Tips for a Relaxing Summer Patio

I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy some if this great summer weather, but if you're like me to might be hard to sit and relax in order to enjoy it. Here are my top tips for building the perfect relaxing summer patio!

Find the perfect spot! 
 photo flamingo_zps3be00358.jpgSet up your spot to where you are looking at something you really enjoy looking at. I really wanted to set my patio stuff up on the grass in my backyard overlooking the bird feeder. However, because we have had som many CRAZY storms, the ground was too wet. SO, I set everything up on my backyard deck! I can still watch the birds and feel relaxed.

Make sure you find a great chair!
 photo glider_zps98d5e78a.jpgI LOVE old school tulip chairs and patio furniture. I had been trying to find one of these things for months, so I finally brok down and just bought a new one from KMart. It's a glider and there's room for Dave (if I can peel him away from the game on tv). I made the seating a little more comfy with some lumbar supportive outdoor indoor pillows from Pier One (they had a sale).

Use your favorite color! 
I love all of these colors, but I really love aqua and yellow. I feel like yellow is such a cheerful color and aqua is really soothing to look at. I found a sweet yellow patio umbrella at KMart for $40!

Don't be afraid to have some fun! 
 photo popcicleUmbrella_zps7481c197.jpgI found these popsicle lights at Big Lots! They're battery operated so you don't have to worry about electricity AND they're really fun. I also found some pink flamingos at KMart in my search for an umbrella.

Make a Patio Kit! 
 photo AbitaBugcandle_zps12686e5a.jpgI found a really fun woven backet at Goodwill that came with a woven cover. It's my little patio kit! I keep it in the house and then bring it outside with me so I don't have to keep running in and out of the house. AND I don't have to worry about any bugs making it there home. I keep the following in my kit:
  • Bug Spray & a citronella candle
  • Suntan lotion
  • A book (Nook, Kindle, iPad, whatever...) 
  • Suntan Lotion
  • A light throw (World Market has some greta deal right now!) 
  • Abita (or some kind of beverage)! 
  • Flip flops
  • Trail mix
  • Portable iPod speakers and an iPod
Try this out and take a little time to stop and enjoy your summer!!!

~Steph @ Calamity Layne  
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My favorite FUN kitchen tools!

Betties N Brimstone: Fun kitchen stuff!

I was working in the kitchen last week and I realized how many fun kitchen tools I have, and thought it might be fun to go through and share a bunch of them with you.  Most of these I've purchased via Amazon (I recently sucked it up and bought myself a Prime membership - now I'm going crazy with the window - and sometimes actual - shopping!).

Betties N Brimstone: Fun kitchen stuff!

Above are my measuring cups and spoons.  I saw the set of Matryoshka doll measuring cups at Target during the holiday season, and when I went back to get them, they were gone.  Thankfully, and Amazon search quickly fixed that problem.  The sets of heart-shaped cups and spoons are also thanks to Amazon.  I bought them shortly after I received my pink KitchenAid mixer for my birthday.  I figured that new measuring utensils were in order.

Betties N Brimstone: Fun kitchen stuff!

I also like to shop on Amazon when I'm looking for an unusual kitchen item, just to see if there are any "fun" versions available.  For instance, Todd and I were looking for corn holders (we love corn on the cob via the grill!) and I didn't want those boring ones I always see in stores.  I was really excited to find these colorful Butter Baby holders that looked like tiny men - and they fit together to store when you're not using them!  How cool!  While shopping for these holders, I also stumbled upon the Cherry Chomper, a little guy that pits your cherries by pressing down on his head!  Iggy's going to have fun with this one once he's a little older, I'm sure!

Betties N Brimstone: Fun kitchen stuff!

Traditional Father's Day gifts include stuff like ties, sports equipment, and tools, right?  So for Father's Day this year, I bought Todd this pizza cutter that looks like a table saw!  (Don't worry, he also got a LEGO set, so he's cool.)  The magic hat toothpick holder is also one of Todd's items - we bought it at a little store (now closed) in Oak Park, but you can (of course) find it on Amazon, too.

