Saving the Holidays (+Giveaway!)

This post is sponsored by RetailMeNot. So this is happening. Starting next week, the carpet is getting ripped up and hardwoods are going down, and all our furniture is going...I don't even know where yet. Crammed into the garage and a hallway. Maybe the bathtubs. We'll be living in the basement with a lot of boxes and some very confused dogs. While it will be SO NICE to have the project done in time for the holidays, it's...um, not exactly convenient timing in the meantime. There will be no Christmas tree until the floors are done, and our holiday shopping budget is wafer thin. The kids aren't really asking for much, thank goodness, and as long as I agreed that the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and a few other decorations could come out of storage, they seem satisfied. (I set up a holiday-themed reading nook in place of the real tree, which has gone over really well. Ike has of course been wearing Christmas jammies since June.) (Stockings for Hobbes the Tiger and Tahu the Bioncle, naturally.) (Oh yay this guy again. I can't wait to forget to move him and bolt awake every night at 2 a.m., cursing the... Read more →


Our Blue Apron Anniversary

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. So we've been Blue Apron members for...wow, three full years now, officially. Every Monday, two boxes show up on our doorstep. (We find that two boxes of the 2-person plan feeds our 5-person family perfectly, often with leftovers. Blue Apron also has a 4-person family plan but we found the portions a touch smaller and the meals more kid-friendly than our kids really need. YMMV.) We unload the ingredients, pull out the recipe cards, map out when we'll make what, and bam. Our dinner menu planning and shopping is done for the week, in less than 10 minutes. We have tried other meal delivery services in that time, but have always returned to Blue Apron time and time again. Some are just too expensive and/or the prices advertised don't include the shipping costs (tricksy hobbits). Others consistently sent us rotten ingredients and reaching customer service was a labyrinth of response-less frustration. (BA lets me report missing or damaged ingredients directly from their app, and I always hear back with an account credit within a day. Their customer service is fabulous.) Another one promised super fast, zero-prep meals but relied heavily on processed foods... Read more →


The Dog Ate My Fall Wardrobe

This post is sponsored by thredUP. Stuff Poppy Ate, an Addendum: 21) Amy's favorite jacket. RIP, favorite jacket. This jacket was a Target find -- one of those great "I want something exactly like this but do not want to put any effort whatsoever into shopping for something like this" items you randomly spot on a rack on your way to pick up some paper towels. It was perfect. I wore it constantly in the fall and last spring, dressed up, dressed down, you name it. I LOVED this jacket. (Good thing I also really, really love that dog.) My first instinct when seeing the dog-shredded sleeve was to check and see if Target still sold it. And indeed, they do. For $40. I did not remember paying $40. And I did not particularly feel like paying $40 all over, again. Spending another $40 would mean that technically, I spent $80 on a faux leather moto jacket from Target. (Don't try to argue with my brain logic here. It has very specific views about how money works.) Thankfully, thredUP to the rescue. (thredUP, in case you haven't checked it out yet, is the largest online resale shop where you can... Read more →


This Old Hairz

This post is sponsored by PURA D'OR and 2MinuteClub. After my last sponsored post on 2MinuteClub's skin products (which I am still using, still loving, BTW), a wholllllllle bunch of people asked me if I'd tried their best-selling Facebook-famous shampoo and conditioner. I said that I had not, but really wanted to, and...well. Mayyyyyyyybe if they were happy with the skincare post they'd let me try the hair care line next. BOO YAH. First, here's what I'm dealing with: Super duper fine hair. I have a ton of it growing out from my oily-as-anything scalp, but thanks to the aforementioned fineness, plus coloring and heat styling, it gets increasingly dry and brittle as it grows out. Which means lots of breakage and fly-aways and split ends that require regular trims. Which also means I have been trying to grow my hair out to my Goal Length (of just below boob level) for approximately 700 years. I'm still several inches short, since I eventually end up having to cut back most (if not all) of the growth progress thanks to the dryness and breakage. Now I know I could stop 1) coloring and 2) heat styling, but y'all. Come on. Frizzy,... Read more →


Handyman

This post is sponsored by thredUP. I've mentioned once or 100 times that I'm not a big fan of clothes shopping. I'm very impatient and get discouraged too easily -- I don't like the first thing I tried on! These dressing room lights are killing my self-esteem! This is boring and my feet hurt! -- and I also don't have that awesome "shopper's eye" that translate how something looks on the hanger with how it will look on my actual body. Obviously I love online shopping but I still get really indecisive and unsure about clothing. I am an e-commerce cart-abandoning nightmare. Jason, on the other hand, totally has the shopper's eye. He also finds shopping fun, and even relaxing, both online and in person. I know. He's either a gem or an insane person. As a result, I'd say he easily buys about 80% of my wardrobe these days. Which is admittedly awesome and convenient. So...shine on, you crazy diamond, I guess! So when thredUP expressed interest in a second sponsored post (along with a tempting $150 shopping credit), I knew I wanted to outsource the grunt work this time around, and I set Jason loose on the site... Read more →


