Monday, August 25, 2014

A rainbow birthday party

Disclaimer: Yes, I know Audrey turned two in January, and yes I know it's August and I'm just now writing about it. I will milk my heart condition for all it's worth on this one.  :)

Up until a month before Audrey's birthday party, I was set on throwing her a nautical party. Then my grandpa died. While I sat with him at hospice, I decided we needed a rainbow. And with that, it clicked.

I've always loved rainbows.

Exhibit A: Audrey's Halloween costume from last year, made by yours truly with some wine-courage in me.

And with that, I had invitation-inspiration:

While I had lots of decor debates with Audrey's penguin birthday, this theme just fell together for me perfectly. It was truly meant to be. And her party was a great success.

My favorite overview. Those circle paper streamers were quite the project, but totally worth it. Thank you Martha Stewart paper punch.

The food (mini pig-in-a-blankets, veggie and beef pinwheels, rainbow fruit salad, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad and orzo salad):

Menu labels are easily my favorite thing to design! They are simple to make and go a long way visually.

These water bottle labels didn't stay on as well as last times, but it was still a fun decor visual.

I found these adorable rainbow cups at Oriental Trading company. Fun for the kids, and spill-free for me.

For dessert there were lemon, strawberry and chocolate cupcakes, cake pops, and sugar cookies.

 Favor table – Aside from the rainbow cups, each child got a rainbow sucker and wand.

I debated about not making the rainbow wands because, well, they sounded annoying to make, but they were a huge success and the kids loved them.

Paper streamers hanging from the kitchen chandelier.

I make family books each year on Blurb, and I thought doing a "birthday guest book" spread would be a fun idea.

And of course, my birthday girl. Also, I've decided, I'm making a tissue paper number every year for her to stand next to on her birthday – I just love these too much.

Memebox: My Cute Wishlist

Since I still haven't gained back the crazy amount of energy I used to have pre-heart failure, I found a new "hobby" that requires minimal effort: beauty subscription boxes.

A year ago, I would have never considered myself a "beauty girl," but my $10-per-month subscription to Birchbox last fall showed me otherwise. Throughout the last year, I've tried quite a few various ones, but my new current love is Memebox, a South Korean beauty box company.

The South Korean beauty philosophy is that beauty should start with good skin – so it's all about skincare and I love it! Since I started using South Korean skincare products, my skin tone has evened out dramatically and I wear less foundation/primer/etc.

Anyway, I just wanted to show off the CUTEST of all the boxes: My Cute Wishlist box. (Warning: cuteness ahead).

Seriously, doesn't your heart just melt looking at it?!?! The only downfall is that Audrey feels some of the cuteness should be hers, so I'm having to share.

The cuteness includes:

1. Pure Smile Neco Punch Point Pad Hibiscus & Lemon Grass

Product Description: Pure Smile's Neco Punch Point Pad is enriched with vitamin E, collagen, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, hisbiscus and lemon grass extracts, and works to moisture and control excess sebum and secretions to maintain a healthy balance to your skin.

How to Use: After cleansing stick the Point Pad on areas of your face or body in need of concentrated care. Rest for 5-10 minutes, remove the pad, and pat in the remaining essence onto your skin.

Thoughts: I'm super excited to try this! It's like a mini sheet mask. I use vitamin c pads on my eyes, and that makes a huge difference, so I think these will be a success for me.

2. a;t fox Moisturizing Gel Cream Gyoolpy Tea

Product Description: High concentrates of Vitamin-C from the Gyoolpy Tea deeply nourishes and moisturizes the skin, leaving a refreshing, lasting glow on your skin. Also bring a gel-type cream, it spreads and penetrates into the skin smoothly and without curdling, and at the same time creates a thin, moisture layer over your skin to prevent de-hydration.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: I was nervous that cute package might lead to questionable quality, but definitely not so. I have super dry skin, and this product is amazing! I will probably be buying another in my future.

3. Beauty People Snow White Special Edition, Season 2

(I figure we all know how to use eyeliners).

