January 31, 2012

my children eat cute for breakfast



This weekend our friend (and one of Chikezie's coworkers) Cassie wanted to get some practice photographing kids...and the boys got to be the lucky subjects! I seriously LOVE how these pictures turned out and wanted to share them all with you. So, I apologize for the massive photo dump. There were just too many good ones not to share!
FYI
Julian = red shirt/gray cardigan
Isaiah = bow tie/vest

You guys can check out Cassie's photography page HERE






January 30, 2012

hey look! it's me!

This picture/post is for a challenge over at Chelsey's blog to take a self portrait and to tell a little bit about yourself. We all have our insecurities and a lot of times, as bloggers, we don't take a lot of pictures of ourselves. I take about 80 until I find the right one. This one isn't even one of my favorites but it highlights  something I get insecure about: my huge head. I have a big head (hello, have you seen my children? I praise sweet baby Jesus every day that I didn't have to push those Amazon babies out) and I have a big face. I know that sounds weird. I just sometimes get insecure about my giant head/face. Whatever, I have a big head because it's jam packed full of brains. I'm not dainty and little. And that's ok.


Obsessing over:

The pictures our friend Cassie took of the boys this weekend. The first real pictures from anyone besides me and I LOVED not having to be the one behind the camera for once. I mean, look at this preview. I can't believe I made those children. 

Working on:

More bow ties for the shop. Keeping up with orders. Oh, and some things for the So Cal Blogger Meet Up on Saturday...going to be 60 people there this time, versus the 20+ last time. I'm a little excited. Ok, a lot excited. 

Thinking about:

All of the things I have coming up in the next couple of months....and this week! A craft night with Summer and friends, a trip to San Diego for the blogger meet up and to see my Stephanie. Then there's Valentine's Day (I want to make it special for hubs and my boys). The boys' 2nd birthday on March 3rd, and then my best friend's wedding in Iowa on March 17! So many good things!

Anticipating:

The next season of Dexter. I just finished season 6 last night. Why the hell can't seasons just keep on going? They don't need to take a break! Damn it!

Listening to:

Kanye- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I really think he's a super doucheface in real life but I feel like I can leap between roof tops and punch people in the face when I listen to his music. Wait, that sounded wrong. His music is just makes me feel like a badass? Shut up. You know what I mean.

Eating:

I just ate my 4th spoon of cookie dough which, let's face it, is the only reason I made the dough to begin with. I won't eat the cookies when they're made, I'll be too full of dough. I live life on the edge. Screw salmonella or ecoli or whatever I'm supposed to be getting from it.

Wishing:

That it was March/April already and Jess would be moved already. I can't wait to meet her/hang out with her and um, the boys and Wyatt as friends? Can you even handle the image of cuteness? The adventurous blondie boy and the two sweet afro dudes as friends? They'll form some super club like the Little Rascals. 

January 29, 2012

eyebrows! get your eyebrows here!

As we all know, I have about one good facial expression for most of my pictures. Why? Because it works. And because I work the eyebrows. 
In the recent weeks/months I've gotten a lot of questions/comments/compliments on my eyebrows. And you know what? I really like these things. 

This was not always the case for me. Only in the past 6-8 months have I really paid attention to them. Before, I'd tweeze every time they got out of control or just go to get them waxed or threaded. One day this nice girl waxing my eyebrows told me they were beautiful and I needed to let them grow more. I was breaking one of the most commonly broken facial hair rules; over-tweezing. 

I was taking off WAY too much in the middle and completely shortening my eyebrows. 

So, in response to the comments and inquiries, I want to share with you some tips I've picked up on rocking a set of bitchin' eyebrows.  Now don't get me wrong, you are already gorgeous! However, I realized what a difference it made after I took a chance and grew them out, and really loved the change.

 It all starts with how they're maintained. I LOVE this tutorial on how to shape them:

**Stop over plucking! The wider the space between your brows, the wider your nose looks. So, if you're trying to downsize the nasal department....there ya go.

**Try letting those babies grow. The growing out process was sometimes awkward for me because I just felt a lot...harrier. But it really has been worth it and they make me feel more feminine now? Does that make sense? Whatever. 

** EYEBROW PENCIL!!! AHHH!!! I can't praise this enough! Seriously, I love it. I had someone try it out on me at the make up counter at Macy's once and immediately fell in love. She showed me how to use it and helped me pick out a good color. It matches my brow color perfectly (you don't want to go too dark or it looks crazy fake). 
         
*** When using eyebrow pencil, I only lightly fill in the middle parts of my brows where the hair is the most thin and do one thin line across my brow to give it color. My pencil has a brush on the other end so I can blend it in afterward. THIS is the eyebrow pencil I use. 

