Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My first "bad" haircut (a confession)

It happened to me.

It took almost 28 years, but it happened.

I got a bad haircut.

It was bound to happen sometime, right? I mean, the horror stories are all over the place. And I thought I knew how to avoid becoming one:

1) Go to a stylist you trust.
2) Show them pictures of what you want.
3) Be specific.

Success is in the bag, right?

Not right. NOT RIGHT.

I followed all of those steps and I still ended up with something I wasn't happy with.

Now, to be fair, just because I was unhappy with it might not mean that it was an objectively "bad" cut. I won't pretend to know anything about technique or whatever when it comes to cutting hair.

But I do know that this is what I wanted:

and that's not what I got. (Ha, you don't get a picture of what I got. Mostly because I didn't couldn't get a good picture of it.)

(Side note: Can I just say that I ALWAYS end up with a pic of Emma Stone for my hair inspiration? That girl has got it goin' on. Plus she has more of a round face, like yours truly, so it all kind of works out. Side note over.)

I got something similarish...but about 2-3 inches shorter. So right at chin length. ^^That cut is NOT chin length. Am I right? I'm right. 

Chin length + blunt cut + round face = bad news. It added weight to my face in all the wrong places. It looked more 60s mod than modern and fresh. 

I tried for a few hours to accept it. When I got home, I teased it and played with it and texturized it, trying to style it into something I loved. I tried to accept the kind words from my husband, mom, and sister. 

And then I went to Costco. And I realized that I didn't want anyone to look at me.

And I broke down. Hard.

Gosh, guys. That's embarrassing. I mean, I'd like to think that I'm a believer in "real" beauty. You know...

"What you look like isn't who you are."
"Nobody looks perfect all the time."
"Who cares what anyone looks like, anyway?"
"It's totally unfair that 'society' pressures us into putting so much value on our appearance." 
"I'm so glad I'm beyond all that!"

Except apparently, I'm not. Like, really not.

I let Dallin cancel our plans for the evening. I had a long, hard cry into his shoulder. Every time I thought about it, I got upset all over again.  I was a grumpy, emotional mess. The following morning, as early as I could, I called a salon to see if they could get me in that day. When they couldn't, I called another one that could.

And I was ashamed about how much I cared. I was so goshdarn ashamed that I freaking cared so much. 

That's why I'm writing this post, really. Not to tell you a funny story about a haircut gone wrong. Not to tell you to never go to my stylist if you're in my area (because she's a lovely girl and has given me some great haircuts in the past, honest!). Not to tell you that yes, I did get a haircut to "fix" my haircut, and while what I have now isn't what I had originally envisioned, I'm pretty happy with it. 

No, this post is a confession. 

I confess, here and now, that I am not immune to the pressure to look a certain way. I am not above caring about my appearance. I do not have the confidence to feel good about myself even if I don't feel good about the way I look. There. I said it. 

To be fair to myself, I do feel like I've made some improvement in this area in recent years. It's also a topic that's been on my mind recently -- the idea of beauty and "realness" and how people present themselves and what makes us happy and what it all meeeeans, man (said in my most hippie-ish voice). Those thoughts are slowly organizing themselves into a post that will hopefully have a little more purpose behind it than to simply confess. 

But for now, before I get all preachy, I just want you to know that I'm in the trenches here. I'm really, honestly and truly, figuring this out. And I will figure it out, because I really do believe all those lovely "inner beauty" sentiments that are floating around out there. I just need to internalize them.

So I'd love to know...have you ever had a bad haircut? Or some other appearance related "disaster" that made you want to disappear? Ever?

...somebody please say yes. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Stitch Fix Maternity - May 2015

What time is it?

It's Stitch Fix time!

(And also maybe time to stop watching Bubble Guppies.)

What is Stitch Fix? Well, I'm glad you asked.

{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.

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now, which is great for me!.

{my maternity stitch fix - may 2015}

This is my third maternity Stitch Fix (read about my first here and my second here). Confession: I actually discovered a way to cheat and see what was going to be in my box ahead of time (go ahead, slap my wrist), so while I wasn't necessarily surprised when I tore into my box, I was still incredibly excited!

Here's what I found...

