Saturday, August 31, 2013

End of Summer GIVEAWAY For My Followers

End of Summer GIVEAWAY For My Followers:

Hi lovely followers,

It is so exciting to be able to interact with you all via instagram and my blog and here what you have to say, what you want to see more of, or questions or suggestions you guys have.  I am celebrating the end of the summer & all of the followers i've had a chance to chat with and get to know by doing a giveaway. My goal is to be able to do giveaways a couple times a month for my trusty followers that I adore so much!

I'd like to be able to not only chat via instagram, facebook, and twitter, but i'd love to have you comment more on the blog & start following here so I get a chance to get the scoop on whos following my blog as well.  With 86,000+ blog views and most of those being in these last couple months I want to know who my readers are and offer to you what you'd like to here more of!

So for the giveaway here are the rules:
1) You must be a follower of this blog (easy to add if you are not already)

2) You must leave a comment on this post replying to one of the following:
    a. what you want to read/hear/see more of on this blog
    b. your favorite post on here
    c. your favorite memory of this summer

It can be short and sweet or lengthy, its up to you!

Im so excited to get to meet more of you!

One of my followers will be picked at random if they comment here, and will win a $15 giftcard to Starbucks!
You can be anywhere in the world for this giveaway and I will ship it to you.

Starbucks is one of my favorite places to go to relax, to read, to catch up with a friend and chat, or to grab it to go and go on a date walk with my hubby to the beach.  Its perfect for summer, and necessary for this coming fall/winter!  So as a thank you to my readers i'll be giving away this gift card on September 10th.  All comments must be submitted by then to be eligible. 

Much love,

Friday, August 30, 2013


Summer Dresses:

Happy Friday lovely readers.. A few of you asked about the outfits I wore for our maternity shoot a couple months back. I thought I'd try to link them for you here or try to find something similar. Here are a few options:

This dress is from Urban Outfitters, i couldnt find the exact dress but i found a couple like it and a TON of white lace dresses that im drooling over:

jcpenney Dresses · Blu Moon Day Dresses · Jens Pirate Booty Day Dresses

A few of them are on sale even!  They are perfect for the last couple months of summer/heat we have left.

Second look:

A ton of you asked about this lace top on instagram & the blog.. i found it at a boutique in Orange County months ago but I found a couple other options here that could work, the key is to show some skin underneath (some of these are on sale as well):

Alexis Shortsleeve Tops · Express Longsleeve Tops · BCBGMAXAZRIA Camisoles

I wanted to wear turquoise jewelry for this shoot for a nice pop of color so here are some ideas (just click on the piece if you want to purchase): Im loving all of Aldo's pieces and especially those fab prices!!

This last look is from Macy's.  I found the following dresses that are similar:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Everyday Makeup Essentials

Everyday Makeup Essentials

photo cred: Kelsey Steindler Photography. Here im wearing alot of the products i listed.

My Go To's:

I have had a few of you ask my about what mascara i use, concealer etc. so I thought i'd do a quick post on some of my favorite every day products.  The question I am asked most often is about my mascara.. I have used the same mascara for 13 years now (they've changed the bottle a few times but its the same mascara).  I have tried multiple kinds and nothing compares to this mascara (we're talking lancome, mac, clinique etc and still this drug store mascara takes the cake).. its called Volume by Maybelline (click the link to see the exact one, as maybelline has quiet a few different selections)

I also get asked about what time of lipstick I use.. as mine always stays on for multiple hours and doesn't fade away. I use more of a tint than anything and i layer it with chapstick. I've been using this for years as well. Its called Revlon color stay (you can click the link below to view the different options for colors.. i use premium pink). I just do a tiny dab (tear drop size) on my finger or lower lip and use the tip of my finger to blend it into both lips. You dont need much, this stuff goes a long ways.  It stays on for hours, you can eat, kiss, work out, and this tint will give your lips a nice touch of color. I put strawberry 'chapstick' on top to make sure my lips stay moist. Ive tried a ton of different color stay products for lipsticks and all of them either clump or come off right away or in pieces.. this doesn't do that, it goes on smooth and the chapstick is the perfect touch. I get a lot of compliments on this chapstick because its not the typical cherry flavored chapstick, its strawberry and harder to find (it sort of smells like cotton candy people say, they can smell it when i put it on even from a distance) I think its delicious.

