Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Favorites



Welcome to the weekend, friends!

It's been a slow... yet fast week. Is that even possible?!

Tess and I spent all morning at the pediatrician's office trying to get urine from a 19-month-old. Yeah... super fun! Girlfriend has been running a fever all week so we are trying to figure out the cause. She's on antibiotics right now, but we will have some ultrasounds and a consult with a specialized doctor in a few weeks just to rule out anything.

All is good though! Just a very, very long Thursday!

This weekend we have Matt's dad and girlfriend visiting and his cousin Kyle coming in to the city (he's near for work) to watch the K-State/OU game so we will be busy showing off the city and praying the Cats offense shows up to play this week!

I feel like a beer will be needed for that one.

Anywho, Friday Favorites... here we go!


Who remembers me rattling on and on last year about trying to find a necklace that represented my three kids? 

Is everyone raising their hand? Because I feel like it was at least every other week that I brought this topic up! 

I'm so darn picky. THAT is the problem (and absolute truth). So I love the initial necklaces, but thought I wanted just one trinket on my neck, not three. Same with the circle charms. I love them, but I feel like I might sound like a cowbell coming down the road with three on. The bars also intrigue me, but I would just want one and then what do I put on the bar? 

Lisa Leonard Designs pop up on my Facebook feed a lot and I'm sure its because my best friend received some of her jewelry so then I looked it up and you know how creepy Facebook and Google are - they know every detail of your life. So Lisa Leonard is one my feed constantly! 

She actually has a bar necklace that I was intrigued by that I considered getting three stones put on to represent the three kids. I started browsing her necklaces and found this. And thought... "That might be it!" It's unique and different, it's sweet and soft. It has the inscription "bigger than the moon, brighter than the stars" on the back... I'd probably prefer to leave that out and have my own story for the three stars BUT... I'm digging this one! 


It's obnoxious how many times I have been to JCrew Factory lately. I usually walk out with nothing, too which is just awful! 

But every time I have been there, this coat has been staring at me. The color is SO pretty and I love to have one or two nice coats that are different than your standard black. 

So if you're in the hunt for a nice winter coat, look at the options at JCrew Factory! Good quality at good prices!



I have been hunting for this glass cloche jar for a very long time... or maybe since September (but doesn't early September seem like months ago at this point?). But they are pretty expensive and I was nervous about purchasing online and it being shipped and then being broken.

I had found one online at Hobby Lobby for $20 and wanted Lauren to go check it out. Then she got busy having a baby and all.

So Tess and I loaded up and drove 30 minutes outside of the city to the nearest Hobby Lobby. And though that seems a little irrational, I love to drive. And I love to drive outside of the city to open spaces! The suburbs are getting some pretty fall leaves, too, so I was OK with the drive (plus it doesn't seem like a 30 minute drive).

To Hobby Lobby we went to find this jar... and then I of course snagged a few other things, including this adorable sign. It comes with three panels of letters and numbers and punctuation so you should have plenty to work with! And as always, it was either on sale or I get 40% off with a coupon.

I of course can't find the link to the jar or the sign, but... both are at Hobby Lobby in the glass jar section and near the sign section.

I'll keep hunting for the links!

It is mid-October and I am already planning ahead for the months to come... and what comes with those months. 

At a parent party for Reece's class a few weekends ago, some of the moms were discussing how they get their kids to school when it starts snowing. Strollers become a hard option to push through the snow. One mom said she... used a sled. 

A sled, people. 

This is real.

And I lived through the real, legit snow in Minneapolis. But I didn't walk more than I drove in Minnesota, nor did I walk far to take my kids to school. 

I don't walk far here in Chicago, but there is much more walking going on than in previous years and a legit (and cute) snow boot is needed. Hence... Sorel

Don't even ask me how I came across these... but I did and oh my, am I glad I did! 

How adorable are these signs? They aren't large signs - 6"x7" inches. But I'd love to snag the states that we have lived in - how cute would they be on a gallery wall?! 

