My Beauty Routine: Lessons Learned

Are you still with me on this beauty routine series? I’m so happy you’re here. If you haven’t read the first two posts, you can find The Catalyst here and Rebuilding here.

Reflecting back on this journey, I want to share a couple things I have learned..

First, listen to your skin. If your skin is sensitive like mine, you need to be aware of how it is responding to the products you use on your face. If it’s reacting or even uncomfortable, it’s a sign that this product is not right for you and consider a new option. I so wish I could share this lesson with my younger self – and not worry so much about wearing

Second, embrace and love your natural beauty. It was so hard for me to let people see my “natural” skin…but honestly, after a few weeks of wearing no makeup, I grew to really love the freedom of it. I’m not joking when I say that before this experience, I would never have gone to Target without a full face of makeup – but now, I don’t worry so much about my appearance and recognize that a natural look has it’s own beauty.

Third, try new products and find what works for you. Talk to your friends. Follow beauty bloggers that you enjoy. But most importantly, do what works best for your skin and what feels best.

I hope you enjoyed this series. Thanks for taking the time to read!


My Beauty Routine: Rebuilding

IMG_3769Welcome to part two of the story behind my beauty routine. If you have not read the first part, you can FIND IT HERE.

So what do you do when you throw away all of your old makeup and want to start wearing more skin friendly products?

I’m embarrassed at how basic I went about this…

0% research involved (and if you know me, you are 0% surprised by that)…

But are you ready for it?

I went to…Whole Foods. Yup, I walked in (probably my fifth time there in my life) and bought a handful of new products. Because it’s Whole Foods and OF COURSE IT’S MADE OF THE EARTH’S FINEST MATERIALS. Don’t get me wrong, I love Whole Foods (have you experienced their speciality cookie section? Do it. Tell them Lauren sent you.). But I laugh at myself thinking back at that experience.

So I wore my Whole Foods makeup for a long while, and it totally worked. It was more natural – both in the actual product and the quantity of makeup I wore.

So over the past few years, I have evolved this routine. And what I’m finding for myself is that it is all about balance. Sure, if I had an unlimited budget, I would be able to invest in high quality products that are perfect for my skin and remove all of those quickly forming wrinkles (Thanks kids!) – but truth is, I am on a budget. So I am doing my best to invest in some products that are “clean” for my skin while some others I buy from Target. Because that’s easy and they work, for now.

So let me walk you through my routine!


I have the same morning and nighttime routine – simplicity works for me. I wash my face with water and clean off my makeup (at night) with a Norwex towel. I swear by these – it is all I need to remove my makeup. In the morning I will wash my face with a cleanser – either Cetaphil or Arbonne’s smoothing facial cleanser.

Next I use Pixi Glow Tonic all over my face and neck. I just use my hands to wipe it on…because…it feels right? Maybe you’re supposed to use a cotton ball but I like just using my hands. I follow that with a Rosehip Argan Oil Facial Serum by Fig and Arrow – again using my hands to press it into my face and neck. I have really loved this product and feel like it’s giving my skin a glow that it hasn’t seen in awhile. I then use Acure brand Radically Rejuvenating Eye Cream and Brilliantly Brightening Day Cream. 

And that’s it. That’s all I do for skincare – and honestly, it feels really good. Easy. Quick.


Here is where balance truly does come in! I recently started using more Arbonne products because of how few chemicals they use in their products. As someone with such sensitive skin, this was appealing to me…and as I’ve used more of their products, I’m finding that they feel really good on my skin too. That being said, I also still wear some products that can be bought at Target and likely would not be considered very “clean” – but that is where I find balance. My biggest focus is that I’m making progress towards doing what’s best for my skin while also not getting too crazy about it where it’s stressful.

I start with the Arbonne Real Conceal Liquid Concealer to treat “trouble spots” (aka dark circles under eyes and blemishes I thought were not supposed to bother me after turning 30). I follow that with Arbonne CC Cream all over. I have loads of freckles on my face…and to be honest, sometimes I like those to show, but my skin can be very uneven in coloration so the CC Cream helps blend it all together. If I know I”m going to be outside a lot, I’ll swap out the CC Cream for their RE9 Advanced Prepwork…basically it’s a CC cream with SPF30. After that I focus on my eyelashes. I basically have clear eyelashes so I rarely leave the house without mascara. I start with L’Oreal Voluminous Primer to give mu lashes some texture…and then use the L’Oreal Voluminous Original mascara. I saw a few beauty bloggers rave about this product and could not deny how well it worked – so I gave it a try and love the product. Lastly, I use the Pixi Multibalm as my blush. It can be used on lips and cheeks, but I just do cheeks – and I recently started using the Watermelon Veil color for summer.  A bright and light pink to brighten up my cheeks! Lastly, I use the Arbonne brow pencil to give my brows (also fairly light) a little color. This product is so quick to use but definitely helps me feel more polished.

