Monday, February 22, 2016

Hello There! + Pregnancy Essential

Good morning!

Aha! I bet you didn't expect to find me here!

I'm like the old friend you bump into at Target. If we happened across each other right now I would probably resemble a deer caught in the headlights. A very pregnant deer caught in the headlights. I'd give you the biggest hug, but it would be a low hug as I try to remember if I put on deodorant and on what day my dry shampooed hair is. Pregnant motherhood at its finest. That's reality, folks! Haha!

We're only a few short days from D-Day. Delivery Day. D-Day just sounds so epic. And why shouldn't it? The birth of any baby into the world is a pretty epic event!

We here in the Armenta household are giddy about welcoming our little sweet P into the family. I cannot wait to see my two children interact. Emory is going to be the best big brother any little girl could want. He already tells Ramon and I that he's going to," hold her and play with her toys and be very gentle and give her kisses and change her diapers!" We'll see about the last one!

And then there's my husband. My wonderful, sexy, helpful, I-cannot-live-without-him husband. Ramon has been my champion and strength during this pregnancy. Aside from the aches and pains that have kept me up at night and slowed me down during the day, life has thrown several mind-consuming, stress-inducing curve balls. Were it not for Jesus and my amazing man you'd find me in a fetal position in the back of my closet. But God is so very, very good and my husband is incredible.

As I was watching my love draw a warm bath to help soothe my aching body, it occurred to me that there are several products that have been my go-to essentials this pregnancy. Before I'm no longer pregnant I thought I'd share them with you!

Dr. Teal's Relax & Relief Foaming Bath The reason why my husband's simple act of love brought my favorite pregnancy products to mind was because he was pouring Dr. Teal's Relax & Relief Foaming Bath into the warm bath water. This epsom salt-based bubble bath works wonders on my achy back muscles, sciatic nerve twinges, and general dear-lord-this-baby-is-ripping-me-in-half pain. The eucalyptus and spearmint scent is soothing and soaking in the bubbles is an absolute pleasure.

BioOil This next product is something I used religiously when I was pregnant with Emory and something I've used with just as much consistency this time around. I use this product to help prevent stretch marks. Now, my doctor always told me, "If you're going to get stretch marks, you're going to get stretch marks. There's not a whole lot you can do to prevent it." His advice was to drink plenty of water to help maintain the skins elasticity and apply lotion or oil if it makes you feel better.

Well, applying BioOil makes me feel better! Ha! I didn't get any stretch marks with Emory and none have appeared this time around either. Is it the BioOil? I can't say. What I can say is that I love this product. I love applying it to my belly morning after showering, at night before bed, and when my tight skin itches, especially when my tightening skin itches. BioOil time has become momma and baby girl time. As I rub the oil into my Buddah-belly, I chat with my little love, pray over her, and tell her how excited we are to meet her.

Nalgene Water Bottle Speaking of the importance of water for skin's elasticity, let's talk about my ever-present Nalgene Water Bottle. I swear this is the only way I can keep track of how much water I've had during the day. Aside from any other fluids I might have throughout the course of the day, I always drink at least two of these water bottles. I'm pretty simple and two is a really easy number to track! Plus, it's fluorescent green color is a very visual reminder. Bottoms up!

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy Even though I've been carful to drink plenty of water my lips turned into these unrecognizable scaly creatures during my second trimester. Pregnancy hormones do crazy things to you! My lips were a major casualty this time around. I tried SO many different lip products. From various drugstore ones to several high end options. Nothing worked. My lips cracked, peeled, and would bleed in the corners of my mouth if I smiled too big. For someone who loves to smile this is a huge problem. Or was a huge problem until I started using the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy. Let the heavens rejoice! Within two full days of using this product my lips healed up drastically. Within a week, they were completely back to normal. I use this lip treatment every morning before my makeup routine and apply a thick layer at night after my evening skincare routine.

