Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: 2017

August 16, 2017

A Thank You...

With all the craziness we experience day to day, and all the unexpected things life can throw at us I try to remember to be thankful.

I will admit, it's not easy...especially when you're in the midst of a tough time or just a hectic day. Here's some things I've been thankful for lately and a thank you to those who have made my days better.

Thank you to the Target cashier who struck up conversation about the things she liked from my cart while all I was thinking about was how much I had to do when I got home. Talking about tacos and baby clothes really got my mind in a better place.

Thank you to the postman at work who always comes in with a cheerful hello in the middle of a crazy day.

Thank you to Bravo, E! and MTV for producing shows that are kind of a hot mess, but make me happy and let me binge on watching other people's lives.

Thank you to the drive thru workers at Chick-fil-A for always being so sweet and acting like I don't visit your restaurant too much.

Thank you to the people in line at the store who see you only have one or two things opposed to their 30 items and let you go before them to save you time.

Thank you to palm trees, a good sky and cupcakes for always making me smile.

Thank you to people who still love me even though my ankles are already preggo swollen and ugly.

Life is too short and crazy not to appreciate the little things, spread a little love today.

Who do you want to say thank you to?

August 10, 2017

My Latest Ulta Haul

I'm a Sephora girl through and through, but I do love that I can pick up a wide variety of products at Ulta. Ours recently got a facelift that makes browsing a lot brighter, easier and more fun for me too.
ulta haul
I love the deals and buy one get one offers that Ulta seems to have more than Sephora too. It's dangerous for a beauty lover like me, so today I thought I would share some of my (too many) recent purchases.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel- a last minute waiting in line impulse buy that I'm really enjoying. I started with a small size to try it out and it is awesome. I'm not used to a non-foaming cleanser so at first I wondered if my face was truly getting clean, but the smell and results are wonderful.
mario badescu ulta
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: Mattifying- I've only used this a few times since purchasing since I am finishing up the other bottle I have. I'm interested to see how the mattifying version compares to the others I have tried. Has anyone used this? I'll keep you posted on what I think!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick-A few weeks ago these were on sale for $13 so I picked up Bella and Perla. I LOVE how easily these glide on and the color really does last (almost) all day. Bella is the perfect bright pink and Perla is an awesome neutral pink...I've been wearing that almost every day.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting Cream-I've purchased this before, and went only a few days without it when I stocked up again. I have some scarring from acne years ago and this is amazing under foundation. When my skin is really acting great I'm able to wear it alone without foundation. It's so lightweight, and you don't even feel like you have anything on. This is a MUST if you have any sort of redness or troubled skin.
it cosmetics redness
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge- I saw this mentioned on Cara's blog recently and had to pick one up....I'm sad I didn't sooner! I love the angled edge and the price tag too. I've had Beauty Blenders before, and am much more impressed with this sponge. The rounded side is for blending, the tip is good for blemishes, and the flat edges are to be used for contouring around the eyes and nose. Thanks Cara for the great recommendation!

Lash Princess Volume Mascara- After trying the False Lash Effect one, I scooped up another and the volume mascara during a BOGO deal. I love how inexpensive this mascara is, and I use it after my primer and before a layer of another brand...lately that's been Tarte Maneater. I still love the False Lash Effect mascara better, but they are both nice products.
best mascara buys
NYX Butter Gloss- I LOVE this stuff, but wanted to try a few new colors so another BOGO purchase happened, oops. I am currently loving Strawberry Parfait and Sugar Cookie- both fun Summer colors. My all time favorite is Angel Food Cake...I feel like it's a color that looks good with everything and on every skin tone.
best budget beauty buys
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion- I left this in the medicine cabinet at our old house and quickly remembered once a little pesky breakout popped up. I love this stuff and how small of an amount you need to really take care of business...it lasts forever!
2017 best beauty

ulta buys

If you're looking for more great deals you can check out my post with The Best Sephora Buys Under $20
What's one thing you've picked up and LOVED lately?! Let me know, I love trying new things!

August 7, 2017

Baby Lawrence- 23 Week Bumpdate

Happy Monday friends! Today marks 24 weeks with Baby Lawrence, and I always look forward to Monday's for one thing...and one thing only. That is-- seeing what baby girl is this week in terms of size and what new things are on my baby app.

I figured I would share another update since the only one so far was right at the end of the first trimester. Last week it hit me...4 months until baby is here with us. That makes me so happy, kind of nervous...but way more excited than anything else.

Size: Baby girl is the size of a Barbie Doll, or a bunch of grapes if we're talking food. I have my Ovia app settings for baby size in Fun & Games....and it really is fun!

