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A Budge-Proof Lipstick that Lasts All Day

Say what?! I’ve never heard of such a thing. Every stain and lipstick that claims to be “kiss-proof” or lasts more than 4 hours that I’ve tried has always been a disappointment. Then one day, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across this video …

“What magic is this?!” I wondered.

I had to try this to see if it really worked so I started researching it. The product is called LipSense by a company called SeneGence. It’s a direct selling company that has been around since the 90s selling anti-aging skin care and cosmetics, but is just now starting to get a lot of exposure due to their LipSense products.

What is LipSense?

When you first purchase LipSense, you get a LipKit that comes with three products: the color, gloss, and Ooops! remover. The LipSense products are vegan, not tested on animals, non GMO, gluten free, wax free, and lead free. There are over 70 colors and you can layer them to create your own unique color for endless possibilities. The color creates a molecular bond to your lips that is budge-proof, smudge-proof, water-proof, and kiss-proof.

The gloss is able to penetrate the color and be absorbed by your lips for optimal hydration. The gloss has shea butter that will moisturize and lock in the color to keep it looking fresh and help it last for up to 18 hrs. The color and gloss work hand in hand. With the natural ingredients of LipSense, it will break down any wax buildup on your lips from other lipsticks and chapsticks that have caused a wax barrier to form on your lips.

Although that wax barrier will protect your lips from the environment, it also blocks moisture and often times leaves your lips feeling more dry as a result. LipSense will put your lips through an exfoliation process in the beginning that will work to remove the wax layers and build up so you can see optimal results with hydrated lips and long lasting color.

The Ooops! remover helps you to touch up any mistakes if need be as well as remove it if you want it off sooner than later. The longer it is left on the easier it will be to remove with your desired cleanser/makeup remover. Using any other product will break the molecular bond and you will notice the color starting to break down. It is recommended to avoid using any other lip products as it will be counterproductive and prolong the exfoliation process.

Fun Facts:

  • 1 tube of LipSense = 4 tubes of regular lipstick
  • Shelf life is 2 years
  • A tube of LipSense will last 4-6 months when used daily
  • Each color can be layered with one another
  • You can use the tip of the applicator for lip liner

How do you apply LipSense?

 

Make sure you start off with clean, dry lips. Shake the tube of color and in one stroke from side to side apply the color to your lip. Wait 5-10 seconds for it to dry, apply a second coat, wait for it to dry and a third coat, wait for it to dry. Do not let your lips touch during the color application. Color may flake off if layers are too thick. Avoid streaking by applying in one direction. The first layer touches the skin’s PH and will break down first and fastest. The second layer is protected from the PH by the first layer while the third layer protects the second layer from the environmental factors that will break it down.

When you first apply the color, you may notice a tingle from the cosmetic alcohol evaporating as it touches your lips and leaves the color behind. Once your color is applied, you can touch up with the Ooops! Remover if need be and apply your gloss.

My Experience with LipSense

I told you I was skeptical, right? So I ordered two colors: Plum and Praline Rose. Plum is a deep berry color and Praline Rose is more of a neutral mauve color. Here are the results of testing it out:

Is it budge-proof? Yes. Does the color transfer? Nope.

First picture: 7am right after application of Praline Rose. Middle picture: 10 hours later at 5:00pm after a full day of eating, drinking, licking lips, kissing, breathing, and living life with no touchups since first application – not even a coat of gloss (which is recommended to keep lips feeling hydrated). Last picture: 5:00pm minutes later with a coat of gloss.

First picture: 7am right after application of Plum. Middle picture: 10 hours later at 5:00pm after a full day of eating, drinking, licking lips, kissing, breathing, and living life with no touchups since first application – not even a coat of gloss (which is recommended to keep lips feeling hydrated). Last picture: 5:00pm minutes later with a coat of gloss.

A different day, again wearing Plum. Application was at 7am, first photo taken at 8:30am and second photo taken at 10:30pm 15 1/2 hrs later with no touchups – not even gloss – after a full day of again living life including working out and showering with it on.

Is it long lasting? Yes! Now, let’s be real and honest for a moment here. It does not look picture perfect like the initial application at the end of the day. Don’t expect that. Color and longevity will depend on the PH balance of your skin and application. If you’re treating your lips rough by biting and picking at them, it’s not going to last as long. If you’re using a different brand gloss, it’s not going to last as long and if you’re using other wax lip products the exfoliating process will take much, much longer and your color will not last as long.Oils and grease will break it down quicker and not applying gloss throughout the day will make your lips look and feel more dry.

