Real Mom. Real Outfit. Real Cute.

Dress: J. Crew Factory Short-Sleeve T-Shirt Dress in Bright Begonia

Earrings: Leigh Breunig Designs Lauren Earrings 

Shoes: Universal Thread’s Nyla Ankle Strap Sandal in Gold from Target

Pair with: NYX Professional Makeup Butter Lip Gloss in Vanilla Cream Pie 

Pretty Things: 10 Summer Candles Moms Swear By

You’re trapped spending a lot of quality time in the house with your children these days, and that kind of family closeness doesn’t always keep the living room smelling fresh. Enter candles with bright, crisp smells that cut right through the dirt, sweat, snail, Go-Gurt, chlorine, banana love fog that has a stranglehold on your home.

Here are 10 tried-and-true summer candles that get the job done:

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1. NEST “Bamboo” (white florals, green notes, citrus)

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2. Tyler Candles “Diva” (fruits, florals, chocolate, amber)

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3. White Rock Soap Gallery “Lemon Verbena” (a bright, citrus scent with notes of lemon and crushed verbena with undertones of vanilla, bergamot, violet and musk)

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4. NEST “Grapefruit” (pink pomelo grapefruit, green notes, lily of the valley, coriander blossom)

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5. Voluspa “Prosecco Bellini” (peaches, apricots, sugar, prosecco)

signature-volcano-candle-CB-503-VOL6. Capri BLUE “Volcano” (exotic citrus, sugar, tropical notes)

Red Currant and Lemongrass7. Candles by Camie “The Hagler,” a blend of red currant (tart red currants, citrus notes, undertones of vanilla and raspberry) and lemongrass (uplifting and refreshing fragrance)

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8. LAFCO “Marine” (marine notes, bergamot, vetiver, water lily, sea jasmine, rose)

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9. TOCCA “Florence” (bergamot, pear, gardenia)

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10. Tyler Candles “French Market” (florals, gardenia, tuberose)

More Pretty Things:

 

My Secret For Looking “Put Together”

I’m frequently told I look “put together,” and I’m fairly certain it’s not due to my fit physique (queso for life, y’all) or posh, designer style (shout out to Target). I’m convinced it’s because I always coordinate my earrings with my lipsticks.

It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a black T-shirt, a ball gown or a brown bag, if my lipstick works with my earrings, my outfit looks complete. Here are some of my favorite Leigh Breunig Designs earrings paired with gorgeous (and safe!) BeautyCounter lipsticks and glosses. Which one is your favorite?

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For the Cana shell earrings, I wanted to choose a lipstick color that wouldn’t overpower the delicate beauty of the shells. I went with a rosy-beige lipstick called Twig with an Opal gloss.

 

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Next up was my favorite look! I’m a sucker for a good red, and this one is the créme de la créme. Called Beautycounter Red, this statement color is available for purchase alone or as part of a trio (that, honestly, I’d buy for the packaging alone). The other two colors in the trio are a hot pink and a neutral pink. I left this red lip matte, and I think it pairs well with The Hills earrings because they are neutral, but bold. I put my hair back because nothing else needs to be talking in this conversation.

 

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The hot pink lipstick in the Beautycounter trio mentioned earlier is called The Fuschia is Clean, and it deserves a pair of earrings that is just as fun! Enter the Blink earrings. They are hand painted, and no two pairs are the same. I’m obsessed with them because they remind me of a gorgeous work of abstract art. A high pony, a striking lip and a bright and colorful earring … I topped it off with Peony gloss and was out the door.

 

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These Sunrise earrings lend themselves to a variety of lipstick shades, but I chose to play up the pink tones. I chose the Rose Sheer Lipstick with the Peony gloss. These would also be gorgeous with a coral or red/orange shade.

 

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The Bea earrings are SO CUTE! I wanted a lipstick with a warm, apricot tone that would complement them. I chose Brunch with a Bare Shimmer gloss. (P.S. How great do they look with blue!?!)

 

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Finally, these Mayflower earrings were such a beautiful color that I wanted to find an exact match in the lipstick. The third lipstick in the new trio is B. Fearless. It is described as a neutral pink, but I think it has more of a kick to it. I topped it with a Blush Shimmer gloss (peachy, pink) to give it even more dimension, and I really like the final result.

To purchase any of these fun lipstick colors and glosses, click here. See coordinating necklaces and bracelets here.

What are your tricks for looking put together? Tell me in the comments below.

Want to see more pretty things?

Just need a laugh? Try this.

Pretty Things: Rylie Caldwell Art

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Artist Rylie Caldwell has never met a color she didn’t like.

Inspired by the purity, flow and energy of water, Houston-based Caldwell uses acrylic as her medium to create vast movements of color. From cheerful rainbows to moody greens and blues, Caldwell experiments with color combinations and an understanding of color psychology to breathe life into rooms through her art.

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Each year Caldwell, a Cattle Baron’s Ball “Featured Artist,” donates a portion of her earnings to organizations like Charity Water and Living Water International that help build wells all over the world. “Water is such a source of life, redemption and renewal throughout history and all over the world. I find it endlessly inspiring,” says Caldwell.

Kinetic_smallFirst learning how to paint at her grandmother’s kitchen table, Caldwell has been a lifelong artist. “I painted a gloriously embarrassing ‘Bambi’ mural on my bedroom walls as a kid,” Caldwell recalls. She received a Bachelor’s of Architecture and a Minor in Art History from Texas A&M University and credits her architectural training with sharpening her eye and developing her aesthetic.

