30 July 2014

Online Shopping: Alaska Edition

It's no secret that I love to shop! Historically, I was an in-store only kind of shopper. I enjoyed the experience of sifting through the racks and people watching with coffee in hand! During college I was forced to try my hand at online shopping simply because I was either in class or working during all normal business hours. That just wasn't going to work for me. ;)
As life got crazier, online shopping became a regular occurrence and quite frankly, I was starting to enjoy that too. Frequently, I could score better deals online than I ever would in-store. Overstock.com was my jam!
Then we moved to Alaska. You know the "all offers exclude Hawaii and Alaska" Alaska. Not good. Not good at all. Of course, transitioning back to in-store shopping wasn't an option because of the baby and the general lack of stores up here. Ha!
[Cutting to the chase.] Here are some of my favorite online shops that I frequent without getting killed on shipping and handling fees, plus some bonus tips/tricks on navigating the online shopping mall.
how to shop online

I frequent both Jane & Groopdealz. These are hands down my favorite daily deals sites! 9 times out of 10 the businesses featured on these two sites offer flat rate shipping and don't mark up to ship to Alaska. WIN! Side note : Jane.com just came out with an app and they accept PayPal! 

Amazon has become ol' faithful since we moved to Alaska. Well, Amazon Prime has anyway. Like I said, I used to be obsessed with Overstock.com but their shipping rates to the tundra were insane! I get a lot of baby gear and electronic stuff from Amazon. 

Like Jane and Groopdealz, ETSY shops usually don't charge more to ship to Alaska. Some of my favorite shops lately are : jennyCmoon, All Things Pretty, and Home Make Over

Full honesty here, H&M takes a while to get their stuff to my doorstep. However, their pricing is excellent and shipping costs are reasonable. H&M was my go-to for maternity clothing!

Gap :: Not that there is anything particularly exceptional about online shopping with Gap, but I've never had any issues! Their shipping costs are reasonable, clothes get here quickly... What more could I ask for?

Nordstrom :: Free shipping and free returns. Always and forever. SOLD!

I always visit Retail Me Not before I checkout online. Usually I can knock a couple bucks off of my total by simply copy and pasting a coupon code or two. 

Alright, we do have a couple of Sephora stores up here, but those samples you get with your online order... ;) For real! No crazy mark ups and things arrive quickly.

I only recently hopped on the Target Red Card wagon, and it's pure gold! I get free shipping and my 5% off at Target.com plus I can stack my coupons! With bigger ticket items, online shopping with Target is the way to go. Check out this post for more ways to save at Target!

Last but not least, my subscription boxes. Can't survive without those babies. ;)

Now, the real purpose of this post is totally selfish. ;) I want to know your favorite online shops.

To get us started I asked Mary from Eat, Drink & Be Mary to hit us with her faves.
favorite online shops
So spill! Where do you find the best deals online?

29 July 2014

The one where Kyle got neutered...

His words, not mine!

Saturday we went dip netting for the first time.  However, after an entire day at Fish Creek, we left empty handed! Kyle said, "I feel like I lost my man card to that damn river." We thought dip netting would be a sure thing for me to finally get my salmon... NOPE! 

Dip netting is pretty much what it sounds like. You stick a big ass net in the water and theoretically catch a bunch of fish. Don't take my word for it though, clearly we aren't very good. Using a dip net to catch salmon has the potential to be awesome for Alaska residents! Like fill your freezer (our family would be allowed 45 salmon) kind of awesome. 

Anyway. Our first mistake was getting there during low tide rather than high tide. Fishing fail! Alas, we set up shop. We stood in super shallow water holding a net, sat in the mud and crushed our puffs on a backpack.

After several hours, I got bored Mallory needed a change of scenery so we headed home to let the dogs out and grab some lunch. Kyle stayed at Fish Creek to battle his ego continue fishing. When Mallory and I returned, the parking lot was packed and the creek was filling quite quickly as the tide came up. Still no fish for us...

