4 Ways To Get Your Home Holiday Ready + $40 Paypal Cash Giveaway

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Last year was the first time that we had Christmas on our own with no traveling to see family. I kept expecting that at some point it would just automatically feel like Christmas, but on Christmas Eve I felt myself feeling depressed because the holiday was so close, but the feeling of Christmas seemed so far away. We quickly hurried and made some sugar cookies, decorated them, watched a Christmas movie, and tried to make the best of it, but it really just never felt like Christmas. 

I realized after that the feelings of Christmas come from the weeks of preparation and anticipation beforehand. We never had decorations up except for our tree. We never had an advent calendar to count the days down with. We didn't read Luke 2 in attempt to remember the special meaning of the day... There just wasn't any effort. 

This year all of that is changing. I already have my tree up, the nativity is out, I'm crafting a DIY advent calendar was we speak... Christmas is oozing from every room in this house. If you're needing a little inspiration to get you and your family holiday ready, then look no further. Today I've teamed up with Hallmark to show you 4 ways to get you and your home holiday ready in no time. 

Decorate Your Home: This might be a no brainer, but when you're a young married couple you don't really have a budget for decorations. When we were first married I spent $20 at a dollar store and did what I could to brighten up our first apartment and it was a success. Some things I like to do now are hang our stockings, get some decorative throw pillows, and put up our Christmas tree. 

I'm also that person who really loves to wrap a couple empty boxes and put them under the tree weeks and weeks before Christmas. I think it just looks so pretty and helps to bring that festive vibe into the home. This year I picked up the Hallmark Gift Wrap Pad which comes with 5 assorted prints on a  perforated pad to make selecting a print and wrapping your gifts incredibly easy. I'll definitely be using the rest of this paper when I wrap our real presents this year. 

Light a Candle: I just recently started loving candles and I think they can do a lot for your home. I've really been loving soy candles because they're better for you when you breath them in, and they have a longer burn time than a typical wax candle. I picked up this cinnamon bark scented one from Crafters & Co at my Hallmark Gold Crown store and I love the warm festive aroma that fills our home from it. 

Read Christmas Stories: We love books in our home and every year we add 1-2 new Christmas stories to our collection. I found this Santa's Sleigh is on it's Way to Georgia at my local Hallmark Store and it's quickly getting a lot of use in our home. 

Give Gifts with Meaning:  I love giving someone a plate of cookies as much as the next person, but I also love giving gifts that remind me of the purpose of the holiday and reminding people of our Savior. I love this cute "He is Holy, He is Here, He is Love", manger scene sign that I also picked up at Hallmark and can't wait to gift it to someone this year. 

Because I love you, and because I want to be able to give back to you during this holiday season, I'm going to be doing a $40 paypal cash giveaway so that you can get your home ready for the holidays. Giveaway will run until 12/09/15 at 11:59pm. Enter using the rafflecopter below. 


A Holiday Pie Bar

Monday, November 23, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #ShareTheJoyOfPie #ad

Every year during the holidays I love to throw a party to celebrate my friends and all the people who have helped us out so much during the previous year. This is something that we've always done during our marriage, whether that meant actually throwing a Christmas Party, or having some form of Friendsgiving. We always want to make sure our friends know how special they are to us, and this has been the one way that we decided we've been able to show them that. 

This year, Marie Callender's® Dessert Pies and Reddi-Wip® have teamed up for the share the joy of pie campaign and I thought that throwing a pie and hot chocolate bar party for my closest friends would be the perfect way to spread that holiday cheer. 

I started off the tablescape with four dessert pies from Marie Callender's that I picked up at Walmart (along with all the other food I purchased for the party). I chose the peach, apple, pumpkin, and razzelberry flavors, but there are so many other great options and flavors for you to choose from as well. 

Because I wanted to give my guest a food, and beverage option, I thought that it would be fun to do a hot chocolate (recipe at the bottom of the post) and dessert bar so then the guest could have lots of fun topping their pies and hot chocolate with as many different toppings and syrups of their choice. My personal favorite was topping the apple pie with toffee, Reddi-Wip, and caramel sauce... I don't know if there will ever be a better way to  eat apple pie. 

I then added some fun festive details to the table like paper straws, cinnamon sticks, coffee cookies, and candy canes that could all be used to top off the hot chocolate, and to be a fun stirring stick. When it comes to holiday tablescapes, I always think the more color, and options, the better. The less is more rule usually never applies for me. 

