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Beauty Finds {Part Three}

I'm a bad blogger. I filmed a vlog for this beauty finds post... and then forgot about it.

...and now that I've gone back and watched it I think it may be too rough to edit into something remotely watchable...

So, you get this version instead!

First, I love the Pond's Wet Cleansing Towelettes in the 'evening soothe' scent. They take makeup off in one swipe and the wipe itself is pretty big. I can take a whole day's worth of makeup off with less than one towelette. It smells SO. GOOD. and leaves your skin feeling moisturized, not dried out like some other makeup removers do.
Cost: $4.69 for 30 towelettes at Target or $4.55 at

I stumbled upon this next one while browsing Ulta during a week it was on sale. I bought it on a whim and I am so glad I did! It's FX Moroccan Moisture Miracle Argan Oil. You simply put it on your hair when you get out of the shower and it leaves you with healthy hair - seriously. It doesn't weigh it down, it doesn't make it greasy, and it doesn't cost as much as other brands out there. To be honest, I think the FX smells better than the Organix that was sitting next to it for a couple bucks more! I've had my bottle for a couple of months and even with every day use I still have at least two-thirds of it left.
Cost: $5.99 at Ulta or $4.47 at Walmart.

Lastly, I want to tell you about one of my favorite concealers: Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealer (I have the 'buff' shade). It comes in a great little tube with a built in brush so you don't have to use your fingers on your face to apply it. The product covers well and lasts all day. But what I love most about it is that you can easily buy a shade that works for highlighting and use it soley for that - the little brush is perfect for highlighting!
Cost: $7.99 at both Ulta and before discounts - right now they're BOGO 1/2 off at Ulta and 20% off at

What are your favorite beauty product finds?
Don't forget about the first and second Beauty Finds posts for other great products!

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Flower Gardening

I don't know about where you live, but this past weekend was absolutely wonderful here in Wisconsin.

We had sun, we had warmth, we had birds chirping, and we had green grass! It had been far too long since it had been warm enough to wear short sleeves because our winter crept into the middle of April. It seemed anywhere you went, the cold was all people could talk about. It was depressing. But it's over now!

Maybe that's why this weekend felt so glorious? Heck, I even worked a long shift at work on Saturday and had one of the worst days yet and I still count this weekend as a huge success - now that's sayin' something!

Because of the nice weather, I've been itching to get some flowers planted and this year's vegetable garden planted {remember last year's garden?!}. We rent and can't plant our garden directly in the ground, so I'm thankful we got that all figured out last year {see our renter's garden solution!}. This weekend I finally gathered everything together and planted a few flowers.

I wish I had some pretty photos of the flowers to show you, but I decided I wanted to try planting flower seeds this year in an attempt to save money... so they're pretty darn boring looking for now.

Growing up on an organic farm and being raised by two garden-crazy parents, I've spent a good amount of time planting. I've also gathered a couple tricks here and there... one of which I know everyone who plants in pots can use.

So here's what you need to do...
When you're ready to being planting in pots, grab a few coffee filters - if you don't have some already, a pack is only about a dollar or so at the grocery store or local dollar store. Then simply place a single coffee filter in the bottom of each pot before you add the potting mix. Plant as usual. This will eliminate any soil that would otherwise fall through the drainage hole in the bottom and doesn't add any weight {like adding stones or gravel would}. Plus, any excess water will seep through and drain away easily. It's a quick and easy way to keep your planting area clean and make sure that your pot doesn't lose the soil it needs to grow!

Get out there, enjoy the Spring, grab a handful of coffee filters, and beautify your yard!

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one. Last Saturday we were in Milwaukee seeing some good friends of ours who live downtown. It was great seeing Angela and Ricky and the weather was just icing on top!

two. Trevor and I spent the whole day running errands yesterday and found ourselves at the mall around lunch time. We indulged in Sarku and loved every second of it!

three. I have seeds that are ready to be planted this weekend. Also, I've got my planting supplies ready to go, so our yard is going to start being a living space soon!

four. I snapped this fresh-from-the-dentist smile after a trip this week. I'm cavity free but need to get my wisdom teeth out ASAP. Bummer.

five. We got to cuddle up to this cutie again this week. Wednesdays are always better with him waiting for us at family dinner!

This weekend is Trevor's birthday - expect to see pictures on IG. Follow along with me @trisaratoppz !

What are you doing this weekend?

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Another Nursing School Update

It's been months since I've last updated you on the progress of getting into nursing school.
So far, I've gotten to the point where they tell me "yes" or "no"... and while I was hoping I'd have news to share with you by now, I don't...

