Salon La Di Da | Iowa City, Iowa

Well, it’s been a minute hasn’t it? How’s everyone? How’s the family? Have you lost weight? Girl, work it.

It has been on my to-do list for forever to share some of the fun projects I’ve been working on and here’s my first attempt. It’s only about 12 months late (12 months sounds better than a year, right?), but listen, I have an excuse. A really good one. My excuse’s name is Hayes and he’s a pretty good justification for most things, for instance:

Someone invites me to something I really don’t want to do: Sorry – Hayes is trying out for American Ninja Warrior Jr. that day – but have fun with your cat’s 8th birthday party!

Someone asks if I’m eating macaroni and cheese for breakfast: Yes, it’s all Hayes will eat right now and he’ll only take a bite if I do it first. It’s organic, which means it’s basically diet food, it’s fine.

Someone asks if I’m feeling okay because I look tired: Hayes kept me up all…ya know what, nope, screw that, it’s never okay to tell someone they look tired – here’s a quarter, go buy yourself some manners, loser.

ANYWAY

Last year around this time I was asked to do a redesign of a logo for a small business in Iowa City, Salon La Di Da. I was honored. I was excited. I was nervous—because this particular redesign was not only for a highly regarded and very popular salon in Iowa City, it was for family. My cousin’s amazingly talented wife co-owns the business AND my own brother’s equally talented and sweet as sugar girlfriend is a stylist there, as well. The pressure was on to do a good job and to create something worthy of representing Salon La Di Da.

The ladies wanted something simple, yet elegant. Classic, yet modern. The brainstorming began, the sketches were drawn and three comps were designed and delivered. A few days later, we landed on “the one”. After a few emails back and forth double and triple checking to be sure they didn’t feel guilted into saying they liked it, even though they really thought it was trash (imposter syndrome is real, y’all), I was finally convinced and packaged up the final files and sent them to their new home.

The logo and applications below are part of the new identity of Salon La Di Da, and I’m so happy they’re pleased with how it turned out! This was such a fun project for an awesome business that just celebrated its 15 year anniversary, which is such an impressive accomplishment.

Thank you for choosing me to help you out with this one, ladies! I appreciate it so much! Oh, and before I forget, I need a trim and color. It’s been awhile, because ya know…Hayes 😉 Portfolio

Thirty One

31Well, guys…it looks like I’ve really committed to my thirties.

That’s right, in a few short hours, the clock will strike midnight (waking Hayes up, I’m sure…) and I’ll be 31.

THIRTY. ONE.

Can someone please go ahead and tell me how that happened?

It feels like just yesterday I wore that gaudy purple dress (WHO TOLD ME THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA, FRIENDS?!), bobby pinned a cheap tiara to my head and “woo girl”ed into every bar in Cedar Falls with my hands in the air, exclaiming “I’m tweeeennnnny onnnne betches!”

That’s right. “Twenny one”.

Drill

While I miss a few things about being a fresh faced 21 year old, with boobs that had not yet been exposed to the shriveling effects of a 6 month relationship with a breast pump – it goes without saying I feel nothing but happiness in my heart to be where I am now.

I spend my time a little differently at 31 than I did at 21, which for my sake and the sake of all others, is probably a good thing. WOO!

At 31, I spend less money on minutes for the tanning bed, and more money on skin care products to reverse the damage I caused in college (you’re welcome Sephora). I spend less time sharing overused quotes by Marilyn Monroe, and more time trying to find genuine words for every conversation I have. I drink less UV Blue and more “good” wine. At 31, I spend less time making plans and more time hoping whoever I’ve made plans with cancels first (I’m sorry). I spend less time avoiding calls from home and more time reaching out to my parents for advice that only they can give. I spend less time online being catty and more time trying to be a positive spot in timelines that are full of arguments over politics and questionable recipes (Doritos Pie?!?). I still spend about the same amount of time looking at cute boys on the internet, but I spend less time browsing Pinterest for “kinky but cute Halloween costumes” and more time browsing for DIY projects to do with someone who’s stinky and cute.
CUTEBOYS

At 31 I try to spend less time worrying about what I don’t have and spend more time loving what I do have. I spend more time saying my prayers and reading a devotional and less time reading gossip columns online.

Lately, I’ve been spending more time feeling thankful for the friends (like you!) and family that I have in my life. I’m so incredibly lucky. Thank you all for making turning 31 a little less scary and a lot more sweet!

Mackenzie

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Back to School

BacktoSchool“Hey, Mackenzie, is your shirt on backwards?”

Yep. It happened again.

For a person who claims to “pay great attention to detail” I sure walk out of the pumping room at work with my shirt on backwards A LOT.

Sorry for the cold open there, I just had to get you up to speed with what’s been going on around here quickly, and I figured talking about my pumping routine would do the trick.

But really – it HAS been a while! The last time I blogged, Hayes was a bald little nugget who had me completely wrapped around his chubby little finger. And now…well, Hayes is still a bald little nugget who has me wrapped around his chubby little finger. I can tell he’s a little self conscious about the bald thing, and even though I’ve reassured him that it’s totally normal to be follicly challenged at his age – I get it! I’ve seen those other kids at his daycare, and I’ll be damned if they aren’t all sporting heads full of glossy, thick hair…to which I tell Hayes, “don’t worry, bud – when lice season hits, those kids are totally screwed.”