I use Mac studio fix powder (NC 30 is my current color.. when i am not tan) its linked below.   I'll use this every day after putting on Olay face lotion (the one below).  On weekends if we go out somewhere i'll sometimes put on concealer (my favorite is below.. colorstay revlon) its not too thick but covers blemishes well.  For extra special occasions i'll use Revlon Colorstay foundation (it doesn't crease and they have a pretty good selection of colors).  
My drug store blush and bronzers are both a matte finish (its more natural this way.. i use True Match powder W6 for bronzer, and True Match blush W5-6 for blush). 
Mac's highlighter listed below (strobe liquid) is a good one i use for nights out.

Maybelline Mascara · Revlon Eyeliner · L'Oreal Eyeliner

 I put some of my simple everyday eye shadows above (always stick with neutral colors for day time).  My go to eye shadows from Mac are not below but are similar to the revlon colors i posted  (i use mac Sheeth (blend in the crease with lancome brown), Mac "Jest" to highlight under brows and  on eye lid,  satin taupe (my favorite), and mac 'All that glitters' all over the lower lid

I really like Loreal carbon black pencil for every day eyeliner. You can smudge it so its less harsh looking and smear some eyeshadow on top.  It stays on all day and never ends up below my eye like some of the other ones i've tried.  For a more dramatic effect on nights when we go out ill sometimes use liquid liner, above is a newer one i've been using for the past 6 months or so & i really like it. Its easy to use & gives a straight line for that sexy cat eye. For a good inexpensive red lip i go with Maybelline Ruby star (has a bit of sparkle to it) or Loreal Refined Ruby (matte no sparkle).

Lastly, for everyday use: my night time routine is to wash all this off with the Olay face wash i listed above. I have used Olay face wash and lotion for so long, i love it and have nothing but praise for this drugstore find.  Before putting on face lotion at night ill use Clean & Clear astringent (i stick with this one because i like the way it smells after, it leaves a sweet smell verses an alcohol smell).

There you have it, some of my favorite & long lasting products. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We Have A Baby & He Is 1 Month Old

We Have A Baby & He Is One Month Old

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body" - Elizabeth Stone

My baby boy is already one month old, where do I even begin with how beautiful and special this past month has been? 

I could never imagine what it would be like to be a mommy. The moment he was placed on my chest I instantly fell in love.. it was so surreal, i could see myself in him, i created this being with the person I love most in this world, my husband.  It was an INSTANT love... I think thats how God intended for it to be. Being a parent gives us a glimpse into the love our Lord has for us.  I cannot even imagine how He possibly loves us more than I love this little person.