Last December, applications opened. I filled out the 15 pages, made copies, tracked down college transcripts, and sent in everything. It reached the College of Nursing the first week of January.

First, they looked through everyone's applications to make sure we were qualified. They checked GPAs, verified that we had prior Bachelor's degrees, read through our novels applications, and then finally decided who would be asked for an online interview.

I believe I was notified that I made it to the online interview step the second or third week of February. I spent 30 minutes frantically typing up answers to their interview questions, sent it back to them, and waited... until they got everyone's responses back, made their next round of cuts, and notified those of us who were invited to a phone interview.

Sometime in the middle of March, I got the email that asked for my interview availability. I had a great conversation with two men from the program and was able to ask a few questions I had about the program itself.

If you remember, this program is a 12 month long accelerated format. I applied for October admission, which means I would finish the program about 18 months from now. Graduates leave the program with another Bachelor's - this time in Nursing.

You aren't able to work during the 12 month program because you are too busy - with online classes, conferences with instructors, and clinical placements. I've already signed a document that said I was willing to forgo employment to focus on school.

In order to apply to their program, you have to have a previous Bachelor's degree and experience working as a CNA - preferably in a hospital. They ask for specific classes as prerequisites that aren't required for a traditional nursing program which meant I've been taking supplementary classes for the past two years to get my transcript to the point that I met requirements. I have been working my butt off to make this dream come true!

And so here I sit. I'm just waiting for an email telling me that I've been accepted or that I've not been chosen - though the best outcome would be an acceptance email. I have finally found a career that makes my heart sing, and don't know yet if I'll be heading down that path this fall or not. It sounds cliche, but when I am at work, taking care of patients, I feel like I have found my calling. I finally feel like I was put on this Earth to do something - and that something is nursing.

And the best part? Five hundred people applied for entry into this program this fall. There are thirty spots to fill.

I know that I'm a prime candidate. I know that I would succeed in this program. I know that gaining admission would be a life changing thing. I know that I'm ready to finally get a degree in something I love doing. I know that this program is the best way for me to follow my dreams.

So that's what's been on my mind and on my heart recently. My co-workers are fully aware of the program and have been asking for updates everyday. I'm anxiously waiting for an email and hoping I don't have to tell everyone that I didn't get in.

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Project: Do You #9

Please note that this is a link up that focuses on individual self discovery goals. The goals you see below were set by me and for me only. If you choose to link up with us, please create your own goals to work toward and to update us on. If you are unfamiliar with Project: Do You, check out this post that introduces the project before proceeding.

#1 - Read one book per month. Since I last posted, I've read two books - both by John Green. First, I read Paper Towns while I was waiting to borrow The Fault In Our Stars from my brother. Not gonna lie, I read Paper Towns in a couple of hours. It was a quick read and I was totally into it. It's not mind blowing by any means, but it's a good story. When I met up with my brother to borrow TFIOS, he also lent me the rest of John Green's books and I read An Abundance of Katherines in a day. I'm counting those as my May and June books!

#2 - Work out on a regular basis. The doctor's appointment I mentioned last time is this afternoon and I'll hopefully have more answers after that. I did work out a couple times since I last posted and didn't have the issue I did that prompted me to call a doctor. I've noticed a few positive changes in my body since last wearing shorts/capris and I'm encouraged to keep going. Plus, I have a 5K in a couple weeks and another in August. I better get better soon!

#7 Shape eyebrows. I'm really trying to perfect my eyebrows because for the longest time I let them get crazy and it makes me cringe when I look back at photos. Plus, I'm trying to find ways to make myself look older {or, at the very least, at least look my age!} because people are constantly mistaking me for a high schooler. Not so awesome when it's been 7-8 years since I last took a high school class. Anyway - back to the eyebrows - I think I'm getting somewhere with them! I like the way one side looks and now I'm trying to get the other side to match without overplucking. It's a slow process but I feel like I'm making progress :)

#9 Travel more. The past couple of weekends, we've been in Madison and Milwaukee which has been a nice change from sitting around and staring out the window at the snow.

#17 Bake someone a birthday cake. Trevor's birthday is almost here and I've narrowed down my cake options to two different chocolate cakes. I can't wait to get creative in the kitchen and I really hope it turns out well!

Join me on this journey of self-fulfillment:

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Thank goodness it's Friday! I'm ready for some quality time off of work and school. Plus, it doesn't hurt that we're road trippin' to Milwaukee tomorrow to meet up with some friends. Today better fly by!

What happened this week?

There was a little of this...

...with a little of this... OK, a LOT of this.