Just kidding.

A lot has been happening around here. I’ve been back to work for 3 months already. Summer has come and gone and school is already back in session, for goodness sakes! My social media timelines have been filled with adorable back to school pictures that I can’t get enough of. I have a weakness for pictures of little kids in their shiny new kicks, book bags and shit eating grins. If I’m being completely honest, I almost shipped Hayes off to school just so I could take one of those pictures for myself.

With school back in sesh, it means those brave, brave teachers are back at it again. Somehow they are able to control entire classrooms filled with different personalities, varying attitudes, (hilarious) meltdowns and the occasional uncontrollable bladder. Bless them all.

I give mad props to all teachers. I honestly don’t know how they do it. I found out the hard way a very long time ago that teaching just wasn’t for me.

You might be thinking to yourself, “you…YOU?!?!…attempted teaching?!” and the answer is: kinda.

Allow me to explain.

The year was 2004, the city was Hayesville and the gig was teacher at Vacation Bible School.

V.B.S., honey.

NoBS

If you ask me, VBS is the bees knees. I grew up attending and I have SO many fond memories from it.

I. LOVED. IT.

I mean, where else can a girl kick her first boy between the legs (sorry, Dustin), sing “Jesus Loves Me” AND memorize your first scripture/dirty joke all in the same building?! Needless to say, it still holds a very special place in my heart. Plus, have you ever had the pleasure of hearing the stories of Sunday School Charlie and his best bud Red? If ya don’t know, now ya know. Just amazing.

ANYWAY. My sweet grandma was a HBIC (Head Bonnie in Charge) at Bible school, and one summer, long after I had finished attending myself, I was asked to teach a class. One of the usuals had a conflict with their schedule and they were in a pinch. Enter yours truly.

I of course agreed to this offer. I had nothing better to do that week besides text boys and chat on MSN, anyway. Plus, it paid in homemade morning snacks, daily visits with my grandma and on top of all of that, I desperately needed to flex my power with a position of authority – and teaching three 4th/5th grade boys would be just the way to do that…plus ~*SO*~ easy!

Narrator: It was not easy.

Yeah, what he said.

It was not easy.

Everything started out as fine as could be. Our first day kicked off with the large group in the chapel singing songs, smiling and learning each others names. But once it was just the four of us in our tiny classroom, I quickly uncovered the truth: these kids were nuts. The tallest one was MEAN. The stocky one would say things like “Oh, REAL cute” and roll his eyes at anything the mean one said. And the little one…well, I actually don’t have anything bad to say about the little one, because he was my buddy. He was kind of a wimp, though. 

What I thought would be 5 days of crafts, Jesus and singing quickly turned into chaos, swearing and crying. How could three boys be so naughty in the house of the Lord?!

It was awful.

By day 3, the weakest one quit showing up, and the two bigger ones were bound and determined to kill each other. In fact, on the afternoon of day 3, what started out as a friendly game of HORSE on the basketball court during recess turned into an all out fist fight. I remember it vividly. One minute giggles and bank shots, the next a ripped collar and some blood. I just remember yelling, “JESUS CHRIST……uh….would be SO disappointed right now!”

(I know. I’m still impressed with that save. Thank you, Jesus – you’re my homeboy.)

For those still reading, it turned out fine. Everyone lived. We had a literal Come to Jesus and I made the boys write an apology to my Grandma and God himself. It’s fine. We even had a special bonding moment when we came up with a very believable lie to tell their parents about the ripped collars and face bruises (something along the lines of a locust attack or something Biblical like that, I can’t really remember). The little one eventually came back, and we all made crafts, sang songs and attended the annual Bible School Program together a few days later. Still, I told myself after that whole experience, “I’m NEVER going to be a teacher and I’m DEFINITELY never…ever…having boys”.

Well, the joke, per usual, was on me.

I kept my promise about the teaching thing – it just isn’t for me, but I applaud those who can do it. You’re the real MVPs and we need more people like you.

I am happy to report that I was wrong about the having boys part – and my boy Hayes and I LOVE singing “Jesus Loves Me” every single day. Maybe someday he will be the mean one and he’ll have a stocky one and little one to attend Bible School with.

I hope so.

Happy school year, teachers and students! Be nice, be safe and have fun.

– Mackenzie

I’ve Come to a Conclusion.