41Hawthorn Beatrice Exposed Zipper Dolman Top ($58)

first impressions: Nice, flowy material. Could be a winner, assuming the solid black isn't too boring and the "dolman" isn't too frumpy looking. Do I have a nice, solid black top? No, I don't.

on me:

thoughts: Holy cow, I love this shirt. The black isn't too boring thanks to the cut of the shirt and the exposed zipper (which is perfectly and completely visible, thanks to my new haircut). The fabric is just the right balance of clingy and flowy, which makes the dolman style really work. I like the longer sleeve length. AND this isn't a maternity top. AND the fabric is stretchy enough, and the neckline low enough, to be perfect for breastfeeding. Really, you guys. I just love it. Just try to take it away from me. KEEP

Bancroft Leighton Metal Bauble Necklace ($34)

first impressions:  A little more than I like to spend on jewelry. 

on me:

thoughts: Obviously, a really pretty necklace. It's a good mixture of bold and classic, which is the sweet spot I like to hit with "statement" jewelry. I'd certainly wear it a lot. But the price. I just can't get over the price! Could I find this necklace for half the cost at Target or Charming Charlie? Should I be applying the same principle of "buy fewer, nicer things" to my jewelry as well as to my clothes? Help me out, guys! I really don't know! UNDECIDED.

Gilli Gabbiey Sleeveless Maxi Dress ($74)

first impressions:  Really, Stitch Fix? Another sleeveless dress?

on me:
Ha. No. Sorry. 

thoughts: No. Really, no. Besides the fact that this is sleeveless, the neckline is also too low. The fabric is more clingy than flowy, which means my hips don't lie (and it's really, really better when my hips lie nowadays). Add that to the fact that I actually already have a solid navy maternity maxi dress, and back this one goes. RETURN.

Renee C Alondra Printed Ruched Pencil Skirt ($58)

first impressions:  Excited to try this, since I specifically requested a pencil skirt! Not totally sure about the print, but it is black and white, so maybe that will help.

on me:

thoughts: It fits tighter than it looks, but it's super stretchy, so it's plenty comfortable. It's kind of awkward right now, since it's not really long enough to wear over my bump, but seems wrong somehow sitting low on my hips. The print grows on you; I think the neutral coloring really helps. Considering what I have in my closet already though, plus the price, I think this one is going back. RETURN.

Mavi Millie Maternity Straight Leg Jean ($98)

first impressions:  Oh, I hope these work. I need maternity jeans in a bad way, and I'm totally willing to splurge a bit on a good pair! DANG IT, THEY'RE MEDIUM WASH.

on me:

thoughts: I have no qualms with these jeans. I love that there's no panel (am I the only pregnant woman who hates full panels?). The straight leg leaves my legs with room to breathe. The length is way too long to wear as is, but perfect for rolling up. I could go on with things I like. BUT. I have a pair of maternity jeans that are pretty much this exact wash! DOH. The ones I have have a bit of distressing, which means they can't really be dressed up like these ones can, but still. They're pretty much the same color. And while I'd be willing to spend $100 on a great pair of jeans...I just can't spend it on some jeans that I already have. Goodbye, great jeans. RETURN. 


Another fun box! I certainly can't say too many bad things about it, since it includes what is probably my favorite Stitch Fix piece to date. I blame myself for the wash of the jeans. I should have specified that I wanted dark wash. And apparently I need to be bold and just flat out say "I DON'T WANT ANY MORE SLEEVELESS MAXIS PLEASEANDTHANKYOU."

And there you have it. My May maternity Stitch Fix. What do you think?

Disclosure: Links to Stitch Fix are referral links that get me a reward if you're so inclined to sign up through them. Thanks a BAJILLION to the friend that did (you know who you are!). 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

3 Surprising Lessons I've learned in 7 years of marriage

When I got married, at the ripe old age of 20, I knew three things:

1) I loved Dallin.
2) He loved me.
3) We could have sex now.

Sorry to be, you know, blunt about it.

...Hi, Grandma...

But seriously. That was about it.

I mean, people told me that we would fight. We never fought while we were dating, but I believed that we would fight. I believed that we would be starving newlyweds for a while. I believed that he must have some habit, buried somewhere in there, that I would just totally hate. And I even sort of half believed that there was probably something about me that he would hate, too.

So you see, I wasn't completely naive...right? Right, guys?


Okay, let's be honest. I was pretty naive. To think that marriage is all about love and sex is...well, it's extremely naive.

And I won't be naive now and pretend to know all there is to know about successful marriages, even though I'm only seven years into one. (P.S. Seven years! Happy anniversary to us!)

But I am confident in saying this: my marriage of seven years has been, and continues to be, successful. Perfect? No. Heck no. But meaningful, powerful, and full of fun, love, and learning? Yes, very much yes. And to me, that makes it a success.

So, for whatever reason, I feel motivated to share three of the most surprising lessons I've learned over these seven years. I have no idea if this will actually help anyone, or if it'll just give you a deeper glimpse into my soul...but either way, it's worth documenting, right?

So here we go:  the three most surprising lessons I've learned over seven years of marriage.

1) Commit to marriage.

Yes, marriage is about commitment. But I think people often think of it as a commitment to the other person...and I've learned it's more than that.

