Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday everyone!

My weekend is going to be interesting. Matt is taking Sloane and Reece on a work camping trip from Saturday morning until Sunday morning... so it will be just Tess and I holding down the fort.

With no car.

Matt's taking the van with him and since we sold the truck when we moved to Chicago (because we only had one parking spot!), we will have no vehicle. So. We shall see what kinds of shenanigans Tess and I can get into carless.

Maybe just a lot of football watching... we'll see!


I went to Benefit Cosmetics to get my eyebrows waxed last weekend and I am happy to report they were awesome and I will be going back!

I asked the gal if she had any recommendations for brow fillers since brows are all the rage these days and of course, she had a few things to show me, but this was her favorite.

It's called 'Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel' and it is da bomb, ladies! I have used my Elf creme to fill in my brows and definitely have loved it and loved the $3 price tag.

But this stuff is just that much better and quicker to use... with a $24 price tag.

It's shaped like a mini mascara brush and comes in different shades. You just swipe it on, as much as you'd like, and you can rub it back and forth to really fill in. And boom! Brows look SO much better!


This is NOT me, but a great picture to show you the before and after difference! So if your'e in the market for a new brow pencil or brow gel, give this one a shot!

I love a good graphic tee. For many reasons. But the most important being that you can dress them up and dress them down so easily!

Pair it with jeans and sneakers and a baseball cap. Or put a blazer on over it, top knot that hair, a pair of heels and it's totally transitioned into an evening look.

So when JCrew debuted their Horoscope shirts, yep... they had me.

They have all of the signs and they are ALL really cute, so go check for yours (PS. My birthday is in nine days so I love this shirt even more right now)!

I love InsaStories. For many reasons, but mostly because usually as soon as someone I am following - a store, a blogger, etc. - announces something that they love and I must have, I immediately go and usually buy it. Not ALL the time but with very specific bloggers, I tend to be that way.

Not the best way to live, but it's fun.

So I've blogged about my former roommate/Wichita State media relations workhorse friend Brittany and her and her sister's adorable monogram shop, Southern Trademark. I LOVE their InstaStories and just their social media presence in general because they are KILLING it. They have super-motivated me and getting Two Dots back to legit-status. So... thank you to Brittany and Brooke! :)

Today they posted new items they got in and holy cuteness! Is this bag not amazing for fall and winter?! I can name five people off the top of my head who would love to rock this bag.

So... if you're an early Christmas shopper or are birthday present-hunting, hunt no more! Check out their shop!


Speaking of InstaStories... I did one the other day on this incredible cheese that I just started eating. And I started eating it BECAUSE of an InstaStory? See, it brings great things to one's life!

The cheese AND InstaStories!

So as I said in the story, I've been trying to eat better. Don't kid yourself, I'm not going to do anything crazy and give up McDonald's coke (though I know I should). But I've just tried to find things that I can eat at the correct times of day (not lunch at 2:45 pm) that aren't going to enhance my gut.

This cheese comes in atleast eight different flavors and they are small wedges, which one might think wouldn't be very much. But it actually is! I coat a flat out sandwich wrap in it with some rotisserie chicken and spinach and still have 3/4 of a wedge left. So I either put it away, or swipe the rest on my plate and dip carrots in it... or pretzel thins.

Sadly, Amazon Prime Now only has two flavors so they don't give me a good variety but Target is on point and has MANY to choose from!

How many of you out there are chapstick users? 🙋

I was an avid Burts Bees chapstick user. Until I started using LipSense. And because Burts Bees is a wax-based chapstick, that was not helping my lips with the exfoliation process it has to go through to get your lips perfect for LipSense.

And then finally, the LipSense Lip Balm came back in stock and it did it without me having to sit at my computer for hours on end staring at the screen and refreshing repeatedly in hopes that it would come back!

I got my hands on a few and it came at the right time because my lips were starting to get dry. I had been using our Lip Volumizer, which I loved and truly felt like it gave my lips a nicer, more plump look without being over the top, but I felt like I hit a limit and my lips were like ... "We need a break from volume and just need balm!"

I tried the lip balm and boom, dry lips no more!

