Monday, February 24

Pending Adventures and Spring

When I read popular blog names (or even unpopular ones) I can't help but feel like I'm in the Hunger Games and the Capitol is real. You know how some of their names are like Cashmere and Glimmer? Yeah, I always am seeing stuff like that for blog names. But I won't pick on any blog in particular, I just think it's funny. Everyone tries so hard to be original. Sometimes I wonder how humans have not run out of things to say. Hasn't everything already been said? Hasn't every possible song been written already? Nothing should be original anymore, yet somehow a new song comes on the radio and it is completely different from anything else. It's pretty remarkable really. Humans are pretty talented.

Today the weather was beautiful here in Provo, Utah. Tenley and I went for a walk outside to feel the sunshine after saying goodbye to Dalin for the evening as he left for work. He had brought me (us ;) some colorful flowers before leaving today. He always does that kind of thing at the most random times, which to me, is the very best time to do it. He also knows how much I love flowers--almost more than anything else. I have a bad habit of trying to dry out and save every flower he gives me though...I can't help it! They just bring me happy memories! Anyway, spring always makes me feel so hopeful and positive. I am so looking forward to the coming months. I think I sometimes really struggle with being fully satisfied with the present. I am always looking to the future. I'm kind of a dreamer in that way. But I do love my life right now!
I love the colors!!!

Tenley and I are going on an adventure in the next few days. We are flying to meet up with my mom and brother--we had flying credit that had to be used up--who really just want to see Tenley, but I'm okay with that ;). I am excited, happy, nervous, and a little scared all at once. Nervous mainly because I've never been apart from Dalin for more than three days since we've been married. But I am doing my best to have faith because everything will be okay and no matter what, we will be together forever. I'm scared because I will be flying with Tenley alone which I have never done before but I have had many people reassure me that it will be great. Tenley is going to be an old pro at flying! By the time she is one, she will have flown to and from New Hampshire and Florida twice! Eight trips! She is a pretty wonderful little girl and I am so thankful to have her. I have been feeling so grateful for my life lately. Grateful for the promise of joy that comes with being a Latter-day Saint. I am thankful to have been raised a Mormon. It gives one such peace having a purpose. God has been so good to me and my family.

I am thankful that Dalin is so forgiving. I am so imperfect and he sees that more often than I'd like to admit. But he cares greatly about my happiness and I see how hard he works to support our little family and give us the very best. Ugh, it is going to kill me to leave him, but I know he will be right here for me when I return. And I'm going to give him a huge smooch so he knows that I really, really missed him haha. I already miss him and we haven't even left yet!
Anyway, wish Tenley and I luck with our travels and pray that this adventure goes smoothly. I so love adventures!:)

And thanks a million in advance!

Sunday, February 23

On Being Super Woman

After my last post, someone asked me how I have time to blog almost every day with a 6 month old. She (I am assuming it was a she) also asked if I was super woman. I actually thought that that was a really nice comment. But no, I am definitely not super woman, though that would be awesome and I'm sure I would get a lot more done if I was. I am responding with a full post because I was thinking a lot about how to respond to this question and there were too many things I wanted to say.

First off, I guess blogging is a small part of my priorities. I don't really think of it as particularly important, but it is something that I do enjoy and that I hope has helped some people a time or two. But I guess to answer your question in the most plain way, I have time to do it because I make time. I love to write and I think about blogging fairly often throughout my day. Now that I have a smart phone finally (I just got it a month ago as a gift from family--prior to then I had a Motorola Razr haha), taking photos is a lot easier. So when I am going about my day, thinking of ideas for posts, I usually choose to write things that align with my life at the time. Like when I wrote about my favorite cleaning product the other day, that was because I decided to do a fairly deep clean of the kitchen and our bedroom that day and I thought, why not? I had my camera handy and took a few photos during and after. I also plan out my posts a lot during the day. Like I was imagining what I would say for the post as I was cleaning the kitchen. Then, all I needed was for the baby to go down for a nap or play with daddy so I could take half an hour to upload photos and get down the many things I had been thinking about. I admit I am not a good revisionist whatsoever which is ironic because my intentions were are to become an editor. Probably if I were getting paid to blog, I would put in a little more effort, but for now, it's just a thing I like to do that helps motivate me to be better.