How much is LipSense?

It’s $55 for a LipKit that includes your color, gloss, and remover. For a first time buyer, this is what is recommended, however once you purchase your initial LipKit you can purchase colors individually for $25, different gloss finishes (including matte!) individually for $20, and Ooops! Removers individually for $10.

Yes, $55 can be a lot for someone, but not only is it worth the cost for the quality of the product and what is has to offer, but keep in mind these fun facts:

  • 1 tube of LipSense = 4 tubes of regular lipstick
  • Shelf life is 2 years
  • A tube of LipSense will last 4-6 months when used daily

Bottom Line

Does this product work and do what it claims to? Yes. It is the best lip product out on the market, I would say, for its longevity, color options, and customization. I’m a huge advocate for it being natural and following good, ethical practices in its production as well. Looking at the comparison of quantity for cost as compared to other popular cosmetic brands, you’ll find that you are actually getting more for your money with LipSense.

How and where do I purchase LipSense?

As I mentioned in the beginning, SeneGence, the creator of LipSense, is a direct sales company. You will have to find a distributor selling the product to order. You can visit the SeneGence website and search for a distributor in your area or visit Good Morning, Lovely Cosmetics on Facebook and send me a message directly and I can help you find the right color for your first LipKit.

I look forward to hearing from you and happy makeup-ing!

Hope in the Valley

We are more than a month into 2017 and I can’t help but reflect on God’s provision over the last year. He provides every year – all the time, but looking back at the last year I have no idea how we would have made it without his guiding hand. Everyone says don’t talk about finances. It’s an uncomfortable subject, but we have to be uncomfortable, we have to show our humanity, and we have to admit our struggles in order to give God the glory. It’s not comfortable sharing something that makes us vulnerable, but when we do that’s when He can move. So I share this to give you encouragement and hope as well as a reminder to trust God in not only times of hardship, but at all times. He will provide uniquely for your situation.


Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns — and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Matthew 6: 25-26


For the longest time, I was being stubborn and stuck in a selfish mindset that I wanted to be “comfortable”. The idea of working for someone else and not loving what I’m doing has always given me anxiety. I continuously called myself the exception and ignored the rule everyone else followed. My career plan didn’t turn out as planned. The curriculum for my degree was not what it needed to be in order for me to be successful and I lost direction. I was about to get married with no income, no career, and no concrete solution. It makes you feel like you’re less than adequate in today’s society. But blogging has been my passion, my solution, and my struggle. As I’m learning and as I’m growing, I’ve also been fighting through mental and emotional blocks. You know, the usual … depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, etc. It makes it hard to do anything. It makes it hard to blog and run a business on your own time.

Two months before we got married, Jonathan lost his job. He too didn’t know what direction he wanted to go in so he decided to focus on his business. Before long, he had racked up a good amount of debt and decided owning a business wasn’t for him … and then we got married. Two people unemployed and starting a life together. Tell me how that works. We struggled to pay the bills and ended up in even more debt. Jonathan started watching a lot of COPS and decided for the mean time he would take a minimum wage security job. And then, I found out I was pregnant. Amplify all of the depression, anxiety, and lack of motivation I already had on top of little to no energy and an emotional/hormonal pregnant woman and you’ve got a serious mess of a human. In my mind, we were not ready for a baby. We could barely take care of ourselves. How were we going to afford this? We had no healthcare let alone all the necessities and expenses a baby requires. I knew we would make it work – we had to, but I didn’t know how.

The security job wasn’t working out for Jonathan so we came to a crossroad. He decided to finally take up the calling he felt God had placed on his life years ago to be a police officer, but he would need to go to school and get a degree before he could go to police academy. It turned into a two year plan. Jonathan had always promised me that I didn’t have to work if I didn’t want to; he would provide. My one desire more than anything was to not have to work when I was pregnant and when I had a newborn. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t mind working from home, but I wanted to control my schedule so I can be there and available for my children. That wasn’t going to happen which made me feel even worst. We made the decision to send Jonathan back to school so he could follow his calling and I agreed to work in the meantime except I was still struggling with everything going on emotionally and mentally and couldn’t find a job that would pay enough to relieve the weight of our bills without the credentials or experience to back up my abilities.  I found myself in that dreaded catch 22. I finally got a temporary and part-time job as an admin at a university while the full-time admin was on sick leave. It helped us scoot by. By the time I left, I was in my third trimester. I didn’t work for those last two months before delivering. I had too much anxiety about finding a job just to leave it again. I would have been miserable if I had worked during that time and big props to those ladies who push through it and work up to their due date. Thankfully, we were able to work out a situation that allowed me to stay home.

