Checking In

Today I thought I might provide a check-in of sorts. There is so much happening right now, with spring being well underway, summer plans being made and the possibility of the world opening back up looming. This is where I am at, in Portland Oregon, right now.

So – vaccinations! I find every social interaction as of late must begin with the obligatory vaccine catch-up. “Did you get your first shot?”, “How did you get an appointment?!” “Pfizer, Moderna or J&J?” We talk about the complexities of getting an appointment, the side effects, the new Brazilian and British covid strains. We are beginning to hug our grandparents, see friends inside and officially stop wiping down our groceries (although WE only did this for about a week). Is there a REAL possibility that we will be inside public places with other people, not wearing masks and (horror of horrors) not social distancing??!

Returning to our places of work, to restaurants and stores, to concerts and arenas and Chuck-E-Cheese. It has me feeling some kind of way. On one hand, I am elated to throw it back to 2019. To waltz into a crowded Goodwill, sans-mask, footloose and fancy free. Breathing in the mixture of must, body odor and Jean Nate, unadulterated. I am excited to see the look on my daughter’s faces when they get to interact with their peers again. And the way my husband’s eyes will sparkle when he comes home from playing basketball. I cannot wait to share that morning cup of joe with my coworkers again. All of these things give me happiness to no end.

But also – there’s this: I am an ambivert. Or, as I like to call it an introverted-extrovert. I like a variety in life. But the past year has really thwarted that extroverted side of me. I have settled into my quarantine nest and the routines that go with it. And even though there have definitely been exceptions, I have loved being around my family everyday. I also finally found joggers in tall sizes (Old Navy!). The introvert in me has been thrust into the spotlight. She has gotten used to it. It has become homey and warm.

We have all gotten used to certain things, haven’t we? To the awkward “covid shuffle” around the grocery store, trying to keep a gap between us. To the absence of invitations to parties, game nights and play dates. To air high fives and chest bumps. I have gotten used to the glares in the park we sometimes get when Clara is not wearing a mask. Or the dirty looks from others when she is. I am ready to wave goodbye to these things, but not to others.

I am not ready to drop Clara off at day care again. To miss the sticky hugs I get each morning after her morning waffles, or witnessing the sheer pride she exudes from completed the whole alphabet puzzle. I am not ready to only see my husband between the hours of 7:30 to 10:30 pm on weeknights. I am not ready to say goodbye to my cozy work-from-home spaces, complete with a dog on my lap and no makeup on my face. Most of all, I am not ready to say goodbye to the calm of a more simplified life.

Can we keep all the good, but not the bad? Can we all continue to stay home when we are feeling sick? And wear a mask if we are feeling sick, but need to go out? Can we work from home when we need to, without feeling guilty? Can we tell people no if we’re not feeling it, without making 1,000 excuses? I feel like there is so much we have all learned about ourselves over this past year.

What have you learned? What do you hope our post covid world looks like?

ThredUp Goody Box Review

Hello and welcome!

Before I dive in to this review, I feel I owe everyone an explanation of this service and  why I chose to try it out. This is in no way sponsored…I wish.

ThredUp is an online consignment store. Their Goody Box is a subscription service (or you can just purchase a single box, like I did) that works similarly to Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, etc. You take a “style quiz”, pay a $10 styling fee, and they send you some clothes. The $10 fee will apply to any items you end up keeping and return shipping is free. This service appealed to me specifically because it is second hand stuff!

The main reason I wanted to try this is because I am having a major fashion identity crisis. I am an old millennial and like so many of my Y2K sisters and brothers, my closet is filled with things that are somewhat flattering on my body type. IMO the in-fashion styles as of late beg the question, “who can look the ugliest?”. And PLEASE do not take this to mean that I think the youth of today are ugly – I simply feel that the clothes themselves are SO unflattering.

Let’s take these jeans and sock + shoe combination. I mean. It doesn’t even look good on the model.

Or this lewk from Urban Outfitters? It’s as if she is about to pull out a hacky sack and Cranberries CD.

I rest my case.

So back to my crisis – I need to find a way to take the fashions of today (said in a little old lady voice) and make them work for me. I also realized I have not really shopped for clothes since before I had a kid (2018). I decided to try the Goody Box from Thred Up and see what they would come up with for me. Here is what went down:

My box shipped pretty quickly!

