Thursday, April 17, 2014

Because You All Want to Know About My Flow

This post definitely falls into the TMI category, so if the title doesn't sound like something you want to read about, consider yourself warned. 

I went to a new lady doctor for my annual appointment the other day, because the doctor who delivered both of the girls moved out of state.  I go to one of those practices where you may or may not end up with your doctor of choice at the time of delivery, so I was really lucky that I happened to deliver the girls on days when mine was on call.  Because of this set up, I didn't always go to my normal doctor for every single prenatal visit. Over the course of two pregnancies I had at least met most of the doctors in the practice.  I picked another "young female who seems nice". 

So anyway, this doctor had more questions than usual because it was the first time I ever saw her as "her" patient.  She was really interested in my flow, to the point that it was kind of weird.  I mean, I know mine is heavier than normal (to the point I only wear cheap undies the first few nights), but I have been dealing with it since I was 13 so I don't really think about it that often.  She acted shocked that I had never considered medical intervention, and gave me pamphlets on Lysteda and Gynecare Thermachoice.  Lysteda is a non hormonal pill you take 3 times a day up to 5 days of your period.  Gynecare Thermachoice is a non hormonal uterine balloon therapy system, so it's a device you insert and then ignore.  Neither one acts as birth control.

So my question is...is this a thing people actually do?  Does anyone have experience with either option, good or bad?  I have literally never heard of medical intervention for heavy periods aside from birth control.  I am wondering if they just can't stand that I don't need any prescriptions now that hubs has a vasectomy so they are trying to push meds on me for any reason they can find.  Anyway, thoughts are appreciated. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Judgy Judys

So, you know how there are Negative Nancys and Debbie Downers?  I think we need to create a new class of People Who Suck called Judgy Judys.  I don't know if I'm extra sensitive lately or if the fact that spring is still totally not happening is making people pissy, but there have been a plethora of Judgy Judys all getting up in my business lately and I am so very tired of it. 

Judgy Judy #1:  This is not one specific person, this is actually basically EVERY PERSON in my life upon finding out that my car was broken into a couple of weeks ago (right in my driveway).  After the background questions were taken care of like what was stolen (my work laptop bag, which had a laptop, my ipad, some chargers, my planner, and some pens in it) and if everyone was okay (yes), SO MANY PEOPLE instantly transformed into a Judgy Judy and gave me crap for leaving that stuff in my car in the first place.  Dude, I am almost 35 years old.  I KNOW that I shouldn't leave expensive electronics in my car, even if it is just in my driveway.  I totally agree that my neighborhood isn't that safest, that is why we set our alarm every day and night.  Trust me, it is no picnic having to tell work that I lost a company laptop along with a bunch of stuff that wasn't backed up on the shared drive, not to mention dealing with the broken glass and car repairs.  I JUST FORGOT.  IT HAPPENS.  Stop lecturing me, Judgy Judy.

Judgy Judy #2:  So I have this coworker who is either intentionally rude or just not aware of the fine line between sarcasm and bitchiness, but I usually let it slide because it's just not worth the drama.  However, I do take personally when the jabs are related to parenting, especially when she is not a parent and therefore has no idea what she is talking about.  Another coworker was talking about how his flight back from Orlando was awful because there was a bunch of kids bouncing off the walls, fresh off a Disney trip.  I said that if it was any consolation, the parents probably hated it just as much as he did because I'm still scarred from flying solo with the girls when they were 1 and 3.  She jumped in with a diatribe about how kids are awful and how SOME PEOPLE just need to learn how to control them, and how if she misbehaved as a kid she got her butt beat.  We have had conversations in the past about how one year olds don't tend to stop crying in response to beatings, but she loves to say stuff like this any time I make the slightest comment about my kids acting up.  Somehow the conversation even went to how her cat "knows who is boss".  Because kids and cats are totes the same.  Anyway, I don't think anyone who has never had the experience of having your own kids freak out in public gets to be a Judgy Judy.  It's torture, I promise. 

Judgy Judy #3: This is sort of related to the previous one.  We were at dance class this week, and Adriana got kicked out during the last few minutes in class because she hit someone.  This is the first incident like this in a long time - she has actually been doing really great.  I was not happy about the backslide.  I made sure she had apologized to the girl and her teacher, and told her she had to go to time out as soon as we got home.  As I was packing her stuff up, both of my girls started doing chin ups on the door.  I told them to get down and continued packing.  Another mom actually physically put her arms around Adriana and held her close, talking in her ear loudly about how little girls have to listen.  In my head I was like HELL NO don't touch my kids, but in reality was so surprised I didn't really react other than to pull Adriana to me and get the fuck out of there.  As we were leaving, the mom started smacking her two year old's hand and saying "See?  You were bad so I am giving you a spanking.  Because that's what we do when kids are bad.  You'll listen better next time, won't you?"  And of course she was looking at me to make sure her message about how I should parent my kids was sinking in.  Because, you know, hitting my kid would TOTALLY teach her hitting is wrong.  ARGH. 

