Our Back to School Routine Trifecta

This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I can’t believe this is my little man’s last year of preschool. In fact, I really can’t think about it longer than two seconds without wanting to bawl my eyes out (phew, that was close). But instead of wallowing in my mom tears, I’m just gonna buck up, as the hubs says, and make the most out of our last year in pre-K. So to help kick our back to school routine into high-gear, I’ve teamed up with Pepperidge Farm® to come up with what I’m calling the “Trifecta” of all school routines. These three things are not only crucial to the survival of our sanity, but they also teach our kids independence, confidence, and ultimately sets them up for success in that dreaded first year of “big boy school” as we call it. So listen up mamas – cuz I’m only gonna say this once.

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CH2T Beauty: Messy Boho Waves Hair Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links in this post.

Alright ladies, I’m finally posting my first-ever hair tutorial video! I’m so excited to be sharing with you something I’ve always been passionate about – playing with my hair 🙂 Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved experimenting with hair styles. Unfortunately for my parents, it started at five years old when I decided to sneak into their bathroom to “experiment” by chopping my long locks into what I must have felt was a sweet ’80s shag. Yikes. Lesson learned, and never did that again. In fact, I had hair down to my bottom for most of my life until a modeling agency convinced my mom to cut a whole “4 inches” off to my elbows, and I thought she might cry a river the size of the Amazon. We even held a candlelight vigil for the fallen hairs…ok, ok, that last part I made up…or did I, mom? 🙂

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Farmhouse Modern: Living Room Fireplace Revamp

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links in this post. I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

It’s crazy to think it’s been a year and half since we moved into our first home, a true fixer upper (you can read more about it here). The house was built in the ’70s and literally hadn’t been inhabited for 6 years, so to say we had our work cut out for us was an understatement. Since taking on a huge project like this can feel daunting, especially when you agree to take on the bulk of the work yourself (plus one incredibly handy father-in-law), my hubs decided early on that we would tackle each room one by one and work our way through the house. Since none of our eyes could stand looking at the varying shades of mustard-colored walls and lovely cream-colored trim much longer – we started with painting the living room first a neutral, natural tan and trim/built-ins white. It was also an excuse for me to go knob shopping, aka my happy place, aka the easiest way to completely transform any piece of furniture, kitchen/living room cabinets, etc. Truth be told, I’ve always had a healthy obsession with cabinet knobs, and back in the day (pre-kiddos) Anthropologie’s home section had me like a kid in a candy store (cue overly dramatized heavenly music) 😉. We ended up finding these Allen + Roth matte black cabinet pulls at Lowe’s, since my father-in-law had the genius idea to open up a business account (we’re officially 3M Residential) which saved us 5-10% off every time.

The last piece of the pie, and what we knew would be the main focal point of our living room, was the floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace. But you can see from the “before” photos below that it needed a lot of work and was missing a crucial design element – a mantel. In grand “Fixer Upper-style” tradition, I’ve always loved a rustic cedar, shelf/mantel. But when we considered how large the actual fireplace was, which took up a whole entire wall, we realized that a more traditional full-sized mantel was the way to go. We agreed that white would look best and complement the built-ins we’d just painted the same color. We also tossed around white-washing the brick or just painting it white since the previous owners hadn’t used the fireplace properly and all of the brick around the opening was stained black. Instead we found some brownish/black, rustic porcelain tile that we used to frame the opening and knew it would contrast nicely with the white mantel. You can see the final transformation in the photos below.

Once the structural renovations were complete – it was my turn to step in on the décor side. As you can imagine, after a cross-country move, me not working fulltime, and a baby on the way – my decorating budget was definitely on the frugal side. But much like how I approach fashion styling, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to look stylish. My first rule is to look at what you already have. Chances are you already have one or two key pieces – in this case it was a large black beveled mirror and candle holder/candle – that you can start styling around. That way, all you have to do is fill in the gaps by purchasing a few more trendy items that can easily be switched out from season to season, like pillows, blankets, baskets, etc. And finally, you just have to know where to shop. I spent months scouring the racks at HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, and At Home to name a few, looking for the just right, perfect accents for our fireplace. Yet it was still missing something.

I love plants, but I am not the best with them – which used to keep me up at night in my early twenties, wondering how I would ever be able to keep a tiny human alive. Rest assured, I do and I am 😉. However, I knew an artificial plant would be the best choice and there are so many out there now that look just as good as the real thing. So I was super excited to partner with ThermaLeaf®, a company that specializes in fire retardant artificial foliage. They were kind enough to gift me the perfect snake plant I’d been searching for, that was the final touch our fireplace needed. My sweet neighbor, who works at a plant nursery and has quite the green thumb, even commented on how real it looked and how much she wanted one. I will say, I’ve since had to move it to higher ground after a certain very curious 11-month-old decided it was great fun to pull all the moss out of its pot 😉. Luckily it’s such a versatile mid-sized plant that it pretty much looks great anywhere.

You can shop all of the items I mentioned via the links below, and I’ve also included several of my top picks for similar products. Hope y’all like it as much as we do and stay tuned for more before/after fixer upper reveals in the coming months!