I was sent 10 items in total. Each box also includes a pricing sheet:

Here are the items I was sent:

Max Studio Dress – $29.99

Old Navy Dress – $18.99

Dolan Blouse – $20.99

Madewell Jeans – $39.99

Ro & De Blouse – $21.99

Madewell Sweater – $30.99

Lauren Conrad Sweatshirt – $23.99

J.Crew Shirt – $21.99

Vero Moda Jeans – $22.99

Anthropologie Shirt – $29.99

Overall, I really liked everything they sent. I felt they listened to my style quiz answers and sent brands and sizes that were appropriate. Let’s get to the try-on!

*DISCLAIMER – I am not a fashion blogger, nor did I accessorize or dress up these items cutely. I simply put them on straight outta the box.

Ok absolutely just f*#! no.

This dress is really cute but I do not neeeed it.

Really love this blouse. Floral, flowy. So me!

The Madewell jeans fit really great but as you can see, they are cropped and skinny. I am trying to avoid skinny jeans (and a side part) RN.

Forgot to photograph this one during my “shoot”. Cute but I know I wouldn’t wear it very much.

Nice lil sweater but nothing to write home about.

I actually really loved this sweatshirt and the color alot. But I feel like the twist front tops had their moment.

This J.Crew top and Vero Moda jeans are aigghht. The shirt sleeves just were not quite long enough and while I did appreciate the relaxed fit of the jeans, I just did not love them.

This top was REALLY soft but not $30 soft.

So – I ended up keeping the floral blouse for $20.99 and sent everything else back. I really enjoyed the experience though, and will definitely be ordering more!

For $10 off your first purchase click here to join and order your own Goody Box! Using the link means I also get credit and promise to show more purchases.

Dark Spots Progress + My First IPL Photofacial

Hello friends!

It’s been nearly a year since I provided an update on my dark spots. And I know you all have been on the edge of your seats waiting for this. I am sorry. I have failed you. Despite my abysmal progress reporting, I have continued to stay true to my skin care in an effort to rid myself of the damn things.

The current lineup as of late includes:

You may or may not notice that I have stopped using the Ambi Fade Cream. But let me make something clear, this is NOT because this product does not work. I think this $5 cream actually made a huge dent in the severity of my dark spots. Click here to see those before and after photos.

The reason I stopped using it – well, constitutes a quick story. About a month ago, I had a virtual consultation with a med spa. I wanted to learn about all the “procedures” (read: botox, injectables, laser treatments) and get a doctor’s take on options for me. The appointment went fine, albeit a tad awkward over FaceTime. We discussed a small amount of botox on my forehead as well as laser treatments for my dark spots and collagen treatments for the “loss of volume” in my cheeks. They were keen on getting me scheduled for a couple of these procedures but I explained I am simply not ready.

Mostly, I am not ready to fork over the thousands of dollars this would all cost.

After some thought, I decided to tackle what has made me the most self-conscious all these years: my dark spots. And I want to tackle it head-on! The next day I purchased 6 sessions of IPL photo facials from a salon near my house with great reviews. A couple weeks later, I had my first appointment.

All in all, it is a relatively quick, moderately painful treatment. Google it for the details, but essentially a gel-like cream is rubbed on the face and the laser moves across your skin, zapping as it goes. It is not pleasant. But honey, pain is beauty.

After the appointment, the esthetician warned me that small, coffee ground like flakes might appear on the skin and that this is totally normal. After a couple of days I did notice this happening.

As reference once again, here are my before photos from May of last year, after using Ambi for a couple of months.

Here are a couple of photos documenting my skin 3-4 days after getting IPL. These photos were taken in February and also document my general state after not showering for 4 days.

The spots look much worse but I am told this is normal. I will continue to provide updates during my “IPL journey” (haha) and plan to take photos after each session.

Anyone out there gotten IPL? If so, tell me your experience!

Baby Faves: 2 Years

The time has come.

Clara is two years old.  And before you say anything, I fully realize and accept that she is no longer a baby. But like Mariah reminds us, she will always be my baby.

