Monday, December 22, 2014

Birchbox Favorites Review

One of my favorite things I do is subscribe to Birchbox. 
It's like a present in the mail every month.
I have had very few boxes that were really nothing I liked/used.
Very few. Like maybe 3 in over a year.

What is so neat about Birchbox is that you are sent samples of products that you may have never known about otherwise. Several of these items are now my must-have favorites.
You earn points for leaving honest feedback on your products and those points can be applied towards items on


So....some of my favorites from the past few months.
What I love about this dry shampoo is how easily it applies and how great my hair looks. I am used to shampooing everyday...I know it's not good for my hair but I feel nasty and dirty if I don't. But, I see that when I use this dry shampoo my hair actually looks and styles so much better!
And the smell...oh, my, the smell. 
My husband asked me what perfume I used that morning because it smelled so good! He actually encouraged me to buy this!
It doesn't leave a film or make you hair feel weighed down or heavy. 
I absolutely LOVE it!
I'm usually not a fan of the body washes they send me. I am pretty stuck on my Bath and Body Works favorites but this particular one certainly caught my attention.
The Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Wash was something else!
It didn't have a huge amount of lather and I was worried it would leave a film on my skin and make me feel tacky.
It didn't. 
My skin was so soft and felt so refreshed and the scent is out of this world. I was so very impressed. 
I can certainly see myself rotating this in my shower routine! 
When I first saw that I was getting the Dr. Lipp Original Lip Balm I was not too thrilled. I really didn't want to put it on my lips. 
I'm so glad I did!
A tiny dab goes a long way. It spreads easily, do not feel oily at all and lasts all day. 
I purchased the full size immediately! 
It is perfect for when the weather turns cool and crisp. Your lips stay moisturized all day! 
This too was one product I didn't think I would use, the Toni & Guy Classic Shine Gloss Serum. Again, I couldn't have been more wrong. I use this almost every single day and will be purchasing the full size when my sample runs out. It is simply amazing.
The serum doesn't carry much scent but my hair looks so shiny and nice! It is not heavy at all. It tames the fly-aways and split ends and truly makes my hair shiny and glossy. I am a new forever fan and this favorite will be on my bathroom counter permanently! 
Oh, have stolen my heart again. I am in love with the perfumes. The compilation of scents create a classic, subtle, chic and so very feminine fragrance. This Crema da Mano Luxe - Hand Cream is honestly the best hand cream I have ever used. I will be purchasing the full size once my sample is empty. It can also be purchased at Sephora 
I am not a big bronzer fan but when this one from ModelCo came in my Birchbox my heart skipped a beat. The ModelCo bronzer is so wonderful. It gives my skin a very sun-kissed look in just the right places without leaving me looking orange and streaky.
It's great for contouring and yet soft enough to use alone for a natural look. My sample was BIG... I think it may be full size, so it will last me a while. When it's used I will purchase a full size and this too will be a staple in my makeup drawer! 
Ok, I do not select food or snacks as an option for my Birchbox because I have a few snacks that I like and I really don't deviate from them. And I just think it's gross to have snacks sent through the mail. It's me. I'm weird. And because Birchbox sends you some things that you have never heard of before I wasn't sure if these Justin's Chocolate Almond Butter Squeeze Pack was something for my face or something to eat. So I googled it.
The BEST snack EVER!!!!!!!
There are no words. No words indeed. It was something like I never tasted before. Smooth. Rich. Sweet but not at all over powering.
Flavorful. Addicting.
I need to find them at Target but I haven't been able to. If I have no luck there I will just purchase on line. 
These are a MUST-TRY. 
But I'm warning you.... you will not be able to put the squeeze pack down or share it or stop until it's empty. 
Goodness, it's delicious!
Justin's created something dangerous!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Weekends are the only time I really have to cook as much as I would like. Most nights after work I prepare us a home cooked meal...but on weekends it's certainly not as rushed.

