Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"The energy you'll expend focusing on someone else's life is better spent working on your own.  Just be your own idol."

~Sophia Amoruso, #GIRLBOSS

Hi YUMMs!  This week I started reading #GIRLBOSS  (affiliate link) by Sophia Amoruso and it is awesomesauce!  This book had a lot of hype surrounding it when it first came out and I was a little hesitant to read it.  However, after seeing some of my fave and trusted fellow bloggers give it a thumbs up, I decided to pick up a copy.  Amoruso reminds me a lot of myself and I think that's a huge part of why I think this book is great.

You've probably heard a thousand times that "comparison is the thief of joy" and that's true.  So, I'm taking her advice and becoming my own idol.  In the blogging world, it's easy to get caught up with thoughts of "I wish had her blog design," "I wish could take photos like so and so," or "why can't I get blah, blah, blah company to sponsor my blog."  Stop comparing yourself others because guess what we're all awesome!  Start looking at what you have to offer, what it great about you as you are and rock it! 

I'm so thankful that I took the time to read this book.  From time to time, we need to hear how others used their individuality to get where they wanted to be.  Some of us are content to be followers, but for those of us who desire to be leaders, we have make ourselves our own idols.  Believe in ourselves more than we believe in others; put more effort into focusing on our own projects and eventually the hard work will pay off.

Mommy's Snow Angels
Remember how I posted last Thursday that we finally got snow?  Well, we got more snow over the weekend and Monday.  Then, we got hit with our third snow last night!!  Yes, we've had three snow fronts back to back.  The picture above is from the second snow front.  Moo and I are two happy winter babies right now.

JJ enjoyed looking at it, but was ready to go after he touched it and felt how cold it was.  He is not a fan of being cold! Needless to say today is a snow day for the schools here.  So far we've enjoyed some cartoons, a little playing, a fruit salad for breakfast and I've caught up on some emails.  For the rest of the day, I plan on working on Moo's blanket that I'm crocheting for room remodel.  There will be an official post on that later, but I'm thankful for this snow days to cuddle and spend time with my babies!

Lastly, I'm thankful that we're finally on the way to getting JJ into the speech therapy/preschool program at Moo's school!  It's only taken half the school year, but with some assistance from his speech therapist and former case worker, he could start classes next week.  I'm so excited for him because this will be his first real experience to make friends his own age besides when we take trips to the library.  We have no clue if we'll see those kids again.  And I don't know about y'all but for some reason, the parents we encounter or not the least bit interested in playdates.

This is definitely something I've had to get used to since having kids in the QC.  When I was living in my hometown, Moo and I got invited on lots of playdates.  Even when we stayed in New Orleans briefly my brother in-law's family invited us over playdates and even gifted Moo with tons of stuff from sippy cups to clothes.  I'm thinking this has to do with the mindset of the people here because it's been difficult even connecting with the moms in my playgroup and I finally just stopped trying.

Nevertheless, I'm confident that my little guy will make at least one or two friends in his class when he starts.  I'm looking forward to seeing how being in a new social environment will affect his speech progression.  I think he's going to become even more of  a chatterbox than his sister is.  I'm definitely getting my ears ready.  LOL

What are you giving thanks for this week?

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Watch Game Proper: Sully Series By JORD

Disclosure: I was provided the product below for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Happy Friday YUMMs!  I've said on here probably a million times that I used to work in retail.  Well, I worked a for a major department store chain in their fashion jewelry department.  The department was separated into four different bays (cash wrap counters).  There was the designer jewelry bay, sterling silver bay, costume jewelry bay and the watch bay.  Since, I was the youngest and had the best eyes, I was often put in the watch bay because you need a good set of eyes when you're removing and adding links to a customer's watch.  Long story short, I have a bit of a thing for watches.  

And for the past couple of weeks my wrist game has been on point thanks to the lovely folks of JORD Wood Watches.  They reached out to me a while back and asked if I'd be interested in trying out one of their watches.  After checking out their selection, I was like, "Umm...of course!!"  For starters, I've never owned a wooden watch before and secondly, I loved their designs.  So, let's jump right on in to this review.

For my JORD review, I decided to go with the Black & Maple Sully from their men's line.  There's just something about the look of big faced watches on a slender arm that I love.  Also, it's no secret that my vision is awful and I try to reduce the strain on my eyes as much as possible.  I think it goes without saying that since men's watches have bigger faces, they also have bigger face numbers and that makes it easier for me to tell the time.

