Monday, September 25, 2017

My Daughter Got A Major Haircut--And *I'm* The One Who Freaked Out

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elle kinney

haircut little girl
alyssa hertzig
pantene beautiful lengths
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Photos by Lydia Hudgens

Late last month, my daughter (who has always had long hair and hates getting even the teeniest trim) announced that she wanted to cut her hair to her shoulders--a major cut that would have taken off about four inches. "You know," I said, opening my big mouth. "If you cut it even shorter, you could donate it to an organization that makes wigs for kids who lost their hair because they were sick. You could help people by giving them your hair." She thought about this for about two seconds. "Yes," she said. "I want to do that."

For a week, I kept asking if she really wanted to do it to see if she had changed her mind, but she was adamant. She wanted the cut and she wanted to donate her hair. She also wanted it immediately, so that she would have the new cut for the first day of school. So I made her an appointment. 

And then I freaked out. 

I started panicking that she wasn't going to look like a little girl anymore--that a chic little bob was suddenly going to make my seven-year-old fast forward into a seventeen-year-old. Embarrassingly, I actually tried to talk her out of it. One night, we laid in her bed and I got teary-eyed as I begged her not to cut too much off. "Mommy, you thought I would chicken out about the haircut, but you're the one chickening out," she said. I was busted.

So, I sucked it up and the day before the first day of second grade, we headed into the Chris Chase salon in Chelsea for an appointment with Elle Kinney, a talented hairstylist who I've known for years. The three of us talked about how short we would go, then took out a tape measure to measure the required eight inches. We had jussst enough. Elle formed two ponytails, then I held my breath (my daughter never hesitated for a second--I was the only baby in the situation), and Elle snipped. 

My daughter looked into the mirror and smiled and laughed; she loved it immediately. After a shampoo (which she adored), Elle cut and shaped it some more, then blow-dried it into the supercute bob you see here. My daughter loved it. I loved it.

We'll be donating the hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a great organization that provides wigs to women going through cancer. We hope that it brings a little bit of happiness to someone going through a very challenging time. I'm so proud of my daughter for what she did and for being brave in the situation, even when I wasn't. 

Oh and that thing I had been so scared about? That my kid was going to emerge from the scissors and the blowdryer looking like a teenager? Didn't happen. Not only does she still look like my little girl, but somehow, she looks even more adorable, and maybe even (shhh!) a little younger. Hey, I'll take it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Here's How To Get *FREE* Mrs. Meyer's Fall Products From Grove Collaborative

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Earlier this summer, I told you about a great site I recently discovered called Grove Collaborative, which carries natural products for home and body, and somehow, manages to offer these high-end, normally-pricy brands at very competitive, very affordable prices. (They carry Mrs. Meyer's, Method, Caldrea, Seventh Generation, Acure Organics, Burt's Bees, and many more.)

The other awesome thing about Grove is that, from time to time, they offer these kind of unbelievably amazing, limited-time free gifts just for trying out the site. I brought you one deal earlier this summer, and now, I have another really, really awesome one for you where you'll get to try out the limited-edition Mrs. Meyer's fall seasonal scents for FREE! (Details below...)
mrs meyers mum
Now I'm not a fan of the proverbial pumpskin spice latte, but I'm still basic: I love "fall" scented products, and I love switching over to them this time of year. There's something so comforting about spicy, pumpkin-y, apple-y stuff, right?

So, let's just say I was super excited to try the two limited-edition fall seasonal scents--Apple Cider and Mum--from Mrs. Meyer's. If you're excited, too, I'm about to make your day:

I've partnered with Grove once again to bring you this deal, which they are only offering through September 17

With your first order of $20 from Grove Collaborative using my affiliate link, you will get the following (full-size!) items for FREE in your choice of scent:

• Free Fall Seasonal Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap

• Free Fall Seasonal Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap

• Free Fall Seasonal Mrs. Meyer’s candle

• Free Grove striped kitchen towel

• Free Shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial (VIPs get free shipping on every order, free gifts, exclusive sales, and more)

The products are a $33 value, so it's a great way to check out some really nice home products that you otherwise might never have tried.

*FYI, if you're already a Grove Collaborative customer, you aren't eligble for the Mrs. Meyers deal (sorry!), BUT *if you use this link* you'll get a FREE set of Grove's great Walnut Scrubber sponges.

mrs meyers grove collaborative

You can cancel anytime, so honestly, it's worth at least placing one $20 order and getting all the free stuff! Then you can decide later whether or not you want to continue ordering through them. (That's what I planned to do when I got my own deal way back when, but I've totally stayed on and I order all of my cleaning products through Grove now.)

Also! I'll be doing a Facebook Live later this week talking about this deal, these products, and Grove, so make sure you've liked and followed me on Facebook so that you get a notification. It should be fun!

Don't forget: This offer ends September 17th, so grab your free products now!
Note: This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to feature these products, however I will receive a small affiliate commission from any purchases.

