Tuesday, April 30, 2013

drugstore diva

I'm a big fan of beauty and fashion blogs, which is kind of weird, considering I hardly ever stray from a product. I've been using the same stuff for years, because it works wonderfully for me. I'm not one to branch out when it comes to products I use on my body.

Bloggers like Kate are inspirational; she's always got great makeup and hair advice, but homegirl spends like $30 on a bottle of root lifter! I don't know about you, but us stay-at-home-mom-not-so-successful bloggers can't afford that bizness.

So, today I'm bringing you my favorite products, that can all be purchased at your local Walmart/Target/Harris Teeter, because honestly, who has time to go to Ulta, and who wants to spend $100 there? These are all products that you can grab during your grocery store run, and they all work fabulously, in my opinion.

For shampoo and conditioner, you can't beat Suave Keratin Infusion smoothing shampoo and conditioner. This stuff is the bomb. It leaves your hair shiny, smooth, and manageable, and it's less than $3 a bottle. WIN!

Bodycology products at Walmart and Target are great substitutes for Bath & Body Works products. Back in the day when I was a carefree single lady, $15 for a bottle of lotion didn't seem so steep. Now that I'm shelling out my entire life savings on formula, $3 lotion is more my style. The Bodycology bodywashes and lotions are very similar in scent and texture to that of the B&BW brands, but a third of the price. They also have a large selection of flavors as well.

 That's what I'm talking about.

I swear by Tresemme hairspray. It's a waterless formula, meaning it goes on dry. No stickiness, and a very buildable, flexible hold. I'm a huge fan.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub and Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer are the only products I'll ever use (except for Obagi... see below). The apricot scrub leaves you with baby soft skin, and the moisturizer has a tiny bit of medication in it to prevent breakouts. I've been using this combination for years, and love the results.


For all you ladies who love the Bare Minerals makeup, did you know that Walmart has a Physician's Formula brand that pretty much rocks your socks as well? My favorite thing about this line is that you can purchase a pack of "airbrush" powder, blush, and bronzer all in a set for about $20. Takes all the guesswork out of picking colors, and the finish is flawless (I'm wearing it in my photo over in the top right). I've gotten lots of compliments, and I highly recommend it!

Last, but not least, is my most expensive beauty product, like, ever. The only reason I own it is because it was a gift from my mother, but let me tell you, ladies, it's a miracle worker. Do you have freckles, dark spots, or acne scars that just won't go away? Then try the Obagi Skincare line. It's expensive and smells like ass, but boy does it work!! I've been using it for 10 weeks (you cannot use it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding!!) and there has been such a noticeable difference. I've had freckles my whole life, and after using this line of skincare products, they are practically gone. I have a smoother, more porcelain complexion, and I'm hooked!! When I run out, however, that may be all she wrote. The trial packs are $183!! But ladies, believe me. If you really want your skin to look better, try it. You will not regret it!!

And, in case you need further proof, my before and after!

Isn't that crazy? And the best thing about the product is you never even know it's working. It doesn't make your skin peel or turn it red (at least it didn't with me!). It does smell pretty funky and you do have to wear a sunscreen everyday to keep the spots from returning, but hey, shouldn't we be doing that anyway??

So there you have it. Some (mostly) inexpensive, drugstore beauty products that won't bust your budget but will still leave you looking phenomenal! Go, spend the money you saved on a sassy new something for yourself!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

still alive... promise

Hello my bloggy loves!! I'm baaaacckkkk! 

I know, you've been waiting with bated breath for a new post, and I have been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blogger. I took a little hiatus, what with the massive trip to Alabama, then getting back home and trying to get everything back in order and back into our routines. 

The break was good for me though, as I had time to think of lots of new and exciting ideas for this little ole blog. Sometimes the best way to revitalize and renew your passion for something is to take a step away, don't you think?

