Weekend Links / / Happy New Year!

Weekend Links / / Happy New Year!

Weekend Links / / Happy New Year!

This post contains affiliate links.  You can see my full disclosure here.

Jordan’s parents and youngest sister left this morning. We enjoyed celebrating Christmas 2.0 together. Phoenix (with the help of FaceTime) has developed quite a relationship with his extended family. It’s very sweet to see his excitement anytime we are all together.

It was a busy holiday season (or year rather) for Jordan and his business, so having a few relaxing days together was the perfect Christmas present. We went on a date to see The Disaster Artist. Have you seen it? The Room (the movie The Disaster Artist is about) is quite the tale of a creative vision gone wrong.

What are you New Years Eve plans? The past two years we went to a party, but this year we’re joining a few friends for dinner. Everyone will put their kids down and the adults will enjoy dessert and drinks. I’m already looking forward to it!

Onto the links!

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Short Christmas 2017

BB-8 Christmas Ornament

We had a relaxing holiday weekend. This holiday season has been Jordan’s busiest. Which, as a general rule, is odd for his line of work. Thankfully, the work was able to be put on hold for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We went to church on Christmas Eve morning. They gave veggie straws to the kids which kept Phoenix occupied for quite a while. Jordan and I watched The Holiday after Phoenix went to bed.

Jordan and I don’t really have traditions set for Christmas Day. I’ve worked six of the past eight Christmases and outside of those we were with our families. The one thing I do want to carry on is eating a big brunch. My mom always made a Swedish tea ring Christmas morning. I’ve attempted to make that or cinnamon rolls many times and they never turn out! I tried a new recipe and with the help of our space heater I finally reached success!

I wouldn’t call Jordan and I minimalists, but we are mindful of our space limitations. To keep Christmas simple, but still enjoyable, we bought Phoenix three gifts: a BB-8 ornament, crayons and a teepee for his room! Jordan’s parents are en route to Nashville right now for Christmas Round Two. We’re going to elicit their help to set up Phoenix’s room.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. And now for some Phoenix spam. 😉

BB-8 Christmas Ornament

BB-8 Christmas Ornament

^ Phoenix had a meltdown after he realized he couldn’t play with the glass ornament.BB-8 Christmas Ornament

Short Christmas 2017

Short Christmas 2017

Short Christmas 2017

Short Christmas 2017

Short Christmas 2017

Short Christmas 2017

Short Christmas 2017

^ Jordan loves Phoenix’s arrowroot cookies so we bought him his own stash.

Short Christmas 2017

^ Last year my attempts were thwarted with bad yeast. I used a good recipe this time around, but the major key was turning on our space heater while the dough was rising.Short Christmas 2017

Short Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas, all!

Raising Children in a Scary World

On Raising Children in a Scary World

“Why would you bring a child in to this scary world?”

I’m sure you are familiar with the above comment, an argument many use as reason to not have children. Before Phoenix was born, I didn’t ask myself that question but as I emerged from the newborn fog (and took a look at the world around me through my newfound mom perspective) I was scared.

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Weekend Links / / Mom Schedule Reset

Weekend Links / / Mom Schedule Reset

*Affiliate links are used below.

Hi Friends! Are you staying healthy? It seems like everyone is getting over a cold. Jordan is still sick. Poor guy. Tuesday night we finally finished decorating our tree, despite Jordan not feeling well. Phoenix is mostly leaving the ornaments alone. He keeps trying to take the glittery ball ornaments off of the tree, so I’ve had to remove a few. I’m working a total of three more days for the rest of the year, so I’m taking advantage and checking a few things off my to-do list.

I wanted to give an update to my cleaning and home management post from last week. After reading through your comments I began to rethink how I structure my day. To be honest it’s really hard for me to muster energy when I get up for work at 4 am (sometimes earlier!). But I don’t work everyday and I’m rarely working for the next few weeks. SO, because I much prefer to go to bed early and wake up early (not 4 am early) I’m going to wake up before Phoenix and shower and get ready. I am productive when I am dressed.

Getting up earlier than your kids isn’t always possible. When I first went back to work I closed two days (getting home at 10:45 and feeding Phoenix still 1-2 a night) and one early morning a week. That was not the season to get up any earlier than I needed too. But after hitting publish on that post I reminded myself my work/home situation is changing and it’s time for a shake-up. Phoenix is (mostly) sleeping through the night. Getting up an extra 30 minutes won’t alter my overall sleep totals that much, but it will drastically change how I start my day with Phoenix.

Here are the three practical steps I’m taking to add more order to my day.

