10 Things Tuesday: Bruschetta Chicken, Covergirl Eyeshadow, Dolly Parton & Aldi

1. Oops!
Apologies for a lack of Tuesday posts lately! I don’t think anyone can fault us when we say, “Summer is crazy busy!” and as the days of summer wind down, we’ve just been in the madness of regular life, vacation, garden produce and more. Either way, know the blog is not forgotten!

2. Obligatory Post about Olympics
For the first time since moving into our house I’m frustrated to not have regular television. I simply use Netflix for my TV-fix, but now that the Olympics are airing I hate it! I never realized how much I actually did tune in until now. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always known I liked the Olympics, but I didn’t realize not being able to have them on non-stop would be so frustrating! I always find it so interesting how swimming and gymnastics are two of the most popular events to watch during the Games but the three years in between they get little to no air-time. -Rita
google.com embedded

3. Dolly in Danville
Daddy Daughter Date!!!! Dolly Parton Concert in Danville, KY!!!! Dolly recently came to the Norton Center for the Arts to perform. SJ went on a date with her daddy and they had an absolute blast. Always stay tuned to events happening at the Norton Center–amazing talent comes fairly frequently. Check out there 2016-2017 season line-up. The single sale tickets begin next Monday.
@hhellyer01 • Instagram photos and videos 2016-08-16 10-02-07

4. CoverGirl TruNaked Eyeshadow Palette Review & 1st Impression
This CoverGirl TruNaked Eyeshadow Palette is definitely one of the best drugstore palettes I have ever used. I love the colors as well as the shimmer and matte combination. Thank you Marnie Goldberg for the recommendation. If you have never watched one of her videos, you need to! The link to her channel is below. -Holly Jo

5. July Vlog Follow-up
It took me an extra week to post and then an extra week and a half to share on here, but I did get a short vlog up with the second half of July’s activity. We have finally poured the slab for our future garage and we also had a great weekend with all of the kids’ cousins for Summer Hurray Day. -Rita

6. Bruschetta Chicken
Tomatoes are plentiful in our garden right now. I feel obligated to utilize as much fresh tomato with basil as possible during this window of time each year. I decided to look up a recipe for bruschetta chicken last week (because it used to be one of my menu favorites from Applebees). This one is really easy and tasty. (Of course, I add extra garlic!) -Rita
Bruschetta Chicken close

7. Dollar Tree
Do you have a Dollar Tree near you and do you shop there? I’m telling you, it’s a GREAT story to hit up for random shopping. It truly is a DOLLAR store where everything is a dollar. We hit ours up just before vacation for some extra beach gear, activity books and more. It has some great back-to-school supplies for students, teachers, and parents. Stock up on cards and party supplies. You can probably even get a lot of your season craft and decor items here for cheaper than many places.

8. Aldi Organics
Speaking of stores to hit up. I frequently let myself forget about Aldi. I stopped in today and was so grateful for doing so. Their organic selection is crazy and what’s even wilder is the cost difference between it and the bigger grocery stores. (In my case, Walmart and Kroger.) For example, I got organic baby food puree pouches at a cheaper price than the non-organics at the other stores! Not to mention my organic milk, fruit, yogurt, coconut oil–the list goes on! -Rita
cdn1.moneysavingmom.com Screen-Shot-2013-01-15-at-2.29.36-PM

9. Birthday! Birthday! Birthday!
Guess who has a birthday this weekend?? Last time my birthday fell on a Saturday was five years ago–three pregnancies ago and pre-marriage. Obviously pre-thirties! We celebrated two of my closest friends’ wedding in 2011. What fun! This year I am mainly excited that it is in fact on a weekend, meaning hubs will be around. What do my fellow moms like to do to make their birthdays special? -Rita
facebook.com 294558_565052099703_4336539_n (1)

10. Jacob’s 18 Month Check-up
Speaking of milestones–Jake’s 18 month ‘birthday’ was last week so we had his well-baby check-up at the doctor today. All is good–as expected. His height and weight are matching up in the 30th percentile while his head is still in the 80th. Both kids were ecstatic to be in the room with the firetruck! -Rita
IMG_5055.JPG copy


10 Things Tuesday: July Vlog, L’Oreal Foundation, Cobbler Recipe, & Popsicles

1. July… So Far!
It’s been a busy month, and as to not make my vlog too extremely long (and so you aren’t so far behind on my happenings) I published a vlog of the first half of July. Complete with a trip to the zoo, a wedding, garden preserving, new kittens, berry picking, 4th of July fun and more! -Rita

2. Back to School
Although it’s not something I actively partake in, I am well aware that many people’s focus is shifting to back-to-school mode–which seems absurd when we are are hardly halfway through July! I actually am feeling the pressure of “end of summer” in many ways because the people to see and things to do that suddenly end because of the schedule change. Even though my schedule as SAHM keeps me flexible, finding windows of time that work for other people to spend time together is a real challenge! If your “summer” is ending soon due to school, what are the final things on your to-do list? -Rita

