Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Favorites

First off, I'd like to wish a very special someone a Happy Birthday today...

It's my birthday and nothing can possibly go wrong on this day (knock on wood repeatedly 10,000 times)!

This day will be spent dropping kids off at school, working out, hanging out with my Tess-a-roo, spoiling myself with a LARGE coke at McDonald's today, picking kids up from school, and a high school football game where Sloane is performing a dance at halftime.

Take that, 34! :)
CONGRATULATIONS to my first Etsy Gift Card Giveaway winner (insert drumroll........ ) .............


Thank you all for entering the giveaway and I'll make sure to keep up with these - everyone deserves a chance to try and win something.

Since I never do.


I never win these things! 

Anyway -- Becca, email me at and I'll get you your gift card details! 

I have been hunting for the perfect non-running/workout sneaker for awhile now. I have had my eyes set on these bad boys for awhile ....

New Balance for JCrew 620 Sneakers

Then I tried them on and was so-so on them. I love the look of them - that's what I'm wanting - but they weren't super comfy. And for $80, I expected a little comfort.
Saucony Women's Bullet
I tried on these Saucony's at DSW and didn't hate them. But don't necessarily like the bottom of the shoe as much as the New Balance. But they were around $40-45 at DSW.
Saucony Shadow Original Running Shoe

I saw these at Nordstrom Rack and again, I don't hat ethem! I like the bottom of this a little more than the Saucony, but not as much as the New Balance. I know most people can't see a difference between this pair and the NB pair.

But I also have a chemical imbalance that allows me to see the difference and be THAT picky.
Athleta Exclusive DXN Trainer by Saucony

Lastly, I got my Athleta catalog in the mail yesterday and was flipping through and saw a gal in what appeared to me to my magical sneakers, a light tanish beige color with cream soles. I hopped on the site and can't find them except in black. 

I want so badly to be one of those people that can pull of black sneakers.

But I tried it in seventh grade when it was a trend back then and believe me, it didn't look good on me. Yes, they might have been high tops for basketball. Or skater girl Sketchers. But either way, they didn't look good.

I can't imagine much has changed in 20 years!  

So this is where I'm at. Still hunting. Still going back to the New Balances. Maybe I need to try them on with some good socks and things will change?

Anyone have some cute sneaker options I don't know about?!

Totally switching gears on you because we are going to talk about our new highchair! 

When we had Sloane, we had registered and received the Chicco Polly Highchair, something similar to the below picture:
Chicco Polly Highchair

I think everyone was getting this highchair and for good reason. It folds up, it's semi-cute (why are highchairs so atrocious looking? Nothing in my house blends in with a pale yellow covered in animals!) and just seemed like a good/only option! 

After Reece got his turn in it and it made a move to Arkansas, I stared at it and told Matt that if we had another baby, I could not, with good conscience, put it in it without knowing the child would end up with a deadly disease. This highchair was DISGUSTING! There was food in places I can't figure out how it even got there! 

So... we tossed it (thanks for the memories, Chicco Polly) and waited a year and half to have another baby and some months until we needed a highchair again.

I didn't want to spend tons of money, wanted it to be easy to clean, wanted wheels and something that had seat adjustment (up and down and to lean back).

I randomly came across the OXO Seedling Highchair at HomeGoods one day and was so mad I didn't just snatch it up then because it was $70! But we found it on Amazon for $98 and with Prime, had it in a few days with free shipping!
Oxo Seedling Highchair
People - I'm SO happy with this option! If you are hunting for a highchair definitely check this one out. The seat moves all the way to the ground, it rolls around (and all over our house as Sloane drags Tess in it), the tray pulls out easily and also comes off for easy washing, the seat cushion just got its first wash and it was super easy to take off (which was part of the problem with the Chicco version). 

The only con is that it doesn't fold up to put away, but so far, I'm OK with it. For one reason: this thing isn't hideous! The seat cushion comes in a variety of colors and I chose... mocha. Mocha goes with my stuff. 

Thank you Mocha! Thank you OXO! So happy with this highchair purchase! 

