27 June 2014

It's time to get serious...

Alright, I know I talk about light hearted things on this blog, such as cancer, but it's time to get serious. I have a birthday next week which means my birthday wish list is long over due. 

Here is what you can get me :: 

one ||  This color block baseball tee from ASOS is perfect for day to day wear up here in the Tundra. Longer sleeves, casual, would hide spit up relatively well...
two || I want these Ray-Ban sunglasses. I've been reppin' knock offs for years and it's time to step up my game. 
three || Have you seen this necklace by Tiny Tags? I love that it is dainty and customizable! Want.
four || Hunters. Maybe I should just buy these already. I've been wearing the same yellow rain boots from Target since my freshman year of college! In Alaska, I'd definitely get my money's worth with these babies!
five || Turning 25 (unlike any of my previous birthdays, duh) means that i'm not getting any younger. I few months ago I got a sample of this truth serum collagen booster from Sephora and loooooved it! It's one of the first products that I could really feel working. 
six || Over the years, my expansive Converse collection has thinned out a bit. I want to put these "dainty" black Chucks back in the game!
seven || And to maybe knock out that massage from my summer bucket list---- a gift card to  Sheraton Ice Spa in downtown Anchorage. 
eight || Since I don't have enough lipstick already, I want to get my hands on this Lime Crime lipstick. It comes highly recommended by this gal
nine || A birthday is just another excuse to purchase a new Michael Kors bag, am I right?
I'll be accepting gifts the entire month of July. Thanks in advance. 

I'm totally kidding. 
(No I'm not Kyle.)

25 June 2014

Independence Mine

A couple of weekends ago, Kyle, Mallory and I found ourselves with a free little Sunday on our hands. There is a gold mine (literally) in Hatcher Pass called Independence Mine, which is just a short drive from our house! 

We have been meaning to check this spot out, but frequently get distracted by other hikes along the way. (OR somebody wears the wrong shoes. Hey! The walk from the parking lot the mine is deceivingly long.) This particular Sunday however, we were determined! The weather wasn't particularly impressive, but one thing we have to credit Alaskans for is that they are not fair weather outdoorsmen. Rain or shine, they get after it! So we do too...

The kid was such a trooper in the backpack! She just looked around, yelled and smacked the back of Kyle's head. Baby paradise. 

 Don't be too impressed with us. Most of that climb was done in the car... However, if you are local, the top parking lot was closed, so we did walk up to the mine from the lodge and broke a little sweat.

Walking through Independence Mine, we were able to read and see what it was like to work/live in a 1930's ish gold mine! The old machinery, buildings and living conditions were amazing! I felt like I could imagine everything working and running... so cool! Kyle kept asking if I thought there might still be some gold there... the hell if I know! 

This building just screams engagement photos to me LOL! 

About thirty minutes after we got to Independence Mine it started to rain. Mallory was cool with it initially, but we knew we had a good thirty minute walk back to the car so we decided to cut the exploring a little short. 

Can you spot my husband and child? 

We spend quite a bit of time hiking in Hatcher Pass and have even stumbled on a few other random, abandoned gold mines! If you ever visit Alaska, I highly recommend checking out Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine.

Have you ever visited a gold mine?!

24 June 2014

Lip Lovin'

Lipstick. How in the world is one ever supposed legitimately shop for lipstick? I mean really? Aren't there like 90 bajillion options?! A couple of weeks ago my online shopping guide and friend Kelsey @ Pardon My French posted this lipstick tag and I thought it would be fun to join in. 

Here goes nothin'!

1. Favorite Lip Balm || Nivea Lip Butter || This stuff is so hydrating and so affordable! I keep some stashed everywhere! I did recently purchase Dior's Creme de Rose lip balm and really enjoy it so far, so that is my honorable mention in this category ;)

2. Best Eye Catching Red || Lip Tar in the color "Psycho" || RED. Like red red. Lip Tars have amazing color pay off!

3. Best Luxury Lipstick || YSL Rough Volupte in Nude Beige || As you know, I only recently hopped on the YSL bandwagon and it was so easy to fall in love with this stuff. It feels amazing on the lips and its staying power really caught me by surprise. In my opinion, YSL lipsticks are definitely worth the price tag. 