There are a plethora of babies that have been born in my life since May–almost all boys! Unfortunately, I have not met most of them. (See above regarding busy summer schedules!) Last week I finally met Mr. Oscar (already two months!) and Mr. Daxton (only 2 weeks!). I love seeing my kiddos with other babies! -Rita

4. L’Oreal Infallible Pro Glow Foundation
I am always trying to find a drugstore foundation that I love! I like one that has a yellow undertone, lasts all day, covers my redness and doesn’t settle into lines or pores. After wearing all day I found the L’Oreal Pro Glow Foundation to be quite impressive and it did not disappoint. -Holly Jo

5. Easy Cobbler Recipe
With berries plentiful in our fields (and at a low price in the stores) this cobbler recipe is a great go-to for me. It is simple (and I can swap ingredients to make it Mingus-friendly). This is for blackberries in particular, but I’ve used it for other berries as well. Also, I mix it in the pan to make it that much simpler. -Rita
bettycrocker.com 813191ae-9b4a-4a07-b6fc-2745d795eaf0

6. Healthy Popsicles
The kids are loving some refreshing popsicle treats this summer and I’m grateful for the molds where you make them yourself. The kind we have include a straw at the bottom to easily sip out the melting juice. I also love that I can choose what kind of popsicle they have–like using an all natural juice instead of a sugar and dye filled popsicle. The molds can be found numerous places for purchase. -Rita
amazon.com 413Sr3Nr9YL

7. Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival
This weekend at Water Tower Park in Louisville is the Four Roses Bourbon Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival. Check out the full schedule of music, events and food happening on the website and check it out if you don’t have other plans! -Rita
louisvillebluesandbbqfestival.com stack

8. No more Daniel Tiger??
Who else is devastated (maybe more than their kids??) that Daniel Tiger is no longer available on Netflix? It’s not just that my kids actually like it, but I loved it for them. Jacob is just getting to the age Dorothy was when it truly started to engage her. Netflix does have a new original series, Word Party, that is a similar style show for similar ages, but it is about learning words rather than feelings and how you work with others. What other shows on Netflix do you love for your toddlers? -Rita

9. BVI Vacay!
HJ went on a sans-kids getaway to the British Virgin Islands. Be sure to tune into her next vlog to hear all about it!
@hhellyer01 • Instagram photos and videos 2016-07-19 12-53-21

10. Travel Tips?
Many people have already had their big summer vacation trip… Ours is a week and a half away. Although I’ve already learned a lot of tips and tricks about long road trips with toddlers, I’m always open to new and additional ideas. If you traveled recently, what were the big wins or fails on your trip? Any suggestions on things to have in the car, activities to bring? I am also brain storming some things to have in our condo for the week to entertain kids while we are having down time. Leave your advice in the comments! -Rita

10 Things Tuesday: ISR Swim, Usborne Books, Chocolate Zucchini Bread & New Kittens

1. ABC Crafts
I’ve recently started trying to put more focus on helping Dorothy learn her letters. She can identify about half of the alphabet (capital letters), but she is going on 3 and since I don’t do any preschool, I want to make sure I take time for meaningful activities. I found these fun ABC activity ideas. I’ve tweaked them a bit to be super simple for the materials I have on hand, but so far so good! -Rita
crystalandcomp.com letter-of-the-week-craf...rystalandcomp-1024x10241

2. “I Lost Myself In Motherhood”
I loved this little post by one of my favorite moms on Instagram, Christina Boyce. She was pregnant with her first babe at age 21 and just had number 4 recently and celebrated her 30th birthday. No matter your story as a mom, she has your back. -Rita
caffeineandthree.com lostself

3. Usborne BOOKS–Tonight!
I’m hosting an Usborne Books & More on Facebook tonight, through a friend from my college days. I’m really excited about it because I love giving books as children’s gifts and I love seeing all the fun, creative and interactive books they carry. If you have interest in them or just want to learn, join us at 8:30 p.m. (EST) on Facebook. The event will stay open through Friday, July 15. -Rita
facebook.com 13528434_10204749828983996_6077593862700219277_o

4. 5-Minute Summer Make Up Tutorial
This is a fast light weight summer makeup tutorial using only 5 makeup products! -Holly Jo

5. Kids Day At The Lake
This weekend it’s all about the kids at State Dock in Jamestown, Ky.  Bring your kids ready for lots of fun on Saturday.  The day includes contests, adventures, prizes and entertainment for everyone: fishing, karaoke, kayaking, bouncy castle and movies.  See here for the full schedule.  Note that all times are central time.

