November 15, 2013

Freshly Picked Moccasins Review and GIVEAWAY!

 Update: This giveaway has closed and the winner (Instagram user @ttapiatt) has been contacted. Thank you to all who entered! If you didn't win, don't fret! You can get your moccs at a discount with Freshly Picked's Black Friday sale, watch their website for details!

I have been a huge fan of Freshly Picked moccasins since they started popping up on stylish kiddos in my instagram feed a couple of years ago. Susan started this business as a young mom with a small budget and big ideas. Now her shoes are seen on celebrity kids all over the pages of US Weekly, so I have to say when they were not only willing but excited to work with me, I was over the moon!

I chose to review the smoke colored moccasins because I have a thing about grey, plus they go with everything, but there are SO many colors to choose from and fun seasonal releases all the time. I NEED THEM ALL MAKE THEM IN MY SIZE!

Stefanie, who has been my contact through all of this, was so helpful with sizing (see there printable sizing chart) and gave great recommendations so I ended up with a pair that fit my sweet Mila with room to grow!

I know I am biased on how adorable I think my children are, but look at her little feet (nom nom nom). These shoes seriously live up to the hype. They fit great, stay on, are durable and adorable. Apparently they are also comfortable because I keep finding Mila trying to put them back on by herself.

All of this is to say we loooooove them and I wish wish wish I could win my own giveaway, but alas that is unethical or something. However, YOU can win your very own pair of Freshly Picked moccasins in your choice size and color. There are five ways to enter and you can do any and all of them!

1.     INSTAGRAM. Follow @thecurlycues and @freshlypicked on Instagram. Repost the giveaway picture from my feed (you will know it when you see it), tag @thecurlycues and hashtag #freshlycues. You do not need to comment here that you have done this. If you have followed me, tagged me, and used the hashtag, I will see your entry. Enter this way once a day if you like!

2.     FACEBOOK. Follow The Curly Cues on Facebook and leave a comment here on the blog telling me you have done so.

3.     BLOGLOVIN. Follow The Curly Cues on Bloglovin and leave a (separate) comment here on the blog telling me you have done so.

4.     FRESHLY PICKED WEBSITE. Visit Freshly Picked and leave a (separate) comment here on the blog telling me what color you want to get if you win!

5.     TWITTER. Follow @thecurlycues on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (please include a link to this blog post). You do not need to leave a comment here, if you follow and tag @thecurlycues in your tweet I will see your entry. Enter this way once a day if you like!

Phew, that was a lot! This giveaway will run through Friday, November 22nd at Midnight. Enter away, and good luck!

*Freshly Picked provided these moccasins for my review free of charge. All opinions are 100% my own. Duh.*

November 8, 2013

Finding My Way Back

I’m feeling…good. Like really good. I feel content and motivated, like I can see where I want to be and I am figuring out how to get there. I am starting to realize that I have felt stagnant for the last oh four years or so. Not that I wasn’t growing and changing as a person becoming a mom of one and then two. It is probably the most I have changed in my whole life, but all of that change was sort of not by choice I guess. I had to go through those changes. I had to learn how to be a mom and provide for my family and keep everyone alive and fed and generally happy and thriving (with LOTS of help from my husband and family). But the ME that I had been working on for the 28 years prior to that was, for lack of a better term, on hold. My house was only clean if someone was coming over. I ate what I could find and whenever I had time to find it. I exercised only when the stars aligned to make it so easy I couldn’t help but go. My house, my body, my life was consumed by pregnancy and nursing and fitting in the essential things like sleep and (to a lesser degree) showers. I was treading water, just trying to stay afloat. I don’t mean to paint a picture of desperation. I was hibernating with my little crew. They are only so little and so dependent for so long and luckily I have a very wise mother who reminded me that laundry can wait (while kindly looking the other way from my messy kitchen, or even *gasp* cleaning it!) but tiny sleeping babies only want to be held and snuggled for so long. So I held, I snuggled, and I put everything else on hold.