The following are a few items that we have found useful. We have also discovered several items that we thought would be useful, but turned out not to be useful at all. Because at the ripe old age of two, this human has a full-blown personality and has developed likes and dislikes (the horror!). Subsequently, one or two of her favorites are most certainly not mine. These include opening and closing drawers and cabinet doors. Dumping out the contents of my makeup drawers onto the carpet and selecting the brightest shade of hot pink lip stain to smear across her face.

Let’s move on to the things that we all agree work well.

First off, sleep – arguably the most important thing in both her and our lives.

You might know that we utilize the sleep sack as not only a wearable blanket, but it kinda sets the tone. We put that sucker on her, and she knows it is time for bed. And now that she is giant, the little versions for 24 months and under just won’t cut it. Enter Kyte baby!

This is the Kyte Baby Sleep Bag Walker in the color cloud. It is some of the softest material I have ever felt. I would easily wear this myself. All Kyte Baby items are made from buttery soft bamboo rayon fabric and it seriously feels cloud-like.

This sleep sack is labeled for sizes 18-26 months and is in the mid-weight option. I feel like this will fit her forever, due to the fact that it has legs! She still has mobility but due to the tapered leg, it keeps her warm and cozy.

It is also worth noting that Kyte Baby has sleep sacks for the little guys too. I MEAN.

And the color options, come onnn!

Onto the next category – potty training!

We got this little pink toilet for Clara when she was maybe 18 months old. It also “flushes”, i.e. makes the flushing noise and she loves it.

We are still not using this in any regular way. Per discussions with our pediatrician, we are aiming to keep potty encounters fun, light-hearted and positive. We have some successes and plan to get serious once she is ready.

We have also been using a portable potty and training timer. The Potette Plus is pretty cool – a collapsible, portable toilet with liners that folds flat. The 3 in 1 Potty Training Timer is a nightlight and it also plays soft music. You can set it for 30, 60 or 90 minutes and it will light up and play music when it’s time to try using the bathroom. We have been using it as a timer for all kinds of things, and we love it!

And now let’s address bathing!

We have been loving Earth Baby products on our sensitive-skinned little one! Their bubble bath is so great, because it is all-natural, organic and safe for sensitive skin. We also love their shampoo + body wash and conditioner + conditioner.

After her bath, we slather her in CeraVe Baby Lotion. In my experience, the more boring the lotion, the better when it comes to her skin.

 

Next up we have miscellaneous faves, which change week to week and range from K-cups  to ball point pen art installations on the side of my desk.

Also, the kid does love her some literature. Here are some of her faves:

No, David! by David Shannon books are everything. First of all, the main character…need I say more? And the mischief he creates is just so Clara.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She is also very obsessed with Time to Pee! by Mo Willems. We can all recite it by now and the illustrations are too good!

We are also entering the phase of life when characters suddenly become their favorites. She LOVES Elmo, J.J from Cocomelon and most of all – Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

She requests “Hah-Dog TV” (Hot Dog TV) every morning, which translates to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (they sing a song called “Hot Dog!” at the end, hence the request).

So that’s it. We are in full-blown toddler mode and I do love almost every moment. The almost moments come and we try to take them in stride. Pretty easy when she lets me hold her like this:

*The products from Kyte Baby, KalenCom and Earth Baby were sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Happiest of holidays to you all!

This year has brought with it many a crappy thing.  Corona, Charli D’Amelio, wildfires. I am sure you are all aware. Today I would like to provide a list of what Martha calls “good things”. Items that warrant perpetuating good ol’ fashioned consumer-driven materialism. Sure to provide the giver with all the warm fuzzies  and the recipient with some quality goods.

Here we go!

Makeup/Beauty

Casablanca Eyelashes & Adhesive – $20, $15

  • Perfect for: That person who loves a false lash! This is a small brand and you are sure to impress.
  • My description: Lashes that are comfortable, fluffy and gorgeous and idiot-proof glue.

Formula 10.0.06 Soak It In Vitamin C Revitalizing Lip Balm – $4

  • Perfect for: A person living in a cold climate with lips!
  • My description:  It’s like a blanket for your lips, with a very subtle sweet orange scent.

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil – $25

  • Perfect for: Anyone with dry skin.
  • My Description: This is the ultimate in moisturization for the bath/shower.

