Tuesday, September 16, 2014

12 Things I've Learned Through Motherhood

Lessons in Motherhood
Oh, the journey that is motherhood. Does anyone else feel like they are on a roller coaster covered in peanut butter & jelly being operated by the cast of Frozen? No? Just me... Well alright then.
Lately, I have had some spare time to sort my thoughts & I thought I would share them with all of you. This post is brought to you by the public education system, since I now have about 8 hours of time without my little wolves. Without that time to myself, I think that I would probably be writing about the same thing, but the teachers & school staff that are spending so much time with my wolves, impress me everyday. The kids LOVE their school & come home filled to the brim with things to chat with me about & they wake up every morning so thrilled to be able to head off to another day of school.
Basically, my thoughts are actually somewhat sorted now thanks to the kids being off in school filling their brains with lessons & fun things. So, more motherhood posts are coming your way since I have more time to think & reflect on this journey I'm on!
1. I do not go to every, activity, meeting, or whatever else, is going on at the kids school. With the public education system, I feel like schools try to show how great they are by hosting multiple activities a week. From PTO meetings to showing movies on Friday nights, our school has SO much going on all the time. Last year, I spent so much of the year being racked with guilt about not going to everything that I gave myself an anxiety attack over a Friday night movie. It was a movie the kids had already seen, we had a snowmachine race the following day & our entire house had the flu 48 hours before hand. For some reason, I lost my grip on reality over a movie being shown in an elementary school gymnasium. After it was over, I realized that being able to attend every, single, thing, at the school would not define my as a good mother. I do enjoy being involved with the school & helping out when I can, but just because I'm a stay-at-home-mom, I DO NOT need to be at the school daily... I still feel slightly guilty about not being more involved with the PTO again this year, but I've got to stop letting that get to me.

2. Kids with dirty faces makes me boil. Oh, they beauty of parenthood. With 3 kids under the age of 8, someone, somehow, always has a dirty face. Whether it is literally, dirt, or food, or stray boogers or of my children has something living on their face. It makes me CRAZY! I'm obsessive with wiping their faces or sending them to wash their faces, or the dreaded...lick my thumb & wipe whatever it is off of them. Sometimes, I want to wipe the faces of children I see in restaurants, Target or anywhere...

3. I'm addicted to building LEGO sets. On any night after the kids have gone to bed, there is a chance that I'm playing with LEGOS. I really love to build them & place them on the kids desks or at their spots at the table to surprise them in the morning.
4. Pain is LEGOS. Stepping on LEGOS is a level of torture that should be saved for shoplifters & people who do their kids homework for them.

5. I want to cry every time one of my kids says, "You're the best mom" or "Mom, you're my favorite mom" or "I just think you're the best mom, Mom." I often struggle with the idea that I'm rubbish at being a mother. I have spent many nights laying awake in bed contemplating every single decision I made involving the kids that day. My kids are so bluntly honest with how they feel about people, so when they say those things to me I know that they really mean it & it makes me feel so wonderful.

6. Messes are not the worst thing to happen. Here's the deal, my house is never going to be spotless. At any given moment someone is making a mess & I can't clean it up before someone else makes another mess. Although, keeping a neater house is something I'm trying to improve this year, I'm not going to lose it every time someone spills an entire bucket of toys on the floor or pulls out 50 books that I just put away & organized by color.

7. Living life with routines, is crucial. To say that I did what I wanted & lived by the seat of my pants pre-motherhood, is quite an understatement. While I've always loved a good plan, I have always been terrible at sticking to a routine of my own. Thanks to motherhood, routines are not my own, they are dictated by the 3 little wolves whom I love so much. If routines are not stuck to, if books are not read before bed, if blankets are not tucked in in proper order, melt downs occur, little wolf rage spills out & I have to use my mommy-monster voice just to get some control back.

8. Motherhood has brought out a better, more creative, side of me. I have enjoyed DIY projects for as long as I can remember. But with having children, I can come up with any craft project or Pinterest inspired fail & someone is happy. When glitter spills all over the floor or hot glue burns 5 layers of skin off of my finger, someone laughs & we create something amazing.