The first moment I found out I was pregnant (read story here: was not how I imagined itd be.  But it was perfect. It was so special because it brought me even closer to my husband. In a time of need he was really there for me. Something that could have really tested us in our first 6 weeks of marriage,  united us as one and strengthened us because we had God at the center and knew we could trust in Him because this was Him at work and His hand that created this life inside of me. We were so happy, so grateful, and instantly we loved this little baby inside my womb.  I want to reflect back to how grateful I am for the incredible journey of pregnancy, I honestly already miss it.. i know, i know, it sounds crazy.. I never thought I would say it, but I really do miss the experience, and it seems so far in my past already .. Its almost like I dont remember what it was like because its such a magical feeling that only when you're pregnant can you feel that supernatural experience (if that makes any sense, maybe you mamas know what i mean). I was always terrified of pregnancy..being out of control with your emotions, your body, you dont feel like yourself, you are uncomfortable, so much can go wrong with you and the baby, and i had heard horror stories about labor and delivery... but that was not my experience at all.  I loved every moment of pregnancy. I want to say thank you Jesus for such a wonderful pregnancy, labor and delivery, and for the greatest gift in this perfectly healthy baby boy.  He couldn't be any sweeter, he is such a playful happy soul, we couldn't love him any more. We are so excited to watch him grow. Its a battle within my soul because I long for him to stay dependent on me for his every need, to be able to cradle him, cuddle him, protect him and keep him my small little baby forever, but I also dream about the moments that lie ahead.. moments where I will watch him become a big brother, walk for the first time, discover his talents, watch him create art and be playful, listen to him sing songs and laugh, become the man of God that I know he will be.. these moments sound so sweet and warm my heart to just think about.  I believe being a parent is the most important role in the world. To be able to guide someone, shape them, lead them, & love them into being who they were created to become is such a rewarding and incredible gift.  It is also terrifying, demanding, and requires a ton of prayer, responsibility, thoughtfulness, love, selflessness, and patience. I know I was meant to be a mommy, my heart wants so badly to do everything it can to give this boy of ours the wonderful joyful life he so deserves... I feel like my entire perspective on life has changed, my meaning for being alive has expanded & become something entirely new and much more fulfilling.  I live and breathe for my boys. I want to be a better wife so I can be a better mommy, I want to be a wonderful mom so I can be an even greater wife... it goes both ways. I have so much more to learn in life and so many years ahead of me but I truly feel a huge shift has taken place in me.. this shift is more like a tidal wave that has taken over my soul... I exist to serve Jesus, I've known this sacred lesson for some time now... but He has put this new burning desire in me along side of being a light for Him.. to be all that my family needs me to be.. to shine bright for them, to be my husbands other half & my children's safety that they can rely on. I want to be a better woman.  I want them to be able to count on our marriage, to be confident in our love, to never question the security they can find in our family, in our home, in our Christ centered relationships with one another. I will live to make these humans happy, healthy, joyful, and spiritually fulfilled in Christ the best way that Jesus shows me how.  I cannot put into words the feelings that I have about this, this is the best I know how to explain it.  Maybe its unexplainable.. love, that is. Maybe its love that I cannot explain. Maybe my heart is so full of love that my being has changed. And maybe this is just a fraction of what God feels for us & thats just it, its unexplainable, agape LOVE. A love that has no conditions.  Im still figuring it out.  But i know this much, this first month of being a mother & a wife to my boys has been the most trying month, but the best month of my life...& i owe that all to the love that has consumed my heart. God is doing amazing things in this little family of mine. I may not always give Him the thanks that He SOOO deserves, so taking moments like this remind me of how blessed I am.. I deserve nothing, & I am so grateful for all my Father has gifted me with, thank you Abba. To Him be the glory!

I want to forever remember these precious moments and all of his firsts.  It is the best feeling to hold your baby in your arms and know that they are forever yours.  When he looks up at me i know that I am all that he sees, he makes it known with those pretty blue eyes that I am everything to him & he trusts me... THIS IS what life is all about.  This is truly living. I see life in him and through him. I see our Father's wondrous work in this beautiful and perfect being.  The touch of his soft skin & tiny hands and feet, his chubby delicious cheeks, those lips that were made red and juicy for kissing, his sweet scent that i cannot get enough of, his fragile body that needs my protection, his adorable smile that just wrecks me in the most perfect way, the back of his neck is softer than velvet, his tiny little buns that fit in the cup of my hand, his eyes that I see myself in, the way his chest lifts while hes breathing, the adorable faces he makes while hes dreaming, his every whimper, coo, grunt, squeal, and cry make my heart sing... every little bit of you Cashy just fills your mama to the brim. 

All is well with my soul.

Happy Birthday to me! Little man is 1 week old here

 Every morning i make a point to cuddle this little muffin... not that i have to try, hes so delicious that i cant wait for morning when i get to grab him out of his bassinet and cuddle him close (we cosleep if hes having a hard time sleeping or being noisy).

 His lips just kill me.

 My first outing by myself with Cash, coffee date of course (and much needed i might add)
Catching some sun rays with this little 1 week old cutie pie

Those little legs and feet!!

First smiles captured on camera (3 weeks old).. he is such a happy little babe

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Month Postpartum

One Month Postpartum



One Month Postpartum

I cannot believe my little boy is already one month old. Caring for a child sure does make time go by in the blink of an eye.  I'm saving little Cashy's first month post for another day since there is so much I want to remember and share.  This post is just a little update ill be posting monthly as I begin my postpartum journey and getting back into shape. 

