Cultivating Joy

This post contains affiliate links.

Does your joy come from within or from the outside. My introvert self NEEDS downtime, time to recharge, so it’s hard for me to remember that other women can help me the joyful creature I need to be. Our relationships with other women can be incredibly helpful, but sometimes they’re just not. It seems so easy for us women to cluster together and just complain, and then try to “out complain” each other. Sometimes we just need a new perspective to find the joy we need and want.  You have to check out this new book: Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy discusses joy and several ways to attain it.

Cultivating Joy

It’s so easy to take a new situation and look at it as a cause for grief. In the words of our menfolk, change means work. Whenever we want a change in the furniture being rearranged, that means work for him to move it around. In the same way, we can look our jobs, home, and abroad and just get discouraged. In my life, I get discouraged by the the mundane, clutter, apathetic people, and on and on.  Sometimes I look at the frustrations of my life and just let out one giant sigh.

Why in tarnation am I not thankful for the life I have? I am blessed with a good life, not perfect but very very good, and why can I not take a new look and be excited and relieved that my life will continue to be as good as it is now.

When I do my chores, why do I look at all the has to be done and become sour faced and grumpy? I lack perspective. Joy comes when I take control of my emotions. I can choose what will be appreciated and cherished.

I encourage you to read along with other positive women their stories of having joy. Along with Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy you’d receive thousands in bonus gifts from over 50 visionary women (for a limited time only).  To received your free gifts you have to buy the book from Amazon and then go here to request your freebies! Enjoy!

Positively Radiant with AVEENO

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT®. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Aveeno Positively Radiant

All moms want to look beautiful, don’t they?  Of course they do, they’re women!  Women want to feel beautiful…positively radiant even.  If you’d like to feel a bit better about your skin, check out AVEENO’s new Positively Radiant Collection.

AVEENO has always seemed like the cashmere of skin care products to me.  I don’t know if it’s the sound of the word or just its association with quality, but I love using AVEENO.  I can still remember the first oatmeal bath product I used from AVEENO as a child.  I was so intrigued that it used natural ingredients even then.  I mean, oatmeal for the bath?  Being a kid, I thought that was great!  Now, as an adult I’m learning about the benefits of soy in their products.

Aveeno Makeup Removing Wipes

AVEENO is a brand that I use for myself and it’s the only lotion I allow near my kids.  It is known for using active naturals ingredients, and I’ve recently been enjoying the new AVEENO Positively Radiant Collection, which is formulated to help even out skin tone and texture.  The line is made to make dull skin brighter and “more radiant.” While I don’t like to consider my skin “dull,” I have to admit that it is.  I’m attracted to anything that illuminates or brightens my skin.  The make up removing wipes were refreshing and removed my make up in a breeze.  I am addicted to these!   The daily moisturizer has a smooth texture, a soft scent, and SPF 15!

Aveeno Moisturizer

The Total Soy Complex helps to visibly transform the 5 FACTORS OF RADIANCE® including:

  • –  Tone
  • –  Texture
  • –  Dullness
  • –  Blotchiness
  • –  Brown Spots

The benefits of soy were initially discovered when workers who regularly handled soy in Asia’s soybean factories found that their hands were especially smooth and even toned.  How neat is that?  AVEENO scientists devised a way to process soybeans that retains the integrity of the proteins to provide immediate and long-term skin benefits.

Naturally, we all want to look good, and we can naturally. I really like AVEENO and their other lines for their natural elements. Some days I just don’t feel radiant, so it always helps to have an extra boost from AVEENO. 

If you’d like to check out more about the line you can look at Aveeno’s website, and of course you can buy them through Target (one of my favorite places to shop!).

OR you can win the full AVEENO Positively Radiant Collection! AVEENO Positively Radiant AET

6 Must Haves for Summer

Summer is in full swing and I am loving every minute of it!!  Besides a great book and some sunscreen here are five new items that I recommend to help you enjoy summer to it’s fullest…without sacrificing style of course.

Tarte LipSurgence Gloss

1. Tarte’s Limited Edition LipSurgence ($19)

This lip gloss (pictured in Envy) will keep your lips looking colorful and shiny all day.  I’m a huge fan of Tarte products and this new lip gloss is no exception.


Crabtree & Evelyn Nail Polish Almond

2. Crabtree & Evelyn’s Nail Lacquer. ($6)

I’m in love with this soft and simple shade named Almond.  Something about is so calming and feminine.