The Sully also features a cut out bezel, deployment buckle with push button, scratch resistant minerals, Citizen Miyota Quartz Movement and is splash proof, but not made for "complete submergence in water."  Besides all of that, what I loved most about this watch is the overall look.  The contrast of the dark and light wood tones makes this watch an eyecatcher.   And the lines on this watch are just as clean as those of any metal watch.

While the Sully has a bit of a classic feel, there's a non-traditional edge to it as well.  It's a little bit flashy without being too overtop.  You don't need to pile on bracelets.  Nope, this watch commands attention all on its own.  Also, you can dress this watch up or down in terms of outfit choice.  I decided to style an outfit that was somewhere in between.  Southern Bell Casual Chic is what I'm calling my look that I put together.

Sweater-Gap, Faux Fur Vest-Blassport (thrifted), Maxi Skirt-Maurices, Boots-Merona, Head Scraf-Aldo, Watch-JORD
Even from far away, my Sully watch stands out.  You can easily see that it's two toned.  And I have to say that it looks amazing paired with my outfit!  

In the picture above, I shed my faux fur vest for a more toned down look and my Sully still looks awesome!  I'm completely in love this watch and have nothing but good things to say about it and JORD.  The Sully retails for $139, which in terms of the quality and craftsmanship of this watch is a reasonable price point in my personal and professional opinion.

The JORD logo charm is removeable, but I decided to leave mine on because I like it.
If you're in the market for a watch for yourself, a loved one or whomever, definitely check out JORD!  As they say, get your watch game proper! You can also see what other JORD Wood Watch owners have to say about the brand by checking out the hashtag #JORDWatch on Instagram and Twitter.  Stay updated on new designs, sales and more by following JORD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How's your wrist game looking?

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"God will never leave you empty.  He will replace everything you lost.  If He asks you to put something down, it's because He wants you to pick up something greater."

Happy Thankful Thursday YUMMs!  I stumbled across the quote above on my cousin's page this morning and it's be resonating with me all day.  I feel like it's a sign sent from God considering a recent event.  This quote reminds me a bit of story of Job.  He had everything taken from him, but refused to give in to the emptiness and God restored everything ten fold.

I'm definitely thankful for my faith and having the ability to look at this current situation in a more positive way.  To have something to keep me centered and grounded as things continue to play out.  I'm grateful for the reassurance that my morning of joy is coming because storms are hard when you're in the midst of one.

I'm grateful for the six day weekend we had!  Yes, you read correctly.  We had a six day weekend thanks to two teacher workdays, the actual weekend, and two snow/inclement weather days.  Moo is beyond thrilled that her snow finally came.  It was just a little bit, but you would have thought that it was blizzard with the way she jumping around in excitement.  I'm not going to lie, I was excited as well.

We were a bit sad to see her off to school this morning, but hearing about her day and how she finally got to exchange her Valentine's with her best friends was the highlight of my day today.  My little lady is turning into a social butterfly and making some real friendships.  Now to work on JJ.  Speaking of which he's picked up quite a few new works including "No snow" and his current favorite "Not again!"  LOL.

I find myself just looking at him and feeling so blessed that we're overcoming this speech delay hurdle.  It seems like he's picking up words and learning how to piece them together to form sentences much quicker these days.  I can't thank all of you who have kept him in your prayers enough.  We still have a little ways to go until he is on par for his age group, but I think that we'll get there by the end of this year.

I'm grateful for things coming to the light.  The old saying goes, "What is done in the dark, comes to light."  And oh boy is that true.  I know some folks say that ignorance is bliss and maybe in some cases it is.  However, I do believe there is a certain amount of freedom, peace and power that comes with knowing certain things as well.  

Lastly, I'm grateful for unexpected blessings.  

What are you thankful for?

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.  Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.  Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder."

~Romans 12:11-12 (MSG)

Happy Thankful Thursday!  I'm feeling a little bit more upbeat this week.  Last week was definitely very hard for me, but I'm thankful for awesome loved ones and friends who checked in on me to make sure that I was okay.  It's hard to come to terms with the fact that a person you loved is no longer with you no matter how many years fly by.

When I say that JJ has turned into a chatterbox, I mean it.  He's learned how to put together some simple phrases and sentences and he talks my head off turning the day now.  This takes a bit of getting used to because it still feels so surreal.  I've said this before, but when we first got his diagnosis, I thought it was the end of the world.  Even though I knew it wasn't my fault, I couldn't help feeling like a total mom failure.

