Saturday, December 13, 2014

Travel Tips with TownePlace Suites®, and a travel giveaway!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TownePlace Suites by Marriott® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I travel a lot for The Shine Project, and today I'm sharing my travel tips with you! It's really important for me to stay organized while I travel, and use all my suitcase space so I can fit everything that I need to take with me. When we do large events, literally every tiny spot in my suitcase is taken up and I need easy access to everything. With my pouches from The Container Store® I'm able to stay more organized, which I'll show you in the video!
A couple weeks ago my airlines left my luggage out in the rain for a couple of hours and when I finally got it EVERYTHING was completely soaked. Several of my items were damaged, but what I put in my pouches did not get wet at all. When I travel, it's also important for me to find a place to stay that accomodates all of my needs.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott® has been great for extended stay travel. TownePlace Suites® also has teamed up with The Container Store® for the elfa® closet to provide an amazing closet system that is full of shelves, floating drawers, and clothing racks. It allows my clothing to stay organized while I'm away from home. They have free wi-fi, breakfast, and discounts on longer stays. At one point over the summer I was gone for 45 days, with only a couple of days in between each trip. Sometimes I didn't even get to go home in between destinationns. Without a system to stay organized I would have completely lost my mind. For more information visit the TownePlace Suites® Facebook page and consider the for your next extended stay!
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TownePlace Suites® is giving away a $100 gift card for next visit. To enter, comment below answering either:
“What do you do to stay organized on extended-stay travel”
“What would you use the most in the elfa® closet to stay organized while traveling?”
Must be 21+, U.S. residents only. Please leave your email address in your comment so we can contact you. One (1) winner will be chosen from your readers. IZEA will handle selection of winner and fulfillment of prize.  Here are the official rules.812 46-3615812
Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, December 7, 2014

8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Chopped My Hair.

I hadn't cut my hair for about 7 years. S-E-V-E-N.
I had no intentions  to chop it off, I love big thick braids, messy buns, and long curls with a lot of volume. And then one night a couple of weeks ago, I watched Taylor Swifts new music video and was obsessed with her short hair. In that same hour I saw Lauren Conrad's new do, and, it was over for me.
I made a hair appointment and two days later…chop chop.
My husband texted me during the event, and said "I feel like I'm losing my best friend today." Boys love long hair, but what he didn't know yet was how hot short hair can be ;)

Immediately I loved my new cut. It added life to my hair that I felt I had been missing, made me look different, was fun and fresh and was the change that I needed. The next morning I had to catch a flight really early, and it was the first time I had to style my own hair without my hair stylist. 
I cried. I couldn't do it. It took me double the time and I was frantic about the 7 inch decision that wouldn't be able to magically re appear on my head.

Here are the things that I wish I knew about having short hair, before I had short hair:

1- Don't count on saving time. Short hair is very high maintenance if you want it to look pretty everyday. The days of tossing it into a messy bun or a pretty long braid are over. Since it is short, I feel like every piece of hair takes on an important role of looking good because you don't have much forgiveness if it doesn't. 

2- It makes your clothes look different. I actually love this about having short hair. You can see your entire outfit now.. Trust me, it changes the look of everything!

3- When I had long hair, I could go 5 days without washing it before it started to look greasy. With short hair, I have to wash it about every 2 days before it starts looking gross. I'm not sure why… but again, there's not much forgiveness with short hair because it can't hide itself anymore. 

4- Short hair is FUN! I was so scared on my drive to get my hair cut… If I knew how much I was going to love it I wouldn't have freaked out as much. It has completely given my face and hair new life to it and it's been an exciting change.

5- Make sure your stylist adds texture and dimension so you don't end up with a "mom cut". The LAST thing I wanted was to roll out with a mom hair cut. You guys know what I'm talking about :) My stylist new exactly what to do… Make sure you take in pictures so whoever is doing your hair understand what kind of look you want. Saying you want "short" hair will not end well for you.

6- Hair products become important. I never used hair products with long hair. Now I feel like I have to. Volumizer and texture gel have become my best friends.

7- Certain makeup that I used to wear no longer looks good on me. When you cut your hair, your face is going to be framed differently. Different features are going to stand out more. I went and got a full new face of makeup before my hair cut so that I wouldn't freak out when my hair was gone and I looked totally different. I found makeup that helped brighten my face, lips, and eyes, and I make the features that I like stand out more. More attention is going to be on your face because your hair is going to end closer to it.

8- I finally have gotten the hang of curling and straightening my new hair (which might take you some time… but once you get it… dang you're going to look smokin'!) I didn't know if I would be able to do fun braids still or not. I have collar bone length hair, and you guys, you TOTALLY can still rock beautiful braids! You can actually follow me on @daily_braid (my main Instagram is @theshineproject) if you want to see braids in short hair.

