31 March 2014

Subscription Box Galore!

You know I love receiving anything in the mail that isn't a bill. Subscription boxes are my B.F.F. They pair "happy mail" and shopping, which is a winning combination. 

I've dipped my toes in the pool of several subscription boxes in my time, so I thought i'd share a little round up with you in case they are something you are considering. So far I've tried three subscription boxes in total, Julep MavenBirchbox, & Stich Fix

Here's what they look like:

It's not a secret that I love me some nail polish. I have been reading Kate and her sister Lauren sing the praises of Julep Maven boxes, so I finally caved and gave them a shot. Ohhh, they did not disappoint! Based on the style profile I completed, I received two nail polish bottles and one full sized product. [I'm 'classic with a twist'.] 

Julep included a 50% off coupon in my first box! I have my eye on these quick dry drops.

If you gave up shopping for lent; I have found your loophole! Stitch Fix! You aren't shopping, promise! Someone else is doing it for you. ;) You can blame my friend Angel for introducing me to this one...

Go to Stich Fix and fill out your own personal style profile. This is one of the more thorough profiles that I've seen and fun to fill out!  You will then schedule your 'fix' date and proceed to checkout. A personal stylist puts together a look for you for just $20. When you receive your Stitch Fix, you try everything on and decide what you like and what you don't like. Anything you don't like goes into the prepaid return envelope that was included in your box. You keep what you like and the $20 styling fee is applied to your purchase. Too easy!

My stylist hit the nail on the freaking head with my very first fix!

I LOVED everything that was included in my Stitch Fix. The Colibri Heart Print Tab-Sleeve blouse and Corinna Triped Dolman Top are exactly my style and fit like a glove! The Corinna Delicate Bar necklace was stunning and just the right touch to just about any outfit. I was completely shocked when I tried on the Johnny Skinny Jeans and they fit like a glove! I have spent the past month searching for jeans that fit my postpartum body, and the perfect ones came in this box! The Rowena Chevron Print V-Neck Blouse was kind of my wildcard piece. It was bright, colorful and bold; not what I would typically reach for, but pretty. This was the only item that did not fit, so I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Here comes the downside; everything in this box totaled $204, so I had to make some choices. Mallory loves to tug and pull on any necklace I wear, so the necklace was out. The heart top and the striped top, while absolutely adorable, have been in my closet on repeat, so they were sacrificed. I NEED the skinnies, so I kept those. 

Stich Fix. We will meet again very, VERY soon!

Ok. I have a confession to make. I cancelled my Birchbox subscription. *gasp* Can we still be friends? The past couple of months I was just not impressed with the contents of my Birchbox...

So, as luck would have it, I cancelled my box just before the March Birchbox arrived and it was AWESOME! I enjoyed and use everything in this month's box!

The Jergens BB Body Cream will be purchased in its full sized glory asap and I'm actually using the organic green lagoon eyeliner! I don't think I'm done done with Birchbox quite yet. Apparently I go through cycles with Birchbox, a few months on followed by a few months off.

What subscription boxes do you love?

28 March 2014

Confessional Friday and $90

We've had a pretty darn good week around these parts. Nothing in particular happened to make it "good" but that is kind of awesome, isn't it? We have started experiencing longer days here in the tundra, which is so energizing and uplifting. Anyway. Nothing super exciting to report, just my weekly random confessions :) 

I confess...

I spent yesterday afternoon zipping down a mountain in a lime green saucer and LOVED it!

That Mallory is officially a mouth breather and a thumb sucker. She may be the cutest one I've ever seen. ;)

I'm kickin' any and all buyer's remorse that I may experience this month to the curb! Kyle bought himself an Alaska man toy (a Honda Rancher, Go-Cart or something dumb) without batting an eye. Careful husband of mine...I can be deadly with a debit card. As if he wasn't already well aware..

Tears will be shed tomorrow. My mama and littlest sister are leaving and I don't like it. Hands down, the toughest part about living in Alaska is being so far away from our family. 

I may or may not have taken a break from rippin' and tearing' on my saucer to paint my nails.... I can't wait to tell you about my latest subscription box!

I'm linking up with Leslie from A Blonde Ambition.

Oh, before I take off to spin around on my saucer again.... Anyone interested in $90?! Enter to win below!