3. XG Sunglasses ($125-$145)

Protect your peepers with fashionable shades.  I’ve just ordered a pair of the Zurich sunglasses with “Extreme Glare” technology.  I’m excited to give them a try!


4. Vionic Sandals ($45+)

If you know me personally I’ve complained for years about how there needs to be a company who will invent a lightweight sandal that has arch support – well, a company did that!!!  A company called Vionic.  Clarks’ flip flops have support but they are on the heavy side.  Chacos are fabulous sandals but they’re not meant to be dressy in the least.  Vionic sandals are the solution!  They are as light as can be and they have fabulous support to help protect the most important curve of your body –  the arch of your foot.  I just discovered these this summer and I’ve already bought two pair.  They are a little costly but oh so worth it!! Trust me! (and they’re having a 30% off sale right now! Yay!)

J. Crew Shorts


U by Kotex

5. White Shorts ($24.50)

Okay, so white shorts aren’t new but I think everyone who walks should own at least one pair of white shorts during the summer.  White shorts can be a little intimidating for ladies during certain times of the month but have no fear, I know a new product from U by Kotex that will make white shorts wearable all summer long! U by Kotex pads w/ new 3D Capture Core has got your back…or should I say bottom?  Ha!  (Plus, while supplies last you can snag a free sample of U by Kotex Curve by clicking here. Oh and you can visit and show your uncomfy face to enter to win BIG!)

By the way, the white shorts pictured above are from J. Crew Factory and are on sale for $24.50, from $39.50.

Jamberry Polka Dots

6. Jamberry Nail Wraps ($15)

Jamberry nail wraps are like stickers but with super holding power, that stay on your fingers for two weeks and your toes for four weeks.  These are just perfect for keeping a great mani while battling the surf or relaxing in the sun.  The color above is Icy Rose Polka.

JUST WAIT until Sept. 1st though!!!!  I have had an exclusive sneak peek at their newest TruShine gel polish and it is AMAZING!!!  I like Jamberry but I LOOOOOVE their gel polish.  In my opinion, every woman should own it (who wears polish at least).

What’s on your must-have fashion list this summer?

Save on Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer at Walgreens! #MyTotalBeautyForecast

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Lunchbox. All content and opinions are 100% my own.


My skin has become accustomed to being moisturized.  I feel like it aches without it.  No matter what the season or what the weather is, I need a convenient moisturizer on hand.  Here lately, with the unpredictable weather days, my go to (and convenient!) moisturizer is Vaseline Spray Moisturizer which is available at Walgreens.

There are several Vaseline Spray Moisturizers to pick from.  Wondering which is best for your skin?  Go here and enter your zip code to get the current weather in your area. 🙂  Once you have that, you can answer a few questions about how your skin is feeling and then voila, you’ll have the perfect Vaseline Spray Moisturizer for you!

Print: $2/1 Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer

Vaseline Coupon

#MyTotalBeautyForecast recommended the Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Spray Moisturizer for my rough, not quite ready for warm weather yet skin.  Go get your beauty forecast and if you do you’ll be able to snag a $2 coupon for it…which you can conveniently clip directly to your Balance Rewards card or print from the site.  Sweet!  No matter the weather, you can have a beautifully moisturized skin with Vaseline Spray.

Rained Out Party and #UnscriptedBeauty

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for AVEENO. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As a blogger and a parent, I can admit that I’ve spent far too much time posing my kids for the best possible picture…which portrays them (and me!) in the best possible light.  Isn’t that silly?  I catch myself doing it often and I have to stop myself.  I don’t want to look back on my photo albums (or online albums) in ten years and see picture after picture of a perfect family that I don’t recognize.  No, I don’t want to intentionally take pictures of our dirty laundry but a little toy clutter in the background won’t hurt anything.  It’s real life and real life is beautiful.


This is a picture of my daughter as she watched her first storm come closer and closer.  It’s not a great picture but to me it’s perfect.

Real life, sincere moments, authentic relationships are beautiful.  Unscripted beauty.  I love to be able to capture those in photos.  Moments where my husband and daughter take a walk together holding hands.  Moments where my son tightly hugs his teddy bear with his eyes closed.  Moments where I catch my daughter giving her brother a kiss.  Those are the moments I want to cherish and hold with me forever.

My family on Father's Day

This is a picture of our Father’s Day dinner.  It sure isn’t perfect but I think it captured the moment well.  My daughter didn’t want to smile and my husband kept telling my son to look at the camera by pointing to it.  My son followed his Dad’s lead and pointed to the camera.  It wasn’t like most of the polished photos I saw on Facebook yesterday but I think it captured my husband’s kindness and patience with his children…a quality that I absolutely adore in him.

