expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Gotta love Target for Holiday Shopping!

This is my top 8 favorite Target finds for gifts this Holiday season!

1. ((Great idea for toddlers and preschoolers))My (almost) 2 yr old LOVES Llama Llama and who can blame her?! He's adorable and the books are so much fun!
2. Fisherprice light up mat (babies): My youngest (almost two) now dances around on this mat and its pretty darn cute!
3. ((Stocking stuffers for Tween girls))
Did you know scrunchie's are back "in"? Yep, look around and you will see a lot on the wrists of those teen/tween girls. I actually don't hate it as they are great to avoid breakage.
4. ((more stocking stuffer for girls)) I personally use these in replacement of my regular elastic ties. They actually work in holding your hair and won't cause damage OR those annoying pony tail bumps!!! SCORE!
5. CARD GAMES (great for various ages; I'm linking ones that I play with my 5 and 7 yr old) (UNO, Sushi go, and skip bo)
6. Hooded Sleepers (kindergartners thru tween)
Yes, these crazy one piece sleepers are funny and a hit with not only the younger crowd but also teens! The funnier the better.
7. Awesome gift for 8yr olds thru teen. For the blossoming photographer! These photos are so cute too!
8. ((kids:Boys & Girls)) Santa gave this to my son when he was 2 (he's 7 now) and it still gets played with when friends come over. My 5 yr old and 2 yr old daughters also play with it frequently with their cars/shopkins/animals and they LOVE it.
DON'T FORGET to use your red card and save 5%!
(you can just hook it up to come straight out of your bank acct)
Read more ...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Best Hostess Gift!

So many of you are asking for more ideas so here we go:

This one is for the friend/mom/sister/aunt that loves to decorate!!!

This 3 tier tray is the perfect addition to display your Holiday favorite knick knacks or for entertaining!

Available here:
Read more ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas

LESS than 2 weeks til Christmas!

I do most of my shopping online so I thought I would share some of my tried & true gift ideas!!!
1. {{Spouse, sister, brother, mother}} Magnetic car phone mount. (works on all phones) It's a useful gift for someone that has everything!
I've been using it for a few months now and I'm LOVING it!
2. {{Family gift}} ALEXAAAAA! (if you don't already have one, you need one)
great for music & games (my kids LOVE playing 20 questions with her).http://amzn.to/2BaATEM
or the Dot (smaller version) ONLY $29!!! http://amzn.to/2ANTMeE
3. {{tween, friends}} POP SOCKET. I Love mine!
4.{{Kids/tweens}} Boogie Board. (from 2 yrs all the way to Tweens!) Every kid that has played w one at my house has loved it!
5. {{Sister/cousin/mother}} Vacation soon? get one of these for your loved one. It's THE best and will work under make up without being a greasy mess
6. {{ KIDS}} Keep the ipad for adults; give your kids this durable option : We have had a kindle for our son since he was around 18mo/2yr old. He is now 7 and it still works and he has dropped it countless times! It's the real deal, folks!
7. {{Family}} We got rid of cable 2 yrs ago and we are so happy with our Fire TV stick!!! (in addition to netflix subscription of course)
8. {{Kids}} Neo Tracks Twister Tracks. I've gotten these for multiple birthday parties and they are always well received. My kiddo's love them too!
9.{{His/Hers, sister, brother, funny gift}} These socks are just great and funny too.
10. {{Tech lover gift}} Most tech-lovers get their own stuff bc they want it as SOON as it comes out so surprise them w this cute accessory!
Read more ...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Krista Blocker's Guide to the Perfect Curl

Quad Cities Hair Wizard- Krista Blocker
A “How To” Curl Your Hair
            I have assembled my very best TOP TEN tips when it comes to curling the hair.  I hope these help you as much as they have helped me!
1.The first tip is how to use a flat iron to correctly curl the hair.   SO... you would start out with a section of hair like you were getting ready to flat iron, you then make a 180 degree turn with the iron.  You would then want to grab the tail of the hair that is still sticking out and wrap it back up over the hair to make a complete 360 degree rotation, and then pull down the hair shaft with the flat iron. Viola you’ve got a beautful loose curl. 

