Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Clean it Up! (Medicine cabinet edition)

Hey ya'll! Happy Tuesday! 

Anyone in the mood for some early spring cleaning adventures?

This morning I woke up and took my morning heart & thyroid meds per the usual, but after the millionth time of reaching for it and then bottles getting knocked over and old prescription bottles everywhere... I felt compelled to get it organized! 

I have had this mini project in my head for a while but wasn't sure how far I wanted to go with it. I was originally wanting turntables/lazy susans to place in the cabinets and have sort of a revolving medicine cabinet styling. Like this one here: (except it was only available online, of course!) 


Which I did like- and after looking for the size I needed for forever on the Internet- I just thought- are we really going to keep it neat? Aren't bottles still going to get knocked down and misplaced?! Then the bandages... Where will all those boxes go?! And then I laughed and thought this is totally a "Monica Gellar" moment! 
****I'm obsessed with the TV show "Friends" and I can honestly relate almost all my life situations to an episode. True story. And so here's my "Monica Moment" : 

I then thought of maybe doing the same thing we did for our spice rack- which is really cool- but ended up being a huge pain for Travis because he had to take the cabinet doors off, get different brackets to widen the space... Etc. And really this cabinet was just too small for it. Here is our pull-down spice rack: 

Then I thought of getting fancy baskets or cute tins and using chalkboard paint or labels to label it with...then after calculating all that- I quickly realized I just didn't want to spend THAT MUCH money & energy on a medicine cabinet! Seriously, I can go overboard sometimes! Shocker, right?! Haha! 

So, I decided to head to Walmart and see what kind of storage boxes that would fit and work for what I needed. I got these- (I think they were less than $1 in store) but they're the Sterilite brand 6qt clear storage box. 

perfect and so inexpensive! I thought, I would buy 6 and if it doesn't work out- I have more storage boxes... And that never a bad thing! 

Here is some before pics- I had already emptied the cabinets before I realized I needed a before pic! Here's all the mess! 

Got rid of all prescriptions and expired meds and then some! 

I just organized them on what worked for us- I looked a little on Pinterest for some inspiration on how to group them together. But truthfully, we are really never sick that often! I mostly suffer from headaches and migraines and Trav has issues with allergies but it honestly wasn't as much as I anticipated. 

Here's the finished project! All in all, it probably took me less than 20 minutes and I just printed some labels on the computer. Ta-da... No more mess! Also, it cost less than $7!!! SCORE!! (It would've been more like $5 but I bought 6 boxes and only used 4.)

Thanks for reading friends! Hope you get some organizational ideas for projects in your home! 

Mandi Dawn 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mandi's Favorites: My skincare VIP's

Hello Darlings!

I don't know about ya'll but I'm just now coming down from my sugar high from so much candy this week of Valentines! I'm not a huge sweets person (just pass me the queso, because I can eat my weight in chips and queso any day of the week!) But for some reason this week I might have been on a chocolate and caffeine binge! Also, I was suffering from some migraines, (but that is a whole other blog on why I try and stay away from chocolate and lots of MSG in foods). I DID LOSE 2 lbs though! Thanks to Weight Watchers! (again, that's another blog!)That being said, we have been so busy at home! With work, Valentines, my daughter's dance schedule and pretty much life in general has kept us all on our toes!

Today is a snow day for us in Okie-Land and I'm enjoying cuddles from my littles and reflecting on how uber exciting it was to learn that you have a snow day when you're a kid. I mean really....is there anything better?! While it's nap time for them I thought I'd quickly let ya'll in on some of my very favorite and important skin care items that I use. Let me first give ya the lowdown on my skin. I was blessed with pretty great skin genes in my family, so I never really had issues with acne and huge pores...etc. However, pregnancy told me otherwise and when I was put on bed rest with my last one I decided to do some extensive research and blog reading on what works for others. My skin would be described as combo to dry. Meaning it can get a little shiny or oily in the t-zone, but mostly dry. ESPECIALLY in these winter months...holy moly...I could literally scratch my skin off with razor blades sometimes! It can also be really sensitive. I don't like using harsh chemicals or astringents and toners because my skin just gets way too dry and red. I also really try to stay away from things that have parabens and un-natural products in it... that's just my little hippy side in me. I'm not fully convinced these things are evil, but I do know products with that in it seem to irritate my skin more.
Okay, let's get to it shall we?! (all products are linked) I buy my Skin Medica and my foundation at Mariposa MedSpa in Oklahoma City.

1. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser: I first heard about this through other blogs/youtube stuff I read. Main Reason: Jaclyn Hill and her Sister, Rachel. Jaclyn is a youtube star and amazing make-up artist and her sister has a blog I read called,  "Life's Candy Jar" You guys....these two ladies are amazing! I will link all their info at the bottom of this blog. I adore this cleanser because it is so gentle and leaves my face smooth and clean! It gets rid of dirt and make-up and smells great too! *I do like to use the Neutrogena make-up remover wipes too when I have been out and I'm wearing some serious eye make-up.
2. Skin Medica AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser: everyone needs to exfoliate- so don't kid yourself. Especially in these dry winter months! I got this cleanser form a friend who works at a medical spa and she recommended it to me. It' s a great night time exfoliator and cleanser. I use it at night about 3 times a week, or every other day. It minimizes pores too- not a huge problem I have, but around my nose the pores can get icky and this does the trick!
3. Fresh SeaBerry Oil: I've been using this amazing product for a year now- Another Jaclyn Hill favorite too! ; ) You can wear this morning or night, but I wear it at night. Just slather my face in the awesomeness. It has so many great things for your skin- I could go on forever. I actually buy the small one they have at Sephora and it lasts me a little over 3 months. This oil has lots of the omega's in it that the Josie Moran oil doesn't. I love it. I wake up with my face dewy and glowing and it's amazing! And yes, even my peeps with oily skin can use this! Don't be afraid of the word oil ya'll! If you're in your 30's....I highly suggest not sucking all that oil out of your face- it needs to be replenished and this is the stuff to do it!
4. Aveeno Positively Radiant: I kinda mix and match my daily moisturizers...I like to switch it up. But this one is always my go-to. It's not to heavy, but still hydrates and leaves my skin soft and I can wear make-up over it without it sliding right off. Best thing- you'll find it at your local drug store and it's not expensive. Once my girl Jennifer Aniston became their spokesperson I was like, "um yeah....I need to try that!" haha!

5. Becca highlighter/Color-Opal: this is...wait for it, another Jaclyn Hill find! I find that some highlighters out there are just straight up shiny and glitter. I HATE THAT. This is so pretty over blush, a little under the eye and around the cupid's bow around your lip for that extra pout. It is shimmery and makes the skin tone so pretty! There are many colors and I want to try them all!

6. Jane Iredale Foundation: I started this little gem last summer- again a recommendation from my friend who works at a skin medspa. I'm sorry, I just cannot use the Bare Minerals products anymore. I need more than just straight up powder on my face- especially when I'm dry! I think it works great on young skin and I know it's a favorite for many...but it started to irritate my face when I was pregnant 2 years ago and I've never looked back. I hate putting something on my face that doesn't benefit it or isn't anti=aging. I'm 31... I need to be proactive! This foundation is a liquid, which I was nervous about at first because I was afraid it would be really heavy. It isn't at all and has so many different age fighting ingredients that I love. It is more on the sheer side, so if you're looking for lots of coverage, this may not be the best for you. I find it hydrating and I like that it blends well and I can use it in the summer and winter months.
7. The Sigma f80 Flat Kabuki brush: Do I have to say it? Thanks again to Jaclyn Hill for these recommendations on the Sigma brushes! I think they are better priced than MAC and this brush does wonders when applying foundation. It's dense and blends perfectly!
8. Clarins Anti-Aging Trio Set: Okay, so I just bought this yesterday- I will give my full review in about a month or so. But I did some major research on skin serums and eye creams. I don't have deep wrinkles, but I have some fine lines starting to show up and a few spots from being out in the sun. I've got olive skin- but even with spf 50 I get a serious tan. And no, I'm proud to say I haven't been inside a tanning bed in over 5 years! When I was at Sephora I had actually planned on buying the Clarins serum by itself and then also purchasing the Fresh Black Tea eye cream. So, the eye cream was $85 and the Clarins Serum was $90. I decided to just get the trio because it was on sale for $87 (I think) for everything. So I decided to get the Clarins kit and caboodle and after just one day I am really loving how my skin is looking and feeling! I'll let ya'll in on the full review in a few weeks!
9. Tea Tree Oil- I first started using this last winter when my scalp was super crazy itchy! A dry scalp is so incredibly uncomfortable. Many of my hair dresser friends told me to rub some on my scalp. It worked! (just a little goes a long way, and it does make your hair look super greasy! great to do before bed on a day 3 hair day when your going to wash it the next day) Also, make sure you buy one that it is a glass bottle and is the pharmaceutical grade. I just picked mine up at Wal-Mart or at a health food store. Also did some research on this and it is awesome for pimples and cold sores! I don't know why...but it works! Just a dab will do ya!
10. Oil of Olay ProX spin brush: I know, all the rave is the Clarisonic or the Clarisonic Mia. I'm sure it works great! I don't know anyone that has bought one and doesn't love it! It's just that for me personally I didn't want to spend the money, and wanted to try my luck at this one first. I like it a lot and it seems to do the trick. I use it with my exfoliating cleanser a few times a week and leaves my skin squeaky clean and soft! Maybe one day I'll spend the extra dough and be a cool kid using Clarisonic, but this really is all I need right now and it was a great purchase! One of my favorite things about it is that it doesn't have a bulky charger. It just has batteries. I can leave it in my shower, or pack it on vacation and it doesn't take up space!
11. St. Ives Collagen & Elastin Skin Renewing body lotion: ladies, I never ever skip this step. winter or summer I will moisturize my skin at least twice a day. Morning and Night. Leaves my skin hydrated and not greasy. It has no scent and I like it that way. All natural and no parabens. I know many are still using the Bath & Body Works lotions, which is fine for my daughter who is 9...but I cannot use it. It dries my skin out something fierce and I have been extremely happy with this lotion for 4 years now and I haven't found anything else to compare it to! Also, another drug store find that I love!
That's all folks! I hope you all enjoyed reading! I'm not a skin care expert by any means...but I do happen to know some folks who are and take their advice! This all works great for my type of skin and hope that it helps with some of you! I would love to hear some of your favorites too!!
Special Thanks to:

