Holiday Photos

Over the summer I was blessed with the opportunity to have a family photo shoot, with the amazing Alli Page. The photos taken that day opened my mind and heart to how precious family photos can be, and with Alli, it was actually an enjoyable moment. It wasn’t your typical family shoot where we were faking smiles or fighting when the camera was put down. Alli’s smiles are infectious and it put the whole family in a great mood.

When we had the chance to have another shoot with Alli, we jumped at this chance. This shoot was at Wagners Christmas Tree Farm. And as with the first shoot, it was amazing. Within 20 min we were done. No one cried or fussed and the photos came out amazing. Mini shoots are a new love of mine because of Alli and her great work. Being able to go in take your family photos and leave still in good spirits is always a win.

If you live in the central, PA area I definitely suggest you check out Alli’s Instagram page to see her work and possibly book her for a shoot. She does more than just mini shoots and I promise you won’t regret it.

 

3 Unexpected Challenges Transitioning to Stay-at-Home-Mom

Both my kids are in school, but I’ve been told being home is still considered being a stay-at-home-mom, so I’m taking it. I’ve always worked and neither of my kids can remember a time prior to now that I’ve been unemployed. They have both have had to deal with late nights and Mama working on the weekends. So when the opportunity came for me to be home full-time I jumped at it. I thought this was going to be amazing; I could finally be a “good” mom. Staying home, to me, meant more home-cooked meals, a cleaner house and that I would always be there for my kids. Some of that is true, but I learned pretty quickly,

Being a stay at home mom isn’t all its cracked up to be.

Just as with everything when you become a parent; the idea of something is completely different than what it’s like in actuality. You think you’re going to be an amazing parent with perfect children… Until you have children and realize no one knows wtf they’re doing.

I have three constant battles I fight with being at home I had no idea would be so hard.

Meals

I thought cooking meals for my family every day would be amazing. I’d make healthy, amazing meals the family would love. The first week was great! I had so many meal ideas; some hits, some misses. But by week 2 I had no idea what to make anymore. I was running out of ideas and enthusiasm. Cooking is exhausting!

Cleaning

How do people keep there homes immaculate. I spend one whole day cleaning one room they come home and its like a bomb goes off the room is a mess again. The laundry basket is always full and the dishes are endless. How is it even possible that this doesn’t improve with me staying home? I am constantly doing laundry and dishes. Does my family make more dishes now? Are they sneaking clothes directly from their drawers to the laundry baskets? How did I do this while I worked full-time?

My Sanity

I feel like I am losing myself. I have always wanted to be this strong, independent, working woman and now I’m not. I feel less than equal to my peers when I have to depend on someone to support me and my children. My guy is doing a great job of it, I have to admit and thankfully, he fully supports my staying at home, but I just feel like a mooch.

I’ve been told by other stay-at-home moms that I’ll get used to it. I’ll get in the swing of cooking and cleaning. I will start to realize that there is no his and mine in a family. But the “Give it time” mentality isn’t doing a whole lot for my adjustment period right now. 

30-Something Mom Seeking Sexy

I never thought I’d do a boudoir photo shoot. 70 pounds ago, I thought that it was something only skinny bitches did. But I kept hearing that it was something that would boost your self esteem and that’s pretty much always good news, so I looked a little closer. And I figured it may also have a pleasant unintended outcome, too. My guy is hard to buy for anyways and if I can make him like me more, I’m in favor of that.

The Prep

I planned it so that the day before my boudoir shoot was devoted to me prepping. I was off from work. The kids were at school so I had time for me. I went to the nail salon early and had the whole place to myself. I got an acrylic set of fingernails and a gel pedicure to ensure it lasted. I even had my eyebrows waxed. I felt amazing, even before my shoot. I dyed and deep conditioned my hair. I even shaved everything below the neck.

Her instructions were pretty detailed. I was given enough time to do up to three outfit changes so I made sure the night before to lay then all out. I didn’t have three outfits that I loved so I kept to two. I mean, at that point I wasn’t even sure I was really going to go through with it. But I did.

