Sunday, August 30, 2015

The pregnancy I didn't want. See also: Joy.

This is a tough one, folks. I don't like admitting what I'm about to admit, mostly because I know that there are so many people struggling with problems so different from mine, and those problems make my problems look more like "problems," if you know what I mean.

But I hope you know that I'm just trying to keep it real here. I just need an outlet to get my feelings out, and to be as genuine as possible, and to maybe help someone else who might be feeling the same, you know? I'm not trying to offend or hurt anyone. I promise.

So with that out of the way...here's the thing: I didn't want this pregnancy.

Um...at all.

As in, I started crying uncontrollably when the word "pregnant" popped up on that dang stick on that dang Monday morning. And I went to the store immediately and bought three more pregnancy tests. And when one of them didn't really look super positive, I convinced myself that THAT was the real one. So I went and bought two more and took those (spoiler alert: positive!). And in between all the Sonic drinks and the peeing and the paranoid-that-I-would-see-someone-I-know shopping was a whole lot of crying.

I remember Dallin getting home that night and starting to talk about his day, as usual. And then he really looked at me, and he asked me how I was, and I said "I'm pregnant," and he was like "What?!" and so I said it again. And then I just broke down and he just held me.

I remember when we first got married, I thought the idea of a surprise pregnancy was oh so romantic. Like "Yeah, we weren't trying, but we just couldn't keep our hands off each other, so I guess these things happen!" #winkwinknudgenudge . And I remember being just the teeniest, tiniest bit disappointed when we started "trying." I mean, where's the fun in that?

And then, three "on purpose" babies later, you're like "Okay, maybe we got a little carried away," and you love your babies with all your heart... but you're really just ready to take a break for a while.

But of course, trying "not to" is a whole different beast. You think it's simple, right? Just take the pill. Get the IUD. Hold everything and grab a condom. Track your cycle and your temperature and become super well acquainted with things you never wanted to even think about (cervical mucus, anyone?). Something's gotta work. Just do it right. Just be careful.

And the next thing you know you're carrying a 44 oz drink around at your third CVS run for the day, praying that just maybe those other tests didn't know what they were talking about.

And you feel a lot of shame.

I felt so bad for feeling so bad about this. How could I not want this blessing that so many people were, at that very moment, praying for? How could I be crying in sadness at a result that would have most women crying in happiness and gratitude? How could I be so cruel?

I didn't like myself for a long time. And I held off telling other people about the pregnancy because, quite frankly, I couldn't say anything without crying. I just couldn't deny my sadness. And every time I threw up or hit that wall of fatigue that seemed to pop up so often, I would think "And I didn't even ask for this!" Every time I got frustrated or downright fed up with my kids, I would think "There is NO WAY I can add another one to this mix. I can't do it."

It was rough.

I wish I had some great story about the moment my attitude changed. But honestly, I think it just happened slowly over time. It started with a conscious decision, maybe around the start of my second trimester. I recognized that I had allowed myself to "grieve." I had given myself time to be sad about this, and that time needed to be over. I needed to get over the sadness and start to have a little faith -- faith that this baby was meant for out family, that I have people -- super awesome GREAT people -- in my corner to help me, and that I could become a better person and mother because of this experience.

And no, I don't remember when exactly that happened...but I do remember when I realized it had happened.

I was driving to pick up two of the kids from my sister, who watches them while I work. For some reason, I had Charly with me, and we were talking about her upcoming birthday party. She had been insisting on a "Signing Time" themed party, but that day, she had temporarily changed her mind, and wanted a Sadness theme -- as in the character of Sadness, from "Inside Out."

My mind wandered and I thought about that movie. Have you seen it? (Side note: If not, GO SEE IT. It's seriously probably in my top 10 favorite movies now. Love it.) Well, as I thought about it, I thought about the surprisingly profound messages in it -- messages about emotions, and how they aren't always black or white (or yellow or blue as the case may be), but are often complex and complicated. Emotions play off of each other, affect each other, and rely on each other. The movie demonstrates this beautifully as the main character learns this specific lesson:

that sometimes, it is Sadness that allows us to feel Joy. 

