Monday, March 7, 2016

Trying New Things: February 2016

Hey there, friends! I'm excited to share some new things with you. Hopefully you're excited too. If not, what are you even doing here? Go do something you're excited about. Life is too short to read blog posts you don't care about. 

I'm a product reviewer and motivational speaker, all rolled into one. Aren't you glad we're friends?

But okay, here we go on to some new stuff I've tried lately. 

Here’s a little fun fact about me: I hate, hate, hate washing my face at the sink. I know, that’s kind of a random and specific thing to hate, but I really do. The water splashes everywhere and drips down my arms so I get wet along with everything on my bathroom counter. Plus, by the time I’m getting ready for bed at night, I’m usually pretty impatient. Bed! Sleep! NOW. The moral of the story is that I wash my face in the shower in the morning, and at night, I use facial cleansing wipes.

Now, the wipes are great. I’ve used every brand under the sun and definitely have my favorites (Ponds!). They take off my makeup and clean my face quickly and without having to rinse. They’re not perfect, though: the ones I like cost about $4.50 for 30 wipes (a little cheaper if on sale, but in my experience, it is not worth getting a cheap brand), and usually by the time you get to the last wipe, it’s kind of dried out a bit. 

Enter Micellar Water:

This stuff is pretty nifty. I guess it’s like a more traditional liquid makeup remover, but you don’t have to rinse it off! Just saturate a cotton ball/pad, wipe off your makeup, and you’re done. It’s also about $7 for the bottle (plus another $1-2 for cotton pads), and the bottle lasts for a long time (I’ve been using it for a month and it’s not even half gone), so cost-wise, it’s a good alternative to the wipes.

Now, I will say this: I don’t wear a ton of makeup. Usually eyebrow pencil and mascara almost every day, plus BB cream or powder and eyeshadow when I want to be a little more “done.” One cotton pad is enough to remove all this for me. If you wear quite a bit of makeup, I could see having to use multiple cotton pads to get it all off, which could take away the convenience a bit. Also, I think I’ll stick to wipes when it comes to traveling, since the extra little bit of convenience is totally worth it for me when I’m away from home.

Otherwise, this has been a perfect product for my makeup removing needs. If you want to try it, you can get it at Target or Walmart or a drugstore or pretty much anywhere. 

I've kind of been a bundle of nerves lately. Maybe I'll go into more detail in some future post, and maybe I won't, but the "bundle of nerves" is all you really need to know in terms of backstory here. Someone recommended epsom salt baths to me and what the heck where has this stuff been all my life?

(Side note: Please try to ignore the fact that "Relax & Relief" is an incredibly annoying thing to put on a package. C'mon, Dr. Teal! Those are two different parts of speech! It should either say "Relaxation & Relief" or "Relax & Relieve" (my personal preference), but this? Anarchy. So try to ignore it. I obviously can't, but you should. Side note over.)

So an epsom salt bath. I'd imagine it's pretty self explanatory. Just dump a bunch of the stuff in a nice hot bath and sit in it. It smells great (there are apparently a jillion different varieties; this is what they had at Target so it's what I got) and leaves your skin soft and lovely. And don't ask me to get all scientific and stuff, but apparently you absorb the magnesium sulfate and it's good for stress or something. 

Wow, I really sound like I know what I'm talking about. 

Even disregarding all possible science that applies here, it's incredibly relaxing. Some people also swear by epsom salt baths for relieving cold symptoms, but I've never tried that. I've just tried handing the children over to my husband and taking a bath. And it's GOOD. 

Like I said, I got this at Target, but the place to get any of the jillion varieties you want is probably Amazon. They have everything from A to Z, donchaknow?


As my husband will surely attest to, I am never, ever wrong.

(cue husband laughing hysterically to himself)

So it's kind of a big deal when I admit to being wrong about something. 

And my friends, I was wrong about Snapchat.

