Beauty · Fashion

DecoscentsLab- Perfume Workshop

Ok, so we all know what it’s like to perfume shop. The WORST. The salespeople are pushy. You don’t exactly know what you want. Everything is expensive.

To say the process is annoying is an absolute understatement. But I have found the easiest and most enjoyable way to shop for perfume-and you make it to fit exactly what you want.

I was invited by Susan over at Deco Scent Lab for a perfume making workshop and ladies-I had the time of my life! I was there was there with 5 other fantastic women I had never met before, and we seriously had such a blast making a scent that was unique to each one of us. Before this workshop, I had never heard of such a thing-but now I am in love! I want to walk you through the process and by the end, I guarantee you will want to make your own personalized bottle of perfume as well!

Susan Verekar runs Deco Scent Lab and is a transplant here from Oregon! (What a trip!) She is oh so lovely–I’m not kidding dolls-Sweet as sugar! On a trip to Paris, she wanted something fun to do and took a perfume making class-she instantly fell in love. After her experience with a master perfumer, she wanted everyone else to have a chance to make their own signature scent-and look! Here we are! So here is how it works–there are over 100 perfume oils to choose from (overwhelming? You would think so, but not even close) and Susan helps walk you through which ones to start with. Is there a certain perfume you love and would like to try to recreate? She can do that! Do you know there is a certain smell (Like vetiver, coconut, apple, pine) you like, but not sure how to make a suitable scent? She can help with that!

*We just kind of started smelling the oils and deciding what we wanted our scents to smell like. I was so surprised at what I chose–and the great part is-you don’t have to pick just one scent! See below*

So you create 3 different scents based on the oils you like, and out of those 3, you choose 1 scent to make a large bottle of! It’s so simple and did I mention–the champagne?? We had drinks and laughs nonstop. Again-I happened to be with women I had never met in my life and had that much fun-now imagine how much of a party it would be if you were there with your #girlsquad. Your family. Your bridal party. Your workmates. Your hubby. Such a blast yall!

OHHH and the fact that you could make a cologne for your hubbs that you are attracted to? How insanely intimate is that? Did you know that scents trigger memories more than any other of the 5 senses we have? So make a memory y’all! I am totally in love with this idea.

Let’s talk about my perfume. The scent I made for myself seriously smells like the beach in a bottle. . It’s got a light coconut smell with a fun pineapple twist. I spray it in my hair almost every morning! I have had so many people ask me what perfume I am wearing, and I love to tell them I created it myself! (And then of course brag Susan up—I am telling you. I am in love with her!)

The other girls perfume’s smelled heavenly-exactly like ones you would buy in your favorite department store at upwards of 100.00. (Give them a follow on IG-these women are so talented! Lou in Knox is the cutest Knoxville blogger/ Rose Moss Fluers makes some of the most beautiful flower arrangements EVER and Whitney is a fabulous #Knox photographer)

It’s so much fun knowing you made your own signature scent ladies. And if you totally fall in love, don’t worry-You can recreate your scent later on. Susan keeps the formula so you can make/order another bottle!

If you want to get a group up for a workshop, go see Susan at Now, y’all know how I love me a talented creator? Well Susan is just that. She designs some of the most beautiful handbags I’ve ever seen and now has this phenomenal business that brings so much joy to the everyone who meets her! Take her class and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Grab your besties. Grab your momma. Grab Granny and go make your own perfume! I obviously over-enjoyed myself at this little workshop and I want you all to experience the fun too!

Schedule a workshop of your own here.

*Shoutout to The Hive Knox for the amazing space and decor-Perfect event venue for any local Knoxville friends! *

Thanks for following along and of course,

All the love dolls πŸ’‹

Family · Home · kids

Bad Moms

Any other bad mommas out there? Raise your hand….