Lastly, let’s talk lipstick. I have been wearing lipstick for what feels like forever. When I was in college, it was the intense lipgloss phase. No one…except your grandma…wore lipstick…except me. I stuck it out with my lipstick – I’m pretty loyal! I love trying out new colors and my summer color this year is Arbonne’s Poppy Lipstick . My classic standby is Brave from MAC. And my favorite RED lipstick is Ruby Woo from MAC.

And that is it. Now I will admit, I love trying out new products and like to switch up my routine, but I’m really happy with the products I have been using and feel like my skin is healthier than ever.

Let me know if you have products you love or if you try out any of the products I have shared with you!

My Beauty Routine: The Catalyst

IMG_2445About two years ago, I woke up to a very scary reality.

I could not see.

Now…at that point…I was mom to a busy 15 month old…so feeling like I could not open my eyes was fairly normal. And I have seasonal allergies which makes you feel like you cannot open your eyes this time of year. So I did not feel concerned…at first…

I stumbled into the bathroom and turned the lights on…and realized we had a major problem. My eyes were swollen shut. Like gigantic puff balls. One eye had a fraction of a millimeter open so I was able to catch a tiny glimpse of myself…and appropriately freak out.

I called my doctor…and their reaction (“Your face is swollen?! We must see you immediately. You may need to go to the ER.”) did not help one bit. Long story short, J took Soren to daycare (while I sat in a chair…and did not move b/c I was blind!) and then he took me to the doctor.

The doc gave me some meds to take the swelling down but really did not have any answers for me as to what caused the reaction. They asked me so many times, “What new products are you using on your face?” to which I repeatedly answered, “I’ve used the same old products for years.” It is still a mystery what caused it. But then came the doctor’s directions.

Ready for it?

“Don’t wear any makeup for a few weeks.”

Hold on…you mean like don’t wear excessive makeup, right? I can still wear some concealer to cover up some “problem spots,” mascara to give me actual eyelashes (mine are transparent) and a little blush, right?

No – nothing.

Enter awareness of my vanity.

Here I met the crossroads of my health vs. my vanity. I had no problem lounging around the house makeup free (hello marriage! this is me!) but going to work makeup free? I literally had not gone to work one day in eight years without wearing full makeup including eyeliner, lipstick, etc. The full works. But as a “super mature” 30ish woman, I am beginning to value my health more and more.

So…a couple days later, I returned to work. Without a lick of makeup. And yes, I got a ton of weird looks – mostly from the men. I chalk that up to them mostly being confused about why I looked so different (read: tired). Women get it – they understand. And sympathize.

You guys. It was so hard for me. So humiliating. So exposing.

Yet – it sparked something new in me…or maybe it forced something new. I got rid of all of my old makeup (a little bit of a soul crushing experience…I used to wear nice makeup that was not cheap). I invested in some more natural options – but only a couple of items. For months I only wore some concealer (#momlife) and mascara. That was it. (Yes…the doc said no makeup…which I obeyed for a hot second). It was simple. It forced me to appreciate more of a natural look. Appreciate natural beauty (freckles).

But most importantly, it forced me to stop and think about this whole experience and how I wanted to move forward: continue my old routine and risk another reaction or find a new routine that worked for my skin?

More to come in the next post…

Two Hands

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Last week my son was sick. This was no runny nose situation. He had hand, foot, and mouth. It sounds like a pioneer-times disease…and if you aren’t familiar, consider yourself #blessed. I won’t scare you off by sharing details – that’s why God gave us Google.

I held my little boy. His usually wiggly body lay still. His lungs that usually burst out in song were quiet. His hands that are usually searching for mischief were at his side. My poor boy was sick. The baby was asleep in his crib, so I sat in the big, cozy rocking chair with my little boy. To hold my little boy. To hold him with both hands.

I had this moment where I had him completely wrapped up in my arms – and I was completely overcome with my love for him. I gently squeezed his little sick body as if to transfer my love to him. To show him how much his mommy cared for him. To let him know that I was there to take care of him. Of course he did not realize all this was going on – all he knew was that he was getting time with mommy. And it was especially special because it was two-handed time.

You see…when I was sitting there, I had a realization. Ever since we introduced a new baby to our family a few months ago, I rarely got two-handed time with my little boy.