I'm sure if you're anything like I was, you're currently freaking out that someone so wholesome such as myself could be using such a corrupt and vile piece of software.'s actually kind of fun. Here's why:
  • It's the social media app that doesn't take itself seriously. The filters make you look stupid, instead of glamorous and retouched. You don't "like" anything, so it's not about who can create the cutest picture that will get the most likes. It feels a lot less like a popularity contest, and I think that's cool (probably because I'm not popular...)
  • I think because of the above, people are a lot more casual about it. You can post that picture of your lunch because it's only going to be in people's faces for 24 hours instead of living on your profile forever and ever. (Yes, I know people can screenshot your snaps, and hopefully everyone knows that by now. But I don't think people are screenshotting my pictures of the burrito I'm eating. Just saying.)
If you're a Snapchat newbie, such as myself (I have 20 friends guys), you should know that there are 2 major things you can do on Snapchat:
  1. You can send snaps to your friends. Snaps are pictures or videos that you can send to one or more of your friends directly. They are only able to view the snap once (viewing it twice is an option, but apparently you're only supposed to save that for your very most favorite snaps). You can choose how long you'd like them to be able to see the snap -- anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds. Once they've seen it, they can't see it again (unless of course they screenshot it -- always a possibility, peeps!).
  2. You can add snaps to your "story." Your story contains any snaps you have chosen to publish to your story in the past 24 hours. Your story can be as public or as private as you want it to be. Once a snap has been on your story for 24 hours, it expires and is no longer available to view as part of your story. 
You can also have a "chat" in Snapchat, much like a Facebook messenger. Like snaps, your messages disappear after they are viewed, unless you save them.

Can Snapchat be used for bad things? Yes. Should you be careful about what you post on it? Yes, of course. If you have teenagers, should you be careful about letting them use Snapchat? Uh, yeah. But I'm just going on record to say that like most technology, Snapchat can be used for evil, but it is not inherently evil itself. It's worth trying. Give it a try. And if you do, use that picture I posted above to be my friend (just take a picture of that, then when you're adding friends in the app choose "Add by snapcode" and choose the picture). Oh, and if you already use Snapchat, let's be friends! 

Whew, I feel like that was a lot of info. Hopefully some of it was helpful, and hopefully at least one of these things is worth trying for yourself!

Have a great day, y'all.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Stitch Fix -- February 2016

Yay for another box from Stitch Fix!

Boo for the lack of blogging in general lately.

But let's focus on the positive.

First, here's a Stitch Fix 101 paragraph for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about:

{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!

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. So pretty much whenever you want.

I've loved using this service. Some boxes are better than others, and it's required a shift in how I think about spending money on clothes, but I've received some really great pieces. It's also just kind of the best thing ever to have clothes show up on your doorstep, am I right?

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now. Having just gone through the maternity thing myself, I was able to use the maternity styling services for a few months, which you can check out here, if you want: months 1234, and 5.

{my stitch fix - february 2016}

January's box was a big fat success (P.S. I kept the cardigan and have worn the heck out of it already), so I was pretty excited for my next fix. I actually requested some specific things in my note to my stylist this month, and I requested the same stylist. I mentioned that I loved the knit tops from my last box and those things could keep coming all day long. I also said I wouldn't mind some nice, dark, skinny jeans (I'm struggling with good jeans right now, guys), or maybe even some white ones (I have four kids. Don't ask me to explain why I would ever wear white pants.). I also mentioned that I maybe kinda sorta want a denim jacket. I used to have one (and my husband always said he loved me in it), but it was pretty dated and just didn't fit well anymore, so I threw that on my wish list. Let's see what the Stitch Fix folks came up with...

Gilli Ryland Maxi Dress ($78)

first impressions: After sneak peeking this dress, I discovered that I would probably get one of two color options. I loved one, and hated the other. And I got...the one I loved! (And the crowd goes wild!)

on me:

thoughts: Oooh I'm pleasantly surprised by this dress! The v-neck is flattering, and I thought it would be too deep but it's totally covering my LDS garments (a must for all my clothing). It's soft and flowy and comfortable. And it's nursing friendly -- what?! I could see myself wearing this to church, or on a date, or out shopping. 

So it's undoubtedly an awesome dress. The biggest question mark is the price. Maxi dresses aren't hard to come by, but ones with sleeves are, and cardigans are a total no-go in an AZ spring and summer....and okay, most of fall. So this might be worth it, even with the high price! UNDECIDED.

Skies Are Blue Donavon Crochet Detail Knit Top ($54)

first impressions: Pretty color. But the crochet detail on the front see-through?! NOOOO!

on me:

thoughts: I love this color! And I love the detail on the sleeves. Buuut...who thought it was a good idea to put a see-through crochet pattern down the front of a shirt? I's just weird. I could wear an undershirt with it...but I really don't want to. Sorry. RETURN.

Kut from the Kloth Diana Skinny Jean ($78)

first impressions: Like I mentioned above, I requested a pair of jeans for this fix. I've always been impressed by the jeans Stitch Fix has sent me, but never been able to pull the trigger. Well, I've been having a hard time finding good washes at American Eagle (my go-to for jeans; I love how they fit!), so I decided to see what Stitch Fix could contribute. Hard to tell how these will be right out of the box, but I have high hopes!

on me:

thoughts: Oooh, swing and a miss. It's really too bad that the one time I committed to buy some pants from Stitch Fix, I was sent my least favorite pair of pants they've ever sent me. The fit of these was weird, especially below the knee. They were too loose, so it gave the illusion that I have fat thighs and skinny calves -- and I totally don't have skinny calves. They were also way too long, by a few inches. 

