How to Keep Store-Bought Flowers Alive

Hey guys!

The other day I posted a photo of my Costco flower bouquet that I bought almost two weeks ago on my Instagram and I had a few people ask me how I keep my store-bought flowers alive and healthy for 12-16 days. I'm no pro, but I can share what I do know! Hopefully it helps you, too, because there is just something so refreshing about having fresh flowers in the home! I will tell you that I owe almost all of my knowledge to my friend Laura - she is the one that gave me almost all of these pointers!

So, without further ado, here is how to keep your store-bought flowers fresh. 

1. Choose a vase/mason jar/container for your flowers. Fill it up with approx. 1- 1.5 inches of room-temperature water.

2. Add about 1/4 of the packet of flower food that came with your flowers to the water and swirl it around until it dissolves. DO NOT dump the entire packet of flower food into the water! That's a total waste. The ratio for the plant food is actually one packet to one liter of water, so a little bit goes a long way!
3. Take a sharp pair of scissors and trim about 1/4 inch from the bottom of your flowers. Make sure you trim at a diagonal. 

4. Arrange your flowers and enjoy! 

Things to note: 
You will notice that the flowers drink up the water fairly quickly. You should be doing the above 4 steps every 3-4 days, or as you notice the water is almost gone.

If you notice the water is getting low and forget to change it, it's okay! Your flowers will start to droop, but they can usually  be saved! Just do the above steps as soon as possible.

Every flower has a different "life-span." I've noticed that peonies and roses are exceptionally difficult to keep alive past 8-10 days. This method doesn't guarantee that every flower will stay alive for 2-3 weeks, but it does make your flowers last longer than they would otherwise.

Bay Area Hikes | Mori Point

Hey all!

I think it is pretty common knowledge at this point that I LOVE hiking, and my kids have grown to love it, as well. Elsie asks to go on a hike at least three times per week, and I have loved finding easy hikes in the bay area.

One of my favorite places to take the kids hiking is Mori Point in Pacifica. It's a family friendly hike, which is great for the kids and dog. 
The hike starts near Highway 1 and takes you to a cliff peak that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. If you hike Mori Point in July, you might be lucky enough to see blue whales as they are migrating. The total trail length if you start at the trailhead by the highway and do the complete loop is a little over 4 miles. Easy enough, but if you have kids, you may want to start at the path located at Mori Point Rd. and Bradford way. If you walk the path to the beach, then take the stairs on the left, you can still get a great view of the ocean, but only clock a distance of about 2.5 miles round trip.

Anyway, here are some photos of the area. It really is a gorgeous kid-friendly hike in the bay area. 


Real Product Reviews | Rodan and Fields Lash Boost

Hey there, people! Long time, no talk.

As most of you know, I love to support other women who are doing the MLM thing, because I know that it's not a get rich quick thing. It takes a lot of time and work, and I will support that. Plus, let's be real - I like to know if that crap actually works.

Enter Rodan and Fields. I have about a billion people on my Facebook friends list who sell Rodan and Fields, and I see the before and after pictures ALL the FREAKIN' TIME. I've always wondered about it, and finally decided to try it. I'm going to give some backstory, so if you're not interested in that part and just want the completely unbiased review of Rodan and Fields Lash Boost (I paid for my lash boost serum with my own money, I am not receiving any compensation for doing this review, and I am 100% honest in this review), feel free to scroll down to the divider line. 

Backstory: In August of 2016, I decided to invest in lash extensions. I say invest because that sh** is not cheap. I think after all was said and done, I spent $120ish on a full set that was supposed to last 2-3 weeks. I loved having extensions.... until they started falling out. In the sense of full disclosure, I am part of the problem. When the extensions started falling off my lashes and into my eyeballs, I rubbed, picked, and just couldn't leave my eyes alone. This caused my real lashes to fall off right along with the extensions. I WAS BALD - I HAD NO EYELASHES LEFT!!! 

I started wearing falsies while my lashes grew back, and the habit stuck. I wore false eyelashes every. damn. day. for eight months. I started seeing stuff about R+F Lash Boost going around Facebook, but knew how much the skincare regimens were, so I didn't even think about trying it. Eventually it got to the point where I was considering extensions again ($$$$$), but knew that they'd ruin my stubby little eyelashes, so I decided to reach out to a consultant. And... here we are.
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THE REVIEW

Pros:
-
 Rodan and Fields Lash Boost is simple to apply. It's pretty fool-proof, really. Just swipe it on your lash line like eyeliner.
- A small amount of the product goes a long way.
- The product works on eyebrows as well as eyelashes.
- The results. I'll post a picture of my 8 week results (sorry for the crap-tastic quality). I think they speak for themselves - worth every penny.
- The shipping is fast - in an Amazon Prime world, I think fast shipping from an MLM company is an incredibly desirable thing.
- The return policy. If I had not gotten the results that I wanted, Rodan and Fields has a great return policy. The return policy is actually the reason I decided to invest in this product. Speaking of investments... let's talk about the cons, okay? 

