you’re a wolf

You’re a wolf boy, get out of this town. So the tune goes. In a world filled with Arcade Fire, Broken Bells, Grizzly Bear, and The Shins, resides a band known as Sea Wolf. While the group consists of several members, the core of the music lies in Alex Church, the lead singer. The latest album, Old World Romance, is a compilation of his skill set. While still being recorded with the help of a band, the main focus was Alex’s voice and lyrics, alongside his acoustic guitar. Making it easier to do a solo tour. Which led him to Alaska..

An acoustic showing at a local coffee shop. Count me in. Acoustic in my opinion is always better. Anyone can make music. Especially now. There are so many genres of music. You don’t even have to be a good singer, actually you don’t even have to sing at all. Technology can do all the work. A true testimony of a musician’s talent though is their live performance. How many times have you heard a song performed live and it’s horrendous? Even something as simple as being on the Today show. It’s a total buzz kill.

There is something so special about acoustic to me. It’s open, it’s vulnerable. Completely raw. You get to see inside the soul of the songs without all the added hype of background music. The best part though? Their voice. Especially when it’s true talent, those melodic moments draw you in and your hooked.

Tonight was no exception. It was magic.

stage

The set was done at Vagabond Blues, a local café. If I were to guess, I’d say there were about 75 people there. It started out smaller but as the set went on, more meandered in to get in on the goods. As you might be able to tell, our seats were front and center. Apart  from laying on the stage, we couldn’t have been any closer.

He sounded amazing. Was incredibly down to earth. He interacted with the crowd. Took requests. Blushed when someone yelled out he was dreamy. Started a song in the wrong key. Goofed the lyrics once. He was honest and real. Made us laugh and continued to tell us he was having a really great time. It was everything you want from a musician.

What makes it even more surreal? He’s the real deal. Lives in Los Angeles with his band. Has multiple successful albums. They pop up frequently on many of my Pandora stations. Any Twilight fans out there?! Their song The Violet Hour was featured on New Moon. That’s pretty legit in my book. And why I’m not ashamed to say I was a bit star struck.

We were able to enjoy the experience for about an hour and half. Truth be told, I could have sat there a lot longer. Despite the fact my rear was fast asleep and my pregnant bladder was loooooong overdue for a break. The crowd cleared out pretty fast and most everyone that was left headed for the merchandise table. I already have the first and last album, so I snagged myself the vinyl of the middle album, White Water, White Bloom.

I bought it just in time to get it signed by the big man himself.

albumWhile the rest of the coffee crew began to clean up and close up shop, Alex stepped in at the table and finished helping the rest of the line of people. What’s better than buying your merchandise from the musician himself?! Not a whole lot.

The line began to diminish and we geared up to hit the road. Not before I got just one more piece of evidence…

alex

(I knew I should have worn my dark blue cardigan too)

Wishing all the crew safe travels back to the lower 48 and thanks for gracing the arctic for a few days.

Now onto some more listening for the night.

record

your welcome, ladies

Anyone that has met my sister knows that she’s the cats meow. For those of you that don’t, here’s the scoop. She’s probably the coolest feline I’ve ever met. I don’t just say that because she’s my sister. She is creative. Like to the max. Always way ahead of the curve with fashion. She can rock the most insane outfit and it’s flawless. One of the best things about her: she is always in the know with the coolest stuff, and then fills me in. Like this:

birchbox

If you aren’t up to speed about Birchbox, your missing out. Truly.

Here’s the low down. It’s $10 a month. No joke. This includes shipping. Even to Alaska! That is unheard of. For $10 a month, you get 4-5 samples of various products. Each one can vary depending on what you set your preferences to. Mine for instance, always includes a fragrance. Because that shiz is expensive and I never buy it. Don’t really wear makeup? No sweat. You can get yummy treats. Lotions. Face cream. Nail polish. Assorted teas. Hair products.

I just got my March box today. Here, take a peek.

march box

They have the cutest packaging. I love it. I re use the boxes too. Perfect when making your friends a little treat box of your own. The samples in my opinion are pretty good size. The perfume sample lasts until I get my next box. The hair products are good for 2-3 washes. The lotions and lip products are perfect for throwing in your purse or car.