6. ISR Swim
At first I was very hesitant about putting my daughter in ISR (Infant Swim Resource, Self-Rescue) lessons. She did not like when water splashed in her face, much less going under the water. However, we have a pool and the thought of her falling in and not being able to save herself was not an option. I can honestly say ISR Lessons is the best decision we have made for our daughter. She can now swim and save herself if in a pool! -Holly Jo

7. Our Journal
Last week I came downstairs to find a hardcover book of blank pages with some blue and purple pens next to it. Inside, on the first page, was a note from the hubs. He had the brilliant idea to start a book for us to write/journal back and forth in. We will leave each other random notes at hit and miss times anyway, but he thought this was a better way to save our thoughts, prayers and correspondence over time and for our children to one day have. And you wonder why I love him so?? This is an excellent idea for anyone, but especially couples with children where it can be hard time find time for each other and slow down to share deep thoughts and personal pieces of yourself with each other. Never stop saying, “I love you.” -Rita

8. Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Bread
I truly cannot express the abundance of zucchini/squash coming from our garden right now. I wasn’t out there to pick for about 5 days due to rain and kid schedules not working out. There were some MONSTER size squash out there. Needless to say, I’ve been making a lot of chocolate zucchini bread. I’ve followed this recipe to keep it Mingus-friendly. -Rita
foodallergyeats.com C.-Bread-700x339

9. Baby Update!
You’ve probably assumed or guessed it, but I’ve decided to be no fun (for everyone else) and not find out the baby’s sex. It might be easiest this time around for whatever reason–to much else to be distracted with than just wondering. Plus, of course, I have an amazing daughter and son already. In other news, though, the baby is moving around like crazy anymore. (As I type!) Dot is in love with this baby and it is so cute! -Rita

10. New Kittens
We got two little kittens from my cousin. Having outdoor cats around is handy when you live in a field where mice are abundant (leading to snakes–eek!) Dot named them after one of her favorite TV show/books: Max & Ruby. (It’s a big sister and younger brother… SOOOO my two kids!) LouLou can’t get enough! She talks to them like they are her little babies she takes care of and the poor things are actually quite tolerant even she she has them in a choke hold! -Rita

10 Things Tuesday: Red, White & Bluegrass

Celebrating 4th of July in Kentucky

With the 4th of July falling on a Monday, many of us are in store for a 3-day holiday weekend–four days if you consider there are plenty things to do on a Friday evening. Check out this list of happenings and tips on how to celebrate right!

1. State Park Celebrations
You can bank on state parks celebrating USA’s birthday. If you have one near you or are thinking to do some adventuring over the holiday weekend, check out the events schedules for some of Kentucky’s state parks here-Rita

2. 4-Day Festival in Lexington, KY
If you live near or around Lexington the city is hosting a Fourth of July Festival sponsored by Fifth Third.  The festival will be located downtown and will kick off July 1st ending July 4th.  There will be a Great American Pie contest, ice cream social, concerts, bluegrass 10k, farmer’s market, parade and of course fireworks.  This will be a great time! -Holly Jo
unnamed (2)

3. Home Safety
If you opt to celebrate with fireworks at home, take precautions, especially if children will be near or participating. It is extremely easy to forget the danger fireworks pose. Here is a list of safety tips to follow or ways to make it safer for kids.  -Rita
savingcentswithsense.net fourth-of-july-safety-tips

4. Lake Herrington
The lake is always a fun place to spend the 4th of July weekend.  If you’ve never been or don’t have a boat, I’m someone you know wouldn’t mind if you joined them for the weekend!  We always go to Herrington Lake (25 minutes from Lexington).  There’s lots of good food, drinks, family, friends and Chimney Rock always sets off fireworks. -Holly Jo
unnamed (3)

5. Lake Cumberland Fireworks
Lake Cumberland is another great lake to hit this weekend. Enjoy the Jamestown festival, LAKEFEST, or the celebration on the state dock where the band SUPERFECTA will be playing.(Saturday, July 2). Or celebrate at the Land Between the Lakes in Burnside, KY for fireworks and music Friday, July 1. -Rita
facebook.com 13516291_1120365434697463_5505782104698602099_nlakecumberlandvacation.com LAKEFEST

6. Red, White & Blue Refreshing Treat
I’m sure everyone has either had or seen the red, white and blue firecracker Popsicles.  Let’s take this kid friendly snack and not only share it with our little ones, but use them to make a nice icy Fourth of July adult beverage.  Mix together equal parts vodka, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice with a splash of cranberry and pop one of these Popsicles in each person drink.  Super cute and very tasty! -Holly Jo
unnamed (1)

7. Shade Sale!
Every girl needs a good pair of sunglasses for 4th of July!  Check out how cute these pink and gold aviators are from the Loft.  They are even cuter in person with the trendy mirrored lenses and are currently on sale for $15! -Holly Jo
unnamed (2)

8. Louisville Orchestra at the Waterfront
Enjoy a day of family fun at the Waterfront with the Louisville Orchestra performing at 8:30 p.m. and a fireworks display over the Ohio beginning at 10 p.m. Admission is free and features a family fun zone, food and drinks, and other live music all beginning at 5 p.m. on July 3. Check out other activities taking place in Louisville throughout the weekend here-Rita
louisvillewaterfront.com poster-body-1

9. Dress the Part!
I love an excuse to dress to a theme and Independence Day is a perfect one! You can find extremely cute tops for the whole family for very little at places like Walmart, Target and Kohls. You can also keep it simple if you don’t want to spend money on something holiday specific. Wear red, white and blue and spruce up your look with accessories like the right shades, hat or jewelry.  -Rita

10. Patriotic Berries
Fresh fruit is such an amazing summertime snack and the bonus is a lot of it is in season, so it’s cheap to buy. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and watermelon can all make your food spread both tasty and festive–not to mention healthy! You can make snazzy desserts like this brownie pizza, refreshing drinks like sangria, or simply laying out the fruit as is can make a pretty patriotic look. -Rita

