inspiration

my sensitive skin care routine.

oh my skin. my skin and i are complete frenemies. i need it, it needs me, but we don’t always get along. you know? i have been through the wringer trying to figure out how to keep it under control. i’ve tried EVERY over the counter treatment there is, and quite a few of the prescriptions treatments too. i’ve even taken accutane on two different occasions (it helped but was horrible and i hated it). what i’m saying is i’ve tried a thing or two. i’ve gotten to know my skin pretty well through all of it, and feel pretty good about handling it these days. i still get the occasional breakout (thanks hormones!) but they are shorter and less intense these days.

i’ve talked about my skincare routine and breakouts before here, but because our human bodies are so delightfully unique, it’s always changing based on how my body is reacting to the routine during any given period of time. i’ve been trying to be thoughtful and look at it a few times a year to see if there is anything i need to change, and i think it’s been a good thing! here is what i’m currently doing to look and feel less like a hormonal teenager and more like a grown-ass mature mother of two children.

my morning routine

  • rinse with water. i have really sensitive, breakout prone skin, and i’ve learned that the less i unnecessarily cleanse it, the better it behaves.
  • moisturize. i’m currently using the beautycounter daily facial moisturizer, but sometimes i like to use the origins original skin matte moisturizer too.
  • put on bb cream or foundation. i’m currently using the nyx bb cream, it’s by far the most like a foundation of all the bb creams i’ve tried.
  • apply concealer, face powder and blush. i never skip the concealer, but sometimes will skip the other two.
  • apply the rest of my makeup. the rest of my makeup is just maybelline brow pencil and l’oreal voluminous mascara. if i’m at home with the kids, i skip the mascara.


my evening routine

  • remove makeup. i don’t always do this as an extra step, but if i have a full face of makeup on, i will. i use the one love organics vitamin b cleansing oil, which is a great option for people who might be afraid of facial oils. i apply it with dry hands to a dry face and work it in to get the makeup melted off, then massage warm water all over my face with the oil, then rinse it off, and all the makeup is gone.
  • cleanse face. after i remove my makeup with the cleansing oil, i cleanse my face again with cetaphil gentle skin cleanser. this just removes all the excess cleansing oil, and makes sure to get every last bit of residue off my face.
  • tone. i use thayers rose petal witch hazel toner, which is by far the most gentle, effective toner i’ve ever used. it doesn’t dry out my skin, but it helps with dry skin and clogged pores.
  • use a face mask. about once a week i try to do a purifying mask to get my pores really clean and refreshed. my favorite types of masks are generally the charcoal clay masks, because they really draw out a lot of the impurities in my skin without overdrying it. my favorite lately is the beautycounter charcoal mask, it’s just amazing.
  • moisturize. again, my pores are clogged easily, so i don’t like to over moisturize my face. once or twice a week i use the one love organics skin savior multi-tasking wonder balm if i’m feeling extra dry.

i’ve said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again that no product can replace good lifestyle choices when it comes to the health of your skin. i talk about this more in my post on handling problem skin, but it’s just so important to use good products, drink more water, eat well, get facials semi-regularly, and take any supplements that your body might need (like vitamin d, fish oil, and probiotics). once your foundation is strong, it’s a lot easier to keep the good times going.

what are your holy grail skincare product or tips? i’m always so interested to hear what other people do, what products they love, and why, because you never know when someone will tell you about something that ends up being perfect for you too!

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the middle days of rest.

so we’re halfway through the social media fast. and it turns out that i’m still not missing social media itself. but i am finding out that i have been putting a lot of my “stuff” to the side in favor of avoidance via instagram/facebook/twitter/etc. yikes, how’s that for an intro?

the “stuff’ i’m specifically talking about is the general betterment of myself type stuff. you know, taking charge of my life and organizing it, getting my home on a better running schedule, actually giving thought to simplifying the stuff in my home and my heart, being a more engaged friend, PRINTING OFF PHOTOS OF MY SECOND BORN. see, i know that i want to do all this stuff. i know it because it’s on lists everywhere. i have lists on my phone, in notebooks, on my computer, and they all say variations of the same thing. and yet. and yet when given an hour at night to either pull out my computer and organize my photos and files while watching netflix (mostly productive), or to mindlessly scroll facebook and instagram while watching netflix (literally could not be less productive), i have always been choosing the latter. and why? do you know how much joy it would bring me to have photos printed out and in frames? ALL THE JOY. do you know how much happiness i would feel if i could finally say that i had effectively simplified my home and made it more efficient, happy and healthy? ALL THE HAPPINESS. but i don’t do it.

