Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Gift-Giving Via Etsy


We are now two weeks away from Christmas, which means I'm officially in a constant tizzy. I have lists upon lists of gifts to get, my Amazon cart is full, and yet I'm always hunting for those one-of-a-kind gifts that you can't just run to Target and grab.

Which is why Etsy is fantastic!

I'm going to give you some great gift options that will be fan-favorites!

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3.4.

5.6.

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1: Large Oversized Initial Necklaces  are adorable and a perfect gift for any female in your life!

2: This Pumpkin Serving Set would be a fantastic gift for any family member/friend that loves to entertain and have the cute dishes to show off! This set might be a little pricey, but there are a lot of really cute options in this shop!

3: Pardon me as I immediately buy this office work mug for my husband and his boss. It that subtle or not? :)

4: For book club friends... you can't go wrong with a Bookstore-smelling candle!

5: I know many guys that could probably fill this Beer Cap Map up in a weekend.

6: I feel like this may be the perfect shirt to wear to the gym... or to Taco Tuesday. Or any day of the week. :)

7: I'm actually really sad this mug wouldn't ship until after Christmas. My dad would LOVE this. Maybe a birthday present?!

8: A pretty and simple Gem Slice necklace with LOTS of different stone options... I love this one and the pink!

9: These personalized acrylic keychains would be great gifts for bridesmaids, high school cousins, freshman in college who still have keys to their dorm rooms...

10: I've always been a stocking-stuffer-lover... they are small items, but usually fun and practical! This Bourbon lip balm be a great one for the men in your life.

11: And we can't forget about your wonderful coworkers ... or that extremely special one who helps get you through long days. This candle is for you!


Happy shopping friends ... and just a little reminder that those shopping days are numbered!

XXOO,
Allyson

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Aha Moments

This morning, I was skimming Facebook (like I do every morning) and came across a video posted by the Today Show. I expected it to be a video from a parent who lost a child during the Sandy Hook school shootings, almost five years ago.



I remember that day so vividly -- Reece as only six months old. We were back in Sedan for Christmas break (the kids and I left Minneapolis early that year!) and had just returned from lunch out at the farm. Sloane was napping and I was feeding Reece when I turned the TV on and my heart sank, almost as low as it could possibly sink.

I contemplated running upstairs and just holding Sloane, but didn't because as I could hear my grandma saying, "Never wake a sleeping baby!" And especially not a two year old!

But that memory, that feeling is one that I will never forget.

So watching this video and listening to this mom, who lost her son Jesse - a first-grader - talk about how much anger she carried with her every day after her son was killed... she felt as though she was carrying Adam Lanza around by an umbilical cord with her all day, every day.

Until one day, she decided to cut the cord after seeing a note that her seven year old had written on the chalkboard in their kitchen. "Nurturing, healing, love."

She said she knew those words were meant for healing and comfort. But she said she also knew that if Adam Lanza had felt nurturing, healing love, he would not have done what he did.

So she cut the cord. She forgave.

People... she forgave someone who took her 7-year-old away from her. While he was at school.

It really made me think about the last two years of my life. Last year at this time, I blogged about what an angry year 2016 had been for me. And my New Years resolution for 2017 was to be a kinder person.

2017 rolled around, other crazy life things occurred and the anger just renewed. It was a similar anger from 2016 aimed at new people.

Then came a conversation I had in early November. It was, I felt, dramatic. And I was sweating and frustrated.

I followed that with a meeting at school to talk about Reece.

Have you all heard of 'aha moments'? I heard about these moments from dear Oprah and understood them - they are moments of clarity - but truly had never experienced one. Until I was walking back home from that meeting about my son.

It was an IEP meeting, where I met with his teacher, school counselor, a reading specialist, a speech and OT therapists, as well as the special education coordinator. We were meeting to discuss  Reece's strengths and weaknesses.

And after leaving that meeting, I had my first 'aha moment'. It was then that I realized that I had spent the last year and a half full of anger and frustration when I had a much bigger task at hand that had been threatened by my wasted time and energy.


It was at that moment that I said 'I'm done!' No longer was I going to waste my time on drama and he said/she said. Because there are things that were way, way, WAY more important than that. And I had just left a meeting that was telling me that.