My stylist said they didn't have any distressed denim to send me this month, but I should definitely keep requesting it for future boxes. I'll probably keep checking my beloved AE (my go-to for jeans) in the meantime to see if they get any washes I like in. I guess the jeans saga is to be continued, but these are a RETURN

Olive & Oak Mulliken Raglan Striped Knit Shirt ($48)

first impressions: This is the shirt I've probably seen in more Stitch Fix boxes than any other. It's kind of a right-of-passage shirt in the Stitch Fix world, if you will. I actually have it pinned on my Pinterest "Outfits" board...twice. I've seen it in many different color options, and I got maybe not my favorite, but maybe my second favorite.

on me:

thoughts: Okay, so this isn't the greatest picture of this shirt. But there is so much to love about it. We all know I'm a sucker for stripes. I love the bright colors and I love the 3/4 length sleeves. It's very soft and lightweight. But...something...I don't know. Is it worth it? TELL ME, GUYS. UNDECIDED.

Just USA Anjuli Dark Wash Denim Jacket ($58)

first impressions: Yay, I got a denim jacket, just like I asked for! I love the dark wash and the slight distressing. I'm also pleasantly surprised by the price. I really, really, really, really hope it fits well.

on me:

thoughts: Oh yes. This is just what a denim jacket should be. It has good structure, but also a little stretch, so it's flattering and comfortable. It fits perfectly! I'm going to be wearing this a lot until it gets way too hot. And then it'll be my movie theater jacket (you have one of those, right?). KEEP.


Honestly, the denim jacket alone makes this box a win for me. But I kinda want to keep the dress and the striped shirt, too! What you do think, huh?

Little (actually little) disclaimer for you: My links to Stitch Fix are referral links. If you want to give Stitch Fix a shot, signing up through those links gives me a little referral credit, and makes you awesome. Correction: makes you more awesome, because let's face it, you're awesome already.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Trying New Things: The Oreo Edition

You all ready for this?

I honestly have a few things I could have talked about for my "Trying New Things" post this month, but having a special Oreo Edition seemed very fitting. Why? Because I have not one, not two, but THREE new Oreo varieties to discuss with you today. 

Perhaps someday, I'll learn that not every Oreo variety is absolutely necessary for me to try, and I'll walk out of the store with only a pack (or two) of Double Stuf, confident that the old classic is more than good enough for fulfilling my sandwich cookie needs.

But it is not this day. Behold:

Good lord.

Filled Cupcake Oreos. Red Velvet Oreos. And Cinnamon Bun Oreos. Cuh-razy. 

Lest I start gushing/waxing poetic/drooling on my keyboard, I'll try to keep these reviews fairly short and sweet. Kinda like Oreos. #seewhatididthere? #fullcircle

Cinnamon Bun Oreos: These. These are ridiculously yummy. I honestly don't even really love cinnamon buns (gasp!), but that apparently doesn't matter when it comes to these Oreos, because these are kind of my favorite of the bunch. 

The cookie is where the cinnamon lives, and then the creme is kind of sweeter and creamier than normal Oreo creme. (Confession: I just Googled it to see if the creme is supposed to be flavored at all, and it is actually supposed to be "frosting" flavored, which totally makes sense. The package says "cinnamon bun flavored creme," and that doesn't make sense, because I really only taste the cinnamon in the cookie. But the frosting flavored creme -- yes.)

These have all the integrity of an original Oreo with a dash of cinnamon goodness thrown in. They're perfect with milk. Love love love.

Red Velvet Oreos: These actually debuted last year, and were apparently popular enough to bring back. They're good. In my opinion, they're very sweet and also pretty rich. The cookies have a very distinctive red velvet flavor, and the creme has that creme cheese frosting thing going on. 

Don't hate on me or anything, but they're a little too much for me. I can eat them one at a time, but I tried indulging in a few (okay, four) at once with some milk...and I wasn't a fan. Too rich! It seems like a weird thing to say about four Oreos, but somehow, it's true. 

I will say that my husband looooooves these. He really, really does. So maybe I'm the weirdo? It wouldn't surprise me, tbh.

Filled Cupcake Oreos: I...just....don't get these. From what I gather, they're supposed to taste like a Hostess "cupcake," so pretty much a chocolate cake with some vanilla creme inside. But do you know what a regular Oreo is? It's a chocolate cookie with vanilla(ish) creme inside.'re kind of trying to make an Oreo taste like something it pretty much already tastes like, which is kind of like...huh?