ConclusionI’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve come to several conclusions over the past 11 weeks…

Conclusions, whether valid or not, are pretty easy to make when a person spends 20 hours a day awake. That is by no means a complaint…

Okay, you got me. It’s a little bit of a complaint. I mean, I haven’t entered the REM cycle since last July and I’ve aged approximately 20 years in the past 11 months. But, (and I’m not just saying this because it’s the “right” thing to say), it’s all been worth it. Hayes is changing every day. He continues to look absolutely nothing like me, and I continue to be absolutely annoyed about that. Like, hi, I carried you for 9 months. I had an awkward conversation with a Target worker while buying Preparation H because of you. I developed a new layer of cellulite on top of my other layer of cellulite because of you…

Okay, that last one isn’t really his fault. But, the least he could do is have one itty bitty feature that resembles me, right? I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I’m pretty sure I have third cousins twice removed that resemble me more than my own child! And honestly, I’m getting sick and tired of everyone thinking I’m his hot, young nanny instead of his mother…

Got me again…

Even though I wish the two of us looked slightly more alike, I can’t kid myself. I love the little person he is becoming. He’s uniquely himself and perfect in every way. His voice is my favorite sound on this planet and the sight of the back of his chunky little legs makes me melt every time I see them…which is a lot because that boy shits his pants several times a day. Getting to know him has been the most fun I’ve ever had and, I’ve come to the conclusion that he and I will be attending the same college in about 18 years. Yes, I’ll be the weird, non-traditional student that makes everyone feel slightly uncomfortable. Sorry in advance, bud.

As for the other conclusions, well, there are plenty, but I’ll only share a few because I’ve heard releasing all of the crazy at once is a great way to lose friends. And I like all of you alot!

So, here goes nothing…

I’ve come to the conclusion that my boobs, the girls I once named, cherished and adorned with expensive bras, are now nothing more than a great source of calcium. Yes, gone are the days of low cut tops or simple gray t-shirts. Here to stay are the days of uncomfortable nursing pads and applying Lanolin three times a day.

They still have names, though, and the next time you see me, I encourage you to say hello to Blanche and Dorothy. Like all old ladies, they LOVE visitors.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that the doors are never creekier, the floors are never squeakier and my hands are never as completely useless than when the baby is taking a nap. I’m not exaggerating when I say I promptly become the clumsiest asshole this side of the Mississippi when Hayes is trying to get his snooze on. Dishes go flying, hair straighteners bounce off every wall before hitting the floor and my sneezes become exponentially louder and IMPOSSIBLE to stifle. I know the universe is just playing tricks on me and to be honest, I find it a little rude. Thanks a lot universe – if this is about us shunning Pluto, just know I had NOTHING to do with that decision.

Speaking of naps, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will whisper whenever I know the baby is sleeping, regardless of his location. Hayes could be napping two counties over and I will still lower my voice to a whisper to prevent waking him from one of his precious siestas. I’ve found it’s important to save my normal speaking voice for those awkward mid-day conversations with Target workers, anyway.

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I’ve come to the conclusion I’m never going to have the petite little body I’ve always dreamed of, but I have become more accepting of the one that allowed me to carry my baby and continues to allow me to take care of my boy. This thing’s a temple, man. A temple that sometimes acts like a double-wide trailer and enjoys the occasional Bud Light and bag of Funyons. It’s fine.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m already mad at my son’s future girlfriend for making him spend Christmas morning of 2036 with her family instead of ours. I mean, I’ve only met her parents once and her mom is a better cook than me. Not as breathtakingly beautiful, but definitely a better cook. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I’m completely nuts at this point.

I’ve come to the conclusion that babies are just messing with us. I mean….can anyone tell me how Hayes can sleep through a carwash that sounds like it’s ripping every speck of paint off of my car without so much as a flinch, but will wake in a screaming fit at the sound of my old, cracking joints as I carefully moonwalk  away from his crib? Anybody? Bueller?

Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is what I was always meant to do. Hayes has always been in our plan. He was a gift just waiting to be opened at the perfect time and he’s absolutely amazing. I’m blessed to be his mama, am so incredibly lucky to have his dad as my partner in life and I look forward to all of the new conclusions I get to make with each new day I get to spend with them both.

Hayes is Here

HayesAnnouncement.jpgSo, something happened…

I’m a mom now.

I know, I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. But it’s true. I am a mom. A mother. A MILF, which we all know stands for: Man, I Love Food.

I’ve held this “mom” title for about 8 weeks, so you could say I’m basically a professional by now.

lol. rofl. lmao.

Just. Kidding. I’m still very unsure of what I’m doing on a day to day basis. However, I like to think that I’m getting pretty good at pretending like I know a thing or two about motherhood? It’s a little bit like the first 8 weeks of my relationship with Geoff when I think about it. Then, I pretended to be a “cool” girl who drank 8 glasses of water a day and was into the same emo music he was. The only difference is now, I’m just pretending to know basic “mommy terminology” (WTF IS DS, DD & DH?!) and remember the words to classic nursery rhymes…all while trying to avoid raising the next Norman Bates. For some reason, this all seems to be a lot harder than trying to impress a frat boy (love ya, G)…and there’s a lot less sleep…I mean, kind of…wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Sorry, I’m drinking wine. There will be sex jokes. Bear with me.

