by gillian claire

SOCIAL MEDIA

1.08.2019

The Bachelor Recap: Colton's Premier!

Ok, first let's talk about the elephant in the room... Colton's virginity... oh WAIT, production has been anything but discrete about this topic since we met Colton months ago. I've had some hesitations about this season because of how much they've played up the simple fact that Colton Underwood has never had sex. I mean, the whole "what does he have to lose"  tagline- oh my god please make it stop.

Overall, I think it's really neat that this show has shed light on the topic of virginity with big names such as Ashley I, Becca Tilley... and now Colton. It's been refreshing to see a different perspective! I just had to roll my eyes through all the virginity jokes last night and try to enjoy the episode.


Photo Via ABC/Rick Powell


So, night one. 3 hours. Wow. Because I'm a mom of two kids, I usually keep up with The Bachelor on Hulu. This year though, I'm trying something new. I moved the TV from the living room into my bedroom, grabbed my dinner, turned on my salt lamp (setting the mood here, guys) and shut the door for 3 hours. Bye bye family: it's Bachelor/Mommy time.

I liked the way they did the premier this time around. I felt like they mixed it up well with the different live viewing parties, the cute little mashup of all the Bachelor babies, and of course the tribute to Chris Harrison which literally brought tears to my eyes. (I need help.)

Which brings me to my next point... I also cried during the two fan proposals and that my friends is how you know I'm the type of person who gets sucked into a show as ridiculous as the Bachelor...

Limo Entrance Rundown

I can't even believe that I can still sit through this after so many years. I mean I kind of think episode one is a snooze fest every time but I'm a devoted fan so I must watch.

Here are my notes....

Demi: why exactly did she have to say "banana yellow" after Colton complimented her dress color? The next time someone compliments my, uh blue sweater I guess I'll come back Demi-style with, "That's sky blue, baby." Needless to say; I cringed.

Photo Via ABC/Rick Powell

Did anyone else get serious middle school throwback vibes from Cassie's dress? I swear it's the exact type of dress my sister and I would wear to Easter Sunday mass in the 90s.

Photo Via ABC/Rick Powell

Can we talk about Kirpa's hair... did anyone else notice?!? SHE WORE HER HAIR ALL THE WAY UP! She gets major props from me for this very un-Bachelor-esque first night move. Kirpa looked adorable. I love her.

The Sloth: watching Colton's face while The Sloth made her entrance was priceless... I mean he didn't even hide how much he hated this. This must be how people feel when they first see their Tinder date in person and they don't look like their photos.

Top 2 Eye-Roll Moments

Then we have those all those stereotypical Bachelor moments that make us all roll our eyes while simultaneously grabbing more popcorn because we love to hate them every year....

Here are my top 2 eye-roll moments:

The police car rolled down the driveway with sirens blaring and the girls all ran to look out the window like, "Oh my gosh what's happening??" What's happening? Um, a girl is using a police car as her entrance and you all know that perfectly well so PIPE DOWN.

When Demi grabbed Colton immediately after his speech for some one-on-one time and the girls are like "Woah, woah- it's happening now I guess." Some are seemingly shocked by how quickly she whisked him away... Ladies, have you ever even seen an episode of this show that you're on right now? What are y'all confused by and what did you think was going to happen? Maybe a nice sit down dinner before the sharks started feeding?

One-On-One Time

Not even going to talk about the whole Catherine stealing him 4 times and girls getting up in arms. Been there, done that- Every. Single. Season.


                                                      Photo Via ABC/Rick Powell

I do want to make a quick comment on what it's like watching The Bachelor in my 30s. It hit me when I was listening to Miss North Carolina and Colton's convo about how they are apparently mature beyond their years. MNC talks about how she's been through a lot and that even at only 22 (read: basically a newborn) she seems much older. Colton responds with how he's experienced more than some people in their... wait for it, "30s" gasp! My question is; what if you are said person in their 30s who has also experienced and been through a lot in life? Does that make me basically 50 now? Seriously wondering.

Banana Yellow Demi is back... talking about she's not afraid to get dirty and says, "I know, I look so pretty right?" I now appreciate when she said banana yellow and wish she would have stuck with color explanations instead of the whole, "I'm soooo pretty, right??" Gag.

Best Quotes of the Night

"Wow, I really could have done better than a bag of nuts" DEAD

"He needs to know that I'm more than just fruit!" Preach.

Hey, Let's Talk about the Virgin Thing Again...