4. Best Lipgloss || Mac Cremesheen Glass || If I'm going for a glossy look, I reach for this stuff every single time! It's not heavy or sticky but stays put with excellent color payoff. 

5. Favorite Drugstore Lipstick || Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick from the Kate Moss Collection || This stuff was a pleasant surprise! I was initially drawn to the color selection of this line and for the price figured I'd give it a try. This lipstick smells great, has a nice matte finish and lasts!

6. Most Disappointing Lipstick || Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain || I really want to love lip stains. They seem like such a "no-fuss" product but I literally have to sit for 5 minutes applying the stuff to get any sort of color on my lips. That's a no go for me. :(

7. All Time Favorite || Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick || This stuff is it! Wonderful color options. Affordable price point. Lasts all day long! SOLD.

I tag any girl who wears lip products! 

Send me to Sephora to try out some of your favorites! (I may have gotten an early birthday gift card that's burning a hole in my wallet...)

19 June 2014

Mallory's 8 Month Update

Um, 8 months old? Really? For real, this is my favorite age. Do I sound like a broken record yet? Each day really gets more and more fun! Don't get me wrong, some days she completely wears me out, but she is just learning so much every single day that I can't help but love the craziness. 
We did have to go to the doctor this month thanks to an upper respiratory/ear infection situation so we learned Miss Mallory is weighing apx. 20 lbs!! 

baby update

baby update

She is still regularly giving me 6 hour stretches at night but getting those new teeth this month has required some restless nights. We are still having a lot of fun with food and Mallory is eating more of it. She is working on boosting her status as a true Alaskan baby. This month she ate halibut, elk and bison! Honestly, we are doing a lot more squeeze pouches than I thought we would, but Mal loves them! Since she still doesn't take a bottle, squeeze pouches have been the key to a baby free pedicure or two ;) Breast milk is still her primary source of nutrition.
independence mine

Russian River
Mally is sporting FOUR teeth now, two up top and two on the bottom. Her latest activity is grinding them...yuck! 
As far as clothes go, we are officially at the "hold it up and see if it looks right" stage of the game. Most of her leggings are 12 months and most of her tops at 2t... but who knows really. We have switched from "bodysuits" to mostly leggings and t-shirts. The girl still can't get behind the whole sock movement. 
baby dog
Not too many changes this month in the baby gear department other than Kelsey gave us this bouncy seat that Mallory really enjoys and we purchased this play mat
Mallory is now rolling with a purpose to get around the house! She gets up on all fours but either slides backwards or just rocks back and fourth. Soon enough we will have a crawling baby!! She loves grabbing everything and immediately sticking it in her mouth. Current favorite targets are rocks, cords, and grass. Lovely. Put toys in your mouth Mallory! 
cincinnati reds baby

She definitely responds to her name and knows how to clap. Mallory is still pretty anxious when I leave the room and/or someone else holds her. I know this is just a phase and I'm trying to soak in all of the extra snuggles. I'd be lying if I said I didn't love that I'm her sole source of comfort right now. 
My Dad/Mallory's Papa is coming to visit us then we are off to visit family for a couple of weeks!  We plan to soak up these precious moments with family and enjoy the Alaskan summer! So thankful that Mallory is an easy going traveler and enjoys being out and about. 
We love you kid!

17 June 2014

Where are you from?

Am I the only person who struggles when answering this question? Growing up, we moved around because of my dad's job, and now I move around because of Kyle's job. I love moving around! Every 3 ish years I definitely get an "itch" to pick up and explore someplace new. Living in different places has taught me so much and I really couldn't imagine a life living in just one spot. 


So far I lived in New Jersey, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alaska. 

