Friday, July 31, 2015

School in August!

My kids start school in 2 weeks. Yup they start in the middle of August and I feel like we are getting ripped off of 2 weeks of summer. When I was in school the school year went from the Monday after Labor Day to early June. First day of school was associated with falling leaves and cooler weather. Since my own kids have been in school the first day of school gets earlier and earlier.

 So what's the deal?

By law, schools are required to have a certain number days or hours of instruction. Over the years you may have noticed that there are more holidays throughout the year. Spring and winter breaks are getting longer. Also I don't know about your school, but my kids get a week off for President's Day. In order to ensure that the school district hits the required number of days of instruction the school year has to start earlier than ever.

Although I enjoy the extended days off during the year I really feel like summers are being cut short. 10 weeks just does not feel like enough time to enjoy a vacation. Sending the kids to school when it's still 100 degrees outside seems wrong. Seeing school supplies next to pool supplies seems wrong.

When do your kids go back to school? 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fuller House: would you watch?

There's a generation of kids who grew up on Full House and because Netflix does everything awesome they are bringing Full House back to these "kids." Everyone, but little Michelle Tanner, is back for Fuller House - a new show that gives us that "where-are-they-now?" feeling all wrapped into repeat episodes. I'm into it as a kid who watched the original.

Yes, I personally plan to watch, but I also got to thinking... how will this show fit-in now? Full House was so wholesome for its time. Will Netflix go with today's times and add that non-prime time TV flare? Would folks like it, if so? Or would we really pick up where we left off and have that tame pg-13 tone?

When Boy Meets World came back as Girl Meets World it was on the Disney Channel. It met the right market of young teens the original targeted. I personally found the spin-off that flashed Cory and Topanga forward as parents really enjoyable, but then I stopped watching, unless my kids wanted to see it.

To me, Fuller House will need to step of to the times. I don't see the extremely wholesome premise of the 80's fitting a Netflix line-up with shows like OITNB and Grace and Frankie especially since the Tanner household and its father figures are all so much older! I am also all grown up and what I believed as a young kid watching Full House has come to pass. So to that point, I hope Fuller House is Full House with a little kick of something new!

Do you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mortified the Podcast

About a year ago I wrote about the Mortified documentary that I loved. Since then Netflix has released a Mortified show where celebrities share some of their embarrassing items and pictures from their youth. Now I love celebrity news but this show didn't feel as real as the people on the documentary. Then they started a podcast.


The Mortified Podcast: Share the Shame is fantastic.  I find myself refreshing the feed and crossing my fingers that there is a new episode. It's that good. Regular people and a celebrity thrown in here and there read from their childhood journals.

Topics range from teen fan fiction for Jurassic Park, trips to remote areas of Mexico, using Star Wars to understand the opposite sex and first sexual encounters.

Despite the mortifying topics I think I could relate to almost every single episode. We all went through an awkward stage. A time in our lives when our bodies were changing, our relationships with our friends and family were changing and things were so confusing.  This podcast gives you flashbacks to those times and reminds you just how far you have come.

Each episode is about 20 minutes long and there are currently 24 episodes. You will be hooked after the first episode!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Toxic Dollar Tree

Today I signed a petition on urging stores like the $.99 store to label their hazardous items. Turns out there's hundreds of products at stores like these that carry materials full of toxins. I've never really thought about it until I was in a 'dollar tree' that actually had labels all up-and-down the shampoo and lotion aisle. I couldn't believe the amount of notices throughout those aisles that mentioned hazardous cancer-causing toxins one after the other.

When I got to thinking about it, I realized there's no way there's this many items costing you less than a dollar that are 100% safe. Now I get it:  what get what you pay for and you shouldn't expect toxic-free, safe, organic, produce, skin products, and other household goods. However, there are no warning signs or labels to correspond with those dollar price tags.  So it's simple, let us know what's in those goods so we really have a choice to decide if we want to take the toxic gamble or not. 

The saddest part is that $.99 stores and 'dollar trees' are usually located in Low low-income communities. It is the impoverished neighborhoods that are targeted with cheap prices and just as cheap material and hazardous substances.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for a good bargain and I definitely purchase items from these discount stores. Again, my issue is with the lack of information. Many customers are being tricked to believe that the shampoo, lotions, and makeup are harmless when they're not. 