AVEENO agrees that natural, candid beauty is best and they’re creating an #UnscriptedBeauty Movement which encourages parents to embrace the natural beauty around them. …even when life doesn’t go as planned.  

On Saturday, my daughter’s outdoor Candy Land birthday party had a brief rain shower towards the end of it.  Everyone raced inside carrying as much as they could.  While in the panic I couldn’t help but pause to notice the kids laughing and squealing.  They were happy.  Genuinely giddy with joy.  It was beautiful.  I wish I had a picture of that chaotic moment but I was busy trying to tell my husband to grab my camera to get it out of the rain.

Life isn’t perfect and it rarely goes as planned but I think that’s a good thing.  Beautiful even.


AVEENO is encouraging people to capture authentic Unscripted Beauty in their lives throughout the month of June.  One winner will be selected in July to receive a photo-shoot from acclaimed photographer, Danielle Guenther, as well as AVEENO products!

  • – To enter, simply upload a photo of your favorite Unscripted Beauty moment to Instagram and include #UnscriptedBeauty, #AVEENO, and #Contest
  • – The winner will receive a photo shoot with acclaimed photographer, Danielle Guenther!
  • – Visit the AVEENO Facebook page to see other moments of #UnscriptedBeauty

My #BeautyStory and Beauty Inspiration

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Dove and The Motherhood.


Mom knows best, right?  I think that’s true most of the time and when it comes to beauty I definitely think that’s true – in my case it is!  My mother was, and still is, a beauty.  Here are a few of the beauty tips that I learned from her, that she probably learned from her mom.

Beauty Advice

  • – Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.  A good moisturizer is a woman’s best friend.
  • – My mom taught me that my neck and clavicle have the same skin as my face so I should moisturize it just as often and with the same product.
  • – My mom taught me to wash my face with Dove every night before bed.  I was eager to try fancy scrubs and masks but she said a simple gentle cleanser is all I needed.
  • – Use baby oil as an eye-makeup remover.  It’s cheap, gentle, and works great.
  • – “Never leave the house without lipstick” is something my grandmother ingrained in me from a young age.  At times I might opt for lipgloss instead but there’s always something colorful on my lips.  Like mother, like daughter.  From a young age, I remember admiring my mother’s skill for applying lipstick without a mirror.
  • – Drink water all day long.  It’s good for your body and your complexion.
  • – “Don’t touch your face.” My mom used to give me a hard time about how much I touched my face and how it would give me breakouts.  I’m still working on this one!
  • – Use conditioner on the ends of your hair every time you wash it.
  • – “If you’ve got a good complexion make up will just be icing on the cake.” My mom had me using good skin care products since before I was 18.
  • – Age gracefully. My mom still doesn’t have grey hair but when she does I know she’ll embrace it with gusto.
  • – She always encouraged me to learn what colors and styles looked good on me and ignore the fads.
  • – Last but not least, my mom taught me to smile.  She told me that a smile always makes you appear prettier.  I try to remember this every day but especially on days when I’m not as put together as I’d like to be you can bet that I’ll be smiling.

A Dove survey finds that most women (84% in fact) trust the women in their lives more than celebrities for beauty tips and advice.  From all the advice I learned and still incorporate from my mom and grandmother, I’d believe that to be true!

What tried-and-true beauty advice was passed onto you from the women in your life? Share your own #BeautyStory to celebrate the real women who have shaped it and take a look at this video from Dove for even more inspiration.

Embracing the Beauty in the Everyday

Starting today and lasting through the month of October, I’ll be participating in The Nester’s 31 Days series.  Each day I’ll share a little bit about Embracing the Beauty in the Everyday of life.  I hope you’ll join me in this journey!

Embracing the Beauty in the Everyday


Day 1 – Beauty Of a Book

Day 5 – The Beauty of a Walk

Day 7 – The Beauty of Childhood

Day 8 – Happiness and Beauty

Day 10 – A Beautiful Storm

5 Ways to Feel More Beautiful

5 Ways to Feel More Beautiful

I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty lately, as I always do, but this time I was focusing primarily on outward beauty.  You know, what everyone else sees and judges you by.  You know me, I think that people should spend the majority of their time focusing on inward beauty and developing better character traits, helping others, etc.  However, every woman wants to feel attractive on the outside too and that’s okay!  Going through life changes such as growing older, an illness, becoming pregnant {yep, that’s me!}, or gaining weight {me also!} can make us feel less than attractive…to put it mildly.  I was thinking of a few ways that I try to make myself feel more beautiful and I thought I would share them with you in case you need to feel more beautiful today.  Remember that you are beautiful, even when you don’t feel like it!

