The Guys Behind the Blog // April Edition.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Last year, I found out through Crystal that Betsy from Heavens to Betsy had this super cool series called The Guys Behind the Blog. Unfortunately it was a little too late to join for March 2015 but I joined in April and have been ever since! While I do talk about Seth often, I don't really know if you all know him very well. Enter : this series. Every month Betsy has different prompts that the guys behind the blog answer.

For April, Laura Jean and Betsy came up with questions about family and childhood! Here are the questions:

1 // In what ways are you the same as your childhood self?
I still enjoy playing baseball. I still get so involved in a TV show that I'm watching that I tune out my surroundings. And I still enjoy singing and rocking out in the car - but now with my little side kick Mason!

2 // What does family mean to you?

3 // How would your family or closest friends describe you?
Weird. Talkative. Nerdy. Caring. Loyal. Loving.

4 // What’s your fondest childhood memory?
Swimming with dolphins.
Where? When? Age? Details?
I don't know!
Rolls eyes.
It was a pilot program at Sea World before they developed the program that they have in place now. I was probably thirteen years old. Besides wanting to be a professional baseball player, becoming a dolphin trainer was what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up.

It's amazing the information you can get out of him when you start throwing out random questions!

5 // What words of wisdom would you pass on to your childhood self?
Don't procrastine. It sets you up for bad habits later on in life.

And there you have it! Thanks for playing along again Seth! 


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

So, well, I know it's Wednesday and we're already halfway to the next weekend, but why not do a little weekend recap, shall we? I FINALLY had a weekend free of traveling and free of work and let me tell you, it was a good one! Let's start on Friday.

Seth has off every other Friday and this past Friday just happened to be his Friday off. I can take pretty much any day off that I want (within reason) and so I decided to take Friday off as well. After we dropped Mason off at school, we decided to go out to breakfast at one of our very favorite breakfast places, The Original Pancake House. Seriously, I LOVE this place. I got my very favorite item there, the bacon waffle, and finished every last piece.

Seth and I ran tons of errands during the day and then picked Mason up at 4pm. I had made an appointment for him to get his hair cut at 5pm, so we headed straight to the hair cutting place as soon as we picked him up. He was so excited to see the lady who cuts his hair. She had him pick out a movie and he headed straight to a big boy chair. Say what?? BIG BOY CHAIR? Normally he sits in the train or the car but this time, he went straight for the regular chair. All he needed was a little booster seat and he was good to go. Someone please tell me when he became old enough for this as I go cry a little in the corner. #timeslowdown

The stud got his hair cut and got a lolli pop for the road and we were on our way home to have dinner.

Saturday morning we were back to our normal routine. Seth and I dropped Mason off at his ABA school and were off to run some more errands. I feel like all we did was errands all weekend but I guess that's what happens when you lose a weekend to working.

We picked Mason up later in the afternoon, he refused to nap, and we decided to go have a picnic by the airport. We stopped by Chick-fil-a on our way and then headed to our secret spot close to the airport to watch the planes come in. We're not totally close enough to actually see the planes land, but they make their final descent RIGHT next to where we are and Mason always gets SO excited when they fly by.

Sunday morning we had a lazy morning, quickly followed up by heading to the grocery store for food for the week. We came back home quickly, had a small lunch, and then were off for a playdate with Desiree and Erin and families! This was our first playdate as a party of 3, including the kids AND the husbands! Seth had met Scott before, but neither one of us had met Mike. It was funny because I told Seth in the car that I would totally recognize Mike if I saw him, though I'd never met him, and when we all got together, Erin said the same thing about Seth! #bloggerproblems

Monday morning came too quickly. Mason and I stopped by the post office as a part of our Monday morning routine and then we were off to school and work. The day went by pretty quickly and before I knew it, we were all back home getting ready to head to the Angels game.