As I get older and meet new people  I find that people really want to know where you are "from"... 

That conversation usually goes something like this:

[Rando] I'm Billy Bob. Cute kid. Big dogs. How 'bout this weather we've been having?! Where are you from?

[Me] What do you mean? Where was a born? Where did I live most recently? Where do my parents live? Where do I sleep at night? 

I mean come on. This shouldn't be a challenging question, should it? Before I moved out of my parents house I would frequently say New Jersey, since that's where I was born. BUT I know nothing about New Jersey since I was so young when we lived there. It was when I got to college and my parents continued to move around that things really started to get hairy. 

It is always funny when people ask Kyle and I together where we are from. Kyle quickly responds "Cincinnati", I hold a blank stare and now we've added Mallory to the mix and she was born in ALASKA

Where are you from?
Did you grow up moving around? If so, how do you answer this question?

16 June 2014

Hopes & Plans || Summer Bucket List

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.

Our weekend plans didn't quite go the way we well, planned. The weather wasn't ideal so we changed our fishing/camping trip location only for Kyle to get a phone call on Saturday night resulting in him having to work the remainder of the weekend. Ummmm helllloooo Army, didn't you know were were busy ;) 
Here is how I did with last week's Hopes & Plans.

|| Shop for new tableware. I think I want to stick with the mismatched look, but kick it up a notch with random antique/thrift store dishes.

|| Try a new dessert recipe. Does buying a few bags of candy count?

|| Wake up before Mallory every day this week. Now, if only I had used that time before Mallory woke up to actually be productive...

summer bucket list

Summer 2014 Bucket List

one || Make our own popsicles. No, freezing regular juice doesn't count Amanda. Complete curtesy of Mallory's first fever. [ July 30th. ]

two || Camp at the Russian River Campground. This is our favorite place to fish for salmon. It's an atmosphere unlike any other and we want to get the full experience by camping there!

three || Catch a salmon. I mean come on...

four || Visit Mt. Mckinley. Or Denail as it is called up in these parts...

five || Take Mallory to the Alaska State Fair. Kyle and I went last year and really enjoyed ourselves! We think the abundance of people, loud noises and random animals and things to look at are right up Mal's alley.

six || Spend a weekend in Homer, AK. This is our "shoot for the stars" item. Weekend getaways aren't free folks...

seven || Get a massage. 

eight || Lose 5 more lbs. Thanks Mallory...

nine || Take three yoga classes.  I really enjoy practicing yoga and just haven't kept up with it since moving to Alaska.

ten || Go to an MLB game. We live in a state without a major league team!! Can you even imagine?! We went to TWO Cincinnati Reds games while we were in Cincinnati in July. 

eleven || Go on a couple of dates with Kyle... without the baby! Apparently we used to routinely share meals at restaurants without someone pooping their pants or breastfeeding...

twelve || Buy fresh flowers once a month. 

thirteen || Experiment more in the kitchen. Kyle, you better get your pizza delivery guy on standby, because its goin' down!

fourteen || Explore our town. Totally guilty of making extravagant plans to explore Alaska when I haven't really gotten to know the small town we live in. I've tried several new restaurants and we have even visited local parks! This is still in progress of course. ;)

fifteen || Surprise someone. This doesn't have to be anything major, just something happy and unexpected. 

Marry Mint

13 June 2014

Fourth of July Home Decor

Sheesh! Mallory and I have not been seeing eye to eye these past few days. She has a particular schedule in mind that looks nothing like the one I plan out in my head. She has won this week's battle, but she will not win the war! 

Anyway. I LOVE the fourth of July! I mean hello, I am an American and damn proud to be one. Kyle and I aren't hosting a 4th of July party or anything (can you hear me laughing as I type that? Host. A party? With, like people? HAHA!) but I do like to spice up our home decor for the holiday. Thanks to Pinterest I've found a good handful of things that I'd love to add to our home and of course created a couple of 8x10 prints for good measure.