This was Kyle's post for the second half of the day. I kid you not some dude walked up behind him and literally caught a fish within 30 seconds of putting his net in the water! Then a kid standing in front of Kyle caught a fish! Ohhhh if looks could kill! hahaha

After about 45 minutes, nobody was catching anything, so we decided to pack up and head home. I think if it were acceptable, Kyle would have slept at Fish Creek before leaving empty handed. [He is going back tonight to redeem himself!]

On Sunday, rather than going fishing again (which believe me, Kyle tried to do) we headed to base for the Arctic Thunder Air Show! I guess it has been a really long time since my last air show, but I was really impressed by this event! 

To kick things off they had Miss Alaska sing our national anthem as the most beautiful American flag floated across the sky. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit teary eyed. 

In true Mallory fashion, she couldn't get enough of the loud noises and people watching. The girl was in hog heaven! I don't think she noticed a single plane in the sky, but enjoyed herself nonetheless.

The highlight of the actual air show for us was probably the joint forces demonstration. They showed guys jumping out of planes, helicopters bringing in equipment, fighter jets circling the area, guys shooting at stuff (super technical "army wife" description, ok. take notes.)...  Our military is pretty badass --  and loud. Badass and loud.

We spent the rest of our time at the air show wandering around and looking at the various military aircrafts and checking out all the food. I couldn't believe how many different food vendors were there! Again, very impressive! They even had bounce houses and other activities for kids!

Kyle showed us around one of the planes he jumps out of! 
Well, there you have it. Our weekend! Plenty of pictures, lots of noise and zero fish.

Have you ever been to an air show?

25 July 2014

Well, what had happened was...

Happy Friday!! Kyle is putting his foot down so we will be spending the weekend pursing those pesky salmon. I'll be taking my nail polish with me though. Dude's attention span with fishing is unreal

Lets jump right into the Friday festivities, shall we?

one || I sold my soul to Sephora. Ok. Hear me out. So, Mallory and I went in to "browse" since I had a 10% of coupon burning a hole in my wallet. (10% off? Give me a break, Amanda.) While we were in the store, I realized I also had a coupon for a complimentary makeover. Hmmm. Might as well! With a fussy baby in my arms/on the floor/latched on the boob, this poor woman gave me my complimentary make over. To my surprise, I really loved what she did. I forgot eyeliner was a thing. Anyway, long story short, I left Sephora with three new products (10% off, remember Kyle! Which basically means they were free!) and a full face of make up to go with my jeans and tee shirt look for the day. 
one || two || three

two ||  We are thinking of painting our baseboards. Anticlimactic for you to read? Sorry. We have been talking about doing this for months, but it just seems sooooo labor intensive. YUCK! The baseboards in our home are essentially brown and we would like them to be white. Have you ever done a project like this? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. 
three || My hair is BACK! I straightened my hair this week for the first time in a long time and I just about tipped over. It is officially LONGER than it was before I had cancer!! Take that Big C! [insert inappropriate hand gesture here]

four || Since Mallory started crawling, she has become who we affectionately refer to as our "resident terrorist." She's emptying cabinets, climbing in the refrigerator, dumping the dogs water bowl, etc. Madness I tell you! What happened to my little, immobile baby?!
five || I'm kind of itching to play soccer again. This is something Kyle and I have tossed around briefly over the years, but after getting out on the turf with Mallory today... I think it's time to lace up the boots and get my dusty ass back on the field!

Linking up with :: A Blonde Ambition || Lauren Elizabeth || September Farm
blog ||  instagram ||  twitter || facebook || pinterest || bloglovin

If you are new to Shelby's blog here are some fun posts to get you started : 

one ||  Air Force bloggers : A fun link up to help you find some other Air Force bloggers!
two || workout plan : You'll want to print these out! They are GREAT!
three || daily devotions : Shelby's reflections on her June reading goal.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

24 July 2014

Babies can go camping?