2.   Hair curls best on any length with a one inch curling iron.  Anything bigger will give you more body then curl, and anything smaller will give you a tight spiral curl. You don’t want to look like Shirley Temple.  
3.  To achieve the optimal loose curl on long hair use a curling iron, and on short hair use a flat iron.  It’s not absolutely necessary, you could you the other, but these tools give the best look at that length. 
4.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, curl the hair away from the face.  This opens up the face, not encloses it.
5.  Before raking your fingers through your hair to break up the curl, make sure the hair has completely cooled.  Hair sets as it cools.  If you break up the curl before it has time to cool off then your curls will fall out. 
6.  DO set your hair will a light weight hairspray when complete, to ensure that your style will be locked in ALL day long.  Better yet, prep your hair to be curled with a prepping spray, or spray meant to be used with heat before and light hairspray after.  This is the secret to how the celebs never have to worry about their hair not looking perfect.  Also, make sure you are using a heat protectant so you don’t damage your hair in the process.
7.  Don’t feel like you have to re-curl all of your hair on the second day.  It’s the perfect time to wear a looser curl.  Emphasize what you have and then just go back in and refresh a few pieces.  Spray a little spray shine, and you are out the door.
8.  Loose curls are flattering on ANY face shape.  The bounce, the added height, and the automatic lift it gives the fave is a killer combo to looking your best.  It’s a no wonder how come are styles always revert back to some type of curl. 

9.   Don’t over think how each and every curl looks when it comes to curling your hair.  You don’t want every piece curled exactly the same, the exact same way.  I often have people who say they give up curling their hair because they can’t get uniform curls.  Wait until you are completely done curling your hair before you go back and tweak the minor imperfections in the hair.  Chances are you will end up liking it when you see the whole hairstyle together.  Please, trust me and follow this tip!
10.    Last, but not least if you are struggling to curl your hair.  Don’t be afraid to ask your stylist to show you.  That is what we are here for.  Sometimes we forget to explain what we are doing when we are styling your hair because it comes like second nature to us.  I love to teach someone new when it comes to their hair!
Read more ...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Women, Food, and God. Book review by Libby Carstens; QCA Advocare Rep and Health Guru

Well..here goes..You want to hear something from a nutritional box observing, workout loving, make anything out of protein to substitute flour junkie? Let’s get to the point. This is scary to say. I’m a compulsive eater... Sometimes uncontrollable.  I want to know every way NOT to compulsively eat because...well don’t we tend to try to be so interested in things we want to fix about ourselves?

I feel like I’m the only one out there and we all try to hide things and be a perfect mom, wife, woman, friend that sometimes no one sees the real us. Then....I read this book. Actually audiobook because I drive A LOT and I can multitask. It’s called Women, Food and God.
WARNING!! If you are not a person of faith, I’m not going to talk about God or anyone else’s “higher power” and neither does the book. This is about food and the power it has over us for some reason. Yes, I believe we all need some sort of Higher Power and mine is God and praying or meditating or whatever you call it really does help.

This book has given 7 guidelines to eating that are SO simple. It’s becoming aware of yourself doing them and getting out of the habit that’s hard. Perhaps it’s CHOOSING to not do them.

If you ever have a goal to read a certain amount of books this one should be on the list for sure. She goes into how women view food and some staggering percentages about how the majority of women from a young age are ALWAYS “dieting” in some form or another. Whether we’re going on a vacation, getting married, going to be in a wedding, just had a baby, getting ready to have a baby, it’s almost short weather, it’s January 1st, or you just don’t want to look at yourself in the mirror anymore, we are just always trying to change the size of our thighs or other body part hoping we’ll like ourselves more. One story from the book I thought interesting was a women who goes to get liposuction on her thighs because she hates looking at them. After recovering from the procedure, guess what? She still hated them. It’s not the thighs, but the standard and our view of them.

Let’s see these guidelines....

1.  Eat when you’re hungry.

2.  Eat sitting down in a calm environment. (this does not include the car)

3.  Eat without distractions including radio, TV, newspaper, Kindle, iPad, computer, books, and intense or anxiety producing music.

