Friday, October 12, 2018

"G is For Garden!" Our Field Trip to Shangri La!

I don't know about you guys, but when I woke up and finally felt some amazing Fall type temps, I just HAD to grab the kids and get some outside time. Since adding two more kids to the family mix, I have been scrambling to find time to de-stress and relax. The two newest additions are always in tow. Alone time is almost a non-option. In an effort to be a more chill me, a better, more centered Mom and wife I have been on a journey to try and discover things that keep me grounded. Things that I can search out and do on a super stressful day. Things that help me to stop and smell the roses. One of the things I have discovered is, I haven't been feeding my soul enough. Self care. I sure don't have time for a lot of the alone, quiet moments so I am finding new ways to self care WITH the kids in tow. Being outside is one of the things my soul craves. I love walking around and exploring new things. We have lived in Southeast TX for 7 years now. People have been telling me how wonderful Shangri La Botanical Gardens are, but I had yet to venture out there until TODAY! The weather was perfect and it was time for a new adventure! 

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is a private entity located in the center of Orange, TX. H.J. Lutcher Stark began work on Shangri La in 1942. It sits on 252 acres, roughly and is a fabulous place to visit for adults, kids, schools and the like. Everyone will find something to love in this perfect place of serenity and beauty!

Click here to learn more about Shangri La.

They had the place all decked out for Fall. Pumpkins everywhere! Since I love Pumpkins, I was tickled and so were the girls.

Emma is in this phase where she thinks she needs to throw up the "peace" sign in every photo. I think it goes along fine with the atmosphere today! It's so very peaceful out here! There was so much for us to look at and explore. So much beauty! 

From the Greenhouses with gorgeous plants and moss dripping from the trees to the potted things for us to smell, we checked out every little detail. My favorite section had to be the area for kids where they encourage using your senses. They had herbs to taste, smell, listen to and touch. We tasted the garlic chives and MAN OH MAN they were delish!! 

There's also a lake on site. Ruby Lake and she is a beaut. I am an earthly being so I love just sitting and watching bodies of water just like these. I could've stared at this all day!

Simply calming. 

There was even a blind for bird watching! We got to see a rather large bird perching on a platform in the middle of the lake. A man that was there told us that often, there are Alligators on that platform sunbathing...Now THAT I would've loved to see!

It just so happens that we decided to visit Shangri La during Scarecrow Festival and it was amazing! Scarecrow Festival is a friendly competition featuring dozens of unique designs from community organizations, businesses, schools, churches and families. We had a great time and saw some really creative designs. Then, at the end of our walk, we got to place our votes for the Scarecrow set up we liked the was a fun time for myself AND the toddlers!

We stumbled upon some set ups that just blew us away! 

First, there was a class of Sociology Students. This one had Emma's vote! Sociology Major in the making? Maybe!

Then we came upon an entire group of "Clean Gardeners". I was both entertained and impressed by this one. Totally goes with the climate we are in with global warming awareness these days.


We were stoked to stumble upon Five Little Monkeys! We have watched videos of this theme on YouTube and recited this song as a way to learn counting repeatedly so my girls knew exactly who these guys were and they were in love! So cute!!

Then we came upon a true gem.

I cannot say enough about this one. Orange Police Department Dispatch is responsible for this. I once worked as a Police Dispatcher for a HUGE city in TX so, this one touched my soul on so many levels. Kudos to whoever the brains were behind this one. All dispatchers in a 911 setting can relate. You guys are geniuses and should be honored as such.....This one is so on point, I cannot even describe it. Mad shouts and props people....

Then there was "her".

 "She". The being of Free State Cellars. Impressive. I love her. She calls to me. She is eery and earthy and mystical. I was drawn to her so strongly from the moment I saw her. I had to vote for her. She and her surroundings were made in representation of Free State Cellars. A wine company coming to our area soon. She's haunting and wistful. Just up my alley. We ran in to several other people that thought so too. So nice marketing, FSC...nice marketing. I already like you and haven't even met you.

Learn more about Free State Cellars here...