For the decor I tried to keep things pretty simple and inexpensive. I made the cake stands using a plate and candle stick that I picked up at my local dollar store, and then made them using this tutorial I showed a couple years ago. I put all my toppings in small clear bowls that I use for basically every party because they're cheap, and they can be used for every season and occasion. Any of the tall stirring sticks went into mason jars that I already had on hand. I spray painted glass bottles white, and then stuck some holly berries in them for a fun Christmas touch. I then finished everything off by using some gold garland around the perimeter of the table, and then adding some on the walls as well, with some red bows. It all came together really fast, and I was impressed with the final result when I only had a couple hours to plan ad throw it all together. I also filled a large apothecary jar with Christmas bulbs and I thought it gave it the cutest touch ever. I threw this party while on vacation in Idaho last week and was sad that I couldn't bring it home with me. Luckily my sister-in-law had no problem taking this off my hands for me. 

Hot Chocolate Recipe
Yields two, eight ounce servings (double recipe as needed)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
Reddi-Whip (for topping, not optional)

Combine water, cocoa, and sugar in a 16 ounce glass measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well to create chocolate syrup. Add the milk to the chocolate mixture and microwave on high for another minute, to a minute and a half. Add the vanilla and pour the drink into two 8oz mugs.

How are you going to share the joy of pie this holiday season? Are you going to be throwing a holiday party? Will Marie Callender's pies be making it's way to your holiday menu plan?  I'd love to hear all the details in the comments below!

$10 & Under Holiday Gift Guide and $1500 HOLIDAY CASH GIVEAWAY

Friday, November 20, 2015

Every year during the holidays I always try to make it through the holidays without spending a ton of cash. This year we're going to be putting offers in on houses right around Christmas and so this year it's especially important for us to pinch our pennies. I love giving gifts and always try to give to those who give to us, which is why I've come up with this great list  of $10 and under gifts for the holidays. Now you can be sure you're getting someone an awesome gift, without breaking the bank. There is also going to be a $1500 Holiday Cash giveaway at the bottom of this post so make sure you read to the end for all the details!


1. A Nutcracker: Growing up I remember there always being a Nutcracker on the top shelf in my dad's family room. It's a decor piece we haven't purchased yet, but I think it's really classic, and it's a nostalgic Christmas piece for me. This one from Target makes the cut for $10.

2. A Scarf: I never buy scarfs for myself, but I love them. I've been gifted scarfs for Christmas many times throughout the years, and I always get great use out of them. 

3. A Planner: I love planners and this time of year is when everyone is looking to buy one. I love the large selection at Target right now, and this black and white stripe one is a classic print that is on trend in the planner world right now. 

4. Monogrammed Mugs: The world went crazy when Anthropoligie came out with those gold handled monogrammed mugs last year and now lots of stores are picking up on the trend. This one from world market is $4.99

5. Candles: Recently this year I've gotten into having candles in my home. I love this line from Target because they're made with soy wax which means they're healthier for you to breathe in, and they last longer than the Bath and Body Works ones. These ones are also only $10 and smell incredible. Two things I love in a candle. 

6. Measuring Spoons: I love kitchen gifts and think these measuring spoons from World Market are adorable. These ones are also only $4.99 from World Market and I think anyone would love receiving them! 

7. Jewelry Box: I never have places to put my jewelery and loved this little white wale box from Forever 21. It's only $7.99 and would be the perfect home for your rings and delicate necklaces. 

8. Chalkboard Mugs: Considering there are three different mugs on this list, I bet you can tell what I've been loving this year. These ones with chalkboards would be perfect for hot chocolate nights with the entire family. 

9. Copper Mugs: I've been obsessed with copper mugs this year, and I'm willing to look past the fact that they're mainly used for alcoholic beverages which I don't consume. I need these in my life and so do you.  

Terms & Conditions: This giveaway opens on 11/20/15 and ends on 12/20/15. It's open worldwide, void where prohibited. There will be three (3) winners of $500 USD which will be paid via PayPal, or gift card of winners choice. Winners must be 21 years or older to win. Winners must complete all entries to be entered to win. Full Lives Reviews will choose a winner no later than12/24/15 via random.org. The entries will be verified and the winners will be contacted via email. The winners have 48 hours to respond and claim prize. If the winner doesn't claim prize within 48 hours their prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. By entering this giveaway you are abiding by all laws and regulations in your country.

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Em at 15 Months

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Another month has gone by, and once again, the month was filled with many firsts and miracles. As I reflect upon the events of the last month I'm reminded of the words the words in Joshua 1:5 "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

Being a parent of a special needs child is hard. I've fully embraced and accepted every minute of it, and it helps that Em is so stinkin cute and I find myself just wanting to squish my cheeks into hers on a daily basis. But it's hard when you think about all the unknowns. Will my child speak? Will she talk? When will she sit, crawl, jump, pivot, roll, etc... 

It's hard not having answers to questions that any parent would ask themselves if they were in the same situation. Luckily we have a great therapist who can give us estimates, but seeing Em's "sitting by Halloween", deadline come and go without having the milestone accomplished was hard. But as I sat and had a chance to reflect on where we started from, and where we are now, We've seen SO MUCH PROGRESS.