20/20 recently aired an undercover sting raiding heavily discounted store items including medicines that proved full of toxic and contraband material. Many contained ingredients that cause cancer and are actually band in countries outside of the U.S. We don't have the same rights and this for companies to turn a rediculous profit. So do the research, sign the petitions, and more than anything, make sure you know what's in the stuff you're buying dirt cheap. Plus, sometimes if the price is too good to be true, it's because it is. 

Exercise caution at swap meets and flea-markets. Also spread the word to the communities that may not be defending themselves or know enough to stand up against toxics in the deeply discounted products they buy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Packing for a Camping Trip

This year for our annual trip to the lake we are tent camping. Yea! (did you catch my sarcasm there?) As a kid I loved going tent camping with my family and I still love at the fun parts like sleeping outside, campfires, cookouts and swimming all day. But when I was a kid then and going camping as an adult is way more work. Even now we go with my whole family so my parents still take a lot of the bigger items like camping stove and easy-ups and it's still a lot more work than I think vacation prep should consist of.

Here are a few things from my family of 4's camping packing list...

  • Trash bags: They are not just for trash. I give the kids one and my husband and I use one as a hamper. Our dirty clothes go directly into the bags and not all over the tent. 
  • Doormat: Nothing is worse than dirt all over the tent floor. One way to cut back is to invoke the "no shoes in the tent" rule and to have a doormat to wipe off any muddy feet. 
  • Baby Wipes: When we camp we usually showers once in the middle of the week. Yes gross I know. But to keep everyone a bit cleaner on those non-shower days baby wipes are a life saver. 
  • Rope: to avoid wet swimsuits and beach towels from getting mildewy it's best to get them onto a rope line to dry as soon as you can. 
  • Toilet Paper:  never head to the restrooms and assume there will be toilet paper. It's best to keep a roll handy and take it with you. It is better to be safe than sorry. 
  • Headlamp: I do what I can to avoid having to walk to the restrooms in the dark, but my kids will need to go at least once after dark. A headlamp is a great way to light the way and keep your hands free to hold little-ones hands and the roll of toilet paper. Here is a great one under $20.00 from REI.
What are some of your must-have camping items! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Water Saving Tips

Despite the nice rain us in California experienced last weekend, the drought is still a very really problem. Water is a very necessary resource and with the lack of any real significant rain fall over the last few years it is very important to use the water we do have wisely. Here are a few tips to help you save some precious h2o.

  • Read up on any water restrictions that your city may have implemented. In our town you can only water your lawn 3 days a week and your days are determined by your street number. 
  • Limit showers to under 5 minutes. Set a timer of put on some music and give yourself a 1 and 1/2 song limit. 
  • If we do get rain put out plastic containers or buckets to collect some rain water. Use this to water indoor plants. 
  • Fix any leaky faucets or sprinklers. Even a small leak adds up to a lot of wasted water. 
  • Let the car get dirty. Skip a car wash. 
Droughts are something that Californians are use to. We have been through many in the past and will probably go through more in the future. It is important to learn how to conserve water during these dry spells. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Is Go Fund Me the New Panhandling?

I feel that every other post on my Facebook these days is giving me a sad story and directing me to a GoFundMe page and asking for donations. Of course some of these causes are dire and situations that have legitimate reasons to ask for donations. In times of medical emergencies or natural disasters asking the public for money is a great way to raise funds fast. Donating to causes is not a new thing, but crowdfunding is fairly a new concept. The idea is great, but has websites like GoFundMe become the new socially acceptable form of panhandling. Somehow it has now become okay to ask everyone you remotely know and all their friends for money.

Over the last year I have seen people ask for donations for vacations, weddings, help with a new apartment, help with a down payment on a dream home, decorating a nursery, a new car, even to help pay tax debt. Now maybe this will sound cold-hearted but a lot of these are luxury items and if you can't afford it then it doesn't happen. Here is the other thing that happens with you start a frivolous GoFundMe page - people start to look at what you are spending and will judge you for it. If you ask people to help fund your trip to Europe and you are constantly posting about the new clothes you just bought, the fancy restaurant you went to, even the Starbucks selfies you take, people will judge you for it. If you can afford new clothes, why are we paying for your trip?

