Bloody Mary In a Bag


This week I had a little birthday lunch to attend. The rule with the lunch is that everyone brings the birthday people a little present with a max cost of $5 per person. I decided to get a little more creative than some handsoap or a candle (as per my usual gift), and came up with this on the fly...

I happened to be at Total Wine, where they had the travel sized bloody mary mixes and vodka, so I just grabbed some cute little bags and a lime and, voila, an easy and fun gift for each of the girls! Now, if they don't drink, well, I guess they can share it with someone else. :) And you could easily switch around the alcohol or the mix and it'd be just as cute for any little gift.

Finding a Healthy Balance


As my face has exploded, I've really taken a look at the bigger picture when it comes to my health. The more and more I read, the more I realize that I do believe that there is a huge correlation between what we put into our bodies and how we care for them in regards to the ailments that we have.

Especially when it comes to gut health and my skin.

Let me preface the remainder of this post by stating this - I am NO expert. On any of this. In fact, you might read something I post and think "that is NOT they way it should be," and, if so, please correct me. I'm learning as I go and there is so much out there on the Interwebs that often I become overwhelmed with it all and want to go sit in a corner and cry. But I know that, ultimately, this is the right decision for my body so, difficult or not, lifestyle changes must be made.

I've posted a few things here and there on Instagram, which has led many people to ask what exactly I'm changing around here.

So, here's my beginning of my health journey.

1) Bio-Kult Advanced Probiotic

I've toyed around with Probiotics for a while now, but I finally started a good regimen with a quality brand that I found through Wellness Mama (like Iowa Girl Eats for my food, Wellness Mama has become my bible for all things holistic). I typically take two a day at bedtime. Because I'm on antibiotics, I don't want to take them at the same time, or else the antibiotics will counteract the probiotics even moreso than usual.

2) Blue Ice Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend

I take two a day of these as well, usually one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

3) Gluten Free

I like to eat out. Eating out, gluten free, while not impossible, is hard. So while I'm pretty awesome at home, I'm struggling outside of the home. But it is something I plan to take on full-time forever because of the positive effects I'm already noticing (mainly less stomach pain, less reflux, less bloating).

Luckily, my little suburb just got this amazing bakery right around the corner from our house, so if I'm REALLY needing something sweet or a good piece of bread, I can run up to Unrefined Bakery and treat myself.

4) Weaning off Nexium

I have been taking Nexium for YEARS. It's awful, really. And so I am slowly weaning myself so that I can, hopefully, be Nexium free. I'm down to half of my usual dosage with no issues at all. I have started taking a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning, as well as incorporating into my daily water intake, to help with my acid levels and digestive issues.

5) Coconut Oil

It's like the mother of all oils, apparently. The few times I've cooked with it, I haven't been won over, but I'm still new at this game. I do, however, add some to my coffee each morning, along with ceylon cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and a little black pepper (explanation for the pepper here). I just use my nifty Magic Bullet NutriBullet and blend it all up. It's weird, tasted odd at first, and now I can't have my coffee without these things.

6) Gelatin

Apparently gelatin is a good thing for you. Since I'm having inflammation issues with my skin (seriously, you guys, it's a freaking mess), I've started having an afternoon cup of ginger and licorice tea and I incorporate a tablespoon of gelatin into this (and a little local, raw honey for sweetness). I need to incorporate more into my day, but, baby steps. I originally purchased Great Lakes, but, upon further research, it looks like Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides is the best. I purchased the collagen peptides as opposed to the gelatin so that I can easily drink in cold or hot beverages without it gelling. The craziest part? I swear my hair has grown 1/4" - 1/2" in just about two weeks.

7) Dry Brushing

You can read all about it here. My skin is definitely smoother and, combined with removing gluten, the yucky red bumps I used to have on the back of my arms and legs are completely gone. I bought this brush on Amazon, but will go for a longer handle the next time around!

So, that's the tip of my iceberg for the moment. I'm super interested in adding more natural remedies to my routine, but, like I said above, baby steps. Next up on my list are reincorporating magnesium into my routine and venturing into the great world of bone broth.

Any tips/tricks/resources you want to provide, I'd love to have them!

On the Farm


One of Ellie's first teachers, who has now become a friend of mine, did something I would never have the guts to do... two years ago, she packed up and sold her home and moved her family out to the country. Instead of spending her days fighting traffic and dealing with suburbia, she's tending to her land and raising animals - all while running a home with her husband and two young children.