4.  Eat what your body needs.

5.  Eat until you are satisfied. Not stuffed.

6.  Eat with the intention of being in full view of others.

7.  Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

When I first heard these I thought, “that’s easy”.

Then I immediately started being aware of when I eat, how I eat and WHY I eat when I’m not hungry.

It blew my mind. So obviously eat when you’re hungry.

Think about this- You Are Only Hungry For Two Reasons

1.  Your body needs nourishment.

2.  You are feeling empty and hungry for something else such as: love, social connection, balance and purpose.

Anyone reading this as a mom Number 2 is just funny. Calm... so 2 kids on your lap and another asking for a glass of juice is not calm or distracting? LOL The car is a big one as well. It’s so easy to mindlessly eat in the car and not realize you ate way too many almonds.

Distractions are big. Example- I always have the TV on or music on my phone. It’s easy to eat when the girls are at home, because there’s constant activity, but every Wednesday when they go to Dad’s house, its so quiet.

I became aware that I am used to noise so when they leave and I’m alone I like to “distract” my heart and mind with music. I ate more than when I consciously turned it off and really felt my feelings and gave myself permission to miss them and be bummed. I think we try to literally eat our feelings that we never know WHY we’re going to the refrigerator 10 min after we had a full meal. Our stomachs are full, but our feelings are being subdued with the wrong thing.

Deepak Chopak M.D. says “That the body you’re looking at now, is the product of your past experiences, and you’re looking at the past. If you want to know what your experiences were in the past, look at your body now.”

If you want to create a new body, create new experiences NOW. Not later.

I love thinking about this. How we view and see food now has to change, if we want change for ourselves.

 Eat what your body needs. In Women, Food and God, the author talks about we are restrictive about certain types of food that we deprive ourselves and then of course later binge. She says don’t limit anything. When you realize you can eat anything, it’s not a big deal to have a couple pieces of chocolate and be Ok with it!

Another thing Deepak Chopak M.D. says

about eating is on a scale from 1-10



2-3 You are hungry

4-5 You are satisfied

7-9 You are uncomfortably full

10 You are stuffed


Eat when you are hungry at a 2-3 and Stop when you’re a 4-5. Easier said than done.


Do you ever sneak food? I’m guilty. Example- You know that cake is sitting there so you just take a sliver at a time so if you eat tiny pieces throughout the day it won’t equal a whole piece. LOL

What we eat in private is still worn in public. That really gets to me as well to be fully accountable to myself.


Lastly, eat with pleasure, enjoyment and gusto. I think of Europeans when I hear this. Food is an incredible connector of people. Food is the center of every party, wedding and get together. So instead of feeling guilty or a failure for eating that truffle, bacon wrapped lil smokey or few potato chips that maybe your favorite food. Enjoy it, be thankful you can eat a little occasionally, and move on...We have so many other things to worry about than the size of our jeans. Nothing is sweeter than being confident with yourself and working to fit in a smaller size, but I don’t want to put that self-esteem issue onto my daughters to think they have to worry about every morsel they eat for the rest of their lives. Let’s start a new revolution of women who LOVE themselves and accepting of every body.

As for me, being aware has changed everything! I feel whole to give permission to feel my feelings and enjoy my meals:)
Read more ...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What colors NOT to wear! By: Kelcy Hanson of Sweekit Photography



What may be popular in style may not be the most popular if you are getting your child’s pictures taken or family pictures. As a photographer, I want your child(ren) to look the best in the photos that you are going to be hanging on the wall. It is hard to know what looks best on your child so here are a few suggestion:


     What color of eyes does your child(ren) have? Eyes can play a huge role in what colors look best on kids! If you really want them to stand out, you can either choose to dress the child in the same color (blue shirt to pull out blue eyes) or choose the color opposite on the color wheel. Same goes with hair color-- if the child has red hair, typically greens look best and really make the red hair stand out!

     What kind of skin tone does your child(ren) have? Some colors tend to really wash out a person so be cautious to find colors that compliment, not clash :) If the child has fair skin and blonde hair, a pale pink outfit might not compliment their skin as well as a darker pink/coral color!

     Instead of the ‘hot’ neon colors, choose a few of the following-- Mint green instead of lime green; coral pink instead of bright pink; pale yellow instead of neon yellow, etc.

