Family, Fashion

What to buy to survive a road trip with a 2-year-old (no screen time involved)

Isn’t it funny how we put so much anticipation on a certain event and it turns out so much better than we ever could have hoped?! If it’s a road trip you are dreading, I hope to help with some good products to entertain your tot.

Blog Articles (1)

Mi Amor and I hadn’t taken a trip to see our families in the Rio Grande Valley since BabyCoolJ was only 7 months old! That last trip set us over the edge with a crying baby for 5 whole hours. It was brutal.

20171223_092619

So we avoided it. We enjoyed holidays alone, just our little family of 3. But we had promised we’d go back and visit for Christmas when he was two, so we couldn’t put it off anymore. And you know what? We were anxious for nothing, with a little prayer and a lot of stuff for him, he did amazing…round trip!

We planned to leave the Austin-area at 3am, with this bright idea we would arrive in the Valley by 9am, just in time for breakfast! Sounds great, right? Well, our alarm didn’t wake us up. So we jumped out of bed at 5:30am and needless to say we rushed like crazy!

We are a limited-screen-time family, and my kiddo doesn’t know he can watch anything in the car, so I didn’t want to start down that path. So I read a few ideas on how to entertain him and keep him occupied and thought I’d share for any wayward mamas out there.

I bought this Kids Compadre travel tray to keep all his stuff together. It was super convenient for coloring and snack time, but otherwise we didn’t use it too much. He played with his musical toys (a Daniel Tiger phone and no-screen tablet) but the biggest hit for the entire trip was this Melissa & Doug reusable sticker pad. It entertained him for hours and he had a blast pulling off all the extra sticky parts around the stickers. These things were everywhere, but he had a blast!

We made only one stop each way and that was for breakfast, about half-way through our trip. And on the way there he had his first McDonald’s outing! We let him roam the store a bit and packed back into the car. It also helped he knew we were going to Grandpa & Grandma’s house!

20171223_082111

I also packed all his Christmas books since it was the last time he’d be reading them. We talked a lot about Baby Jesus this year, so he loved all his nativity books. I made sure the bag was within reach and it worked 60% of the time.

Of course we were armed with lots of healthy snacks. His all-time favorite is Little Duck fruit & veggies, a bit messy but it is natural and fruit is the only ingredient so it makes me happy! I love this Munchkin Stainless Steel Snack Catcher – it keeps his snacks contained with a silicon top-flap that is easy for him to maneuver his tiny fingers through but smart enough to keep most messes at bay. Plus it has a silicon lid so we can take it anywhere easily.

We also caved and let him have a Paci for the trip. Plus all his little plush friends (Peter Penguin, Bark Obama, Henry Who, Seymour and Monkey Do….can you guess what they are?!) and one more toy that keeps him busy for long periods of time: Bailey Elephant Buckle Toy. I have to warn you though, after he played with this he can now unzip anything!

I hope some of these ideas can help you, as they sure made our trip enjoyable. So much so that we even detoured into San Antonio and had a fun morning at the DoSeum while Mi Amor had to run to one of his accounts for a couple of hours.
20171226_120910.jpg

It was such a good trip, some could call it a Christmas miracle!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

20171220_194809.jpg

amerytina signature

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and love. 

Advertisements
Faith, Family

Farewell, 2017. You’ve been real.

Alfaro Family (5)

This year has been a whirlwind….a roller coaster of sorts, with many many highs and some occasional lows (and shockers). If I could have seen the future, even just a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed what 2017 had in store for me…or who I would become!

Late in 2016 I started a new job. It was an exciting move for me, as my career had always come first. I love my husband and kiddo, but work was something I put everything into, where my passions and purpose thrived. So when I was given an opportunity to lead a new marketing department, I jumped on it. I never would have left the American Heart Association under any other circumstances….So, God had to yank me out of there and that started my unimaginable journey. Left job

In March, I lost that same job. The organization decided they no longer wanted a marketing department, which means no brand manager (that was me!). There I was, driving to pick up my kiddo at daycare, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Asking, WHY?? How could this happen???

