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The Scoop | Makeup I love

One thing I have worked on the past several years is getting healthy skin.
I searched and searched for great skin care and makeup to go with it.
About a year ago, I found the makeup brand I was looking for.
Root.


I wanted to share a little more about the company, so I thought I would do a few videos for you.
This first video is simply an Intro to let you know more about why I love the products.
I will do more in-depth videos later on.  



This post was sponsored by:

Sponsor | Nicole Clark blog

Hi there!
 I am Nicole from Nicole Clark blog
 I am mom of 3- Kendric 9, Cadence 7,and Kaelis 4.


   I started blogging in 2005 to keep my long distance family updated on the happenings and then I just kept adding more and more . I am married to an incrediable hard working man and he is such a great dad. He is going to school to be a pastor and working full time. I cannot wait. His heart is ready to preach and I am ready to be a pastor's wife.   He is involved in missionary and has traveled to Haiti once and plans on going back this summer. We would love to adopt a Haitian child one day,but their adoption is very limited. Seeing those children with just a diaper on and no shoes just looking up at you just makes me want to take all of them home. When we are suppose to adopt, God will provide us with the peace to do it. I work from home running an in-home preschool. I have a passion for teaching and my degree is in Early Childhood. I was eager to stay home with my children, but we still needed another income. I got the idea to run a preschool out of the house doing the 2 things I love, teaching and being a mom. It can be a very challenging job, but what job isn't challenging? 


I love spending time with my family and being a taxi for all of the kiddos. Football, year round soccer, basketball, gymnastics, church things. Whew... Did you get all that? I would not change it for anything. Ryan and I enjoy staying active by getting up when it is dark and enjoying the quiet before the storm and do the elliptical and lift weights. One of thing that keeps us motivated is food! We love to eat and burning those calories first thing, makes us enjoy the bites we take even more.  It gives us time together to chat, pray and just enjoy each other. 
Well, there is a little about me and the family. 


Hope you can stop by and say hello and I look forward to getting to know you!

*****************

Thank you for visiting and supporting The Quick Journey, Nicole!

You can find Nicole here:
Facebook :: Instagram :: Blog

The Happenings | Single-Mommin' It



Last week, I got to spend a couple of days doing mom duty solo while Mark was on a little business trip.  People who know me well, know that I don't do the "single-mom" gig well.
I am like a child who is afraid of the dark.  Every light in the house- let's be honest, every light IN or OUTSIDE of the house- is lit up like the fourth of July.  
I secretly want to cram all of my kids in bed with me, just to give me some comfort,
but then I know after fifteen minutes I'd want to kick them all out so I could spread my limbs without touching anything.  I swear the house makes unusual noises and shadows move differently when I'm home without Mark.  It's a disease.  Surely I can't be that childish.  Hmm... maybe so.
Needless to say, I'm very happy to have my daddy duck back in the pond with us.


My big little lady (that's Guinnyth) has had a couple of sick spells here recently.
The last spell I treated with essential oils and I was quite proud of myself.
She struggles with respiratory stuff, so any little cold seems to turn into a full-blown mess. 
She's on the mend and giving me her sassy-charm daily.

My littlest little lady spends her time getting whiplash from watching her siblings run all over the place and flashes her mis-placed, dimpled smile at whomever will give her a watchful eye.
She's a sweetie, that's for sure.
We just started purees with Julia and she is slammin' it like a champ!  


Ella had a cheer clinic she danced at this past week.  It was super cute to watch her get all excited and nervous to perform.  She did a great job and I am so proud of her for challenging herself and stepping outside of her comfort zone.  There is already talk of doing it again next year.  

That's our week in 1000 words, or less. 
Muah!

Handmade | isavirtue

I know we are in the handheld device era.  The "read a book without turning actual pages" era.
There's just something about actually feeling and holding paper that makes me feel all June Cleaver.
I am stoked to introduce you to a fab shop, just in time for Valentine's Day (and, Easter and Mother's Day).  It is a handmade paper goods shop that also has a few "extras" to spiff up your paper.