Lyda BeautyLydLyda Beauty Cleopatra Cat Eye Stamp – $25

  • Perfect for: The person on your list with chronic uneven winged liquid liner.
  • My Description: This eyeliner glides on like a dream and the cat-eye stamp on one end makes achieving the perfect wing a CINCH. I did my liner in the above photo in approx. 20 seconds.

Home

David Rose Travel Mug/Mug – $18, $11

  • Perfect for: The rampant Schitt’s Creek fan or someone named David or (in my case) someone married to David.
  • My Description: I hear Moira and Alexis’ voice every time I see this.

First Edition Little Women Framed Cover Art – $65

  • Perfect for: The literary!
  • My Description: How cute would this be in a lil’ reading nook? They also have Pride & Prejudice, The Secret Garden and several others. The site Uncommon Goods has some really neat stuff (yes, I just said neat).

Oster Cordless Wine Opener – $17

  • Perfect for: The budding wino (read: all of us).
  • My description: Sadly this might be my most used household gadget. It also comes  with a handy dandy foil cutter.

SOi Alluring Amber Shimmer Candle – $18

  • Perfect for: Just about anyone who appreciates a good smellin’ home with a feminine touch!
  • My Description: A candle that smells amazing and doubles as a very nice Q-tip holder afterwards.

Kids

Scenties Hair Ties & Scrunchies – $7, $11

  • Perfect for – The scrunchie or hair accessory obsessed pre-tween.
  • My description – These are stretch and sniff hair ties y’all. A kid with some Scenties around their wrist is definitely going to MAD COOL.

Rainbow Suitcase Set – $33

  • Perfect for: Any child like mine who enjoys, wait for it… opening and closing things. And also…putting things inside of other things.
  • My Description: These are cute and functional! A gift that would please both the child and their parent.

Sleeping Beauty Replica Journal –  $30

  • Perfect for: The emotional, die-hard Disney enthusiast.
  • My Description: I audibly gasped when I saw this at the Disney Store. It is as stunning as it appears. And yes, it is a journal. Could there be a more majesty place to write down your T&F?

Hess Trucks – Prices Range

  • Perfect for: Any little kid (or big!) who appreciates trucks or cars or things that go!
  • My Description: These are top of the line toy trucks. So realistic and detailed.

Clothing/Accessories

Minnetonka Men’s Moose Hide Fleece Moccasins – $77

  • Perfect for: The man with huge-ass feet.
  • My Description: My husband wears a 15. Any shoes is hard to come by for him, but especially slippers. These go up to a 16X and he absolutely loves them.

Nordstrom Frosted Plush Robe – $79

  • Perfect for: Anyone who is ALWAYS cold.
  • My description: This is the the warmest, most buttery soft piece of robe I have ever felt.

Cath Kidston Pajamas – $54 (on sale)

  • Perfect for: Your mom
  • My description: The cutest printed pajamas I have ever seen. And they’re from the UK, cheerio!

Men’s Patagonia Nano-Puff Jacket – $199

  • Perfect for: Any male living in the PNW.
  • My Description: A wardrobe staple, this jacket is lightweight, warm and waterproof!

My Holiday Decor

Happy Christmas! And Hanukkah! And everything else!

And also – pretty please understand the reasons I share these photos of my holiday decor:

  1.  I friggen’ LOVE decorating for the holidays.
  2. I am very proud of the fact that mostly everything was purchased used, deeply discounted or was free from my mom.
  3. Nothing makes me happier than photographing my tree.

So without further adieu, here we go!

Here is our entry table. I would love to do more with this and put down a layer of that pillow-fluff fake snow but Clara can easily reach everything. She has already pulled down all the trees she can get her mitts on and it is a miracle she hasn’t scratched her cornea with all the glitter.

I got the big, realistic looking tree from a yard sale last summer for $2 and the other larger white tree from my favorite local boutique, Roger and Ives for $7 during their after Christmas sale. The two other gold trees were given to me by Nan and the smaller ones were Target Dollar Spot finds. Oh! And the little light-up sign is from Walgreens just a couple of weeks ago.

I was so excited to decorate our living room this year. I got the happy holidays pillow on the couch at Goodwill for $4 and is originally from Pier 1. Yes, I thoroughly cleaned and sanitized it.

My mom told me to add a pop of red this year and I am still working on it. I found the flocked garland at Goodwill for $5 and the two trees were yard sale finds for $2 apiece. The stockings are from Hobby Lobby for 50% off and the four angel stocking holders cost $5.50 TOTAL from Oriental Trading Company. They are ceramic and meant to be painted but I like how they look as they are! The candles stay out year-round, as do the mirrors.

The red snowflakes, as well as the two prints on either side of the mirrors are from good ol’ Joann Fabrics! The store that gives my little sister PTSD.

I happened to stumble in there when they had their 1-day 70% off holiday decor sale and I really cleaned up. I got the two red snowflakes and these two large prints for $30 total.

And let’s go ahead and call me out for breaking my own decorating rule of only having one or two “quote” pictures in the house. Because apparently for the holidays, all bets are off. I have at least three now but damn, I love em!

I added more red to this little chiavari-style end table and had to follow this year’s trend of gnomes (they are everywhere!). I got this little guy at Target for $5 and just swapped out the photos in the frames for holiday ones.

And finally, our tree!

I am still working on getting more red in there…I know I need more. The snowflakes and poinsettia clips are from Dollar Tree. Mostly every other ornament is a Nancy cast-off.

I did not do much with this little table where E does her homework. The “Noel” bunting was $6 from Amazon and our menorah is another Goodwill find! These magnolias stay out year-round and are from Target. I got them for $1.50 a stem!

Here is my final Joann’s quote print. I HAD to. It is so pretty!

I put out a few little items on our buffet, including this Nutcracker from Hobby Lobby that we got for Clara’s birthday last year (it was a Nutcracker theme!). The gold harp is from Goodwill for $2 and they had several more. I am kicking myself for not getting at least two of them.

I decided that our family room would be devoted to Hanukkah. It works perfect because I already have some blue going on in there. The dreidel garland and Happy Hanukkah sign were purchased at full-price from Target because they were too cute to pass up.

Yes, I put a tree in our Hanukkah room but I love the glow when we watch TV! We have lots of family ornaments here and I have some star of David ornaments on the way.

That wraps up (get it!) our holiday decor for this year! So very excited to say goodbye to 2020 🙂

My 2020 Christmas List

DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH!

Alright, let’s see it! Who has put up their Christmas decor? Don’t be shy! Ours is going up this weekend and I am personally very proud of myself for holding off this long. I MEAN…(insert any 2020 meme here).

We need you, Christmas. We need you so bad.

To do my part, I will be sharing my 2020 Christmas list with you today. A time-honored tradition that, at the very least, will get me in the holiday spirit! Stay tuned for a holiday gift guide I plan to put together in the coming weeks.

And yes, this is my actual Christmas list. These are items I truly love.

 

  1. Elle and Emm Troop Beverly Hills Tee Shirt – Size Medium

Give me all things Troop Beverly Hills. It is my aesthetic. Or really, give me any clothing item from Elle and Emm because all their things are right up my alley.

2. Scentsy Cinderella Carriage Warmer

I want to put this in my bedroom and look at it everyday. It really is that simple. Also you can put wax melts inside to make your place smell nice. If you need to get any Scentsy products, you can buy them from my pal Ashlee, here!

3. Donna Karen Deodorant

 

Yes I have deodorant on my Christmas list. I have never tried this due to the price tag but always wanted to. Figured I would ask my loved ones for it instead!

4. AE High-Waisted Jogger – Size 8 XL

I love these joggers from American Eagle but need to order them in an extra long. They are really comfortable and I do not own anything like them.

5. Davines Oi Shampoo

This is a super bougie shampoo my sister-in-law Shannon got me hooked on. It smells amazing and there is just nothing like it. You can really only buy it at salons or order it from their website, but I promise it is worth every penny!

6. Old Navy Sweater – Size Medium Tall (light or dark gray)

I have had my eye on this quarter-zip sweater from Old Navy for awhile now. It comes in a tall version but must be special ordered. Love it SO much!

7. Target Candle Stick Holders

My sister Megan has convinced me that every mantle must have these skinny black candle holders. I do what my sister tells me.

8. Maison de L’Amour Sweatshirt – Size M/L

LOVE this sweatshirt and several others from Elle and Emm. Translates to “House of Love”!