Everything old is new again

Lately, Vivi’s favorite sentence seems to be, “Yook, Mommy!”

I should probably have mentioned that she hasn’t quite learned to pronounce the letter L yet, so she says it like the letter Y. Okay, we all on the same page now? Good.

When she says it, sometimes she also puts a tiny hand on the side of my face to turn my head toward whatever she wants me to look at.

I find it to be such a delicious impulse, this desire to share whatever she likes with me. To want to make sure that I don’t miss out on whatever new wonder she has discovered.

The irony is, of course, that I’m the one who is supposed to be showing her the world. The one who leads her on new adventures, teaches her about…well, everything.

But isn’t it just the way that my stubborn little girl is the one reminding me to stop, to “yook,” and to appreciate the little things in a whole new way.

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How to: Summer Vegetable and Chicken Sausage Pasta Recipe

summer vegetable chicken sausage pasta

It’s funny how so many good things in life start out as accidents. Funny how making the best of a situation can sometimes turn out to be literally the best.

In New York, I made the best of a lot of things. I made the best of tiny apartments, struggling to turn a cramped 500 square feet into a home for my family. Today, I make the best of busy schedules, working to prioritize the things that matter, the things that I truly believe will bring my family happiness. Sometimes that means giving up leisurely mornings in favor of spending more time focusing on spiritual pursuits, and sometimes that means overlooking the dishes or laundry for an hour spent in the backyard picking petals and pushing a wiggly toddler in the swing.

But in all of those cases, what I end up with, be it a safe, comfortable home, the satisfaction of giving my best to God, or the joy of watching my adventurous little baby become a brave, thriving person, is just about always the best thing I could imagine.

You know what else I like making the best of? Dinner.

What? A deep blog post can’t also left-field into a tasty recipe?

Recently, I was running low on provisions and whipped up this pasta dish on the fly. It has since become a steady part of my dinner rotation.

I was going to call it “What I Have in the Crisper That’s About to Spoil Recipe,” but turns out that sucks for SEO, so instead…

Summer Vegetable and Chicken Sausage Pasta

3 cups pasta of your choice
4 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium to large zucchini, cut into quarters
Two fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 package garlic chicken sausage, cut into rounds
1 T fresh oregano, minced
1 T fresh basil, minced
2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup mozzarella cut into quarter-inch chunks
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium. Once hot, add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about two minutes.
2. Add zucchini and cook until starts to golden brown, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Boil pot of water and cook pasta following instructions on the box. Drain.
4. While pasta cooks, add tomatoes to skillet. Season with herbs and salt and pepper.
5. In a separate small skillet, brown sausage rounds. Once cooked, remove from heat and add to zucchini mixture.
6. Add pasta to skillet with mozzarella chunks. Stir to combine ingredients.

Enjoy!

Beauty week: How to create messy waves tutorial

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Kicking off the second post of BEAUTY WEEK, I’m sharing a tutorial that I use every week: how to create messy waves.

This look is similar to my Disney Princess Curls. but the big difference is that, while the princess curls are all about perfection, the messy curls are, well, messier. The idea is to strive for a touchable, imperfect look that almost looks like it’s just how your hair naturally falls.

I’ve embedded the video below, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. DO start with clean, dry hair. I recommend air-drying before styling so you can take advantage of any natural wave your hair already has.
  2. DON’T curl the ends. If you’re a perfectionist like me, this will be a challenge, but trust me, this is key.
  3. DO play around with it. I curl all of my hair the same direction (away from my face), but feel free to mix it up. And literally play with it too–mess up the curls with your hands throughout the day to keep the volume.
  4. DON’T use a heavy hand with products. I use three main products to create/hold this style, but only a little bit of each one to prevent the look from getting weighed down.

That’s it! Enjoy the tutorial (sorry for my awkward faces), and feel free to leave questions in a comment below!

And, obvious side note: I am SO not a videographer (or even a video blogger!), so don’t mock my terrible video quality/editing. It is what it is, folks.

