Thoughts for the New Year

When you go through really tough stuff, loss, extreme sadness or grief, you feel like the pain is never going to stop. You can’t imagine a day where it won’t hurt.

But then... after what seems like forever, you start to forget a little bit how raw and hard it all felt. Either because something else has finally filled that void up, or because time, and day to day life have happened and numbed some of it out.

I think that’s “Time’s job”.
To help soften the pain of the past, and also to remind you that today is all you may have, and to REALLY cherish it.

I remember feeling so inadequate as a young mother.
Overwhelmed, isolated, tired, sometimes empty and yet still happy at the same time.
Now as a newly single Momma of pre-teens, I feel even more scared and unsure - but find that my “emotional happiness cup of motherhood” is overflowing in this season of my life. It’s filled to the top and bursting at the seams.

I tap into that feeling over and over again when I am struggling with the anger of my divorce or the debilitating fear of not knowing what my future will bring, now that I’m on my own.
I don’t think the irony of these two polar opposite feelings crossing paths at the same time in this moment of my life... actually has anything to do with irony at all.
I truly believe that God has a plan for each of us, and that he wants us to be REALLY happy - even when ESPECIALLY when times feel impossible, hopeless or too hard.

I don’t KNOW much of anything (especially about God or religion) - I’ll admit that. But I DO know THIS with every fiber of my being, because I feel it to my core... God wants us to win.
He wants us to find happiness through life’s sometimes uncontrollable circumstances and outcomes.
He wants us to WANT help, so he can give it - but sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom (emotionally, spiritually, physically or mentally) to finally call on him for comfort.

I don’t think I’ve prayed harder in my entire life, than I have this last month.
For people I don’t even know, for members of my social media family here, everyday life friends, for my own family, for myself... and the list goes on.

My heart has been hurt and mended more than a few times in my 36 years here on earth... but after my separation, I honestly never thought I would be able to pick up the catastrophic mess that was left around me.

...turns out, I was wrong.

And over the last couple years, the more I step back and look in at it... I think I’ve decided that that’s what life is totally all about.
Seeing what we do with the pieces of our heart and life, that break and scatter.
Figuring out how to rearrange the mess, into something... ANYTHING that makes us feel remotely whole again.
There’s no time limit on that kind of work.
And I want to tell you (and maybe this is more for just myself) that IT’S OKAY to take it slow.
Don’t let anyone rush you, especially yourself.
Bottling and burying only work for so long before you can’t dig any deeper or push things down any further.
If new resolutions are being made tonight, simply to cover up others that are still lingering and begging for attention... I say look inward and try again.
Not because you failed, but because you refuse to stop fighting for yourself.
You’re stronger than you think.
You deserve more peace.
Life’s momentary circumstances don’t define you.
Give yourself some grace.
You’re doing SO good.
You ARE enough.
And there’s no rush.
Life really IS about the journey - and sometimes you just need to stop and FEEL it all, to properly start to HEAL it all.
Happy New Year you guys - it’s gonna be a good one.💗


Tween Girl Gift Guide

You asked, so I delivered - The Ultimate Tween Girl Gift Guide! 
I know that not all tween girls are going to be into the same stuff, so I tried adding lots of different kinds of things that my kids already have, want for Christmas or that their friends love!
Hopefully you can get some good ideas off of the things I have listed here, and snag some great gifts for the tween girl in your life. Happy Shopping!

1. BFF Q&A's; A Journal - This is SO cute! Perfect for sisters or best friends! There are questions on each page with cues to draw or write back to each other with your thoughts and feelings.
2. Colorful Super Soft Fluffy Slime - My girls are STILL obsessed with slime, so this seemed perfectly appropriate! Lots of colors and 
3. Jumbo Panda Squishy Toy - I'll be honest, I don't get it. That being said, Aubrielle is OBSESSED with them. These squishy little toys are all the rage, and she can't get enough of them. This time she specifically asked for a panda. lol. (shrug)
4. Animal Cable Bites - My girls asked for these a few months ago. I had NO idea what they were talking about. I finally found them a few and they're pretty dang cute. Plus they help keep their phone cords from bending and then fraying over time. Cute stocking stuffer eh?
5. Bopit Handheld Game - The girls play this with their cousins for HOURS when at my Mom and Dad's house. It's hilarious to watch them try to beat each other on leveling up. Plus it's an interactive game, which I love!
6. Clear Jewelry Holder - Matches any room decor and holds up to 30 necklaces/bracelets, plus it has a little tray for earrings and rings!
7. Sound Activated Disco Ball Party Light Pack - These are just freakin' fun! The remote makes changing the lighting effects easy, and you'll be surprised with how much effect these two little lights give off in a large space. Awesome for dance parties, birthdays, etc!
8. Vegan, Essential Oil, Natural, Fizzy Bath Bombs - organic, luxury bath bombs with shea and cocoa butter to help soften your skin. These are also great, because they don't leave gross residue in the tub afterwards.
9. Hey Girl Hey Mini Dish - Our signature saying on a cute ceramic dish! Great for jewelry or a drop zone for spare change.
10. Five Crowns Score Sheet Book - Must-have partner for the Five Crowns card game that I promise your kids are going to fall in love with!
11. Five Crowns Card Game - A super easy to learn, rummy style-type card game for ages 8+. It's really addicting and fun to play! 
12. Ultimate Slime DIY Recipe Book - If your kids are into the slime tutorials so they can make their own?... this book is awesome!
13. Galaxy Putty Slime - Just some cool lookin' slime that will be perfect inside stockings this year!
14. Pura Vida Bracelets - Waterproof, colorful and can be sized to fit any wrist. There are TONS of options to choose from!
15. Dohm Sound Machine - We have one in each of our rooms. They're the best, most soothing sound machines. They drown out everything and don't collect dust like a fan would. If you have a baby or toddler, this is also the magical machine that will keep them sleeping longer, PROMISE!
16. DOSS Touch Wireless Bluetooth V4.0 Portable Speaker - The perfect wireless, portable speaker with over 10,000 reviews on Amazon and an almost 5-star rating! Great for setting in the bathroom while getting ready each morning! 
17. Bathpack Detangling Brush (Use code "houseofsmiths" for free shipping over $10) - The best $5 you'll ever spend on your hair. It's bristles are longer and closer together than a Wet Brush, and the bottom plastic cushion doesn't collapse as easily - which means it's great for thick hair too!    
18. Chameleon Deluxe Marker Set - The twins asked for this as part of their "big present" this year. They're both REALLY into drawing and coloring, and they've seen these Chameleon markers everywhere and are dying to get their hands on them. 
19. Brooklyn & Bailey Scrunchies (Use code "HOS10" for 10% off!)- In their hair, on their wrists... scrunchies are the old school, hot, new trend for tweens. We have every color, and they're a MUST HAVE accessory for my girlies! These scrunchies also come apart so you can choose to wear them plain or with the cute little bunny ear bow feature!
20. Brooklyn & Bailey Girl Next Door Mascara (Use code "HOS10" for 10% off!)- My girls swear by this mascara. They LOVE it, and it definitely lengthens their natural lash! Plus it lasts quite a while before I have to buy more.


