Handmade Coupon Book Gift: {With My Cricut}

IMG_6047 My husbands birthday just passed and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he said coupons!  Coupons for things he rarely gets to do…like sleep in, now that we have kids.  I love that he loves homemade things and doesnt want me to spend money! Handmade coupon books are an easy and quick gift to make…and if you have a Cricut Explore machine or any other cutting/crafting machine…it gives them just a little bit of a cleaner more professional look.

In my Cricut Design Space…I simply went to “Insert Images,” and typed “Coupon,” and this was an option to be printed.  What I love is that it is perforated so it can actually be torn off for “redemption.”

IMG_6040This is the first cut-out.IMG_6043The inner piece is a seperate cut out and I also had the cricut write “Good For:” to give it a more profesh look.  Then I just glued them together prior to filling out.  IMG_6042 (1)IMG_6045Then I just filled them out! (I hate listening to talk radio on the AM station…the dull buzzing gives me a headache!)IMG_6044It’s coupons like these that make me want to request a coupon book for my next bday haha!IMG_6046I’m sure there are better ribbons or fancier ways of tying this…but I could only find brown ribbon and I knew he wouldn’t care haha.  I just weaved it through the holes and tied it all together….I probably should have made the bow in the front… oh well!IMG_6039I also used the cricut writing feature to write “Matt’s coupon book” on the front.

Simple and easy gift and my man loved it!

If you are looking into a Cricut, be sure to click the Cricut banner on your right for $50 off your machine!

XOXO,

Care

Charmin Essentials Soft : {A Review & Swap Challenge}

This post was sponsored by Charmin as part of an influencer Activation for Influence Central.
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I was asked to try and switch out my old toilet paper, and try the new Charmin Essentials Soft  or Charmin Essentials Strong.  Charmin is unveiling these products to give shoppers what they want (soft and strong toilet paper), but at a reasonable price.    I quickly chose Charmin Essentials Soft because I HATE toilet paper that is rough and course and tossed the 6-pack into my shopping cart.  I especially value soft toilet paper not just for me, but because as a mom, I use toilet paper for young tushies too.  And not just their tushies, but young faces and noses.  Plus I figured any toilet paper that is soft, would be thick, and thick = strong enough in my book.  And I was right.  This toilet paper is soft and thick and strong, and can hold up to all my kids put it through haha.  My youngest daughter has asthma, bad allergies, and a constant runny nose…..so we end up using a lot of toilet paper to wipe her face and nose.  Because of this, it’s important the toilet paper we use can withstand all of that.  The first thing I noticed was it’s softness, but the second was that it was a bigger roll than what I was used to (But still fits well in the toilet paper holder which you can see below).  We have been using this new toilet paper now for several weeks and I love it.  
IMG_7202Another great thing about this TP is the price.  I am a Costco shopper and love a good bargain.  Luckily with Charmin Essentials Soft I don’t have to compromise my budget for quality.  Now that I have been using the Charmin Essentials Soft, I am curious about using their Charmin Essentails Strong to see how that differs….I just might have to go out and get me some of that too haha!

Charmin Essentials is offering the #CharminEssentials TP swap program.  If you currently use Angel Soft® or Scott® 1000 TP and want to try Charmin Essentials for FREE, then simply tweet your TP swap out request to @Charmin with #CharminEssentials #Promotion .  You will find the #CharminEssentials TP swap Terms & Conditions here.  Be sure to try them out friends!

