Monday, March 25, 2013

Creative Combos: Just for Me

sweater: gift, dress: nordstrom rack, boots: forever young shoes, belt: macy's (old), necklace: sam moon (similar)

One of my passions and something that brings me a great deal of joy in life is singing. I've been doing it my entire life. My mom has a recording of me singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in perfect pitch at 19 months old to my newborn sister. I sang in choirs all throughout elementary, middle, and high school, even participated (and won a few, might I add) in contests and county level competitions. It was always kind of my thing- I'm Kensie and I love to sing. 

Since graduating from high school, I haven't had hardly any opportunities to do it. I sing to my children, of course, and I sang to my husband at our wedding reception (yeah, like you didn't do anything corny at your reception), but other than that, I've been silent. 

Enter one of my best friends- Wex. She has hosted a few open mic nights that I've had the opportunity to participate at. At her most recent one, we were able to collaborate on a couple songs, which couldn't have been more of a blast. The weekend after that, her friend hosted another open mic night and we were able to squeeze in and perform there as well. I posted the recordings of our performance online and we've been asked to participate in a showcase at one of my favorite restaurants next month! I'm so freaking stoked!

The point of all of this is that I am so grateful to Wex for not only inviting me but pushing me to do something for myself that makes me happy. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't have picked up singing again and I wouldn't be as happy as I am now. I am so grateful and blessed to have her in my life. 

My other point is how important is to do something just for you. It is so difficult with all the responsibilities we have as mothers and wives and homemakers to make time for ourselves, not to mention viewing it as a priority. But singing or massaging or whatever it may be that you enjoy is just as important as dishes or bathing that messy 2-year-old. I become more enjoyable and much easier to be around when I make the time to enjoy my hobbies. I am a happier person. It becomes more enjoyable to play with my children or cuddle with Mitch or do laundry (okay, maybe that one's a lie. Laundry will never, I repeat NEVER be enjoyable.) 

My challenge for you is to find (or make) some time this week to do something just for you. Work on a hobby you have set aside for too long. Read a couple chapters of your favorite book in a hot bath. Whatever it is, do it. The sentiment is so true that a happy woman makes a happy home. Allow yourself to be that happy woman. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pinterest Challenge #4: Homemade Makeup Remover

I am notorious for never taking my makeup off before bed. Sometimes, it goes so far as going days between washing my face. I know, I know, SO bad, but I've never claimed to have good skin or even good skin care habits so no judgment. I think my problem is the time. I always wait until I'm already exhausted and then the thought of trying to keep my hair out of my face and water dripping down my arms and blindly trying to find my towel just doesn't appeal to me. And any makeup remover I've used in the past has left my skin so oily that I had no choice but to wash it off immediately after anyway. So much trouble.

Anyway, I found this homemade makeup remover idea on Pinterest and I thought I'd give it a shot. I mean, what could it hurt? If I hate it, than I won't use it. Big deal. It sounded like the perfect solution to my lack of face washing at night- quick and efficient. And it has baby soap in it so I'm thinking using it is as good as washing my face, right? So here's the recipe I used to concoct my makeup remover:

1/2 cup water

3/4 tablespoon of no-tear baby soap

1 teaspoon coconut oil

4 drops lemon essential oil

I definitely improvised the recipe a little. Jillee always makes such big batches of things and I didn't want quite so much of certain ingredients in it. Also, I didn't make the reusable pads. I didn't have any flannel just lying around waiting to be used and I wasn't going to go out and buy some just for this project. Maybe I'll tackle that project another time, but for now, cotton balls work perfectly fine for me. 

My reaction to this project is very positive. I used to use baby wipes to try to get my eye makeup off, but I'd end up scrubbing quite a bit to get it off. With this, there was absolutely no scrubbing. A few swipes and all my mascara is on the cotton ball and off my eyelashes. Best part- absolutely not oily! This will make taking my makeup off before bed so much more worth the effort. 

