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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hair Curling Tutorial (With Extensions)

Goodmorning!
  Here is a tutorial on how I curl my hair (with extensions in).  I only did one side but it's still longer than I intended so feel free to fast forward if you want.  =)  Surprisingly, the way you curl hair is not something that stays the same - it is ever changing with the fashion world and the hairstyle of the present.  Currently,  one popular look is what I have heard referred to as "mermaid" curls:  long, loose and more wavy looking.  That is what this tutorial will show.

  Youtube is your friend for learning how to achieve different looks or curls. =)



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Traveling, Holidays and 2014

Belated Merry Christmas!
  Wow, where to even begin?  Our original plan for the holidays was to travel to Colorado to see both sides of our families for 2 weeks over Christmas.  While this was accomplished, we also ended up getting a horrible flu the 2nd week (over Christmas Day of course) and were so sick that we extended our trip.  We will now have been gone for 3 weeks total and yes, that feels like a long time!  I am so thankful that we were able to be flexible and change our plans because flying home with the flu while holding a baby with the flu sounded like a nightmare to me.

  Our wonderful brother and sister-in-law (who we spent Christmas with) are now out of town and letting us "house sit" for them until New Years.  Now that we are on the mend, I am excited for a few days of family time to turn into an unexpected vacation.  We are making some plans and hoping for snow. =)

  On the very bright side, I am now the proud owner of an Ipad Air!  Peter surprised me for Christmas by giving me one so that my blog will not have to suffer anymore due to a lack of a computer.  I am so excited to try out the video feature and promise that lots of tutorials will be coming your way!  I have some ideas of tutorials or posts that I'd like to do but ultimately I would like to hear how I can best help you?  PLEASE let me know!  This blog is for helping you and others  so if there is a need, I want to know.

Coming up in 2014:
  -How to curl your hair (with extensions in)
  -How to properly wash and care for extensions
  -Skinny Jeans:  The new short trend
  -Long trenches
  -Fun and Funky Tights
  -Mid-calf trend
  -Makeup, makeup, makeup
  -Self tanners: How to tan at home and on a budget

This is some of my ideas so far...more to come!  Enjoy the pics. =)


Simon's very 1st Starbucks! (Estes Park, CO)

Playing with his cars on the flight

Christmas Cookies!

Gingerbread Houses

Christmas Eve Dinner

Estes Park,CO

Mama and Simon

Clark Christmas


Playing in a box 

Cousins

Opening his stocking

Estes Park, CO

SNOW


Playing with cousin Axel

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hair Extensions: How to Put Them In

Good morning ladies!

  I finally got the video uploaded!! Yay!! So this is how I clip them in when I wear them. It really takes very little time and is super handy. I wash and curl them about once a week and will do tutorials eventually on those as well. Let me know if you have questions!!




Have a great day!!

XOXO
Joy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"At Home" Eyelash Extensions

I have tried lots of different forms of eyelash extensions.  Eyelashes are something I'm kind of obsessed with so I love to try new things with them.  When I paid for actual extensions I didn't love them.  I'm not sure if it's because I tried to go the cheaper route and didn't get the right place to do them or if it's because I'm hard on my eyelashes but either way they seemed to get bent all wrong and annoyed me for various reasons.  I found that they would itch my eyes some and as they grew out they would rip out my own eyelashes which horrified me.  It just wasn't worth the money. 

Next I tried doing my own.  I bought the individual lashes and glue and would put them on.  Those I liked better because I could do them whenever I wanted and how I wanted.  I found that I could put on some and they would last about a week before I had to touch them up again.  I am such a perfectionist that I probably re-did them too often and once again, they would rip my eyelashes out when I took them off. 

I began to look for another solution (since now my eyelashes looked even worse than before) because I was pregnant and knew that I wouldn't have time as a Mom to keep up my eyelashes.  I wanted naturally long and thick lashes that could look great weather I had mascara on or not.  I googled celebrities and what they said they did for their lashes.  I took what the Kardashians admitted to using and figured I'd give it a try.  It was expensive but if it worked and lasted as long as it's reviews said it did, then it was way cheaper than extensions.

