Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Random Act of Kindness.  It's a simple concept really, but to so many it seems difficult to grasp.  I'm not writing this to toot my own horn.  I'm writing this to share ideas and to ask for new ones.  You may recall me writing about this here.

I have heard so many sad stories.  Partly because I choose to follow so many on Facebook with the hope that the story will have the happy ending it deserves. Partly because they are on the news.  My heart breaks when I hear those stories and it reminds me to take the time to hug my kids just one more time and tell my family I love them each day.  It also reminds me that life is precious.  It can be short.  Too short.  But it can be worth it.  Oh SO SO SO worth it.

These stories have taught me that some things are not meant to be held on to.  Letting go of little things can make you much happier.  If someone made you angry, find it in your heart to forgive.  You may never know when it will be their last day (or your last day), which is upsetting to think about, but unfortunately true.  So, I'm sharing a few of the random acts I have performed and why.

First, let's start with the why.  I heard a story about a mother and son who's lives were taken too soon.  I also heard the story of a little boy who was in a tragic accident.  Because of those two little boys I decided to find a way to give back to children.  So, I set out to collect PJ's from parents who no longer needed them. I heard of an organization called Bennison.  Bennison collects pajamas and sends them to other counties in order to help regulate the body temperature of children who may be at risk of death.  These are countries with high rates of poverty and malnutrition. There is so much more information about Bennison here on their blog.  And here on their website.  I collected so many pairs of pajama's and I donated some of our own.  I also stopped in at Goodwill and picked up a few pairs there.  I sent two boxes of PJ's to the organization and was contacted right after they got them with a loving note of thanks.  I was even reimbursed for shipping!  It seriously cost me a little bit of time and a small amount of effort and I made a difference.  I know it won't bring back those two little boys, but it made me smile that their stories inspired me to give.  It's one of the easiest things I have ever done and it made my heart full of love for the little children I was helping.

As for the mom I talked about, I wanted to find a woman and make her smile.  So, while I was at the drive-thru of Starbucks one day, I offered to pay for the car behind me.  It was a women, about the same age as me.  The Barista said, "she ordered a venti coffee and two refreshers, the total is like $12 do you want to pay for all of it or just one drink?"  Without hesitating I said, "the whole thing."  The Barista was so surprised. I thought that maybe people aren't willing to pay for a $12 order, but what's $12?  I can spend that on one item I don't really need or I can (hopefully) make someones day.  The Barista thanked me again and said I was so nice and he thought that was "so cool" that I paid for her full order.  It's just $12!  I hope I made her day a little brighter, I know it made mine great!

Finally, I wanted to do something nice for someone who is doing something nice (to put it mildly) for me.  I wanted to find someone in the military and give back a little something to them. I knew this wasn't going to even come close to the sacrifices that they are making for me and my freedom, but it was a small gesture to let them know I was thinking of them and I appreciated them. So, I put a post on Facebook to ask if anyone knew of anyone overseas in the military who may need anything.  It turned out that a friend of mine is currently over there.  I messaged her to ask what some things are that she needed.  I boxed up some goodies and sent them her way.  I hope she got them and is enjoying them and maybe she even shared with her fellow soldiers!  I completely support our troops.  After all, if it weren't for the Navy, I would have never met my sailor:)  You have to be the least selfish type of person to join the military in my opinion.  That is a special type of person and there should be more people out there like that.  One thing I know for sure is that I know I don't have that much courage...

I'm also currently running a special for Younique where all week 10% of my sales will be donated to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  This cause hits close to home for me, which is why I chose it.  I will pick a different charity next month and every month after, for as long as I'm selling Younique to donate to.  This makes it easy for others to give and it is just another way I can show my support to find a cure.

What is your favorite way to give back?  What is something you think everyone can benefit from doing? What are some suggestions for other ways I can help others, randomly or not?  Please share in the comments below!

Linking up to House of Rose.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Product Review: Outdoor Toys

With summer FINALLY approaching Wisconsin, I thought it would be a great idea to share my thoughts on the outdoor toys we have used over the past few years.

First, this roller coaster.  My kids love this thing!  To make it go a little faster and a little longer, we put it on the small hill in our backyard and put a long piece of MDF we had on hand under the end.  This made the ride twice as long and twice as fast!  (I wonder why my children don't have those awesome lightning speed streaks behind them when they ride!)  I bought it off of craigslist and it was in new condition, 25 bucks?  Can't beat it!

Pros: comes apart for easy storage, easy to clean, lightweight, fun for bigger kids

Cons: my kids wish it would go faster (which is why we tried to do that ourselves!)