Friday, August 18, 2017

14 Cool Things You Need To Click On Today

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Photo by Alisha Johns
As I mentioned yesterday, we are heading out soon to go on vacation! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for lots of photos and videos of beaches, ice cream cones, and some super cute kids. :)

Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you make it a great one. Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime.

• I had to do a doubletake at this one: This maxi dress looks super flattering, comes in so many different colors, and costs $68!

• I recently mentioned a beautiful, flowy rainbow skirt as one of my August favorites. Well, now it's on sale!

• I already told you that the next book on my list is In A Dark, Dark Wood (recommended by Reese Witherspoon!), but I just downloaded a few more for my trip that look really good: The Good Daughter (sounds spooky and suspenseful!) and The Breakdown (it's the new book by the woman who wrote Behind Closed Doors, which I just finished and loved).

• Speaking of books, Grace always gives great recommendations, so I loved her August reading list!

• I really want these sneakers.

• It's a lipgloss and a fidget spinner, in one. (I actually thought this was a joke when I first saw it, but nope--it exists!)

• Ilana has an amazing list of 21 children's books that teach kids to be kind and inclusive. (Let's all load up on these so our kids turn out better than those idiots carrying tiki torches in Charlottesville.)

• "The currents of family life hit me hard on the beach every summer. Watching people with their babies, their toddlers, their school age children, their adolescents. Watching the groups of adolescents on their own, without their parents. It’s like being a part of everyone else’s stage of life, while at the same time being neatly sorted into your own category (empty nester parents here with no children, actually reading the books they brought to the beach)." >> I loved this beautiful essay about the beach, and it will make me think about it so differently now when I'm on it in a few days!

I've talked about a few of my favorite podcasts previously. Just found this list recommending several more podcasts and there are so many on there that sound great. I've already downloaded a bunch of them.

• This Game of Thrones-themed baby shower is so awesome.

• To stay married, embrace change.

And in case you missed it, I...

• Shared my beach vacation packing list.

• Threw a cool Spider-Man birthday party for my son.

• Gushed about my favorite things for August: clothes, beauty products, the best thing that ever happened to smoothies, and lots more.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Packing List: Beach Vacation

vacation packing list
dress // bikini (on sale!) // sun hat // rash guard // pineapple towel // shorts // cooler bag // sandals (on sale!) // deodorant // sunglasses // straw bag // book
We're heading out for vacation soon! We'll be hitting the Delaware/Maryland beaches, then flying out to my brother in law's lakehouse in Michigan, then heading back to Delaware! It's going to be a lot of beach time, pool time, ice-cream-cone-eating time, and just hanging out and (hopefully) relaxing. It's not one of the super glamorous blogger vacations that we all drool over on Instagram, but it's basically exactly what I need right now. 

Here's a quick look at a few things I'm bringing, and a few things I'd love to bring--and just might be ordering soon.

Kate Spade Sundress - I've had my eye on this dress for months. It's a fun, more structured twist on the traditional embroidered Mexican style, and it looks like it's really flattering.

J.Crew Bikini - Seersucker for the win! (And the top is on sale!)

Eric Javits Sun Hat - I try to always wear a hat for sun protection when I'm outside, but bucket hats/fedoras aren't really big enough to provide adequate shade, and I would feel like a crazy person walking around the city with the same ginormous straw hat that I would wear by the pool. This is the perfect, happy medium! The brim is smaller than a traditional sun hat, but quite a bit wider than your basic bucket. My friend Dawn has one and I've admired it forever. Now, I'm finally going to spring for one for myself! (Bonus: It's made of a squishy, straw-like material that allows you to stuff it in your bag without destroying its shape.)

J.Crew Tropical Stripe Rash guard - I no longer go anywhere near a pool without a rash guard. It's just not worth it; the ultra-UV-sensitive skin on your shoulders and chest really needs that extra protection. And how fun is this one??

Pineapple Beach Blanket - Who wouldn't love a giant, plush, and oh-so-cheery pineapple towel? And unlike similar towels, which can run around $50, this one is under $20!

J.Crew Ruffle Chambray Shorts - Am I the only one who thinks it's really hard to find good shorts? That's why I love these: The ruffles add a cute, interesting detail, and they're not too, too short. "Beach Please" Cooler Bag - Cooler bags are one of those things you don't really think to bring to the beach, but once they're there, you're so glad you have them. (Cold water, juice, or--let's be honest--rosé, anyone?) This one also gets big bonus points for being adorable.

Dolce Vita sandals - When I'm going on a lazy trip like this, I leave the heels at home. (I always think heels look out of place anywhere near a beach, anyway, am I right?) Instead, if I go out to a slightly more fancy-ish dinner, I wear gold flat sandals, which can also double as a nicer shoe for day. These are really pretty, comfy, and on sale for just $62!

Schmidt's deodorant - You guys, I have tried to wean myself off antiperspirant and switch to natural deodorant for years, but I've never been able to do it. I'm probably going to do a longer post on this product soon, but let's just say, it's the only natural deo I've ever found that actually works. (And as a longtime beauty editor, I've pretty much tried them all). It's really amazing. It comes in lots of different scents, but I love this lime one. So refreshing!

