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New Year’s Eve at 7:00PM?! YES PLEASE. 

31 Dec

Yo mamas (and papas)! Guess who just hit the lotto on how to do New Years Eve at 7, instead of waiting up till 9? THIS GUY.

Netflix FTW

I have not once let my now 3yo stay up for New Year’s Eve because, well because I can barely keep my eyes open myself and really need a little downtime sometimes. And also, because it’s late! And 3 year olds melt if they’re up too late! Couple that with getting to pop some non-alc bubbly and you’re talking sugar rush before bed. Not. Into. It.

But, he’s 3 (almost 4) and I’m starting to feel guilty about not letting him party like it’s 1999 2016. I mean, at what age is he going to be like, “you’re lame for never letting me understand New Year’s Eve”?

So, in my tired haze of returning from our holiday travels at midnight, with a baby who decided to rage until 3:30am (cuz, thanks for that), as soon as the baby went down for a nap, I popped my sleepy self onto the couch with Mr. 3yo and turned on Netflix… AND THEN I SAW IT!!!

2017!

Wait, WHAT?! We can do NYE any time we want?? NETFLIX SAVES THE DAY!!! (again, and again with these guys).

So, there you have it. Ring in the new year without having to disrupt your whole rhythm and still get to sit on the couch with your partner watching (dare I say) a whole movie before smooching it out at midnight… or 10:00pm. 😂

Happy New Years (EARLY)!!!

REVIEW: One Last Hug… Bring Tissues

25 Aug
One Last Hug... and Three Smooches

One Last Hug (…and a few smooches)

With tonight being Emmy night, and because I work at the PDC where the post Emmy party-of-all-parties is set to go off, I thought I’d get into HBO-Go’s Emmy Nom category of watchable things over the weekend, and my best choice landed me 10lbs lighter thanks to water elimination by tear ducts.

Seriously.

One Last Hug had me ugly crying less than ONE minute into the 35 minutes of film.

Kids + parents dying + grief camp = SADDEST THING EVER. Of course, there were a few happy moments of resolve at the end, but from start to almost finish was a tear-fest in between.

On a very serious note, however, I’m in love with Camp Erin. Talk about life-changing, honorable and amazing work. The people of Camp Erin all have a special seat reserved for them in the sky for the work they do to help these kid’s grow and thrive amidst the heaviest challenges of their little lives. Kids who’ve lost parents to cancer, suicide and murder (!!!) are all unified through their grieving experience, being encouraged to share their hurt with other kids their own age. Through the comfort of knowing they’re not alone, they find healing and a way to move forward from their individual tragedies, with forgiveness, acceptance and the camaraderie of other kids in their same age group, enduring the same unfair situations.

Camp Erin, created and funded by The Moyer Foundation, is the largest nationwide network of free bereavement camps for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

A truly brilliant film, this exposure to the healing available to kids suffering from loss, was both enlightening, endearing, and heart wrenching. It made me want to give them all of my money, time and resources. It also educated me on the process of grief for children. And, as a mama, I would want this experience for my own child, should something ever happened to me (or my husband). The thought of a young mind in the process of being shaped by their experiences, having to deal with this type of tragedy before they’re even able to understand the word “death” is crippling, but Camp Erin gives them hope.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who’s looking for something to have their heart moved by. Then, do something to help keep this organization alive and thriving, so kids for years to come can have the same opportunity to have a bright future, regardless of their unfortunate and dark past.

Donate to Camp Erin.

Watch the Camp Erin trailer.

Get involved with Camp Erin.

Lions, and Tigers and No Parabens??? Oh My!!

30 Jul

Do you remember the first time you saw an Herbal Essences commercial back in 8th grade? The somewhat hippie-ish, super sun-soaked, beautiful models running freely through the tall grassy prairies… well, maybe I just dated myself because this was PRE fake orgasms in the shower while covered in shampoo, but I remember those early ads. Then again, the company was formed in the early 70’s, so I’m sure there were a lot of campaigns I missed along the way, but the ones I remember made me want to be beautiful too.

I also remember my mom buying the shampoo and conditioner at the store, and I remember feeling oh, so beautiful, even though I’d never been to a real prairie and the closest thing to running freely in my neighborhood, was watching stray cats run looking for food, and neighborhood kids chasing cars down the street. But, in my mind, I was one of THEM. One of the pretty ones, frolicking in nature (not trapped in the city)… all because my hair looked and felt like a dream.

Fast forward 15-20 years (dating myself again), and I learned about parabens in cosmetics, primarily in shampoo, conditioner, deodorants and lotions. I learned that parabens cause cancer, or are at least present in cancerous tissue. Breast cancer specifically. So many (cosmetically related) things in my life changed once I had that realization. I started to look for more natural products (that still worked and didn’t make me smell like a hippie), and started weeding out products that contained “bad for you” ingredients, like parabens, silicon and sulfites.