Alright guys, premier night down. Bringing it back around to Colton's v... well ya know. On a more serious note, I'd like to point out the blatant blasphemy in the fact that if The Bachelorette was a virgin, SO much of this banter would be highly inappropriate and rightfully so! It does bother me how it's ok to poke fun at a guy about this topic. Why can't the issue of virginity be treated the same regardless of gender?

I think Ben Higgins did an excellent job approaching this topic on the Almost Famous Podcast today.

How do you all feel about this issue? Are we really being progressive by mocking an entire life choice?

.... and on a lighter note... spill all of your favorite cringeworthy moments and all your feelings about The Bachelor premier with me below!



1.07.2019

Favorite Skincare Products 2018

You all know by now that trying skincare products is one of my favorite things! I am always looking for my holy grail products and really enjoy having the opportunity to try new brands through my blog. My skin issues are having breakout prone and sensitive skin. I am really careful about which products I try and always want to be honest with my followers are which things are winners as well as which products are absolute duds.

I have definitely had my ups and downs with my skin this year and wanted to put together a list of my absolute favorite products of 2018. These are all products that I currently use and love! I hope you find something that might work for you as well!

*This post includes affiliate links. Thanks for supporting me!*
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Delving into the Oil Cleansing Method this year has been one of the best decisions I've made for my skin. I grab this Desert Essence Organic Jojoba Oil from Sprouts and have found that it works as well or better than any cleanser I've ever tried. It removes all my makeup and doesn't irritate my eyes at all. It cleanses my skin and keeps it balanced when I use it religiously.

My favorite thing about the Oil Cleansing Method is the peace of mind of using a pure oil with absolutely no chemicals on my face everyday! I also love that the oil itself feels so nourishing and relaxing. To use the Oil Cleansing Method, I rub a dime sized amount of this oil between my hands and then all over my face. Next, I use a warm washcloth on my face to remove all makeup and pull dirt from my pores. I repeat the warm washcloth step several times until my face is oil free. My skin never reacts negatively to jojoba oil. If you haven't tried OCM yet; I highly suggest you try it out!


OLEHENRIKSEN is a brand that literally impresses me every time. This C-Rush Brightening Creme is literally amazing and one of the only products I've ever used where I actually see a visual difference. I started using this as a night creme (before I was introduced to their Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum, explained below) and woke up to really refreshed looking skin. I love that this product is free from parabens, sulfates & phthalates. I notice an actual difference in my skin's hydration and appearance after using this creme; I highly recommend this magic!

I am on the DERMA E PR list and I literally love, love, love this brand! They have a standard of ethical beauty meaning they never test products on animals and also care about the ingredients that they use! This Anti-wrinkle Scrub is what I currently use as an exfoliant and I love how soothing and gentle it feels.

4 / SKINFOOD Bitter Green Cleansing Gel

Jojoba oil is my go to cleanser but sometimes I like to mix something else into my cleansing routine as well. I highly recommend this SKINFOOD Bitter Green Cleansing Gel. I love that the Bitter Green line from SKINFOOD is designed to "juice your skin" with green ingredients such as Kale & Broccoli. This cleansing gel feels very moisturizing and I love having a backup for when I'm out of my precious jojoba oil.

Over the past couple years I have discovered the magic of charcoal masks! The trick to charcoal masks is that you have to find a good product that really works. I worked with Vivo Per Lei last year and ended up falling in LOVE with this Mineral Mud Mask with kaolin and charcoal clay. The mask itself is so smooth, cool and soothing and it really cleans out my pores. 

Another winning OLEHENRIKEN product! This Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum uses a plant-based retinol alternative. This product feels very similar to their C-rush Creme to me and also gives dramatic visual results (in my experience). When I use this at night, I literally wake up glowy and my skin looks more plump and refreshed. This is seriously a miracle product and I don't use that term lightly!

Which products ended up being your 2018 favorites? I'd love to know!

Happy New Year!

8.03.2018

World Breastfeeding Week + Why I Don't Find Judgement "Natural"