Sickness: Not so much anymore, I was clear for a while...no sickness at all. Recently it's hit me once or twice a week out of nowhere, weird times of the day and usually only once. Thank goodness!

Cravings: Chick- Fil-A nuggets...I don't crave much, but when I do it's usually these.

Weight Gain: -37 pounds. I lost A LOT during my period of really bad sickness, and so far have gained 3 back. I eat, and eat...and not much is coming back. Kind of nice in a way, but we also need me to grow so baby can grow, especially once we hit the third trimester. 

Physical Changes: My skin is still on the drier side. My feet are swelling easier, and I've been told to stay off them as much as I can when I get home from work. It's hard to listen to that, especially when I'm usually an on the go type of person but I'm doing what I need to so this baby gets here safely.
19 weeks-size of a video game controller

 20 weeks- size of a paper airplane

21 weeks- size of a baseball hat

22 weeks- size of a water bottle

23 weeks- size of a Barbie doll

Sleep: I sleep great. Usually I'm the one who is passed out in bed first most nights, but lately I'm up past Chuck, which is rare. I am typically up 2-3 times a night hitting the bathroom, especially more lately because I'm tracking my water and really trying to up my intake.
Unless I am absolutely exhausted, I can't sleep in anymore. Ask my husband, this is not normal for me. I swear it's my body training me for baby. When people used to ask me if we were going to have children my first admitted fear was not waking up to hear the baby during the night. This change has happened since finding out I was pregnant, so it's kind of funny and helpful in a way.

Purchases: *insert big eyed emoji face here* I've bought a lot of clothes, but every single thing but about 2 items has been on sale, so it's okay, right?! I'm trying not to buy too many necessities until after the baby shower, and seeing what we receive. I've bought a few other things here and there, but mainly clothes...they're just so damn cute.

How I'm Feeling: To be honest, this hasn't been the easiest journey. First, it was all the sickness and more sickness, and trying out prescriptions to find something that worked. Next, it was being sent to a thyroid specialist and finding out things aren't what they should be in that area. About a month ago, we were in Harrisburg to see my Uncle get inducted to the State Sports Hall of Fame when we had an emergency with some cramping and bleeding and were rushed to the Emergency Room. That rocked my world, I don't know that I've ever been so scared in my life. The minute I heard her heartbeat I felt like I could breathe again. I have a bruise on my placenta which caused the bleeding and now have placenta previa, which means my placenta is covering the opening to my cervix. If it doesn't move I have to have a C-section, and if that's the worst of it...I'll take it. Last week I was sent to another specialist to monitor my thyroid along with the ways it is affecting the baby. Unfortunately, due to the problems I've been having our little babe is a little behind in the growth area and I have almost no amniotic fluid. After checking things out they sent me to the hospital to do some tests because they thought my water may have broke, thankfully it did not.
I debated talking about these things publicly, but I think that it helps me to write it out. I'm a very anxious person by nature, so throw in hormones, scares, specialists and a high-risk pregnancy and it's been difficult. Somehow, I've been as calm as I can through it all. Our support system helps immensely and I don't know what I would do without everyone's prayers, thoughts and kindness. Again, I have to thank my amazing husband for everything, his patience, his reassurance and his positivity...yes, it's what any partner would do- but it's exactly what I need and makes me extra thankful for a wonderful Daddy for this family.
I hope that if I can spread any awareness with anyone dealing with ANYTHING...not just baby related, it's to take it day by day. That's what I'm doing because it's basically the only thing I can do.
Every kick in my belly, every movement, every sonogram keeps me going and reminds me to stay calm. Worrying is not healthy, keeping the faith is what is best for all of us right now.
So, thank you to each and every one of you who has sent us prayers and positive vibes, we hear them and baby can feel them...day by day we will get there.

Most Excited For: Overall, just her to be here. She can take her sweet time growing, but I can't wait to hold her. I am looking forward to the baby shower, we set a date and booked a venue and are working on all the fun stuff that comes with celebrations, so that will be fun!

Every moment of sickness, swelling feet, tears, worries and more is so worth it. I know that not everyone gets to experience this journey and it's really a huge miracle that I can't properly explain...it's a blessing.

If you've made it to the end of this, high five! and thank you for reading about the latest with our little babe. We are so excited for what's to come.

Have a great start to your week!

August 2, 2017

5 Easy Ways to Have the Best Weekend

We've been having some of the BEST weekends lately....that I never want to forget. I'm learning ways to enjoy them more and celebrate with ways that aren't too hard on the bank account.