10 Things Tuesday: Outdoor Movies, Shake Shack, ROMP Fest, & Overnight Oats

1. Free Movies
The drive-in theater is one of my favorite summertime activities. I’m stoked that our community is offering FREE outdoor movies every Friday this summer. Additionally, they are showing free movies in the local theater on Saturday mornings. Check your area for similar offerings. Look at park schedules for outdoor movies. (Here is a schedule for Jacobson Park in Lexington.) -Rita
facebook.com 13413663_1124697707595429_261496478271460897_n

2. Natural Deodorant
At the beginning of this year I stopped using deodorant with any type of antiperspirant.  There have been many studies that show the effect of this ingredient (aluminum) to be very unhealthy.  I have searched high and low for the perfect, natural deodorant that keeps under arm odor at bay.  Hands down the best one I have found is the Lavanila deodorant.  It is a little pricey, however lasts me around 3 months.  Definitely worth a try if you want to use a natural deodorant. -Holly Jo
3. Shake Shack
My husband has been raving about the Shake Shack for the past year.  It is a burger joint in NYC.  He says it has the best burger he has ever eaten.  If anyone knows me, I love a good burger.  I have been wanting to try this place out and guess what?  Lexington will be opening one at the new development, The Summit at Fritz Farm in 2017!  Can’t wait! -Holly Jo
unnamed (1)

4. Instant Age Rewind
Do you have dark circles under your eyes or just want to brighten that area up?  Check out the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in the shade brightener.  It has a pink undertone so it cancels out dark circles and gives a nice awake look when you feel absolutely exhausted.  I love this product and have been using it every day for the past month.  It is also a great dupe for the MAC prep and prime in radiant rose at much lower dollar point.  Love it! –Holly Jo

5. Overnight Oats
Summer is the best time to eat berries as a refreshing treat. Even better? Enjoying them for breakfast. We made delicious overnight oats with fruit last week. This may be a weekly routine. Recipe: 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I use plain or vanilla), 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Mix. Cover with lid. Keep in fridge overnight. In the morning: add all the fun stuff. You can sweeten with honey or brown sugar. -Rita

6. Microfiber Cleaning
You’ve likely heard of Norwex cleaning products and may know a rep. I haven’t used a lot of the items, but their “Basic Package” comes with their EnvirCloth and the window rag. I will say these are great. They are an easy combo for cleaning glass with no streaks. Also, the EnviroCloth is my go-to for cleaning our high chair or other kid messes. With nothing but water it somehow makes the cleaning process SO much easier than scrubbing with cleaning products. –Rita
jessicawalden.norwex.biz 24abdeffe7305fdfdde8d9f2c7140589730bbde1

7. Classic Literature for Toddlers
If you’re a lover of literature, here is your new favorite baby gift! BabyLit is a fashionable way to introduce toddlers to classic literature. A set of six is on sale here right now or shop directly on the website-Rita


8. Farmers Market
If you haven’t already, visit your local Farmers Market. Produce is beginning to come in full force and there will be a lot offered at great prices and you can feed your family wonderful, fresh, local fruits and veggies. Look for local honey, too. It’s great for allergies. Here are some shopping tips if you have kids in tow. -Rita

9. ROMP Fest & Dazzling Daylilies Festival
Owensboro is a happening place this week.  ROMP Fest  is underway at Yellow Creek Park, which has an incredible line-up of Bluegrass performers including Old Crow Medicine Show and Sam Bush. Also, the Dazzling Daylilies Festival began today and runs through the 26th at the Botanical Garden. Balloon rides and more are offered. -Rita
rompfest.com  -format=1500w

10. County Festivals
It’s county festival season in the Bluegrass. Our local Casey County Fair begins this week and there is likely to be one in your area. Weather permitting (read: not dreadfully HOT or raining), it’s a fun way to enjoy summer with your family or friends. Check the Kentucky Association Fairs & Horse Shows Event schedule here-Rita


10 Things Tuesday: Lyft, Vegas, AirBNB & Date Nights

1. Lyft Vegas

I’m sure you have all heard of Uber. If not, they are replacing taxi cabs as we know it and Lyft is the new guy on the block.  Need to get somewhere quickly in Las Vegas (or really anywhere)?  Call Uber or Lyft.  If Lyft is available, they seem to be less expensive than Uber.  They also hand out $50 voucher tickets in Vegas. -Holly Jo

2. Vegas Shows: Le Rê
Looking for a show while in Vegas?  Check out Le Rêve – The Dream Cirque Du Soleil located at The Wynn.  My sister-in-law and I absolutely loved it.  We were sitting in the second row and could feel everything from splashes into the water as well as heat from the fire!  An absolutely amazing show! -Holly Jo

3. Celebrity Clubs
If you are interested in seeing a celebrity while in Vegas, check out some of the clubs.  They are always having appearances from a variety of celebrities.  Our girlfriend was able to get us on the guest list for free to 1-Oak where Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian were appearing.  Talk to the concierge at your hotel, they should be able to help. -Holly Jo
unnamed (2)