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This is a blog post I originally wrote in 2013 and wanted to revisit and share this year during World Breastfeeding Week. I hope you enjoy. :)
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i’m having a lot of conflicting feelings this year during world breastfeeding week. i feel like it might be safe to say that i am as or more passionate about breastfeeding as anyone. i have been breastfeeding for the past 5 years of my life which isn’t much to some people but to most people i’d say it is. that’s a lot of breastfeeding.
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breastfeeding is something that has become such a way of life for me. personally, i always knew i would breastfeed. and now, i  feel like maybe i have a million different breastfeeding topics that i could expand upon such as the many benefits of breastfeeding, my journey and struggles breastfeeding a tongue tied baby, my experience with extended breastfeeding, breastfeeding a second time around, breastfeeding + the nicu, breastfeeding + co-sleeping… and so-on and so-forth.
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breastfeeding is something that i am passionate about. that i love. that is part of me. that is part of my children. but, this year breastfeeding is bringing up a lot of of other feelings for me and one of those is the feeling of exclusion.
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in my life, i have definitely felt a lot of “exclusion” from other people when it comes to my beliefs and parenting practices. and heck, also my lifestyle in general. the list includes: getting married young, having babies young, breastfeeding, breastfeeding (albeit modestly) in public (GASP), breastfeeding my toddlers (FAINT),  sleeping with my babies, sleeping with my toddlers, delayed vaccinations/opting out of vaccinations, homeschooling, etc. sometimes this bothers me a lot. it bothers me that people feel that they can say whatever they want to say to me about my choices when i haven't said anything to them. this really bothers me in any situation. i cannot imagine opening my mouth and judging someone so openly. so harshly. i’m sure all mothers can relate to me here.  there is just something about becoming a mother that opens you up to this world of everyone telling you what to do and most importantly what you are doing wrong. I will never understand this. never, never  - never.
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and then there is the exclusion on the other side. i attended a breastfeeding event recently in my new town which is where this observation really stood out to me. one part of me was very happy to be attending this event. it was something special that i had planned to do with my littlest son. it was fun to be around a lot of people who shared in my beliefs and to be in a place where i did not have to feel excluded. however, it also made me feel uneasy. it made me feel uneasy to be in a place where women who don’t breastfeed or can’t breastfeed wouldn’t feel welcome.  a place where you would feel guilty if you planned a natural childbirth but ended up with a c-section. a place where you might want to run and hide before whipping out the disposable diapers from your bag when all the other babies were wearing cloth.
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i know that we “hippie” moms like to think of ourselves as being so “natural”. i am pretty obsessed with the word natural come to think of it. but i never want judgement to come "naturally" to me either. that's when i know something is wrong with the way i'm viewing motherhood.
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obviously,  i am passionate about breastfeeding and i believe that “breast milk is best". i would love to inspire other women and help them to be able to feel that they too can choose breastfeeding for their families. however, i do not believe it is the end all. i do not believe that i am the best mother. not at all. i have so many limitations and weaknesses as a mother.
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i guess what i'm trying to say, is that even though people have definitely made me feel excluded because of my parenting choices, i never want to make someone else feel that way. i’m so thankful that i have been able to connect with mothers out there who are doing things all different ways and i’m thankful that they have felt that they could connect with me as well. each one of these mothers i admire for different reasons. i am thankful for their kind comments to me, and i am thankful that they have never made me feel excluded. let’s all please continue to be friends and build each other up. that is what i want most of all.
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i have a lot of work to do to become more of the person that i want to be and of course i'm not sure what the answer is. i'm not saying that the event i attended was a "bad thing" or that i will never attend an event like that again. these are just the thoughts that are accompanying my mind as i celebrating nursing and what it has meant for my babies and myself.
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we all have a different story as it relates to feeding our babies. for me, it has been exclusive breastfeeding at birth and extended breastfeeding against societal norms for both of my boys. there have been great joys and also struggles. this year, during world breastfeeding week,  i would love to hear what role breastfeeding has played in your life, if any, and what it has meant for you :)
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(asher, breastfeeding, november 2012)
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6.18.2018

New Gummy Vitamins for the Whole Family!

Happy Monday!
Today I'm sharing the new gummy vitamin brand that has become a part of our daily routine.

This post is sponsored by Natrol but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

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In our house, vitamins are so much more likely to be taken each day if they are in gummy form. I'm not just talking about the kids either; this is true for my husband and I as well! Tell me I'm not alone in taking adult gummy vitamins... There is something maybe psychological about eating a "treat" vs. swallowing a pill that helps me remember to take vitamins each day!

Natrol's new line of Multi Gummies offer something for everyone in the family. We have been using their Women's, Men's and Kid's Multi Gummies which are specifically tailored to each person in our family!

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Here are some things that stand out to me about Natrol Gummies:

"These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent and diseases."

  • Made with 85% organic ingredients
  • Non-GMO
  • Made with 26 fruits and veggies
  • No artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives
Natrol Gummies are also vegetarian and gelatin-free!

Additionally, these gummies taste so good! They make a perfect little treat for me during the day and my kids always ask for their vitamins now that we have Natrol Gummies in the house!