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Even though I had 9+ months to prepare, the “mom” thing seemed to happen very quickly. I mean, one minute I was sitting at the hospital on our scheduled induction date, one week past my due date, gasping in complete horror as my nurse loudly asked me to confirm my weight…in pounds (all of them)…in front of Geoff – and the next minute, I was being handed my perfect baby boy from the other side of a Dexter-like blue tarp. In all reality, the whole process took around 14 hours, but it’s about as blurry as a night at the bar freshman year. Coincidentally enough, just like after a night at the bar freshman year, I woke up with a cute boy who seemed a little confused on where he was and how he got there. Oh, snap. Sorry, Geoff. And Hayes. And Mom & Dad.

It’s so hard to believe that the rollercoaster of childbirth was 8 weeks ago. It’s been 8 weeks of overwhelming love, overwhelming doubt, baby selfies (yasss), meltdowns, milestones, blowouts, baby coos, Amazonian-like nipples, lots of Googling… and growth. And even though I’m definitely doing A LOT of pretending, I have to say I am actually learning a lot, too. Not only is this perfect little boy of mine growing, but so am I. Not only am I growing physically, (“breastfeeding will make the weight fall off”, they said…BULLSHIT) but, I’m growing into this new role as Hayes’s mama. It blows my mind how one little person has taught me so much in such a short amount of time. Honestly, he should consider becoming a college professor, because he’s REALLY good at this…plus he’s easy on the eyes, too.

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In my last blog, I was “nesting” and VERY into lists, because: preparation! Oh yes, I was preparing for all of this and was going to be the most prepared person, because preparation is key. 

Ha!

Little did I know, there is no preparing for any of this. I was so cute for trying, though. Way to go, past me…you clueless pregnant bimbo.

Anyway, I’m still very into lists. Not because of that preparation bullshit (unless you’re talking about Preparation H, AMIRITE, OTHER MOMS? YIKES…) but because if I don’t make a list, I’ll forget whatever it is I’m thinking about at the time (shout out to sleep deprivation in the back row for that!) It’s crazy how fast a thought can just disappear. One minute I’m thinking about which pants to put in the diaper bag and the next, poof, forgotten, gone girl…leaving poor Hayes to straight Winnie the Pooh It in public in the event of a blowout. If you’re unfamiliar with the term Winnie the Pooh It, it’s when you wear a shirt and no pants…and can also can be referred to as “Donald Duckin’ It”. Don’t tell me I never taught you anything.

SO, because of ALL OF THAT, I’d like to share a list of things I’ve learned so far, if you can dig it.

1) The human nipple is stretchier than your favorite pair of yoga pants.
I really wish someone would have sat me down and served me a truth bomb about just how malleable those things can be. Think silly putty, but attached to your girls. The first time you see just how far those puppies can stretch, you WILL be disturbed. But it’s okay, because at least now you know. Plus, cool party trick!

2) I have the ability to field strip a breast-pump…blindfolded.
You know in the ROTC program when the cadets have to disassemble, categorize and reassemble a firearm? That’s me – but my weapon of choice is a Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pump, honey, and I am ALWAYS PACKIN’.


3) Pets & pacifiers don’t mix.
I’ve found it’s in everyone’s (especially the dog’s) best interest, to hide anything that belongs to the baby. I’m not exaggerating…just hide it all. They will sniff it out like a drug dog at airport and they will destroy it. In fact, just last week I found out the hard way where all of the missing pacifiers, dirty diapers, baby wipes, WubbaNubs (Google it) and entire baby socks went. Poor Bash and his iron gut are probably as full of regret as I am for all of that.

4) There’s no use in hiding your weight from your husband.
The truth will always reveal itself. Or, as mentioned before, your nurse will reveal it for you (thanks Kelly, love you). If you have a good husband like I do, he’ll pretend he didn’t hear it – even though his eyes have grown to the size of a pair of silver dollars and his forehead has started to perspire. But, believe me, you gigantic, embarrassed pregnant girl, he DEFINITELY heard it. But, guess what? He loves you anyway, so you might as well embrace it. I didn’t, I was mortified, but you should.

5) Showers are gold (but please don’t confuse that with a golden shower).
As a mom, I’ve found a good shower is now a thing of the past. In fact, I go into a jealous rage any time I see a body wash commercial and witness the subject has worked up the ~perfect lather~. OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, WHO HAS TIME TO LATHER? Not a mom, that’s who. Bullshit. So, the next time someone offers you a quick 10 minutes to take a shower, you should absolutely accept. Take a spiked seltzer in there with you. Live a little and enjoy it.

6) Lean on your village.
This one is important. I cannot thank all of my family members, friends and pals I’ve connected with on social media for all of the advice and support through this entire journey. From advice on what maternity clothes to purchase to how to get baby on a better sleeping schedule, I’ve gotten it all…and I’m extremely grateful. No piece of advice I’ve received has gone unused – except for the person who told me not to get the drugs, because that’s just dumb. The truth is, being a mom ain’t easy and any advice should be welcomed with the one open arm that’s not being used to rock/feed/burp the baby.

7) Babies change a person.
It’s true. I’m a different person now that I’m a parent. Hayes has completely changed my life, my ability to fit into my old clothes and my point of view on so many things. Knowing that Geoff and I created this incredible little human who will grow up to tell jokes, make mistakes and drive his mother to drink (even more) is a feeling that I’ll never be able to describe. Even though I’m bitter he looks more like his dad than he does me, I still never knew I could love him this much…and this love is changing me for the better. 

