SOCIAL MEDIA

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

4 Braids to keep you feeling cool but looking HOT...

How do you like that title?!
I am really working on building my blog confidence and making my titles more eye-catching.
Realistically what are you more likely to click on...

Hey some braids, check them out if you feel like it. No pressure!
OR
HOT, HOT BRAIDED HAIR STYLES TO KEEP YOU STYLIN' & PROFILIN'

Because I have clicked on way too many Buzzfeed articles due to their commanding titles (wayyyy too many! lol).

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

I feel like braids are the most under-appreciated and underused of all the hairstyles!

Everyone knows the topknot, ponytails have had their time to shine but when does the braid make a comeback?

It's definitely found its place in the wedding world lately, every updo is braided in some fashion. Fishtail, Dutch, French, upside down, milkmaid, rope braid, halo braid, waterfall braid.

I can do 6/8 of those on myself and 8/8 on other people so they're not that hard to master, they will take practice (probably a lot of practice) but nothing worth doing ever came easy right? (sweat laughing emoji)

I learned to braid a 3 strand braid when I was young, around 5/6 then around 12 years old I learned the french braid. It wasn't until I was in my 20's that I learned the fishtail and dutch way of braiding and once I got it I felt silly for struggling so hard for so long.

The best way to learn is to watch A LOT of youtube videos.
I'm not going to share tutorials done by me in this post, its mainly just to show you the options but if you want to learn the techniques I will include some youtube videos down below!

1. DUTCH BRAID PIGTAILS

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

Dutch braids are my favourite!
Its a french braid turned inside out (easier than it sounds) and it ages your braids in a good way!
I feel like there's a rumour saying french braids are juvenile (which isn't true but whatevs) but Dutch braids look chic, stylish and complicated.

They even make piggy tails work for 30 somethings and beyond!
Sometimes I do a full braid from scalp to tip of the hair and sometimes I braid to my neck and then elastic off and have half dutch braid/half traditional piggy tail.



2. THE MILKMAID BRAID

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

This is my most used braid style, it works on the dirtiest of hair and I ALWAYS get compliments when I wear it. Like, always, always, always.

People really like this style but I like it because it showcases a cool pair of earrings perfectly.

There's almost nothing to it either, you braid pigtails and then lift them on top of your head and pin down with bobby pins. Easy Peasy!

Always make sure the end of each piggy tail is tucked under the braid so you don't see any hair elastics and the updo looks polished.

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos



3. THE BRAIDED HIGH PONY

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

This one is definitely do-able for all!
Whenever my hair is fuzzy and unmanageable I put it in a high pony (as high as I can go! I feel very 80's typically because I also do this with a side pony) and do a basic 3 strand braid.

Sometimes I will wrap my hair elastics in hair to make it look more polished but mainly I find this helps to keep me cool or used best while swimming, plus later in the night when I take it out I am left with really nice waves.

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

A trick I use is to bobby pin the bottom of the braid to my head so it stays in place and doesn't swing around everywhere.

Just under that bottom elastic is a bobby pin holding the braid in place ^



4. THE BRAID BUN

Braided hair for sun and hot weather, dutch braids, braid updos

This is my go to, ride or die, I even did a blog post about this years ago and called it the postpartum hairdo or something.

Read that blog HERE 2014 wow!
Ugh I can't even read it, I never read my own blog, I am super annoying, bless you all for standing by me (lololing)

You do the high braided pony that I did above but then you wrap the braid into a bun and pin in place.
This is so easy but feels like an upgrade from the basic topknot, plus it stays in place all day!

Sometimes with baby fingers around my topknot gets knocked, pulled, stretched, and by the end of the day looks like my baby actually did the bun for me. But the braided bun is much more stable and doesn't fray in the storm that is known as Hurricane Noelle. 





And that's it for now but this post inspired/reminded me of so many hairdos I want to wear.
I think I will start a hashtag for my hair photos, how about #HollyHousewifeHair

Then you guys can search it and I can look at your creations if you use it! 
Sunday, 8 April 2018

Broke But Bored? Check out what we did with the kids last week for cheap or FREE...



free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

I am not someone who has to have something to do daily.
Actually, I really like being home, like, really, really. 

But when Nick is home with me its game over, our days get unorganized and I can't focus.
It seems weird to say that, like its easier to do everything myself than to have my husband help...
But you guys know, spouses mess with your schedule.