H&M MAMA Leggings  I've purchased multiple maternity leggings from various brands and the ones from H&M are hands-down my favorite. They're opaque, have a full-pannel waist, and have withstood the 100+ washing I've put them through during pregnancy; because, let's face it, it's all I wear. Haha! I wore them when we flew 11 hours to London, wore them with boots and oversized sweaters during the winter, and wear them now with flip-flops and long shirts. LOVE them!

And there you have it! A few of my favorite pregnancy essentials. Nothing revolutionary, just a few things that have been the greatest help during this short stage of life. I hope you're having an absolutely wonderful day and a great start to your week!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

20 Week Pregnancy Update

Happy Tuesday! 

I thought it would be fun to start doing pregnancy updates, every other week to keep track of this incredible journey. Every lady's pregnancy is so different, every baby is beautifully unique, and this is just my snapshot into the vastness of all things pregnancy. Plus, it gives me a wonderful record to look back to years down the road!


How Far Along:
20 weeks. If you want to get all technical, 19 weeks and 6 days. ;)

Best Moment of the Week:
Finding out that our newest family member is a GIRL! Aaaaaahhh! My heart is bursting with sugar and spice and everything nice! It was the most precious thing to watch my wonderful husband melt as he held a pair of her tiny coral shoes. I can't believe God has gifted us with the privilege of raising a little princess! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a few of the reveal pictures. :D

Size of Baby:
Our little flutter bug is the size of a banana. A very discreet and prudent banana. She had her legs crossed and her hands in front of her hooha when the ultrasound tech tried to see if baby was a boy or girl. Took quite a bit of probing before sister showed us she didn't have a little turtle or rocket ship. ;) Everything is measuring right on track and baby girl is perfectly healthy.

Maternity Clothes:
Yes. Yes. And yes. Especially pants. The whole hair-tie through the button hole trick isn't going to hold out much longer. I grow big babies. Thank you to my amazing friend, Charis, for loaning me the most comfortable maternity jeans on the planet. 

Stretch Marks:
Nada! I didn't get any tiger lines with Emory either. I'm hoping, *fingers-crossed*, I won't get any with this sweet baboon. My doctor told me if you're going to get stretch marks, you're going to get stretch marks. With Emory he told me to drink lots of water to help maintain the elasticity of the skin and not to stress about it. There's not a whole lot you can do!

Sleep is becoming interesting. I wake up at around 3AM every morning to use the restroom, which is normal but, falling asleep is proving to be the bigger challenge. Some nights, my legs become very restless when I crawl into bed. Thank God for the most amazing husband in the world who rubs soothing oil into my legs and stays awake with me until I fall asleep. I married the BEST! 

She is quite the little mover and shaker. I've been feeling flutters and bubbles for weeks now. Those flutters have started to turn into more distinct left-hooks and karate kicks. If she's anything like her brother, bruised ribs are in my future.

Nothing too crazy right now. In my first trimester all I wanted were bagels. Bagels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They were the only things I could eat without gagging or tossing my cookies. So, bagels it was! 
Right now, I'm on a protein kick. If you served me a cow, I could probably polish it off in record time. I. Want. Meat.

Belly Button:
The 'ol belly button is joining the outie club! 

Wedding Ring:
Still on! Though, some mornings my fingers are rather swollen and it takes getting up and drinking some water to get my wedding ring off comfortably.

Anything That Makes You Queasy or Sick:
Thai wonton soup from Pei Wei *bleck*. Roasted artichoke *gag*. Hormones are weird...haha!

What I Miss:
Comfortably bending over to pick something off the ground. I've begun to squat-like-it's-hot when something falls on the floor. And painting my toenails is becoming more and more of a contortionist act!

What I'm Looking Forward To:
Decorating the nursery and spending exorbitant amounts of time putting baby girl outfits together. Today, I lost track of time wandering through the Target baby girl section. This could quickly get out of hand.

Is still the office/guest bedroom. We've already picked a color scheme and will begin the transformation soon. I will keep you updated!

So, so, so, so happy. I had hoped for a little girl and now that it's reality, the disbelief and wonder has settled in. I am so excited for what's to come!