And I took a BIG step away, one giant step all the way from North Carolina to Alabama! My parents are getting ready to make a huge move across the country to Montana, so we wanted to have a good visit while we were still within driving distance of each other (12 hours is monstrous, but at least it's doable. It's a 6 day drive from NC to MT.. ick.) So, my lovely parentals drove all the way up here, making a pit stop in South Carolina to pick up my grandmother, and then picked up me and my little booger bear (that'd be the baby... not the husband. Although I can see how you'd be confused!).

Well, let me tell you. 12 hours riding the middle seat in between the grandmother and the carseat is no picnic. I was thrilled to get to Alabama. Although, traveling with D was not nearly as horrid as I thought it would be. Granted, I had a lot of help, but we got through the entire drive with no meltdowns, poop explosions, or mommy tears. My advice to anyone traveling with an infant is to plan ahead! Stop to feed your baby before he is hungry. Anticipate his needs, and you'll have a much more peaceful trip. 

Our visit was lots of fun. My parents have a beautiful home with several acres and horses, so it's kind of a country playland. I got to ride Apache, their horse whom I swear is my spirit animal. We have a connection, people. To all you who scoff, I scoff right back. That horse gets me.

I am an excellent rider, but I wear a helmet. In the event I ever get thrown, I'd like to retain brain function, thanks. Also, no one looks skinny while sitting on a horse. Just no one.

We went shopping, went to the beautiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and spent endless evenings on the porch playing guitar and singing. Check out my Facebook page for a super entertaining video of my Dad and I's rendition of "Cups" from Pitch Perfect.

Beautiful day at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. If you live in the area, I highly recommend it... it's free!!

I wish this was my occupation.

Torturing the poor thing at Old Navy. Kid looks good in a fedora, though.

Approximately 5 minutes after arriving home from the 12 hour drive from Hell. Notice D is awake, possibly cause he was so comfy cozy in his carseat and slept the whole way. :)

Love that chunky baby!

All in all, it was a really fun trip, but boy was I glad to be home. I drove my brother's car back so I could keep it for him while he's in Montana for the summer, which means I got to drive the entire 12 hours back! I dropped my Grandmother off in South Carolina and floored it the last 4 hours to get home to my Hubby. Where I then promptly fell into a coma on the couch. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

All good things

Today is my last day with mi familia! Tomorrow, we will hop in the ole automobile and begin the treacherous journey from Alabama to North Carolina. An 11 hour drive really disturbs me on a cellular level... I've been dreading this drive since we got here.

But, alas. All good things must come to an end.

Who knows what kind of shenanigans we will get into today? We'll go wherever the wind blows us.

Until tomorrow, blogaronies!

Friday, April 19, 2013

High Five for Friday!

I'm sure you've all noticed my sporadic posting this week... Please forgive me! I know it may come as a surprise, but spending time with my family trumps blogging! I KNOW! Shocking! But seriously, if I go too many days without writing a post, I start getting antsy. I guess I've fallen head over heels for the blogging world.

This week has been super fun! If you're following me on Instagram (alaporte) then you've seen the delicious food my mom has been making every night. If there's one trait she did not pass on to me, it's her cooking skills!

My mom, grandma and I hit up Old Navy yesterday to take a peek at the baby clothes. Who knew they had such great stuff?! And cheaper than Walmart AND Target! I was so excited.

Froyo. Enough said.

My little man turned 4 months old this week, and his pediatrician told us to start cereal, which I was so excited about! I know some people recommend waiting till 6 months, but our doctor said it was more developmental than nutritional. D is having a ball with it, and is doing great! Learning to eat off a spoon is a super exciting step in his life :)

Just because I didn't have a daughter, doesn't mean I can't do mama+mini matching outfits!

How was your week??

Monday, April 15, 2013

The America I Love

The events in Boston yesterday rocked my world, as I'm sure it did yours. 4 months after Newtown, the day before the anniversary of Virginia Tech... My generation has been defined by the tragedies we have endured.