Now, I’m a mom. I work, I mommy and I write as much as I can. I became a member of Influenster and signed up for their VoxBox program to review products for them.

My first box was for an old memory…. Herbal Essences… Naked?

My first thought was “Crap. I have to write a review about a product I wouldn’t ever buy.”

Well, then I saw something beautiful on the label:

No Parabens! No Dyes!

No Parabens! No Dyes! No Silicone!

 NO PARABENS. FREE. OF. PARABENS. WHAT?!

Ok, I’ll give this stuff a try.

The thing is, I have heavily treated hair (duh, blonde is NOT my natural color), so I typically use specialty shampoos and conditioners, but I always have some less expensive (and available at Target, not at a specialty shop) product for myself on days I don’t need blue shampoo, and for my husband, now that his luscious, long, locks are gone.

So, I compared ingredients with my “normal” shampoo and that of the Herbal Essences Naked collection.

MY STUFF HAD PARABENS!!! LOTS OF THEM!!! How did I miss this????

I’m mad at myself for not looking at the label on this one, but no matter how much I love it, it’s being replaced.

Regardless of how the HE product ended up in my hands, I’m glad it did. It actually works quite well too. The dry shampoo is probably my least favorite of the collection, but really, that’s because it’s meant for people with longer hair than me, who need a traditional dry shampoo. I only use dry shampoos to pump up my hair volume, not control grease, since I have the kind of short, overly treated hair that mandates a daily washing.

The shampoo and conditioner are every bit as good as what I use (the crappy paraben loaded stuff from my past… we totally broke up) and my fried blonde hair actually feels like hair after I use it.

The Herbal Essences Naked Collection

The Herbal Essences Naked Collection

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

My 7 Quick Takes. The Thinks You Can Think Up, If Only You Try.

27 Mar

I’ve been wanting to post a lot of things lately, but as I fantasize about what I’ll write when I have the time, and as my imagination becomes impassioned by what I’m going to say, I complete my day at work, spend my evening with the baby, put him to bed, and forget everything I wanted to do when I finally had a few moments of “me time”.

That said, I think an easy 7 Quick Takes is a must. So, here I go. My 7 Quickies are dedicated to all those thinks I can think, when only I try… and when I’m not reading a Dr. Suess book.

1. I wish I had more time to blog – The sad thing is that I DO have the time, I just don’t have the energy 99% of the time. If I do have the energy to blog, I should probably be folding laundry, sweeping the kitchen floors, or organizing the vast array of baby toys Remy has into multiple bags for rotation, etc., but instead, I just sit. Sometimes in silence, sometimes staring at a wall. Most of the time, on my bed staring at my phone and wondering if I’ll ever feel rested again.

2. Sleep Training – Though I need to write about this in detail later, for now I’ll just say “thank god that’s over.” Sleep training is the worst thing you could ever imagine for about a week, and then, it’s a magical wonder for your beautiful baby, as he slumbers in sweetness. Now, if only I could sleep train myself back into sleeping through the night, instead of staring longingly at the video monitor, wondering if my baby boo misses snuggling me as much as I miss snuggling him, while daddy’s at school. I swear, sometimes I wake up 8 times during the night just because I’m used to it, not because my baby is crying out for me. He’s stoked! Happy and sleeping. Now, I need to figure out how to do that again… maybe I need more wine in my life.

I never thought he’d be able to sleep without me, and I didn’t mind the idea of snuggling him well into his 20′s, but man. He just looks so peaceful and comfy. I love him so.

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3. I need more wine in my life – While we were living in the hotel for 2 months, I somehow lost my ID. Since my license expires on my birthday this summer, it is time for a new one all together. But, the lovely guy at the DMV said that I needed to wait a month to see if I could auto renew online, so he processed my paperwork without sending me a new physical license; just a little piece of paper that says all the important stuff, including “This Document is Not an Acceptable Form of Identification”. Thanks DMV. I’m 37 and  can’t buy my own wine. (PS. 20 minutes after I wrote this, my sweet husband called that he was on his way home from school early and would I like him to grab me a bottle box. Thank you, my love. Thank you.)

4. There aren’t enough blogs by law school wives – But there are! They just happen to all be in their early 20’s and their “advice on how to get through 1L” contain points like, “be social“. Clearly, there are no blogging 1L wives, who also happen to be working full time and raising a baby without said 1L daddy to help (mostly). It’s interesting to see how many similarities there are between all of the different wives, but they are similar to each other… not to me. Maybe it’s because people like me all exist in the aforementioned point #1. There is a good one I do like though. It’s a food blog and she seems pretty interesting.