We ate dinner with my parents one night...

...and got to cuddle up with this cute guy.

Well, ok, they're both cute.

Hope you didn't miss this popular discussion about real beauty!

How was your week?

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with the new lauren elizabeth blog

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we are our own worst critics

I've been wanting to write today's post for weeks... but I knew I needed to be in the right mindset to sit down and lay my heart out there. Today, I'm feeling vulnerable and ready to share. Plus, I know most {if not all} of you reading feel this way at some point. Join in the conversation!

We are our own worst critics. It's true! Stand me in front of a mirror and I will list off everything I wish could be changed: I think my face is too fat, my thighs touch, my eyebrows have a mind of their own, I hate wearing glasses, my skin is covered in blemishes, I wish my arms were toned... and on and on.

So I'm taking a stand. I'm deliberately going to choose to focus on the good in me, rather than pick apart my flaws and weaknesses. I urge you to join me, if only for a day, just to take back some positivity!

Yeah, my legs aren't stick thin... but they are some damn strong legs if I can say so! I consistently have to set leg machines higher at the gym to get some resistance. My legs allow me to run all over at work, they allow me to run for exercise, and my calves are sexy to boot!

My skin is so sensitive and I'm allergic to just about everything under the sun. But you know what? It's part of my genetic makeup - my grandma is the same way - and I'm proud of that connection she and I have. It's not ideal {God knows I'd love to have my ears pierced!} but it gives me comfort in knowing my grandma is part of me.

I wish I could lose another 10 pounds. But my body is strong and healthy because I sty active and feed it tons of fruits and veggies - and when I do decide to splurge, thank goodness for the metabolism I have, because I don't usually pack on the pounds.

My patients at work consistently tell me how kind I am, how much patience I have, how I have a loving heart, and how I will make the most wonderful nurse. I am proud of who I have become! Adolescence wasn't the easiest for me {what, with being part of a broken family, with a mother who remarried a man I didn't get along with at the time, graduating early from high school, and being a college student at age 17} but I have come a LONG way and my conscience knows what's right and wrong and guilt tugs at my heartstrings if I stray from 'right'.

I may not look like the women we see in magazines. I may not be as tall as them, have long beautiful flowing hair like they do, have toned thighs, or have a perfectly slim {blemish free} face, but I am me. I am the only one of me. I am beautiful in my own way. I don't need to be photoshopped.

As women, we need to learn to love ourselves.
For our own sanity.
To be good role models for our daughters.
To set an example for all young women.
Because we deserve it.

Dove released a video 3 days ago that has been viewed over THREE MILLION times. It fits with my commentary so well that you've got to watch it. It only takes three minutes and is worth your time, I promise.

we are our own worst critics.
but we deserve better than our toxic thoughts.

What makes you beautiful? Please share below.

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The Gnarly Whale

One of the best parts of blogging is the relationships you build and this post is some serious proof of that. I met Ashley when we realized we only lived half an hour from each other.

One lovely afternoon last fall, we met at an Atlanta Bread Company between her house and mine and talked for hours. We have so much in common, from our husbands, to our interests, to our in laws.
It's nice knowing that there are genuine bloggers out there who really are as wonderful as they seem on screen. Ashley is definitely one of those!

So that's the reason that I offered my space for the day. She's a great blogger and a wonderful business woman who is doing all the right things for all the right reasons. She'll explain more in a bit, but she and her husband have a business (The Gnarly Whale) making some fantastic beauty products. Yes, I've tried their products (hello yummy coconut lip balm!)... and no, I'm not getting paid to say that. Their business has evolved from a dream to a reality and I couldn't be happier for them! And the best part? You can help their next dream for The Gnarly Whale come true. Keep reading, and you'll see what I mean!
I'm Ashley from The Gnarly Whale - an all vegan, eco-friendly minimal-ingredient bath and body shop. Today Sara was gracious enough to let me share our story about our company and our dream and I am SO excited to do so. This business is what I do - day in and day out - and to be able to share something I'm so passionate about is truly a privilege for me.

The Gnarly Whale launched in October 2012 from a dream that I was unsure I would ever fulfill. I approached my husband about starting it as a hobby, needing something else to focus on while I was designing and consulting. By the end of the year, we both realized it was never meant to be a hobby. It was never meant to be a small side project. Instead, it was meant to change our lives and restructure our dreams. And that was exactly why I'm here today, sharing our story and even asking for your help after you get to know us.