This phrase struck a chord in my head and in my heart. As I thought about the sadness that I had felt so many times over the past few months, I realized that it was gone, but that it hadn't been for nothing. I realized that maybe I hadn't wanted this pregnancy, but I wanted this baby. So much. I was excited to meet her and take her home and have her be mine forever. And remembering the sadness made the joy that much more meaningful.

And I thought about joy, and how I wanted my baby to feel it like Joy feels it in the movie, like I felt it in that moment -- unadulterated and absolute. I wanted her to know that she's wanted and loved, and that she always has been and always will be. It felt important to be deliberate about it.

Neither of my older girls has a middle name. I never had one and never felt like I was missing out. And with this baby girl, we had all but settled on a name, but it never felt 100% right. Not until that moment, driving in my car, when I knew that this baby needed a middle name. And even though it's possibly a little weird that that name was inspired by a Pixar character, it felt so right. And now that she's here, it still feels right.


Which brings us to an introduction. Allow me to present:
Amelia Joy Harris


One of the greatest joys of my life; and a product of one of the saddest times I can remember. 

I hope this all makes sense. I hope no one hates me for writing this, and for these feelings I've had. I hope you know how much I love my kids, and how willing I would be to go through anything for any of them. 

And I hope that maybe, if you're going through something that's bringing you sadness, it'll end up bringing you this much joy, too.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How I really feel about being pregnant

You probably think you already know how I feel about being pregnant, huh?

You've probably read this post. And this one. And maybe this one.

Or maybe you've had the misfortune of actually seeing me and my cankles lately, and you've actually heard me complain about how tired I am, and how much my hips hurt, and how my fingers are swelling for the first time in any of my pregnancies, and speaking of swelling have you seen these cankles?

And after you read/heard all the complaint junk, you thought to yourself, "Man, that poor girl is just miserable! She's over there complaining about sleep and back pain and drinking water and anxiety and hormones and peeing and waddling. She hates being pregnant. Guess I can't blame her though...those cankles..."

And well, you might not believe me when I say this, but you're actually totally wrong.

Pregnancy is full of challenges. This pregnancy has certainly had enough. And I know I've done my fair share of complaining, and possibly beyond my fair share. Am I stealing someone else's share of pregnancy complaints? Yikes. Sorry about that.

But really, the truth is... I love being pregnant. Cross my heart and hope to die, I do. I love it. I've missed it in between all my other pregnancies, and I'll miss it again after this baby is born.

The thing is, being pregnant has its perks. Sure, some of them are pretty shallow. You get to park in those amazing parking spots (that every store on Earth should have, by the way). You get to shop for new clothes because darn, none of your old stuff fits! You get to flaunt a cute bump (can we all just agree that baby bumps are pretty darn cute?). You can justify eating almost anything, at almost any time. And you get so much attention, am I right? (See? Shallow.)

And then, there's the not so shallow things. There's seeing a little human that oh, you happened to CREATE, for the first time as a little gray blob on an ultrasound screen. And crying when you hear that heartbeat thumping impossibly fast. And there's feeling that first little flutter and wondering if it just might be a kick. And then feeling a slightly bigger flutter and realizing that holy heck, it is a kick! And then having those kicks keep you company day and night for months and months.

There's also so much joyful anticipation. Waiting for your belly to finally look like a belly. Waiting to find out if it's a boy or a girl. Waiting for that cute, tiny outfit you ordered online to finally arrive at your door so you can hold it up and marvel at how tiny it is. Waiting to see when she'll really come, when her birthday will be for the rest of her life, how long it'll take her to get here, and whose nose she'll have. It's the kind of waiting that makes you think you can't possibly wait. The best kind.

But honestly, my favorite thing about pregnancy is that it makes you automatically special, somehow, and it takes one look at you to know it. You are constantly working to physically sustain a LIFE. You are eating differently, stressing over medications, changing your physical activity. Every choice that you make directly impacts another person.