i don’t do it because i would rather just see the finished product of other people who have done it than put in the work myself. i think there is a fear of starting something like this self-improvement if there is a chance that it’s going to take a few tries. i’m the type of person who wants to do something one time, and i want it to be right the first time. i have always hated the idea of rough drafts. always. why make a rough draft when you can just write a good paper on the first try? why waste time doing something if you’re just going to have to do it again? in college, i would regularly write midterms and final papers in one sitting. and i’d get As on them (so in my defense, i’ve had some reinforcement on this particular belief…) it makes me feel good to see others’ end results without the rough drafts because i can live in this fantasy where SOMEDAY i’ll start this same effort and it’ll be easy to get the same results. i can just keep pretending that no rough drafts are needed, just like in college. but deep down, i know that this process will require trial and error, and that’s why i never start.

does anyone else have this same weird hang-up with rough drafts? or is it just me? please let it just not be me…

so i guess i’ve learned some pretty substantial stuff about why i do the things i do from this experience so far. this week is the week that we are supposed to take action on some of our thought process of restoring our rhythms and setting our non-negotiables for our lives, by actually getting rid of some of the clutter. so it’s a DO week instead of a THINK week, and i’m actually very excited. i feel like i need homework on this stuff because i’m clearly type-a enough that i don’t want to not finish an assignment. the difference now is that i’m recognizing that there is going to be trial and error, and i’m trying to welcome it, and be aware that all of this work is going to carry over into my whole year. in fact, i want it to carry over into my whole year. that’s how i’m going to change my habits and my weird perfectionist avoidance tendencies. i’m also working on how to fit social media back into my life in a way that won’t allow me to use it to avoid as much anymore. because i can’t unknow that part of myself now, so i have no excuse to let it happen anymore.

i truly thought that most of this process would be figuring out a better social media schedule for myself, not that i’d discover this known but deeply forgotten truth about myself. that in and of itself has made this process worth it.

now, i did have other goals for this work that i wrote about in my first post, so i want to update about those as well. can’t forget about the stuff i started!

here is what i hoped to accomplish during the month:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me. i’m slowly but surely developing this. i have been good about giving myself 20 minutes of quiet awake time in the morning, with coffee, to ease into my day. i’ve also been getting myself and the kids dressed, teeth brushed and ready for the day at the same time, which is good for them as well as me. my nighttime routine has been more focused on what needs to get done, and on more productive endeavors lately too, which has made me feel great.
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near. i’m still working on this. i’ll always be working on this.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way. i’ve been doing so much thinking, that actually, most of my extra brain power has been spent on the exercise itself, but i can see how doing a good job on this endeavor will pay off in this space soon.
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions. i really have been feeling like a better mom this month. i have more patience, i am doing a better job spending quality time with the kids when i have it, which gives me some leeway to let them play on their own while i cook or clean because their mom tank is full. so we’re all happier lately, and i credit it to how focused i’ve been in my interactions with them.

once again, thanks for sticking around for this long! i appreciate that some of you read along with my strange, rambling trains of thought. let me know if any of you get me on this rough draft thing, help my feel like i’m not alone in my crazy.

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the first days of rest.

“take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.”

