Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Favorites

Ohhh... what a week. Seriously, when I can't find time to get Etsy Finds of the Week up, you know it's been a week.

To give you a glimpse... yesterday, I had about eight things I really needed to get done, which included a blog post, Two Dots website and pictures, chicken and noodles dinner completed, Reece to gymnastics, etc. What happened was one child wanted to make cookies, then use her new iTunes card, one didn't want to nap so I had to carry her around all afternoon, and the other wanted to sit and watch TV all afternoon.

Did I get anything done that I needed to get done? Yes, yes I did.

And that one thing was dinner.

And my husband didn't get home until after 8 pm. Sooooo... yeah. It was that kind of day.

But nothing like some Friday Favorites to brighten everyone's spirits -- as well as a trip sans children to hang with sorority sisters all weekend. Check and check!

And away we go...
Besides the dresses and the earrings, can you tell me what else we all have on that is the same?

Probably not. Because it doesn't look the same, which is why it is amazing.

Please see our lips. And don't think about the fact that we all were applying the lipstick from the same lipstick tube and how gross that probably is, but please see how pretty it is! And how different it looks on all of us!

This beauty is called Vitality Lip Flush 4-in-1 Reviver Lipstick Stain - it's a mouthful, but it was oh-so-pretty on everyone! I highly recommend it to everyone for a really pretty fall lip color! This particular color is called 'Pretty Woman' and can be found at Ulta!
I made a quick jaunt into Gap the other day in search of a corduroy skirt, since the Old Navy in town did not have the one I mentioned to you that I would be buying for this weekend.

Well, Gap didn't have anything either (note to everyone in northwest Arkansas: The Gap at Pinnacle Hills is not the greatest Gap ever)... But I did have a chance to touch every new sweater arrival and ohmygoodness.

I love a good sweater cardigan to throw on and Gap has quite a few options that are SO soft and comfortable!

Here are a few options:

This is the Maxi Shaker Cardigan -- now online it says it's $128, but Gap almost always has a 40% off sale (or Gap Cash or something going on). This is a forever sweater, meaning you won't be throwing it in the giveaway pile for many, many years so it's worth more than $20!

Speaking of soft, this Boucle Shawl Cardigan is SO SOFT! It comes in three different colors (though I'm partial the grey) and is $69 (but like I said... that won't be for long)!

Here's how Two Dots works.

I see a picture of something I like. I snap it on my phone. I send it to Lauren. She says she likes it. Then I go hunting for it to go on our site.

This was one of those pictures I recently sent to her!

But this is probably more for me... I LOVE this. And I LOVE these boots. But I can't rationalize buying a pair of boots that I want to see myself wearing alot, when in reality, would be worn maybe three times if Matt and I can go on that many date nights (I also don't know if my thighs would look so good with these boots, but that's another story)!

I did go on a hunt for this for anyone else that equally loves it. Gap has a navy blue version but only in extra large. I'll keep hunting... but if anyone else sees it for a good price, leave a comment! 

I don't know how I end up following half of the people/stores I follow on Instagram, but some are worthwhile.

Including this random one.

This store is called Smallwood Home and I'm embarrassed to say that I thought they only sold these awesome wood signs that I love.

If I had paid attention, I would have noticed that they also sell those chairs... and kids clothing... and many other things!

Today when I opened up their site, they had new adorable suede boots for little girls (for only $38) that I may or may not be buying for Sloane!

I LOVE their signs though - that's what drew me to them! They have so many and some are pricey, but they go on sale alot. And if you sign up to receive e-mails from them, you get a 10% off coupon. Great Christmas gift ideas here!
I'm not sure if anyone has picked up on this yet, but... I'm a very picky person.

When it comes to my food, when it comes to my clothes, when it comes to my home. A doctor mentioned to us that Reece might have a small case of OCD and asked if anyone in our family had it.

I said I had never been medically diagnosed, but I'm quite certain I am!

So when it comes to picking out a K-State shirt, all of the above applies. Which is why I don't own very many!

I love the vintage look and I love it to be soft. I own ONE that is like that - and I have worn it every K-State gameday since I bought it in Manhattan!