Judgy Judy #4:  Justin and I were driving the girls around this weekend in an attempt to achieve the glorious synchronized child nap.  We went to an ice cream place and I got a banana split.  The kid next to me asked his mom what it was, and she said "It's A LOT of ice cream."  That alone wouldn't have really bothered me, but she totally shot me a look of disgust at the same time.  First of all, I was going to split it with Justin.  Second of all, I hadn't had one in forever, and banana splits remind me of getting engaged so they make me happy.  Third of all, it's not YOUR ASS that has to pay the consequences, so back off, JUDGY JUDY!!! 

Tell me your Judgy Judy stories below, so we can all get irate on each other's behalf.  I know you have a good one. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Weaning Advice Needed

So, my friend B asked me for weaning advice, and I am ill equipped to answer her questions since my kids could not get off the boob fast enough. 

If I remember correctly, Adriana started eating cereal at 4 months and I was supplementing with formula soon after, and Lucia started eating cereal at 6 months, but I think I might have supplemented with formula around 4 months with her too.  Adriana loved purees and thought those Gerber squeezy pouches were the best snack ever until she was almost 3, but Lucy never really liked them and always preferred table food (and lots of it).  Both girls had HUGE appetites from day one, and my boobs never really cut it once I went back to work at 4 months.  As soon as I started pumping, my supply tanked, and by 8 months both girls were done.  Plus it was heartbreaking to pump all day and not even have an ounce to show for it, so I was pretty done too. 

It was kind of a natural exit with Adriana; I was COMMITTED to making it a year and tried really hard, but she had no interest in them once they weren't making enough to satisfy her.  She'd want to play or bite or look around, basically anything except nurse.  I probably could have stretched Lucy out another few weeks, but we had hearings coming up and I was going to be away from home, only seeing the girls on the weekend.  I didn't want to be tied to a pump when I was traveling, so I think I quit pretty close to cold turkey.  She totally didn't miss it, she loved her bottle.   

My friend's daughter is 14 months and not showing any sign of stopping.  You know how you feel when your kid isn't sleeping through the night and you feel like it will never, ever end?  I think that's how she feels about breastfeeding.  She is ready to be done, and doesn't know the best way to go about weaning. 

If you weaned your kids after a year, please let us know how you did it.  Any advice is appreciated!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Year of Bzz

I first told you guys about BzzAgent back in my post on how to get free stuff.  Now that I've been in the program for a year, I thought I'd do a little look back so you can see what I got and decide if it's worth the time and effort. 

Personally, I love BzzAgent.  I don't feel pressure to use my social media to talk about stuff - if I think you guys are interested, I'll post about it, otherwise, I restrict my Bzz to face to face conversations.  Coworkers, family, and book club people are always willing to talk about a product in exchange for a decent coupon.  The programs are usually pretty great, and I feel like I have been introduced to a lot of quality products I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.  I love filling out the little surveys and Bzz reports, so it doesn't really feel like work to me.  I realize I may be unique in this - my mom hated it and dropped out after her first campaign.  If I remember right, it was the Dr. Scholl's, and she just didn't think a shoe insert was worth the time spent talking about it.  I agree to some extent, but I also think of it as a necessary evil.  I don't mind spending time writing reviews about yogurt or foot care if down the road I'm offered a sweet camera for my kids. 

Side note: As an ex psychology major and a current businesswoman and user of social media, I am fascinated by the whole concept of programs like BzzAgent and Influenster.  Even if I'm not super impressed by a product, I am amazed by my positive feelings towards a brand after a campaign ends.  I notice the products more when I'm out and about and I'm much more likely to end up with one in my cart.  Basically, I am a marketer's dream.  Even if no one listening to the Bzz second hand actually buys the product, I'd think that there is a real benefit from having everyone directly involved in the campaign support your brand going forward.  So good job, BzzAgent creators. 

 
My first campaign was Tigi's Bed Head products.  I received some shampoo and conditioner packets and a full size of On the Rebound which I talked about here.  I still like Miss Jessie's better, and scored more in a Black Friday deal, so this is just sitting around gathering dust.  It was not at all a bad product, just not holy grail status. 

 
Next I tried a Dr. Scholl's for her high heel insert.  I ended up taking it out of the shoe I originally had it in because there simply wasn't enough room for my big old foot and an insert.  However, the campaign wasn't a total bust because I learned about the Rub Relief Strips from someone I Bzzed to, and I still use those today. 

 

This campaign involved a free one month trial of redbox instant (which you can get anywhere, you don't have to be in BzzAgent) and a free dvd credit.  From June until like 2 weeks ago, we were paying $8 to get 4 dvd credits, and were only using the streaming to watch Ant Bully over and over again.  The streaming service just doesn't have enough new releases.  But I'm super glad we were in the campaign because I had somehow actually never used redbox before.  I'm now a GIANT fan of the dvd service and don't know how I ever lived without it. 


BzzAgent didn't send yogurt in the mail, just coupons for a free cup.  I used some, gifted some, and ended up buying more because I like the stuff.  I still get it about once a month.  This is the perfect example of a brand I would have never paid attention to if it weren't for BzzAgent. 


I forget what all I got in the mail - I think 3 cups of different flavors of the hot cereal and 3 of the bars?  I really liked the Special K nourish products (especially for work), and would totally buy it again if I saw it right in front of me at the store.  The problem is that I rarely go down aisles that aren't in the perimeter of the store, and I just don't think to go out of my way to pick some up.  Good stuff though.  Maybe I'll remember to pick some up now. 


