by gillian claire: 2017

5.11.2017

A Little Roman Update at 9 Years Old.

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Fruit Shoot but the content and opinions expressed here are my own._MG_9773     
     I feel like Roman hasn’t made many appearances lately on my blog. He is NINE years old now, can you believe it? When I started my blog, Roman was only 3 years old and I was pregnant with Asher. Now my boys are 5 and 9 and life looks much different for sure!



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     I figured it's time that I give you guys a little Roman update. We’re so thankful to be partnering with Fruit Shoot for this post. Fruit Shoot is a popular brand in the U.K. that has finally made it's way here! I don’t know about you guys but my kids pretty much freak out with excitement when they see anything pre-packaged and kid-friendly like these juices. It makes me feel good that these drinks have no added sugar!  They made for the perfect treat to take along for our photo shoot / park date so that I could capture some new photos of Roman doing what he loves best: playing soccer!

     It has been so interesting to see my children grow up and realize that they really have the same personalities that they were born with. When your baby is born, it seems impossible to picture them as a growing person with their own interests and unique gifts but as they grow up you start to see how their personalities have been there all along!

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     Roman was the sweetest, quietest and easiest baby ever. I mean really. Those days are so sweet to think back to now. I was only 21 years old and Roman quickly became my little sidekick. He  would happily sit in the stroller while I shopped at the mall. We spent hours at thrift stores and took walks together in the neighborhood. He was always happy and went with the flow. We were attached almost constantly until he started public school during the second half of his Kindergarten year.

     Roman is still sweet as pie and he is definitely a very easy going kid. His teachers rave about him. School comes easily to him and he does very well there. Kids in his class seem truly drawn to Roman’s sweet and happy disposition.

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     During first grade, Roman became full out obsessed with soccer. This obsession kind of came out of nowhere. When Roman develops an interest, he really dives into it full force. This is another one of those qualities that I started seeing when he was very small and that still shines in him today.

     I am not exaggerating when I say that since 1st grade, Roman has spent hours every day practicing soccer. It’s really fascinating to see. Roman has never really had a huge interest in toys. We don’t have video games in our house so he doesn’t spend time on that either. His absolute favorite thing to do is running around the living room practicing his soccer skills and kicking the ball against one of the walls. (Yes, we do allow this!) Roman spends a lot of his “screen time” watching YouTube videos and learning new soccer tricks. He has truly found his "thing" in soccer. Weather or not soccer sticks with him for life, I have loved watching the determination and passion that he has put into it and I know that these qualities will stay with him in whatever he chooses to pursue in the future.

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     I am so genuinely proud (as we all are of our children) of our Roman. It’s a very strange feeling to have a 9 year old. This year, I feel like Roman has made that transition from a little kid to a big kid although honestly Roman has always had an old soul wisdom about him. He is truly a little wonder and I am so happy and blessed to have the chance to be his Mama.

     Thanks to Fruit Shoot for sponsoring this conversation. One thing that I always forget about, even ten years into mothering, is the benefit of bringing along snacks + drinks for my kids. These drinks were perfect to pack for the park and my kids loved the new fruit punch flavor. I really appreciate that they come in bottles as opposed to "pouches" and the resealable cap makes them so convenient! The boys and I made such fun memories creating this post together and spending time at the park. Roman loves these photos that we captured and he can't wait to share them on his Instagram. 

     Be sure to check out this link to find a retailer near you that carries Fruit Shoot! What are your kids' "things"?

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Speaking of personalities, this photo sums up Asher's pretty well -hah!

4.20.2017

Love Your Mama, Mother's Day Giveaway!

Mother's Day is coming early for one lucky mama! I have teamed up with some amazing shops and bloggers to give one lucky mama all of this!


Born To Be Mama tee - the exclusive tee ​from​ Five Shop

The signature Transport Tote from Madewell

$50 Shop Credit to Jays+Jewels

Lipsense starter kit - by Lushleelips

Pair of leather earrings from Nickel and Suede

Being a Mom is My Jam thermal bottle from Premium Wine Bag Co

 

GIVEAWAY

To enter click on the link below. Please note that all entries are verified. You must be following all accounts in order to win. Giveaway will end on Friday, May 5th at 12 AM CST.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

4.17.2017

Hey Look, I Cooked! / Blue Apron Review

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
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     I  really  do not like to cook and in fact I do not actually cook much at all these days. I used to do the majority of the cooking in our family but Aaron has taken on that role and I couldn't be happier about it. Sometimes on social media I'll see people posting about making an "easy" dinner and you guys I seriously am always thinking, "that is more involved than my  elaborate  dinners..." That's the extent that I cook. 
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     I've been seeing people order these Blue Apron boxes all over the place so I was really excited to get a chance to work with them and try them out for myself. They describe themselves as a "fresh ingredient and recipe delivery service that helps chefs of all levels cook incredible meals at home." Sold.
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(And hey, if you've been interested in trying Blue Apron as well, use my link to get $30 OFF your first purchase!)

