by gillian claire

10.19.2017

2 New Skincare Products I'm Adding to My Routine!

*Thank you, OMG Botanicals for sponsoring this post on By Gillian Claire!*
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I'm so excited to share a new wonderful skincare company with you guys today!  

I am very picky about the beauty products I share with you all on my blog and I was really intrigued by OMG Botanicals, a start-up company dedicated to creating safe and natural products! I am always looking for ways to clean up my skincare routine. All of the skincare and aromatherapy products at OMG Botanicals are paraben, formaldehyde, phthalate and GMO free!


Upon learning more of OMG Botanicals' story and their "integrity, passion and love," for their customers as well as their commitment to safe ingredients, I fell even more in love with this company! Of course, I am really pleased with these products (which is why I'm sharing!) but having the opportunity to promote products that work and also come from a company that cares and is committed to wellbeing gives me all those, "I love blogging!" feelings!

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My main skin concerns are dealing with breakout prone skin as well as finding anti-aging products that will keep my skin healthy and youthful! You know I have been on a journey to fighting breakouts for a while. I breakout the most around my mouth and chin as well as getting occasional cystic pimples that seem to be hormonal, as well as very painful!

For the past few months, I have been strictly using the oil cleansing method to wash my face. The oil cleansing method makes so much sense to me and I had hope that it would be a fix all cure for me! I have really loved using all natural oils to clean my face, but it hasn't been a miracle on my skin. In the past month, I've decided that I need to add something else to my cleansing routine._MG_0907-3


I've added this Antioxidant Cleanser from OMG Botanicals to my routine and I'm really happy with my results so far! First of all, I love that this product uses safe, natural and non-toxic ingredients. The smell is very minimal and fresh, which is perfect for me. This cleanser is creamy and very soothing to the skin. I have extremely sensitive skin and haven't had any negative reactions or breakouts as a result of adding this to my skincare routine.


The OMG Botanicals Antioxidant Cleanser uses a blend of Olive Squalane Oil and superfruit extracts! I love that I'm adding another natural oil product to my routine and the superfruit extracts add amazing free-radical fighting benefits! This cleanser is intended for soothing breakouts and minimizing pores. I have noticed that adding this cleanser morning and night to my routine has given my face a deeper clean. Most importantly to me, it has helped to dry out previous breakouts gently without over drying and making my feel face stiff like Salicylic Acid products tend to do.


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In conjunction with the Antioxidant Cleaner, I have added this OMG Botanicals Renewing Serum. This serum also contains Olive Squalane Oil as well as Hyaluronic Acid and Rose Hip Extract. I love using this serum after washing and drying my face morning and night. It feels so luxurious and hydrating!


The Renewing Serum is meant to plump, renew, hydrate and nourish your skin. If you aren't already familiar with Hyaluronic Acid, it's a great anti-aging ingredient that naturally occurs in our skin but declines as we age. I definitely see the plumping action of this product the morning after I use it which is my favorite aspect!




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Overall I am so pleased with the two new OMG Botanicals products that I have added to my skincare arsenal! These two products are made to work together so it's a perfect duo for me to work on fighting breakouts while also adding back moisture and anti-aging defense to my skin! I will keep using them twice a day and am encouraged that I will continue to see improvements with breakouts and anti-aging. I will, of course, keep you all posted!


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Be sure to check out OMG Botanicals and use code: OMG20 for 20% off your purchase!
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xoxo,
Gillian

Summer Portraits, Part 2.

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I finally edited this second set of photos that I took of the boys on a summer day in Somerset, Kentucky. 
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I am so in love with these photos. This old wall, the random U hanging on a wire, my little boys.... these just scream childhood to me and fill my heart. I hope you enjoy them as well. :)

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xoxo,
Gillian

10.13.2017

About All the Sponsored Posts...

Happy Friday, friends!