You know, the ones who truly love their kids with every ounce of their being, but still get frustrated over tiny things. The ones who want to be patient, but can’t keep calm when the kids are pushing them over the edge. The ones who truly are trying to do what’s best, but struggle. It happens, I know. I’m there. It’s so hard for me to look back at being the parent of one child and remembering how easy it was. I know I have said it 100 times already, but ask anyone–I loved it. It was simple. We got every single line in the book when we told people I was pregnant-the biggest being “Your life is about to change forever!” First of all: that’s terrifying. Stop telling newbie parents that. Secondly: it isn’t always true. Our first baby was a breeze, and I literally can’t hardly remember getting frustrated with him unless I knew he was acting out on purpose. Now no one ever tells you baby number 2 will “rock your world” or “change your life” but maybe this is the time you should start sharing this knowledge with parents. Little cash money gave us a run for ours, and it was simple for a bit, but as time went on, life got hard and Momma got frustrated. You can see it on my face now-I show the frustration in a second. I can’t handle the noise. Literally, my children are walking, talking, noises. Make that YELLING noises. They tear the pillows off the couch and this. Oh this is my pet peeve. You know why? Because I end up picking them up. Me. Yup. Not the little tornadoes who wrecked the place. It’s. a nightmare. You know what else ticks me? The fact that any other person can tell them “No, no, Let’s not do that” in the sweetest little tone, and when I tell them to stop it has to be at the decibel of 100k UT fans screaming because of the last second Hail Mary catch to win the game.You want to know why I have to be so dad-gum LOUD?? Because they are CONSTANTLY YELLING. Literally-nonstop. Inside voices don’t exist here and it’s beyond my comprehension. Either way, every once in a while, i have these “I am a terrible Mom” thoughts. They sneak up, they take over, and they are the worst. I asked my husband a few nights ago, ” Do you ever get the feeling that you have failed as a parent?” And I am not talking about raising my kids to be decent. They are. But, I mean, feeling like you exploded too hard that day. Or ignored them too much that week. It’s a rough road ya’ll. I had my week last week, and I had my epiphany. When Ford was a babe, I had no smartphone. I had no job (except to be his momma) and I hardly ever got upset. Fast forward 5 years to now, and I have 2 boys who have screaming matches nonstop and send me over the edge sometime. But I can’t blame them. I spoke with a sweet momma friend yesterday who said she tells her son “When I get frustrated, remind me that you are only 5.” And he told his Dad not long after that, ” I am only 5 Dad.” This made me giggle, but I think it’s so important! We have to remember our kiddos are only kiddos, and sometimes life ain’t perfect.. K? I have made a goal for myself to be more present as a mother. To put the phone away as much as possible and really make an effort to be a better Mom. To play longer. To read to them more. To throw the ball for the 700th time. To listen the stories-because to them-those are the really important aspects of life. And you know what, there is some serious wisdom to that. All of us would do well to unplug for a bit. And while I realize, I have a blog, I have to be present in the internet world, I intend to do so at the right time. To not let it take over. I know this will be a long road, but I want to get better by the day. I truly think most of my most frustrated moments could have been avoided if the phone was down. If I wasn’t thinking about what to say to this person. If I wasn’t trying to respond to that email. It’s so hard to balance, but I wan’t to make a concerted effort to do so! In quick addition, can I take a moment to thank all of you all who say I’m “real and it’s refreshing”? That is huge for me . I do my best to be an open book and let you know about the real moments in my life–and be authentic. If you can’t be real, then what is the point? I also do this little bit on Instagram most day that I like to call “Carline Chronicles” where I just give the lowdown on my day. It’s goofy. I know-but you never know what I will say or share, and the element of surprise is always fun, right? SO make sure to follow fun journey Here. Nobody want’s to see fake perfection. So every post, (and Instagram story) I am going to try and be as real as possible. And hoping to improve every week. Anyone on board with me? Does every mama feel this way at some point? I can’t be the only one. Lord, please, tell me I’m not the only one. Fill me in ya’ll. Let me know your thoughts and let’s hope, we aren’t actually bad moms. Per the usual, All the love dolls πŸ’‹

Deals · Diy · Family · Home

Easy Door Upgrade

I come from a long line of DIY’ers. I’m a crafter and a do it yourself-er, and it doesn’t look like I am slowing down any time soon.

My sister and I used to come home from school to practically a new house thanks to my Mom. She would repaint walls/furniture, then move it all around just because she was bored with the look, all before dinner-time.

My Granny Judy has been known to knock down walls in the house by herself, (#demoday) simply because she was sick of looking at the wall. Funny enough ,later on-she decided the wall needed to be there-so she helped the foreman put it back up. (She couldn’t do this completely herself, but she was always there helping the foreman throughout the whole process. My hero.) She was ALWAYS the one doing projects around her home, and now if she sees we are doing things around our house, she is itching to help us, just like the old days in her own home.

9 years ago, little did I know, I married a DIY’er as well–and Lordy I am grateful! We have never ONCE had to hire a handyman for any issues around our house. And somehow, he can decipher all of my little ideas and sometimes crazy thoughts, and bring them to life around the house. (Would you like a post on that?)

The latest venture started with one of his ideas–Something as simple as changing the door hinges. Ours were old and brass–and at some point, he bought a box full of beautiful black hinges at a yard sale for $3.00. (Random, but Score) The following was our convo:

D: I think I want to change the door hinges.

B: Just the hinges?

D: Yeah, Why not?

B: I don’t know. I think if we are changing the hinges, we may as well totally update the doors.

D: Like how?

B: (Cue my excited voice) Ok so I really want to sand them down, add trim and-bare with me now– but I want to paint them flat black.

D: Whoa whoa whoa. Black? No!

B: I’m telling you-it will be gorgeous! Trust me. (Finds a pic online. Shoves IPad in his face.)

D: Lord woman. Ok, go buy your trim and paint.

(Brandi Silently squeals for joy at the triumph and immediately leaves for Lowe’s.)

Can I just say- I am EVER SO THANKFUL he takes my ideas and runs with them. And then helps me through all the little things I can’t do. Poor thing-he always thinks my projects will be so simple and they always end up being SO MUCH WORK. This was no exception. Nonetheless, I wanted to share with you all-because if you want to do it-more than likely your project will be 100 times easier than ours. So off I went to Lowe’s to but my trim and paint. Long story short, I bought the wrong trim, and had to take it back. (He ended up cutting us our own trim and I am so THRILLED with the outcome!) So our only expense was the paint which was 25.00 , and a door and cabinet roller which was $5.00. We ended up using a half gallon of paint–and I am so happy I have so much left over for other projects! So in your case, you will need:

  • A gallon of Black paint. (We used the darkest charcoal gray you can get)
  • Small trim
  • Brushes, door rollers, paint pan, etc
  • New hinges (optional)