The Angels were playing the Royals and we had made plans to go to the game with Desiree and her family. They are huge Kansas City Royals fans and we're huge Angels fans and since they were playing each other in an attainable location (Angels stadium is obviously a lot closer than Kansas City), we had made plans to go together. Unfortunately, her kids came down with a sickness that morning and they weren't able to go after all. We ended up going anyway, but we missed them terribly!

We learned the hard way the last time we went to the Angels game that Mason LOVES hot dogs. He ate his hot dog and then grabbed my hot dog (literally out of my hands) and ate it too. So we knew we would need to get the kid two hot dogs of his own this time. He not only ate both hot dogs, but ate some pretzels, some carrots, and pretty much this whole ice cream cone. Seth and I were able to sneak in a couple licks, but barely without getting yelled at!

Overall, Mason had an great time at the game! He ate tons, he got to see various home runs (and he clapped and jumped up and down in excitement) and even got to see some fireworks. We don't normally go to games on weeknights since they start at 7:05pm and Mason's bed time is 8pm, but this game was special and we made an exception. We did end up leaving around 8:30pm though and finished watching the game at home on TV.

Last weekend was a good one and left me hoping that next weekend would come just a little sooner! Happy Wednesday!

Golden Tote : Tote # 1 [a Review]

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I received this box of clothes from Golden Tote in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was recently given the opportunity to try a clothing subscription box from the company Golden Tote and I couldn't pass it up! Now, mind you, I am no fashion blogger, but recently clothing shipment boxes have become my favorite thing. A shipment of clothes in the mail that I can try on in the comfort of my own home? Yes please!

So... what exactly is Golden Tote?
(from Golden Tote's website)

New totes go on sale the first Monday of every month at 9AM PST. The $49 tote is a small tote filled with 2-3 pieces of clothing. The $149 tote is a large tote filled with 5-6 pieces of clothing.

Pick one or two items that you love, and they’ll surprise you with the rest! They promise adorable, stylish clothing, at insider pricing, ensuring you get them for an absolute steal - more than 50% off retail prices, which works out to around $26 per item. A serious steal for boutique clothing!

Add additional items to your order during checkout for a reduced price.

Style your profile and tell them what you like to wear - or what you don't! Every tote is hand-packed based on your profile. The more they know about your shape, size and style, the better they can personalize your picks for a perfect tote. They asked me questions like height, weight, bra size, dress size, shirt size, etc. They also asked if there were certain parts of my body that I didn't want to show or if I wanted to avoid certain upper body apparel items (I said no cropped tops, no strapless, no non-bra friendly, etc.) or lower body apparel items (I said no wide leg pants, no pencil skirts, etc.).

That's it, you're done! Now you just have to wait for your shipping confirmation and delivery. Golden Tote's are shipped weekly. Your order will ship within two weeks from the date that the order was placed. Flat rate shipping within the US is $9.95. International is $30. Golden Tote's are shipped from California. Orders $149 or more are given free shipping within the US and $25 shipping for international. They also offer expedited shipping at an additional cost.

What if I want to return something?

Their current return policy is ‘all or nothing’. You must return the entire Golden Tote and all of its contents for a full refund. However, since Golden Tote is such a great deal, they recommend gifting or exchanging items that do not fit with your family and friends. Remember what doesn't work for one, might for another so share with your friends. In addition, they have a facebook group where you can swap, trade or sell items that do not work for you. If you decide to only keep part of your tote, keep in mind the original bundled price will change. Any kept ‘chosen items’ will be sold at boutique price and surprise items for $35.

What was my box like?

In my box was my items, a nice little tote bag, and a receipt. As I usually am when I see a ton of patterns, I was a bit weary. But if there's anything that I learned about judging a box by the patterns, I am often wrong! So while I was a little worried, I knew trying on the clothes would be the only way to truly know how I felt about the patterns. 

I will tell you, also, that I was a bit disappointed that there were no style cards in the box to help me style my new clothes. While I usually don't have the exact pieces that other subscription box company's suggest I pair my new items with, I do find it helpful to see how they recommend styling and pairing them.

