A New Mom’s Style: What I Wore to the Grocery Store

I know that it may sound a little odd to have a post dedicated to what I wore to the grocery store, but hear me out. As a new mom, I’m constantly trying to maintain my appearance. Yes, even at the grocery store. The more leeway I give myself (like wearing sweats to the grocery store), the more I take advantage of my own leeway (like wearing sweats out to dinner). That is not even an exaggeration. I like to push the limits. In all things. It’s a bad trait, really. Knowing that I would end up in a downward spiral resulting in ponytails and sweatpants to all functions if I allow myself to think sweat pants are acceptable outside of the house. (For clarification, sweat pants are acceptable outside of the house. I just have a hard time limiting myself to certain places outside of the house.) To meet my own lack of self-discipline and limits, I decided during pregnancy that I would do my best to get dressed any time I was leaving the house. To run errands. To go shopping. To meet friends. To go swimming. Any time.

On this particular day, we were stopping by Starbuck’s and the grocery store. I wasn’t in much of the mood to “get dressed”, so I wanted something simple while still trying to be a bit stylish. It was warm out, but I hadn’t shaved my legs for a couple days. Shorts were out of the question. Jeans were out of the question. A maxi dress was the perfect solution. They’re always comfortable, keep you cool, and are easily styled. It just so happened that my strapless bra was dirty on that day and this maxi has spaghetti straps. Like I said, it wasn’t a high effort day. I threw on an extremely light, white button-down and knotted the bottom half up. Problem solved!

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I felt a bit matchy-matchy or bland, but I didn’t want to wear any statement jewelry since we were just going to the grocery store. I decided just to wear a few dainty necklaces to top off the maxi and button-down. I swiped on a quick coat of mascara, just to help brighten my eyes.

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Maxi Dress: Forever 21

Lightweight button-down: Target, now only available in plus sizes here, similar at J. Crew Factory

Dainty diamond and bumble bee necklace set: Target, also tons of other options at Target

Mascara: Mary Kay

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Guest Post: Brooke’s Highlighting & Contouring Tutorial