Concannon vineyards is another product that I don't go out of my way to buy, but if I saw some in front of me the next time I'm buying wine, I'd pick it up over a different brand because I've tried it and I know it's good.  It was SUPER affordable too, even without the $8 off coupon I received. 


The Playskool Show Cam gets the award for the coolest thing I have received AND the award for campaign I slacked on the most, which is so unfair!  God, I'm such an ingrate.  My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE their showcam, and I have bought it as a Christmas present for family members since.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 


The Foreo LUNA mini is probably the second best campaign I've been invited to.  I paid $35 to get a LUNA mini, which usually retails for something like $135.  I think I probably do prefer my Clarisonic Mia for every day use, but I'm glad I own both.  I love the LUNA for travel because it stays charged for a year and because it's so wee, and the silicone nubs are very gentle on my rosacea. 


Oh, Schick Hydrosilk.  I just don't like you and your moisture strip of doom.  It gunks up my shower, goops up the razor, and makes it impossible to get a close shave, which is a waste of your five blades.  But you (and a replacement cartridge or two!) were free, and razors are expensive, so whatever. 


I got to test out two whole boxes of the fiber one meal bars, which was pretty exciting.  I loved taking these to work on days I'm too busy or cheap to hit up the cafeteria.  The only problem is that I can't find these for sale ANYWHERE, even amazon.  I will totally buy them again if I ever see them though. 


I am currently in the campaign for Tone body wash, which is another brand I would have paid no attention to if it weren't for BzzAgent.  While I don't love the new petal soft scent with peony and rose oil, I have done a lot of research on the brand and there are definitely scents I'm looking forward to trying out next time I run out of body wash.  It's a nice, inexpensive, moisturizing body wash.  I received a full sized bottle. 


I am also in a campaign for Starbucks Blonde roast.  I got to pick between a regular bag of coffee or a pack of k-cups.  Our Keurig never got unpacked after our move (ahem 4 years ago) so I went with the regular coffee.  We are going to brew it today, I'll instagram it and let you know how I like it.  I'm definitely excited to try the Blonde roast, and the $4 off coupons are going like hotcakes.  Yay, Starbucks!

That's all, folks!  Are you in BzzAgent or a similar program?  Do you like it?  Are you a sheep like me who has brand loyalty long after the campaign is over? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More School Decisions (Or Rather, Life Making the Decisions for Me)

I have been planning on sending Adriana to the local Catholic school for Pre-K for basically forever.  I scheduled a tour last month and was all set to hand over the registration check when I found out that they are getting rid of after care for the early childhood education building next year.  Which is completely stupid because they let the Pre-K kids go over to the main (K-8) school for after care this year, as long as they are 5.  Adriana will be 5 in October, so my parents could have helped out for a month or two if they were still allowing that, but no.  I guess it was offered this year only.  Adriana can't go to Kindergarten yet because the school has a strict August 1 cutoff.  I briefly thought about forcing it, but then she'd be in my nephew's class and I don't think that would be the best for either of them.  While my parents can help some, I wouldn't want or expect them to watch her every day from 2-6, so we are kind of stuck unless we magically find a super reliable, super cheap baby sitter. The school's after care was REALLY affordable and nothing else is really going to be as convenient, easy, or cheap.  Plus I don't really dig strangers hanging out at my house.  

I thought about sending both kids to the Jewish center instead, but after looking into it, I think it's too expensive.  It looked like it was comparable until I realized that the summer session is twice as much as the rest of the year, plus there are other little charges that add up  We would also completely lose the flexibility we currently enjoy so I don't know.  It might be easier to just keep them where they are, even though I don't love it.

When I was seriously considering the JCC, I took a tour of both the early childhood education center and the K-8 school attached to it.  I wouldn't have normally even looked at the school, but since the JCC was getting so many calls from people who were shafted by the Catholic school not offering after care, they were thinking about adding a class for kids who were too advanced for preschool, but not yet the right age for Kindergarten.  The K-8 school was basically the school of my dreams - SUCH a better fit for my family than a Catholic school would be.  It's super diverse.  Kids there are either on the Hebrew track or the Spanish track, since I think less than half are actually Jewish.  The Spanish track is focused on learning about cultures from around the world.  Kids there seem super tolerant and worldly and cultured.  I loved the classrooms and the philosophy and basically everything I heard until they told me the price.  It's exorbitant.  Dreams dashed.  So that's a bummer too, because now I'm always going to feel like our original school of choice is a let down.  

So yeah.  Another year of daycare.  The good news is that Adriana really loves both her current teacher and the Pre-K teacher.  She is learning all of the things I'd expect her to learn at this age, and she is really maturing and listening better.  The bad news is that Lucy will be in the class of the teacher Adriana HATED for at least part of next year if we stay.  Plus we just had another one of those minor annoying incidents that keep adding up and souring my opinion of the place.  You ready for this one?  