1. Have something sparkly.
Don’t tell your husband I’m telling you to go out and buy diamonds {Although that might not be a bad idea either! ha!}.  Keep something sparkly around you.  Lip gloss, nail polish, a sparkly pen, etc.  If you’re not into sparkles, then surround yourself with your favorite colors and textures.

In school, I was always terrible in English class.  Literature was great, spelling was okay, but grammar was pitiful.  {I can see all of you grammar folk shaking your head in agreement.  I know, I’m sorry!}  Most of my school notebooks were plain white or black but my English 101 notebook was beautiful.  My definition of beautiful changed from year to year but it was always something that gave me a little smile inside whenever I looked at it.  Surround yourself with things that make you smile.

2.  Make someone else smile every day.
I used to have a friend whose goal was to make someone smile every day.  This was the end all be all goal of his life and while I certainly didn’t agree with that I did take note of his personal challenge.  Obviously, it had an impact on me as I’m still thinking about it and writing about it 10 years later.  When you do something for someone else it makes you feel good about yourself.  That’s not why you should do nice things for others but it’s a nice side effect and it’s a good habit to get into.

3. Smile, smile, smile.
Studies have proven that smiling people are more attractive.  That’s a good enough reason to smile, isn’t it?  Plus, I read somewhere that your brain gets an instant mood boost when your facial muscles contract and that boost of happiness is maintained as people smile back at you.

That reminds me of a poster that was in our high school cafeteria that read, “Smile.  Start an epidemic.”  If smiling doesn’t come natural to you practice while you’re alone and then practice in front of others at least once a day.  Try it and see if you don’t feel more beautiful and confident.

4. Work out.
I know people are groaning as they read this step.  How? Well, because I’m groaning too.  I don’t like working out, at least in the formal sense of the word.  I don’t own tennis shoes or yoga pants.  Crazy, right?  I like music though and dancing silly with my daughter, I like taking exploring walks with her, I like swimming, and I like shopping.  Those aren’t typically things people consider exercise but every bit of activity helps keep you healthy and boost your spirits.  Any safe activity that raises your heart rate is exercise in my book.

When you exercise it gives you a spring in your step.  You’ll smile easier, you’ll feel good about yourself knowing you’re taking care of your body, and your face will just glow.

5. Surround yourself with smells.
Smells are the biggest triggers of memory.  The sense of smell is powerful.  Surround yourself with scents that make you feel good.  Wear your favorite perfume {discount perfume is okay too}, light a candle that embodies the current season, or keep your favorite Wallflower plugged in at work.  Be mindful of those around you that may have a sensitive sense of smell but if you can, allow yourself embrace different scents.  Wearing perfume will help you feel better about yourself and smelling it through the day will make you smile a little on the inside.

Those are my five favorite ways to make myself feel more beautiful.

What about you?  What do you do to make yourself feel more beautiful?  

My Traditional Braces vs Invisalign

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

My teeth aren’t as straight as I would like for them to be.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way but I HAD BRACES.  Every time I think of my braces I get frustrated.  I had THE worst orthodontist.  I mean, I’m sure he was a great guy and all but he was not in the right profession.

I had the old fashioned metal braces with bonded brackets that were connected by a metal wire that went across my entire mouth to the edges where it connected with metal pieces that were fit snugly over my teeth.  It wasn’t pretty.  I always tried get the white rubber bands on my braces {when my orthodontist had them} because I didn’t want to draw any unneeded attention to them.

Not only were my braces unattractive but they hurt!  I’m not talking about the teeth-moving-pain that is expected but the wires on the end would come loose and poke my gums.  Ouch!  Sometimes the brackets themselves would be sharp and cut my gums.  I was given wax to put over top of them so they didn’t rub my gums.  They were sharp when my finger rubbed over them so of course it tore up my gums.  I’m confident this wasn’t a normal experience for most braces wearers. All of my friends that had braces ate whatever they wanted and the brackets never came off.  Me, I was a rule follower.  I avoided the foods I was told to and my brackets still came off!  It was frustrating.  When I would go in for an appointment he would re-adhere the brackets that came off and reuse the wires.  I didn’t know until later that this wasn’t common practice.