Thoughts: I haven't heard good things about South Korean cosmetics, so full disclosure - when I went through my box the first time, I didn't even open this. When I did finally open it and see the beautiful shimmers to all the eyeliners, I had to put it on right away. So far I've used the gold and copper colors, and have been happy with each.

4. Etude Missing U Hand Cream

Thoughts: Eeeek! It's so cute! And it's surprisingly very moisturizing. Even better? It dries quickly and doesn't leave your hands feeling sticky. I'm just bummed I didn't get the panda or penguin one. Sorry baby seal.

5. Pure Smile Muddy Girl, Charcoal Mask

Product Description: A wash-off type mud pack made from naturally derived ingredients such as clay, mud, and charcoal. It works to soothe, purify and moisturize the skin, preventing possible dehydration and surface roughening.

How to use: After cleansing, apply the mud pack evenly over your face. Rest for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Thoughts: I was nervous to try this, because the last mud mask I used was extremely drying – but this one felt soothing on and my skin felt happy and clean afterward.

6. Etude Sweet Recipe Candy Stick

Product Description: Enriched with bilberry, sugar cane, sugar maple, orange and lemon extracts, the Sweet Recipe Candy Stick is a gloss type lip tint that moisturizes and plumps up your dry, chapped lips for a long-lasting radiance.

How to use: Softly dab the Candy Stick on your lips for a naturally gradated look.

Thoughts: I was scared my lip tint was going to be yellow, but it was more of an orange color, with an orange scent. I don't see any tint to this (which I'm calling a good thing, because I don't want orange lips). While this is hydrating, I don't see any lip-plumping taking place, which is disappointing.

7. a;t fox Whitening Capsule Cream Jasoyup Herb Tea

Product Description: What makes this cream so special is that it combines the deep hdration of a moisturizing cream and the brightening effect of a whitening essence. The whitening capsules inside the fel cream removes uneven, dark spots on your skin and helps create cleared and natural glowing skin tone.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: I haven't tried this yet, but if it's as moisturizing as the first one, I'm going to love it.

8. a;t fox Lifting Cream Black Tea

Product Description: If you've been stressing over sagging bags under your eyes or starting to notice little wrinkles and creases here and there; a;t fox's Lifting Cream Black Tea is just what you're looking for! With its softly melting texture and black tea extracts, this lifting cream will guarantee you healthy, younger-looking complexion with high resilience and firmness.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: This is the cupcake I'm probably least interested in trying, but we shall see!

9. Kocostar Split End Therapy

Product Description: Kocostar's sensational Split End Therapy contains 8 types of amino acid complex which works to prevent hair breakage and static electricity. It's specifically formulated to instantly repair split ends and protect hair from any future damage. An interesting fact about this hair therapy is that you don't need to wash it off after application.

How to use: Tie your hair in a ponytail. Take the Split End Therapy and slide your hair into the wrap, using the elastic band included to seal the wrap. Double-fasten with the super cute, polka-dotted ribbon hair band and massage your hair with your hands. Rest for at least 15 minutes or longer for even better results, and comb through your hair after removal.

Thoughts: Adding this was a total stretch, and I'm definitely the least excited about this product. I'll give it a try because I am a sufferer of split ends and static, but seriously, kinda blah.

Overall, I thought this box was rather amazing, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. And it's perfect timing, because Cute Box 3 comes out today (which I've already ordered)!

Curious about Memebox? Join here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I can explain...

My lack of blogging has been extreme, but I have the best excuse ever. I got a pacemaker.

See. I wasn't joking.

Well, really it's a pacemaker/defibrillator combo, or if you want to get really specific a Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Device (CRTD).

At my cardiologist appointment in September, I learned my heart hadn't improved in the past year. And with that, I decided that it was time and that I was ready. Plus, my risk of dying was a tad higher than I would prefer (1-10%). (If you're new to this blog or have just forgotten, you can read about my experience with post-partum cardio myopathy here).

