2015 Resolution: Care for My Skin!

Rise & shine ya’ll! Happy Friday! The first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is drink a glass of water & love my face a little with a few products I swear by. Megan, from Sparkles & Sprinkles and I teamed up to share a skincare routine that will rock your world in 2015. Seriously, if you haven’t tried Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Serum, whip that Christmas money out and get it done honey. See ya’ dark circles! Its amazing that without planning it, we both use so many of the same products. I think that means they’re goodies. Enjoy her beautiful photos and scroll to the bottom to learn more about the lovely Megan! Click HERE to read her post. 

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1. Prime and Prep I’m usually a wake up 25 minutes before you leave kind of girl, but after discovering how much better your foundation and blush look if you use a primer first I’m willing to wake up a few minutes earlier. Seriously this stuff will make the world of difference when you go to put on your foundation, powder, bronzer or blush. I use the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer with a wedge sponge to cover my whole face. It evens my skin tones and allows for a smooth surface, so my powder lays nicely on my skin. If you feel like going all out, they make primers for your eyes and lips too! 
 
2. Moisturize During Sleep Like I said I know I’m only 23, but apparently you can never start too early. Using a moisturizer before bed that helps tighten the skin and reduce eye puffiness is key. During sleep is the best time to apply moisturizers because it allows time for your skin to really soak it in without being exposed to other chemicals or sunlight. My two favorite products to use are Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Treatment for overall moisturizing and Start Over Active Eye Cream for under my eyes. 
 
3. Use the Right Brushes Cheeks, eyes, lips, blush, foundation, there’s a brush for that. Yes, there is a brush for just about everything you could imagine and little did I know they actually make a difference in how the makeup looks on your skin and how much you use. I used to use a sponge for foundation and found that I was going through it so quickly because the sponge soaks up more of your makeup then it leaves to apply on your skin. I now use the Make Expert Foundation #4 and my foundation lasts twice as long and goes on flawlessly. 
 
4. Highlight Your Eyes Those little bags under your eyes may be from lack of sleep but with a little highlighting, you’ll look alert and awake again in no time. Use a concealer one or two shades lighter than your foundation, as it helps lighten the darkness that appears under the eye, and gently apply to the entire area under the eye. Do this before applying your foundation so the foundation will be blended into the lighter color when applied. I recommend the Make Soft Focus Corrective Duo – Conceal/Set.
 
5. Emphasize Natural Features We were all born with rosy cheeks, flawless skin and thick eyebrows, but unfortunately those things don’t last forever so we have to use a little makeup to bring them out again. My favorite one is thickening my eyebrows with the Make Brow Pen. I’ve always had thick eyebrows, but filling them in a little makes such a difference!  To get baby soft appearing skin again use a mattifying gel formula that will reduce the appearance of lines and pores and a moisturizing formula that leaves skin hydrated, supple and radiant such as the Custom Finish Effects – Matte Dew by Make. 
 
 
MORE MEGAN:
 
1. Describe your blog.
Sparkles & Sprinkles is a blog dedicated to helping people add a dash of sparkle to everyday life through recipes, DIY projects, fashion tips & trends, and everyday advice about growing up. 
 
 
2. What is your favorite thing about being a blogger?
My Absolute favorite thing is all the people I have met and the opportunities I have had. I have my blog to thank for my full time job that I work today and some of my best friends I hang out with in the city! 
 
 

To The New Owners of My Childhood Home

Yesterday, my parents listed their house and are planning to start the next chapter of their life “closer to things”. Which is completely reasonable since they’ve devoted so many years to making sure we grew up in a safe little town. No one has purchased the house yet, but I decided to write this now before I get sad and sappy. It’s a charming and beautiful home, I’m sure someone will make it theirs real soon. 

Dear New Home Owners, 

I know you must be eager to get settled in your new place. It’s a new beginning and that’s always exciting. Before you move in and make it yours, there are a few things I felt you should know. Like new friends, I figured I’d help you get to know each other better by telling you some stories. These walls were my childhood home, a dear member of our family. I think you deserve to hear about about the lives these walls have seen. 

You thought you got a good price on a nice, cozy place, but what you didn’t know is that this is much more than a house. It’s a home. A home is a place you live and share life with the ones you love. It’s a place where memories are created and kept, traditions are upheld and celebrated. It’s a safe place to be creative, happy, sad, angry, or scared. It’s the place where you share laughter and tears, argue and make up. It’s the safe place to land when you fall. This was our home. And, it is my hope that you make her your home too, with loud children, lots of in-laws and clumsy grandpa’s and messy pets.  