Enter:  Revitalash. 





This stuff is my biggest beauty secret to date.  It is amazeballs.  I cannot even tell you how much I love this stuff.  It truly, truly works.  My eyelashes are so long, thick and dark now that I don't mind not wearing maskara.  Of course, if I'm wearing makeup I do wear some but now I still feel feminine and like I have a little "something something" even without makeup.  I have so many people ask me where I got my extensions or are those really my lashes?  I just smile and say, "why yes, those are my actual eyelashes." 

I have purchased this on amazon.com or on drugstore.com.  The bigger bottle is a little more pricey (around $80 I think?) but will last you for months! (at least 6 months I'd say?)  Find it here. 

It is so easy to use - I just put some on in the morning after I have moisturized and voila, my lashes grow on their own. 


This is my lashes without makeup:




And here with makeup:

With Mascara

With Mascara

See??  Amazing!  If you can save for it - totally do it!  It is so worth it!


Let me know if you guys have any questions!!

Xoxo
Joy

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Quinoa Black Bean Bowls

This is another meal that we eat a lot!  You can use rice or quinoa - I use whatever I have in the pantry.  It is such an easy, quick meal to make.  I usually use it as an opportunity to clean out my fridge.  If you have any leftover meat from a previous meal (usually a roast chicken for me), it goes great as a topping and is a way to use it up.

Basically it goes something like this:

-Cooked quinoa or brown rice (I season mine with some liquid aminos and coconut oil)

Top with:
-Black beans (you can either simmer them on the stove so that they're softer or eat them straight out of the can - drained and rinsed)
-Fresh cut tomatoes
-Avocado
-Shredded, roast chicken (or any leftover meat)
-Shredded raw cheddar cheese
-Steamed Kale (or whatever veggie you have in the fridge that needs to be eaten)
-Nutritional yeast - we love this stuff!  If you don't know what this is, this explains it.
-Salsa

As you can see this is a very easy meal with lots of options.  Feel free to mix and match or substitute to your heart's desire.  It is also a great meal to make for a group because it's not hard to make in bigger quantities and it's not expensive!






I eat this a lot for lunches and love it.  Simon loves it too - I just blend his all up and he eats it with me.

Enjoy!

XOXO
Joy

Saturday, November 30, 2013

To Simon: On Your 1 Year Birthday

To my eldest, my firstborn, Simon, on the day you turn 1!  Happy Birthday my sweet boy!  I don't call this your first birthday because you already had that - on the day you were born.  What a glorious morning that was when you arrived.  We were thrilled to have you here after a very long night (technically 36 hours) of labor.



 You were quiet when you were born - not crying, just a few whimpers to make sure that we knew you were here and needed us.  I remember Peter saying something to our midwife about that fact and how he expected you to be crying.  Once he requested it, you gave him what he wanted and proceeded to give your lungs a nice workout for the next 15-20 minutes.  You have always been your father's son.





I had never seen your Daddy cry until I saw him hold you for the first time.  You turned his world upside down in one instant and he has never been the same.  I know this for a fact.  We became "Mama and Papa Bears" as Peter likes to say.




You gave me the greatest gift that I didn't know I wanted:  Motherhood.  You were the biggest surprise of our lives but also were by far the best one. I didn't know that this past year would be the happiest of my life with being your Mama.  No one told me what joy awaited in it.  Plenty of people told me otherwise....but I have since realized how wrong they were.  Staying home with you everyday is exciting.  It's an adventure and a thrill.   It's rewarding and the most fulfilling thing that I have ever done.  We have so much fun together and now that you are older, you are quickly becoming the buddy that I want with me everywhere.



