December 2014 | Dearest Lou

Top 12 Outfits 2014

So I failed to do a Top 12 Outfits 2013 but I decided to bring back this feature I did at the end of 2012. When I was looking over each month there were some months that hardly had any style posts and some months that had many. One thing I definitely need to work on in the new year is being more consistent.

On that note, I can't believe tomorrow is January. Time goes by much faster with a little one as cliche as that may sound it's so true. Hoping I can do more mama and son outfit posts in the New Year.. looking back those are definitely my favorite posts. I mean look at Z's chubby cheeks (heart eyes for dayzzzz).
 January: Dark Blue & Burgundy || February: Windy Day
 July: Lace Dress || August: T-Shirt Maxi Dress
 September: Black & White || October: Lulu*s B-Day Giveaway

Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Years Eve! 
Can't wait to see what the new year will bring.

C h e e r s to 2015.

POPSUGAR December Must Have Box

-It's a perfect surprise that arrives on your doorstep every month, full of fun products from the worlds of fashion, beauty, food, fitness, entertainment, home, and more.

I have never enrolled in a monthly box service before but after receiving POPSUGAR's December Must Have Box to review, I just might have to. The items in this months box were all things I could see myself purchasing. There wasn't a single item I didn't like and every item in the box has been used.The total value of the box surpassed the $40 Must Have Box price tag. 
Unfortunately I don't have an individual photo of the Williams-Sonoma All Natural Cupcake Mix (Retail $15).

We ended up using the Williams-Sonoma All Natural Cupcake Mix for one of our date nights this month. I loved the hint of vanilla bean and these cupcakes made a perfect gift for a friend who needed a pick me up and we of course saved a few for ourselves. Simply put they were divine and devoured quickly.
This necklace adds the perfect bit of sparkle to any outfit. I love the extra long (37") textured chain and the pretty premium crystal.  I have personally loved layering it with my necklaces from Jane Basch.

Canvas Home Dauville Bowl (Retail $37.50)
At first when I saw this bowl I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with it. I'm not one to display candy for guests and knew that Zaden would most likely accidentally break this fragile little bowl. I have been using it to store my most worn jewelry which at this time are my dainty gold necklaces and wedding rings. It's seriously perfect for easy storage and looks very pretty on our dresser. 

Knot & Bow Parcel Tags (Retail $4)
These parcel tags are perfect for gift bags that no longer have a gift tag attached to them. I have so many cute bags I can now re-use with these adorable blue parcel tags. Unfortunately they clashed with my Christmas wrapping paper this year but I will definitely use them throughout the rest of 2015.
Generally when it comes to lip color I prefer a matte lip but this lip lacquer has really grown on me. I love the deep burgundy color, it's perfect for this time of year. It's very long wearing and even when I tried to remove it it left a perfect tint of color on my lips.

Upon opening my Must Have Box this was the first item I saw and I was so excited. I'm a sucker for scarves and this one is perfect since it's a neutral color with a pop of metallic. Perfect for New Years. I was planning on wearing it to go out on New Year's Eve but it looks like we will be staying home with our poor sick little Z. However, I will still wear this scarf just in a more dressed down sorta way (;

Interested in ordering a POPSUGAR Must Have Box?
POPSUGAR is offering $10 off a 3 month subscription with discount code: DEC14SELECT.
Offer ends January 2, 2015..

 POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it. #MustHaveBox

Christmas Traditions

I have had this post planned out for weeks and due to all the unexpected plans and family priorities that come before blogging I'm just getting around to posting it Christmas Eve (; I wanted to write a little bit about family traditions and the importance of starting traditions. Some of my fondest memories are during the holidays and remembering all of the fun traditions we did growing up.

Nvey Eco Cosmetics: Two Looks!

Makeup pictured: c/o Nvey Eco Cosmetics

During the holiday season there are lots of parties and get together's. I usually like to draw inspiration for both my outfits and makeup online. I have put together two simple makeup looks that are perfect for this holiday season. Whether it be a Christmas party or hot chocolate with a few of your girlfriends these makeup looks will add the perfect finishing touch to any holiday look.

Something unique about Nvey Eco Cosmetics is that they are an all organic makeup line. This is the first organic makeup line I have personally tried and I'm honestly surprised with how well it stays on my skin along with the amazing quality. 

To be completely honest some of the makeup has a bit of a funny smell to it. From what I have read online it is normal for organic makeup to have a unique scent to it. However, I feel that it's something that you can easily look past and get used to with time. 

I’m going to spend a little bit of time talking about what I like or dislike about each product and then move forward with the tutorials.

Moisture Rich Fluid Foundation: What I love about this foundation is that it is very moisturizing on my dry skin. I wouldn’t recommend this foundation if you have oily skin but for those of us with dry skin this is a fabulous foundation. I love how light and airy it is and that I don’t feel it clogging up my pours. It also isn’t a very thick foundation and I like that you can still see a few of my freckles and “imperfections” when on.