Maybe I am old-fashioned, but if you wanted something out of your budget then you saved until you could afford it. Because these are online campaigns and the recipient is just sitting behind a computer does this make it okay? If you were starting a new job and had a gap in between paychecks shouldn't it be your financial responsibility to have prepared for that and have saved money to get through it? If you wanted to redo your kitchen would you go up to all your friends face to face and ask them for money? 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Don't Explain and Definitely Don't Apologize

I once heard someone give the best advice at a career fair for teens. She said her advice was simple and once passed down to her by a longtime mentor. This something changed her professionally. This simple advice made her better.

Her advice:


This was especially important advice for young women in business who may have it already ingrained in them to feel apologetic and passive as young professionals. As the career fair speaker explained it: how many times have you started an email with "I apologize, I missed your call because I was in another meeting?" That might seem like an insignificant response but it isn't. There's firstly no need to say I'm sorry. Unless there's a bonafide reason to ask forgiveness for a serious transgression there's usually no need to apologize. I'm so sorry statements are pointless, passive and set us up to feel as though we're having to win back credibility. In a nutshell, skip the "I'm sorry's" whenever possible. 

Next, keep the explanation out of things and move on to solutions. One might try the following in place of our previous missed phone call example: "I am in my office, please call me to connect as planned." 

This statement gives no excuse and no apology. Might seem like a small unnecessary shift in communication, but the truth is we often apologize and explain ourselves all day long. To apologize chronically and explain ourselves is a waste of energy and unconsciously hurts your self-esteem. 

Wondering if you explain and apologize too much? Spend a day assessing if you do this and you may discover just how much you create excuses and apologize for it along the way. 

Summer Camp....for Adults?

Maybe you really miss the summer camps of your youth, or maybe you never got to go to camp as a kid and really want to experience it for yourself. Maybe you just want to unplug from technology, have some fun and experience something new. You are in luck because Adult Summer Camps are a thing. Things like bonfires, hikes, capture the flag, friendship bracelet making, talent shows, cabins and bad camp food all for adults to enjoy.

A quick google search brings up a bunch a camps to choose from. You can go to Camp Throwback in Ohio where everything you remember or heard about when it comes to summer camp is there. Even the food is the same. Or visit Camp Grounded where you can spend a week getting completely off the grid. No cell phones or internet for a whole week. It's what they call a digital detox. Or maybe you want to get all your close friends together in one place for a week of unforgettable fun, then you can head over to Camp No Counselors.

There are even camps that are more specific. If you are big wine lovers you can go to Wine Camp in Long Island. Yes camp all about wine and yes there is a lot of wine drinking involved along with wintery tours. This one is at the top of my list. If you were a kid who grew up in the 80's then you most likely really wanted to go to Space Camp (that wasn't just me right?).  Well you are in luck because there is now Adult Space Camp! I bet they serve astronaut ice cream there.

How amazing does all this sound! All the fun of camp but with beer!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shark Attack? Australian Surfer gets Attacked Live on Camera.

Did you see this video over the weekend!?!

During a surf competition in South Africa there was some scary intense moments as pro surfer Nick Fanning was waiting to catch a wave and had a very close encounter with a shark. Fanning was very lucky and walked away from the incident very shook up but with just a ripped leash. 

This is such a scary video. As an ex-surfer and body boarder this is my complete nightmare come true. Is it just me or is there a lot more of these shark attacks being reported? My local morning radio show did a segment asking people who have had had close encounters with sharks call in. They had a lot of calls! 

Everying be safe out there! Listen to lifeguards and follow all posted signs! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

I Am A Foster Parent- a guest post by Dana Thomas

We are very excited to have Dana Thomas as a guest today on HerMamas. She is a foster parent and I have been following her journey for the last few years as she went through the necessary training and certifications to when her first foster child was placed with her. Dana shares with us a real look at what a foster parent goes through. Dana thank you so much for sharing with us. 