Tess loves it, too!
I am not a makeup connoisseur, but I wish I was. It would make things so much easier and my face look so much better! It's just not my thing... I love it, but am not good at it!

But thankfully for other bloggers and their blogs about their favorite things, they were able to point me the direction of what is now one of my favorite makeup tools.

The beautyblender.
the original beautyblender

I always would blend my foundation in with my fingers. And yes, I had been told not to do that. But I didn't listen, it was what I was used to and it was easy.

Then Sheaffer Told Me To blogged about discovering this and how it was a game-changer. So I went to Sephora in search of new foundation... and this game-changing sponge.

And she was right! Game-changer! You get it wet, then squeeze out the water, give it a good squeeze into a hand towel, then apply your foundation to it then to your face. The water is suppose to help keep the foundation on your face longer.

And I love it!

There are lots of other replicas out there - I see them at Marshall's and TJ Maxx all the time. And I do swipe them up from time to time because they are $4 compared to $20. But you can tell a difference.

So if you're wanting to splurge on something fun, test this puppy out (I got mine at Sephora)!

I'm not sure if it's just me, but I'm always on the hunt for a good bootie. The only pair I own are from Old Navy. And though they've done the trick for when I've needed them, you can start to tell they are Old Navy quality.

I LOVE Sole Society. I love everything about it. The shoes, the bags, how when you click on a shoe, they show it to you on a model dressed in normal clothes.

And I'm pretty much love ALL of their bootie options. Including this one.

Natasha Slip-On Bootie

They look really cute and comfy, so they are an option.

But then another blogger, Megan from Honey We're Home, showed these Caslon Addison Wedge Booties on her Instagram the other day and the key word was COMFORTABLE. I want a cute bootie that is comfy, which is hard to come by!

Addison Wedge Bootie

That's definitely one I'd have to try on -- I don't absolutely love the look at first glance (because I'm insane), but I feel like it might look different on (like it does on Megan) and like she said, they're comfortable, which is key.

So, there you have it friends! My Friday Favorites -- or my Friday "I have alot of Favorites but can't make a decision, so help me!" Favorites.

Everyone have a great Friday (because it's my birthday) and have an even better weekend! Hope the weather stays cool on you!


PS. Two Dots is having a nice sale going on through Sunday -- everything in the sale section is an extra 20% off. And there are some items in there you can wear NOW! Use code FALL20 at checkout to get the deal!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Etsy Finds of the Week

Baby Memory Book


I LOVE this baby book! I did a good search for a simple, not-too-complicated baby book to buy when I had Tess. Baby books should not be a hard thing for one to fill out, but for me - once they hit six months, I couldn't remember to write anything down. 


Even now, I put Tess's ON THE COUNTER in the kitchen, starting at me every day just so I will write in it. I scibbled something in it yesterday and I think it was about her turning seven months. Or atleast hope it was.

This book is adorable though and doesn't involve too much effort on one's part! Plus I have a new baby niece/nephew that will be coming into my life in the next four months so maybe Baby Hills will be needing this! 

This seller has lots of super cute baby must-haves including monthly stickers - lots of positive reviews! 

The Original Beer Flight 

I love my friend Megan for many reasons. One of them being that she is just cool. She has cool stuff that I always want.

In fact when the Nordstrom Anniversary sale rolls around, I make it a point to check in and see what she got. Because it's always cool. 

When I saw her in August, I started making a list of cool things she has to add to Christmas lists for people. One thing she mentioned she was going to do for her cute beau-hunk boyfriend was get him a Beer of the Month Club membership.

Great idea! It went on my Christmas list for Matt! 

So when I came across these beer flights, I immediately thought of her and what a fun extra option this would be to give to Anil.

And Matt. Along with their beer club memberships. :) 

These are made from repurposed wood and DOES include the glasses! Lots of nice, manly items at this shop and seller only has great reviews! 

Gold Dipped Leather Keychain

My best friend and I have a fun time gift-giving to each other because our gifts are always a random assortment of "stuff" -- candles, books, food, t-shirts, nail polish... I LOVE IT! As does she, and it's just fun to shop for! 