 Desktop Postcard Calendar- once the month is over, write on the back and mail it to someone special.




isavirtue is run by a sweet mama, Kaitlyn.
This is what she says about her handmade shop:

"i love paper and my passion for envelopes and letter writing developed years ago when my best friend moved to a different province. we would write letters to each other and decorate the envelopes. 
plus, there is nothing more exciting than getting real snail mail (i.e. not bills or catalogues!)"

I couldn't agree more!  I love getting sweet cards in the mail (so do my kids!!!). 



There is just something about reading the written word, when it's actually written, that makes you feel vintage and authentic.  With all the fun occasions coming up- Valentine's, Easter, Mother's Day, etc.- go vintage and send a beautiful card!

This is just a nibble of what Kaitlyn has in her shop,
so be sure and visit isavirtue 

For one week, isavirtue is offering you 25% off of your order!
Use code: LETTERLOVER 
at checkout to get 25% off!!!

Style | Messy, Beachy Curls

makeup c/o Root
If you haven't heard of Root... it is worth checking out!

It is a common question I get here on the blog and on Instagram...
"How do you get your hair to curl like that?"
Honestly, I can get my hair to do pretty much anything I want
(aside from air drying and looking good).
I have spent YEARS playing with my hair and figuring out how it works best.
It takes time and patience.  Before flat irons, I would spend over an hour on my hair every morning.
You remember those huge round brushes?  Yea, that brush and I were best friends!


With all that said, know that using a flat iron to curl your hair takes practice.
I tend to always curl my hair away from my face.  I think it looks better and my hair stays out of my face more consistently when I curl that way.  When my hair was in a pixie cut,
 I would alternate the direction of my curls.  It is all personal preference.

Please note that in the video, my hair looks super brassy and orange.
I am not a videographer, and it filmed with a lot of warmth, so just ignore the coloring.
I also have no idea how to edit, so giggle at my "unprofessionalism" and turn your head at the awkward parts. ;)

Motherhood Mondays | Holding Back



I hesitate to help her move forward.  She's my little Julia-bug and I am struggling
with letting her advance.  I want her to grow and be amazing, but I selfishly want 
her to stay a little and precious and "mama doting" babe forever.  

This life has been given to me- for big things.
I am not a mistake.  My breath is not a mistake. 
These little people are not a mistake, they are my "big thing."  
I believe that with every ounce of my being. 
 I have already been shocked with the path God has led me.

I knew I would stay home with my kiddos, but four of them? 
 And, a deep desire for even more- are you kidding me?

Call me crazy, but this motherhood gig is such a beautiful mess.
It is fulfilling and tormenting all at once.
The desire to be enough for those little people met with the desire to be enough for the world.
It's the never ending battle of motherhood.

To feel valid in your ministry at home.
To feel like the world looks at you and sees your worth.
It isn't always there- that feeling.
It's knowing that it is okay for worldly validation to not be there-
truly, it feels vacant even when it's present.
As much as I desire to be seen as important and be showered with accolades,
it all feels empty and false in the end- there's more.
The more is knowing that you are on the most important
 and well-trod mission field God ever created, and you are not alone.

I guess, maybe, that's why I hold on to these little people so tightly.
What can I possibly be, if not a mother?
What is next?  Where will my voice lie?  
Where is my influence?
I have purpose in this phase.  I might forget it from time to time,
but the purpose is there and it echos in my heart every day.

I have little arms that wrap me up on the bleakest of days.
I have sweet smiles to confirm that this is all worth it.
Twinkling eyes see me as the beautiful, important, valid being 
that I was so fearfully and wonderfully made to be. 
My daily failures are opportunities to breath life into them. 

So, when people wonder, whether out in the open or under hushed tones,
why I press into motherhood so forcefully-
that's why.
I don't view it as a box to check off on the long list of life "to-dos."
It is a gift to me.  It is how the Father explains life to me.
It is the way I feel loved by Him.  These little people aren't so little in my book.
When Jesus can clear his schedule to sit and be with the little children,
I see no reason why I can't clear a few years to settle my soul and show them Jesus.