Last weekend, she invited us out to check out her farm, meet some six-day-old baby goats (as well as pigs, chickens and miniature horses) and the kids had a total blast. It's a rarity for us to get to play around in nature like this, for the kids to get their hands into some real dirt, and to just enjoy life outside.

Ellie was a bit hesitant to hold the baby goat, but we got her to sit still for about a minute with one and I'm so glad I captured it.

My friend's daughter is quite the animal whisperer. She had names for nearly all of the animals on their land. She just turned six and she was handling them all, feeding the horses and chickens, etc. I cannot imagine HUT doing that, and he's barely a year younger. It's really special to watch.

These little goats were only six days old! The mama had three of them. They were absolutely adorable and loved to be snuggled, believe it or not.

The mini horses were her kids' Christmas presents this year. :)

I was so impressed at how naturally taking care of all of these animals was for Miss C. I definitely see a future veterinarian in this one.

HUT declared to us all that he was "allergic" to animal fur, so he opted to play in the dirt instead. Quite a clever response when we all know he was just a bit scared to hold any of the animals.

We all can't wait to go back. There really is something peaceful about being out in the country, listening to the animals and enjoying the fresh air. And we are so lucky to have friends a mere 20 minutes away that will let us come over and play. While I don't think I quite have it in me to move away from a big town, it really does make you think when you realize how beautiful it can be.

And then I remember that there are some pretty scary snakes in the country. And I'm back to being just fine with where we are at.

Superhero Valentines


Last year, around this time, I was having one of my usual "should I or shouldn't I keep blogging" moments and I never got around to posting our Valentines. Since it's about the only holiday I have been consistent with clever gifts, I figured I should share this one as well!

I found the superhero gliders on Amazon, but I think you could probably buy them from Oriental Trading as well. I also found these that look adorable (and had they had them last year, I probably would have purchased instead). I'm sure there are quite a few great options for really reasonable prices if you hunt long enough online.

Click on the image below, and there's a free printable for you to use as well. I just left off the name so that you can fill in accordingly. Happy creating!

Poking Our Ears


From the moment Ellie first stepped foot into James Avery (the go-to for charm bracelets in this neck of the woods) and saw all of the jewelry, all that we heard was "I want my ears poked!" Translation: I want my ears pierced.

Over. And over.

We bought her a necklace and placed a charm on order for a bracelet, but, alas, that was not going to cover it. She kept crying to have those ears poked.

I didn't want to pierce her ears when she was a baby - that just wasn't my thing. At the age of three, my hesitation was that she'd be a little too curious and pull them out or play with them a bit too much. But, here we were, at a crossroads.

Many, many moons ago, I read an article online about how taking your child to a proper piercer, a la a tattoo or piercing shop, was the best possible way to go. These people are trained and do it for a living. They are required to be sterile, professional and, apparently, needles are far better for piercing than the guns that they use at your local inexpensive accessory shops. As someone who lived through a belly button (and, if we're being honest here, tongue) piercing during my ohsoexperimental high school and college years, it wasn't hard to convince me that this was the way to go. I kept a mental note of this for years so, several weeks ago, on a hunt I went.

Most of the local tattoo shops that I found online in the Dallas area all stated that they did not do children. Womp womp. They really should reconsider this during daylight hours for parents with open minds who want to have their children's ears pierced properly - there's definitely a market for this. Anywho, one link kept popping up online for the Dallas are: La Lobe.

{ Ellie and her bff, who also had hers pierced. }

They are located in an office building in Preston Center in Dallas, all she does are piercings, and she highly recommended that I get a prescription from my pediatrician for a numbing cream to put on her ears about an hour before the piercing. So, I did.

Ellie had no idea what was going on, I was good until we sat in the chair, but my girl was a champ. I truly think it was the numbing cream (EMLA cream, for those who want to know), but either way, we escaped with no tears and she didn't try to run after the first ear (you have to do them one at a time when using the needle as opposed to guns).

{ Don't let the serious face fool you, she was really happy to have her ears poked! }

Fast forward to a week later and Ellie came home from school missing one earring. While they didn't admit to removing it for her, there was no way she could have taken the back off herself. So, there I was franticly calling La Lobe at 3pm on a Friday about Ellie's ear. She told me to bring her straight in and she'd fix her up, no charge. Luckily, the earring went right back in without a problem and Ellie and I had a long chat in the car about not touching her ears anymore. We're back on track now.

Just a fair warning - the earrings themselves are not inexpensive. Piercing runs $37 and includes a follow-up appointment four weeks later, but the least expensive pair of earrings runs you $50+. You might want to call and check to see if you can bring your own!