First Friday Favorites {April 2017}

It’s sure been a while since I’ve done one a First Friday Favorites. It’s not because I’ve been having a lack of finding awesome things but because I’ve had a lack of time to share them with you guys. I have a running list of things I’ve been meaning to talk about but they never could make it off that list, until now.

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1 // What Do You Meme // If you’re into memes [guilty] than you need this game. It’s quite possibly one of the funniest things I’ve played in a while and totally rivals Cards Against Humanity. While it’s pretty close to the same concept, the cards are possibly even funnier and more screwed up.

2 // Apple TV // We just cut the cord [look for post on our experience soon] and couldn’t be happier with the Apple TV.

3 // Wine Aerator // If you’re a wine drinker and you haven’t been using an aerator, seriously, get one now. We just recently got one and started using it and the difference is astounding. I thought it was all hype until I did a little taste test with and without aeration. Profound difference.

4 // Ever Lasting Treat Ball // I always have such an issue with dog toys because I have strong chewers. They destroy everything. Dog toys aren’t cheap and I was sick of spending a decent amount of money on something that would last them 30 minutes. This treat ball keeps them busy and they really can’t destroy it.

5 // Bio Silk Hair Serum // I recently went seriously blonde and with bleach usually comes some damage. A co-worker of mine recommended this product in which I totally forgot existed. I used it years and years ago but i’m so glad I re-discovered it. It totally tames my frizz and smells unbelievable.

 

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*note: this post contains affiliate links.

The Hardest Part of Being a Vet Tech

When I was in tech school, on one of the very first days, a professor said to us, “If you’re doing this because you love animals more than people and you think you’re not going to have to deal with people, get out now.”

Holding onto every leash is an owner.
Holding every carrier is an owner.

The owners are the hardest part of my job.

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I am totally a people person. I have no problems starting conversations and am the type of person who can walk up to basically anyone and make small talk. When I started in this field, I never thought I was going to be one of the people that had problems communicating. Then I quickly realized that my clients were going to be one of the hardest parts of my job.

Emotions run high for pet owners when they’re in the clinic. They’re often scared, angry, or confused as to whats going on with their animal. It’s very difficult to communicate with owners when they’re emotions are getting the best of them. I have had circumstances where the owner was so afraid, over what was basically nothing, but it’s impossible to tell them that. It’s very hard to get someone to calm down when they’ve worked themselves up so far.

Then there are the situations where the owners fears are valid. There is absolutely no easy way to go tell an owner that their pet has a serious illness/injury and there’s a good chance they make not make it through. Or worse, they haven’t made it. 

Adding the financial aspect of the situation makes it even worse. It’s often my job to let the owners know what treatment is going to cost. It can be heartbreaking to give an owner a number that is out of their reach and watch them have to make the decision of euthanizing because they can’t afford treatment. This is often where anger some into play. It’s so hard to convey to them that you’re sympathetic, you really do care about their pet, but you can’t do treatment for free.

Lastly, we have the education part of my job. I take pride in the fact that I’m making these animals lives better because I’m educating their owners on how to properly take care of them. It can be a lot of information and sometimes it’s hard to get it all across without confusing the owner or having them shut me out because I’ve lost their attention. There are the clients who will do everything we recommend and then there are the clients who want the bare minimum. I try to be grateful that those clients even cared enough to bring their pet in but it can be hard to watch them walk out the door knowing I could do more for them.

I could go on for days on reasons why it’s hard to deal with clients but to sum it up… 

  • Emotions run high and it’s hard to communicate with them.
  • Sometimes they care more than words can describe and I have to give them bad news.
  • Sometimes they don’t care enough and there’s nothing I can do to make them.
  • Financial restraints get in the way of treatment.
  • Letting them know that treatments aren’t working despite all the money in the world.
  • Helping them to understand what is wrong or what they need to do.
  • Trying to educate them on the best way to care for their pet but having them not listen or just not caring.
  • Trying to give them comfort in the wake of tragedy

So regardless of all the sadness I see, the euthanasia, the injuries, and the unexpected illnesses… Communicating with the clients is still the hardest part of my job.

Mommy & Me {a photo post]

A few weeks ago I noticed that a local photographer was doing some “mommy and me” mini sessions. I got to thinking about all the pictures that I really don’t have with my kids. I’m usually the one taking the pictures or things are just going by so fast that I don’t stop to photograph anything. Any of the pictures that I do have are really just made of snapchat selfies.

I decided it was time to change that.

These are the results. 