I’m a foster parent. Reunification with the birth family is the ultimate goal – this was drilled into me throughout all of my training in those months I worked on getting my license. This is what I signed up for – it sounded easier to do when it was just “in theory”. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy to fall in love with a child, integrate him into your home, life, heart and family and then have to say goodbye. It’s not easy to live with the ambiguity related to time, circumstance, why they behave the way the way they do, and whether they might become adoptable. It’s not easy to straddle the fence between hopefulness that the family will resolve their issues and hopefulness you will never have to say goodbye. It’s not easy to parent and not really be a parent. It’s not easy to constantly worry that you do more good than harm to a child who is a victim of their circumstance (“will it harm them to refer to myself as mom?”, “will it reinforce some negative memory if I react in a certain way to their behavior?”). These kids have histories I can’t even imagine and it’s impacted them in ways which mean they need to be treated a bit differently than other kids. It’s really hard to send them home and hope that they don’t end up back in the system. It’s really hard to love them completely but reserve some armor for my own heart and well-being.
The emotional load of this endeavor is hard enough and then there’s the work of it. There’s the paperwork, reports, visits, check-ins, emails, conversations, coordination, rules to know and follow and new county employee after new county employee after new county employee who breezes in and out of your life – stealing snippets of your time and usually leaving you with more questions than answers. There’s services to apply for, delays to reimbursement, and not enough funds to cover all expenses which means I’m reaching into my own pocket – a lot. County employees work the same hours I work and so I am constantly being asked to take time out of my work day to meet, talk, transport, etc.
And at the end of my love, time, effort, over-analyzing and sacrifice – I send a child I’ve grown to love into the unknown. No crystal ball can predict if changes will stick, if parents will try their hardest, keep it together. No crystal ball tells me if this child will have a chance to have the type of childhood they deserve. If they will be raised to be a happy, healthy and productive member of society. I don’t know if I will ever see this child – who I’ve grown to consider is “my child” - again.
But I do this really, really…..REALLY….hard thing for a lot of reasons. First and foremost I’d like to adopt. I know there’s a perfect little soul out there who needs a forever home – we just need the powers that be to hook us up. And just as importantly I want to provide a safe place for a child to be while their family works on bettering themselves. I want to give a child in a scary, awful situation love, structure, time, joy and an invested PARENT. I want that child to lay their head at night knowing they are safe, secure and loved. I want that child to wake up and be safe, secure and loved. I want that child to be a KID – not an after-thought, burden or someone who has to focus on just surviving. Kids should have joy. And in the midst of the crisis they are in – that should be their priority. Let the countless county workers, their parents and me worry about the crisis. I do this because I have compassion for their situation, the heart to invest, the time to invest, the room to spare, the money to contribute and because I believe “it takes a village”.
But it’s hard. REALLY hard. And I lay awake nights. And my thoughts drift during the day. And I cry as much as I laugh some days. And I doubt my fortitude. I doubt my worthiness. I doubt my abilities. I doubt my instincts. And I pity myself when I have to give them back – all while being overjoyed and hopeful for their family.
Things move quickly in this system. I know this but it shocks me every time there’s a change – particularly when the transition home starts. It hurts like a slap in the face. Transition home has started for my current little one. And it makes me sad. And then he wakes up in the best mood, with the biggest smile and the happiest little chatter and I choose to ENJOY him while I have him. And send the most hopeful of thoughts into the universe for him and his future. And for me as well…

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Uber for Kids

I tried Uber for the first time a couple of weeks ago and loved it. How easy is the concept of pulling up an app, searching for a nearby driver and requesting a ride? All of this at the fraction of what a taxi ride would cost you. Uber is definitely on to something BIG!

Two LA moms recently took this concept to a new level with the creation of HopSkipDrive which is often referred to as Uber for kids. It's basically a much safer, kid-focused spin on the original since Uber drivers have an age limit.

The HopSkipDrive service offers pre-booked rides for children age seven and up starting at $20 per ride, with additional charges depending on distance and duration. Founded by moms who knew the demand of shuffling children, I fully understand the premise and need.

Nevertheless, I am not yet convinced. After all it took me almost two years to even try "adult" Uber which involves riding along with every character who suddenly wants to moonlight as a taxi driver. I will say of three rides I took on Uber each driver was uniquely cooky. I don't mind that, but I can't help but picture the same thing with other driving services. 

Truth be told this premise is good but to me there's still something nutty about random drivers shuffling kids to and fro. Then again a 'parent's gotta do what a parent's gotta do'. 