After hearing of the bombings in Boston, I spent the day in fear. My son was born 3 days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, and I feel like I've spent his entire life terrified that when the time came that we were faced with something of this magnitude, I would be unable to protect him. I don't want him to live his life fearing large crowds, public events, and even going to school, but I felt that the only way to protect him was to keep him as far away from things like that as possible.

But, I've recently realized that while it is my job to protect him from what I can, his ultimate protector is my almighty God. Just as I should turn my worries and fears over to Him, I should trust Him to protect and provide for my son as He sees fit.

By giving in to that fear, I was letting these terrorists, foreign or domestic, win already. They want our country confused, shaken and scared.

But what these evil people do not know is that this country does NOT cower.

We do NOT run.

We may be frightened, but fear does NOT define us.

Every time a tragedy of this magnitude unfolds, I am unbelievably proud of the American citizens I see all around me. When bombs are going off and people are dying, our first responders and even civilians are running TOWARDS the carnage, to help those in need.

A report out of Boston today told of strangers throwing themselves on top of children they did not know, in order to protect them from the blast.

THAT is the America I'm proud to be a part of. These terrorists have no idea who they are messing with. You may knock us down briefly, but as long as we continue to rally together in the face of adversity, our country will NEVER fall victim to terror.

In the wake of yet another tragedy, I encourage you to reflect, mourn for those we have lost, and allow yourself to grieve. But when you are done, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and remember- you are an American, and we do not live our lives in fear. As Nikki Giovanni said when she addressed Virginia Tech 6 years ago-


Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

ain't no cookin like momma's cookin

Y'all, I am at my momma's house in Alabama, and I have probably gained 37 pounds in the last 24 hours.

Homegirl can COOK!

Breakfast- homemade pancakes... Dinner- spaghetti and meatballs, and homemade garlic bread... Dessert- strawberry and Nutella pound cake panini with fresh whip cream.. I'm seriously in Heaven. I'm pretending I have no cholesterol issue until I go back home, because I firmly believe calories don't count on vacation (possibly why I'm in this mess to begin with?).

So, I highly recommend you try this phenomenal dessert. It was my first time trying Nutella, and let me tell you, I'm converted!!

Strawberry and Nutella Pound Cake Panini:

Pound cake (try to get a good firm one)
Heavy whipping cream

Slice up the strawberries and pound cake. Slather some Nutella on the pound cake, lay some strawberries on top, and butter both sides of the pound cake. Grill it up just like you would a grill cheese, and top with whipped cream.

To make the whipped cream, put a bowl and the beaters in the freezer to get nice and cold. Once they're chilled, pour in some heavy whipping cream and start beating slowly, then speed up. Once the cream is stiff, add in some vanilla extract and sugar (just eyeball it) and beat that in.

This is seriously the easiest dessert, but sooo delish. Try it out, and let me know what you think!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

High Five for Friday

Friday is here!! It's been a fun week around these parts.

1. My birthday was last weekend, and my husband surprised me with an overnight trip to the beach, complete with Jacuzzi suite! It was awesome. The weather was fantastic, the hotel was great, and we had a wonderful time. It's amazing how even getting away just overnight still feels like a vacation and leaves you feeling refreshed.

2. I got the movie Pitch Perfect on DVD for my birthday, and I've watched it approximately 87 times since then. If you haven't seen this movie, then RUN to the nearest Redbox and watch the shit out of it. Funniest movie ever. 

3. Spent two days this week working on a new painting for D's bedroom. I spend so much time in there, I was sick of staring at the same old boring walls, so I decided to spice it up with a little octopus named Ollie!! I really like how it turned out, however, upon hanging it on the wall, I decided it needs a fourth panel to make it look more complete, so I'll be adding that in soon.