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My kids can be quite hams in front of the camera so a couple of solo shots were taken of them as well. I wasn’t about to complain because really, there are never enough pictures taken, they grow way too quick.

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I absolutely adore how they came out and feel like the candid shots really capture some of the fun times we have. They’re something that I’m going to be able to look back on and squeal “HOW’D THEY GET SO BIG?!”

I urge every mother out there to go out and do the same. Get some professional pictures done of you and your babies while their still your little babies.

Fresh Water Design Co. [+ giveaway]

Fresh Water Design Co. is a brand new business that I’ve had the pleasure of watching launch and hit the ground running with growth. I’m so excited to be able to share the talent the girls behind this company have with my readers. I’m even more excited to show you guys the gorgeous new art I have hanging in my house.

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First off the owners are two of the most genuine people that I have the pleasure of knowing. The drive and talent behind of the two of them is just astonishing and I truly admire their entrepreneurism. I work as a vet tech with Dani and after our long shifts, she goes home and creates these amazing pieces of art.

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“I Love You A Ton” Elephant

"Lost in the Right Direction"

“Lost in the Right Direction”

Since I’ve been watching the business grow, I’ve seen so many amazing pieces that Freshwater Design Co. has created. I knew that I had to have some of it in my home. I had so many different ideas floating around in my head and they completely made it come to life. Freshwater Design Co. has an option on their site to create your own piece. You have an idea, they’ll make it happen.

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This is my gorgeous piece. My husband is from outside of Chicago and I’m from a town near Detroit; These are the coordinates of our home towns. It makes an amazing addition to my living room. It’s personal with just the right touch of sweetness. I’m just beyond smitten with it. freshwatercocollageThe quality of the burn is perfect. There is truly not one single flaw. The stain is perfect. Freshwater Design Co. has several different stains to choose from so there will be one that fits your decor.

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Freshwater has decided to also do a giveaway for one lucky reader! Browse the site and pick out something special for your home; or create your own! Enter to win in the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Road Trip With Toddlers

I’m beyond excited that I even get to write this post. Bringing two children across the country in the car sounded like a nightmare but I was beyond pleasantly surprised with how it went.

In February we decided that we wanted to go up to Detroit for a hockey game. It was going to be a quick trip so spending literally $2000 on four airline tickets was just outrageous. We were leaving on a Thursday and coming home on Monday. I couldn’t justify that kind of money for just a few days. Our only other option if we wanted to go to this game that badly [trust me, I did] was to drive.

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The drive, according to google maps, was going to take 13 hours and 10 minutes. I was anticipating at least 6 hours of straight crying each way from my 4 year old and 2 year old. Instead I got about 30 seconds on the way there and about 5 minutes on the way home. WIN.

Here’s what we did.

  • Mentally prepare the kids for the drive. A few days before I started talking to them about how we were going to their “GiGi’s house” but we were going in the car. I told them it was going to be a long drive but if they tried to sleep and were very good then they would get there faster.
  • Leave super early in the morning. We were on the road by 5 AM. It was awful for me since I despise waking up so early but the kids were so tired that they fell asleep within about 30 minutes.
  • Don’t stop for breakfast or potty breaks until they wake. I was starving by 7 AM and had to pee like a racehorse but the kids were still sleeping. There was no way I was chancing them waking up because the car stopped moving until they were done sleeping.
  • Fill them with a big breakfast. They didn’t wake up till almost 5 hours into the drive. We all got out of the car, went to the bathroom, and got breakfast to be eaten in the car.
  • Bring lots of snacks. As soon as someone started to get a little crabby I would offer them a new snack.
  • Limit drinks. This is obvious to me but I don’t want to be stopping with a toddler that has to pee every hour because I’m filling them with drinks.
  • Keep them engaged while they’re awake. I would keep asking them questions about things we were seeing outside. Asking them colors of things, asking them to find certain types of cars, ect. I feel like this really kept their minds busy.
  • Tablets / Screen Time. I think this is really what saved us but I did it in a way that’s probably a little different than what you’re thinking. I brought the kids tablets but didn’t give them to them right away. I did it once they were really getting restless and almost ready for nap time. It was almost like the tablet reset the time that they were in the car. I put some movies on them, turned them on, and they seemed to forget they were in the car.

So what I think really saved us was the fact that they continued sleeping as soon as we got into the car and the fact that they were mentally prepared for the fact that it was going to be a really long ride.

Now, we’re doing it again over Christmas so I can only hope it goes as well as this trip did. Wish us luck and if you have any other tips or experiences with long road trips with kids; leave it in the comments!

