Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Things I’m loving right now


I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile (hell, I haven’t done much posting in awhile). So I thought I would share some things I’m loving these days. I always love hearing unpaid endorsements of products (these are not affiliate links and no one gave me/paid me anything to post about these products but thanks for checking in FCC).

I fell in love with salted caramel ice cream while we were in Asheville this summer. There was a local place that made it in house and it was amazing. Sadly, no brands in the store seem to understand the perfection of the salted caramel ice cream so I haven’t had any to love since coming home.  But. But. I found a sea salt caramel gelato at our Super Target. It doesn’t have that slight salty crunch that it should but the flavor is amazing. I am in love. I’m going to have to severely limit my purchases because I’ll never be able to put on my pants again and it ain’t the cheapest stuff.

Dry shampoo. When I think of it, I think of Laverne & Shirley. Do you remember the episode? They have a big double date and Shirley decides to use Quickie Poo? Disaster ensues. But we had a My Favorite Things party (think Oprah but with a $5 limit) on Friday and someone brought Suave dry shampoo. I had been wanting to try it so I was excited to hear her endorsement. She said she had tried several other brands but liked Suave best. I often shower at night and my hair gets oily quickly so I love spraying a little of this in my hair in the morning when I get up. I’m a fan. (Admittedly, right now, I’m not styling my hair – hello twisted up in a clip – so I can’t say what it does if I wanted it to actually DO something.)

First let me say, I’m not a huge fan of Larabars. I love the simple ingredients but the taste? Not so much. They are all okay (except ginerbread – that was awful) but not great and not worth the price (for me). But enter Larabar Uber Bars. They were giving away samples at Target of the Apple Turnover and the Bananas Foster. Wow. They were fabulous. The Apple Turnover was my favorite. The bananas foster was good too (think banana walnut bread flavor). And the girls loved them. I try to keep some sort of bar in my purse for emergencies. (Someone in the family might have a bad habit of not eating breakfast and suddenly starving and shaking at 2pm but let’s not mention names *cough* me *cough*.)  This is one that tastes great and isn’t horrible for you. (Not low calorie…just not full of junk.) Wish I could afford to keep them around as regular snacks for my girls but they are a little pricey and they are little snack monsters. So I will selfishly save them for mommy.

I’ve started using liquid eyeliner for the first time in my life. I got a sample in my Birchbox*** one month (the Stila brand – love it but it is very glittery and not appropriate for car rider line). I was afraid of it but tried it and loved how easy it was to use. Who knew? So I tried a few brands. I love the Cover Girl applicator. It is like a felt tip pen. But it dries out too quickly and I end up desperately shaking it to finish the second eye. I love the Avon applicator even more (it is like a sponge) but it is so flaky that by the time I have my eyes done, I have flakes all over my cheeks. (See the last photo of the set. That is just from putting it on the counter to take a photo. And it was that way when I received it so it shouldn’t be old.) And when I wipe off the flakes, they streak down my face. The Stila applicator is the best of the bunch but the glittery gold isn’t appropriate for my day time life. Strangely, I settled on Elf as a favorite. It is a plain old tiny paint brush which I was fearful of using but turns out it isn’t so hard after all. And you can’t beat the $1 price tag. (Sorry for photo quality…took those with my phone.)


I tried making my own yogurt. I liked it but the kids refused to eat it. I couldn’t eat it fast enough by myself so I’m back to buying it. I’m currently in love with Dannon Pure. Have you tried it? I don’t normally wax poetic about yogurt but it tastes close to what I make only with fruit flavor. I crave it. Try it. (Lame web page Dannon. And don’t think you are tricking us about your “low price” that we are supposed to love – your little containers are only 4oz which is 1/2 of what yogurt used to be and 2/3 of what most yogurts are now. But you are so yummy I mostly forgive you.)