I had taken a cornish hen out to defrost and knew we were going to have stuffing with it, but I also wanted to include something green. I immediately thought about bacon wrapped asparagus, but not everyone in the family likes asparagus.
We've been on a fresh green bean kick lately, so I thought..."Hey, if you can wrap asparagus in bacon, you surely can wrap green beans in bacon...."
And so I did.
First I rinsed and boiled a large bag of fresh green beans for about 10-15 minutes. 
I added salt, pepper and garlic powder to the water. 
In a side pan I lightly cooked long strips of bacon. I literally just let each side lightly brown before removing it. I would say each piece was left no more than one minute on each side. 
In a small sauce pan I combined:
4 tsps of butter
1/2 tsp of soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
dash of salt
Stir until melted and combined. 
I love Reyonld's non+stick foil and use it all the time. I think it's the best invention ever. It makes cleaning a snap!!
So, I lined my pan with my non-stick foil. 
I spread out each slice of bacon and placed around 15 green beans in it. I brushed my above mixture on the green beans and wrapped up my bundle. 
I also sprinkled a little sea salt over each bundle. 
I popped these babies in the over for about 20 minutes on 350 degrees. 
Oh  my goodness....
There are no words...seriously no words.
It was the best part of our dinner. 
Everyone loved them! 
Lena told me I better hide what's left or she's going to finish them. Papa Bear loved the smokey taste. They were just plain delicious!!

October 2014

 Do I even remember how to blog anymore?
I used to look so forward to documenting my girls and the normal, boring things we did together and then posting them here as a way for me to look back and smile, remembering things I may have otherwise forgotten.

When the weather gets cooler/cold or rainy, my neck/shoulder area literally stop me in my tracks. The surgery certainly stopped the 24/7 headache I lived with for almost a year and a half but when the weather changes, I feel it...days in advance...and it knocks me down.

When we first moved here there was a Half Price Books close to where we lived. Mom and I would go often and just browse the aisles and aisles of books. I love being around books. I've been an avid reader as long as I can remember. I "travel" through the books I read. 
I love the feel, smell and sight of a good book. I'm just not into ebooks or any sort of online version. I want the book in my hand. I want to pick a bookmark for my book. 
My Papa Bear was on the look for a certain type of book and we had searched Barnes and Noble and couldn't find it, looked online and couldn't find it, so I suggested going to Half Price Books. They didn't have the book he was looking for, but they have something.... attention....
I fell in love with Half Price Books all over again. I selected a book by my favorite author, John Saul, and had that baby read in three days. 
I've gone back a few times and took my girls with me and am now reading the Coffeehouse Mysteries series.
Needless to say, I see many more visits in our future!
My sweet CC also surprised me one night by showing up after work with the new Keurig. If you've read my blog at any time in the past, you know I am a fool for coffee and in love with my Keurig. My favorite feature about this Keurig 2.0 is the carafe. I love that I can cook breakfast, sit at the table as a family and a delicious smelling, sinful tasting, fresh carafe of coffee with us. She certainly picked the right machine for us!! I loved my Keurig Vue, but this one is not as noisy and has really neat options for the display screen... and it has a carafe!! 

Our friends, Sandeep and Crystal, rented a campfire site at the Hondo Corn Maize. They also invited some of their other friends and everyone brought something to share. 
Man, oh man...we had s'mores, s'mores with Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, s'mores with Giradelli name it! There were hot dogs, sausage links, spicy sausages, chips, was so fun! We met some sweet people, connected with old friends and had a really great time.
I think the best part was how good our clothes smelled on the way home. I've always loved the smell of a wood burning campfire. It reminds me of my childhood, visiting my sister Lisa and taking in deep, long smells of her jackets.  
So, Lena and I being the creative types...(definite sarcasm) took to Pinterest and found a table top "campfire" for toasting marshmallows. It was fun and easy to set up..
1 sm Terra Cotta planter
Line it w/foil
Place a piece of Match-Light Charcoal inside 
and go....
The fire didn't stay lit for very long. Out of about 12 pieces of charcoal, maybe 3 burned long enough to toast a few marshmallows.
We ended up giving up and just using a candle....
CC pointed out that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. 
Probably not, but we had fun! 
I've spent a lot of time snuggling with these boys. 
The cooler weather has them in snuggly moods and I love that.
We've been "cat" people as long as I can remember. They have such unique personalities and likes and dislikes. They really aren't just pets but family members. You know when they're in a bad mood or playful mood or sleepy. I love snuggling with them on my recliner and watching Criminal Minds. We get in at least 1-2 episodes a day! 
We were invited to Hospitality for the Sunday speaker and had lunch with the congregation at Blanco BBQ. This may not be the best picture, but it has Brother Montelongo and Brother Cash. I love these two men dearly.
I can't even begin to tell you how important they are to me. I couldn't love a biological father more than I love these two. They always have time to talk, listen and give honest, Bible based advice. Never once do the judge or put you down. They giving loving advice and genuinely want to see you do well. 
My Aggies didn't do their best this season but I wore an Aggie shirt every Friday to work. I love them no matter what. And, I love this Papa Bear came home from work with it one day and surprised me.
Those are the best kind of gifts...the "just because" ones! 
In October CC also confirmed what a baby she is...I came out of the dressing room to find this. I have no idea how she got in there, but I should have recorded her trying to get was hilarious! 
Lena and I kept the tradition going...Nightmare on Grayson has moved and is now in a new location (an old warehouse)and is now called "Fearesta"! Let me just say, I had no voice.
I think it's just as good...if not better in some areas than Nightmare on Grayson in it's old location. I mean, there was some rooms where my heart was pounding and I felt nauseated and I had to keep reminding myself it wasn't real...I was going to make it out and these were just actors. 
My was AWESOME!!! 
There was an old-style magician there. He was pretty good... can't complain. And it was nice to see Brothers of the Flame there as well. It's never a dull show with them! 
During the month of October, Lena and I enjoyed some delicious hot cocoa at Le Madeleine. I love these moments with my sweet girl. She is growing up so fast and really becoming a young lady. She is so smart and quick to the punch and truly just a joy to be around. I love our conversations and I love every moment we get to spend together. I know that as she gets older, spending time drinking hot cocoa with her mama won't be at the top of her list of things to do, so I'm trying to soak it in as much as possible while I can! 
And apparently she's a sneaky little photographer as well... 
It's hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. It's hard to believe that as I type this, there are only 10 days left of 2014. I remember how nervous I was when it was 1999 and we were going out of town to Dallas to spend New Years with Emil's brother. I was hugging and kissing my mom good-bye, we were both crying thinking it was the end of the world as we wouldn't see each other
Now here we are 15 years later..still going, still making it day by day. I'm doing it without my mama, but I'm doing it. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Worst Blogger in History? I think so...