But forgiving is an entirely different animal. I watched this video of this mother this morning, in complete awe of her. Her courage. Her braveness. Her strength.

I mean... I still hold grudges against girls that were mean to my sister in high school.

I don't understand true forgiveness very well. I could easily say, "I forgive you", but then still harbor these mean feelings. So have I truly forgiven? Is saying "I forgive you" just the right thing to do? I don't know!

I feel like I'm going to be having conversations with people at the end of this year that will help lead me to forgiveness. Because time spent being angry and 'fed up' is not time well spent. Time spent listening to my kids read, watching them write and draw, laughing at each other is time well spent. Sitting on the couch watching a movie or show with Matt (because quality time is one of his love languages) or conversations with him when the kids are downstairs is time well spent.

I guess my thought process is this ... if this sweet mother who lost her baby can forgive the person that took him away from her, surely I can forgive people for doing a lot less?

Time will tell. But that video was a wakeup call. An aha moment.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Favorites


Friends!

It's Friday!

Maybe next week I'll return to regularly-scheduled blogging?! Ughhh... my life is basically Two Dots, momming, Target, Amazon, shower, momming, Two Dots, momming, bed. Maybe if I replaced Target and Amazon with blogging, this could all go back to normal.

But then we would have no food to eat or diapers for the baby. Or Glade Christmas candles.

This week is more great ideas for gifts. Big to small.

Guys... I would tell you that you were crazy if you told me there was a pillow you could SLEEP on that would actually make your face look better and keep your hair pristine.

But you guys... I'm telling you... there is a pillow that actually makes your face look better and keeps your hair pristine and you don't have to do anything but SLEEP on it!

It's called the Glow Beauty Boosting Sleep Duo and it includes a pillowcase and eye mask. Each thread of the pillowcase and mask are infused with copper, which is an essential mineral known to enhance skin appearance for a healthy, youthful glow. Who knew!!

I read the reviews, read a bloggers reviews... I'm in. Who else is?!!

I know I have shown a version of this Sigma Makeup Brush Cleaner before, but I believe the last one was a mat. This one is a glove. And I think I like the idea of the glove more! 

I am AWFUL about cleaning my makeup brushes. If this was in eyesight, I feel like it would not slip my mind as easily. 

It's on the Christmas list! 


It went from 60 degrees to 12 in less than 24 hours this week here in Chicago. Luckily, our Marmot coats came in just in time (this is the NICEST coat I have ever owned and now I know why it's best not to skimp when it's 12 degrees outside and you're standing in a line, waiting to pick up your kids from school... skimpy coats leave you frostbitten. Nice coats leave you wishing you were inside, but you've got a nice, down coat on so you can last five minutes)! 

I saw this Pompom beanie on one my favorite new bloggers (Beth at Seersuckle and Saddles) and that evening, my mom and I walked down to Michigan Avenue, into TopShop, tried on the four different beanie options and walked out with this one (but I would have liked to take them all home). It's so cute, super warm and just fun with the big PomPom! ;) 




Reece and I stopped at the Madewell store near us to pick up a Christmas gift I had shipped there (silly me, I thought it would just be smart to not pay shipping and just run down to pick it up... yet we drove around trying to find a free parking spot for 15 minutes... should have just paid the shipping). Oh Madewell... you have my heart!

Seriously, I want everything in that store. And if you have not been to a Madewell store, make it a priority -- or at least browse their website!

Since we spent forever trying to find a parking spot, we had to at least spend five minutes in the store. So I went to the shoes and Reece went to the clothes (and found many things that he said, "Hmmm... mom, this would look nice on you!" ... God love him!). My eyes went straight to these booties and my feet immediately went into them.

The Jillian Boot is on the Christmas list. It's on the part of the list that I know won't make it under the tree, but it has to go on the list! These booties were super comfortable and hit at the right part of the ankle. Perfect with ankle-length jeans and the color of suede is the perfect shade.

In. Love.


I shared this coat on my Facebook page a week or so ago. They have sold out of a lot of colors because the color I had originally wanted doesn't exist anymore! 

Then I found this coat ... very similar, but much less expensive. Big fan. (Sidenote: If you haven't browsed The Loft website in awhile, it would be in your best interest to do that -- the sweater options are A-MAZING and they are ALWAYS having a sale!)