And even better news? They are on Amazon, so you know the process of buying will be a cinch! 


Everyone have a great and relaxing weekend! 

XXOO,
Allyson

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What's Your Favorite?

This post is going to be borrrrring. But I need your help!

I am on the hunt for new mascara and new eye makeup remover. So I'm going to need some feedback from everyone on what they love and why!

Mascara is frustrating for me because I loved the Clinique mascara that they would put in the little free bags with purchase. But... they don't sell that in a larger tube (for real!). So... I tried one from Benefit 'They're Real' that I liked... but it was drying out my lashes.

Same with a Covergirl one I gave a whirl. Dried my lashes. I used an Elf brand for a long time, but they stopped making it (what is happening?!!). Currently, I'm using a tester I got from Benefit. Which I don't hate. But I again feel like it's drying my lashes out! Which in turn makes them fall out... it's absurd how I used to have decent looking eyelashes to having few and short!

And while we are on this topic, I have been using the SeneGence lash extend to help my poor lashes out, but I really don't think it's doing much. So that's a bummer BUT an honest review about something I sell! I would LOVE to try Rodan + Fields Lash Boost. But I would need to save every penny to grab that and I don't know if I love my lashes $150 worth. Dang.

As for eye makeup remover... I have used the same Maybelline remover since I was probably a freshman in high school. But lately, I feel like it's lost its luster, which makes me sad to say!

I don't like the oily kind that makes me feel like I wiped baby oil across my eyes so if that's you fave, it probably won't be mine!

I saw DJ Tanner (aka Candace Bure) show a $30 version she likes and I seriously considered it until I realized I needed to ask you all first before I spend $30 on eye makeup remover!

I'm just tired of waking up and having mascara under my eyes, when I wiped it off the night before!

HELP, fiends! Help!

XXOO,
Allyson

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hello 60!

Last Thursday, at 3:45 pm, Matt, the kids and I headed for Kansas to begin a fun weekend of celebrating! We had been planning a surprise party for my mom's 60th birthday for months now and I believe I can speak for all of us when I say we were SOOO FRIGGIN' ready for this party to get here! 

Trying to keep a secret from the leader of the family is tough. And made even tougher when you are also trying to plan a birthday party for Sloane the next day with more people attending that mom doesn't know about because they are coming to her surprise party ... that she doesn't know about.

We had to be very careful in our planning and careful in what we said to her. We also had to be careful about what information was divulged to who. In fact, I never included my dad on any of the emails out to guests or texted him about anything party-related because I know mom reads his emails and texts (you all do it, too). I had to remind to immediately delete if I sent him anything about the surprise.

I have no idea how we went for so long without someone spilling the beans. But we did it! And Friday night finally arrived and six of us and a baby Cohen walked down to Aggieville around 7:18 pm, into Wahoo Grill, and a door slowly pulled to the side to reveal...

A large crowd of very important people in my mom's life... and she had no. flippin'. clue.

Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Ahhh... the sweet nectar of success! I love a damn good surprise, people!


My brother, sister-in-law and nephew had said they couldn't come to town until Saturday, but that was all just a big fib - they were the 'greeters' of the party. My aunt Marcia (my mom's sister) had flown in from Massachusetts as well as my cousin Seth from Houston. Her brother Dave and his wife were there as well as one of my dad's brother's and sister, plus their spouses and kids, plus her best buds from college and her very best bud from Sedan -- whom mom had just talked to the night before, as well as my aunt Sally so MAJOR kudos to them for not spilling the beans! My aunt said she considered not answering the phone when mom called just to be safe! Ha!

We had pictures, we had balloons, we had food, we had lots of beer and most importantly, we had lots of laughs!


We all had felt bad the weekend before because last Saturday was my mom's actual birthday. And our original plan had been to have the party on her birthday. Then Lauren decided to tell us she was pregnant and basically due just before mom's birthday. So... we pushed it off a week and luckily, Cohen came two weeks before so we were good! But her birthday last weekend wasn't a big to-do, no big party, no big dinner. She went antique shopping with my sister-in-law while my brother and Anderson roamed the streets in the stroller. But that was about it!