2015 Resolutions | I got 'em


I am not a huge resolution setter.
That isn't to say that I don't desire changes and commitments in my life,
I just don't actually set and write down goals.
I hadn't planned on setting any hard and fast resolutions this year, either,
and then I was reading my Bible and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Jesus had a goal.
He came to earth for a goal.
It was set before the beginning of time and it had to be completed.
He had to stick with it and stay focused.
He came to save the world.
I mean, let's be honest,
 me eating better and dropping the last ten pounds of baby weight is pretty impressive,
but to save this stinkin' world?

Wow!  So, with that said, I have decided to set some goals.


+ Mark decided that this would be the year of prayer for us.
He wants us to join together at the end of every day and pray together.
Not just for our marriage and immediate family, but also our government (Hello, it needs it!),
our church, our extended family and friends, those in need, etc.
It wasn't a goal I had set for myself, but it has become my #1 goal by default,
and it is a worthy goal, for sure!

+  I desire to have even more Biblically focused dialogue with my little crew members.
I have noticed a trend in my reaction to my kiddos.  With adding babe #4, I have been a little shorter and louder with my kids.  I am not an out-and-out yeller, per say, but my discipline is a little less "disciplined" if that makes sense.  I want to reign it back in and focus on scriptural discipline.  Okay, that goal might be a little vague, but it makes total sense to me. :)

+ At some point, I do want to start some sort of fitness routine.  I usually wait until my infant is eating table food to start this.  I have always noticed a drastic decrease in my milk supply when I begin to work out, so I have learned to wait until I am no longer the sole provider of his/her nutrition before I make any big changes with my activity. 

+ I also need to get a grip on my carbs.  After a (almost) year of barely any carbs (thanks, gestational diabetes), I kind of go carb crazy right after giving birth.  It is time for me to turn my cravings to good nutrition and not eat for instant gratification.  This will be a long process, but as always, I will begin to crave healthy foods again and not the junky stuff.

+ Photography.  I want to drastically improve my abilities to capture, edit, and display what life is like in our home.  I absolutely love lifestyle photography and want to be able to have my vision come to life.  This means that I have to invest even more time into learning how to make that happen.  That is where my trouble lies.  I am not sure where I will sneak that time away from.  It's a goal, but not a critical one, so I will hold on to it loosely.

+I hope to continue to invest time and energy in this blog.  I pray it is encouraging and a sweet spot for my readers.  That is not simply lip-service.  I do indeed pray for this space.  It has become an important place for me over time, and I want it to grow in 2015.  This blog is here for a larger purpose than myself.  It is here for God's purpose and I want His reach to be increased through this space.  I hope it has been a blessing for you.  I spent 2014 praying it would be just that- a blessing.  My prayer in 2015 is growth.

Do you have any specific goals for 2015?
I would love to hear them!

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this post was sponsored by:

DIY | Weaving Loom

There is a trend going around.
Woven wall tapestries to be exact.
My sister-in-law said they remind her of an old lady's apartment (or something),
but to each his own.
I love 'em!

I came across this tutorial on weaving and decided to make my own loom to see how I liked it.
The loom took minutes to make and was super cheap as well.

Supplies:
Board- 16x12
Penny Nails
Hammer
Pencil
Ruler


+First, you mark every 1/2 inch across your board (top and bottom)


 + Next, you hammer your nails on your markings.
I did my very best to keep my nails straight up and down. 


+Once you finish your loom, you are ready to weave!  
Follow the tutorial above for step-by-step instructions.
It is fairly easy and a quick craft once you get the hang of it.


  

Best of Baby | Sponsor Shoutout

I have someone special to introduce you to today!
She is a momma blogger and the sweetest lady, ever! 
I am super excited to introduce Iulia to you...
*************************
Hi y'all!

My name is Iulia...rhymes with Julia (you-lee-ah).   The hubbs calls me Iules, the littles call me momma (or waaah, in the case of the baby).  And people call me...well whatever they can pronounce, but I've heard just about everything (even "Eulalia"...that one was special).  And that one time I was called "Home-skilly biscuit"...still trying to figure that one out.


I'm a redeemed follower of Jesus, an adoring wife of Allen, and a joyful mom to a toddler boy and baby girl. 

This was my hubby and I five years ago...such babies:


And now....we're making babies. (And dern cute ones too)


Speaking of babies, I love them.  Really, I do.  Even before I was married I was learning everything I could about babies, breastfeeding, birth, etc....in secret of course, because what normal college student does that?! "Whatcha reading Iulie?"  "The Womanly Art of Breastfeedi --  umm, I mean Vampire Wizarding Academy or something...that's what's popular nowadays right?"

