Making Me Happy

A Few Happy Things

Okay, friends…it’s been a hard, long, exhausting few weeks around here. When things get hard, that’s when I used to reach for unhealthy solutions to make all the bad feelings go away, but in the last few years I’ve made it my MISSION to find better ways to cope. Some of these things have been ongoing (exercise, eating better, watching dumb TV, therapy, recovery meetings, etc.), but since the last few months have provided new and unique challenges, I’ve found myself more mindful of things that are making me happy. It’s just how things work, isn’t it? When life is all happy frappy, you don’t necessarily notice the little things that make you smile. But when life is a bit darker, the things that light up your day, even if it’s just a little bit, make all the difference.

So here are a few things that have been making me happy lately:

Making Me Happy

1. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton – I have shared my love of Glennon, the brilliant mind behind the Momastery blog, before (remember when I met her and cried and she hugged me?!), so I was more than excited when I heard about her upcoming book Love Warrior. I preordered a signed copy last Spring, and while the official release date is September 6th, I was pleasantly surprised to find it in my mailbox yesterday! I’ve only read a few pages so far, but I’m already engrossed in this memoir. You should absolutely order yours so you can get it next week when it comes out everywhere!

2. My Fake Candy – You guys, I’m a bit of a sweet tooth. I may or may not have bought an entire cherry pie the other day because I was feeling low. And while I definitely think it’s okay to treat yourself and ice cream can help when you’re sad (and it’s a much better choice than alcohol or drugs!), I know myself, and treating feelings with food isn’t usually a good choice (note: USUALLY…there are always ice cream exceptions). So I’ve been looking for a few healthier options for when my sweet tooth is raging, but I know I don’t want to eat a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. These chocolate chip cookie dough Larabars legitimately taste like candy to me, and are my favorite substitute when I am craving sugar. I’m also a huge fan of these wolfberry crisp bars from Young Living, which curb my chocolate craving.

3. LUSH Dream Time Temple Balm – My sweet husband LOVES giving gifts, so he always finds the kids and I little presents when he goes on work trips. When he returned from Las Vegas a few weeks ago, he brought me back a kit of fun bath products and beauty items from the brand LUSH, and this Dream Time Balm is my favorite. You rub a little on your temples right before bed, and all of a sudden your bedroom feels like spa!

4. Mai Tai Spritzer from Drybar – Okay, I’m not gonna lie…the other day I was feeling depressed and decided to go wander the mall. Is this healthy? Probably not, but I am not much of a shopper, so I figured it would be alright to do it once. Anyway, I found myself in Sephora with the goal of “finding something that makes me happy.” This sea salt spray for my hair was the winner! It smells like summer and heaven, and every time I put it on my mood elevates. #worthit

What’s making you happy right now? I need a few more things to add to my arsenal! All suggestions are welcome! If you need me, I’ll be over here eating ice cream Larabars…

Sober Friday Night

My Top Shows to Binge Watch in the Winter

A few years ago, after much hemming and hawing about the subject, Trent and I finally cut our ties with the cable company. We have gone with and without cable TV on and off for years, but we got to the point where we just couldn’t justify the cost. With this came tons of benefits…we read more. We spend more time away from the television. We don’t have the TV “on” for no reason or in the background. Our television watching time is definitely a bit more intentional.

Netflix and Chill : Movie Recommendations

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint and I still watch TV! In fact, I probably still watch more than I should. With the combination of Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu, I surely get my fix. But these days I’m finding shows I love and binge watching them, instead of spending time watching shows I feel pretty “meh” about (I’m looking at you, Bones and all CBS crime dramas!).

Over the holiday break, I gave myself permission to be a lazy as possible, and with the addition of some sick kids, we ended up spending a great deal of time stuck indoors…perfect chance to get started on some quality binge watching! Here are my Top 4 Favorite Shows to Binge Watch if you’re stuck inside this cold winter.

1. The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) – I had heard rave reviews about this drama from Amazon, but although the pilot was released early in 2015, the rest of the episodes weren’t made available until right before Thanksgiving. Based off the book of the same name written in 1963, the show follows an alternate universe, in which the Allies didn’t win World War II and the United States ends up being taken over by the Nazis and Japan. It follows the journeys of members of the Resistance, who are collecting videos to deliver to the mysterious “Man in the High Castle.” When they watch the videos, they see OUR history (ie. the Allies winning the war) and the show takes off from there. What is real? Are their multiple timelines? Who is the Man in the High Castle? It’s a mystery, sci-fi and historical drama all wrapped up into one. Bonus: The costuming and sets are INCREDIBLE.

2. Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix) – I started watching this one right before Thanksgiving, but it’s pretty heavy, so I’m still working on finishing. The Marvel brand has made other great shows via Netflix before (like Daredevil), but I love the character of Jessica Jones and her world. The acting and story are really superb, and I really enjoy the idea of making a “superhero” just a regular person, instead of all dressed up in a mask and tights. Bonus: David Tennant is really disturbing and amazing in his role as the villain, Killgrave. Bonus #2: Luke Cage. Enough said.

3. iZombie (Netflix/Hulu/The CW) – Okay, I’m not gonna lie. The name of this show is super dumb. Like…so, so ridiculous. But once you can get past that, it’s a really fun, quirky program with a lot of dark humor. The pretense is that a successful doctor gets turned into a zombie, but no one in her life knows. She realizes she can remain mostly human by eating brains, so she get’s a job at the medical examiner’s office, where she can eat the brains of crime victims. A side effect is that she gets all the memories and characteristics of the person who’s brain she consumed. So she uses that to help solve their murders. Yep, it’s a zombie crime drama/comedy and it’s way more amazing than what I just described. It’s made by the same team that made Veronica Mars, and you can tell. The look and feel are quite similar. I know this is a hard sell, but trust me, give it a chance. Bonus: Season 1 just came out on Netflix, yay!

4. Making a Murderer (Netflix) – It’s hard to avoid all the online buzz about this documentary series that follows the case of Stephen Avery, a man who served 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, only to be released and charged with murder two years later. I am only on episode three, but from what I can tell…this is going to be a wild ride. Bonus: Critics are calling this show a television version of the podcast “Serial”…

What are you binge watching lately? Anything I should add to my list?

Unstyled 004 KC Style Blogger

Unstyled : 004

Unstyled 004 KC Style Blogger

Welcome to another edition of Unstyled, a fashion blog series for the rest of us! Is everyone ready for fall? I’m so excited…autumn is absolutely my favorite season! And not only because it’s my birthday season (although that is pretty fun too!), but because I love the cooler weather, the smell of crunchy leaves and being able to wear jeans without being so sweaty I stick to my car seat.

Unstyled 004 KC Style Blogger

This outfit is a transitional one, perfect for the early days of fall. I’m not quite ready for boots season yet (and neither is the 90 degree Kansas weather), so I am making my summertime staple, my Birkenstock sandals, last me a couple more weeks. Now, this is where a legit style blogger would’ve made sure her pedicure was fresh and gorgeous…but let’s be real, I just didn’t have time for that. So here are my feet in their badly polished glory!

Unstyled 004 KC Style Blogger

Part of my style mantra is to reuse favorite items, and that’s why I’m featuring these black Madewell jeans for the second time. If it works, keep working it! This incredible buffalo plaid button down from Aritzia is the most comfy shirt I own. I love that it has a looser fit, since I often have issues with button downs gaping around my chest area. It’s one of those boyfriend styles that is made feminine with a good, skinny jean.

Unstyled 004 KC Style Blogger

As always, my jewelry is minimal. Anything too flashy would looks nuts with this ensemble. However, I rarely leave the house without my watch, and this is no exception. I love how this piece seems to be in every Unstyled post, because that’s really what style is all about for me. While I love trends as much as anyone, I feel like owning a few good pieces is worth way more than having an endless closet full of items I’ll only wear once or twice. (Note: My particular watch is sold out, but you can find a similar one here.)

Unstyled 004 KC Style Blogger

Now I just need to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte and I’m ready for fall! Happy September, friends!

Three Cheers for Pink Hair

A few weeks ago my husband and I were looking through all of our past holiday cards (which I’m gathering for another project) when he said, “See, you change your hair a lot!” I had been protesting that I had the same hairstyle for about 10 years, and I was getting bored. Again. But that husband of mine is pretty observant, and he’s not wrong! While technically I have had long, blond, wavy hair for 10+ years, I do not like getting stuck in a rut and I do change it up quite a bit. It seems like every two years or so I get anxious and end up cutting blunt bangs (my idea of “change” without too much actual change). I also used to color my hair quite a bit, highlighting it to be a sunny blond and even adding lowlights to dial down the color a little. But for the last two and a half years I haven’t colored my hair at all, and I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out, I really like my natural hair color! Who knew.

But, because I’m me, I started to get that little itch to change it up a few weeks back. When I mentioned this, he just asked that I didn’t cut bangs again (he’s not a fan) and I promised I wouldn’t. However, I’m not sure what I ended up doing was any less dramatic…

Pink Hair

Yep, that’s pink! I have wanted to do something fun with my hair color for such a long time, but because of my career in corporate marketing, I felt like I couldn’t do something so “unprofessional.” Oh, and I’m 32-years-old. I was always afraid a funky hair color would scream, “I’M IN MY MID-THIRTIES BUT IT’S OKAY BECAUSE I’M COOL! I’M NOT A REGULAR MOM, I’M A COOL MOM! WHY ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY?”