Growing up, this home was my favorite place to be. I remember the day we moved in. I was six and my brother was four. The little back bedrooms became sanctuaries to princesses, and airplanes respectively. The room to the left featured a lace canopy bed in her hay day with stuffed animals tucked in real cozy around the clock.  The one straight down the hall sported  wallpaper with clouds on it, really fun bunk beds and hundreds of hanging airplanes. But, it was never just the two of us here. Between sleepovers, neighbor kids, sports carpools, homeschool co-ops and nearby friends, this home was always packed with life. 

Nearly every memory of my childhood is in there; memories that make me who I am today. The kind that shape the woman I have become and the wife and mom I hope to be. I lived there. And I mean, really lived there. 

The big lawn is where Grason got his work ethic. The two tiny crosses on the side of the house are where we first learned about loss. That paint on the walls is new to cover our years worth of rough housing, weird phases, and pencil noted growth spurts. 

The fondest of my memories are the holidays. Every Christmas and Thanksgiving was spent crammed into the living room with extra card tables and chairs surrounded by Mom & Dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and family friends. The magic of that special time of year is forever bottled up into those walls. My Mom and that little kitchen poured out the smell of the holidays and every recipe passed down through the generations of our family. That’s the kitchen where I learned to cook. And the place I learned about life while spending time with all the incredible teachers in our family. There’s where I learned to play piano and that’s the little table where I found Jesus. It’s the place where we celebrated every birthday, and healed from every loss. It’s the last place I spent talking about life with Grandpa over morning coffee. Now that I think about it, I think it’s the last place my Grandpa really lived. It’s the last place he gave me a real hug. He loved being there. For all the same reasons I do. I got that from him. Oh the sweet times and conversations those walls have seen and heard.

Not to mention, the peace that house has given us when we just needed to “come home” and hurt for a while. Those big blue front doors. We spent 16 years bustling in and out of them day in and day out and taking pictures in front of them on special occasions. That’s something I’ll miss. 

Now? Now they’re your front doors. It’s your kitchen. And your family room with the little back bedrooms. It’s hard to put into words why you’re breaking my heart. I really do want to like you. I hesitate to say anything, or write this letter at all so that no feelings are hurt by being attached to a stupid “house”.But, that house was my home long after I had grown and thought I moved on. It was a place to go when I needed to remember who I was, where I was from, and where I was going. It was a place to come and be a kid, even if just for a little while. 

It’s the place where my soon to be husband, then 16, asked Dad if he could take me “out”. It’s the place where we came back to at nine as promised, and the driveway where we took 45 minutes to kiss goodnight. It’s the place I closed my eyes and blurted, “Mom, Kyle’s the one” seemingly out of no where one morning on a weekend back from school and caused her to drop an inherited piece of china on the kitchen floor. Side note: we proceeded to laugh and sweep and talk for several hours.

And, it’s the place we rushed home to the night Kyle and I got engaged to celebrate/cry with all our family and friends.  

It was our home. 

I know that the memories will stay with all of us no matter where life twists and turns. It’s not the house that makes a home, it’s the people in it that do. 

I thought about filling this post with pictures of our happy times and telling you which window is best if you get locked out, but it’s your turn to make her yours and figure out all the quirks along the way. I’m eager for the new memories to be kept and shared by your family in your home. You have cause for celebration, and I hope you enjoy it. Every in-between, big, small, sad, happy moment of it. 

All I ask is that you take good care of her. Love her, will ya? 

Really, the only reason I loved those walls at all is because I got to spend my childhood being loved in it.  Mom and Dad, thank you for giving me us such a wonderful home and community to grow up in. I hope I can give the same to my children someday. 

So, if you see a girl in a latte colored Volvo sitting outside your new house crying occasionally, I’m not crazy, I’m just remembering. 

Welcome Home. 

-Madi 

Style Resolutions.

My sweet friend Angeline is the designer and co-founder at Elda, a shop that supports and empowers Haitian women. Read their mission and explore their gorgeous site! I received one of their skirts for Christmas and could hardly wait to get it up here on the blog. It has swiftly becoming my favorite piece in my whole closet. As I write this I’m dreaming up hundreds more outfits it would be darling in. Since you need a midi skirt anyways, change the world while you’re at it! Today I paired the Grace Skirt with a black cotton long-sleeve, a statement necklace made with beads a student brought back from Indonesia and ankle boots! I love how the beads are a mix of both brown and black because I decided it gives me free pass to break fashion rules. I will be repeating this outfit shamelessly. Thank you Ms. Betty, all the way in Haiti, for your care in stitching this skirt! I will always think of you as I wear it! Such a beauty! XO Ps. Excuse the pink lipstick on my hands in one or two of the pictures! I have no excuse. 

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Bad Words, Disco Balls + Tiger Latch-Hooks

I keep a daily journal and log when my creativity spikes and tanks throughout the year. If there’s one thing other than Lord Jesus that I can count on, it’s that both will occur.