9. I can pack for our entire family for a long weekend within 2 hours, but I can't decided what to make for dinner for an entire week.  Many meal plans have been tried & failed in this house. I don't know if it is because of my 3 year-shortlived career in the culinary world, where meal planning was 99% of my job or if it is because I suck at keeping my own routine or what, but I can never create or stick to a successful meal plan. Go ahead, ask me whats for dinner at 3PM tomorrow, I will have NO idea.

10. An impromptu Disney dance party can fix anyones bad day. Try it, sing Let it Go at the top of your lungs, belt out any Disney classic from 90'-98', your quality of life will improve.

11. My children will suck every ounce of positivity & energy out of me. They will also drain my ability to think complete thoughts or finish a chore. I'm not sure how but things always balance back out & I end up being able to function, happily most days.

12. The kids need just as much reassurance that they are amazing, brilliant, wonderful, smart, talented, & fantastic children, as I do about my ability to be a mother. If I'm having a bad day as a mother, chances are that they are fully aware & in some way they probably feel like it is their fault. It's not. Justin is gone a lot for work & often, well, constantly, I'm trying to make up for his absence. I try to do everything & fill the void when he is away, but the truth is that I can't be a mother & a father. I have learned now to just focus on the things that I know I CAN do, & if the Justin things do not happen all the time, we will all be okay. If we have a bad day, I make it a point to tell the kids 3 extra things that I love about them before they go to bed that night. I hope it helps them release the bad day & reassure them that no matter what kind of a day we had, I absolutely, will always love them.

Those are some of the things that I have learned through my journey this far into the land of motherhood. As I was writing this I realized that there are dozens of hilarious things I have also learned from being a mother, so watch for that list sometime soon. ;) I hope all of you who are making the journey through parenthood, are off to a great day or have had a great day...depending on when you are reading this. If you aren't or if you didn't just take a deep breath, there are more hours in the day tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to Plan a Shopping Trip & 7 Foundation Shopping Tips