We were driving home from daycare yesterday, and Lucy kind of pouted and said "Miss Brandy called me a baby."  I was like well, you'll always be MY baby.  Lucy then said "Miss Brandy said I'm not a big girl anymore."  Hmm.  "What were you doing when she said that, sweetie?"  "I pooped." (Pronounced "poopted", heh).  So basically the teacher's aide shamed my two year old for having an accident.  The worst part is that I have told both the teacher and the aide MULTIPLE TIMES to sit L on the potty at 4 every day, since she was pooping in her pants between 4:05-4:30 nearly every day.  They are doing all of their end of day stuff and moving rooms at that time, so I think that they basically just let the kids run rampant and don't pay attention.  So of course, that's when little miss reliable needs to poop.  This has resulted in a major backslide for her potty training - she went for a few months with very few accidents to basically not pooping on the potty unless she's at home.  Grrrr.  You'd think they would want to work on it just as much as I do - no one wants to clean up poop, right??  So ridiculous that they would SHAME A KID because they were too busy/lazy to follow my instructions.  I was not pleased, to say the least.

Stuff like this is so frustrating to me.  There are just not enough good options around there, or at least not enough AFFORDABLE good options.  It seriously feels like we are the only family with two working parents who can't seem to find a school situation that is a good fit, which CAN'T be the case, right?   Maybe we should have looked harder at the public schools, but then we'd just have be switching the affordable house / unaffordable school situation for an unaffordable house / affordable school (plus adding a ton of inconvenience).  And I think a more structured school setting is better for my particular children than getting a nanny.  I might feel differently if I had different kids, but I don't.  I like the current mix of parent/grandparent/school time, just wish I didn't feel like I was stuck with a school I don't love by default.

I don't know, it's just Pre-K right?  No need to stress this much about it?  In what will feel like a microsecond, L will be in Kindergarten and A will be in 2nd grade and this will all be a distant memory.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

How to Save at Target

So, I'm probably the last person in the universe to know about this.  Feel free to make fun of me in the comments.  But in case this helps someone, I'm going to go ahead and post it.

My lovely friend D came over to give me an amazing Target coupon because she already had one on her phone ($15 off a $40 up & up purchase).  I mentioned that 90% of what I own was purchased at Target but that I'm lazy and hadn't taken the time to figure out the Cartwheel app or to get any coupons other than the book that gets mailed to me every few months.  She quickly schooled me in Target Couponing 101, and now I have to tell all of you.

The Cartwheel app is pretty self explanatory; go to the app store, download it, sign in, browse offers of different categories.  Right now I can save 10 of the 581 offers, but D says that your number gets increased over time (she is up to 20).  You can sort by discount, and D said she gets free stuff from time to time when combining it with other offers.  The trick is to use your paper coupons FIRST, and Cartwheel LAST.  

I had heard of Cartwheel, but never knew the wonders of Target Mobile Coupons.  First, you text "offers" to 827438.  Then you click the link, sign up, agree to some things, and reply "Y" to confirm you really want Target to text you.  Then the fun begins.  There are other words you can text to that number to get even more offers.  I texted "clean" for a bunch of laundry coupons, "spring", "thanks", and "storetrip" for food and cleaning products, "apparel" for $5 off any $25 clothing purchase, "baby4" to subscribe to baby coupons, and "upandup" for the aforementioned $15 off $40 of up & up items.

These all have expiration dates and certain restrictions apply, but basically it opened up my eyes to the world of easier couponing.  I may never open a newspaper, but I dick around on my phone ALL DAY LONG.  I can definitely take a few minutes to check my texts before I shop to make the most out of my target experience.  So much of the items I buy on any given Target trip were on sale, it was almost embarrassing to think of all of the money I could have been saving.

So, yeah.  Coupons.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Enabler Alerts: IT Cosmetics, PopSugar Must Haves, New Beauty Test Tube, and Kohl's Beauty Box

Hi, everyone!  I can't believe I took such a long blogging break, I don't think I've ever missed a whole month since I started.  I missed you guys!

I just wanted to give you guys a heads up on a few purchases I have made recently, in case you are interested too.  I'm sorry, project 25 pan :(


Screenshot from QVC.com
First, today only, IT Cosmetics is today's QVC TSV; the CC Your Way to Beautiful Skin Anti-Aging 4 piece collection is $59.98 plus $7.22 S&H.  As you may know, I am a huuuuuuuuge fan of IT Cosmetics.  The Bye Bye Redness color correcting cream is probably the best beauty find of my entire life, and that is not an exaggeration.   I have never been much of a BB / CC / DD cream person since they typically don't give me enough coverage, but Jamie Kern-Lima has rosacea too, and that makes me think like this one might be the magical CC cream that works for me.  I watched the QVC video, and it looks like you get a pretty decent sized tube.  I got it in light, since IT Cosmetics means business when they say Fair.  I LOVE every IT Cosmetics brush and lip gloss I own, so I am excited to add those to my collection.  Finally, IT Cosmetics recently sent me the Tightline Full Lash Length Black Mascara Primer, and I'm excited to have a backup of this really unique product.  