Fast forward to now. I have a 3 ½ year old and a 15 month old. I am just over a month out of completely weaning Mila and I think that was the final hurdle (not that it was a hurdle at all because, just like Lily, she could have cared less and I was all WAH!) My house is still a complete disaster, but I can see the light. I’m coming out of the baby fog. We have only ever planned to have two kids and even though it makes me sad to give away old clothes and toys and various baby-containing contraptions, it is also so freeing. I could still use a little more time in my day to get everything done, but I can sense it in my reach. I am ready to clean and organize and exercise and feel good and accomplished (outside of crazy cute baby creating, which I’m SUPER accomplished at already.)

I guess sometimes I see other people and they seem to have it all together, but I know that while they have it figured out in areas where I am slacking, I'm just oblivious to the areas they feel are lacking. Ok, that rhymed. What I mean is that maybe they have a clean house, but their snuggle-o-meter is way low. I got one up on that! My girls are so fun right now and I am doing a good job of looking at them and being thankful for where we are. I miss the sweet squishy babies they were, I’m excited for the fun crazy kids they will become, but I’m just enjoying who they are right this second and that is so good. Things are good and they are only getting better.

I can't complain.

October 23, 2013


The PNW has been KILLING IT this fall. Cooler temps and lots of sunshine have lead to two of my favorite activities: leaf crunching and pumpkin patch-ing. Lily had her first preschool field trip to a local pumpkin patch, which was also MY first field trip in like 13+ years (old.) Highlights (according to Lily) included the popcorn we ate before we left and the cows pooping. I guess I have her 4th birthday party planned…

Without further ado, this is how we do fall.


Dear October, I love you.

October 9, 2013

Pumpkins in the Sun (and a Giveaway!)

Last weekend we had the most amazing sunny fall day, so I decided it was the perfect time for some outdoor (less mess for me) family pumpkin carving! I was lucky enough to be sent this awesome pumpkin carving package from Pumpkin Masters. The whole kit is valued at $35 and if you make it all the way to the end of this post (you can do it!), you can win one too!


We have used Pumpkin Masters products for carving in the past and have always had great success (as great as it gets with limited artistic skill), but this kit included some tools that none of us had ever used before. They also included some flashing LED lights to put in our carved pumpkins, a much easier (and safer) alternative to a candle.

My dad went with the basic carving kit that we have all used in the past and was pretty proud of his ghost.


I used the pumpkin shaving technique, which was harder than I imagined. I figured it out about halfway through the design, unfortunately, that left me with a slightly wonky owl. I will definitely do this one again now that I have the technique down. This is a good option for carving pumpkins early because you don’t hollow it out and it should last longer before becoming a squishy putrid mess.


Mila had a great time chasing bugs and eating leaves. When I say “no! yucky!” she laughs and puts them in her mouth. Awesome.

My mom unknowingly chose the hardest kit, which uses punches to cut holes into the pumpkin in various designs. This process would work best on a pumpkin with a thinner shell (not sure how you can tell that before carving). She got about halfway through her design and the side caved in! She also had trouble getting the chunks of pumpkin out of the punches. Once she decided to freehand her design and space the holes further apart, the pumpkin held up and I think her design turned out to be one of the best despite a frustrating start.


Ryan and Lily used the kid’s carving kit and ended up with the winner of the evening in their creepy cat. It was fun because even at 3, Lily could really help. Unlike the other kits that use tools to poke holes in the pumpkin to mark your pattern, the kid’s kit uses a crayon, so she could do it herself! She really liked participating in the actual cutting (with Ryan’s help) and thought the insides were “stinky”.


We had so much fun carving together and I know each year will be more exciting as the girls get older and more creative with their pumpkin designs. We will definitely be using our Pumpkin Masters kits year after year. 


If you use a Pumpkin Masters Kit this Halloween, you can also enter the Pumpkin Masters Carving Contest! Share a pic of your carving via Instagram or Twitter with #PumpkinMasters2013, submit via the Facebook app, or send via email to: to enter for the chance to win one of six prizes, including $5,000 for the Best Pumpkin. The contest is on now and runs through October 31st! 


Use the rafflecoptor entry form below (it is super easy, you can sign in with facebook!) to enter to win the exact kit we used! Giveaway runs through Sunday night (10/13) at midnight! If you don’t win, all these products are available at your local grocery, drug, and craft stores, and nationwide at Target and Walmart! Happy carving!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

October 4, 2013

Walla Walla

This last weekend Ryan and I headed across the state back to our Alma Mater, Whitman College, for Ryan’s ten-year reunion (HE IS SO OLD.) Walla Walla holds a lot of fond memories and a few not so fond memories (but those are fuzzy anyway) and it is always exciting to return to the place where we met (roughly twelve years ago. WE ARE SO OLD.) 

It has been nine years, two kids, one house, one car, one wedding and two jobs since I graduated, but every time I go back it feels the same. I do, however, find myself looking around and saying: “who the hell are all these people?” It is quite possible the youngins saw me staring at them in confusion and assumed I had wandered away from my nursing home in a fit of dementia. 

Regardless, it was a lovely weekend with lovely people. I did lots of super grown-up things like going wine tasting, spending $60 on a sweatshirt, and going to bed in a NyQuil haze at 9:30pm (thank you sinus infection.) Ryan may have done some less-grown-up things like playing beer pong at a frat house until 3am, but what happens in Walla Walla… ends up on my blog.

  (This is actually only eight years ago, but it was the oldest picture I could find because we DIDN’T HAVE DIGITAL CAMERAS BEFORE THAT. old.)

 (In 2013 you can take wine tasting selfies without shame. Or just with a little shame if you prefer.)

 I think we have aged…gracefully…

October 3, 2013

Blog Button

I made a new blog button!

Does anyone use blog buttons anymore?

If yes:
The Curly Cues

It's also over there in the fancy sidebar thing if you ever need it ----------->

September 26, 2013

I have two kids.

I know this should not come as a surprise, but I have two kids and they are (gasp) different from each other. As much as I have pondered the whole nature vs. nurture thing and as much as I am all over Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” I still kind of expected my kids to be more like each other. They do have the same parents and they do live in the same environment, some of their crazies HAVE to be our fault right? But no, they were born this way dammit and this is how they will be!

When I was pregnant with Mila and going through the “how will I love another?” guilty mom phase, I was secretly hoping that she would look different from her sister. I don’t know why I fixated on the physical part, but I just wanted them to each have their own look. I was so excited when she was born and had no hair! I think it just helped me separate them as two distinct beings that I could love. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Now that Mila is a full-fledged little human, I see that their personalities make them distinct as well. Their differences might seem silly to an outsider (YOU! YOU OUTSIDER!), but just funny little things have come as such a surprise to us. Lily, for as long as I can remember has been a little fish. I could actually leave her in the bathtub for three hours (I don’t.) and she would still complain when I took her out. Mila gets her fuzzy little head washed and then immediately tries to climb out. Done. Moving on. Lily HATES loud noises. As soon as she hears a fire truck in the distance she says: “I want to go home!” Therefore, every time we vacuum, which lets be honest isn’t all that often, she is up on the couch with her hands over her ears. Mila on the other hand must be restrained because she spends the whole time chasing the vacuum and patting it like a dog. Lily has always kind of eaten like a little bird and we practically had to hand feed her for the first couple of years just to get enough food in her mouth. Mila eats…not like a little bird exactly, more like a small bear. She shovels food into her mouth and growls and claps. I take the clapping as compliments to my cooking but I think it is mostly “yay food!” Ryan and I often find ourselves looking at each other and saying out loud: “our kids are different!” It keeps things exciting I suppose. We get to learn how to parent two completely different personalities. You know what they do have in common? They are both exceptionally adorable. I take credit on that one. Nature for the win!