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Here are a few cool facts about Blue Apron that I didn't previously know:

+ All ingredients are GMO free.

+ Their meat has no added hormones and no sub-therapeutic antibiotics.

+ Blue Apron offers a "Freshness Guarantee" on all ingredients and will replace anything that arrives looking subpar within the first 7 days.

+ They use sustainably sourced seafood.

   I was really impressed with our box. It included all of the ingredients necessary for 3 meals. Everything was neatly packaged and also kept cool and insulated. This box probably sat on my porch for a few hours and everything, including the meat, was still cold! Asher had a lot of fun digging into the box with me and seeing some foods he knew and many that he didn't recognize.

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All of the recipes Blue Apron sent sound amazing but I decided on the "Za'atar-Spiced Chicken" first because I love anything with lemon and couscous.

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Here are all the lovely ingredients as they came packaged. Everything comes in the exact portions you need which honestly is so nice. I love that Blue Apron takes away the grocery shopping + measuring aspect of cooking! This makes the process even easier for someone like me who is whiney about cooking.


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The directions were extremely straightforward and helpful. I will say that this recipe was a little more involved than I anticipated but the meal was also "fancier" than I expected. I did have to google "how to mince a shallot," and I also set off the fire alarm twice, but the house didn't burn to the ground and I kind of shocked myself that this turned out so well in the end!


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This picture where I'm cooking the chicken is really  something to write home about because even when I used to cook, I cooked mostly vegetarian. I squealed a little when I had to touch the raw chicken but it wasn't as bad as I feared and it was so nice that the seasoning for the meat was already premixed and ready to go!


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     Voila! You guys, are you impressed? It turned out so  picture perfect and it tasted amazing! The sauce that I made at the end was seriously so delish and made this meal just perfect. I've even been scavenging some leftovers from the fridge as I worked on this post.
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Do y'all like to cook? I feel like I never meet girls who don't love cooking so tell me below if you are like me!
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Have you been wanting to give Blue Apron a try? You can use my link to get $30 OFF your first purchase which is an awesome deal!
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4.03.2017

Simple Ways to Have Fun with the Family!


Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by the Goldfish brand but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

     This is definitely the busiest season of family life for us so far. Even though Roman and Asher are both in school now, it hasn't seemed to slow anything down! Just being a working mom and taking care of two wild and rambunctious growing boys seems to be enough to wear me out each and every day.

     We have always relied on simple ways to connect as a family. There is so much pressure on parents to spend a lot of money and attend exciting planned activities to give our children a happy childhood, but I have found that kids don't need much to have fun and feel loved. Here are 6 simple, inexpensive things that have been my go to ways to have fun with my kids over the years!


1. Take a Drive: Going for drives has always been a thing for our family. I think it started when Roman was a baby and we realized on weary nights that a nice long drive at night would put him to sleep much faster and easier! Now that we live in Colorado, drives are even more enjoyable and fun because, well mountains - duh.

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Sometimes the kids scoff a little about the idea of going for a drive but getting them out of the house almost always puts them in a better mood. One trick to pulling this off is bribing the kids with a fun snack. Sometimes I stash away something like these little Grab and Go Goldfish crackers to whip out when it's time to get out of the house. Goldfish are a HUGE staple in our family (um the Xtra cheddar is my absolute favorite) and these little personal sized cartons somehow make them seem even more appealing to my kids! 

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2. Movie Night: Throwing a movie night is basically parent-code for having an excuse to lay down all night, right? Sometimes we'll rent a RedBox movie or look for one we haven't seen on Netflix, put together some easy snacks and veg out in front of the TV all night. Asher is the expert at making a "bed" for us on the living floor which consists of dragging out all the blankets and pillows in the house. :) If you want to take it up a notch, you can take movie night to the $2 movie theater and smuggle in some snacks (here's where those Goldfish come in handy again!) for a really inexpensive night out!

3. Go to the Park: This is always a super easy/simple entertainment option. We have our favorite parks and kind of mix it up between them to keep it fun. Sometimes we go on an "adventure" to try out a new park that we've never been to! If you live in a larger suburb or city, playground options are never ending and always a surefire way for the kids to have fun.