But then I found this coat. This coat is from Macy's and doesn't have the fur collar, but what draws me to it is the stand-up collar, the big pockets and the BRIGHT color! I absolutely love a big, bright pop of color in the dead of winter. And this blue is just that! 


And there are just a few more gift options for you... for your friends... for your mom, your sister, your neighbor... anyone that needs something great in your life, these will do. :)

Have a great weekend, friends! Like I said... my goal is to return to blogging next week. ONE CAN DREAM! :)

XXOO,
Allyson

Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday Favorites


Hello friends!

Happy December 1! Can you believe it?!

It's been a few weeks since I've been on here. We've had lots of family and friends visiting over the last few weeks and this week, I've been working my tail off on Two Dots during any spare time that I have. BUT it's that time of year when Friday Favorites are extra important - it's the season of gifting so I want to be able to help you out in whatever way I can, be it gifts for friends, for yourself, for the guys, for the kids ...

It's a smorgasbord of gift options.

Here we go!


When my mother-in-law asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I was brutally honest with her. 

I wanted this Marc Jacobs Natasha Crossbody Bag. And I felt like if I told her I wanted this purse, it would alleviate her having to buy me anything else. Because this would be it! 

So... a month and a few weeks before Christmas, I got this purse! And I'm IN LOVE! 

Once we got rid of Tess's diaper bag and downsized to just a little backpack, I was carrying around my very small (yet very cute) Kate Spade purse... that didn't zip because my wallet was sticking out of it.

Which I thought was sort of an issue. This bag made that a non-issue as well as gave me a little more room to throw a few more things in if I needed to, but not so much room that I was throwing the entire refrigerator in my bag! 

It comes in a smaller one that I also tried... it would have solved the wallet issue, but would have given me no other room for anything besides my wallet. So I went with this classic size and am so happy with it! I use it as a cross body, can still carry Tess in one arm, and am not worried about my wallet getting jacked because it's sticking out of my purse! 

I debated between this color, black and a darker grey. In the end, Matt made the final decision because I literally couldn't decide and would have been happy with any three options! Super happy with it all the way around and am glad to have it in my possession! 



Not sure how your kids feel about the movie Home Alone. But mine (mostly) love it! Sloane is a big fan. Reece was a fan once he realized we wouldn't forget him and fly to Paris without him! 

I was browsing books today at Target to grab for the kids stockings and came across this one - it's cheaper on Amazon at the moment. But how cute is this! The illustrations are so great. And what a fun book to have year-round! 



And in case you missed my Instagram/Facebook post last week, we stopped by the actual 'Home Alone' house and the drove through the area it was filmed in and I was ready to pack up our apartment and move to the suburbs! It's the most picturesque little (expensive) place - I can't wait to go back during the daylight hours! Google Winnetka, Illinois. ;) 

Ask zero questions. Just get this candle ASAP! Have I steered you wrong on seasonal Glade candles yet?! 

I bought these at Target on Thanksgiving night at 11 pm as well as the plug-ins in this scent for the kids rooms. They are amazing!!! 

Overtime I walk in to the Sloane and Reece's rooms, I gladly want to stay and pick up everything/put everything away, rather than walk in and walk back out! ;) 



When Jenna visited Thanksgiving week, I "forced" her to go to DryBar while she was here. DryBar is basically heaven. You go, they wash your hair, they blow dry your hair, they style your hair, and they make it last for days. 

It's true. That is a real place. 

I would go once a week if that was financially possible! And it's honestly, not a bad price. So when you get the chance to go, go! 

They of course have tons of great products that you can snag when you leave, but this shower cap should be the number one thing you leave with - it will help to keep your hair looking great, post shower. I don't know about you all, but I will get into the shower and my hair will be looking workable. I get out of the shower and it's just hanging there, dead as a doornail. 

This shower cap is lined with Terry-cloth to help you keep workable hair as is! 




For that guy in your life who loves to grill... and leave his grill tools outside and scrapes away every time without cleaning anything and is just disgusting. 

Oh wait, did I say that out loud?! :) 

These were on a Facebook ad that popped up one day, I read about them and immediately added to the "Matt Christmas List of 2017". They don't have the wire bristles on the ends which can break off and get in your food (bleh)! So if you have a professional griller in your family, this might be a great gift option! 


