Lifestyle

Nine thoughtful gifts to get your bestie on Amazon Prime

Nine awesome gifts for your Bestie on Amazon

Anyone else have a best friend miles away? My “person” is more than 1,100 miles away in Florida, and she has a birthday coming up!

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Rachel and I in 2014, reunited for my wedding after 4 years!

Even though I adore her and we make every effort to stay connected, it is really hard to come up with gifts to give when you see them maybe once a year. What does she have, what does she love, what does she really want but won’t buy herself??

So in all my digging, I decided to put a list together of some items you can get on Amazon Prime that can cater to a few different tastes. I hope this helps someone out there looking for a great gift for a loved one!

For the jet setter, cause let’s face it, we all know one and live vicariously through them…

Duffel
ban.do Getaway Duffle Bag

For the beach lover (ahem, me!). I love this so much I’ll probably buy one too! This particular link is plus size, but they have these in all sizes…

CoverUp
AUTUWT Beach Cover Up Wrapped Dress

For the friend that has to carry her ID at work, help her do it in style…

KateSpade
Kate Spade Women’s ID Clip

Okay, who doesn’t secretly want to be a mermaid?! I certainly do…

Mermaid

 

For the Jesus girls out there. I love Priscilla Shirer, and I have no doubt this devotional will be amazing…

Awaken

 

For a sweet friend that deserves a pretty piece of jewelry (and a nice note)…

Necklace
Smiling Wisdom Silver Leaf Friendship Necklace Gift Set

 

For your goal digger friends that like to jazz up their office space…

KateSpade2

 

For the cocktail enthusiast. I actually bought this for my bestie as a house warming gift! I think it’s so fun…

CocktailGarden
Plant Theatre Cocktail Garden Kit

 

For the nostalgic, this is a sweet gift…

CheeseBoard
Fred: Cheesy Love Songs Cheese Board

Nothing on my list is sponsored or affiliate links. These are truly things I found in my own research! And all photos not my own were taken from Amazon and linked back to their individual pages.

Here’s a bonus item not found on Amazon: have a dozen cupcakes delivered to their home or office. I did this for one of her birthdays and I heard it was a hit!

Do you have a favorite gift to give that can be shipped to your bestie?

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Reviews

Review: L’Oreal Color Riche® Matte Lipstick

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I had the opportunity to try 3 colors from the L’Oréal Colour Riche® Matte Lipstick line and am totally a fan. While the experience wasn’t perfect, I am happy with these lippies and will totally purchase more colors.

Speaking of the colors….the rich, vibrant hues are great! My favorite of the 3 shades is Blake’s red, even though I don’t wear red often. I get so many compliments when I wear this color, and it lasts much longer than the nude colors in the same line.

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Blake’s Red in action

For being matte, the lipsticks are not drying. In fact when first used they are very hydrating. However, the moisture does not last as the color, and that is something I look for in a lipstick. There is no feathering or bleeding. Lipstick stayed in place and never ended up under my lip or on my teeth. Those are wins for me!

I was also surprised to LOVE the matte lip liners. I am ordinarily not a lip liner kind of gal, but these are amazing. Color lasted HOURS, really all day. Funny thing is they lasted longer alone. When I added lipstick to them, they lasted through lunch. So, take that for what it’s worth.

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Just with the lip liner alone

Let’s talk about the smell. Oh, L’Oreal, how I love you. But, I hate how your products smell! It’s not overwhelming, but it is strong enough to notice and never, ever forget.

One last thing I’ll add that I love – the placement of the logo on the lipstick. I love the branding and appreciate this so much!

I love Influenster. Ever since I discovered them I have received some pretty cool items, but this L’Oreal box has taken the cake. You can experience the awesomeness too with my link here.

Thanks to Influenster and L’Oreal for my complimentary lippies in exchange for my honest review. Here’s what I received:

L’Oreal Color Riche® Matte Lipsticks in…

  • Matte-sterpise
  • He thinks he’s matte-cho
  • Blake’s red

L’Oreal Color Riche® Matte Lip Liners in…

  • Matte-stermined
  • Matte-ing call
  • In matte-uated with you

Have you tried these lipsticks before? I’d love to know what your favorite color is!

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BabyCoolJ

When it rains…

Blog

We all have “one of those days” every once in a while, right?

So a few days ago I was driving to a playdate thinking about how I needed to come up with something good to blog about. It’s a funny thing – when my life was active and busy I didn’t have time to write, and now that I’m mostly a SAHM life gets a little crazy, yet not exciting to write about.

So, my wishful thinking turned into something that will be humorous to any mamas out there that can relate. Girls…ugh.

I had injured my arm sometime over the weekend so I was stuck at home, which meant BabyCoolJ was experiencing cabin fever. I had scheduled a playdate with a new mom on Tuesday so I sucked up the pain (along with pain killers and lots of ice packs) and ventured out. I knew it was a little risky cause the kiddo is usually nuts if he’s been cooped up too long.

