Shop Riffraff Favs

posted on: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I always feel like I should preface any sort of "style" post with
 a disclaimer stating that I am in no way a fashion blogger ;)

With that being said... I AM a stay-at-home mom who still loves shopping and fashion
 (if you can call  baseball tees, v-neck tees and plaid shirts fashion haha!)
I thought it would be fun to do a monthly series showing a few of my 
favorite pieces from Shop Riffraff.
If you've read the blog long enough now you'll know how much I love Shop Riffraff.
A little history about the company...
in 2009, while still a senior in college, Kirsten Blowers opened Riffraff with only $100.
They now have a brick and mortar shop in Fayetville, AR as well as an amazing online shop.
I LOVE supporting businesses that have these kind of stories!

So..with that little bit of history... 
here's my favorite pieces from last month!

I feel like these go with EVERYTHING! I got them to wear when I was walking around Napa/San Francisco last month.  They are incredibly comfortable!  My new staple!

Top Right: Blue Dress.  Unfortunately Riffraff is sold out of this particular dress. But I highly encourage you to go and check out their other dresses that are available!  I LOVE every dress that I have gotten from Riffraff!

Y'all can thank me now or later for introducing you to these.
If you're wanting a pair of shorts for the summer that aren't too short, are flattering, are comfortable and are super cute...then these are them!
They have a back pocket and a drawstring waist.  
They come in red, purple, teal, orange, pink and navy.
I've got the teal and red ones and I plan on wearing them every day this summer :)

You know when you don't realize you're drawn towards a certain type of clothing until you look in your closet and see a whole section devoted to that item?
That's kind of how I am with the baseball tee. ;)
And the baseball tee from Riffraff is hands down the softest shirt that I own.
I love the fit too... not too tight but not too loose!

To get 10% off of your order use code
at the checkout!

Happy Shopping!

Spring Days

posted on: Sunday, April 13, 2014

Last week felt like the official switch from winter to spring.  It truly seemed like overnight the grass had gotten greener, trees had budded and the flowers had blossomed.  I have been trying to spend every waking moment with the kids outdoors soaking up the fresh air.  I had forgotten how well they sleep after being outside all day!

One windy day last week we took a picnic to the park.  As I was laying lunch out on the picnic blanket I heard Colt let out a yell...the wind had whipped his hat right off his head into the large pond.  It had blown out too far for us to grab it.  I assumed it would just sink... but it stayed afloat!  The wind was blowing so hard I told Colt we would just wait and see if it would push his hat across the pond.  And sure enough it did! We ate our lunch and played around the pond for about an hour until it made it to the other side.  The kids were so tickled by the idea of his hat being a boat :)

I'm heading to of my newest goals is to get to bed BEFORE 11.  I'm a night owl and prefer to stay up until 1 in the morning. But when Eloise wakes up at 6:30 that makes for not quite enough sleep. ;)

Thanks for hanging in there as readers to the blog... it's definitely been a bit more quiet than usual in this little space.  I'm excited to share some new recipes and other posts this week. Be back tomorrow!
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posted on: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I'm back safe and sound! In case you missed it from previous posts... I went on an all-expense paid trip with Rodan and Fields to Napa/San Francisco, California last week.  And the best part... my sister-in-law and several girlfriends were on the trip with me!

I had qualified for and earned the trip in November, which meant I had several months to get myself "prepared" to leave the babies.  If you have read the blog long enough you'll know that I am a homebody and love being around my kids.  So... leaving them from Wednesday to Sunday made my heart feel a little anxious.  I may or may not have had a sad moment on Tuesday evening after I tucked them into bed.  But I am proud to say from Wednesday to Sunday I made it...and with flying colors! :)

It seriously was such an incredible week.  Time spent with women I love, delicious food, amazing locations and FOUR full nights of sleep with a few naps squeezed in!  I thought it would be fun to show you what my time away was filled with. So here we go....


My flight departed a little after 8am, which meant for an early morning.
I packed along my favorite book by Sally Clarkson, "Mission of Motherhood." I have read it several times and each time something new pops out to me.  A definite read for any mother! I was able to make it through half the book on the flight there.  My plan was to read the other half on the flight home.  More on that later ;) Also.  When did flights stop giving snacks? I hadn't flown in 8+ years so obviously it must have been somewhere in there?!

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Once we arrived in San Francisco we made the drive over to Napa. I had never been to this part of California before... it. is. BEAUTIFUL!!! We checked in then grabbed a late lunch followed by an afternoon of sitting by the pool.  The forecast had shown rain for the week... but it shaped up and was the perfect weather almost the entire trip.
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Wednesday evening we had our first dinner as a large group.  Before dinner there was a Spa Welcome Reception which had mini massages and incredible appetizers.  Ummm... yes. please.  We all decided that if the trip had ended there we would have still been on cloud nine :)

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Each morning that we were there we had a few hours of incredible training.  Call me crazy but the morning training sessions may have been my favorite part of the trip.  We were served buffet style breakfasts (with fresh squeezed OJ!  I was in heaven) and each day we were assigned a new table with new people at it.  Hearing other stories about how Rodan and Fields has changed other people's lives was SO inspiring to me!  And the training that we received was beyond valuable!