Brother Bear:
Emory guessed it was a little girl long before anyone else. In the very beginning when we asked him if it was a baby brother or baby sister he said, "Baby sister." Immediately. He hasn't swayed since. He loves to kiss my belly and hug his baby sister. He'll rub my belly and say, "Hi! Are you ok? Ok. I'm going away now!" It makes my heart hurt. This little girl is getting the most amazing older brother!

Monday, September 28, 2015

DIY Inexpensive Faux Ceramic Pumpkins

Have you started your fall decorating yet? Our house has slowly begun it's evolution into shades of burgundy, orange, creams, coppers, and golds. I love it! I become completely giddy as I wander through the stores and their displays bursting with autumnal goodness.

Target, which is always a favorite, has been sporting some fantastics fall decorations. One of the items I was so tempted to buy were the gorgeous little cream colored ceramic pumpkins with the gold stems. After I saw them at Target, I also saw similar ones at Hobby Lobby and Pottery Barn. I had an idea, I could make similar ones for less! (Because that's always what the DIYing fiend inside of me thinks, I could make that! Haha!) 

I went to my local Dollar Tree and found little foam pumpkins and gourds for a $1 each. At Hobby Lobby I grabbed a can of the Krylon Color Master Gloss Spray Paint in Ivory; which was already on sale. I had the Rust-oleum Metallic Finish Spray Paint in Gold on hand (because I am completely obsessed with this gold paint). Side Note: The Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray Paints are THE best metallic spray paints. If you want a super shiny metallic finish, find the Rust-Oleum at your local Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot. 

I started by spraying the stems of these little cuties and letting them dry completely. Then, I removed the stems by gently pulling them out of the foam. I spray painted the pumpkins and gourds the glossy cream and let them dry between coats. It took three coats of spray paint to cover the orange completely and create a glass-like surface. I am beyond happy with the results!

The two trays that I'm using as a centerpiece I found in at Michaels in the candle section for $2 each. I needed narrow, low-lying trays for my kitchen table so they aren't in the way when we eat. 

The total cost for the DIY was under $9 for five faux ceramic veggies. The total cost of this little table display was right under $20. Just in time for fall at just the right price!

I kept my pumpkins and gourds simple but, you don't have to stop with just painting them cream! Paint the classic black stripes with some glossy acrylic paint or dip the bottoms in Mod Podge and gold glitter. Once you've created the base your imagination is free to bedazzle to your heart's content. 

I hope you enjoyed this little DIY! Stay tuned for several more ways to spruce up the 'ol homestead just in time for autumn! 

Happiest Monday, my friends!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Very Berry Fall Lip

One of my favorite things to do as the sun lazily drops in the sky and the tantalizing scents of autumn wisp through the air is to find a new fall lip color. I simply adore a deep autumnal shade! This year, the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Blackberry Sorbet has completely stolen my heart! Don't be too surprised if you see me wearing it in a lot of Instagram pics. :) 

It's rich in tone, deep in color, and the formulation is positively dreamy. It dries to the most sumptuous matte shade and is feather-light on the lips. I forget I'm wearing it half the time it's on my lips! It wears beautifully throughout the day and has minimal transferring. At $14 I definitely think it's worth the price tag. 

Matte cream liquid lipsticks, like the Sephora Cream Lip Stain, are having quite their big day across makeup brands: Anastasia, Kat Von D, NYX, etc. I thought I'd swatch a few different ones that are similar but, less expensive than even the reasonably priced Sephora Cream Lip Stain. I really liked all of them, except one. 

The Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme in Embrace was a total favorite. These gorgeous lip creams are limited edition and I was only able to find them at ONE of my local CVS stores. I looked everywhere. (Thank you, hubby for patiently enduring my search!) The Embrace lip stain is slightly more purple than the Blackberry Sorbet. However, it's still a very close color contender and a fabulous color on it's own. The whole range--if you can find it--is completely worth the $8.99 price tag.