Here's how...
1. Laundry throughout the week-
I hate being a slave to the washer and dryer on the weekend so I try to start on Thursday after work with one or two loads, maybe another Friday night and finish it up on Sunday after the fun is done. Throwing in a load here and there sure helps to not be doing everything on the precious weekend. It helps that our teenager does his own, even if we do have to remind him a handful of times.

2. Grocery shop (or some other chore) on a random weeknight instead of the weekend-
I'm no fan of grocery shopping, in fact...I hate it. Chuck is much better at it and doesn't seem to mind it (at least he doesn't complain about it to me). So when I do grocery shop it's either on a Monday or Tuesday after work. Life has been much easier with the ability to do it online, a lifesaver that only costs $5 to do it all on the computer and schedule a pick-up. Thank you Giant Eagle!
If you enjoy grocery shopping, high five to you...instead pick a different chore to do on a random weeknight.

3. Enjoy one meal out-, whether it's breakfast lunch or dinner...or even dessert-
Sometimes the weekends are so busy that we can't help but have a meal outside the home. Sometimes it's a late Saturday brunch or a Sunday lunch and sometimes I'm just craving dessert. Try somewhere new, venture outside of chain restaurants, spend time outside while you eat...all so fun.

4. Take a drive-
I LOVE to go for rides...and sometimes we do just that. A ride to nowhere, or to watch the sunset. It's a great way to escape and it's free (except for gas of course). Blast some music, take some snacks and just drive and enjoy the company of your friend or the moments alone.

5. Write down 1 or 2 things you really want to do-
What are your plans for the weekend? If you don't have any, sometimes it can fly by way too quick and you're left thinking...what did I even do?! Take time mid-week to find something new to do, or something you really have been wanting to do again. Write it down and make that your priority for the weekend. YOU DESERVE IT!

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the weekend? Share with me, I'd love to add to my list!

August 1, 2017

July Favorites

Please tell me how it is August?! I can't believe we are more than halfway through the year. Even more of a reminder to enjoy every second. It's time to talk about my favorites from July!

Favorite Recipe: My link-up pal Macy shared some delicious sounding recipes for DIY Cold Brew Coffee...and I can't wait until post baby bump to try these. That coconut one has me drooooling!

Favorite "Let's Be Real" Advice: Veronika talks about online hate that you receive as a blogger or as a popular influencer. When I first found a hate forum by googling someone's blog name I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It's awful and while you definitely shouldn't believe it she explains why you shouldn't ignore it either.

Favorite Moment: July was a pretty fun month, from celebrating the Fourth to seeing our friends from Florida, and enjoying my birthday and time with family in between...so many great memories. But, our gender reveal takes the (cup)cake. Whether Baby Lawrence was destined to be a boy or a girl, we sure are blessed either way. It was so special to have our family and some close friends there to enjoy the big moment with us!
Favorite Blogger Post: I just love Dana from Pink Champagne Problems...she's adorable and let's us know the real story. Even though she's a fashion blogger, which I am not...I always relate to her posts and appreciate her advice. This month her post about dealing with social pressure on having the perfect life was dead on, especially when you share your life on the Internet.

Favorite Purchase: Hmmm...soooo many good things, especially with the #NSale (see what I bought) but, this sweet little bunny with our baby girl's heartbeat playing inside was the best purchase ever. I can't get over how amazing it is to hear that sound whenever we want. Definitely a great idea for a gift to anyone you know who is expecting!

Favorite Beauty Post: I may have to go out and purchase everything in Lindsay's Nightly Skincare Routine post because her skin is so gorgeous. I love how she uses a combination of products and switches it up, because I think our skin and bodies can get too used to one thing. I will be playing around with some of these products and can't wait to see the results!

Favorite Travel Post: Alyssa has been in Boston for 13 years, so she knows a thing or two about the best spots for different activities. Her post about the best rooftop bars in Boston has definitely been added to my Pinterest Travel board!

Favorite Awesome Product Post: I'm having so much fun following Sarah's wedding planning journey...half because I really enjoy her and the other half because I wish I was doing it all over again. If you know ANYONE planning a wedding, you need to tell them about her favorite wedding planning tool that comes in a box...it's seriously amazing. She also divulges some of her cool, creative ideas for her big day...so cute!

Friends, it's so good to be back in a regular blogging routine. I hope you'll link up with Macy and I to share your monthly goals, recaps, or favorite moments...we would love to have you join!

Have a great Tuesday, and come back tomorrow for another new post with some good advice for slowing down time ;)

July 31, 2017

Cupcake Or Stud Muffin? Baby Lawrence Gender Reveal

As most of you already know, Baby Lawrence is a CUPCAKE...coming this November. I still wanted to share the details of our reveal here and have the memories in words for years to come.