And it's not just any other person: it's another person that you wholeheartedly love, but technically have never met. It's a person who you want to give the world to, but all you can really do is gently press back on her feet when she presses them against the inside of your belly, or give her Phish Food when she tells you that she wants it, or spend hours thinking about what you could name her because she has to have just the perfect name, and when you finally pick one it just feels so right that, of course, it makes you cry.

And you know you'll never have time like this, with just the two of you, ever again. Her little kicks will no longer be yours to share. She'll learn to rely on other things for food and entertainment and comfort. She'll learn to love a world outside her mama. And you want her to, of course. But maybe not today, you know?

Anyway, I really just felt the need to let you all know that this is how I really feel. I might come across as negative, and I might actually BE negative sometimes, and I'm sorry for that. But in my heart of hearts, this is how I really feel about being pregnant: Happy. Content. Special.

And blessed. Very, very blessed.

Wish me luck over the next couple days, friends. It's about to get real.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Trying New Things: July 2015

Ah -- August 2015. We meet at last.

Seriously, this is the month I've been fearing/anticipating/dreading/waiting for for a while now. I'm excited about everything this month is going to bring, but I'm also nervous about my ability to handle it all. Just keep swimming, right?

Or maybe, just keep blogging? My regular Stitch Fix post isn't happening this month, because (a) who knows when the baby is going to come? (b) who knows what my body is going to look like after the baby comes? (c) whether my box arrived pre-baby or post-baby, this month is not one for modeling, if you know what I'm sayin'. But never fear - I'm planning on starting those up again in September!

I can, however, proceed as usual with my "Trying New Things" post! This is just a chance for me to share some new things I've tried over the past month. I really enjoy these posts and I hope they help you find new things for you and your family, too!

(Also, this probably goes without saying, but you should know that nothing in this post is sponsored or officially promoted at all, and there are no affiliate links. I'm just chatting with friends about some chat-worthy things!)


Let's begin with: theSkimm .

theSkimm is a free, emailed newsletter sent out every weekday that gives a brief summary of current, major news stories. It's basically a way to "skim" the news (get it?).

Some things I love about theSkimm:
  • Brief summaries of news stories, but with links to full stories if you need more info
  • Fun to read. They use a very conversational tone (almost to a fault sometimes, in fact) and they keep things simple.
  • Makes it easy to keep up to date on current events. 
  • Lately they've been doing interviews with presidential candidates, which has been super interesting. They've interviewed candidates from both major parties, so you can kind of see what each person is like and where their political focus is.
  • Even if I'm not interested in any of a particular day's stories, reading through the entire email takes about 5 minutes, tops. 
That being said, theSkimm isn't perfect. If I'm being completely honest, I've gotta say that their tone of writing can be borderline irreverent at times, which kind of rubs me the wrong way. But that's really my only major complaint. I've really enjoyed reading their emails each morning and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to be "in the know" on current events without hopping from website to website.


Pixi Correction Concentrate

I tend to look tired lately. Can you blame me? Something about growing a human while taking care of other humans...it's exhausting. Add to that the fact that you have a hard time sleeping because you have a zillion things running through your brain, and well, your physical appearance starts to suffer a bit.

I've tried a few under-eye concealers/brighteners before, with mixed results. This is my favorite, by far.


Why so good? Well, for starters, a little goes a long way. Just dab your ring finger or pinky in there once, or maybe twice, and that's really all you need. I seriously think a tub of this stuff will last me a year. And it was only like $10! Which is seriously a steal compared to many alternatives. The coverage is good, with peachy undertones to cancel out those bluish circles. It doesn't cake and comes off on my makeup removing wipe at the end of the day (the ultimate test!). It also blends well and is rather idiot-proof when it comes to application, which is kind of a must for me in the makeup department. 

Here's my before and after, with no other changes:


(Okay, so now that I look at it, I might have made one other change and licked my lips in between photos. They look much more lively in the second photo, am I right?)