Custom Shampoo { Function of Beauty }

I finally can say that I’ve fallen in love with my shampoo. 
Let me start this off by saying in no way was I paid to write this review on Function of Beauty. I paid full price for my shampoo and conditioner and was not solicited by the company to write anything. I’m simply sharing for anyone struggling with finding their soul mate of hair washing products.

I spent a few weeks reading reviews and contemplating purchasing from Function of Beauty. I have a few hair issues (dry scalp, dry hair, breakage) that I am always looking to improve. I normally just shopped Target to try to find what I was looking for.  I decided to take the dive into the personalized approach a few weeks back and couldn’t be more glad that I did.

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I’ve been washing my hair with this new formulation for a few weeks now and am already noticing a dramatic difference. It smells amazing, it styles easier, and I am going more time between washes. I’m not going to lie, I try to go as often between washes as I can because 1) washing my hair takes forever and 2) I’m lazy. This shampoo and conditioner are saving me time and I’m forever grateful.

So, how do you create a custom shampoo and conditioner? Simple.

  1. Head over to FunctionofBeauty.com. Using this link will get you $5 off your first purchase and will also give me $5 off my next one.
  2. Fill out a “hair profile.” The website will ask you some pretty general questions about your hair including hair type, hair texture, and scalp details.
  3. Choose a scent. I went with “essential oils” which smells incredible. If I could capture the scent in a blog post I would. You’re also able to choose how strong of a scent that you want. I went with “medium” and it still sticks around for a while. So if you’re sensitive to smells at all, I’d choose light. Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 2.14.54 PM
  4. Pick your hair goals. This was the hardest part for me. You’re able to select 5 different things that you’re looking to get from your hair. There’s quite a few things to choose from as you can see. Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 2.15.08 PM
  5. Name your creation! I went with “longstrong” because that’s a summary of what I’m looking for in my hair.
  6. Check out and get excited! You should have your new creation in about a week or so. They also have options for auto ship programs that give you a 10% discount. I opted for every 4 months.

Function of Beauty 100% guarantees that you’ll love the product you receive or you get your money back. I figured it was worth a shot and it’s one that I’m glad that I took.

The War Against The Toddler & The Tablet

I need to start this off by saying I used to be a huge fan of a little screen time for my children. I loved the fact that I could put on one of my kids favorite shows and I’d be able to get things done. That phase has passed and they’re not so much into watching 30 minute long shows anymore. They’ll watch a few minutes, need a snack, go play with something, and then come bother me for something else. That’s when they started to ask me to watch their tablets. I needed some time to get some things done so I complied. They were unbelievably entertained watching other children play with toys on kids youtube. Why they’d rather watch other kids open up eggs with toys in them than play on their own is beyond me; but I was getting things done.

That’s when the war began. ToddlerTablet copy

My children became addicted to their tablets; more specifically addicted to watching children play with toys and open random eggs with shit in them. They’d ask for them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The first thing they wanted to do in the morning was get their iPads. The last thing they wanted to do at night was to go to sleep with the thing. They got to the point that they’d rather watch other people play than go outside and play themselves. We wouldn’t let them have it the entire day but then we started to see tantrums. When they’d ask for the dumb electronic device and we’d say no… It would get ugly.

Enough was enough. Serious limitations have been set and my children are now experiencing full withdrawl symptoms.

My two and a half year old doesn’t get hers at all. She doesn’t understand the time limits on it that I’ve set. She really has no concept of time which is understandable. I tried setting the thing to go off using “free time” and she had a complete meltdown when the screen displayed “times up for today!”  I decided I wasn’t even going to deal with it with her anymore.

My four and a half year old gets his for a total of about 30 minutes a day; 10 being before bed.  He is absolutely livid with me when I take it away but is starting to understand the limitations.

That’s all I think they’re able to handle at this point and even though I’m getting less things done around here that I really need to get done… I’m not going to raise children who are addicted to screens and literally have meltdowns when the batteries die. This is going to be one war that mommy chooses to battle and dammit, I’m going to win.

P.S. Screw the creepy adults who make those child addictive YouTube videos of opening eggs. You’re the equivalent of a drug dealer in my eyes and I’m not going to stand for it.

CP Slippers [+ giveaway]

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an obsession with shoes. I have more pairs than I’d like to admit and I’m always looking for something new. It’s an addiction and one that I’m okay with. My obsession doesn’t just stop at outdoor wear but it also includes slippers. Lets just say I was overly excited to work with CP Slippers to try out their handmade in Spain leather slip ons!

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They have tons of color options but I decided to go with the turquoise for myself and my daughter. They have kids sizing available too and there was no way that I could say no to matching Aria.