IMG_7205IMG_7209Fits in perfectly and has a pretty pattern 🙂

XOXO,

Care

 

TONE IT UP Workout : {Birthday Workout With My Gals}

IMG_5066 I love celebrating my birthday every year with my girlfriends….yes I love my birthday and I’m not ashamed to admit it!  This year, we were lucky enough to go to a free group workout by my fave fitness trainers…..Karena and Katrina from Toneitup.com ! I am a Tone it up member and I love this program and these ladies (even if my waistline doesn’t always show it lol).  They are so positive and encouraging and you can’t help but want to be healthy when watching their videos or following them on social media.  So when I found out they were having a workout in Manhattan Beach, CA (35ish minutes from me)….I begged my girlfriends to come join me as a birthday celebration and luckily most of them could make it!  It was so much fun…but holy cow was it exhausting! These girls kicked my butt!
IMG_5069We worked out at an empty sound stage on a studio lot.IMG_5067They had a table set up in the back with free Perfect Fit protein shake samples and Perfect Fit Tone It Up brownies. 
IMG_5068The brownies where flourless and made with bananas and the protein powder…I want the recipe!IMG_5077They gave everyone a little bag with a sample of the Perfect Fit Vanilla protein powder, a recipe card, and a cute little Perfect Fit drink umbrella!IMG_5071IMG_5070We are ready to workout!…or so we thoughtIMG_5078It was a bit of a quiet room which surprised me…I kept giving out little hoots because I was so excited when they came out!
IMG_5156This pic is from their instagram of the event…best part…LIL JON was the DJ!!  It was so bomb!  I wanted to stop working out and just have a dance party! Our initial stretch was to his song and we said “To the window (stretch one direction), to the wall (stretch the other direction), ’til the sweat drops down your exercise ball!” (giggles ensued)IMG_5087Seriously we were dead after!  I have never sweated so much in my entire life…plyo jumps are no joke!IMG_5095We quickly freshened up and changed clothes in the parking structure, applied a lot of deodorant and body spray, and headed out to a celebratory dinner (we earned it right??).  We went to Hudson House in Redondo Beach.  (If you are a top chef fan…the owner is runner up contestant Brooke Williamson).IMG_5094They had delicious cocktails (like this tiki drink), and the truffle fries and pretzel burger where to die for! 
IMG_5171And there we are, front and center (well a little to the left).  Such a fun time! Thanks K & K for a great birthday!  If you have never checked out their workout videos…do it! So fun!  

XOXO,
Care

Bah-Bye Long Hair : {Practicing Bravery}

IMG_1706First let me start off with saying I totally understand the eye roll at the idea that cutting my hair is an act of bravery (1st world problems), and totally acknowledge that real bravery is shown by so many in so much greater ways than a haircut.  But this is just a little story into the craziness of my mind and that for me, this is a big deal…and this is my truth. (Insert another eye roll haha).

You know on those weight loss/makeover shows where they meet some celeb hairstylists and stylists and just totally get transformed???  I literally have so much anxiety when I watch those because I imagine myself in their shoes and all I can think is “I don’t care how much they pay me or how famous the hairstylist is….they are NOT chopping my hair off!”  I have literally always had longhair…the only time I had short hair was in 7th grade when I decided to chop it off and always regretted it.  Whenever I go to my hairstylist friend Nicki P. (Sup girl), I always plead “JUST A TRIM GIRL”….but not this time.

First some background:  I grew up in a family of women who had thinner hair who couldn’t grow it very long…and they would gush over my “pretty thick long hair” and would always tell me to never cut it!  I believed the hype and never did.  I developed this idea that long hair was prettiest and feared short hair on myself.  But what always ends up happening is my hair gets super long and cumbersome and I end up looking like Cher with a drape of dark hair that has no body (no offense Cher), and my head aches at the end of the day from the weight of it.

And lately things have been different….the past few years I have been on a journey of really reflecting on my life and my actions and why I think the way I do and act/respond the way I do to things…and I came to the realization with the help of my mentor, that I live in a lot of fear and anxiety….AND I NEVER KNEW IT!  There are too many to list, but in regards to my hair…fears like this: “If I cut my hair I won’t be pretty anymore.  I’m not skinny enough for short hair.  If I cut my hair, what else do I have that makes me stand out?”  etc etc.  And when I finally realized I thought this about my hair and me, all I could think was….DUMB!!!!