4. Glamour pools
While in Vegas, if the weather cooperates, always check out the pools. We stayed at the Mirage and the pool was phenomenal. We had a blast sipping fruity drinks, listening to music and meeting new people! -Holly Jo
unnamed (3)

5. Take a Gamble and Gamble!
Even if you aren’t a gambler you have to check out the casinos! They are larger than life and open all night! While in Vegas I placed a couple bets at the craps table. This game may be intimidating, however you have the best odds at winning. Craps is also a lot of fun once you get the hang of it! -Holly Jo
unnamed (4)

6. AirBNB
Speaking of getaways and trips, be sure to check AirBNB in addition to hotels when you plan your trip, especially if you are traveling with a large group. You’ll find incredible places to stay and often times spend less then you would on individual rooms. Check out this great place for a girls’ getaway! –Rita

Good Morning, Friends!!😘 Right now I’m at the most fabulous Airbnb in Austin with my friends. I’ll post the link on my blog next week so you can stay here one day. …but I’m so sold on this house sharing thing. So much better than a hotel!…and the view is killer! ————————————– The only problem…I’m an early riser and my friends…not so much.😴 I woke up at 6 and got ready for the day and now I’m just soaking in the silence. …minus when I FaceTimed with Mike and the kids going on a morning donut run. I’ve taught them well.😆🍩 ————————————– I hope you all have a fabulous day!! …I have to go set up a prank on Kelsey and Ashley before they wake up.😂👍🏻…or maybe I should just yell, “SNAKE!”😁

A photo posted by MaLyn #RealLife #MomLife (@malyn.logic) on Jun 11, 2016 at 6:21am PDT


7. Zucs & Broccoli
Share with me your favorite ways to fix zucchini/squash and broccoli. We have both coming in plentiful in our garden and I’d love some simple, delicious ways to enjoy them! –Rita

8. Date Night
If your married with kids, simple date nights don’t come easy or often. Getaways for events maybe, but there is something special about a simple night of just the two fo you. Mingus and I were lucky to get away Saturday evening once the kids were asleep since we were visiting his parents in Indiana. After dinner we almost went to a movie, but instead we got ice cream and drove around his hometown while he shared stories of days’ past with me and showed me places of memories. It was so much more meaningful and good for us than simply seeing a movie. When you have time with just your husband and no kids, enjoy each other and having real conversation about things you don’t take time for. –Rita

9. Puddle Jumper for Under 30lbs.
They do exist! If you saw last week’s 10 things, I asked for advice on swim wear for little toddlers, like my 16 month old. Turns out, my mother-in-law found the Stearns Puddle Jumper for under 30 lbs. What is odd is I still can hardly find it online even when I look for it. It actually appears safer than the traditional kind, as it does not have arm restriction. I have yet to try ours and I haven’t found a lot of reviews on them. –Rita
boatingmarinesupply.com 2000023528-STE

10. Love. Freedom. America.
So much love and sorrow goes out to those directly affected by the Orlando tragedy this past weekend–as all Americans should feel affected. Knowing HJ was away in a tourist city out and about on the night this happened brings a new reality to the idea of you just don’t know when, where, or who these things will happen to. This is a time to remember to LOVE your neighbor, teach your children to love, and to love our country. Much divides our nation today. Fear and terror seek to divide us further.  Let us show compassion and come together in love and support the way our country did after 9/11.
scontent.cdninstagram.com 13437233_1734040723519184_695699280_n

10 Things Tuesday: Burberry Foundation Review, Gilmore Girls, Beef & Beer Cheese Festivals & Casey County

1. Gilmore Girls Revival Forecast
You never really know about that stuff you read on the Internet… BUT, supposedly the Gilmore Girls revival show on Netflix is due to come out around November… Hmm I might be binge watching while lazing about with a newborn baby!

2. A Local Must
Hubs and I made a trip to Louisville last weekend, which we both spent 5-7 years living there, so it’s sort of a ‘home-away-from home’ for the two of us. (It’s also where all of our early dating took place.) Almost any time we are in the city we stop for our favorite local coffee: Heine Brothers’. We also like to pick up a bag of beans to have on-hand at home. I think everyone has at least one “must” stop in that place that is a home-away-from-home. (When we visit my parent’s hometown, Tipp City, OH, we love to get Cassano’s Pizza!) What’s your “must” stop in your beloved city or town? List in the comments so I know to check it out if I’m ever passing through.

3. Day Out with Thomas
Last Saturday we traveled to New Haven, KY to the Kentucky Railway Museum for the event “Day Out With Thomas”. [Shout out to Mamaw & Papaw for the tickets!]. I think with our 90-minute drive to get there, we should have aimed to be there earlier to see the Thomas engine come and go a time or two before getting on so that Lou (2 1/2 years) had a better understanding of being on the train car. Both kids were a bit overwhelmed with it all, but Dot was far from ready to leave, that’s for sure, and still talks about going back. The event was all outdoors and had LOTS of other activities for kids. (Petting zoo, bouncy castle, play train tables, putt-putt golf, pictures with Sir Topham Hatt and pictures with Thomas.) All of these activities could have been done without an actual train ticket, so if you are nearby, take your kids regardless of whether you buy a ticket or not! The event continues next weekend if you still want to make it.

