29 April 2016

That's What She Said

Because "Amanda clearly needs more adults to chat with in her day to day life because she writes the most random blog posts ever to make up for it" just didn't make the cut when I was trying to come up with a title for this post.




Anyway.

Have you ever had these chips? I'm completely hooked! Mallory calls them "Mommy's spicy chips." Should I be embarrassed? Doesn't matter, their ah-mazing. If you haven't already tried them, you just hafta!

Alex pretty much killed it with this post. Kyle wants to spend hours at Sephora with me like I want to tinker (or whatever it is he does) in the garage with him...

 
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This outfit Emily styled is what my casual dress dreams are made of! I mean, the dress works with a pair of chucks on the playground and it works with some comfy wedges for a night out. It just. works.

You know something I always forget about when I'm shopping online?
Amazon's Warehouse Deals.  I've kicked myself so many times for making purchases without consulting their warehouse deals first. Not this time though! I scored this luggage set for even less than it's currently priced--it was about 81% off NWT!!


We will be in the thick of the shit on Mother's Day this year. Like, I'm not even sure if the 4 of us will be in the same country... But you know, better safe than get a fishing pole or something lame sorry Ha!



I think that's all I've got. For now...

Anyone know of a good, kid friendly hotel in Seatle? Not that I plan things last minute or anything...



27 April 2016

I Cut My Own Hair?!


I've been cutting my own hair at home for a little over 6 years now. I figured it was high time I wrote about my little bathroom hair salon if only to make all of the professional hair stylists out there cringe. ;)

* I guess this is a good time to mention that I have no formal training whatsoever when it comes to hair. I just do what I do and it works out. *

**AND once a year I do like to have a professional cut my hair. The layers in the back of my head are difficult to do on my own, so a pro does them and I just maintain them for as long as possible. Plus someone else washing my hair?!! That's what it's all about!**

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My DIY hair cutting adventures began when my hair started to grow back following my cancer treatment. One of the most frequent pieces of hair growth advice I received was to get frequent trims--so frequent trims I got did myself! I mean, what the hell-- it wasn't like I could make my hair look much worse...

hair after chemo
2009

I wanted my long curly hair back somethin' fierce so the thought of having inches of my hair lobbed off was terrifying! I scoured Pinterest, hair/beauty blogs and YouTube for at home haircut tutorials and just sort of figured it out.

I never gave myself a cut I didn't want.

As time went on and my hair continued to grow, I became more comfortable and confident in cutting my own hair.

The photos below kinda sorta show the progression of my hair growth/cut over the years following chemo/2009. 


NOW!


Side note : Can we talk about how crazy hormones are?! My hair grew stupid fast in 2013 thanks to being pregnant. Then in 2015 my hair totally changed in texture again courtesy of pregnancy number two. NUTS!

Anyway, I trim the ends of my hair about once a month just to keep things healthy and well maintained. My preference is to cut my hair when it's freshly shampooed and damp OR when it is completely dry and styled. I find it's easier for me to do an all over cut on wet hair and easier to address shape and evenness on dry hair--but that's just me.

Getting the exact cut I want aside, doing my hair at home also saves money! Let's say I were to follow the general stylist recommendation and get my hair cut every 6 weeks at a (low) average cost of $40--that's $320 a year! In my mind, that math means Mama gets a new handbag! Ha! #justsayin

Not to mention, now that I have kids, having to go to a stylist every time I need a trim would mean coordinating childcare with Kyle (read: the Army)--no thank you! Doing it myself is sooooo much more convenient!

I don't know... Am I crazy?! Do you cut your own hair? Tell me I'm not alone here! If you are interested in cutting your own hair, I always recommend the following two videos by Carli Bybel to get you started -- this one and this one. Would you have any interest in seeing HOW I cut mine? Let me know!



For more tips on growing your hair quickly click HERE!