So when I came across these bad boys, I immediately thought of her and added it to my list of possible birthday/Christmas options for her! 

They come in many different colors and you can add personalization for $1 extra or leave it blank.  They can be dipped in the gold or not - they can be darker leather - the options seem to be endless! They also are made of real leather so you know they won't be falling apart any time soon! 

TONS of reviews on this seller and all are good!!! Can be shipped in 3-7 days which is good since I procrastinate on buying ALL gifts. :) 

Happy Thursday everyone and happy shopping!


PS. Last chance to enter the Etsy Gift Card Giveaway -- I'll announce the winner tomorrow on my Friday Favorites!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Hump Day, friends!

I started reading Mix & Match Mama a few years ago when her brother, Sean Lowe, was on The Bachelor. Sean Lowe also played football at K-State so I was primarily watching to see how many times K-State could be mentioned.

Any pub we can get, we take it.

She's just a mom, married to a K-State football player that my best friend was in love with in college, who loves to cook, who produced two children of her own and has adopted two, her last baby just recently. It's been fun to read along about her story with her kids as well as find some easy dinner recipes and some fun makeup/clothing recommendations.

She does a What's Up Wednesday with a few other blogger gals and I thought it would be fun to get in on it! So on the last Wednesday of every month, we will give this a shot!

What We're Eating This Week ...

Well... obviously if you read my post from Tuesday, you know that this one will not be very full! In fact, it's a repeat from Tuesday's post since Monday is the only day this week mama will be making anything -- Tuesday is a late pom/pom class for Sloane and Wednedsay and Thursday of this week, Matt is gone. Which means hot dogs and mac-n-cheese for the kids (and me - who are we kidding, I love some mac-n-cheese)! 

But as a reminder, I made the Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos from my Pinterest board for our good friends, the Stacey's. It smelled amazing all day long and luckily, it was amazing! It was SUPER easy to throw together in the crockpot, left it there all day, shredded the chicken at 5:30 and then we ate. My kind of cooking!

What I'm Reminiscing About... 

I've had two different adventures pop on my TimeHop app this week and both were awesome trips that make me want to immediately go back! 

This first picture is of Matt, Sloane and I - Sloane was just about 11 months old. We took a Clark family vacation, which included us, Matt's parents and his brother, Michael out to New York. We visited New York City and drove to Cooperstown, New York to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was a part of their dad's Father's Day present from the boys (sidenote: Cooperstown in the fall is the most picturesque fall town -- absolutely adorable and I would totally move there from August - November)!

It's hard to remember life with just one child (because it's impossible to remember life BEFORE one child), but I can tell you this -- this girl and I were TIGHT. I just adored her ... and I still do. But once she hit the age of one, we basically have butted heads. I'm slightly kidding when I say this, but I feel like the next time she will ever appreciate me is when she's had her own first little girl. So... we've got awhile! 

This picture is from a hotel room view in Maui, Hawaii. Matt and I went there for our five year anniversary, which has already been three years ago (YIKES)! It was absolutely amazing! And we are already counting down the days until we go back! 

What I'm Loving...

It is no secret that Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love decorating for fall, fall smells, fall colors...

I love pumpkins as well and have never, ever, ever seen a better selection of pumpkins that right here in northwest Arkansas at a local fireworks stand. 


It's seriously amazing! The selection is so crazy - these are pumpkins you see on Real Simple that you can never find in real life. And they are between $5-10. 

It's our version of a pumpkin patch down here! I let the kids go and each pick one out. So they drag a cart around, pick out teeny little pumpkins and then drag my HUGE pumpkins around! #winning

What We've Been Up To...

My parents and niece Perry came to visit last weekend! #meltingheart

We are busy people! We are constantly go-go-going! We spent this last weekend at home and will do the same this weekend before October weekends are consumed with traveling to Manhattan, Kan., for K-State football games, a sorority sister's wedding and my Kappa Kappa Gamma 100th Anniversary Reunion!

What I'm Dreading... 

Flu shots. 