Next up made it into one of my February blog post in a different color.  The Rimmel Provocalips in Kiss Fatal. I love these lip stains! Kiss Fatal isn't as berry as the Blackberry Sorbet and I noticed it took quite a while to dry (which is different from the other Rimmel Provocalips I have which dry fairly quickly), making it feel a bit tacky on the lips. Both the Sephora and Milani lip stains are virtually unnoticeable when you're wearing them; whereas this specific Rimmel Provocalips tended to be ever-so-slightly sticky. However, that $6.99 price point makes it a very competitive option!

The last one I tired was by far my least favorite; it was the NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain in On Everyone's Lips. The $2.77 price tag made me very excited to give this a try. I found it to be patchy and not as opaque as I had hoped. It took three coats to achieve a semi opaque look and every time I ran the applicator over my lips it created a streaky splotchy look. It never fully dried and transferred from lip to lip and any surface my lips touched. No bueno! Invest a little bit more in one of the other products and you will get what you pay for!

When I use the Blackberry Sorbet I like line my lips with either the NYX Lip Liner in Plum or the Jordana Easyliner in Plush Plum. At $2.29 from Walgreens, Jordana retraceable lip liners are amazing, good quality drugstore lip liners. 

And there you have it, lovelies! I would love to hear what your fall lip color is or what lip product you might be enjoying at the moment. Comment below to let me know!

Have a very happy Friday!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mommy Guilt, Meltdowns, & Mercy

I could feel it Mommy guilt. For me, mommy guilt starts as a sinking pit in my stomach that slowly rises to a painful lump in my throat. The lump is followed by gut-wrenching anxiety that, yet again, I have done something that will probably put my child on a psychiatrist's couch by the time he's in his early forties. "Let's talk about your moooother..."

Let me set the stage for this particular mommy guilt induced incident. It seems only right to quote the infamous words of Alexander Cooper, "it had been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, day". One of those days when Emory and I should have stayed home, drawn the curtains, and spent the day eating candy in a fort built from kitchen chairs and bedsheets.

My one-thing-after-another-kind-of-day reached a terrible climax in the middle of the grocery store when Emory informed me, the cashier, and the rest of the store that he had to go potty. He told me precisely when we were next in a long line at the checkout and all the items from our heavy laden cart had been transferred to the conveyer. One look at my son's pee-pee dance assured me that this was no false alarm. I profusely apologized to the clerk and ask if he could ring up our items while I raced my three year old to the restroom. The cashier agreed and off we went.

In the bathroom I took every precaution to ensure we didn't touch a single germy surface. Using my rear-end to open the door, hooking my foot under the stall door to close it, and even doing the 'ol karate kick toilet flushing method so neither of us would procure unwanted germs. This was all done so we wouldn't have to waste precious seconds washing our hands.

As we raced out of the bathroom Emory yelled at me, "Momma! You didn't wash your hands! You didn't wash my hands!!" Let it be known from the mouth of my babe that I am the most unhygienic mother in the world.

Cheeks ablaze with embarrassment, we scuttled back to our line to pay and apologize to the growing line behind us. It was then that the computer froze. This was the second time during this day that a computer system had frozen while we checked out. Precisely at this moment Emory informed the entire line that he, "gots to go POOPOO, Mom!" Thankfully, the receipt printed and I pushed my rattling cart like a mad woman to the car. The entire time I kept telling my son, "Hold it. You have to hold it!"

I whipped the car into the garage, hauled Emory from his carseat, and plopped him on the toilet. I  then scrambled to get the groceries inside and prevent them from cooking in 103 degree heat. My thighs were sweating by the time I carried in the last load of groceries inside and could hear Emory calling me from the bathroom. I walked into the bathroom to find that my son had sprayed the wall, the floor, and his clothes with urine and then had proceeded to poop in the toilet and on the seat.

You want to talk about the straw that broke the camel's back. That. Was. It.

"Whyyyyyy? Why did you do that?! This isn't rocket science! You KNOW how to go peepee and poopoo in the toilet! Whyyyyyy?!" (Can I pause right here to say that when I get this mad I get loud? Just so you get the picture that this wasn't uttered in a strained hushed tone.) I don't know if I was yelling at him as much as I was yelling at the day in general. I hoisted him off the toilet, cleaned him up, and sent him to his room. As I scrubbed the floor and toilet I could feel it coming. Guilt.