So, there you have it – 7 things. I’m super positive I’ve learned more than 7 things, but these were all I was able to decipher from my iPhone notes, to be honest. To anyone else, these little bullets might not seem like much, but to me they’re signs of my transformation from the old me to the new me. A better me. A mama.

I love you so much, Hayes Alan. Thank you for being ours. Bear with us as we try to figure this parenting thing out. I can’t promise you we will always do it right, but I can promise you a million more selfies, a few more lost pacifiers and all of our protection, support and love from now until forever.

Xo.

Mom

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Hey, Baby.

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“I…I have to measure my nipples,” I said to my innocent looking husband as I stared at an article on my laptop.

“How in the actual hell do I go about doing that?”

Conversations in the Eddie house have always been interesting to say the least, and have spanned topics from outer space to whether or not either of us have ever thought about taking a bite of one of our dog’s treats (before you judge I’m talking about the expensive kind from PetSmart with the sprinkles!) But lately these conversations have been even more gripping as we prepare for the biggest adventure of our lives. Parenthood.

That’s right! There’s a bun in the oven. A pea in the pod. A baby on the way! If you follow me on Twitter, you of course already know this, because it’s honestly all I can tweet/talk/think about…and…It’s boy! And even though I cried about the sex of this precious unborn son of mine for the better part of two weeks (it’s fine, I’m fine, those emotions are totally normal), I can say with full confidence, that I am more excited about this new adventure than anything I’ve ever done (and I’ve been to a Celine Dion concert, so…).

Pregnancy, however, has been one of the most confusing, magical, terrifying and wonderful experiences of my life. Since the moment I peed on that stick on the 3rd of July, I’ve been filled with joy, with sadness, with energy and with the paranoia that I would not wish on my greatest enemy (Dakota Fanning). BUT – after months & months of being on this confusing, vomit inducing rollercoaster, I can honestly say it’s been one of the most amazing rides I’ve ever been on.

HeyBaby

There’s a lot they don’t tell you about pregnancy…and I’m starting to realize that it must be for good reason. By “they” I mean anyone who’s ever done this before. I’ve read countless articles by women gushing about what a beautiful experience being pregnant is and how sexy they felt up until the very end. Like, okay, sure – being pregnant is a special gift that I will never ever take for granted. The concept of being pregnant IS beautiful, I’d even go as far to say that it’s a miracle. But do I feel beautiful? My God, no. Do I feel sexy? Abso-flippin-lutely not. What’s sexy about areolas that look like they’ve been visiting the tanning bed twice a day for a year, my favorite under garments being accessorized with panty liners or a number on the scale that I’m pretty sure my doctor is going to scold me about? Nothing. Honestly, at the rate things are going, my baby is going to come out closer in weight to Sarah Hyland than I am – and that’s a hard prenatal vitamin to swallow.

So, sure – nobody tells you that you’ll potentially hate every new thing your body does while it’s growing the precious gift of life. That’s forgivable, I guess. But even though things are expanding at an incredibly unsettling rate, every new little ache sends me into a mini meltdown and I find myself almost peeing my pants 6 times a day – it’s an experience I am so grateful I get to have and one I’ll never take for granted.

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 10.00.54 PMSo, even though a little heads up on a few of these “symptoms” would have been nice…maybe even welcomed, I think my favorite part of this journey has been how little I knew going in and how much I’ve learned throughout the process. It turns out, there is A LOT to learn when growing a human. Weird, huh?

So, because I’m apparently in the “nesting” phase, and I’m SUPER into lists right now, I want to share in list form, a few of the things I’ve learned so far.

You Might Have to Measure Your Nipples (I Wasn’t Lying)
If you’re going to pump, pump the jam like I’m planning to, you’re gonna have to measure those nipples, girl. Yeah it’s weird, but at least this way if you ever want to order some booby tassels, the upfront work will be done and out of the way.

Stay Away from “Mommy Blogs” (I REALIZE THE IRONY, BUT THIS IS NOT A MOMMY BLOG)
You are going to be tempted every single day to rely on the internet for answers to the random pregnancy symptoms that pop up out of nowhere. But, please, for all that is holy, resist the urge to check the Mommy Blogs. These things are full of “experts” who are full of opinions and you will ultimately feel more concerned than you were before you typed “I’m 10 weeks pregnant and have slight cramping on my lower left side is everything okay or am I dying?” into your search engine. Just trust me. Don’t do it. Instead, read a book!  There are plenty out there and the best part is, they’re usually written by REAL experts. Neat!

Maternity Leggings in Every Color
That’s pretty much it. No further explanation. Target has some great options. Getcha some.

Alcohol-Free Wine Does Not and Will Never Taste Like Real Wine
I won’t bullshit ya – it tastes like sugarless grape juice. But, hey, it’s fun to pretend!

You’re Probs Gonna Pee Your Pants
Towards the end, things get weird and you’ll face a lot of pressure (and I don’t mean from society) I mean down there AND you might just pee your pants. And if you do…just change your pants, I guess. Sitting in pee pants could cause a rash.