4. Restaurant Play Place: Restaurant play places are parenting gold you guys. You don't have to feed your kids fast food for dinner to go either. (Although no shame in that game.) I usually let my kids get an ice cream or sometimes I just grab a coffee and let them play!

5. Neighborhood Walk: Taking a neighborhood walk is one of our favorite things to do. I think the old saying that fresh air is good for you definitely holds so much truth. Both of my boys are extremely talkative little guys and they love having my undivided attention on a walk when I have nothing distracting me. Sometimes I walk in between Roman and Asher while they are both talking to me a mile a minute and I honestly can't hear a word they are saying, ha!

6. Dance Contest/Party: We love to dance and we've gone through many different dance phase over the years. We used to have "dance parties" where we all jumped on the bed together and this has kind of morphed into "dance contests" where both of my boys create dances to perform on the bed and I judge. It's pretty hilarious and always so much fun! They really like when I make videos on my phone so that they can check out their movies. Yes, I let the kids jump on the beds. You only live once!

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We honestly live a very simple life and luckily both of my boys enjoy doing all of the simple things I've listed in this post. I've found that the little moments in motherhood are the most important and always end up being my favorite memories as well. What simple ways do you have fun with your family in the busy seasons? Please share!
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Thanks to Goldfish for sponsoring this conversation! Head over to their Pinterest Page and YouTube channel for more fun family ideas!

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3.31.2017

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday! I don't exactly know where the week went, or where March went for that matter! We've had some amazing warm weather recently but today it is rainy and cold in Colorado and I'm ready for Spring to reappear!
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I love seeing what my other blogger friends are using and loving so here are my favorites right now in case you are nosey like me... :)


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1. It makes way too much sense that my first thing on this list is sweatpants... I actually won these in  a contest on Instagram you guys and I was SO excited! I seriously never win anything but I entered this contest that Friday Faves was running and I got to pick out anything from their site when I won! Of course I picked these jogger sweatpants because I'm the most comfortable person alive... and they are soooo cute + perfectly comfy! Also, you won't believe this but after winning these, I received an email that I won some skincare products in another contest that I entered on a blog I follow! Just call me lucky-lucky.


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2. Ok so in full disclosure, these products were sent to me for free from Influenster BUT I am not obligated to blog about them and I really, really love them! If you have read any of my skincare posts you know that my face has been struggling these past few years. I was really nervous to try out anything new on my skin because it feels like the slightest change puts my face into full breakout mode. I bit the bullet and tried these Ole Henriksen products though and they have really dried out (in a good way) my skin and given me a better complexion! I am completely swapping out my old skincare routine for this one. I'm still looking for the miracle skincare answer but this trio is a big step up from what I had going on!
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3. No photo for this one BUT you guys, the show Jane the Virgin, where has this been all my life. This show never appealed to me but in my desperate-to-find-a-show panic one night I tried it and I'm hooked. Who else has watched it??

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4. Oh hey, some more skincare! This is something I've been trying to incorporate more into my blog + I have been loving trying out some new products lately! Check out my recent "First Impressions Skincare" post  to see my thoughts on this OZNaturals Vitamin C Serum as well as a couple other new products.

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5. When I'm not wearing sweatpants + workout tanks then I'm wearing graphic tees + leggings... ha! I love this "weekend i'm in love" tee from Target. I couldn't find the exact link but here's a similar one. (affilate link) So many cute shirts in the Target juniors section right now!
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Well I'm off to try and re-laxxxxx on this dreary Friday. What are your weekend plans?
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3.28.2017

First Impression // New Skincare Products!

     *This post is in partnership with OZ Naturals & Imagine Dermatology. I only work with brands that I truly love! Thanks for reading along!*