Betties N Brimstone: Fun kitchen stuff!

Once again, proving that you can buy pretty much anything on Amazon... I bought the purple dishwashing brush at HomeGoods during Halloween.  I just looked on Amazon, and hey - here it is!  The pastasaurus green pasta scoop was something I just couldn't resist...

We have a large collection of snazzy bar items, too, but I grabbed only a couple to share here.  The first is our skull bottle opener (I'm pretty sure this was Target Halloween), you can find a similar opener here.  The second are space invader colorform glass markers - I'm sure they're intended for wine glasses, but we use them on all kinds of glasses.  BONUS - they stick to our tile backsplash in the kitchen when I have to take them off to wash the dishes!

Betties N Brimstone: Fun kitchen stuff!

Lastly, even if you can't find an oddly-shaped "fun" kitchen item, you can still usually find kitchen tools in fun colors!  My personal favorite is PURPLE.  So far I've accumulated a purple tea kettle, a purple spatula, a purple cake cutter/server, and a purple turner.

Do you have a favorite kitchen item color?

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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The easiest pasta salad in the world!

 Betties N Brimstone: Super Easy Pasta Salad idea!

I am in love with this super easy pasta salad combination, and I had to share even though it's NOT my original idea.  I have to give credit to my neighbor a couple of houses down - she made this for me during the first week after surgery, and I asked her for her recipe.  Well, it's not exactly a recipe.  You just dump stuff into a bowl.  WHOA my kind of easy cooking!

The trick is finding the ingredients.  I know for a fact that you can buy everything at Trader Joe's.  I also know how frustrating it is to NOT be near a Trader Joe's, so if you can find similar items at your local grocery store, I imagine they would also work just as/almost as well, too.  So I took some close-ups to help you:

 Betties N Brimstone: Super Easy Pasta Salad idea!

Have you spotted my poor planning?  Yeah, I didn't photograph these when they were FULL.  But better now than never.  I got too excited about the promise of pasta salad.

Okay, for the BASIC recipe, you will need:

  • A pound of pasta (I chose bow ties, because it's fancy)
  • 12 oz jar of marinated artichokes
  • 8.5 oz of sliced dried tomatoes in olive oil
 Betties N Brimstone: Super Easy Pasta Salad idea!
These are both from Trader Joe's, but I think any sun-dried tomatoes in oil and marinated artichokes would do!

Okay, here's the directions:
  • Cook and drain the pasta. Put into a bowl.
  • Open and dump contents of both jars (artichokes and tomatoes) into the above mentioned bowl.
  • Stir it up.
  • EAT.
Here's my finished pasta, below.  Can you spot the difference?

 Betties N Brimstone: Super Easy Pasta Salad idea!

I bought a jar of black olives and drained them before dumping them in, too.  Because I love olives.  You know what else would be good in here, too?  Cheese.  Once your pasta has cooled down, I would recommend crumbled up feta, fresh mozzarella, or even chunked up pieces of string cheese (because I'm fancy like that) in there.

But keep in mind, adding stuff means adding STEPS.  And more time.  Don't have a lot of time?  Stick to the three-item combo above.  The jars of sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes combined create the "dressing" for the pasta salad, and that's the beauty of it!

 Betties N Brimstone: Super Easy Pasta Salad idea!

I took this bowl of pasta salad to a BBQ with friends.  It would make a nice summer side dish for any dinner, or, if you love pasta like I do, you can enjoy all by its delicious self.

Mmmm, pasta...

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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Shades of Gray in the Bedroom

Yeah...not what you're thinking. Sorry! ;)

The grey I'm talking about is a decorating issue that started when my husband had an idea to paint grey stripes on one of our bedroom walls.

 photo Stripes_zpsf8fa11b2.jpg Our bedroom is a constant work in progress. I had been planning on painting the whole room aqua and had the room all planned out in my head. The colors were black, white, red, and aqua and it was going to have something to do with skulls...AND (as always) have a vintagey feel. BUT Dave threw out the grey stripes idea the day of painting and they were great idea so we thought we'd give it a try. However, when we finished painting the room gave off this really interesting French vibe that I was not digging.