On my lunch breaks (before I got laid off a few weeks ago), I would take walks around the building and journal, sing and pray.  It was a time for me to just really get centered for the day and process things.  The day I came to the realization about my fears with my self image and hair, I was listening to this song on one of those walks.  It’s called “You Make Me Brave” and the lead singer at one point is just belting these lyrics over and over and getting more and more passionate:

You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

And basically she is singing about how God makes us brave and calls us beyond our comfort zone but he promises to be with us and about how his love just pours out over us.  ITS AMAZING and these girls rock.  (You should see me as I sing this song…lots of belting and fingers pointing and wave motions with my hands lol…I can’t help it).  So to make a long story longer…thats when it hit me.  I just thought “I am living in fear and I don’t want to live like that! This is dumb, and I still have value and am beautiful to God whether I have long hair or short! And I will cling to Him for my identity and self worth, and to nothing else!” And that afternoon I went to see Nicole and she chopped it.  I felt free and like a weight was off my shoulders….and I wasn’t scared at all…it was exciting!

Me at work with super long hair the day of my haircut before I went in.
IMG_1673Right after she cut it!IMG_1693Me in the car after she styled it and I sent the pic to all my besties haha!IMG_1697

So now fast forward to today:  I am still glad I cut it because it crushed some old fears, has been fun, and is so light!  And if I ever want to cut it again, it will be easy.  But I do miss my long hair some and will most likely grow it back for these reasons:

  1. My daughter asks for me to grow it back multiple times a week so she can play with my “rapunzel hair” again.  I try and convince her I am Rapunzel at the end of Tangled…but she isn’t buying it haha.
  2. I was the queen of braids with hats and top knots/buns and I MISS THEM!  I miss how easy it was to just put my hair up.  With short hair I feel like you almost have to do it more…or put in a bunch of bobby pins.
  3. I feel like with short hair…at least my short hair…it’s hard to differentiate from styled, to fancy hair for special events.  (Maybe I just don’t know how to style short hair yet though..tips are greatly appreciated :))

Thanks for listening to my ramblings and CHEERS TO BEING BRAVE FRIENDS!
XOXOIMG_1846

 

 

 

Feel free to check out the video here:

 

Sprinkled With Love : {Baby Shower}

Oh how different everything is the second time around haha.  I remember caring about every detail of everything for my 1st child….even the color’s for my shower.  This time around, I told my friends Heather & Julie, they could choose any colors they wanted…and I loved the finished product!  For my shower, or “Sprinkling,” they did a donut/brunch theme with multiple colors….you know, like sprinkles….how clever they are haha.   This post is way past due, but better late than never.  🙂
IMG_4638A big thanks to these ladies for all they did!IMG_4633JOetzell-lo_16They dipped this letter E in actual sprinkles! So adorable!JOetzell-lo_14JOetzell-lo_02JOetzell-lo_21JOetzell-lo_28JOetzell-lo_15JOetzell-lo_33JOetzell-lo_22JOetzell-lo_03
JOetzell-lo_23JOetzell-lo_13I was obsessed with this dress!  I also wore it in my maternity photoshoot.  It’s from Nordstrom’s rack, its not a maternity dress (I just bought a bigger size), and they had it in black as well!JOetzell-lo_17JOetzell-lo_62JOetzell-lo_30A beautiful shot of my eldest Evangeline
JOetzell-lo_37JOetzell-lo_45IMG_4646This was an adorable idea they had:  Every guest made a number/letter block for me, and after the shower, my friend Heather used Modge Podge to set them and I have a whole set of personalized, adorable blocks for my girls.  
JOetzell-lo_35I need to post the finished product, but everyone wrote wishes for my daughter Elizabeth, and my friends made it into a keepsake book to have forever!  


XOXO, Caroline

My Faves of Portland : {Making the most of a short trip}

IMG_6371_2“Keep Portland Weird” is a phrase that was painted on the wall of a local pizza place by our hotel…and it says so much about Portland!  Portland is weird and quirky and artsy and beautiful and they own it!

Because my mom is a cosmetic laser trainer and travels all the time; training clinics and doctor’s office staff on their newly purchased lasers….she gets to travel and earn lots of travel points and rewards!  So we used some of her rewards points and had a mother/daughter trip to Portland two weeks ago!