It feels SO nice and applies easily. So if you're a chapstick-aholic, but love your LipSense, stop. Drop (the Carmex) and roll on over to The Lips Shop on Facebook and I will hook you up!

PS. I need to shout it out on more time, but I gained another gal on my LipSense team this week - Christine was one of my cheerleaders I coached when she was at Chapman High and I was a senior at K-State. Lots of life lessons learned by moi... like maybe a 22 year old shouldn't be coaching 17 and 18 year olds.

That's neither here nor there.

Anyway, super pumped she's joined my team and if anyone in Manhattan or Junction City is looking for a LipSense gal, message me and I'll direct you to her!!


Everyone have an awesome weekend! I'll let you know how Tess and I handle our day without a car...

XXOO,
Allyson

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fitting Room Finds

I had brought up earlier this year about starting this 'Fitting Room Finds' and where you all would like me to shop! I had two votes for Nordstrom... and that was my intention - to start at Nordstrom like I was asked.

Oddly enough, there was no Nordstrom in Bentonville, Ark. And the closest Nordstrom to me is on Michigan Avenue which would be fun if I had lots of hours to jot down there. But I was limited to about an hour and a half on this trip, so I went to one of my favorites... and that was close.

The Loft.

Why do I like The Loft? I like it for many reasons as well as have issues with it. My issues are that some things look old to me. And there are plenty of stores that produce enough 'old' clothing that I don't need it at this store, too. But my likes outweighs the dislikes for sure.

I love the quality. I love the color. I love how there are simple pieces and fun pieces. I love that the sizes range and for the most part, I think they run on the large side, so you can size down which is fun to do!

So I started my Fitting Room Finds at The Loft and literally walked back with about 25 different things to try on for you. But decided tot only show you things that I felt good about this readership liking.

Without further adieu...





This top was one of those that really would go with anything! You can't beat chambray, people, so don't even try! :)

The skinny jeans were super soft, super comfortable and KEY - super stretchy! The color I have on is green. 

The wrap skirt was also extremely comfortable and I felt it was a great fall addition for a work wardrobe. 




This top caught my eye as soon as I walked in the store! It's very versatile -- day-to-night, fall-to-winter, work-to-drinks, skirt-to-jeans... I LOVE sleeves with smocked cuffs because it seems to make my wrists really skinny which somehow makes everything else seem skinnier. 

These jeans I also loved! The frayed cuff was actually really cute and I think that it's a trend that isn't silly to purchase! I also wore the top with the wrap skirt from above and again, just another cute outfit option! 





My go-to outfits for the fall and winter are jeans (or leggings - I'm one of 'those' people) and a sweater. And these three sweaters are perfect with the frayed cuff jeans I had on. The Bonfire Sweater is my favorite because it has some color, it wasn't itchy and it hit in the right spot on my torso! 

The Striped Cutout Sweater was uber-comfy, but on me, probably made me look wider than I need to be. But still... big fan! 

The Blouson Sleeve Sweater was perfect, came in a few different colors and would look so great dressed up as well! 





Cold shoulder tops are everywhere right now... if you don't know have one in your closet by now, I don't know how you got away from them! I will say that for the most part, these tops really do look good on everyone and are ageless. My six year old has one and my mom has one. This particular one that I tried on was more of a sweater material and again, had the smocked cuffs that I love. It was very comfy and will march right on through winter for you. I tried it with the frayed cuff jeans as well as this adorable wrap skirt! 

Prints can be scary sometimes, which is why my wardrobe is so blasé. Prints can sometimes make you look heavier, but I really felt like this one did the opposite. In fact, I should wear this skirt every day because I felt like it made me look smaller! BONUS POINTS! 

As you all know if you are frequent Loft shoppers, they have new items coming in all the time so if I walked in today, I would literally try on at least 15 new items. But I felt that what I picked out to show you all are classic pieces that you can make lots of different outfits with items from your own closet. But splurge on yourself a little bit, grab a few new pieces for fall that make you feel good about yourself and will allow your to diversify your wardrobe. 

Happy shopping! 