What do I mean by that? Well think about it. If I just didn't care about improving myself, I would probably be blogging about watching Netflix all day (which sometimes I do anyway...) because I would not care about accomplishing anything. Fortunately, I do care about becoming my best self and so I try to be that person every day. I fail a lot. Too many times. But blogging about my life has helped to motivate me a little more. I don't want to write about boring things, I want to focus on the joys in my life and on my love of being a wife and mother. So I guess in a sense, my life is fun and pleasantly busy because I make it that way. I want to blog about my accomplishments, so I accomplish things to blog about. Does that make sense?

You mentioned that you have a young infant and that he or she keeps you occupied. While Tenley is considered easy as far as babies go, she still cries and whines and wants to be with me almost all the time. I absolutely adore her and spend so much of my day on her that it does seem quite surprising that I ever have time for anything else. And while she is my world, the reason I have time to do other things (just like blogging) is because I make time.

My priorities in regards to my daughter each day are to make sure she eats enough, sleeps enough, gets read to, and that she has a lot of playtime. Playing is basically a baby's job and is the best way for a child to learn so I make independent time a priority. It is not always easy. Sometimes I put her in her little Bumbo chair or in her jumper/bouncer thing and she just fusses the whole time. But I let her fuss and get as many things done possible as I can before it escalates. Some days, I have to nurse her to sleep on our bed and then sneak away before she wakes up. But I do this and let her cry sometimes (though it always is hard) because I am trying to teach her to be independent. Sometimes, she is just making it impossible to accomplish anything, and then I strap on our baby carrier and take her with me. I've done dishes, laundry, all kinds of household tasks while wearing her. I have to pretend I'm working out because she gets heavy in that thing after a while. But basically, I make do every day and adapt to the situation.

I realize those things may not be possible for your child because all babies are so different. One thing that motivates me is fiercely believing in my job as a mother. It really is hard work and I treat motherhood the way I would any other job (only I think I work even harder because it's a job that's truly important to me). I want to be the best mom. I doubt my children will always think that of me, but it is a personal goal for me to work toward achieving. I have always wanted a big family...somewhere around seven kids would be awesome (though I'll admit my husband is hoping I'll compromise) and that being the case, I have a mentality that one kid is a piece of cake, even though sometimes it isn't. I have to have that mentality if I could ever hope to fulfill my goal of becoming a mother of seven. I have to tell myself that I can do it or I don't think I would have sufficient motivation.

I actually believe that this mode of thinking is the primary reason that I had such a good birth experience. Everyone has always told me I would change my mind about having seven children after giving birth to my first. Because of that, I have kind of always been determined to prove those people wrong. Everyone treated my thirteen hours of labor (four of which were pushing) like I had done something insane or impossible. But to me, I was just doing what had to be done to get a baby out of me. Also, I know that having seven kids can't always be that easy, and so I remind myself that I haven't seen anything yet. I am confident that God does and will continue to help me if I rely on Him.

I firmly believe that our minds can be tools to help us become our best selves but you have to have the right attitude. That sounds super cheesy but I've realized this in my own life over and over as I have grown up and I know it is true. Tell yourself you can do it all. You can do hard things. And you will.

I am so far from being Super Woman that it's sad. But I like the person I am becoming. Try setting goals each day of things you hope to accomplish. If you even get one thing done, you are a success. That is what gets me through my days and I have high hopes that it will help you, too.

Dear friend, I hope this gave you some insight into my life. Thank you for your kind comment and know that it really made me think a lot. Thanks for that.