And with that gift... I have two deals to tell you about. All next week is Two Dots' annual 5 Days of Deals. Below is a list of the deals for the week: 


These deals are fantastic for those Christmas shopping for the fashion-savvy gals in your life! So take note, add it to the calendar, sticky note your fridge... don't miss out! 

Secondly... Starting today through December 12, I'll be doing the 12 Days of Christmas on my Lips Shop page! A deal a day on LipSense and all SeneGence products. So get ready! And make sure you follow my Facebook page for those deals. 

And after all that, I will be wiped out! So as hopeful as I want to be about returning to regular-scheduled blogging next week, it just might not happen. It might happen the next week... but either way, let's cross fingers life returns to normal soon! ;) 

Have a great weekend! 

XXOO,
Allyson








Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful


Hi friends! 

It is time for my annual 'Thankful' list... and I LOVE making this list because it a) reminds me of all the wonderful things I have in my life and b) reminds me how shallow I am sometimes so I should probably work on that!

These are in no particular order.

Things I am thankful for:

Matt - Sloane - Reece - Tess - Wrigley - my mom - my dad - Jord - Jord's humor - Lauren - Lauren's humor - Sam - Alex - Perry - Cohen - Anderson - Michael - Michael's barn that stores manly items from our former home that don't fit in our current home - Jami - electricity - Contiguo water bottles - water - Mac-n-cheese - my mini van that drives me alllll over - good teachers - any and all K-State - Target - McDonald's Coke - Bravo TV - Instagram and Facebook - The Wiggles - Netflix - Mr. Goodcents - Vince Guaraldi Trio - JCrew Factory - TimeHop - my Dyson Stick vacuum - Lysol wipes - Aldi - hot showers and baths - washer, dryer and dishwasher - Glade candles - Chip & Jo - Pottery Barn, but HomeGoods lookalikes - great friends - great family - sound machines - warm coats - popcorn - aunt Sherron's goulash - IKEA - Two Dots - LipSense and my LipSense team - Tess's naps - old school Christmas music - Hanson - Skittles - pumpkins - pretty fall leaves - good hot chocolate - fleece lined leggings - Ugg boots - Birkenstock sandals...

And you! ;)

I'm thankful for this blog and all of my faithful followers. I love doing this when I can squeeze in the time (which has been small the last few weeks)... but thanks for following along through it all!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, a blessed Black Friday and I'll see you back here next week!

XXOO,
Allyson

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Things You Need to Know


Hi friends! Happy Thanksgiving Week!

We've got guests upon guests this week, just like last week, so again... my posts will be few, but I needed to make sure that you knew a few tidbits of info before too much time passed us by!

First... As you see on the header picture, Two Dots is doing a Grateful & Thankful Outfit Giveaway, which ends on November 22 at 11:59 pm (CST)!

The giveaway winner wins an entire outfit of their choice - top, bottom, shoes, accessory and outerwear - which is valued at over $150! To enter the giveaway, head on over to our Instagram  and/or our Facebook page, find the original post about the giveaway and follow the rules. It's that easy! We will pick a winner on Thanksgiving!

Secondly... I finally ordered mini tubs to send out samples of SeneGence products! Yeeehaw! ;) I'm sending out samples of both our light and medium Color Correcting Tinted Moisturizer to a customer who isn't sure which color would look better, but wanted a nicer tinted moisturizer than what she was wasting money on at the drugstore.

And you all know me, I LOVE our CC Tinted Moisturizer because it just makes my skin feel good, especially with the weather changing and my skin getting a little more dry. So if you are wanting samples of our products (except LipSense, I'm not sure how to send that one as a sample!), be it a foundation, tinted moisturizer, eyeluminator, 3-in-1 cleanser, Silk primer... just let me know! I can get those testers for you!

Third... Speaking of SeneGence/LipSense, I will have holiday deals happening so be on the lookout on my Facebook page! LipSense is such a great gift to give, be it a color and/or just a gloss! Your family and friends will love them!

Fourth... Two Dots will ALSO have our annual Five Days of Deals so keep your eye out for great deals on everything in stock plus NEW items coming!