Again, I’m sure my orthodontist was a nice guy and maybe he had state of the art equipment 20 years before I was his patient but it was long outdated by the time I was there.  I can remember vividly that he was grinding down two of my teeth {at least he saved me from vampire teeth!} with a drill that he had to pump with his foot.  I’m not kidding!  There’s no way I could make this stuff up.

When it was time to get my braces off I was given a mouth piece to wear on my top teeth for three months.  After that I was told that I didn’t have to wear it any longer.  You can bet that I was counting down those months!  Unfortunately, I later found out that he gave me horrible advice and to keep the progress I had made I needed to continue to wear my mouth piece at night.  My husband had braces and he still has a built in little brace on the back of his teeth to keep them straight.


I could go on with my orthodontist horror stories but I’ll stop.  I’m sad that my parents paid so much money for my teeth to still be crooked just a short while after I had them removed.  I’m sad that my teeth are still crooked.  I’m sad that they didn’t have the sophisticated braces like Invisalign when I was younger.

Just as the orthodontist my husband had was using took advantage of newer technology, many orthodontists today are using the latest technology they have available by using Invisalign.  If you’re not familiar, these aligners are made of lightweight plastic that sits smoothly on the teeth {which is bound to be much more comfortable than metal shoved between your teeth!}.  The cost is similar to traditional braces but usually requires fewer office appointments, shorter visits, and no shameful “emergency” visits for a broken bracket.  To find out more information on Invisalign you can check out the Invisalign Website.

Invisalign vs Braces

If you or your child is considering Invisalign try out their Invisalign Smile Assessment to see if you or your child is a good candidate for Invisalign.  If it looks like these would be a good match for you, you can use the Invisalign Doctor Locator to find a doctor nearest you.

To stay up to date on the latest Invisalign news you can follow Invisalign on Twitter or “like” Invisalign on Facebook.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tree Hut Foot Scrub – One Step Towards Natural Beauty

This post brought to you by Tree Hut. All opinions are 100% mine.
 photo treehutfoot-GoogleSearch_zpsdd84afd4.jpg

Flip-flop season is officially upon us and I for one couldn’t be happier!  Well, except for my calloused feet.  Winter sure put a hurting on them and they could use a little, umm, extra care.  I put lotion on my feet every single day when I get out the the shower but the dry winter months are rough (ha! rough, get it?).

Recently, I heard of Tree Hut products.  They have hand cream, foot cream, AND a foot scrub!  If you’re like me you get excited whenever you hear of a new product that could make your feet softer without the back pain that comes from spending 30 minutes scrubbing away at your feet.  Yes, yes, I know that’s what pedicures are for.  Maybe I’m too prideful but I want to get my feet looking decent before I go there.  They can smooth up the rough edges but I want to be able to take care of the majority of damage at home.  So, that brings me back to Tree Hut.  Did you know that this nationwide brand is sold at Walmart?  That’s nice for me so I can just pick some up when I’m getting groceries and not have to make a special trip.

While I haven’t tried these products yet I’m anxious to and I just so happen to be going to Walmart tonight.

Here’s a little more about the their products:

Tree Hut foot cream

  • -Certified Organic Shea Butter: skin repairing & moisturizing, anti-aging, promotes elasticity
  • -Argan Oil: natural anti-aging properties
  • -Rose Hip Oil: natural anti-aging properties
  •  -Non-greasy formula
  • -Paraben Free and No DMDM
  • -Made in the USA
  • -Not tested on animals


Tree Hut hand cream

  • -Certified Organic Shea Butter: skin repairing & moisturizing, anti-aging, promotes elasticity
  • -Aloe Vera: Nature’s soothing moisturizer
  • -Peppermint Oil: Moisturizes skin
  • -Paraben Free and No DMDM
  • -Made in the USA
  • -Do not test on animals


Tree Hut foot scrub

  • -Certified Organic Shea Butter: skin repairing & moisturizing, anti-aging, promotes elasticity
  • -Real Sugar: Natural sugar exfoliates skin smooth
  • -Peppermint Oil: Moisturizes skin
  • -Paraben Free and No DMDM
  • -Made in the USA
  • -Do not test on animals


summer style


I can’t wait for my feet to be summer ready!  Check out this fun summer style board I put together on Polyvore.

Doesn’t it just scream “Summer”?

Are your {feet and hands} ready to be seen this summer?  If not, be sure to head to Walmart and check out Tree Hut foot cream and Tree Hut hand cream!  Let your #NaturalBeauty shine this summer!  Then come back here and let me know what you think of it.

To stay up to date on the latest Tree Hut news you can follow Tree Hut on Twitter and like Tree Hut on Facebook.

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