24 April 2016

Dressing for the HEAT

Moving from Alaska to Arizona requires a MAJOR shift in my thinking when it comes to shopping for clothing! My sweater collection has grown immensely during our time living in Alaska; the more hot weather friendly options? Not so much. Other than a handful of tees, I've got nothin'

There is some serious work to be done on my wardrobe if I have any intention on surviving the desert heat.

Here are some of the things that are on my shopping list :





Fun fact : I actually lived in Tucson and attended The University of Arizona in 2008. So, despite my wardrobe inadequacies, this isn't exactly my first rodeo in the desert.

Anyway, here is my loose (very loose) strategy for adding desert heat friendly pieces to my wardrobe.

||Protecting my skin is, as always, my first consideration when shopping for spring/summer clothing. I mean, I'm not trying to have a heat stroke, but if I can comfortably cover more skin, I'm going to. For me this usually means I'm sticking to jeans. My legs are protected and I don't have to shave? CHECK!

|| The next thing I consider is comfort, because duh. My kids won't accept me not being fully committed to playing with them because my shit isn't comfortable. So for their sake and my own sanity, comfort is huge!

|| Then comes affordability. Unless our new house in Arizona comes with a money tree in the front yard, budget is going to play a significant role in my purchases.

|| Finally style comes into play. Is the top cute? Fashionable? On trend? Timeless? I don't want to look ridiculous and of course presenting myself in a certain "put together-ish" way is important to me, but it's funny where the actually look of top falls on this list...

And how cool is it that I can shop for tops now without worrying about those gross pit stains?! Eeeek! Endless possibilities I tell ya, ENDLESS!


Shop more of my Arizona  wish list using the widget below!


21 April 2016

Yeah Man, That's The Good Stuff

Name that song!

Kenny Chesney - The Good Stuff

Anyway, this week as been chalk full of to-do list off crossing (??? ha! English is my native language, swear!) Doctor's appointments, meetings, packing, cleaning, errands, you know all the stuff that is SO FUN to do with little ones in tow.

(Can you feel me rolling my eyes? Because I am.)

You may have seen on Snapchat (marrymintamanda) that we were remarkably unsuccessful with our initial "lets knock this shit out together" strategy with the kids and shifted to a more "divide and conquer" approach. Apparently man to man coverage doesn't work out when one of the adults needs to actually pay attention. Weird.

But that's not the point here -- I wanted to share some of the gems from the WWW that got me through the week without committing homicide OR becoming an alcoholic! Go me!

As you can see, I've set the bar llllllooooooowwwww for myself during this move process. ;)


That's a Facebook message from my younger sister who, in this particular instance (and this particular instance alone) is exactly right!  I don't know whether to be proud of myself or embarrassed. Which of the 8 types of moms you meet at Target are you?


I don't know if this really counts as "internet" but it certainly has been AWESOME -- Kyle discovered Snapchat and can't stop, won't stop with the filters! I mean, if that doesn't make you laugh...

(You don't want to follow him though. He's not appropriate.)


Ok, this next one isn't really internet-y either, but f*%k it.

One of the to-do list items this week was to schedule a bath/groomming for the dogs so they don't be ratchet af for our trip. Did you know Chi makes a line for dogs?! It smells EXACTLY like their regular line of hair products, you know the line for people, so you can bet your bottom dollar that my girls will be getting that little add on to their spa day. #treatyoself


Nothing but the best for these classy ladies. ;)









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My beautiful friend Chelsea started her very own photography business!! I'm so impressed by not only her talent as a photographer but by the courage it took to take this awesome leap! If you are in the North Carolina/Tennessee area, check out Southernly Inspired Photography!


Trunk Club. Because I really need another subscription-like service, right? ;) But for real, it's a Nordstrom company so you KNOW it's going to be off the chain... (do people still say that?)


The woman who let me see the Trunk Club light. (Or who made me do it if this is Kyle reading...)

And that right there is about as random as blog posts can get. ;)

Have a great Friday!

