organized and being able to save. Saving money is super important to our family because it allows us to be better stewards of our finances that God provides us as well as allows us to do more of the things that we enjoy, like traveling and making memories as a family. Some times this means skipping fast food during the week for lunches and other times it means that we already spent our weekend budget on Friday and Saturday and have to stay in on Sundays.

With that being said, we do not go without most of the time. We remodeled two floors in our house within a year primarily because we did the work ourselves and bought used furniture from thrift stores. We also travel a ton but when we do, we have a budget and still do things smart.

Grocery shopping has been the area that truly can make or break us when it comes to staying on track to our budget. It definitely took a few years to for us to get a good system down, but there are three main things that we do to help keep our costs at a minimum every week.

1. Electronic Shopping List

Dusty and I utilize tons of helpful apps on our iPhones. One that has been extremely beneficial to our weekly grocery shopping is Reminders. Reminders is a great way for us to make an electronic shopping list as the week goes by. If Dusty empties the last bit of coffee, he can add it to the shared shopping list straight from his phone in the kitchen. If I open the extra toothpaste in the house, leaving us without a backup, I can add it from our bathroom. Since we never forget our phones, you also always have the shopping list with you as well. As you purchase things throughout your shopping trip, you can easily check them off as the items get tossed in the cart.

We also try to only make one trip a week. Multiple trips throughout the week make it hard to stay on track with our budget. Instead I can easily text Dusty the day before I go and ask him to think about what he needs for the upcoming week at the store while he is at work. He can add it to the list as items come to his mind and it updates on my phone immediately!

So much money is wasted at the grocery store on impulse buys. With our shopping list, I can plan out our meals for the week and stick to my list. It really helps cut down on spending all of our money on items that we don’t really need and allows us to save a bit each week.

2. Ibotta & Couponing

Couponing can be a tricky thing. Many people can get in trouble with coupons, because they buy it only because there is a coupon for that item. Instead, I cut and save only the coupons that I know that we will use. I also do not take a coupon book to the store with me. Prior to heading to the store, I review my shopping list (which is on my computer as well since Apple syncs everything together) and match the coupons to my list right from my home office. There are also a ton of different coupon sites that I use to search for items that I may not have a coupon for prior to heading to the store!

I also love my Ibotta app. In the past year, I have received over $200 back just from scanning the items that I already buy. Again, be careful with this and only buy things that are on your shopping list. I have switched brands of coffee creamer or household cleaner if we needed it because it was on the app, but only if the brand featured on the app was cheaper.

ibotta how to

If you haven’t heard of Ibotta, it is amazing. It is cash back coupons that pays you real cash whenever, wherever you shop. Although we primarily use it during our grocery shopping, you can also receive cash for shopping at stores like Best Buy, Old Navy, or Loft as well as dining or going to the movies! Using it is really simple as well. First you download the Ibotta app, which is available on both iOS and Android. The app is required to submit a receipt. Next, before you go shopping, you unlock cash rewards by completing simple tasks, like answering a question or watching a short commercial. After you purchase the unlocked items on your list, you scan your product barcodes, then submit a photo of your receipt. It is really that easy! Ibotta promises that you’ll have the cash deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours, but I usually receive mine even quicker! I typically have my money transferred straight to my PayPal account; however, you can also purchase gift cards to places like Starbucks with your rewards.

Also, if you sign up through my link, you will start out with $10 in your account! That is completely free money on top of the free money you get back once you start using it for things that you already buy! Right now, they are giving $2 back on any produce. Crazy?!

3. Wal-Mart Grocery Same-Day Pickup

Now this is my newest favorite thing! Wal-Mart Grocery Same-Day Pickup is exactly what it sounds like. You literally order groceries on an app, pick a pickup time, and go pick them up! It is like a grocery drive-up service. They even load them into your trunk!

It is really that simple. I can simply shop my grocery list online, choose a time to pick up my order and then pull in to a designated parking area at my local store, where associates will load the items into my cars. It’s all the convenience of a specially trained personal shopper, plus the things you’d expect from Wal-Mart: the same low prices that they offer every day in their local stores; no extra fees or charges; and the ability to place an order and pick it up the very same day.

If you want to try it for yourself and get $10 off, click here! Not all areas are available yet, as we just got ours last week here in the St. Louis area, but they are adding new locations all of the time. I love it because I don’t buy anything extra at all. There is nothing to even impulse shop from since you are not in a store. I feel like I made healthier options, bought more towards what we would actually eat, and saved $10 off my first order!

With a baby, this is super great because I do not have to drag Ollie around in a cart at Wal-Mart while getting my groceries. He slept through my entire “grocery shopping” experience this week since we never left the car. How great is that?

Let's just talk about @walmart grocery pickup! Literally the best thing for this new momma. Order online and delivered to your car?! So awesome. Try it for yourself and get $10 off :: http://r.wmt.co/d9R0w #groceryhero

I love hearing others secrets to keeping their costs low and savings high! What are some of your special things that you do to help out the family budget?