Enough said.  

And they didn't make the mist this year. 

Let that sink in.

What I'm Working On... 
Oh, you know... just everything.

I've been working on Two Dots this week, getting summer items moved to the sale rack to get ready for new items coming in this week and next (20 percent off all sale items this week with code FALL20 at checkout)! It's been hard to keep up with the store since Tess came into the picture and it could easily go away. But my sister and I really do love it, so we'll keep going!

Yes, it's that time when scarves are a mainstay at Two Dots.
Plus we just found out that we made it into another show in Kansas City in early November - Gift Gallery at Cure de Ars in Leawood on November 12 from 9 am - 3 pm. Mark your calendars! 

What I'm Excited About...

Do we even have to ask?! 

Which is why I celebrate it all month long, every year.

PS. Don't forget to enter the Etsy Gift Card Giveaway at the bottom of the post that I'm hosting JUST because it's my birthday! The winner will be announced on Friday on my Friday Favorites!  

What I'm Watching/Reading... 

I'm not afraid to admit to you all that I LOVE Bravo TV and Real Housewives shows. New Jersey is one of my favorites and this season makes me laugh because when I'm trying to explain to Matt what is happening (who could care less but will pretend to watch five minutes with me), it goes something like this "So that girl on the left, she just got out of prison and so they are all taking her to Vermont to celebrate that she just got her ankle bracelet off and taking one last girls trip before she becomes a single mom because her husband is about to leave for prison."

That's a fairly accurate description from Sunday night's episode. 

I'll start reading next week for Book Club. 

I hope.

What I'm Listening To...

Once September rolls around, when the kids and I are in the van, we are almost always listening to the Vince Guaraldi Trio's Charlie Brown Holiday Hits (click the link to listen to some songs). Yes, it has some Christmas songs... but it also has The Great Pumpkin Waltz, Thanksgiving Theme... so it's not just Christmas! 

But I love the piano and it always, always, always makes me happy! So why not?!

What I'm Wearing...

This week FINALLY became Fall! As in the weather and the actual season are meshing together! Woke up to 49 degrees this morning, but it warmed up to upper 70s, so it makes it hard to dress in the mornings.

It's definitely jean season and despite a good effort on my part to lose the baby weight from Ms. Tess, my favorite JCrew Factory jeans are still too tight. Which is a bummer. And a real problem. Since I only only these jeans in the same size. So... this means either I need to make a stop at my local JCrew Factory three hours away or figure something else out. Like constant leggings?

I found this pullover the other day from a blogger (Styled Snapshots) and LOVE it. And need it. It's perfect with jeans and booties, or jeans and sneakers for those days where I just need to be comfy AND cute. :) It's also from Abercrombie & Fitch, a store I haven't visited since 2005.

What I'm Doing This Weekend...

This is where I should insert a large question mark! Because I don't know! The only thing I do know is that Friday, my birthday, we will be spending it at the Bentonville High School football game, where Sloane will be dancing at halftime. 

Who wants to spend their birthday watching their daughter dance at a high school football game? 

Well, you know it's me! Seriously... I love high school football and cheer/dance so this is right up my alley! 

My mother-in-law is coming down Friday and I think Matt made birthday plans for us on Saturday, so I'll let you know. It's currently a surprise and I'm going to try and let it stay that way (which I never do ... I am almost never surprised)! 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month... 

I LOVE to travel... but I think once October is over, I will never want to leave my home again (though we will be traveling so much the rest of the year, I might as well get over it)!
We are taking the kids on a surprise trip to the Gulf Shores for Sloane's Fall Break. They don't know it yet and we really haven't meant to keep it a surprise but we just haven't mentioned it to them... so I think we will keep it that way until we leave! If you've ever been and have some tips on things to do/see, comment and let me know!

We've got tons of birthdays to celebrate next month, including Sloane's 6th birthday, as well as one of my dear friend's weddings (on Sloane's birthday), football games and my Kappa reunion so it's going to be a packed month! 

What Else is New...

Nothing. I think I told you my entire life story on this post. 