Because of this feeling, I have not been spending a lot of time in our bedroom other than sleeping and I sure hadn't tried to fix it until this last weekend when I found out my in laws were coming over soon! ;) I decided to try out some quick and easy fixes to get our bedroom up to par! You can try these at home too!

Change Up the Curtains
 photo curtins_zps624b9b8d.jpg Originally, I had some tension rods and solid black curtains up before and I knew they had to go. I had wanted to go with solid grey curtains, but when I got to target they had some printed ones on sale for $6.88 a piece so I thought I would try out 2 different style of curtains in the same room. I ended up really liking it! I also invested in som real curtain rods and that made the whole look a little more streamlined.

 photo BIGMIRRORS_zps20f42800.jpg Another trick you can try is a statement piece (if you haven't noticed...I love them). I had been looking for some gold vintage pieces to put above our tables-side lamps, but I was not having any luck. I ran across these mirrors at Target and HAD to get them! I think they worked out well. I got 3 for each side.

 photo Mirrors_zps8e5a8781.jpg

Throw Pillows
 photo bed_zpsf6f00e8e.jpg
I really wanted to incorporate skulls into our bedroom decor and I am still working on how we can do that (maybe a big painting or skull drawer pulls...we'll see). One way I was able to accomplish was through these throw pillows for now. Throw pillows are a great quick fix for sprucing up a tired bed spred or couch!

Our bedroom is still coming along...We are looking for a different dresser and a different side table for me...but it's at least presentable enough at the moment! What kind of tricks do you use to spruce up your home?

Steph @ Calamity Layne
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Closet Re-Organization

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I have been doing a lot of projects around the house now that school is out. One of these projects is our master bedroom closet. Technically, we started it over Memorial Day weekend, but that's just like summer, so I think it counts.

closet re-organization
Here's my old IKEA dresser. Would I be able to fit all of this into my closet space?

Our goal in the master bedroom was to be able to get rid of our dressers! They take up an entire wall in our bedroom, which is already quite small (by typical master bedroom standards), and we wanted to free up space so I could put an old family heirloom - a large wooden vanity - in the room.

We decided to go with an Elfa storage system from the Container Store. If you've never experienced Elfa before, it's pretty darn amazing. I love products that are manufactured with smart, elegant design in mind.  This is one of those products.

Here's how it works:

  • Bring your closet measurements to your nearby Container Store. We chose to schedule an appointment ahead of time with a closet designer, since we shop with a baby in tow and he does not like to wait!
  • Then, you'll consult with your closet organizer, and he/she will ask you about your needs, and present you with options based on your space.  Our closet is a traditional, wide "sliding door" style of closet, although we've opted to remove our doors. We're thinking maybe adding curtains later on?
  • After you make all of your design decisions (and preview it on the computers to see how it looks!), you purchase all the parts and pieces, which the computer program already has all figured out for you. So you have EXACTLY the right number of shelves, standards, brackets, screws, etc etc etc.  You get to take everything home that same day!

We chose to install our Elfa ourselves (its super easy. They'll install it for you - for a cost - but I really don't think it's worth it).  All you need is blank walls to install it all on. For us, this meant removing the existing shelves, closet rod, and trim that held it all in. We filled in any holes and painted our space a fun, cheerful mint color! (The previous color was a barf-worthy beige. So glad to see it gone.)

closet re-organization

Once we installed all of the shelving, the real fun begins.  Would we be able to fit all of our stuff from our dressers into the new closet drawers?

closet re-organization
Obviously, not everything is in the closet yet in this photo.  But look at all of those drawers!

Amazingly enough, yes! I am so happy with our final result!  I feel so organized now, and putting away the laundry has never been easier!