We’ve hit 2017. We’ve got our baby with both of us happy and healthy. We have no medical expenses. We’ve never had to purchase or spend any money out of pocket for any baby-related items. We’ve never had our electricity or water shut off, although it’s come close. We don’t have rent or a house payment. Jonathan is currently in his last term and will start academy in the fall. How did we do it? I don’t know. We wouldn’t have without God’s provision. Financial aid covered all of his school and left us with enough to just barely live off of, we qualified for aid that covered our food for the month and the baby’s formula, healthcare that covered all of our medical expenses, our house was given to us as a wedding gift, we used the money from our wedding to renovate a room for the nursery  (which was not suitable or safe for a baby prior), and our baby shower literally showered us with everything we needed. We are surrounded by family who is so supportive. They are always there lending a helping hand when we needed help painting, emotional support, or needed someone to watch Landon while I started working full-time as of the new year. I was blessed to get the same position at the university I was in before after the other admin retired. We are making it and it took a while to get back onto our feet and we aren’t back to running yet, but we are getting there.

Jonathan was driving me to work the other day and we looked out the window and saw a man waiting for the bus. That’s not me. We may be down to one car at the moment, but even so that’s not me. I have a way to work, I have family who is willing to pick me up and take me home from work if I need it. Even with the hardships we’ve been going through, I am so so blessed. God’s hand has been in our situation from the beginning. He’s guided us, He’s provided for us, He’s blessed us. To Him be the glory.

 

 

Good Morning, 2017

As I sit here on my couch, I’m writing my annual new year’s post and I have no idea what direction I’m going to take it in this year. Of course, it will have my annual Year In Review Picture Show, but you’re also reading the birth of a thought – a thought that I need to hear myself and one that’s manifested as a result of other voices I’ve heard over the last few months. I’ve been reflecting on the past year, my life, how I want 2017 to go and what I want my life to look like a year from now. Isn’t that what we all do? Sit and reflect? Say this new year will be a better one because the past year wasn’t that great? We come up with resolutions to make our life better and then fall off the bandwagon a month or two or three down the road. Our year ends up looking like every other year … or maybe that’s just me.

How can we make this year different? And better than 2016?

Initiate the Boomerang Effect

When you look at people as a whole, we all just want to be happy and our happiness is derived from feeling loved, accepted, appreciated, healthy and successful. The best thing I’ve learned in my first year of marriage is to make the other person’s happiness become your own. And it’s hard because I’m a really selfish person and struggle with it, but when you put yourself out there for others before yourself, it ends up coming back to you. Kindness travels. Focus on becoming someone who is loving and kind to others. Focus on becoming someone who puts the needs of others before your own. It takes one person to start a chain reaction, but imagine how many more people could be reached if everyone made a change within themselves for the benefit of everyone. It would change the world.

You can’t force other people to love you, accept you, or appreciate you. Life doesn’t work that way. But if you do things for others that will make someone want to appreciate you and if you love and are accepting of others than people will want to return that not just to you, but to others as well. It becomes something like a boomerang; once you throw it out into the world it will eventually return to you – if not reaching other people before it does.

Start a Bucket List

Create a list of what you want to accomplish and do this year or even what you want to do over the course of your life. You can make a simple list or if you’re a visual person create a vision board.

I got to cross off three things on my bucket list/vision board in 2016. It was such a great feeling! Not because I necessarily accomplished something great, but because I’ve been able to say I’ve experienced something new that I wanted to experience. I did it in my lifetime and I can tell you about it. I can show you pictures from my wedding, tell you about my time in Ireland, or my experience being pregnant and giving birth to our first child. That’s so rewarding! What’s even more rewarding is saying you set a goal, worked hard to achieve it, and you did!

Get an idea of what you want so you can start setting goals to reach the really big ones.