(side note: this is my friend Lorraine.  Our husband's coached together years ago. It was so fun getting to spend time with her!)
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Wednesday afternoon we headed to the Jacuzzi Winery for a cooking class, olive oil tasting, wine tasting and a tour of the vineyard.  We were divided into small groups and assigned a chef.  The chef then instructed us on how to make a particular dish or two.  My group ended up making a Chilled Asparagus Soup and French Onion Soup.  Once all the dishes were made they were served around so that everyone was able to sample what each group had made.  SUCH a fun idea!

The rest of Wednesday was filled with a nice nap and then a late dinner at a local restaurant!  A full and wonderful day!
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Friday morning started with more training and a tasty breakfast.
Right after training was done we hopped on a bus that took us back from Napa to San Francisco.
Once in San Francisco we hopped aboard "The California" for a lunch cruise of the Bay.
The rest of the day was spent touring the Rodan and Fields Home Office, checking into our hotel, exploring the city on our own, having a delicious dinner and then crawling into bed by 9:30.  Poor Travis tried to call me at 10:30 to see how my day had went.  He just assumed I was still out and about exploring the city.  Instead I was snoozing away like an old lady;)
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Saturday morning wrapped up our last day of training.
After training we hopped onto a trolley that R+F had reserved for our group.   It took us to the Soma Streat Food Park. The weather was perfect.  Pair that with some incredible food and great conversations with girlfriends.... and well... life just doesn't get much better than that!

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Saturday evening was our Celebration Dinner at the Garden Court Restaurant in the Palace Hotel (where we were staying).  I have NEVER seen anything like the Palace Hotel.  The area where we ate our dinner was one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in. The evening was such a treat.  Again.... incredible food, great conversations, lots of laughing... and then a dance party :)  It was definitely the cherry on top to the whole trip!

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Sunday morning my flight left bright and early.  Remember how I had planned on reading the rest of my book on the way home?  That definitely didn't happen.  Before the flight I was telling my friend Lorraine that I love a little bit of turbulence on flights.  Gives it a little excitement;)
Well. I take back what I said.
Half way through the flight our plane started bobbing and rolling.  And it kept doing that until we landed.  My seat was next to the window and the man next to me was extra quiet.
Remember how I mentioned that I was surprised there were no snacks on flights anymore?  Well I made sure to fill my belly nice and full so I wouldn't be hungry on the way home.
After an hour of bobbing and weaving my bacon, egg and cheese bagel made it's way right back out into a barf bag.  And not mine (it was filled with somebody's gum).  I had to ask the quiet man next to me for his barf bag. Definitely not one of my finer moments.  We had to ride another 45 minutes in silence... me sitting there with my barf bag on my lap... him with his hand over his mouth...  the lady next to him fanning her face frantically with her barf bag.  It was an awesome flight ;)

So THAT was the trip in a nutshell :)

This trip went above and beyond what I thought it would be.  I came home feeling refreshed as a wife and a mother. And also excited about what this next year will look like with my Rodan and Fields business!

If you are interested in knowing more about joining my Rodan and Fields team I would love to tell you!
Email me at thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com !

Guest Post- Raising Barnes

posted on: Sunday, April 6, 2014

++TODAY AND TOMORROW ONLY I am offering April Blog Mentorships at 1/2 Price
Email me at for more info++

At the beginning of this year I decided that I was going to start a blog mentorship program.

I remember being a brand new blogger five plus years ago and trying to figure out how to navigate everything was overwhelming and took a lot of time.  I've learned a lot since then.  Lots of trial and error.  I thought it would be fun to start up a mentorship program for that very reason.  For bloggers who are just getting started and are looking to grow their readership.  Each mentorship runs a week long. If you would like to apply shoot me an email- thevanillatulip (at) yahoo (dot) com.  

This week's Guest Post is from Emily from Raising Barnes

 You can find her at the following places below:


Hello!  I’m Emily – it is so nice to meet you. I am a wife and stay-at-home mom.

I started Raising Barnes a little over a year ago.  Writing has always been a passion of mine and since graduating college I had really been missing having opportunities to write.  Blogging was calling my name and I answered.  It has been fun watching my little corner of the Internet grow and change over these months and I am excited for what the future holds!     

My husband Alex and I have been married for about a year and a half.  He works in IT Security at a financial firm.  We love living our own little Midwestern dream in Indiana. 

We are parents to six month old Simon.  When we found out I was pregnant, I made the decision to quit my job.  I am so happy I did.  While not every day at home is an easy one, I am so glad that I get to spend each one of them with him.  It has been so fun to watch him grow and change and I know some of the best stuff is yet to come! 

The kitchen is one of my favorite places to be.  I have so many fond memories of learning to bake with my grandma and watching my mom create some delicious recipes.  Since getting married, it has been a lot of fun for me putting what I learned as a girl into practice in my own kitchen.  Not all my recipes turn out quite as a planned, but I still have fun experimenting and trying new things.