Happy Joyful Day // My Life as a Long // A Sorta Fairytale
Marry Mint // Becoming Adorrable // A Hundred Tiny Wishes
Notes from a Newlywed // Sprinkles & Sundresses // Lavender & Light
a Rafflecopter giveaway

27 March 2014

"Must Visit" Spots in The Last Frontier

When we found out we were moving to Alaska we were excited for the adventure! I immediately started researching homes, shopping and various activities for us to do during our time in Alaska. 

Kyle became more and more excited each day. He would come home and tell me all about the hunting, fishing, hiking and camping that we were going to be able to do. ::crickets:: (Although, I do enjoy hiking and even a little fishing.)

One the other hand, I researched and researched only learning the things Alaska did not have. Panera, Chipotle, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Chick-fil-A, etc. The list is way too long... Don't get me wrong, I was excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity, but from a girly perspective; it didn't look good. 

Now that we've been here a little over a year, I think I can make a few recommendations for those of you who may find yourself in the Last Frontier. 

For reference: We live in the Mat-Su Valley and Kyle works in Anchorage.

*No need to panic, there are two Target stores and a Sephora in the area. We even have Starbucks, but I totally encourage you to try the little coffee shacks you see EVERYWHERE! 

grab a bite to eat

Snow City Cafe = Downtown Anchorage brunch spot. A local favorite! 

Sakura Sushi = Located in Wasilla. The best sushi we've found so far!

Humdinger's Pizza = Located in Palmer. No delivery option. Tons options and a favorite among locals. This is our go to pizza joint!

Grape Tap = Located in Wasilla. $$$ but delicious. We celebrated our 2nd Anniversary here!

Moose's Tooth = Located in Anchorage. You MUST eat here. If you ever bump into someone in the lower 48 who has visited Alaska, they've probably eaten here. Great environment and tons of beer!

Noisy Goose Cafe = Palmer fairgrounds area. Known for their breakfast. Great local experience. 

festivals & activities :

Kenai Fjords Tours :: Gray Whale Watch = We've done multiple cruises with this company and plan on doing more! Affordable and a guaranteed good time. 

Alaska State Fair = Alaskans descend from the hills to come to the State Fair at the end of August. If people watching is your thing, the fair will not disappoint! Oh, the rides, vendors and entertainment are pretty impressive too.

Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Winter Festival = Watch the ceremonial start to the Iditarod! Read about my Fur Rondy experience here.

Anchorage Market & Festival = One of my favorite things to do during the warmer months! Tons of local vendors to explore downtown Anchorage. Great family activity!

shopping :

5th Avenue Mall = Simon mall in Anchorage. Pretty standard mall stuff. 

Dimond Center Mall = Home of Forever 21 and Baby Gap.

Ozarks = Forever grateful to this gal for introducing me to this antique shop. Sooo many beautiful things here! Almost makes me forget i'm shopping in Alaska. 

Alaska Picker = Located in Wasilla. Vintage furniture/home decor. 

Fancy Lou = Located in Wasilla. Shop full of refinished antique furniture pieces!

 My plan is to update this list as I find places I love!

Check out our Alaska Bucket List to see what we hope to accomplish before we PCS outta here!

Anyone ever visited or lived here? What do you suggest?

25 March 2014

Easter and things

First, I want to thank those who reached out to me and left such thoughtful comments about yesterday's post. I'm sure you can imagine, it wasn't easy to write and even harder to hit the ol' "publish" button. BUT, I'm so glad I did! If that post makes just one person feel less alone, then it served it's purpose. As always, I'd LOVE to meet and chat with anyone in the same boat, so don't hesitate to shoot me an email MarryMintAmanda (at) gmail (dot) com.

I wanted to do another little Pinterest round up like I did for St. Paddy's Day, but this time for EASTER! Oh, and I added a little ETSY to the mix too. You're welcome. ;)

As per usual, the only original content are the prints at the bottom (which are of course available FREE to you.) 

I'm just not crafty, ok! 

The link to the original post is below each image, so go check them out, they are easy, fun and affordable! Swear.

Bunny Bait

DIY Easter Garland
Easter Beer Hunt

Flower Pot Veggie Dip

Vintage Easter Egg Decor
Baby Girl Easter Outfit

Easter Wreath

Here are your FREE prints!
then right click on the image to download

then right click on the image to download
I hope you are having a good Tuesday so far! 
Have you found any cute Easter things in your online or real life endeavors? 