You also get an adorable card with each box, that has descriptions of each product on the back, and what the full size pricing is, if you choose to ever order it.

card

My march box included : lotion, curl keeper hair cream, eyeliner, anti aging serum with sunscreen which can be used as primer under makeup, and a sample of Juliette Has A Gun perfume.

Ready to sign up yet? You should be. In case you need some more convincing here are a few more reasons this product is the bees knees.

They have a box for your man! So for just $20, both you and your guy can have snazzy goods each month.

Even better, they have fantastic customer service. February’s box came and my shampoo and conditioner sample had exploded. Everywhere. My friend who lives up here as well had the same problem. Obviously an issue when you live in the arctic. I emailed them explaining the problem and they were super prompt to email me back and let me know they’d send me a replacement. What’s stellar about this is, the shampoo really made a mess of things, yes, but didn’t actually ruin any of the other samples. Instead of just getting another sample of shampoo, I got a whole new box, and to my delight, with all different products!

feb box

This go around I got: Two samples of delicious tea, protective oil for my hair, pore refining cream (YES PAAALEASE), another perfume sample, and tinted top coat.

A fun fact for you. Two of my biggest pet peeves. Wearing wrinkly clothes and chipped nail polish. I despise chipped nail polish. Yet, nice nails are a must. Especially now that I’m growing larger each day and am a lovely shade of pale white, a good looking manicure is a quick fix. Which is why I looooove the nail polish sample I got. Violet tinted top coat. Shiny top coat is one of my favorite beauty secrets. In a hurry, I can give my nails a quick file, throw on some top coat, and in a few minutes I have town worthy nails.

hand

In the process of this picture, I realized just how awkward hand selfies are. Sorry about that.

Love a sample you got? Their website is super easy to use and you can order a full size version of any product you sampled. With every purchase you’ll acquire points that you can save up for a discount off of a future purchase. Save them up and you can even get a free full size product!

Need a killer gift idea for your fabulous friend? You can gift a Birchbox subscription for $30. Your friend will get 3 months worth of goodies to try. Awesome sauce.

I am in no way affiliated with Birchbox, though I should be. Maybe they’ll see this and hire me. Here’s to wishful thinking.

Now hurry and sign up for April!

BIRCHBOX

52:6

Last week’s Project 52 entry involved the site Sevenly. This week’s post goes hand in hand with that same site. Instead of purchasing a product and having a portion go towards the cause, I went straight to the source and made a donation to the company.

Enter: International Down Syndrome Coalition

This organization helps bring awareness and support to families of children with down syndrome and to fund financial support for families adopting a child with special needs. Like Eric and Jane, who were part of the featured story for Sevenly’s weekly cause. After having trouble conceiving they ended up adopting five children with special needs. Their family grew over the years, totaling nine children. 6 adopted and 3 biological.

This last week was the time in my pregnancy in which I had the choice to test for down syndrome. It’s a simple blood draw and though it’s not a 100% guarantee, I’ve found nothing is during a pregnancy, it’s helps prepare in some way for your future. All my labs came back normal, but even if they hadn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered. Part of this organization’s cause is to advocate for the woman who are pressured to terminate a pregnancy if they are given positive results from down syndrome testing. I’m not here to judge. I can never put myself in everyone’s shoes and know the extent of the situation. But I personally could never choose to terminate my pregnancy because of the possibility of my baby having special needs. You’ve worked so hard to create this life inside of you. It’s a blessing and a miracle and a beautiful thing I can only hope that all my loved ones get to experience. To all those families who are interested in adopting a child with special needs, my heart, my love and support go out to you. I am so happy there are organizations out there that can help you with support and financial assistance. Adopting any child is such a magical thing. My husband and I have experience with the adoption process, and there were so many FRUSTRATING days and endless amounts of paperwork. I can only imagine what families go through when trying to adopt a child that has no biological ties to them. All children are beautiful and all are deserving of a family and a home.