But honestly, I feel like my entire face is brighter in that second photo!

So if you're tired and you look it (which is very close to being sexy and knowing it), you should try this stuff out. Get it at Target, yo.


And last but not least -- Folex.



Folex has been on my radar for a while now. It's a carpet and upholstery cleaner that apparently tap dances and makes the heavens open and rain down Dove chocolate promises that land in your hand and not on your head (because, ouch). 

Seriously though, this stuff has a good rep

So when a mysterious black spot showed up in a very conspicuous place in our hallway at the top of the stairs, I knew it was time to try the infamous Folex. I picked some up at Home Depot for maybe like $7? It's a good sized bottle and will last a while. 

And did it work? Well, you tell me:


Oh yeah, it worked. Fast and well. You just spray it on, agitate with your fingers (yes, it specifically says to use your fingers...which I don't love, but whatever), dab with a cloth, and voila!

While it's sold as a "carpet stain remover," it is safe to use on any color-fast material -- including clothing and upholstery. I already used it on our nursery's La-Z-Boy and our kitchen table chairs. I'm planning on tackling the van floor next. It's also odorless, which I definitely appreciate. I'd say this is a product that lives up to the hype around it!


So there are my "new things" I tried out in July. What do you think -- will you be trying any of them? Or have you tried something lately I should know about?

Except don't recommend the Oreo Thins, because I got a free package of them and am now thoroughly convinced that they serve absolutely no purpose other than to sell Double Stuf Oreos. IF YOU CANNOT TASTE THE CREAM THEN WHAT IS LIFE?

But anyway, I digress. Oreos do that to me. Happy August! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

38 weeks. THIRTY.EIGHT.WEEKS.

38 is reeeeally close to 40, in case you didn't know. So let's squeeze one last update in here before this little girl arrives.


Due date: Drumroll please.....brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....August 11! Surprised? Although I gotta tell you, I am crossing my fingers, toes, and especially legs that this baby does not come on August 11. My dear firstborn starts Kindergarten (wipe a tear!) on the 12th, so there's all kinds of Meet-the-Teacher/Orientation/First Day nonsense on the 10th-12th. And don't even make me think about the crazy emotions that would be involved if these two very emotional events happened within a day or two of each other. Shudder. 

Weight gain: Blegh. Right around 37 pounds. I'm definitely on track to gain more with this baby than any other. The good (?) news is I've been swelling a lot more this time than with my others, so let's chalk it up to swelling and say that it'll go away soon after delivery, mmmmkay? 

Baby size: Come on, baby tracker app! Don't let me down! Baby is the size of a....spaghetti squash! Yay for a food I've actually eaten! Even if I don't like it! Huzzah!

Sleep: Sleep has been kinda bad lately. Remember our old friend SPD? Well he is back with a vengeance and this time he's attacking in the night. It's weird to think that something like laying down could actually make something worse, but...wow. Rolling over in bed is pretty much equivalent to torture. It hurts something fierce. And it's just one of those super fun pregnancy things that you can't really do much about! So....awesome!

Aches/pains: See above. But also, my back has finally decided to join the party. And it hurts when I sit or stand for more than three minutes at a time. So, if you do the math, you'll notice that I can't stand, sit, or lie down without being in a good amount of pain. Seriously, though -- am I being punk'd?

Cravings: Not really much of anything. I'm trying to drown myself in water and it honestly takes away my appetite. I haven't really had any "Dallin jump out of bed and go get this NOW" sort of craving, but maybe I need to make that happen in the next few days because really, when else are you allowed to do that?

Baby prep: A new category for this last update, mostly because it's all I can think about nowadays. I've been able to get quite a bit done but it seems like there's always more to do. Mostly, though, I'd say we're ready to go. She certainly has enough clothes! And holycowguys, they're all so cute and little! 

Random: I'm still on that emotional roller coaster. I go from super excited and "I can do this!" to super freaked out and "WOW I CAN'T DO THIS" more often than I care to admit. 