I'll start with some details of our 18 week anatomy scan because it's kind of funny. At the previous doctor's appointment our gender scan was scheduled for Tuesday June 27, so from there we planned our gender reveal party for that Saturday July 1st. Waiting only a few days was already going to kill me, so we wanted to do the reveal as soon as possible.

Chuck and I show up for the sonogram and they ask if we are finding out the gender. I explained we wanted to be surprised, but are doing a reveal so if she could put the gender in an envelope it would be passed on to our cupcake baker for the next step. The sonogram technician measured all the different body parts to make sure everything was moving along as expected. She then told us to close our eyes so she could find the gender. Well, about 3 minutes of moving things around, and pressing on my stomach she says "Baby isn't cooperating, we may not be able to find out the gender today." At that time she told us we could open our eyes and I looked at Chuck with probably one hell of a look. My heart was racing but I didn't want to say anything rude, so I didn't say anything at all. All I could think was oh my gosh, we have food ordered, people are coming, cupcakes....and we don't know what this baby is?!

She did more measuring, let us see things up close for a long time which was really awesome and special. I could sit there for hours and watch our sweet little babe. She asked if we wanted to try again and YES!. Thank goodness, she found the gender after a few minutes and Chuck joking around asking if she was positive--we then sealed the gender inside the envelope because I knew I would be tempted to peek.

I had decided long ago that Cupcake or Stud Muffin would be the theme of our gender reveal once I was pregnant. We all know how obsessed I am with cupcakes, so our wonderful baker Allie Cakes (who did our wedding cupcakes and cake) received the gender envelope and filled 3 cupcakes with either pink or blue icing for Chuck, Ethan and I to bite in to at the reveal party.
The invites were from TonikaCarter on Etsy, who was extremely kind and helpful!


We were so excited to celebrate baby with our family and some close friends and of course I decorated with pink and blue everything (details in the pictures below).

I'll share the hilarious end epic video which I've probably watched at least 80 times by now before more pictures. Thank you to Ethan's friends for playing camera crew and getting this special moment recorded for us.

For some reason I was shaking and so nervous right before we did it, and obviously wasn't thinking straight since I handed Ethan a knife. I don't think this could have happened any other way...typical Ethan being a teenager who didn't want to get frosting on his face. He's always being comical in some way, and gender reveal day was no different.

It was SUCH a fun day and I can't thank everyone for their sweet words enough...such a special time for our family.

Ethan asked me about the Old Wives Tales the night before our party and changed his vote to GIRL after seeing them. 

Pink and Blue EVERYTHING!

Cupcakes from Allie Cakes and cookies from Sugarstorm Cookies

The cookies matched our invitation PERFECTLY!
Almond cupcakes from Allie Cakes are my FAVORITE!

One of my cravings is Chick-Fil-A, so obviously we got a nugget tray as part of the party food!

A huge thank you to Allie from AllieCakes who made our reveal unique, special and so fun!

We are SO very excited to meet our sweet little cupcake this November and hope she continues to stay safe and healthy until her arrival to the world.

Thank you all so much for your kind words, messages and support throughout this journey, our family is so thankful for all of you!

July 28, 2017

Wedding Season: Gift Ideas for the Ones In Love

We are in the midst of wedding season...so many celebrations, parties and reasons to honor the couple in love. I am a big fan of getting fun with gift giving, and thinking outside the box (no pun intended) when it comes to these special occasions.

UnCommon Goods uses handmade, recycled and organic products which is an A+ in my book and when you check out on their site you are asked which non-profit organization you would like $1 to go to on behalf of their company...tell me that's not awesome!
Another reason I love UnCommon Goods is because of their wide variety of wedding gifts and cool options to choose from to stand out and be remembered when you're among the crowd at the wedding or bridal shower.

unique wedding gift ideas

Custom Map Serving Tray: Practical but unique gifts are always a win-win and are so good! I love this tray because you can pick the location to put on the map and then the couple can use it at their home. I would keep mine on our large ottoman in the living room or when hosting family and friends at our house, so cute!

Personalized Whiskey Barrel: We all know how I LOVE my bar cart! This barrel is totally cool and if we didn't already have one, I would be scooping it up for our home. This is perfect for the drink lovers and party throwers to wow the crowd and keep friends asking- where did you get that?! When they say your name, you'll be remembered for years to come as the coolest gift giver ever.

Personalized Wedding March Throw: For the homebodies, this is perfect to cozy up in on those newly married nights inside. You can customize the throw with a name and wedding date as a sweet token of love for the couple to remember for years to come. I love that it's black and white and can match so much in someone's home already!