But, enough of the nitty gritty. What did I get?

The items I chose for myself...

Nod to Nautical Dress

This was the first item that I chose for myself and the item that I was the most excited about. It kind of reminded me of a swim suit cover up at first and I thought it would be fun to have for the summer and for my cruise next year. But the only problem was... I chose size medium at the beginning of the check out process (since I am typically a medium). I thought I was stuck only ordering from the mediums but I later found out that I could change the sizes. Only problem with that was... they didn't have this dress in a size large and I didn't particularly like any of the large options. I think it was probably because I was choosing my tote items almost halfway through April and so my selection was relatively limited - a good reason to always sign in and order as soon as the tote goes live (noted for next time).

Anyway, I decided to go with it and get the medium and... it was WAY too small. Too small as in... I barely got it on and I was really worried that I wasn't going to be able to get it off. Super bummer. I wish they had had a large. Regardless of the size problem, I do still really like the pattern and design of the dress (I love the blue stripes with the addition of the pink stripes) and the material the dress was made of.

To the Maxi Dress

This maxi dress was the second item that I got to choose for myself and it definitely fit a lot better than the first dress. I felt like it was a good length and I did like the pattern. BUT. I didn't really feel like it was ME. I don't know why, but it just didn't seem like something I would wear often. The material was... not scratchy, but not soft either. It didn't really have much give to it which I found to be a problem in the arm area. I also thought that the top around the bust was too big and just didn't sit right. In this picture, it looks ok, but on, I just wasn't feeling it.

The items they chose for me...

Renee C Striped Maxi Dress

I wanted to like this dress. Blue and stripes are right up my alley. BUT, there were a few things I didn't like. 

Even though you can't tell, the straps were tank top like but were also wide enough for me to be able to wear a real bra with. I LOVED that. I also thought that the top portion was very flattering. But then... the bottom. The dress was too short for my liking. I like my maxi's to hit the ground (or come very close) and this one was significantly shorter. I also thought that the stripes on the bottom were in an odd pattern. They didn't go straight across like the stripes on the top portion, but instead kind of curved up and made a > pattern going up the dress. It looked cool from the side, but didn't look overly flattering from the front.

I can't say that I loved this dress, but I also didn't hate it. Undecided.

PS I found this denim jacket in my closet when I was looking for a jacket to use with this dress. I forgot someone had given it to me. Remember how I mentioned once before that I wanted one? Problem solved. Look in your closet. Duh!

Peppermint Floral Blouse

Pattern. This normally makes me nervous. But this pattern? I actually really liked! The blouse was a little hard to get on since there was no side or back zipper, but once I got it on, it fit nicely. I liked that the sleeves were 3/4 length and the blouse was nice and flowy and flattering. I liked the color and I liked the flowers. I'm just not so sure about the cut out in the back. I feel like I might be a little too old to be rocking the back slit.

Lazy Sundays Waffle Knit Top

I wanted to like this shirt, but there was so much wrong with it. When I first pulled it out of the box, I thought "oh this is definitely a no!" but then I opened it (from being folded in the box) and I thought "hey this isn't so bad after all!".

I LOVED the style. It was shorter in the front and longer in the back and then the sides hung down longer as well. It's a little hard to explain but I feel like the style is very 'in' these days. I thought the shirt had potential! BUT, then I felt it and it felt cheap. I think I have a towel made out of this same waffle knit material. Hmm. Strike 1. Then I tried it on and I felt it to be very unflattering. Strike 2. It was too short for my liking in front. It was too boxy and wide. And the color was just kind of blah.

She & Sky Tank with Pom Pom Trim

This shirt is a color that I typically avoid (it's bright!) and a pattern that I've never worn before. But when I pulled it out of the box and unfolded it... I liked it a lot! I was really excited to try it on! And then... I tried it on and was super disappointed - by the fit. The second photo looks ok, but the first photo makes it look super short - which was my problem. I wish wish wish it was longer all around because then I would love it! Again, I felt too old to rock this style shirt on the regular. Maybe I can try to pull it off for a bachelorette party I'm going to this weekend?