Living Room: Before

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CH2T Beauty: ABC13 x Five Minute Makeup Routine

So excited to share another video I filmed for ABC13’s “Mirror Mirror” with my lovely friend Rebecca Spera – who recently moved on from the network to start her own businesses, and be home more with her toddler and new baby. I can totally relate, since I made the same leap just two years ago after leaving my Digital Marketing Manager role at Los Angeles magazine. Since then, I’ve been able to focus more on growing my blog and personal styling services, while being able to spend more time raising my 4 year old and almost 1 year old (can you believe Cha Cha’s 11 months old today?!).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since transitioning from “full-time working mom” to “part-time work-from-home mom” – it’s finding those #momlife hacks, as I like to call them. One that I’ve perfected over the years is my 5 minute makeup routine that takes no time at all, yet leaves you looking pulled together when you’re in a pinch. Watch the video below to see my 6 makeup tricks and read the story here on ABC13.

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Father’s Day Memories: A Father’s Hands

There will always be things we take for granted in life. It’s just human nature to focus on the seemingly more important things rather than the things we do everyday. I bet you’ve never thought about how many times you’ve held your father’s hand, or remember what it felt like to be that little kid looking up at him walking hand-in-hand down the street. I certainly didn’t. Just like I didn’t know 14 years ago today, that it would be the last Father’s Day I’d be spending with my dad. He had been battling stomach cancer for two years and just had a major surgery that we were so hopeful would give him a second chance at life. I had just graduated from UT and it meant so much for him to see me walk across that stage and accept my diploma. Something he wrote in my graduation card has always stuck with me: “Raising you has been my greatest success in life.” Fast forward to later that summer, his health had quickly deteriorated and I’d moved back home to spend what we all knew were his last days with us. Although I don’t think any of us would have ever expected what happened next. 

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Mom Jean Confessions: Life in the Slow Lane

This post is sponsored by Gerber® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This June marks two years since we left LA. Two years since we decided to move in with family here in Houston, and essentially put the breaks on life as we knew it. At the time it felt both exciting and confusing. We were excited to embark on a whole new chapter in life together, even though it was as if we’d made it to Chapter 27 and decided to go back and re-read the first chapter. Which leads me to the confusing part. We knew it was the right decision for our family as a whole, but as individuals we couldn’t help but feel like we were giving up a huge part of our self-identity. But that’s just the thing, when you become a parent – nothing, literally nothing, stops you from making the best choice for your kids. As hard as we knew it was going to be to say goodbye to the high-profile jobs, the lime-light, and pretty much the most gorgeous place to live – there really was no question at the end of the day that moving back home to Houston was where we needed to be.

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Mother’s Day Becomes Father’s Night

This post is sponsored by Huggies, Pull-Ups, GoodNites but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

So much changes when you have another child, and not just in the conventional ways. Sure there’s always a period of adjustment, especially when you wait almost 4 years to have another. It’s like just the right amount of time to get used to having an only child, and then wham – everything changes with the birth of a new baby. I still remember my hubs having a little heart-to-heart with me before the baby came, after I expressed some insecurities and anxieties I’d been feeling in one of my more honest pregnancy posts. And like always, we tackled this new phase in life as a team and figured out ways he could start helping out more with Garrett. One way we knew we had to tackle was bedtime. I’d gotten into the habit of laying with Garrett in his bed every night until he fell asleep – and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that was not gonna fly once a baby was in the picture. So Grant started taking over with Garrett at night which at first I was sad about, because it was just another thing to remind me that he was growing up and didn’t need me as much anymore. But then a funny thing happened – I got to witness the most special bond developing between a father and his son right before my eyes.

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CH2T Covets: How I Save on Home Essentials

This post is sponsored by Scott Brand, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

It’s crazy to me to think that we’ve lived in our little fixer upper for nearly a year and half now. We’ve pretty much finished all of the major work we wanted to do on the house, including some outside lighting that my hubs just installed. It’s pretty amazing what a big impact a small thing like lighting can make on a home, and we actually wish we’d done it sooner. In fact, we were just saying how it’s got to be our favorite thing we’ve done that gave us the most bang for our buck. It’s funny the things you start paying attention to once you’re a homeowner. Ever since we moved from a 1 BR apt in LA to our first home in the suburbs of Houston, I’ve come to appreciate the fine art of saving money. One way that’s been the easiest, is saving on those home essentials that you know you’ll always need like toilet paper/paper towels. My favorite products are Scott and I love that you can conveniently buy them at Amazon.com and have them shipped directly to your door step. We call that a “mom win.”

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Why Iron? The One Thing My Mom Brain Forgot

This post is sponsored by Gerber®, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read my last post, you might have gathered we’ve been at the doctor’s office quite a bit lately. Poor lil Cha Cha was sick so many times I had to keep moving her 9 month appointment. It’s pretty bad when you’re on a first-name basis with the ladies at the front desk, and they all rejoice when you actually come in for a “well” visit. Let’s just say, the end of the school year aka “germ central station,” couldn’t come fast enough – if only for the pure fact that my kiddos (and the hubs and I) can now enjoy the next three months of summer sick-free.

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10 Things I Love About You: 10 Months Old

Well, I had every intention of doing one of these posts when Charlotte turned 9 months old – but wowzas, the last month has been a doozy. Poor Cha Cha was practically sick the entire 9th month of her life – a terrible UTI that had us in and out of the Ped’s office 20 billion times, a crazy virus that had Charlotte’s fever spiking to 104 in the night, and made its rounds to each of us which was super fun. She also started to crawl which was exciting…until it wasn’t. This girl is into e-ver-y-thinggggg. I honestly don’t think I baby proofed one thing (ok, maybe the stove/oven) with Garrett, but with Charlotte – let’s just say, I “Amazon Primed” toilet lid clamps after a certain someone decided it would be fun to go splashing in the half bathroom when mommy wasn’t looking (gross).

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