These pics aren't the greatest, but you should be able to see what a great product it is.  The first eyeball is with no product, the second is with Tightline alone, and the last is with a coat or three of the IT Cosmetics Hello, Lashes over Tightline.  I feel like the Tightline primer is great for natural "no makeup" looks or to get those pesky bottom lashes (the tiny wand is perfect for that!), but when combined it with the regular, super black IT Cosmetics mascara, it's AMAZING.  I feel very va-va-voom with this combo on.  Plus you really can skip the extra step of tightlining if you want (I do it anyway, and find that the primer makes it last longer).  

Next up is the PopSugar Must Haves box.  You may remember that even though it's my all time favorite subscription service, I quit in order to justify my Naked 3 purchase.  Welllll, apparently I just need PSMH in my life, because I saw the spoilers for this month and resubscribed in a heartbeat.  I am planning on doing my review today / tonight, but I wanted to include it here since I think the March boxes have almost run out, and the MARCH10 / IKAT10 promo code might not be good after today.  Those codes get you $10 off the March box, which includes a GORGEOUS $72 Brokedown scarf that is perfect for spring, as well as some other adorable goodies.  Here is my referral link, if you are interested!

I also caved on this month's New Beauty Test Tube, another old favorite.  I quit both this version and the QVC version because I had too much stuff and needed to save money, not because I don't love both subs.  I intend to only resubscribe for this month, but we'll see.  I couldn't pass up a tarte blush, glam glow, AND it's a 10.  What an amazing box!!!  There is no referral link for that one, but if you want to go through the hassle of sending me your email address so I can "invite" you, that would be sweet.  If not, just go here, it's much easier.  

Finally, I was chatting with Kelly on twitter about missing the Target beauty box, and Kohl's surprised us both by offering to send their beauty box for free.  It's not a subscription at this time, but if you follow @kohls on twitter and talk crap about other beauty boxes (ha!), they might surprise you with a box!  I'll probably post pics / review mine on here too, but I don't want to spoil it for Kelly so I'll wait until she gets hers.

Finally the second, some of you have been asking about when the Allure Box next goes on sale.  It should be in April, and this is my best guess for the link.  Check it often :)  I will update when I know more, of course.  

Have you found any good deals lately?  Comment below for everyone else.  Not for me, since I am now banned from purchasing for a while :)


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter 2014 Day In the Life (Work Day)

I missed the deadline for Laura's Day in the Life roundup, but I still want to participate since these are some of my favorite posts to look back on.  I also think I am going to start doing 2 posts per season, a work day and a weekend, since they are just so different.  Hopefully the work posts aren't too boring, ha!  I put a little more background info in this one since I'll be showing you my work day more often.  

Edited to add - Adriana (rhymes with piranha) turned 4 in October; Lucia (loo-see-uh, also known as Lucy or Goosie) turned 2 in August.  I'm 34 and the hubs is 31 (cradle robber!)

5:45ish am: I woke up after two disturbing dreams in a row.  The first one featured my high school / college sweetheart, who hasn't spoken to me since he found out I was pregnant with Adriana.  It wasn't scandalous or anything, I was just telling him he should do his hair like he did in high school, but those dreams always leave me unsettled just because I still hate the way our many-year friendship ended so completely on his terms and not at all on mine.  Then as I was getting closer to waking up I started having stress dreams about work, since I remembered that I was supposed to get comments from my boss on something that was due to be filed yesterday.  The unfortunate part about this stress dream was that it was entirely true; I worked from home yesterday afternoon and I was reading documents on my ipad instead of my work laptop.  I COMPLETELY forgot to check my work email one last time and to get back to the attorney in charge of the filing.  Oops.  I snuggled in closer to the hubs and tried to go back to sleep, but it was a no go.  



6:00-6:30 am: I had no idea if it was 3am or 6am, so I checked the phone.  Damn, 6.  My alarm goes off at 6:03, but I usually hang out in bed for a bit.  Checked twitter, my pirates, and youtube.  Is Tati really recommending putting chapstick in hair?  Why yes, yes she is.  That seems...unhygenic.  It also occurred to me while laying there that my iphone is full and I'd need to upload my pictures if I want to do a DITL today.  I rolled out of bed and set my laptop up in the bathroom while I started to get ready.



6:30-6:35 am: Of course, within seconds of me entering the bathroom, Lucy is up ("I lost boo boo puppy, mama!  I LOVE boo boo puppy!  Find him, find him!").  And within seconds of hearing Lucy's gate open, Adriana is up ("Lucy woke me up and my clock is green so it's time to get up.")(It was totally NOT green.)   I may or may not have put them in today's outfit at bedtime last night, so they may or may not have already been dressed.  I know, I KNOW, I am the laziest parent ever.  But Tuesdays are hard because Justin works late on Mondays and therefore sleeps in until after we are gone.  I was hoping they would continue their trend of sleeping until 7:15 (!!!) so I could get ready in peace, then I could pop on their coats and boots and go right out the door.  But it was not meant to be.  I brought them downstairs and popped in Despicable Me 2.  It has to go back to redbox tonight so I'm trying to squeeze as many viewings in as possible.  

6:35-6:45 am: Justin was grumbling about the light so I rummaged around for an outfit in the dark.  I thought about today's schedule and decided black jeans would work since I'm literally sitting in my cube all day.  We are supposed to be business casual but some people reeeeally stretch the casual, even on non-fridays.  I'm not normally one of them, but I was having a hard time finding anything presentable in the dark.  



