Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mom Makeup Routine

If you're a busy mom, then finding time to apply even a drop of makeup is challenging at times. Heck, finding just a minute to use the bathroom alone is tricky. There are days where I have just a few minutes to put some bb cream, concealer, and powder. Sometimes I still put on a full face of makeup. It just depends. Either way, I have a few of my favorite beauty items I wanted to share.

|-- when we travel, this is what I pack... plus my brushes --|

Some of these things have been favorites for years. Like I mentioned, I'll use any combination of these things on any given day. Sometimes it's just mascara and lip gloss... or else I feel naked.

Mom Makeup Routine

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue -- I went into Sephora asking for a new bb cream, and one of the sales associates recommended this. I went home with a sample, and the rest is history. This stuff is great. It barely feels like you're wearing makeup, and it has pretty decent coverage too.

M.A.C. Studio Finish Concealer -- most of my makeup items are things I've been using for years. This concealer is no exception. I wear the shade NW20 and use a tiny brush to apply the concealer precisely where I need it. I use my Skinfinish Natural to set everything, and it has great staying power!

Pixi Concealing Concentrate -- this was something I saw in a YouTube video, and it sounded good enough to try. I use this in the peach color for concealing under eye darkness. I love it so far.

M.A.C. Mineralize Skinfinish Natural -- this is a great powder that is very light and does a great job setting my BB cream. I've been using it for quite a while, and I still have a lot of product left. It's worth the money!

NARS blush/bronzer duo -- I have the full-sized Laguna bronzer, but I love my little travel sized duo for throwing into my makeup bag when we travel. The full-sized bronzer and blush are too big for packing, so this is perfect for on the go. The Nars orgasm blush is flattering for just about anyone. I've been wearing these colors for years.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance -- this is another item that I like buying in the mini size. I guess I'm a sucker for miniature items. Don't even get me started on my hotel toiletry collection. Anyway, this primer doesn't crease for me even after wearing all day.

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Palette -- Don't get me wrong. I love my Naked palette, but this one is also great for a very natural and pretty eye. I also love the tin packing. Again, it's great for travel. There's a nice assortment of colors in this palette. You can play around and create quite a few looks.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara -- This mascara is fantastic! I've been wearing this one for quite a while. I actually think it was the free Sephora birthday gift one year. I've been hooked ever since. I have the mini size version of this. Sensing a trend here? You don't have to commit to any one mascara by trying the mini size first. Plus, it's great for travel.

Buxom Full-Bodied Lip Gloss -- I have this in the color 'Yes You', and I love the pretty neutral look to it. For some reason lipstick scares me a little. I do have a couple that I love, but I'm mostly a lip gloss girl. You can't go wrong with any of the Buxom glosses or polish.

Do you use any of these products?
What are you favorite beauty items?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Historic Route 66 in Arizona

Route 66 was always such a mystery to me. You hear about it, but you never really know what to think. I had heard that famous song about getting "your kicks on Route 66" plenty of times, but I had no clue what that actually meant. Apparently, in its heyday, you could get some thrills and have fun while driving the Mother Road. After driving it ourselves, I can see how that might have been possible.

my route 66 patch... read more about adventure patch if you're interested

In its prime, Route 66 took people from Chicago to L.A., or Santa Monica, California. While the road covered about 2,448 miles, we only drove a tiny portion between Kingman and Seligman, Arizona. Maybe some day we'll explore more of the Mother Road. It's amazing to see these small towns that once thrived. They're practically ghost towns today. Travelers gained an interstate to save a little driving time, and entire towns lost their livelihood. It's sort of sad.

antique cars next to the Hackberry General Store

Our Route 66 drive started in Kingman, Arizona. We then drove the stretch of historic Route 66 that veers away from I-40 and takes you through Hackberry, Truxton, Peach Springs, and ending in Seligman. I kept asking my husband to stop or pull over at each small town. Give yourself some extra time to just enjoy the scenery along the way.

another shot from the Hackberry General Store

We would find beautiful old reminders of the towns that were once busy stops for travelers in the past. I loved seeing the old vintage signs from hotels or stores. It would have been fun to see them all lit up in neon welcoming weary travelers.

beautiful old sign in Truxton, Arizona

There wasn't much traffic on the stretch of Route 66 that we drove. It was a little eerie being one of few cars on the road through forgotten Arizona, but it was nice being able to take our time without tailgaters or traffic jams.