Never did she know that we had this sweet little plan cooking up!

My mom is not one to expect a party like this. In fact, I'm certain she probably prefers to be on the other side of these kinds of parties.

But she deserved this party, this fun, this doting.

My mom is the most selfless person I know. She doesn't say no to much, she tries to make the best of every situation (God bless her), she doesn't hold grudges (not sure where I came from), she has the most heartfelt intentions (I DO get that from her) but is always sidetracked by 10 other things that are going on that sometimes those intentions never come to fruition (The Great Cookbook Idea of 2014). She is as classy as they come.

I have said it many times, but I will always strive to be more like my mom. I know I'll never reach that level because I do hold grudges against people and I'm usually the one that she is trying to make the situation better for... but if I could be a little more like my mom every day, I think my world around me would be a better place.

Happy 60th birthday, mom! As my brother said during his toast, we are crazy about her and are so very lucky to have her as our mom!

And now my days as Secret Keeper are complete!

Did I tell you all my brother and sister-in-law are pregnant again?

JUUUUUUST kidding! ; )

XXOO,
Allyson


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Must Have Bottoms for Fall


This is one of those posts that I really would have preferred to have two-three hours completely by myself to go to a store, try things on, switch sizes, wander... 

That is my fantasy life though and my real life involves a very busy 19-month-old and a stroller and snacks and being as fast as possible before she loses her mind! 

So we ventured to Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue and originally, I had planned to take the van because to me, it was just easier than taking the train. But then I saw how much it would be to park, and the train became the more logical option! On the train we went.

And I'm giving you not only five must-have pants for Fall, but I"m giving you life lessons here, people. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT pay so close attention to your phone and get invested in your InstaStories or you WILL forget to pay attention to when it is time to get off the train and miss your stop and get off the train being absolutely clueless as to where you were! 

Luckily when I walked out of the station, I did know where I was, but we had missed our stop by one so we had to backtrack. And the backtrack took us way too long! So in the end, I would have paid the money to park! :) 

Memories, right?!

Anyway... the real point of this post.

I wanted to venture out to Nordstrom to find five pairs of bottoms that everyone needs to have for the Fall (and the winter, too)! The pants are not going to be from JUST Nordstrom, but I knew I'd find quality selection there, so that's where we started. 

Comfy/Dressy


These Trouve High Waist Pleat Front Crop Pants were a bit of a surprise to me. I picked them up not knowing if they'd make the cut or not and surpringly, they did! 

I walked around the dressing room (and around Tess) to get a feel for them. And really, really liked them! I have larger thighs so I loved how they weren't too tight in that area, but then were more fitted past the knee. There are also zippers at each ankle so to be a little less dressy, unzip and voila! 

These get high marks for me and ran true to size! 



Leggings

Not a baby bump. Just a non-beer belly belly. 

I don't know how you all feel about leggings. But I feel like they are a staple in the fall and winter. And I'm here to tell you that it is OK.

It's OK to wear an extremely comfortable pant and not be ashamed of it. 

BUT I will also tell you that there is a rule to leggings to make all of the above true.

Your bum must be covered. 

That's all there is to it! 

If you aren't wearing a long tunic or sweater and your rear can be seen, then you need to put on a different pair of pants! That's all there is to it! 

Now... I put on these leggings from Madewell and let me tell you what was great about them.

     *Thick material
     *High-waisted 
     *Long, but not too long

All things that I 100 percent need in a legging! And at $34.50, I expect them to last me awhile! 



Denim


Though I will highly recommend going and trying things on, I realize that it hard to get to places. For many reasons. Like maybe you want to go alone .... and that's just not an option (see: all of my pics from this blog - thanks, Tess). 