This Old Skin

This post is sponsored by NxN. A few years ago, I showed up at a client's office for a meeting and was immediately asked if I was feeling okay. Because (groan groan groooooan guys don't ever say this to people) I "looked really tired." I felt fine, and had actually slept very well the night before. What happened is that I forgot to put on any foundation or concealer, and -- GASP -- had inadvertently revealed my actual human face to my coworkers. This weekend, on the other hand, I went out on a date night with my husband and very much deliberately left the foundation (and concealer and bronzer and highlighter and all that other jazz) at home. Nobody said I looked tired, and instead Jason told me several times that I looked pretty. Yes, he's biased. THAT SAID, my skin! Look at my actual human face skin right now. It's 39 years old and it is happy. So let's talk a bit more about my skin, because this is a blog and that's what we do here: It is technically combination, though probably more on the oily side overall. Other than the occasional hormonal breakout, I've outgrown the... Read more →


A Girl's Night In (+$300 Giveaway!)

This post is sponsored by Weekly Tasting. If anyone were to ask Jason and I what the secrets are to our long and happy marriage -- hypothetically, anyway, as absolutely zero people have actually asked us that question -- we'd probably list the following: 1) Regular date nights 2) A similar sense of humor 3) A mutual ability/willingness to apologize for being an idiot sometimes And personally, I'd probably add: 4) The occasional night away from each other 5) Wine Amazingly, for this post, I got to experience both #4 and #5 at the same time. So a couple times a month, Jason and I give the other person the night "off." Jason goes out to attend a sportsball exhibition of some kind, then the next week it's my turn to hang out with friends, see a movie, or just LEAVE THE DANG HOUSE for a change. Although as nice as it is to get out and socialize with other humans on a more regular basis, I kinda have to admit that I almost enjoy the nights in alone just as much. I make something fun/easy for the kids' dinner, then order take-out, assume total control of the TV remote,... Read more →


Road Trip Rules & Sanity Savers

This post is sponsored by Best Fiends. By the time you read this, I will be visiting family in Killington, VT, having (hopefully) survived a seven-hour road trip with my children...and (even more hopefully) with my sanity intact. I'm not worried about the kids, by the way. The secret to traveling with kids is actually pretty simple: 1) Get a car with a DVD player in it. Procure many DVDs. And that's it. You're pretty much done. I mean, you'll also want some headphones for them, snacks and drinks but not too many drinks, because then you'll have a kid who needs to pee exactly five minutes after you leave the rest stop where he refused to even get out of the car (but I didn't have to go then!!!) and yet it's already at EMERGENCY LEVELS and then something unspeakable happens in an empty water bottle but hey that's an unexpected perk of having boys I guess. Okay, so there's also 2) Pack an empty water bottle, just in case. So my kids will happily spend all seven hours watching movie after movie while I slowly die of boredom in the front seat. Jason is a...bit of a control... Read more →


Date Night, Every Night

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Man, last week was One Of Those Weeks. Jason's work kept him late almost every night, or had him commuting to D.C., while the boys all started different after-school enrichment programs on different nights of the week (naturally!). They'd come home extra crunched for time and INSANELY hungry, having missed their usual after-school snack break. They needed dinner STAT and waiting for Dad to get home wasn't an option. It was One Of Those Weeks where we just had to sacrifice our family dinner ritual. It happens. Kids got an easy, early dinner from the freezer or pasta shelf. All as healthy and homemade-ish as I could manage (I do a lot of big-batch cooking on weekends for nights like that), but certainly nothing too challenging or exciting. Jason and I, on the other hand, didn't have to sacrifice much at all: Every night was Date Night, thanks to Blue Apron. Usually when we have One Of Those Weeks, we end up ordering a lot of takeout or delivery, which is 1) expensive, and 2) too easy to blow through 2,500 calories in one sitting because oh look a two-for-one deal on large... Read more →


Post- and Pre-Holiday Cheer

This post is sponsored by The Bouqs Company. I waited a long time to take the Christmas decorations down. The house looked so bright and cozy with them around, and they made me happy. I mean: Eventually, the number of pine needles all over the floor became less bright/cozy/happy-making and I finally dragged up the boxes and put everything away. Luckily, I had the perfect replacements already sitting on my doorstep. VALENTINE’S DAY HERE I COME. (Seasonal Affective Disorder say whaaaat? It's totally spring up in this place!) Bouqs.com is officially my go-to site for ordering fresh flowers now -- for myself or friends and family, since the flowers 1) aren't cut until you order them, so they last an impressively long time, 2) are absolutely bonkers gorgeous, duh, 3) are grown at sustainable, eco-friendly farms because I really do love this crazy planet of ours, and 4) giving/getting flowers that were grown on an ACTUAL VOLCANO is just kinda badass. (Third-party certified by both The Rainforest Alliance and my cat.) (Just making sure I trimmed the stems properly, of course.) Yep. Those'll do. (I kept the BB-8 ornament out. BB-8 just feels like a year-round decoration.) BAM (Officially sense... Read more →