     I'm back with another skincare post! I have really been loving  incorporating more beauty posts into my blog and I hope you are enjoying it as well! I've always been enamored by the idea of taking care of  + protecting my skin and love experimenting with different products. All of the products in this post were sent to me to try out and review and it was so fun to get my hands on a few new things that I hadn't heard of yet!
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     I was really excited to receive this Vitamen C + AHA Facial Serum from OZNaturals. I did some stalking on the OZNaturals website and I absolutely loved learning about their philosophy for natural skincare. Their motto is "Natural Skincare that Truly Works." OZNaturals products are free from GMOs, sulfate, parabens, fragrances, phthalates + petro chemicals. 
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     This Vitamin C Facial Serum boasts of two powerful ingredients: Vitamin C + Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). The combination of these ingredients is meant to fight against wrinkles while also working on brighter, more radiant skin.
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     I have honestly never tried a serum so I was really excited to add this to my skincare routine. I love the packaging and the fact that this product comes in a glass dropper bottle. It has a very refreshing but subtle citrusy scent and putting this on makes me feel like I've just squeezed an orange right on my face and I love it! Maybe that sounds weird but it just feels very refreshing and natural... 
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     Vitamin C is such a powerful natural skincare component and can even help prevent future damage to the skin by fighting against free radicals! I'm hooked on this serum and am planning to use it going into spring to help even out my skin tone and protect my skin as I start getting outside more.
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     Imagine Dermatology reached out to me about their new skincare line and I was definitely intrigued since they claim to have branched off from a well-known skincare company. They sent me two products to try out: their Smoother Skin anti-aging renewal complex + their Instant Lifting wrinkle fighter. My philosophy on anti-aging products is that it is never too early to start using them if you want to keep your skin looking youthful! I remember reading this when I was a teenager somewhere and I would use the samples of eye cream that my Grandma would get for free at the department store beauty counters! :)
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_MG_9322      Both of these Imagine Dermatology products oddly smell very similar to the OZNaturals serum - light and citrusy! I am really happy with these products and have been using them at night following my face cleansing routine. They feel nice and fresh and haven't irritated my skin. Both of these products contain hyaluronic acid which helps retain moisture in the skin and after a dry Colorado winter, my skin is loving this extra boost! 
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     The Instant Lifting wrinkle fighter contains acmella olerecea extract, an ingredient that I've never heard of but claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in a method similar to Botox! Crazy, right? 
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     I was also impressed that Imagine Dermatology products are paraben, phtalate and sulfate free and are not tested on animals!
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Overall, I'm very happy with all of these products and am happy to have some new skincare products to put into my routine for Spring!
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Which skincare products are you loving right now? I have just recently completely switched up my skin cleansing routine also and will share those products with you all soon!
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3.14.2017

Pi Day Celebration!


Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Edwards Desserts, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
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     I picked up my Edwards Pie at my local Safeway. There were several flavors to choose from but I thought that this Hershey's chocolate creme pie would be perfect for my little guys! 

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     Asher and Roman were pretty psyched when I surprised them with the pie and told them we were having a little Pi Day celebration! Asher is a picky eater but he devoured two pieces and Roman even stayed in from playing with his friends to share a piece with us! You would never guess that this pie came from the frozen foods section; it is so good!


     I'd say that my Pi Day Piece Offering certainly did the trick. It was such a good feeling to take a moment to relax and enjoy myself with my sweet little boys.

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     This definitely reminded me that I need to look for more opportunities to surprise my kids with something special. It doesn't take much to make peace and a little bit goes a long way!  

Are you celebrating Pi Day with your kids? Why not run to the store and grab an Edwards Pie and some cute paper plates and have a party of your own? Checkout the Edwards Desserts Facebook page for more inspiration!
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3.10.2017

Five on Friday

It's been a struggle for me to get around to blogging lately! I have had so much going on but I wanted to stop in and share 5 little bits + pieces with you all.


1. We have had some beautiful weather lately and I am loving it! The boys and I have been out and about this week, walking to the park and running errands and I can just feel the sun melting all sorts of bad moods around here. Although I'm sure that Colorado will have some more snowfalls before all is said and done, the sunshine is giving me hope that Spring is coming!


2.  I finally got my hair done! I went for a more ash-y blonde this time and I really like it! Now I just need to get my eyebrows done and I'll look like a normal person again...


3.  I recently shared this adorable little 90s style backpack from thredUP on Instagram. It's big enough to fit my big camera which I love because it's so much cuter and more convenient than a camera bag! I had so much fun partnering with thredUP and got a few other really cute things from their site. Have you guys tried thredUP? If you want to check them out, you can also use my link to get $10 off your first purchase! ($10 goes a long  way on their site!)



4. I attended a really fun Blogger event this week in Denver as part of a new group that I'm involved in. Our event was hosted by Lyfe Kitchen restaurant and they really treated us all like royalty! We had so much fun trying out all sorts of different dishes and I am seriously obsessed with this restaurant now. We also received these fun gift bags full of all kinds of goodies from local shops + businesses.

5. Tonight we are taking the boys and their friends to see Moana! I am looking forward to the peace and quiet + hopefully the movie is tolerable. I've heard good things but man is it hard for me to sit through kids' movies!

Happy Friday, everyone! What was the highlight of your week?

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