XXOO,
Allyson

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trying Not to Lose that Loving Feeling

Get it?! ;)
While we were on a whirlwind vacation to Kansas before school started, I was able to get in and get Sloane's hair trimmed and mine colored by a local gal. To be more specific, Becca went to Caney (my rival school growing up in Sedan), she married my sister's high school boyfriend of two minutes and she lives in Niotaze (pronounced Ny-o-taze - Ny-o-tazee), a teeny-tiny town that I have driven through about 1.8 million times in my life, but never actually turned and went through the town.

So finding Becca was actually more difficult than I had imagined!

Anyway... I had a great conversation with her, which is one sign of a fantastic hairstylist, and before I left, she told me I needed to read this book that she had started.


The book was called "Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood" by Becky Thompson. Becky is a blogger who, similar to the Pioneer Woman, was a 'city girl' and ended up in the country. Or northwest Oklahoma.

This book is 21 chapters long and the chapters are very short, but each chapter ends with a spot to take notes and reflect, a challenge as well as a prayer. The goal is to read this book in 21 days -- so every day is a new challenge for you in your marriage, something to try and better, atleast better it than it was the day before.

When Becca was explaining it to me, this is where my mind went...

"That book is exactly what I need! Where is Matt's version?"

Because obviously, if I'm going to try and better myself as a wife, he darn tootin' better be trying to better himself at the same time!

And what's funny is that I was reading this one night while we were hanging out in front of the television (because that's what we do to spend time with each other!) and I told him that I was reading this to "try and become a better wife."

A few seconds later he said he was writing the book on ways to be the worst husband.

Those of you that know us know that being serious is not our forte.
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So I will be honest. The 21 day challenge is going to probably take me 52 days. And I think that's OK. I don't think Becky is going to scold me for not reading every day. The book is about being a better wife AMIDST motherhood, which as most of us know, it takes a lot out of a person by 5 pm.

I read the first chapter and after reading it, I sat the book down and just thought about where I am at in my life... If I could remember life before kids. If I could remember MATT before kids.

And MAN... is that hard! We both have admitted that we don't remember much before Sloane. And what's really funny is that Matt said he doesn't remember much between the five years from when he graduated to college until we got married.

Which ALL just makes us both feel senile!

The first chapter challenged me to greet Matt when he gets home from work the way I would have greeted him while we were dating. Matt and I were long-distance daters for five and a half of our seven-year courtship so when we were dating and I saw him, I had an extra pep in my step.

I don't remember the exact day it happened, but that "jump in his arms" greeting disappeared at some point. When we lived in Minneapolis, I was usually mad at him when he walked in the door.

Why, you ask? My answer is I have no flipping idea. Maybe I was mad that he got to leave the house every day and have atleast 20 minutes of peace and quiet. Maybe I was mad that he didn't call to tell me he wouldn't be home until later. Maybe I was mad that I hadn't had time to make dinner (again) so in turn, I was mad at him.

I don't know why! I feel like as much as I loved Minnesota, I spent a lot of time unhappy there. I made some wonderful friends that I am forever grateful for. But I think we had a lot of things happen to us that were a part of life's road bumps that just made me an unhappy person.

And so instead of being happy to see him walk through the door (which I was), I fueled it into anger. And I had a resting frown face when he would walk in. Most always.

Since those days, we added children, Matt's job title changed, we moved (numerous times), I started doing some things on my own such as this blog, Two Dots, LipSense - you know, just OVERDOING it over here! - but things that gave me a sense of accomplishment.

We have found our version of happy and though not every day is buckets of roses, I feel like they are just better.
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My husband is not perfect. He probably would tell you that himself. But I am most certainly not perfect either. And movies and TV shows (thanks a lot, 'This Is Us') give us all this unattainable perfection of marriage and life that sometimes makes it's hard to not be mad at one another for not being more like 'Jack'. Or 'Randall'.

So tonight, when my husband walks through the door, I am going to be the first to greet him with a smile on my face. I might not jump into his arms like I did 16 years ago... but I will hug him longer and remember that we might not be 20-year-olds and we might not stay out until 2 AM and sleep in until 10, but our journey is still young.

As are our children. Who need to see two parents that love each other. So when my daughter says, "No more kissing tonight!", we can laugh and I can feel like we are doing our job.

So thanks to Becky for challenging me... it may be hard, harder than I thought it would be, but the challenge is accepted!


XXOO,
Allyson

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