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Today, this mom of three works out of her Houston studio to create inspired paintings for individuals, designers and businesses alike. Visit ryliecaldwell.com to learn more and to purchase.

See another super-talented, artistic mom here!

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Pretty Things: Becky Haas Watercolors

Personal gifts are always best, and there’s nothing more precious or personal than your home and your children. Dallas interior designer, artist and proud boy mom, Becky Haas, recently rediscovered her love of rendering, and we are all the lucky recipients of her creative gift.

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After spending nine years working as a healthcare interior designer, Becky chose to stay at home when her oldest son was one-year-old. Raising her sons and watching them grow has been the greatest joy of her life.

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When Covid-19 changed our “normal” this March, Becky found herself searching for ways to alleviate the stress and have some fun. She decided to take a moment to watercolor with her boys, and Becky Haas Watercolors was born.

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It began as a hobby, morphed into a kind of therapy and then grew into much more. She began creating watercolor portraits of homes and children for friends and family. The response was huge.

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Custom watercolor portraits are available with a two-to-three-week lead time. Home renderings range in price based on size (i.e. $200 for a 9×12). Family and children portraits cost $150 for an 8×10 and $200 for a 9×12. Order by emailing Becky at beckybhaas@gmail.com.

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What is a “Beauty-Filled” Life?

Lately I’ve had a few people ask, “Meghan, why is your blog named ‘The Beauty-Filled Life’ when you write mainly about boys and dirt and chaos?”

Exactly.

Allow me to explain. Sure, I could have named my blog “Snips and Snails” or “Bless This Mess,” perhaps “Fart Frat” would have been well received … but, see, that doesn’t tell the whole story. “The Beauty-Filled Life” does.

Years ago I read something by one of my favorite authors and thought leaders, Glennon Doyle, and it stuck with me. She said:

Beautiful means ‘full of beauty.’ Beautiful is not about the appearance of your outsides — beautiful is about what you’re made of. Beautiful women are women who spend time discovering what they love — what sings to them — what their idea of beauty on this Earth is. Then they make time each day to fill themselves up with that beauty. They know themselves well enough to know what they love, and they love themselves enough to fill up with a little of their particular kind of beauty each day.

My sons and their antics fill me up. They are my well from which I draw beauty. I don’t want a beautiful life; I want a beauty-filled life. A beauty-filled life has absolutely nothing to do with pretty, organized, controlled, orderly perfection. It’s the guts, the real soil of the human experience. Beautiful things fade, but beauty-filled moments last forever.

A floor covered in laundry, changing wet sheets, potty training, tantrums, messy buns and baggy eyes are not “beautiful” as we have come to know beauty, but these experiences and the love driving them are filled with beauty. A beauty-filled life is one that is rich with authentic beauty, the kind that is a finely woven tapestry of pain and triumph, anger and redemption, dirt and cleansing, growth and forgiveness and unconditional love.

No one except advertising agencies ever said our lives are supposed to beautiful in the sense of pleasing to the eye. They sell that our homes are supposed to be sparkling clean, our bodies fit, tan, and toned, and our little ones well behaved. Between magazines and our newsfeeds, our minds are inundated with images of perfectly styled homes with clean, bright kitchens and minimalist playrooms donning only wooden toys. It’s what we love seeing, otherwise it wouldn’t be everywhere, but it also makes us feel bad.

I used to work for those magazines. During photo shoots, we would enter gorgeous —albeit lived in — homes and spend hours cleaning up, moving furniture and styling shots. We worked hard to remove all the true life from the shots only to turn around and perfectly style an “ideal” life. A glass of orange juice on a veranda next to a vase of flowers and a sun-dappled croissant, a perfect half-moon of wooden trains laying next to a “Curious George” anthology in an otherwise untouched playroom, families enjoying a backyard picnic though they’ve never done that before.

I was fooled by these images for a long time. I still have to remind myself that they are not the truth. I look at my messy home with chipped paint on the walls, and I’m embarrassed that we’re not perfect. How could we possibly have company over when we don’t have an open concept home, our laundry baskets have actual clothes in them, our toys are plastic, and our couch is from Ikea! (These thoughts are even more ridiculous when typed). But then the little voice inside of me that has sprouted thanks to maturity and experience reminds me that perfection is not the end game. What if we saw real homes filled with the beauty of real life? Would we then focus less on curating Insta-worthy shots and more on filling our own rooms with joy and laughter?

I’m tired of “bettering myself” and my life. I’m weary from filling out mindfulness journals, reading self-help books and trying new diets. I’m nostalgic for the levity of childhood. My boys bring me back to that place. They make me roar with laughter, and I love watching them really enjoy their lives with wild abandon. They look at me with love in their eyes, and it has nothing to do with whether or not the laundry is done, where we bought our furniture, or the size of my pants. They just love me. They make me feel beauty-filled.

One day someone is going to tear down the houses we’ve so proudly built, paint over our furniture and laugh at our clothing choices. It just doesn’t matter. “Pretty” doesn’t last … I’m living for a beauty-filled life. And, even if I one day get to travel the whole stunning world, I hope the view from inside this humble home is the one I remember well into my old age. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.