So on November 6th, I had a 4.5 hour surgery. What I didn't know before said surgery was that they keep you in "twilight" during it, so I spent the surgery listening to Pandora. I remember waking up at one point during the surgery because my Pandora stopped, and I asked someone to turn it back on. And sadly, the other part I remember is when the defibrillator was being tested and I started crying and saying I hurt. Thankfully, I was knocked out for good shortly after.

My recovery was really difficult. Not because of the pain, but because I was completely helpless. Aside from not being able to lift more than 5 pounds, I also couldn't lift my left arm above my heart – which meant this left-handed girl was helpless (I couldn't even put my hair in a ponytail by myself). And these restrictions were for a month. So Audrey spent the month with her grandparents, and my wonderful friends provided meals every night.

It's been a little more than 2 months since my surgery, and minus a fun ER trip right before Christmas (one of my wires shifted a hit a nerve), I'm doing good.

Even my scar is looking good. My surgeon had me wear a bra to the operating room, from there they traced the strap and sad my incision would be between that. Only a female doctor would think of such awesomeness.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The first family vacation

Brent, Audrey and I took our first family vacation several weeks ago. We went to Boulder to visit my good friend, Elizabeth. We braved a new environment, a new altitude and a 9-hour car ride.

Just based on the 2-hour car rides to visit Brent's parents, I wasn't optimistic. I was terrified and wondering if 4 days of fun was worth 2 days of, well, hell.

But Audrey shocked us both and was quite a delightful road trip companion. The most important distraction tool that I packed was snacks. Other successful things I packed included: the Kindle Fire with a movie downloaded on it, stickers, books, a V-Tech interactive book, her favorite stuffed animal, coloring book and crayons, and a few random things from the dollar section at Target.

Another thing that helped us was researching the drive and figuring out fun places to stop along the way. Because of Brent's upbringing and previous job, he is a Kansas town guru, so I was excited to find 3 attractions to visit that he hadn't heard of.

We visited the largest egg in Wilson, Kansas:

Did an off-roading adventure in Collyer, Kansas to see Castle Rock:

And stopped in Goodland, Kansas to see a very large easel and play in the park:

Once in Boulder, we toured the University of Colorado's campus and then had dinner at the local favorite, The Sink. The burgers were amazing.

The following day, we went to a park in the morning to help wear Audrey out a bit. Then we headed to Pearl Street to walk around and have lunch at Lindsay's Boulder Deli (the Ferris Brieller is so freaking good). Audrey was a huge fan of the splash fountain.

That night, Audrey was such a trooper staying up 90 minutes passed her bedtime. We ate at Tahona Tequila Bistro and then walked Pearl Street a little bit more. And Audrey was feeling like quite the big girl.

The following day, we drove to Estes Park, and took the air tram into the mountain to feed the chipmunks. Audrey was squealing with nonstop delight.

And the view was amazing too:

And you can't go to Estes without visiting the Stanley:

The next day, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park and enjoyed a walk around Sprague Lake.

And we had a moose visitor on our walk!

There was also a terrifying drive up a mountain on a one-way dirt road that happened. At least the view at the top was beautiful...and included a place for lunch.

If you are in the area and like visiting incredible churches – add St. Malo to your list. It was actually visited by the Pope in the late '90s.

On our last day, we went to Denver – and sadly, that's when Audrey and I started catching that lovely summer cold that's going around. I'm assuming this skewed Audrey's opinion of Red Rocks.

After a lunch where Audrey had the biggest meltdown ever, we just drove around Denver while this happened:

And then, of course, there was a trip to IKEA.

Even factoring in the colds (and the slightly rougher 9-hour drive home with a sick toddler), it was still a great trip. Sometimes I forget how much Audrey is actually capable of doing, and this was a nice reminder of all the fun non-baby things we can do with her.

18 month photos

It's a month late, but better late than never, right?

We decided it was time for some more family photos. And well, why not have some pie as well.

Thank you Six Thirty Six Studio for the awesome pictures!