6:45-7:05 am: I get dressed, do my new hair trick and then end up pulling it back in a ponytail anyway.  Makeup time!  I have new makeup storage and this is the first day with my new system of not keeping the makeup bag in the bathroom.  I now have a basket of stuff to pick from that I'll switch out on a weekly basis.  



I didn't get far before I could hear Lucia calling me and yelling that her butt hurts (she has folliculitis on her nether regions).  I grabbed her and her antibiotics and let her hang out with me upstairs.  She is SO GOOD about taking her meds, never complains at all.  She got into my EOS lip balm ("Am I pwetty now, mama?"), but at least she didn't EAT it, unlike the last time I turned my back for 5 seconds.  



We brushed her teeth, pulled up her hair, and then she proceeded to freak out as I tried to slap on my makeup.  Selfies always work magic to calm her down though.  The awkward-er my face angle the better, apparently.  She always makes me show her the last picture and then demands we do it again.  The tiny dictator also made me take my hair out for the last one.   



7:05-7:35 am:  I sent Adriana upstairs to brush her own teeth, and made a mental note to make sure I brush them extra good tonight.  After she was finished, I brushed about 10,000 knots out of her super fine hair while she called me a mean mama.  Then I rushed around, gathering up backup undies and pants for Lucy and socks / hats / boots / coats / inside shoes for both girls.    I must have been hot from all of that running around, because when I went outside I didn't notice it was any colder than usual.  I let Adriana just wear her pink blankie outside and carried out the rest of the outerwear.


Most appropriate music choice ever.
7:35-7:45 am: I was shocked to see that it was -9 degrees and actually checked my car against the phone, since it didn't really feel that different than the 20 it's been the past few days.  I kept trying to shove their hats and gloves into the back seat, but neither kid wanted to put anything on.  Adriana started crying, but the frozen soundtrack temporarily cheered her up.  Lucy loves to sing along with "Let It Go", while Adriana's favorite is "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" - she acts out the "Go away, Anna"..."Okay, bye" part every time, it's so cute.  



7:45-7:58 am: I said temporarily because Adriana started freaking out when I made her put her coat and hat on before getting out of the car.  She thought I would be nicer but I'm a mean mama.  Sigh.  Waffles + a little photo shoot with her friends cheered her right up though.  My camera loving kiddos.  Oh, and yes, they are matching again, at least on top.  We don't do this nearly as often these days, but my mom gave me a bunch of clothes she normally keeps at her house (my parents are in FL so it's all daycare all the time for the next month).  






7:58-8:06 am: Drive to work.  Thank goodness it's close.  



8:06-8:15 am: Popped in the bathroom to better capture my OOTD for you guys (LOFT black stretch jeans, brown boots, lauren conrad top from kohl's, scarf I got in a CDP from -R-) and over to the hot water machine for my breakfast.  

8:15-11:45 am: Morning work stuff.  Luckily no one had comments on that thing I forgot, so that was nice.  I worked on some research for the pricing group and putting a summary of a case I'm working on into a different format for my boss.  She appreciates a good matrix.    

Brief job description:  I work in the electric utility industry.  Certain states are "deregulated" and people can shop for the generation portion their electricity.  Ohio is one of those states.  I work for a company that sells generation.  Even though it's the "deregulated" side of the business, we have to deal with the state and federal commissions all of the time.  I do regulatory work, meaning that I have to understand all of the laws that my company needs to follow in every state where we do business, and every utility case that affects rates or operations in those states.  So I have to know everything that affects us in 6 states and 25 or so utilities, I help fight to change rules that don't allow us to effectively compete, and I help explain those rules to the sales / marketing / operational peeps.  I work closely with Legal but am not a lawyer; I'm an analyst.   



Here is a panoramic shot of the semi-organized chaos that is my cubicle.  I have a window seat, but they leave the wall up if you aren't a supervisor.  Managers and up get walls and doors.  Cubes are arranged in "pods" of 4, but one of ours has been empty since the last layoff.  Sad panda.  The 9 zillion binders are for the 9 zillion cases I am working on.  I read a lot.  



(Welcome) morning interruptions include picking squares for the superbowl, a pop and cheese break with a coworker so she could fill me in on her latest match.com conquest, another coworker dangling the gender of his future baby in front of me (not literally, that would be weird), and my dad bragging about the weather.  


Look, ma, 2 brows!
11:45 am -12:45 pm: Lunch o'clock.  Today's festivities include getting my brows did (I go to Nafisa from Beauty First, love her!), picking up lunch, and running into my house to get my charger and a fresh diet coke.  I also went to grab a hand cream and realized that the chosen location of my makeup storage units is UNWISE, as hot air is blowing on my makeup.  Ugh.  Will have to find somewhere else to put them tonight; in the meantime I took the bottom drawers out.  

12:45-1:00 pm: The coworkers were all having an important discussion about whether or not it is socially acceptable to bring taco bell in for lunch.  I vote yes, it's just that most desk eaters here either pack or get food downstairs.  If you're leaving the building, you might as well go to a real restaurant.  Plus the nearest taco bell is in an awful location.  I was done eating my lunch before everyone dispersed and my phone was charged enough to turn on, so no pics.  It was a burger and onion rings from Skyway, the less tasty version of Swenson's.  