When we started physical therapy, Em couldn't be carried around on my hip without flopping over. This is now the main position in which I carry her all day long. Em couldn't roll from her back to her belly and now she can do that and hold herself up on her arms enough to clear most of her belly off of the floor. There was no sign of mobility just six months ago at the beginning of the PT journey and now she can roll across a room and even push herself backwards with her arms.

When we got her wheelchair a few months back, she couldn't even sit in it without falling over. Just last week she moved herself from the living room to the dinning room and I never thought I could possibly feel more joy than I had in that moment. 

While we're not seeing the progress we thought we would have seen by now, we're seeing progress. I know that the small victories that we've had are the building blocks to big things ahead. The fact that she has been able to figure out and navigate her wheelchair shows an incredible amount of intelligence, and the capacity to be intelligent and continue to learn. 

Sometimes this journey feels long, and hard. It's a burden, and a trial, and a miracle, and a joy that we get to endure everyday for the rest of our lives. While that sometimes seems daunting when we don't know what the end result will be, we know the Lord is there. He has been there, and will continue to be there and bear us up as we continue to persevere and push on. 


5 Minute Holiday Makeup Look

Monday, November 16, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #LookByMilani #CollectiveBias

Last year after I had Em,  I felt like I was permanently summoned to the rocking chair feeding her. This left me with a lot of down time and I found myself stumbling upon the Youtube beauty community.  I had become obsessed with watching makeup tutorials and wanting my makeup to be perfect like them all the time. As a mom of two kids I quickly learned that having a full glam look everyday is very impractical, but I have nailed my makeup routine down pretty well so that I can get ready in five minutes flat when needed.

During the holidays I feel like we're all busy going from one party, or event to the next. It's also a time when we get to gather with family and friends that we haven't seen in a long time. I know for me, when I go to these gatherings, I always feel more put together, and a little more confident with myself if I take an extra five minutes to do my makeup. While I know it's not everything, and makeup does not define who you are, I think that when you feel good about yourself, it radiates to other people and they can feel that and feed off your energy. Here are my quick tips for an easy, and flawless five minute holiday makeup look,  using Milani products you can pick up at your local CVS.

1) Apply Foundation & Setting Powder:
I always apply a liquid foundation to my face for multiple reasons. One, I have very red and splotchy skin. Two, I have light acne that I like to try and hide/cover up. Three, I have dark under eye circles that I like to hide at all cost. Once I apply my foundation, my skin is all even and one color. This helps the rest of my makeup look better, and makes me look more fresh and awake. I then set my foundation with a setting powder (using a big fluffy face brush), to make it feel smooth, and not have that wet/tacky foundation feeling. 

2) Fill in Brows:
Your brows frame your face and I always like to have mine lightly filled in. Nothing too intense, but just enough to fill in the sparse areas and give them a little more definition. I use the Milani Stay Put Brow in the color Natural Taupe. This brow pomade is super pigmented and easy to use. I also love that it comes with a dual ended brush so you have everything you need in one little bundle. 

3) Easy Eyeshadow:
Eyeshadow can do a lot to add shape and definition to your eyes. I always start with the Milani Eyeshadow Primer. This will help your eyeshadow last up to eight hours and increase the longevity of your eye makeup. I then apply Milani's Bella Eyeshadow in cappuccino into my crease with a small fluffy brush, and then apply the Milani Bella Eyeshadow in champagne all over my lid.  

4) Eyeliner:
I love the definition that eyeliner gives to your eyes, but I often find that doing a winged eyeliner isn't very easy, or practical for a mom, and when I apply it on my bottom lash line, it usually runs onto my face within an hour. I love applying the Milani Kohl Kajal Eyeliner in Blackest Black on my upper waterline to give my eyes the definition I want, while still keeping it easy and not having it run on my face. If you are feeling a little more brave, you can try the Milani Fierce Foil Eyeliner for a more intense look. 

5) Mascara:
I always finish off my eye makeup with a light coating of mascara. I used the Milani Runway Lashes mascara in this look and loved the length and volume that it added to my lashes. 

6) Bronzer:
I'm not very big on wearing blush, but I love using bronzer to warm up my face. I usually take a big fluffy face brush and apply it on the very perimeter of my forehead, and on my cheekbones to add some warmth back into my face that was taken away from the foundation. 

7) A Bold Lip:
A bold lip might not be practical for the everyday, but I love the fun and festive vibe that it gives for the holidays. I love the Milani Color Statement Lipstick in the color Tuscan Toast. It's the perfect deep red shade that everyone loves in the fall and winter, and will be perfect for all of your Thanksgiving, and Christmas gatherings. I also love that this lipstick is laced with vitamins C&E to help keep your lips hydrated in the cold winter months. 

How do you get ready for your holiday parties? Do you enjoy taking five minutes to do your makeup? I'd love to hear your tips, and about your favorite Milani products in the comments below!
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