The most valuable lesson I can pass to you from this blog post is this, feed your soul! Self care is important! As a MOM/PARENT of any kind, we often find ourselves in a position that means we have to think of others ALL of the time. But try, as hard as you can, to squeeze in activities that feed YOUR soul! The little ones will appreciate the outing and you are exposing them to types of self care that might work for them in the future as well. Put those tools in their tool boxes parents! They will thank you for it one day and to the participants of the Scarecrow Festival, good luck and great job!!

Until next time, love to you all!!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

My 11th Anniversary Was An AWFUL MESS!! Truth and SORRY NOT SORRY!

Hello Readers! I've been away from blogging for quite some time. You guys, adding babies #5 and #6 to our family really required all of my focus and LOTS of adjusting. But I'm back! I'm so glad to be sharing with you again! We have been up to so much since I last checked in. Our lives stay very, very busy here. We stay exhausted and have extremely busy schedules. These kids are growing up so fast though!

Recently, John Dominguez and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. 11 years married. I was so excited for our night out! You guys. It was a MESS! A real, stressful mess.

John got home from work that night acting very distracted. He barely even said hello to me. He had fires still burning at work so he was buried in his phone. Not plugged in. I had to remind him a few times that we were supposed to be celebrating. He reminded me that his job was our main source of income and he would like to keep it. Such is adult life!

It just so happened that our Anniversary coincided with a work event that my husband needed to attend. John’s company bought seats for everyone to take their family to see Incredibles II. Originally, the event was scheduled on a different date but, of course it got moved to our special day and we had already reserved our seats so it would have been a big insult to John's employer not to go. That's how life works sometimes. Such is adulting.

We decided to go to dinner before the movie. We had three of our six kids in tow. Emma is in TOTAL toddler phase right now so she isn’t following instructions very well. Dinner was going pretty well until towards the end, which is pretty normal for Emma. Towards the end, she started having her meltdowns. I got up and started leading her out the door. She was NOT happy. She decided to go limp on me and refuse to move right in the middle of the SUPER HOT parking lot after I said something she didn’t like. I had to carry her to the car. I can attest to you that a limp toddler weighs more than your average, every day toddler. I am sure of it. Such is the Toddler Mom Life.

We get to the movie (Sophie insisted on being photographed with the big dinosaur as you see in the pic).

Before the movie even begins, Emma proceeds to spill her candy all over the floor then climb down to the spillage and attempt to eat it. Then she starts playing with the buttons on the electronic lounge chair and gets her leg stuck in it. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Y’all, I was DYING for the movie to start. I had hopes it would calm her down. NOPE! She spent the entire movie attempting to run back and forth and do other various toddler things and every time we would get on to her, screaming would ensue.

Keep in mind, on my 11th Anniversary, I couldn’t even sit by my husband. Each one of us parents had to be beside a toddler so we could keep our eyes on them. So that meant we were about one lounge chair apart. Such is Toddler Parenting Life.

I started wondering how much longer the movie was. I was planning for the ultimate toddler meltdown that inevitably occurs at the most inconvenient times.

Just then, my 11 year old son asks me to show him where the bathroom is. I got up to take him since I needed to go myself. I came out of the restroom and waited for him to come from the men’s side, as I always do to make sure he gets back to where we are sitting, safely. And then I waited... and waited... and waited... and waited some more. All of a sudden, I see him running towards me down the hall. Coming FROM our theater. He went to the restroom then left me. 🙄 About 10-15 minutes of the movie wasted waiting on a child that wasn't going to appear. I suppose I should be grateful he came back to check on me since I was gone so long. Such is raising a pre-teen.

So I get back to the theater. Once I head up the walkway towards the stairs I hear Emma WAILING! She was MAD that I left her. I can only imagine how irritated everyone in the theater was. 🙁 Soon after, the movie was FINALLY over.

I left the movie exhausted. Sad that our Anniversary didn’t feel like one. I get in the car and see my cell phone lighting up. It's my 20 year old son that still lives at home asking me what's for dinner. At 9pm at night. I almost chunked my phone out the window. Life, when your adult children still live at home.....