Overall, I think Golden Tote is a great concept. I like the fact that you can choose two of your own items and then have the rest be a surprise. With other boxes, sometimes there are certain pieces that I REALLY want and I am disappointed when I don't get them. However, on the flip side, I do LOVE the surprise. For me, personally, I didn't think this box was the best. BUT, that being said, my first couple boxes with other companies have had similar results and as time has gone on, they've gotten much better. The main downside to this company is that there is such a high upfront cost. There are two different price points on the totes depending upon how many items you want to get, but still. I'd rather just pay a styling fee and then decide what I want to keep. For some reason it makes me feel more in control and I prefer that pricing structure to Golden Tote's. While I don't plan on getting another tote in the near future, I definitely wouldn't rule it out for the future!

So, what do you think? Do you agree with my loves and hates?

** affiliate links used

[Thoughts on Thursday] Confessions

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I know Confessional Thursday has been cancelled due to Jess's privacy being invaded, but I wanted to share some confessions anyway.

That being said... I confess...

... that, first and foremost, what happened to her makes me SICK. The fact that someone thought it was ok to steal her pictures, basically steal her life, and literally impersonate her just makes me sick to my stomach. Terrible.

... that I did some spring cleaning on Instagram and unfollowed some people earlier this week. And I must confess... it felt good! I found myself skipping some people's photos often, not enjoying what some were sharing, and just not knowing who some people I had followed in the past were. Time for a little spring cleaning!

... that speaking of unfollowing on Instagram, I'd like to note that I've never had the "unfollow" app and I never will. Instagram is fun for me. I like posting pictures of my kid and... whatever else strikes my fancy. If you don't like it, unfollow. That being said, do I like it when I gain new followers myself?  Of course.  Do I like getting likes and comments on my pictures? Definitely. Who doesn't? But other than that, I don't take it too seriously. However, to each their own, I don't judge. But, for me personally, I don't need to know who is following and unfollowing. Life's too short for me to worry about a social media that much.

... that I'm 98% sure that my kid is more tan that I am. Yes, it's true. My three year old has a better tan on his arms AND his legs than I do. He takes after Seth!

... that I went to Starbucks 5 times this week... within the first 4 days. I didn't really realize it until I started thinking back. We stopped by Starbucks after work on Sunday. I went on my way to work on Monday. I went on my way to pick up Mason for ABA on Tuesday. I went on my way to work on Wednesday and then again before an appointment that I had that afternoon. I think I have a problem. #cantstopwontstop

... that speaking of said Starbucks... I might have gotten a hot drink yesterday morning JUST for the cup. Maybe. I will not confirm or deny. #itstrue #imembarrassed We had a high of 90 degrees so I'm pretty sure an iced drink would have been the smarter choice, but seriously? I love these new cups!

... that is it just me or do other people take approximately 2187823671 pictures before they get the perfect picture too? Please tell me it's not just me!

.... that I took about 52 pictures before I got a good one. Ok, ok, maybe 52 is an exaggeration. But not by much! These are some of the small groups of photos that I've taken before I found "the one". Now, I admit that probably almost half of them are usually a burst of pictures, but still, there are a lot more than there probably should be.

Can you relate to any of my confessions?

$10 at Target [April]

Monday, April 18, 2016

From the very first time I saw Becky do a post on $10 at Target, I was intrigued. I mean, who only spends $10 at Target??? Then I read a little further and realized she gave herself the challenge to only spend $10 at Target on something fun for herself and I was intrigued again. I commented on her post that I loved the idea of her post and would love to try something similar (and a few other people must have too) and this blog hop link up was born!

I'm excited to be back again today co-hosting this link up with Becky and some other fabulous ladies!  If you posted today as well, don't forget to link up with us below so we can see your awesome $10 hauls!