Here is the process: 1. Take your doors off. I used the drill as it made the task ridiculously easy and saved so much time-but if you want to use the good ol’ screwdriver, go for it. Whatever floats your boat. (Side note-I am addicted to power tools. I love the drill and sander. Love. ) 2. Sand the doors.Now we had an extra step in here, because our doors were painted over varnish. The paint wouldn’t sand down. It just chipped away little by little so we had to scrap EVERY SINGLE OUNCE OF PAINT OFF. (Yup. Here is the extra work we didn’t count on.) (See that mess?? It grew to at least double this–but this husband of mine cleaned it up before I could get a picture. Saint.) This was such a pain in the rear, but totally necessary for our new paint to stick. So we chipped away, until all the paint was gone. And then I sanded. And sanded. And sanded. And sanded…and…..ya know….sanded some more. I used a palm sander, but if all you have is sandpaper, that will work as well! You just need to rough the existing paint up enough for your new paint to stick to it. 3. Apply your trim. I honestly didn’t have a single thing to do with this step. Hubby did it all! He took a 1×4 and cut it into even strips and nailed to the door. This step is optional, but I feel like the trim truly made the doors beautiful! If you decide to buy trim, you can get it at Lowe’s or Home Depot for about $4.00 per piece. I think you would need about 1 piece per door, but depending on how you do your design, every door will be different. Talk to your Lowe’s man for details! (See below for detail shot.) 4. Paint. Paint. Paint. I started with a brush and painted all around the trim on each door. Then I used a door and cabinet roller to paint the rest of the door. I think this roller was important to use, in that I had zero brush lines and the door is so smooth looking! 5. Hang the doors back upNow admire your work! I can’t believe how regal the doors look now. It’s a total difference! Want to see for yourself? This is the before…..Yikes. Ready for the after?????????? Ready…..set….feast your eyes on these babies……Is that not absolutely GORGEOUS????? I can’t get over it. I live for projects like this…and living in an older house-ours is a constant work in progress-and we secretly love it. Now the next project-paint the hallway gray. I can’t wait for the finished project-and I will be sure to share that too! So for everyone who follows on Instagram, now you see what we have been working on! And if you don’t follow, how about you check my page out now? Find me Here. What do you think? How does it look? Do you think you will take this project on? Make sure to pin to Pinterest and share on FB yall! Thanks again, and of course, All the love dolls πŸ’‹<<

Family · Home · kids

Cereal and Hot Chocolate

It’s time for a shoutout.

Ready? It’s for my oldest baby. This kid is amazing. I mean like—phenomenal, and I feel like we as parents always seem to put child no.1 on the back burner for a minute to try and not let child no.2 be a total butthead. (We slack as parents on kid 2. Don’t deny it.)

But this first child? He catches on to everything. He is smart-beyond smart and his little mind goes where other 5 years olds don’t always wander. Ford is always digging deeper into issues than we could ever even imagine he would go, and at the same time, we find him digging himself deeper into our hearts. He wants to understand death. He wants to know how our heart/brain keep us going. He wants to know how trains can wreck if they are always on tracks. (This one I loved) His wonderment blows us away.

He has always had an interest in books and has loved me reading to him since since day 1! He was turning pages in books by himself since he was an infant ( Like hello Mom? You aren’t keeping up with me!) and talked early and clearly because of it!

At 2 years old, Like we had just met and wanted to make sure it was the appropriate way to address me, he looked at me and said “Mom…….can I call you Mom?” What kid does that??? At 4 years old looks at me and says “Mom I have to pee.” So i give him the look of -you can do this yourself/no need to ask permission and say “Okaaaayyyy”. He pops his head up and says “It’s NOT OK. IT’S A DIFFICULT EMOTION.” I could have lost it. Not saying that is some genius kid comment (He obviously didn’t quite comprehend his sentence–I’m just saying-he was 4 years old. What 4 year old says things like that?

And to top it off, his teacher thinks he is phenomenal and that means the world to us as parents. We had parent/teacher conferences last week, and she relieved us of any and every worry we have about him at school. I want to share all the sweet comments she said, but afraid she want’s to keep it confidential as not all kids may have had the greatest reviews. I will say this. She mentioned “I am a nice person, but I am also honest. I am here to talk about each child’s strengths, but I am also here to share the hard stuff with you parents…….And I have none of the hard stuff to say about Ford. He is truly a special child. He cares for everyone and is so good-hearted. I have taught for a long time, and every once in a while you will get one of those truly amazing kids-and Ford is one of them.” I swear there was light beaming from my head from the pride I experienced at that moment. And not even from the academic standpoint, (Which really, if you know me, this is SO IMPORTANT. ) But to know that he is good-hearted. That got us. We couldn’t help but smile when she said he was beyond smart, so helpful and cared about his fellow students. You feel like you are doing something right as a parents when your kids are praised like that.

But lately, he is gaining independence. It’s beautiful and saddening at the same time. So nice to know it’s getting easier around here, but sad to know he is growing so quick!

This past weekend the poor child has had a stomach bug that has knocked him out. Even still, I heard him tell Cash today “Cashy, You have to be quiet! Mom is sleeping!” He knew how exhausted I was from both of them being up several times last night. Then, he made a bowl of cereal for himself for the first time ever-without me knowing. He was so proud to tell me he did it himself! Then when we were standing in the kitchen, Cash wanted a bowl, and Ford said ” Mom, I can do it for you. So you don’t have to.” Sweet, sick angel child. “Ok-go for it.” He climbed up on the counter to get a bowl, reached in the fridge for the gallon on milk, and poured that bowl of cereal like it was for the first place trophy in the counter-climbing olympics. sorry, we used every single small appliance I own today-hence the counter mess

*So sorry–we used every single appliance we own in the kitchen today-hence the huge mess.*

Later, he came into my room and it sounded like I was about to get a multi-million Dollar business proposal thrown at me. “Mom, I would like for you to please show me how to make my own hot chocolate.” Hands folded, Eyes big.

Wow. What a way to ask! “That’s ok bud. I can do it for you.” “I want you to show me.” So off we went to the Keurig! He learned, and I am sure this is just the beginning of this independence. Cereal and hot chocolate. Cereal and hot chocolate made me realize my kid’s growing independence.

Now while this may not seem so huge to you all, it’s crazy hard on this mama to think the boy who made her a mommy, this tiny infant who needed me every waking second, is now wanting to help her.When did the tables turn? His teacher is right. He is phenomenal. Through and through. And tonight I just felt the need to acknowledge it.

And I know, all kids are amazing. We all think are kids are phenomenal. But truly, embrace the little tidbits about them that make them phenomenal! Prove it-talk to others about it. I feel like we all want to shy back from telling the great things about our kids in order not to step on any toes, but let’s share their strengths instead!