Saturday, February 22

Rag Curls How To & Social Media

Just thought I should first inform you, dear friends, that I got an Instagram last month (just a tad late jumping on the wagon) and I love it because I can basically keep in touch with family and friends (and strangers haha) better through pictures. It's pretty awesome. You can find my Instagram page right here if you want to follow me or whatever ;)

Also, if you are looking for a really fun blog to follow, go check out The Freckled Fox (cutest name ever, huh?). I absolutely love it and have spent far too much time the last few days stalking Emily (the writer) and her adorable life (she also is in her early 20s and already has 4 babies! Awesome!). Also, she started following my blog today which--and this probably sounds silly, but--was like the most exciting thing ever for me. I kind of freaked when I noticed (Dalin was like "What?!" because I sort of yelled). Anyway, go follow Emily on her blog right now, and if you aren't following me already (but you read here a lot), you can follow me on the left. I think you can turn off email notices or something and I would if I were you because no one needs anymore junk mail in their inbox...seriously. I unsubscribe to everything so I completely understand why you wouldn't want that in your life.

But on to what you probably came here for--the rag curls tutorial.

Rag Curl Tutorial

The best part about this hairstyle is that it uses no heat (which means less damage to your lovely hair), it happens overnight so you can wake up with an amazing 'do, and besides being really easy, it has great results! And I'm serious when I say it's easy--I've always had a hard time styling my own hair because I didn't have a sister or anyone to practice on growing up (thankfully now I have a daughter so I can try everything on her ;). Plus, I like that you can do these sitting in bed in about five minutes.

What you need:

An old rag or shirt you can cut up
Warm water (preferably in a little spray bottle if you have one)
A comb
Hairspray or gel

1. You will cut your fabric of choice (I think cotton or something similar is best because it doesn't slip as easily) into 12-15 strips, each about 8-10" long and 1" wide. I have thick hair and 14 worked for me.

2. Lightly brush your hair (mine gets super tangled and knotty throughout the day, especially in the dry static) so it is workable.

3. Use the comb to pull out a small section of hair, about a quarter size around. Spritz it with water. If you don't have a spray bottle, you can just moisten your fingers in a cup of water and drag it along the strand to get it pretty moist.

4. Take a strip of fabric and place the end of your hair (about an inch from the bottom) in the center of the strip, making a little "t" or "x" or whatever. Pinch the hair to the strip and slowly start to roll upward toward your head, alternating hands to pinch the hair on the strip as you go. Starting is the hardest part especially if you have layers and pieces of hair like to fall out of your section, but once you get the hang of it, everything else is easy. Also don't worry if there are a lot of loose strands--it doesn't affect how your hair will turn out as much as you think.

5. Once you've rolled your hair all the way up to your head, find the ends of the rag with your fingers and tie a simple knot. I do not double knot mine--I just do a simple loop and pull it tight and the moisture and cotton hold pretty well.

6. Continue to work your way around your head doing small sections until every strand is tied up.

7. Spray a little water or hairspray if you want (I hardly use any hairspray at all).

This is what it looks like: 
You'll probably feel like Laura Ingalls or Anne Shirley. 
Side view
Back view
8. Sleep on it. (Yes! Sleeping is involved!) Also, in case you're wondering, I do not find sleeping on the rag curls uncomfortable. I actually probably sleep better if anything because I'm dreaming of waking up to luscious curly hair!

9. Wake up and visit a mirror. You'll probably be all like, "What a disaster," because you look kind of ridiculous. But don't worry, that's just how this works.

10. Un-tie each rag and slide it out of your loop of hair. You will probably have pretty tight ringlets.

11. Pull your fingers through the curls and use product or a little water if you want them to be softer and more natural.