the open road

We came across a few places to stop along the way. Hackberry had a general store that was open to visitors. Truxton had a coffee stop and a beautiful old hotel sign. We unfortunately breezed through the town of Peach Springs before stopping in Seligman.

this car was in front of Seligman Sundries

Our one year old enjoyed the cars parked outside of Delgadillo's Snow Cap drive-in. We weren't hungry, so I cannot attest to the food, but we had some really great root beer floats while we were there. I highly recommend stopping! If you're pressed for time and can't drive much of Route 66, at least pop off of the interstate for a little stop in Seligman. You won't be disappointed.

visit the pranksters at Delgadillo's Snow Cap

Today it's hard to get your kicks on an interstate while you're flying through at 70mph. You tend to miss some things along the way. Many of us take part in a trip and we're so focused on the destination that we miss experiencing the journey too. I guess that's part of living in our hurry-up society today. Driving Route 66 was a great reminder to slow down and take it all in while we drove.

Have you ever driven any of Route 66?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Las Vegas with Kids

When you think of Las Vegas, I'm sure that taking a one year old out on the strip isn't the first thing that comes to mind. After all of my visits to Sin City, I never imagined that I'd be there with my one year old son. That's exactly what happened when we tagged along on one of my husband's work trips.

With a little research, I found quite a few activities in Las Vegas that would be appropriate for a one year old. Depending on the age of your kids, there are other options to these suggestions as well. We stayed in a hotel off the strip, but it worked just fine for what we needed. We also had our own car, because we drove to Las Vegas. I think that made a big difference in what we could do.

Take Advantage of Free Valet at the Resorts!

I would highly recommend using the free valet parking at each casino if you drive to the casinos like we did. This was especially helpful to a mom with a one year old, diaper bag, and a stroller in tow. It was so nice to pull up, get out with our son and stroller, visit the casino, and then return to a cool car. I will gladly tip the valet over self-parking with very full arms any day. I believe it can be quite a walk to the self parking in some of the casino garages. Save yourself the trouble and valet.

enjoying a gondola ride

Venetian gondola rides

On our first evening in Las Vegas, we visited the Venetian. It's fun how, with our one year old, we were able to experience some new things in Las Vegas. This was our first time riding the gondolas through the canals at the Venetian, and I can say it was fun for the whole family. Our gondolier was fantastic, we enjoyed the scenery, and the singing topped off a lovely ride. We enjoyed the indoor ride since outside was quite hot during our trip. If you go in cooler weather, the outdoor ride would be fun as well.

After the gondola ride, we strolled through the shops and found a place to eat that had an acceptable environment for a one year old. As badly as I wanted the Yardbird Southern Table & Bar to work, it just wasn't a great place to eat with a child. We settled on dinner at I Love Burgers. The environment worked fine, but the food was just okay. Eating with a child in Las Vegas proved to be a tad tricky. Finding a family-friendly eatery with good tasting food proved to be even trickier.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garndens

On our first day without dad, we explored the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. This is, in my opinion, a must-see even without kids. The gardens change three times a year, and it's always fun to see what kind of creative display they come up with at the Bellagio. The best part, you can enjoy the gardens free of charge. Just walk past the lobby area, and you'll find yourself in the conservatory looking at beautiful displays of flowers and plants.

just taking it all in...

Our one year old was in awe at the fish hanging from the ceiling. He exclaimed "wow" quite a few times while walking through the garden. We enjoyed the jellyfish, turtle, fish, and mermaid that were on display. I'd love to come back once they change the gardens for fall in September.

After visiting an attraction, we drove back to our hotel for an afternoon nap. I think visiting with small children would be more difficult without your own car, because it's very far to walk between casinos in Las Vegas. You would want to stick close to your resort if you were walking with children. If anyone can clue me in to the logistics of traveling in taxis with kids and car seats that would be eye opening!

Town Square Las Vegas

Another great spot for kids in Las Vegas is the outdoor shopping area called Town Square Las Vegas. We didn't want to tackle another casino for dinner, so we left the strip for the evening. We ate at the Yard House and enjoyed the distractions on their outdoor patio. After dinner, we burned off a little steam in their park that overlooked airplanes landing at the airport.

We only went to Town Square Las Vegas for dinner, but you could spend an afternoon at their children's park. If we go again, I know we'd pass some time there. You will find a treehouse, maze, and playhouse for your children to explore! If you have a car and can get off of the strip, you might want to try this.