Set Goals

You can’t get anywhere or do anything without goals. You HAVE to have them. You have to have them in order to be successful with anything. Even being healthy or financially stable requires goals. Our life is structured around it. It’s not just about becoming a millionaire or losing 100 lbs.  It’s paying the mortgage and healing from a cold. A goal is composed of an action and a time frame you need to complete the action in to achieve a certain result. For example: you have to do x, y, and z at work (the action) within 40 hours during a 5 day period (the time frame) in order to make x amount of money (the result). If you do that (the action) for 50 years (the time frame) then you get to retire (the result). It’s a formula. You can fill it in with whatever you want. Each result that you want gets broken down into smaller and smaller goals so it’s easier to achieve by focusing on something small one step at a time. The key is to figure out what you want out of life, get a game plan, take it one day at a time, stay positive and just do it.

You can’t rely on others for your happiness. You can’t hope for change and expect other people to make it. You have to do the dirty work. You have to become the best version of yourself. You have to be the one making a difference. It starts with you.

Final words of wisdom for the new year: You can’t control things that are out of your control. Make the best of your circumstances.

I love and appreciate you for finding your way here and reading this. I hope you have the best year yet in 2017. Reflect in the comments below and share with me your favorite memory from 2016, something you checked off of your bucket list in 2016/setting to check off in 2017, or a goal you’ve accomplished in 2016/set for 2017. Can’t wait to read your responses!

Homemade Holiday: DIY Peppermint Lip Scrub

Running short on gift ideas, low on a budget, or is procrastination bringing your holiday spirit down? Try this sweet, little gift made from items that you more than likely have in your home already. This peppermint lip scrub is festive, tasty, great for anyone AND will show the person you give it to that you care about them and their skin. The sugar in this scrub acts as an exfoliant scraping away dead skin and the coconut oil moisturizes them leaving you with kissably soft lips. What a great gift for your significant other!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Small jar for storage
  • 5 drops of peppermint essential oil – therapeutic grade for ingestion
  • 15 peppermint candies
  • Sugar
  • Coconut Oil
  • Honey

Experiment with the quantity of sugar, coconut oil, and honey in order to get the right consistency for your preference and size of the container you are using. For example, if you want it to be a rougher scrub, use more sugar. Don’t add as much sugar if you have sensitive skin.

Mix, Mix, Mix!

Add all of your ingredients to a food processor and blend them until they are mixed together with small sized peppermint candy chunks sprinkled throughout it. The candy should have turned your scrub into a pretty, pale, pink color. Transfer your scrub into a jar, tie a ribbon around it, and you’re ready to wrap it up and gift it!

 

 

My Beauty Wishlist

Here is my makeup wishlist: a culmination of my must-have and go-to beauty products, products that are beautiful and revolutionary and some of the most unique makeup products on the market that I’ve seen so far and that you can’t help but be excited to try. I have to add a disclaimer that this post is not sponsored and it’s especially not sponsored by Benefit … apparently I just really love A LOT of their products. Haha! Enjoy 🙂

Too Faced Lip Cream – Unicorn Tears

Maybe not your everyday lipstick unless you’re a fairy princess, but on those days you feel like embracing your inner fairy tale this lipstick will guide you in that direction. It has a beautiful iridescence that shifts between all the purple, pink, and blue cotton candy hues from your wildest imagination.

 

Benefit Soft and Natural Brows Kit

This is the perfect starter kit to turn your brow to wow. It comes with everything you need to shape, fill in, and maintain your brows whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner. This kit contains a brow pencil, brow gel, highlighter, and shaping stencils.

Unite Conditioner

Image result for unite leave in
Look no further! Tangles, rat’s nests, and matted knots – be gone! You’ve finally found the best of the best when it comes to detanglers and leave in conditioners.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – Trooper

Image result for kat von d trooper
This pen has some serious precision and is one I keep going back to. It seems to last a pretty long time with consistent use and is really easy to control the boldness and build with it.

 

Pat McGrath Metalmorphosis 005

Image result for pat mcgrath labs metalmorphosis
Liquid. Metal. Shadows. THE most metallic and sparkly shadows I’ve ever seen ESPECIALLY when combined with the mixing liquid. If you haven’t seen these shadows in action you have to watch the video.

Benefit POREfessional Primer

Image result for benefit porefessional
If I could change one thing about my skin? It would be my large pores. I love this primer as it does a really good job minimizing their appearance and giving me a seamless base for my foundation.

Kailijumei Lip Balm

Image result for Kailijumei official flower jelly moisturizer lipstick and gloss - Minute Maid yellow
These are actually tinted lip balms that change to a unique shade based on the personal temperature and PH balance of your lips. Aside from that being totally cool, can we just talk about how pretty they are with the flecks of gold and flowers?!