This month I did something different. I went to Target for one of my regular weekly (or bi-weekly or tri-weekly... you know how it goes!) trips to Target for things that I actually needed (and let's be honest, some things I didn't actually need) when I came across some things that would be perfect for $10 at Target. I didn't really have enough time to look around so I snagged the items then and figured I'd go back for more later. Well, I did just that, BUT now I don't have any receipts to show what I bought and how much it truly cost. So, for this month, we're going estimate.

I got these two items on my first trip. My first item was these notecards. The notecards were from the Dollar Spot and were just too cute to pass up. I mean, who wouldn't want to get a note with a cute little flamingo on the front in the mail? The second item was the Justin's peanut butter cups. I'd been seeing people rant and rave about these peanut butter cups for ages and I'd yet to try them. They are a bit pricey (being organic and all) so I hesitate to buy them regularly but I figured for my haul, I could splurge. They barely made it out of the store and into my car before I devoured them. They are SO GOOD.

Notecards : $1
Peanut Butter Cups : $1.99

On my second trip, I picked up a few more items. The first items were these brushes. On one of my previous hauls, I got some E.L.F. brushes and LOVE them. I decided to try a few more and so far... I love them just as much! The second two items are more Justin's items. I actually wanted more peanut butter cups since I loved them so much, but I couldn't find any so I opted for trying the hazelnut butter with pretzels. I love Nutella and thought they would be a healthier alternative. I did end up trying them and I have to say... I like Nutella better. I'm sure, in reality, both are equally bad for you, so I'll stick with the creamier option of Nutella. This one didn't have a bad taste or anything, but it was a little thicker than I'd like. The honey peanut butter I actually haven't tried yet. I have tried their regular almond butter and love it so I'm hoping this is good too since I always make myself a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Maybe this will help me skip a step and I can kill two birds with one stone with this package. I'll keep you posted!

Brush : $1
Brush : $1
Hazelnut Butter with Pretzels : $1.99
Honey Peanut Butter : $1.19

So, if you're keeping track... 

Notecards : $1
Peanut Butter Cups : $1.99
Brush : $1
Brush : $1
Hazelnut Butter with Pretzels : $1.99
Honey Peanut Butter : $1.19

Total : $8.17

Somewhere in there you'd need to add 8% sales tax and subtract 5% for the Target Red Card... which, if you ask me, is just too much math to do on your own, so we'll estimate that I still had a good almost $2 I could have spent. So, as it turns out, I could have spent more! Oh well, I'd say this evens out some of my overage trips. Next month, I'll keep better track!

I had so much fun shopping for myself and am excited to continue this link up! Now, link up and then hop around and check out how the rest of my co-hosts (and everyone else!) spent their $10!

Becky at bybmg // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest
Elizabeth at Chasin' Mason // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest

Next month, we'll be sharing our hauls on Monday, May 16th. It's going to be a link up again, so get your shopping on and then link up with us on the 16th and show us what you got!

#postofficeadventuresofmasonb #part1 [Picture Perfect Project : April]

Thursday, April 14, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you may already have an idea about what I am going to share today. And if you don't follow me, you really should ;)

As I mentioned back in January in my goals for 2016 post, one of my goals for this year is to take more pictures. As a blogger, you'd think that would already be a given, but as a working mom, I feel like most of my pictures are taken on the weekends when the "bigger events" happen. There's plenty of stuff that happens during the week as well but it just gets... missed. Enter The Picture Perfect Project. I've been making a real effort everyday to make sure I take at least one picture. The problem is, when I get home from work, it's dark. So that doesn't leave me any time to take pictures outside, so I have to get creative. My goal for myself for The Picture Perfect Project is to take at least one picture a day. It doesn't matter what it is of, just as long as I take one picture per day.