Ok, soooo I wanted to put up a little disclaimer because I know I just spammed y'all with sponsored content this week. Truth is, I messed up a little and accepted 3 sponsored opportunities without realizing that they all had due dates within 3 days of each other, OOPS. There really wasn't any way around it; I had to post them all this week and I apologize for that! Normally I really try to space out sponsored posts much better.


Also, I wanted to share a little bit of what's been on my heart blogging wise.


This year, my main goal with blogging has been to try new things and say, "yes!" more. Saying yes is part of trying new things for me... I truly care so deeply about my blog and I put a part of myself into every photo and word that I slap up here on the internet. I have always been extremely selective as far as companies I agree to work with.


Honestly I think I really held myself back opportunity wise because of how selective I was.


This year I've also felt like I needed to morph my blog a bit from little boy photoshoots to focus more on my interests. Rome and Ash are getting older and our time of life is so much different from when I started this blog during my second pregnancy. This is why I have been doing a lot more beauty posts this year. It's part of me "trying new things" and I've really loved it!


I have also, as you've seen, being saying "yes" to more sponsored content. I finally bit the bullet and signed up with a few networks. I've been selling myself and my work more and at higher rates.


I'm always re-evaluating things and maybe the things I'm doing right now won't end up working out for me or the direction I want for my blog. At least I will have said yes and tried it out though.


So there's a little bit about what I've been trying to do this year on my blog. I feel happy and proud about it. I'd love to hear your feedback as well because I care so much about what my readers think! I know that sponsored posts seem "annoying" to some people but I will say that I am still very selective on the companies that I work with. I'm saying yes more but I still say, "no" often. 


The last point I want to make is that when you're rolling your eyes at sponsored content, at "ads", (I'm guilty of this too, trust me!) remember that behind the sponsored post is someone, often times a woman, often a Mom, who is working hard and ... MAKING MONEY on their OWN terms. 


I mean, how cool is that? 


I've said yes to a lot of sponsored content this month. This is the first month of my life in which most of income is coming from blogging and wow, that's pretty dang awesome to me. This money is helping our family in a big way and I am so thankful for all of you reading along and making that happen for me. I promise that even with the sponsored posts, I am putting in hours behind the scenes to make the quality of the photos and words match the quality of my blog. :)


And hey, in case you missed my posts this week, here's a little bit about all three!




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Fitness in Your 30s!

This is definitely one of those "try new things" posts for me and my first post about fitness, which is a huge part of my life! (In partnership with Odwalla + Safeway)


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This post is about why I'm not worried that my boys have been late readers and it's in partnership with Kellogg's and Dollar General.


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Finn was introduced to life in a blogging family with this post in partnership with Purina + Petco! I seriously had so much fun spoiling him during this photoshoot and he certainly felt loved trying all the new foods and toys! (If you are as obsessed with kitten photos as I am, you'll want to read this one!)
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Again, I'm sorry that I had to blast all these sponsored posts out in the same week! I hope you find something you enjoy and thanks for listening to me express my feelings about this crazy blog life. :)

xoxo,
Gillian

10.11.2017

Fitness in Your 30s!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishOnTheGo #CollectiveBias

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Fitness and health have always been a big part of my life in one way or another. Working out is just absolutely necessary for my wellbeing and I'm always trying to learn more about wellness and healthy living. This has seemed to come naturally to me but the last few years have made things a little more challenging. These recent years have definitely been the most stressful of my life and stress mixed with entering my 30s has given me some reasons to work a little harder at living a healthy lifestyle!

My metabolism is definitely different than it was and stress and medication seemed to work together to make me gain a little weight. 
This past year I've been able to refocus on my health and kick some bad habits. I wanted to share with you the 8 things that I try to work at everyday to reach my health + fitness goals. I hope you find them helpful if you are on a wellness journey of your own! These are basic things that I've kept in mind this year and they have helped me lose about 10-15 pounds! I'm excited that entering my 30s has pushed me harder and I'm looking forward to staying fit in this decade and beyond!