Six days after coloring...and no washing!

Six days after coloring…and no washing!

These days with my freelance life, I have a lot more flexibility when it comes to my attire and how I look on a daily basis, so I finally decided it was time to go for it. I requested “dusty pink highlights” from my stylist Amy, and she totally delivered! I love the look because it’s super subtle, but really, really fun. And once the pink fades, I will have golden blond highlights where they were. If it were up to me, I would’ve totally colored my whole head, but that’s why Amy rules, because she suggested a little less might be more, especially since it was my first time trying a color like this. She was totally right, however now I am terrified of the color fading because I love it so much! I was told the more I wash my hair, the quicker it will fade, so I haven’t washed it in six days…can I get a high five for dry shampoo? It’s the best (I use this brand if you’re curious).

So far, the pink is sticking around and that makes me so happy! Turns out, this blond is actually having more fun as a pinky!

Merry, Bright


Oh hey there! It’s just me, lounging in front of my Christmas tree, taking selfies in my new sweater that I’ve literally worn, like five out of the last seven days. In my defense, I am officially a real, live blogger now and it’s a super cute sweater, so I couldn’t really help myself. I think it’s in the blogger code that you MUST take selfies in front of twinkle lights in cute new sweaters or they will expel you from the union.

In other news, you’re probably wondering why I’m just now saying I’m a real, live blogger since I’ve been doing this for over 10 years. Well, long story short, this is my job now. My entire job, not my part time job or my fun side project…it’s the real deal! Earlier this week Crazybananas, LLC became an actual company with a tax ID and everything! On January 1st, 2015, this blog, my photography and my freelance writing will be my profession. Try explaining that one! Seriously, try. And if you figure out how to do it without sounding like a derpy dope, let me know. So far most of my conversations have gone like this:

Me: I created a company this week! Ahhhh! I’m so excited/terrified!

Kind, Inquiring Person: Oh, cool! So what is this company? What do you do?

Me: Um, well, a lot of things actually. I’m a writer, I freelance write and I also photograph people sometimes and I design stuff. Oh and consulting! Companies come to me to learn about how to work with bloggers. And stuff. It’s pretty varied actually…

Kind, Inquring Person: *blink blink blink*

I feel like something extremely big and important is happening in my professional like, one of those “two paths diverged in a wood” moments, but I’m realizing you never understand those moments until you’re looking back on them. While you’re actually living them, all you can do is keep swimming and try to keep your head above water. So for now, I’m going to do my best to put one foot in front of the other, breathe, and do the best I can.

Thank you so much, so, so much, for all of the love, support, comments, shares and insights. I know I wouldn’t have kept blogging without readers to connect with, so you are the ones I’m grateful for today.

Of course, I’m also extremely thankful for my family who has supported me as I worked my way through this decision. It hasn’t been easy, but here we are, and I know they are behind me. Our life is far from perfect, but I really believe as long as we keep trying, it will keep getting better. So for the rest of December, I’m signing off. There are two little people who need me to take them ice skating, a giant puppy who needs to hop through the snow like a bunny, and a husband to snuggle up to. Leading up to this big change, I’ve been working on overload, and they’ve born the brunt of my crazy. I know that doing this thing will require a whole new type of work ethic, and while I’m excited and ready, I want to make sure I start with my family’s tank full to the brim. I also need my tank to be filled, and part of the reason I’ve worked toward this change for so long, is because I believe it’s the best way to do this. The family/work balance will forever be a tightrope walk for me, but I think this is one step closer to getting my feet firmly planted.

Can't. Stop. Baking. This is getting ridiculous. BUT! If you're like me and you're bad at housewifery-type stuff like baking, and you find a technique that works, you go bananas! ???? Plus, Tate was begging for trains/cars/planes for his bday party on

I hope you all have an amazing holiday! I challenge you to list out 10 things you are grateful for every night before you drift off to sleep. This simple practice has changed my life in every possible way. I have found when I’m looking for the good things in my life, no matter how small, the bad things have less oomph. They just don’t pack the punch they used to. So for today, I’m thankful for:

1. Tate’s successful birthday party
2. Little boys in superhero costumes in a pink, princess castle, bounce house (see #1)
3. Lucy getting through her first semester of third grade with no big problems or issues
4. Teachers who love and care for my kids
5. Other parents who love and care for my kids
6. The ability to help out others when they need it
7. My friend Mara who is currently loaning me the latest season of Doctor Who, which I’m watching while writing this (multi-tasking!)
8. The big, dumb dog snoozing at my feet
9. My husband’s distinguished, ginger beard
10. My fully completed holiday shopping, and the fact that I don’t have to go to the Mall until December 26th (thank freaking god!)

See you in a few weeks, friends! It’s gonna be a fun ride!

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