I’m honored to have Brooke of @kbstyled showing us how to highlight and contour! This is definitely a makeup trick that I have yet to master, even after watching many-a-tutorial. Brooke deifnitely has flawless skin and makeup, so I’m excited to try it her way and I’m hopeful for a beautiful result!
Highlighting and Contouring with Brooke of @kbstyled
I’ve had many ask me about my makeup routine and how I highlight and contour my face and I’ve also heard from many that the thought of highlighting and contouring scares them.  No need to be scared…practice makes progress and eventually practice makes perfect!
There are so many great resources out there to guide you with detailed specifics…some are in depth tutorials and others provide a basic overview.  Today I am going to share with you a high level overview of the basics to help you learn to highlight and contour.  You can apply my basic tips and quickly learn to master this step of your makeup routine.  I don’t highlight/contour every day but I include this in my makeup routine for date nights, girls nights out, for photography, other special occasions, etc.
General guidelines to keep in mind:
1) You can highlight & contour with liquid or powder and you can highlight/contour prior to foundation application or after…I choose to h/c after I apply my foundation.   If you prefer to use a powder as part of your makeup routine, I recommend highlighting and contouring before applying your powder as you can then use your powder to set the h/c.
2) Whatever you choose, you want to make sure that your foundation/powder matches nicely to your natural skin tone.  Always carry your foundation/powder down your neck to ensure there are no visible makeup lines.  I am a fan of liquid foundation…for me it provides a more even flawless finish.  Powder works well too…it is your personal preference.
3) When picking a highlighter, you should pick something that is 2-3 shades lighter than your foundation/powder color (unless you are purchasing a highlighter wand, etc).  There are many highlighting specific products on the market however, I use the same liquid foundation used to cover my entire face except for I highlight with a shade 3X lighter.  If you prefer to wear powder, as mentioned before, I would highlight and contour before applying your powder.
4) When picking a product to contour with, you should pick something that is 2-3 shades darker thank your foundation/powder color.  Again there are many options for contouring…you can use the same foundation/powder (2-3 shades darker), you can use bronzer, you can use a cream foundation stick, etc.  I stick with a darker shade of my foundation to contour and this method works well for me.
5) Having a great blending brush/beauty blender is essential for blending out the highlight/contour.  I HIGHLY recommend Real Techniques “Expert Face Brush” (link here:http://realtechniques.com/shop-collection/your-base-flawless/expert-face-brush).  This is the brush that I always use and it is truly fantastic!
Now that we have reviewed some general guidelines, lets start practicing our highlighting and contouring! (for purposeS of this picture tutorial, I have already applied full eye makeup to show a final look as well).
First you will moisturize and prime your face.  If using a liquid foundation, go ahead and stipple on your foundation.  If using a powder, move to the next steps that demonstrate the position of our highlight/contour and start there.  In this first picture, my face has been primed and I have put on my foundation.
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Next you will apply your highlighter and contouring products.  The next 3 pictures demonstrate the placement of both your highlight and your contour.  I typically apply my product either with my fingers or with a foundation brush.  Please know that your application does not have to be perfect…as you can see in my photos, the placement is not perfect but it gives you an idea of where to apply both.  You will blend it all out so don’t worry, you will look a little strange to start but once it is blended, you will have a beautifully highlighted and contoured face.
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Once all of your product is in place, you will then take your blending brush and start blending!  The next 6 pictures will demonstrate the blending process and what it looks like when finished.  I start with blending the highlighter under my eyes and on my cheekbones, I then move to the contour under my cheekbones and then work my way around my face.  There is no set method to doing this…you just need to blend, blend, blend.  Try to blend within the area of placement but don’t be afraid to cross lines, after all, that is what blending means.  When working the contour under your cheek bones…blend the contour up and towards your ear lobes and temple lobes.  When working the contour around your jawbone/neck, you will work the contour from your jawbone down.  Around your hairline, don’t be afraid to blend a little into the hairline as well.
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After blending out my highlight and contour, I will then set my makeup with a setting powder such as NYX Blotting Powder or Ben Nye Banana Powder.  If you typically wear powder, this would be the time that you would lightly apply your powder with a powder brush.
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Finishing your look is easy by applying your favorite blush and your favorite lipstick/lip gloss!
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Thank you so much for reading my picture tutorial on highlighting and contouring and don’t forget practice makes progress and eventually practice makes perfect!
XO,
Brooke of @kbstyled
I look forward to attempting this shortly! Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to post my results. If you follow this tutorial and want to share, please feel free to post your results and comment below with a link to the post! We’d both love to see!
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A New Mom’s Style: Playing at the Pool & Beverly Swimwear Review

A couple weekends ago, Davis and I decided to do a bit of Spring cleaning. Yes, we’re well aware that it is nearing the end of Summer. Better late than never, right? After spending two and a half days cooped up inside, cleaning and organizing, all three of us were going stir crazy. So, at 4 p.m. on a Sunday, I made the executive decision to go down to play at the pool. We were all excited to get out of the house and I was excited to finally put on this adorable bathing suit from Beverly Swimwear! I found Beverly Swimwear on Instagram (surprise, surprise) and Beverly sent over an extra bathing suit that she had on hand. She sews all of her suits and has made some amazing custom suits! I was a little envious of the bloggers who’ve gotten custom suits until I put on this little number.

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Custom or not, this bathing suit was so flattering. I’m only 5’2″ and I’ve never liked the way a one piece bathing suit makes my body look. Two pieces have suited me well so far, but I’ve really been itching to find a trendy one piece for playing at the pool. Since I’ve become a wife and a mom, I’ve become oddly aware of how much of my skin is showing. I don’t mean that I am embarrassed of the way my body looks, because I am much better shaped now than I ever have been (by the grace of God and the power of breastfeeding)! I just mean that I buy my skirts a little longer now, my skin-tight dresses don’t feel quite right, and I have retired all of my cut-offs. (Don’t get me wrong, I still bust out a “sexy” skirt every now and then for a night out on the town with my husband, like the one I wore a few weeks ago.) Beverly’s whole goal in creating her swimwear is to “give women more stylish options while allowing you to remain modest.” She has definitely accomplished that. I also love the ability of a one piece to double as a shirt while playing at the pool or at the beach! When I got ready to walk down to the pool, I just threw a skirt on over my swimsuit! This one has an open back, so it gives a much sexier impression than most one pieces would.