I have a love-love-hate relationship with shopping. Over the last couple of years every time I make the trip into Anchorage to shop at the 5th Avenue Mall, I always come home with some amazing things, but I also come home without half of the things that I was intending on purchasing. 
When you find yourself online shopping as much as I do, sometimes venturing into an actual brick & mortar store can be overwhelming. I used to exclusively shop Sephora online when I first moved to Alaska because the only Sephora was inside of JC Penny. It is rather small & it always seemed to be really full of people & I experience a lot of anxiety when shopping in crowds. 
Now that there is a stand-alone style Sephora in the mall, I really enjoy going in to browse & shop. I'm also so happy that we have a Nordstrom as well, although I would not complain if Macy's decided to take over a square of Anchorage as well. ;) 
Next week, I have planned a shopping trip with a friend of mine & I'm super excited! The last time I was shopping in Anchorage was months ago, I was only able to shop for a couple of hours & I'm looking forward to having a full day of shopping. Since this trip is planned a bit in advance I want to actually plan what I will be shopping for so that I won't be coming home with bags of loot but nothing that I wanted. I'm going to break my shopping down by stores first & then include the random things that I want to keep an eye out for. 
Up first of course is Sephora! I keep a list of products, brands & new beauty stuff I want to try in a notebook, & on a note on my phone & scribbled all over random bits of paper. Seriously, I need to get some new notebooks & keep better track of my lists. Recently I have been having issues with my mascara & foundation so both of them are on my list of things to check out. I wanted to share my tip for finding a foundation as well...
Those are my best tips for shopping for a new foundation! While I wish I could find a drugstore foundation that I adore, I always end up disappointed so I primarily stick to high end foundations & use these tips. Recently I purchased a foundation online on a whim & it did not work out! Whatever you do, do not purchase foundation on the spot! Get those samples & apply it yourself at home, wear it for a full day & see what it wears like on your skin throughout the day. Some foundations look amazing for the first couple of hours & then wear terribly after some more time. Don't be afraid to ask for multiple samples, the stores have them & that is what they are for. After you've tried your foundation samples out & found one you LOVE, return to the store to purchase or order it online. I have a few foundations that I will be picking up samples of next week.
 1) Marc Jacobs, Genius Gel 
2.) Hellow Flawless! Benefit Oxygen WOW Liquid Foundation
 3.) Make Up Forever, HD Invisible Coverage Foundation
4.) Urban Decay, Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
5.) NARS Sheer Glow
6.) Perricone MD, No Foundation-Foundation
7.) Dior, Nude Skin-Glowing Make-Up
All of these foundations come in a range of shades & have various finishes/coverage. I will be sure to let you know how my sample collecting goes & what I think of each of them in the next few weeks. 
When it comes to mascara, I'm going to take the time to check out a few different ones to see what I can find. Since nothing I have right now is working, I'm going to go with something completely different, especially when it comes to the shape/style of the brush! 
When it comes to the rest of the stuff I'm shopping for, I have made a list of make/up beauty products as well as what stores I want to check out...
As you can see there are a couple products that I know exactly what I want & others are products that I want to take a peek at. I'm not sure I will be purchasing all of these things, but by having a list it helps me not get sidetracked into purchasing other things. I do think I want to check out some skincare stuff, but I'm not sure yet so I haven't added it my list.
These are the stores that I know I want to spend some time in. LUSH & the Buckle are both new, I'm really, really, really, excited about checking them both out!! Build a Bear just announced they are closing in a couple of weeks, so I want to maybe get each of the kids a new stuffed animal before that happens. Justin & I always talked about taking the kids to make one, but it just never happened. :( I have wanted to spend some time in Teavana for a while now, but I either run out of time or I have the kids with me. Teavana just isn't the store I feel the most comfortable taking the kids into. The girls need some new earrings & Claires is usually the best choice for little girls accessories. 
Obviously, I'm going shopping with a friend so I will also be going to whatever shops she wants to check out. I just like making a list like this so that I have some sort of a plan before really helps keep my anxiety in check & allows me to purchase the things that I really want, versus random things that I find on a whim. I also want to scope out some birthday/welcome home gifts for Justin, although he was originally supposed to be gone until the mid-end of October, it's looking like the middle of November is when he will actually make it home. His birthday is on the 23rd of November & I want to do something really fun for him this year. 
This post has gotten much longer & more ramble-y than I wanted it to be...why does that always seem to happen? ;) If you are going shopping soon let me know if this post helped you & of course share any of your shopping tips, tricks & ideas! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Feminism. For Breakfast.

Breakfast. With a Side of This...
Most of my mornings begin with a quick check of my favorite social media apps, Instagram, Twitter, bloglovin & the continuing time suck that is Facebook. Usually these quick social media viewings involve me scrolling through news feeds & tweets, liking pictures & statuses as I go. Humorous things get retweeted, photos I find interesting or inspiring get their heart button pushed. Once I feel connected with the social media friends I have, I get out of bed & begin my day. 
After this morning, I'm starting to think that I need to re-think my pre rise from bed routine. 

Last night a status came across my newsfeed. I also, end my day with social media checks. I know, I know. 

This, of course is referring to the recent events where multiple celebrities personal photographs were stolen & posted on various sites as if they were coupons to be handed out on Black Friday. 
Now, out of all of the things that have been posted, tweeted or shared since the situation became publicly known, this is probably not the most offensive.
It struck a cord with me. A irritated, upset, frustrated, cord. 
I took a couple moments to gather my thoughts & determine if it was even worth commenting on. 
Then, I realized that I'm a mother. I'm a mother with daughters. I'm a mother with daughters who will be growing into their own brilliant selves within this current culture. That was enough for me...
I commented.
As I posted my comment, I realized that it really wasn't going to change the individual's opinion of the situation. It wasn't going to impact the other people who liked or commented on this person's status. I considered deleting my comment. 

I considered deleting my comment. 

I'm not sure the exact moment where I lost my voice. I'm not sure when I became hesitant or afraid even to speak my opinion. 

To some of you, the idea of a full time blogger/YouTuber, being hesitant or afraid to speak up, may seem rather odd. The truth is, that talking about beauty products & subscription boxes is, easy for me. I don't feel vulnerable or exposed when I share my opinion about a bad product or I give something a positive review. But when it comes to issues like the one I'm sharing today, more often than not, I usually scroll right on past it & keep my comments all to myself. Or, I rant to one of my closest friends & family...
Today, this morning. I decided to change that. 