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I'd love to know: does your family use vitamins/supplements? I'm really working on getting back on a good routine of daily vitamins for my family and I'd love to hear which supplements you think are important in addition to a multi-vitamin!

Natrol Gummies also offer a Pre-Natal vitamin as well as Melatonin and Hair, Skin & Nails.


IMG_6215IMG_6224If you'd like to try out Natrol Gummies; Just look for the purple bottle top in stores!

Also, it's great to know that Natrol offers a money back guarantee if you aren't happy with their product!
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XOXO, Gillian

6.08.2018

How To Go Multiple Days Without Washing Your Hair!

Secrets for going days between washing your hair...

This post is sponsored by Dove Hair Care but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Ok, I want to know: how often do you wash your hair? I used to wash my hair every day. I became so used to the routine that I convinced myself I looked dirty if my hair wasn't freshly washed.

Oh how times have changed, hah! I can proudly say that I now only wash my hair 2-3 times a week and I consider that a win! I have long hair and it is so much easier getting ready in the morning when I don't have to squeeze in washing my hair, letting it dry & styling it each day!

I'm partnering with Dove Hair Care today to share some tips for going days between washing your hair!


Give your Hair Time to Adjust

Did you know that your scalp actually produces more oil the more often you wash your hair? Your scalp gets used to its oils being stripped by hair products and tells your body that you need more. It can take a little while for your scalp to adjust so my first tip is to give it time! Try washing your hair every other day to start out and build up to more days in between.

Style on Day One

I find it easier to style my hair when it is freshly washed and clean. Some people find it easier to curl second day hair but I usually always do it on day one and make that style last for a few days.  (Side note: I do NOT style my hair every time I wash it. I work from home and my hair is honestly usually in a side braid!)

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Use Light (not heavy!) Products 

If you coat your hair in product, it will be harder to squeeze more time in-between washes. I'm a minimalist and take a "less is more" mentality even when it comes to my hair!

When I curl my hair, I use a little hairspray after to keep the curls especially since I want them to last a few days. I recently tried out the Dove Compressed Extra Hold Hairspray and I love how light and airy it applies! My hair remains very touchable and soft even after sleeping on it.

I also tried out the Dove Thickening Ritual Shampoo and Conditioner. These products both leave my hair feeling very fresh, clean and bouncy. This shampoo and conditioner really did give me more volume after one wash and I love the flowery scent it left on my hair!


Touch-Up Style on Day Two

My go-to way for styling my hair right now is to put in some loose beach-y curls with a curling wand. I can then easily touch-up a few curls with another pass of the curling wand and it's ready to go for another day or two!

The curls will be a little looser and softer the following days but I like that! I add a little Dove Compressed Extra Hold Hairspray each day after touching up the curls. On day 3, I'll keep the curls but do a pony tail to mix it up as the curls are getting looser.


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Do you use any Dove products? All of the products I mentioned in this post + used in all of these hair photos can be found at a Walmart near you. Check out the video below to see how soft + bouncy my hair looked after using these Dove products!

XOXO,
Gillian

3.06.2018

Custom Invitations with Basic Invite!

I'm partnering with Basic Invite today to share a little bit about their "truly custom" invitation website! You may remember that I have worked with Basic Invite in the past to create custom thank you cards which I loved!

I was compensated for this post by Basic Invite. All words and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for reading along!
high school graduation card
photos provided by Basic Invite

Basic Invite is truly the best invitation website I have come across and they offer hundreds of beautiful options to choose from for wedding and birthday invitations, birth and graduation announcements, customized business stationary and more!

The Basic Invite website is super easy to use and almost every little detail of their products are customizable! They offer over 180 different color options for each element on the card so that you can make them look exactly how you want down to the littlest detail! Their website also allows you to preview your design as you go along. The option to customize and personalize so many details is what really sets Basic Invite apart from other invitation companies! You can even order a sample card to see how your finished design looks and feels in person before placing your final order. 

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One of my favorite features of Basic Invite invitations are their gold foil designs! They offer foiling in gold, silver, and the best in my opinion- rose gold! How gorgeous are these gold foil Sweet 16 cards? Basic Invite also offers over 40 different envelope color options and all of their envelopes are peal and seal which is such a time saver!

graduation invitation
Graduation season is coming up quickly and Basic Invite offers the best graduation announcements and invitations with over 300 designs to choose from and customize! They also offer hundreds of options for college and high school graduation thank you cards!