A couple notes:

Jillee says to use any essential oil of your choice. Be SO careful when choosing your oil. Definitely DO NOT use peppermint. Your eyes will sting and burn for quite awhile. Even getting peppermint NEAR your eye can cause it to water and sting. I'm not sure about other oil options so do your research before making your selection. Btw, lemon doesn't burn.

Also, there was a comment about avoiding introducing bacteria on Jillee's post that I thought was worth sharing. It's by Catherine's Not Naturally Crafty. She says: 
'Now, under no circumstances should you pre-moisten the pads and let them sit OR should you keep that solution for more than a week or two. Also, do not dip a pad and re-dip a used or partially used pad. And make sure your hands, jar etc. are scrupulously clean before you mix up your cleaner and use clean hands before you apply. 'Cause otherwise that would be silly and you might introduce bad bugs into your solution. If you can tolerate tea tree oil a drop of that is a natural disinfectant and in small amounts has a nice "clean" smell.'

Thanks so much Jillee and Catherine!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Follow Gracefully Kensie on Bloglovin'

In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st. Huge bummer, but its not the end of the world. Bloglovin' is a great option to follow your favorite blogs! Katie from Hems for Her wrote up a little tutorial on how to use Bloglovin' to follow your favorite bloggers that spells out how simple it really is.

I absolutely love the Bloglovin' app. Amaze-balls! I've always had to visit each blog I follow individually on my phone to know if there was a new post. This app has seriously changed my life.

The best way to get started is to click the little Bloglovin' button under my picture to the left. If you're not sure, it's the one that looks like this:

Or you can just click here and that will take you to the Gracefully Kensie page on Bloglovin'.

Hope this helps make your transition a little easier and thanks for following!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Watching for Daddy driving the tractor.

A little of what Mitch's week looked like. He's studying to take the GMAT, that smart guy.

Tickle monster!

O and daddy posing at the zoo.

Made my lifetime.

O with his great-grandma and great-aunt.

Seems as if all of my posts are like a biography for my firstborn, but don't worry- I promise that I will have more pictures of L in my next family post.

I was a little swept up in our vacation when we first got there so most of these pictures were taken on the same day (hence O wearing his "Super Brother" shirt in almost every single one) but it really sums up our whole trip. The weather was absolutely amazing so we were outside almost constantly, walking down the lane to see the horses or helping grandpa feed the "sheepers" in the back. O had his first experience at the zoo and boy was he in heaven. My mother-in-law took (dragged) me on a bike ride and even babysat so Mitch and I could go on a little date. It was a very laid back and relaxing trip and we really were able to enjoy each other's company. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Creative Combos: Springtime

 This is my "I LOVE WARM WEATHER" face. Yep- I'm a crazy person.
chambray: pacsun (shop), dress (as skirt): stolen from my mother's closet, flats: thrifted, necklace: sam moon (out of stock, similar, similar

I feel pretty innovative right about now because the skirt in the pictures is actually a dress. I LOVE love LOVE the beautiful floral print on it, but as a dress it was a little too short for my taste, hence the innovation. Maybe one of these days I'll permanently convert it into a skirt instead of just folding the top under.

I am super excited to share this outfit because it screams springtime and boy am I ready. We took a family trip to California last week to visit the in-laws and where it might not have felt exactly "springy" back home in Utah, it definitely did where we were and I loved it. It was the perfect excuse to break out the florals and bare legs. Now if only Utah would get the message...

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more on our trip to California!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sacramento Zoo

This kid is seriously so enthralled with monkeys. He stood in the same spot watching them for a good 20 minutes. 

Waiting for the animals to do something interesting. It proved futile for some of them. But seriously, cutest little face ever or what?

One picture of L, overkill of O. He was so cooperative the whole time, though. He just hung out in the stroller and didn't even complain until he was ready to eat.

Sleeping jaguars. More futile waiting.

He wanted to get closer. We said no.

Some parts of the playground were more fun than others. Cement slide= no fun.

Mo the turtle. O and his grandma have a song they sing together about a turtle named Tiny Tim. I think it came as a shock to him when he learned what a real turtle was.

This was O's first zoo experience and he had a blast! Thank you, Grandma Cook, for taking us.