An eventful week

Last week was an eventful one around here.  A couple of days before our fun little TV appearance, the girls got new haircuts!  
A quick “before.”  Their hair was getting so long!  

 We were able to donate what we cut for cancer patients are were so excited about that.  
And after!  Nothing like a new do!  

Quick pics I snapped with my Iphone on Easter Sunday.  This was the dress Ad wore on TV and a few of you asked me where I bought it.  The dresses are from Children’s Place.  LOVE them!  They came with a darling yellow belt but the belt sits too low on my girls right now because I bought them a little big so they can wear them next spring/summer too.  So next year they will be rockin’ the belt.  :)

The little dude got a haircut too!  This is the only way we pull it off.  We sit him on Kenny’s lap with a game or movie on the ipad.  And even this set up only last a few minutes before he is ready to bolt!  Luckily our hair dresser is FAST.  :)
Last week was also monumental for us because Kole started pre-school!  It is an amazing little school and I know it will be so good for him.  Just a few hours in the morning, a great program plus he will receive additional speech therapy in school.  I’m thrilled about that.  But can I just say that I had a really emotional week because of it.  The first day of school he was so excited to be there (we had visited the school together a few times so it was familiar) right up until it was time to say good-bye to mom.  He cried.  I was brave.  I blew kisses and waved good-bye and told him I’d be right back.  I held it together and drove away.  I went to the grocery store and started wandering down the first isle in the store thinking of how for so many years I have thought about what it would be like to get groceries without dealing with a baby or chasing a busy toddler throughout the store.  Nine years to be exact.  I thought about how so many times I had dreamt of this very moment.  How wonderful it would be.  By isle 2 I had tears streaming down my cheeks and by isle 5 I was full on bawling.  I just left the store.  Didn’t even buy groceries.  I went to my car and called to check on Kole.  Of course he had only cried for a minute and was fine and having a ball.  I on the other hand, cried on and off throughout the entire week.  It is the end of an era for me and I guess I’m having a harder time with it than I thought I would.  Even though it’s time and I’m ready for it.  Even though I wouldn’t change it.  It is still hard.  Moms understand.  :)
This week is our Spring Break and I am so happy to have all three of my kiddos home with me all day.  I need that right now.  If for nothing else but to remind me that I need them to all head right back to school the following week!  ;)  
Kole needs a little backpack for pre-school (how cute is that!?).  They use it to send home notes about what he did each morning.  I have narrowed it down to three and I’d love to hear your vote!  Aside from haircuts, being on the news, and Kole starting pre-school we also had a stressful week with the new house and I am so OVER making decisions!  So will you make this one for me?  :)  
I found these darling shark backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids that I can personalize with his name (so cool you can test it out on-line!).  
 Navy and Red

Green and Navy

This adorable monkey backpack I found on sale at Joss and Main.  Too cute!  I’m kind of leaning towards this one because Kole is a little monkey himself.  :)  What is your favorite?  Anyone else have a crying jag last week?


Clean brushes and blog headers

How often do you clean your hair and make-up brushes?  I was flipping through a magazine last week and came across this little article…

It says you should wash your brushes out every two months.  Oops.  I think I may have gone a bit longer than two months in between washings.  (Maybe two years?)

So I immediately cleaned the hair out of my brushes and let them soak for 10 minutes in warm water with a little shampoo.  

Then I figured while I was at it I’d clean my make-up brushes too.  Those I actually DO clean every couple of months.  Just rub a little shampoo into the brush and they clean up beautifully.  Nothing like starting the day with clean brushes!  Thought I’d share in case there is anyone else out there who (like me) needs a nudge to clean out their brushes.  :)

Oh!  By the way… I’ve had a lot of questions lately on how I make my blog headers and buttons for the sidebar of my blog.  I explained it a while back in this post:  BLOG HEADERS.  Aside from explaining how I create headers you can also take a look back at all of my headers I’ve created since I started blogging (I just updated this post).  Except for my Winter 2011 header.  It’s lost somewhere on my computer and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t find it!  I’m off to continue hunting it down.  I don’t handle things being out of order very well.  :)  Anyway – clean your brushes and make a blog header.  Or don’t.  Either way – have a great Thursday!

