Thursday, November 2, 2017

10 Creative Ways to Get Rid of Unwanted Halloween Candy


You have walked the equivalent of at least 4 miles… in the cold dark… wearing a costume… collecting pieces of Halloween candy one-by-one, or you have a bowl full of candy that kept the trick-or-treater's indoors maybe…  the rain/drizzle… the temperature… the kids not wanting to dress up. And now you are just wishing it would all simply DISAPPEAR? Hey, you worked hard for that candy – don’t let it go to easily. You never know it may serve a good purpose besides making your dentist stay in business another year.

HERE ARE MY 10 CREATIVE WAYS TO GET RID OF 
UNWANTED HALLOWEEN CANDY:

Buy Back Candy – there is a nation website, where you can check to see if there is a buy back location near you. What is really interesting is the buy backs are sponsored by local dentists and other small businesses. Some dental practices will give a $1 to a child in exchange for a pound of candy. 

Party Time – do you have a birthday or holiday party coming up soon? You can use your leftover candy to fill goodie bags, to add to the sweet table, or even a piƱata.

The Candy Fairy – what is the Candy Fairy? She is like the Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny only she comes with rules. Ask your kids or yourself to pick out 10 pieces of candy. The Candy Witch then picks a random time to come to the house to take the remaining pieces. It could be during the day, or a couple of days from Halloween, whenever you choose. She leaves a toy/treat yourself to a manicure, the kids wake up, see the toy, and forget all about the candy being gone.

Decorate – candy corn work great for the end of a turkey’s tail (link), save to decorate your annual gingerbread house, or holiday baked goods.

Send it to the office – we all know candy never lasts long in the break room!

Freeze/Save it – most candy will last until Christmas. Freeze it then use it for Christmas Stockings or holiday treat bags for your co-workers.

Operation Shoe Box/Gratitude – donate the extra Halloween candy directly to the troops through the Operation programs. Mail your candy to them (non-chocolate candy), and volunteers will include it in the troops special care packages.

Play Games – next time your family plays a game use it as the price. The better candy that is more enjoyable can be the grand prize.

Homeless Treat Bags – the man/woman you see with the sign every day, don’t they need candy? Even better add a water bottle, dry socks, or a snack to the treat bag.


Ronald McDonald House – the Ronald McDonald House helps keep severely ill kids and their parents together during treatment. After Halloween, some locations accept donations of unopened candy for the families being served. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

JOY DURING THE FALL SEASON


Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for so many reasons. The cool crisp mornings, and an excuse to wear sweaters is only a small drop in a bucket of the “awe” and wonderful time of the fall season. Pumpkins everywhere as well as pumpkin everything, drinking coffee on the back porch, fall vegetables at the farmer’s market, the changing colors of the leaves falling from the trees – I can’t pick a favorite moment about fall. The smell of a campfire and scents coming from a spiced candle.

With fall being my favorite season, it’s easy to reflect on all the blessings in your life. I hit this rush of joy during this time of year that lasts through Christmas. There are so many things to celebrate and many adventures ahead.

Here are some things that bring me so much joy:

PUMPKIN EVERYTHING

I know, like everyone else its cliche, but pumpkin-flavored things is how you know autumn is here! Pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies are some of my favorite pumpkin-flavored treats. The smell of the aroma coming through the oven bring smiles to everyone’s faces. They are both so delicious! If you are interested I’ll write a post with the recipes.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

This is such a special time in everyone’s life with family and close friends coming into town for the holidays, Friendsgiving,  baby showers, and sometimes just for a fun weekend. It’s something so warming to your heart during these months that knowing you have all these incredible people in your life that love and care for one another. I appreciate all of you and love you all so much!

LONG WALKS

For those of you who know me, know that it’s hard for me to sit still – I enjoy being active! I do something active daily that being a long walk, run, workout not only for the exercise but sanity. I like listening to the nature and my own thoughts, so leaving my phone at home is something that is a must. It’s fun to actually listen to the noises of all the random things around you then play the guessing game to try and figure out what it actually is. Long walks are too much fun and you get to meet people who are active in your neighborhood.

FALL COLORS

The leaves are finally starting to change here in Texas. It’s like the streets have a shine of gold that I can’t get enough of. The neighbors around us have decorated their front door areas with pumpkins and Halloween fun, so the fall colors are EVERYWHERE!

RYAN

Trying not to sound like a total sap, I have been more grateful than ever for Ryan these past months. He has been handling things I don’t want to/have time to like grabbing dinner when I don’t have time to cook, running errands, making sure I’m not stressing, and just being there lately is all I’ve needed. And I continue to be more amazed by the attention to detail and ability to read me, and yes sometimes better than myself. I am so thankful for such an awesome person.


LIFE SLOWS DOWN
Summer weekends are filled with so many fun plans. Going to the beach, the pool, showering your friends, grilling out – which I love so much…  I enjoy how much slower the weekends in fall start to happen. It might not be every weekend, but it’s so nice every once and a while!