Please note, this is NOT a sponsored post. I just truly love Elfa shelving!

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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Things I Love: FLOR

Betties N Brimstone: FLOR

We've been busy this summer taking advantage of the time off to do things around the house and update rooms, complete projects that have been sitting for a while now.  One of these tasks was our living room floor. We've made a few significant changes since I last showed you my living room.  One change (not pictured) was that our fireplace is fixed and we've been enjoying real wood-burning fires all winter!  So yayy!

One other big change in our house was the addition of our new puppy, Dio.  Well, if you've ever raised a puppy, you know the challenges of house-training a dog... We used to have a large old shag rug in black on the floor.  It was old and needed to be replaced anyway, but I was convinced that there were "puppy accidents" that I never caught still festering away in the shag yarns.  Gross.  Todd and I decided to throw it away a couple of weeks ago, and we had a big bare wood floor for a while.  But at least it smelled better in there!

I'd been window-shopping and dreaming about a new rug for the living room even before we welcomed Dio into our house.  You can view some of my daydreaming on my Pinterest board here.  Oddly enough, my solution came to me in the form of one of my student's parents!  I found out that he is the Creative Director for FLOR, a company that makes carpet squares, and invited him into my classroom to talk to my seventh graders about art and how he uses art in his job (since I teach art and all...).  It was a great opportunity for the kids to see someone out in the "real world" working in an art-related field, and the end of the year was the perfect timing to change things up from our usual routine in the classroom, too!

So, his presentation to the kids wasn't a sales pitch, but he won me over!  FLOR makes the most amazing modular carpet "tiles" that can be combined in endless different ways to achieve different design effects.  They can be cut into smaller sections or left whole.  Combining the same squares will give a seamless effect, but you can mix and match (like we did) to create other designs, too.

Betties N Brimstone: FLOR
(Motorhead clearly wanted in on the photos.)

We chose a "crazy quilt" style that uses different squares for our living room.  The main reason I chose this option was that if we ever needed to replace a square and our carpet style was discontinued, we could easily substitute another pattern (or solid color) in its place. (Did you catch my "pop" of yellow I've added to the room? Totally inspired by my new yellow lampshades from Target!)

Yes, you heard me right.  You can replace a SINGLE SQUARE if you needed to.  You might be thinking, "okay, this looks expensive," but squares average between $8 - $20 each, and they are large size - like 19" square, not just a standard square foot.  Plus, there's a summer 25% off sale right now, which makes it even more affordable!  If you've done any serious rug shopping recently, you know they're not cheap.  So, a rug like this (just under 8'x10') cost us less than $500, which is still less than most area rugs you'll find that size.

The best part is that it is EXACTLY the design and style we wanted, since you get to make it yourself! The squares get ordered and shipped to the customer directly no matter how you choose to buy, but we went to the physical Flor store to check them out before we made our purchase.  It was one of the most fun shopping trips ever, because there are sample squares of all the different types of carpeting and you can lay them out right there in the store to see what combinations you like most!

Betties N Brimstone: FLOR

The squares are connected to each other (as opposed to the wooden floor) using special circular "Flor dot" stickers.  We've had ours for about a week now, and with two dogs and a baby running around, I can tell you personally that it stays put!  Each square has its own rubberized backing, which completely eliminates the need for a carpet pad (an additional cost to consider for traditional rugs).

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post.  I just love this product so much that I had to share!  If you'd like more info on Flor, there's a ton of info on their website here.  Their Chicago store is located at 1873 N. Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614.  Phone: (773) 325.0201

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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Things I Love: Derby Lite Edition!

Things I Love: Derby Lite edition

I'm a little late on today's post (I usually don't like to wait until so late in the day), but I had to sort through all of my photos from last night's Derby Lite class.  Even though I currently cannot skate, I've been going to class each week so I can see what I would have done, had I not injured myself.  This way, when I'm ready to come back, I know what I'll be expected to do, and I can maybe even practice some of the skills in the meantime!