Fashion Friday – How I style my hair

Ok everyone.  I finally did it.  I filmed myself doing my hair.  And I can’t believe I am really going to post this video!  I’m seriously so nervous just thinking about it!  Kind of sick to my stomach nervous.  I can’t even watch it because I just start critiquing myself to death and want to crawl into a little hole and hide there!   It is SO hard to talk to yourself in front of a mirror and not look and sound and feel like a complete idiot.  And let me tell you.  I felt like a complete idiot filming it and I am well aware that I look and sound like a complete idiot.  Plus I have to apologize for the lighting.  It’s awful and it certainly doesn’t do me any favors!  I filmed this on a dark, rainy day.  I had a small window of time last weekend when Kenny was home and the kids were occupied and I seized it!  Bad lighting and all.  I started out with Kenny filming me but it was making me too nervous!  He is a loose cannon and I never know what he is going to say or do to embarrass me so I kicked him out of the bathroom and set up the tripod.  And I know he was bummed because he was secretly dying to know how I get my bangs to frame my face.  ;)

So without further nervousness and rambling from me – here is my tutorial on how I style my hair….

(BTW – I really don’t think You Tube could have picked a worse beginning pose.  They aren’t doing me any favors either.  For some reason I couldn’t get it to post any bigger than this on my blog so you can click on the You Tube button on the bottom if you want to watch it larger.)

What do you think?  Did that help?  Or did I completely humiliate myself for nothing?  :)  Are you all thinking that I sound different than you imagined?  I was so nervous in the beginning that I did a really nervous laugh and then said the word “stupider” — is stupider even a word!?  The hard thing with a vlog is there is no proofreading or spell checking or re-writing.  After I filmed it I wanted to re-do it, but couldn’t because my hair was done!  So it was a one time deal.  And I really do feel vulnerable posting that but so many of you have been so kind to me about my hair and have asked over and over how I style it so I’m sacrificing my dignity for you!  I hope it helps!  At least one or two of you!!  And if not I am SO deleting that baby this weekend.  :)

Frequently asked questions:

1)  How often do you wash your hair?

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t wash my hair every day or even every other day.  I wash my hair 2-3 times a week and I do this for a couple of reasons.  Reason one is that I have three kids (one of whom is 19 months old and a tremendous amount of work), a husband who works a lot, obligations and hobbies and a busy, full life.  Something has to give.  For me it’s the hair washing.  Reason two is that my hairdresser actually says it’s better to not wash your hair every day.  Although I don’t know that she would approve of me going as long as I sometimes do! ;)  Reason three is simply because I can get away with it.  I have dry skin/scalp and my hair actually looks better on the second or third day after washing it.  Yes I shower.  :)  I exercise almost every day and I always shower after.  I just pull my hair up in a bun and don’t get it wet.  Gross?  Maybe.  Maybe someday when my kids are in school all day I’ll always wash and blow dry my hair.  But I doubt it.  Because it takes so long to blow dry and I’d rather spend that time organizing, decorating, scrapbooking, exercising, or blogging about how I don’t wash my hair!  :)

2)  What hair products do you use?

Hmmm..  products.  I’ve tried so many different ones over the years!  I don’t have a shampoo/conditioner that I’m crazy about.  I’ve used a lot that I’ve liked, but haven’t fallen in love with anything.  I’m testing a few new ones right now and will let you know if I ever find “the one.”  But I have fallen in love with and married my hair spray and my straightener.  And divorce is not an option.

I have used Paul Mitchell hair spray FOREVER.  Love it.  Always have.  Always will.  It holds my hair in place without being sticky or making it look frozen.  Plus I love the smell.  I’ve tried everything they have to offer as far as hair spray goes and I love them all.  Sculpting spray, freeze and shine, it’s all good.  After I shower, I put Enjoy straightener on my hair (bottle with the purple star).  LOVE Enjoy products too.  The straightener makes my hair so smooth and easy to blow dry.  It’s a straightener, but I’ve even used it on Addison’s wet, curly hair and it makes her curls smooth and manageable without loosening them.

(LOVE her curls!)

The small purple bottle is Enjoy’s shine spray.  It helps with the humidity.  I spray a little bit of it on my hair after it’s styled on really humid days and it helps keep my hair from frizzing all over the place.  I’ve tried Enjoy’s shampoo and conditioner and didn’t love them.  My favorite is by far the straightener.  Another shampoo/conditioner that I really like is Biolage.  If any of you are in love with your shampoo/conditioner I’d love to hear about it!