5. Selfies on Instagram/the webs – Did you know that over 163 MILLION photos on Instagram tagged with #FollowMe? I processed that last night, in awe, disbelief and fear. 163 MILLION people (mostly youngins’) are vying for popularity so badly, that they’re begging complete strangers to follow their lives. Worst of all, this is just one of several different types of hashtags that follow the same trend of asking total strangers to be part of their online “communities”. What scares me most about this is the absolute void these people must feel to be asking for attention from people who will never be able to fulfill them. We’ve gotten to the point where there’s a desire to be liked by more than just your peers in school or in the neighborhood, but by the WORLD (thanks for that thought, Rachel) and it’s possible, but not valuable. How many people’s feed are full of kids faces as they selfie themselves for no reason at all, other than to hope people see them for a moment and tap that little heart shaped icon. I think the greater issue is that they just want to be seen (validated, appreciated, liked, loved, treasured, etc.) in general. SO. MANY. THOUGHTS. I could go on and on and do a deep dive into this, but this is a quick take, so… the end.

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6. Hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning spray, bathroom cleaner, dishwashing liquid, etc. – I don’t have time to be as crunchy or “Holly Homemaker” as I’d like to be, but I do want to supply my home with the best cleaning supplies, while keeping things natural, safe, effective and pure. If I had my druthers, I’d make all my own supplies, be a Pinterest godess, sell things on Etsy and wear long skirts and flip flops all day long, but that’s just not my life, SO, there’s Honest Company. Thanks to Zulily, I can now accomplish my goals of being the chemical conscious mama, while saving loads of bucks on supplies. I don’t think I’ll have to buy any household soaps for at least 6 months. Maybe a year.

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7. 7 Quick Takes, take time! I’m not sure who decided that these should be “quick” but having 7 thoughts to complete can be a little longer than that. 🙂 I’ve officially completed my first 7 quick takes, just in time for Friday.

A Proud Moment to End 2011

31 Dec

Today, I end 2011 with a great sense of accomplishment.

When Grant and I registered for our wedding gifts, we chose, Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table and Restoration Hardware. Inevitably, we received duplicated gifts from everything except Williams-Sonoma (whose gift registry is fantastic, by the way).

With only 2 days left in California, without plans of returning for who knows how long, we decided that it would be best to return many of our gifts, so we could re-purchase them in AR, saving us from having to ship items that came to the wedding. After all, all of the gifts that came to the wedding, have been sitting in a storage unit anyway.

Packed up and ready to go on a reverse spending bender, I parked and walked up to Restoration Hardware’s amazing new Beverly store. A nice guy helped me into the store and after meaningless chatter, helped me with my return. He was really nice, and eventually handed me my store credit receipt. At the bottom of the receipt, I noticed a 20% return fee which took off $50 from my return.

Now, please understand that we ONLY returned these items, so we could re-buy them closer to home. This is not out of being ungrateful or disregarding of what people purchased for us, rather, it’s just the opposite. We want to be able to enjoy our gifts without having to ship them back home, incurring extra expenses.

So, back to the story… Apparently, at Restoration Hardware, there’s a 20% return fee, if the item you’re returning doesn’t have a receipt. At both Williams-Sonoma AND Sur la Table, they were able to look up the registry, and verify the price of the item at the time of purchase, so we were able to receive credit for the entire amount our friends and family paid. Not the case at the sophisticated and trend-setting Restoration Hardware (sarcasm greatly implied). I sank as he told me, thinking of the great importance for me to always include a gift receipt for weddings in the future; an expensive lesson learned.

I headed back to my car, tail between my legs, thinking and thinking and trying not to obsess, but being really bummed out! I just couldn’t believe that they didn’t have a more sophisticated way to handle their business when it comes to returned items from someone’s wedding.

That was when it hit me. There was a hand-towel AND a bath mat completely missing from the return receipt, which totaled over $115! I immediately went back inside and talked to the original guy who helped me. He apologized over and over, but ultimately, it was STILL going to cost me 20% of the total to get the credit back.

Here’s were the magic happened. I decided that after a mistake of that caliber, I had the right as a purchaser and as a bride, to want the full price for what was gifted to us, so I could re-buy all of the items without having to reach into our pockets. And I did.

After kindly speaking with 2 managers, requesting corporate information and the name of the guy who was helping me and the names of the managers, they finally agreed to return the full amount via store credit. That said, I maintained full awareness that the people helping me were not the ones to make up the rules and I made sure that they knew that I wasn’t angry with them. I also shared that I understood the realm of customer service, but that I was a consumer fighting for the right to keep what was given to me.

Here are my lessons learned: 

1. Always give a gift receipt with your gift, as you never can fully understand what people’s needs are going to be, or who may have purchased the same item without indicating it on the registry.

2. Always be kind to people in retail. You can demean, or insult, or be an outright bitch to people, but they will always have the right to stick to policy and not help you in return for your bad attitude. Being kind and understanding, while maintaining your position, helps people to help you, without resentment or frustration.

In total, I originally left the store with $189 in store credit. The second time around, I left with $365. That’s a HUGE difference and all because, for the first time ever, I abandoned my fear of judgement and kindly requested what I deserved.

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