– ovid

it’s been three days since i deleted my social media apps from my phone, and oh boy, is this going to be a game changer.

for those of you not following me anywhere else (like instagram/twitter/facebook), i made an abrupt decision at the end of december to do a social media cleanse. i like to think of it as a fast, because cleanses are not really something i’m into, and the concept of fasting – periodic abstaining from something for the benefit of your inner self – speaks more to my soul. i made the decision to take a “rest” from social media after giving some thought to what i wanted my 2018 to look like. what i realized when i really sat down to take stock of my life, was that i felt stagnant in almost every single area – work, family, friends, inspiration. nothing felt bad to me, it just felt stuck, like it was all moving along without me somehow. i’ve never taken a break from social media before…ever, so this was a big decision for me, especially considering how many of my friendships use it as a main form of communication.

but as of january 1, 2018, i signed off from all social media, and haven’t looked back yet.

i’m following the rest retreat being put on by amanda at homesong blog, because i felt like i needed some direction and structure to this effort, or it would just feel kind of pointless. so far, it’s been a really good decision. it’s given me an outline for how to do this in a thoughtful, productive way, instead of just muddling along on my own. i have made some exceptions to a full social media fast; for example, i will be checking in on instagram every friday to share a photo (and probably an insta story) along with some thoughts on the process, and to see what you all have been up to over there. i have also picked pinterest back up (on my  computer only, not my phone). i find that when i’m feeling uninspired, pinterest is an amazing tool for me to start feeling creative again, whether in my home or my style or my blog. i haven’t touched pinterest in MONTHS, which is pretty telling for my current state of uninspiration, so it felt right to actually start again as part of this fast. this might feel counter-intuitive to some, but it was right for me.

(pillows || fluffy pillows || blanket || diffuser)

i’ve only been doing this for a few days, but it’s been much less difficult than i thought it would be. it’s a weird feeling to go to your phone by habit, but not really have any reason to be on there. it makes you realize how often you look at your phone just to kill time, or because you don’t want to think about whatever is happening, or just to distract your mind from any substantial thoughts. it takes a total rewiring of your brain to change your instincts to not pick up your phone in between activities.

one thing that’s made it easier for me has been to create a space for myself to spend time in during the evening instead of just sitting around scrolling instagram. currently in our lovely, tiny house, i don’t have an office space of my own. there are plans to create one for me this year, because having my own area as a home base has been a dream of mine for a while, and i’ve got big ideas for that. in the meantime, i’ve made a little nest for myself on our bed (pictured above) with lots of pillows, a cozy blanket, my laptop, a journal, a couple books, and my diffuser. it’s been wonderful to take time the last few days and actually do some focused activity like reading or blogging without the constant distraction of my phone. do you guys know how long it’s been since i’ve made time to read a book?? so long that i’m embarrassed to say it, so i won’t.

(sweatshirt || joggers || slippers)

[this is the most ridiculously comfortable outfit, and i will be wearing it in my nest a lot]

like the quote at the top of this post says, “a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop”. i’m hoping that through this social media “rest”, i will come out on the other side more inspired, more fulfilled, and with a better “crop” to offer to my family and my community. i’d also love to share what i’m learning through the process, and how it is helping me achieve that goal as i go.

here is what i’ve learned from my rest so far:

  • it’s kind of ridiculous how much more time i have on my hands during a day when i’m not wasting it watching people’s instagram stories or snapchats at random points throughout.
  • it’s been easier than i thought it would be, but if i’m being honest, there have been a couple of times where i’ve gotten a bit itchy to check what’s going on out there on instagram (facebook and twitter, not so much).
  • i don’t miss twitter at all, and i’m realizing how much rage it actually caused in my soul, for no reason.
  • i miss instagram the most, because i’ve made it a lovely place for myself, but i’m starting to think of better, less wasteful ways i can spend my time there.
  • i feel like a better mom already, because if i’m on my phone, it’s for a reason, not just to escape the constant noise my kids have a tendency to make. (although it turns out they make less noise when i pay more attention to them…)

here is what i hope to accomplish during the rest of the month:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me.
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way.
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions.

if you made it this far, thanks for sticking around. it’s not the usual humorous, light fare you find here, but i’m hoping that it sparks some conversation either with others or with yourself about how social media is presenting itself in your life right now. i want to hear in the comments if you’re feeling more like me, with the burnout and stagnation, or if you’ve made a really great place for social media in your life. i’d also love to hear tips on how you manage your social media addiction use throughout your day…i need them!

lots of love, i’ll see you back here soon!

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cheesy nacho nests (or, your family’s new favorite side dish).