I have dark circles. No really – you might think you have dark circles but I’m almost certain I have you beat. For most of my life, people have asked if I have a black eye if I’m not wearing make up. It gets worse with lack of sleep or poor diet but even at its best, it isn’t pretty. My dark circles are the reason I wear make up when leaving the house. I don’t pay much attention until I see a photo of myself and think “Yikes!” I’ve not ever had any success with make up covering or creams lightening. Most make up just highlights the fact that I now have bags joining the party. But someone let me try a sample of Arbonne’s RE9 Corrective Eye Cream. I ended up buying some when I was offered 40% or 50% off. Is it a miracle? Nope. But I do  notice my eyes being somewhat lighter and less baggy. I’ve been using it for a month (you use a tiny bit so it lasts forever) and I’ve started noticing a little difference. Likely, no one else would see the difference. It could be all in my head but it makes me feel like I’m doing something so it is good either way.

Last, but by no means least, my new love of Mod Podge. I mentioned in my last post that I am digging some mixed media on canvas art right now. Mod Podge figures heavily in that. It is so much fun!  This stuff can do almost anything and makes collage art so much easier.

***I thought about including Birchbox on this list but…I’ll make it a footnote instead. It is a fun thing that you pay $10 a month and they send you a box of (mostly) beauty samples every month. Some months I love it and other months I’m all “Meh” about it. Last month was meh so it gets a foot note instead of a full entry. I tend to be frugal and when I find a product I like, I stick with it because I hate to pay for a lipstick or eyeliner and hate it. So Birchbox breaks me out of my rut. I love tinted moisturizer (haven’t worn foundation in years) and they’ve sent 2 that I really liked. And the liquid eyeliner. And they sent me a larabar uber bar before Target gave me a sample. But I guess they can’t all be winners and last month was heavy on self tanners which I don’t tend to use so I was all sad panda about my box. Every time I get a disappointing box, I think I’m going to cancel it then the next month it does something to suck me back in. Birchbox – you are on notice. Last month was kind of sucky so September better be great or I might decide to save the $10.

Have any of you discovered any great products lately? 


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Playing catch up


Some how, even without a job, life is busy. Nothing earth shattering but a million little things add up to busy days. I dreamed of having endless hobbies when I became a stay at home mom. Quit laughing – I didn’t know. But I do try to fit in some things for me. I read whenever I have a moment. And I’ve been cooking up a storm this summer with all of our CSA goodies. I’ve also been feeling all artsy fartsy lately. I’m dabbling with mixed media on canvas and having lots of fun. I want to just keep doing and doing…but I don’t have places to put it all so no idea what I’ll do with it all. Hey family – guess what you are getting for Christmas? Here is the one I just finished. I kind of dig it but have lots to learn as I play around more.

Speaking of painting, we painted the kitchen. You might recall that just before I announced we were selling the house and moving back north, I asked for color assistance. I finally found a color that didn’t clash with the weird yellow in my eat in and sun room area. But Steve hated it. So we decided to just paint over that color and paint it all a different yellow. I’m not convinced that I love the yellow I ended up picking. It is aggressively cheerful in the morning instead of warm and glow-y like I anticipated. But it is so much better than the brown. The kitchen looks even larger. As for the eat in area and sunroom, we are going 1 shade darker on the paint swatch because I can’t handle that much cheerful in my face in the morning. Before and after:

Steve’s parents came for a visit. The girls love spending time with them. They also love that their hotel has a pool. Sabrina started out the week rather fearful but got pretty brave by the end of it. Tessa is just fearless (which is terrifying).

Sabrina enjoyed some dance lessons from both Grandma and Pap pap.

There was also a late (Tessa) and early (Sabrina) celebration while Grandma and Pap pap were here.

Then the first day of school happened. Sabrina is started the 1st grade and Tessa started her second year of preschool. Both girls seem to be enjoying it so far.

We thought we had the potty training thing licked. But we should never underestimate the level of Tessa’s stubborn. Our family vacation seemed to throw her off and she quit making much effort. We had tried everything I could think of. Nothing was motivating her. So we went to the extreme. We took away Froggie (her bestest friend). It broke my heart but it was the only thing that made her want to try. After a very unsuccessful day, we left Froggie on top of the red cabinet over night. Our hope was that seeing him would motivate her. We got up the next morning and found this:

Someone pushed the table over and climbed on top of it in order to get Froggie. We turned a corner after we finally told her she was going to be a baby and go back to diapers or be a big girl and wear panties full time. She chose panties and hasn’t had an accident in 6 days. I guess the ambiguity of pull ups didn’t work for her. Child is going to keep us on our toes.

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