4. Swim safety gear for small guys
I am on the hunt for swim wear for Jacob. I love PuddleJumpers but they fall right off of my scrawny boy. Even though Dot was below the weight limit last year, it fit her fine, but that’s not the case with Jake. He is about 21 pounds (16 months). If you had/have something you love for your little toddler/baby, please share!

5. Boxcar Children, anyone?
Was anyone else a Boxcar Children fan as a kid? I cannot even begin to tell you how many of those books I read. Henry, Violet, Jess and Benny were my people! Word is a a three-part animated movie series is in the works with movie #1 coming in 2017. Guess I’ll be at least attempting to make my kiddos wish they had a boxcar as a clubhouse too!

6. Burberry Foundation Review
Interested in the new Burberry foundation line but having trouble find it? Holly Jo had the same problem, so she acquired three shades for her skin type by contacting customer management. Get her initial review and feedback on the soft matte foundation here.

7. Featured in D.C.!
My little ol’ area of the Bluegrass is currently the featured county outside US-Representative Ed Whitfield’s office in Washington, D.C. The display includes info about the county, local businesses and (of course) our famous Apple Festival. It may be a quaint area, but it’s got plenty to offer! If you head down to Lake Cumberland on Hwy-127 this summer, be sure to look for us. [Stop at Sweet Beans ‘n’ Things for coffee or ice cream!] Find out more about the county here and here.

8. Upcoming Festivals
This time of year is full of festival fun. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out the Kentucky Beef Festival in Harrodsburg, Ky. this Friday and Saturday or the Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester, Ky. on Saturday.

9. Shopping Maternity
Being due in November means that I will be in my third trimester in cooler/fall months. I’ve found that doing some shopping right now for clothes I will need later is the way to go–all of the winter maternity is on major sale! I used a 30% off coupon on Kohls.com and got two sweaters and a pair of pants for $34. (Plus, I got a non-maternity tankini for only $12. It has an open back and it will definitely fit my growing belly for the majority of the summer.) I’m sure there are other maternity retailers who have clearance maternity you will be glad you have in that third trimester.

10. Seriously Smoothie Weather
You guys! It is seriously smoothie weather now! No one wants heavy meals when it’s hot out–especially when heading to the pool/beach/lake. We are actually on our way out the door to the country club and I just made up chocolate-peanut butter-strawberry smoothies. Aaahh-mazing! Perfect way to fill our bellies before we go AND have lots of good nutrients for kiddos and even the babe in my belly! (And it’s totally worth making the extra effort to buy a quality whole-food based protein mix to include, like Juice Plus Complete. Lots of protein. Lots of fiber. Natural sugars and foods.)


10 Things Tuesday: Beauty & The Beast, Disney on Netflix, Puddle Jumpers & Burberry

1. Bentley’s Barkery
You guys!! My long-long-long time friend wrote a BOOK! And a kids’ book to boot, titled Bentley’s Barkery. It looks adorable! I can’t wait for my copy to arrive and to send copies to all of my friends with kids. Get your copy on Amazon! -Rita

2. Blake Brags on Bluegrass Babes
WE know Kentucky women are awesome, but apparently even big timers get the drift. Blake Shelton was recently quoted on a radio interview talking about women from Louisville, Ky, saying they have “the entire package”. I think it’s safe to say that is the case for every Bluegrass babe, amIright??

3. Simplest Salad Dressing
Want the recipe to the simplest salad dressing ever that is impossible not to like? It came from the book I’m currently reading: Apron Anxiety. Just combine equal parts extra virgin olive oil, white vinegar, and sugar. That’s it! But it is REALLY good. Now that our salad greens are ready in the garden, I’ll definitely be keeping this on hand. -Rita

4. Puddle jumpers
If it’s your first summer with kids and pools/water/lakes/oceans, and your trying to figure out what swim gear you need, here’s the simple solution: Get a Puddle Jumper. I always saw kids wearing these and didn’t know if it was kind of just “the thing to buy,” but they honestly work great. They come in different weight sizes, so check what’s right for your kids, but they will make water play much less stressful for everyone. (They are sold at most basic retail locations or Amazon.)

5. Wedding Season Begins
Hubs and I attended our first wedding of 2016 last weekend and had a blast. It’s that phase of life where sometimes you feel like there is a wedding every weekend, but the beauty of it is the fact life is SO busy that without such events, there are friends and family you may never see otherwise! We had a great time catching up with a lot of our Louisville friends. Tune into my blog/vlog this Friday for more. -Rita

Congrats BK & Kate!