It was a short trip (Sunday night-Wednesday evening) so we had to make the most of our time to ensure we saw everything we wanted to.

Despite only being there a few days, I FELL IN LOVE WITH PORTLAND!  It had all the best things of a big city: tons of things to do and see, so many great and unique eateries, amazing parks, quirky neighborhoods, etc……but it was so much better than most of the famous big cities I have visited!  Mainly because it was clean, lush and green, the people were so friendly, and it was oh so quiet!  Of course being the socal girl that I am….it helped that it didn’t rain while we were there :).

Here are just a few highlights and recommendations on where to eat and what to see when there….especially if its only for a short time!  Prior to leaving I scoured blogs, Pinterest and yelp to make sure I hit great spots.  Plan a trip there soon friends!!

EAT:

  • VooDoo Doughnuts – Famous for their crazy donuts
  • Salt & Straw – Amazing & unique ice cream flavors (like Olive Oil)…plus this is in a cute neighborhood that I wish I had time to really explore!
  • Tasty & Alder – Great breakfast biscuits! (although I still need to try Pine St. Biscuits)
  • Veritable Quandary – The Bacon Dates app was on point, and everything was so delish here…but make a reservation!
  • Cheryl’s on 12th – Not only did I chat and talk about babies with the actual Cheryl, but my mother and I shared drinks, chatted, and showed off baby pictures with a lovely couple sitting next to us.  Oh yeah and the food was great…I had a fig & goat cheese sandwich!
  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters – The best coffee…seriously so smooth and delish!  You will find a number of cafe’s and bakeries around the city that promote that they brew Stumptown.
  • Lovejoy Bakers – Grab a Stumptown coffee and a pastry and you can sit on their adirondack chairs and just relax..taking in the Pearl District!
  • Petunia’s Pies & Pastries – Vegan Bakery…my mom was obsessed with the raspberry bars
  • Ken’s Artisan Bakery – We had an amazing lunch here…the bread is so fresh and I love that goat cheese came on the salad.
  • Andina – Peruvian Food (I recommend the cheese plate & quinoa crusted shrimp)
  • Isabel – Yummy latin breakfast (I had the artichoke scramble)
  • Lonesome’s Pizza – Open late and cheap delicious slices from a tiny speak-easy type window (Cash Only)

SEE:

  • Washington Park – There are endless things to do here.  You can visit the zoo, rose garden, japanese garden, tree arboretum, children’s museum, etc.  And the hiking…oh the amount of trails!
  • Waterfront Park – This runs along the river which divides Portland and it is a great walk where you can take in all the gorgeous bridges!…just watch out for all the bikers!
  • Keller Fountain Park – This is a fountain (although it didn’t have water when we were there) that just looks so cool!

SHOP:

  • Powell’s Bookstore – THE bookstore in Portland
  • The Pearl District – This was my favorite neighborhood to explore.  It has a ton of cute shops, adorable homes and apartments, art installations and sculptures line the streets, and it is just oh so hip feeling haha.

HELPFUL TIPS:

  • You can’t catch cabs in the city…just from the airport or if your hotel calls one for you
  • The train/bus system is awesome but you can walk the city fairly easy (when you stick to one side…I.E. the Westside or the Eastside)
  • Best months to travel there are August and September…a friend from there told me Don’t go in the fall!…you can seriously get just drenched by the rain!
  • They offer great tours…like bike tours and brewery tours.
  • If you do rent a car…there are lots of one way streets and you have to pay for parking pretty much wherever you go in the downtown area…but I didn’t find it was too hard to find a spot or too expensive.
  • Traffic going in and out of the city can be rough so plan ahead when trying to catch a flight.

I MUST go back…and maybe I will bring the hubby along next time :).