12. Take a picture and go out and enjoy the day, you lovely curly-haired lady!

Some notes: 

  • Tightness and strand size are key. If you want tight, tight curls, use more rags and smaller strands of hair. If you want big, loose curls, use fewer rags and larger sections. 
  • If you do not moisten your hair, do not expect the curls to hold as well. They will probably fall flat in a few hours, especially if your hair does not curl easily in general. On the other hand, if you use water and hairspray, your hair can last as long as three days still looking great! 
  • If you wake up and a rag has slid off in the night, don't stress! Just use a curling iron to tidy up that strand and any other loose ones you may have missed. Chances are tidying up will only take you about five minutes. I am pretty good at tying the rags up and rarely, if ever, have to use an iron. 
Wishing you happy & gorgeous hair days, 
By the way, please let me know if you try these! I would love to hear how they turned out for you!
Also, if you already do rag curls, is this the technique you use?
Are you following The Freckled Fox or my blog yet?? If not, get to it! 

Friday, February 21

Cleaning Frenzy & My All-Time Favorite Cleaning Product

Do you ever just get into a cleaning frenzy? Well today that happened to me. It came in like the stomach flu (out of nowhere and lasted 24 hours...ish haha). I cannot even explain where it came from but it was like nesting all over again. I also used to get into these intense cleaning moods when Aunt Flo came around, but she hasn't been here in over a year (which has been the best thing ever) so it can't be that. Anyway, I was productive today (even though Tenley tried so many times to thwart my plans) and it was really grand.

Now I basically just want to show off what I accomplished before telling you about my absolute favorite cleaning product. I'm so in love with it that I actually get excited about cleaning when I get to use this. (Truthfully, I like cleaning anyway but it isn't always exciting). I apologize for the poor quality of the photos. I just used my phone because, well, it's quick.
As you can see, we take St. Patrick's Day quite seriously in our house.
Home Sweet Home
I even cleaned the microwave!
On the top right, I'm using a metal paper filer to store my pans, cutting boards, anything thin.
Stove top so clean you could lick it! (But don't)
Green is so cheerful!
Also, for those of you who teased me about our many hand soaps, as you can see, I cut it down to one for now.
Now on to the bedroom!
There are few things more comfy than new clean sheets and pillow cases. I just love how clean they smell and feel especially. (Can you feel when your sheets are clean?) Plus we (meaning I haha) pulled out a different cover for our bed since we used the last quilt for like 7 months and were overdue for a change.
This is a crappy picture (our bedroom lighting is horrendous) but I am so proud of how organized this whole thing is! Look for my post two days ago if you want to see how I organized inside some of the drawers. I hate folding clothes, but I LOVE how they look all folded!
Our very crowded but very organized closet. My sweaters are color-coordinated and my dresses are now arranged by occasion. 

Anyway, on to the good stuff. 
This is my all-time favorite cleaning product for the kitchen. They are called Brillio pads and they are stupendous. Basically they are steal wool covered in special soap, but make scrubbing a breeze and make cleaning old stains and grease a piece of cake. I get sad when I run out of these guys. I feel like a friend has died. I only have two left now. Brillo pads, not friends. 
They also come in pink!
Aren't they awesome? I am showing you the back of the box because at the bottom it depicts their many uses in the kitchen. Apparently I've heard they can scratch up certain surfaces like non-stick pans, but most of my cookware is pretty well-used anyway and I have never had an issue with them. Please don't sue me if they ruin something in your kitchen though. Now I will try to convey the awesomeness of these things through photos.
Notice the streaks and spots and grease stains. So splotchy.
And after!!!!
*Chorus of angels*
As you can see, the streaks and spots are gone and the pans look almost new (besides being a little tarnished, which I think is beautiful--I love tarnished things). These pads do things that regular soap and water can't even begin to. 