Now friends, your turn–tell me what makes your kid awesome. What are their strengths? What do they say that makes you melt? How do they show their growing independence? Let me know in the comments!

All the love dolls πŸ’‹

Beauty · Deals · Fashion


Hey dolls! Last blog post was a fun one, but this one has me equally giddy!

I don’t know about you, but being tan is one of my favorite things about Summer. And by that I mean, slightly tinted so I don’t look my normal ghostly/transparent. But I think my body is programmed to rid myself of sad excuse for a “tan” the day Summer takes its leave. Lame. So I stay WHITE and it grosses me out on the daily. Cue Quicktan.

So Quicktan is a MOBILE spray tan booth, if you will. They come to you-equipped with sprayer and tent and-and then they get down to business. I worked with Latasha, and let me tell you— the girl knows her stuff! She gave me the low-down on all things spray (Not to mention all the info she sent me before the tan). L was so sweet and made me feel comfortable from the second I met her! She even had to fight downtown parking in Knoxville (which happens to be a nightmare) and still came in smiling! That’s a win in my book.

Here is the booth you spray in:

See how simple? It pops up anywhere and they make it so convenient! Just step on the sticky feet and hop in the booth. (And y’all, the sticky feet feel a little funny, but they keep your feet from getting tan on the bottom -and we have all seen spray tanned feet. Not pretty.) Step in the booth and undress to your comfort level. My advice : Wear some skimpy panties! Tan lines are fun!-just in small portions. I made the mistake of wearing some boy shorts–and my tan lines are so thick. I’ll spare you the pictures. (Not gonna lie though–I’m loving the tan lines. Something I haven’t seen in a LONG time.)

**Funny story. Also-super embarrassing. So you have to undress there to get tan, right? OK. I strip the shirt and TISSUES fall out. Lastasha turns around and asked so sweetly, “Is that yours?” So as not to embarrass me. I was like. “Oh my gosh yes😳!!!! My bra wire was stabbing me through the fabric so I shoved the tissue there to keep it from rubbing my skin. I promise I’m not trying to stuff my bra!” I could have died. She promptly commented–” You do not need to stuff your bra.” #true Hahahahhaha thank goodness she was so sweet with such a good sense of humor.**

Anyways, the check out my legs after about 14 hours. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
nd not orange or streaky in the least bit! These girls know what they are doing. Promise. I have been spray tanned so many times ( Ask my husband's family. They have seen me at too many family cabin weekends with orange streaks and drips down my ankles. I went to the wrong girls. I needed Quicktan. You need Quicktan!

So this is my arm before my tan…..

an and after my first shower.

No complaints.

hat, pictures don't do it justice–but my confidence level was THROUGH THE ROOF today. Not to mention all the people who commented on my makeup being perfect today. All because of the spray tan. The beautiful, beautiful spray tan.

e tan looks! ( I just love that he always wants to hold my hand, even if were walking on the sidewalk in from of the house! Now I have a pic to remember that, on top of the fact that you can see the difference between my skin and his here πŸ˜†

Ok one more–but this one with the dog. Sweet peach can’t help but be in the pictures too…and she showcases my tan pretty well if I do say so myself. I’m a little proud-can you tell????

So here you can see what you need to do before and after tanning. . Easy steps–just like any other spray tan. Except Quicktan is so different in every other way. They are sweet, personable, and professional. I have never seen a a spray tan so even in allllll my years of tanning. And I have tanned every way possible. Believe me.

I’m telling you–the spray tan is the miracle fix. You want whiter teeth? Spray tan. Shinier diamonds? Spray tan. You want your eyes to look bluer? Spray tan. Want to cover stretch marks/scars? You guessed it. Spray tan. Look better in your skivies? Just want to feel better all around? Go check out Quicktan. It’s a huge mood/confidence booster–and that means you are happier all around, right? It’s certainly rung true for me-It’s a spray tan miracle! *****I have to say–I didn’t snag these benefits from Quicktan or some random internet site. These are all of the amazing perks I have witnessed on MYSELF. So rest assured, you will see them too!***** Another great idea these girls have are spray tan parties! So if you and the girls are headed to the beach, why not all get tan before you pop that bikini on? Getting married and want your squad to keep your pics looking good? Why not all get a spray tan!

So are you ready to try Quicktan? When booking with them, use code SMITTEN in the comments for $5.00 off your tan! Score! I promise you will love it. They are based out of Morristown but will come to Knoxville when you need them! (I’m loving your dedication to your company ladies. Your commitment shows!)

Ladies–time to visit their site and book your tan. Don’t forget to use the code SMITTEN in the comments for $5.00 off! Tell them I sent you.

Enjoy your tan loves!

All the love dolls πŸ’‹

Family · Home

Still the Mini-Van Mom. (Fun read)

It’s lame. It’s ugly. It’s hail damaged. The color is terrible. It’s old. It makes weird noises. The carpets are trashed. Handles are missing. Seats are ripped. The list goes on.

But you know what, we will probably drive this thing ’til it totally craps out on us. Oh my, I think I just died a little inside. (Please crap out tomorrow. Please crap out tomorrow.)

I read an article about mini-van mom’s last month and have wanted to write a blog post myself about it for a while! Reading that one totally inspired me… to write about our crapper on wheels.

Really though, there are a few GREAT things about the mini-van that no one tells you about before you are in this “OH crap we seriously should have thought this through because our family is too big for the sedan so now we have to buy a mini-van” life. Ready? Let’s start the mini-van journey, shall we?

This piece of crap in my driveway? Yeah its ugly. Yeah it’s trashed. But guess what? My kids will NEVER be the obnoxious little punks that ding your door from swinging theirs too wide. Uh-huh: we have something called sliding doors. Guaranteed to never scratch your neighbor’s paint, thus saving Mom’s everywhere a pretty penny. #Bliss.