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay

Another great Las Vegas attraction with kids is the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. We found all of the children in LV at the aquarium. It was definitely the place to be! There were a couple of people in scuba gear cleaning the reefs, and they were waving to the kids. I heard "wow" quite a few times while staring at all of the fish and sharks. It was a neat experience. The gift shop on the way out had some great stuff too. We left with a stuffed sea turtle to remember our visit.

Again, dining with a child in Las Vegas is tricky. Many of the restaurants with great food aren't exactly family friendly. Out of ideas, we dined at the Hard Rock Cafe. Our server was great, they had awesome crayons and notebooks for the kids, and the noise helped to drown out our one year old's yelling. However, we were disappointed by the food again. It's a great place for kids, but the food leaves a lot to be desired.

we have a future drummer on our hands...

Even with mediocre food all was not lost, because we left the Hard Rock Cafe with a new pin for my collection and a "first Hard Rock t-shirt" for our son. Again, this is a great spot to see low-flying airplanes, and that is everything to a little boy!

We survived Las Vegas with a one year old!

Must-See Attractions:

The Bellagio gardens (free)
Venetian gondola ride
Mandalay aquarium

Off of the Strip:

Town Square shopping area

For Older Kids Also Try:

High Roller observation wheel at The Linq
(they even have family pricing)

Hershey's Chocolate World at New York, New York

Big Apple Roller Coaster & Arcade at New York, New York

Other Free Fun:
Fall of Atlantis Fountain Show at Caesar's Palace
Volcano eruption nightly at Mirage


If we stay in Las Vegas again with our son, Mandalay Bay looks like a great place to stay with kids. The pool area has a wave pool and lazy river. You would also be within walking distance to a few other resorts and attractions that have options for kids. That area of the south strip has Excalibur, New York, New York, and the MGM. Depending on the age of your kids, you could walk to the Excalibur dinner show, New York roller coaster, and the MGM Rainforest Cafe.

Traveling with kids to Las Vegas can be tricky, but with a little effort you can make it work. You might even find some things they will love!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Road Trip Across Arizona

There's just something about a good road trip that brings a little excitement into life. You never know exactly what you're going to see. The scenery, weather, plant life, traffic, roadside attractions... they're always changing. The same drive can be completely different the next time you do it. The explorer inside of me jumps for joy every time there's an opportunity for a good road trip in our life!

we spotted this beautiful ranch entrance gate outside of Wickenburg, Arizona

Just recently my husband had a work trip in Las Vegas, so naturally I decided to tag along with our one year old. We survived a cross country move with a 7 month old, so we can pretty much do anything now, right? The drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas really isn't that long, and it was so incredibly picturesque. It's worth experiencing at least once.

we even drove through an area with some Joshua trees... so neat

Once we drove northwest of Phoenix, I couldn't help but realize there's so much of Arizona we really need to see! The landscape is so varied within this state. It's incredible that you can go from desert to Ponderosa pine forest in a few hours time. I know we had this image of endless desert in our heads, but Arizona is so much more than that. I promise.

passing through Kingman and getting a taste of Route 66 history

After hours of driving, we were all in need of a little "pit stop", so we took a little detour from the highway in Kingman, AZ. We came across Lewis Kingman Park. It was the perfect place to stretch our legs, enjoy the lunches I had packed, and change a diaper. The park sits directly on a stretch of historic Route 66 that leads you right into downtown Kingman. We would be spending more time on Route 66 during our return trip from Las Vegas, so we passed through Kingman pretty quickly this time.

After getting back on U.S. Route 93, we noticed a few historical markers along the roadside. Curiosity got the best of us, and we stopped to read one of the signs. We learned that this stretch of the road drove us right near a few ghost towns that had once been booming mine towns of the Wild West. Mineral Park happens to be one of those towns. It was even the county seat at one point in the late 1800s. I hope to return some day and visit these Arizona ghost towns!

Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the view from an airplane. However, there's something special about seeing this land from a car. It's funny how sometimes we move, with such focus, towards a destination that we miss some special things along the way. A road trip is a great way to slow down a little bit and see some of the things we all too often miss when we're in a hurry.

Later this week I will be back with some tips on visiting Las Vegas with kids. I hope you'll come back! Happy Monday everyone.

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Arizona ghost towns: