05 June 2017

The Netherlands || Amsterdam, The Hague & Keukenhof

Over Mother's Day weekend, my mom and I snuck in a little overnight getaway to the Netherlands! I can't believe it's already been a month since our trip, but I just have to share a few snip-its and photos from the weekend.

Since spring began, I had been hearing rumblings about all of the incredible tulip fields in The Netherlands, specifically Keukenhof.

Oddly enough, making a 4 hour drive to see flower gardens didn't particularly get Kyle and the kids all hot and bothered so mom and I decided to make a "moms only" weekend of it and call it our Mother's Day gifts to ourselves. ;)

We hit the road early Saturday morning which got us to Amsterdam right around lunch time. After a little parking fiasco we wandered in to a little cafe called Koffie & Zo for a quick bite to eat.

Koffie & Zo

After lunch, we spent a couple of hours just wandering the city and taking in the sights. Our experience in Amsterdam can be summed up by a few photos and even fewer words.

amsterdam bicycles
visit amsterdam
a shit pile of tourists
awesome waterfront homes and house boats
amsterdam sex museum
Sex & Weed

Keukenhof is located smack in the middle of two major cities, Amsterdam and The Hague. Neither of us had any real burning desire to spend too much more time in Amsterdam so we decided to get an Airbnb in The Hague instead.

This was our first ever Airbnb experience (a decade late to the party, I know, I know) and it was a good one! We stayed in the coolest little apartment that was styled to the nine's in Scandinavian decor.

cool Airbnb in The Hague
Scandinavian style Airbnb in The Hague

Airbnb in The Hague, Netherlands

Airbnb in The Hague

After we checked in to our Airbnb we headed out for dinner and more exploring down at Scheveningen Beach in The Hague.

food at Scheveningen Beach in The Hague
Scheveningen Beach, The Hague
Scheveningen Beach, The Hague
Scheveningen Beach, The Hague

Sunday we spent all morning at Keukenhof! Seriously, this place is so beautiful that no words or photos could even come close to doing it justice; you just have to be there. Even though we our visit was at the end of the season, the was no shortage of flowers to say the very least. We actually plan on bringing the whole family back next year. The kids would absolutely love running around the gardens and checking everything out. I mean, there were, in addition to the flowers, food trucks, playgrounds, restaurants and a damn petting zoo! This place is just the best.

Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof food

Keukenhof with kids
Keukenhof gardens


Keukenhof petting zoo

After Keukenhof we went downtown The Hague for lunch and a little shopping before it was time to hit the road.

The Hague

This trip was so special. I actually can't remember the last time Mom and I spent the weekend together, just the two of us. This trip with my mom is something I will remember for a long time.

08 May 2017

What's the deal with this lip stuff?

Ok. Before I jump into this...  I do not sell LipSense. I do not plan to sell LipSense. However, it seems that many of my friends have made a very different choice and peddle the shit out of some LipSense!

lipsense review

Multi level marketing companies like SeneGence (the brand behind LipSense and various other make up and skin care products) are something I try to avoid like the plague. I've had a bad experience purchasing from one in the past and I generally like to have the freedom to purchase something completely on my own -- no middle man.

However,  one of my particularly sweet, LipSense loving friends, Camille, sent me a starter kit and I quickly found myself completely hooked!

lipsense starter collection

LipSense claims their lip colors wont budge, last anywhere between 4-18 hours and work to restore moisture to your lips. One of the most appealing of their claims is the ability to create your own lip color combo by layering various shades on top of each other. "Custom" sounds pretty big leagues stuff if you ask me. Also, their glosses are supposed to be some of the best, most hydrating, good-for-you glosses in the game!

Big words SeneGence. Big words.

lipsense starter kit

Before Camille sent my starter kit, which includes a liquid lip color of my choice, a gloss and the Oops! Remover, she gave me some personalized advice on choosing a color, plus a clear run down on how to apply this stuff, but I'll get more into that in a second. Of the 36 different liquid lip colors -- I went with Pink Champagne, a beautiful, cool toned pink.

pink champagne lipsense image

Pink Champagne falls right in line with my favorite, go to, everyday lip color. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, it reminds me ALOT of lovesick by Kat Von D!  

how to apply lipsense

You are supposed to apply your well shaken LipSense to clean, dry lips using a layering technique. 

With color on your applicator and beginning at the corner of your mouth, move the wand in one continuous motion across each lip, creating the first layer.

 With your lips apart, wait a few seconds for the first layer to dry then repeat step 1 two more times.

 ** Make sure you are moving the wand across your lips in the same direction you did for the first layer. 

After the third layer has completely dried, apply your gloss. 

Bam! Done. Crushed it.

pink champagne lipsense on fair skin

PS. You can comb through images of all 36 colors on various skin tones here or just consult the Pinterest which is chalk full of LipSense pics and ideas.

At this point, I've been using my starter collection and LipSense lipcolor EXCLUSIVELY for over a month and feel ready to spill... 

Is it worth the hype? What's the deal?