Would you try HopSkipDrive? Tell us why!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Odd Mom Out

I tend to stay away from most Bravo shows. So many housewives I don't have the time or energy to keep up. But a new scripted show (isn't it funny how reality shows are dominating TV that a show that is not a reality show has to be labeled as scripted?) by Bravo has me hooked. Odd Mom Out is a show about Jill Webber, a New York stay-at-home of 3. She lives among the rich and powerful in New York and like the title of the show is really the odd mom out. In a world of designer clothes and prestigious preschools and non drop-off vs drop-off parties Jill sticks out like a sore thumb. She is right in the middle of the upper-west side Momzilla scene.

In a scene where her husband's rich family is interviewing for a burial plot Jill is stressing out because she has been waiting for a call from any school for an admissions interview. She can't seem to get a signal so she is constantly moving around and eventually just yells "bury me anywhere I'm dead" as she runs out. Her in-laws are horrified. In another episode her in-laws find that many generations ago the "Von" was dropped from their name so they want to go back to "Von Webber". Jill refuses and from then on is referred to as the "Non-Webbers".

In another scene she gets tricked into a group dinner with her ultra-rich sister-in-law and friends. The 11 course meal that consists of a leaf with salt, one giant noodle, holy water and a mini spoon of fish eggs. Jill keeps rolling her eyes and just wants some carbs. When all she wanted to do was meet a new "Mom friend". In Jill's words "It was easier to meet my husband than to meet a mom friend.".

I may not be in New York, but I totally get feeling like the Odd Mom Out. I have never really found my place when it comes to the Moms at the library or my kids school. I never know how to relate to them.But like Jill, I have a tight group of Mom friends who really get me.

You can watch full episodes of Odd Mom Out on 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Parenting Intentional Community (they don't like the term commune)

On an old tobacco farm in Louisa County, Virginia lives a community called Twin Oaks. Here 100 adults live and are communally raising 17 kids. This community has been functioning since the late 60's. On the 123 acres everyone is required to work 40 hours a week, but work includes things like cooking, cleaning, milking cows, chopping firewood, fixing cars, or working in the tofu factory or taking care of the children. Each person is given an allowance of $103 a month. The kids go to a school called "Unicorn School" and polyamory is also the norm. 

Even with all the work that needs to be done, the most important is raising the children. In a Yahoo article it was stated..

"But there are still plenty more ways Twin Oaks does right by its youngest residents: with intense communal support among parents; opportunities for the childless to form close relationships with kids; fairly seamless co-parenting arrangements following breakups; a refreshing openness regarding the fluidity of gender and sexuality; and a striking absence of the so-called “mommy wars.” Perhaps most impressively, though, is the enviable reality of an organic work-life balance."

Now many will look at this as a crazy cult, or over-the-top hippie living -- there is something appealing about this. Every time I hear about a school shooting, or a kid being kidnapped walking home from school, I want to take my family, my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and live on a big ranch where we homeschool the kids and live a happy and safe and secluded life. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Burgers for Summer

It's time to fire up the grill and that's quite possibly my favorite kind of dinner for warm summer nights. Eating outside, enjoying the breezy weather, delightful BBQ smells and a cool cocktail -- what isn't there to love, right?

The best grilling includes delicious summer burgers. How ever you enjoy a burger, they're must-haves for the summer. Try these options during your next burger BBQ:

1. Western Burgers: top your standard burger with grilled onions (straight from the grill), cheddar cheese, thick sliced bacon and BBQ sauce. 

2. Cali Burgers: top your burger with sliced avocado or guacamole, provolone cheese, sprouts, plus grilled yellow, red and green bell peppers for a touch of color.

3. Firecracker Burgers: top your burger with fresh pico de gallo (add mango for a zing of sweetness), pepperjack cheese, and for even an extra kick sliced serrano chili peppers (optional). Cilantro dressing is a great spread for this burger.

4. Pesto Chicken Burgers: if you're not feeling a red meat burger, grill up a moist chicken breast then top it with jack cheese, tomato, fresh basil and red onions. Don't forget pesto spread on your toasty bun.

5. Veggie Burgers: once you've grilled up your favorite veggie meatless burger top it with lettuce, tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, pickles, and onion then sprinkle on your favorite fresh cheese (e.g. feta) for a little something extra.