Do you have children graduating from high school or college this year? My littles will be "graduating" 1st and 4th grade and I can't even believe how quickly it's going! Next year will be the last year that they are both in elementary school together and it's literally breaking my heart!

Be sure to check out Basic Invite if you are looking to create beautiful, personalized invitations or stationary! 

Use code 15ff51 for 15% off your purchase!

XOXO, Gillian
2.28.2018

Teaching Children Responsibility through Pet Care

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhatFuelsRight #CollectiveBias

I can't express enough how positive the experience of adopting a pet has been for our family! I was really nervous about adding another living thing to our lives but it has so much easier than I anticipated and adds immeasurable joy to my kids' everyday!

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My boys have truly enjoyed the experience of having their first pet and I have loved walking through this special time with them! They are at perfect ages (6&10) to help out with pet care; in fact they love getting involved and taking on the extra responsibility. I'm partnering with  Purina® and PetSmart today to share a few ways to get your kids involved and teach responsibility by caring for a pet! I love that not only am I strengthening their bond with Finn but am also helping them mature by learning to serve and care for someone besides themselves!

Involve your Kids from the Beginning!

Our decision to get a cat was kind of spur of the moment but also something that had been pressing on my heart for about a year prior. The kids were over the moon when I announced that we would be spending the weekend looking for a cat and they were with me every step of the way!


If bringing home a pet is something you plan for in advance, you can get your kids involved by having them help research pet care online or by looking for books at the library. Even though we didn't plan far in advance for Finn, the boys were with me at the pet store to help choose what we needed (vs. what we wanted) to care for our new kitty! We also started talking about what they would be doing to help out and I made it clear that they would need to show responsibility from the start!

Play Time

This is one of the easiest ways to get your kids involved in pet care because hello, kids love to play and so do animals! I've taught the boys that sometimes when Finny starts biting or getting a little too rambunctious, he is telling us that he needs to play. They love tossing toys for him in the living room or even creating cat toys out of cardboard. Asher was making forts for Finn the other day in the bedroom and I love seeing our cat bring out their creative side!


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Feeding

Feeding is another easy way to involve your children and teach them some responsibility! Asher, my 6 year old, especially loves feeding Finn. When he gets home from school, he always makes sure Finn's food and water bowls are filled! Finn gets especially excited about his morning meal because that's when we give him wet food and Roman loves helping with that!


We like mixing it up and offering Finn different foods and have recently tried the Purina® Beyond Natural and Purina® Beyond Simple Origins lines that we picked up at PetSmart! PetSmart has the widest variety of premium quality Purina products available at amazing prices. We love and trust the Purina brand (check out my last post with Purina here!) because they provide complete and balanced diets for pets!

Rome and Ash love our visits to PetSmart and we always seem to come home with a few extra things that we didn't come in for... During this trip, Roman tried to convince me that we should get a Chinchilla, ha! PetSmart allows pets in store and I really want to bring Finn on one of our trips to see how he does!


Click on the image above to shop the Purina Beyond Natural cat food for your kitties! We tried the Indoor Grain Free cat food in the flavor Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato and as you can see,
it is Finn-approved!

The Dirty Work

Honestly, most of pet care is pretty fun and enjoyable in my opinion but of course there are a few aspects that take a little more encouragement when getting the kids involved! I am definitely dropping the ball a little in this area. I usually clean out the litter box myself because it's just so easy but this is an area that is perfect for teaching my boys responsibility! I also need to involve the boys a little more in making sure they brush Finn regularly because the cat hair situation is starting to get real around here!


Best of All, Cuddling!

I really feel like giving our kids more responsibility in pet care helps to strengthen the bonding process! Feeding, grooming and attention are all ways my cat feels love and giving my boys a nudge in those areas has helped them to connect!

The cuddles between my boys and Finn are the sweetest part of owning a pet. It's literally priceless to see how Finn will lay on his back and let Asher bury his face on his tummy because as Ash says, "it just feels so good!" Roman is not a great sleeper but now Finn likes to hop onto his bunk bed with him some nights and those are the nights that Roman always falls asleep the fastest! 

Well, I'm literally getting a little emotional because honestly having a friendly furry animal in the house is one of the best decisions I've made as a parent so far! I hope this post has helped spark a couple ideas for you if you are planning to get a pet or have just brought one home! 


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I'd love to hear your stories of adding a pet to the family in the comments below! For more cute cat pictures, follow me on Instagram: @bygillianclaire




Check out your local PetSmart to try the Purina Beyond Natural and Beyond Simple Origins cat food for yourself! 

Other Kitty Posts:



XOXO, Gillian



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