I was devastated. I was shocked. We had prayed so hard before I made this decision, how could it be? As many of us know, God’s plan doesn’t always unfold right before our eyes. I’m fortunate that it unfolded for me months later.

I started applying for jobs right away, and even had a few interviews lined up immediately. I had to pull BabyCoolJ out of daycare, which made scheduling interviews a challenge. I applied for jobs at nap time and bedtime, took interview screenings at nap time, and planned around crazy schedules to make it all work out.

Within a week of my job loss, my husband was also promoted. It was a great step for his career, but he no longer was going to have his awesome schedule of working 3am – 2pm. He was fortunate to spend 18 months picking up our kiddo from daycare and having that time with him before I would get home in the evening. We quickly realized that is was all such a blessing, now I was home with J and he didn’t have to stress about his new schedule and J being at daycare super late.

Dad&J.PNG

Months passed and the job interviews dried up. During that time I joined a morning mom-and-preschooler bible study, a Sunday evening lifegroup and had my current Wednesday ladies bible study. I met tons of moms, started scheduling play dates, and had a very full calendar of activities every single day. My life was more full than I could ever have imagined.

Somewhere along the way I realized I wanted to be home with BabyCoolJ, but my husband and I couldn’t figure out how that was possible. You see, we purchased our home with two substantial incomes. Two incomes that were paramount in making our monthly payments. We just didn’t see how it was possible.

That’s when I started PR consulting and my new gig as a Stylist.. They are both lucrative and fun, but they aren’t bringing in the income stream that my career provided. We continued to pray and just put our faith in Him. And I continued to enjoy every friendship I was making and the time I was enjoying with J.

Lisa Alfaro Stock
My “fortune coffee sleeve” back in January, 2017

My husband was offered an amazing new job in September, which he started in October. What we didn’t know when he accepted was that he was going to be in San Antonio 85% of the time. He knew travel was involved, but not at that level….that’s when we started thinking….

I want to stay home with J. He wants a good quality of life (4 hour commute round trip daily is NO JOKE!). We both want what is best for our family.

So here we are, December 19, 2017. Three weeks ago I told him we need to figure something out because we can’t stay in our home. Two and a half weeks ago I came across Dave Ramsey’s ELP blog posts. Two weeks ago we met with realtors. A week and a half ago we hired our agent to help us sell, and a few days ago we hired our new buying agent. It truly is a whirlwind.

Y’all, our home is a mess. We are working on staging it and clearing it out. We list in January and begin our new life in a new city….those details are coming soon!

Books

But the most amazing thing is our new life. Spending every day with my little one. Meal planning and activity prepping. Play dates. Church activities. It is all a blessing, and just proves how we must be patient and wait on God’s time. His plans are so much better than ours!

Alfaro Family (71)

Lisa Alfaro Logo (1)

Fashion

My 30-year shoe obsession and my scores this month

Blog Articles

I have an obsession with shoes. It all started when I was a young girl and my Welita would take me on weekly trips to the local K-Mart and buy me a new pair of shoes.

Not toys. Not candy. Shoes. Shoes are my jam.

So it is no surprise I own more than 150 pairs of shoes. Well, a surprise (and suffering) to my husband, but that’s not interesting to write about.

I try to take such good care of them, along with my collection of clothes, jewelry and accessories. My closet really is a slice of heaven, with my beautiful pink ottoman in the center of it all (and hopefully a pink chandelier soon!). My shoes are stored in individual clear plastic boxes, while some flats are stored in an over-door hanger and flip flops in a pretty storage bin. Boots, on the other hand, are in a large, over-sized rectangle storage bin. They all mean so much to me!

I am much more picky when purchasing shoes now, and I have a whole new purpose in what type of shoes I buy. I LOVE heels and wedges, but I’m mostly at home with my kiddo and running from working out to playdates, so flats make a lot more sense. As I was rummaging through my shoes a few weeks ago I realized something that stunned me: I couldn’t find my black flats.