About Us
We're a husband and wife team doing what we love to do and hoping that some day, doing what we love will be enough to financially support our entire family. Our dream is to someday relocate ourselves and our business to Florida to open up a shop oceanside. We know that this dream will become our reality as soon as we can afford the cost of relocation and the cost of doing business in Florida where there are much stricter guidelines for cosmetic type businesses. Until then, we're focusing on growing our brand awareness and our current product lines.

About Our Brand
All of our products are 100% vegan and cruelty free. We’re tree huggers ourselves so we made sure that all of the ingredients used in our products are completely vegan and have not been tested on animals. Final product testing was also done on humans. Most of our printed materials (business cards, postcards, etc) come from recycled paper. We also use reusable packaging when we mail out our orders whenever possible. Our hope is to leave the Earth a little better than when we found it and provide our customers with a way to do the same.

In the almost seven months we have been open, we already have plans to work with an international retailer to carry our products and will be featured in two celebrity gifting suites this year: The Primetime Emmy's and The Cannes Film Festival. Our current product line includes: hair detangler, beach waves, body and face scrub, body spray, shampoo, and lip balm. In the future, we have plans to include a child product line, a pet product line, soap, skin care, and various other hair and body products in the future.

And here is how you can help us make all of this a reality. We've asked Intuit to grant our small business wish and we're hoping we can get enough votes to win the money to expand our product line, purchase better equipment to speed up our manufacturing, and to put towards the cost of relocation. All you have to do is take a couple of seconds, click the link, and vote once a day. And if you really think our story is worth it, share it with you friends. With your readers. With your family. With your neighbors or co-workers. Shout it from the rooftops if you like us that much.

Anything you do to help is appreciated. No matter how big or small of gesture, we're grateful for you even taking the time to get to know us and our dream. And if you'd like to connect with us further, we'd love to hear from you! Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Send us an email and say hello. Or even stop by our shop.

Thank you in advance for anything that you do!

- Ashley and Nathan

Please click on the link above and vote for Ashley and Nathan. They'd appreciate it, I'd appreciate it, and it only take 5 seconds. You don't have to register for an account, you don't get spam emails, and you don't even have to enter you name. You DO get a feeling of satisfaction knowing you're helping a dream come true, and that's better than anything else.

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High Five for... Saturday?

Ohhhh, where to begin?!

I meant to work on a High Five For Friday post, but my real life got a little crazy this week with the addition of an unannounced mid-week ice storm {complete with long-lasting power outages}that set me back at least a day...
So, this week, it's High Five For Saturday!

one. On Monday, my mom and I headed to my favorite sushi spot. They also have fantastic Chinese dishes - as you can see it's not your traditional Chinese takeout, it's so much better than the stuff that comes in the plastic containers!

two. This just happened to be my fortune cookie after lunch... I'm all about literacy, but buying endless cookies? Oh, ok, if you say so!

three. I discovered these amazing cookies this week. Ohhh, so good! Fun fact: my favorite cookies are oatmeal chocolate chip. Even better if they're soft. Quaker hit the nail on the head with these guys!

four. Remember that ice storm I mentioned? It left behind this gorgeous scene - so pretty yet so destructive! 

five. Trevor, my brother, and I took a mini roadtrip to Madison this week. Our Oma was due for a visit and we were more than happy to visit her, make some lunch, do a puzzle, and enjoy each other's company!

How was your week?

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Project: Do You #8

Please note that this is a link up that focuses on individual self discovery goals. The goals you see below were set by me and for me only. If you choose to link up with us, please create your own goals to work toward and to update us on. If you are unfamiliar with Project: Do You, check out this post that introduces the project  before proceeding.

#1 - Read one book per month. I finished The Girl Who Chased the Moon {my April book} and I'm thinking of starting on my May book already. I have a couple in mind but I can't decide which one to read first... once I figure that out, I'll be good to go!

#2 - Work out on a regular basis. It's still cold in Wisconsin - read: we haven't had a day above 50 yet! - but I have ventured outside with my running. Treadmills can get boring, that's for sure. I had a bit of a scare when I ran outside last week and have an appointment made with my doctor to investigate this scare a little more. I'll be holding off with the running until she clears me for more because the last thing I want is to do damage to my body. I see her in a week and a half, so hopefully the next time I post P:DY, I'll have better news.

#9 - Travel more. My mom and I are heading to Chicago next month and I'm starting to get pretty excited! We've been there enough that we've done the tourist thing so this time around we decided to stay in an apartment, and explore different parts of the city we've never been to. We're planning on visiting areas south of The Loop and north of the Gold Coast {where we're staying}. I welcome and and all suggestions on what to see, where to eat, and what to try! Please help make our trip full of adventure and trying new things!