But, of course, there is something to be said for the old staples.  Those recipes that I fondly remember from my childhood simply cannot be beat.  Today, I’m excited to share one of those recipes with you!  My mom’s famous Chocolate Chip Bars have always been a crowd favorite at parties and family gatherings.  Everyone raves about how great they are.  And, it is great for the cook because you get the deliciousness of a chocolate chip cookie in at least half the time!

Ready to get baking?  Gather your ingredients and let's get started.  

2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter
3 eggs
2 ¾ cups flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
12 oz. chocolate chips

Cream sugar with shortening and butter.  Add eggs and beat until fluffy.  Add flour, baking powder and salt.  Add vanilla and chocolate chips.  

Pour batter into a 10 x 15 inch pan.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Happy baking!  Come visit me over at Raising Barnes anytime and say hi.  I would love to get to know you.

Hope Spoken

posted on: Monday, March 31, 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord can bring friends into your life in the most unexpected ways.  Over the past few years through blogging/instagram I have gained some of the most precious friendships in my life.  This weekend we attended the Hope Spoke Conference in Dallas and it was such a sweet time getting to hug them in real life! Some of my best girlfriends.... Laura from Bits of Splendor, Nat from Take the Cannoli, Ginny from Chasing Sunshine, Joy Prouty, Maggie from Gussy Sews and Wynn from Gloriously Ruined.  Sweet, sweet women who I am so thankful for!

The event itself was IN.CREDIBLE.  Not a detail was left out. The food was some of the best I have had in a long time.  The speakers stories were incredible.  And the worship.... oh the worship.  It was evident that the Lord was all over the Conference.  The weekend for me was such a great one.  Definitely a time of stretching and the Lord showing me places of my life that needed work.  Those times are so hard...ya know?  But so incredible at the same time.  They're holding another conference next March.  If you can make it... I HIGHLY encourage it.  Such an amazing event!

It was a whirlwind of a weekend and now I'm getting ready to pack my bags yet again to leave for Napa/San Francisco.  Travis and I were laughing because I NEVER go anywhere. Like... ever.  So to be away from my babies so much in a two week span is definitely stretching me;)

I'll be doing more updates of my trip on Instagram... @thevanillatulip
I'd love for you to follow along!

Also... my April calendar is filling up with Blog Mentorships. If you are looking to grow your blog/shop and would love some help this would be for you. For more information about what this entails as well as pricing shoot me an email!  thevanillatulip (at)yahoo (dot) com
I'd love to have you! :)

Hope your weekend was a great one!
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Marriage Challenge

posted on: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Well?! If you were joining us on the 10 Day Marriage Challenge how did it go?

It didn't quite go as we had planned... Friday I started to feel sick and it just went downhill from there.  I think I have been to bed by 9 (right after the kids) or before almost every night since then. Which, if you know me is NOT typical.  I'm more of a midnight kind of girl.  Turns out it was an upper respiratory infection and ear infections that my body was having a tough time kicking.

We made it to day seven of the challenge before we took the break.  And I just have to smile because what happened over the past few days has been better than any challenge on paper (I'm not sure Travis would agree haha!).  But my man has not ONCE complained about me being down and not getting things done around the house.  Instead he has put the kids to bed every night, tidied up the house, made sure everyone is bathed, made sure I had anything I needed.... he went ABOVE and BEYOND all weekend and this week by taking over all of my duties so that I could rest.

Watching him do it all with a sweet attitude because he loves me.... oh man... there is nothing that will make you fall even more in love with your husband than that :)

And did I mention I'll be gone the next two weekends in a row (Hope Spoken Conference and my trip to Napa/San Fran with Rodan and Fields)?! Which means he's doing "mom duty"a total of three weekends in a row.  Man I love him!

I would love to hear how your 10 Day Marriage Challenge went!
I will say the 7 days that we did were SO. MUCH. FUN!  We had to laugh about the night where we talked about where we wanted to visit.  He had some exotic places and foreign countries.  Mine...well. I'm obviously more of a homebody because I may or may not have had a little restaurant nearby that I was wanting to try ;)

Hope your week has been a great one!
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posted on: Monday, March 24, 2014

This weekend was my sweet Cade's third birthday.  This little fella... oh he is a JEWEL!  He is as sweet and cuddly as they come.  Sensitive but also one of the roughest and toughest little fellas I know.  He is a mama's boy at night and a daddy's boy during the day.  I wouldn't have it any other way and love having him climb into my bed at 3 in the morning for snuggles :)  He can out eat all of his siblings combined and can be found "shopping" in the kitchen on a regular basis.  His love and adoration for his baby sister is as sweet as it gets.  One of my favorite things about him is his love for bathing. He's the cleanest little guy I know! He bathes at least 2-3 times a day (not even kidding). And around 30-45 minutes a piece. I think he might be part fish.  His grandma was smart and gave him a whole box full of bathing goodies for his birthday.  That officially bumped his baths up to 4 a day;)

Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy!!! We love you!

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