But I happened to check out the Charlie Hustle website (a local Kansas City store that sells vintage-like t-shirts) and checked out their K-State selection.

And I was pleased!

I currently own a heathered gray top with a heart that says KSU in the middle of it, I could add this purple to my sad collection! Who has my name for Christmas, Hills family?!

Everyone have a fantastic weekend! Pictures from my weekend adventure without my family, but with my college pals will be featured next week! :)


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

It's another edition of 'What's Up Wednesday' where I link up with the above mentioned bloggers on the last Wednesday of each month and answer these questions:

So here we go!

What We're Eating This Week...

Baked Tacos
Since school started (or if we really want to get honest, since Tess was born) our dinners have been off! Sloane has a pom-pom class from 5-6 pm once a week and Reece has gymnastics from 4:30-5:15 once a week on a different day than Sloane... so we are scrounging on those days for food! 

But I went to Sam's Club yesterday and since they renovated their store, they added a fabulous meat/deli/freezer section with a great selection of pre-made meals. So I picked up rotisserie chicken enchiladas that we will eat on all week!

I also went to the store late last night and grabbed Reames Noodles to make my mom's super easy chicken and noodles (despite the ridiculous mid-70 degree weather currently happening at the end of October here in Arkansas). I also picked up some hamburger, refried beans, tomato sauce and taco shells to do baked tacos. So good! 

What I'm Reminiscing About... 

I love my TimeHop app because every day, it shows me pictures or posts from all of my social media from the years before on that exact day. This week has been really fun - lots of pictures of Sloane coming home from the hospital and a house full of my family visiting that first week. Can't believe that in just two and a half months, we will add a fifth baby to my family (not MY little family - this baby train is over - but my extended family)! Can't wait for Baby Hills!!! 

What I'm Loving... 

I blogged about these items on my Friday Favorites last week, but as I'm able to use them more, I'm figuring out what is working and REALLY loving them! I can really tell a difference on my face and though I don't think my face will ever be as clear as Samantha Ponder... 

It won't stop me from trying! 

What We've Been Up To...

This has been the month of travel for the Clark's. We travel alot anyway, but we are wrapping up the fourth weekend in October and we have traveled to Manhattan (which is five hours away) twice, while I'm going back this weekend for my sorority's 100th Anniversary (I can't wait - yay KAPPA)! 

It was Sloane's sixth birthday on the 15th and we were in Manhattan for my friend's wedding, but we always celebrate Sloane's birthday with the family at a K-State tailgate, so we went back last weekend to whoop up on Texas and sing to the birthday girls as it was also my sister Lauren's 28th birthday! 

Poor Lauren's name got left off the cake! :)

Sloane and I went to the K-State volleyball game and she gave Willie a big squeeze!
Our November is packed as well with trips back to Manhattan for a football game and Thanksgiving, while I will be traveling to Kansas City the first two weekends for Two Dots shows.

If anyone is in the KC area and wants to come see what Two Dots has for fall and winter, come see us at the Shawnee Mission North Cheer Competition on Saturday, November 5 from 9:30 am - 3 pm (Shawnee Mission North High School Gymnasium) or on Saturday, November 12 from 7:30 am - 4 pm at the Cure of Ars Gift Gallery. This is located at 9403 Mission Road, Leawood, KS. Get early access at 7:30 am for $10 and get mimosas and early shopping before the rest of the crowd! We will have everything on our site at the show as well as new items! Plus there will be lots of fantastic vendors -- get some Christmas shopping out of the way! 

What I'm Dreading...

Traveling. As much as I love to be gone (so it seems!), I'm so tired of traveling. I really would like to own an airplane.

What I'm Working On...  

Currently how to purchase an airplane.

As well as gearing up for all of our Two Dots shows! 

And lots of meetings with the Northwest Arkansas Mom's Bloggers -- the site launches in mid-late November with a launch party on November 17! More information to come as it becomes available! 

 What I'm Excited About... 