4. One of my favorite things about Spring is planting flowers! The dollar spot at Target never fails me... these cute little planting kits were only $3! I've got cilantro, daisies and strawberries on their way :)

5. D went for his 4 month check-up today, and had to have shots :( Good news is that the pediatrician said he was ready to try cereal!! So obviously I rushed out to the store to get some, as well as some rubber tipped spoons, and now I have to wait until Hubby gets home so we can do it together.... this is motherhood, folks. You get excited about feeding your kid cereal.

I'll be in Alabama at my parent's house for the next two weeks, so posting may be sporadic! I'll miss you little blog-loves terribly! Have a lovely weekend!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

my achy breaky heart

Have you ever gotten some news that just completely changed your outlook on life? Most people have, at one point or another.

I've always been a relatively healthy person, not overweight, I eat pretty well and exercise regularly. I have a pretty crappy family history, but I thought that my lifestyle would make up for it, and besides- I wouldn't have to deal with health problems until I was at least 50, right?


If you read my post here, then you know about the allergy shenanigans I've been dealing with (still haven't figured that out... my allergist is clueless!). Well, every time I went to Urgent Care or the doctor with hives, my blood pressure was extraordinarily high. I never had any health problems throughout my entire pregnancy, no pre-eclampsia, nothing. Imagine my surprise when this blood pressure issue came along, and I realized that the headaches and blurry vision I've been dealing with for months wasn't just allergies, it was from my blood pressure being sky high (it was so high, the nurse at the allergist said she was afraid I'd have a stroke in the office... a stroke. At 26 years old??)!!

My doctor immediately put me on a beta blocker, and ran all kinds of tests to make sure there wasn't something wrong. My cholesterol came back high, too!!! Basically, I'm a 50 year old man with a beer gut in a relatively thin, 26 year old female's body. The doctor said if I didn't make some changes, I'd have a heart attack by the time I was 30.

Oh heeeey. About that.

I'd like a new one, please. With less cholesterol, if you don't mind.

Nothing will kick you in the pants quite like hearing something like that. You see, my dad had a heart attack a few years ago, and underwent bypass surgery, and it was the scariest time for my entire family. So this hit realllll close to home for me. I never thought I'd be worrying about it so early, though. Plus, my awareness of my own mortality has been at the forefront of my mind since D was born. It's more important than ever that I maintain my health, so that I can be here for him, and teach him how to grow up healthfully, as well.

So, I headed to the grocery store to stock up on the healthy essentials. I will occasionally every day indulge in a little sweet treat, so I had to cut all that out. Veggies, fruits, and lean meats are my new best friend.

Check out all that health. Plus my snazzy BP monitor. I felt like a 60 year old woman when I was checking out.
P.S.- that pepperoni pizza is for my hubby. Can't expect the man to eat ground turkey every night!

And let me tell you guys, it is so hard. Willpower is not my strong suit. I'm the type of person that as soon as you tell me I can't have something, I obsess about it. I could go days without a cookie, but as soon as I know I can never have another cookie, I start dreaming of dancing chocolate chips. And cutting sodium out of your diet is awful. I hid the salt shaker from myself.  Did you know the average American consumes 3,500 milligrams of sodium each day? We are only supposed to have 1,500 mg... next time you grab a snack, check the label. You will be appalled at what you've been putting in your body!!!

But, this entire experience has increased my awareness. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States? Not breast cancer, not car accidents. Heart disease. Every minute of the day, a woman in the U.S. dies of cardiovascular disease. 50% of African American women and 34% of Caucasian women are living with it daily. And it doesn't just effect the older, overweight demographic. 

It could happen to you.

So, this is my challenge to you. Put down the cheeseburger, go to the doctor, and get checked out. Get your blood drawn, and know your levels. Watch your diet, and exercise daily. Just because you are young and thin, does not mean you are healthy!!

 Be aware of what you put in your body, and it will reward you!!

Writing this is embarrassing for me, because I've always prided myself on my health, and admitting a weakness is always challenging. But, I feel like it is important for young women to be aware of their bodies, and what can happen!