You are very sweet with a great disposition.  You smile and chatter constantly.  People love to stop and say hi or smile at you and most of the time you respond with a big smile.  You have yet to mind being left with a perfect stranger as you love people and are extremely sociable. Your strength betrays your age and most have been surprised to hear that you aren't 1 yet.  Curiosity should be your middle name as you are into everything lately!  Because you now know what "no" and "no touch" mean, I can see you weighing the consequences of your insatiable desire to see things up close (which wins some of the time). Despite that, you have a tender heart and bend your will fairly easily. You have the Harrington intelligence for sure and it shows through your eyes - I could tell from just a few months on that you understood things at a more mature level.  I have a feeling that once you begin talking, you will have a hard time stopping!

And now today marks a whole year since you came into our lives.  I can not believe it.  I knew it was coming quickly but now that it's here I don't know where the time went.  I am afraid to blink and you will be 18 and leaving us as a young man.  I am not sure how my heart will handle that!

I look forward to watching you grow and become the man that God wants you to be.  I am honored and humbled to be a part of it.

You have had so many "firsts" this year that I have tried to write down so that I will remember them....but I often times think about your "lasts" and how much I want to cherish them as well:  The last time that you crawl.  The last time that you pull on my legs wanting me to pick you up.  The last time that you sit on my lap or cuddle after naps.  The last time that you want me (instead of Daddy) to comfort you.  The last time that you hold my hand.  The last time that you let me kiss you in public....or at home.  The last time that you ask me to play with you....

I am making a conscious effort to remember that the time is coming when you won't do all of these things anymore.  I don't take that lightly.


I will deeply cherish these days with you and I know that someday I will ache for them.  Thank you, my sweet, happy boy for turning me into your Mama.  Happiest of Birthdays to you!  

Love you with all of my heart,

Mama

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year it is easy for me to find so much to be thankful for.  I feel extremely blessed to have the life that I have and I don't take it for granted.  Jesus has done so much for me and my family over the past few years that it's hard to even know where to begin!

A year ago today, my water broke beginning the labor process to bring my sweet, little boy into this world.  Wow, my life sure changed - for the better!  I didn't know that this past year would have so much joy, adventure, excitement, fulfillment, reward and plain old happiness as I have had.  It has by far been the happiest year of my life to be raising my son with my best friend.

We had no idea what an incredible, undeserved blessing Jesus was giving us when he sent us Simon.  We are humbled and feel honored and privileged to be raising a child of the King.

Here are some of our family photos that we got for his 1 year birthday (in 2 days!).  He is such a happy little guy and it definitely shows.








Happy Thanksgiving!

XOXO
Joy

Monday, November 25, 2013

Leg Warmers!

Hey girls! 
  My laptop decided to officially die last Monday and my blog has been hard to keep up from my phone which is why there haven't been many posts. I will try to keep up on it but they will probably be a bit sporadic. 

Leg Warmers:  These are such a fun and cute trend right now and so practical in cold weather! Pair some leg warmers with boots for a small touch of flair that makes a noticeable difference. 


Or find some with lace for added femininity! 



See? So fun and they're not expensive at all! You can find them pretty much anywhere. They are super cute on little girls too so it's a fun gift idea for Christmas! 

Have a great Monday!

XOXO
Joy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hair Extensions

Okay, girls, let's be honest here.  Hair:  We all want it but for some reason we think, "Well it doesn't count unless it's all mine - unless it's real."  Now, I get it.  I used to think that way too.  But our world is changing rapidly and guess what?  That mantra is a thing of the past.  It is more common than not for celebrities to have hair extensions and you'd be amazed at how many women walking around have them too.  I used to think that only really vain people used hair extensions and then as I looked into it and began to pay attention, I realized how many people actually use them now and how much of a difference they can make.  Hey, there is nothing wrong with getting a little help in this department if you need it or would like it. 

This is actually really liberating because it means we don't have to be born with amazing hair to enjoy amazing hair.  I personally benefit from this because I wasn't born with that long, luxurious, natural mane.  My hair is okay and can actually grow pretty long.  BUT, it's thin - more thin now after baby than it was before, which means that it gets really stringy and flat when it's long. 