This time of year is my very favorite! It starts off with my birthday (the best day of the year), followed by a great month of October and Halloween and the changing of the leaves. Then comes November and a reminder of the many things I have to be thankful for (but tend to forget) and a wonderful day of food with my family on Thanksgiving. 

Then comes the Christmas season. Literally the most magical time of year. I just love it. Nothing beats the feelings, the smells, the fun that comes this time of year! 

What I'm Watching/Reading...

The Book Club book for this month is For the Right Reasons by Sean Lowe and I of course picked it up right away because I was hoping for juicy details on how the show The Bachelor is really made (Sean was the main man on the 17th season of The Bachelor where he did actually meet and marry his wife, Catherine Guidici). I also wanted to see how much he mentioned K-State... which he does.

 I'm certain this will be the one Book Club book I make it through and probably the one Book Club meeting that I won't be able to go to. Go figure. 

As for what I'm watching...  Matt and I try and find a show that we can watch together since we have very limited time together every day. We both had heard about Sarah Jessica Parker's new show Divorce. on HBO and so we gave it a shot (I LOVE me some SJP - Sex and the City is probably my favorite TV show of all time). We are two episodes in and I can say that we both like it! Obviously it doesn't sound like the greatest show for a married couple to watch, but it's actually funny... so we will keep watching!  

What I'm Listening To...

Remember last month when I said I was listening to Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Holiday Hits?

Yeah... that hasn't changed. 

What I'm Wearing... 

I wish I could say 'JK' after I type what I'm about to type. 

But I'm wearing shorts and t-shirt. On October 26. And I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. I should be wearing jeans (even though I don't have any STILL), boots and a puffer vest! Not shorts, my Birkenstock sandals and tees. 

Though this weekend, I'm throwing in the towel on summer weather atleast for a few days. I found a really cute corduroy skirt at Old Navy I'm hoping to wear out with Kappa gals on Friday night. Take THAT, summer temperatures!
  What I'm Doing this Weekend...

Well... as you've been reading, this weekend is my sorority chapter's 100th Anniversary! Pledge classes from WAY back when to very recent are getting together to spend a weekend together - reminiscing, touring the recently renovated house as well as the K-State campus and football stadium, food, drinks... just an all-around great weekend spent with good people! 

I'm happy to be apart of it because this place gave me so much my four years in school and continues to give to me today through the friendships I have continued post-college. 

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

I'm so looking forward to our Two Dots shows Lauren and I will be doing in Kansas City. We have the best time at all of them because we meet lots of people, sell alot of clothes and get to hang out with each other for 10 hours a day. Definitely looking forward to it! 

I'm also very much looking forward to Thanksgiving! We are in Manhattan this year with my family, which means so much laughter, lots of walks, good food and beer, and relaxation. It's going to be a great month! 

What Else is New... 

I feel like I've literally told you EVERYTHING, you can't possibly take any more! 

My little family is in a little state of limbo at the moment and hopefully will have answers to some unanswered questions soon. But as we enter the month of November, I am reminded, again, to be thankful for what I have and know that God already has a plan for us ... we just don't know what it is.

Which kills me.

Seriously. Doesn't he know how I work?! :) 

Have a great Wednesday everyone!



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Easy Fall Food Recipes

Ladies and gentlemen, it might come as a huge shock to you that I am not a good cook!

I don't have any issues with stating it, it's just not my thing.

Writing lots of words and putting them on the Internet I can do. Cook and bake, I can not.

But that doesn't stop me from trying! And during this time of year, my crock pot becomes my very favorite appliance!

I also must give a HUGE shout out to Pinterest. I own many, many cookbooks: Pioneer Woman, The Joy of Cooking and about 12 others that were my Grams' (who was a wonderful cook). But the chances of me opening on of those versus opening Pinterest is almost non-existent. The recipe options on Pinterest are endless and I LOVE it!

So here are a few of my favorites that I seem to go back to. Hope this will help you when you are meal planning for the week (because everyone is doing that now, right?)! :)

Oh you guys ... when I made these the first time, I was nervous, but they were SO good. If my husband gives me the thumbs up, then I note that as a win and save it! These were also SO easy (another important piece for me) -- there is very little you need for them, plus you throw it all in the crock pot. Boom! 