Now go! Experiment with those brows-they will change your face. AND make it so much easier to give your kids dirty looks.


January 28, 2012

things you can send to my house, please.

This little girlie.  Because it's so stinking cute. 

This old window turned useful.  Because my husband would get mad at me for getting this. 

This rainbow stripes coin purse. Because I have so much money I need an extra purse for all of it.



These cute felt baby booties.  You know, for my little tiny babies. 

These organic cotton lounge pants.  Because I need yet another pair of lounge pants. 

This gnome onesie/t-shirt.  Because that guy rocks socks. He looks like a gold miner. Or Santa.

This driftwood coat/towel hanger.  Because. Just because. 




January 25, 2012

they're torturing me on purpose

Send help. Please send help. My children have turned into little a-holes. Seriously? I love them, but people you love can be jerks sometimes. And I know I use the twin card sometime but this is definitely one of those occasions where it's completely ok for me to wave it out like a white flag of pitiful mommy surrender. 

Oh, what have they been doing to have turned me into a sad, depressed and discarded little goldfish hiding in fear under our couch? They've been doing EVERYTHING. That's what.

Julian, don't throw your cars. He then proceeds to empty his entire toy box of cars by hurling them across the baby gate into the kitchen one at a time. Every. Single. One. (they literally have close to 50 cars) Laughing and squealing and rubbing it in my face. And it looks like so much fun, his brother decides to help with everything else he can find within a 6 mile radius. All the while, mommy is in full on re-direction, scold, re-direction, scold, move, do-anything-to-get-them-to-stop-mode. 

At one point I even flicked Julian's hand. Yes, I flicked it. Call child services. And he looked up at me with big confused eyes and gave me the whole quivering pouty lip thing and then I shriveled up into a ball and died.

Oh, and yesterday Isaiah threw a car and it hit me in the head and I really did cry. And he was laughing.

F word. 

Then there's the breaking through the baby locks to get into the bathroom and throw my make up/everything within reach all over the floor. Or breaking through the other baby lock on the hall closet repeatedly to get all the cords and chargers and remotes everywhere. Or when I'm savoring one whole minute of alone time in the bathroom (for the love of Jesus,  Mary and Joseph can I seriously pee alone???) and I hear nothing in the living room, only to come out to both boys up on the computer desk pounding the shit out of the keyboard and our iMac about to have a mental break down. (I feel you iMac. I feel you.)

Or the pounding of the sippy cups upside down on hard surfaces to get liquid everywhere and then the splashing around of hands in the liquid. And the stealing of and fighting over one car when they have about 3823 other ones. 

What in the name of Ryan Gosling did I do to deserve this torture? 

Is it acceptable to keep children in steel reinforced cages? You know, like tigers and other exotic pets those crazy people keep in their back yards. No? 

Whatever. I had Chikezie put them to bed 15 minutes early and I left to get some fro yo. Fro yo always makes life better. I even made a quick side trip to Tj Max (where I can never find anything decent) and bought a new shirt for the blogger meet up on the 4th.


And it made me feel better. 




tips for caring for your kids' curly hair

I've gotten many emails asking me how the heck I care for the boys' super curly hair. Today I thought I'd share with you a few of the things I do. I'm by no means a pro, but curly hair is curly hair and I take care of their hair, a lot like I take care of my own.


throw away your comb.
Combing through curls is always a no-no. It breaks the curls and they'll just end up looking frizzy and unhealthy. The only combing done should be with your fingers, while the hair is wet.


condition, condition, condition.
Every time I wash the boys' hair, I put in at least 3 "pumps" of leave in conditioner. Curly hair is naturally more dry than straight hair and leave in conditioner helps keep everything tame and under control. You might need to experiment with how much to use. I use THIS leave in conditioner for the boys (and for myself!) 

And PSSST! I'll tell you a little secret for when/if you run out of leave in conditioner: regular conditioner does pretty much the same thing. Just put it in when wet and don't wash it out!

sulfate free, yo.
Look for hair products that are sulfate free. Sulfate completely dries out hair, especially curly hair. This rule is applicable for anybody's hair, not just curly. And pretty much all shampoo has sulfate in it. It's not as sudsy but suds aren't what clean your hair. I only wash the boys' hair once or twice a week. Otherwise it's just rinse and condition.


don't mess with baby locks.
When the boys were little, I just washed their hair with regular baby shampoo. Baby hair is so fine and fragile and sweet, just let it be messy and curly. Don't overload it with products. I didn't really start "caring" for the boys' hair until they were about a year and a half and the hair was getting longer with more defined curls.


let it be.
You guys, curly hair is meant to be wild. It's going to be crazy. Let it be crazy. Help your kids embrace their curls. Give them compliments on how great it looks when its curly. Some days it's frizzy, some days it lays perfect. The less you stress about it, the less they will. 