Cons: 
- Price. Holy friggin' price tag. We are talking $150 (PLUS tax and shipping) for 5 mL of product. That's $30 per mL. Now, I've already said that this is worth every penny, and I do believe that, but OUCH! The price makes my cheapskate heart hurt.
- You have to continue using the product to maintain your results. Which means spending $150 on your lashes every 3-4 months.
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THE VERDICT
If you have short, stubby, thin lashes that need help, I highly recommend Rodan + Fields Lash Boost Serum. It really does work, and it works well. I started seeing results after just four weeks! And now, at 8 weeks, I feel like my lashes have doubled in length and increased in volume, also. So... go ahead and go get some!

Learning to Hand Letter

So... I've been pretty MIA, and honestly, I'm okay with that. It will happen occasionally - I'll have dry spells, and then I'll have weeks where I post almost daily. Anyway, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you have probably noticed that I am learning hand lettering. I am seriously addicted - it is so much fun!


So. I'm obviously a beginner (just started learning last week, hello!), but here are the resources that I have used and that I like.

1. Hand Lettering 101 This book is a great resource for the super beginner (like myself). It is very basic. Like super basic. It touches on faux calligraphy and teaches you a basic, lower case alphabet. It also has some projects and shows you options for a fun sans serif printed alphabet. Yes, I know it is sold out - order it anyway and it will ship as soon as it's available.

2. Tombow Brush Pens Writing with brush pens has a bit of a learning curve, but these were recommended by some pros, and the more I use them, the more I love them.

3. Creative Lettering and Beyond This book is so much more intensive than Hand Lettering 101, and I recommend it as a second book. This book talks about chalk lettering, calligraphy, faux calligraphy, and watercolor, and it shows multiple alphabets, flourishes, embellishments, and gives fun DIY project ideas. I am loving it!

4. Watercolors and brushes If you just want to hand letter, you don't really need watercolors and brushes, but I love the painted look, so I went ahead and got these. If you do watercolor, keep in mind that you'll probably want some good watercolor paper. I've been using cardstock on some of my practice sheets, and the watercolors smudge.

5. A good eraser I block and draft my pieces in pencil, and then trace over with pen or paint for the final project. Once the project is dry, I erase the pencil marks.

I'm sure as I learn more, I will have more recommendations, but this is what I've used so far as a beginner!

Our Ten Favorite Children's Books

If you know me or have been around here for a while, then you know that I love  to read. Being able to escape into a book is an amazing thing (a gift, even), and reading is one of those things that I truly believe everyone should learn to enjoy.

I have tried really, really hard over the past few years to make sure that my kids love books as much as I do. I got lucky, because my kids love books. Callum's favorite thing is to run into their room, grab a book off the bookshelf, bring it to me, and cuddle up with me while I read to him. Every night before bed, he and Elsie have to have at least two bedtime stories before they are satisfied.

Basically, we do a lot of reading in this house, so I thought I'd share some of our favorite children's books with you. 

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. This is Callum's all-time favorite book. I think, on an average day, we read it 5-6 times.

2. Harold's Purple Crayon Treasury by Crockett Johnson When Elsie was younger, we would read this book every day. She absolutely LOVES Harold and the purple crayon. This book is great because it is a compilation of five adventures.

3. I love you, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore I actually found this book at a garage sale when Elsie was a few months old. It quickly became one of our favorite stories, since I call my kids silly names like "Stinky Face" on a regular basis.

4. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss This is on the list because it's my favorite story to read to the kids. I get really into it - voices, actions, the whole shebang. It's like Cat in the Hat dinner theatre at our house when this book gets read.

5. A Treasury of Classic Stories I love that this book is full of classics like Oliver Twist, Treasure Island, and Black Beauty. These were stories that I loved when I was younger, and ones that every child should know.

6. Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein This is a silly, fun book that I picked up at Target a while back. Callum loves to read it with me.

7. Mr. Brown can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss Callum and Elsie both love this book! It's so fun to go through and make all of the sounds with Mr. Brown.

8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein This is a classic story, and one that I think every child should have in their collection.

9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault Elsie loves to read this book with me. Plus, it's great for helping kids learn their letters.

10. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney This was my absolute favorite book when I was little. I try to read it to my kids a couple times a week. 

What are your favorite children's books?

Living with Depression & Anxiety.