We get home and settle in for bed. We are just starting to drift off to sleep and Emma starts itching relentlessly. Emma has SUPER sensitive skin. After trying to soothe her issue with the creams we normally use and that not working, I had to get out of bed and put her in the tub for a soothing wash down.... at MIDNIGHT. 😒

I was done for. Over the whole day. Such is the life of a Momma.

The next morning, Sophie wakes me up at 7am in total excitement. She wants to know if I have any money to take her on a big boat like the one in the movie. She had genuine wonder in her eyes. Elation. I went from exasperation and chagrin to being on cloud nine again. These kids are so lucky. They have it so different than I did when I was a kid. So much better. That's all I have ever wanted or wished for, for my kids. I LOVE that they enjoy life. I love that they CAN. So I will gladly celebrate my special day with them again when I need to. In total chaos. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Such is the life of a GRATEFUL Mom of SIX!

That being said, I think John owes me a do-over date night. We owe it to each other. And here’s hoping for a much quieter evening. 😉

Have you seen Incredibles II yet? Check out the Official Trailor By clicking the link below. Go see it! It's really good! (Or so the kids that got to watch it tell me)

Incredibles II Official Trailer

Have you ever had a chaotic Anniversary Date? Tell me about it in the comments!

Until next time, love to you all!!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Ipsy in Review-March

Ooh la la! March's Ipsy was French in theme! Featuring a chic pale pink fold-over mini clutch for the bag. I am SOLD! Ipsy has no way of knowing this but, it's my dream to visit France one day. So when my Ipsy arrived with a Parisian theme, I was delighted! 

The theme colors of the bag and the contents inside remind me that Spring is near and that makes my soul happy! This little bag is just a darling! From the design to the shade of pink!

This So Susan Blush & Go peaked my interest right off the bat. It self adjusts to your skin tone, making the guessing game of how much to apply a thing of the past. I LOVE this. It was very complimentary to my pale skin tone!

I always get giddy when I see a new tool to use in my Glam Bag! I was needing a blending brush and this one works just fine! I'll definitely get good use out of it.

From Tarte cosmetics, I received this tarteist quick dry matte lip paint in rose' shade. This product performs. The color is elegant and went along with the French theme just perfectly.

This Disappearing Ink 4-in-1 Concealer worked ok. Yes, just ok. It's one of those products I would use if someone gave it to me but for purchasing something like this, I would need the product to perform better. I have other concealers that do a much better job.

Then there was this right here. Milk to foam Coconut Milk pure mild cleanser by Neogen. Vivian (the teen) grabbed it and ran off with it. She's been using it and says she's in love with it! You're welcome, Vivian....😐

Anybody else have a teen that takes off with their stuff?

I was a big fan, overall of the soft and subtle vibe this Glam Bag offered. It was a month of great goodies that are sure to become some of my favorites!

Spring is starting off exquisite! I look forward to April!

Want to sign up for Ipsy? Use my referral link and tell them I sent you!

Catch up with what I have gotten in my past Ipsy Glam Bags!

If you're a YouTube Fan, you can click the link and check out my "unbagging" video! Don't forget to give it a thumb's up AND subscribe to our channel!

Do YOU have a monthly beauty box type subscription?

Which one?

Do you love it?

Comment and tell me all about it! Until next time, love to you all!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Let's Talk Food-The DAT MAC Edition!

This one goes out to all the "foodies" in the house. If you love food and all things edible, you will LOVE reading this one! Today's stop, one of my family's favorite places to grub down. Did I mention it's a food truck? Yes, a food truck. Food trucks are NOT what they used to be. Remember when they were either scary or delicious and there was just no in between? These days, food trucks are a THING. A big thing! Delightful, whimsical and enchanting. You can find all cuisines represented in a food truck if you look hard enough. Food that amounts to fine dining but with a laid back atmosphere. Kind of a picnic feel to it. 

Here in Southeast TX, we have a food truck that is a community favorite! The ultimate comfort food in a food truck by the name of Dat Mac!

Dat Mac is a gourmet mac n cheese eatery on wheels. They pride themselves on using the highest quality ingredients from as many local vendors as possible making their dishes delicious, fresh, and healthy! 

Let me tell you, they may be healthy but MAN are they FILLING! These dishes are unlike any mac n cheese dishes you have ever eaten. 