Every year, almost to the day, it’s identical. Christmas to New Years is the disco ball that keeps my eclectic, artsy-party going until early September. For 12 days I’ve got so many ideas going through my head that I bust out Zumba moves everywhere because walking normal just isn’t an option.

As you can assume, I plan a project that really excites me for the fall time of year to get me motivated again. If’ you’re a super notice-r you’ll remember that I started blogging in September two years ago for that very reason. I sat in my dorm room and declared real loud, “I NEED AN OUTLET!” and that was it. A few clicks and a paragraph or two later, I had a new project.

In years past, I’ve taken up other projects like businesses, swimming ocean marathons (13 was a hard year), building furniture, musicals… you get the picture.  

If by grave underestimation, I overlook booking myself solid during the “creative tundra” … sh*t hits the fan.

You read it right. Never EVER do I curse, but If I were to start, I’m sure it would be some time in late September when I had nothing better to do.

Maybe it’s my body clock revisiting the dreaded return to school. A time when, every year, I had to trade in my latch hook and paintbrush for a grayscale pencil and put the art in a box so my desk had some space for homework. 

Whatever the case is, I plan for it now. Much like my work, my life is an organized mess. One moment I’m on the counter with my camera snapping pictures of a glorious six layer cake  and the next I’m on the floor in my apron, in a sea of flour, crying because as much as I’d like to eat it, I can’t bring myself to destroy such a beautiful thing.  My family will reluctantly admit to the validity of that statement.

If I don’t have a project to direct my energy towards, destruction ensues. Left brain has felt the heat of it. He lovingly describes me as ‘zero to one hundred’. Rather than fighting it, I’ve learned to lean into my strengths and surround myself with people like Kyle, my left brain,  to do the “paperwork” per-se that ‘designing life’ requires. The same way Kyle surrounds himself with big picture thinkers, I surround myself with people who have talents  that I don’t to create a winning team. Who ever thought to ‘double check’ something?! Genius!

 I remember the moment in college when I realized I might not be the best business management student. However, you can bet I was the only one with a hand stitched bed skirt and a headboard that “married the palette of my room with the textures”. College is a different story. 

Here’s what I learned this year: I’m still just as much that artsy, pink-Limited-Too-bow-wearing, cupcake crushing, multi colored nail painter, as I was the day I finished my 15th tiger latch hook and decided to sell them to my friends at school on the lunch table. 

The more I grow up and get comfortable in thinking I have it a lllllll figured out, (*snaps occurring in z formation) in being like everyone else, in being ‘normal’, the more tiger latch hooks, (insert any and all ideas) seem like really stupid things to try. 

Editor’s Note: Excuse this writing style today. I appreciate you even attempting to follow it at all.  You are so patient and like, really pretty. Thank you. Also, DISCO BALL FOR A BRAIN. Okay?  

I have big plans this year. Not just for September. For every other month too.  I wrote them down yesterday and by typing this here, I feel a sense of accountability to you and to myself to go for them no matter the creative season. At some point the brush has got to hit the canvas. 

Happy New Year readers. Without you, none of what’s on the horizon for this year would be possible. Thank you for embracing tiger latch-hooking and all the other weird stuff I do. 

I’ll give you a minute to take it all in while I go hyperventilate into a paper bag at the thought that I might just publish this. 

Also, here’s me posing with a pie trying to make it look really natural. 

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Vegan Mac & Cheese

Hey guys! With holiday comfort food dishes every stinking where, I thought I’d share my favorite healthy comfort-food recipe. I shared a similar recipe last year, but I’ve since made adaptations to it and I figured it’s time to whip it out again! Who would-a thought that carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, almond milk and cashews could create such a gloriously creamy combination. When mixed with macaroni, they’re the DREAM TEAM honey. Macaroni without the actual cheese has got my taste buds dancing with joy. 

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Creamy Vegan Mac + Cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 10 ounces macaroni shells (I used mini shells)
  2. 1 cup peeled/diced yellow potatoes
  3. 1/4 cup peeled carrots
  4. 1/3 onion
  5. 3/4 cup boiled veggie water
  6. 1/2 cup raw cashews
  7. 1/4 cup almond milk
  8. 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  9. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  10. 3/4 tsp salt or more to taste
  11. 2-3 cloves garlic
  12. 1 pinch cayenne
  13. 1 pinch paprika
  14. 1 pinch turmeric
  15. 1 pinch pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. Fill a pot with boiling water + pinch of salt
  2. 2. Boil vegetables and remove skin from potatoes
  3. 3. Cook pasta according to box directions, al dente.
  4. 4. Add starchy vegetable water + rest of ingredients to your blender and let her go until you're left with a rich + creamy sauce.
  5. 5. Pour sauce over pasta and garnish with fresh basil or parsley. Add salt + pepper to taste.
  6. 6. Enjoy!
Homegrown Hostess http://www.homegrownhostess.com/