Last night was the last class of the session, and friends and family were welcome to come and watch class.  I brought my camera with to catch some of the action.

Things I Love: Derby Lite edition

I always enjoy going to class and watching class, even if I can't skate, but I'm always a little bit sad not to be out there moving!  I am a non-exerciser (I just don't like it!)... except for roller-skating.  I have always loved it, and wouldn't you know, I find something I love, and I injure myself. Ugh.

But I will be back!!!

Things I Love: Derby Lite edition

Not only is Derby Lite class fun in the physical sense of getting up and skating and performing skills you didn't think you were capable of doing before, but the girls in the class are amazing and friendly!  After the last class, we went out for drinks, and I kept thinking about how much I'm going to miss these ladies during the summer session when they're all moving on in class!

By the way, I know I talk about Megan (who does my hair at Floyd's), but did you know that's her in the photo above throwing the peace sign?  Her derby name is Wanda Jacksomeone.

Things I Love: Derby Lite edition

I was super happy to get all of the girls from our beginner session together to take a group photo after class.  Can you spot me?

Things I Love: Derby Lite edition

One day when I'm back skating I hope to be brave enough to post a photo of myself in full gear looking all badass.  Bonus fun fact: my derby name is Ronnie Maims Dio.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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DIY Blueberry Soda!

Betties N Brimstone: DIY Blueberry Soda

Since school is finally out for summer (yes, I've been off already due to my elbow, but there's something mentally freeing and less stressful when you know it's actually out for real), I've been having fun trying out new recipes and gadgets I've been eyeballing for a while.  One of these things is making my own soda syrup!

I've owned a Sodastream for a while now (maybe a couple of years? Here's why I originally bought one), and I love that I can make my own carbonated water whenever I want!  It's pretty refreshing in the summer when you want something bubbly - I just add a lemon or lime wedge, and that's it!  When I originally ordered my Sodastream machine (if you're wondering, I own this model), I also bought some of their soda syrups to try out.  While they were tasty, a bunch of it ended up expiring before I could use it all.

Betties N Brimstone: DIY Blueberry Soda

I was pretty excited to spot this book, Make Your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for All-Natural Pop, Floats, Cocktails, and More, by Anton Nocito, on Amazon and was intrigued that I could make my own syrup in a bunch of different fun flavors (and in smaller batches that I would actually use up!).  It made me excited to use my Sodastream again, too!

It's important to note that you don't need to have a Sodastream/carbonating device in order to make your own soda.  You can buy bottled seltzer water at the store and add your own syrups, so if you're just starting out, that may be the way to go.  I hate when my water gets flat, so I love the convenience of making my water bubbly right before I drink it!

I chose to make blueberry syrup as my first DIY soda endeavor.  The recipe was fairly basic - I took 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and heated them all up in a saucepan (stirring frequently) until the berries burst and everything combined together.  Then it had to sit in the refrigerator overnight.  Waiting is hard.

The next day, I ran the mixture through a fine mesh strainer (I used one that I have for rinsing Quinoa, it's like a mesh screen), to get any blueberry chunks out!  Ta da - blueberry syrup!

Betties N Brimstone: DIY Blueberry Soda

Then I was finally ready to make my blueberry soda!  Three tablespoons of syrup are poured into a glass of ice (I added some blueberries to garnish!), and your carbonated water is poured on top.  Give it all a stir to combine, and you're good to go!  Yum!

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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This Week's Top 5 Kitschy Vintage Kitchen Finds!

Hello there!
This week I've done a lot of vintage shopping...mostly to keep my sanity in tact through some major unwanted (but necessary) home renovations. SO, I've decided to share my top 5 thrifty vintage kitchen finds from this week!

#1 - Star Glow Tea Pot, Creamer, and Sugar Bowl!

 photo StarGlowPot_zps44f0fdf4.jpg I've been scouting thrift stores and antique stores for months trying to find the last remaining pieces to my Star Glow dish set...On Sunday, I found these 3 rare gems at a very cute antique store on 31st street called the La Grange Antique Mall. The Tea Pot was $10 and the creamer and sugar bowl were $4 a piece! I got the whole set for 18 bucks!