Also, if I haven't mentioned this before, I've got the BEST teammate I could ask for in Dallin. He has been amazingly helpful with housework and kid stuff when he gets home. He lets me cry at him and he tells me I'm beautiful. He encourages me to eat ice cream on bad days and he reminds me to drink water and exercise because he knows how much I want to want to do those things. He's a superhero. For reals. I don't know what I'd do without him in my corner.

And I'd say that's a wrap! Stay tuned for a possibly sappy post about pregnancy, because I just have all the feelings lately. 

Thank you for being a friend!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ever have one of those days...

...when you have the ambition but not the focus?

...when you have the to-do list that you just can't seem to get done?

...when all you can think about is getting your house ready for a new baby (#nesting) but you've been contracting every 5 minutes for a while now and it's just sucking the energy out of you?

...when your three-year-old tells you your bum is probably too big for the toilet?

...when you simultaneously feel ravenously hungry but also sick to your stomach (just enough that you can't think of anything that you actually want to eat)?

...when your feet and your hands are still swelling despite all the water you've been forcing yourself to drink (reminder: you hate drinking water)?

...when your kids yell for you until you waddle painfully come downstairs and all they wanted was for you to move the box of Cheerios? Like, just move it to the other side of the table?

...when you cry actual, streaming down your cheeks tears for all of the following reasons:

  • you ate the last piece of chocolate -- the LAST PIECE OF CHOCOLATE (other than the chocolate chips, but the chocolate chips just aren't cutting it lately)
  • you're too hot to wear a sweatshirt and a sweatshirt sounds incredibly comfortable
  • you finally settle on wearing a comfy Mickey Mouse shirt and it just makes you miss Disneyland so freaking much
  • you read "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" to your kids at bedtime and the line "Will there be enough room?" makes you think about how there can't possibly be enough room in your home, heart, or washing machine for another baby, and yet here she comes!
  • you have to pee. Again.
  • no reason at all. Seriously.
(Side confession: I have no idea how to punctuate any of the above. It's all one big question...but where does the question mark go? Let's put it here: ?. There.)

...when you see an Instagram post by a complete stranger whom you totally admire, and even though she's talking about hard stuff she's going through, it makes you feel like you could never possibly be that cool/successful/impactful?

...when the above sends you into a "What am I doing with my life?" sort of downward spiral, and the answer you come up with is "I'm having kids. I'm being a mom." and you know that that should make you feel better, but right now it just kind of doesn't? And then that makes you feel guilty?


This all sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? These are reasons to laugh/plan/rest/think/grow, not dissolve into a hopeless puddle with a nose that's too stuffed up to even blow properly.

Add to all this the fact that my big goal right now is positivity, and the whole thing becomes particularly laughable, because #fail. Or, to be slightly more positive about it, #failfortoday. 

I guess the thing is, some days are just like this. Some days just send your common sense packing and your hormones to the Tower of Terror and your kids to bed as early as possible.

But that day is over. That day was yesterday. Today, I had a cupcake for breakfast (bless you, Jenna). Today, I'm going to wear a dress and get my hair colored. And I'm buying some chocolate. And I'm going to try my hardest to drink a blasted gallon of water (20 oz down as I'm writing this!). And I'm going to exercise. And I'm going to hug my babies when they wake up, and plan on saying "I love you" to each of them, maybe more than once. And hopefully I'm going to take a minute to just sit and rest my hand on this beautiful belly and think about my little girl in there and about how, if I just calm down and think about it, there really is enough room for her everywhere. 

Yes, today will be one of those days.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stitch Fix Maternity - July 2015

Whoa, another Stitch Fix already?!

I'm sure you know all about Stitch Fix by now. But here's a quick rundown of how it works:

{about stitch fix}

Stitch Fix is an online styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces that a personal stylist has chosen just for you, based on your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even your Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and then return what you don't want in your return bag (postage is prepaid!). Your $20 styling fee applies to anything you purchase, and if you love everything, you get a 25% discount on your entire box!

