Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.


TRAVEL LOVE: Heber Springs Getaway

The month of September I pretty much felt like I was on tour. I kept my bags packed since I was traveling more than I was at home. I didn’t mind though. In fact, I kind of loved it. For the grand finale of my September travels, we went to visit Todd’s dad and stepmom in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Earlier this year they bought a house on the Little Red River, which was the perfect spot to escape to considering the day before I was in Las Vegas for work. After nearly five days on the Vegas strip, a retreat to the country with my family was much needed. We visited once before, but hopefully we can head over that way more frequently. It is the most lovely, ideal spot for a grandchild to go visit her grandparents. Iris absolutely loves it (and so do I). And I’m sure you can see why…

Shopkins Birthday Party!

You might say that I go all out for Iris’ birthday parties. And I might say that you are right. While every year I tell myself that I’m going to “keep it simple,” every year I fail. Once there’s a theme, I kind of run with it and this year was no different. I mean, Iris will only turn five once!

Last year’s party was a bit tricky, so when Iris settled on a Shopkins theme, I was kind of relieved. As much fun as the CVS birthday party was, it’s quite nice to be able to go into a store and buy things that are already made.

During the party we had so much fun that I hardly had time to take pictures, but I did manage to snap a few before people started to arrive. Here’s what birthday party number five looked like!


Banner: free download on ShopkinsWorld.com




Dress purchased from Three Little Bears on Etsy


Opted for a Pinterest inspired Blind Box instead of a pinata.

Coloring Pages: free download on ShopkinsWorld.com


Handmade cookies purchased from Krauft Cookies

As for next year? I’m planning on just keeping it simple…

Iris turns FIVE!

On Saturday Iris turned FIVE-years-old! Can you believe it? Of course we went all out and celebrated all weekend. On her actual birthday, we went to the donut shop for breakfast and then surprised Iris with getting her ears pierced. Two years ago she started asking if she could get it done. Todd fleetingly responded, “when you’re five.” Well, she never forgot. I was a little nervous that she would do one ear and then not want to do the next, but this girl was so brave. I could tell it hurt, but she didn’t even flinch or shed a tear!

The rest of the day we took it easy, getting the house ready for her big Shopkins party the next day. Even though her birthday was on a Saturday, it’s common courtesy in Fayetteville that you don’t plan any parties on Razorback game days. Iris did get to open a few little gifts from us before getting her ears pierced. I had no idea how expensive ear piercing was (nearly $75!!), so I’m glad I didn’t go overboard on presents. Kept it small with a Star Wars pop-up book and a couple little trinkets. Iris did get to open a huge box of goodies that CVS sent her for her birthday though, so she was plenty spoiled on her big day.

With four previous birthday parties behind me, I had to take a little stroll down memory lane and look back at her previous birthday parties.

1st birthday / 2nd birthday
3rd birthday / 4th birthday

All these birthdays have come and gone so quickly, so why not celebrate just a little extra?

Dear Iris

Tomorrow is your last day as a 4-year-old. Like I told you over dinner tonight, I can’t believe that we’ve known each other for five years. Somedays it feels like longer, but most of the time it feels like a wonderful, magical blur. In the last five years you’ve taught me a lot, so I feel it’s right for me to give you thanks leading up to such a big birthday.

Iris, thank you for…

– Showing me once again that simple things are beautiful.
– For reminding me tonight that we have known each other for almost five years, since your birthday isn’t actually until Saturday.
– Letting me see the world through your eyes – and your heart.
– Making me laugh at things that I previously was too jaded to even smile at.
– Your full-belly giggle.
– Always finding the spaghetti sauce on my chin.
– Your thoughtfulness and sweetness with everything that you do.
– Always wanting to share your candy with me – instead of hoarding things you love, you want to share them.
– Your unique silliness.
– Your wild, made up songs.
– Helping your friends.
– Helping people, even when they are not your friends.
– Breaking up the monotony of the day with your constant farting.
– Telling me that I’m pretty out of no where. And strangers too.
– Never letting me forget. Anything.
– Keeping me company when I pee. Always.
– Not caring that I don’t know the real lyrics to basically any kids’ songs.
– Being so damn good.
– For being you.

Never lose these things. Try real hard.
Except, maybe the farting. Yeah. Definitely the farting by at least maybe age 12 or 13? I think you will appreciate that advice one day.

Iris Adella Gill, you are my heart and soul and I love you more than you will ever know. Happy almost fifth birthday.


Two Weeks Later – An Update!

It’s been two weeks since I walked through the doors of NWA Center for Plastic Surgery‘s skin care center for my first consultation. As mentioned in my previous post, I had zero clue as for what to expect. And if you are in the same boat as I was (basically clueless about skin care), then hopefully the sharing of my experience will be helpful!

Once I got all checked-in, I talked with the esthetician for a good thirty minutes about my skin. The approach wasn’t about what I hated and wanted to change – it was about what I loved and wanted to preserve. That positivity matched the atmosphere, which felt more like home than a doctor’s office. With big windows that let in a lot of natural light, and decor that left me wanting to move in, I felt comfortable. Like I was on a nice little retreat from my work day.

After figuring out what would work best with my skin (mine is pretty sensitive), I jumped right in and started a few treatments. One of the first things I did was dermaplane. I think I had heard of it before, but I had no idea what it was. And in case you don’t either, I’m here to tell you that it means taking a scalpel to the face! Sounds horrifying, right? It was actually incredibly relaxing, pain free, and I would do it every week if I could. The process scrapes off the layer of dead skin cells and the velus hair (the peach fuzz) on your face and it instantly made my skin softer than it has ever been.

After that, she did a few more treatments of various creams and ointments, including a very light chemical peel which again, sounds scary and painful, but it was easy breezy. All of this took less time than my lunch hour. From there, I went down the hall and met my new best friend, Annie. She just so happens to be the Nurse Injector and she introduced me to my other new best friend…Botox.

That’s right. For the first time ever, I got Botox. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve been curious about it for some time now, but only recently realized that it’s helpful to prevent wrinkles, not just smooth them away. Which, by the way – it DOES. Like magic. Like REAL-LIFE Photoshop. The best thing about how NWA Center for Plastic Surgery offers Botox is that they are thoughtful about how it’s done. I was told to start small, which I did, and that no one would actually notice that I got it, which they didn’t. Obviously you still want to look like you, just a refreshed version of you. And now two weeks later, that’s what I got – my skin is smoother, but my expression is still mine. Although, it might be smiling a bit more lately because I honestly love my skin again. I’ve already switched from my full-coverage foundation, to a tinted moisturize – or nothing at all.

Now let’s get to the fun stuff – The before and after photos! I am still a work in progress, but I started noticing a real change on day four. The Botox was injected in my forehead, by my eyes, and in-between my eyebrows. The photo on the left was taken at my first visit, right after the dermaplane. On the right is two weeks later, right after a workout.

With Botox, the only thing I regret is not doing it a little sooner. Now that I’m “on the other side,” I see how it’s a subtle game-changer. I’m also realizing how many other people do it – and I had no idea. I love talking about this sort of stuff and it seems that once the conversation gets started, so does everyone else. So, let’s keep talking, learning, and sharing. I’m been religiously using the SkinMedica day and night, and I go back for another round of dermaplane (woo hoo!) in two weeks. Can’t wait to see (and share) the rest of my progress!

Special thanks to the NWA Center for Plastic Surgery for sponsoring me on this journey! Seriously, y’all have made my year and I’m so excited to share.