Depending on when you visit, you'll have different menu items to choose from. The week we went, I was elated to see a bill of fare full of things I had been wanting to try but hadn't yet! I decided to snap up a bowl of their signature dish. Feast your eyes on Dat Mac! This is their classic homestyle mac n cheese topped with loads of cheddar! I had this dish and also decided to try the Macadilla! I hear people on my Facebook boasting about that one all the time so I had to give it a go!

It's a quesadilla with MAC N CHEESE IN IT!! Let that soak in for a moment! Not only the mac n cheese but it also has (among other amazing ingredients) a house made sriracha ranch sauce. (Drooling yet?)

Our 9 year old son shocked the family by going WAY out of his comfort zone and ordering the Buffalo Chicken Mac! The topping you are seeing that looks so inviting is bleu cheese crumbles, bread crumbs, and house made ranch! Dat Mac has a way of turning even the pickiest of eaters in to fans of whatever!

If I am forced to give you my pick of just ONE item to try on your first visit, I have to go with the Dat Stroganoff. This is the BEST TASTING Stroganoff I have ever eaten. Ever. This dish features wide egg noodles and baby portabella mushrooms. Then they top with parmesan and chives. It's indescribably flavorful on so many levels. My husband ordered this one and I stold some bites! 

He also had to give the Aaron's Texas No Bean Chili a test drive. He was NOT disappointed!

I washed my dinner down with this Sugar Land Sweet Tea by Texas Tea. Made with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar, it was the perfect beverage to compliment my delicious eats!

Even baby Emma was impressed. She got a full tummy!

You can find the Dat Mac truck at their usual spot parked outside Bonnie Cokino's School of Dance. Make sure to check their Facebook Page for any scheduling changes AND to view this week's menu!

You can also connect with them on Twitter!

There's a reason Dat Mac is award winning. Don't take my word for it though, go try it for yourself! Tell them we sent you!

As if the pictures in the post aren't tempting enough, take a closer look at our dining experience by watching this YouTube video! (Preview, there's SLOW MO close ups of the items in this program. You cannot miss it!)

I hope you will visit Dat Mac and let us know what you liked best! Talk to you soon and as always, love to you all!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Center Stage Style of the Week-Volume 7

Volume 7 of Center Stage Style of the Week is here and this time, we're going to do an Owner's Choice. I have had such an overwhelming response to a new product I added to the boutique, that I couldn't help but feel the need to feature it! As with everything else I stock in the online boutique, I use this stuff myself. My family started using it too and they love it as much as I do. I'm actually hearing fights over it... 

I sell out of it fast each time I stock it and end up having to re-order again and again.

Say HELLO to your new best friend! A Whitening Toothpaste like you have never used before! 

Friends, these are my personal results after three weeks of use, pictured below.

I work in social media and post A LOT of selfies. Prior to finding this toothpaste, lots of my selfies were closed mouth. You can scroll through my personal Facebook feed and see that for yourself. I had SO MANY people comment and tell me I should smile. Well, I didn't feel comfortable because my teeth were discolored after years of drinking coffee, tea and the like. Even though I had been using popular store brands of whitening toothpaste. Even though I tried a whitening kit. All that has changed now. I can SMILE FOR DAYS!! My teeth look GREAT!!

AND...I am getting messages EVERY...SINGLE...DAY from happy customers. 

This customer needs tubes for work and and extra...

This one is amazed at her new smile!!

I cannot tell you enough how it makes me grin from the inside out to know this stuff is bringing my clients more confidence. I am seeing toothy grins all over my Facebook now and I am LOVING IT!! If you work in social media and need to post pics of yourself, this stuff is for you. It will give you a smile upgrade like no other! It makes selfies with bold lips spectacular! 

That's why this LIFE BRIGHTENING toothpaste is my Owner's Choice for Center Stage Style of the Week!!

Here's a link to check it out in the online boutique.

You can also go and "like" the Facebook Fan Page so you can see customer reviews and updates on the product!

If you've missed any of the previous Center Stage Style of the Week posts, you can see them by clicking the links below.

You can also access the archived volumes by going to the blog list on my main blog page! Or just click below!