24 March 2014

My Experiences With Anxiety

Most of my life I probably could have been characterized as "high strung" or rather intense. I may have been a pain in the ass, but it was never something that I felt inhibited the enjoyment of day to day life. This, like many other things, changed following my cancer diagnosis

I was feeling overcome with worry. Paralyzed. Long after the chemical effects of  melanoma treatment subsided, I could not shake the random, unspecified worry. That constant feeling of nervousness. I couldn't sleep because I couldn't make my brain shut up. I didn't want to go out because sitting in the car was too much stillness, and stillness meant I had the opportunity to think, which would inevitably lead to tears.

Yeah, I know. I had cancer, and that IS something to worry about. However, the worry I was experiencing was mostly unrelated to cancer (although I looovved to blame the nerves on cancer.)

Feeling anxious at times is normal. Prolonged (6 months or longer), uncontrollable, and unreasonable anxiety however, is not
A prevalent side effect of interferon [the drug I was taking to get rid of cancer] is depression. So, it was during my melanoma treatment that began speaking with a counselor and was prescribed an antidepressant for the first time. 
When my melanoma treatment was over, I weaned off the antidepressant. This was the beginning of a shitty cycle for me. The antidepressant would do its job, so I think I no longer need it and wean. 
Rinse and repeat for several years. 
It was when Kyle and I decided we wanted to begin trying to conceive that I weaned for the last time.  I did NOT want to be on any medication during pregnancy. 

We learned I was pregnant during our move to Alaska. About ten weeks into my pregnancy everything was just too much. All of my usual anxiety symptoms paired with moving across the world, no friends, no family, morning sickness, living in a hotel, hormones... 

I can remember the exact moment I realized it was time to make some changes. I was driving on post when I heard a jet flying over me. Here is what I thought. Ready? "What if that plane is here to attack us? I'm pregnant. It's snowy. I don't have a coat. I'm wearing slipper flats. I'm going to die! Holy shit Amanda. You need some damn crazy pills." It feels funny to type that (and actually makes me seem straight up paranoid), but the panic that I felt in that moment was so real

My OB, without hesitation, put me back on the antidepressant and hooked me up with a local counselor. Fortunately for me, she didn't stop there...  
"Cut the shit! Stay on your medication. You can not be a good mother or wife if you are not taking care of yourself."-- OB

This NEEDED to be said. I needed to hear that coping with anxiety--taking care of myself was no longer just about me.

I was on a low dose of Lexapro for the remainder of my pregnancy and am still taking it today. 
(I know taking any medication during pregnancy is controversial. I'm a firm, FIRM believer in medical decisions being made between a physician and patient and nobody else. This is just what worked for me.)
Antidepressants aren't for everyone, obviously. For some, it amplifies their symptoms, for others it makes them feel numb, but for me; medication just helps me feel normal. Antidepressants don't make me shit rainbows and butterflies; I'm just me. High strung, pain in the ass, me.  

I still have "bad" days, where I'm nervous for no apparent reason. But those days aren't very frequent. 
For me, counseling and medication go hand in hand. I want to learn how to cope with the anxiety and develop tools to handle things without medication one day. I still see a counselor regularly and really value the opportunity to speak honestly about anxiety and learn.

Exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective ways for me to relax. When I run, my brain is completely silent! Ahh. My advice would be, if you struggle with anxiety, to find your "radio silent" activity and utilize it! 

I'm still learning. I don't have this all figured out. But I'm trying...

Do you struggle with generalized anxiety disorder? How have you learned to cope?

Before you go, I want to introduce you to my new friend Lindsay from The Newlywed Notebook! Swing by her blog, promise you won't regret it! 

20 March 2014

The Boys Behind The Blog & Chelsea

Last month around this time, Kyle made his blogging debut! I guess he enjoyed himself because he is back for another round of The Boys Behind The Blog linkup!

Mal Smiles
Take it away Kyle!

1. What's your lucky number? 
82. It was my jersey number when I played football in high school.

img source

2. Do you have a lucky charm?

 I did, it was a Saint Michael neckless; and then I lost it. However, my luck hasn't changed therefore I suppose it wasn't actually a lucky charm.

