Lipstick, Heels & a Baby

DIY Tax Tips

Wednesday, February 10

Thank you TurboTax for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

The time of the year has come where people either get super excited for a little extra “bonus” to get the year started off on the right foot; or are biting their nails and tapping their feet as they go through each W2 and 1099 waiting to see how much they will owe. 

Either way, thankfully TurboTax has made this process easy for years, and now even easier. TurboTax is the smarter way to get your #TaxesDone. No need to fork out several extra hundred dollars to have someone else do them for you when you can easily do it yourself. This year TurboTax brings innovation back to tax preparation. Combining technology advancements with sleek, intuitive design, TurboTax delivers worry-free filing, so you can be confident your taxes are done right and you’re getting the maximum tax refund. Oh, and did you know they had a mobile app so you can start and stop at any time on your taxes!? Right, up my alley and probably any other mom’s with small children needing you at your busiest times! Side note - there is also an app called ItsDeductible for your iPhone that tracks your donations year-round and imports them automatically into your turbo tax. I wish I had known about this at the beginning of 2015 so I wouldn’t have to shift through all of my donation receipts this year!

In all of my years of taxes I have done them myself, and even my husbands except for one year a few years ago. That year we forked out several hundred dollars to hope to get a refund larger than what we were used to. What we found was stress and delay continued to filing before we got our return filed and not only did we not make any more money that previous years back, we also had to pay the accountant to do them for us. 

DIY tax preparation is the fastest growing tax method and is growing at 5% a year. Nearly 5 million Americans filed federal and state last year for absolutely no cost with TurboTax Absolute Zero.
What is Absolute Zero? Through mid-March 2016, the 60 million Americans who prepare and file straight forward federal and state tax returns (1040 or 1040EZ) can take advantage of absolute free filing on both federal and tax. I don’t know about you guys but that is a lot of extra Starbucks I can get throughout the year! Oh and for my military readers - TurboTax offers free tax preparation and e-filing options through Military One Source and IRS Free File. 

Okay, so what else is new on TurboTax
W2 Snap: jump start your taxes with the snap of a picture. TurboTax will enter in the information for you from your W2!! It will even do your 1099!! Heck yea!! 
ExplainWhy: give customers personalized, bite-sized explanations of the “why” behind our deductions, credits, and tax refunds. 
SmartLook: new feature that connects customers to TurboTax experts using one-way video technology. Experts answer questions for free and highlight key fields and next steps so we can complete our return with confidence and ease. 

Needless to say, I am so thankful TurboTax made it SO easy for us this year to file our taxes. We have a lot going on with Ryan switching jobs, the kids, my blog, and our homes so I am so thankful TurboTax will be right there beside us as we get our #TaxesDone so we can use our refund for things we need around the house and all the time we saved on spending time with friends and family!


Friday, February 5

Thank you Target for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

It may still be cold outside, but it’s time to warm things up. This February, Target is kicking off swimsuit season early!! Did you know that 25% of women do not trust anyone to tell them how they really look in a swim suit. Also, 38% of women say that bathing suit shopping is the most stressful pre-vacation tasks. Well, with Target's free online shipping and returns, you can try the bathing suits on in the comfort of your own home and return what doesn't work! That way, if you are like me, you can have your husband take a few test photos so you can see yourself other than just in the mirror! Trust me, it helps find the perfect fit! Speaking of perfect fit, 83% of us are wearing the wrong size swim suit! Gasp!! I know. Thankfully, Target Swim has us covered with a large variety of swim suit types, sizes and styles. Target makes it easy and fun to shake off our inhibitions and body insecurities. So, put on your swimsuits and dive in to have the best season ever. #NOFOMO  (No Fear Of Missing Out)--in case you were wondering like I was!! ;)

So, real talk. EVERYONE has body insecurities. In January, mine was mostly my lack of a tan so I spray tanned. But all year long I am always self conscious of my mid section. Having two babies can stretch a momma out and widen those hips. I have taken the pledge to drink lots of water, stay active, and most of all, feel confident in all of my bathing suit purchases!

Target is making every aspect of the spring swim experience - from shopping to trying on, to mixing and matching styles, and to engaging in family activities at the beach - more exciting, enjoyable and entertaining for everyone!! This summer I will not live under my cover up when running around on the beach, kayaking or splashing in the waves with the boys. 

Find your style @TargetStyle

Photos by Sea-Nik Photography

Work it out, Love Yourself

Tuesday, February 2

I asked you guys on Snap Chat what you wanted to know about my workout routine. Most of you actually wanted to know what my diet was like so I will give as much detail about both as possible. I must say, I am sitting in the airport headed to Italy writing this and I can only imagine what my diet will be like for the next 10 days. That being said I am going to have to work really hard once I return home. If anyone has a juice cleanse they recommend please leave me a comment on my instagram or snapchat of your favorite one! I am thinking no more than 3 days!! 

Speaking of juice cleanses. I do not personally consider them a way to loose weight. I like to use them to clean out my body and get myself back in gear to eat better and to get rid of bloat from too much, pasta, pizza and wine (insert Italy). So if you feel like you are having trouble getting started on better eating then I highly recommend a juice cleanse to give you that little kick in the booty you need! Even if it is only for 48 hours, I promise it will help. The thought alone of pasta covered in cheese will make you feel bloated and heavy! 

So, what do I eat on a daily basis. I am human, I make 'mistakes' and by mistakes I mean I have cravings and by gosh I am going to satisfy them! I can not go a full day without a piece of chocolate - so I opt for dark chocolate. I also can't go a day without cheese so I eat a low fat string cheese or use skim shredded cheese on our dinners. Basically,  I eat what I want ladies, but I do not over indulge in any thing -- well, other than red wine lately. I will say I do have an addiction to horseradish cheese and red wine, so I do allow myself to eat that on the weekends when we have friends over. 

I never like to hang out with the friend on a diet because you feel like she is judging you for what you are eating and drinking and even if she isn't how fun can she be when she's starving and angry? haha

Anyways, as far as dinners, my husband and kids love meals with cream cheese in them, convenient right? So I use low fat cream cheese and try to thin it out as much as possible with broths and I just try to avoid that part of the meal as much as possible. We eat a lot of chicken during the week and red meat probably once maybe twice. I also ALWAYS cook veggies with our meals and I give myself more veggies on my plate than meat, especially if its red meat. 

When it comes to working out, Im not the biggest fan but I do love doing Tone It Up workouts on youtube. I started following them when I first had Braydon and I lost the baby weight so quick! I must admit it is harder to find time to work out with two kids now, and both of them being mobile makes it even more difficult so it has taken me a lot longer to loose the extra baby weight this time but it is slowly coming off, until next week at least. 

Ya'll, I am in ITALY and I am going to ENJOY it. And when any of you have a special event, trip or anything special in your life you should too! I promise you aren't going to regret it if you only do it occasionally. Life is all about being happy, loving yourself and enjoying yourself. If you are too worried about your weight, what fun will you be with your friends at special occasions. I always put family and friends first, my diet and exercise next. I am not saying that is the best way to do it, but it is how I do it! So work hard during down time and during the week to enjoy the other busy and special moments in your life!


Yoga Pants (sold out of this style, these are similar) // Jacket // Ear Phones // Phone Cover // Shoes via Abercrombie //
Photos by Jacqueline Ward Images

Hayley Larue Design