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Owen and I on our balcony, right before walking to the pool

I look forward to purchasing a swimsuit from her that I can pretend is a perfectly normal tank top! For me, playing at the pool prep should be minimal. A quick coat of mascara, a rub down of sunscreen, a hat, and whatever I need to cover up en route to the pool. Convenience is always a plus in the mommy world (and the fashion world). It’s also notable that this particular swimsuit would be extremely convenient to breastfeed in! (Come on, you knew I had to throw that in there!) I’m eyeing this one piece from Beverly Swimwear, but I’m also interested in the possibility of a custom swimsuit. Either way, you’ll definitely see more from Beverly Swimwear on Beauty and the Binky!

I’d also like to mention that one of my friends, Jessica, is an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay and she sent me off with a ton of samples and products to try! I’ll be posting full reviews in the near future! I use some of the products consistently, so you will see mentions of them before the reviews! One of the products I used when I went to play at the pool was TimeWise Age-Fighting Moisturizer Sunscreen, which deserves a shout out! It was thick and covering, but rubbed in well! (No white streaks!) It also settled into my skin, instead of sitting on top of it and making me feel slimy after playing in the pool. It left my skin feeling soft and smooth, even after spending a couple hours playing at the pool! Like covering my skin, protecting my skin has become something that I’m conscious of now. Having a sunscreen that acts much more like a moisturizer makes me that much more likely to use it every day.

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Mascara: Lash Love Lengthening Mascara at Mary Kay, waterproof version at Mary Kay

Sunscreen: TimeWise Age-Fighting Moisturizer Sunscreen at Mary Kay

Fedora hat: Target, similar at Urban Outfitters, similar at JCPenney

One piece swimsuit: Beverly Swimwear

Knee-length bodycon skirt: Forever 21, striped version at Forever 21, mini version at Forever 21

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Shop Feature: Pretend with Poppins Handmade Plush Toys

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Today, I’m honored to feature the adorable and imaginative Pretend With Poppins shop! Last week, I gave away these handmade plush doughnuts, made my Pretend With Poppins! Of course, not before Owen got his hands on them! Owen really enjoys stacking things and putting things together, so he immediately grabbed the doughnuts and began stacking them! On the third doughnut, he started to realize that they had colorful sprinkles and got excited! He has always been a fan of polka dots and stripes (good thing, since they’ve quickly been increasing in my wardrobe!), so he enjoyed the sprinkled doughnuts the most. As an adult, I was blown away by the added detail on a handmade item! He has this silly habit of saying “who who” when he’s excited about something, which he kept doing with the sprinkled doughnuts. (I think this comes form his love of owls and the fact that they say “whoo”. Wherever it came from, it’s one of the things I’ll miss the most when he grows out of it.)

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Owen also loved putting the doughnuts on our table. He saw the doughnut box on the table and I think he wanted to put them back in their box. I didn’t let him have the box, since I was sending it to someone else! We have somehow gotten lucky with a child who enjoys putting things back where they came from! I’m not sure how he picked that up, because we’re not even good at putting things back where they go! Regardless, he really enjoyed the handmade doughnuts from Pretend With Poppins!

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There are many other imaginative items over at Pretend With Poppins, like a handmade picnic set with plush food and a play set with ears and mittens! It has been “closed” for a short time in order to catch up with orders and prepare for Fall, which means that there’s a ton of new items in the shop!

Check it out and get your babe’s imagination flowing! I know I’ll be making quite a few purchases in the near future, since Owen enjoyed his trial run with these handmade doughnuts!

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A New Mom’s Style: Date Night

Last weekend, my husband and I sneaked out of the house for a night on the town! My boss invited us out for drinks and we just couldn’t resist! We headed to Midtown area in Houston, which has a diverse scene of college-aged people and business-careered people. Houston is always humid, so I tend to wear my hair in a top bun when I’m going out. (Dancing + humidity + outdoor bars = hair disaster.)  Skirts seem to be my “go-to” when I’m going out for drinks and I just recently got this adorable peach wrap skirt!