My joyful list goes on and on which I hope yours does as well. Wishing you days full of pumpkin filled activities and cooler days during the best season!  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

SKINCARE ROUTINE: TULA

Two of the things I really couldn’t see spending the extra money on were hair products and skincare products. Tresemme shampoo and Cetaphil face products worked just fine for me in high school, so I always thought why wouldn’t they work forever? I remember about a year ago, I called my mom so upset because my hair was falling out so bad. She went out and bought me a huge amount of salon shampoos and conditioners, and let me tell you something…. THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

Shortly after that I thought if the generic brands of shampoo and conditioners are doing this to my hair I wonder what is going on with my skin. I started reading about TULA skincare and figured I’d better start taking care of my skin now that I’m in my late twenties. Since I am pretty skeptic about everything especially when it costs more than my normal skin care, I researched all there was to know. When doing research I feel like if they can’t back it up with science, it probably isn’t worth the money… am I right?? TULA is founded by a gastroenterologist (a digestive tract doctor – tummy doctor). I thought this was interesting and different, because every single skincare product (Cetaphil being one of those) I have ever tried has been created or sold to me by a dermatologist. Then I start wondering why would an internal doctor create a skincare line when that isn’t even her field? What she (link) noticed through all the discoveries she had made in the past few years regarding how beneficial probiotics are for balancing the digestive system, she started to apply these same discoveries with skincare. If you don’t know probiotics not only help with your stomach but help with your skin. The probiotics help balance your skin’s pH, reduces redness and inflammation, evens out skin tones and textures, hydrates, and helps reduce wrinkles! You can read more about this and the technology behind TULA here. {If you are skeptic like I was go research it… I was the same way!}

I originally ordered the Purifying Face Cleanser, Illuminating Face Serum, and the Hydrating Day & Night Cream to try out the line. (I bought the entire process because I wanted to see what it would do to my face when I only used their line.) One of the other bloggers I read posted a discount code, so I thought why not just order it now! After just the first time using the products, I noticed a difference the next morning… my skin wasn’t greasy and I didn’t have to immediately wash it. My skin was so moisturized and soft. Over the next two weeks, I can’t even tell you the difference I saw not only that but people at work started to notice my skin.

Before I started using TULA, every morning I would wake up with redness, uneven skin tones (especially under my eyes), and dry patches. I would even second guess going on trips or spending the night places where people would have to see me in the mornings without makeup. There were times I can remember when I would wake up just to put concealer under my eyes, cover up my blemishes, and put some powder on before everyone else got up. I didn’t want people seeing my uneven skin. I started to just accept that this was how my skin was going to be for the rest of my life since I had tried everything my dermatologist had told me. But news flash this was not the case anymore!! My skin is perfectly even, looks moisturized and fresh, and is soft!  
Products

The face cleanser, serum, and the moisturizer cream have been forever my favorite items to purchase because they are the ones I feel have changed my skin. Since them, I have added in a lot more of the skincare line to my daily skincare routine. I like routines that I can do the same both morning and night because when I travel for work, I don’t have to bring a ton of different products.
I can’t say enough great things about the TULA products! They are gentle, great for all skin types and are free of parabens, mineral oils, petrolatum, and phthalates, propylene glycol, which prevents clogged pores, breakouts, and blackheads. 

Routine

I start with the Purifying Facial Cleanser, which is an all-in-one foaming wash. It removes all my makeup, cleanses pores, and nourishes my skin. I don’t like using make-up wipes because I’ve read that pulling or whipping your skin that way causes wrinkles and more dryness due to the way you have to use the wipes.

I then apply about 1-2 pumps of the Illuminating Face Serum all over my face. The serum contains a probiotic that boots dull looking skin, helps to diminish the appearance of dark spots, and promotes a fresh, looking glow.

Next apply the Hydrating Day & Night Cream all over your face. This product is like a multivitamin for your face! It’s age-defying, contains a probiotic, nourishes and hydrates your skin, and if used every day it reduces the appearance of fine lines, which is perfect for us ladies who are in our late twenties! During the summer I only applied it at night since my skin is oilier during the summer rather than the wintery months.

Lastly, I pat a small amount of the Revitalizing Eye Cream around my eye area. This is one of newest products that I’ve purchase, and I can already notice a difference. Not only is it more moisturized under my eyes, but my concealer actually goes over it evenly. This product is a hydrating cream that is delicate for skin under and around your eyes, reduces fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness. This product is amazing!