If you have any questions, feel free to email me at mamamandolin@gmail.com...or if you have any tips of your own feel free to share! 


January 24, 2012

shit people say in LA

I don't live IN L.A. but I live in the L.A. area...and I haven't lived here long but I've said a LOT of these things. I don't know if that's good or bad. But I found this really funny. 

go get 'em!

Yay! I power housed it out and have all of the bow ties listed up in my etsy shop for you wonderful people.

And um, Isaiah even modeled one. He hasn't wanted to take it off for the past 24 hours. He's going to be THAT kid who wears bow ties all the time. I'm ok with that.


Yeah there's more than just that tie. I just couldn't get that one off of him lol. 

GO to my SHOP to see all the rest and get one or ten for your little guy!  (just kidding...kind of)

And, if you're not planning on buying, could you "heart" your favorites? 

come on ride the train

I've been motivated lately. You need to hop on this motivation train. It's-a not slowin' down. 


Oh and incase you're more of an audio learner:


Ride the motivation train, y'all. 



January 23, 2012

pre-order bow ties!


You guys. YOU GUYS. I'm so excited about these bow ties. I wish I would have made them a million years ago. I spent almost all of my free time last week and over the weekend sewing these babies up. I even bought a printer (finally) and made my own labels. The labels were really something I've been wanting and needing to do forever. Seeing my name on the things I've made gave me a crazy boost of motivation and a sense that I'm finding my niche. 


I'm hoping to get the product photos taken and everything posted up in the shop by the end of the week at the latest. But in the meantime, I want to give you guys the opportunity to pre-order the tie(s) you want. This will give me a chance to get some extras made over the week so by the time I post them in the shop, yours will be ready to ship right away! And I won't be on crazy overload mode if you guys all happen to like the same ones.

I've put all of the current options in an album on flickr and have all of them numbered. (I apologize in advance for the cell phone pics. Like I said, the good product photos will be up when I post them in my shop later this week) If you want to pre-order any, you can leave a comment here letting me know how many and of which numbers you'd like. Price per bow tie will be $10 or $17 for two. 

ALSO, these fabrics are all also available in necklace form. So, if you are interested in matching mommy necklace/son bow tie combos...great for family photos or just wanting to coordinate with your little men :)

Thank you all so much for your encouragement and support as I've been working on these, and starting my boys' line. I've been dreaming this up for awhile and really am over the moon excited. 

Go HERE to view all bow tie options. 

Yeeee! 

January 21, 2012

worth a click: links I'm digging this week


This week I've really immerged myself into reading about handmade businesses. I know what I love to make and what I want to do, but knowing just that doesn't make you successful. You really need to do your research and dive into the business world. Here are some links of great things I've found this week about growing your business and blog (and a couple other cute things as well)! 

- Shop or blog in a rut? Here are six ways to refresh without having to redesign. 

This is an awesome post about how to write product listings with personality. I'm definitely going to be using these tools because I often find myself at a loss for words when writing something as seemingly boring as a product description.

This store in Orange, CA where Stephanie and I stopped this weekend. It is seriously the cutest place.

- I worked at a summer camp in the mountains with this girl and she is just such a talented make up artist!

- This post from Paperstitch about pricing your handmade work. Love this. 

- Reverse canvas wall pockets over at Just Something I Made.


- And these sweet little bow ties I've been working on. YEEE! 







January 20, 2012

not afraid


Sometimes blog life calls for a reality check. I stretched a lot to grow two little boys in me. Skin is pretty awesome, huh? I guess some women hate their stretch marks. What you don't see is underneath those stretchy yoga pants, where my c-section incision is, is just some saggy, wrinkled, loose skin. Don't think that will go away anytime soon. And you know what? I'm not afraid

They don't really show you what you're going to look like after kids. You see pictures of cute pregnant women but none of us really know what's going to happen to our bodies afterwards. Some of us are lucky, our skin bounces back flawlessly without a stretch mark in sight. Mariah Carey? Jennifer Lopez? These women with flat gorgeous tummies? Total freaking crock of poop. Nobody looks like that after twins. I highly doubt you'll see any close up, untouched photos of their tummies anytime soon. 

I saw a picture like this on Pinterest recently and this was the quote underneath:
"A mark for every breath you took, every blink, every sleepy yawn. One for every time you sucked your thumb, waved hello, closed your eyes and slept in the most perfect darkness. One for every time you had the hiccups. One for every dream you dreamed within me. It isn't very pretty anymore. Some may even think it ugly. That's OK. It was your home. It's where I first grew to love you, where I lay my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be. It held you until my arms could, and for that, I will always find something beautiful in it."
So, here's to loving ourselves and not being afraid to be (and show) who we really are.

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