Example of stringy, thin hair

Proffessional hair extensions are far too expensive for me to try and a huge upkeep so I thought I would never be able to try them.  (I wanted good, quality looking ones.)  Then someone told me that because hair extensions are so popular now that they had some great clip in ones at Sally's.  I figured I would go check them out.  They had multiple colors and lengths at Sally's and they are all 100% human hair (a must).  I bought a set and tried them out on a vacation that Peter and I went on.  They were nice but quite a bit longer than my actual hair so I felt like they didn't blend that well and looked more fake.  I used them a few times and put them away.

After I had Simon and was complaining to my sister about my super thin hair, she suggested trying my clip ins again.  I tried them and loved them so much that I began to wear them pretty consistently.  My hair had grown and was almost exactly  the same length as my extensions so they added precisely what I needed - volumne.  I kicked myself inwardly for not having used them sooner!  They made a world of difference and allowed me to not be so hard on my own hair in trying to produce volumne. 



Then I colored my hair dark for the fall (and of course forgot to take in my extensions to have them colored).  My hair looked even more thin now that it was dark and so I decided to go check out Sallys again.  Because my hair was the same length as my current extensions, I decided to go to the next length.  I got some 18 inch ones that matched my new color perfectly and that's what I use now.  I cannot tell you how much I love them.  They are a lifesaver.  My hair is long, luxurious and so easy to do!  I seriously wash them like once a week (or longer), curl them once and that's it.  I can clip them in and out and use them almost every day without having to curl them again.  I have instant volumne, length and curl whenever I want.  They take me about 4 minutes to clip in and I wear them all day. 




I have had my blonde ones for almost 2 years now and I plan on having my dark ones even longer.  Considering how much I wear them, the price at Sally's is very reasonable.  For the exact ones that I have find them here.  I am very interested to try these the next time I would have to get any.  I have heard amazing reviews on them.  It's a big purchase, but considering how long you will use them and wear them, it's totally worth it.  Start saving now.  =) 


I will be doing a future post about how to wash/style and clip them in.  Have a fabulous day! 


XOXO
Joy

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marriage, Part 1

Peter surprised me on Saturday night with a date to one of my favorite restaurants followed by a concert to one of my favorite artists (with super close seats might I add).  He had purchased the tickets 3 months ago and was dying to tell me.  It was a magical night.  It's amazing how much more you appreciate those kinds of nights once you have children because they don't happen as easily or as often. You almost feel giddy just to be out and alone. 


But marriage isn't always fancy dinners or dates.  It's hard, painful and lonely at times.  It requires an incredible amount of character, growth, humility and dying to self.  It's impossible without a force or motivation bigger than you or your spouse. 

I grew up in a Christian home where I heard all of these things and was prepared for marriage to be hard.  But I had still bought the lie that "Surely it shouldn't be this hard".  When we struggled and hit a point of wondering if our marriage would make it, I wrestled with guilt and thinking that I must have done something wrong or married the wrong person for this to be happening.  I doubted because of it.  When Jesus began to redeem our marriage, he finally broke through my lies and freed me from the accompanying guilt.  He showed me that marriage can't make it without Him being the driving force.  I realized that marriage in general is a war and that's okay.  There is a real force at work in our world to destroy marriages and everything they represent.  Marriage is supposed to be a glory to God and represents His relationship with us.  Only in our brokeness and Jesus' redeeming work is it a glory to Him therefore I should rejoice in it instead of feeling guilt and shame.  This freed me to let go and let Jesus be front and center of our story.  I cannot tell others of the amazing, redeeming work He has done for us if I do not also share the brokeness.  He has given me much to praise Him for so I gladly share what I used to be too ashamed and guilt ridden to even consider telling anyone. 


I write this to encourage anyone out there who is struggling and feeling guilty or wrong about it.    You are not alone.  I have been there and have come out on the other side, walking with Jesus and Peter.  If He can change our marriage in the ways that He has, then He can certainly do the same for you.  There is no shame in brokeness and coming to the end of yourself.  In fact, it's a beautiful place to be because it allows Him to create something new and even more beautiful than you had before.  Go to Him.  It is so worth it.