Want more information about heart disease in women? Head over to The American Heart Association.

Monday, April 8, 2013

review - z: a novel of zelda fitzgerald

Book: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Author: Therese Anne Fowler
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: None
Pages: 371

I picked up this book during a recent trip to the library. It was in the new fiction section, and I remembered seeing a review of it in a magazine. I was not a huge fan of The Great Gatsby (I know.. literary tragedy) but for some reason, I was intrigued to read about the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she's a southern belle from Alabama?

Apparently, the Fitzgerald's were pretty renowned in their day for being big partiers (my computer wants to change that word to patisserie... go home, google, you're drunk.), drinkers, and socializers. F. Scott Fitzgerald's quest for fame and literary greatness is literally what ended up killing him, at the early age of 44, of a heart attack. It's a tragic story, but it is important to note, it is one of fiction. The author, Ms. Fowler, took actual letters the Fitzgerald's wrote to each other, along with other tidbits of information gleaned from their inner circle, and constructed this story of what she imagined their life to be like. The dates, places, and people are all historically accurate, but the stories of the Fitzgerald's inner lives and personal moments are a construct.

However, Ms. Fowler sure does know how to write a story. I was hooked from page one, and dying to know what happened next. Zelda is a fiery, defiant girl who is always the life of the party, and looking for the next adventure. That adventure comes in the form of a handsome officer named Scott, who is looking to make his fortune as a novelist. Her parents obviously do not approve, as this is not a suitable profession for a young man. Zelda disregards their advice, marries Scott, and moves to New York City, and the rest is history. 

I had a vague recollection of the exploits of the Jazz Age, but it was so interesting to read about the things that Zelda accomplished, as well as her husband. She ran in social circles with Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein, studied ballet and painting, had several exhibitions of her work and published several short stories. She could have been extremely successful, were she born into a different era. As it was, Ms. Fowler paints a picture of Scott Fitzgerald as an alcoholic, overbearing, selfish husband who expects Zelda to bear children, run his household, and look pretty at parties. Zelda has far more ambition than that, and that ambition eventually leads to a mental disorder.

This book is a really fascinating look into the lives of what is considered to be one of the greatest writers of our time. The story also made me very grateful to have the rights and privileges  as a woman that we have today. I probably would have popped Scott right in the face if he had said some of the things to me that he says to Zelda. 

I'm gonna go ahead and call it. If there is ever a movie adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life, he will be played by Bradley Cooper. They are seriously twinsies.

And Marion Cotillard will be Zelda.

Tell me I'm wrong.

I could work for Hollywood, people.

via                                                                                                                                                                                                            via

Here, an excerpt of a conversation between one of Scott's colleagues and Zelda:

"He loves you, Zelda. I hope you aren't questioning that."

"What good is it, though, when all he really wants is to somehow have been you? He was born into the wrong life, and Scottie and me, we have to pay for that mistake."

"How is she, anyway? I loved the photo you sent, you three in the canoe."

"She's well." Scottie, at five years old and with no recollection of life before France, fully believed what her papa claimed: that we were embarking on our biggest, best, most incredible adventure yet. "Still young enough that she's mostly oblivious to her parents' foolishness," I added with a grateful sigh. 

"The question is whether we'll improve in time to save her."

This story is thoughtful, poignant, and yes, tragic. But aren't the best stories always?

The best summation of the lives of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald is actually what their daughter, Scottie, had engraved on their tombstones. It is the sentence that ends Scott's most well known work, The Great Gatsby:

-The Great Gatsby

Friday, April 5, 2013


Ya'll, I have been a terrible blogger this week. It's just been so ridiculous up in here that it's literally been like, the last thing on my mind. So sorry. Anyhoo, what's up for FRIDAY! This Friday is actually pretty exciting for me, because my birthday is tomorrow!! I'm turning the big 26, inching slowly closer to 30.