Here is what it has looked like…

When we got home from the hospital, the baby needed me all.the.time. For feeding. For rocking. For ten poopy diapers each day. For everything. My big boy got very little time – almost no hands on him.

As baby got a little older, and I was able to hold him in one arm, my boy got some one handed time. Some short-lived back rubs. A ton of high fives. An occasional moment when mommy held the baby and the boy at the same time.

But not a lot of two-handed time. Not a lot of extended hugs that last and last. Not a lot of snuggles in the rocking chair.

And as I thought through this, my heart broke for my boy.

So as I sat there holding my boy with both hands, I realized how much I missed him. How much I missed our time together. Just us.

And I promised him more two-handed time. For him. For me.



I’m Back

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Hey there. It’s been a minute. Adjusting to two kids has been real.

But I’m happy to share that I am back to writing for Twin Cities Moms Blog. After a very long hiatus because children.

I wrote a style post about fall style. But there is a catch. It’s fall style that must be nursing friendly and postpartum friendly and budget friendly. Dang. That’s a tall task. But you know what? I did it.

I love style – it’s my personal form of artistic expression – and I’m trying to figure out how that translates to a stay-at-home-mom-nursing-her-baby-24/7. But what I’m learning is that it doesn’t need to be perfect. It will look different than the younger version of myself. And to accept my body where it’s at today. Nursing and postpartum.

So go take a looksie. I hope you find it helpful, humorous and relatable.

Mom Un-Expert


When you have your first child, you are expected to ask a million questions. To not know everything about raising a human. To use a serious dose of trial-and-error. To ask all.the.questions to the more experienced mom groups. It’s expected. You’ve never raised a human. You’ve never experienced sleep deprivation coupled with the physical recovery from labor/birth coupled with an insane amount of hormones you do not understand. And you balance that with a crazy cute baby that melts your heart with their side-smile (and tiny toots that more than likely brought on the side-smile). You are experiencing all of this for the first time. And it’s hard. And it’s reasonable to not know anything.

But then you choose to go through this process again…

And you expect yourself to know all.the.things this time.

But guess what?

You don’t. First of all, you were in a haze for the first three months of your first baby’s life and your brain was incapable of remembering many (or any) details. Secondly, you are now raising a new and different human. They have different needs. They have a different temperament. And YOU are different. Your needs have changed. Your perspective has changed. Many things are different.

And yet…you expect yourself to handle this new baby as if you have a master’s degree in parenting.

So if you find yourself reading this, and can relate, go ahead and load up on some grace. Ask your questions…because none of us have this figured out. Lay down your pride (because who needs that?) and lean on one another for help. Whether you are in the thick of raising your first baby or your eighth, we all need one another. We all have questions. And no matter what anyone says, no one has this figured out. It is impossible – but what matters is that we try our best (which we do) and we support one another in the process (which we better do).

From one un-expert mother to another, you can do this!


My body isn’t perfect…

At 28 weeks pregnant today with my second baby, I pretty much think about my body all the time. That is kind of a weird statement – but it’s true. IMG_3246

For me, I was nauseous for about twenty weeks so I basically thought about my body constantly during that time. Was I going to puke? Should I eat something to try to feel better? Would this ever end? SUPER fun.

Then there is the weight gain – every pregnant woman’s favorite topic. I am fortunate to never have had major body image issues growing up – but regardless, it is not easy to gain rapid weight. Or to have a nurse tell you to “watch what you eat” because you are every-so-sightly above the weight gain recommendation. And then there is the fun experience of un-rapidly losing the weight after you deliver your baby.

I often think about labor and dread the unavoidable pain that I’ll experience. I question whether or not I will be strong enough to handle it again. It was so hard last time (see Soren’s birth story). Will my body sustain me though another three day labor (please God, let it be faster)?

These are the thoughts that fill my mind.

But greater than all of that…IMG_3264

I sometimes look at my two year old son and think, “My body is a freaking miracle worker – it GREW a child.” Like actually stop and think about that – I grew eyeballs. I grew ten fingers and ten toes – each unique with their own fingerprint. I grew his fluffy brownish/reddish hair. I grew the vocal cords that explode with uncontrollable laughter.

And then I understand why I am so tired growing this second baby. And I accept the nauseous days. And I accept the weight gain that is above average. And I accept whatever it takes to grow this baby boy. It is hard work every single day because my body only has nine months to grow a human – before it is ready to basically thrive on its own (with a little help from his parents afterwards).

So to all the women growing a baby, give yourself grace because you are a freaking miracle worker!