The truth is, Emory hadn't deliberately made a mess to set me off. He certainly hadn't done anything to warrant my loose-screw reaction. Truth also be told, I had been in too much of a flustered rush to properly pull his undies down all the way; which caused him to be unable to situate himself properly and leading to his bathroom display.

The second after my tirade I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It was that gentle voice in my soul that my outburst had been out of line, quick to anger, and certainly not long suffering. A quiet call to repent and make things right. However, in the seconds following godly conviction comes the sly feelings of Mommy Guilt.

I'm sure you've heard the saying that a lie needs just enough of the truth to be believable. The truth was I had messed up. I had responded in anger and frustration. The lie was that because of my actions I now had to be worried and anxious that I had ruined my child and failed my God. The lie was that what I had done was irredeemable. How the enemy of my soul loves to twist the truth just enough to make me feel paralyzed by fear and failure. But that is a LIE.

I am a sinner, saved by grace, trying to raise a fellow sinner. I'm not going to be the perfect mom. I'm going to be a flawed, disappointing, un-Pinterest-worthy mom who makes some pretty lousy mistakes. But, you know what I'm also going to be? I am going to be quick to forgive, speedy to ask forgiveness, and each morning fall back on the wonderful truth that "His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning." (Lamentations 3:22)

I finished cleaning the bathroom and went to find my tear-filled toddler. He had obediently gone to his room and crawled into bed. His handsome face was splotchy red and damp from his anguish over my outburst. I crawled onto his bed and cuddled all of his sweetness. "Bubbas? Will you please forgive Mommy for yelling at you? I am so sorry for getting so mad and losing my temper."

My little love wrapped his pudgy arms around my neck as he hiccuped, "I forgive you, Momma. I love you." I then asked Jesus to forgive me and to help me.

Kids are "Holy Ghost sandpaper"(thank you, Tiny, for that Instagram post). It's the TRUTH. There's nothing like having a child that will rub away the gilded areas of life that were thought to be so patient and loving and kind. Kids have quite the way of painfully revealing selfishness, bad habits, poor attitudes, and impatience.

This whole situation was strangely encouraging. Recognizing one of my many shortcomings is proof that God is still working on me. It means that He's allowing me to fail so that I can see how desperately I need Him. It means that He is willing to work with me, change me, and transform me. I have such hope or as the apostle Paul said confidence, "that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion." (Philippians 1:6) How faithful God is to not leave us the way that we are!

Fellow momma, you're going to make mistakes. You're going to do things, say things, and feel things that you never thought possible. Don't let the lie of Mommy Guilt tell you that because you did wrong, you are a failure or unworthy. God knew exactly who you were when He gave you your children. You are exactly what they need. Let godly conviction draw you to make things right when you've done them wrong. Ask God to change you, mold you, and heal you. He will. He will help you.

As moms, we're not perfect. However, the grace of our Lord and Savior is.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pulse Check

Hi! Remember me? Vaguely? Blonde-hair, blue eyes, married to one hunk of burnin' love, mom to an equally gorgeous baby boy. Ring a bell? I'm BACK!

It feels unbelievably good to sit down and type my virtual conversation to you. It's been too long. Way too long. Like, 3  months too long. Quite a lot of life has happened in that "too long" and I thought I'd do a quick pulse check/life update/re-introcudction!

Hi, my name is Rachel and I enjoy a good book, a great mascara, and the scent of my little boy's hair after bath time. Doing something or absolutely nothing with my hubby is one of my most favorite things, ever. I don't have religion, I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He defines me, aligns me, and guides me.

I enjoy sincere conversations with precious friends and come close to tears at the gratitude I feel for my incredible parents. I have more neutral lip colors than the average woman should possess and still strongly believe that leopard print is to be considered a neutral.

I love late night conversations that can't help but naturally wander to how good God is and how much I don't understand His awesomeness. Watching my baby boy sleep almost paralyzes my heart with intense love and the fact that he can now chew gum without swallowing it is quite the point of pride.