17 April 2016

Michael Robert || One Year Old!


1st Birthday photo dump in 3...2...1


 

It feels like I'm in some kind of crazy time warp. How is it possible to feel like Michael JUST born while also finding it impossible to imagine life before him!? Insanity!

We keep birthdays über simple at our house. Some (almost forgotten) Balloons, cake for breakfast and a couple of gifts. Badda bing badda boom. BIRTHDAY!

Mike was PUMPED about his birthday cake! Apparently the goal was to get as much of it in his mouth as quickly as humanly possible. Freaking hysterical to witness!

Mike's 12 month well baby appointment isn't until later this week, so I don't have hard numbers just yet. But, he is wearing 18 month sleepers, 24 month pants and 2t ish shirts. Hows that for cluster f*$k sizing?! If anyone figures out kid's clothing sizes, let me know. 

He still pretty much sucks at sleeping, waking up 4ish times per night. In his defense, that IS an improvement from last month...

His affinity for solid food on the other hand has improved immensely! One could even argue that he now eats better than his sister! I would say that breast milk still makes up about 50% of his diet, but I'm sensing he will start cutting back even more once he gets a molar or two.

Speaking of teeth, he's working with a total of 8 at this point. (Maybe 7...we can't really figure out his bottom tooth situation. Ha!)

Michael took his first unsupported step on his birthday!! It wasn't pretty, but he definitely wasn't holding on to anything and was SOOOOO proud of himself.

*Mama appreciated the sweet birthday gift son. You took that step toward me. :)

As far as language goes, he hasn't used any words yet. Well, not that we can identified anyway. (I swear he says "mama" but nobody else believes me--so just for the record...) He babbles constantly and has been experimenting with tons of different sounds, so we are suspecting those first words aren't all that distant.

Michael is totally obsessed with Mallory and thinks she is the funniest person on the planet! Kyle and I love watching them play together--you know for the 30 seconds that it's enjoyable before Mallory steals the toy or shoves Mike. 

I better cut myself off before we reach novel status. I could go on forever about Michael, his awesome sense of humor, his kind heart, happy disposition and the wonderful impact he has had on our family dynamic, but I'll spare you. ;)

Thank you for letting me share my family with you and gush about our babies. 


We love you Michael Robert!


 Take a look back at Michael's birth story-- (part one & part two)


14 April 2016

Things I Don't Understand

Something I've come to accept is that there is just some shit I'm never going to understand. I'm talking "does not compute, wtf, rattle my head maybe that will help this make sense" kind of BAFFLED.

This list was prompted by a recent argument with Kyle. (Oh yes I did!) One evening we were in the throws of planning our move to Arizona and somewhere along the way went from planning to *plot twist* arguing. I was trying to explain that I thought we should do something one way and he was arguing with me about something completely different!


Me ||  "Why don't we use the black suitcase instead of the red one?"
Kyle || "Because there is only enough gas for 350 extra miles!!!"

Something along those lines. At least that's how it felt anyway...

Is there anything more frustrating???



No. No there isn't.

BUT, I have come to accept the fact that I just don't understand certain things--Kyle's brain being one of them ;)

Also, why can't guys hear women?!

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I mean seriously?! It's nuts!

 Ok, enough picking on men--lets get to the list.




Why people want to be first on the airplane? Literally, we alllllll arrive at the same time. I can think of approximately zero reasons why I would want to confine myself any longer than is absolutely necessary. I'll wait out here thank you very much!

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"Planner culture." That's what I'm calling it anyway. Ever the list maker, I recently purchased this planner in an effort to be a little bit more organized through our move. Holy cow!  Did you guys have any idea there is like an entire movement of people who decorate their planners?!! I'm talking stickers, washi tape, special pens, the works! I mean ... WHAT!?!? I thought physically writing things down was going the extra mile as far as planning is concerned but damn! And doesn't decorating take time away from actually getting shit done? I don't know. Call me crazy...