Kyle and I don't know much about this whole parenting gig, but we do know that babies are people. "People" don't like to be confined (ie. prison.) I don't know if we are crazy or just really simple minded, but where we go, the kid goes too. To be completely honest, when we sat down to plan our very first camping trip, we didn't even think to not bring the entire family with us. 

After that first camping trip, I took our tent to REI to be restrung. While we (Mallory was in the baby carrier) were waiting, a woman approached us and asked "you go camping with him?!" ["him" of course being Mallory.] I wondered, "Oh shit. Are we dumb for taking her camping? Are we missing something here?" I responded by saying that we did in fact go camping with our 6 month old. 

Kyle and I simply thought that...

If we got chilly and added a layer, we added a layer for Mallory too. 

If we were hungry or thirsty, we assumed Mallory might be too.

If we required sunglasses, then Mallory also wore sunglasses. 


I guess we just don't like to over think things...

Random :: The biggest issue we encountered on that inaugural camping trip was the fact that Kyle only brought a sleeping mat for himself and I slept on rocks. He is really too sweet. THEN to top it off I slept in a $15 Wal-Mart sleeping bag while he curled up in his arctic sleeping bag that conveniently couldn't be shared since it smelled like "ball sack and red vines." Can't make that up. 

Anyway, after a little trial and error we've come up with a packing list for you when you take baby on a camping trip!

camping packing list
one || Food. Even though Mallory was/is still breastfeeding, we made sure to have snacks for her as well so she could eat while we ate "campfire food." If you are formula feeding, don't forget that stuff! 
two || Extra clothes and PJs. We found we used two sets of jammies and three outfits on overnight camping trips. Especially if your kid is a spit up machine like ours, extra clothes are a must! (Full disclosure : I packed the same number of outfits for myself. #SheGotItFromHerMama)

three || Toys/baby entertainment. The toy distraction tactic was employed during campsite set-up and take-down, as well as shortly before bedtime. Crucial. 

four || Baby seating. We failed to bring her Bumbo with us on our first trip and we paid for it! She has a thing for grass/rocks/dirt, which are all in abundance at most campsites. Not having a seat meant we really couldn't put her down. Sucks!
five || Blankets. We used these for Mallory to play on during those fleeting moments when she wasn't in a rock sampling mood. We also ended up putting blankets down under her Bumbo since she still managed to grab handfuls of dirt to eat. And of course, extra blankets are always nice inside the tent.
six || Personal care items. I'm talkin' bug repellent , sunscreen, diapers, wipes, etc. All that and the kitchen sink! 
seven || Baby carrier. If you have and use some kind of baby wearing apparatus or are going to be camping someplace where a stroller is appropriate, bring 'em. We wore Mallory while we fished and explored!

eight || A place for baby to sleep. This is where a Pack 'n Play might be nice. Mallory co-sleeps so this wasn't something we had to worry about. 
The most important advice I can give is to just be laid back. Like anything you do or plan to do with a baby, it is subject to change and that is completely ok! It's only camping...
Ok. What did I forget to include in my packing list? 

Tell me a good camping story!

22 July 2014

Mallory's 9 Month Update

NINE months old! Mally has officially been "outside" longer than she was on the inside. Craziness!
We had a quite a few game changers take place over the past month, namely crawling. Her technique was questionable for a while... She would take a step or too then flop on her tummy and flail. Kyle had some concerns ;) But, as of a few days ago we are officially crawling!! Before she figured the whole crawling thing out, she started pulling herself up to kneeling or standing. Basically its all eyes on baby at all times now. 

All over her moving around/putting any and everything she can grab in her mouth has made FaceTime with family quite challenging. She either wants the phone to play with or has 9,000 other baby things to do. 