We met at a Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble, grabbed some drinks and all was good. After the awkward getting-to-know-you casualties (luckily I think we hit it off, but who really knows!) we made our way to the children’s area before story time. BabyCoolJ and her toddler ran around and played and all was wonderful.

It was then, in the middle of telling this mom that I am so blessed because my kiddo hasn’t pooped in public since he was 3 months old, that he looks up at me with his little red face and said “poop?”

Y’all. Remember my hurt arm? Yeah, after 20 minutes in the women’s bathroom and myself almost in tears from pain and disgust (by the way, I hate germs) we made our way back.

Story time started and BabyCoolJ was NOT. HAVING. IT. He ran amuck. I knew it was coming, but just went with it and chased him around. When it ended, we went over to say bye and I told her I hope we could get together again (yeah, she hasn’t called…) and walked off. I saw a couple of books on sale that I knew the kiddo would love and went over to the cash wrap.

In this moment he just went nuts. He was doing that thing where I wouldn’t let him run off so he twists his arm and lays on the floor to wiggle out of my grip. It hurt too much to pick him up so I let him dangle a little until I finally bent over to pick him up.

Then….RRRRRIIIIIIPPPP. There was a mom behind me in line and I asked her how bad it was…she gave me the head tilt and said “oh, it is really bad.” I handed her the books, picked up my kiddo with my bad arm, and held his backpack across my butt as I walked across the B&N and through the parking lot.

I slipped into the drivers seat to turn on the air, slid my butt across the car to the back seat, strapped my crying hysterically toddler in, slid my butt back to the front seat, and laughed and cried a bit. Then, someone knocked on my window.

Remember the mom that told me it was really bad? She gave me her number and told me if I ever wanted to have a playdate, or grab coffee, to let her know. Way to make an impression.

So luckily we have a garage where we park the car, so I was able to get us out and into the house peacefully. I took off my Old Navy shorts (shoulda known better) and low and behold…they were ripped from the waist to mid crouch. And I was wearing a thong.

Luckily, as I write this, our week has only gotten better!

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Lifestyle

A churro-free life

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Can you believe I just had my first churro this summer?

It’s important you understand that I grew up very in-tune with my roots. I am first-generation American (on my dad’s side). I grew up on the Texas-Mexico border. I spoke Spanish before English. My grandparents never even learned English. I went grocery shopping in Mexico. In fact, we did a lot of shopping in Mexico, ate at the restaurants, visited the doctors and picked up our prescriptions across the border.

Yup – I know my cultura well and I happily embrace it, albeit it wasn’t always that way.

This weekend Mi Amor and  I had a craving for Pan Dulce. I’ve never been a huge fan (I mean, I like it, but I’d rather have ice cream or cake!) but after experiencing my first churro I had to have it. We left BabyCoolJ with my in-laws and picked up some goodies.

angels event center

When we got back I mentioned, in complete embarrassment, that I had just tried my first churro last month. To my complete surprise, my in-laws hadn’t either! And they also grew up in the Valley.

So it got me wondering – are churros like burritos; American made? I started to do a little digging – I love the internet!

Fascinatingly enough, according to a few articles I found, churros originated in China! What the what?! I love this excerpt, according to The Prisma:

The history of the churro is ancient and revered, lending the snack an almost mythical status. It begins not in Spain but in China, where Portuguese merchants first tasted youtiao, strips of golden fried salty pastry traditionally eaten for breakfast.

Ancient and revered…where have you been my whole life! Funny thing is I just assumed it was like a bunuelo, which I am not a big fan of. I learned that, while in every country churros vary, in Mexico they are usually filled with dulce de leche, Yup, delicious, gooey dulce de leche. I am sold.

Culture…heritage, background, society, familial upbringing…it is such an interesting thing. Mi Amor and I are both Mexican-American. We grew up in the same area, only miles away from one another, yet thousands of miles apart. We celebrate differently, treat family differently and fundamentally our ideals had to make dramatic shifts for us to finally be on the same wave-length.

When we get to know people in Austin, this always fascinates them. Not only do a lot of people think Latinos are the same, but compact that with us both being Mexican and that we’re both from the Valley just adds to the assumption that we were raised the same. I love “educating” my friends on what it was like growing up in a world where I was neither American, or Mexican, yet always both. And I especially love discussing this with my husband – who happens to see it differently than I do (or at least he used to!).

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I wouldn’t change my mish-mash of cultures for anything. Latina, Texan, Mexican, American…I identify with them all. And I’m proud. Puro Raza. Now hand me a churro.

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#MusicMonday, Lifestyle

#MusicMonday – Lift up your hearts with a smile

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We had such a great weekend, and with perfect timing after being stuck at home for more than a week with a sick kiddo!

My in-laws came to town Saturday. Before you get a little uncomfortable with that sentence, know I am extremely blessed with great in-laws! We have been praying they’d visit for a long time – especially because we haven’t mustered up the guts to drive 6+ hours with a toddler to see them!

It is moments like these – sitting Familiaaround the living room or dining table, seeing them love on BabyCoolJ, seeing joy sparkle in everyone’s eyes, and hearing the roaring laughter from the other room, that I truly feel complete. We moved away from family for opportunities, but honestly we also love our independence, space and privacy. But in that process our son misses out on important family time. And, so do we.