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Math. I shit you not, if it is anything more than the 4th grade basics--color me mystified. Although, maybe I could really kill it with this Common Core math stuff I keep hearing about. You don't actually have to get the correct answer, is that right? Just draw a dope ass picture and/or babble about how I my wrong? Is that how it goes? Regardless, we will be shelling out some serious cash for math tutors once our kids hit middle school... (Kyle is math dumb too.)

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This one made me crack up! Who remembers when you would go to the teacher for help and they'd ask you what you don't understand. Haha! "Whatchu mean?! I don't get any of it! Does the doctor ask YOU what medicine you need to fix your illness? NO! Help a sister out here!"

Adult gossip. Or do anything of the like. Weren't our teen years brutal enough?! Why is adult backstabbing/shit talking/conclusion jumping (???? ha!) even a thing? Why can't we all just worry about ourselves? Good lord!

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*I've ranted about ^^ this ^^ before. Read that ramble HERE.*

To end this list on a lighter, less preachy and annoying note -- a couple of fashion and beauty trends I just don't understand...

Coffin nails. Huh!? Is this like the slightly more functional and more creepy version of the stiletto nail? Are they comfortable? Can they open the package with my online order from Nordstrom when I can't find scissors? I mean...What? Why?

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Chokers. Again???! Nooooooo! We did the choker thing already, didnt we? Circa 1994?  I admit, chokers aren't the least bit flattering on me. I'm talkin', they take me from casual, girly stay at home mom to ultra masculine linebacker in a hurry! Maybe that's why I'm not able to grasp this one... I don't know. ;)

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Tell me, what baffles you?

10 April 2016

What I Wore || Anchorage on Tap

casual mom outfit

mom style

denim on denim outfit


vintage coach crossbody bag
ray-ban large original aviators

shoes || Converse
denim || Topshop sold out (similar here)
bag || vintage Coach (love this one!!)
top || Banana Republic old (almost identical and 40% off!!!)
jacket || JCrew
sunglasses || Ray-Ban (on sale!!!)
lipstick || "Lovesick"

I wore this exact outfit last weekend when Kyle and I decided to take advantage of our live in babysitter (my sister) and check out the Anchorage on Tap Beer Festival for a little night out on the town--casual night on the town that is. Beer does mean casual, right?

Well, I wore almost this exact outfit... I posted a photo on Instagram wearing these sandals, but I changed my mind at the last minute and went with the chucks.

Anyway. 
 
Beer is the adult beverage of choice in our house. I tend to lean towards the cheap, college variety beer while Kyle is quite the beer snot. Regardless, Anchorage on Tap sounded like the perfect event for us to ditch our offspring for. 

Honestly, the event itself was kind of a let down. The lines were a mile long, our sampling glasses held like 2.5 ounces and there were a lot more hard cider booths than we cared to see. Buuuut, the company was good, we were child free, and we each got a t-shirt so not all was lost. ;) 

Ultimately we ended up bailing on the festival after about an hour and headed to one of our favorite spots in Anchorage, Whale's Tail where we partied hard until the wee hours of the morning. (We were home and in jammies by 9:30pm...so cool.) 

Are you a beer girl?

Come on Dad, I know you are...

Shop the look using the widget below!




07 April 2016

A Love Note Shopping Event

It's time for Sephora's 15% Off EVERYTHING Sale!!! My strategy for sales like this one is experiment and resupply. Not much of a strategy, huh? I guess in my mind 15% off means "everything is free" sooooo...

Here's what's on my list... Eeek!!








I've listed all of the sale dates, and promo codes in the image below. :) 

Shop HERE now!
 

What are you picking up?

Happy shopping!

06 April 2016

March Beauty Review

It's been months since I shared some beauty product purchases with you, which is a damn shame because these are goooood! (You can find some of my previous beauty reviews here, here, and here.) 