Mandi Dawn

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Hello Darlings!

Well, today I'm still giddy about the photography workshop I attended this weekend! It blew my mind how much I learned and all the things that I WANT to learn about photography. I have a real love for natural light and lifestyle photography. I love the natural and simplistic view of it. It just reminds me of how we see things in memory...almost like a montage of beautiful pieces that we store in our brains. Katie Christy Photography hosted this and she took our Christmas photos for us this year. She's a rock star and her style is stunning! I love how she has a certain style for sure, but all of her pictures and visions are different. I try to use different photographers for our family pictures because I just simply want different looks each time. Nothing ticks me off more then when I see a photographer who continually has the same photos, just different people...or over-edited and over posed images...NOT.FOR.ME. No thanks. I think photoshop is pretty incredible, and maybe one day I hope to have it and to use it correctly; but honestly, I prefer just good 'ol fashioned photos. I think that is one reason I wanted to get a good DSLR camera. I wanted pictures of my children and photos of flowers at Poppy Lane Design to document a real journey of where my life is at this moment. I think my husband maybe thinks because I have this nice camera I won't be hiring photographers anymore...hahahahahaha! He is sadly mistaken! For one thing, I am never in the photos because I'm always the one taking them! My Travis can do many, many things, but taking photos is not his forte! He can barely hold it still for an iphone photo! It's ok, he's still crazy cute!

The workshop was fun and seriously the best $125.00 I've spent on myself in a long time! I cannot wait to do another! We learned all the big-kid terms, but more importantly we learned HOW to do it. It combined my favorite way of learning...talk about it, look at examples, (she had a worksheet full of info as went through it) and then we practiced it! All about aperture, ISO, Shutter speed, and finding the light source. On point! I can read on Pinterest or look at YouTube all day long, but if you really want to "get it"... I highly suggest taking some workshops or classes! Also, be familiar with the "grid"- rule of thirds and framing your pictures. I took 2 photography classes in college and that is one of the most important things I have learned in taking ANY kinds of pictures!

I'm already in the market to get a new lens! (I have 2 already) I have played around with many of the 50mm prime lenses out there, and really the best bang for your buck is the 50mm 1.8, it's great and well-priced! However, for what I want to photograph and use my pictures for...I've decided to splurge and get the 50mm 1.4. It is about $200 more, but I think it's the right decision for me! (For my non-photographers out there...a prime lens doesn't have the zoom- and it can give you that cool "blurry" background and depth of field look that so many of us try to achieve.) If you are a photographer and you have your own thoughts about lenses and such...I'd LOVE to hear your two cents!

I probably should mention that in no way am I wanting to be a professional photographer. I'm really loving being at Poppy Lane Design and learning more about floral design and all the pretty little details that it entails. Being around weddings, photography, calligraphy...all of it...definitely has sparked a passion in me and I'm excited to learn more. Basically, I love to be creative, I love to learn and be with other creative souls and explore their vision. When you see others doing what they love...that love rubs off on me and it sticks! Nothing more powerful than that.