The above picture from this post is the only one I have of my curling iron.  I’ve mentioned before how I used to use a really expensive one and then bought this cheap Conair 1 inch curling iron at Target for $9.99 for our trip to Italy.  It’s awesome!  Curls my hair so good and fast.  I haven’t used my expensive one since!  You can buy it here.

3)  Where are your kids while you are doing your hair?

Girls are in school or playing with each other.  Kole is hanging on my leg and while I hold the curling iron in one hand I am usually trying to distract him with the other.  Toothbrushes and belts are his latest obsession.  If I didn’t have those little distractions in my bathroom my hair would never get done!

4)  How long does it take to do your hair everyday?  

I think this video is about 8 or 9 minutes long and I spent more time on it than I do on most days when I’m just touching it up.  Probably around 5 minutes most days.  On the days that I wash my hair it takes about 30-35 minutes to blow dry and curl it all so add that to the time it takes to shower and do my make-up and I’m looking at an hour to get ready.  Not possible for every day.  

5)  Do you use color or highlights?  Did you ever make a big color change or just subtle ones?
I highlight my hair every 6-8 weeks.  My natural color is slightly darker than I have it right now.  I usually just make really subtle changes.

Here my hair has a little more of the strawberry blond highlights.  

In this picture with my siblings it has some more of the reddish tones.  See – not a huge difference. :)
I mix it up a little but always stay within my comfort zone.  Once I decided to be daring and go really dark and I hated it!  I went back to the girl who did it and asked if she’d fix it.  I told her I’d re-pay her and everything.  Luckily she was cool and re-did it for free and I’ve never dared to go really dark again! 

6)  How did you do your hair in the Italy picture?

I mentioned this in the video but I just left the ringlets on the bottom and curled the top the same way I showed you.  Curl out and away from your face!

And for my last two cents on this already too long post — When it comes to hair I think so much of it is figuring out what works for you.  I spent years blow drying and straightening my hair to get it to look like this:

I can do that and it looks fine, but it takes me forever to style.  My hair doesn’t want to be straight.  It is really time consuming to fight my natural wave/curl and make my hair look like that.  Plus I live in a humid climate which makes it even harder to maintain that look.  After I started curling my hair and realized how much easier it was to maintain because my hair holds the curl for so long I gave up the fight.  I still straighten it once in a while (especially when I’m visiting family in Utah – a nice dry climate!) but it just isn’t practical for me for everyday.  If your hair doesn’t hold curl and you have to spend forever each day curling it, then this style isn’t the one for you.  Work with and embrace what you’ve got!

And you will have happy hair days from here on out!  
Let me know if you have any more questions and I will answer them in the comments!  
Have a great weekend everyone!
p.s.  If you missed the series so far – First hair post is here.
Second hair post on why I do my hair every day is here.  

Let’s talk hair (#2 in the series!)

Ok.  Let’s talk hair.  I have been getting a lot of e-mails/comments about my hair lately.  You are all incredibly kind and the reason I haven’t cut my hair in so long.  Yes – I’m blaming the fact that I haven’t changed my hair in the past three years on my blog readers!  I used to mix things up and get a new hairstyle every year.  Lately whenever I decide I’m going to chop it all off and go for a new look I get a sweet e-mail or blog comment about my hair!  And it makes me decide to keep it like this a little longer.  So thanks for that.  I think.  ;)  Seriously though – I have the nicest readers and I really want to answer your questions.  So many of you have asked about how I style it, maintain it, what products I use and I just wanted to let you know that at some point I will do a post on my hair.  I actually did a “let’s talk hair” post a year ago, but it probably wasn’t that helpful in really showing you how I style it so the plan is to do a better/updated one in the near future.  I just need to figure out how!  I can’t take pictures of myself doing my hair (although attempting that would be good for a laugh!)  so I need to recruit a few friends to help and I need to find time during the day to make this happen.  Not an easy feat with my current schedule, but I’ll figure something out!  So if you have any specific “hair” questions you want answered, ask them in the comment section of this post and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I did want to take a minute to answer this question I received on last Friday’s post:

“I always read your blog comments too, and everyone always mentions your hair ALWAYS looking nice (they are right), it just dawned on me why your hair ALWAYS looks nice…you live in San Diego!!!  I have vacationed in California a few times and both times that I went to San Diego,  I noticed that all the women looked their best, even in Target.  That is Hollywood/Celeb territory and maybe that is why?  I would love to get your thoughts on this Erin, was it just my perception or do people that live in your area always put on their A game?

