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Feeling Loved // Valentines Day 2014


// Some Backstory //
Some people say valentines day is cheesy. Whatevs, we love it. It’s special to us because Ryan never had anyone to celebrate it with before me and he made a big weekend out of it on our first valentines day together which is also when we got engaged. So it’s actually one of the holidays we love the most. So there.

// Valentines day at the dentist //
Since we needed so much work done in such a short amount of time because things were getting worse so quickly, we had to take any appointment they could give us. Unfortunately, that meant getting a bunch of work done on Valentines day. Boooo. So we decided to celebrate the day before by going out and eating all my favorite food since I can no longer chew much of anything for a while. The month leading up to this has been a nightmare. I’ve taken more drugs in the past 3 weeks than I have in 3 years. I took more pain killers for the pain I’ve had this past month than I did with that monster of a kidney stone. I’ve cried out of pain, I’ve cried out of frustration and I’ve cried about how sick all the drugs make me feel. Ryan has listened to me vent, held me when I hurt and just been there when I needed anything even though there wasn’t too much he could do to fix it.

It’s easy to love someone when things are going well but it’s a test to love someone when they are a complete mess. Needless to say, I feel loved every day. Yeah, that sounds cheesy but it’s completely true.

Oh, in other news, the dentist went well this time. I couldn’t talk the first day but it’s not so bad anymore. I’m struggling with the left side still though.

// Pre-Valentines day Food Extravaganza!! //
EAT ALL THE ANIMALS! That’s the best way to describe our grand plan.

We started out at one of my favorite BBQ places, Famous Daves! Now, as a disclaimer, today was not about eating healthy or doing anything good for our bodies. It was about enjoying tasty food before I couldn’t have these things anymore. I love their pulled chicken sandwhich but really, I come for the sauces. I LOVE their rich and sassy mixed with the georgia mustard. Holy delicious flavor explosion of wonderfullness! Ryan had a bbq pulled chicken salad and it was also stupendous. How do you make any food taste amazing? COVER IT IN BBQ SAUCE! vday-movies

After lunch, we got our favorite movie snacks and went to go see That Awkward Moment. It was ok. I laughed so thats good enough in my book. Since it was a thursday afternoon, only 4 other people were there and thats my FAVORITE way to see movies at a theatre. After that, we walked around the mall a bit, sat around and watched people, I shopped around JCPenney a little until we were getting hungry again.


Our other favorite BBQ place is Longhorn Steakhouse. We LOVE their ribs. We also figured out a loophole how to get 2 full racks for a cheaper price as well so we could have ribs for leftovers. I had a salad with mine though, so that rounded out the meal… haha.

After dinner we drove to Kalamazoo since that’s where our dentist is. Unfortunately Ryan started getting sick at night and now has what seems like a bad cold/sore throat or perhaps the flu, the one where you don’t puke but just ache. Thats a thing, right?


The card on the left is the one Ryan gave me. I’m always talking about how I’m so excited to be old with him someday. I think we will make awesome old people. 🙂 Naturally, I got him a card with cat’s cuddling. It felt like an obvious choice. What is REALLY funny…is this:


We both got each other a card from Duma, thinking that was a cute idea…but we bought the same one. What makes this even more weird is that this is not the first time we have done this. Since we both have our birthday’s in July, we ended up getting each other the same cat card. I guess we really know each other really well, haha!


Overall, it was a really fun pre-valentines day. It was really nice to spend a whole day with Ryan again since he has been working with my dad a lot this winter. I am so happy to be able to love someone as kind hearted as Ryan for the rest of my life. I am also really happy I get to be loved by him forever as well. It’s easily the best thing in my entire life.

…and Duma. We both love Duma to pieces so she was also our little valentine…whether she liked it or not. 🙂

New Makeup! Tarte, Too Faced, Pur, Maybelline Color Tattoo

MakeupHaulJan140001I have been feeling sorta down lately since my recent dental disaster and the fact that the sun has simply disappeared in Michigan. So when I woke up today and saw the sun trying to shine through the clouds, I decided I needed to get out of bed and do something. I’ve had my eye on several of these products for a while now so I decided to take the plunge!

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Inked In Pink VS Tarte Tarte Amazonian clay cream eyeshadow in Seashell Pink

// Maybelline Color Tattoo in Inked In Pink VS Tarte Tarte Amazonian clay cream eyeshadow in Seashell Pink //

I have been seeing the most beautiful light pink eyeshadows on pinterest lately and I just love it! I like to use light colored or bright colored eye shadows. Dark shadows just look muddy on me since I don’t have super huge eyes. I have been doing a lot of white lately and thought a link pink would be a great change.