Where did the time go? I think this is the longest I have ever gone with out blogging. 
I wish I could say that it was because I was off doing wonderful, fabulous, fun and exciting things...
That wouldn't be true. I've gone through some of the hardest most trying months yet.
This summer brought about the blossoming of my favorite crepe myrtles. I've always wanted to have one or a few of my own..I attempted a few times, but the squirrel in my back yard decided it just wasn't going to happen. 
We have a new member of the family, Koko. She's supposed to be CC's puppy but CC works so much she has zero time for her. Poor Lena has become Koko's mom.
Koko is obsessed with Luigi and drives him crazy. I'm sure on some level Luigi is pissed at us for bringing her home. I like to think she keeps him young! 
Though college football season hadn't yet started, I couldn't resist wearing my Texas A&M shirt. I literally had a count down timer on my phone down to the minute of kick off.
One might call me obsessed... I call it a way of life! 
And I saw this watch at Charming Charlies...gosh, I loved it! 
I also found the pretty necklaces. I would love, love, love to be able to wear necklaces again. I just feel like it would draw too much attention to the scar on my neck.
Now if my scar came about some really cool, story worthy way, I'd totally not be ashamed...but it didn't. I just took my family on a vacation.... 
This summer I also enjoyed grilling some food.
I love to grill. It's just too hot here to do much of anything outside. 
My sister gave me an owl Scentsy warmer shortly after Mom died two years ago. She gave one to me and our other sister, Lisa.
I finally opened mine and set it up. 
I love it. 
I know that it is something Mom would have loved and that makes me sad sometimes. I still have missing Mama days.  
I love how it looks on my side of the bed. I just wish all those stupid wires didn't show. 
I've enjoyed more than a fair share of Starbucks drinks at work. My pants and shrinking checks do not thank me! 
I thought this was the cutest...and the truest!! 
When I first started at my company, my first manager was Marty. She was the sweetest, kindest, most helpful, wonderful mentor, manager and friend ever.
She retired after 25 years with the company. 