Lastly... my best friend is here so I'm trying hard to give her a fun time on her vacation so she will come back again. She has loved Chicago forever so the goal is to have her continue to love it once she leaves! :)

Have a great Tuesday friends!

XXOO,
Allyson

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Favorites


Welcome to one week closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, friends! I am full-on Christmas music'ing it all day long, every day now so for those coming to visit the Clark household over the next few weeks, you are warned!

My sister, brother-in-law (he loves when I mention him in my blog, being the faithful reader that he is - so 'Hi Sam! Thanks for keeping our streets safe from flapping license plates!'), niece and nephew are coming Monday through Thursday. My best friend Jenna comes the following week, Sunday through Wednesday and my parents fly in Tuesday while Jenna is here for Thanksgiving!

I love visitors and am so happy to have everyone here! I might be most excited for Thursday evening when my mom and I get all of my Christmas stuff out to decorate. It's best to do it when she is here because we usually have the same 'eye' for decor so she's quite helpful!

So if my posts are more limited over the next few weeks, my excuse this time is visitors. Lots of visitors I must host! :)

Friday Faves, here we go!

Do you have a pair of shoes that are your go-to's during the warmer months and then during the chilly months? 

My black Madrid Birkenstocks are literally worn every day in the warmer months. I LOVE them for the comfort and ease! 

When it gets colder, these babies become my toss-on-and-go shoes! The LL Bean Wool Slipper Clog are shoes you will have forever! Why do I say that? Because I have had them forever! 

They are super warm - warm enough to wear out in very cold temperatures - and comfortable! 

I own the black, but love this gray color. For $69, these are lifetime winter shoes. 



I have followed The Thrifty Pineapple blogger (also known as Angela) for a few years now. She had lived in Texas, and then when I contacted her to work on something for Two Dots, she had since moved to Fayetteville, Ark. I mean... small friggin' world, right?! 

Anyway, she had posted this on her InstaStories from the same salon I had went to in Fayetteville... and she was in love with it! 

It's a mitt that removes all of your makeup (even mascara - and we know the issues I've had there), then you rinse it with some soap and you're good to go! 

Sounded too good to be true. But I ordered it. And I actually really like it! I still use my makeup wipes (which I don't need to do, but it's habit) and my eye makeup remover (testing out Neutrogena's Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover). But I have this in the shower and do a once-over before I get out on my face and eyes because it never fails, I always have mascara under my eyes! 

I have really liked it for this use and until I find another new invention to try, I will keep this up! 


Does anyone ever have those moments when they are watching an InstaStory and someone has something on and you are like "CRAP! I need to snap shot that as fast as I can before the story goes away..." And then you either get the picture or you hit the power button without hitting the home button, too? Or is that just me?!

Well, either way, I was able to snap a pic of this in time. Honey We're Home blogger Megan had it on and said it was the softest sweatshirt ever.

Don't have to tell me twice since I'm an official sweatshirt-loving wearer!

It's from Nordstrom and is the burnout knit, so not your typical Hanes sweatshirt, but one that is actually cute with booties for a more dressed up look or Uggs for an errand look.

Comes in lots of great colors - I opted for the pink and olive!


Facebook has been showing me lots of ads from American Eagle lately. And I haven't shopped at American Eagle since 2005 (it was the only cute store in the Manhattan mall when I was in college). 

But I have definitely been clicking on the ads when they come up because they are showing me some cute shoes! These booties definitely have intrigued me and then yesterday, these velvet loafers were screaming my name! 

Perfect with denim or black skinnies... and velvet is the 'ish right now. I told my mom I hope she saved my freshman year homecoming dress because velvet is back, baby! :) 



And because you guys are my favorites... here's a sneak peek at a new top that Two Dots will be showing off this weekend at the Gift Gallery. We got it in the red/navy gingham and black/white gingham. It's seriously the cutest top -- and am certain it will sell quickly. 

BUT we will reorder for those of you that know you need it in your closet! It's perfect for winter and the upcoming holidays! 

Who wants one?! :) 


And that's all she wrote today, folks... have a wonderful weekend! I will be traveling back from KC on Sunday after a weekend selling Two Dots with my mom and sister! Excited for a fun trip.

And... as always...

Go Cats! Beat the Mountaineers!!! 

XXOO,
Allyson


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