So Nick randomly had this whole week off and instead of pushing our schedules on him I decided to throw caution to the wind and DO STUFF OUTSIDE THE HOUSE. (dun, dun, duhhhhnnnnnnnn)

However, we are now a family of 4 and stuffs expensive man. 
Just eating out is expensive, let alone an activity (plus it has to match our age brackets, 9 months, 3.5 years, 31x2)  so I really had to push the boundaries and think of some stuff that we hadn't done in a while, stuff that was cheapish and things that would be "exercise" -ish is bonus points.

Because FYI we dropped Elliott off at a playgroup this week and 2 kids brought iPads....... IPADS.

Which then prompted all the kids to gather around and watch the iPad kids play on the screen.
Honestly, I am just going to say it, WTF.

Yeah, I watch way too much tv and my hobby/side gig is being available on the internet WAY too much and maybe I will eat these words in a few years when my kids are older and more annoying about screen time.

BUT WTF?!

IPads during play time??
That's just not ok with me and I really dislike that other parents are cool with it because it's making my job of screen police so much harder. I dropped my kid off to avoid the video game fight (Elliott got a video game for Easter and he LOVES it, I have to tell him an hour a day or he would literally play morning till night) but here we are gathered around watching other kids play, not even gaining our own hand-eye coordination. (lolol just watching)

Anywoo, I just wanted to get that off my chest...

Without further ado, here are some fun things that we did that you could do too!

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

1. BOWLING


I LOVE bowling, I love it, I love it.
When we lived in Newfoundland I was always so sad because we didn't live anywhere near movie theatres or bowling alleys (or wave pools but that's a lesser sadness) and I live for those things.

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

This was Elliott's second time bowling and he was actually into it and good! He pretty much beat me every time (he did have a ramp lol).

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

It was a good fun couple of hours.
We got a little exercise, we got a little competitive, we got a little hungry!
So we went to.....

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

2. MCDONALDS

Ok, hear me out.
We don't go to Mcdonalds often and if we do it will 9/10 times be the drive-thru so we thought this time we would go inside, make an event of it AND we went to the Sackville Drive location which has a play place!

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

3. IKEA HAS A FREE PLAY PLACE FOR KIDS WHILE PARENTS BROWSE

We had to get Noelle a new light fixture and IKEA has a free play place where you sign your kids in for an hour and Elliott loves it there!

The only negative I can say about this is that 1 hour to get through all of IKEA is a stretch.. so then you're lost in that massive building, trying to loop backwards and follow the floor arrows but it would all be so much easier had you had 2 hours. I don't know, would 2 hours break the bank IKEA?!

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

We ended up with this one! ^^^^^^
You guys saw it on instagram and so far everyones loved it!

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

Some other options^

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

IKEA also has a great quickie snack bar!
We haven't eaten at the big restaurant yet but we have hit up the snack area because you can get hot dogs + drink or pizza + ice cream for just a few bucks. It's an awesome way to fill the kid's bellies and have them asleep by the time we start the car for the ride home.



4. GO FOR A WALK

The weather is getting nicer (not today, if you are reading the day this is published and live in NS) and we took the kids to the playground which was a bit too cold to stay very long but then we went for a little walk and it was perfect.

Noelle is obsessed with making a cheese face now*^

My kids love walks and we will sing or make up fun games like counting, pointing out colours, trees, animals.



5. CLASSES AT MICHAELS CRAFT STORE

I feel like everyone should know that Michaels offers classes!
Kids, adults, free, cheap, fun!

I knew about them years ago and that's where I learned to make jewellery.
I went to a Christmas earring class (pay the cost of materials) and made the cutest earrings ever! I still wear those earrings and made them with my Girl Guides to give as Christmas gifts.

This week they were offering a free slime making class so we went to that and it was super fun! Although, we didn't actually make the slime (I was a little disappointed), the slime was premade and we just added our bling, sparkles, sequins, foam balls to it.

If you click here, it should bring you to the Michaels website where you can find out what dates/classes are offered near you

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

free stuff to do with kids in Halifax

Then we walked around the store and touched things but Elliott knew we weren't getting anything and it was an easy exit because he did get to leave with his slime so he was pretty happy.
(these balls in a net give me the creeps!)



6. KIDS EAT FREE

Ok this is a bit of a cheat because I really dont know all the days and locations where kids eat free.
You're going to have to send me what you know and maybe I can compile a master list of all the places where kids eat free on a certain day.