1:00-5:00 pm: Afternoon work stuff.  I only had one meeting, a call with the IL utilities about how they calculate the customers' peak load contribution.  It was riveting.  I should also note that my coworkers carried on conversations from 12:45 until 2:50 or so, with only about a 10 minute quiet break in there.  I really like my group, but I'm more of a "chat about random stuff during the first and last hour of the day" person, and prefer quiet or work-related chat the rest of the day.  I think I'm becoming an introvert in my old age.  





I like to multitask on certain conference calls.  Today's efforts included a mani (Sonia Kashuk's Wicked Attraction), shopping (Windsor), and blog fun (Lacey's awesome 2 truths and 1 lie post).  I did actually listen to the call too (I promise!), but this one was hard to follow because it was a web presentation and our firewall wouldn't let me in.  They are sending the materials out since at least one other company was looking at a blank screen too.  Good times.  




5:00 - 5:21 pm: I left work right at 5 on the dot and made a beeline for the grocery store.  I picked up milk, buns, and a shit ton of cheater food.  I can cook, it's just not how I choose to spend my time on weeknights, plus the girls are STARVING by the time they get home from daycare.



5:21-5:31 pm: I love picking up the girls, they are so excited to see me.  Adriana did a crazy dance and Lucia showed me her kitty (it's a groundhog, heh) while babbling excitedly about playing with balloons.  I bribed them to get ready fast with the promise of a "candy bar" in the car, thinking that the fiber one bars Bzzagent sent me were granola bars.  I was little nervous when I saw it was actually a meal bar, so I split it into three.  The girls didn't mind, and might as well have been in a commercial, they went nuts over it.  I now have to find a regular granola bar that tastes similar; anyone know if Fiber one makes something like that?  The flavor is Strawberry Greek Yogurt.  

5:31-5:41 pm: Drove home to the sounds of Frozen.


They helped themselves to some nerds for dessert.

Dirties on the left, cleanies on the right.  Also the first time I saw hubs all day. 
5:41-6:45 pm:  Fed the girls and tackled the giant mess of pots and pans that have been accumulating for the past 4ish days.  Justin has recently proclaimed that he will do all of the dishes if I do the pans, and I am a little salty about it.  Seeing as how I'm the primary cook / meal preparer, I feel like pans should not be solely my job too.  Justin came home around 6:30, and we both grabbed bites of dinner while cleaning and chatting with the girls.  Re: that picture up there, he has been sick so I was trying to avoid the mouth (hence the creepy open eyes).  


Awwwwkward family selfies!
  
6:45-8:30 pm: We started to watch the Lone Ranger, but Justin was pissy because the girls were talking through it and I was playing on Twitter / Instagram so he switched it to Pocahontas.  At some point Lucy fell asleep on me and I started to drift off while Adriana brushed my hair, which means I got out of bedtime duties, woohoo!  Justin woke me up after putting the girls to bed, and I came upstairs, brushed teeth, washed face, etc.

8:30-bed: I am finishing this up real quick then we are supposed to watch Wolverine in bed.  SHHHHH don't tell Justin, but I have no intention of staying awake for more than 10 minutes.  I'm skipping 30 Day Shred due to extreme fatigue.  Sometimes I think I might be semi-narcoleptic; my body just shuts down out of nowhere.  Today was definitely one of those days.  Nighty night!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

How to Tame Dry, Frizzy Winter Hair (with Minimal Heat Damage)

I have been wanting to tell you all about a new hair trick that I love, but it's hard to get a decent picture since my hair is so dark (and it doesn't help that I wear so much black, haha).  Just try it out yourself!

When I was in high school, I hated my half curly / half wavy / all frizzy hair and was super jealous of people with "wash and go" hair.  If flat irons existed back then, I wasn't aware of them, and curling it every day was definitely too much work.  More often than not I'd take my morning shower, find the nearest scrunchie, pull my hair halfway through, and go.  

I'd like to say that I've evolved since then, but I still do this on the weekends (subbing my trusty black goody elastic for the scrunchie, of course).  During the week I try to be better about going around with wet hair, but I still air dry with Miss Jessie's at least twice a week in the summer.  Winter is a little trickier, what with the polar vortex and all.  I have been searching for a way to do my hair that involves minimal heat styling since it's a bit damaged from a bad dye job last year, plus my hair is suffering from the usual winter dryness.  

I'm participating in this round's Biggest Blogging Loser, which means I'm showering every night after I work out (30 Day Shred, maybe I'll actually complete it this time).  I know you are technically not supposed to wash your hair that often, but I am a sweaty beast and there is no amount of dry shampoo that will cover up that level of gross.  After showering, I put in a small amount of leave in conditioner (I love the Redken Extreme Anti-Snap) and pull my hair back into a ponytail.  This minimizes the hair craziness, but when I wake up I still have ends that look like this:



I would normally curl or flatiron my hair to tame this mess.  Both solutions are fairly quick and make me look like I have reasonably normal hair, but both involve more heat than I'm willing to use on an everyday basis, especially when my hair is already damaged.  