Recommended?:  If you have the room, yes!
Alyssa's Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Next up, this play set.  Well, not this EXACT one, this is the closest I could find online.  Ours has all the same "functions" as this one except the climbing wall is is on the opposite side as the slide.  On this model, it is next to it.  We bought this for Dallas for his 2nd birthday.  My husband assembled it the night before his birthday and we surprised Dallas the morning of.  He was so excited and I will always remember the look on his face when he saw it.  The set has held up so nicely over the years, but I will say that as Dallas just turned 4 (where did my baby go??) he is almost too big for it.

Pros: fun for multiple kids, color hasn't faded after 2 years, can change out the type of swings, it's not too big so smaller kids can climb with no problem, assembly was pretty easy, customer service was very helpful when we lost one part of the "steering wheel", they gladly sent us an entire new hardware set that the piece came in

Cons: large, needs to be anchored, not really big enough for a 4 year old

Recommended?: again, if you have the room, yes!
Alyssa's Star Rating: 4 out of 5

This next one was a gift and it has been a multi-purpose item for us.  My dad bought it for Dallas after I had him, so it had sentimental value from the start!  We have used it for photo props, walks, parades, birthday party decor and the boys like to pull each other around in it at home.  It's a great classic toy, every family needs a wagon! 

Pros: easy to assemble, easy to pull (even the kids can do it), the sides come off like any classic wooden Radio Flyer, so the kids like to "build" it

Cons: as with any wagon, it's not the easiest thing to pull, so we usually choose a stroller over the wagon to take on outings

Recommended?: Highly
Alyssa's Star Rating: 5 out of 5 

Another gift...Dallas got this for one of his birthdays and for the longest time, it was a huge hit.  Then one sad day, it stopped working:(  We tried everything, new batteries, cleaning, etc.  But nothing worked.  I bought the same exact machine and it stopped working after a few weeks, plus someone pulled the actual bubble blower (the yellow "wand" part) off and it never stayed on after that.  I haven't been able to find anything that works as well as this did.  I think I've been through three bubble machines and we still haven't found one that is as amazing as the first.  We have one now, it does a decent job and the kids like it, so that's the main goal.    

Pros: fun for the kids, it is also fun when we have parties

Cons: uses a lot of batteries...a lot!

Recommended?: if you find one that is amazing, then yes, worth every penny!
Alyssa's Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5

And finally, the cozy coupe!  Who doesn't love this toy?  Again, I bought this on a buy/sell site for $15.  I quickly realized that my crazy boys needed the "floor board" part of the car.  With how fast they like to push each other, someones toes were always being dragged against the ground.....OUCH!  So, I called Step 2 and it was about $4 to order and ship the floorboard.  It came quickly and ever since I'm much more comfortable with the boys playing with it.

Pros: easy to push, easy to clean, has fun interactive parts (gas tank, cup holders, horn, steering wheel)

Cons: the stickers have faded and started to peel off, without a floorboard I wouldn't like it as much

Recommended?: Highly
Alyssa's Star Rating: 5 out of 5

I actually have plans for our coupe this summer.....

What outdoor toys could your family not live without?  What toys have you found that you would not want, even for free?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I started a new journey and since I try to put 100% into everything in life I am learning how to juggle it all! That's why the blog has been taking a backseat lately (well, that and the fact that I have a gigantic birthday party in the works for two pretty important little dudes!).  I am on a mission with Younique and I am really looking forward to achieving some new goals I have set.  So, today, I'm going to share my experience so far. I'm going to tell you about the company, tell you my goals, brag about my accomplishments and open this up for discussion so I can answer any other questions you may have.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, then chances are you know a lot of the answers to these questions already.  But I want my blog to be a place to share my journey from the start, so this is not only going to help me remember where I started, but it will help me to stay on track and continue to blow this thing out of the water!  Thanks for following, thanks for listening, most of all thanks for supporting me!

What IS Younique?  

It is a naturally based cosmetics and skin care company.  It is home to the #1 best selling, famous 3D Fiber Lashes.  These are NOT fake lashes, they are made from green tea and go on just like mascara.  This company started in October of 2012 and it is growing like crazy!  May 1st, the company had a ONE MILLION DOLLAR day!  The first ever for them, so that was big news.  I'm so happy I was a part of that day.  Younique is geared towards online sales and marketing, using mostly social media.  The parties are all done online.  You can host them in your home, but the idea is to make shopping available all the time.  So, whether you are hosting a party, buying product, or selling Younique, you can play & "work" anytime, anywhere.

Who sells Younique?

Anyone and everyone SHOULD sell Younique!  I sell it because it is all online as I mentioned above.  I have two little kids (as you know) and I stay home with them.  I didn't want to sell something that required me to get a sitter, pack up a car full of stuff and head out of the house.  Not to mention I would have to set up a demonstration, require a hostesses to make food and clean their house, talk for an hour, then try to get sales face to face.  This would take away time from my kids but it would also cost me money.  The idea is for me to MAKE money:)  

What do you get if you choose to host a  party?