  • Get up at 5:30 during the week.
  • While Phoenix eats dinner (even when he’s done and antsy to get out) quickly put his toys away. We keep a small amount of toys downstairs, so this task literally takes 60 seconds.
  • Do not begin dedicated evening television, blog work, or reading until 8. Utilize post dinner time for a quick clean up/prep Phoenix’s lunch/my own work prep, etc. Jordan’s work life is flexible, but also random. Sometimes he works really late or has an event to attend, sometimes he’s home at 4 pm or doesn’t start work until 10 am. Regardless of whether he’s home I need more structure to my evening hours. I started implementing this policy and I’ve already seen a major difference in my productivity.

Onto the links!

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Weekend Links / / The Family Cold Season

I’m posting this Weekend Links edition a little late, but that’s apropos for my week. Everyone is or has been sick all week. Phoenix’s runny nose and cough started last weekend. His colds are susceptible to turning into croup so I was keeping a close eye. I bought a new humidifier. I couldn’t keep our last one from growing mold. Why design a humidifier with nooks and crannies you can’t keep clean?!

Phoenix’s cold went through various degrees of severity. He had a slight fever Friday night, but sadly Jordan was hit the worst. I joke working at Starbucks boosts my immune system, but I actually do believe it. I felt a little achy for roughly twenty-four hours and that’s pretty typical for me. Phoenix hasn’t slept the greatest this week, but he has been extra cuddly. To try to keep him from running around (and thus coughing more) I put on movies and to my surprise he’d sit on my lap and watch bits and pieces.

We had to cancel our baby-sitter for Saturday night but we did manage to buy our Christmas tree (not decorated yet) and visit Porter Flea’s Holiday Pop-Up Market. The market’s occur seasonally and are full of local talented artists.

Onto the links!

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Currently / / December


Happy December, y’all! I’m excited to co-host this month’s currently link-up with Anne. Nashville is experiencing a cold front, which comes at the perfect time. On Saturday we are selecting our Christmas tree. Last year we bought our first real Christmas tree from Lowes and plan on doing the same!

Before we dive into the prompts I want to ask you to leave your favorite cheesy Christmas movie in the comment section below. Tis’ the season!

Lighting | Trader Joe’s seasonal candles. I never noticed their candle selection, but, on a whim, I purchased their fall pumpkin scent. Sadly, all of the pumpkin candles were completely gone by the time I went back. But to my surprise they sell a winter scent, cedar balsam! The candle base is soy and coconut and the aroma is pleasant — not too strong. I’m curious what other scents they carry throughout the year.

Spending | A few items of clothing have been hanging in my closet just waiting to be tailored. I found someone local (via our Nextdoor group) and I look forward to crossing this task off of my to-do list. Do you ever tailor your clothes?

Choosing | I talked about this a little bit in Monday’s blog post, but lately I have struggled with feeling unproductive when I’m home with Phoenix. I’m very logical so I rarely feel the common social media jealousy — I understand we all choose what to share — but sometimes I wonder what I’m doing wrong when I see how productive people are!

Jordan’s job goes through seasons of high demand, Phoenix needs a lot of attention and so, I find myself a little paralyzed when I have time to myself. THERE IS SO MUCH I COULD DO! But I’ve been reminding myself to choose to slow down and be present. This season of mothering a toddler for the first time is temporary.

Sending | Next week I bookmarked a day to buy (okay, most) all of our Christmas presents. I felt rather overwhelmed with all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, so we decided to shop via Preemptive Love Coalition’s Gift Catalogue. They have beautiful soaps and candles and clothing too!

Singing | Christmas carols and songs from The Sound of Music to Phoenix at night. Between choir and community theatre performances I still remember a ton of songs from The Sound of Music!

Are We Wasting Our Time Cleaning Our Houses?

Are We Wasting Our Time Cleaning Our Houses?

*Affiliate links are used below.

I read Laura Vanderkam’s book,  I Know How She Does Itover Thanksgiving break. I’m still processing much of what I read, but the household management portion of the book struck a chord with me. Laura collected hundreds of weekly logs from working mothers. She found the women who followed “cleaning charts and graphs” spent the most time cleaning. Essentially, the time you allocate for household management and cleaning you will fill.

I work part-time, but I do the majority of the household management. Jordan is actually a better cleaner than I am and has his areas of focus (such as plant maintenance), but I am home more and thus I do more cleaning. Lately, as Phoenix is more active and curious, I feel like all I do is clean and yet, have nothing to show for it.

Vanderkam argues spending 20 minutes straightening up toys after bedtime is potentially a waste of time. There is always something to pick-up, but you won’t get those 20 minutes back. Picking up toys three nights a week instead of four might mean the chance to visit a friend or spend an hour reading alone at a coffee shop.

I do believe in taking care of our belongings, which involves cleaning and organizing. But when does this cross the line between busy work and actual maintenance? When do “stay-at-home-moms/part-time-working moms” limit ourselves by spending all of our time cleaning instead of volunteering or finding freelance work?

Are we creating more work for ourselves? I’d love to hear your opinion on this.

Weekend Links / / Project You and Me

Weekend Links / / Project You and Me

Mixing it up for this week’s Weekend Links addition by participating in Ginger Parrish’s You and Me Project.