I want to start by saying I never felt out of shape. I really did what I could to stay active in some way mostly every day of the week, at least 5 days a week getting a real work out.  I think thats something I should pat myself on the back for because its hard work when you are exhausted and caring 20+ lbs on your front side.  Im happy with myself for taking care of my son while he was growing inside of me and also for taking care of myself, i helped myself in so many ways by staying healthy. I steered clear of numerous complications during pregnancy (ex diabetes, high blood pressure, swelling, etc), as well as during labor (i had endurance and strength.. and thank God for that because I labored for 4-5 days with no sleep!), i felt good and confident, i had endorphines and worked off stress and all those crazy pregnancy hormones that can get the best of you.  I made sure I ate well, drank enough water, and always aimed to sleep 8 hours. In short, I kept my body healthy, my mind healthy, and my baby healthy by sticking to a work out routine and a healthy balanced diet.. this helps a ton with a postpartum body.  

This first month has been a crazy process of learning to become a parent for the first time, sharing new duties with my spouse, dealing with sleep deprivation, painful breasts and learning how to manage all the stressors that can come along with breast feeding (timing going places, stressing when the baby wont eat or latch, being careful about not eating something that will irritate the baby, etc etc etc), my hormones changing after labor, my body transforming, coping with watching this little boy grow every single day right before my eyes when im no where near ready for it!, being stuck in the house because my body needed to heal and i needed a ton of rest those first few weeks, trying my best to make sure he doesnt get sick before getting his shots at 8 weeks, figuring out how we want to raise our child together, having guests come over and non stop people wanting to see the baby (so blessed and so grateful for friends and family but the first few weeks are rough because you are exhausted and also on a strict feeding schedule that you are not yet comfortable with,as well as trying to bond and learn how to be a new family), analyzing the babies every cry, coo, shreek, squeal, and grunt..lemme tell ya, its a little scaring becoming a new parent and not knowing whats normal and what is something to be watchful over.  This is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to all the "newness" and all the changes that come with a beautiful new little one.  Its a lot to adapt to, but its worth every moment.

Okay, so now to the postpartum tummy. I didnt have expectations for what my belly would look like after labor or in the months near to labor.. i just trusted that whatever it looked like I would be perfectly okay with because I now have the greatest gift in the world resting in my arms.  I was pleasantly surprised that week by week my uterus shrank all on its own, no wraps, no belly bandit, no nothin. I just believed my body would do what it needed to in the safest way possible, the natural way, the way God created all womens bodies to know how to respond all on their own to labor.  And that has given me results i can be happy with and feel good about.  My body brings me joy after seeing what it is capable of. I never have appreciated it more than i do now. I grew a human being.... i am his life line still through breast feeding.. I think that is the most miraculous thing.  We are truly gifted to be able to create life, and we should thank our bodies for all the hard work they do.  We need to celebrate our body as women, and keep it healthy and appreciate all that it does for us and our children.  

So far i have just been doing walks 5 days a week for an hour.  I do flat surface, nothing difficult, walking at a slow pace with Cashy in the stroller. His Dr. recommended he get indirect sunlight so this helps us both get vitamin D as well as some fresh air.

I of course am looking forward to the day (at 6 weeks postpartum) that my Dr checks me and gives me the Ok to work out again. I love being active,.. i love the feeling, i love sweating, i love the challenge and working hard, i love how it makes me feel (endorphins) and physically, i love having muscle and being able to be strong, i love that it keeps my insides healthy and my heart happy and beating.  Its a huge stress reliever, it helps me clear my head and is a coping mechanism for me for sure for anxiety and all the worry that floods my mind time to time.  

So heres my plan:

Just go with the flow. 

I dont want to set the bar too high. I have no idea what it will be like working out again for my body or more importantly for this NEW mama.  I dont have the slightest idea what its like to have a child and try to make my own schedule at the same time. These past few weeks we've basically been on his schedule, thats just how it goest the first month or so.  So I dont have a plan but i do have some ideas: 
I think i will do walks with him 4-5 times a week (not giving myself a time frame but probably somewhere in between 30 min to 1 hour depending on if i make it to the gym that day or if i have things on our agenda that day).  
I would like to aim for getting into the gym 3 times a week (if i can do more, great!).  Id like to do at least 2 days of weights, and cardio on the precore all 3 of those days to shed the last 2 lbs of baby weight and firm up.
I can always do at home mommy work outs the other 2 days of the week after our walks. I can do lunges, squats, push ups, sit ups, get dvds, lift the baber, etc.  