6. No Burberry in the Bluegrass?
I wanted to try the new Burberry foundation. However, none of the stores in Kentucky carried it. I reached out to customer service and after multiple emails, the Customer Service Senior Manager, Darren, sent me three foundations to try, for free! Amazing Customer Service! (Stay tuned for review and feedback on the vlog!) -Holly Jo
Holly Jo & Rita (@beautyitbluegrass) • Instagram photos and videos 2016-05-24 10-26-48

7. Beachin’ with HJ
It’s almost officially summer and school is finally letting out. Get a peek at the Johnson family fun in Destin, FL last week in the vlog coming this Friday! -Holly Jo
@hhellyer01 • Instagram photos and videos 2016-05-24 10-07-01

8. Beauty & the Beast
THIS is exciting and even if you’ve already seen this preview, you know you want to watch it for the 2,826th time! Emma Watson is living all our dreams by actually BEING Belle! And the fact this teaser has THE Beauty & The Beast music just MAKES it. Why must March be so far away?!

9. Disney on Netflix
Speaking of love for all things Disney… Netflix recently announced that they will become the EXCLUSIVE streaming service for Disney beginning in September. That means… If it’s Disney, Netflix will be the place to find it. They will also exclusively carry all films Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm.

10. Biscuits on a Stick
Any  Memorial Day weekend plans? Here’s a tasty snack for the campfire you may not have tried before: Biscuits on a stick. All you need is a can of biscuits(Like Pilsbury) and squeezable jelly. Wrap an individual biscuit on your roasting stick (that you’d use for a hotdog or marshmallow). The trick is to not roast it too quickly so the outside burns/gets cooked. Do a slow roast. When it’s done and you pull it off your stick it will leave a hole from the stick. Squeeze your jelly here… Enjoy! You can obviously add other things like butter, honey or peanut butter to the center and some people get really fancy by adding eggs, cheese, etc. Happy Memorial Day and please remember why we have this holiday to honor those who secured our freedoms. -Rita

10 Things Tuesday: Reasons to Love Kentucky Summers

A different variation of 10 Things Tuesday… The last few days have been unusually cool here in Kentucky for this time of year. It makes me that much more anxious for summer to arrive. With summer on the brain, I’ve compiled a list of 10 things I love about Kentucky summers!


1. The Lake
Our proximity to the ocean may not be ideal (8-10 hour minimum), but we’ve got some killer lakes and marinas. From my central Kentucky location, I can travel an hour or less north or south and be at my choice of Lake Cumberland‘s Jamestown Marina or any number of marina’s on Lake Herrington, plus a few lake houses owned by close friends. Oceans and beaches may scream summer to many, but in this area, we dream about packing coolers for weekends on the lake.

2. Drive-in Theaters
Movies on the big screen are great and, sure, the IMAX is pretty snazzy, but there is nothing quite like a movie under the stars at the drive-in theater. It reflects a simpler time where summer nights didn’t include gadgets and devices. There are two one-screen theaters nearby, one a simple 20 minutes from our middle-of-nowhere Valley in Stanford, Ky. There is another just north of Husband’s place of work in Harrodsburg, KY. Aside from the actual theaters, a lot of parks have movie nights on the lawn. I can’t wait for the kids to be old enough to stay up late for outdoor movies.

3. Ballparks
I never played any form of baseball or softball, but even I love the ball park in the summer time. You can hit up a MLB game with a drive north to Cincinnati to see the Reds play, but you don’t even have to do that for a good baseball experience in Kentucky. The Louisville Bats and Lexington Legends are both great group/family activities.

4. Bluegrass State Games
No matter your age or your sport of choice, Kentucky gives everyone a chance to live out their dreams for some summer fun and competition and even bring home medals. Seriously, I don’t think there is a sport not offered in the Bluegrass State Games. It even gives the opportunity for numerous ages to come together to compete, as well as boys and girls. I personally have a fond memory of running a medley relay with my brother and dad many moons ago.

5. Farmers Markets & Fresh Produce
Whether you keep your own garden or not, everyone can live like a European, cooking with fresh produce on a nightly basis, because the goods are plentiful in Kentucky. The farmers markets on Saturday mornings hold a great vibe. And if your community does not have one, it’s probably because everyone, or their neighbor, has their own plentiful garden. More or less, Kentucky has a great growing season where you can grow everything from peppers and tomatoes to corn and beans to watermelon and berries.

6. County & State Fairs
Perhaps more crazy than classy, there is nothing quite like hitting up the county fair–and you can basically find one any weekend of the summer across the Bluegrass. And then the big finale comes in August with the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville. Again, it reflects simpler times and I think summer holds a lot of potential for putting away the gadgets and devices and instead making real memories with people you care about. Check out the livestock, ride rides and eat junky food, run into people you haven’t seen in ages, let the kids run. Enjoy being outside.

7. Dairy Dips
The simplicity of this state can be found in the state highways that wind through knobs and horse country. And you never know when you’ll happen upon the perfect summer stop off: a dairy dip with enough soft serve flavors to compete with Baskin Robins. You know it’s summertime when the dairy dips begin to open. What a depressing time when you have to pass them by to see them closed in those frigid months.  So when you see one, scrounge the change in your car and grab a tasty treat.

8. Horse Racing
Technically the ponies don’t race all summer, but they race at Churchill Downs into July and in the Bluegrass state, horse racing is a fun exciting event anytime–not just for Derby. Besides, getting a ticket to millionaire’s row or any box seats is actually affordable. So make it a fun day with friends and splurge for the nice seats–maybe even a meal included. Who knows, one right bet and someone will have the day paid for!

