30 May 2014

Confessional Friday

Let's get right to the Friday fun, because today in particular...I really need this to be a lighthearted space. 

Other than around Christmas, I've never had a wreath on my front door, until now! I mean, how adorable is this?! Thank goodness there are creative people out there to make up for my deficiencies!

I purchased this one from jennyCmoon on ETSY.

I'm wearing glittery, purple nail polish after being told by a 13 year old at Target that it was cool. And I don't hate it.... ;)

During her bath last night Mallory was lapping up bathwater like a cat drinking from a bowl. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Perhaps the Nobel Prize isn't in her future... JK but hysterical!

After this week's recipe swap, I really wish I had some skill in the kitchen. Are there really people who come up with incredible meals/dishes all on their own? I call it a win if I don't botch someone else's recipes...and if I add my own spice or something I think I'm Paula freaking Dean! Tell me I'm not alone? 

Tell me. What do you have going on this weekend?


I'm thrilled to introduce you to another one of this month's wonderful sponsors!! Take it away Amanda!

I’m Amanda, and I blog over at Notes from a Newlywed, where I write all about my life as a new wife. I share my views, thoughts, emotions and observations on my newlywed journey. From wedding planning tips to changing my name, having in-laws and trying to be a better wife, and even a few recipes and randoms thrown in there, it's all about what I'm learning along the way.

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Today I need you to pray for our family. Kyle, Mallory and I just fine, but some of our loved ones are in a tough spot. 

Hold your children extra tight and please, PLEASE drive safely. 

28 May 2014

I do love a good meal...

Last week Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook and I got together and swapped some of our "go-to" recipes! Nobody has ever accused me of being a whiz in the kitchen, but I do have a dish or two that I make for our family regularly. ;) Check out which dish Lindsay and her husband tried! She is a better blogger than I am...she even took photos! 
Lindsay absolutely killed it! She gave me two options to choose from and I started with her Thai Peanut Chicken and Rice. Sooo good! I think from start to mouth it took me 30 minutes to complete and was simple enough to do while clapping and singing for a fussy baby. Recipe win! As soon as I was getting my plate out to start taking photos, Kyle walked in the door and immediately began stuffing his face. 
"This is really good! What the hell is it?"- he asked with his mouth full 
We served ours over even more rice, because well, why not?! I think next time we make this I'm going to play around with making it spicy. Maybe throw in some cayenne pepper or something. We will definitely be adding this dish into our rotation! In fact, I'm eating leftovers today for lunch :)
Thanks so much Lindsay! We should do this again soon! A dessert dish perhaps?
What are YOUR "go-to" recipes?

Finding A Good Dermatologist

Over the years, I've certainly seen my fair share of dermatologists. Changing dermatologists is likely one of the most stressful parts of moving around for me. It takes a while to build a mutual trust, especially when there is a personal history of skin cancer. Usually, around the time I get comfortable with a dermatologist is when it's time to pick up and move again (all assuming I find a good fit right off the bat and don't have to doctor shop.) Because of my experience in hopping from place to place and consequently, doctor to doctor, I thought I'd share some of the things I look for when meeting a dermatologist for the first time.  

good dermatologist

|| Are they listening to me? Like really listening. A "gut feeling" is why my original melanoma was diagnosed. No, I'm not a doctor, but I do know my body and expect my dermatologist to at least listen and acknowledge my questions/concerns. In the same breath however, I need them to hear me when I say I'm anxious! I would have them remove all of my skin if that were a possibility! So, I also need them to reign me in a bit.

|| Are they using their eyes and hands to examine my skin? This was a tip I learned from my oncologist at MD Anderson. The dermatologist needs to cover every inch of my skin with not only their eyes, but with their hands as well. Skin cancers can present as tiny flesh colored bumps under the skin that can only be discovered by touch.

|| In addition to their eyes and hands, are they employing other tools to get a better look at any atypical moles? I like to see the (careful I'm about to get super technical here) handheld magnifying glass like thingy. As it was explained to me this gives a more clear look at borders, color, etc.