A few weeks ago, Dallin and I had the chance to attend a presentation by a really impressive guy -- not impressive only as an extremely successful businessman, but also as an obviously committed and devoted husband and father. He told the story of when he proposed to his wife. He asked her two questions. The first was the obvious: "Will you marry me?" She said yes. The second was a bit more unique. He said this: "I'm only going to get married once. How about you?"

Committing to a person is important, but people change. We, ourselves, change. To think that you'll be the same person forever that you are when you get married makes you just as naive as I was as a 20-year-old bride.

But if both of you are committed to marriage, right from the start, you'll be committed to working out (and learning from) your problems, instead of giving up on them. You'll want to be proactive, to set goals (together and individually), rather than to "let life happen to you." You'll fight tooth and nail to make it work, because you believe that marriage is worth fighting for.

(As an aside, I would also like to add that I understand that there are times when being "committed to marriage" might actually mean leaving the one you are in. I know that so many people are often blindsided by another person's poor choices. Obviously, commitment to marriage has to be a shared ideal in order to really work.)

I'd be lying if I told you that I never had a single thought along the lines of "Did I marry the right person?" or "Did I get married at the right time?" In the early months of my marriage, those thoughts haunted me more than once. I wouldn't say "often," but more than once. They surprised me, and they scared me a bit, but I think those doubts are normal. And for me, they helped me to learn this lesson. I had to learn that yes, I did marry exactly the right person, at exactly the right time, because that was the choice I made. This is the marriage I have. This is the marriage I'm in. The one to this amazing guy that started when I was 20 years old. And because I've learned that I need to commit to marriage, I've learned that I need to commit to this marriage, and I have to do it and show it every single day.

2) Trust is a choice.

I've had trust issues for the better part of my life. When I was very young, and into my teenage years, I was overly trusting. I kind of lived in a bubble. I got attached to people quickly and deeply. Loyalty was a given in my mind, but obviously that's not reality. When betrayal came (from various sources and at different times), it was devastating.

It wasn't until I got married, though, that I realized just how deeply I'd been affected by losing trust in others, and how it manifest itself.

I jumped to conclusions. Dallin getting off work late meant that he didn't value our time together. If he didn't answer his phone during the day, he didn't want to talk to me. If he didn't help out around the house, it meant that he didn't appreciate the work that I put into our home, and didn't care to share responsibilities with me. And all of these bad feelings would surely build up and get worse over time, and ten years down the road he'd be sick of me and our marriage, and we'd end up as a "together for the kids" kind of couple.

I would shut down regularly. If I was upset about something, I would refuse to talk to him about it, because I didn't trust him to respect my feelings and thoughts.

This all came to a head a few years ago. We had some fights about some really silly things, but they always came back to him feeling like I didn't fully trust him. And he was right. I didn't. That's hard to say and embarrassing to admit, because my husband has never done anything that would warrant losing my trust.

Long story short (too late?) I finally realized and admitted the problem I had. I got to work on fixing it, and I let Dallin help me. To say that I've grown in this area is an understatement. I'm proud of the progress I've made and the lesson I've learned.

So what is that lesson? That trust is a choice. I can choose to read into things, to jump to conclusions, and to shut down; or I can choose to give the benefit of the doubt, push away negative thoughts, and focus on the many ways that my husband shows he loves me and is worthy of my trust.

Just to clarify, major and obvious betrayal -- dishonesty, fidelity issues, financial secrets, etc. -- should lower trust in a marriage. I'm not saying someone should turn a blind eye to their spouse's indiscretions, or to clear signs of possible betrayal. But I am saying that if you have no reason to not trust your spouse, you should trust them. Fully and completely. Anything else can and will create problems that simply don't have to be there. It might seem obvious, but it's a lesson I had to learn.

3) Talk, talk, talk.

And "listen, listen, listen." But mostly, for me, "talk, talk, talk."

I'm not a very talkative person. I'll listen to you talk all day, but I won't say something unless I'm sure that what I have to say really adds to the conversation.

And if I'm not in the mood to talk at all, heaven help you if you try to force me to.

But here's the thing: my husband can't read my mind. And I can't tell you how many times my quietness has led to him feeling like I'm mad at him, or that I'm in a bad mood, or that I just don't care about what he's saying or about what's going on.

So, I've learned to talk. I've learned to give an opinion about where we go out to eat. I've learned to say "I'm sorry I'm being quiet, but I just don't think I know enough about this topic to contribute anything. But it's interesting, so keep talking." I've learned to push away any embarrassment about how I might be feeling, and to just express it -- I'm overwhelmed, I'm frustrated, I'm tired, I'm worried. I've learned that my husband would much, much rather deal with those feelings head on than be facing some unknown emotion lurking beneath the surface.