9. Lightening Bugs & Late Nights
I won’t say bugs aren’t annoying during Kentucky summers, but we also get the magic of lightening bugs on summer nights. Nothing adds magic to the outdoors like the twinkling of those little bugs. Days are long, and whether they are full or work or play, relaxing with good  food and drinks on the porch, backyard or around a fire are the way to end any day, especially on a clear night with those magical bugs twinkling all around.

10.Celebrating Freedom
Being patriotic in the summer time just feels right–especially in a state like Kentucky that shines with small town pride. We love summer and we love our country and priding Old Glory. Seriously, can you imagine if our Independence Day was in February? Bombpops and parades in February? I don’t think so… Freedom and summer go hand-in-hand. We kick off the season with Memorial Day cookouts and camping and carry it straight through  to the 4th of July. Even my small town enjoys activities, a parade and a spectacular fireworks show.

BONUS: 11. It’s just long enough
We look forward to summer like crazy. We get the killer snows and freezing temps that make everyone dream of the poolside and backyard grilling, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the hot humidity of June and July didn’t wear us out to the point of being pretty pumped to put on our boots and sweaters to tailgate through fall football season. Summer in Kentucky lasts just long enough to love it but be OK to see it go. And then we are always anxiously awaiting it come January or February

What are some of your favorite parts about summer in Kentucky or summer where you live? Share! I want to know what I’m missing!

10 Things Tuesday: Makeup tutorial, road trip, perennial flowers & sparkles

1. Planting Perennials
My flower beds are in! Hubs did an awesome job of getting the railroad ties and fixing my front porch beds while I was gone over the weekend. I’m so excited. He planted a few annuals but primarily left them empty since we hadn’t talked about what we wanted to plant. I’d love to add perennials that will come back every year. What do you have and love? Share your suggestions please! -Rita

2.  Magic Ink Pictures
My mom picked up a great little surprise/activity for Dot in the car during our 10 hour road trip. It was a small coloring pad with one marker that brought out the colors on the pages when used. It wasn’t messy at all, the book was small enough for her to hold and color, and she was obsessed! Given, my daughter does like to color, but the thing kept her entertained a HUGE portion of the drive home on a 10-hour ride. They come in all sorts of varieties and can be purchased just about anywhere (Walgreens, Amazon, Target, Babies ‘R’ Us…) I will definitely be getting more of these before vacation. -Rita

3. Mapping a Road Trip
Speaking of long trips with littles, I wrote this blog post about road trips with kids, but it primarily focused on survival in the car itself. When we travel to the beach this summer, Hubs and I are not aiming to”make good time”. I want to plan some stops that will break up the drive best for kids. (Both in spacing but also in what they can do when we stop.) We made a lunch stop last weekend and decided to take food to a park. Successfully finding one definitely added time, though. (Our first attempt was a bust!) Planning in advance will help, so if you have suggested stops between central Kentucky and Virginia Beach, let me know.  -Rita

4. Business Socks
My husband wanted some snazzy socks to wear with his work suits. I found some super cute ones at Steinmart for only $1.98/pair. Can’t beat that for this kind of fun variety! -Holly Jo

5. Summer Cut–Check!
My cut is done! I really liked what the stylist did with it. She did a great job from the pictures I showed her and seemed to get it just short enough for my liking but long enough for a ponytail. Thanks for all the feedback and tips! -Rita

6. Easy Train Cake
I have such crafty and creative family members! Our cousin’s little guy, Rory, turned two this week and she made him the cutest cake! I’ve seen lots of cake pan molds, but this one was individual train cars–very detailed. To top that off, she decorated it superbly! My kids were lucky enough to get a few pieces (“cars”) themselves. What a fun idea for a little guy’s birthday! -Rita

7. GAWM Makeup Tutorial
For those of you who have hyper-pigmentation, oily skin, large pores and lots of stress this makeup tutorial is for you! I love this look for summer days when I know I will be sweating. It is also perfect for long days and if you are going to be photographed, such as weddings. -Holly Jo

8. Roll-on Sparkles
Dorothy gained a new sparkle obsession over the weekend when my cousin-in-law Jenny introduced her to NYX Cosmetics Roll On Shimmer. Her daughters think it’s the bees knees and it really is! It’s not wet or sticky but rolls right on and even comes off easily. You can use it for yourself, but it’s perfect for little girls too and comes in all colors. You can find it at Ulta. -Rita
NYX COSMETICS  Roll On Shimmer
9. Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day has come and gone–hope all of you fellow moms had a wonderful day but I especially hope you took time to be grateful for the opportunity to be a mother. The day sometimes gets focused on praising mothers–which is good, but the fact we get to be mothers is a privilege many, many would love. Hold those kiddos tight and tell them you love them every day. -Rita

10. Road Trip Vlog
Here is a snippet into the adventure we took last week to see my cousin graduate from UNC’s Masters in Accounting program at Chapel Hill. The 10-hours to and 10-hours back from Apex, NC was interesting with two kids, but well worth it! -Rita