|| It probably goes without saying that I look for a dermatologist with a skin cancer specialty and/or extensive experience with melanoma, not a med spa dermatologist.

|| What is their personal style as a physician? Are they conservative? Aggressive? Are they going to take everything off or do they like to just wait and see? At this point in the game, I like a healthy balance of the two styles. It's ok to "watch" some spots, but by all means, if the doctor doesn't like it take. it. off

|| Is their lab in house, or do they send their pathology elsewhere? This is really more of a luxury than anything, but certainly something to consider as it impacts your wait time. If I have a mole removed and the lab is in the dermatologist's office, I may only have to wait a day or so. If I have a mole removed and it needs to be sent out to a lab, that could take over a week! Waiting on pathology results is nerve wracking yo!

|| How accessible are they to me? If I wake up one morning and decide I have a mole that has changed or something and I want to be seen...how long is that going to take? Will I be seen quickly? Can I email the dermatologist with questions? Accessibility is so so important to me!

As Skin Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close, I hope you have seen a dermatologist, or at least have plans to. With skin cancer it is so so soo important to be safe in the sun, aware of your skin and proactive with your health!

Do you have a dermatologist you love?

What are some of the things you look for in a dermatologist?

26 May 2014

Our Weekend || One For The Books

Happy Memorial Day to you! Not only do I hope you have taken a moment to really reflect and feel grateful, but I hope you've celebrated! Honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the greatest country on earth and know that we are free because there are still people who are willing to do so. 

Kyle, Mallory and I had a fantastic weekend full of playing outside, markets, restaurants, fishing and camping! We already have an Alaska camping bucket list in the works! 

[ It was touch and go here for a bit as to whether we would even be able to breathe outside. There is a 100,000+ acre wildfire south of us that is sending tons of thick smoke our way. ]

We tried not one, but two new restaurants in Anchorage this weekend. Both are places we intend to visit again! If you are ever in Anchorage make sure you check out Brown Bag Sandwich Co. and Fat Ptarmigan.

 Mallory is so much fun to eat with these days! She certainly enjoys commotion and people watching. :)

We had a school project to do for one of my little cousins. That little guy there is "Flat Stanley" and he had to accompany us on some Alaskan activities this weekend. We took him to the Anchorage Market & Festival and to lunch with us before sending him on his way to my Grandma's house in Colorado. 

Mallory thought snacking on rocks while supervising Dad was an excellent idea...until she got caught! So funny! 

In other news, Kyle now affectionately calls Mal "bear bait"....after she had a snack in the form of breast milk and squeeze pouch, he thought she was sure to send the bears our way. 

 Her first fishing trip was on the Little Susitna for King Salmon. Not too shabby. In our measly overnight camping trip we were able to see a busy little beaver, a moose, and bald eagles galore!

Bedtime tent activities included blocks, the dogs and books. We were so impressed with how Mallory handled camping. She was great!

What did you do this weekend?


Before you go, make sure you stop by and check out a new favorite blog of mine, Love & Waffles

Blog || Facebook || Twitter || Bloglovin

Hopes & Plans

Welcome to the "hopes & plans" link up! Any hopeful or goal-oriented post is welcome! It can be your life's dreams and aspirations or simply your chore list. Share with us! I hope for this to be a place where we can come to be inspired and motivated by the things other people have in the works.  The possibilities are endless! Most things in life begin by first having a hope and then some kind of plan

If we are being totally honest here, two of the items from last week's hopes & plans would not have happened had I not put it in writing. I totally forgot about them!