Thanks for tuning in and allowing me to share this amazing product with you guys! Until next time, love to you ALL!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Center Stage Style of the Week-Volume 6

As I wind down the Center Stage Style of the Week Series, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that participated and everyone that read the posts. It's been a lot of fun. I'll be doing just a few more and then the series will go in to retirement until next season as we get ready for Summer time around here! 

I have such a fun guest for you today. She is a very sweet girl I met through mutual Facebook friends. She's an Associate Director with Keep Collective. I have ordered special custom pieces from her to represent my Boutique, my hobbies and special interests and I LOVE everything Keep has. I also love that many of their pieces mean something inspiring. 

Give a warm welcome to....

Amanda Nabbefeld!!

Amanda actually helped me design my very first Keep. She loves helping people create things that mean something to them. 

This Keep represents my business! One of my favorite things about Keep is, these bands are reversible! I can get several looks out of this set that I purchased. 

Amanda is also a Momma with a son that plays Baseball so naturally, she chose the "Love the Game" Baseball Tee to star the Center Stage this week!
Amanda had this to say about why she loves this tee!

"I am a baseball loving Mom and my favorite color is red. I am not a fancy dresser and this is totally my style!"

It's a must for you to check out Keep and what it's all about. I'll be ordering frequently. I can think of a list of people that I buy gifts for that would love to have a piece designed by me just for them. If you need help designing, Amanda LOVES to help her clients AND Keep has this awesome design studio on their website too. You can click around and add and remove items until your Keep is exactly the way you want it. It's tons of fun!

Here's Amanda's link!

Need to play catch up on the series? Check out the previous volumes of Center Stage Style of the Week!

If you want to check out the tee from this post, click here .

Until next time and as always, love to you all!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Center Stage Style of the Week-Volume 5

As I welcome you to Volume 5 of The Center Stage Style of the Week, I am simply bursting at the seems to share my guest star. Her blog is, in a word, eloquently written and composed. She frequently pairs food and fashion, often coupling wines with meals and arranging her outfit to match the occasion. She has stunning style that's all her own. She has an amazing following on Instagram because of her works and she deserves every success that has come her way. 

I introduce, Jennifer Quattrucci from mommyteacherfashionista  !!!!

Jennifer's Instagram caught my eye one day while I was working because of her IG handle. As my frequent readers know, my sister is a Kindergarten Teacher and so is Jennifer! I saw her handle and popped on to her IG feed to see what she was all about and I have been a sold out fan ever since!

Jennifer loves to express herself through fashion and entertaining. She studied early childhood education, theater, communication and literature and teaches in the inner city of Providence. She started Mommyteacherfashionista with the hopes of inspiring creativity and originality. I can attest that for myself, this has been true. I learn so much about style from her pictures and posts. I highly recommend both her blog and following her on Instagram. You won't be disappointed! 

She chose the "Forever Flawless Dress" and "The Perfect Plaid Scarf" to star the Center Stage this week. I decided to send the outfit for her to model. I just knew she would put her touch on the pairing it would be stunning. I am so glad I did! WOW! She looks astonishing! 

Jennifer's thoughts behind why she hand picked these items from the boutique? 

"I actually love everything in your fun and versatile collection but I chose the Forever Flawless dress because I love the shade of grey, so soft and elegant and also love the way the fabric moves so fluidly, making it easy to style and layer. The scarf is the ultimate in classic plaid and also so easy to grab when you want to add warmth or color or flair to a look!" 

I am always eager to see what Jennifer adds to her wardrobe choices to put her signature on it and I was thrilled when she sent me these pics! Another remarkable ensemble and I am ecstatic to have joined forces with this beautiful lady! 

You'll be missing out if you don't go and check out her blog!

And follow her on Instagram! Her feed is inspirational, stylish and classy!

Need to catch up on the CCSOTW? Check out the last 2 Volumes. Volume 3 features my sister/Kindergarten Teacher!

Click to read Volume 4

Click to read Volume 3

If you want a Forever Flawless Dress like Jennifer's, you can buy one for yourself in the boutique!

I hope you all have a lovely week and as always, love to you ALL!