I simply love tarte. They keep a lot of chemicals out of their makeup which I love. However, they are not perfect and there are still bad things in there but it’s a lot better than other popular brands. I saw a lot of great reviews on the Maybelline color tattoo shadows on youtube and the color seemed similar so I got them both to compare them.


Right away, you can see how much more you get in the Maybelline one and it’s half the price. It looks a little deeper and more pink, but I’d say in the pots they look similar enough. They are also very similar in their consistency. I was VERY surprised that the Tarte one had a funky smell and the Maybelline one did not. That is actually one thing I hate about cheaper drugstore brands is the smell so this was a first.


I was also really surprised how different they were on skin. The left is the Maybelline and the right is the Tarte.  The Maybelline is more pink which I like. I kept these swatches on my arm all evening and the Maybelline stayed on and the Tarte did not. Now, there are probably really bad chemicals in the color tattoo one that make it stay on so well so that is something to consider.

I’m torn. I am going to look at the ingredients in each and see how different they are. If it were just about color and staying power, I would pick the Maybelline Color Tattoo one all day long. It is pretty all on it’s own but I was thinking of using it as a base for the following amazing light pink shadow as well.

Too Faced Romantic Eye Palette

I was also on the hunt for a regular pink eyeshadow, something that is more matte than sparkly. It’s surprisingly hard to find a more matte baby pink shade! That is how I ended up buying a palette. I had a bunch of points at Ulta that I didn’t even realize I had which pretty much paid of this palette so that turned out well. 🙂 Freeee!! Wheeee!

Too Faced Romantic Eye Palette

This “Kiss the Bride” shade in the Too Faced Romantic Eye Pallette was amazing and I couldn’t find anything else like it. Luckily, I love the two lighter shades “Soulmates” and “Bouquet Toss” as well. The smaller one “I Do” is also really nice too. So although I may not use the darker shades very much, I love half of it so thats good enough for me. I have a feeling I will use this one up over the next year.


This PUR powder foundation has been a favorite of mine for a couple years now. I use it lightly over my regular foundation, kinda like a setting powder. I get it in light which is actually not even the lightest shade which is a first for me. It’s the second lightest. So there! It’s also nice to have around if I’m in a hurry and just want to throw something on my face real quick so I can face the world.


I have not researched the double detox amazonian clay mask, it was a spur of the moment purchase. My face has been breaking out lately and just feels like a mess so I thought it might help. On the right side are 2 things I researched a lot and I’ve been looking forward to having them for a while now. Mostly the energy lipsurgence but I also love the lucky matte one. The Energy LipSurgence actually goes on clear but changes to a beautiful baby pink once it’s on. I guess it works with your body to create a custom shade for you, sorta like a mood ring for your lips. I absolutely love it on. It’s probably my favorite lip product of all time. It’s pretty much perfect in every way. I love to wear bright, powerful lip colors but for an every day thing, this is just what I’ve always wanted.


The Lucky Matte LipSurgence is also awesome. The color is like my lips but better and I love that it’s matte. They are both really moisturizing as well and smell awesome.

This, on the other hand I am disappointed with and will be returning. Everyone just LOVES these eos lip balms so I wanted to try one to see what I was missing out on. Perhaps it’s because I purchased lemon that is the issue. It smells way too much like suntan lotion. Maybe the strawberry or mint would have been a better choice. But this lemon nonsense…I am not pleased.



Out of everything, the Tarte LipSurgence are my favorites which doesn’t surprise me. I’ve used these for years but just in colors that I didn’t love as much. The Energy one is my most favorite. It has been so dry this winter and my lips have been so unhappy with lipstick on. This is the best of both worlds because I get color and moisture. I LOVE THEM!


I also really love my new palette. I bought it on a whim and I’m really happy that I did. It’s certainly my second favorite out of everything. I think the colors are super beautiful and not so sparkly that they cause blindness. Sparkle blindness is the worst! I don’t switch up my eye makeup very often so I don’t buy a ton of it. I kinda decide on a look for the year and go with that so I will certainly get a LOT of use out of this.

Nothing like makeup shopping to shake some of the winter misery. 🙂



To start this blog, allow me to recap our living situation over the past 5 1/2 years.

2008, got married, moved to kalamazoo to live happily ever after with Ryan.
2009, moved across the street to a bigger apartment because we were going nuts in the small space were living and working from.
2010, moved to my parents house to save some money up and because we were going on a 3 month long trip
2011, moved back to kalamazoo into a rental house.
2012, our life fell completely apart – ryan moved to texas and I moved in with my parents.
2013, Miracle! life got back on track, I moved to Texas
2013, Moved to Ohio for work
….and that brings us to the present, 2014.