Here's how I did...

|| Update the pages on my blog. Nooope. 

|| Plant something colorful in the planter under our kitchen window. Done. In the process of simply planting red flowers in a simple planter I learned that I don't know jack or shit about plants/flowers/gardening. I came home from the store with flowers and potting soil, Kyle asked "did you get plant food?" Ummm what?! We feed plants now? What is the world coming to? Whatever happened to good ol' sunlight and water?

|| Delete! Later Facebook ap.

|| Clean my carpets. Done and I loved it! So refreshing! We may need to purchase our own carpet cleaner... any recommendations?

|| Sell and trash. Oh yeah! Massively decluttered over here and making a couple bucks in the process doesn't suck. ;)

This Week's Hopes & Plans

one || Decorate master bedroom wall. With all the decluttering that took place, I was left with a completely bare wall in my master bedroom. I'm thinking of doing a small gallery wall with a white/gold/and pink theme.

two || Wash guest bedroom curtains. I forgot that was like a "thing." Being an adult sucks.

three || Purchase something like this for our guest room.  The space just needs something.

four || Sign Mallory up for swim lessons. I'm liking the company Swim Like A Fish, but since they are so pricey,  it's taken me a while to pull the trigger.

five || Update the pages on my blog. For real.

Marry Mint
What are your Hopes & Plans?

Take it away!

23 May 2014

Sunshine Award

My friend Lindsay from The Newlywed Notebook nominated me for the Sunshine Award!! It is so flattering when you learn that someone really does enjoy reading what you have to say write...you know, someone other than your parents. ;)

These awards are kind of like chain mail in the blogging world and I have so much fun doing Q&A posts, so lets knock this baby out :)

Rules of the Sunshine Award 

|| Post 11 random facts about yourself.
|| Answer 11 questions for the blogger who nominated you.
|| Nominate 11 bloggers to receive the award.
|| Write your own 11 questions for them to answer.
|| Notify them that you have nominated them.

Random Facts About Me 
1. I'm not a good sleeper. I need a cold, dark room with some white noise to stand a fighting chance at  getting some shut eye.
2. My big toes are massive. Like massive massive.
3. Once upon a time I worked at Abercrombie and Fitch.
4. I have asthma. Thanks cancer interferon! Lame.
5. I'm severely right handed. Can't do anything remotely coordinated with my left hand. 
6. Back in the day I was a soccer player. 
7.  and I've had two knee surgeries and a few broken bones as a result.
8. I was born in Princeton, NJ. 
9. I have a tattoo on my ribcage. 
10. Revenge and The Blacklist are two of my favorite TV shows lately. 
11. I'm an oldest child. 

The Questions 
one || What has been your favorite vacation so far?

I've only been on a couple of "vacations" since most of our trips are spent visiting family. Cruises are what's up though. :)

two || How many siblings do you have?

I have three younger sisters. 

three || Heels or flats?

Flats. I do like to wear heels...but flats. 

four || If you could own one exotic animal (not a typical pet) what would it be?

One of those little mini pigs! Or a penguin...

five || What is your favorite blog post you have written?

Hmm. I'd say the most gratifying post I've written was the one about my anxiety. 

six || What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when you’re rocking out in the car?

Country. Although you may catch me listening to Kyle's rap music every once in a while. ;)

seven || What’s one guilty pleasure?

I don't believe in guilty pleasures. Just pleasure, no guilt. 

eight || Why did you start your blog?

I wanted to offer a positive spin on cancer. When I was going through treatment I most frequently found that those who wrote about cancer did so in a negative/scary way, which was the opposite of what I needed. My hope in starting this blog was to show the world that life can go on and to provide someone, somewhere with a little inspiration!

nine || If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chicken & rice! 

ten || Are you an introvert or extrovert at heart?

I definitely lean introvert... but I don't think it's as simple as that. 

eleven || What’s one irrational fear you have? (hey, we all have them :) )

Shoot, I don't know. Depends when you ask LOL! At the moment I don't have one.
I nominate...

My questions to you are...

1. What is the story behind your blog's name?
2. If you are married, what song did you dance to at your wedding? If you aren't married, what song would you pick? If you are Kelsey, what is your favorite love song?
3. What is your most embarrassing story?
4. When do you feel the most confident?
5. What is something you are proud of?
6. What are your three favorite stores to shop? (online counts)
7. What is something you like to splurge on?
8. What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
9. What is the first blog you ever read?
10. What are some of your goals?
11. What is your go-to meal to cook?

I can't wait to read your answers! Make sure you let me know when they are up :)

Have a great weekend!