Not to mention the silencer that comes stock. Oh yes–the tiny TV that hangs from the ceiling in all its glory-that’s right-I am talking about the DVD player. At any given time-we have at least 15 DVD’s in our car to choose from-and this Mama has zero shame. Yes our kids watch movies in the car. Yes my kids stay quiet. Yes, road trips with my kids are bliss because they aren’t talking nonstop like the other bored ones. I’m telling you, the silencer is golden. And rest assured, if we ever upgrade, the DVD player is #1 on the list of must-haves. #silenceisgolden

Want to take a big group somewhere? Oh yes-we are the go-to car. We can hold 7 people ( not saying that we haven’t held 9 at some point) and it is an instant party with that many in the car. Not to mention, we don’t mind if someone hits our car in tight parking, so cram as many people as you can in here and BOOM. We are the party ride. #watchmewhip

OH you are a safety fanatic, are you? Ya’ll. The windows. Oh the windows! You DO NOT have a blind spot in a Honda Odyssesy. No, no Honey. You are seeing EVERYTHING from these windows….so watch yourself. No excuses for merging into another car. Now go on ahead and get yourself used to allllll the sights. #nowyouseeme

Getting in the third row? No problem. No need to make Granny Judy climb out of the middle for someone to sit in the back-back. “Someone come pull this seat up.” Pull the handle. “Now-wait. That’s not right. The other handle.No pull the first one….Well…Try them both at the same time. How the heck do I do this? Is there a Password? Retina Scanner? Anybody?” Huh-uh. None of that. Just casually stroll on back to the last row and lounge to heart’s content. #kickinit

And all my drinkers? ( Sweet-tea of course) Pick a cup holder. Any cup holder. You got one here. One there. Dear gosh this one POPS OUT of your seat!!!??? Ya’ll….My van has -I kid you not- 13 CUPHOLDERS. If that doesn’t sell you on a van-I don’t know what will. #youcanhavewhateveryoulike (T.I. Anyone?)

It’s all true. Its ugly. It’s lame. If I was ever cool before, the coolness level has dropped to zero. (Not sure where it would have started-maybe 3?) But for the stage of life we are in, the mini-van life is where it’s at. It’s practical. It gets us around and our kiddos are safe.

And yes, we were totally that newly married couple that said we would NEVER EVER drive a van. ( Mostly me) But here we are, in all our glory, cruisin’ Knoxville in our Honda Odyssesy. Not to say at some point we won’t upgrade, but until then, we will drive this little piece of crap into the GROUND.

So next time you hear me talking about how much I hate this van-Please remind me–this is my lot in life at the moment….This is where I belong for the next few years. And really, the good things about a van might actually outweigh the fact that it’s a total buster.

There you have it. My every thought on my ghetto Limo.

Now get ready to see me in all my hood-life mini van glory.

This is what’s up ya’ll. Don’t even lie. Betcha wish you had a van so you could look this cool now, huh?

Now get out there..have ya’ some childrensss and try to get crunk like us in our mini.

**Hope this was a fun read for you all! Make sure to share on FB and tag people on IG to share the laughs!**

All the love dolls πŸ’‹

Beauty · Deals · Diy · Family · Fashion

Best All-Around Face Mask

We all are looking for it. No one can seem to find it-no matter what. Well, you know why-it’s not out there.

As sad of a thought as that is, it’s true. There is no holy grail of skin care. There is no one-size fits all product. And if it did exist, it would be too expensive for any of us to afford. But every so often, you find something worth sharing-and I have a mask I can’t help but talk about!

Some of my favorite Instagrammers use it and swear by it, but I have been beyond skeptical. No way is something this affordable going to work on MY crazy skin. Well, I can’t guarantee it will work for you, but I promise I will be truthful in what I feel about it!

I bought the Aztec Clay Mask everyone is raving about on Instagram and Pinterest-and it did NOT DISAPPOINT . ( I tried to link if for you all, but ya know–technology isn’t always nice.) Here is what it looks like….

Now the packaging isn’t glitzy and it’s not anything fancy-but LAW does it WORK. My face was so soft after the first use!

I also noticed my pores looked so much smaller after I took it off. (My pores are the size of Texas so this is enough to keep me coming back. For reals ya’ll.)

This is what it looks like on! ( Prepare yourself–it’s not a pretty picture.)

Whew! Made it past that-now back to the not-ugly stuff.

-So it’s simple. Just mix with apple cider vinegar or water ( I used the Bragg’s ACV with the mother). Read the back of the pot for all the directions you need-you can’t mess it up!

Everything I have read so far, says it works best when mixed with ACV, but some have tried water and still saw results. It’s a versatile little miracle clay! In fact, I think i will whip up a mask now and throw it on πŸ™‚

I am home making phone calls today and blogging, obviously, so why not get comfy while I’m here!

OH! Did I mention it PULSATES???? Your skin feels like its moving around and tightening up. Weird/Oddly satisfying.

Yall-check the back for all the ways to use it too! It’s not just a face mask–I won’t tell you all it does–I will leave that to you to see when you buy it ;).

There you have it-my new favorite product and I think you will like it too πŸ˜‰

What’s your thoughts? Have you heard of this? Want to try it? Let me know!

All the love dolls πŸ’‹

Family · Home

The Marriage Post

9 years. Married 9 years. Is that even possible? No way-not possible. Not this couple. We are still hip and totally cool newlyweds just living the life.

Ahh crap. I’m pretty sure saying “hip and totally cool” just instantly made us lame. Yeah-sorry Dale. You get included in my lameness. We’re “one flesh” remember? Thank the Bible for that one.

But really, thinking back today, I started to wonder-what makes a “good marriage” per say? I feel like the saying “good marriage” is pretty relative, as everyone’s perception will be significantly different.