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette

Image result for naked ultimate basics
I really feel like if you just purchased the Naked palettes, you would never need to buy another palette again. Of course, that’s really not true if you’re a makeup lover, but I think it’s pretty close to a truthful statement. I love how versatile this ultimate basics palette is.

NYX Matte Lip Creams

Image result for nyx matte lip cream prague
If you haven’t heard or tried these matte lip creams then run out to your nearest Ulta and grab yourself a few. These are like soft, cozy slippers for your lips. They are creamy and the colors are rich. They dry to a matte finish making them longer lasting and … I love them. Love them too.

Benefit Watt’s Up Soft Focus Highlighter

Image result for benefit watt's up highlighter amazon
One of my favorite everyday highlighters. It gives a soft glow wherever you put it and blends really nicely. I love using this as a brow highlighter.

LipSense 

Image result for lip sense lipstick
Theses lipglosses claim to fame is their ability to be kiss-proof, water-proof, smear-proof, and long lasting. Based on the physical footage, I’d say no kidding! What girl wouldn’t want the holy grail of all lipsticks?

 

Glam Glow Masks

Image result for glamglow power mud
These masks have been one of the hottest masks on the market this year. This one in particular I can’t wait to try because it’s supposed to help with large pores which is my biggest skin frustration. However, how can you not want to try this crazy cool metallic silver mask they have also? I’d feel like a space queen!

The Balm Mary Lou Manizer 

Image result for the balm mary lou amazon
One of the most loved and recommended highlighters out there. It bounces light for a picture perfect highlight.

 

Benefit They’re Real Mascara

Image result for benefit they're real mascara
There’s a reason why this is the number one mascara. It separates lashes, adds volume, and makes them look luscious. Forget those fake lashes! Just kidding 😉 Who can forget about fake lashes? They’re too much fun!

loveamanda

Holiday Party Makeup Look

holidaymakeup

Eyes 

  • Start off with Mugshot, a metallic, cooler, light brown, from the Naked 3 palette and apply it all over the lid.
  • Use Factory, a metallic bronze, from the Naked 3 palette and apply it in the crease and outer corner of the lid. Blend with Mugshot.
  • Take Darkside, a metallic, dark purple-gray, from the Naked 3 palette and apply it above the crease in the outer corner. Blend with Factory.
  • Switch to the Naked 2 palette and pat YDK, a metallic cool copper, on top of Mugshot on the lid. Blend with Factory.
  • Lastly, take Verve, a metallic, reflective, silver-white,  from the Naked 2 palette and use it to highlight the brown bone and inner corner of the eye.
  • Go back to Darkside from the Naked 3 palette and line your bottom lash line from the outer corner to 3/4 of the way in.
  • The last 1/4 line with Verve from the inner corner until it meets and blends with Darkside.

 

  • Tight line upper lash line with black eyeliner and lower lash line in the outer corner matching parallel with Darkside. Don’t draw it all the way to the inner corner – only 3/4 of the way.
  • Line upper lash line with black liquid liner.
  • And if you like to sparkle, go over it with silver glitter eyeliner. Make sure to wait for both to dry.

Lips 

Face 

  • Use a bronzer on the lines of the cheeks, sides of the forehead, and sides of the jawline.
  • Use highlighter on the top of your cheek bones and dust it across the center of your forehead, down the bridge of your nose, on your cupids bow and chin.
  • I’m also applying Mary Kay Cherry Blossom blush – my go to blush this season – on the apples of my cheeks and back against my cheek bone.

loveamanda

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

holiday2016giftguide

I’ve been hopping around the internet and along my travels have seen some pretty nifty and drool worthy products that would be great gift ideas – at least I would love to receive them! (In fact, some of them I have!) So if you’re stumped, hopefully these will inspire you for someone you’re shopping for or even to put on your own Christmas list.

Benefit Cosmetics Sassy Lassie

“Chick Picks” Beauty Bestsellers Kit

Benefit Cosmetics Sassy Lassie "Chick Picks" Beauty Bestsellers Kit
An all around great beauty gift for the makeup lover or the makeup dabbler. Some of Benefit’s greatest products all in one. All of these are great products for a simple, finished look or the base for a more glamorous ensemble.

Succulent Wall Art

8x10 Matted Print, Botanical Decor, Sage Green Floral Wall Art, 'Succulent Heart'
A beautiful print of your favorite cactus friend: the good ol’ succulent and a contemporary, in-style statement piece for any room that is certainly going to draw eyes and make people swoon.