I do know that on Mondays kids eat free at the True North Diner (Bedford), which is where we are below!



I'll be real with you, we have been to the True North Diner a few times and the food is not my favourite... but the atmosphere IS!

I love the throwback diner colours, booths, poodle skirts, jukeboxes, and so did the kids!
Elliott loved the Jukebox, he would put the quater in (monies go to the IWK) and pick the song.

It was just a fun place to go to enjoy something different and it sounds even better if you're getting a free kids meal to boot!



And that's all the stuff we did this week!

I'm already on the hunt for cheap things to do during Nicks next vacation.
I am thinking we will focus on Bayers Lake and maybe do a day at Chapters, mini putting and end up somewhere kids eat free in that area.

Let me know if you have any tips!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

NSFW: Adult Podcast Recommendations...

A few months ago I asked for some podcast recommendations, I was overwhelmed with so many great suggestions that I had to start right away and tick off the list!

So far I've stuck to similar themes, that's just who I am: I love reality tv, so no surprise 2-3 of the podcasts are bachelor run/celebrity-heavy.

It is interesting because although they're similar themes they're also all so different because the host truly sets the tone for the show. I love podcasts because it feels like real people are behind them, they haven't yet fallen into the 'perfectionism' trap of blogging.

I find myself replying out loud to them sometimes and that's half the fun!
For now, you're allowed to be a bit non PC, make bad jokes, speak your mind.

I've listened to all of these and I like some better than others so I'll note which are my favs and which may offend you more than others down below! >>>>

podcast recommendations for adults



1. Off The Vine Kaitlyn Bristowe

This is my favourite of the bunch!

Obviously, Kaitlyn Bristowe was the Bachelorette. She's Canadian, she's sassy, classy, trashy and wine glassy. I love her fiance Shawn B, I love them together especially, and I love their dog Tucker doodle.

She has celebrity guests, psychic mediums, reality tv stars, shes even gone to Chris Harrison's house and had a 2 on one date part-er with him!

It's easy listening, sometimes jaw-dropping, a teeny little bit offensive but mainly fun, laughing, girls night vibes.

I love her confession booth where people admit to embarrassing things.

For me, 4.9/5 stars*




2. The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast

A less good version of Off The Vine, Ben and Ashley I's podcast is great for bachelor nation fans.

I am dedicated to Off The Vine and listen to every episode but this one I listen to based off of the guest list. They talk a lot of reality tv and have had a lot of the girls from Aries season of Bachelor.

Ashley I's voice goes right through me sometimes, no shade to her I still find her interesting! Just that voice... once and a while it can be a little nails on the chalkboard-y (in the nicest way possible! loling)

3/5 stars*

adult podcasts
3. The Lady Gang

This one is mean girl-y but addictive! Nothing is off limits, don't ask me about the kit kat bar!

Becca Tobin played Kitty on Glee and that's what prompted me to start listening. Mainly I listen just to disagree with whatever they say because one-minute they're promoting women empowering women and the next they tear some girl a new one.

but isn't that the gossip-y juice we all crave once and a while?
Easy listening while cleaning out your closet kind of podcast.

3.5/5 stars*



4. The Heart of it with Estée Lalonde

I've followed Essie Button from the start (may her and Aslans relationship RIP) (< I had to do that, I am in a weird mood) and what I love about her podcast is the variety.

I like that one-day shes talking about her mom, the next travel, feminism, beauty, strength, identity,
it keeps it interesting. I almost never agree with what she says but I appreciate seeing things from another perspective.

Its a more serious vibe but still light feeling.
If anything, I would love to hear her just interview more, it doesn't have to be hard hitting.
Just to sit down with her mom, grandmother, blog friends etc and ask about their lives, thoughts on particalur things, childhood quirks. I dont know what it is but hearing 'dull' stories from random average people intrique me.

4/5 stars*




5. Sex with Emily

So you've felt a void since the Sunday Night Sex Show took hiatus?
You miss Sue and have questions?
Have no fear, Emily is here!

This is the perfect podcast to play while washing dishes, half tuning out....only to be slapped back to reality with a "WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY?"

I won't go deeper than that.
The title says it all.

4/5 stars*



6. Serial

I love true crime.
I have watched every OWN network, A&E, TLC crime story known to man so I knew I would love this tale of high school sweethearts gone wrong.