Go buy your Glade Pumpkin Dream candle, ASAP! 


PS. The link to the Etsy Gift Card Giveaway is below - enter before Friday! 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Meals I Have ACTUALLY Made

When we lived in Minnesota, I got in a great routine of meal planning and making grocery lists. My mom was a whiz at this stuff when I was growing up. She'd buy a Gooseberry Patch calendar every year and had dinners listed for every night of the week.
And she saved these to refer back to ... or to give away to my sister and I at some point (they probably got dumped in what we refer to as the 'Great Move of 2014'). But she was/is great at this!

And I felt my skills were really coming along.

And then we moved to Arkansas. And it all went to crap. And for no good reason!

I blame either laziness. Or laziness.

I also blame it on the fact that there are zero Super Target's in Wal Mart Land that I can use my Target Red Card which gave me five percent off my purchase (and came from my husband's bank account, not mine).

So we are stuck with whatever I can think of off the cuff with usually one meal planned for the week.

Oh... I also blame Tess. Once that girl came into this world, making ANY kind of dinner became exponentially difficult! She likes to be held. All the time!

So last week when I hosted Book Club and made the Pioneer Woman's meatballs, mashed potatoes and flat apple pie, I felt on top of the world! Except that was our meal at home the rest of the week.

It was divine though and Matt kept thinking of new ways to use meatballs so kudos to him!

But I wanted to share these recipes because they were actually pretty easy (which is key for me) and super yummy (an obvious key).

Pioneer Woman's Comfort Meatballs

Pioneer Woman's Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Pioneer Woman's Flat Apple Pie 

The most important pieces of meal planning for me were Pinterest and Aunt Sherron's Cookbook. Pinterest is free to everyone and has a bazillion wonderful recipes that gave me endless options for my two-week plan.

(Sidenote: I really only made 3-4 meals a week because I refuse to make anything on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And sometimes Wednesday were leftover day. So ... meal planning shouldn't have been too difficult for me! :) )

Now Aunt Sherron's Cookbook is a little harder to come by. I got this years ago and it was a collection of recipes from family members and friends collected and put into one book... and then many, many copies made. It is glorious! It has some of my very favorites in there like her goulash and chili recipes (her chili recipe includes spaghetti - who knew, but it is truly fantastic -- see below)!

And just for good measure, here is the best Italian Dressing recipe this side of Antartica!

If you are hunting for recipes, need them to be easy, and are a semi-picky eater like myself, follow my 'Food I Gotta Try' board on Pinterest. It's full of goodies, including this meal that I made for our good friends, the Stacey's last night: Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos -- my house smelled amazing from Noon until I took the chicken out at 6. Lordy.

So ... planned meals are hard to come by at the Clark house nowadays. Luckily, my husband is a good sport and goes with it. Or curses me under his breath every single day, but has learned to whisper quite well.

What are some of your favorite, EASY meals? I need to stock up on my selection!

Happy Tuesday, friends!


PS. Don't forget about the Etsy Gift Card Giveaway -- use Rafflectoper below to enter! The giveaway ends Friday and will be announced on my Friday Favorites!

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Birthday Giveaway

Well my friends, you are lucky I have gone this long without bringing up the fact that my favorite day of the year is almost upon us.

My birthday.

September 30 is my favorite holiday because it is mine. All mine. Yes, other people celebrate their birthdays on the same day, but in my head, it is my day.

But a quick shoutout to all those last day of September babies! You know who you are! :)

In honor of my birthday, I'm doing an Etsy Gift Card giveaway!

In honor of my birthday, that gift card will be for $34 to any Etsy seller that takes gift cards!

And it's $34 because I'm turning 34. And I'm OK with it. It's another year that I'm still alive and kicking and another year that I get to celebrate the greatest day of the year.

To enter the giveaway, just follow the Rafflecopter instructions at the end of this post and you are entered! Make sure to share the post on social media to get extra points!

The giveaway begins today and I'll announce the winner on Friday with my Friday Favorites!

Best of luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!