Enjoy it
In two days, I’m going to be surrounded with my friends and family at a shower celebrating this baby boy that I’ve had the privilege of carrying for almost 9 months. Exactly one year ago from that very day, my husband and I experienced a loss of a baby nobody but the two of us & a couple close family members knew we were having. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. It was hard. It was sad. It was something I’ll never forget and it taught me a lot. Most of all, it taught me to enjoy it.

Enjoy all of it. Enjoy those stretch marks. Enjoy the lady in the breakroom who asks when you’re due even though you want to be offended. Enjoy the mustache that you’re growing during No Shave November. Enjoy it all, because there are people out there who don’t get the chance to. Women who wish every day they could experience these changes that we complain about (the primal looking nips) or take for granted (eating chocolate malt-o-meal 6 times a day). Enjoy it, remember it and cherish it. Every single day.

And that’s my list! My two cents! My tidbits of knowledge I’ve picked up here and there! Nothing groundbreaking or earthshattering, just things that have helped me handle all of the twists, turns, changes and…leaks.

Thanks for listening. Or reading. You know what I mean.

Til next time!

Mackenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, No Way.

Oooh, hey you! Happy New Year! How’s the family…?!

This is a little embarrassing. The last time I posted, we were celebrating the first week of Autumn. The leaves, the scarves, the pants that were still fitting comfortably because the holidays hadn’t yet busted down our door like an aggressive Paula Deen shoving buttery goodness into our mouths 8 times a day for a month. Those were good times. Since then, I’ve gotten 3 new haircuts I’ve hated, become the proud new owner of a pair of steel toed boots (life-changing) and decided against a tattoo of my dog’s face on my upper arm.

We are now 29 days into winter and 18 days into the new year, and I have been ignoring this blog like I do texts from my husband when he asks me to do favors him around the house. Not THOSE kind of favors. Those I can handle. It’s running the vacuum cleaner or loading the dishwasher that I can’t stomach and will not tolerate.  Ew.

Anyway, I’ve already taken this somewhere I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.

So! How’s 2017 treating you?! I want to know. I hope you’re achieving all of your goals and slaying those resolutions better than Beyonce can slay that song about the sand castles…which I’m pretty sure is symbolic for her and Jay Z’s once crumbling relationship. God damn, I enjoy that song. Glad they worked things out. Baby Blue deserves two parents and all of those millions of dollars, I’m sure.

Speaking of crumbling…lets chat about my resolutions for just one cute little sec. A second is all it will take, because for some reason, this year I chose to opt out of the resolution scene. Too much pressure. Too much money spent on workout pants and sports bras that will never be worn, only stared at with resentment and too many swear jars that no matter how many times I mutter the word “Fuck” under my breath at my broken garage door, just will not get filled up with any of my highly valued spare change.

I did, however, make the adult decision (not resolution, decisions are different) to drink more water, but the only thing I have achieved is becoming addicted to La Croix instead. Partly because I like the way it tastes, partly because I feel sophisticated holding a can of La Croix, but mostly it is because I really love saying…”La Croix”. I try to slip it into any conversation I have, no matter the subject matter. For example, “the other day I was going through my usual morning routine, sipping on some Passionfruit La Croix, when I happened to see my neighbor kill her husband through the window. It’s disgusting how people….can even say their favorite flavor is Berry, because Passionfruit really IS the best. Have you tried it yet, I think it’s new.”

Passionfruit really is the best, though. I’m sure once my neighbor gets out of prison, she’ll agree.

Minus the zero resolutions, and my newfound addiction to carbonated water, everything else is going swimmingly. I LOVE my new job. No, seriously, I ADORE my new job. And honestly, it’s been 8 months now, so I could probably drop the “new”, but it makes me feel young, so for now, we’re keeping it. It’s crazy and it’s amazing and every day is different. It’s exactly what I wanted. There are a lot of things I did not anticipate at Bing Bang, the most surprising being my ass getting so fat from lack of leaving my chair. It’s cool though, I heard fat asses were the thing to watch for in 2017. Not like the Kim K fat ass, but more the 3rd grade teacher ass. The kind that knows no boundaries, and cannot be tamed. The kind you dare not shove into a pair of khakis, because you’ll hate yourself forever. You know, that kind of ass.

Just like full booties, goals and resolutions are not, by any means, something I am against. They’re necessary to make us better in our routines, our careers and our daily lives. Sometimes, we are forced into creating these goals (like the time my RA in college told me I had to start using the stairs and stop taking the elevator to ascend one floor) and sometimes it’s a personal choice. Either way, I love the idea of a new year and new beginnings. The chance to open up to a blank page and write or draw a new chapter to an already amazing story. So, I want to hear about your resolutions! I know, I know, I’m about 18 days behind on this – but lets face it, I’m late for everything – just hopefully not my period. Whether your resolutions are traditional or off the wall, please share. I’m a believer that it’s never too late to pick up a new habit, good (celery!) or bad (saying La Croix 93 times a day). I also want to know how you stick with them and hold yourself accountable, because really, that’s the most important part.