HP Sprocket Printer

Image result for hp sprocket
This nifty little gadget fits in the palm of your hand and slips into a bag safe and out of sight for those special nights you know will be capturing memories and want to share them instantly. It doesn’t even need ink to print your Polaroids – and you can even turn your photos into stickers (what?!)!

 

Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Necklace

Real Blue Butterfly Pendant, Blue Morpho, Real Butterfly, Nature Necklace, Blue Butterfly
Become one with the beauty of nature and show off the brilliance of one of the most “eye catching” butterflies in the world around your neck. (It’s a blue morpho – do you see what I did there?) 😉 *Butterfly wings are from farmed butterflies – not wild caught

 

Bonsai Tree Kit

Image result for Best Seller Plant Theatre Bonsai Trio Kit, 3 Distinctive Bonsai Trees to Grow
Grow your own bonsai tree with this kit. You can have a zen oriental garden experience growing before your very eyes. WARNING: Must have a green thumb.

Camera Lens Coffee Thermos

Image result for 350ml Caniam Camera Lens Travel Mug Lens Cup Tea Mug Black
For the photo lover, the coffee lover and especially the one who loves them both! I’m in love with my travel mug and take it with me everywhere. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it – even my husband steals it from me! Also, easy conversation starter if you run a photog business. 😉

Truth Serum Decanter

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Pick your poison and fill the decanter with it. Play a game of truth or dare and if someone picks truth, make them drink. A pretty and unique piece for your bar and a fun edition to a classic party game.

Happiness Journal

Focus on what makes you happy and write lists down so that you never forget. This is great to help you focus on the good instead of the bad and serves as a reminder of something to go to when you’re feeling down. For the one who loves to journal and the one who loves to make lists.

 

Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp

Image result for WBM Himalayan Glow Hand Carved Natural Crystal Himalayan Salt Lamp with Genuine Neem Wood Base, Bulb and Dimmer Control, 8-to-9-Inch, 8-to-11-Pounds
Not only is it just a gorgeous piece for the home, but the added health benefits are a huge selling factor. I have two of these and I want one in every room of the house.

 

Planetarium Light Projector

Image result for Parrot Uncle 270 Degree Rotating Laser Twilight Stars Hologram Projector - Constellation, Nebula and Galaxy Projection
After hunting for a while, this was the only planetarium light projector I could find that looked beautifully realistic and was more than just for a kid’s bedroom. Although, great for kids this is something that would be cool even for adults. I’m also loving the aurora and ocean light projectors as well.

Hope you enjoyed this unique list of gift ideas for Christmas. Have you purchased any of these? What did you fall in love with from this list? If you love makeup, I will be posting my makeup wishlist next week so stay tuned for that!

loveamanda

My Pregnancy Experience

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First Trimester

After mother nature decided not to visit me one month, I started noticing some small changes with my body. These changes made me feel like I wasn’t myself and I knew there was definitely something going on. Occasional cramping out of the blue that didn’t last very long, the girls became tender, I wanted to take naps more frequently, and all of a sudden I was visited by dreaded sciatic back pain that left me in tears a few times.

A couple positive pregnancy tests and appointments later, it was confirmed that there was a little bun in the oven. I was unsettled by the smell of meats and gravitated toward fruits and vegetables, but never had any morning sickness. I didn’t specifically notice an increased need to visit the loo at this point, but I started to become even more emotional than usual. So far so good. Normal pregnancy symptoms, but nothing that made me miserable. At this point, it was mostly getting used to the idea that I was going to be a mom.

Second Trimester

My first ultrasound came at the beginning of my second trimester right before we headed off to Ireland for a week and a half. Baby liked to curl up in a ball and play with its feet. Baby was also finicky and didn’t like to pose for pictures making it a bit difficult for the tech to see everything she needed to. It was on our trip that we found out the results of the Harmony test I had. Baby is a boy and perfectly healthy – no genetic issues. His name was going to be Landon Scott. It was on our trip to Ireland that I decided after seeing all of the sheep that we were going to incorporate them into Landon’s nursery theme. On the flight home, I felt him move for the first time. It was a very memorable trip.

itsaboy

They say second trimester is the easiest and I would agree with that for sure. I was still tired a lot, but felt like I had a decent balance of being productive. I also had heart burn peek during this time. My sciatic back pain faded away with some chiropractic adjustments and I was back to eating meat. I felt pretty good for being pregnant. I still hadn’t popped at this point. In fact, often times people were surprised when I told them I was pregnant because they couldn’t tell.