I'm still not the biggest fan of red roses and prefer a good movie soundtrack to most bumpin' grindin' music out there. My husband is one of my greatest inspirations; his work ethic, creativity, and passion blow my mind. God knocked my socks off by blessing me with the most amazing job where I can work from home and still get to be a stay-at-home-momma.

Oh, and I'm pregnant with baby number two! *insert heart-as-eyes and excessively smiley emojis*

That's right! This little family of three is becoming a family of four! This is how we announced it on the Fourth of July. It took several friends a little while to get it. (heehee!)

The sweet flutter bug in my stomach will be making a grand debut early March 2016. I still can't believe God has entrusted me with one little life and now I'm allowed to be apart of raising another one! *mind BLOWN* While I cannot wait to find out in a few short weeks if we'll have a little girl or boy, I also cannot believe how fast this pregnancy is flying by!

Baking this little bun in the oven has been a completely different experience than my first pregnancy. (I may or may not be hoping that this is a sign it's a little pink flutter bug. Hubby is still convinced it's a boy. We SHALL see!) With my little guy I didn't educe morning sickness, had luscious locks of hair, and perfectly clear skin. The first three months this time brought horrendous all day nausea, heartburn, that bone tired fatigue, and rather uncomfortable hormonal acne. Plus, I was convinced that I would soon be bald with the amount of hair I was losing.

So, just in case you've been wondering where I had disappeared to, it's been a combination of trying not to barf, working a busy job, and falling asleep at the dinner table. There have been birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, planning a babymoon, and new opportunities that have filled every spare moment. All this while keeping up with ministries at church, friends, family, and making sure my priorities have stayed in line (more on that in a future post).

Whew! There you have it! In a very small nutshell how life has unfolded in the last several months. God has taught me quite a few things that have challenged and inspired me. I'm really excited to share with you new revelations, ideas, DIYs and of course a little makeup snuck into the mix.

I hope you have a wonderful Friday and an amazing weekend!

Monday, June 8, 2015

How To Clean Makeup Brushes

I've had several friends recently ask me how I go about cleaning my makeup brushes. Cleaning your makeup brushes is incredibly important for your skin's health and the health of your brushes. There are quite a few ways to clean makeup brushes and various brush shampoos and cleansers. I thought I'd share the inexpensive and incredibly effective way I clean mine! 

What I Use:

- Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil
- Johnson's baby shampoo
- paper towels
- glass jar or cup
- hand towel

I like to clean my brushes by the kitchen sink so there's plenty of space to make a lovely mess!

The first step I take is to fill the glass jar about 1/4 of the way with warm water and a drizzle of baby shampoo. Because baby shampoo is so mild, it's perfect for gently cleansing the bristles. Setting the glass aside, I then take the Garnier Cleansing Oil and pump two pumps onto the paper towel. Using an oil when cleaning your makeup brushes is very important for breaking down the makeup in the brushes. I've used extra virgin olive oil in the past and that also works great! 

I take my first brush and the paper towel and swirl the bristles in the oil in circular motions. You'll immediately see the makeup begin to transfer from the brush to the paper towel. Once I've loosened the makeup from the bristles with the oil, I swirl the bristles in the warm soapy water to allow the oil to emulsify. I make sure not to submerge the whole brush. It's better for the longevity of your brush if water doesn't absorb into the handle.

After I've allowed the oil to emulsify with the water, I rinse the brush in warm water. Keep the brush pointed down so, once again, water doesn't absorb into the handle. I'll press the bristles on my palm to make sure all the soap and makeup is out and rinse again as needed. You'll instantly be able to see how clean this makes the brush!

I use the same paper towel and soapy water for multiple brushes. I'll switch them out when they start getting a little too gross. ;) As I continue to clean my brushes, I make sure to reshape the rinsed bristles and lay them flat on the hand towel to dry overnight. 

Ta-da! All nice and clean! 

Now, stop procrastinating, grab your makeup brushes, and get cleaning! ;)

Happy Monday!