Life

Curran Apple Orchard

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There are a lot of really hard things about having a toddler, but in the past few months I’ve found a group of fellow moms with kids about the same age as Jack and it’s been super fun watching him forge friendships with other kids, and it’s been a godsend for me to have other women around me who GET it and are in the trenches too.

Fall has been extra fun this year as we get to do fall activities together! One mama put together an apple orchard field trip for us all, so we all trekked out to Curran Apple Orchard in University Place and learned about apples! It was super fun, even though Jack lost interest halfway through and charged off to explore the orchard on his own. And thankfully the weather was sunny, if brisk, until it started to drizzle right before we left.

Watching this kid discover the world is so fascinating and special. Next week we head to a farm field trip, and sometime this month we’ll hit up a pumpkin patch because duh. I can’t wait!

My Happy Camper

The Bee & The Fox Outfit

It's not entirely true that he's a happy camper, he's been relatively fussy these days, but I think he probably just wants to be running around at a playground most of the time now that it's summer.  We've been getting our yard a little more kid-play friendly, and I'd like to pick up a kiddie pool soon because he's definitely loving all kinds of water play.  It's fun to see him in the garden, a few of our peas are ready for harvest so I gave him a couple to nibble on.  It's nice to be able to teach him (though I'm sure he doesn't have the awareness to make the connections yet) that food is grown from plants.  I remember growing little gardens with my mom when I was a kid and it was fun to eat the strawberries we grew and harvest radishes and such.  He's probably a bit young to really get it, but I like having him barefoot outside with me playing in the dirt.

Hat : Carhartt | Shirt : Carters | Tee : The Bee + The Fox via Satori | Jeans : Thrifted

 

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How to cut your own bangs

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Bangs.  We love em.  Then we immediately hate them.  But then maybe we love them again.  No, we hate them.  Let's be real, bangs are a commitment.  A serious one.  The grow out period can be a huge pain in the ass if you decide you hate them.  But if you're ready to take the plunge and are willing to go against the advice of, well, almost every one out there, I'm here to empower you.  Are you ready to cut your own bangs?  Hell yeah you are.  Now let's break the rules and DIY that ish.

Obviously this comes with a warning, which is: not many people will advise you to cut your own bangs.  I've been cutting my own hair and my own bangs for many years, so while I'm no licensed hairstylist, I feel super comfortable wielding a pair of scissors near my hair.  I also have curly hair, which is rather forgiving in the haircut department.  My methodology of hair cutting has always been one that is for big, curly hair, so it may or may not work for you if you have a different hair texture.  That being said, I feel like my way of cutting bangs could definitely work for hair that isn't my same texture, but, you know, use your best judgment. 

Here's how I cut my bangs:

1. Separate the section of hair you want to cut into bangs.  I typically do a triangle shaped section with the point near my crown.  This will determine how thick your bangs are, so the bigger chunk of hair you grab, the thicker your bangs will be.  You also may want to take into consideration how thick your hair is, since the hair you take away to be bangs will no longer contribute to your hair's overall thickness. Once you have your bangs section separated, tie back the rest of your hair to keep it out of the way.

2. Flat iron your sectioned hair.  This may not be 100% necessary for some of you, but since I have curly hair, it is.  Most hair stylists will cut hair (and bangs) wet, but since my hair is curly and poofy, I prefer to cut my hair with it's poof and texture intact so I know how things will look.  When my hair is wet, it's way more limp and longer than it is when it's dry, so if I cut it limp and long, it gets shorter and poofier when it's dry and the cut doesn't look anything like it did when it was wet.  I never cut my hair wet, so this is just a personal preference.  

3.  Rough in the shape you want.  I typically do bangs that are on the long side and are tapered longer on either side.  Since I have curly hair I sometimes will wear my bangs with their natural curl and they appear much shorter when they're all crimped up in their natural curl.  Keeping my bangs as long as I can handle helps me style them curly (without them looking like I have a tiny 'fro on my forehead).  When roughing in the shape, leave the hair longer than you want it to be when you're done. You just want to get the general shape, then we can go back and perfect the shape.  Remember, you can always cut shorter, but you can't cut longer.  Always err on the long side, if you live in your bangs for a few days and decide you need them to be shorter, you can always go in and give them a little trim.

4. Make sure that both sides are the same length and hit your face at the same spot.  Then, from the middle, you can use your fingers to pull the hair down and match lengths as you trim down towards the longer sides (if you're doing a tapered bang like mine. If not, just use your fingers to pull the hair down and match the lengths of each piece you cut to the piece that you previously cut).

5. Instead of cutting perpendicular to the hair, cut at a slight upward angle.  Unless you're looking for a super blunt looking bang, a la Sia.  It'll be a little slower going because you're cutting fewer hairs per snip, but you'll get a much better, more natural looking cut than if you just go straight at it.

6. If you need to, you can go back in with the flat iron to give your bangs the shape/curve you want them to have to help you finalize your cut as you snip in your final shape.

7. Again, I'll advise you to cut them slightly longer than you might want, and then live in them for a day or two.  Unlike going to a salon, you don't have to have your bangs absolutely perfect when you're done.  Since you're the one cutting them, you can go back in at any time to edit them.  I cut mine a little long and I've been living in them for about a week and I feel like I probably need to cut a few millimeters off so they're perfectly out of my eyes.