But I am not talking about the storybook marriage with the carriage and perfect hair and engagements caught on film. I’m talking- “waking up to morning breath and trotting around the house in yoga pants and no bra” marriage. The messy, every day life marriage.

And ya’ll. I can honestly say, there are certain aspects of how to make a marriage work that always seem to fall into the equation for every couple, whether they know it or not. Here is my list ( In no particular order…)

*Disclaimer—-I am no pro-I am no guru. I just feel like we have learned so much along the way and wanted to share with you lovelies! And since my anniversary is tomorrow, I figured now would be as good a time as any to share what has worked for us along the way. *

1. Respect.

“Respect your Mate..blah blah blah.. I already know that stuff.” Ok yes, you have heard it 100 times over, but it’s true. If you don’t respect your mate, every argument will ultimately turn into a battle of who is better. Who is stronger-minded. Who is stronger-WILLED. None of these are a good thing.

I was told way back when, by a friend in her 60’s, “My one piece of advice-marry someone smarter than you.”

When she said that, I remember thinking that was a jab at us. ( I was 18 OK? Cut me some slack.) But as time went on, that comment stuck with me. I realized she was right. If you don’t marry someone smarter than you-it would be so difficult to respect that person. How can you talk about the serious parts of life with someone you think is an idiot? How can you take their ideas seriously if you think they are doomed to failure?

I have realized, I 100% married someone smarter than me. He is innovative but he can follow directions to a tee. ( I am neither of the sort. )

He is kind hearted and I have learned so much from his generosity! He has always had a sound mind when it comes to money and has kept us afloat even in the harder times! He is spiritually minded and I can’t explain in words how grateful I am for such a wonderful family head. He is the dream!

So when looking for your mate, look for the one who will make you better. Look for the one you RESPECT as a person first. And make sure he/she respects you the same!

2. Marriage isn’t 50/50.

This is one of my favorite pieces of advice. When we were engaged, I spent all my Friday nights watching my fiancΓ© play basketball with his buddies. ( Sports are his thing-but Basketball is a definite specialty. If his eyes didn’t hook me, his athletic ability did πŸ˜†) One of the older guys told me ” You gotta know-marriage is not 50/50.” That threw me. Of course it is 50/50. But he promptly fixed my thought process when he said “It’s 100/100. You both always have to give 100% to make it work.”

Wow. Now that was a concept. We both ALWAYS have to be giving 100%. Now when you are babies and in love, you think this will be easy! But when times get a little rougher, giving 100% of each other gets hard. So start early-and keep it up! Men-stay romantic. Ladies-dress up every once in a while. Keep it fun!

And on the days when one can’t give 100%, you are prepared to step in and help them! Remember, we need to walk shoulder to shoulder–because when you are toe to toe, no one gets anywhere!

3. Pray together.his one is so important! I always feel closest to my hubbs when I hear him pray. To hear your mate speak genuinely from the heart is moving! And to hear them pray in someone else’s behalf melts your heart. Study the Bible together and things seem to fall into place.

4. Learn to Disagree.earn to disagree-not to argue. When we were first married, if we had disagreements, I wanted to “argue” in the form of not talking. This DOES NOT WORK. Ok? Doesn’t work. Now you know-don’t do it.

My husband FORCED me to talk when I didn’t want to and I HATED IT. But my gosh did I realize his heart in that first year of marriage. He made me tell him why I was upset ( and still does.) It’s one of the reasons I love him like I do. I have been mad before, and decided I would sleep on the couch so I wouldn’t have to talk about how upset I was. He laid on the couch with me, talked with me, cried with me- until I finally came in the room. So thankful for that night.

I have learned over the years, I don’t have to agree with him. I just have to disagree in an agreeable way. And this is still rough! Marriage is a learning experience, and we will never master it, but that is ok. As long as we are continuing to try!

5. Don’t talk bad about your mate. <<<
s is huge. If you are finding you are bad-mouthing your mate with other people-you need to sever those ties. It is so toxic for your relationship! Surround yourself with others who build up their mates–not the opposite.

I used to hang out with a friend who constantly downed her husband–then realized it was making me look for the bad in mine-like I had to say something bad about Dale to make her feel better about her marriage. It can't work that way. Look for the good in your mate and share it with others. Once they develop a bad view of them, they can't change it, while we will love our mate no matter what! So try your best to keep the positive attitude in the forefront- your marriage will be better for it!

6. Learn from others. <<<
k to older ones. See what they have done to keep things lively. Ask what makes them tick. Try to emulate their successes-but *WARNING* never compare your marriage to anyone else’s! I think comparison is what kills a lot of couples. We live in a time where everyone posts the amazing moments (because obviously, who wants to post the bad) and it seems like everyone is living a fairy tale. Let me tell you–their husbands aren’t perfect. They argue. They aren’t living a fairy tale.

This got to me for a while. My husband doesn’t buy me purses. He doesn’t come home with new diamonds for me every month. He actually doesn’t like to buy me THINGS at all. (Anniversary time is the exception.) So sometimes seeing everyone with their new bags and earrings and apple watches and what-not made me feel like I was missing out. This is the furthest thing from true.

Every person is different-and he is so giving. I have realized over the years, the way he gives to me-is his time! (Sounds cheesy but bare with me.) He takes time to build me beautiful things that I can display in my house to see every day-and maybe one day my kids will want those pieces! “Yeah, My dad made that for my mom when I was just a little guy.” Oh I’m swooning just thinking of that convo. 😍

So learn from others-don’t compare. Look for all the sweet little things your hubbs/wifey does for you and be thankful for the little things that he or she put some serious THOUGHT into. Those are the things that matter.