Finally, check out this great burger pattie recipe: toss lean ground beef or turkey with one raw egg, Italian bread crumbs, diced onions, two tablespoons of deli mustard, salt, pepper, minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Shape into patties and grill! 

Share your recipes too! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Keeping the Flame Alive

Recently my husband and I spent 3 kid-free days to celebrate our 9th anniversary. We went out to dinners and not once did I have to get up to take someone to the bathroom. We could just get up and go. There was no constant nagging kids. We went to a bar at night and ate cheeseburgers at 11 pm. We strolled art museums and walked Olvera Street with no one complaining that anyone was bored or tired. We laughed a lot, we were silly and had so much fun. I felt lighter and prettier and flirtier. There was also NSFW activities whenever and where ever we wanted. (if you get my drift).

Because we knew the kids were having the time of their lives at their cousin's house, all the usual worry and stress that goes with raising kids was gone for 3 days. I didn't realize how much the stress of raising kids takes a toll on the rest of my life -- especially my marriage. The night we picked up the kids and we all were back together in the house I looked at my husband and asked "how can we keep that feeling?"

Obviously getting rid of the kids is not an option. We are in this parenting thing for at least 13 more years. Despite what this blog post may sound like, we love our children and take our role as parents very seriously. I think that may be part of the problem. We are with our kids 24/7 and have even taken on homeschooling so that we can be the ones to educate them. We are parents all the time and we both have always felt that the kids needs should always come first. By the time they are in bed at night we are both exhausted. A usual date night is off the table because we live so far from family. So what can we do?

How do you keep the flame alive in your relationship? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Get kids to eat their veggies!

The best way to get kids to eat their veggies is to make your home a veggie and fruit oasis. I recently realized our shopping cart was full of sugary carbs. Somewhere down the road we made a habit of including chips, cookies, pastries and similar items to our shopping list.

Plus, we were beginning to eat out a lot and that usually entailed more carbs and less fresh fruit and veggie options. I was starting to feel guilty about this new habit and quickly zapped out of it with a couple of quick and easy solutions...

1. Limit other options. Shopping trips now include spending a lot of time in the produce aisle. This means I'm stocking up on all things healthy and "finger-foodie"! This gives kids the same snacking-feel without the sugar loaded, empty calories. Think: grapes, cherries, apples, celery sticks, broccoli bites, cherry tomatoes and more! Stocking up on these and skipping crackers, cookies and chips gives my kids less options and healthier choices to get use to. Vary what you buy and eventually you'll end up with an assortment your kids favor. 

2. Make veggies with every meal. This is a must. It can be as simple as corn or peas, but always have them handy. For us this usually means always including a side salad. Soon enough even kids who claim they don't like salad will come around. My 8-year old is all about healthy salads for lunch or dinner. My five year old picks her favorite veggies out of our typical salad: cucumber, olives, corn... but she's eating her veggies.

3. Keep it healthy while eating out. Don't order the kids meal with a side of fries. Whether it's fast food or sit-down joints there's now plenty to pick from: salad, broccoli, carrots, fruit. To me I vary what each of my kids get and having three means we're skipping on a ton of side orders of fries. One has the broccoli, the other applesauce, and so on. After doing this enough times, kids independently begin picking non-carby sides on their own. Just today my daughter picked a side of broccoli with her grilled cheese sandwich during her bday dinner #winning.

4. I've said this before and I'll say it again: add veggies to smoothies and homemade ice pops. This is such a fun and delicious ways to get in healthy veggies such as kale and spinach. Kids need to stock up here but eating it raw isn't always appetizing. 

5. Eat your own veggies! Set the example at home and while out. Kids will eat what you eat, so if you're bypassing all the healthy meals so will they. Make a habit of ample fruit and veggie consumption a family habit! 

Share your tips too and comment below! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Make-Up Hacks That Will Change your Routine

I have always been so bad at applying make-up. But that doesn't stop me from buying it and trying the latest trends. I have been wearing make-up for about 20 years and over that time I have learned a few tricks that have changed the way I get ready for my day. Here are 6 of my favorites...

1. Gel eyeliners are all the rage right now. But I remember watching my Mom when I was a little kid making her own gel-like liner that went on dark and smooth. Take an old regular eyeliner pencil and heat with a lighter or even your stove top for 1 second. Let it cool for about 15 seconds and that's it. Your liner will go on as smooth as those expensive gel pencils.