The "exfoliation process" is no joke. Apparently there is some magic sauce in LipSense that sloughs off alllllll of the dead skin and years of bull shit lip product build up from your lips -- a cool but lengthy process. Nearly three weeks after beginning to use LipSense (they certainly make you work for that longwear-ability) my lips finally started to improve and now feel absolutely amazing -- smooth, hydrated and healthy.

4-18 hours? Seriously?

During those first couple of weeks when my lips were falling off my face, I was lucky to hit that 4 hour mark without needing to touch up. But now, I have to deliberately take my LipSense off at the end of the day because it's still going so strong -- and with only a gloss reapply or two to speak of.

Worth the price tag?

FYI the lip color costs $25 and the glosses cost $20.

But the answer to this question is a ground ball. YES! Cost per use is pennies on the dollar compared to even the cheapest of drugstore lipsticks. Seriously, think about it. You reapply your Cover Girl lipstick 5ish times per day to your 1 LipSense application... A tube of LipSense is said to last you six months easy!


Your cost per use will be even less because Camille has offered Marry Mint readers 10% off any purchase from her shop Ash Beauty Boutique!

Update*** She is also running a Mother's Day sale that gets you 15% off any lip color!

lipsense starter collection promo code

I think LipSense is definitely something worth trying if you haven't already.

I have already purchased two more glosses AND the lip volumizer.  #byedollars

Have you used LipSense? What colors or color combinations are your favorites? Looking to add to my shopping list... ;)

01 May 2017

New Groove?

All of my people (and dogs) are finally on the same continent AND we have officially moved into our new home in Wiesbaden, Germany!

The kids and I left the states ahead of Kyle and sent our household goods at that time as well. Kyle and the dogs toughed it out by camping in our empty house in Arizona in the name of not having to wait on our stuff on the Germany side of this move. It worked out perfectly because our household goods were delivered the same day we signed for housing. 

By the way, we signed for an APARTMENT. An apartment in a stairwell. … !!! I mean, I know this is Europe and apartment living is more commonplace here but hot damn - talk about an adjustment! In the past year we have gone from owning a home on a half acre in Alaska, to a townhouse, then a small house in the desert of Arizona and now an apartment in Germany! Sheesh!

But we did get an apartment on the first floor and there is not one bit of carpeting in the entire place, so I’m calling it an overall win. ;) Oh and houseplants! Germans love them some houseplants and I hopped right on that train. Decorating? So easy and so done with a shit pile of random, difficult to kill plants!  -- Shout out to Mama Nature! … and Pinterest.

I would go as far as to say that we are “settled”, but because our car isn’t here yet, I just can’t. I mean, we are settled enough to feel awkward about not having any friends yet or our usual activities so that’s as good an indicator of settled-ness as anything, right? Ugh, it’s times like this when being an introvert can be annoying. Making friends is so much work!

We have Mallory on the wait-list to attend German Kindergarten in the fall and she is SO excited. Side note: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but in a former life (aka through college) I spoke a decent amount of German. It certainly ain’t pretty but the skill hasn’t diminished toooo much. Anyway, Kyle and I both agreed that Mallory (and Mike) are at the perfect age for the immersion/sink or swim approach to foreign language. Shit, for Michael German may very well become is first language because who knows what that boy is saying right now?! 

Regardless, we are all looking forward to the new opportunities “school” will bring.

The spring fests have started and we have a few trips on the books for May so be on the lookout for Euro/redhead/toddler/cliche photo-spam.

Alright, I’m going to wrap it up. Wish me luck as I venture into the world of small talk and trying to be social.


PS. Did you this years' sun safety kit from Sephora!?  I'm not so patiently waiting on mine... That same order may or may not have the Casey Holmes/Smashbox palette in it too!

06 March 2017

Girl Talk

Like friends who meet for a quick 15 minute coffee break in the midst of cramming as many errands as possible into nap time...

pretty coffee

My son is going to send me to an early grave! It's either that or the looney bin, shit, maybe both! He does some of the most bizarre, ridiculous, destructive, and dangerous stuff, all in the name of a laugh. *eye roll*  Today it was taking a swan dive off the tallest point of the playground because it was really freaking funny to watch his mom tell him to "get down right now" from juuuusssst out of reach. He got down alright...

(Only a bloody lip. Day in the life.)

toddler picking his nose

Germany is an introverts' freaking paradise! No small talk - like, at all. There's no shooting the shit with passers by on hiking trails or talking about your weekend with a random parent in the library. It's awesome. There is a level of honesty about German's that I really appreciate -- that and they are damn good drivers!

You know what Germany is not a paradise for, anything after 9pm. Burden! It's those late night hours that are primo for kid free grocery trips.

Germany may not have a Nordstrom, but they do have Brueninger and I'm a fan. HUGE fan.