However, being very proactive in helping to get on par with his speech and seeing all of the progress he has made has helped me just as much as it's helped him.  This has been quite the journey for us as a family.  Seeing where he is now compared to where he started is almost like night and day.  I'm so thankful that we've all been able to be here for JJ during all this, giving him the support and encouragement he needs.

He's so much more confident in his speech and I love it.  Speaking of love, he can finally say "I love you, too" back to us!!  I cried buckets the first time he said it.  We were just hanging out on the couch and he gave me the biggest hug.  And since I make it a habit of telling him that I love him at the most random times, I wasn't expecting him to say anything back that when I told him.  I must have made him repeat it like a million times and now it's become our family ritual.

Moo won the Math Excellence awards again this nine weeks at her school!  I'm so proud of my little math whiz.  Also, after meeting with her teacher, I found out that she's more than passed her end of the year reading goals and is one point away from passing her math goal.  They tested students at the beginning of the school year and based on the results set a specific testing score/point value that each student should be at.  They test them at the end of each nine weeks and at the end of the last nine weeks, Moo had pretty much achieved all of her goals.

I'm very proud of her.  And I adore her new teacher!!  She's keeping my baby challenged in class so that she doesn't get bored and I appreciate that because I want Moo to always have a thirst for learning.  And sometimes when kids are a bit ahead of the rest of their class but they don't get challenged, they get bored with learning.  

I'm grateful this week for a break.  We've had the Mr to ourselves for a full seven days and we're not looking forward to sharing him with his job again.  The kids are going to miss having him home for dinner and I'm going to miss our late night couple time.   But I think he noticed that I was nearing my burn out and he's been awesome- entertaining the kids for a few hours, handling dinner and taking over picking up Moo from school in the afternoons.

What are you thankful for this week?
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Give Books, Not Roses Valentine's Day Giveaway

Disclosure:  This giveaway is sponsored by Hachette Book Group.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Happy Monday YUMMs!  Reading is one of my favorite pastimes.  In fact, I read over 150 books last year alone!  I can't explain exactly what it is, but there's just something about being transported from reality or reading something that inspires me to action that fuels my love of the written word.  My love for books and reading in general started when I was two years old and has only gotten stronger over the years.  With Valentine's Day coming up the end of this week, I thought it would be great to divert a little from the usual flowers, cards and stuffed animals by teaming up with the lovely folks from Faith Words and Hachette Book Group to bring you the Give Books, Not Roses Valentine's Day Reads Giveaway!  

Hachette Book Group editor, Christina Boys said, "Valentine's Day is an internationally celebrated day of romance, dating back to the 5th Century.  But today, love touches our lives in so many different ways.  Whether you are dedicating the day to your good friends or your life partner, treat them to these wonderful stories of courage, kindness and love."  So, today I dedicate this giveaway to you guys for being so supportive on YUMMommy and showing me love.  Many of you have definitely touched my life in a special way and I hope that you will accept this token of my appreciation.

The Prize Pack

Love Gently Falling is a romantic novella about the power of Valentine's Day and how one woman discovers love while trying to save her mother's business.  Rita Jensen, Beverly Hills hairstylist to the stars, returns to her hometown of Chicago after learning that her mother suffered a stroke.  Once back home, she soon discovers that's not all her mother's suffered when she finds out that her mother's hair salon is failing.  So, she comes up with a plan to help turn things around, but after being reunited with an old classmate, feelings grow.  Will she be distracted by the sparking of a new flame and oncoming of Valentine's Day to execute her plan?

In case you missed it, I posted a review of this book a few weeks ago.  You can check it out here.  And I can't tell you guys how awesome Melody Carlson is.  Valentine's Day romances are definitely her specialty!

Buy Links

Also, part of the prize pack is second book from Adina Senft's Healing Grace trilogy, Keys of Heaven.  Sarah Yoder, an Amish widow, grows herbs to make teas and tinctures to assist her community.  And while Sarah enjoys giving to her Amish community, she's misses having someone to love and hasn't had any luck with any of the Amish men in her community.  Instead, she finds herself conflicted over her attraction to Henry Byler, her friend who no longer shares her beliefs.  Will he be her happily ever after?

I don't want to give too much away because I'm doing a full review of this book soon, but it's good.  This was both my first time reading Amish fiction and a book written by Adina Senft.  I'm actually looking forward to checking out the first book from this series.