I'll give them this: the chocolate flavor of the creme does come through. BUT the vanilla part does not. kind of tastes like eating a chocolate Oreo. Which is great, I guess, but kind of makes the "special flavor" a letdown. 

And there you have it! The lowdown on the three latest Oreo flavors from a self-proclaimed Oreo connoisseur. 

And bytheway, did you see the Oreo Vault? I'm thinking of installing one in the back of my pantry. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stitch Fix -- January 2016

So a month off from Stitch Fix was good for me (and my wallet), I think, but I was very very excited to see that my fix was on the way this month! Maybe it's because I just KonMari'd my whole closet, but I'm kind of needing some shirts that are good quality and, you know, actually fit me.

In case you need a quick refresher (or introduction -- Hi, new peeps!) to Stitch Fix, here you go:

{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 (my current plan), 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. I was able to use the maternity styling services for a few months, which you can check out here, if you want: months 1234, and 5.

{my stitch fix - january 2016}

I actually totally forgot I had a Stitch Fix coming this month, so I didn't get a chance to update my notes to my stylist or ask for anything specific. But, if you ask me, I think it actually worked out. Take a look at what I got in this fix...

Loveappella Alonza Keyhole Back Knit Top ($54)

first impressions: I didn't get to have a sneak peek of this top, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the box. But the floral print caught my eye right away. And the pretty, neutral color palette. I immediately had high hopes for this one!

on me:

thoughts: Wow. I'm pretty impressed. This shirt is soft and flattering. It's feminine and pretty but the knit fabric keeps it casual, so it's not "dressy." I don't love the keyhole back, but it isn't cut too low so it keeps the top nice and modest. I really, really love it! The price is a little high for a fairly simple shirt...but this is is probably a KEEP.

Pixley Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan ($48)

first impressions: A black cardigan. Well, I already have a black cardigan, but it is a different style. This one is very soft!!

on me:

thoughts: Okay, here's the thing. In October, Stitch Fix sent me a navy cardigan very similar to this one. Soft, flattering, and lovely. And I sent it back, because I had a navy cardigan. WELL let me tell you, I've regretted sending that thing back more than once. My other navy cardigan actually bit the dust not long after that, and it wasn't very comfortable or dressy anyway. So now, looking at this amazing black cardigan, and thinking about the black cardigan I have but don't love...well, past experience would probably tell me to keep this beauty. For now, I'm going to say UNDECIDED.

RD Style Mirada Cowl Neck Pullover ($68)

first impressions: Weird. Don't love the color, and what is with these sleeves?

on me:

thoughts: Okay, it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The colors aren't my favorite, I don't dig the batwings (and I'm usually a dolman sleeve fan!), and the sleeves are tight up to just past the elbow and then they loosen up, which just...feels odd. The material is very soft and cozy; not scratchy at all. But for $70...I'm just not a huge fan. RETURN. 

Just Black Serena Flare Jean ($88)

first impressions: I've yet to buy any pants from Stitch Fix, but I've always loved what I've tried on. These jeans are probably awesome. And they have a little distressing, which I love.

on me:

(as you can see, I had a little helper jump in at this point)

thoughts: Yikes, this is tough. These jeans are well made (as are ALL the jeans Stitch Fix has ever sent me), and they're very flattering and fit super well. BUT, the distressing might be a little bit too much and ill-placed, and they're also very long. I could wear them with heels, sure...but the distressing kind of takes away from the dressy factor, and the heels would add to I'm not sure it all adds up. Sadly, these are a RETURN. 

Loveappella Edgewater Knit Top ($48)

first impressions: OOOOOHHHH gimme gimme gimme!

on me:

(toddler photobomber strikes again)

thoughts: I love this shirt. Yep, I love it. The 3/4 sleeve. The color blocking. The little stripes on the top part. The soft fabric. This shirt is mine mine mine and you'll never take it away from me. KEEP. 


So, I usually end up keeping one thing out of each box. But this time, I'm definitely keeping two, and possibly three if I keep the cardigan...which I'm leaning towards. And I'm not going to lie, I might regret sending those jeans back at some point. So really, this was a very successful box! Good on you, Stitch Fix.

{If you haven't given Stitch Fix a try, but you'd like to, maybe think about signing up through the links in this post, or right here. When you receive a box after signing up through my link, I get some Stitch Fix credit, which is cool. It's also cool if you'd rather not. So either way, you're cool.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Trying New Things...Lately

I know it's been a while since I posted anything in my "trying new things" series...but I get a break for birthing a child, right? And then another one for adjusting to life with said child? And then another one to catch up on some sleep? And another for the holidays? And then maybe a final one, just for good measure?