Beauty Week: Here’s what you need to know about Lipsense

lipsense

Since moving, I won’t lie to you, I’ve been struggling to get a more official “schedule” worked out. Part of the problem has been that our schedule hasn’t been real until this week—Joey just wrapped up training at work, so now he begins his four-days-a-week routine. Part of it has just been that moving is time-consuming, but now we’re also pretty much done getting settled and can stop making Lowes runs every other day.

Anyway, as you can tell, it has squashed any extra brain power I have for creative outlets. Like, I don’t know, writing for fun. AKA, updating this sad little blog ever.

But, despite what my publishing log would tell you, I still like writing, so I’m going to do my darndest to get back into the swing of things.

So, I thought to myself, what would be a fun way to kick things off?

A THEME WEEK!

Specifically, a theme week around that queen of frivolity, beauty. For today’s inaugural post, how about a little review/experiment?

If you have any friends on Facebook, odds are one of them has probably tried to talk to you about Lipsense at some point. I knew a few of my gal pals were working for the company selling this lipstick that claims to stick around for up to 18 hours (!!), but I had honestly shied away from trying it because, well, it felt kind of gimmicky and it was hard to believe that there wasn’t anything dangerous or super chemically in the mix. (I mean, EIGHTEEN HOURS? What is IN this stuff?)

There is also a lot of conflicting information on the Internet as to the safety, with a lot of people citing weird reactions, from intense tingling or burning after applying to serious dryness and flaking days after wearing it.

But, then again, there are also thousands of people out there saying it’s the greatest thing ever, never smudges off, and makes staying put-together all day a breeze.

So when a pal who sells it reached out to me about writing a review, I’ll admit I was more curious than anything. Here’s what I thought:

How it works:

First things first, you can’t apply Lipsense like any liquid lipstick. The directions recommend exfoliating your lips first and then cleaning them with a swipe of rubbing alcohol. (Confession: I skipped the alcohol step.) Then you brush the color on (only one direction, not back and forth) in three thin layers, allowing the color to dry ten seconds between layers. It feels weird (the color itself is SUPER sticky until you apply the gloss) and tingles a bit, but I didn’t experience any of the painful burning that some people described online. The smell is pretty chemically if you pay attention, but I must have been pretty caught up in the application because I really didn’t notice it. And once you apply the gloss, it feels totally normal and all stickiness/smell goes away.

Note: Apply sparingly until you get the hang of it. Not surprisingly, it’s pretty difficult to remove, so fixing smudges can be a little challenging.

After I applied, I proceeded to wear it for the rest of the day. Seriously. No smudges, hardly any fading. I didn’t even apply the gloss all that often (though it’s recommended that you do, especially before and after eating, for best results). By the very end of the day, I probably could have used a reapply, but I was home so it was like, eh?

The trickiest part for me came when I actually wanted to take the stuff off. It’s seriously difficult, even using the remover. Ultimately, I had to use a bit of skin oil and exfoliate again to get it all off.

Post-use, some people online say they had a lot of flaking and dryness on their lips, but I didn’t have any negative experiences. Like most products, I suspect that some things agree with some people’s skin chemistry, and other things don’t. (I’m not a scientist, though, so don’t hold me to that.)

What’s in it?

As far as ingredients, the product itself is vegan and cruelty-free (bonus), but there is some back and forth on the internet about whether or not the ingredients are really “safe”. You can get a full ingredient list here.

As far as my layman’s opinion, while I couldn’t see wearing it every single day (though maybe if I had a lighter, more natural color — I’m just not a daily lipstick kind of gal), I would definitely break this out for a wedding or other special occasion where I wanted to go the whole day without worrying about my makeup. Or, you know, for wearing bright red. Because you want that stuff to stay put.

Want to learn more about Lipsense or try it yourself? My friend Jennifer has a Facebook group you can join to ask questions or shop — plus, she’s super nice and willing to help!

Has anyone else tried Lipsense? What was your experience? Is there another long-wearing lipstick you liked better?

*Lipsense products provided to me for review. Opinions my own.