The change, really isn't that big of one for me. I used to be one of the most outspoken & bold people within my circle of people. I wasn't afraid of confrontation or calling other people out when it came to topics I didn't agree with. Thanks to a strong feminist upbringing & a high school education that came complete with weekly debates of social issues, politics & environmental issues, I was always confident with speaking my mind & standing up for what I believed in. Somewhere, along the way I lost a bit of that. Somehow, I turned down my own voice. 

Somehow, I became a closet feminist. 

Now, I went to bed last night with all of this weighing on my mind. Then I began my social media scrolling this morning & this is what I found...

WHAT the F*CK!!!!??? Is the first thing that went through my mind upon reading it. I re-read it again, making sure that my pre-coffee, one eye half open state was not effecting my ability to properly read... 
It wasn't. 

Right there. Three sentences. 
There were SO many things I wanted to write. So many things I wanted to shout. I went from pre-coffee grogginess to Beyonce I woke up like this level in about 2.5 seconds. I'm going to take the time now, to address them here on my little space of the internet instead. 

  • Leaving keys in the ignition, or keeping photographs on your iCloud is not grounds for anyone to steal ANYTHING. 
  • People are not tempting anyone when they take nude photographs of themselves. Temptation is not a justification to violate someone else's privacy. 
  • Yes, celebrities put themselves in the public eye. Yes, they often share more of their lives than is necessary. This does not mean they are not people. It does not mean that they deserve to have their private property stolen from them & distributed to the masses like free candy at a 4th of July parade. 
  • People should not be having to take extra precautions or hell, feel afraid to take nude photographs of themselves & store them on their personal iCloud accounts. 
  • Also, Mommy & Daddy buttons?! Seriously? They are vaginas, breasts & penises. If you can't even speak the words & need to hide behind juvenille descriptions of actual anatomical parts, perhaps you need to revisit your high school health class for a refresher course.  
I did leave a second & final comment on the post. 

This comment was essentially, touching on everything I mentioned above. I decided to let it all go, just like Elsa did. I did wish that I had powers of epic freezing proportions so that I could blast ice all over this dude's kingdom.
I then noticed that there were 7 likes on the original status, being the Nancy Drew sleuth that I am, I clicked to see how many of them were males. Expecting to find the majority were penis wielding members of society, I was quite shocked... 6 out of the 7 were WOMEN
What the literal, F*UCK?! 

Then I read the rest of the comments above mine. Women. Women joking about the situation. 
Ladies. Gentlemen. 
This. Bullshit. Is. Not. Funny.

To say I found a renewed appreciation for feminism is an understatement. I just wondered, if it was these individuals private photographs that had been stolen, or their bank statements or televisions, would they feel violated then? At what point has a woman's naked body become something that others feel like they have a right to take for themselves? When did it become acceptable for people to joke about the exploitation & exposure of others? A more educated person could probably answer all of those questions with historical information, facts & years of feminism power. 

I was not given another response to my comment. I was given the gift of being removed from this persons Facebook Friends list. 
Whoopsie. Looks like Christmas came early. 

When I went to use these photos on my social media platforms, I took the time to blur out the individuals profile photo & full name. Privacy. Protection for their identity. This person is not a celebrity or well known public figure. This person made rude, offensive & mis-guided comments. Yet, their personal information was treated with respect. Much less can be said for every, single, person who has ever found themselves in the heart of a horrible situation like the celebrities whose photographs were stolen & distributed over the weekend. 

This was not a scandal. Every time someone is attacked, assaulted or harmed sexually, it is not a scandal. It is a crime. It is a crime that should not be mocked, joked about or taken light heartedly. I'm not quite sure if our society will improve upon the current trend of sexual exploitation or violation in my lifetime, it is certainly not happening over night...