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Third Trimester

My third trimester was by far the most challenging and difficult. I was swollen all over to the point where I couldn’t even wear my wedding ring on my finger anymore because it was too tight. I dealt with pelvic girdle pain making it incredibly painful to turn over in the middle of the night (in addition to it already being challenging with a baby belly that had finally popped) or get out of bed to accommodate my multiple nightly trips to the bathroom. I also developed pregnancy carpal tunnel at night so my hands would become numb and painful to move. (If you experience this, try to get wrist braces as soon as you can – life saver!) My energy was shot and I would cry for no reason. I didn’t have any weird cravings, but found myself binging far too often on Cookies n’ Cream ice-cream and pickles (separately), we went through toilet paper faster than a household of two should, and a good percentage of the time all I wanted to do was sleep. By the end, I couldn’t fit into my shoes let alone bend down to put them on, my tummy was protruding and round, and waddling around like a penguin is definitely a real struggle, my friends. I am extremely skeptical of any woman who says she loved being pregnant, but maybe that’s just me.

All in all though, the baby was happy and healthy. I was happy and healthy. All my tests came back with perfect results and my pregnancy was completely routine and normal. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I would say I had a good one. I wasn’t bed ridden and I didn’t have any complications with me or him. That’s the best kind of pregnancy and yes, it’s been a pregnancy so I’ve dealt with my body going through changes and creating a space for a baby human to grow and live in for 9 months. Those changes have been at times uncomfortable and painful, but it comes along with carrying a baby and being a mom. We spent this trimester renovating the baby’s room and other areas of our home for him. We put together the nursery, had our baby shower, and shopped for fun last minute items. The days disappeared and his arrival could be at any time.

Labor & Delivery

I was 37 weeks and already dilated to 3 1/2 cm and he was positioned head down and low. My midwife said she would be surprised if I made it to my due date. The next day I felt my body doing some weird things that made me wonder if I wasn’t heading into early labor. We took a trip to triage, but nothing came out of it and we were sent back home. Thirty-nine weeks rolled by and I had a membrane sweep, bounced on an exercise ball, walked, ate 3 pineapples and drank 42 oz of pineapple juice, went the whole nine yards with natural induction methods … and nothing happened. The night of my sweep, I had contractions regularly for three hours before I went to bed waiting for them to pick up intensity and get closer together, but instead they faded away. This happened the following week as well when I got a second sweep. At 40 weeks, I was dilated to 5 cm, almost completely effaced, and baby was in a 1 position, but not even Clary Sage oil could help me pick up any regular contractions. I could feel my body preparing for labor, but never got the consistent and regular contractions to carry me through.

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I was induced at 41 weeks on October 25th. We arrived at 9 in the morning and they hooked me up to pitocin. By 1pm it was upped to 7mL and I was finally starting to get stronger contractions. I was dilated to a 6 so I could officially be considered in active labor and they moved me over to the room I would deliver in. I decided not to commit to a decision on pain medication until I was able to experience how my body was handling the circumstances. I figured I would do some sort of pain medication, but wasn’t sure if I would go straight to the epidural. When I was 1cm away from it being too late to get Stadol in my IV for pain and knowing that the contractions were going to get worst, I decided to go for it because I wanted to have the most comfortable experience possible and didn’t want to deprive myself of that. My body was already stressed out and I had no idea how much worst it was going to get. Unfortunately, Stadol ended up conflicting with my allergy to codeine and it wasn’t an option so the only thing left was the epidural. I went for it.

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They had to insert an internal monitor to see how strong my contractions actually were since they weren’t translating well onto the monitor and then they broke my water and kicked up the pitocin to 9mL. This resulted in me shivering uncontrollably. When my contractions finally started to become more regular and increase in pain, they took me off the pitocin completely. I have no idea how much the epidural was actually helping. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I can tell you that I wasn’t one of the women who watched the contractions rise on the monitor and not feel it. If it weren’t for my legs still feeling some sort of numbness, I’m inclined to think the epidural was wearing off. I found out why labor is called that. They inserted another internal monitor for a better reading of the baby’s heart rate. I was not as dilated as I should have been at this point so my midwife had me move around from position to position on the hospital bed to get baby better aligned. This is not an easy task when you have an IV in, an epidural, two internal monitors, numb legs, and painful contractions on a hospital bed that doesn’t seem very wide. By 7:00pm, I was beginning to experience contractions at their worst. The only thing that gave me relief was a cool, wet face cloth. For some reason the texture took my mind off the contractions and the cold water took the edge off. An hour later, I was still moving into different positions trying to work baby into the right one. The contractions were not cooperating with my body. My midwife wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and call for a c-section, but I was starting to stall.