I spent the first few years of marriage working as an educator, dreaming about the day I'd get to be a stay-at-home momma.  I feel so blessed to be living that dream now (though with a hefty dose of reality...what do you mean staying at home isn't easy?!)  Many women my age are focused on advancing their careers and climbing the corporate ladder.  Me?  I did the career thing.  I'm happy to be "barefoot and pregnant".  Motherhood y'all, such a blessing.

Yes I said y'all, but no I'm not a southerner, just a wannabe southern-belle.  Pearls, curls, good-manners and all.   I originally hail from Romania (hence the weirdo name), but then migrated my way over to the Midwest (with a pit-stop in Germany).  After I got married, my husband took us South for his Ph.D. program and I've been working on perfecting my Southern accent ever since.  I love it down here y'all.  The weather, the music, the food...well maybe not the food.  Boiled peanuts?  Really? More like boiled toes...because that's what it feels like you're biting into.

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / IWoman / CC BY

Mmmm....don't you wanna scoop you up some of that?

I chronicle my adventures in motherhood over at Best of Baby.  Want to read a good natural birth story? I gotcha.  Want to commiserate over newborn sleep woes?  Come on over..I'll be here all night (ba dum tish!)  Or maybe you want to feel better about your cooking skills?  Then check out my Ugly Cooking over at Best of Baby.  Part mommy blog, part blooper reel....and a whole lot of baby.



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Now, run on over to Iulia's blog and soak up some of her motherly wisdom!

Motherhood Monday | My Last



It's over- the season of giving and singing and family meals.

It came and left just as it does every other year.
The difference this year was that it was my last.
It was my last "first Christmas" ever.
I will no longer bust out the Baby's First Christmas onsie and wash it furiously the night before because I forgot that a baby must wear his/her Baby's First Christmas onsie
 on his/her first Christmas.
It's cool.  I know it's time to move on, but my heart hasn't quite caught up to my head.

Maybe if she weren't so stinkin' cute it would be easier.
Maybe if she weren't so cuddly it would be easier.
Maybe if she didn't look at me with her big doe eyes and sweet misplaced dimples,
it would be easier.

It's hard to tell if any of those things would have made this easier- I doubt it.
I went to a wedding shower a few days ago and I got asked a lot about being a mama and how many kids we had... now, and I would think to myself, just enough.  

When we got married, Mark wanted two kids and I wanted three.
He knew only two kids wasn't going to happen (I really wanted three), so we had settled on three.
Both of us felt really comfortable with that plan, but never in our wildest dreams did we assume that our hearts wouldn't be quite full enough until number four came along.

She was planned.  She was wanted.  She was what our family needed.
Never has that been felt so deep as it did this past Christmas...
my last "first" Christmas.

Aesthetics of 2015

1\\ source  2\\ source  3\\ no source (i would love to give credit) 4\\ source

I am looking forward to 2015.  Twenty-fourteen was a good one, but I have high hopes for what's to come.  I see a lot of bright, eclectic, unkempt loveliness in 2015.  

+  I love the fur.  I would love a little texture and depth beneath my feet.
My feet need some depth, so fur is where it's at.  Or, do you call it a hide?  Hide? Fur?
Regardless, I want it (no "need" here... just a lot of unnecessary wanting).

+  Choppy and layered and blonde.  Maybe 2015 will be the year that I bring back the blonde.  Not a platinum blonde, just a dirty, flirty blonde.  Then again, maybe the chop-chop will wait for 2016.  Who knows?

+  White, square frames with pictures in them.  Novel idea, huh? It is clean and doesn't distract or look too busy. I think I would rather have two rows with five or six frames in each row.  The three rows isn't speaking to me.  Too much square, perhaps?

+  Butcher paper roll.  I have mentioned this before, but I love this.  I have shown it to Mark several times, so fingers crossed that the third time is a charm.

So, to sum it all up, I want texture, uneven, non-distracting"2015-ness" in my future.