Crème Deluxe Flawless Finish Foundation: I used these for highlighting and contouring my face. They were a little difficult to work with since they are made for a more full coverage look. However, using my fingers to blend and finishing off the blending with my sturdy blending brush it definitely worked. I would personally recommend this product for heavy coverage or if you have acne scars or blemishes you would like to completely cover. However, it can definitely work as a contouring and highlighting set with the right set of tools and practice.

Powder Blush: Absolutely love this blush! It applies so smoothly and evenly and adds the perfect amount of color. This blush worked just as good as my other blushes I have been using in the past and I wouldn’t be able to tell a difference other than this one has a more light feel to it and is perfect for a more natural look.

Eye Shadow: These eye shadows worked amazingly and blended perfectly. They lasted the entire day.

High Definition Cake Eyeliner: I am honestly blown away that this eyeliner is made with all organic ingredients. It works FANTASTIC and was super easy to apply and lasted the entire day.

Volumizing Mascara: This mascara worked just as well as some as the mascaras I currently alternate between in my makeup collection. I also really liked the brush, it provided great separation so my eyelashes didn’t appear clumpy.

Advanced Care Lip Color: I’m personally not a big fan of the lipstick. The smell reminded me a lot of crayons and the texture wasn’t as rich and creamy as I was expecting. On the bright side if you can look past the smell and texture it is very long wearing and the particular color I reviewed is simply gorgeous.

3 years.

Three years ago today we were sealed for time and all eternity.
It was hands down the happiest day of my life.
Not a single worry was felt.
The entire day was more perfect than I could have ever imagined.
Oh what I would give to relive that day again.

Happy 3 years Daryl♥

1000 Shillings and Giveaway

#WBW: Hobbits of The Shire

#WayBackWednesday to Halloween 2012 when I was a 36 week pregnant Hobbit (;

I know the movie came out yesterday but we are seeing it TONIGHT.

So excited.

Little Lovey and Giveaway

How adorable are those two pictures of Zaden and Daryl laughing at Saturday morning cartoons? I can't get enough of them (;

I don't know if you noticed the cute little comfort blanket in the photos above but we recently received it to review. The blanket is called a Little Lovey which is also a nickname I call Z ALL. THE. TIME. It's a 15x15 inch security blanket that features a soft faux fur front and satin back and sides. We received our Little Lovey from Liz and Roo. Liz and Roo is an American based company that does all of their manufacturing within the US. I'm one to promote and shop local whenever possible.

For our review I chose the gray Little Lovey since I love neutrals especially when it comes to children's clothes and toys. The Little Lovey is so small and perfect for carrying around without it dragging on the floor. Zaden loves tucking his stuffed animals to bed with it since the Little Lovey is the perfect blanket for his furry friends. He also likes carrying his toys around and soothing them to sleep (pictured above is his toy elephant "sleeping". It's seriously so fun watching Zaden grow into the sweet little boy he has become.

Liz and Roo is offering one lucky Dearest Lou reader a Little Lovey Blanket in winners choice of color!

To enter, simply visit Liz and Roo and fill the rafflercopter widget below. Giveaway is open to all Dearest Lou readers now thru December 22 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be contacted via email shortly after. Winner will have one week from the time I send the email to claim prize before another winner is selected at random and notified. Thanks friends and good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brown, Black, Plaid and HIMYM Finale

Dr. S. ElVon Warner

This is my favorite picture of My Grandpa, Dad, and Zaden. 

Dr. S. E. Warner
December 15, 1935- December 15, 2014

I shared this scripture when my Grandma Warner passed away 2 1/2 years ago.
This scripture brings so much peace and perspective for me when a loved one has passed on.

Alma 40: 11-12:
11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection –Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

I'm so happy I was able to form such a strong relationship with my grandpa while he was here on this Earth. I'm also so grateful that Zaden was able to bond and spend time with my last living grandparent, his "papa". 

Grandpa you will be missed and I look forward to the day I get to see you again.

Date Night During the Holiday Season

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YoursandMine #CollectiveBias
The holiday season is such a fun and busy time of year. I always find myself with a lot more on my to-do list with so many events and party’s going on. Although life is busy I think it’s incredibly important to find time to hangout and go on dates with your significant other. Daryl and I have been together for over 4 years and have always made date night a priority. Whether it’s going out on a date to a movie, double date night rock climbing with friends, or a romantic stay-at-home date night we always do something together.

Sweet'N Low 4 Calorie Cranberry Punch

This week I made a delicious Sweet'N Low Holiday Cranberry Punch as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #SweetNLowStars.

During the holiday season, cranberry drinks sound extra delicious and refreshing. I have fond memories drinking different cranberry punches during Thanksgiving and Christmas time with both friends and family growing up.

I wanted to take a little spin on this drink recipe I found and make it a guilt-free recipe with less than F O U R calories per serving. 

Talking Hair Care with KeraFiber and Giveaway

I get asked frequently how I do my hair and what products I use in my hair. I don’t consider myself a beauty blogger and don’t think my routines are anything out of the ordinary but wanted to work on incorporating more beauty related questions I have been getting emails about as of late.

I believe a good hair style or having healthy hair in general begins with a great shampoo, conditioner, and leave in treatment. I never use store bought shampoo or products in my hair and have been using professional products only for the last 5+ years. I also trim about 1-2 inches every 2-3 months just to keep my hair healthy and to get rid of any split ends.