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My favorite cheat sheet/map that I found! IMG_6379_2We loved our stay at the Embassy Suites Downtown…the decor was so 1920’s art deco…and the accommodations were great!
IMG_6510No joke the cheese plate at Andina’s…the corn nuts!…so good 
IMG_6514 IMG_6473Our appetizer at Veritable QuandaryIMG_6469_2These cinnamon/sugar puffs (like a beignet) come free as you wait for your meal at Cheryl’s on 12th!IMG_6458This is at Washington Park and there were just so many trails!….I was almost expecting Edward Cullen to walk out from behind a tree.
IMG_6461Lush lush lushIMG_6446These are the drinking fountains that are spread around the SouthWest side of Portland…they are all around and the water constantly flows!  Plus the water there tastes AMAZING!IMG_6443_2Keller Fountain Park…would have been so cool if it was flowing…but still so beautiful.IMG_6441_2Walking along Waterfront ParkIMG_6426_2VooDoo Doughnuts…the line can get cray so go when its slow!IMG_6419_2This place is so adorable and the vegan treats were delish!
IMG_6409Our lunch at Ken’s Artisan BakeryIMG_6398_2At Lovejoy BakersIMG_6400_2Oh you know…just a baby on a bench :).  IMG_6392_2Such cute homes in The Pearl!IMG_6391_2Oh I love all the greenery!

There were a ton more places to see and eat at but there just wasn’t time (feel free to comment if you want more recommendations).  So….looks like I will just need to go again.  Until next time PDX!

Heart & Seoul : {Growing Up In Korea Exhibit At Pretend C!ty}

heart-and-seoul-media-kit-images-join-grand-openingTomorrow (June 2nd) is the grand opening of a new exhibit at Pretend C!ty Children’s Museum and my girls and I got a sneak preview today!  The exhibit is “Heart & Seoul: Growing up in Korea.”  We spent the morning checking out the new exhibit, making fans and tiger puppets, and eating yummy noodles and snacks by Nongshim!  In the exhibit your child will have access to a number of rooms and activities that help give them a realistic and fun picture of what life is like in Korea.  There is a tea room, a room where they can practice martial arts, a restaurant, a primary school room, a kitchen, and many more fun things!  Plus, when you are done with he Heart & Seoul exhibit, you can enjoy the rest of Pretend C!ty…which the kiddos always love!  This is a mom-win for sure…the kids love it and they don’t realize they are “learning”…haha suckers.
Also don’t forget to check out the free Family Fun & Wellness Fair they have going on this Saturday!
IMG_5306 IMG_5313Thanks Nongshim for lunch!
IMG_5329IMG_5334“Mom please open this!”IMG_5341 IMG_5344 IMG_5349This one didn’t sleep the whole time…but she was all smilesIMG_5351 IMG_5354Painting in the exhibitIMG_5355 IMG_5359My girl making a movie in the exhibitIMG_5360 IMG_5363

Afters Ice Cream : {The Milky Bun}

IMG_3191So there is this new type of dessert/dessert place that is all the rage around these parts (Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach).  Its called Afters Ice Cream.  I have a feeling this is the beginning of a new dessert trend.  Every evening this place has a HUGE line (like Diddy Riese in Westwood) …and one week night I decided to brave the long line and give it a try.

What they are known for is the “Milky Bun.”  In a nutshell it is ice cream, and a topping, sealed in a warm donut.  As you eat it the ice cream melts a little and causes the donut (or bun) to get “milky.”  What I love is that the ice cream flavors are very unique!  For example when I was there these were the flavors available:  cookie monster (full of Famous Amos cookies), salted caramel, churro, mint chocolate chip, jasmine milk tea, milk and cereal, almond cookie, and my favorite…Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter flavor.  The toppings are a variety of cereals, cookies, and candies.  The donut is a choice between plain or glazed.

Our Milky Bun Creations:
IMG_3180IMG_3189I opted for a glazed donut, with cookie butter ice cream, and captain crunch. Honestly this was not a winning combo.  It was way to sweet and I couldn’t get through half of it without feeling a little nauseous.  IMG_3190My husband chose a glazed donut, salted caramel ice cream, and cinnamon toast crunch for his topping.IMG_3187My husband loved his Milky Bun creation…..I tasted it and it was far superior to mine.  I think a lot has to do with the combo of ice cream/toppings you get.  But still I think it is something that is shareable since it is so sweet.  Next time I will just get the ice cream (no donut) because the flavors are great and no one else has them!