"This is my story, this is my song:  praising my Savior all the day long.  This is my story, this is my song:  praising my Savior all the day long."


And so I share our story....

(To be Continued)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stripes & Sweaters

When the weather turns cold and the holidays begin to approach, I love to have a couple "go to" sweaters in my closet that I can be cozy and cute in.  I have seen a ton of cute sweaters out this year and they are longer in the back than in the front which makes them great to pair with skinny jeans!  It's also fun that stripes are really big right now!  They have a lot of fun and funky designs out there - you really can't go wrong. =) 

 





Tip:  Pairing a bright accessory with an otherwise plain (color wise) outfit will give it a great pop. 

Sweater:  H&M - If I remember it was around $20. 


Have a wonderful weekend!
 
XOXO
Joy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Brown Rice Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Parmesan

This is one of my quick "go to" meals that I love to prepare when I need something substantial with not a lot of time.  You don't have to use brown rice pasta - it could be any kind.  I love brown rice pasta because it has a fairly good consistency provided you cook it right.  It must be al dente - you cannot cook it til it's soft or it will fall apart.  I make this recipe vegetarian but you could easily add some meat to it. 

This recipe is for 1 box of brown rice pasta (probably around 3 adults).  Double the sauce if you want it more saucy or if you are making more pasta.  I really don't measure for my recipes - I'm a "hand measure" or eyeball it girl. 


1.  Start your water boiling for your pasta and make sure it's nice and salty!  It should be as salty as salt water from the ocean.  It will flavor your pasta nicely.

2.  Slice an onion, bell pepper and mushrooms.  Throw those in a saute pan with some coconut oil and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes.


 

3.  Add a bunch of fresh grape (or cherry) tomatoes to your saute pan, cover with a lid and let them begin to "sweat".

4.  After 3-4 minutes, the tomatoes will be ready to "pop".  Take a flat spatula and smash them gently til they burst open.  Be careful, they can splatter you. 


 

 
5.  Add 1 can of tomatoe sauce to this mixture along with oregano, basil and salt (not too much cause your pasta will be slightly salty). Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.  (Depending on how much time you  have.)  I had some extra sauce in my fridge that I was using up so it's a little more full in this picture...


 
 

6.  Once your pasta is done cooking, drain it, rinse it and put it back in the pan that it cooked in. 

7.  When your sauce is done, add a little honey to cut the acidity of the tomatoe sauce and pour the sauce over the pasta.  You don't want to cook the honey or it will burn so put it in right at the end. (TIP:  if your children will not like all the veggies in this sauce, blend it all together before pouring it over the pasta - it will make a thicker, hearty sauce and they won't be picking out veggies.) 

8.  Sprinkle on a generous amount of parmesan cheese and toss the whole thing together until well coated.  Serve immediately.
 



 
Enjoy!
 
XOXO
Joy

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

6 Tips For Incorporating Workouts

Physical activity is such an easy thing that anyone can do every day to improve multiple facets of their lives.  And it’s free
Studies show so many positive effects from physical activity that it's impossible to ignore or deny its importance in our daily lives.  It reduces stress, is a natural antidote for depression, aids with digestion, improves heart health, helps with circulation, increases brain function, gives you energy, lowers blood pressure, improves your mood, combats disease, promotes better sleep, etc.  Do we really need any other convincing that working out is hugely important?  The following aren't facts but when I workout I find that my food tastes better, my sleep feels sweeter and my overall outlook is more positive and productive.  When I was pregnant, working out made all the difference in how I felt.  I was less sick, slept better, had more energy, drank more water, had less overall issues and felt incredible on the days that I worked out.  There is nothing like a good workout when you are big and pregnant to make you feel like you are the woman!  =) 

Before I get into some of my workout routines, I'd like to share some tips to helping you get started with a regular, habitual time that you dedicate to physical activity. 