Buy Links

And to round out this Give Books, Not Roses Prize Pack is this yummy bar of chocolate!  There's nothing like having a delicious snack to munch on while you enjoy a good book.

How To Enter

This giveaway is super easy to enter.  Just use the Rafflecopter widget below.  Giveaway ends on Friday, February 13th at 11:59 PM.

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Frosty VoxBox Reveal

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

About a month and a half ago, I got my Frosty VoxBox from Influenster in the mail.  It was filled with all kinds of great goodies and was the perfect treat to get in the mail just before Christmas.  Since then I've been busy trying out the products to make sure that I can give you guys thorough review.  So, let's do this!

My VoxBox Goodies

Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover ($7.49):  When it comes to makeup removers, good ol' soap and water have been my go-to for years due to having sensitive skin.  However, this Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover just might stay around for a while.  It wasn't harsh on my skin considering it does have alcohol in it.  Alcohol tends to dry my face out something awful and leave me with bumps.  None of that using this.  I did moisturize as usual afterwards.

If you're not too heavy-handed this bottle should last you a while.  A few squirts on one or two cotton balls and you're good.

NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum ($1.99):  This product claims to have "intense, amplified color and shine that lasts up to six hours" with a moisturizing formula that glides on "easily for a silky, smooth, velvety finish for all day wear."  There are a total of twenty different shades/colors in the Expert Last Lip Color line.  While I am a fan of the NYC brand, this product fell a little short for me in terms of coverage/pigment.  As you will see in my YouTube video, the Sugar Plum shade was anything but intense or amplified.

I've seen a few reviews/swatches of the other colors and they're not very pigmented either.  Now, what I did like about this product is that it does glide on very smoothly and your lips will be moisturized for at least three to six hours depending on how much you eat, drink and wipe your mouth.  I wouldn't classify this as a lipstick, but more of a lightly tinted chapstick.  It's under $2 and I would definitely buy some of the other shades to serve as just that.

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect ADVANCED Serum ($22.99):  I only received a sample size of this product, but it is supposed to reduce "the appearance of deep lines & wrinkles, for younger looking skin in two weeks."  My sample was not big enough for a two week trial, nor do I have any deep lines.  However, I can say this product made my skin feel like heaven after one use.  Seriously, my face felt so smooth and not the least bit greasy either.  

Also, it's hypo-allergenic and didn't give me any breakouts.  It does smell a little like acne medicine at first, but once on my face, I couldn't smell it.  I know that $22.99 seems a bit steep for a 1 ounce bottle, but I did a little deal hunting and you get this from Target regularly $17.49, but it's currently on sale for $15.74 and a few weeks ago there was a coupon on their Cartwheel app.  Also, there was a $2 off coupon in my VoxBox pushing my price down to $13.74!  So, Im definitely off to Target to pick up some more.

Overall, I do like this product and I feel like it's going to help keep my skin looking young.  I'm glad to be investing in my first mature skincare beauty product.  The average person often estimates my age to be 21 at the most, but after a few weeks of using this product I might get mistaken for a 15 year old again?  I'll keep you posted.

EcoTools Full Volume Styler ($10.99):  This brush is designed to create "gorgeous volume and style, while cruelty-free bristles distribute hair's moisturizers for the ultimate shine."  This product also claims to fight frizz and static and dry hair 20% faster. Not going to lie, as a Black woman with very curly/kinky natural hair, these volume styler brushes have not been my friend and weren't my friends growing up either.  I remember getting my hair so tangled up in one of my mom's that she almost had to cut a big chunk of my hair off!

Thank goodness she very patiently spent an hair detangling small sections instead.  However, that EcoTools is on to something with the design of their Full Volume Styler because my experience was drastically different this time around.  The openings do allow the hair to dry faster.  Also, the bristle combination worked very well with my natural hair.  I had a little frizz, but less than my usual amount.  Also, I love that this brush and the packaging are made entirely out of eco-friendly products and can be recycled!! 

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner ($4.49):  Just want to start off by saying pick this product up from Walmart for $3.97 and save yourself almost a dollar.  You're welcome!  Now that I've saved you some coins, let me say this is eyeliner is awesome-sauce!!  I had an eyeliner from NYC that I got in one of my VoxBoxes about two years ago that I thought went on soft, but when I say that this Rimmel Scandaleyes is like a million times better, I mean it!