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I wanted to stay on the classic side, so I paired it with a crisp, white tank and gold accents. I also had the perfect earrings to go with this peachy-keen skirt! It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of I Found Fab‘s jewelry. I actually found this website on Instagram, entered a giveaway they were hosting, and won a gorgeous necklace! After purchasing several of their items, I also hosted a giveaway with them! One of the items I bought is this pair of earrings! I fell in love with the candy color combinations and these earrings are no exception! They also happened to be the perfect addition to my outfit for the night, especially since I was wearing my hair up. (Am I the only weirdo who thinks that you must adorn exposed ears?!)

wpid-20140804_224300.jpgWe started the night off by getting drinks alone at an outdoor bar that we’ve never been to! We had the chance to talk without any distractions, which we definitely enjoyed. It’s amazing how hard it is to have full conversations when you have a little. Or maybe it isn’t and I just have a disruptive little booger! Either way, we were able to communicate full thoughts and stories to each other instead of tidbits at a time. We met up with my boss shortly after and headed to a more upbeat bar around the corner. One of my best friends, Katie, met us there as well. We all enjoyed chatting and people watching. As it got closer to 2, we decided to head to the salsa bar close by! I won’t call myself a “good” dancer, but I really enjoy salsa dancing and two stepping, so I enjoyed going! Of course, my husband’s talents lie in any place besides dancing, so I was left to hassle our friends into dancing with me! After spending the last of my energy on the salsa, we found our favorite taco truck to end the night. (Yes, I’m one of those that makes you take me to Whataburger or Taco Bell on the way home from a night out. We all have our weaknesses, okay.)

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 Statement earrings: I Found Fab, similar at I Found Fab and many great statement earrings on their website

Tassel necklace: Aldo Accessories many moons ago, similar on ebay, similar at The Limited

White tank top: AliExpress

Peach wrap skirt: AliExpress

Gold wedges: Target, similar at Michael Kors, similar from Jessica Simpson at Macy’s

signatureP.S. Check out Megan’s “Stylish Saturday” outfit for a night out with her friends and Elle’s “Date Night Style”! You can also link up with them and other fashion bloggers weekly in order to share your fashion posts and find other fashion bloggers to follow! This is my frist time linking up, but I look forward to many future Stylish Saturdays and Spotlight Weekly Link-Up with them!

The Fashionista Momma
Living in Color Style

Breastfeeding Series Part 10: The Giveaway

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My best friend (right) and me (left) nursing our 18 month old and 16 month old at The Big Latch On!

I am so excited to wrap up my breastfeeding series! I’m mostly just really proud of myself for compiling all of that information and completing a 10 week commitment. (Now, if only that 10 week commitment was an ab workout, maybe I’d have a six pack!) It has been a huge pleasure to share information about breastfeeding, which has grown to be a big passion of mine.

I’m just as excited to announce this uh-maze-ing giveaway on Instagram to end my breastfeeding series! Up for grabs is a nursing/teething necklace form Little Lemon Treasures, a swaddle blanket from Ivy n Co., a coffee and doughnuts play set from Pretend with Poppins, a box of Eco Nuts laundry soap, a pair of soft-sole shoes with the breastfeeding logo from Bradalion’s Boutique, and a boobie beanie! To enter, hop over to Instagram, follow each shop, follow me, and re-post the giveaway picture with the hashtag “#thebreastthingsinlifearefree”!

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A little more about the items and the shops:

Little Lemon Treasures

Little Lemon Treasures has been reviewed on my blog before for her amazing nursing necklaces that double as teething necklaces! Her nursing necklaces come in a rainbow of colors and she even has some adorable geometric shapes! They’re the perfect distraction from hitting, pinching, or any excitement going on while nursing. They’re also the perfect teething necklaces! The winner of this giveaway will be able to choose the necklace style and color(s) of their choice!

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Ivy n Company

Ivy n Company has trendy, unique baby clothing and accessories! Her items are so unique that some are even personalized with your baby’s name! The winner of this giveaway will receive this gray and white chevron swaddle blanket!

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Pretend with Poppins

Pretend with Poppins is an adorable handmade toy shop that believes in learning through play and imagination! The plush toys in her shop range from a realistic play food set to imaginative monster plushies and animal ear headbands! The winner of this giveaway will receive a coffee and doughnuts plush play set!

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Eco Nuts

Eco Nuts are an all-natural, organic saponin product that are used as a laundry detergent! They’re a great solution for skin allergies, which is what initially attracted me to them! You can read my review on Eco Nuts here. The winner of this giveaway will get a full-size box of Eco Nuts!

Bradalion’s Boutique

Brandalion’s Boutique puts a unique spin on the current “baby moccs” craze! Not only does she create quality, soft-sole, leather baby shoes, she also creates such fun designs! From Star Wars to woodland foxes, she gets creative with her baby shoes! The winner of this giveaway will receive their baby’s size of these breastfeeding shoes, custom-designed for this giveaway!