7. Don’t put marriage on hold to raise the kids. Do me a favor-gross your kids out. Kiss and snuggle in front of them. Let them know you genuinely care for and LOVE each other. I always say ” We are a couple first-THEN we are parents.” If the couple dynamic doesn’t work, the parenting dynamic won’t work. So cuddle, squeeze, kiss and snuggle- these have been so important for us!

8. Apologize. My husband is fantastic at saying he is sorry….I am not the greatest at this. It’s hard. Your pride hurts. But when it’s all over and you have admitted your aren’t perfect-life gets a little sweeter and the next apology gets a little easier. And believe me, there will always be a next apology.

9. Stop trying to change your spouse. This happens all too often-Man marries woman. Woman is embarrassed by man. Woman tries to alter man. Man feels defeated. (Or vice versa.) How devastating! As if this world isn’t full of enough crap to make us insecure-add in our mate trying to change who we are? That’s soul crushing. So let’s try to keep the one we married-the one we married. That’s who we fell in love with after all!

10. Say “I love you.” Overuse it. Kill em with it. Wear it out. We get made fun of for how often we kiss before we leave each other. How on the phone we ALWAYS say ” I love you.” Not just “luh-ya bye.” We make it count. We say it in the morning, at night, in texts throughout the day-nonstop. And it still means so much! To get that ” I love you babe” message during the work day still melts me. Don’t feel like if you over say it, it loses meaning. This is one of those things that has to be said to make a relationship work!

So there it is-just a few of the little things that have worked for us over the years. And again-no pro here. I really don’t think “the pro’s” exist. Really though, in 9 years, we have learned so much-and I can’t imagine how much more we will learn in the next 10, 20, 30+.

What would you all add to this list? What is your go-to advice? Let’s hear it!

All the love dolls πŸ’‹

Family · Home · kids

Top 10 things to know about Boys

Life with boys–I’m telling you-it’s like nothing you would expect and everything you dreamed. These boys have me on my toes nonstop and I am all about it. Going into this, though, I really didn’t know what to expect. SO for those who may be having a baby boy–or maybe even have a little one–prepare yourself for these things.

1. Boys are smelly.

Someone-please explain to me how girls can always be dainty and put together and never smell as bad as a boy. And from experience, ( I have teenage nephews) I know it never gets better. They always stink. Why? Girls sweat. They play. But they STILL don’t stink like boys. So buy stock in Febreze and be prepared to spray their feet when they take off their shoes. (Again–poor nephews have been sprayed many a time by this auntie. Sorry guys. Your feet are rancid.)

All I have to say is, thank goodness my kids like to take baths! Im telling you-the little one has the grossest smelling feet and let’s just be honest and say his butt smells like butt. It’s the worst. Boys stink. Number 1 covered.

2. They are dangerous.

Why is it that the male species must always do the dangerous? Why? “Hey Mom. Watch this.” Famous last words, am I right? Every time I turn around, my kids have to be jumping over someone. Jumping over something. Jumping off of the couch. Jumping from couch to couch. Jumping off the swing. Always jumping. Why can’t we just stay on the ground? If there is a high point-they have to climb to it. If there is water-they have to get as close as humanly possible before backing off. It’s like they just want to see me jump in after them. (Weirdly enough, I have never had to rescue them from any body of water.)

Believe it or not, I try to do workouts as home every so often. As soon as I hit the floor for a good ab-workout, a kid is jumping on my stomach. ALWAYS WITH THE JUMPING. I am blaming my lack of abs on my kids. Just roll with it, k?

Back to the water for a sec–our last beach trip, we spent a good amount of our time out on the pier. I swear if every time I turned around, these kids weren’t hanging halfway through the boards looking into the ocean. As if the ocean isn’t huge enough to see otherwise–they have to get THAT MUCH CLOSER. And put me THAT MUCH CLOSER to a heart attack. It’s a boy thing-Give Mom a heart attack. Is this on every single toddler’s bucket list? I am not sure..but my kids sure are trying to test the theory.

3. Boys pee nonstop

Why? Why must you test every bathroom everywhere we go? Why do you want me to stop on the road every half hour so you can pee? Every patch of grass is the same. Every blacktop is the same. Why do we feel the need to pee on every single tree/bush in the yard? Boys? Anyone? Can anyone explain?? Although it’s convenient, it isn’t normal. But I’m sure all my fellow boy mom’s get it.

4. Boys are dramatic.

Ok, I know this is a girl thing. But I am telling you, boys are DRAMATIC. At least mine are. The tiniest scratch-the world is crashing. Someone took the last sip of the drink-prepare for waterworks. The dog is chewing the baseball…ohhhhh man. So for all you who think ” Yay! I’m having a boy! I’m getting off easy!” -Nah. They are drama. Maybe not girl drama-but still drama.

5. Life is all sports-all the time.

Our boys are little sports fanatics….and they get it honest. But I am telling you–it’s nonstop sports here. Baseball, football, golf, basketball-you name it-we are playing it. Cash grabs his ball and glove the moment he wakes up and brings it everywhere we go. Kinda cute if you ask me πŸ˜‰ Ford is extremely athletic and I love every bit of it. He is amazing to watch! At any rate, prepare to buy every single ball at every single store for the rest of your life…and you should probably go ahead and buy a toy box dedicated solely to sporting equipment–or maybe a shed.

6. Boys like to dress up.

Did any other first time boy moms know this? This was one of those things I would like to have done with a little girl-but oh it’s so fun with little boys! They want to be cowboys and superheroes and cartoon characters and it’s a HOOT. I love to see these little imagination’s run wild. We have dressed our youngest as Batman and the dog as Robin for goodness sake! Gah I was dying of the cute-overload then. We have had Spiderman, Superman, Firefighters, and who knows what else. *Insider tip* Wait til the first week of November and stock up on fun costumes for the kids. I buy mine at Bargain Hunt and they are usually $1.00! *

(This was last week- I wish I could post the slow-mo video of the epic battle between Michael Angelo and Bumblebee. It was ground-breaking. )

7. Boys like stuffed animals.

I remember being pregnant with Ford and asking my cousin ” Should I buy him stuffed animals? Will boys play with them?” She is a Mom of 2 teenagers now and said “Of course! My boys loved their Lovies.” Don’t ask me why I thought otherwise–but I will tell you what-my oldest LOVES his animals. If we even attempt to get rid of them the waterworks start. So go ahead-stock up. They love them!