Fringe upkeep is just a matter of repeating that final trim process when your bangs get too long! And make sure you have a decent pair of scissors.  Of course, this is coming from a girl who used to cut her own hair with paper crafting scissors back in college.  You can grab a nice pair of scissors from a beauty supply store, or even sometimes the beauty section of a store like Walgreens or Target.

Be patient with both the process of cutting bangs, and with getting to know your new cut!  Bangs can be a big change and it can take a while to get use to how to style them and wear them.  Have fun!

how to cut your own bangs
how to cut your own bangs

Gratitude + Waiting

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This season of life has been particularly hard on me and our family.  Long stretches of time separated from one another, solo parenting, living out of a suitcase for months, and feeling uprooted and desperate for home has been taxing.  I often find myself descending into negativity.  Feeling angry, frustrated, helpless, it's a pit with slippery walls and can feel so inviting to indulge in.  Sometimes when I think that I still have over a month left before we can even move into a home of our own I just feel so depressed.  A month isn't that long, but it can feel like an eternity in my mind, looking at the long days stretching out in front of me, each one its own little infinity.  When I realized we wouldn't be home until October and would miss summer in Tacoma, I got bummed out, but today I want to focus on the positive and get excited about all the great things that I can look forward to, instead of feeling sad that they aren't here yet.  

  • Pumpkins on the front porch- we got married in November, right after Halloween, so our wedding had tons of pumpkins.  That first November we had a front yard full of pumpkins left over from the wedding.  It was so festive and I love how pumpkins on the porch remind me of our wedding.
  • Going to the pumpkin patch- Dan and I have gone to the patch before, but this time it feels like the beginning of a little tradition with Jack and his first autumn!
  • Fall leaves!- Alaska has lovely fall colors, but fall is short and there isn't a huge variety of fall colors the way there is in the Northwest.  Fall lasts so long in the Northwest.  Getting to take photos in the leaves is so much fun and I'm thinking Jack might be walking by then and will be able to play in piles of leaves!
  • Home renovations!- In the summer I don't really want to renovate anything because I just want to enjoy summer and it's so damn hot (and we don't have a/c like all idiot PNW people.  Why don't we have a/c? I don't know. We are sadists).  After we redid the kitchen of our Anchorage apartment, I'm feeling really inspired and empowered to DIY the reno on our Tacoma kitchen.  I like our kitchen all right, but it can be so much better, and so much more "us" than it currently is.  Another mini reno I want to punch out?  ripping the nasty, old, dated, brown carpet in our upstairs and replacing it with white wood floors. Oh! And making our old bedroom into Jack's room!
  • Going for neighborhood walks with Jack and Dusty- Our home in Anchorage wasn't great for going on walks, and here in Oregon it's pretty bad too.  Our house in Tacoma is the perfect walk distance from some of my favorite coffee shops, and I used to just take Dusty for walks with me, but now I can bring Jack in his stroller!
  • Vintage shopping + Thrifting- I've been inspired lately with my personal style. I love the locally owned vintage shops in Tacoma and I plan on slowly building a wardrobe that makes me feel excited by grabbing special pieces from my favorite shops.  One of Dan and my favorite things to do together is go thrifting, and since we pared down our furniture a lot when we moved away, there are a lot of pieces we'll need to replace when we move back.  Instead of just hitting up IKEA, I want to find cool and funky pieces at thrift stores to refresh.
  • Getting back in the gym- While lifting a tiny human has probably given me some of my strength back from my year absence at the gym, I'm looking forward to getting my sweat on and having a bit of time to myself.  My gym in Tacoma is my favorite place I've ever found for working out, and I've been looking forward to going back ever since I could think about working out post-baby without cringing.
  • Planning Jack's 1st Birthday- Okay his birthday isn't until December, but you only get to plan a 1st birthday for your first kid once!  I do love planning parties, so I'm looking forward to putting together a really fun little party.
  • Lady Dates!- my bffs are in Tacoma and I'm so looking forward to getting to hang out with my women.  Mama needs some boozy girls nights and some dancing in her life.
  • Learning new things- Two things that I've been wanting to take classes in are pottery throwing and metal working for jewelry making.  Learning a new creative skill just for fun is such soul food.
  • Cheap + amazing craigslisting- okay, no joke, people price things SO CRAZY HIGH on craigslist in Alaska.  I don't get it.  And it's nearly impossible to find anything cool.  Craigslisting here in the PNW is a dream.
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Eight Months

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Eight months old, this little one is.  It's so weird to think of him as a little newborn lump.  I remember being excited when he kinda sorta touched a page of the book I was reading him.  Now he has such a grip I can barely wrench that book out of his little paws.  Everyone who meets him says he's the happiest baby they've ever seen and his smile is the greatest and best thing ever.  I have a feeling he's going to be a funny, opinionated kid who makes friends with everyone he meets.  He's almost never snuggly because he is constantly moving, but lately he's been more clingy than usual when he's tired, so I've been letting him nap and sleep on and next to me.  Today he was curled up next to me on the couch and it was so precious I could hardly stand it.  

I'm trying to figure out the balance of mom-hood and independent-adult-hood.  For some reason, it doesn't seem like men have quite this crisis.  Perhaps it's because our culture tells them from childhood that they are the breadwinners and will work all day to support the family, and then they'll come home and spend time with the family then, and on the weekends.  I don't really feel like 100% stay at home mom life is what I'm designed for, but I also don't want to miss out on Jack's childhood and the moments I can never get back while I'm pursuing a dream outside of motherhood.  I don't know what that balance looks like but I'm pretty sure it's messy as hell.