Embracing New Experiences

When I walked into my boudoir shoot I was visibly nervous. Katie welcomed me and smiled warmly. The shoot was at her home (As a lot of boudoir shoots are) and after meeting her and seeing how kind she was, I was just glad I wasn’t going to get murdered, honestly. Prior to the shoot we had exchanged several text messages and she even sent me google document with detailed instructions on how to prepare for my shoot. So I guess I was “prepared” – even if I pulled up to the address feeling ready to puke.

But then there was Katie. It didn’t take long before I was feeling a bit more at ease. After reading reviews of other boudoir photographers, I’m convinced this is the thing they have in common: They can make you feel comfortable, even when you’re entirely prepared to be awkward and weird. We talked a few minutes about what I wanted and I showed her the outfits I’d chosen. She was very reassuring and suggested I start with the more modest outfit. She said by outfit number two, I’d have the confidence to rock it. And boy, was she was right.

She Knew Exactly What She Was Doing

She took the time to make sure all my poses were, not only flattering, but that I was comfortable with each. She showed me a few images here and there as she shot to build my confidence so the more she shot, the sexier I felt. It was the most secure I’ve ever felt about who I am, while still feeling so vulnerable at the same time.

I did the shoot for me. But showing my better half the results? Well, let’s just say he was pleased, to say the least. And even better, he was proud, mostly. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time but in these images, I finally saw it, too. He was proud to see that I saw it. All my hard work; raising two babies, weight loss and just everything that a working mom life entails. I still saw a sexy, strong, powerful woman in those pictures and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again.

So thank you a million times, Katie; for an amazing experience. I can’t wait for our next collaboration. Check out her website and Instagram to see all her amazing work.

 

 

 

 

“The Talk”

I never really got “the talk.” I mean, not that I remember at least. I do recall hearing “Don’t let anyone touch you here or there.” But a sit down conversation about the birds and the bees? Not really. In hindsight, I may have been so traumatized that I just blocked it out completely. Either way, though, now it’s my turn to give it.

My son, my baby, my first born.

I could never have imagined Michael growing up and getting older. But we’re here now and he is the most gorgeous boy in all the land. He really is. Ugh! I am an obsessed mom, I know. But as cute as he is and as little I want it to happen, he is growing up. My baby is turning into a man and as his parent, it’s my duty to let him know what life has in store for him. Especially when it comes to sex.

By 14, I’m sure he’s heard a few things. Between movies, TV, and the internet there probably isn’t much he doesn’t already know. Or so you’d think. But the talk I want to have goes beyond S-E-X.

I want to talk to my son about consent, respect, and honesty.

I want to teach him that sex isn’t a bad word but a sacred one. I don’t want to scare my kids.

Lets be honest. In the right situation, time, and with the right person, sex can be amazing. I want him to know that all those things should factor into the decisions he makes, though. I want to explain that there are diseases, and that they all don’t have cures. How having sex with a girl can not only change his whole life but the life of someone else. A lot of people think that as a guy, its easy for him. No! That is the reason we have problems in society with regards to sex. Too often we force women to learn all these aspects and put the pressure is on them to keep safe, to say no, to find ways to not be seen or stand out, not to be “misinterpreted.”

But I have a son and a daughter. I want them to both go out into the world and know all the same things about sex and everything else life has to offer. I can not control everything they will do outside of this house. But as a mother of a growing man, I think it is my duty to teach him especially that no one is your property. You don’t have the right to grab a boob or ass cheek; even if it is hanging out.

I want him to know what that makes girls feel and how it can tear a woman down.

Because one day it could my daughter with a boob or a cheek hanging out. How would he feel feel if someone touched or spoke to his sister in a way he didn’t agree? He should (and does!) empathize with all people, and he doesn’t need to picture the person as his sister, but he’s 14. It’s easier for him to see the impact when you apply a big kind of concept (like consent) to someone he cares about.