So basically, it's a ton of fun. You can choose to receive just one box (no subscription required!), or you can subscribe to receive boxes every 2-3 weeks, monthly, every other month, or quarterly. Basically, when you need a fix, you can get one. That sounds weird, but whatever.

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now, and if you haven't heard, I'm pregnant. So yay!


{my maternity stitch fix - july 2015}

This is my fifth maternity Stitch Fix! (read about my others hereherehere, and here if you want. Quite the trip down memory lane! P.S. I ended up keeping the blue dolman top from last month, even though popular opinion favored the green. Sorry guys; I trust you...I just had to go with my gut!).

I was apprehensive about this box for a couple reasons. The first is that the arrival of this box kind of snuck up on me, and by the time I went to the Stitch Fix site to put in a monthly note for my stylist, the box was already in the works! So I didn't get to make any special requests. The other reason I was nervous is that I'm so close to the end of this pregnancy (5 WEEKS, PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.) and I'm hesitant to buy any new clothes at this point, whether maternity or not. The exception is good nursing tops...but I didn't get to put that in my note to my stylist (see point 1). So I feel like this box may be doomed to failure before it's even opened!

But let's decide that together, shall we? Without further ado, my July box:


Loveappella Maternity Augusta Maternity Dress ($68)

first impressions: Well, I'm a sucker for a striped dress! The biggest question marks here are (1) length and (2) how maternity-ish it looks (since the end is so near!)

on me:



thoughts: Well...that didn't go so well. It's not horrible...it's super soft and comfortable, and it's not terribly clingy. I don't think it looks too blatantly maternity, either. But...it's too short! If it was a couple inches longer, this would probably be a keeper. As it is, I can't walk around without showing too much leg (for my LDS garments, that is). RETURN. 


Mavi Freida Maternity Regular Length Jean ($98)

first impressions: Womp womp. Sorry, but the time to buy maternity jeans has passed. I needed these three boxes ago, but I don't need them now! 

thoughts: I tried on the pants anyway (no pics though, obviously), and I've gotta say: I might be in trouble with Stitch Fix when I actually need to buy jeans. Both of the pairs they've sent me -- even though I've returned both of them -- have fit well and have been high quality. Biggest complaint about these jeans in particular (in case any of you are looking for maternity jeans to request in a box), is that the panel was ridiculously big. I mean, my belly ain't no small thing nowadays, and I think this panel would have stretched over all three of my girls if I had wanted it to (if you know what I mean...). RETURN. 


Loveappella Maternity Shanna Lace Detail Maternity Knit Top ($48)

first impressions: Oh, hello shirt that is everything I love in life. Casual comfort with a touch of class? Navy blue? Sign me the heck up.

on me:




thoughts: Okay, this one might be a heartbreaker. I love love heart-eye emoji love the style of this shirt. But remember those garments I mentioned above? Well, this (unlined) lace would show off those things pretty darn obviously without an undershirt. (Side note: it would definitely show off anything other than a strapless bra, too, so keep that in mind). So I threw on an undershirt to see how that would look, and there's quite the gap there (see bottom pic), so it looks a little silly. And yeah, I tried an ivory undershirt also. It still looked silly. Also, this is technically a maternity shirt, complete with the tell-tale ruching at the bottom. But gosh dang it, I'd probably wear it anyway! It's the lace problem that is really holding me up here. UNDECIDED. 


Daniel Rainn Minal V-Neck 3/4 Sleeve Solid Blouse ($68)

first impressions: 3/4 sleeve is good: even though it's warm outside (#understatement), I'd still feel okay about wearing this on date nights or to church, and obviously once it cools down a bit. Buttons on front could be good for nursing! Also, pricey. 

on me:





thoughts: I feel like this shirt looks good from afar, and then you get up close and all you can see are the wrinkles and the occasional peek-a-boo inside my shirt from the buttons being just slightly too loose. Oh, and those buttons are NOT nursing friendly. They are little metal cone-shaped buttons, and they are very hard to unfasten and fasten. No bueno. But pretty color, eh? RETURN. 