I feel really good about starting anti-aging products, before I get more wrinkles, I hope this will prevent anymore fine lines that might be coming my way! Once a week I do the Exfoliating Treatment Mask, it leaves my skin so soft and smooth. It digs in a little deeper to wash away old skin cells to hydrate your skin even more. I let it dry and stay on my face for about 5-10 minutes at night after I wash my face. Once I was off the mask, I continue my skincare regimen from the Illuminating Serum down. 
Review

I know TULA isn’t the least expensive skincare you can find, but it gives better results than any other products I’ve tried! I know you are like me and have many different products in your bathroom that are half-used. When I buy new products I end up not loving something it, which is the reason I felt like higher-end skincare wasn’t worth the price. I think my TULA products are the first that I have actually ordered and used all of, and then ordered more! If you haven’t already clicked on one of the links above and started browsing you should really ready the reviews on each product. If you are feeling skeptical like I was then that’s what you want to check out. Sorry if this isn’t a post you are wanting to ready, but I feel like I need to tell the whole world about TULA products!


If you would like one recommendation when starting this amazing product… it would be starting out with the Discovery Kit! It is a trial sized version of the Purifying Face Cleanser, Illuminating Face Serum, Hydrating Day & Night Cream, and Revitalizing Eye Cream. ANNNNDDDD it’s only $54. Then you will know what products are your favorite then order those in the full-sized versions.

I’m curious to know what your favorite skincare products are and if you have ever tried TULA products!!   

Friday, September 8, 2017

Life Lately

This poor blog has been neglected for a couple of weeks. Let me be honest though we’ve had a lot going on – some hard times for my family – and general busyness. But I truly miss blogging, so today I’ve got a post to catch you up on our life lately.



This book is the perfect Summer read that can get you list in for hours making you wish you lived on the coast or someplace with water close by! Nancy Thayer has such a smooth, easy writing style which makes all of her books very enjoyable. In this one, she created characters that are very easy to relate to. I enjoyed this book.


I’m so excited to start the new Well Watered Women Study.  

TV Show: Big Brother 19


Ryan and I both had never watched this show. When it started advertising we thought lets record this and see what this is all about. It’s such an addicting show. It’s totally different than I thought it would be. Hilarious and dramatic at the same time.









With Ryan eating “low carb” lately I’ve been getting more creative with recipes/Pinterest. I finally have mastered this recipe. From reading so many different forums here is what I’ve came up with: 

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese 

¾ cup almond flour 

2 tbsp. cream cheese

1 egg, beaten



Instructions: 
1. In a microwave safe bowl, add mozzarella cheese and cream cheese. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir the mozzarella cheese and cream cheese together (quickly) and replace in the microwave for another 30 seconds. 
2. Preheat oven to 425 F. 

3. Beat the egg while you are microwaving the cheeses together. Stir in the beaten egg and flour. 
4. Wet your hands before picking up the dough out of the bowl. Spray your pizza pan (make sure to get the sides as well, it’s hard to get it off the pan after its done cooking) then spread your dough out evenly. (If your dough is “stringy” that means your cheese has hardened too much – put it back in the microwave for another 20 seconds.)
5. Place your pizza dough into the oven (yes it will still be preheating) for 8 minutes. Take the pizza dough out and poke holes with a fork to help prevent bubbles. 

6. Add pizza sauce, pepperonis, whatever you want on your pizza! This step is fun – you get to be creative.

7. Place the pizza back into the oven for another 12-14 minutes. 

Blog: Sarah Tucker


Love reading Sarah's blog and about her cute family! These boys dress so precious. YOU WILL LOVE HER DECOR.

Instagram Account: merricksart

Eating: NekterJuice Bar







I have been waiting for this place to open in Fort Worth, Texas. These juices taste so fresh, natural, and clean, not like the normal ones that I’ve tasted when I immediately want to spit it out! The menu: natural, freshly-made juices, smoothies, acai bowls, or cold pressed juices. If you haven’t tried this – make sure to add it to your list!

Visiting: We took a mini road trip to Austin Texas to watch my sweet cousin Brooke graduated from James Bowie High School.







Celebrating: Two dear friends babies 2nd birthdays (Karver & Wyatt)! 

 

 








 



 




My best friend Allison from birth to now married the man of her dreams. It was a sweet, simple, and cozy wedding with her/his closest friends surrounding them with love. 




A close friend Kaitlin of mine since elementary school had one of the prettiest baby shower ever!



 

 

Etc: 

A close friend -Erin- of ours had a Luau this year... I didn't get many photo's but here is the tiki bar she made!

The Eclipse of course! 




Moved Brooke into College Station for College (we are so proud of you) - Ryan is loving this!

 







Celebrating our new JWC President – MELISSA HOWARD CARTER!



Gabi was Allison and I's Make-A-Wish child over the summer. Her wish was to go to Disney World wearing Belle's outfit! 

Dimension's is one of the 14 groups that make up JWC. I could've made a better decision by choosing this amazing, sweet, loving group of girls! Last year we started our own Fantasy Football Teams - so much fun. This year Emily (the person who is in charge and puts it all together for us - SHE'S STUNNING) had all of us over to draft at her house. 



Celebrated Labor Day with one of Ryan's childhood best friend (Tanner) and his wife (Brittany).