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This post was sponsored by:

2015 | Meal Plan

I don't know about you, but the holidays make me a bad cook.
Not that the food I prepare is bad, but I'm so used to minimal cooking and lots of leftovers,
that it's hard for me to get back in the swing of meal planning and cooking.  
After a week of eating at other people's homes and bringing all sorts of fixings home,
I get lazy in the kitchen.  
So, I thought sharing some of my favorite recipes would help us all get back to our "happy" 
place as far as meal prep is concerned.

Everyone's palate is different, but these are sure fire recipes that my entire family loves.
They are also easy to fix and good on the New Year's budget!
(click on the meal for recipe info!)


(the picture doesn't look good, but don't let that fool ya!  It's a keeper!!)
Bruschetta Chicken served on a spinach lettuce salad
(this is usually grilled, but i sear it in a pan and then use my broiler to caramalize the the sauce and cheese)
(if you have more than 2/3 people- double this recipe!)
Tacos- no explanation needed. ;)
Chili- I just throw a bunch of goodies in a pot and call it good!

This will almost (fingers crossed) get us through two weeks of Supper-time meals.
I double several of these to make it stretch and keep me from standing around in the kitchen all day.
Like I said, these are simple recipes that don't require crazy ingredients or a lot of ingredients.
I hope this helped inspire you to get back in the groove for 2015!

Motherhood Mondays // The Art of Staying Home



One of the biggest pieces of advice I give to new mothers is to get out of the house.
When we first had Ella, I stayed home 24-7.  It was probably a few weeks before I ventured out.
Maybe it was to her 2 week check-up, I'm not for sure, but I do know we went and came right back home.  After that short time, I became fairly blue and couldn't snap out of it.
It could have been the hormones, or the lack of sleep.  What I do know is that when I started to 
force myself out of the house, it all turned around.  I would go to Target (only a mile from our home) and walk around for an hour.  I might have bought a tube of chapstick, or some organic baby food I wanted to try with Ella, but that wasn't the point.  The point was that I got out of the house and it made me feel normal.  The fresh air was a balm to my weary, new-mama's soul.

It's interesting how things change.  I'm not sure if it's because we live so far from anything (30 minutes) now a-days, or the fact that I now have four little crew members, instead of just one, but I tend to enjoy being home more these days.  I, sometimes, think about what it will be like when we can pick up and go have a park play-date on a whim.  What it will be like when naps are no longer a necessity.  It sounds so nice, but right now, I enjoy hunkering down and wearing tracks in our carpet.

We have plenty of grass for the kids to roll in, and lots of fresh air to breath.  They have dark skies and twinkling stars at night.  It's crazy, but we can stay home for days and not get too stir crazy.
By the end of winter, I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune, but for now home seems nice.  One day we'll bust out of our "home-bound" routine.  One of these days.

2014 | Instagram year in Review

Even when blogging doesn't seem to happen,
Instagram does.
It is so easy to connect via the Instagram platform.
You can post a picture and caption quickly and get instant feedback.
You can connect with other people with the same interests very easily.
It is a lot of fun and definitely one way I love to document our time.

I wanted to do a round-up of my favorite IG posts during the 2014 year,
so without further ado, my 2014 Instagram Capsule:




Follow along with me for 2015 @TheQuickJourney!!!
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This post was sponsored by:

Christmas 2014





We woke up Christmas morning wrapped up in our warm blankets.
The first pitter-patters were from Liam's little feet as he ran to see if something was brought for him the night before.
Next, Ella came and found a letter to her and her siblings.
A letter that buried deep into her heart the importance of Jesus being the center of the day.

We heard gasps as we lay in our bed listening and giggling-
"this is the best ever," we said.
Listening to your kiddos chatter with excitement is so much fun.

Soon, we were being bounced on by three kiddos telling us all about what was beneath the tree.
We got up, woke Julia, and headed for the kitchen table to begin our celebration with the Jesus story.
Mark read the words as the kids listened quietly.
No one pushed to open gifts, they sat and spoke of Christ and his birth.
Finally, Mark told them to check out their stockings.

We opened gifts, got dressed, and headed over to my parent's house to spend the rest of the day.
It was a day filled with a lot of excitement and family... and, food.
I hope yours was as lovely as ours!