Some days are better than others. I suffered from PPD/PPA with both kids. I got over it with Callum pretty quickly, but then we moved a few months after he turned one, and depression and anxiety reared their ugly heads and made an appearance in my life again. 

With exercise, I was able to sort of moderate and things got a little bit better, but then my knee started acting up. I went and got an MRI, thinking something was torn, but it was just extreme chondromalacia, and the doctor's solution was to cut out any and all physical activity that caused pain. Well, since even taking my dog for a walk or going up and down stairs causes pretty intense pain, I've had to cut out all exercise. I swam for a while, but it's to the point where even swimming is painful, so that's out, as well. 

Not being able to exercise has basically thrown me into a downward spiral, and, I'm not going to lie - things have sucked. Here's the thing - I know I am so blessed. But when you are suffering from depression and anxiety, it's really, really hard to see that. You feel so alone and isolated, even when you have a ton of people who love you and care for you.

On the good days...

It isn't a struggle to get out of bed.
The thought of going out and being around other people doesn't completely paralyze me.
I am able to get dressed and get ready for the day by putting on makeup.
I actually play with my kids.
I am patient.
I enjoy talking to old friends.
Being a mom is enough.
I can be genuinely happy for others and their success.


But on the bad days...


I dread the moment my kids come to my room and drag me out of bed. 
It is a struggle to get dressed. 
Leaving the house is terrifying and just doesn't happen. 
I have a short fuse and am very impatient with my kids. 
I sit on the couch and just don't move until one of my kids forces me to. 
The smallest thing out of place makes my heart race and causes me to have a breakdown.
I avoid contact with anyone and everyone. I push people away. 
I feel lost.
I feel like a failure.
I look around and I feel stuck.
I see other people's success and I allow it to make me feel like a lesser person.
I feel like I've failed as a human being.
I feel like my intelligence is wasted on motherhood.
I feel like I'm not enough.

Now, I know that depression and anxiety can change a person so much, and I know that they are changing me, so please believe that I'm doing my best to not let them beat me. And really, this has all just been weighing on me for a while, and I needed to get it off my chest. I don't really want comments, so I've turned them off. <3 




Family Activities in San Francisco - San Francisco Zoo

So. If you haven't figured it out yet, we moved this summer, and, as luck would have it, were dropped in the second most expensive city in the United States. The cost of living here near San Francisco is astronomical. Because of the cost of living, most families are either a) in a home where both parents work or b) on an extremely tight budget.

Now, I have also noticed that there are not a lot of families in the area (at least not compared to Utah and Nebraska), so family friendly activities in San Francisco are extremely hard to come by and generally pretty expensive (because everything in this city has to cost an arm and a leg). I have taken it upon myself to save some other poor unfortunate soul the time and effort involved in finding family (& budget!) friendly activities in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

First on the list: The San Francisco Zoo. Let me start off by saying that I am a zoo snob. Seriously. I grew up with the Sedgwick County Zoo (ranked the 8th best zoo in the US by ranker.com) and then when I went to college, I lived near the Henry Doorley Zoo (ranked the 2nd best zoo in the US by ranker.com).
Photo by Elsie
Quite frankly, when compared with those two zoos, the SF Zoo sucks. Hardcore. But... my kids don't have very high standards when it comes to zoos, and, honestly, when you've got two toddlers, your main goal is to kill a good portion of your day, get kids out into fresh air, and enjoy the sound silence of two passed out kids on the drive home.

The animals are fine, although the zoo is missing a couple of my favorites (what kind of zoo doesn't have elephants?!). Hands down, the best part of this zoo is the children's play area. I would pay the membership fees just to get year-round access to this playground.

To get the best bang for your buck: Park on Sloat Blvd. - NOT in the zoo parking. It is a short walk and it saves you $10-$12 (depending on when you go). If you live close enough to the zoo that you will go more than 3 times, get a membership. A basic family membership is $130, and single admission for adults is $19. Kids 3 and under are free, but if you've got a 4-year-old, you're going to spend $13 on admission for them. The basic family membership gives 2 adults and 3 children complete access for a year. If your kids are young enough to be free, this membership pays for itself by the fourth visit. If you have three kids over the age of four, the membership pays for itself by the second visit.

Helpful hints:


-You can make your membership for you and a "guest." This way you can save your sanity and bring a mom friend and her kid(s) for free.

-Your membership gives you discounts at all the stores and cafes in the zoo

-Your membership gives you discounted admission to over 100 zoos and aquariums nationwide.

The verdict: The San Francisco Zoo is a fabulous family activity and worth your time if you live in the Bay Area. If you're just visiting, I'd skip it.

Anyway, now that I've talked about all the logistics, I'll share some pictures from my mommy-daughter date with Elsie. She asked to go to the zoo, and it was great to spend some one-on-one time with her.