22 May 2014

Things Mallory is Loving Lately

The name of the game for lately Mal is noise. If it makes noise or she can use it to make noise, she'll love it! If it is noisy and feels good on her gums...commence baby squeals. 
1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9
Lets not for get pretzel bags, clothing tags and Mom's car keys...

21 May 2014

How To: make chemo suck less

Last month I shared some of the things I liked to keep in my hospital bag during chemotherapy. As you know, my melanoma treatment had two parts, one month of daily infusions at the hospital and eleven months of shots at home. I thought a good follow on post would be to share some tips and tricks for navigating chemo at home
Reminder :: I'm speaking in generalities here, since every cancer, every patient and every treatment can be different. 

|| Water Bottles || Keep water stashed everywhere! It is more important than ever to stay hydrated. This is two fold, you need to be hydrated for health reasons, but also to feel decent. 

|| Restaurant Gift Cards || When your friends and family offer to help, suggest they purchase random restaurant gift cards. Your appetite will likely be wildly unpredictable or non existent  Gift cards will work better than prepared meals, because who the hell knows what you will be in the mood for. The gift cards will give you a variety of options! Added bonus = you won't have to smell the food for an extended period of time. ;)

|| Bad Calories Are Better Than No Calories || Within reason, of course. Your body needs calories to function. If a day comes down to zero calories OR eating a small order of french fries from McDonalds, you go get the fries! Obviously, if you are eating french fries every single day as your only form of nutrition, then you should reevaluate. 
|| Reward Yourself || Set small goals for yourself. Sometimes getting through the day without going completely ape shit is a challenge. Small manageable goals are the name of the game folks. Wake up before noon. Eat two normal meals. Shave your legs. Anything goes! Reward yourself for meeting these goals.
|| Gratitude || I'm not just speaking to the spiritual kind (although you are alive and fighting...someone is to thank for that opportunity.) I'm talking about showing gratitude to those who are walking with you in this journey. Show them that they are appreciated! Not only do they need and deserve this, but it will help you to feel "normal."
|| Leave The House || This was one of my daily goals. I needed to leave the house in order to feel normal, even if I was just running up to the gas station or taking a drive, leaving the house was key. 

|| Exercise || The first step here is to accept the fact that your former definition of excercise no longer applies. As long as your doctor says its ok, do something physical daily. My Schatzi was great for insisting that we go for a walk. You'll feel better, promise. ;) Thanks endorphins!

|| Sleep || Duh! You are literally poisoning your body. Not only are you exhausted, but your body needs sleep to heal. Do it! 

|| Listen || Listen to your doctor! Follow their instructions. Keep it simple, stupid. Also, listen to your body and communicate effectively and regularly with your doctor. This cancer treatment business is a team effort. 

|| Go Through The Motions || Above all else, fake it 'til you make it! Fake "normal." This is so very important to your mental health. Shower. Do your make up. Get dressed. Run errands. Whatever your normal is, do it if you can! 
Do you have any tips and tricks to add?
As always, I'd love to talk shop! Feel free to email me anytime :: MarryMintAmanda@gmail.com

20 May 2014

Mallory's 7 Month Update

I'm not sure how we got here, but suddenly our Mallory is SEVEN months old! 
We didn't have any doctor's appointments this month, so I don't have updated stats, but I'd guess she is at least a pound heavier than last month. 
We have a second tooth! Her bottom front teeth are in and she knows how to use them, OUCH!
Mal is FINALLY giving me 6 hour stretches of sleep at night!!! ... sometimes I think that introducing "real" food was a game changer with regard to sleep. She stays full longer. 
Things are going great in the baby led weaning/ breastfeeding department. Mallory is trying anything and everything she can. At this point it seems that she prefers savory foods to sweet foods. Kyle thinks that sharing a meal with her is a great way to suppress your appetite. Breast milk is still her primary source of nutrition. 