Daniel Rainn Bilson Pleated Blouse ($68)

first impressions: The print is one of those vintage-y prints that you can't decide if it belongs in your grandma's closet (to stay) or on a wannabe-stylin' momma. Other than that, it looks cute!

on me:




thoughts: Yes, my biggest question mark here is the print. This top would actually work very well for nursing, since it has normal buttons down the front. It's also NOT a maternity top, so yay for that. The fabric is lightweight, but not super breathable, so it's probably either strictly a "night out" shirt or a "wait until Fall" shirt, both of which I'm okay with. So what do you think about the print? UNDECIDED.


{verdict}

I'm struggling a bit with this box. I think it was very much "my style." I mean, a comfy dress, dat navy/lace top, a pretty colored top with a little edge, comfy jeans, and a little femininity to balance it all out. That sounds like my wardrobe in a nutshell. But obviously, each piece had something holding me back from really falling in love. I think of all the pieces, the floral top is most likely to get good wear, but can I pull off the print?

And thus ends my relationship with Stitch Fix maternity! I'm thinking I'll request all non-maternity pieces for my next fix, since you know, the baby will probably get here before the box does! Think they have anything that's spit-up repellant? Or maybe scented, to cover up the fact that I won't have showered in 3-5 days, but who's counting?

Scented clothing. Brilliant. You heard it here first, folks!

Disclosure: Links to Stitch Fix are referral links that reward me if someone happens to sign up through them! Yay!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trying new things: June 2015

Every time I write one of these, I want to start the post by saying "It's that time of the month again!"

And then I'm like..."Nope, can't say that. I'm pregnant!"

And then I'm like..."Dude, even if you weren't pregnant, you couldn't say that."

And then I'm like..."True."

And thus was born the most awkward blog post opening of all time.

But seriously, I do this every month. I have this weird love of trying new products, and I love talking about them! Especially if I end up loving them -- but also if I don't end up loving them, because then it'll save you a bad buy, right? Of course right.

So take a look at the things I tried in June. Hopefully my thoughts are helpful to someone out there!

(Oh, and just so you know, I'm not nearly cool enough to use affiliate links or receive free products to review. We're just friends here, talking about some cool shtuff!)


OxiClean White Revive Laundry Stain Remover 
We can get some pretty intense clothing stains around these parts. Parker alone has a tendency to get anything and everything on his clothes. 

I've tried a few different stain removing products, and most of them were pretty meh. They made some difference, but nothing huge, and the stains were usually still there. I also tried the dawn/baking soda/hydrogen peroxide concoction that so many people seem to swear by, and it faded the shirt terribly.

I originally tried this OxiClean product to use with my exclusively white loads to keep them from getting dingy (or, you know, dingy-er). And I'm happy with how it does that, honest. It also has a super clean, fresh smell that I kind of love (and most smells aren't my friends nowadays). But I decided to really put this to the test with this shirt of Parker's:


Guys, I don't even know what was on there. There's the obvious giant red splotches, but there's also brown smears at the bottom, and some weird bluish-black substance near the top. Oh, and did I mention that the shirt sat like this for literally weeks in my laundry room, waiting for me to tackle its stains? Yeah, this was a toughie. 

Except...it wasn't! Wanting to give the OxiClean its best chance, I soaked the shirt in it for about 4 hours. I used quite a bit of it (I threw some cleaning rags and towels in there so it wasn't a total waste of product and water), but I kept it in cold water since I didn't want the shirt to shrink. (Oh and I threw in one of these in case the red on the shirt decided to get rebellious). Well, after soaking and then washing normally...


  
Stains be gone! I honestly couldn't believe how well this worked. I got right up to the shirt and seriously cannot see a single trace of any of the various stains that plagued it previously. Not only that, but the red sleeves weren't faded at all. At all!