#17 - Bake someone a birthday cake. Trevor's birthday is in a couple weeks so I need to start thinking about what kind of cake to make him. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment below!

Again, no questions this week as not many of them apply.

Join me on this journey of self-fulfillment and link up your Project: Do You posts below!

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Home Tour: The Living Room

A couple weeks ago, my Little (Samantha!) designed a new living room based on a conversation we had and a few pictures I sent her.

I was so sick of our living room because it was the least "adult" room in our home. We haven't stepped foot in a living room furniture store - ever - so our couch was a (basically never used) hand me down from my grandparents and was so busy that it made me feel anxious just looking at it.
Ugly right? Yeah, you're tellin' me!

This is the inspiration board that Samantha (who is an interior designer, so she knows what she's doing!) created with our needs in mind. How great does it look?!

So I started my search for the perfect slipcover - and found this one at Kohls! I love the chevron that's in the weave of the material... I think it's a great little touch to modernize an otherwise blah-gray cover.

And the curtains? Found them at Kohl's too... on clearance... as bath shower curtains...

But they were the perfect color - even if they don't look like it in these photos, the color works perfectly with the other teal touches in the room from the pillows and accent accessories - so I had to buy a few and give them a try.

They were the perfectly length! They were an even better width! We have a GIANT picture window in the front of our home that needed to be covered. In the past, I had to use three or four curtains to cover it... but with the cloth shower curtains, I only needed two!

So I bought enough for the room, busted out my sewing machine, and got to work. What you see on the windows are the final product and in total, cost less than $25 for the whole room!

And, for good measure, here are a few detail shots of some of my favorite areas in the living room.

This photo was taken when we were in Colorado visiting a friend a few years ago. The color of the sky matches the color of the frame matches the teal accent color in the rest of the room. It's fantastic!

A couple pillows that grace the couch.

A couple more pillows and a better shot at the pattern on the slipcover.

And no living room in a newlywed's house is complete without the oversized wedding photo! This is one of our favorites from our big day and has been given it's own wall above a chair. You can see it through the front picture window out front because it's so big - it makes me smile!

Apart from the horrible quality photos, what do you think about our newly redone living room?

Samantha can create a mood board/inspiration board for you, too! She offers incredibly reasonable pricing (especially compared to what other bloggers are offering them for, sheesh!) - you can find details here

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Who doesn't love a good giveaway every now and then?

Lucky you, because this one is packed full of shop credit and ad space!

Chances are, if you're reading this here, you follow YAMAW in some way... so you've already knocked an entry or two down. What are you waiting for; start entering below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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New Ad Space + Promo Code

When I first started blogging, I had absolutely no idea what was right and what was wrong. Heck, I didn't even know the blogging lingo! Thankfully, I stumbled upon a group of women participating in a blog challenge who offered some great advice in my times of need. It was around that time that a couple of us started dabbling in blog buttons and link ups... I got the hang of it and I never looked back!

I was so clueless about how to gain readership, when to offer sponsorships, what to do about blog design, and how to find my own stride. You know what I could have used? A little help from another friendly blogger with good intentions. You know what I couldn't find? Just that - A little help from a blogger who had been where I was.

That's exactly the reason I decided to offer a new ad space, and with it, an opportunity to consult a friendly blogger who has been lost and confused about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to blogging.

I'm excited to announce that the Medium Horizontal spot grew a little over the weekend. It's still available for purchase, but it also has a counterpart! You can opt to buy a Medium Horizontal and Consult spot for $3 more which includes everything the Medium Horizontal spot offers, plus you get a Google Hangout consult with yours truly. Once we agree on a time to chat, I'll stop over at your blog and take a good, hard look around. I will jot down the areas where I think you can improve and the things that I'm impressed with. We'll meet up as planned, discuss what I found, and I'll share ideas that I think you can implement in your very own space to gain readers and create great content. All the while you'll be able to ask general blogging questions and seek out answers to the things you couldn't figure out on your own.

Other bloggers offer similar consults - some via Google Hangout/Skype, and some via email. They also charge at least five times more than you'll be charged here at You.And.Me.Are.We! I cannot tell you enough that I'm not starting blog consults to make money, I just really think that this is something I could have benefited from way back when and I see smaller bloggers struggling with how to grow and thrive. Bottom line: I want to help you as much as I can! Blogging is about a community, and I have every intention of cultivating that through this new program.

As an introductory price, use CONSULTME at checkout to get $2 off the total package. That's basically like getting the blog consult for only a dollar!

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to leave them in the comments below or email me at

I can't wait to work with you!

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