Favorite Things 2018

It's been WAY too long since I posted a favorites thing post - so I've been working hard for the past two days to get this new one up, just in time for you to forward it to all of the people who will be showering you with gifts this Christmas😜

1. Shine Makeup Removing Cloths (Use code "HOFS10" for 10% off! Plus free shipping the entire month of December!)
These are magical, and they've saved me from using twice as much cleanser! (that's money in the BANK!) I used to wash my face 2 times every night. Once to get the makeup off, and then another time to REALLY get the makeup off and to actually let all the good skincare properties that my cleanser offered, work into my skin. Now?... I just wet one of these reusable makeup cloths in warm water, wipe it across my face, and the makeup literally melts away!!! I was shocked. It got off my super long-wear lipsticks, waterproof bottom lash mascara, and ALL my full coverage makeup. This is my new, absolute favorite, sensitive skin, non-chemical, eco-friendly skincare find of the year. And you better believe I have my tweens using them too. Because even if they're too lazy to wash, tone and lotion up... at least they can wipe all their makeup off at the end of the day to help alleviate breakouts! 
2. Shine Fiber Brow (Use code "HOFS10" for 10% off + free shipping!)- I've talked about this product a LOT on Instagram, because it's my must-have brow finishing gel. I use it alone when I'm going for a tamed, yet natural brow look. And on top of any other brow pencils or powders when I'm wanting everything to look a tad more dramatic or defined. Either way, this product leaves you with beautiful filled brows that STAY in place all day. 
3. Shine Long Wear Eyeliner (Use code "HOFS10" for 10% off + free shipping!)- My go-to, buttery soft eyeliner that actually stays put in my waterline.
4. Tightline Waterproof Black Mascara Primer - An everyday makeup essential that works wonders on my thin, (basically non-existent) bottom lashes. The formula is waterproof, and the applicator is teeny-tiny, so you can really get to those individual bottom lashes, without making a mess on your skin with those other bulky mascara wands. 
5. MAC Fix+ Spray - The perfect skin refresher and powdery makeup melter. I use this spray after all of my powders are on my face, to help "melt" everything beautifully together so that I have a more skin-like finish, instead of a cakey, powdery mess! It works WONDERS and smells AWESOME.
6. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray - My holy grail makeup setting spray. If you wear makeup, you NEED a makeup setting spray. A spray of this on your face after ALL of your makeup is on, seals EVERYTHING into place and helps your look you worked so hard on, last ALL DAY.  
7. MaryKay Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover (free shipping on orders over $25) - I have THEE most sensitive eyes, and I could honestly squirt this stuff directly into my eye, and it wouldn't irritate it. (I don't recommend that... I'm just sayin'). If you have itchy, dry or sensitive skin around your eyes - THIS is the makeup remover for you. It's contact wearer friendly, it doesn't leave a gross oily residue behind, and it gets EVERYTHING off! Just soak a cotton pad with a little solution, hold it over your closed eye for a few seconds, and you can swipe away any kind of pesky makeup. I especially love this product for my waterline eyeliner. Because I can get all up in my eye with this solution, and never have a problem with stinging.
8. MaryKay Satin Hands Set - This makes an awesome gift, and it works perfectly on dry hands. The trio includes a super hydrating emollient cream, a gentle scrub and a rich finishing lotion. 
9. MaryKay Satin Lips Duo - It's like the Satin Hands, but for you LIPS! I searched high and low a few months ago for the perfect lip scrub, that didn't feel like sandpaper. THIS is it. It's super fine and gentle on my lips, but totally does the job of scrubbing off any dry skin. Then the thick, creamy lip balm after?... SO GOOD. I use the scrub once a week and keep the lip balm in my purse. 
10. Dose of Color Matte Lipstick - No crumbly, dry lips here. Just really beautiful, soft matte lip color that does a pretty great job in the long-wear department too. They have really great muted, neutral tones as well. 
11. BoxyCharm Beauty Subscription Box - My one and only beauty subscription box (so far) that I think is worth the money; and I'm LOVING it. Full sized items with a complete rundown of what they are and how they work best.
12. Ulta Gift Card - Always a good gift to ask for, or give!!! Satisfaction guaranteed!