You: are 16 months old ▪️never stop moving ▪️silly and curious, but often get overwhelmed in new environments ▪️ never far from me (preferably with your hand down my shirt 🙃)▪️constantly asking “what is that?” to anyone that’ll answer ▪️have a hard time with transitions ▪️ love going to school (but equally love reuniting).

Me: Need to up my workout game aka start moving! ▪️wonder if I contribute enough to my family and community ▪️listen to podcasts all day long ▪️obsessed with mybyta cup (it keeps my iced lattes icy for hours!) ▪️in a love affair with TJ’s cookie butter sandwich cookies (often with hot chocolate at night)▪️still breastfeeding, but stopped pumping at work! 🙌🏻 #projectyouandme

Weekend Links / / Project You and Me

Weekend Links / / Project You and Me

Weekend Links / / Project You and Me

Onto the links!

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I Took the Olay 28 Day Challenge and Here Are My Results

I Took the Olay 28 Day Challenge and Here Are My Results

This post was sponsored by Olay. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for reading and supporting the brands that support A Short Blonde! 

I’ve discussed my acne struggles many times over the years. Throughout my pregnancy with Phoenix and up to almost a year postpartum my skin was amazing! I rarely broke out and a lot of prior acne scarring lightened, but this fall my skin took a turn for the worst. And it left me feeling depleted.

Because my period had recently returned, I assumed the culprit was hormonal acne. I kept changing my skincare routine — adding more and more products — hoping something would change. Out of frustration I made an appointment with a dermatologist. Within three minutes of meeting her she told me I didn’t have acne, I had perioral dermatitis. A cross between rosacea and eczema. When on the face it appears similar to cystic acne with the added bonus of dry flaky patches.

Perioral dermatitis craves a simple skincare routine. It doesn’t want harsh acne treatments, serums or excessive creams. It wants to be left alone. Which, of course, was the exact opposite of my skincare routine! During this time Olay reached out to me to participate in their #Olay28Day Challenge. Their easy-to-follow challenge came at just the right time. I am almost at the end of the challenge, so I wanted to give you all the details.

I Took the Olay 28 Day Challenge and Here Are My Results

I Took the Olay 28 Day Challenge and Here Are My Results

Step 1: Apply the Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream morning and night to cleansed skin
Step 2: Use the Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream in the morning and evening on cleansed skin

The Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream has been proven to give you younger-looking skin in 28 days. It reduces the appearance of fine lines, immediately plumps the skin and hydrates better than high cost creams! One of the key ingredients, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), boosts cell turnover and maintains skin’s moisture barrier which is important for achieving younger-looking skin.

The Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream is my new favorite skincare product. It reduces puffiness and the appearance of fine lines and dark circles. The slight tint acts as a color corrector, so I was able to get away with using less concealer. I’ve used other (much more expensive) eye creams that don’t sink well into my skin and end up clumping my concealer. Has that ever happened to you?

I Took the Olay 28 Day Challenge and Here Are My Results

^ Before

I Took the Olay 28 Day Challenge and Here Are My Results

Olay 28 Day Challenge Results

^ After

Before the start of the Olay 28 Day Challenge my skin was dull and dry and the bags under my eyes were intense. I honestly didn’t even notice how bad the bags under my eyes had gotten until looking at these photos! The best part? I didn’t use a ton of products to achieve these results! My daily routine went from six to seven products to two!

To begin your own Olay 28 Day Challenge, visit Olay Skin Advisor to discover a customized skincare regimen! The first 15 to visit Skin Advisor will get $40 off their purchase of recommended products by using my code 28DAYS6363.

Cheers to healthy and youthful looking skin!

I Took the Olay 28 Day Challenge and Here Are My Results

Weekend Links / / Hey, Natalie’s Back

I’m dragging a bit this morning. Not only was wine night last night (I haven’t been able to go in months!), Jordan and I attended a HALFNOISE concert. Whew. Thankfully, I’m off work today. 🙂 Overall, this week felt like a reprieve from the busyness of the last couple of months. I was able to get my hair cut and colored and read several nights before bed. It’s the little wins, right?

Speaking of small wins.  I’d love to hear from you, moms of toddlers, (especially within the 15-20 month range) about what daily cleaning and organizing tasks you accomplish while they are awake. Though I know this often is the time when people might be adding in another baby, which obviously means nothing is getting done. 😉

Phoenix is into everything (we circle around making messes and cleaning said messes). He is so busy, but also clingy. As I’m  writing this out, I’m recognizing he must be going through a developmental leap as in the last week or so he started climbing on everything. Which rarely works out for either of us. HAHA.

Phoenix and I leave for Chicago on Monday, so as soon as I’m off work tomorrow it’s prep time! I hope you all have the best Thanksgiving. 😉

Onto the links!

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