So obviously, I recommend this stuff. I got it at Walmart but have seen it at Target also. I'm sure it's pretty much everywhere. 


Next, let's talk about LUSH foot products -- Volcano foot mask, Stepping Stone foot scrub, and Fair Trade foot lotion.

My feet have been in baaaad shape lately. Tired, dry, rough, blegh. I don't get pedicures very often (ain't no-mama got time for that) and adding pregnancy into the mix certainly didn't help matters.

LUSH is kind of a love-hate thing for me. There are a couple products that I can't live without -- this shampoo and this face mask are regular buys -- but I've also tried a few things that I've found overpriced and not super effective. I also can't use their ever-popular bath bombs or bath melts because they tend to irritate my usually-not-sensitive skin.

The last time I went into a LUSH store to get a new face mask, I brought up my foot concerns to an employee and was immediately led to this line (their workers are super passionate about pretty much every product in the store. They will try like heck to upsell you and their passion actually makes them annoyingly good at it, darn them. Don't say I didn't warn you!). I ended up buying the smaller size of the Volcano foot mask ($13.50) and a Stepping Stone ($4.50), and I got a generous sample of the Fair Trade lotion (they are usually great about giving out samples, especially if you're buying something else!).

The verdicts:

 
The foot mask wasn't exactly easy or convenient to use (although my big belly might have had something to do with that). You're supposed to wrap your feet in plastic wrap immediately after applying to keep it from drying out super fast. Then you sit for several minutes while it works its magic. I'll also say that this is not a "a little goes a long way" type thing. It has a super thick, clay-like consistency that doesn't spread well. The small jar only last me for two uses. Despite the downsides, though, I'd definitely say it's an effective product. My feet felt tingly in the best way possible, and much smoother and more "refreshed." I also felt the effects for a while; much longer than even with a good pedicure.


I had high hopes for this little scrubber, especially since it was the cheapest of the bunch and potentially the best buy. But I'd say I was ultimately disappointed. It was difficult to use; it essentially dissolved the second you tried to use it. And it wasn't super "scrubby" once it dissolved, so it really didn't do much beyond leaving my bathtub looking like Elphaba had melted in there. Maybe if you used a brush or something to scrub this in, it would work better. I will say that I used some on my elbows and it left them actually feeling smoother. So maybe it will work on feet that aren't in as bad of shape as mine.


Go figure that my favorite of the three products would be the one that I didn't actually buy! I've got to go back for more of this stuff. It's cooling, softening, and has a nice consistency that is kind of whipped and light, although it sinks in well. You don't need very much; I'd imagine that the jar will last a while. It also smells yummy -- pepperminty with a tiny hint of chocolate. This is a good one, folks. My flip flop feet approve!

So if your feet need a little TLC, drop in to a LUSH store and try out a product or two. They will actually do in-store foot treatments, which might help you decide which products work best for you!


Lastly, for something a little different, is a podcast: Spawned.


I started listening to podcasts in earnest when I was pregnant with Parker, and I kind of love them now. Is it just an adult thing to love to listen to talk radio-esque things? I remember giving my dad a hard time about listening to talk radio, but podcasts are kind of the bomb. And they're totally different from lame talk radio, right? (crickets) I love that I can listen to them whenever (cleaning, working, driving, etc.) and that it feels like I'm doing something productive while I'm doing something else productive. #winwin

I have a few podcasts I listen to regularly, including this Disneyland podcast, this happiness podcast, and this motherhood podcast. This particular one, Spawned, is newer -- they're only about 4 episodes in -- but it's so fun and I already get excited when a new episode is released. 

The two hosts have a good energy and chemistry, and their attitude toward parenting is positive, but also just a little bit irreverent, which is totally my jam. They also talk about interesting topics that are a little more universally appealing than many of the other parenting podcasts I've listened to. 

I give this one two thumbs up. Give it a listen, eh?


So there are a few things that I discovered in June! Any of them spark your interest? Anything you've tried lately that you'd recommend? Thanks for reading!