Our old team has since moved on to different departments and different teams, but we all got together at Grimaldi's pizza to give Marty a sweet send off.
I really do miss her!
Marty wasn't the only one leaving the company. 
Erin and I went through training together and became friends fast.
This girl can make you laugh when all you want to do is cry. 
She has given me some of the best advise, words I will remember and keep in my heart through out life.
Sometimes it's so hard to see what you don't want to see or you refuse to believe and it takes a real friend to break it down and slap you with the ugly truth. If you have a friend like that, keep her...I'd rather have the ugly truth than sweet lies that will end up causing me pain.
Erin's husband was sent to Alabama for military training. 
My Lena and I had a girls date to the book store. That seems to be one of our favorite places to go. 
I purchased this book, which seems like it's going to be pretty good...if I can find the time to read it! 
Emil and I also had dinner with friends and this cutie and I took a played and played. 
And my Papa Bear surprised me with an A&M charm bracelet. 
I am a HUGE Aggie fan and for me, this IS the most wonderful time of the year!
Everyday Saturday finds me planted to my couch or recliner soaking in every single glorious minute of SEC football!!! 
On a more serious note, this surgery has had some really terrible trickle down effects on my marriage. For the past five months I have been unable to sleep in the bed next to my husband. I have to sleep in my recliner. This has wrecked havoc on my marriage. Just missing that closeness. Having those last moments of the day to talk with each other, hold each other, listen to each other. We've missed all of that. 
I've had to learn how exist on my own with out him. 
He had to try to get used to living with a wife but not necessarily having a wife.
Our communication died. 
Our one-on-one time died.
Our time apart increased.
We almost divorced.
It's been hell. 
What seemed like an answer to all the physical pain I was experiencing resulted in an emotion and mental pain I'm not quite sure I was expecting or equipped for.

We are trying desperately to mend what's been broken.
After 20 years together, you really don't want to just throw in the towel.
We've identified what a big part of the problem was and we are working to fix it.
It will take time. We didn't get here over night...over months, yes...over night, no.

As a re-commitment to each other, he made me my dream ring. 
Just knowing his fingers made this, makes my heart swell. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June 2014

Ahhh June...where did you go?
Where is this year going?
Once again, I'm playing catch up.
The beginning of June, I think it was June 3, my surgeon allowed me to remove my neck brace! It was a sweet, sweet moment. It did take some time getting used to not having it on. I still have looking up for three months, no lifting over 10 pounds, no sleeping in my bed for three months. 
We went to see our crazy boy graduate.
I love him, love him, love him. He's the son I never had!
I stayed at my niece's home...she has chickens all over.
I woke up to this....
for someone who is scared of chickens, this was a bit unnerving to see first thing in the morning as soon as you step outside! 
I celebrated my first day at church without my brace by letting my hair down and putting on make up. 
For three months I had to have my hair up in buns and twists and pony tails because of the brace. I am in desperate need of a good cut due to all the split ends now!! 
While we may be smiling on this picture, it was a super, super sad day.
My 23 yr old nephew drowned in a true accident. TJ was a great swimmer, in excellent health. He drowned about 15 minutes after arriving at the lake. We think he must have suffered a cramp when he got out in the water. He went down and never came back up.
I am here with my brother, his dad, and my youngest nephew. 
If you look in the back of this photo, there is TJ's grave...just yards from my other nephew Quin's grave. 
A few days later, on a rainy Monday, we picked up the newest (and baddest and most stressful) member of our family, Koko. 
She may look sweet...oh, she is anything but sweet.
Either I'm really old and losing patience or she is really, really bad. 
I think she is just really, really bad! 
She exhausts everyone...even Luigi complains....
A few days later we went to Yoakum to commemorate my baby boy Quin's one year since he passed away. It would have been his 21st birthday.
His grave was decorated with balloons. I'd say close to 100 people came out. 
We wrote messages on balloons and released them into the sky. I think it was this moment that really made him being gone seem real.
I always told myself he was away playing ball. I was able to survive and function that way. 
This made it too real. 
There was no lying to myself any longer.
I miss my Quin so, so much.
I found this photo and I think it sums up perfectly how family and friends feel after a loved one commits suicide. We will never know what happened that day...or if it even was truly suicide...but we do know that now we have to make sense of a life without Quin. Sometimes it just seems so hard to do.
I had been feeling sick for a while...ear hurting, tired, throat hurting off and on, name it.
My cold turned into a nasty ear infection.
Two ear drops, an antibiotic and allergic reaction later I'm just now starting to feel better. It sucked starting work back like that.
I tried to self medicate by eating pozole at a little Mexican restaurant! 
June also brought us our first day over 100 degrees.... 
The good news is that we have had some good rains and my grape vine has really loved it! 
On my last day at home before going back to work CC took me to the Pig Stand for chocolate cake. This is where Emil took me on our first day and I took the girls there for homemade desserts and this is where she wanted to take me.
Each booth has an old fashioned music player. 
We put our money in but CC punched in the wrong Otis Redding Sittin' On The Dock Of the Bay...
and it played some other albums songs the entire time we were there 
Back at work and back at hitting up Starbucks. I was good the first two days..then I gave in.
I really need to get better with this temptation thing!