PS. I started a 'Tess and Elm' Facebook page to keep my posts and other blog-related items to that page. So make sure you 'like' that page to keep up with the blog and also to get extra points in the giveaway below!

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! We did it! We survived another week - alleluia (though I'm currently listening to my 7 month old today screaming bloody murder because she will not nap)! We are excited for a weekend at home - my parents and niece Perry are coming down to stay which always makes me happy!

Here are some of my Friday Favorites...

Oh girls. I have a newfound love with Boden USA. The stuff is so classic with not alot of fuss -- it screams "ALLYSON! BUY ME! EVERY LAST THING!" Sadly, I have to scream back, "I'D LOVE TO! BUT YOU'RE TOO FRIGGIN' EXPENSIVE!" As is this skirt. This skirt is so friggin' adorable. But it's $298.

I'm laughing as I type that.

So what is my new mission? To find this skirt for MUCH less expensive, but still good quality. I'm actually in love with the entire outfit, but know I can find that same top for a lot less as well.

But I love to find places that give me great ideas when it comes to fashion and home decor -- so here you go! Browse away and if you can, buy away. Just know that I'll be sitting here in Arkansas being very jealous of you. 

Gallery Skirt
***UPDATE: Thanks to Tanya Orstad, a similar option (though not suede) was found at Anthropologie! The Gallery Skirt comes in a three different colors, but is super adorable and $78 (vs. $298)! She said to order a size up because the sizing is small on this skirt.

                                                      Essie's Big Spender

I love painting my nails... only since 2008. Before that I thought it was too much. Now I feel like if I don't have it on, I'm missing something.

But I'm very particular about color choices and seasons. Like right now, I couldn't do a hot pink or really bright colors because we are now officially in the fall season. So I feel like it's time to dial it back on the brightness, which is why I LOVE Essie's Big Spender color. It is not too bright, but it's not full on dark yet... which comes later as the season gets chillier! 

Target always has a great selection of Essie Colors... as does Walgreens. So if you're near either of those, stop in, drop $9 on some nail polish and get into the fall spirit! 

Sit Me in the Front Row - closest color to Big Spender

***UPDATE: Thanks to Kaye Nemec for telling me about Sally Hansen's Gel Polish (Essie's version is Gel Couture). She said you can put it on and it will last for almost two weeks versus a few days like most other nail polishes!!! Definitely worth a try! Has anyone else tried this and been happy?!

                                          Rich Pumpkin Dream Glade Candle 

Speaking of fall, I'm a lover of apple cinnamon scents in my house all year long. Blame (or thank) my mother, but I'm obsessed with it and it always makes me happy! I buy the Airwick version of it.

But this time of year, I try to light some candles and Glade seems to always have great options during the seasons. This year, I found Rich Pumpkin Dream and holy cow! It is ON POINT, people! I lit it oen afternoon and left the house only to receive a text from Matt saying our house smelled awful. I immediately was upset because I knew I had just lit these brand new candles. He then said he was kidding and that it smelled great.

And he was right! It smelled amazing! I picked mine up at Target, but I know they are pretty much everywhere. So if you need some instant fall, get this ASAP! 

                          Birkenstock Essentials Madrid EVA Flat Sandal

If you ask me what was the one best thing I purchased all summer, I would tell you it was this sandal. 

I wore it almost every single day. 

And they were $29. Birkenstock's for $29. You read it right! 

They were the most comfy sandal I've ever put on. Plus I know they were much better for my feet than my normal flip flop that I wore as well as were a little more fashion-forward. 

If you are still needing a slip-on sandal (because let's be real, it's fall, but where I'm at - it is still in the 90s ... BLEH!) and one that you will continue to use every time it warms up, GET THESE IMMEDIATELY! They come in black, navy, hot pink, hot green, red and white. If I could find them in an olive color, you bes' be believin' I'd be getting that color as well! 

I hope everyone has a great weekend -- hopefully the weather cools off, you can sit outside, drink a brewskie or Coke and enjoy some football.

Because that is what I will be doing. 

And saying a little prayer that my kids can take care of themselves while I'm doing those fun thing! :)

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