This 4th of July subway art was created on pallet wood. We already have an American flag in our living room, also made from pallet wood, so I think this would be a great addition! It's rustic and patriotic, perfect for the space and for the 4th!

Our house is straight up littered with mason jars. We hung on to the ones we used in our wedding and now use them as our drinking glasses, bathroom storage, wall decor, etc. I just love the patriotic twist of these three mason jars. They'll fit right in!

I mean come on. How cute is this red, white and blue star garland?! I'm really thinking I also need a chalkboard to go with it. Hmmm.

I've only recently hopped on the wreath bandwagon, and now I'm thinking I need one for each holiday. I'm loving this DIY American flag wreath. There is something about having a wreath on your front door that really makes it feel like home.

Now this is a project I think I can handle! A drop cloth or burlap, some tape and markers/paint. Too easy! This red, white and blue table runner is right up my alley. 

Finally, below are the two 8x10 prints I created for the 4th of July. I like these in my kitchen, but really, they could work well in any living space. They are yours if you want them! 

Are you hosting a 4th of July party?

10 June 2014

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Not that the women of the world are in need of a reminder, but Father's Day Sunday, June 15th. Without being overly sappy, I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty awesome dad. (That's it Dad, your compliment for the year. Hope you enjoyed it.)
If I were to purchase him a gift, here are some things I would consider ::
An Engraved Knife || I think this is a nice, manly gift that can be extra special with a little engraved message, name, or date. 
Sweater || In our house we take advantage of holidays to "dress" the guys. Uniforms and/or T-shirts aren't always ok. (Not that Carhartt is dressy, but you get my drift.)

Their drink of choice || This on is pretty self explanatory. Doesn't have to be the actual drink however, perhaps some drinking apparatus would be nice. A flask, pint glass, etc.
Personalized Gift || You'll have to gauge your dad accordingly, but every now and then the sentimental image/saying/craft can be wonderful!
A Pair of Shoes || This can be running shoes, boots, dress shoes, anything. Practical and thoughtful. 
Gift Card || I think gift cards are totally ok for Father's Day! Lowes, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, their favorite restaurant...
A Sports Jersey || My dad happens to be into cycling, but I think buying his favorite team's jersey is a great option as well!
Hat || Dudes and hats. Baseball hat or beanie. EASY!
Shop this post using the widget below!

Dear Dad,

Your Father's Day gift is your first grandchild and her name is Mallory.

Your favorite daughter
Dear Kyle,

Your Father's Day gift is a Honda ATV and it's parked in our garage. 

Your bitter wife
What do you have planned for Father's Day?

04 June 2014

How did we get here?

Moving to Alaska can be a daunting task, but driving?! Now that's just plain crazy. Of course we explored the possibility of flying or driving to Seattle then taking the ferry up to Alaska, but with the dogs, driving was simply the best option.

We figured we would try our best to turn the insanely long drive from Ft. Benning, Ga to Anchorage, AK into an adventure! I turned to the internet and searched high and low for evidence of people having made the drive in the past...you know, like normal people. Slim pickins' folks! Kyle knew a couple of guys who were already living in Alaska and spoke with them about their trip... lets just say I wasn't looking for the drive 900 miles a day, eat MREs and sleep in your car kind of adventure. 
In the name of good internet karma, I want to share some tips for driving to Alaska as well as some of the things we will probably do differently on our trip back to the lower 48. 


one || Look at the map! Is there anywhere you would like to stop on your way? Just make a list of places that sound interesting or that you know you want to visit. Kyle and I made sure to swing by his parent's house in Cincinnati, pit stop in Milwaukee to visit my friends, the Mall of American (duh!), and a handful of larger Canadian cities. 

two || Timeline. How many days do you have to get there? I think Kyle had 13 leave days to use for our trip. We wanted to try and get there in 8 days...gotta factor in "shit happens" days, right? 