So all in all id aim for 5 days of being active. 3 in the gym.. 2 at home. Plus walks to get fresh air and sunshine with my little boy.  

This idea may not work, but its just an idea not a plan.  So no expectations, just aiming for what i think i may be able to do. 


I offered to answer any questions that you guys had on instagram (my insta is: tessaarmstrong8) regarding postpartum. Here are my responses... feel free to comment below with more questions if you have any: (i am posting verbatim the questions that were asked)

1) first person asked "what did you do to get your stomach so tight in the first place?:  I responded already to this so im just going to copy and paste my answer and then add to it:   my mom has really crazy abs STILL even in her fifties and has had 5 kids & doesn't do much in the way of ab work outs so I'm guessing a lot of my tummy comes from her (genetics) but I also do cardio and weights and sometimes (pre pregnancy) I'd do abs for Iike 3 mins twice a week in a 24 hour fitness class. But it's never been my focus.. I have other areas I have to work harder at emoji.   I would recommend doing different ab work outs to work different muscles, planks, crunches, bicycles, mountain climbers, etc.  Maybe if i create an at home mommy ab work out ill post on it.
2)What did your stomach feel like right after you gave birth?:It feels soft.  If you push on it it feels like theres not much in your stomach.. meaning, you cant feel your abs or organs because theres so much room that your uterus is still taking up that it just feels really empty.  This lasts a couple weeks, around 3 weeks i could start to feel a little more hardness and feel my muscles as my uterus went down (it will go down on its own through breast feeding and over time..they say it is the size of a watermelon at birth and goes back to prepregnancy size which is the size of a pear.. that can take a few months).  Now at a month postpartum it just feels like i dont work out. My stomach use to be hard when i touched it but not it feels soft like i never work my core. Im sure its because I have extra cushion on it still as well as skin that needs to go back to normal (because your skin stretches so much around your belly to accommodate the baby)
3) What did you do about people visiting after you came home?Good question! We had a lot of people visit us at the hospital.. sort of funny, but we had quite a few visitors who didnt even tell us they were coming and just showed was sweat and we werent bothered by it.  When we got home i felt beat up.. i had gone through 4 days of back labor with no sleep and then another 24 hours of active labor and delivering him, and then nearly 4 days in the hospital with an infant and no sleep. I needed rest to say the least.  We went and stayed at my parents house because our home was being extinguished due to our kitten getting fleas (indoor cat, not sure how she got them).  So we brought our new little one to a clean home.  My parents were so great about giving us space, we stayed there for 3 weeks while waiting for our own home to be ready.  We had so many friends and family asking to come visit but i was on a strict feeding schedule literally almost every hour feeding him, and was sleeping most of the day to catch up, so I sort of asked people if they could give us time to rest and bond and that they could come see him when we were ready. Everyone was so understanding,especially those that have gone through this experience before.  The only visitors we had while home were our immediate families.  Then once we got home to our place at 3 weeks we had our best friends come visit.  But hes only a month old so he hasnt had too many people.. we are trying our best to avoid him getting sick (as infants have really low immune systems and need to wait to go into public until they get their shots). 
4) Do you think our parents should come home with us to help?Thats up to you! Its personal preference. Id prefer not and to just call them when you have questions or need the help or need food etc.  This way  you and your hubby can bond and learn to be a family of 3. THis is such a special time and we wanted to have private special moments with just the 3 of us. We also were learning to parent and didnt want 100 opinions on how to do things, we wanted to figure things out on our own and ask questions when we had them.  You'll find that alot of people have their way of doing things, but every child is different, and every parent can choose their style of parenting.  It really depends on your parents, if they are smothering .. steer clear.  If they will give you space and not want to be around the baby 24/7 then go for it and take the help.  You will also have your hubby there to help and go run to the store etc, so you may or may not need the helping hand.  

Have a great week!!