_MG_0749-3_MG_0896 Odwalla and Safeway are partnering with me on this post and I'll be sharing how to incorporate a couple of their products into your healthy lifestyle. Who else is a huge Odwalla fan? I've been buying their drinks since high school!
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Tips for Staying Fit in your 30s!

Drink Lots of Water

Drinking enough water is imperative for a healthy lifestyle! If you aren't already drinking enough water, here are some ways to work on it:

     Find a water bottle you love and keep it with you all day! (My favorite glass water bottles are from T.J.Maxx!)

     Download an app to easily track that you're drinking enough. (I like to use My Fitness Pal.)

     Drink water first thing in the morning while your coffee is brewing.

     Add lemon to your water for taste and to aid in digestion! 

Make Working Out a Habit 


Schedule gym time in your calendar just like you would anything else; make it a priority! I am a busy working mom and some days I seriously have to drag myself to the gym but I find that working out ends up giving me more energy to face the rest of my day.

Find an Accountability Partner 

One of my best friends and I are both on fitness and health journeys. It's really nice to have an accountability partner in my life to talk things over with. She has also given me some great ideas that have helped me out so much! Find a friend to talk fitness with and better yet workout with! (My friend sadly lives 1200 miles away or else we'd definitely be at the gym together!)

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Try Something New


Don't ever feel like you are "too old" to try something new! I was a dancer and figure skater growing up and honestly in my 20s I really mourned not having that in my life anymore. I have recently been doing some yoga at home (Check out Mandy Reid!) and I am really looking forward to maybe starting yoga classes and embracing something new in my 30s! 

Be Prepared with Food

Being prepared with food goes a long way! One way I stick with healthy choices is by making a list of all the good foods that I know I'll eat and making sure to have them on hand!


Those of you who know me know how I feel about yummy drinks. Coffee is the way to my heart and I also love grabbing fun clean drinks like kombucha or juice smoothies at the grocery. I am obsessed with these Odwalla 100% Juice Smoothies. They are perfect to have on hand when I need a "treat" but still want to make smart choices. I also love that they are made with high quality non-GMO ingredients and have no sugar added!

I cannot stress enough that I do not enjoy cooking and if I don't have easy, ready to go food around me I cave! Another thing I love grabbing at the grocery is fresh cut fruit from Safeway! Having fruit already cut and prepared makes me twice as likely to grab it from the fridge! Does anyone else buy fruit and ends up letting it sit on the counter until it's not good anymore? 

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Right now if you buy any two Odwalla drinks at Safeway you will get a $1 off coupon to use on your next purchase of in-store fresh cut fruit! 


Mix it Up


I'm not big on "diets" but in my 30s I've definitely found that I need to mix things up a little to see what works. I've tried counting calories this year for the first time (after my accountability partner suggested it!) and it really helped me to see how many unnecessary things I was eating in a day! 

Currently I am cutting out gluten and dairy, not to lose weight but because my chiropractor recommended it to see if it helps with my allergies. This has been another huge eye opener for me and I have been introduced to some new favorite healthy foods in the process! 

Move More


     Pick a parking spot in the back of the lot!

     Take a walk with your kids in the evening, or by yourself while listening to a podcast.

     Clean the house! Hey, vacuuming burns calories- win, win!

Above All Else: Treat Yourself with Kindness & Fall in Love with Your Body!

Being perfect is an unattainable goal and I'm practicing being kinder to myself which has not come naturally to me!

Allow yourself to indulge on your favorite foods sometimes or skip the gym during a stressful week. Be easy on yourself and recognize that each day is a brand new chance to make better choices!


Insecurities is so last decade, right? We're in our 30s, so lets rock our fitness goals while more importantly loving our bodies better than we ever have before!


Love you guys,
Gillian 

Belive in Yourself

Fall-ing in Love with our Kitten.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MuseCleanPlate #CollectiveBias
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Well, I'm already back with another kitten post! We have honestly been having a blast with our little Finn, who we affectionately have taken to calling Finney. He has added such positivity to our family life! Fall has been the perfect time of year to bring home a sweet kitten and I'm loving nothing more than sharing warm cuddles with him on chilly nights. Can you think of anything more perfect? We've already had our first big snowfall here in Colorado this week!