So the last couple of days I've been playing around with my camera and wanted to share!
With these I wanted to play around with light and depth of field. I love color, prints and patterns- so I wanted to play around with that as well. I actually wanted to challenge myself and go upstairs in the guest room where the light is the WORST and really get to know that manual mode and how to use it! It was challenging with that light... Also, I was throwing Hud's toy cars in the air and playing with the aperture to get a good pic of movement. I got some great ones, but then the higher the aperture, the darker the picture, so I had to play around with the ISO settings and such...it was lots of fun to actually get what I was trying to achieve. I would've photographed Hudson this morning, but every time we take a pic lately, he immediately wants to see his picture on the screen. hahaha! So I settled for an elephant and some cars.When I was throwing his cars in the air and taking pictures he looked at me like I was crazy!

(all these are using natural light (what little I had in here) and all on manual mode! yay!

These are some from a few days ago of my pretty Harlie Victoria...I didn't have much time to play with camera settings on this, but she makes for a great model!

thanks so much for reading, I hope to only get better from here!
Mandi Dawn


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mandi's Favorites:Toddler Books

Good afternoon, Friends!

So today I'm débuting the new look on the blog! Thoughts? I really love it. It's very simple and pretty! Big thanks to Éclair Designs for the speedy work and help! I originally had it in my head that I was going to do everything myself. (something I'm trying to work on, actually. As in letting people help me so I'm not so super overwhelmed) Once I started playing around and then looking for someone else to create a custom design I was just in blog overload and decided to just do a pre-made design and leave the install to someone else! SO GLAD I did! I don't really have much free time to do something like that right now with an almost 2 year old and a very busy, social nine year-old daughter. Not gonna happen. It was done in a few hours and leaves me more time to concentrate on the actual blogging part of things.

Okay, so let's get to it. This morning while I was having my usual routine with my son, Hudson...I noticed that we seriously have TONS of books! Reading is something Travis and I love to do with our kids and make it a big priority. Harlie always loved books, but with Hud it's on a whole new level. I bet I read 20 books a day, if not more! We have a small children's library going on upstairs in the play room and then downstairs in the living room are even more of his types of books that he can turn the pages without ripping them to shreds.

I know I personally have gone to many birthday parties and baby showers where bringing books instead of cards or bringing a book to match the theme of the party is really popular right now. I love it! For Hudson's 1st birthday party it was all in airplanes (his nursery is too) So I bought tons of books on planes...both toddler and big boy books and used them as décor for the party and put a little note in each book for him. It's really a great way to start building their own little library of books! Since Harlie was our only child for 8 years we had PLENTY of girly books, but not so much boy stuff, so I really needed to stock up!

I quickly grabbed some of my personal favorites today that mean a lot to me to share with you all. Maybe in a few weeks I'll have Harlie join me and we can blog about some of her favorite children's books and what she's into now.

(I will link all these books at the bottom of this post)

First up are some books on a more spiritual side of things.... The two books on the bottom are by Roma Downey (she was in that show Touched by an Angel) I am not sure if it's her publishing company or what, but each book has different authors. Anyway, my Mom saw her on a talk show and loved the message and ordered them for Harlie a few years ago. They are really precious and talk about being thankful and how God and his Angels are always watching us. A really simple read with a big message for kids of all ages.
The top two are definitely one of my favorites because my pregnancy with Hudson was a HUGE deal. I had a 12 week miscarriage before Hudson and got pregnant with him very quickly afterwards. We had many ups and downs and health issues during the pregnancy. (That's a whole other blog!) But it is truly a miracle that we both survived the whole ordeal...and I make sure to tell my children everyday what miracles they truly are. "God Gave Us You" is about a Momma Bear and her cub talking about how she was so excited to meet her cub and how the baby grew in her tummy and what a blessed miracle it was to be her Momma. (Yes, I tear up reading it EVERY time!) The other book is called, "On the Night You Were Born" this book is about how all of God's creatures and creations rejoiced on the night this beautiful baby came in the world. Again, it's precious and so on point!
"Where's Spot" by Eric Hill is a great interaction book for toddlers. My mother-in-law gave this book to Hud for Christmas and he loves it! Every page you have to open a little flap to see if you can find Spot! So cute watching him do it all himself! My best friend's little girl loves this book too! She just posted a video of her basically "reading" it by herself!
"The Giving Tree" is one of my all time favorite books, like EVER! If you haven't read it, then I wont spoil it-but go get it NOW. Makes a great gift too! My favorite line is, "And she loved a little boy very, very much...even more than she loved herself." It is right up there with "I'll Love You Forever". Which I didn't post on here, but we have 3 copies if that says anything! ; ) Another classic and a must!
The bottom two is a collection we have started, the author, Mercer Mayer is one of my favorites! Travis also has great memories of reading these when he was little. You just cannot go wrong with the "Little Critter" collections by Mercer Mayer. They are sweet and each book gives a great lesson!