Well.  This is a great question and I am more than happy to share my thoughts on this!  Two parts to this question.  First I’ll tell you why I always have my hair done and try to look my best.  Then I’ll give you the scoop on San Diego!  (If you’re sticking around for this long winded post now might be a good time to grab a snack… :)

I’m a hair girl.  I care about my hair.  I always have regardless of the city I’m living in.  If I only have 10 minutes to get ready, I do my hair, not my make-up (then I stick on my sunglasses because it’s always sunny here and we wear them year round – best no make-up trick in the book!  Of course you’re in trouble when you step inside…)  My friend Darci and I always joke that we could talk “hair” for hours and we could!  Products, styles, what we do to tame our thick hair.  I enjoy doing my hair and I feel better about myself when it’s done.  When I had my first baby and quit teaching school to stay home with her I fell into a bit of a depression.  I was in a new city with no family around and all of my friends were working.  Ellie was a fussy baby and motherhood was hard and not at all what I pictured.  I stopped caring about what I looked like.  I was packing around baby weight so I wore sweats a lot.  Plus I was covered in baby spit up and who was going to see me anyway?  My big outing of the day was down the street to the grocery store and I didn’t think the produce man really cared.  I got stuck in a bad cycle.  The less I cared, the more depressed I became and the more depressed I became, the less I cared.  I remember walking past my bedroom mirror bouncing my fussy baby one morning.  I saw my reflection in the mirror and started to cry.  Who was that?  I decided in that moment that I was going to get my life back.  I was going to start exercising again.  Start doing my hair and make-up again even if I only had 10 minutes to spend on it.  Start wearing real clothes again – even if I had to buy a few things in bigger sizes until I lost the baby weight.  So I did.  I made myself a priority and I can’t tell you the difference it made.  Even if my only outing for the day was a trip to the grocery store, I held my head up and smiled at people.  If I ran into a neighbor I said hi and was friendly instead of ducking and heading down a different isle.  And most importantly, I was a happier mom.  I was a better person when I took care of myself.  So I learned an important lesson:  You have to take care of yourself for you, not for anybody else.  Do it because of the way it makes you feel.  I have made exercise a priority and taken at least 10 minutes each day to do my hair ever since!

By my third baby I had things figured out.  Hair done = happy mom.   ;)

Now – to really answer your question (sorry I’m so long winded today!)  

Scoop on San Diego.  Yes!  San Diego is ABSOLUTELY a place where people care about their looks and put on their A game.  Southern California — it is its own beast!  Exercise is huge here.  Driving down the street you will always see walkers/joggers/bikers.  If you go to an outdoor mall, a restaruant, or even just to pick up your kids at school, you will see beautiful women everywhere.  (Yes!  Even at Target!)  I love it because it motivates me to exercise and look my best, but it can also be hard because it’s easy to feel inadequate.  I sometimes worry about raising my girls in a city where, especially in certain areas, so much emphasis is placed on looks.  But that is true about our society in general regardless of where you live.  I try really hard to teach my girls how beautiful they are on the inside and what true beauty is all about.  In my opinion that is one of the most important things a mother can teach her daughter.  So no, it was not just your perception!  Women generally do try to look their best in my neck of the woods.  :)

Ok.  If you made it through that marathon of a post I salute you!  And I apologize if now you have no time to check in with other blogs.  If you have a question for me about hair (or anything else for that matter!) let me know.  And thanks again for all of your supportive, uplifting comments and e-mails.  I really wish I would have been blogging when I had Ellie.  It would have helped me so much to hear from other moms going through similar struggles.  You all help me now more than you know!

Let’s talk hair

Haven’t posted for a few days – I’ve been too busy cooking! ;) First let me just say thank you so much for your sweet comments on my last post. Not only for all of the great recipe sites (which I’ve been checking out and will be incredibly helpful) but also for your words of encouragement. I’ve always known I have the best blog friends in the blogosphere. :) And speaking of a really sweet comment, here’s one I got a couple of weeks ago:

“Maybe I can ask this question under organizing? It really deals a little more with time management. How do you do your hair? It always looks so nice and styled, healthy, and pretty. When you were writing about being in a funk, I identified with wearing my hair in a pony everyday because it takes extra time to do my hair and I just need girlfriend advice. Like do you wash it at night after the kids are asleep? in the morning and let it air dry then blow dry the style, straighten and add a little curl with the iron? how long do you think it takes you to do your hair? I mean I think it takes me over 15 minutes just to fully blow dry. Is there a product you really like? I guess I wanted to ask an expert in style and time management! Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy your honesty, tips, ideas, and love for life! God bless!”