When it comes to the bridal shower, my personal choice is to purchase something off the registry and incorporate something special and maybe personalized also. UnCommon Goods is my go to place for unique bridal shower gifts.

Date Night Bucket List: You know those games that are played at the shower or when you arrive and you're asked to share a date night idea for the couple?! Well, this does the work for you, how great! It includes 25 different date night ideas on sticks for the couple to pick and choose from, and cross off their list to keep them busy.

Personalized Library Card Pillow: This may be the nerd in me, but HOW CUTE IS THIS?!?! Put the family details on this adorable pillow and it's completely customized and cute for their couch. I love this, especially if they met at a library or school...perfect!

Last but not least, can I mention how hard choosing gifts can be for certain occasions even if you like shopping?! Anniversary gifts are now easier with UnCommon Goods...can I get a high five?!

Personalized Anniversary Pushpin World Map: This couldn't be more ideal for the couple that's been together 5, 15 or even 50 years! A map to track your travels together is a nice way to live adventurously every day from home and re-live those memories also.

Personalized Constellation of Love: A beautiful print that shows star charts of the night sky from a date you choose. I love stars and the sky, so this is really cool for anyone else that does too.

What is your favorite thing to give for weddings, showers or anniversaries?

I partnered with UnCommon Goods on this post for compensation, if you couldn't tell yet ;) I truly love this company and all ideas, words & opinions are mine. I always appreciate your support of the companies I work with on Dream Big and Buy the Shoes.

July 26, 2017

What I Bought From The #NSale

Ohhh the #NSale, also known as Christmas in July, or the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and nail-biting & teeth-clenching shopping event that's going on now. I lucked out and scored most of the items I had my eye on this year, some after re-stocks because they went THAT fast and wanted to share them with you today.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

I know some people aren't fans of jumping ahead to the next season, and I get it...because I like to enjoy the moment but I also love love love a deal and can't wait to scoop things up. I'm someone who rarely purchases anything without a coupon, sale or free shipping...so the Nordstrom Sale is right up my alley.

I want to begin with thanking Nordstrom for their amazing customer service (nope, not sponsored). We recently moved and although I changed my address on my Nordstrom credit card and the app, the items were shipping to my old address. Two of which said they had been delivered over the weekend when we were out of town. We got home, drove by our old place...and no packages. I immediately got on Twitter because they are always so helpful and responsive and started chatting with a rep, Allie. They re-ordered the delivered packages for no cost to me, and re-routed all of my already shipped items to our new address. Talk about customer service- so incredible! I was so thankful after going crazy shopping for items that had been sold out and re-added and thinking I was now out of luck with everything. Thank you Allie and Nordstrom for your efficient help and amazing kindness.
#NSALE 2017

The first items I purchased were of course, for baby girl. I have more fun shopping for her rather than me these days...and I think it will probably stay that way for the next 30 years :)
I first scooped up the North Face Buttery Fleece in white because it will be perfect for her first Winter, especially the cold we get in Erie. Along with that first order, I got her this cute and hilarious Breakfast at Mom's bib, because I couldn't resist.
Tell me this isn't adorable- a little baby adidas tee...I made sure to size up so she could wear it next Summer in to Fall. I've heard wonderful things about these Comotomo Baby Slow Flow Bottles for quite some time, and didn't get them on the first round but they came back in stock and I purchased 2 last week.

For me, the BP Lightweight Rib Stitch Cardigan seemed to be raved about and I can't pass up a cozy cardi.  I got it in burgundy stem and sized down based on reviews...unfortunately it's sold out at the moment, but re-stocks seem to be happening often so keep your eyes out if it's on your wish list!
This BP V-Strap Tee  looks super cute and easy to wear for a variety of occasions, so I got it in twilight blue. I also got two of the Lush Raw Edge Side Slit Tees in black and blue because I love their tops I have already. These keep going fast, but have been re-stocked a few times also!
One of my favorite fashion bloggers, Jade posted a picture with this cami, and it will be perfect under cardigans in the fall and is a great everyday basic item, which I love to buy during this sale!
Since leopard is a neutral to me, I grabbed the BP Leopard Print Scarf ...it's so inexpensive, how could you not?!

I didn't get any jeans which I kind of wanted to, but since I'll still be pregnant for part of Fall and then post Maternity the rest of Winter and am not sure what size will fit me best. There are a ton of great deals though, on so many items including shoes! The booties are undeniably cute this year, but they're not a necessity for me so again, not on my list.
I was happy with my purchases and may keep browsing in case I find any other necessities.

I can't wait to get all my packages in my hands and see everything in person. The Nordstrom Sale ends August 6th, so get your shopping in now! Did you get anything from the sale? Share your purchases with me!