So there I was, sitting on the floor of my closet surrounded by plastic shoe bins and I was shocked. I have brown polka-dot wedges, red lace t-strap heels and purple booties, but no black flats?!!

So I went on a mission to find the perfect black ballet flats. I wanted cute and comfort, something that could be paired with jeans, leggings and even a casual dress.

I used to have flats from Jessica Simpson that I absolutely adored. I wore them more than any other shoe and wore them to the ground. It was so hard to throw them out, but that’s when you know it is a good shoe. (the special ones mentioned above look practically new – I rarely ever use them). So I started searching on Amazon for Jessica Simpson black flats.

Then, I found these. My heart skipped a beat and I knew it was meant to be.

20171126_192143

And, because I had a Birthday gift card from my parents, I threw in another pair I’d been dying to get: gray booties. I searched high and low looking for cute, comfort and super affordability with excellent ratings. So I scored these – and after wearing them a few times I can tell you they are totally as comfortable as the reviews say.

Y’all, both shoes are fantastic. Comfortable, cute and I am super happy. Just like my 4-year-old self at K-Mart.

 

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and love.

Fashion

From party girl to party girl!

 

10 awesome gifts for your Bestie on Amazon (3)

I had fun in my 20’s. Then I met my husband, settled into life, became a wife and mom and now live in the suburbs. It’s a story we all know really well.

What I never thought I’d do is become a party girl in my 30’s. Like, you know, in-home parties where I try to sling products. You know what I’m talking about!

In fact, I avoided those things like the plague. I had never been to a direct sales party, didn’t give people the time of day when I knew they sold a product and never purchased a DS product either…..I mean, except maybe a little Avon back-in-the-day.

When my mom introduced me to Ruby Ribbon and gave me my first Cami I was blown away. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard or tried this product…..I was missing out because of my disinterest! Have you ever tried shoving your body into Spanx?? How about pregnant, wearing heels & a formal dress, and working a gala for several hours? I was super ready to try something new….and this didn’t disappoint.

But I kept the secret to myself. I wasn’t going to be “that person.” Plus, it was no one’s business that I wasn’t wearing a bra anymore and that an inch had magically disappeared….I wanted women to think I didn’t have back-fat for real!

20171113_101055-01
Look ma, no bra! Rockin’ a Ruby Ribbon top and pants!

My mom finally convinced me to host a party. I had SO MUCH FUN and made tons of sales, so I thought, why not give this a go? Our household had taken a huge pay cut when I stopped working in March and after spending the spring with BabyCoolJ I was determined to do whatever I could to stay home with him.

Y’all, it has been a whirlwind of excitement, determination and changing lives. I have always loved fashion, and being a plus size girl made me work extra hard to always be stylish and put together. Now I get to help women of all shapes find their inner confidence. What a win! And the cherry on top is spending every day with my kiddo and watching him grow up. It is an absolute blessing to stay home with him, and tap into my skills during nap and bedtime!

So I write this today, in honor of my 36th Birthday, to tell you GO FOR IT! Whatever you are thinking of doing, whether starting a business, or trying that super cute dress that is just a little too tight, just do it.

And also in honor of my birthday, I have launched my Facebook page helping women find their confidence, style and freedom. This is going to be so much fun!

Lisa Alfaro Logo (1)

Faith

Nine thoughtful gifts to get your bestie on Amazon Prime

Nine awesome gifts for your Bestie on Amazon

Post updated December, 2017. {This post contains affiliate links}

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!

10353639_843020804459_3745803481844772904_n
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…

amazonluggage

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
U-Miss Mermaid Blanket

 

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
Kate Space Paper Clips

 

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

And there you have it – hours of my research to find the perfect, affordable gift at your finger tips.

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!

Did you buy something off this list? I’d love to hear about it!

Lisa Alfaro Logo (1)

Faith

Review: L’Oreal Color Riche® Matte Lipstick

20170718_154010-01

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.

20170719_125303-01
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.

20170718_171004-01
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!

Frolic Logo

Family

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!

Frolic Logo