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She put me back on pitocin at 1mL to get me jump started again and then took me off. Half of my cervix was dilated to an 8 and the other half was dilated to a 10 so baby couldn’t get his head through. It left me with the need to push, but not the ability because if I had it would have damaged my cervix. So we played a game of rocking the car out of the ditch. I pushed while she held me at a 10 and as soon as the head was holding me at a 10 instead, we were good to go. My contractions were coming too close together and not allowing me to rest. This didn’t give me enough energy to push hard enough. I had to calm myself down and relax my mind and body so it wouldn’t tense up and cause a contraction which (surprise!) you do through breathing techniques. And I didn’t think I would need to use any of them. Ha! It’s all a learning experience. The little guy was so broad that I had to push for his head, shoulders, stomach, and hips, but he was finally born at 9:17pm, weighed 8.06lb, and was 20″ long. I was in labor for a total of roughly 8 hours and pushed for about 15 minutes which isn’t bad. It didn’t go as perfectly smooth or “painless” as I had envisioned, but I think that’s because I didn’t know exactly what to expect. In the end, I am grateful for a beautiful, healthy baby, a relatively short labor, and avoided a c-section which I’m convinced is all thanks to my midwife who knew exactly what to do to get me to progress and never gave up on me.

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The relief you feel to have that baby in your arms and the difference your body feels in a split second after delivering is priceless.

Welcome to the world, Landon Scott. You are our greatest adventure yet.

You can see more of his newborn pictures here.

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loveamanda

Spiritual Journaling: S.O.A.P. Method

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I’ve always been a fan of journaling. Spiritual journaling is something I’m starting to get into more in order to have a richer understanding of the Bible and document what I’m learning better. This is also a great practice to implement into your Self Care Plan. One spiritual journaling method that I’ve come across recently is called the S.O.A.P method. When Jonathan and I planned on getting married, we started going to a Bible study at his church and it was there they taught us this method that I was surprised to find I had never heard of or learned before.


How It Works:

‘S’ = Scripture

Pick a passage to read out of and once you’re finished, write the scripture down and/or the reference you’re choosing to focus on. Pick one that stood out to you.

‘O’ = Observation

Share what you observed from the text. In your own words, what is it communicating to the reader?

‘A’  = Application

Share how someone in general or specifically yourself could take what is observed in this verse and apply to your life.

‘P’ = Prayer

Document a prayer referencing the application of this text to your life.


I have a Praise journal that lists a topic and verses supporting that topic to journal a praise about. This one focuses on God being our Provider. The text is Psalm 145.

For Example:

Scripture

Psalm 145:15-19

The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them.

Observation

The Lord provides for every living creature on the earth. He not only takes care of our needs as well, but longs to satisfy our desires so long as we trust that He wants to and will.

Application

I need to make more of a conscious effort to trust Him enough to ask for not only my needs, but also the desires of my heart. Additionally, thanking Him for not only when He answers my prayers and meets my needs and desires, but for His goodness and blessings in the day to day things that I haven’t even thought to ask for.

Prayer

Lord, you are so good, so loving, so giving. You are waiting and ready to hear our cries and provide for us. I want to cry out to you and have you hear the depths of my heart. You see my longings and short comings. You know when I’m short on bills or when I’m overwhelmed with uncertainty when an emergency arises and taps into our funds. You know when my spirit is burdened and broken by unkind words and emotional baggage. You know when I really want to treat myself or when I long for the support of a friend. You know, Father. Remind me of your love and desire to provide for me. Remind me to come to you first when I feel discontent so I can find peace in the storm. Thank you, Lord.

 

I hope you had a wonderful time with family and a very blessed Thanksgiving. My love to you as you journey on with your day. I pray you find peace as well.

loveamanda

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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Tis the season for everything pumpkin and before we head into winter there’s a little time left to get in one last pumpkin recipe. Treat yourself to this autumnal smoothie for breakfast.

What You’ll Need:

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  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 large banana
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 3 tblsp of milk
  • nutmeg and whipped cream for garnish

Blend it all together and what have you got? Bippity-boppity-A PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE!

Makes one serving. What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

loveamanda