three || AAA! This is key. By far the best choice we made was taking advantage of our AAA membership. We walked our happy asses in our local AAA office with our list of desired stops and timeline and they made it happen! We told them our hotel rooms needed to be within a certain budget and be pet friendly. Two days later we sat back down in the AAA office to review our itinerary. Complete with directions and confirmation numbers we were set! So easy!

four || "Survival gear." This portion of the trip prep got Kyle all hot and bothered. He loved creating these crazy survival situation in his head. Ha! Anyway, we were traveling in the winter so we legitimately had to be cautious. [Yes, the drive can be done in the winter.] Make sure you have your vehicle serviced before you leave, and winterized if needed. We packed dog and human food, water, a first aid kit and cold weather gear in case we got stuck somewhere. We had a few extra gallons of gasoline, a tow rope and tire chains so we wouldn't get stuck. ;) For real, some stretches of highway in Canada won't have gas stations but every 300ish miles, so whenever you see a gas station stop and fill up! Make sure you have cash since many of the more remote places won't take your debit/credit cards. Also give a friend or family member a copy of your itinerary and check in with them each night as an added safety precaution. Kyle and I were able to do this without using international data on our phones! We hooked up to free wifi in the hotels or random stops along the way. 

five || Activities. Plan a dinner or some kind of outing in each place you stop. Towards the end of the Alaska-Canadian Highway there are fewer and fewer "developed" towns, so make the most of your "bigger" stops. Keep a camera with you and take tons of photos! It is truly a stunning drive. Kyle and I purchased a couple of audio books and that ended up being really nice. Your iTunes play list gets old quick...

six || Food. Like I said, the developed towns aren't as plentiful towards the end of your trip, so make sure to pack food or pick extra food up along the way. Kyle and I didn't do this. One night we rolled into a smaller town around 9pm and everything was already closed. We ended up eating soup from our emergency kit. Cold. Out of the can. Not cool!

Well, that's about it! If you are heading this way and have any questions or want to bounce ideas around feel free to shoot me an email! MarryMintAmanda@gmail.com

Hope you are having a great Wednesday!

03 June 2014

Rainy Weekend FUN!

This past weekend was rainy and chilly up here in Alaska, although I don't think many of us minded. Those firefighters dealing with our massive wildfire could use all the help they can get! We took advantage of the less than awesome weather and headed south to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center!

The Alaska Wildlife Center is about an hour south of Anchorage just past Girdwood. The drive along Turnagain Arm is one of our favorites. You get amazing views of the Chugach Range and Cook Inlet from the scenic Seward Highway! Mallory napped most of the way which gave me the chance to talk Kyle's ear off. (Anyone else corner their spouse on road trips since they can't escape?)

We arrived just 15 minutes before they fed the brown bears! Talk about perfect timing! Me and Kyle were surprised that Mallory legitimately watched the bears until we decided she probably thought they were dogs...

These bears are living the life! There are three brown bears living at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center with 18 acres allll to themselves. Their meals are served promptly at 4:30pm daily and the employees said they get quite irritated with any deviation. Side note :: The employees were full of information about Alaskan animals. We learned quite a bit!  The bears were so playful and fun to watch! I love that the animals here are rescues.

After watching the bear feeding, we heading back to the gift shop to grab a snack and let Mallory get a little baby exercise. She was kicking' it on the porch with her blanket and cup. :) Once we were all full and happy we went back to check out the rest of the animals. 

They had bison, elk, caribou, foxes, moose, eagles, black bears...it was amazing! Some of the animals are even preparing to be reintegrated into the wild here in Alaska.

We had a great little Saturday and would definitely recommend checking this place out! They are open all year and are super affordable. It was the perfect activity for a gloomy day. 

Almost as perfect as the baby free pedicure and shopping trip I got on Sunday. ;)

Do you ever feel uncomfortable at a traditional zoo? I find myself feeling really bad for the animals being stuck in such confined spaces. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center was definitely more my style. 

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