2. Get really curly lashes that last all day by adding one more step to your routine. Before using your eyelash curler hit it with your blow dryer for about 15 seconds or so. This will heat up your tool and give you more curl that lasts longer.

3. Getting those perfect brows take a lot of maintenance and a steady hand with an eyebrow pencil. It is a hard skill to master. Luckily there is brow mascara to the rescue. With just a swish of the wand you can fill in your brows to make them look full and clean.

4. Dark circles under my eyes are just the norm these days. Late nights and early morning will do that. So concealer is my BFF. For the longest time I put concealer under my eyes in little dots right under and blend in but the best way is to put it on in a triangle shape under your eyes with the point towards your cheek and then blend.

5. I love a good manicure but the time it takes to dry wet nails it always too long and someone will need something and I will smudge my nails. The secret to drying them quickly is as simple as a bowl of ice water. After applying polish dunk your wet nails into some ice water. This will help your polish dry a lot quicker.

6. This one is my newest and favorite tip ever. I am Chicana with brown skin and eyeshadows sometimes don't look as bright on my skintone as I would like. You know those white eyeliner pencils you see, well grab one and use it to give your lids a coat of white. (white eyeshadow will work too). This will make any color you choose pop, and also serves as a base which lets you shadow stay on longer.

There you have it. My make-up tips. I would love to hear all yours. Leave us a comment with your best make-up tip below! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

When your favorite celebrity couple divorces!

JLo is the only person on earth that is possibly happy after the Bennifer 2.0 split. Jen Garner and Ben Affleck were quite possibly my favorite celebrity couple. I believed they'd make it. I believed this because they seemed so normal in a plastic Hollywood world.

Something about Ben and Jen having three kiddos and running from soccer practice to bday parties in between coffee runs and red carpet commitments felt more down to earth than other couples. They'd already made it this far. Their longstanding 10-yr relationship and relatability made their coupling feel like I knew them personally. Somehow I wasn't alone in feeling this way.

With the announcement of their split the internet erupted with a collective "noooooooo." Even my husband expressed disappointment and he doesn't follow "celebridom" like I do. Yet, he knew this couple, and like his wife, he felt bad that another celebrity couple split. 

To me, this was the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell of our generation. This was the couple that would be so down to earth, divorce wouldn't strike their union. Then again, Goldie and Kurt never actually married. They've nailed the magical formula -- the secret to no Hollywood divorce is no Hollywood marriage in the first place.

I was so bummed to hear these two split that I headed to lunch to literally sit alone, quietly eating my sadness. Oddly, I was feeling as though I knew these two and I wanted this split to be a hoax. But this wasn't a lie and no couple is ever immune from divorce and that's certainly the case with my favorite celebrity couple.

Are you rooting for a celebrity couple of your own? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Be the Hit of the Potluck!

How awesome is it that 4th of July lands on a weekend this year! Chances are you are heading to or hosting a bbq for the big holiday. Here are 4 great potluck recipes that people will be talking about and begging you for the recipe. (Just click on the photo to get the recipes!)

Crunchy Ramen Salad- My Mom makes this salad once in awhile and it is so good. This is a great way to use up those packets of ramen in your cabinet too. Filled with veggies like coleslaw and edamame, mandarin oranges and a sweet dressing and a nice crunch from the noodles this salad has everything. 

7-Layer Greek Dip- Dips are always a hit at potlucks. Instead of bringing a heavy dip filled with sour cream this Greek dip is a great fresh and light alternative. You can still get that creamy taste but this dip used hummus and greek yogurt. Layered with cucumber red onion, slice kalamata olive, tomato and topped with crumbled feta. This is great served with pita chips.

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad- Now that the heat is here the key to a good potluck dish it cold and refreshing. And what it more refreshing than watermelon? The idea of combining watermelon and cheese seems strange until you try it and wonder why you never mixed those 2 before. Cucumber, mint, watermelon and feta make a fantastic combination. This salad will disappear from the picnic table. 

Apple Nachos- Of course something sweet is sure to be popular. Caramel apples are so yummy but difficult to eat without ending up with a face full of caramel. This is a great way to serve caramel apples without the mess. You can get creative with the toppings. 

Remember to follow all food safety tips when it comes to food outside.