With that in mind, I am 100 percent vouching of these 10" High Rise Skinny Jeans by Madwell. I blogged a few weeks ago about how hard it is to spend so much on clothing, but that when it comes to good jeans, you have to cut yourself some slack. Jeans are something that you ALWAYS have to have. The one item in your closet that doesn't go to the Goodwill pile in a year. So you're allowed to spend more for a quality pair of jeans. 

When I tried these on, I was so surprised how much I was in love with them. They were super comfortable, had the perfect amount of stretch in them (but not so much that they would be falling down your backside half-way through the day) and the high-waist is amazing! 

So if you can find time to go try on some nice jeans, find a Nordstrom and just go try on. Try on MANY pairs so you can spend your chunk of change wisely! But make sure you try these on. You will surprise yourself! 



Jogger Pants

Thanks to yet another wonderful blogger that I follow, I was introduced the Make + Model brand at Nordstrom and ordered a pair of the 'All About it Pants' in black. And I have worn them so many times, I can't even count! The blogger mentioned that they could be pajama pants, but... I can't tell if they are, and I'm pretty sure no one else can tell if they are either. 

So we are going with it! :) 

Of course that exact pant that I love is on markdown right now, which is fantastic, but the only color available is a light grey. So I found a few other options, including the one above that would be great to try (Good Vibes Jogger Pants).

Joggers are so great because I feel like they are the updated, fashionable version of sweatpants. You can wear them with a sweatshirt, you can wear them with a tee. They can be worn on a date night, to a movie, to a football game, to the grocery store. I own quite a few pairs of joggers and honestly love them all! 


Corduroy


I don't know why, but when I think of Fall attire, corduroy is what I think of! So ofcourse, it has to be in the five must-have's! 

I will have to say I haven't ventured far from what I found I loved. And that is Gap Mid Rise Skinny Corduroy Pants. They come in a skinny-style that hit at the ankle which works for me! I do wish they were a little more high-rise but that just shows my age... ;)

A few years ago, they really had a fun color selection, but this season are showing six or so color. This color above is one of my favorites. It goes with so much and is a nice color option for fall and winter! 

I will mention that Old Navy has a pair of cords in their Mid-Rise Rockstar and I have yet to try them but LOVE the Rockstar jeans from there. They are beyond comfortable and stretchy and a great inexpensive option! Color selection isn't great, but they have black which would be great for fall and winter! 



There you have it - what I have believe to be five must-have bottoms for the fall (and winter)! If you have any additions to the list, leave a comment that way everyone that reads can see it! 

XXOO,
Allyson

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday everyone!

I'm sorry about my lack of posting this week. My only response is... it's just been one of those weeks! I'm working really hard on Two Dots so I'm trying to balance it all and this week, the blog got put on the back burner!

But I will NOT short you Friday Favorites!

I wore this on Thursday and had a few people message me, asking where I got the sweatshirt from. And the answer is Old Navy.

I bought a similar sweatshirt from them last year in Heather grey that says 'hello there' and wore it all the time! They are super comfortable and cute to throw on with jeans and sneakers!

They have a few options and I wanted them all. But this one stood out to me.

After the week that we have had, still reeling from Las Vegas, thinking about my friend who two years ago in Paris was minding her own business, just like these concert-goers in Vegas... and someone decided to jack it up with guns and end lives.

She made it back home, as did a lot of the people at the concert in Las Vegas, but others didn't. And everyone's lives will be changed forever.

It is heartbreaking. And gut-wrenching. And unnecessary that evil triumphs. So let's not let it happen. Let's let love win. Buy this sweatshirt and wear it proudly! Maybe you'll change someone's outlook.

This is one of my favorite Essie colors for Fall! Angora Cardi -- not too bright for those that don't want their nails to be a topic of discussion, but a very pretty color that will get you through to winter!


If you haven't fallen into the Mule trend yet, I highly recommend you climb about the train!

Because they are amazing! And the perfect Fall shoe!

Two Dots has a pair of Soho Black Mules that I wore all day yesterday and am in love with! So if you're looking for an inexpensive route, check them out!