 

this post is sponsored by Crystal Farms®, but all the #cheeselove is straight from my own heart. make sure to read to the end for how to enter the giveaway!

i’ve finally found the perfect side dish for chili.

not that chili needs a side dish (because it doesn’t, it’s the perfect meal in a bowl), but there are days when you just need a little something…extra to go with that piping hot bowl of deliciousness. look no further, because i’ve figured out what we were all missing.

nacho nests. aka personal mini nachos. they are the perfect size for accompanying a hot bowl of chili (or soup), and also they satisfy your nacho cravings in an acceptably cheesy way. it can’t be just me that has nacho cravings, right? of course not.

i made these nacho nests to go with the chili we planned for dinner, but these would be perfect as an appetizer for a game day party too. you can make as many as you need, they are insanely quick to throw together, and you can customize your toppings or even let everyone top their own nacho nest once they’ve been baked.

being a good minnesota girl, i used wisconsin cheese for this recipe. Crystal Farms® shredded cheese to be exact. crystal farms is one of the largest cheese brands in the country, and is made in lake mills, wi (which is only like four hours from where i live). i sincerely doubt you need more of a reason to want to eat cheese, but just in case you do, you should know that crystal farms products are natural, with very few preservatives, are high in calcium, and are gluten-free.

i used a mexican 4 cheese blend for this recipe, but you can look in the refrigerated dairy section of your local grocery store to find any crystal farms cheese that speaks to you. pepper jack would be amazing on these!

as always, let me know if you make these, and any awesome ideas you have to make them even better!

nacho nests (makes 4 but is easily multiplied)

  • 24-32 tortilla chips
  • 1 C. Crystal Farms® Mexican 4 Cheese Blend shredded cheese (any flavor will work), divided into 4
  • toppings of choice: black beans, jalapeño slices, chopped tomatoes, black olives, etc.

preheat your oven to 400 F. on a rimmed baking sheet, make four piles of 6-8 tortilla chips. sprinkle each pile (or nest) with half of 1/4 C. crystal farms shredded cheese, then top with whatever toppings you’ve chosen. i used black beans, black olives, chopped tomatoes, and jalapeño slices, but you can use whatever you want or have on hand (or let the family choose their own toppings in a nacho nest bar situation). sprinkle the nests with the remaining cheese, then put into the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the toppings are heated through. serve as a side dish for chili or another hearty soup, or as a game day dish to share.

GIVEAWAY!

i know there are a lot of cheese lovers who read this blog, so i hope you’re all excited about this. crystal farms is letting me pick one winner to receive THREE coupons for free crystal farms products. all you have to do to enter is visit the crystal farms website to learn more about the crystal farms cheese products there, then come back here to leave a comment telling me what cheese you would choose and what recipe you would use it in. i’ll pick a winner at random on november 26th. i can’t wait to see all your ideas, because who doesn’t want some free cheese??

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still here, still squawking, still ridiculous.

i know that this blog has turned into a baby book substitute for my poor second-born child (i’m sorry william, i promise i will get you a real baby book like your sister has), and for that i…well, i don’t know what. do i apologize? i don’t think anyone was made that i went MIA. do i feel bad? kind of, but only for myself for not making my creative outlet more of a focus during this crazy time. i guess i feel like i miss the people who i interact with on this blog, and so maybe that’s it. maybe i just say that i’ve missed you all, whoever you are that come here to read my ridiculous squawking about the important and unimportant goings-on in my head.

i really like that this is a place that i can let my weird sense of dry humor show, and where i can update my faraway friends and loved ones, and where i can showcase my love of good old-fashioned home cooking and strong cocktails. and maybe write a heartfelt essay or two along the way that resonates with a few of you. this blog is not a blog like blogs have become over the past three years. and it won’t ever be that kind of a blog. even if or when i get my editorial calendar back on track, it will never be belong in the shiny, curated part of the internet with everyone else’s stylized (although maybe a little homogenous) stuff. and i hope that might be a tiny reason why people still read my blog…because it’s just me. and if you like me for me, what more could i ask for?

i have a recipe post lined up for next week, and somewhere, way down deep inside of me, there is some inspiration that’s starting to bubble up through the sleep deprivation that is part and parcel of being a working mom of two little ones. so while the baby book posts will still be a big part of how this blog is happening, you’ll start to see more of me sprinkled throughout this space. and i hope you’ll be here for all of it.