     Neutral and timeless colors and styles will always photograph the best and stand the test of time.

     Patterns, colors, oh my! Keep it simple-- too much distraction with the clothing takes away from the beautiful face of your child!



This season, neon colors are very popular! They look super adorable on kids and neon is everywhere! Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t have the same love relationship. Neon tends to have negative effects on skin tone and the true color of neon is very difficult to capture through a lens. Easy to see to the naked eye, but very difficult for a camera to ‘see’. When neon is photographed, it also leaves a color cast on the person’s face/neck/arms.


Also, contrary to what you see a lot, another color to avoid is wearing all white. Although it is a great color to look all uniform as a family, white reflects every color around it. Just slighting changing a child’s outfit from white to an off-white or cream color can make a huge difference!


Hopefully these tips will help you pick out outfits for your next photoshoot! Next, I will be writing a few tips on how to dress your family for a cohesive look!


(Stock photos from Crazy 8 clothing store, www.crazy8.com.)
Read more ...

10 MUST HAVE Makeup Brushes by Brittany Chevelle; QCA MakeUp Artist

                                               Brittany's 10 MUST-HAVE Makeup Brushes


Before I get started, let tell you a little secret from the pros: You do not need every brush that is on the market. There are 10 brushes that are essential to your makeup kit. Believe me, the rest of the brushes are wonderful to have, but with these 10 brushes, you will be able to recreate any look! :)

                                                                    FACE BRUSHES


1. Large Powder Brush-  Great to dust loose/compact powder/minerals all over the face and body.  This brush is very full, softly rounded, and will give you sheer coverage. Perfect for setting liquid foundation with a light-weight powder.


2. Blush Brush-  This brush is very versatile as you can use it to apply blush, bronzer and/or highlighter. You can purchase a rounded or angled blush brush, depending on your preference.


3. Foundation/concealer brush-  This is great for spreading a liquid/cream foundation over the skin to get a flawless finish. You may also use this brush to apply a moisturizer, a primer, concealer or even cream blush. Just be sure to clean the brush if you plan to use it for foundation and blush, or you may consider buying two of these brushes, one for each product.


4. Mixed Fiber Flat Brush – This is one of my favorite brushes. I love to use this brush to apply my liquid primer and liquid foundation for an airbrushed, flawless application. It is also a great choice for those who love to contour and highlight as it can be used dry to blend powders and/or creams. This is also a wonderful choice for mineral powder lovers. Just use in place of your buff/kabuki brush.


                                                                     EYE BRUSHES


5. Small Shading brush – This brush is great for applying eyeshadows to the eye lid or crease because it deposits concentrated color to area it is applied.


6. All Over Brush-  This brush deposits sheer to medium coverage and is great to use all over, and may also be used in the crease for a softer look.

*Depending on the desired look, you may use either brush in the crease. The small shading brush will give you a more precise/defined crease.


7. Blending Brush-  This brush is great to use without any makeup, to blend and soften lines of applied eyeshadows. You may also use it to apply eyeshadow for a sheer wash of color.


8. Fine Tipped Eye Liner Brush – This is perfect for liquid or cream liners to create a defined look. ex. Cat-eye or winged-liner


9. Angled Brow Brush-  This brush is great for powder or creams. You may also use it to soften the look of brow pencils.


10. Lash comb/brow brush- This brush is great to sweep through the brows, blending any shadow or pencil lines, and shaping unruly brows.

I like to apply my mascara, comb through with the wand, let the mascara dry and then reapply. This is the BEST way to get fanned out lashes, with volume and no clumps. :)

Invest your money is good quality brushes, quality over quantity. In this case, less can be more!

Here are some prestige brush brands that I recommend: Make Up Forever,  Bobbi Brown, MAC, Obsessive Compulsive. You can find these at Sephora, Department Stores, and online.

If you aren't ready to make quite the investment just yet, but want to use some good quality brushes, I also recommend Sonia Kashuk, Real Techniques, EcoTools, and Sigma. Most of these you can find at Target or Drugstores.

(Most pictures were found on Sephora.com)
Read more ...