I know it sounds harsh.

Making him consider the repercussions of actions can be a harsh look, I know. But I believe that being honest and open with him will make him a better man and father. That is all I could ever ask for.

 

 

 

5 Things Dementia Didn’t Take

Deciding to bring grandma into my home was an easy decision to make. I didn’t stop to think what it would do to, or how it would affect, my family. Thankfully, my other half Carlos, was always on-board with the idea but honestly, neither of us knew what we were getting into or what dementia had done to her.

Dementia took my grandmother in ways I never knew possible. Being forgetful is something we all go through in spurts. But she forgets that I’m her granddaughter. When she asks me about my ‘sister’ I know she actually means my mother (or maybe aunt). She will sit in her room alone in the dark asking herself why she is doing it. She burns and ruins pots and lets the sink overflow. She made herself a sandwich and put the ingredients away in the pantry. We find mysterious cups throughout the house but if you ask, none of them are hers. She wakes up crying at night because she doesn’t remember where she is, so I run out of bed and lay with her till she falls back asleep. She has peeled the paint off the walls. She has left the house while I’ve been in the shower and she hates when I tell her no. Her independence was everything to her and for her own safety, she no longer has it. And she can’t understand why.

To be candid, I cry when I think about the future; Her future in particular. She never spoke of death or what to do if she gets sick. I don’t know what she really wants because it’s too late to know for sure that’s what the real her wants. And though it hurts to say, that’s how it feels.

Because even though I know she’s in there, I never fully know when she’s the one talking or when it’s the dementia.

So we have no plans if she gets bedridden or suddenly comes down with an illness. I don’t know what she wants if the worst happens. I didn’t plan to be making these decisions, but they will be mine to make one day. And sooner rather than later. We’ll take it day at a time and cross each bridge as we get there. So she’s just … with me. She will always just be with me. I don’t think I could ever let her go. And that’s a kind of plan in itself.

So while I lament what I’ve had taken, and more tragically, what she has been robbed of, I have to bring a sense of optimism into my fears. Because dementia will overpower me if I let it. And if she doesn’t let it overpower her, I can’t either. I’ll focus on something that will allow me to push ahead. I know it’s only going to get worse, so for now, I need to remember how blessed I am to have her.

And here’s what Dementia did not take:

1. Her Love of Life. I know she only gleams how serious her condition is from time to time; but she still sees it. All the while, though, she lives so carelessly and remains so in love with life. When we go to new places she gets excited and she loves our walks in the evening. We sit out on the front porch and chat with the neighbors as they walk by and they love seeing her. She has made so many new friends and the kids next door adore her so much so they call her grandma.

2. Her as My Rock. She still lets me lay my head on her lap as she strokes my hair. And when I cry, she cries no matter my reason for crying. And even if I lose that as time goes (and I know I will), I will have that foundation built into who I am as a person. I am stronger because of how she built me. I will withstand any storm because I’ve had her to show me how. She will always be my rock – Even when her dementia is the force I’m standing against.

3. Her ability to love. She tells me she loves me she every morning and every night. And anytime I walk out the door without her, I hear her prayers for me under her breath. She loves my children. She loves our neighbor’s children. She loves everyone. She isn’t bitter. She isn’t jaded. She’s a kind person with a loving heart. And, again, dementia may one day take that from her, but it will never rob the world of the kindness she’s spread during her life.

4. My Memory of Her. This may sound petty, but when dementia riddles the mind of a loved one, you’ll take every victory you can. Dementia can take her memories of me from her but it will never take away my memories of her.

5. Her. I guess what dementia didn’t take is the essence of her. Who she is is as a person is still inside her, deep down (sometimes it’s deeper than others). She is still her under that cloud of smoke and I still see her there. I know she’s there, even when she doesn’t. When she’s lost, I will help her find herself. As much as I can. For as long as I can.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s break the hearts of the loved ones suffering as completely as they break the minds of those who suffer. Research on Dementia and Alzheimer’s is so important to any advances in medicine and maybe one day, a cure. We can’t put a price tag on the significance of finding a medication that could keep my grandmother’s mind her own for even just a little longer. If you are able, please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

A Week Using Deva Curl

OK, I want to start off by saying this is not a paid sponsorship I will always be trying new things because that is what I do. I want to start doing new things for my self and getting this mane under control was one of them.