#2 - 50s Atomic Aqua Squiggly Bowl!

 photo squigglybowl_zps5a8df10c.jpg I found this SWEET bowl in Ohio when I went to visit the other weekend. It was only $8! It fits perfectly on top on my microwave and it's great for holding fruits and veggies!

#3 - Frosted Lemon Yellow Martini Pitcher and Glasses!

 photo pitcher1_zpsd5b8e46d.jpg This is probably one of the best finds I've had in a while. I have wanted one of these for a LONG time, but I could never let myself spend the money. Usually these pitchers are outrageously priced (especially if they are a cool color like this one) they can run anywhere from $25 - $45. I got this set in Ohio as well. The pitcher was $3.99 and the glasses were $2.99 a piece.

#4 - Cute Green Owl Mug

 photo owlCreamer_zps347667d2.jpg I found this little guy at Goodwill for 45 cents. He looks great next to my giant lucky cat in my kitchen. I might use him as a planter later, but for right now he's strictly decorative.

#5 - 50s Coffee Percolator

 photo coffeePot_zps86bc786f.jpg I found this pot at Goodwill as well. I even tried it out and it STILL works! It's in great condition, but I'm going to use it for display right now. I got it for $2.99!

So when you're out and about, keep your eyes peeled and don't be afraid to shop around for the perfect piece...Sometimes it pays off in the end!

Until next time...
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

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Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+

* Disclosure: I received this product complimentary for testing and review purposes from Influenster *


When I found out that the Spring Vox Box from Influenster had a Schwarzkopf hair product in it, I was BEYOND excited. When I found out that the product that I received wasn't OSIS Dust-It, I was super sad.  If you've been a reader for a while, you may know of my love for hair powder/dry shampoos (as evidenced by this post, where I even mention OSIS Dust-It specifically!).  I received OSIS Gelastic ultra strong flex gel.

Gel?  I don't have short hair.  I don't have curly hair.  I don't use gel.  So I was understandably bummed.  Especially when I started seeing lots of instagram photos of lucky receivers of Dust-It powder.  Those people had no idea what awesomeness they held in their hands!

In the interest of science, I decided to give my OSIS Gelastic a whirl despite my disappointment, just to see what it could do for me, if anything.  I was actually pleasantly surprised!  This morning, I washed my hair. I applied a very small amount of gel to my hands (about the size of a dime/nickel), rubbed my hands together, and ran my hands through my hair.  I combed it through (including my bangs - this is important), and used the hairdryer and a brush to blow dry my hair as usual.  The result was nice, smooth hair.  See below.

wash & dry

My first observation was that I love what the gel did for my bangs.  It helped hold them in place, down and straight and full (if you have blunt bangs like me, you know how annoying having them split on you can be).

The gel also made my hair feel more texturized.  Not in looks, but in actual feel if I ran my hands through it.  This is something that I love, because I am all about teasing/backcombing sections of hair to add volume, and any product that will help hold a tease is a-ok in my book.

with hair powder

Here's the next tip: I now added my hair powder application.  Do you notice that my Got 2 B hair powder is made by Schwarzkopf?  Whoa.  Yep, I already knew this.  I've also discovered that it's becoming more and more hard to find in stores.  I ended up ordering 4 bottles of it online last week because I love it so much and don't want to run out.

I am very generous with hair powder.  I apply it by parting my hair down the center and shaking it onto the roots.  Then I create two more parts on the left and right side (each) and shake powder onto the roots.  Then the fun part - running your hands through your hair and rubbing the powder into the roots all over, making your hair crazy and big and awesome.  See photo above right.  It is also important to note that I do not use the shaker-style hair powder on my bangs.  I will use an aerosol dry shampoo on my bangs if they seem to get oily (but I try to go up to three days between shampoos on account of the purple dye - if you shampoo more frequently this probably isn't an issue).