It glides on like butter, which is really important because who wants to rip their eyelid off using a hard pencil eyeliner?  I don't.  Hard eyeliner pencils was one of the reasons I didn't wear eyeliner as often, but now that I've been introduced to Scandaleyes, I'm lining these cuties up.  My eyes are one of my best features that I get complimented on all the time and now they can really stand out.

And it's waterproof for long lasting wear.  However, since this does glide on like butter be careful not to put too much pressure on it when lining your eyes or you will break off the tip.  I received the black liner, which is perfect for me since I don't experiment too much with eyeliner colors just yet.  I like to take chances with my shadows and then keep it simple using black liner.

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea ($3.39 for 20 bags):  So, my mom has a thing for teas, especially green teas and any tea made by Celestial Seasonings.  Growing up she kept their regular green tea in stock because it was good at fighting off colds and building the immune system.  All of which I needed being that I was always the first one to get a common cold and have it turn into a severe case of the flu or strep throat.  She pumped us with green tea and it paid off at some point.

I say all that to say that I am now obsessed with their Candy Cane Lane Green Tea and love that it comes in decaf since I'm technically not allowed to have caffeine.  Moo and I enjoyed this for Christmas and she got hooked too.  We can't go the grocery store without her asking if we can get another box.  This stuff is Christmas and holiday cheer in a cup.

Seriously, Celestial Seasonings has the tea game on lock when it comes to creating flavored teas.  And you know the bitter aftertaste that accompanies most green teas?  You won't have to worry about that with this one.  I don't know how they did it, but I don't taste it when I drink the Candy Cane Lane.  Wonder if they'll tell me their secret?

Fruit Vines Bites ($1.28-1.79):  Let me start off by saying that these are super yummy.  They don't have any preservatives and are low fat.  They're also not super sweet.  I received the Cherry flavor in my VoxBox and have since tried the Strawberry as well.  Now, I did let the kids try these and that was a mistake.  

These are not gluten-free and we had a long night of itching, applying steroid cream and administering doses of Benadryl and almost trip to the hospital as a result.  So, if you or your child has food allergies be sure to read the back of the label before you chow down.  Another snack that I can enjoy by myself and I'm not complaining one bit. 

McCormick Gourmet Thyme ($4.79):  If you've been following the blog for a while, you already know that we are McCormick lovers!  I served as a Grill Ambassador for them a few year ago and tons of free sauces and seasonings to try out.   Even before that though, McCormick is the only seasoning brand you will find in my mom's cabinets.  Yes, my mom is very brand loyal.

And just as she influenced me in terms of some of the brands that I buy that I buy today, I hope I'm influencing my kids in the same way because McCormick knows their seasonings and their herbs too!  I've put this stuff on literally everything from chicken to veggies and even made a gravy for Christmas that was beyond delicious.  My mom and baby sister gave it two thumbs up.  That's awesome coming from them because they are gravy masters. 

So, there you have it folks!  Overall, this was probably my favorite VoxBox.  If you're interested in signing up for Influenster for your chance to start reviewing VoxBoxes click here.  Sign-up is pretty simple and you'll get surveys about once a  month or every other month to fill out and see what VoxBoxes you would make a great match for.  Don't forget to check out my YouTube video below (or you can click here).

Have you tried or would try any of these products?

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday

I really contemplated not getting out of the bed today.  I wanted it to pass by in blur.  And if I had one of those magical remotes like Adam Sandler, I would totally fast forward tomorrow, maybe even next month.  It's been five years today since heaven called her home,  And although the cloud of depression has lifted a little bit, the pain still lingers and feels fresher than ever.  I'm trying to focus on the good things like how blessed I was to have a second mom, but it's hard when my mind is consumed with her absence. 

You know there's a difference between love and unconditional love.  She was one of the very people in my life to give me the latter of the two.  She accepted me for who I was and never made me feel like I needed to change that.  She was a great listener and made a mean chef salad!  She loved without judgement and that's probably what I miss the most.

It feels unfair that my kids don't get to make memories with her, that she didn't get to meet JJ.  Sure, I can tell them stories, but stories are just a substitute.  They'll never know what her voice sounded like or see how awesome she was at throwing down on the grill during family cookouts.

As I continue to grieve the loss of a woman, who impacted my life in a way that I can't put into words, I'm grateful to have had her in my life not only as an aunt, but a mother.  I'm grateful for the time she took with me and the words of wisdom she shared with me.  I'm grateful for my memories and the fact that she's always with me.

What are you giving thanks for today?

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