So, if you feel so inclined, share below. Let me in on what’s going on with you. I want to know, I want to chat!

Fall Y’all

Autumn is here. It’s here, and I could not be more excited. The colors, the smells, the layers, the carbs. Yep. Huge fan. And just as sure as the leaves will change from green to gold, I too will change…from average female to the most basic bitch you’ve ever met. It’s fine, really, I’m dealing.

Autumn reminds me of home. So, this weekend my little family and I packed up and headed to Southeast Iowa where I grew up. It was one of those weekends you want to last forever. No big events, no parades in my honor or anything, just a great weekend spent with family and lots of time outside.

We got home Friday night and hung out with my parents at their beautiful country home. The conversation only briefly turned to politics before my Dad shut it down sensing a family argument about to ensue. He’s a smart man. Mom made her famous chili. Seriously, she needs to get that stuff in some sort of contest, county fair or Food Network cook-off situation. Blue ribbon, Anthony Bourdain applause worthy stuff.

Saturday morning, Mom, Bash and I headed to What Cheer, Iowa for the World Famous Flea Market while the men folk went goose hunting. Yes, goose hunting. Honk, honk. Bash, by the way, is my dog. A Clumber Spaniel we adopted from Aheinz 57 in De Soto, Iowa. He’s probably the most handsome dog to ever exist. Ignore the fact that his red rocket pops out every time someone mentions the word “treat”, and he’d probably be voted most behaved, too. Anyway, if you’ve never been to this flea market, it’s a must. Vendors from all of the United States travel to What Cheer the first weekends of May, August and October to sell their treasures. “Treasures”, by the way is a very subjective word, and can mean anything from beautiful antique hutches, to used pink fuzzy slippers on the $1 table. It’s really quite something.

After leaving the market with a couple of prizes (mom scored some stools, and I grabbed a kitchen scale), we headed to my grandparent’s farm so I could snap some photos of the landscape before the corn was taken down for harvest. The gray/purple clouds that day were a nice contrast to the golden corn stalks, and it needed captured. So, I climbed my happy ass to the top of the grain bin and took some very professional shots with my camera (iPhone) and prepared myself to edit (Instagram – @koshiz, by the way). I don’t mean to brag, but I snapped a couple doozies.

Sunday was another mild day full of clouds and family. Before heading to my grandparent’s for Sunday dinner, which they host every Sunday, my mom and I headed down to the river bottom to collect some wild grass and Sorghum to cut and take home with me. It’s so pretty down there, I love it all, minus the spiders that are large enough to eat a mid-sized sedan, those I could easily live without. Sunday dinner was spent eating and laughing with my family. All ages are represented there, from 75 years to 2 months old. Those dinners are so much fun and they’re something I’ll treasure forever. Besides the delicious food, there are a couple things I can always expect, without fail: iced tea to drink, and at least one conversation about someone who has recently died. My rule of “no death conversation at the dinner table” has clearly been completely ignored, and that’s fine. Who am I to make rules?

After eating way too much, we headed in to watch my little cousin’s volleyball game. Those 4th graders have more skill than I did as a senior in high school, and I think I deserve some sort of prize for admitting that.

We headed home shortly after, and I spent the entire 2 hour drive thinking about how I could properly present my wild grass and sorghum I picked on the river bottom. I had the perfect, most beautiful basic idea in mind, and it was going to be *simple* to execute. Seriously, this shit was going to make those Pinterest models with their skinny little leggings and perfectly fluffed scarves army green with envy. Per usual, the joke was on me, because two hours, 3 drill bits and 16 F bombs (1, maybe 2 in the presence of a poor family trying to enjoy a leisurely Sunday stroll) later we finally got it finished. Who doesn’t enjoy some spousal team building on a Sunday afternoon? THE EDDIES, THAT’S WHO.

Lets be honest, dropping 2 curse words per minute for 2 hours can really contribute to working up an appetite. And since it’s fall and I’m queen BAE-sic now, supper was not going to be our usual frozen pizza or quesadilla. Oh, no. Supper was going to include sweet potatoes and cheese and all things fall. Supper was going to taste like Martha Stewart took 30 minutes out of her Thanksgiving episode to stop by my home to cook a meal in my kitchen. And that’s exactly what happened. I shook off all of the frustration of my crafting mishap, washed the gold spray paint off of my hands and got my shit together. I whipped up the most delicious ground turkey and sweet potato skillet, and just like that, all was well. It was certainly tasty, and a great way to close out a perfectly lovely weekend. I hope you’ll give it a try sometime!

Turkey and Sweet Potato Skillet

3 T olive oil

2 tsp. garlic

1 lb ground turkey

1 medium sweet potato, diced

2 green onions, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

1 1/2 cup kale

2 tsp. red chile pepper flakes

salt

pepper

2 T chicken broth

1 cup Mozzarella cheese

 

 

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in cast iron skillet

Add garlic until fragrant, then add turkey – cook for about 10 minutes

Add kale, onions, pepper, sweet potato, chicken broth, chili pepper, salt & pepper – cover and cook until potatoes are tender – stir occasionally

While cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees

Once potato is tender, add cheese and move to oven to melt

When it’s melted to perfection, remove and serve.