Last weekend when I was in Kansas City with my sister, we somehow got on this topic of mules and she showed these to me. Which was funny because I had seen them on a blogger in a fun magenta color and had equally loved them!

But this grey suede color is fantastic because it can go with so much! And at $70, it's hard to beat!



I'm mad that this hasn't been on my 'Favorites' until now. But alas, here it is!

This shop, Loop and Lil's is owned by a Sedan gal and her stuff is beyond adorable! She has an Etsy shop (by the same name), but is taking a little time off - I mean, she stays at home with two little ones.

I get it

. But please check out her Facebook page and if you're in to home decor and homemade gifts that are too cute to pass up, this is your gal!

Kimber, keep up the good work!

I feel like it's my life goal to get everyone to try LipSense at least once. Because once you try it, you either love it. Or you hate it. It's that simple.

But for those that hate it, I don't get it. I mean... it doesn't come off. How many times have you worn lipstick and loved the color and the look and then you go eat and drink and five minutes later, it's gone. The color. And the look.

Not with LipSense. And NOT with my current favorite color (I love them all, let's not kid ourselves). Somehow, I was probably the last distributor to try Caramel Latte. And I have no good explanation for you. Except to say I loved too many others and didn't want to commit to another one!

But I'm so glad I did! Truly, this is going to be my go-to neutral for Fall. I'm obsessed. It's soooo pretty! It's so similar to Caramel Apple, but it has more of a brown undertone than Caramel Apple.

I've got a few left in stock if anyone wants to try as well as some great Fall colors! Comment or message me!


And that's all she wrote, folks! Have a great weekend and crossing fingers the weather will remember that it is truly and officially Autumn. So act like it! ;)

And, as always.... Go Cats! Beat Texas!

XXOO,
Allyson

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Weekend in Review



I had already planned to be in Kansas City the weekend of my birthday because I had high hopes that my nephew would make his appearance by then! We booked my flight and I didn't think twice about it.

Until the week arrives I'm suppose to fly out to meet him and he still hasn't arrived. And then they decide to set an induction date for my sister on Friday. The day I arrive. 

So... I started making new plans that included me getting my niece to her grandma's, hanging out at the hospital, remembering to bring my computer so when I'm hanging out at the hospital, I can torture Lauren with Two Dots stuff.

And then on Wednesday night, Cohen Alsbrooks decided that was the day... and also decided he was ready to be out in the world rather quickly. So my sister got to the hospital and delivered him all in under 2.5 hours. 

Back to plan A! 

My mom picked me up at the airport on Friday mid-morning, we went and had lunch and did a quick shopping trip at the Legends and then we picked up my niece from her daycare to take her home to see her mom and dad and meet her new baby brother. 

Little does she know her world is about to get flipped upside down!


We got to the house, Perry was SO happy to see her parents (especially her mom) and then gave a little head nod to Cohen and went on with her life.

Must be nice to be a two year old! :)


The rest of the weekend included celebrating my birthday, a Wildcat win, and eating a lot of food with the people I love (minus my own children and husband who stayed behind in Chicago).

K-State Watch Party slash Allyson's Birthday Crew
Sweet Anderson

Can I tell you the greatest thing about this weekend? I got to hold all of my babies (aka niece and nephews) and just sit and enjoy them! Being an aunt is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given and I don't see these little ones near enough so when I do, and I get the chance to just sit with them, I do it.


On Sunday, Cohen had to go get some blood drawn to make sure that he wasn't jaundice (for anyone curious about jaundice, please contact my brother-in-law who can give you every detail you need to know -- love you, Sam). He was the MOST content 3.5 day unclothed baby ever ... basking under the rays of the heat lamp! His tests came back fine and he is good to go, so we took him to McDonald's for a drink, QuikTrip for a donut and Rally House for K-State gear.


And just like that, my trip came to a close with my parents and sister dropping me off at the airport, followed by me crying... because that's what I do. 