I've also learned that waiting to say something in the right way is almost always worth the wait. And it's okay to say "I'm trying to figure out the right way to say this."

Mostly, I've learned that talking about something is the best way to get it fixed. Again, seemingly obvious, right? And yet, so hard for me. But my husband is on my team. He wants to hear. He wants to know. And if he can, he wants to help. Learning to talk, even (and especially) when I don't feel like talking, has made a positive difference in our marriage.

(Side note: This article gives some great insight into communication, particularly in marriages. I love it and definitely think it's worth the read!)

I'm grateful for these lessons I've learned. They haven't come easy, that's for sure. They've caught me off guard and humbled me and changed many of my preconceived notions about romance and marriage. But they've also made me better -- more selfless, more self-aware, and more able to face and handle life's many inevitable challenges...

...with my husband at my side.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Trying New Things: April 2015

Time for a little review of some of the products I tried for the first time this month. I love trying new things and I love sharing my thoughts about the things I've tried! Here's last month's post, if you're interested.

Also, it's probably worth pointing out that I get absolutely nothing from this post. There are no affiliate links or anything in here. I'm just sharing my thoughts with my friends (that's you)!

First, a new app! Namely, Balanced.

I've been feeling "out of control" pretty often lately. Mostly with keeping up with housework, but also keeping up with my mental and physical health -- which, let's face it, isn't an easy task when you're a pregnant mommy of three, am I right? (Tell me I'm right.)

I felt like I knew the things that needed to be done, and done regularly, but I just didn't have the discipline to remember to do them or to stick to a schedule. Set reminders wouldn't work, because they would need to be set for a specific time, and that time would inevitably come when I was away from home, or changing a diaper, or eating a taco, or doing something else equally important. So I'd make a mental note to do it when I could, and...I'd forget. Plain and simple.

The thing that I've loved about Balanced is that it doesn't require you to set a specific time to do something, but it still helps you to do the things you need to do as often as you need to do them.

As an example, let's looks at where Balanced has been the biggest help for me: drinking water.

Drinking water has always been a huge stumbling block for me. I know how important it is, especially while I'm pregnant. But I just could never find a system that would help me remember to do it.


Balanced allows me to create a task that I want to do and then set how often I want to do it. Then it puts my list in priority order for me; it tells me what things I need to do now, what things I need to do soon, and when I last completed the task. 

While you can easily create whatever tasks you want, the app also has a bunch of preset tasks to help you remember to do things that you might not consider "normal" to do list items, like "self improvement," "take a deep breath," "go outside," and "call an old friend," among many, many others. 

Balanced has been the perfect solution for helping me to start forming good habits. It doesn't really work well for one-time tasks, or for things with a specific deadline, but it's wonderful for things that need to be done sometime, but regularly...if that makes sense.

Balanced is free for the first 5 tasks you track, and $3.99 to get unlimited tasks. $3.99 well spent, in my opinion!

Next, let's take a look at these: Lindt Lindor Caramel with Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Truffles

It feels borderline unfair to include these in this post, because really, is it possible that I wouldn't like dark chocolate and sea salt caramel in truffle form? It's highly unlikely, I'll tell you that.

I'll also tell you that I currently have two bags of these in my fridge. #noshame

But really, these are delicious. Even if you're not a fan of dark chocolate, I'd say these are worth a try. The chocolate isn't super dark, so it still has a good sweetness to it. 

These are great at room temperature, when the truffle filling is nice and soft and truffle-y, but I actually prefer them right out of the fridge. The filling hardens up and then melts in your mouth when you bite into it, so you basically get the best of both worlds. Or all the worlds, really.

If this flavor still doesn't seem like your cup of Dr. Pepper, I'll just go ahead and recommend Lindt Lindor truffles in general. They're amazing.

Finally, something for the kiddos: Melissa & Doug Water Wow books

These are kind of like coloring board books, except that the only thing you need to color with is water! You fill the little brush with water and then when you brush it over the pages, the colors magically appear. When the water dries, the colors disappear and they're ready to use again. 

The kiddos got these in their Easter baskets, and they've honestly been a hit, with all of them! Maddy likes carefully making sure that every inch of every page gets colored, Charly just thinks they're magic, and Parker loves being able to "color" something like his sisters. I love that they're basically as safe as you can get; the worst the kids can do with them is paint something else with water. 

They are perfect church toys for us (I am SO not above giving my kids things to keep them entertained during church!), but my kids sometimes specifically ask for them at home. They'd be great on road trips or in waiting rooms, too!

So, there you have it -- three new things I tried in April. All big winners this month! Have you tried any of these things, or tried anything new of your own lately? I'd love to hear about it!