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The winner of this giveaway will also receive a hand-crocheted “boobie beanie”! (Will come in the middle color option, tan.)

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I’m so excited to have these wonderful shops partnering with me! I’m also so excited for the winner of this giveaway to receive all of these wonderful items! To enter, hop over to my Instagram, follow me, follow each shop, and re-post the giveaway picture with the hashtag “#thebreastthingsinlifearefree”! I also have the rules listed on Instagram. Good luck!

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Book Review: Enough by Kate Conner

Last week, I did my first ever product review and, here I am, doing my first ever book review! Again, I am so honored and excited that anyone, anywhere is interested in my opinion and being featured on my blog. Like, who am I? I’m just a little ol’ mama, breastfeeding and trying to dress to impress. I am beyond honored to post a book review by one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Kate Conner. Two years ago, one of my best friends, Barbara, sent me a link to Kate’s post, “10 Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls” and I was hooked forever. Well, that post has now morphed into not one, but two amazing books that will improve the lives of teenage girls everywhere.

10 Things For Teenage GirlsEnough by Kate Conner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate is a firecracker of a Christian woman, with wit and banter that could last for days. She has had more than her fair share of struggles, which she is completely open and graceful about. She is the kind of friend that you want next to you when you receive bad news, the kind of mom that you want in your labor and delivery room to cheer you on, and the kind of woman that you need when a man boy breaks your heart. Her simple, wise words could cut through the thickest of mistakes that you’ve ever made. To prove it, I’m going to share the times that I could have used Kate’s advice from her post (and now books), 10 Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls. This post won’t be your typical book review, but I hope you enjoy it!

 

Chapter 1: Neon Purple Leggings 

Before I met my husband, I looked at male attention like a third-rate celeb trying to get into the tabloids: any publicity is good publicity. I honestly never learned the destructive outcome of that mindset until some painful hindsight sucker punched me in the stomach and made me lose my breath. The most embarrassing and desperate moment I remember is when I wore skin-tight, sheer white pants to school in an effort to impress my boyfriend at the time. Let’s not even get into the fact that I also wore a black thong underneath and actually hoped that you could see it through my pants. I, personally, just so happened to stumble into the arms of a genuine, pure-heart man who looked past my cleavage and loud laugh to find someone he truly respected and admired. Kate sums it up perfectly when she says, “Men who value compassion are drawn to compassionate women. Men who value intelligence are drawn to intelligent women. Men who value style are drawn to stylish women. Men who value bacon are drawn to women who cook bacon. There is a pattern here.” This is a lesson that I didn’t learn in time. In fact, I still fail at this from time to time. I plan a skimpy outfit for a date night with my husband and refuse to indulge in his deep conversations, forgetting that he always loved me for my brain and heart rather than my…erm…assets. Like I said, these are words of advice that I could have sincerely used. For instance, the point that…”No woman should settle for the ability to make a man drool when instead she could have his admiration.”

Chapter 2: The Tanning Bed Trap

When I was in 6th grade, I started dying my hair blonde (or blonder than my natural hair color). When I was in 11th grade, I started tanning. Obsessively. Like, all day, errr day. By my senior prom, I was constantly asked if I was hispanic. I am naturally fair-skinned, light-haired, blue-eyed, and covered in tons of ever-scary and possibly cancerous moles. The darker I tanned my skin, the more and more compliments I got. Tanning couldn’t get rid of my blue eyes and the hair dye helped my hair stay light, so I was somewhat of a walking oxymoron. How many people do you know who have dark skin and light eyes? Not many. They are rare…and they are beautiful because of it. In my early years, I strove to be a rarity. A dark-skinned, light-eyed beauty. Kate brings logic to my actions by explaining, “The most elusive body type, the one nearly impossible to attain under the circumstances of the day, was beautiful.” She also comforts this insatiable desire by saying, “I reject the notion that what I am not is more beautiful than what I am.” Amen.