Lately I have been spraying my hair with Garnier's Sleek and Shine Flat Iron Perfector, then straightening the bottom 2-3 inches with my FHI flat iron.  I figure the ends are fucked already anyway, so I'm okay with giving them full heat.  Then I VERY LIGHTLY flat iron each side ONCE, mostly to smooth the bump from my pony tail holder and to de-frizz it.  I am careful to not clamp down all the way during this step, as I am trying to keep my hair's natural wave.  I finish it off with a pump or two of the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil, which I got in the Sephora Favorites Beauty Oil Essentials kit.  This stuff is amazing, I would seriously consider shelling out the $38 for the full size after I run out of hair oils (like 5 years from now).  Any heat protectant, hair oil, and flat iron will do, this just happens to be what I am using and loving right now.  


The end result is sort of Blake Lively beachy.  You might think that having straight ends and roots looks weird, but a ton of tutorials on youtube tell you to not curl too close to the root and to leave the ends out, so I'd say it's compatible with the current trends.  My hair is super soft and manageable when I'm done, and I just want to run my hands through it all day.  

You can customize this to your own preferences too, skipping the ponytail when you sleep and adding in some dry shampoo or root lifter if you like volume, or going a little heavier with with flat iron if you don't.  If your hair isn't naturally wavy, try sleeping in braids and then flat ironing the entire braid before you take them out in the morning.  I even do this sometimes just to mix it up since the braid waves are a little more structured than my natural ones.   

What do you do differently in the winter time?  Any products you'd recommend for dry, damaged, or frizzy hair?  I'm always looking for something that works!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Sleep Sitch, The Bitch Sitch, and the Stitch Sitch

I don't know if you guys can tell, but I was going through a rough patch there for a while, parenting-wise.  It just seemed like an endless cycle in which the girls didn't sleep, so they would act like hellions, and we didn't sleep because they didn't sleep, so we'd yell at them, they would scream and cry, which would make us even more irritable, which would make us yell more, and ugh.  It was none good.  I felt like all I ever did was yell at them, and it was the worst feeling in the world.

Unfortunately, the shared room is probably what started this cycle of suck.  Adriana was acting out at bedtime for a few weeks before we moved them, and at first the shared room was actually helpful because Lucy's presence seemed to comfort Adriana and to keep her from getting scared.  However, I started noticing that not only did Lucy start waking up when Adriana did, but both girls were waking up a few minutes earlier and going to bed a few minutes later every day.  Then we had the evil fall time change, which made the situation worse.  Then Barfsgiving happened, Lucy's crazy molluscum/folliculitis rash flared up, and Adriana smashed her finger in a door and eventually lost her nail.  One kid would wake up crying (and wake up the rest of the family) at least 2 times a night at least 5 times a week.  It was miserable.  

We finally have the sleeping under control, but only because Lucy is now sleeping on her old crib mattress on the playroom floor.  For a while we were having her sleep in her bed, then bringing in a sleeping Adriana, but everyone was just staying up SO LATE that way.  I have also been making Lucy sleep in the dark with the door closed, because she sleeps SO MUCH BETTER that way.  This means she cries for about 5 minutes before going to bed, but I don't even care.  Adriana is still a little challenging at night, pulling out a million stall tactics but I have found that the coddling just makes things worse.  Repeatedly putting her back in bed and refusing to come out of mine to deal with her results in her falling asleep way sooner.  Every once in a while we have a night where both kids stay up too long yelling "I'm sorry, mama!!!" from their beds and then giggling, but more often than not they are both asleep within 15 minutes of me putting them down, and it's SO MUCH BETTER for everyone involved.

The improved sleeping situation has definitely helped out on the bitch sitch (both my own and my daughter's, ha).  Dance class is going better, Adriana behaved alllllmost the entire time, but got kicked out once near the very end for hitting a classmate.  Still, progress.  

My Mirena-related bitchiness is still there, but even that has toned down now that I'm sleeping better.  I do fully believe that it's not right for me though, and that the extreme swings in emotion and the extra volatile temperament are bad enough to rip that sucker out.  My appointments keep getting rescheduled though, either due to my unpredictable period or the doctor running late and needing to reschedule.  I keep threatening to just rip it out myself, but that's too gross even for me.  

This is really not related, but fits with my not so clever title so I went with it.  If you don't follow me on Instagram, you probably don't know that Lucia split her chin open last week, requiring 7 stitches.  She was at my parents' house and slipped on the wood floor while taking her coat off (so her hands were pinned and she couldn't break the fall).  Let me tell you, this kid is a CHAMP.  I always struggle to find my genes in her, but I'm proud to say she's tough like mama (Daddy and Adriana would probably scream and cry while getting stitches).  Lucy did great, not moving a muscle while they stitched her up.  Love that kid.  


This was how she looked when I got to the hospital

She was less enthused after getting the stitches, but still hanging in there

Look how wee she looks in the bed

Adriana is very protective of baby sissy (at least when she isn't fighting with her)

Uncle Nicky removed her stitches - it's healing up nicely!
  That's all for now - what have YOU been up to lately?