Give them a try and you'll be pleased! 

I have been a faithful servant to Italian food for a very long time. But at some point, I seemed to start leaning towards Mexican food. And if I had Mexican food every night of the week, I'd TOTALLY be OK with it. 

I came across this one and thought it combined two of my favorite food worlds, so why not give it a shot. And I'm so glad I did! They are super yummy -- you can eat about 5-6 in one sitting (I PROBABLY wouldn't advise in making a side if you plan to eat that many though...). They are just jumbo shells filled with a mixture of ground beef, taco seasoning and cream cheese.  How can you go wrong? 

Again, they are very easy to put together, just make sure you don't leave the shells on the stove too long or they get too soft and start to fall apart, which makes it hard to keep the mixture in! 

Now, I totally understand how the word 'quinoa' immediately strikes a chord with some people!

Some would be like "OOOH! Yess! Something healthy - let's do this!" While you'd have someone like my sister that would say, "Ummm, yeah -- what else is on the menu?" 

I'm not heckling her. Because that is me about 98 percent of the time as well, but I love quinoa because it IS good for you, but it really doesn't have much of a taste, which is a win-win! 

I started making this in Minnesota and really loved it! It tastes SO yummy and again, the quinoa is a bonus that you don't even know is really there!

Spaghetti casserole was one of the dishes in the Hills' household that you didn't touch. My Grams was the Queen of Spaghetti Casserole in my brother's mind and there was nothing that anyone could do to top it. 

And believe me, I would never try. My Grams was the Queen of the Kitchen so never would I tell her what I thought she should be doing! 

But... I have a gut feeling that if she were sitting next to her today, and I told her that by adding cream cheese to spaghetti casserole, it really gives it that 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'... I think she might believe me!

People... make this. Seriously, it's so easy, and it's so delicious and it's one of those perfect middle of the week dinners! Butter up a loaf of French bread for a side and a salad and that's it! 

Speaking of easiest crock pot recipe ever .... this is it! This is a go-to in the Clark household because I can get a pork tenderloin at Aldi for $4, I always have bbq sauce, hamburger buns and some form of pop to make this! 

You don't even need a Dr. Pepper - I've used Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero ... whatever you have, it just keeps it moist! 

But you put the pork in the crockpot, pour a 12 oz. drink over it, let it sit for 7-8 hours, drain the liquid, shred the pork, add the bbq sauce. And that. Is. It. 

It is so easy! 

And if you want to look like a friggin' rock star in the kitchen, make these while you're waiting on your pulled pork! They are really yummy! 

Maybe a little more nerve-wracking because you need them to be the perfect softness to be able to smash them, but not mutilate them. They are easy and so good with the pulled pork! 

So there you have it ... these are my favorite Pinterest recipes that I use as go-to's all the time! If you want to follow my Pinterest 'Food I Gotta Try' board, click here. I have tons of recipes for picky eaters that I have yet to try! :)  

Happy Tuesday everyone! Make sure you're following the Tess & Elm facebook page for an October giveaway happening soon!   


Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Favorites


First off, I want to thank everyone who commented either on the blog post or on Facebook/Instagram about my Reece. I was definitely not looking for the props that I got (obviously, I'll take them!), but I appreciate the kind words.

A few of you even mentioned that you know others who might also have some sensory issues, but didn't know it. Seriously, I had NEVER heard of it until I googled about haircuts. And MAN, am I glad we have the Internet or Lord knows how I would have been able to come up with that medical diagnosis on my own. :)

But in all honesty, thank you for the feedback. It's definitely a journey and like I told many of you, it's not one that we thought we'd ever be taking. But so many times, usually when I'm in a puddle of tears, I remind myself that things could be SO much worse. But it's just one of those things that sometimes, you just need to have a pity party to feel better, then move on!

Anyway, it's another busy weekend for us. Back to Manhattan (yes, we were just there and yes, I'm going back NEXT weekend!) to celebrate my sister's birthday and Sloane's 6th Annual Tailgate Bash minus the tailgate (11 AM kickoff).