[that got weirdly deep, and i didn’t think it would. that’s what happens when you give me a beer and let me type without thinking for a few minutes….]

well let’s give a quick update into what’s happening in my life besides the whole child-rearing gig, shall we?

  • marriage is a whole different ballgame when there are two kids involved, but even through all the adjustments and general mayhem, i’m delighted to report that Mister Man and i are still very happily married. and what’s more, we will have been very happily married for five years as of june 1. in honor of this momentous occasion, we’ve decided to take a rather large, rather fun trip to the united kingdom in the fall, and it has been so much fun planning it out together! this will be our first trip to europe together, and my first time back since just after college, and i could not be more excited to take a trip, just my love and i, all the way across the pond. more on that as it comes together!
  • speaking of different ballgames…postpartum bodies are crazy. i won’t get into details, so as not to scare anyone off from having kids, but let’s just say that after baby number two, the snap back isn’t as snappy as it was with baby number one. i was in a big rut of eating ice cream every night, and dangerously close to the “eff it all” mentality, when i luckily was given the opportunity to do some nutrition and fitness coaching with katie over at belle fitness and nutrition. holy wow you guys. firstly, she is basically superwoman. she runs her own business, solo parents THREE children a lot of the time, and still has the best attitude around. secondly, she just gets how to help people fit good nutrition and fitness into their lives where they are. i don’t even have a gym membership, so she gave me some at home workouts, and they truly work (and i feel like i can make time for them, which is saying something). between her workouts and the nutrition program she works with, i’ve lost actual inches from my body in two months. i’m visibly slimming down, and it doesn’t feel like i’ve turned my life upside down to do it. because i wouldn’t have done it if it was too complicated. what i’m trying to say is, she’s amazing. if you’re in the market for a simple way to work good nutrition and fitness into your life, PLEASE check her out.
  • i’m drinking so much coffee these days you guys. like, i’m wondering when it qualifies as a problem. i’m walking a fine line between enjoying my daily coffee(s) and being fully dependent on them. i’m starting to justify the lattes at work by saying they are part of my daily protein intake, but we all know that it’s the espresso that i’m jonesing for. does anyone have experience in breaking a caffeine addiction while being sleep deprived that doesn’t involve actually giving up all caffeine? i’m not really going to do anything about it, but just in case i find myself getting worse…
  • i don’t know if any of you noticed that i have a second instagram now…in the absence of having the energy to write actual blog posts, i’ve been really into instagram and posting little micro-blog posts there. i’m also very into instagram stories. i mostly tell ridiculous stories about things my kids do to me, and every so often i can be pretty funny if you’re into that sort of thing. ANYWAY. if you read this blog, you’re cool and you already know that i’m halfway crunchy and into cooking from scratch, and natural cleaning products, and just generally being as much like laura ingalls as i can be. but my instagram is also a place where a lot of my irl contacts follow me, and i just find that the engagement for the crunchy stuff wasn’t there. i want people who like that sort of thing to be able to choose to see it and enjoy it if they want to. plus, i started posting a lot about essential oils, and i know that can trigger a lot of people because it’s gotten a bit crazy these days (and essential oil people can be a bit nutty if we’re being honest). so it all went into a separate account. all that being said, if you like that sort of thing (natural home and essential oil and simplified living), go ahead and follow me @withloveathome. also, a lot of people have asked so i’ll say it here: i’m not a big seller of essential oils, but i am a big fan of them, so if you ever have questions, or want me to order you some with my discount, or want to order them yourself, please don’t hesitate to ask.
  • i am an AUNTIE!!! our gorgeous niece, grace, arrived on april 21, and i am so excited to be an aunt i could just scream. it’s the weirdest feeling but there is something so cool about seeing your siblings have kids! Amelia is already obsessed with “baby grace”, and she and William are only six months apart, so i cannot wait to see how their relationship grows as they get older. i love my cousins so much, they are some of my best friends to this day, and i hope for the same for my kids.

thanks for being here and for giving me grace and for loving my silliness through it all. i love you all right back.

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