I was so excited to have the chance to partner with Purina® Muse® at Petco on this post! I mean Finn needs to know what it's like to live in a blogging family, right? I had so much fun visiting Petco to pick up the new Purina Muse cat food for Finn as well some other fun things to spoil him with and we have a great time bonding over this photoshoot. 

There has been a little bit of an adjustment to bonding with a new kitten with having kids. I didn't really anticipate that but my kids have had to learn a lot about how to care for a kitten and Finn has had to learn what living with two wild boys is like as well!

Asher has had to learn things like not to smother the cat and that he can't just drop him onto the ground. (Yep...) We all have had to learn about Finn's behavior and figure him out a little bit. Finn meows more than any cat I have ever met. At first, he just used one loud all encompassing meow and we always thought he was mad or upset about something. It took us a little time to understand that he is really just very expressive and likes to have little conversations with us!

I'm trying to be deliberate about spending time with Finn and helping the boys bond with him as well. Here are some ways that I've been making this happen: 

Through Play

I was very drawn to Finn's sweet, calm and sleepy demeanor at the shelter. His first couple days with us he spent in our arms like a little rag doll and I thought he was just the most "calm" cat I'd ever seen...

Well, I think he was just honestly dealing with the stress of a new home because his second night with us, he began to get more comfortable and has been exploring, jumping, meowing and running all over the house non-stop!

He loves to play and this has been a great way to encourage my children to bond with him. We picked up a bunch of new toys at Petco and Roman especially loves spending time on the living room rug playing with Finney. Roman said to me last night, "Mom I haven't been bored since we got a cat!" Score.

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Through Food

We have quickly discovered that food is one of the ways to Finney's heart! He loudly meows at our feet whenever we are in the kitchen because he wants up on the counter to scrounge for people food. 

I've tried to make an effort to pick up a few fun surprises for him food wise since he shows such an interest in it! The boys and I love giving Finney a cat treat sometimes. We also picked up some of the new Purina Muse dry and wet food for Finn at Petco. I love that Purina Muse is made with all natural ingredients and that they offer so many fun flavors! I've never had experience with feeding a cat wet food but when we adopted Finn from the shelter, they explained to me how's it especially important to feed male cats a balance of wet and dry food. I've since also learned that this is important for all cats' dental and digestive health!

I chose the flavor: Natural Chicken Recipe in Gravy, for Finn's first wet food taste test and he was over the moon! I chose several other wet food flavors as well as the Sailing with Salmon dry food and I've noticed that Finn is much more excited about eating his food vs. ours! Purina Muse offers a Muse Clean Plate Guarantee and will give your money back if your cat turns up his nose! 


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There will be a special Facebook live sampling event hosted by Budget Savvy Diva on Wednesday 10/19 at 9pm ET! Be sure to check it out for a chance to win free samples of Purina Muse!_MG_0641
Through Affection

Finn makes this one pretty easy because who doesn't love cuddling with a sweet little kitten?! Finn has a very affectionate personality and we have all loved spending time cuddling and petting him this fall. 

I also picked up a brush at Petco and have encouraged the boys to spend time brushing him. Finney loves brushing time and usually closes his eyes with happiness. He hasn't quite mastered cleaning himself yet and usually gets into something that gets all over in his fur!


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All in all, having a kitten has been just what our family needed. I feel like the boys are at the perfect ages (6 & 9) to learn the responsibility of having a pet and Finn has brought them both so much joy. We are looking forward to many more cozy fall days spent at home with our Finney!
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Look out for a new range of Masterpieces Dry Formulas coming in February of 2018!
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10.09.2017

My Boys' Path to Reading!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyLiteracyStory #DGMyStoryEntry #CollectiveBias
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I can't believe my second little boy is now in first grade and in the thick of learning to read! I want to share with you a little bit about my experience with my boys' reading journeys and why i'm not worried about them being "late readers."