Chapter 3: In the Cafeteria with a Megaphone

Let me start this part by saying that I am an extremely outspoken and verbal person, friend, girlfriend, daughter, etc. It is not often that someone will get away from me without thoroughly knowing my deepest, darkest innards. As much as I attempt to use my words in a positive way, I have had the tendency to go overboard when I was upset about something and really drive the point home. The problem with that approach is that most of my friends weren’t willing to listen. When they wouldn’t listen, I’d resort to something that would. “Facebook gives us humans something we’ve always wanted-something we crave: a captive audience.” There were so many times that I just wanted someone to hear how upset I was, no matter what the consequence. There were so many times that I just word-vomited all over my Facebook wall in hopes of receiving a few likes and comments to validate my feelings. The truth is, publicly shaming someone for their wrongs is…well, wrong. Kate doesn’t skip a beat when talking about the immorality of it all when she says, “In no real-life situation is this kind of public denouncement of another person acceptable, but the false sense of anonymity granted by Facebook makes it fair game for teenagers today. The result is drama on a cosmic scale.” There is a false hope in publicly posting something that you want to tell someone personally. There is a false sense of being heard. In reality, it only leads to drama.

Chapter 4: Vegan Lions

This is a lesson that I learned recently. I mean, like, a mere 4 months ago. That specific story is still too raw and personal to share, so pardon me for being a bit vague. Vague isn’t really my style, but sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. Instead, I’ll share a different story. If you’ve read my blog before this post, then you’ll already know that I have a huge passion for breastfeeding. I was kind of catapulted into that passion as I began my own journey in breastfeeding and it has just grown and grown since then. At first, I went on a huge breastfeeding kick all over my Facebook. Very quickly, I started to offend people (or annoy them, at the very least). I aimlessly posted anything and everything about breastfeeding that I could find, with no real audience. As my passion grew, I decided to aim the breastfeeding info at an audience that actually needed it. I started messaging pregnant friends, offering advice. I joined a ton of breastfeeding support pages on Facebook and constantly answered (and still answer) questions from strangers. I started this blog and drafted ALL of the breastfeeding information that I could possibly think of to post in my breastfeeding series. The end result has left me feeling so appreciated and accomplished. I never realized how necessary it was for me to unleash my passions (in the right venue, of course), but I’m so glad I ended up in such a satisfying place with them. I’ve found it so easy to avoid anything dramatic when I’m aiming my passion where it matters. “Our souls need passion and purpose. When we can’t find it authentically, we manufacture it in the form of drama and daydreams to feed our hungry hearts. The problems is that a woman subsisting off of drama and daydreams is like a lion subsisting off of grass, berries, and bugs. We might survive, but we will never be healthy, and we will never be satisfied.” I wish Kate could personally share this point with everyone on the planet. It is so necessary to work towards your passions. Nothing else can fulfill that need. “The excitement of drama can’t hold a candle to the excitement of a cause, a calling.”

Chapter 5: A Pack of Wolves Is Natural

Just because your heart’s desires are natural, does not mean that they are safe or right. This lesson has been learned one too many times in my day. It’s the kind of lesson that makes you nauseous and buckles your knees. Your heart was wrong. Again. And again. …and again. Kate says “Follow your heart.” is terrible advice and I have to agree with her. I have followed my heart. I have followed my heart over heartbreak bridge and to the heart breaker’s house we go. I have followed my heart to lackluster dreams. I have followed my heart to unhealthy relationships. I have followed my heart to damaging places. I have stopped following my heart. Kate has a long list of better things to follow, but I’ll let her careful words guide you (or your teenage girl) in this lesson, because I haven’t found what is best to follow. I only know that following my heart is not best.

Chapter 6: Get Mad, Not Mastered

There was a day last week, actually, that I was so overcome with emotion that I cried on the entire drive to work. My emotion was valid. It’s a genuinely heartbreaking situation. (It’s a political one, so I’ll refrain from spilling too much of my opinion. Just know that, in all things, I err on the side of loving another human. No political conversation could change that about me.) I pulled into the parking lot at work, grabbed my bag, and dragged my feet into work. I yelled, “I HATE this world!” to the two of my employees who were there. We had a short conversation about the issue (all in agreement, as far as opinion goes) and I had to rush into my office to get things done for the day. After a few meetings and a chance to clear my mind, I emerged from my office and declared, “If others won’t love them, I WILL.” We spent the rest of the day researching how to volunteer and get involved. My heart is still mad over this issue, but it isn’t mastered. Emotion is a good thing. Emotion gets some of us elbows deep in a soup kitchen or ten stories high to talk a stranger off a ledge. Emotion can drive the best of behaviors, as long as you don’t let it master you.