So after seeing tons of ads on Instagram for Deva Curl I posted asking my friends what was the big deal. I got amazing feedback from a few girls and they were all amazing. So I decided what the heck let me go check it out. After looking through the Deva Curl website I came upon the curl quiz. So the curl quiz is a few basic questions about what kinda of curl do you have? what kind of curl do you want? hair type and scalp type? pretty basic. At the end of the quiz, it shows you a list of your recommended products.

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I’m not going to lie at first the prices turned me off. So I started to look for alternatives but they were all priced the same and some had alcohol as one of the main ingredients. I don’t know a lot about anything but my hair is already dry I can’t put alcohol in it. So I dragged my 14 yr old son to a land no teenage boy wants to go with his momma ULTA. I was pretty surprised by the size of the display but I was excited to get this hair under control. I didn’t spend as much money as I thought because they have gift sets that are roughly the same size as the regular bottles so I ended up saving about $20.

The next day I took pictures of my dry damaged hair with no product in it and I wanted to cry. I really never noticed how bad my hair was because I never gave it a second to breathe I was just slathering on product on top of product until I had these hard curls. The pictures below will make you ill and I apologize to all my curly headed girls I know I was wrong I will never let my hair get this bad again.

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eeekkkk.

Well, I washed my hair on day one and I have to say I was surprised that the shampoo had no lather. I know it says no later on the bottle but I thought a little something but nope nada. The reason for no lather because it doesn’t have any Sulfate, Paraben or Silicone. The smell was light not strong like most shampoo’s and the same goes for the conditioner. I purchased 2 styling products because they were apart of the recommendation. On the first day, I tried the styling cream and it was the only thing on my hair. I was so nervous all day at work I kept touching my hair and the humidity was insane so by the end of the day my curls were intact but my volume was at 100. On day 2 I tried the Ultra Defining gel and I have to say so far it is my favorite.

By day 3, 4 and 5 I had it down pact I kept to the same routine alternating between styling creme and defining gel. By day 6 I decided to get a little crazy I used a little of both my styling products. I was headed to a theme park with my kids so I wanted to make sure through all the rides my hair was intact. Let us just say it held up by 10 pm my hair still looked great. So today is day 7!  I washed my hair and just let it air dry naturally and did not use any product and this is the picture below.

 

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Insane ?? You can see such a difference just a few days did to my hair. I honestly can not believe it even the way my hair feels. I am actually getting some real curl back.

What’s changed for me besides my amazing hair? I have not used a comb or a brush in 7 days. During washing and conditioning, I’ve stuck to using just finger combing my hair and its been enough. Also, my hair isn’t falling out as much when I finger comb it I think I was literally ripping my own hair out with the brush I know so bad. The acne on my forehead and the sides of my cheek are also clearing up. I don’t have those gross and greasy products running down my face when I sweat,  or rubbing off on my pillow and getting on my face at night. Which is something I never even thought was even a possibility?

Still more to do though. I think a lot of us have heard of the Deva Cut, it’s like this precise cut for curly headed girls curl by curl. Well, I really think I want to try it and see how the cut helps with my curl journey.  I wish when I did my curl quiz it would have offered me some of the deep and leave in conditioners they have. I will be trying those as well, I kept to my suggested list which I regretted after I saw all the amazing reviews on all their other products.

All in all, it may be pricer then what I have paid in the past for shampoo and conditioner. But I did the math for myself and it is really not much of a difference. An extra maybe $10.00 a month added to a routine the significantly change how my hair looks in mere days. I still have a long way to get my curl completely back so keep following my Curl Journey to see what I try next.