To make a donation to this organization, go HERE

You can also still purchase products that support this cause.

family

the birthday boy

We celebrated Andy’s 26th birthday yesterday. Actually we’ve been celebrating since Saturday. Hayden had a sleepover with her cousins so we could have a date night out on the town, and yesterday had family and friends spread all throughout the day. Today while he was out enjoying the sunshine and some brother time, his sister and I prepped a birthday dinner for the crew.

Andy and I met three wonderful years ago and have done our very best to make the most of every day spent together. He’s a loving husband and an amazing dad.

dad

daddy

He’s funny and sweet. A truly generous and loyal friend.

andy friends

If he had a choice, all his days would be spent adventuring outside.

fisherman

hunt

hike

silly

He works so hard to provide for us and always puts his family first, in fact he puts most people before himself. He wakes up singing and always goes to bed with a smile on his face. He’s one of the happiest guys you’ll ever meet.

Happy birthday to my right hand man. My other half. My companion in this life’s journey. May you always be by my side.

partner

friend

xoxo.

hiatus

Ugh. I’m not doing a very good job at posting lately. I could say that I’ve been so busy doing spectacular things and have been occupied. Or there is a really good chance my time has been spent stuffing my pregnant self with frozen burritos and binge watching Breaking Bad. Let’s go with a little bit of both. The bump is officially a bump. In fact, I’m pepper size this week. Or banana size. Depending on which site you read.

bump

We find out in a few short weeks if we’re cooking up a him or a her. Brother or a sister. Phoebe or Phoebo.

Days have also been occupied having tea with the toddler. Or perhaps battling her meltdowns. I’m counting down the days when she’s no longer three years old or at least past this phase. The phase of being possessed by a demon. That’s the only explanation for her behavior.

tea

 Please bear with me, I’ve got some good stuff in the works. Like a birthday shout out. A post on my ultimate favorite blog right now. A couple DIY projects I’ve been working on. Of course Project 52, and a product review all you ladies need to get up on. It’s about to get real good..

a day with a dog and an igloo

Spring in Alaska isn’t what everyone else is used to, myself included. We still have a lot of snow. With all that snow though, comes lots of sunshine. It starts to get warmer and the days are longer so outside activity is actually really enjoyable. I would still love to see all those flowers poking up and the grass greening up. But until I get to see this soon

green

I’ll do myself some good and enjoy playing in the snow.

Andy’s been really pushing to go hiking lately. I’ll admit I’ve been a bit of a Debbie downer on that idea because Hayden is to the age she no longer fits in a pack, and the stroller won’t really work in the snow. After much assurance from Andy that she can hold her own, we planned a few trips.

The first day we planned on hiking was actually a pretty gloomy day but was one of the warmest days of the week. We picked a trail that wasn’t far from home and decided that we would bring a buddy with us. Meet Jazzy.

jazzy

She belongs to Andy’s niece Matty. She’s still a pup, but she’s such a sweetheart. We thought she might enjoy getting out of the kennel for the afternoon. Hayden was beyond excited to help and really wanted to carry the leash.

leash

That lasted approximately 45 seconds.

fall

The trail was well groomed and Hayden did fantastic at walking by herself. With the exception of the hills, she figured out quickly those are hard and always wanted a free ride up them. I think the signage scared her.

steep

The trail we stayed on wasn’t long, and we made our way to our destination, the frozen falls. We attempted at some pictures with the whole crew and we learned fast that it’s a lot harder than one would think. We nailed it as you can see.

fail

The overcast day was still a successful one for an outdoor adventure but I think the furry one enjoyed it the most.

run

The weather the next day for hike number two was definitely in our favor. Remember way back when I said there is a place here I’m certain unicorns exist. This is it. Only in the winter. I want to say unicorns fly to somewhere in the tropics during the winter months. That’s just a guess though.

start

hike

We came prepared for this hike. We figured someone’s little legs would tire out quickly. We assumed correctly.

pull behind

Now anyone that knows me, knows that I always pack snacks. ALWAYS. This day was no different.

food

Who doesn’t love a giant sandwich?!

bite

Once our bellies were full, Andy and Hayden worked on building a snow castle and I supervised. With my eyes closed.