Although not appropriately demonstrated in these products, the name of the game lately has been hair care! I don't know what is going on with my hair, but it's gone bat shit. Randomly breaking, falling out, changing texture, you name it! Hormones maybe?? Who knows! I had to make some changes or I was going to be working with a situation akin to the girl from The Grudge... NOT good!

To kick off my hair makeover, I had an actual hair professional cut my hair. (Usually I cut it myself and that's worked well for me, but I was desperate!) Then a couple of weeks later I got a KeraStraight smoothing treatment to add a little manageability to my hair ... situation.


All of that lead me to my first product this month, the Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press heat protectant spray. I would say I only heat style my hair twice a week, but figured upping the quality of my heat protectant couldn't hurt. What I like most about this product is that is an aerosol.

Recently, my NARS Laguna bronzer expired and I was on the prowl for a replacement. Laguna was a little too warm for my skin tone so I was hoping to find something a bit more gray/ashy. It took a few tries, but ultimately this NYX Cheek Contour Duo was up to the task.

I've always been extremely happy with the quality of my e.l.f. HD Undereye Setting Powder, but there is so little product in each container so I have to replace it constantly! While the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder is certainly at a higher price point, I find I need less of it and it works just as well. Good stuff!

The Philosophy Purifying Peel is probably the only product of the bunch that I'm kind of blasé about. It's not bad it just seems to only be effective when I don't follow the directions and apply to my face when it's wet... I didn't return it so clearly it's not a total waste.

If you purchase one product from this post, it's gotta be this one! MAC Blush in 'Blushbaby' -- the perfect everyday all year blush. You're welcome. ;)  

And last, but certainly not least is this gel top coat by Essie. Ever the nail polish enthusiast, this has been on my "to-try" list for quite some time. I'd been dragging my feet because I'm just so damn loyal to my holy grail top coat. (On sale!!!) Admittedly, it won't be first in my rotation because it doesn't hurry along dry time and well, kids. BUT--it sure does leave a beautiful, shiny finish on my nails and seems to make my manicure last a couple of days longer. WIN!

Ok, so what products have you tried lately?! SPILL!

Shop all of the products from this post using the widget below!


03 April 2016

I Got Botox!

Since puberty, I have been uncomfortable with the amount of sweat coming from my underarms. I finally did something about it -- I got BOTOX!


excessive underarm sweat

For as long as I can remember, I have purchased tops based on two things and two things only. One, does this shirt come in a color that camouflages pit stains? (Keepin' it really real here today...) And two, the top better be inexpensive because I will undoubtedly have to toss it after just one season of wear.

It didn't matter if I was hot or cold, my underarms always had an excessive and embarrassing amount of sweat! I can be fairly certain in saying that I've tried every antiperspirant the drugstore has to offer. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING would cut down on the amount I would sweat.

Fast forward through all of my cancer stuff, during which time the thought of bringing up hyperhidrosis (fancy word for "makes a shit ton of unnecessary sweat") at doctor appointments didn't even cross my mind. I mean "hi um, so I know I'm supposed to be just trying not to die right now, but can we talk about my sweaty armpits?" Nope. 

With my most recent awesome report card from my oncologist and a pending move to Arizona, I figured I'd go ahead and finally schedule a little extracurricular chat with my dermatologist.

He suggested Botox. Whoda thunk?!

A couple of weeks later I went back to have the actual procedure. It was a quick (about 10 minutes) and simple appointment that involved about 25 injections of Botox into each underarm.

I noticed a decrease in underarm sweat within 24 hours of having the injections. By day 4 I was essentially sweat free!

I have stopped planning outfits around my hyperhidrosis. I don't change my shirt 4 times a day because my shirts are saturated in sweat. It is amazing how freeing this has been for me! What a confidence boost!

If only I did this sooner...

PS. My Botox injections for hyperhidrosis were covered by insurance! Shoot me an email if you have any questions about the insurance process as it pertains to TRICARE Standard.



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