September 20, 2013

Grown-Up Shmown-Up

A couple of weeks ago Lily’s preschool had a parents' meeting where we were supposed to come without kids to learn about the school, their policies, meet the teachers, see the classrooms etc. Ryan stayed home with the girls and I set off for the meeting on my own. On the drive there I started to feel kind of nervous and I realized that in my mind I was thinking: this is weird, it is going to be me and a bunch of adults. Like, I’m nervous to be around all these parents. Like, I’m a kid and THEY ARE GROWN-UPS. Hold the phone… I’m a parent. These people have kids the same age as mine. Some of them might even be younger than me. I’M A GROWN-UP TOO.

I wore my Hello Apparel shirt, but took this pic later because I was too scared one of those grumpy old person parents would catch me instagramming in my car and judge me.

I don’t know what it is. I feel like a parent. I feel like a responsible adult-type person. I have two children. I’m freaking 31 years old! By all accounts I should consider myself a grown-up, but it still seems weird. Is it because I still shop at Urban Outfitters? You would tell me if I needed to stop, right? Whatever, young at heart baby! I’m going with it.

September 13, 2013

This Post Comes to You in Three Parts...

Why three parts you ask? Because I said so! Also because none of them have anything to do with each other.

Part 1: Hair

I cut my hair! Not like oh hey, I cut my hair, but like I really really cut it, like probably 10 inches cut it.

See there is this little book I love called The Fault in Our Stars, you may have heard about it by now, but I knew about it first! Just kidding, it isn’t a contest. Or is it? No, it’s not. Anyway, the book is by one of my favorite authors and is currently being made into a major motion picture starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. See, the book is about teenagers with cancer, but it isn’t really about that at all. Just trust me and read it if you haven’t already. It is a cry, laugh, cry/laugh book that will make you feel all the feels.

But back to my hair. Shailene Woodley is playing the protagonist, Hazel, and for the role needed to cut her hair. She decided to donate her hair to Children with Hair Loss and invited fans of the book, the movie, happiness, and life in general, to join her in donating.

Before you think: “hey weirdo, some actress asks you to cut your hair and you just do it?” Well yes, that is exactly what happened. But, it isn’t my first time at the hair donation rodeo! Five years ago, right after my wedding my sweet 4-year-old niece/flower girl donated her hair and inspired me to do it as well! It is just hair, it grows back. You should do it too! If you don't have enough hair to donate, you can help someone who does. My amazing mom and sister paid for my hair cut! Gooooo family (and free haircuts)!
I love it, it is so easy to wash, and I can still make a tiny ponytail! I’m just going to be a hair farm every few years. Gross. Hair farm.

Part II: Preschool

Lily started preschool, holy cute!

I wasn’t that nervous about the first day drop-off because we did a couple of summer camps at her school over the last few months and she did great then. Cut to first day drop-off and: SHE CRIED! Oh no! I was totally that mom who called 3 ½ minutes after drop-off to ask if she was ok. The front desk lady told me I just had to hold it together a few more hours. Hey, FU lady! Also, touché.

She did great after the first 2 minutes and hasn’t cried since. Instead she gives me “bye Mom.” as she walks off. Which is worse? Now she’s all singing songs and saying “you sing too!” and I’m all “I don’t know that song.” She is a real person with a piece of life separate from mine. Wah. Also yay.

Part III: Mila

Just a quick post to say: this kid. I just can’t even. All the cute. Sometimes I take her out just so I can hold her up to people and say: “look what I did!”

She is fun. When she says “no” it sounds like “now” and gives me mommy giggles.

*end random post*

August 30, 2013

Cute One-Year-Old is Cute

Life is so good right now.

I am so busy soaking it up that I haven’t had time to write about it! I am happy to be living in the moment on not stressing about documenting everything, but I’m starting to feel the inspiration to write again. All in good time.

A few weeks ago we had Mila’s one-year photos taken, and despite the serious face pictured below, we were able to capture her sweet and silly personality. Girl loves her some toothy grin. I think we even may have been able to document a dimple or two. For the record, there are two. All pictures by the lovely Amber Brickman Photography.

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