Here are some Friday Favorites for you!

I follow Cassie from Hi Sugarplum on Instagram and she had on a really cute outfit from last weekend that she had worn what looks to be while hiking. I didn't know looking cute and hiking went hand-in-hand, but you learn something new every day!

She had on a pair of boots that I zoomed in on (thanks for that new function Instagram!) and they were a new short pair of Ugg boots. I Amazon'd them (that's a thing now) and holy cow, they are only $75, which is unheard of in the Ugg Boot world!

They are called the Koolaburra and I immediately messaged my mother-in-law and said I wanted these for Christmas (not because she is Santa and boom, they will appear... but she sometimes is very much like Santa and boom, they will be there BUT ALSO she had asked what I wanted and these are it!).

I am certain these will be worn ... probably daily. Is Christmas tomorrow?!! :)

It is a known fact by pretty much everyone that I am a prude. Or... I just am not one to be so forthcoming with my body.

What I mean is I hate changing in front of people. It's a body image thing that I have had my entire life and at 34, it's still there!

So... the fact that I'm talking about underwear (I HATE the word panties) on my Friday Favorites might come as a shock to many, except my friend Gabrianna who introduced me to these!

They are made by Soma and are called the Vanishing Edge Panty. They have several different versions: high leg (like this one), bikini, hipster and boy shorts. They are made of microfiber, but what makes them great is that there is no visible lines and and then silicone strips on the back edges so they don't move and become a thong halfway through the morning!

I was told about these while in Denver at my friend's bachelorette party, then went to my nearest Soma store the next week and walked out with five new pairs of underwear. I seriously need atleast 10 more. They are legit people! Good chance I won't be buying underwear anywhere else ever again!

And right now, everything is 15% off or you can get a pair of undies for $7 with any other purchase.

For real ladies ... try them, thank me later, then I'll thank Gabe for you.

This last weekend was my good friend Abby's wedding in Manhattan and I had been asked to be a bridesmaid. I accepted the proposal. :)

I decided to have my makeup and hair done for two reasons: I cannot do my makeup and hair and I wanted to look pretty for a day. So done and done!

The poor gal that did our makeup didn't know what she was in for when she got me in her chair! Non-stop questions, pictures of everything she was putting on my face, then a text from me days later asking if I could email her with questions!

She really did a great job and seriously learned everything she does on YouTube. All I have learned from YouTube is that I need to pay closer attention to what my children are watching on there! 

One of the things she used was the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles and Concealer - quite a long name for what it does. It takes away dark circles. Which I have had since 2010!
She swiped it under my eyes, then down my nose, then blended in with a brush. And I used the 'fair' color.

I really loved it and it brightened up my face a bit! So I picked some up this week (only $8), used it today and STILL love it! I highly recommend!

And yet another piece of makeup I took a picture of was the Benefit POREfressional Face Primer. The description on the website says it 'diminishes the appearance of pores and fine lines...'. Again, I say, SIGN ME UP! I really feel like it was a good base to start with on my face, followed by my foundation.

This one is a little pricey at $31 at Sephora, but only gets good reviews (from me, too)! 

She had a Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime option as well, which is what I ended up buying to make sure I really liked having it on my face for more than just a 'look pretty wedding day'. This one is only $8.

And I do! I really can feel no difference, which is a big deal to me. I don't want to feel like I have a ton of makeup on!

I know I had mentioned it briefly before, but as this all is getting closer, I'm getting really excited about this new opportunity!

The City Moms Blog Network is probably something you haven't heard of, but I'm almost certain many of you have come across some of the articles posted from across the country and have shared them on social media or with a friend. I've received a few and am always like, "Yep, that is SPOT on with my life right now!"

So when it was announced that northwest Arkansas was going to start a group, I applied to be a contributing writer and was selected to be a part of the team! There are about 14-15 of us on the team and the team will grow and change as time goes on. But I'm excited to get started! We have our first team meeting next week, then a big launch event on November 17!

I'll keep you all posted as things happen and my posts go up!

Alright, that's all for today -- everyone have a fantastic weekend! GO CATS and see you next week!


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