Chapter 7: Smoking Is Not Cool

This chapter has one page…and it says, simply, “Smoking is not cool.” Get it? Ok, moving on.

Chapter 8: Six Circles

There are six circles that represent who has an opinion about you that matters. Let me just tell you that it includes everyone from God to strangers. Yes, Kate dos think that a stranger’s opinion of you matters. She says, “It matters because God says it matters.” and goes on to give many scriptures as evidence. I’m guilty of saying (and thinking), “I don’t care what they think about me.” Mostly before making a poor decision. Mostly before saying something off-color. Mostly after I notice an opinion about me that I absolutely do care about, but don’t have the bravery to change. “Relationships matter, reputations matter, testimonies matter. Girls should care what other people think about them.”

Chapter 9: Dumb Is Never Cute

There is one, single line that I wish Kate would have screamed in my face until I went deaf: “The world is vast and big and bright for teenage girls-and too many women have worked too hard to see women esteemed for girls to act like a bunch of flirtatious twits to get what they want.” I have always taken pride in the fact that I can always manage to get what I want, but I’ve grown embarrassed of the efforts I’ve used in the past in order to do so. In high school, I would become fixated on a single guy that I wished to date and I would relentlessly flirt with him. My flattery was never an honest depiction of my feelings, it was merely my way of getting him to like me: getting what I wanted. I’m not much of a heart breaker, but I’m embarrassed to look back and know that I used such a dishonest scheme as my weapon of choice to get boys to like me. Kate should have been there to tell me how to actually go about flattering people, “Love people well-and know that in so doing, there is no room for manipulation.” As I shared earlier in this post, I am still guilty of thinking that my husband would like for me to revert back to the “flirtatious twit” that I was in high school in order to get my way. It has taken a lot of men who believe in my brain and my heart for me to realize that I’m capable of getting what I want by showing my intelligence and my love for others rather than shoving my flattering wit into their faces. Kate calls me to keep the relevant things front and foremost by saying, “Sisters, we either show the world that we have brains, passion, and skills-or we don’t. We can’t have it both ways.”

Chapter 10: Enough

Kate hilariously describes her own “uncharacteristically high self-esteem” and I have to say that I, too, suffer from uncharacteristically high self-esteem. While I know that I am an attractive and intelligent person, I still struggle with a sense of being enough. At first, it seems bizarre, but Kate explains, “The most beautiful, self-assured, powerful, productive woman longs to hear, at the end of every long day, “You did enough today. It is okay to breathe now. You are enough.”” Amen, Kate, amen. Even though I am confident in my appearance and so very proud of my accomplishments, I’m always craving  the reassuring “more” that is makeup, home decor, or knowledge. I need more makeup to be pretty. I need more home decor to be organized. I need more knowledge to be smart. Kate gives me permission to release myself from needing to be “more”, “Whether you are 15 or 115, it is never too late to throw off the shackles of “not enough.” There is no expiration date on the truth. When an advertisement asks, “Is your skin too dry, oily, wrinkly, old, blotchy?” You can dare to say, “No.” You can dare to believe that you don’t need every fix for everything that is purportedly wrong with you.”

In the end, I realize that I needed this book now just as much as I did when I was a teenage girl. I know a few grown women that I will pass this book on to, as well as keeping it in mind for any teenage girls that are in my life. I feel as though Kate has just the right amount of grace and sass to truly drive each of these points home and nail them onto the walls of my heart. It is an amazing thing to find someone who can teach you a life lesson through their writing and that’s exactly what Kate is capable of with this book. I hope you’ll buy this book for yourself and for any girls or women in your life (buy it here). I hope you’ll give “10 Things For Teen Girls” to every teenage girl that you know (buy it here). I also hope that you’ll enter my giveaway for this book!

Enter to win a copy of “Enough” by commenting your own experience with one of these life lessons on this post and following my blog!

Giveaway ends this Friday, August 1st! Good luck!

(Must complete both items to be entered. Open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen at random on Friday, August 1st. You can follow my blog through BlogLovin’, WordPress, or by email. All buttons are located to the right, on my sidebar. To follow my blog on BlogLovin’, click the plus sign button under “Follow and Connect”. To follow me on WordPress, click the “Follow” button near the bottom, above my Beauty and the Binky button. To follow me by email, enter your email and click “Follow” in the line under my Instagram feed.)

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