And death.

 Haha no but really, no matter how old I get, I will always celebrate my birthday, and never lie about my age. As my dad always says, getting older beats the alternative, right? (the alternative is being dead, in case you didn't catch on to that). Growing older is a privilege that many don't get to experience, so I'm gonna milk it for all it's worth.

SEND IN THE PRESENTS!!!! AND KEEP 'EM COMING!! (joke - send money)

Here's the five coolest things that happened to this momma this week:

(p.s. In order to actually remember what happened this week, I always have to check the photos on my iPhone. Isn't that sad??)

1. Of course number one has to be... buying a new car!!! And let me tell you, I LOVE this vehicle. It handles like a sedan, so easy to drive, and so comfortable. I just adore being up higher than other people, too. Call it my Napoleon complex. I've been inventing errands to run just so I can drive it around. (Don't tell Hubs.)

2. Got some seriously ridiculous news that has caused me to completely turn over a new leaf. Expect a post on that soon... but this is what dessert looks like for me now. No more warm chocolate chip cookies with ice cream. Eff. Now I'm hungry.

Ever had 72% cocoa dark chocolate? Two pieces is more than enough.

3. Hanging out with this little dude everyday is pretty much the best job ever.

4. I finally got around to unpacking the box full of clothes that I hid away while I was pregnant, so I wouldn't be sad that I couldn't fit my fat ass into them anymore. I forgot I had this shirt, which I totally got in the pajama's section of Target. It's sparkly, and comfortable, so I'm wearing it in public. So there.

wow, iPhone. Get your camera under control.

5. I finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, which I really didn't think I'd like but actually ended up getting pretty engrossed in it. I'm excited about writing the review!

And that's my week, folks- how was yours?

 Have a lovely weekend!!!

Linking up with Lauren for High Five for Friday.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

whirlwind weekend

Oh, how I have missed you, my bloggy friends :) Sorry today's is a late post, but it's been a hectic few days!

Friday, we woke up at the crack of dawn, loaded up the car and headed to Northern Virginia. For those of you who have been there, you know it's "Northern Virginia" and not just "Virginia". They're practically their own state up there. Traffic was horrendous, of course, but D did very well and slept just about the whole way!

Too cool for his own good.

We had dinner and movie night with my in-laws Friday night... all 11 of us! It's always hectic and fun when everyone gets together. D met his cousins for the first time, and my niece was such a good little mommy :) She's 9, and wanted to take care of him the whole time. Soo cute. 

Hubby's sister showed me a few of his baby pictures, and oh my freaking goodness, our child is his clone. I don't have to wonder what D will look like when he grows up, cause he"ll be a replica of my husband.

Hubs on the left, D on the right.

Saturday was breakfast with more family, then celebrating my niece's birthday at Funland, which is basically Chuck-E-Cheese on steroids. D was not amused, and neither was Mommy. When did I get so old? Loud arcade games and screaming children just don't do it for me anymore, I guess. After Funland, we *randomly* bought a new car! We had been thinking of upgrading to an SUV for a while now, and found a great deal while we were up there. I'm thrilled with it! So much rooooommmm!!!

There can only be one. The HIGHLANDER!!

Easter morning was Easter baskets and church. D looked like a professional little man in his blazer and pinstriped pants, and he enjoyed his books and toys in his Easter basket. How a chocolate bunny got in there, I don't know. Don't worry, I took care of it :)

Then we had Easter dinner with the entire family, which was loud, but awesome, followed by an Easter egg hunt. Again, loud, but awesome. I'm lucky that I love my in-laws, and I'm pretty sure they love me!

I know I'm biased, but is this not a good looking child??

Monday was up bright and early and heading home to unpack and get ready for the week. All in all, I think D's first road trip weekend was a success!

Now to just get unpacked, laundry done, house cleaned... ack, the list goes on. 

A mommy's work is never done.