Kate Spade sunglasses - I always love Kate Spade sunglasses and this shape works really well for my face. I'm never brave enough to wear crazy glasses, so I love that these look normal from the outside, but have a fun, colorful stripe-y pattern on the inside.

Permanently Poolside straw bag - So fun, and--since "permanently poolside" is what I hope to be--totally accurate.

In a Dark, Dark Wood book - My goal is to get a ton of reading done on this trip. (I mean, is there anything better than sitting next to a pool reading? NO.) I just finished a really great page turner called Behind Closed Doors (get it!), so I wanted to read something really good next. This one is supposed to be awesome, and since Reese Witherspoon just bought the rights to turn it into a movie, so you know it has to be good. (Also, if you've read any good books lately, please let me know. I am always looking for recs!)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How to Throw A Cool Spider-Man Birthday Party

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seth dale magician
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Jaye Kogut Photography

Similar to many four year old boys, my little guy is into superheroes. But with him, it's mostly one particular superhero: Spider-Man. He has Spider-Man pjs, Spider-Man bathing suits, Spider-Man underwear, Spider-Man dishes, and Spider-Man socks. He was Spider-Man for Halloween last year, and every night he even asks for a "Spider-Man story" before bed, which can be a mundane story about pretty much anything, the only requirement being that one of the characters in the story must be named Spider-Man. So, basically, when it came time to plan his 4th birthday party, we knew just what the theme had to be.

Per usual, we decided to have the party at home, and I went all out with the decor. I hung wall art that I printed out from digital files I bought on Etsy (as I've mentioned before, this is one of my favorite party-decorating tricks, because it's easy and you can repurpose the art as bedroom decor later), plus big word signs (Kapow! Smash! and so on), a banner, and balloons, which we blew up ourselves. (Because we were having the party earlier than we usually do, our usual balloon-blowing place wasn't going to be open, so I bought this home helium tank, and it was so easy and convenient!).

The two biggest hits though were probably the life-size Spider-Man balloon, which we perched on a china cabinet (the kids loved discovering him up there), and the ginormous cupcake tower. I hadn't checked the measurements when I bought it online, and this thing was huge! But so awesome--it was such a great focal point for the party!

When the kids and their parents arrived, everyone had some snacks (which included this spider-shaped goat cheese dip--it's one of my go-tos for Halloween parties and it also happens to work really well for Spider-Man parties, too!). Since it was a morning party, parents got indulge in Grady's Cold Brew (our favorite!) and a Bloody Mary bar. This was actually my husband's idea and it was such a hit! We put out a pitcher of Bloody Mary mix, vodka, and lots of fun toppings like pickles, bacon strips, hot sauce, fancy olives, and more.

Once everyone was settled, our favorite magician, Seth Dale, made balloon animals for the kids and put on a hilarious magic show. (FYI, if you live in the tristate area and need a magician, Seth is amazing for little kids. As you can see from the photos, my son was cracking up!)

Then it was time for pizza and Kool-Aid, followed by Spider-Man cupcakes. For the kid's cupcakes, I had had the idea to have our baker dye the vanilla cake blue and top them with bright red frosting. Each one also got a fun Spider-Man fondant topper. They looked amazing!

Next, because we hadn't injected enough sugar into these kids yet, we busted out a Spider-Man pinata! There was definitely a ton of candy in there, but because these were younger kids, I also added fun little trinkets like Spider-Man erasers, Spider-Man pencils, and mini coloring book sets, and healthy-ish food like mini bags of Goldfish.

When it was time to go, the kids left with Spider-Man-themed frosted sugar cookies (once again, homemade by my mom!) and this cute (and surprisingly-not-at-all-ugly!) Spider-Man t-shirt rolled up and tied with a ribbon and a custom favor tag. (Only three girls, including my daughter, attended, and I gave them shirts that said "Girls are superheroes" instead of the Spidey ones.) Then, all the little heroes headed home.

All in all, it was a super party. (Sorry. Had to...) ;)

If you'd like to check out my son's past parties, here is his Nautical First Birthday (one of my favorite parties ever!) and the Sesame Street party we threw for his second birthday. 


Skyscraper cupcake tower: Amazon
Word cutout signs: Amazon
Spider-Man banner: Amazon
City tablecloth: Amazon
Favor/cupcake/food tent/etc printables: CupcakeExpress2
Spider-Man plates: Amazon
Spider-Man masks: Amazon
Spider-Man blowers: Amazon
Spider-Man pinata: Walmart
Spider-Man candles: Amazon
Giant Spider-Man balloon: Amazon
Spider-Man head balloons: Amazon
Home helium machine: Target
Birthday-boy t-shirt: LilEmeraldBoutique
Girls' Spider-Man t-shirt: Amazon
Spider-Man (favor) t-shirts: Target