1.  Do what is fun for you.  If you hate working out, you can't expect to force yourself to
get up every day and muscle through something that you despise while hoping it becomes a habit.  So don't.   You have to ease into things.  Give yourself something practical that you know that you can stick to because honestly, the biggest part of the battle is setting a habit first.  Set a habit of a specific time everyday (or every other day) that you set aside for your activity and stick to it.  Once you have the habit set, you can introduce new things into that workout.  You can start with just putting aside time to stretch or go sit outside for some quiet time.  Then maybe take a little stroll and enjoy some time to just think and be outside.  Once you have that habit, you can increase your pace or try a little jogging here and there while you walk etc.  You get the idea.  Just ease into it. 

2.  Be proactive in making time in your schedule You have time - you just have to make it a priority.  Pick a time that you can be consistent with several times a week and stick to it.  A tip with this is to pick the time of day when you can give your best to your workout.  Pick a time where you can focus, work hard and have the right mindset.  If that means getting up early or doing it late at night that is fine.   Just find which works best for you where, again, it can be habitual.

3.  Commit to a # of days a week that you want to get in a workout in and stick to it Pick the number rather than the days because life is unpredictable so some weeks will look different than others.  Picking the number rather than the days allows you to be flexible week to week with which days will work for you.

4.  Utilize the friends in your life who are on this path and can help you with yours If you know people who have this interest as well then use it to your advantage.  Ask them to work out with you or to help give you ideas for your regimen.  When Simon was 3 months old, my dear friend Grace was my faithful, workout "drill sergeant".  We would meet at the mall a couple times a week (before the mall was open) to jog with our strollers and do some circuit training.  Once the weather was nice we switched to meeting at parks.  I knew that I was in a season in my life where I needed the extra help with being faithful in my workouts so I called up Grace.  Find those people.

5.  Remember it's the quality not the quantity How hard you work during your workout will trump how long you go for.  Your workouts do not have to be long at all.  I have some days where I take 10 - 15 minutes to crank one out.  If you are working hard enough, your length of time can be shortened.  I love circuit training for this very reason.  It is a whole body workout that combines cardio with strength training (often time using your own body weight for resistance) and usually is very easy to do at home.  Crossfit is a great example of circuit training.  I love that you can do it anywhere and use the principles with anything.  I say that if you leave the gym or your workout looking the same as when you entered then you are not working hard enough.  A great way to gauge this is by your sweat.  I have to work up a good sweat to know that I worked hard enough.  Obviously there will be days when you don't have the energy or your body is telling you that it needs a break and that's okay too. 

6.  Something is better than nothing.  I have to remind myself of this constantly.  When Simon was only a few months old and I was struggling with dropfoot, my workouts felt like a big let down because they were not nearly what I had worked up to before birth.  I struggle with feeling like my workouts don't count unless I can feel it and see it (aka the sweat gauge).  But this is absolutely not true.  Spending time doing a physical activity is always better than doing none at all.  Don't listen to that voice that says otherwise. 


In the future, I would like to share some of my workout routines with all you ladies - both my at home ones and at the gym ones.  Let me know if you have any questions or requests! 

XOXO
Joy

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Makeup Tutorial: The Basics

Ok, girls, I tried and tried but for some reason, I can't upload the video that I made.  I think I need a different program - or possibly an Ipad (wink wink).  =) 
 
But because I promised you all, I found a makeup tutorial that is almost exactly the way I do mine.  I have a couple different tweaks to it but it's pretty spot on. 
 
A couple of tips:  I wash and moisturize my face and then let my face sit for about 10 minutes before I do any makeup.  I have found that you need to give your lotion time to properly dry or you will get blotchy areas and it won't look good.  You can obviously let it go longer than 10 minutes but it needs to be at least that.  So throw on your lotion (on a clean face) and go do something else (I usually make coffee and feed my baby). 
 
 
 
Here it is:


http://www.maskcara.com/tag/4-minute-makeup/



I hope you all enjoy it!  Again, I am so bummed and so sorry that my video didn't work.  I am going to keep trying new things and hopefully can get it working in the future!




 
My daily makeup.
 
 
 
 
XOXO
Joy