I sadly do not have a before pic for this one, but you know how baking pans always get so greasy and spotty in the corners especially where they are harder to scrub? Well guess what? Gone. All of it. With just a little elbow grease and a Brillo pad. 
This is a dumb picture because you can't even tell how sparkly clean they are, but just imagine how they were straight out of the package and there you have it. 
Look at this glittering stove top. I removed all the knobs and burners (clearly), but the thing looks beautiful and is now all smooth. I get so excited just looking at this!!
And last, but not least, check out how white my sink is? I also used the Brillo pad to scrub this. And for some reason, white stone is really hard to clean. Marks do not disappear easily. But using the pad is a thousand times easier than just a sponge or brush. 

So as you can tell, I am in love with those things and the best part was I cleaned the stove, dishes, pans, sink, and more with just one Brillo pad! How awesome is that? My kitchen is sparkling right now (which is a rarity) and though it will be destroyed again in a few days, I have a lot of peace of mind for now knowing my home is clean. You know that phrase, "Happy wife, happy life"? It's true, but besides that, I made up a similar phrase today: "Clean house, happy spouse." (Genius, I know). I might just coin that. Now go out and buy some Brillo pads! I think you can buy them in bulk at Sam's and Costco. That's what I would do if I had a membership. They're pretty great!

I hope you have a clean and orderly day! ;)
What is your absolute favorite cleaning product?
Do you have a specific tip for cleaning kitchens or organizing bedrooms?

Thursday, February 20

Red, Red Lips

I will admit that I am not/was not a fan of the red lips fad. I feel/felt like red lips are tacky and make your teeth look more yellow. But now, I'm somewhere in the middle. I can't say I've converted or anything because I still think less is more with make-up but I don't hate it as much as I thought I did. Maybe Dalin complimenting me when I tried it for the first time helped a little (more than likely, that's what happened). But I own a lot of lip gloss and lip stuff in general, I just rarely wear it because it seems to last so short a time that I wonder if it's worth it. So when I came across some bright red gloss (unused) in my little make-up stash, I thought, Why the heck not? So I tried it and this was the result:
I just had to kiss something. 
Not too shabby, I thought. I like the Rosie the Riveter look. I felt like Scarlett Johansson or Lucille Ball or some other classy lady. Anyway, we'll see if I ever wear this look regularly or not, but either way I thought it would be fun to try and it was!

What is your opinion on the red lips fad? Love it, hate it, or somewhere in the middle?
Do you wear red lipstick or gloss yourself? (And if so, what brand is good?)

Wednesday, February 19

Homemade Facials & A Semi-Crisis

A few things. Thing number one, my blog is having an identity crisis. It's not me, it's my blog I swear. We simply can't agree on anything right now. Mainly appearance-wise. This font or that one? This color or that? There are just too many things. So if you either have a suggestion or see something you just love or hate, please comment and tell me! I love opinions. I am an opinion leach. That sounds disgusting. An opinion vampire. Let's just say I eat opinions for breakfast, then let them digest, and finally make my own decisions based on the ideas of others. 

Thing number two: I tried a homemade facial today. Honestly, it felt awesome but I can't indefinitely conclude that it did anything. I took photos just in case to record this momentous moment (seriously, it's like the third or fourth facial I've ever done) so you can see for yourself and decide if it did anything.

At any rate, I had fun doing it and it was really simple.

1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. baking soda
It looked like this no matter how much I mixed it. Stinking honey. But it worked out fine. 
Don't forget to put you hair up! For real. 
During: (After you've plastered it all over your face)
It looks like a troll sneezed on my face
It did NOT taste good thanks to the baking soda
Side Profile
Pause a moment to check out this cutie while waiting for the facial to "soak in" ;)
After rinsing it off:
That's it, folks. I saw ones where you can substitute an avocado or egg yolk in, and while I happened to have both of those things on hand today, I wasn't in the mood for cracking an egg on my face (though admittedly, the honey and olive oil looked and felt pretty much the same as an egg). 

Happy day! 
What do you think?
Did the facial do anything at all? 
Do you have a facial recipe that seems to help your skin? 
(Also, don't mind my lack of make-up. I didn't go out today so I was kind of like whatever.)