He has no cousins or grandparents nearby so we make the best of it in our little family of three. But when we have these special visits, life just feels full.

Also during their visit we also took full advantage of our special gift from Latina Home Party! These guys sent us a full setup of Palm Breeze Sparkling Alcohol Spritz, swag and decor for a fun summer Luau. All that was missing was a pool.

LHM

Latina Home Party provides chicas exclusive access to new products and services to try at home with friends and family. Latina Home Party is a community of collaborative marketing by Hispanic women. If you sign up, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in marketing activities from your favorite products and be able to collaborate with your favorite brands. You learn about new products just to be launched to market at the convenience of your own home (try them for free) and influence with your opinion some of the best known companies in the world.

The Palm Breeze drinks were a hit at Casa Alfaro! Perfect on a hot summer Texas evening. Luckily we stocked up so we had enough for a couple of nights.

So, to families out there… Lift up your hearts with a smile, lift up your feet with a dance and lift up your spirits with a song. Family time can be an awesome time.

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#MusicMonday

#MusicMonday: You can’t judge right by looking at the wrong

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I feel compelled to share a little story with you, especially being knee-deep in mama season which can include a whole lotta judgement. So I invite you to sit back, relax and use your imagination.

A woman picked a perfect spot on a park bench to enjoy a beautiful and peaceful fall day. Birds were chirping, kids were laughing at the nearby playground and there weren’t many people around. She worked long hours so having a free day to find peace and quite was rare, so she intended to take full advantage. She opened the book she brought along, settled in and began to read.

During a very interesting plot twist, she felt something hit the back of her head. A child had thrown some dirt at her and ran off. Considering the day she was having, she felt a tinge of annoyance but let it go. She brushed the dirt out of her hair and looked around to see the kiddo was with their father and two younger siblings.

At first, she felt sympathy for him. But after witnessing that he was distracted and disciplining them wasn’t his priority, sympathy turned into annoyance, frustration and eventually she disregarded his ability to father.

She wanted to continue reading, but in-between the pages she could see that the father had lost all control. One child was pulling a girl’s hair on the playground, the toddler was eating mulch off the ground and the oldest was terrorizing everyone around. She sat there in disbelief – but brushed it off again, and started reading.

A couple was enjoying a picnic near her bench – close enough to hear them, but not close enough to hear their conversation. Out of no where, she hears the girl scream and stand up. The child had thrown a bunch of dirt on the couple and their food.

She had had enough. Being a mother of four, she understood that kids can be kids but she also knew the importance of discipline. She debated saying anything to the father or just walking away. Then, she saw him grab his kiddo and run over to the couple.

Authentically apologetic, he explained that he had just lost his wife, their mother, days before and this was the first time they had gotten out of the house since her funeral.

Feel that kick in the gut? I did too. So this goes out to all of us – whether quick to judge or not.

 

I love this little saying from my mom – “Thank God it isn’t my place to judge, that is for Him only.” Doesn’t that take a lot of stress off you?!

Full disclosure: I heard a similar story the other day and made it my own. Not because their version wasn’t good, but because I couldn’t remember the details…and I enjoy writing! So if you have heard something similar, know that I was inspired by…and not trying to steal the idea!

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Reviews

Review: L’Oreal Revitalift Moisturizer

20170613_085322-01.jpeg I was really excited when I received L’Oreal Revitalift Triple Power™ Deep-Acting Moisturizer complimentary from Influenster – a special platform for product discovery and reviews. I’ve formed an on-again love for L’Oreal when I decided to try some drugstore products again. L’Oreal has become one of favorites, but I have mixed feelings about this moisturizer.
So, let’s be real here. I don’t have a lot of wrinkles or age spots, however, I do have uneven skin tone, dark circles under my eyes and my skin isn’t as young as it once was. I’ve seen quite a difference in my skin texture in just 14 days of using Revitalift. My makeup applies smoother, my under-eye circles have really brightened up and my skin is overall healthier looking…except for the zits.
The moisturizer felt a little heavy on me and took some getting used to. It also has a strong scent – not a bad one, but it is very distinctive. I have preferred the moisturizer for evening use, but hesitate for daytime because of the heaviness. When I used it paired with my L’Oreal Magic BB Cream, I loved it! It held my BB cream really well and the shine wasn’t too bad by the afternoon. I really liked how well it made it glide on. Now, with my full coverage foundation, it was a little too heavy and by mid-day there was a lot more slickness.
Then there was the BAD…I broke out three times since using Revitalift for just 14 days, twice a day. And it wasn’t one here-or-there, it has been big breakouts all around my jawline. Breaking out does not happen often for me, except for the occasional single zit.
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Before & After
Because of the good and the bad, I wouldn’t purchase Revitalift for my self, however I would recommend it as the breakouts are the only thing keeping me from purchasing. I was impressed with it overall and will probably try another L’Oreal product line soon.
What’s your favorite moisturizer?
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