Parenting OC Feature : {Top 15 OC Mom Blogs}



IMG_4363I am super excited to share this feature with you all!  Parenting OC Magazine made the May issue ” The Mom Issue.” One of their features in the magazine this month is their 15 Top Rated Mom Blogs in the OC….and you guessed it…Sweetlylemon.com is in there!  Check it out by picking up a copy yourself, going to their website, or reading below!  Thank you Parenting OC Magazine for featuring my blog!IMG_4367 IMG_4368 IMG_4371 IMG_4373

Birchbox : {March}

IMG_4167I’m not gonna lie I did not like my March Birchbox which is why I didn’t write about it at first.  Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad…I just didn’t fully realize how Birchbox worked.  I thought you give them your preferences on products and they give you samples based off those products.  While this is mostly true, they don’t have unlimited samples to choose from every month….they have certain ones every month and send out the ones that best fit your preferences.  So you just might get ones you don’t really like because they don’t have any better ones to give you that month.  Does that make sense?

I found this out by writing a complaint to Birchbox about my March box contents.  Something they also pointed out (which I didn’t know before) is that I can review the products I received in my box online.  These reviews help them to know more about me and my preferences for samples and also allows me to earn points that can be used to purchase full sizes of the products.

What did I learn?:

I am not always going to get what I want from my Birchbox and I should start reviewing my products asap! (which I have started doing)

What did I get that I didn’t like:

Tea and Chocolate.  (I don’t drink caffeine, I don’t like fruit with my chocolate, and I signed up for Birchbox for beauty products)

Not sure what Birchbox is?  See my original post here.

OR want to join Birchbox click here: Sweetly Lemon Birchbox Invite

Now for the products:

IMG_4165Air Repair Rescue Balm

This all-natural salve repairs dry, cracked skin anywhere on the body. 

My Review:  This is a pretty straight forward product…very similar to Aquaphor.  I wore it on my lips and it did a great job moisturizing…but no different than other similar products.  I say save your money and invest in Aquaphor….which I am clearly in love with.

IMG_4168COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face

Organic tinted moisturizer with lasting sun protection that evens tone and masks flaws.

My Review:  MY FAVE ITEM IN THE BOX!  I religiously wear SPF daily but I hate the greasy feeling…especially because I have combo (normal/oily) skin and it can cause break-outs.  This mouse/cream is a tinted SPF and moisturizer that doesn’t dry you out but is not greasy at all..it almost feels chalky but then when it’s on your face it is moisturizing and mattifying at the same time.

IMG_4164Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper

This water-based, weightless styling lotion keeps curls shiny, defined, and frizz-free. 

My Review:  This product surprised me.  I thought it would be gel-like or greasy but it is very watery and goes on easy without any stickiness or greasiness.  I have wavy hair that I usually wear straight, but I have been using this after the shower, then letting my hair dry naturally and then adding curls with my curling iron and it works great.  It keeps the frizz under control that can happen when I let my hair dry naturally.

IMG_4158Vasanti Cosmetics “BrightenUp!” Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

This customer fave mimics effects of microdermabrasion for a bright and smooth complexion.

My Review:  I LOVE THIS!  I am a sucker for good exfoliating cleansers/scrubs and this one is up there.  It feels just like a microdermabrasion.  I am def buying the full size when I run out of my usual exfoliator.

Mighty Leaf Tea Pouches

Handpicked blend of organic tea leaves, dried fruits, and spices in a biodegradable pouch.

 My Review:  I don’t drink caffeine so I gave them away at work, but the chamomile caffeine free was delish.

 Ghirardelli Cherry Tango Square

A deep blend of dark chocolate, tangy cherry, and satisfying almond crunch.

My Review:  I am not into fruit and chocolate so I gave it to my brother.