If you're thinking about taking the plunge… do it! 
I'm so happy that I did, and hair isn't permanent, it grows back.
Happy chopping!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Shiloh's Birthday

Birthdays are a fun and magical time around our house. Zoe and Shiloh have brought in a new excitement for every holiday, and I love celebrating things with them. Last month Shiloh turned 8 years old, and he's been anticipating it for a long time! I always grew up having the most exciting birthday because my parents really put time into them, and I wanted to do the same for my kids. Last year was the first time I threw them parties, and it stressed me out SO bad. So, for this year, I knew that I needed something fun, different, and also low maintenance so that I wouldn't get all stressed with kids running everywhere and needing a million different activities planned.

The first time I talked to the crew over at Gamez On Wheelz, I knew that I had found the ultimate birthday party jackpot! The huge game truck pulled up to our house 15 minutes before Shilohs party started. They have a staff member who sets everything up, and helps the kids with the games throughout the party. When Shiloh walked into the truck, he started SCREAMING. Actually, all of the kids did, they loved it! They had TONS of games to choose from, and I personalized it so that they didn't have access to games that were rated Mature. In the back of the truck is a stage and another TV for the kids to play DDR. The girls were dancing on that stage the whole party, it was the cutest thing. Inside the truck are four huge TVs, which can accommodate 4 players per TV. At one point I looked inside to find my brother, brother-in-law and husband all playing the new Madden football game. It really is perfect for any age, and it is probably the best party that Shiloh will ever have!

The Gamez on Wheelz crew can go anywhere in Phoenix, and do parties, staff events, block parties… anything! I highly recommend it, and we had a blast!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Around Our Table.

 Eat Marquee Sign- Saw and Steel use code SUNSHINE10 to get 10% off!
 Kitchen tableSide table, End chairs, Table chairs, Round Wall Cubby, Grow Planter- Letter Craft, Ain't Life Grand art by Yellow Bungalow Shop

We moved into our new house about 5 months ago. It's our third home since we got married 4.5 years ago, and we finally feel settled. We still have a lot to do inside of these walls, and I'll bring you an updated dining room in a few months when it's totally done, but it feels like home inside. And that's what matters. I wanted to invited you in for this holiday season, so we can share what we're grateful for, and also because a lot of our furniture is on a huge black friday sale ;) (Wish it was when I purchased it. Dang it.) 
Getting into this home was stressful, kind of dramatic, and I have vowed that we will not be moving for a very, very, very long time. I won't lie, this past summer was one of the most stressful and anxiety filled times that I've ever gone through in my life. I've learned a lot, am still learning, and am incredibly grateful to be where I am right now. You're some of the first people to be invited around our table, and during this Thanksgiving holiday, we have a tradition that we go around the table and tell everyone what we are thankful for.

This year I have a new view on the word gratitude. I've met so many people who are struggling for  basic life needs, and it has softened and broken me down these past few years. I am grateful for what I have. I have learned that gratitude, however, goes deeper than things. Gratitude is a sense of being that you carry around in your heart. I've learned that there's no room for discouragement in a grateful heart, and that focusing on blessings and mercies from God can outweigh any anxiety or worry about things we don't have and situations that we can not control. People who are grateful don't feel entitled to things in life. They don't think they deserve everything to go their way and are resilient and hopeful when situations don't work out the exact way that they want them to. Grateful people share what they have with others, even if they don't have a lot in the eyes of the world. My biggest heroes are people who I've met who give all they have, but are people who should be given to because of their lack of earthly means. Being truly grateful can come from being broken down. When you're broken down you see life differently, you treasure more meaningful moments, and you know that you can bounce back. I'm grateful for these lessons I've learned, for my God who knows how to teach me, and for my family who is always there at the end of very long days.

Shiloh (8)- Im grateful for my life. My family, learning the gospel, and living with a beautiful family. I'm grateful for my sister who always cheers me up when I'm sad, my mom because she always works hard but always knows when to party (haha), and my dad because he works so hard even when he's tired. Even when he's tired he's always the best dad, always cooks dinner, and is very smart. He's the best I've ever had. I'm grateful that we have food, water, shelter, the scriptures and Jesus.

Zoe (6)- I'm grateful for the earth. I'm grateful for my family because they are so nice and they keep me closer to God. I'm grateful for the angels. I'm thankful for animals and my dog especially. I'm grateful for the food and water that I can drink and eat and for my school teacher who I love so much. 

What would you say if you were sitting around our table?
Join our conversation in the comments below, and happy Thanksgiving to you all.