It’s been non stop moving and craziness since we got married. I’m turning 29 this year and Ryan is turning 32. It’s time to settle down. After a lot of thought and weighing our options, opportunities and whats actually important in life, we came to the decision to make one final move and it’s never where we expected to settle down.

You see, during those years when we kept moving, we were also taking trips and researching better, more amazing places to live. We had all these “ideas”. In reality, we had our priorities totally in the wrong place. After all the searching and dreaming of the best place to live, we have decided to make our final move to good ol’ Muskegon Michigan. Oh, you’ve never heard of Muskegon? Well…that doesn’t surprise me. It’s not an exciting city. However, there are some pretty great benefits that make it the greatest place we could possibly ever choose to move to and their names are Mom and Dad. 🙂

We are hoping to find a nice place in Twin Lake area since thats where my family is. So it’s a little further out there which I like. It’s also only about 55 minutes from Downtown Grand Rapids which really isn’t bad.


As we are finally to a place where we are ready to settle down, I’m thinking about kids and how I can’t even fathom going through a pregnancy or having a new baby without having my mom nearby. My mom and I have always been extremely close and she is my best friend (outside of Ryan, of course). I’m just lost without her so going through something so huge all alone would be the worst. It’s also really lonely in general without her around. I never have anyone to go to JCPenney with! Also, I know they will make the best grandparents and I’d hate to rob them of that experience by living so far away.


[Mom and I at lake Michigan fishing with Dad – summer 2012]

They say it takes a village and I think thats a great saying. There are so many amazing things I know my parents could teach to my children that would enrich their lives. I remember spending so much of my time when I was a kid at my grandparents house. My grandma taught me how to cook and got me interested in painting and art. Those are really huge things in my life now.

Additionally, I had my first (and hopefully last!) kidney stone this past fall and that made me quickly realize we need family around to help when we are in need which was a big part of this decision. I was a big burden on Ryan and I know it’s sometimes just too much for him to handle on his own.

Out in Ohio, we are completely alone. This isn’t home. Since we got here, I have felt unsettled and have had a ceaseless urge to get out of here. Although things are a bit up in the air moving back home and restarting GAUPERphoto again, I am going to choose to have faith it will all work out. I feel excited about moving back. We have moved and started over a couple times now but none of them really felt like a true new beginning. It just felt like continuing on in a new place. This feels like a real second chance, I can actually see and imagine a realistic future there. Having family around just changes everything.

There are some other lovely things about Muskegon other than being close to family. I grew up there so it feels like home to me, we are about 15 minutes from lake Michigan and have some really beautiful beaches, we are sorta known for our wide selection of lighthouses and housing is much more reasonable there than around a big city.

[Lake Michigan - Who WOULDN

[Lake Michigan – Who WOULDN’T want to live here?!]

We will have to travel more for work which is unfortunate but half of the year it’s freezing and we are home most of the time. So I want to have that time and my day to day life to be close to family – not close to work.

With each move I say that it’s killing a little part of me and at some point, it’s going to fully kill me. I hope this isn’t the one because I’m excited for this one. The next hurdle is to get a mortgage and find a house.  A house means stability to me because the odds of moving in 1 year are almost nothing because your in it for the long haul, unlike a lease.

For now, we are unfortunately trapped in Ohio still. We couldn’t get out of our lease so we have to stay here until we find a new renter. It’s winter…so the odds are not great. So I’m praying for a miracle on that front. Until then, we are enjoying our condo we are renting since it’s the nicest place we have ever lived and maybe by the time this rents, we will have found a home. Wouldn’t that be something!? I think my heart would just explode. I’ve had hope and lost hope regarding buying a house many times now so if it happened for real I don’t know what I would do.


This year is all about rebuilding. We are rebuilding GAUPERphoto, rebuilding my health, and rebuilding almost all our teeth.  Those are very big things.

I just want to be happy where I am this year. With the prospect of settling down on the horizon it makes feeling at peace a little easier. I’m so excited to go home. It involves a bit of risk but I guess this as good of a time as any to challenge our faith.

Although there is a lot of work and uncertainty ahead of us, as long and Ryan and I are together, we will be just fine. 🙂

[Ryan and I May 2013 in Galveston Texas right before moving to Cleveland]

[Ryan and I May 2013 in Galveston Texas right before moving to Cleveland]