So, I have to admit... I've been kind of failing on my "one picture a day" goal. I mean well and then I get so busy, or literally nothing exciting happens between work, eating dinner, bath time, and bed time, that I completely forget to take any pictures. 

This photo project kind of just came about. I was still working on my one photo a day when I started going to the post office more for work. I'd been doing the same thing, in the same routine, since I started my job in June, but all of a sudden one random day before my January event, I kept my envelopes to mail over night. The next morning, I let Mason do the mailing when we went to check the PO Box. I took a picture and did the same thing the next day and then... the hashtag was born. #postofficeadventuresofmasonb

It's quite possibly the longest hashtag ever, but I feel like it describes the situation perfectly. Taking Mason to the post office in the morning is always an adventure!

It literally happened by chance but now it is one of my favorite things to do with him. It might seem like a hassle to some, to have to go to the post office to mail something, but for me, it's fun. I get so much joy out of seeing him so, so happy to do something so simple. 

I stand him up on the counter at the post office (I think my post office is one of the only ones with a counter like this as the one that is closest to my work only had one slot and no counter to stand on), but it works perfectly! Mason feels like SUCH a big boy and I have a big helper doing half my work for me ;)

Here are the pictures that I've shared on Instagram as well as the captions (minus the emojis) that I've shared so far this year.

01.04.16 // Me and my little helper checking the PO Box for work this morning -- our Monday routine. PS I can't believe I ever thought that dressing a boy wouldn't be fun and I was sad that I thought we'd never match. I found this sweatshirt in the same style as one that I have and today we were twinning in our matching sweatshirts, jeans, and Converse.

01.13.16 // This. Whenever I have a letter to mail for myself, I take it to the post office. Whenever I have a letter to mail for work, I save it until the next day. The joy that Mason gets from mailing a letter for me is worth it for the extra "hassle" of going to the post office. (That and I think he likes that I let him stand on the counter to mail them lol.) To most, this is probably nothing and would get overlooked. But to me, it is special. It really is the little things that matter the most in life.

02.08.16 // Monday morning mail run with my mini! Monday's are his favorite!

02.19.16 // This morning's post office run was especially exciting for Mason because I saved all 50 (FIFTY!) of my envelopes for him to mail this morning. I told him he was going to be a little mail man and he had a lot of work to do and he was SO excited! I've said it once, but I'll say it again, it really is the little things that are the best! I love living life through his eyes.

02.23.16 // The happiest little mail man this morning! I hope these people know their letters were mailed with love.

02.24.16 // This morning's post office run was extra exciting for this little mail man. Not only did he get to mail SIXTY (!!!) letters today, but there was actually mail in the PO Box for him to pick up too (which I had to explain to him that came to us and he couldn't just stick it right back in the slot).

03.01.16 // "What's that you say mom? That's the last letter I get to mail for how long??" Yep, it's true little buddy. That was the last letter we need to mail for probably 3ish weeks and Mason and Blaze did a great job mailing all 42 letters! (side note : I had a better picture but his face here cracks me up! Wha??)

03.24.16 // Mailing letters is his love language.

03.28.16 // Monday morning post office run - whoop whoop! Fun for Mason, not so fun for me (we were mailing my rent check - boo!)

04.06.16 // On Wednesday's, I put him to work. He put all 60 envelopes through the slot on his own... one by one. We were there for a while.
04.08.16 // This is the face of a kid who's happy it's Friday!

04.08.16 // Double dose of little mail man Mason today! I asked him if he wanted to take a picture with the mail truck this morning and he couldn't run over to it fast enough!

I try to switch up the poses (and the outfits!) when I post all of Mason's post office adventures, just to keep things interesting, but as you can tell... apparently I have a favorite sweatshirt of his? Ha! Hopefully as we get into the summer months, his clothes will be more diverse! :)

And there you have it!
How has your Picture Perfect Project been going?

Don't forget, our next link up is Thursday, May 12th. So gather some photos between now and then and then link up with us on the 12th and show us what you've been up to!