Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy First Friday of 2018, friends!

And what a doozy of a week!

We made it back from Kansas on Sunday, laid fairly low until yesterday, when Sloane had a small surgery in the morning. Sidenote: Thanks to everyone that sent sweet messages and checked in on us! The surgery was very fast and we were home by 10:30 and she was back to her normal self by 10:45. She has a small bandage on her forehead and won't be able to take a bath or shower until Saturday. We will also have to work on the small scar that will accompany this, but we will take that versus the alternative.

But we have earned these Friday Favorites, so let's do it!

This first favorite is in honor of my dad. My anal retentiveness comes from him (Thanks, dad!) and he and I are in total sync when it comes to the organization of electronic cords. When I had left my charger at home during Christmas vaca, my dad told me where to go to find his extra chargers.

I opened the magic bag and behold - organized cords! And all because of these fastening wrap strips! For $6.99, you too can have an organized bag of cords! These bad boys are wonderful and keep everything together, rather than one big heaping pile of tangled madness!

So for the organized freaks like myself and my dad, or those that are eager to be more like us, start here! ;)

I've told you all about how I have an issue with following bloggers on InstaStories and buying everything they tell me to swipe up for (it is a goal in my life to have enough followers to be able to have you all 'Swipe Up' on my Instagram account - sad goals? Maybe. But it's a goal, nonetheless). This is one of those purchases! 

Loreal's Lumi is a liquid illuminator. You can use it by itself to contour, use above and below the brow bone to enhance your eyes or you can mix it in with your foundation to give a highlighting effect, which his what I do. It comes in three different shades: Ice for cool skin tones, Golden for warm skin tones or Rose for neutral skin tones. 

And don't you worry, my pretties... our favorite place - Target - sells these! 

We are staying on the Loreal Paris bandwagon for one more second. Back in October, I asked the question, "What's your favorite mascara and eye-makeup remover?" And holy cow - did I get responses! That has been one of my most-read and most-commented-on blog posts since I started this blog (who knew!). 

Everyone had great recommendations. But in the end, I decided to try a store-bought brand first. And to my surprise (and relief), Loreal's Voluminous Mascara has been great! It totally reminds me the Clinique version that we all raved about, but that only came in the "gift with purchase" set. Downside is that it gets a little clumpy sometimes, but bright side is that it goes on well and is less than $8. Win-win. 

So if you're hunting for mascara, I'd definitely give this one a try! 

My name is Allyson and I have an expensive shoe problem.

Hi, Allyson.

Good news is this problem isn't something that I take action on. As in, I want ALL of the expensive shoes but don't own one pair of them! So... maybe not a real problem? But I'm winning the lottery so ... SHOES FOR EVERYONE!

I saw these Everlane shoes (The Day Heel) on a blogger (shocker) and THEN I saw them in ruby red. Lawdy... this Kansas girl can't stay away from a ruby red shoe! :) I'm in love with them, but here's the deal - I wear dress shoes maybe once a week for maybe an hour and a half. I wear Uggs every day, all day. So spending $155 on a pair of shoes is tough for me... but these shoes. I need.

I LOVE this color as well - they are super classy with a pair of black pants. Oh Lottery Gods, come hither! :)

I bought this sherpa jacket from Amazon after reading about in from The Mom Edit. They showed theirs in an oatmeal color, and I honestly couldn't decide which color I liked more so I went with the gray.

It's more of charcoal (as you can see on me, in the left),  and probably not AS pretty as the version they show on the right (with their beautiful lighting). But it's unbelievably soft and comfy, which was the comment I got from most people yesterday - it looks soft and comfy!

It has two pockets in the front and a hood in the back... and it's perfect for those lazy days. I'm not one that finds sherpa to be something you wear out to something nice... but for those days where you just have errands to run and want to be comfortable, this is it!

And... it's $22. I got a small and felt the sizing was right on. Grab one before they are gone and won't be back until April! :)

That's a wrap for this week, folks. We are laying semi-low this weekend - probably a Costco trip where we will be strictly buying from the list, maybe a movie with Sloane to treat her for being so brave on Thursday and a big trip to UPS to ship off all of the gifts that arrived AFTER we left for Christmas break! Classic! :)

Have a great weekend everyone and stay tuned for a new and improved Tess and Elm, hopefully coming to you next week! EEK! :)


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Surgery is Surgery

We are kicking off the New Year by spending Thursday morning at the Children's hospital.

Insert a big wahhhh-wahhhhh.

Sloane is scheduled for a 7:30 AM surgery this morning and I can tell you that we are terrified. She has reason to be (it's her first surgery and surgery - neither how big or small - is scary) and I do not except for the fact my baby is having surgery.

She had a spot pop up on her forehead around February and after thinking it was a pimple and trying to mess with it (I'm on of "those" people) and being scolded by the Asian woman at the nail salon ("Leave her lone. She a child!"), I finally did the parental thing and took her to the pediatrician.

If you look closely on her forehead, you can see the spot!
She didn't have much cause for concern but said if it didn't go away in a month to see a dermatologist. I knew it wasn't going anywhere so we went to the dermatologist, who also thought it was nothing, but gave us a cream to apply and said to come back in a month.

We were no longer going to be in Bentonville a month from then, but whatever...