I chopped all my hair. Ugh! After cancer I promised myself I'd never willingly have short hair again, but it was just so unhealthy and weird that I felt like I just needed to start from scratch. I do not like how short hair looks on me and I really don't like those extra short pieces of hair that fall out of my ponytails now, but I guess I'll deal. ;) I recently added a fancy schmancy Kerastase product to my hair routine and I'll have to get back to you on that. Too soon to tell.

short blonde hair and red lipstick

Living in Europe has me wanting ally the backpacks. Either that or Kyle's backpack fetish collection is finally rubbing off on me. The man legit has like 12 backpacks on the wall in the garage. Each bag has a specific purpose and he uses them all! I'm wanting a day trip size backpack. Something large enough to hold "day trip stuff" (an extra outfit for each kid, diapers, wipes, snacks, water bottles, my wallet, etc.) but that is also cute (aka doesn't look like something that would ever mingle with my husband's backpacks.) Any suggestions? I'm currently using this backpack as my everyday purse and love it, but it's entirely too small for day tripping ha! These are some I'm liking...

Gotta run! 

13 February 2017


Ok. I'll just come right out and admit it; I drank the cool aid. The fruity, and oh so sweet, KonMari cool aid. (In case you haven't heard of or read the "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo -- that's the cool-aid I'm referring to. I lapped that shit up like a dog in the desert.)

I mean, I didn't do the whole sit on my floor and talk to my clothes or thank my kids' unused toys for their noisemaking service, but I did really pick up (most) of what Marie was putting down. "Keep only the things that spark joy."

Well, the dishwasher, bath towels or bottles of tylenol I kept don't spark joy, but you get the idea. 

Have. Less. SCHTUFF.

My buy-in to the KonMari method predominantly stems from the idea that if you surround yourself only with things you love (and legit need), your life will improve. 

Fewer clothes = less time spent doing laundry. 

Fewer toys = less time spent picking up after the kids go to sleep. 

Fewer throw pillows = fewer pillows on the floor for my kids to wipe their nasty hands/mouths/butts on

In the midst of our exhilarating lives in Arizona, I managed to carve out some time to "discard." I took purging liberties in the kitchen, with the kids clothes/toys, and in my bathroom/vainity. But the area that received the most significant attention was my own closet. 

My closet was busting at the seams and I would conservatively estimate that 3/4 of it was pure crap. Ill-fitting, cheap, never gonna wear again crap!

You see, I've come to the realization that "fashion" just isn't something I love or that "sparks joy" if you will. ;)  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting dressed and feeling put together in a simple, classic, functional, mom kind of way, but fashion? It's not my shit. Coming up with unique ways of styling the latest and greatest trends simply does not get me all hot and bothered. 

And I'm good with that. Great with that in fact. Maybe "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" gave me the permission I didn't know I needed to trim the fat! Let go of the things in my closet that I didn't feel comfortable or confident wearing. Toss the pieces that weren't functional and just begged my children to wipe allllllll the colorful sauces on. Ditch the shoes that I wore that one time to that place for the thing. Gone. All of it--GONE!

Nearly a year later, I am here to tell you that I haven't missed any of the things I tossed. 

I paired my wardrobe down to two types of pants (black leggings and denim), tops in only six different, solid colors (white, gray, black, blue, dark green, or blush/maroon) and a pair or two of neutral colored shoes from each category and that's it!

Apart from a few closet staples, that is literally all I have in my closet. Pinky promise!

signature style inspiration

The KonMari Method served to help me not only realize my own "signature style" but to embrace it.

The gist here is, I have established my personal uniform and I'm thrilled about it!

Very little thought or effort goes into deciding what I'm going to wear on any given day. I know that 100% of the things I wear will be comfortable, functional and make feel good. Having a uniform, for me, it just works!

personal signature style

 1. || 2. || 3. || 4. || 5. || 6. || 7. || 8.

Plus, can you image, spending money on only two types of pants or only considering tops of a certain color/style??! It's been totally and completely liberating!

Basically, if you've been on the fence about tossing all of your shit and simplifying your wardrobe...do it! Just do it. 

You're welcome. ;)

You can shop my "uniform" using the widget below, but consider yourself warned, runway ready it is not. ;)

Also, just because I've gone more minimalist with my clothing does not mean I've done the same with my lipstick collection. Gotta keep things interesting, right?

04 February 2017

View Discretion Advised

dachau concentration camp museum

Even the best of history teachers can't evoke the feelings one has being within the concrete walls of Dachau Concentration Camp.

"arbeit macht frei"

Dachau was the first. 

second world war crematorium

world war two concentration camp

The model and blueprint for all of it's heinous successors. 

nazi concentration camp crematorium

nazi concentration camp guard tower

dachau concentration camp barracks x

Hell on earth for more than 188,000 prisoners.

dachau concentration camp barracks

dachau concentration camp barracks

dachau concentration camp barracks

dachau concentration camp

On Dachau, more human lives than we will ever know were destroyed.

dachau barracks x

dachau gas chambers

dachau barracks x

dachau crematorium

"grave of thousands"


"never again" WWII quote

Visiting a nazi concentration camp--not necessarily the first thing that pops into the heads' of most  when planning a European vacation, but perhaps it should be...

*If you are planning a trip, don't hesitate to shoot me an email and I'd be happy to walk you through the logistics/good-to-know aspects of visiting this particular concentration camp!

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