Luckily I came back to these smiling faces (I'm not sure who was more excited - Matt or the kids?) and this view...


And am back in the groove of life.

But for two days, I did nothing but celebrate turning 35, hold babies, drink McDonald's Coke and soak in some family time.

Ohhhh... I also got a quick visit from the Stacey's who were in town to watch the Royals play. So a squeeze from my favorite Max and Anna and Jenna and Josh before I headed out.

This is what I call a Winning Weekend, people!

XXOO,
Allyson

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!

I'm heading to Kansas City today to meet my newest nephew, Cohen Scott Alsbrooks, who was born on Wednesday night!


So I'll be spending my birthday holding a newborn, drinking Bud Light Lime and eating Mr. GoodCents while watching K-State play football. And hanging out with my family (minus my husband and children).

It will be a good weekend!

Here are your Friday Favorites!


The weather has finally turned Fall-like here in Chicago. Do I expect it to last long? No. I see 80 degree temps in our future again. BUT for now... I'm going to enjoy! It is beautiful outside!

And yet again, Abercrombie & Fitch (yes, THAT one) has me drooling over a fleece pullover again!

This Assymetrical Snap Pullover is such a great alternative to an old sweatshirt from 2001 (yes, I have those)! It's soft, it has pockets, it's warm. It's all the right things that we all need in our lives!


I'm a fan of supporting small businesses since I own (a few) small businesses! I came across this sweater on a blogger I follow and loved it! How cute to throw on over a solid chambray top and some jeans!

And hello, I'm obsessed with stripes so this had me at stripes. :)

Now... to find it for Two Dots...


Tess and I went to Nordstrom on Tuesday to do some blog research (that post will be coming to you next week) and you will most definitely see these jeans again next week.

I was hesitant about them for two reasons: cost and the buttons.

And here's what I will tell you.

I would pay the price and the buttons are amazing.

You guys, these jeans are sooooo wonderful. They are high-waisted (nothing extreme), they have stretch to them (thank goodness - does anyone wear jeans anymore that do NOT have stretch in them?) and the length was perfect (which is hard for this shorty).

The price? $135.

I texted Matt to ask him how much he'd pay for a good pair of jeans and he said $150.

And I"m all for him spending money clothes because it doesn't make me feel as bad when I want to do the same. Plus he wears jeans SO much that he needs to own some good denim.

But I'm in the same boat, I wear jeans SO much in the fall and winter. But the price tag is still haunting me which is why I didn't leave with them. But I'm telling you... I will have them.

I'm also telling you that it's OK to spend a chunk of change on GOOD JEANS. So... feel free to shop! :)

If you guys haven't checked out Target's new clothing lines, I suggest you find a good Target and take a look! Lauren and I did this recently and ohmagoodness, so much great new stuff! 

INCLUDING these high top sneakers! I actually had tried the exact pair in navy (these also come in Navy) at a Nordstrom Rack in Chicago way back in February and they were almost double the price. Now you can get them at your very own Tar-jay! 

They are comfy and so cute with denim... and maybe that cute Assymetrical Pullover I mentioned! Just a great option versus a tennis shoe! 

I honestly can't remember if I have mentioned this on the blog before so if I have, I'm doing it again! 

This is Candlelight ShadowSense from SeneGence (who owns LipSense). 

I. Am. OBSESSED. 

And I say this to you, not just as a person who sells this stuff, but because I am not going to push products on you that I don't love! 

You guys, this stuff is the most amazing CONCEALER as well as eye primer. It covers up anything and everything and I have already went through one tube in a few months. Because I obviously have way to much to hide on my face! 

I can't rave about this enough to you and I guarantee anyone you ask that has used it will rave as well.

I'm placing an order today for lip colors (check out my Lips Shop page if you are curious on colors) as well as more Candlelight, and a few other products I can't wait to try! If you're interested, shoot me a message! 


And that's it friends... have a wonderful weekend! I know I most certainly will! 

GO CATS! 

XXOO,
Allyson


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