Next up is a great one for the boy moms out there! Maybe it's just me, but it's hard to find boy books that are more than just cars, trucks and dirt! haha! But really, I am obsessed with this little cartoon boy on this collection! The first one is called, "I love You Through and Through" this one is great because it talks about our love for our babies, and also talks about their body parts...eyes, nose, hair, tummy..etc As we read the books Hud loves to point out to  me all the parts of his body that I love!
The second one is a fun little book about "Potty Time" it has a fun little button that every time you push it, it makes a flushing sound. Great book for beginner potty training! As of now we are not even close to that! Learning the differences in girls and boys for sure! Harlie was potty trained by 18 months...Hud is not the least bit interested!

These last two books are pretty popular, but still wanted to include them! The "Pout-Pout Fish" is about a pouty little fish that discovers that it's simply not fun for anyone to be so pouty all the time! There are actually many of these books, and I'm thinking of getting the whole collection!
"Goodnight Moon" is just a classic that everyone should have. It's a great bed time book and I love all the little simple details that the kids pick up on. This is one of Harlie and Hudson's favorites for sure! Hud likes to turn the pages and say goodnight to the red balloon about a million times!

I hope these give you some good ideas for books for a gift or for your own children! There are so many we read on a daily basis, but these are special to me! I will link all the book titles and authors to Amazon! Just give them a click! Thanks for reading, friends! Have a blessed day!


Mandi Dawn

"God Gave Us You" -     "On the Night You Were Born"
"Thankful For God's Blessings"     "Angels Watching Over Us"
"Where's Spot?'   "The Giving Tree"   "Just For You"   "Just Me and My Dad"
"I Love You Through and Through" "Potty Time"   "The Pout Pout Fish"
"Goodnight Moon"

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blog, Blog, Bliggity Blog. Welcome!

Good morning! Let me first start off by saying this blog is most certainly a work in progress!! So please, just bear with me as I go through some growing pains on here and start designing!
With that said, let's start off on why I want to start a blog. Wait, no, let's go back and let me explain what I DON'T want to do. I don't want to be on here to talk about negative or controversial things.... Pretty sure there's enough of that out there all over the news and social media, right?! So let's not add fuel to the fire. I want this blog to be a place of positivity, inspiration and maybe even some laughter! So if you're a meanie or want to be negative.... Just don't. Also, I'm a pretty big stickler on writing and grammar. That is all because I graduated with a bachelors degree in Journalism/Public Relations. All I can remember from college is the countless hours of writing....media writing, marketing writing, conversational writing, creative writing...etc. So, if I read a blog and it's mistake after mistake of errors, my OCD simply cannot take whatever they are trying to say and I probably don't read very often. (Not saying that I won't be making any mistakes, but I know the difference in your & you're and to and too. Making my English and college professors proud I'm sure!) :)  I will also try my best not to overload you with sappiness of my love for my kids and husband. I'm sorry, but as wives and mothers, we ALL love our life, husband and kids.... We don't need to read on every post how much you love yours. I might be alone, but it drives me bonkers to read that constantly. If you have to put that on social media AND on a blog.... Who are you trying to convince your love to?! My husband is extremely private, so he won't be making any debuts on this blog anytime soon! Haha!

So, why this blog? Well, I first starting blogging about 10 years ago when it was fairly new and not so trendy. I documented my first pregnancy and life right after. I also did some blogging in college, but that was mainly for a grade and not something I really put much thought into. Making it something I HAD to do, just sucked the fun right out of it! I'm starting this blog because: #1. I LOVE to write. I really miss it. I read so many blogs that I decided that I wanted to be a part of this! I could do it pretty easily and I usually have a lot to say... So, why not?!  #2. I'm starting to really pursue a passion in floral design/event planning and maybe soon dabbling in photography. I thought what a great way to document my journey, get some support and helpful criticism and have this to look back on. #3. Share with others the little things that make me happy and inspired. So yes, I guess overall it's just a lifestyle blog. Whether it's hair and skin products, a bible verse, a wedding that I get to be a part of, styling, floral design, fashion and everything in between.... I hope to write and share my thoughts with you all. And yes, I'm sure there will be some fun family things in there as well. My husband is hilarious, my kids are my everything... So there WILL be those posts too! I hope to keep this light-hearted, fun and also learn a lot!

On this blog you can see the people that I currently follow and read. I do read some others, but those are the ones that I just really adore! As I said before, this is the very beginning and I've got some BIG plans for this little blog of mine! If you have suggestions for other blogs, or your own... Please let me know! If you've made it to the end.... THANK YOU for being a part of this journey with me!

Happy Monday, friends!

Mandi Dawn