Amy, thank you so much for that comment. It made my day! Especially since I am in a total hair rut right now and ready to chop it all off. I’m sharing this comment on my blog for two reasons: first: because Amy, I didn’t know how else to answer you, and second: because I get asked two questions all the time. One is “how do you do your hair?” and the second is “how long does it take…how do you have time to maintain it?” Many of you have asked me about my hair on this blog and I haven’t answered anyone so I thought I’d take the time to do that now. :)

So. Here’s how I do my hair. (BTW – I thought about taking pictures of the ‘hair steps’ I go through to explain this, but there was no way to do it without taking pics of myself with the tripod and looking and feeling like a total dork)

My hair is naturally curly. So is Kenny’s which is why we have kids with hair like this:

If I just let my hair dry on its own it would look like this:

(Halloween 2008 – Kenny and I dressed up as ourselves from High School.  Oh yes.  I really did wear that dress!)

Great for the late 90’s or for Halloween. Not so hot for right now.

So right out of the shower the first thing I do is put some Enjoy straightener (purple bottle) on my hair. I’ve tried lots of straighteners and I like this one the best. Then I blow dry my hair straight one section at a time. I pull it all on top of my head with a clip except for the bottom section. I blow dry just that part, then I blow dry the middle section, then the top. I have really really thick hair. So thick that I have to get it thinned every time I get it done just to keep it from being out of control. So straightening it takes me 15-20 minutes. Then I section my hair off again and take my curling iron (a regular 1 inch) and curl each piece like I’m curling it in a ringlet, but a loose one. When I get to the top section I just slightly curl my bangs, etc. off to the side. This takes me around 25 minutes to do. When I shower, do my hair, and put on make-up I’m looking at spending at least an hour.  There is NO WAY I could maintain this everyday.

So here’s my little secret. I don’t wash my hair that often. I know. Gross. Yuck. You’re all probably totally disgusted, but I’ve always told it like it is on this blog so why stop now.

Because my hair is naturally curly, it holds curl really well so I can go to sleep at night and wake up and have my hair look pretty much like it did the day before. I shower with my hair piled in a clip on the top of my head and then just put a curl or two in it to touch it up, put on some make-up and go. Takes 20-30 minutes instead of an hour and a half. If I’m exercising really hard I have to wash it more often and then I rely on a pony tail. But if not, I can go for days. In fact, I like my hair a lot better on the second or third day than on the first day I wash and style it (the curls look looser and aren’t as full). I usually wash and style it 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I’ll shower and blow dry it straight right after I put the kids to bed and then get up and curl it in the morning. Other times I shower and blow dry it early, then get the kids up and ready for school, then curl it while they’re eating breakfast or something. So THAT is how I maintain this hair style and the funny thing is, because I can get this style to last for days, this is the EASIEST hair style I’ve had by far.

(This looks like about a third hair day – looser curls)

Which is why I don’t know what to do with it. I’m kind of tired of it, but I’m nervous to cut it because I don’t want a style that is more work. San Diego is humid and my hair does NOT want to go straight here so straightening it is a high maintenance do for me. Short hair is hard because I have to style it every day. It kinks in the night and can’t be salvaged.

I’ve had my hair short:

I’ve had my hair in between:

I’ve had my hair long:

I’ve worn it straight and curly. Layered and not layered.

Short bangs:

and long bangs:

And nothing has been as easy for me to maintain as my current style has. So I’d love a little girlfriend advice from all of you! Should I change it (and if so, any suggestions?), or should I leave it as is?

Oh! One other thing. In the past I used a really expensive curling iron, and then I bought a cheap $10 one from Target to take to Italy (Kenny and I went for our ten year anniversary and I needed one that would work in European outlets). My hair curled so well on our trip with the cheap one that I stopped buying nice ones and haven’t spent more than 10 bucks on a curling iron since! (maybe they’re frying my hair and I don’t know it…)

{Italy 2007}

Hope I answered everyone’s hair questions and hope you aren’t too disgusted. (speaking to the whole five of you who actually made it through this long, boring post)

Wishing you all nothing but good hair days in your future! :)