My little girl is wearing 9/12 month clothing! Although I just purchased a jacket in 18 months...I'm sorry, what?!
Some new developments this month are separation anxiety, reaching for mom, responding to her name (ish) and being quite social when around other children.
Mallory is just so much fun! At risk of sounding redundant, but this is my new favorite age ;) She interacts with us and is curious about everything
I have tons of updates to make to our favorite baby products, so be on the look out later this week for that. 
We are so fortunate to have been chosen to be her parents!
Hope you are having a good week so far. :)

19 May 2014

Hopes & Plans

Welcome to the "hopes & plans" link up! Any hopeful or goal-oriented post is welcome! It can be your life's dreams and aspirations or simply your chore list. Share with us! I hope for this to be a place where we can come to be inspired and motivated by the things other people have in the works.  The possibilities are endless! Most things in life begin by first having a hope and then some kind of plan

I didn't do too bad on completing last week's hopes & plans. Not 100% success, but what fun would that be? ;)

|| I want to start designating a portion of the day as a "no electronics" time. This wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be, but I did enjoy being deliberate about it. Definitely something we will continue. 

|| Take at least 10 photos using my DSLR on manual mode. Done. But I still suck. I'm going to continue trying to practice a bit more each week. 

|| Schedule Schatzi's vet appointment. Crushed it!

|| I want two of these hanging on my living room wall, even if I have to build them myself! Ok. So this one is a partial fail. I don't have them hanging on my wall at this point, but we did get the ball rolling. Thats gotta count for something. ;)

This Week's Hopes & Plans

one || Update the pages on my blog. It's just time. The photos need to be cleaned up and I just really want to simplify things.

two || Plant something colorful in the planter under our kitchen window. Now that the heart pond and bridge are gone, I think Kyle and I both feel more prideful about our front yard. Last year I planted absolutely nothing in the built in planter under the window. FAIL!

three || Delete! I'm looking at you social media apps. Sticking with my "no electronics" theme, I think getting rid of a couple social media apps on my phone would help limit the amount of time I waste bullshitting on my phone. Blogs and statuses I want to read, photos I want to look at... that stuff can be done (mostly) while the baby is sleeping or hanging out with her dad. I also want to unsubscribe to a few more shopping emails.

four || Clean my carpets. Our neighbors have offered to let us borrow their carpet cleaner and I'm all over that like white on rice! We only have carpet in the bedrooms but EW. I do not like carpet. Between the dogs and Kyle... well, I just may have a case to rip them up, but for now, they just need a good cleaning.

five || Sell and trash. We have a pile of crap in the garage that needs to be taken to the dump and a pretty stout list of things that need to hit the Craigslist market. Quick story about Craigslist :: A while ago I listed the two breast pumps I have but don't use. I got a phone call from a dude claiming to be in search of a pump for his wife. (duh, he wasn't) He asked a few questions about the pump but eventually tried to shift the conversation to a discussion about my breasts! EWWWWW.  So, I've been a little gun-shy on Craigslist thanks to the breast pump pervert. 

Marry Mint
I hope you have a great Monday!

What are your Hopes & Plans?

Share them below!

16 May 2014

Confessional Friday

one || Last night Kyle took Mallory to bed and I had to house allllllll to myself. What do you do when things are quiet? Stick your feet in one of those Conair foot bath things and enjoy a cold beer, thats what!  I tried to paint my nails but Mal woke up. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. 

two || I had my dermatologist appointment yesterday. Just my routine full body check. The unexpected happened and I left with the same number of stitches I walked into the office with, ZERO! Such a relief. My dermatologist even gave Mally a once over for me which was so kind of him. It is so important to find a dermatologist that you love and trust, but that's a post for another day. 

three || I have a new nephew! His name is Oliver and he lives with my sister in North Carolina. Isn't he precious?! I named him. NBD.

four || While I prefer the lighter parts of the year in Alaska, the extended daylight is kind of messing with me. It doesn't bother me at night, but when I wake up at 4:30 am to feed Mal and the sun is coming up, it's difficult to go back to sleep. :/

Don't forget to link up with A Blonde Ambition to share your confessions!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I will see you Monday for the second edition of the Hopes & Plans link up! 

Marry Mint

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