This is a real-life story where a woman is murdered and a man is currently serving time on her death, but did he do it?

Listen to this podcast and decide for yourself!
I don't want to ruin anything for you but I have to say they're reopening this case and I believe a new trial is being held in the not too distant future so you should listen asap so we can keep up with the latest developments.

4.5 stars* (really keeps you on your toes)





7. Dirty John

Another true crime.
I am only 2 episodes in but I love that they have a variety of voices chiming in on this story. We get to hear from parties involved, with their thoughts and memories. It's extremely captivating and infuriating because COME ON DEBRA you deserve better!

I can't wait to see where this goes and then google the heck out of Dirty John! It's taking all my willpower not to research the story and ruin it for myself.

4/5 stars*

And that's it for now!
I still have at least 30 recommendations I am hoping to get through over the coming months and will keep you posted.

I would also LOVE to start a podcast.
It's definitely not on the top of my to-do list because I couldn't fit it in even if I wanted but it's a faint idea that maybe I can nurture down the road.

Something I have always been told about my influencer status is that I have to commit to a 'niche'. But I am un-nichey, I cannot limit myself to one thing.

If I ever start a podcast I feel like it will be a little bit 'The Heart of It' semi-serious topics and a large part 'Off The Vine' fun, jokes, reality tv, psychic mediums.


Let me know your favs! I will adjust my list to get to them asap.
Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Helping learn to crawl: Little Tikes My First Seat

This post is in partnership with Little Tikes.

Is it weird how I just said a seat (stationary) can help a baby learn to crawl (on the move)?
A little bit, but sometimes it takes something steady to get them rocking and rolling.


Little tikes my first seat, teaching baby to crawl


But first, can I touch on how many classic childhood memories Little Tikes is responsible for in my life...

The Cozy Coupe
The Toddler swing
The TotSports Basketball hoop

If you had a cozy coupe you were so lucky! We never owned one ourselves but every time I went to a friends house who had one I was always the driver.

Little tikes my first seat, teaching baby to crawl

A couple of months ago Little Tikes sent Noelle their newest floor seat which couldn't have come at a better time since she was just starting solids but she wasn't completely steady on her bum enough to trust her sitting while eating.

She's a little bit smaller than her brother was at this age so the seat has been helpful to sit in at feedings but it's also been helpful as an anchor for her to hold onto while she sits on the floor next to it.


Little tikes my first seat, teaching baby to crawl


The chair is super lightweight so I move it easily to wherever I am in the house but for her its sturdy (high back, large base) enough to hold onto while sitting, crawling, building her core strength.

Little tikes my first seat, teaching baby to crawl

Little tikes my first seat, teaching baby to crawl

Little by little, she's gained independence from needing me to hold her up and then getting up on her hands and knees all by herself. First, she was belly surfing across the kitchen and now she is straight crawling like she never wobbled in the first place!

Little tikes my first seat, teaching baby to crawl


At this rate, she will be walking by her first birthday! (see photos below)

Which sounds crazy to me, considering Elliott wouldn't walk until he was 19 months old, yup that's 19 months! He was (and is) the most stubborn, hard-headed, determined (whether it be good or bad) kid ever. hmmm sounds like someone I know (lol see today's insta story).








I just can't believe my little baby is 9 months old already, shes really starting to bloom into her personality and laugh, cry, play while being really engaged and almost communicating with you.

She uses her sad face whenever she's unhappy and she uses her blinks to try and be funny (and it is super funny!).







If you want to check out the Little Tikes My First Seat it is available at Walmart $59.97 here and comes in grey, pink, blue, turquoise, plus tray option available.

And I'm going to ask the dreaded question:
When did your kids walk?!

I don't personally dread this question, but I do feel parents use it as a competitive conversation starter!

Everyone was freaking out about Elliott not walking but I knew in my heart of hearts that he was just. that. stubborn.

I knew it.
So maybe my question should be broadened to did your 2nd child walk faster? (copycatting)
or did your girls walk faster than boys, vice versa?
I know there's zero patterns to be found because every child is so unique but I still find it interesting!

Let me know and let me know if you had the little red and yellow cozy coupe or if you had to steal it from the neighbours like I did! (hehe)
Monday, 2 April 2018

How to fake professional photos in 5 easy steps...

I love photos and I love professional photographers but I feel like there's a limited annual budget I can spend on photography, which is particularly hard at this stage of life because the kids can completely change in a couple of short months and I am wanting to document that.