kick back

I did get up long enough though to venture in the IGLOO we found! I can’t say that it was authentic eskimo made, but whoever built it did a pretty legit job.

igloo

igloo 2

We spent more time just enjoying the sun than actually exercising, but Vitamin D is a big deal around here. We packed up all our stuff, and after a complete meltdown by the 3 year old we managed to make our way back to the Jeep. I’m not going to lie, I took a free ride part of the way.

pull

Hayden got her fill of jumping in muddy puddles in the parking lot while we loaded up all the wet clothes. The sun was still warm and inviting so the rest of the afternoon was spent driving up the rest of the pass. We stopped to take a gander at the people who had more motivation that we did.

skihill

Days like this are ones I try my best not to take for granted. I find myself occasionally wishing time away, hoping summer was here. Trips like these are a good reminder that blissful days come in all forms, even cold wintery ones.

asleep

52:5

This week’s act of kindness is one of three parts. Plus, I have a lovely contributor for these next few ones as well.

My sister in law is a giver. An awesome one. She always buys my family presents, all throughout the year. For no reason, other than to be sweet to us. Especially Hayden. She is one spoiled little person. A while back, she asked me to do her a favor and be her secretary for the day while she was out of town at work. A check needed to be dropped off for her rent, and though I said on numerous occasions that she didn’t need to, she gave me extra money for helping out.

I tried transferring it back. That didn’t work. I tried giving it back. That didn’t work either. So it’s been sitting in my account. Just collecting dust. Figuratively.

I came up with a plan. I would have her assist me and we would use the money towards this project. I took the money and bought 3 separate gift cards.

I wanted to be able to give back some love to my stellar assistance though. What girl doesn’t love clothes?! Especially super rad ones. Enter Sevenly.

I stumbled upon them on Instagram and fell in love. They are an online organization that not only has great clothing for your whole family, along with accessories and home décor, but each week they showcase a different charity and a portion of your sale goes to that cause.

This week’s focus is bullying. The charity that is featured has a main focus of girl on girl bullying in school. Go check out the story of the Kind Campaign HERE.

Any form of bullying is unacceptable. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about my children starting school. The world is a scary place, and as parents there is only so much you can do to protect your children from harm’s way. It’s heartbreaking to think about how cruel people can be. While I’d love to be able to hide in the bushes at Hayden’s school and give an earful to those little brats who pick on kids, that’s not exactly the right answer. The best thing we can do as parents, as friends, as adults, is set an example. Kindness is easy. And it’s powerful.

We are all different and unique. We all have quirks and flaws and most of us have at LEAST one really annoying characteristic. But we each have our own story, and I am a firm believer that no matter how different I may seem from someone, I can find one common thread with them. I might have to dig really hard, but it’s there.

That being said, I ordered a sweatshirt to help support the cause. I won’t tell you the final decision since I don’t want to spoil the surprise for her since I know she’ll be reading this. But here are a few examples of what you can pick from if you choose to order this week to help out the Kind Campaign.

1410-d2

1337-bethechange_1

1410-sweatshirt

You don’t have to spend money to support this cause. Simply be kind. Treats others fairly and respectfully. We all have hearts, we all have feelings. We are all human.

DIY: Champagne Cake

This recipe is super easy and looks fancy. Like you worked really hard to impress your guests. But the secret is, it’s still a cake made from a box. Ssshhh…

mix

You’ll need:

1 box moist white cake mix

1 1/4 cup dry champagne (tip: just use one of the mini bottles, it’s basically this exact measurement without the hassle)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 large egg whites

1 can whipped white frosting

champagne flavoring, if available

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat your cake pan of choice with cooking spray.

Combine the cake mix, champagne, oil and egg whites. Beat on low speed until well combined. Pour into cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove and cool completely.

Empty the frosting into a bowl and mix in desired flavoring. If you can find champagne flavoring, fantastic. I came up short on that part. I chose to use orange flavoring and made a Mimosa cake.

cakepic

You can make this as a fancy cake for a party, or darling cupcakes for a shower. Or perhaps you just need to spice up your Friday night. Enjoy!