That’s Fall, Y’all!

 

Changes

Do you remember being in the 5th grade, feeling thug as hell listening to “Changes” on a mixed tape your aunt made you? Only me? Oh, okay.

Now, I’m not trying to compare my life to Tupac’s by any means, but I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been several changes around this place in the last few months. I’ve gone from my comfortable corporate job to a role at a new(ish) marketing agency, fallen off the vegetarian wagon and hopped back on the meat train (lasted 2 months, it’s fine),  gone through 3 different pants sizes (carbs replaced meat for that 2 months) and have a new favorite beer (Henry’s Hard Orange, what?!) – all since January.

Shit’s changed, man.

Other than that, things are pretty tame. No bad haircuts or pregnancy scares. Still in love with my dog, and walking my husband daily, making bad jokes and eating too much candy. However, with all of these changes, I started to let things slip. My cookbook took the back burner, my output of design slowed WAY down and my blogging completely stopped. My Facebook posts even started becoming less funny. Bunch of bullshit if you ask me. HOWEVER, slowly but surely, I’m making strides to get back into my creative routine. Making time every night to sit down and either read or sketch out an idea, or picking a couple nights a week to cook a risky dinner my husband may not eat, has helped bring back that creative spark. It feels good. It feels really good. I’ve even given myself a swift kick in the ass and now have a weekly design goal. If you didn’t know, I started a little Etsy shop called Prints Charming USA (https://www.etsy.com/shop/PrintsCharmingUSA).  Punny AF, right? Yeah, well, I think I was three glasses of merlot in and it sounded like the best idea ever, so here we are. YOLO I guess? Anyway, it’s a little online shop where I sell my prints. They’re very Iowa focused, but lately I’ve been pushing myself to be a little more creative. I even used the word “Shit” in a print! I know, right? Hope Grandma doesn’t see it, it’ll become this whole big thing, and I just can’t deal right now. ANYWAY, it’s been great. I love it. I’ve been introduced to people I never would have known otherwise, and I love people. Most of them. A lot of them. A fair amount of them. I’ve even decided I’m going to have my own booth at a craft show this fall. It’s not a huge deal. To some it’s lame. But to me, it’s exciting. I can’t wait to take my tiny little brand and show it off to a few new strangers. So there’s that. Goals, ya’ll. I’ve got some?

Everyone has that list of items in their every day life that they just will not skimp on. In some areas, you can’t risk going generic. Mine have always been, and will always will be: face wash, condoms and toilet paper. I do not think I need to explain why. However, I am finding that I need to make that list a little longer. When life is hectic, it’s important that you don’t forget those little things that make you happy. Don’t skimp on the good stuff! Think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy, and DO them. I don’t care if that’s speed eating hotdogs at a county fair. If that makes you happy, homeboy, by all means, eat those dogs. I’ll be over here, praying for you and your cholesterol.

I’m not trying to get preachy over here. You do you. Make your face wash, condoms, toilet paper list and stick to it! Your happiness is important. You know what else is important? The Olympics. I’m currently watching and am having a hard time paying attention to what I should be doing, and that’s writing this damn blog. So, because I’m not giving this the attention it needs, I’m going to sign off. But, be warned, I am back. Writing and blogging equal “toilet paper” on my list of no skimps. Am I making sense? No? K bye.

 

Mackenzie

#OlympicsInRio #AnotherB*tchWithABlog

Cooking with Strangers

Every morning, after double checking that I was in fact dreaming, and I am not actually laying next to a completely naked Channing Tatum, my mind quickly pulls itself together and wanders back to where it spends most of its time: food.

I love food. My vast collection of Spanx will tell you that.

I love breakfast food, I love snack food, I love food that most people are embarrassed to eat in front of their peers (some of my most treasured memories were made with a bowl of Velveeta Shells & Cheese involved).

That being said, I’m always on the hunt for new foods to try. New combinations. New recipes.

That’s where you come in!

2016 arrived and it was begging for a new project that combined all of my favorite things. Food made the list, weird. People, just like you, you interesting human being, also made the list.

This year, my goal is to collect recipes from all over the world, submitted by you! Along with your recipe, I want to hear a little bit about how you got that recipe. Ex: Your great-grandma stole it from her ex-bestie’s aunt’s recipe box, and she’s been passing that stolen casserole dish down for years now. What a bad ass.
I also want to hear a little about you! What’s your name? Where are you from? You also need to pass along a photo of that pretty little mug of yours. It would be cruel to deny the world those naturally long lashes!

Make sense? It’s pretty simple, but for those people who don’t like to read directions (like yours truly), lets recap!

Send an email to: itissalmon@gmail.com

  1. Your name, your location and a little about yourself
  2. That selfie (we both know you got a selfie stick for Christmas. Say cheese, babe!)
  3. Your recipe
  4. How you got that recipe (that unbelievable story about Gam Gam’s sticky fingers back in ’38)

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Lets do the darn thing!

-M