In an effort to cut costs (and time commitments) I typically do professional photos once a year, unless there's an event such as Noelle's birth. Newborn photos obviously top the special event category and we had to capture those moments with a professional, I like the stress free option of having someone else pose and fluff us for that kind of thing. 

When I am paying a photographer (find us floating around Caitlyn Colford Photography) I usually book for late summer/early fall so those photos can be sent out in Christmas cards if need be.

Otherwise, it's all me, all the time and ALL iPhone.

family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos

This is where blogging has changed me as a photog, I now see photo props whenever I buy home decor and I see Instagram photos whenever I shop for clothing.

But the #1 thing that's going to get your photos looking more professional is the location, that's my top tip!

1. GO OUTSIDE

This is a hard one I won't lie to you, I live in Nova Scotia (Canada!) and we struggle with stable weather. Lucky for my photos this year has been freaky (thanks global warming) and I've embraced the outdoor photography as much as possible, even our Christmas photos were outside!


family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos

It may seem hard to get outside because you think you need a cornfield or some beautiful old abandoned church but you. do. not.
I almost never leave our property:
A. because I am lazy
B. because nice settings can be easily faked

Find a front step, tree, bush, large patch of grass, lug some rocking chairs outside, a huge blanket, whatever you think looks clean-ish and neutral, that's your base.

Another tip: I like is to use this location over and over again.

We always take photos on our front step but it's not me being boring (although it is so easy, I cant say that doesn't factor in) it is intentional.

I love that season to season, year to year, I can really see how much the kids have grown because that space always stays the same, the porch is the same but the kids are taking up more real estate!


family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos


2. EDIT YOUR PHOTOS

Even though your lighting is great you're still going to want to tweak things just a smidge to really polish the photo.

See photo below and photo above ^
The photo above is 100% iPhone and looks great because of the natural lighting but the photo below is edited with VSCO and looks just a tad better in my opinion (well its a photobomb lol but the exposure, cropping and sharpness looks upgraded).

If you haven't seen my post on how to edit photos then click here.





3. POSING

This is going to be personal preference (this whole blog post is personal preference!) but I love a natural looking photo shoot.

When we hired Caitlyn to do our newborn photos I was thrilled because she came to us and did a completely 'everyday' style shoot. Mind you, we were dressed fancy for the first time since welcoming Noelle but it still managed to feel genuine and raw.

That's why I keep shooting through the setup, re-adjustments, scoldings (LOL), this is me telling Elliott to get it together so we can get this done!





Can you tell I am saying:
The Easter bunny was so good to you because you listen to mommy & daddy, now will you listen and take some nice photos or will the bunny be back to collect his loot?



Can you tell from this photo? ^
LOLing



4. OUTFITS

You don't need to buy new but you know I always do because I love a matchy matchy look. (sorry not sorry! haha)
If you don't love the direct matching just pick clothes that compliment each other, it doesn't have to be complicated, I usually lean towards neutral clothes and bold accessories (lipstick, earrings, necklace, one or two of these that show off my style).

White, navy, grey, brown, blush, mint, pale blues, creams are all coordinating without overpowering. Pick a couple that suit your family and mix and match outfits until you're complimenting.

One more tip: If one person is sockless, everyone should be sockless!

This is something I noticed from previous photos, I was always barefoot because I never, never, ever wear socks but Nick would have on heavy black wools and it looked so odd! Now I make everyone free the toes before we shoot, I think it looks cute.




family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos

5. PROPS

This one is easy for me because I use what I have and I typically decorate for the holiday/season so it's really easy for us to pop out to the front step and already have a backdrop, but there have been many times that I have lugged the inside out to stage the scene.

If you're photographing to capture a holiday use some holiday decor, give your kids Christmas ornaments to hold or drop easter eggs around their feet. I find this helps the kids stay engaged as well,  my kids need something to entertain them while we shuffle everyone into place.

Remember layers are your friend, blankets, banners, burlap, I love all these things in excess!
They're still neutral and fall into the background but add dimension.

If its the summer maybe a picnic basket, fall + pumpkins = no brainer!, florals for spring, honestly I am debating a fruit display with watermelons and pineapples come June... stay tuned.

family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos

And that's how I get the photos without the price tag.
I hope this helps and if you have any other tips & tricks send them my way!