Today I wanted to introduce you guys to KeraFiber, a hair product company that specializes in products to help thicken hair and for those struggling with hair loss. Whether  you are dealing with genetic or postpartum hair loss you will definitely see a difference when using these hair products. For the most part I already have pretty thick hair but it has a very fine texture so it doesn’t really volumize very well unless I put hair spray and other products in my hair. Also my hair is the heaviest and hardest to work with when it’s freshly washed and I would usually find myself throwing my hair on top of my head in a bun until I started using KeraFibers thickening shampoo and conditioner.

Something I especially love about KeraFiber’s shampoo and conditioner is that it doesn’t weigh my hair down and after my hair air drys, there is actually a little bit of volume.  I have noticed that I have gotten so many compliments as of late from complete strangers while out and about after doing NOTHING to my hair. It is really that much more volumous and has even created a bit of a natural wave to my hair which I completely lost after doing the highlights so it’s nice to have it somewhat back. This photo was taken on a day I had freshly washed hair. Keep in mind that I only wash my hair twice a week but have already seen great results. I have also noticed less breakage and shedding which my husband can tell you, my hair sheds like CRAZY.

KeraFiber also sent me their Protectand Revive Keratin + Argan Oil Protein Replenish Hair Serum to review, I love this stuff and a little goes a long way.  I start from the bottom up since I don’t want my hair to appear greasy and there is a lot more damage towards the ends.  This oil make my hair much more manageable to work with and has helped a lot with the damage that was done to my hair when doing balyage highlights. I noticed after coloring my hair that the ends of my hair were stripped, a rough texture, and harder to work with.  This hair serum really helps with the rough texture and has helped strengthened my poor damaged ends. It appears much more healthy and I’m in desperate need of a trim but I’m so pleased with how much this oil has really helped liven up my dead lifeless ends.

I’m excited to announce that KeraFiber is giving away not one but THREE bottles of  Protect and Revive Keratin + Argan Oil ProteinReplenish Hair Serum  to THREE lucky Dearest Lou readers. 

Z's 2nd Birthday: Despicable Me Minion Party

I'm finally getting around to posting about Zaden's 2nd birthday party. Overall, the afternoon was a big success. I wanted to throw a very small intimate party with Zaden's closest friends. Since my husband and I live in a tiny apartment my parents were more than happy to provide their home for the party location.

First I want to talk about the decorations, party favors, and delicious food.

We kept the decorations very simple like I mentioned here on my 6 steps for planning a toddler birthday party. All of the decorations were purchased at the dollar store and I just stuck with the minion colors for streamers, balloons, and table cloths.

For the party bags I wanted to give the kids something that they would have fun with. Each bag included the following:
  • 1 bouncy ball
  • play doh
  • bubbles
  • a glo stick
  • a giant lollipop 
  • stickers
  • homemade minion hat
  • every child also went home with a balloon (:
All party favor bag items were purchased at zurchers, the dollar store, and I made the custom "you are one in a minion" and "zaden's 2nd birthday" stickers over at Tiny Prints using this premade sticker template (they have so many cute stickers to choose from).

Now let's talk about the food. 

Some of you may know that my younger sister Tiana worked over at a local popcorn shop for most of her high school years. I knew I definitely wanted to have blue and yellow popcorn as a treat for people to snack on throughout the party. Roosters Gourment Popcorn was definitely the perfect choice. We chose lemonade and blue raspberry popcorn and it was a big hit.

You also might remember me mentioning here that Papa Murphy's Mini Murph personal pizzas would make a great activity for a children's party. I knew I wanted to have the kids make their own pizzas and add their own personal touches to their lunch. The kids had so much fun with this and might I add that for pepperoni pizza these mini murphs were divine I also served the parents the deLITE Chicken and Artichoke pizza (mine and Daryl's personal favorite) and the Angus Steak and Garlic Pizza. Daryl and I eat Papa Murphy's usually 2-3 month and we always get the best deals since I joined their text club. You can sign up to by texting PAPA to 91011. Our last special we received and used was $4 off a family size pizza.

I wanted to share a few party photos. To give you a little back ground information it is so hard to host a party and take photos. Tiana took as many photos as she could but we had a bit of a scare during the first 10 minutes of the party. You see, Zaden was having so much fun running around and having all of his closest friends in one place and accidentally tripped on one of his toys and landed right on his lip on the bottom of one of the stairs. He ended up bleeding for almost an hour straight and was crying so hard for the first 30 minutes. I honestly thought we were going to have to make a trip to the ER. Luckily, he is a little trooper and no stitches were needed. He just had a swollen lip the rest of the day and it literally healed up over night.

Peppermint Ice Cream Shake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayMadeSimple #CollectiveBias
Daryl and I love having and entertaining guests, especially during the holiday season.  We would much rather spend our guests than spending endless hours preparing food to serve in the kitchen.  Peppermint is easily one of my top three favorite flavors and there seems to be peppermint flavored everything in store during the holiday season.  I’m a sucker for easy recipes and this peppermint ice cream shake is simple, quick, and doesn't create a huge mess.