Rewards for hostesses start at $200 in sales.  At that point you earn one 1/2 off item and 10% of your sales in Ycash.  Ycash can then be used to purchase products from the site!  The rewards just go up from there. It's easy to get to that $200 mark if you share with your friends and especially if you've tried the product and can tell people how much you love it!

What do you get if you choose to become a Younique presenter?

You get an awesome case full of great products!  You get your own set of the mascara, a few brushes, all of the pigments, all of the blush colors and all of the concealers!  You also get to join a community of awesome ladies who are always there to help you.  You can join groups on FB where you get to see first hand before and after pictures to share with your friends/family/hostesses/etc.  You will have a chance to earn trips and you have the potential to make lots of cash! The kit looks a little something like this:

What are the best products to try if you are new to Younique?

The best products would be everything included in the "Perfect Start" collection.  This way you get to try the a foundation and a concealer or a blush, a few pigments, a mascara and a lip gloss.  You'll get to try a few "color items" plus a few every day essentials.  If you want to jump in and try everything, you could go with the "Want It All" collection.  The name says it all!  In this collection you get a little of everything.  Color items, creams, moisturizer, primer, foundations, etc.  You name it, it's there!  Both are pictured below.

What if you don't "love it"?

We have a "love it" guarantee that makes buying the products easy and worry-free.  Since this is all online and unless you know someone who has the product at home, it isn't possible for you to try it before you buy it.  However, because of that same reason, Younique HAS to have the best products or they would already be out of business! Here are the exact details about how they insure you'll love it or you how they will try to make you happy:

What are my favorite products?

So far I love the lashes, that sounds so cliche, I know!  The lip gloss is a great go-to item for every day.  I am picky with any lip product and this one is NOT sticky and it stays on for a decent amount of time.  I've heard great things about the BB Cream, Brilliant and Glorious.  I haven't even tried any of them, but they are on order and I can't wait to report back with my honest opinion.  Oh, and I joined immediately after I tried the mascara and lip gloss, so that should say something...two products in and I was ready to take the plunge! 

What are my goals for this new venture and what goals have I already reached with Younique??

My biggest goal is to hit my fast start THIS MONTH!!  Fast start is to reach "pink status" in three months or less, but I'm really trying hard to reach it in ONE MONTH!  Ah!  I told you, big goals.  I'm on track to get there.  I just need to wrap it up.  I have only been selling Younique since April 23rd, so that's less than three weeks ago and I am currently sitting pretty as a "yellow" level presenter, half way to Pink!  I'll get there, I just know it!

Want to learn more about Younique?  Ask below in the comments or message me on Facebook.  Want to join my team?  Send me a message and I'll help get you all set up!  Just want to earn free products?  Host a party today, just tell me and I'll set it all up.  I do all the work, you have all the fun shopping for free!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Less mess = less stress

Wow!  I can't believe that it's been two weeks since my last post.  I recently started something new that I'm excited to blog about, but today I'm writing a helpful post.

It's no secret that I like a clean house.  I like everything to have a place and everything in that place.  It's also no secret that sometimes I can't find something or the placed it belongs and that's my own fault.  I organize so well that even I can't find things.  Oh well, life goes on right?  Or you just buy a replacement item!  So, today I want to share a few things I do each day to make my house cleaner and to keep things organized.  I do these things once or twice a day and it makes my life easier.  Less mess, less stress.  That's my motto!

1.  I pick up everything around the house that is out of place.  I do this before I go to bed at night and while my kids are taking a nap in the afternoon. We live in a ranch style home, so we have a long house.  I start at one end and just go room by room.  If something is in a room where it doesn't belong, I will take it directly to where it does belong. I know some people will carry a laundry basket around with them and fill that up, then empty it as they go.  Our house isn't that big, so I just move the stuff as I go:)

2.  I (try) to empty the dishwasher once a day if the dishes are clean.  Once it is empty, I load dishes as we use them.

3.  I always make our beds.  There is something about a freshly made bed that makes a room feel clean.  My boys just sleep with blankets so I just drape those over the sides of their beds so they are easily found when it's nap or bedtime.

4.  Laundry.  This is not something I do each day, but I wanted to share this here.  I do laundry on Sundays. Or I at least start it on Sunday, sometimes I'll have one lingering load in the dryer for a few days, but that is what the "freshen up" cycle is for.  And yes, I do use it multiple times on one load sometimes.  I can't be on top of everything all. the. time.

So, that's it.  Such simple things that can take just 10-15 minutes, but they make a big impact on your life.  I don't always have a super clean house, but when I do, it makes me happy.  I may have piles of papers to go though, but that doesn't bother me for some reason...logical? no. but I'm okay with that!

What do you do to keep your house in order?  Do you have daily chores?  Do you just save up all the mess for one day and clean it then?  And just for fun, this is SO me!