8. They eat NON-STOP.

You have heard it before–boys eat. But like–it’s unreal. As soon as breakfast is over they ask for a snack. Then 2nd snack. Then lunch. 10 minutes later–they are famished. I can’t keep up! My kids are only 3 and 5 so maybe we should set up a Go-fund me page for when our kids are teenagers. Otherwise, we may end up in the poor house…Hahah. Just kidding. But really. #sendfood

9. Farts and Poop are funny from Day 1.

Gross-but true. Literally-newborns coo and smile after a good gas pass. Toddlers learn to belly laugh at a good fart. Smelly poop is hysterical. Long turds are share-worthy. No joke–if the turd is long enough-you will hear one kid yell for the other to come see. It happens in this house all too often. So prepare yourselves-it never quits.

10. Boys love their Mama’s

To finish is off, I have to brag on the love for Mama. Daddy, of course, is the hero-but when everything goes to heck-they call for Mom. When they want a good cuddle..they run to Mommy. When they want to share their latest accomplishment, Mum is first to know. So don’t get too scared by all the crazy y’all. The love they show far surpasses any of the heart attacks they give you along the way. It’s worth every second. Promise.

So all of you boy-mom’s…Did this post ring true for you? What has been your experience with little boys? Fill me in! I want to know!

All the love dolls πŸ’‹


Life happens

I’m baaaaaack! Did you miss me? If you follow me on Instagram (if not, go follow NOW @smittenwiththree_blog ) you saw that I really wanted to do a blog update last weekend! But, as we all know, meh. Life happens. It’s part of it.

That being said, I have missed you all too much to go another night with no post! So here I am- and LAWD I do not like to be up late. Yea–Typing this at 10:03 is late for me. I am exhausted. And really- I have no reason to be. My bestie and I went to the UT game today (Ugh- I guess just being a VOL fan period is exhausting) and left to a loss. Ugh LIFE.

Anyways, came home, Took a nice nap. Hung with the bestie for another little minute. Made dinner. Left for Target ( Let’s all do a happy dance because yesterday was my day-of-birth which obviously means free Starbucks πŸ™ŒπŸ») shopped a bit, came back home and painted my nails. Cleaned a little. Studied a little. Now blogging a little. Why be tired, right? Mmmm hmmm….Because LIFE.

Ok can we skip around for a minute and talk about my marriage?? Real quick? Ok thanks—So October 25th, I will be married 9 years! I think we might be a ‘seasoned married couple’ now. Crazy! And Oh I love being married. This guy I have is as close to perfect as they come. He told me last week that I was “so easy to live with.” *Swoon* Me? HOW? I don’t know but somehow I scored perfection in an imperfect man. I’m fortunate. At any rate, in almost 9 years we have never spent a night apart. Not one. I wanted to make it to 10 years, but you know. LIFE.

Soooo. Last month, I was chosen to do a modeling gig, (Ew. I don’t want to call it that. That sounds like those crazies in the movies who live for things like this. Not a gig–a one day advertising venture. That is what we will call it. *Back story–A local boutique and salon collaborated to do some marketing. 150 people applied. They picked 8 to model for some advertising. Somehow I was chosen. That was it. **hoping to do a whole blog post on this day later. Really-it was an incredible opportunity and I hope I can share the photos with you all!**

But the same weekend of the advertising venture, my husband was asked to play in a golf tournament in Ohio. GASP. Now one of us have to give up something, or be apart. Let’s just say, distance won. It was hard, but we did it. Thanks to my sis and bestie coming to stay with me and the boys–I spent my first night away from the hubbs. LIFE.

It happened again last week when my little sis was in a wreck in Kentucky. I got to spend a few days with her helping around the house and washing her hair. I swear, she only wanted me there to wash her hair. Hehe just kidding we had a blast as always. It was my son’s fall break from school, and we really wanted to take a vacay this week, but that didn’t happen. Because LIFE.

Either way, it worked out. My hubby got some things done here. I spent time with my seeeeester. Boys ran wild on the farm. And I think we learned some independence this week. Probably a good thing. Except–I don’t want to be away from him. Yeah. The sappy LIFE.

OK, back to the post. So this week, we drove to Ohio Friday, came back Sunday night. Did laundry. Repacked. Woke up Monday, packed up, left for Kentucky. Came back Thursday morning. Cleaned up a little. Did some yard work. Had a clothes swap party at my house. Friday morning was supposed to pack up for a cabin with friends-but you know…LIFE happens so we couldn’t go to the cabin. Either way, we are back home for a while now- and I have a whole new respect for people who travel for work. Or maybe leisure–whatever you are traveling for–it’s TIRING! Fun, but TIRING! Your LIFE isn’t meant for the faint of heart.

Now you see why I couldn’t post? Well, all the traveling + I forgot my keyboard to type all this loveliness. LIFE.

So this post was just a recap of my LIFE lately. It’s crazy. But y’all, as tired as I get, as exhausted as I am, as much as LIFE gets in the way–know that I am still here! LIFE is going to happen. I have kids. I have a LIFE (believe it or not) and I won’t be on the perfect blogger’s schedule, but I am not leaving you all anytime soon! You are part of my LIFE now!

Thanks for the read, and I can’t wait to share my next blog post with you. It’s a fun one πŸ™‚

Of course,

All the love dolls πŸ’‹