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CP Slippers are handmade in Spain and have been since 1981. They’re made from high quality leather than makes them as comfortable as they look. The simplistic design is what I really appreciate. They’re perfect to just slip on and go about your day.

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I also really adore the story behind the company. CP Slippers is a family owned business. The owners grandfather went to visit Japan and took notice of the tradition of leaving shoes outside and putting on slippers to avoid dirt in the home. He brought that tradition back to Spain with him and started creating these one piece leather slippers for family and friends. Years later the company was formed.

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Want to win a pair? You’re in luck! CP Slippers is giving away a pair to one lucky reader! Just enter in the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait to see if you win? Purchase now and use code “MOMTAILSXCPSLIPPERS” for a 15% discount!

Sedona, Arizona.

ONROCKS

Sedona, Arizona is one of those places that I think everyone needs to see in their lifetimes. The red rocks look completely photoshopped. For example, the picture above doesn’t look real but I assure you that I was hundreds upon hundreds of feet in the air on a cliff.

Last week we took a trip out there to meet up with my husbands side of the family. Instead of going “home” for Christmas we decided to do a little vacation instead. I couldn’t be any more happy with the decision we made. Traveling with two little ones isn’t easy but going to a place like Sedona was worth every second. It isn’t the best vacation spot for toddlers with all of the cliffs, obviously, but we found plenty to do with them.

Sedona

Everett, who is 4,  hiked quite a bit! He did several miles at a time with minimal complaints. Where as Aria, my 2 year old, wasn’t having any of the walking. This made long hikes with everyone difficult but it worked out fine having someone stay back at the resort with her.

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The coolest hike the husband and I did was up to Devil’s Bridge. It really showed me exactly how out of shape I am. The hike was a total of about 5 miles with a lot of up hill climbing and rock climbing. Totally worth it once you get all the way up. You can’t tell exactly how high it is in this photo and my husband isn’t the greatest at capturing pictures but this is the top of Devil’s Bridge.

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Overall it was a fantastic trip filled with some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen. Pictures truly don’t do it justice. I’d recommend leaving little ones at home if at all possible so you’re able to do more. If you do bring them you won’t be able to do a lot of the long hikes but it’s still unbelievably breathtaking.

31 Things.

It’s my birthday! Not quite the most exciting of birthdays {Thirty-One} but a birthday none the less. Since I love goal setting and planning I thought it would be a lot of fun to make a 31 year old “bucket list” 31years1. Really buckle down and work on hand lettering. Hand lettering is super relaxing and I want to spend lots of time over the next year getting good at it.

2. Sticking with the theme of 31, I’d like to set my goal for this year to read 31 books. If you have amazing book suggestions drop them in the comments or add me on goodreads!

3. Start eating better. I’m setting a small goal of a fresh fruit or veggie daily. I’m not off to a good start as today I had Taco Bell for lunch and pizza for dinner.

4. See Billy Joel live in concert. This is happening in April. STOKED.

5. Spend more time with friends. Life with toddlers gets so hectic but time needs to be made to make sure it happens more often.

6. Spend time with adult coloring books.

7. Learn to drink without a massive hangover. *wishful thinking*

8. Save some money.

9. Go on a couple weekend trips. Explore the state we live in and the surrounding states more.

10. Pay it forward a few times.

11. Spend more time utilizing my planner.

12. Finish the restoration on my kitchen table.

13. Come up with a reasonable cleaning schedule that keeps my OCD in check but doesn’t take up all of my time.

14. Survive a cross country drive with two toddlers.

15. Make a genuine effort to blog more. I love it, I just don’t make the time to do it.

16. Attend some continuing education vet tech classes.

17. Practice with watercolor paints more.

18. Start on that novel I’m always talking about writing.

19. Learn how to edit the “look” of my blog without deleting the entire thing like I ended up doing this past week.

20. Learn the art of patience with toddlers.

21. Take the kids to the park more.

22. Have more playdates with the kids and friends.

23. Get Aria potty trained.

24. Have more date nights with the husband.

25. Get ourselves adjusted to a good schedule. We have had issues with schedule changes every 3 months and now that we’re going to be a bit more constant I’d like to establish our constant.

26. Learn how to meal plan and actually stick to it. Utilize that crock pot more!

27. Go to the movies. This might sound so trivial but the last time I saw a movie in theaters before “Sing” last week was years.

28. Calm down on the Cherry Coke and drink more water.

29. Learn my camera and photoshop a little better and use both of them more.

30. Raise chickens!

31. Help more wildlife [that I can actually release!]