Yeah, I totally do.

But I've missed these posts, and I want to start having them regularly again. So, no time like the present, eh, Pacha? Here are some things I've tried out lately...

Thermos Funtainer Bottles

As much as I tried to be super prepared for the older girls to start school a few months ago, there are some things that I, as a newbie school mom, just didn't think about. One of these things was water bottles. Both Maddy's Kindergarten teacher and Charly's preschool teacher requested that they take a water bottle to school with them each day. I started my search at Target (because Target), and was lucky enough to find these right off the bat.

These are the perfect kids water bottles, I swear. They keep the water cold for several hours (advertised up to 12, I'd say more like 8). They open easily: just push that silver button on the top and it pops right open. There's a nice flow of liquid through the straw. They don't leak! And they come in tons of different styles with different characters on the outside, which my kids love (especially since I don't buy them too many "daily use" things with characters on them, as a matter of personal preference). 

So, if you know a kid that might love a water bottle of their very own, try these out!

Having had four children now, I think I have at least a little credibility when it comes to baby products and whether or not they are "worth it," and let me tell you, this thing is worth it.

It comes in different variations and patterns, all at different price points and such, but I got this one pictured above for about $40. 

So why do I love it? Well, Amelia sleeps in it, so there's that. For the first couple months, we were able to keep this right next to our bed so she was within arm's reach. It lets her sleep at an incline, which I think has helped with some of the tummy troubles she's had. It has a vibrating feature, but Amelia doesn't seem to prefer it on or off. Oh, and it doesn't play music (am I the only one that is super annoyed by the music products like this usually play? It drives me nuts!). It's also very portable: it folds easily, and it's extremely lightweight, so I can carry it up and down stairs, move it from room to room, and take it to Grandma's house without any fuss. I'd say I prefer it over a swing because of this portability.

If you've got a baby on the way, or need a gift for someone who does, look no further, because this is perfect. 

My skin is a tricky little devil. When I was younger, it was on the more oily side, and I'd have breakouts fairly often. As I got older, it became truly "combination," with dry patches on my cheeks and forehead. Last winter though, I noticed that there was a general tightness in my face that I wasn't used to, and it wasn't going away. I was a little weirded out by it, to be honest, until I finally realized: my skin was dry!

I always do waaaay too much research before buying skin care and beauty products, so I was very familiar with the Murad name and was planning on trying their stuff out once my normal cleanser ran out, but with the sudden skin change, I went for it right away. And I'll tell you what -- I'm a believer.

This gives my skin a really healthy look and feel. It's fixed all the dryness but hasn't overcompensated and made my skin oily. It supposedly helps with aging, which I'm starting to think about. A tiny drop of it foams up a lot and goes a long way, so the bottle lasts forever. It's basically a really high quality product without a (huge) sticker shock. Even if my skin changes its mind again and decides to not be dry anymore, I think I'll be sticking with Murad cleansers. They've got tons of different options for all different kinds of skin, and they're all very highly rated.


It's cool to just have an entire store on this list, right?

I first discovered Soma when my sister declared her love for their nursing bras. Since I was in the market for nursing bras, I stopped into a store to get fitted and try them out. And holy cow, guys, these make my sad Target nursing bras look like...sad Target nursing bras. This is the style I ended up with. They fit well, are supportive and comfortable, are easy to clip and unclip, and have lasted through constant wear and countless washes without stretching out, tearing, or losing their shape (all problems I've had with other nursing bras). Make sure to buy two, because they're 1 for $46 or 2 for $60, and you know, math and stuff.

I also treated myself to a couple other things from Soma that I've ended up loving. Their Embraceable Cool Nights pajama collection is level-WOW soft and comfy. It's like a silky smooth knit fabric, and it is amazing.

I also treated myself to this robe, which is also made from that Embraceable Cool Nights fabric, and honestly might be my very most favorite thing in my closet. Hahahahahaha...haha....but seriously. I bought it right before Amelia was born. I wore it in the hospital and all around my house right after her arrival, and it was the perfect comfy cozy postpartum friend.

Soma's got plenty of other things (swimwear, loungewear, shapewear, underwear...pretty much all the "wears") that I haven't yet tried, but I honestly LOVE the things I do have and recommend them any chance I get (like right now!).

And there's a little glimpse at some things I've tried lately. Any insight? Questions? Concerns? Recommendations? Feedback? Limericks? Everyone loves a good limerick.

(P.S. None of these links are sponsored links or affiliate links. They're links.)