Actually Kyle, it was a Saint Christopher NECKLACE...but i'm sorry for your loss. It was clearly very special to you. 

3. Do you fill out a bracket for March Madness? Who do you want to win?
Typical females (Kyle, in the civilian world we prefer to be referred to as women.), asking loaded questions. What the question is actually asking is, "do you sit on the couch and drink beer for extended periods of time?" and my answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! Do you know who my wife is? 

That's fine. Blame your lack of basketball knowledge on me. I have big shoulders.

4. March 10th is "Middle Name Pride Day." What's your middle name?

Robert. but they call my Bobby... Ricky Bobby.
Ha! We do.
img source

5. Submit one question that would would like to see on a future The Boys Behind The Blog.

What are three things your wife/girlfriend/blogger does that pisses you off?
This sounds like a grrrrreat idea.....

Phew. Let's move on to the pretty part of the post, shall we? I want to introduce you to Chelsea! We went to the same college and our husbands were even in ROTC together, but our paths never truly crossed until recently.  Now, I'm proud to call this sweet woman my friend. 

I hope you'll stop by Southern Charm and get to know Chelsea a little better :) While you are there steal one of her recipes because we all know you won't find any here!
Happy Thursday! 

19 March 2014

Mallory 5 Month Update

It's time for another entry into my online baby book! Mallory is FIVE months old today--WOAH! She is so full of smiles, laughs, sounds and personality. Mal is constantly making us laugh and seems to get a pretty good kick out of herself. I feel like I have a pretty firm handle on her "cues" which makes the trial and error process a bit easier, although she is a pretty happy kid for the most part. 

Mally just went up to a size 3 diaper and is wearing 6 or 9 month size clothing! We don't have a check up this month but I would venture to guess she has gained a pound, so 16lbs ish.

She is babbling up a storm these days! We really enjoy seeing "energy spurts" now. Sometimes this kid is literally bouncing off the wall play mat; she goes hard. She still really enjoys her baths and has figured out how to splash :) 

I don't have any new additions to our baby gear list for this month; she is sticking to what she knows and loves. Although, we can NOT seem to have too many sleepers in this house. She is still quite gross. 

Here are a couple photos of her from St. Paddy's Day!

Thanks for your patience yesterday with our internet issues. Things still aren't resolved fully, but dude will be back this afternoon to finish things up. Thank. Goodness.
How is your week going so far? What do I have to look forward to this month with my little one?

17 March 2014

Our 2nd Anniversary

Yesterday was our second wedding anniversary! In some ways it feels like we said "I do" five minutes ago, but in other ways it feels like we've been married foreeevvvveeerrrrrrrrrr.

I don't write much about marriage because quite frankly; I think its something that is so private and personal. What I will say is this; nobody pisses me off quite like Kyle. Nobody gets under my skin quite like Kyle. Nobody leaves me scratching my head quite like Kyle. BUT nobody else loves quite like Kyle. He works hard to provide for our family and does his best not to make the same mistake twice ;) He can always make me laugh and he makes certain that I feel supported and loved. The man is a saint for putting up with me...I can be a handful to say the very least. 
This weekend took advantage of having my mom in town and went out to dinner sans baby. Last year, we weren't able to celebrate because I was about 8 weeks pregnant and puking constantly, so this year was extra special. 

We went to Grape Tap in Wasilla on Friday night(shout out to Kelsey for the recommendation); it was FANTASTIC! It's a cute, tiny little restaurant in an old converted house. I ordered a rack of lamb and Kyle got the tenderloin. We also sampled a couple of flights of white wine! We definitely recommend this place if your ever in these parts of the country.
Sunday (our actual anniversary) we spent the day celebrating my little sister's birthday. She requested lunch at Red Robin and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. 

As you know from Twitter and this post; Kyle and I already exchanged gifts. He gave me a Michael Kors watch and he bought himself I gave him some hunting backpack. 

I really is crazy to think how much has changed in the past year. We have moved from a hotel in Anchorage to our first home, Kyle started a new job, we had a baby and bought a new car! Kyle graduated from a cold weather leaders course, went to Thailand and earned his expert infantry badge while I've been busy learning my new role as a stay at home mom and making it to another cancerversary. Phew! Makes me very excited to see what our third year of marriage has in store for us. 

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