I don't have her stats yet for this month, but will by the end of today. My guess is she is right around the 25 lbs mark! She is in size 4 diapers and size "hmm, this looks about right" clothing. [Size 12 in Carters for sure.] 
She has been cracking us up lately! There have been countless times where Kyle or I will ask "did she just lick you?" We are loving her little sense of humor :) It seems like she does things with the intention of making us laugh. Mallory loves to chat and once she has gotten comfortable in a new situation she wants to tell you allllllll about it! The other night after work, Kyle was greeted by a full on baby lecture. She let him have it for a solid 15 minutes, babbling away! Her lecture was complete with a stern look and hand gestures. I wonder what he did to get in trouble with her? hehehe

In addition to her sense of humor, we are sure that our little girl has quite the independent/determined streak to her personality. She has mastered the nonverbal "I do it" and is visibly frustrated when I do it instead. The ol' distract 'em and they'll forget about it trick doesn't seem to work with her. Damn it! Just like her parents. Weird how that works, huh?

Miss Mallory has 6 (4 top, 2 bottom) teeth now! She is handling the teething process much better lately, in fact we were surprised to find the most recent two since she hardly showed any symptoms. We expect she is working on two more bottom teeth. This time, she has quite a bit of swelling and hasn't been sleeping very well these past few days...

Food. Still, her primary source of nutrition is breast milk, but she is definitely eating "real food" more and more. This past weekend she went from 8am-5pm without nursing! Allll big kid eaten'. She still hasn't met a food she doesn't like! For a while there we thought she didn't care for avocados, but she has since hopped on the bandwagon. Kyle and I simply can't eat near Mal without her insisting that she eat just like us. This whole, "baby eating like a normal person" thing has really helped us to stop what we are doing and sit down to eat meals together. It's nice :)

Way back when, we were having "blowout issues" with Mallory. We tried every diaper under the sun, adjusting the sizes and everything, but homegirl still got poop everywhere but IN her diaper. I started dressing her more in leggings and shirts as opposed to bodysuits and that seemed to have done the trick! Random, but hey, there you have it.

I wanted to ask you all about carseats... When did you move your baby from rear facing to forward facing? What seat do you use/love? I have gotten mixed information from doctors up here; one said a year or 35 lbs whichever comes second, and the other said 2 years.  I have read up on the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation and Alaska state law but wanted to kind of feel out how most people make their decision. I'm not read to flip Mal around tomorrow, just starting some research. :) 

Thanks in advance for your advice!

17 July 2014

Mama & Mal Do Cary, NC

Welcome back to part 2 of our vacation recap! From Cincinnati, Kyle headed back to Alaska to pick up the dogs and Mallory and I zipped over to my parent's house in North Carolina. Remember how I talked about the struggle I have answering the question "where are you from?" Well my parents and sisters live in Cary, but I never did... So if I say I'm from Cary, that is a "where my mama lives" definition of home

Again, I will try my best to keep the yapping to a minimum and just toss up thousands of photos, deal?

Mallory gets a huge kick out of my youngest sister Maddie.

 The "firsts" continued for Mallory while we were in Cary. She experienced her first merry go round and train ride!

The Saturday before we flew back to Alaska, we drove to Virginia to visit with even more family! Many were meeting Mallory for the very first time :) I'm pretty sure that introducing your child to your loved ones is among the sweetest things in life. I'm so lucky that everyone lives relatively close to each other. We were able to see grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that we haven't seen in far too long.

My dad with his brother and sister.

Mallory with one of my grandfathers. My picture taking was spotty at best as this is one of the only "introductions" I was able to capture.
I'm sharing these next photos simply to document the fact that I also took Mallory swimming. My mom however does not have a future in photography. All hail the queen of epic overexposure. 

I made certain to hit as many "lower 48" novelties as possible. This may have included sneaking out for a child free manicure, which is in fact novel. ;)

Side Note : Since there isn't a Jared in Alaska, anytime I'm in the lower 48 I have my rings serviced. 

Mallory was a fan of Panera!
You're still here?! 

As a little treat, why don't you head over and enter this little giveaway. You're welcome. ;)

Have you ever been to Cary?

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