I am sharing our personal literacy story today to promote Kellogg's® and their support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation! At the end of this post I'll be sharing more or you can click on this link to find out how you can enter the #DGMyStory Sweepstakes to win a $50 Dollar General gift card by sharing your story as well!

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Roman started public school halfway through the school year in Kindergarten after being homeschooled. (Long story...) He has always been a bright child and during homeschool he would ask questions like, "is lightening a solid or a gas?" He caught on well in public school but reading continued to be a struggle. In first grade he was still lagging behind in reading. During parent/teacher conferences, we would talk about his reading "issues." 

Fast forward to second grade when one day his teacher pulled me aside after school. He asked me what we had done with Roman over the summer because after their state reading test, Roman ended up with the 2nd highest score in the class! We definitely did not stick to a rigorous reading plan over the summer or hire a tutor but I was not surprised that Roman had finally caught on with reading and was beginning to excel. Roman in now in 4th grade and loves reading. He is also participates in an advanced reading class with gifted students.

I feel like so many of us as parents worry and stress that our children aren't at the level that they "should" be when in reality ALL children learn at different rates! Both of my boys took to science and math quicker than they took to reading. They have wild, active and curious personalities. Sitting down to focusing on books didn't come naturally at age 5; why should it?

Now little Asher is in first grade; can you believe it? At the beginning of this school year, his teacher tested him on which sight words he knew. Asher only knew 2 or 3... When she assessed their reading level, he ended up on the lower end of the spectrum. A fellow mom at school asked me about Asher's reading level because she was concerned about her son's results. (Her son was at a level higher than Ash!) I shared with her my story about Roman and expressed my feelings that being behind now doesn't necessarily reflect where a child will be in a couple years. I have already seen Asher grow in leaps and bounds since he was tested and I have no doubt that he will end up an excellent reader like his big brother!

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Here are a few things that I'm keeping in mind this year as Asher continues learning to read:


Provide Encouragement!


I feel like providing encouragement is one of the most important things we can do as parents! I try my best to notice my children's successes and celebrate them. When Asher points out the word "the" on one of my books or randomly recites the vowel song he's learning at school, I try to make him feel like the smartest boy in the world. :)


Find Reading All Around Us!



We have a book shelf right in our front hallway filled with books that are available for the boys to read. I also like looking for little ways to sneak in reading all around us. Asher doesn't really notice that we're reading when I'm pointing out signs on the road or reading cereal boxes with the boys at breakfast. 


I love that we are partnering with Kellogg's on this post because my kids are big cereal eaters! We went to the Dollar General to pick up four of their favorite Kellogg's cereals to support The Dollar General Literacy Foundation: Frosted Flakes®, Froot Loops, Frosted Bite-Size Mini-Wheats and Rice Krispies! Which cereals are your household favorites?

My kids are always sitting at the counter in the mornings eating cereal and it's the perfect time to get in a little reading practice!


Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!


As I've shared, I am not worrying about Asher being a "late reader" like his brother. I know that he will catch up and I am focusing on doing what I can to encourage him and simply enjoying every day of his first grade sweetness! When did your littles ones learn to read?


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Kellogg's is a proud sponsor of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Every day, Kellogg employees work together to fulfill their vision of enriching and delighting the world through foods and brands that matter. Kellogg's is committed to providing 2 billion Better Days through 2025 through initiatives that feed people and their potential. 

Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for over 75 years through its mission of Serving Others. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is celebrating over 20 years of helping individuals learn to read, prepare for their high school equivalency, or learn English. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $140 million to nonprofit organizations and schools that have helped more than 9 million individuals advance their literacy and basic education skills.

Click here to learn more about this literacy initiative and to enter the #DGMyStory Sweepstakes by sharing your literacy story with the hashtag #DGMyStoryEntry for a chance to win a $50 Dollar General giftcard!



Hover over the image below to shop if your little ones are cereal lovers like mine!

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