The summer went on, life happened and by September, I felt like it was starting to change color and get larger (and then smaller). We met a dermatologist here in Chicago and she felt like it wasn't a big deal but that it didn't need to be there. So we came back a month later and they sliced that sucker off (I can say it like that now but at the time, I was - and Sloane was - about to pass out).

Way to adult, mom!

They sent it off to be biopsied and called us a few weeks later. What she had was a Spitz Nevus (see image below).

I never feel I correctly explain what it is to people. What I know is that it had a form of melanoma 'attached to it' and thought it was benign, the dermatologist felt like more of the skin attached needed to be removed, but we had to see a pediatric plastic surgeon.

So... off we went to the big children's hospital here in Chicago (Ann & Robert H. Lurie's Children's Hospital to be exact) and met with a wonderful surgeon by the name of Dr. G (because spelling her last name and pronouncing may not ever be able to happen for me in the lifetime). She explained what we needed to remove and why. The why being that this area wouldn't affect her now, but it could affect her in 20 years. So it's best to remove it now and be done with it.

And that is what we are doing.

Bright and early. On the fourth day of 2018.

We haven't told her much about this because I have never been one to bring up big events, such as this, that might scare her for weeks until a day or so before. I remember her first dance recital - she was three. We had no idea that she would be in a recital, but sure enough, they wanted the young ones up on the stage to perform. Other moms said no, we aren't doing it. Some told their kids what they would be doing and the kids didn't want to do it. I never mentioned it to Sloane until we walked out the door. And though I was hesitant about the entire thing, I was SO glad I sent her to do it. It's one of those extremely happy moments in my life that I wish many others could have witnessed. She was carefree... and hysterical... up on stage!

Just before we left for her recital - she dressed in her favorite attire! 
So I won't change my approach now. Tonight before bed, I will walk her though tomorrow morning and explain as much as I know. She may or may not sleep with us (I do NOT like her to sleep with us - she's an awful sleeper!), but when you're scared, the best place to be is with mom (and dad). And we will get up tomorrow and go to the hospital.

It's not a long procedure, but she will have to go under anesthesia, which is where I could possibly lose it. But once it's done, it's done. She will have no pain. Just a scar we will have to work on. 

But she will be fine. 

But until then, neither of us will be fine.

Because surgery is surgery. It's scary, even if it is minor. And it's my baby. 

So here is hoping I can hold the tears in until after she is not in my sight anymore. And then happy tears when we see her again!


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Welcome to 2018!

Hello friends!

And just like that... 2017 is in the past. And 2018 is now before us.

I asked my brother-in-law which day was most depressing - December 26 or January 2. He felt like January 2 was fairly brutal because that's when most people go back to work. Jury is still out for me - I'm leaning towards December 26. So much hoopla to get to Christmas and then with a snap of the finger, its over.

But alas... we made it to today. And I would have to say... January 1 felt nice. It felt like... a fresh start.

2017 was not one of those years that I'll look back at and think, "MAN! That was a CLASSIC year!"

We did have some big things happen that I'll never forget (i.e. Sloane graduating from Kindergarten, selling a house/apartment living/buying a house (or attempting to repeatedly), moving to Chicago, birthdays, new school, Reece started Kindergarten...), but there were a lot of things that I'd rather not remember.

And we wrapped it up by saying goodbye to my grandma Dean. I need to take a second and thank all of you that reached out to me and my family - I received lots of messages, lots of reads on my last post, cards in the mail... and I'm so grateful for all of it! So thank you -- it was really, really hard, despite having really lost her many years ago (suck it , Alzheimers)... to actually have to say a forever goodbye was rough.

But seeing my family, reminiscing on the many, many memories and pictures helped bandage that wound. I'm incredibly lucky in that regard!

So January 3, 2018... it's that time of year when we set New Years resolutions that we say we will not break and then three weeks later... AHEM.

Or is that just me?!

I try not to set myself up for failure by making my goals not that hard to achieve.

Last year, it was to be a nicer person.

Shouldn't be too hard, right?!

Ehhh... I kicked it into gear mid-November.

This year?

Budgeting. Being smarter with money. Finding something I'm really good at and trying to turn it into a job.

I mean, those sound realistic, right?!

I'd love to know any and all tips and tricks to how you all budget. I honestly have never had to budget. This doesn't mean I go and shop for fun all the time. In fact, I almost never shop for fun or for myself. But I am one of those Target shoppers that goes for groceries, and leaves with 10 extra things like cupcakes, coke and another air freshener.

Those were not on the list.

I'm also keeping track of what I spend on our credit card. Sometimes, it has to be used. But I'm really pushing myself to only use it on those 'has to be used' times. So I don't have to have conversations about money.

If my husband and I have downfalls in our marriage, it is lack of communication and talking about money. I HATE talking about money. Like anytime he even brings something up that has anything to do with money, my stomach gets in knots, I'd rather be barfing or sitting in the 20-degrees-below-zero weather for 15 minutes with no coat on.

Is this just me? I am 100 percent sure that if I had a job that was bringing in a steady income, this wouldn't be my feelings. And it ALL comes back to Mom Guilt 101 (please see my above resolution on finding something I'm good at and turning it into a job).

So seriously - light me up with how you guys ... do it all?!

I'll take all of the help I can get!

Happy 2018 to all of you! Here's to a new year, a fresh start and a better me. And you. :)

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