I know this topic is not something commonly found here on AlaskaLove12. Honestly, that might be changing. I'm sure the majority of my content will remain the same, but there might be more posts like this one in the future. 
For now, I'm having feminism for breakfast & savoring every bite of it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Renovation Daydreams | Kitchen & Dining Room

Renovation Daydreams Part I
I'm so excited to be sharing this post with all of you, because it means that we are one step closer to beginning on our massive home renovations. We have finally begun to prepare & plan to remodel our house. Over a year ago I shared a post with my inspirations for Lilliana & Danielle's room-makeover (Link). Although I really wanted to start on their room as soon as we closed on the house, Justin & I realized that their room, if we renovated the house the way we wanted to wouldn't be their room. 
I tabled my ideas for their room & honestly thanks to life, we didn't even start planning anything for the house until recently. As of now we will be starting on the downstairs with the kids rooms (Lilliana & Danielle are now going to have their own rooms.), & then moving onto the kitchen/dining room space. I will be sure to blog & vlog the entire process. 
A huge part of the process for me is being able to take the kitchen/dining room space that I have been dreaming of my entire life & forming it into a realistic design. Some girls dream of their perfect wedding throughout their childhood...I, was always thinking my dream kitchen. Back then it included a hot pink spiral staircase, pie covered wallpaper, glittery appliances & all of it was floating atop a bunch of fluffy white clouds. Okay, I have to admit that in my little day-dream land, this kitchen still exists, but since I live in a grown up reality I have to blend my childhood day dream kitchen with something more...feasible. ;) 
Of course I took to Pinterest as a starting point for my inspiration & I'm sure I will be picking up magazines, books & other things along the way. There are a few things for sure that I know I want to have in our new kitchen/dining room space, I'm going to list them & then share my Pinterest finds along with them. 
Open Shelves & A Farm House Sink
One of the main things that I want to see in our kitchen/dining room space is a more open layout with tons of natural light. Our current space has 1 window in the entire space & it's above the kitchen sink.  When we remodel the current area I know that we will be adding a bunch of windows which will allow more light as well as create a more open feeling throughout the area. In addition to the windows I do not want any top cabinets above the counters. I feel like the open shelving will add to the open-feeling of the space as well as save us some $$$ since we will not have to invest in top cabinets. 
As long as I can remember I have wanted a farmhouse style sink. I just love the way they look! The only thing I'm debating on now is if I want one that is just a single sink or one that comes divided, allowing for 2 sinks. :) 
Dark Floors & French Doors
If you only knew how long it has taken me to bring Justin over to the dark-hardwood floor side of life. Haha! Seriously, three years...three years & he has finally agreed for hardwood floors/tile in every room aside from the bed rooms! 
While I love the look of reclaimed wood floors like the one shown in the top right picture, I'm not sure how possible it is here in Alaska. There just aren't as many places to salvage material from. If it isn't possible I know we will be going with a dark hardwood option. 
One of the things I'm looking forward to the most is having a small porch off of the kitchen/dining room. The only door option I can even imagine there are French Doors. My grandparents have french doors throughout their house & they are one of my favorite things when I see homes/pictures of design ideas. 
Industrial-Rustic Accents & Chalk Board Spaces
The one thing that I keep being rather undecided on, is the color palette for the entire space. I go back & forth between a white on white look or something that is much more dramatic & dark. With the addition of the windows & french doors, I feel like darker colors will be possible. I'm just not sure yet! 
I do love the rustic-industrial look of the kitchens I've shown here. I especially like the contrast of the chalkboard against the wood accents. I have always wanted a chalkboard wall in my home & I think the kitchen/dining room space will be just perfect for it. 
I'm pretty much obsessed with the kitchen in the top left picture. It was really the one that started my inspiration for a darker color palette for the entire space. 
This is one of the color palettes that I'm looking at for inspiration. I really love the super dark shade in the middle & of course the teal! 
Well guys, those are my current inspirations for our soon-but-not-too-soon to be renovated/remodeled kitchen/dining room space. We are probably about a year away from starting this process since we need to start with the downstairs first, but I will be sure to keep all of you updated with what we are doing & I will be sharing my inspirations for all of the rooms/spaces we are planning on working on. :) 
If you want to see more posts that have inspired my ideas for our house you can check out my Pinterest! I will link the board that these pictures came from as well as my entire Pinterest account below!
House Remodel-Kitchen & Dining Room (Link)
My Pinterest (Link)