I also divide my hair up into sections and backcomb/tease sections to add and keep volume.  I part my hair on the left, which creates unevenness on the overall volume of my 'do.  The right is more full than the left.  So I mostly try to tease the left side to even it out.

finished hair

Megan taught me a trick last week to help alleviate uneven hair.  Instead of parting my hair on the left using a straight part down the left side going back, I start the part on the left front and go diagonally towards the back right.  It adds some hair volume from the right side, and it's kind of more interesting than a typical part.

After all of my teasing and backcombing, I smooth my hair out to the desired fullness.  As I write this, I just realized I didn't even use hairspray today.  And it held up! Woo hoo!

finished hair 2

My finished hair result!

Here is some additional information directly from the manufacturer:

OSiS+ Gelastic is an ultra strong flex gel that provides all day definition and control and dries with a firm finish. Perfect for creating defined curls. $18.00 at salons across America, and Ulta.com For more information, visit the Schwarzkopf website here.

Benefits:  Ultra strong style control all day long, dries with a firm strong finish, provides lasting definition.

Ingredients: Resins normally used in finishing sprays provide lasting, strong and moldable hold.

Application: Apply a small amount into damp hair and style as desired, or work into dry hair for additional separation.  Create your style or add texture as preferred.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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Iggy @ 16 Months


These updates always sneak up on me!  Two more months have gone by!  My little guy is going to be one-and-a-half soon... but for now, I'll take 16 months.  I feel like he has made huge strides in just the last week alone.  I'm going to try to remember it all here and get it down, so bear with me.

First of all, we've had a couple of warmer days (not today ha ha) and we pulled out the kiddie pool for Iggy.  I bought him an actual bathing suit (after this photo was taken, of course), and I'm pretty excited to show it off.  It has skulls on it.  Iggy mostly likes standing next to the pool and dumping water out from the bucket onto himself and the grass.

food iggy@16months

Iggy has made HUGE strides in eating.  Mostly that he feeds himself (see above).  It's really really really reallyreallyreally messy, but he absolutely insists on doing it himself, and he's getting most of the food in!  These photos are from one of the first times we let him attempt to feed himself.  The drippy food goatee is my favorite part.  So cute.

getting into stuff iggy@16months

Iggy likes to explore and get into things.  Both good and bad.  Here he is with my shoes on.  If you leave them on the floor, he will try them on.  Even if they're backwards or the wrong feet.  Also, Iggy has taken to crawling inside Dio's crate.  Sometimes even letting her out of the crate in order to do so.  Sheesh.  He loves to crawl into things, so you can imagine how popular cardboard boxes are in this house, too.

I taught Iggy how to carry a small step stool over to the couch so he could crawl up next to me (with the whole one-armed elbow surgery thing, I can't really pick him up), and this has been both a blessing and a curse, because now he will use the step stool to climb up on a variety of things, like our ottoman/coffee table, and the kitchen shelves...

hanging out iggy@16months

The personality on this kid just cracks me up.  His crossed legs in the car seat shot above was more than I could stand.  And then here he is on his recliner (a hand-me-down from my brother and sister-in-law) having a snack with his blanket on his lap.

He talks now, too.  Just a little, but enough.  Just this past week he has started saying "Mama" and "Dada" to refer to Todd and I.  And it's the single greatest parenting moment since I had him.  His ability to communicate is amazing.  The other day he brought me a children's book with a picture of a banana and then pointed to the kitchen.  I asked him in disbelief "do you want a banana?" and he looks and me and goes "YEAHHH" as he nods his head (it's too cute, seriously).  So I walk into the kitchen with him, and he walks over to the counter where I keep the bananas and points up to it.  I take one down and hand it to him.  I aks him if that's what he wants.  "YEAHHH."

Then, when you go to offer him something (usually food), you can get him to say please.  Except when Iggy says it, it sounds like "pee pee pees" and then you give him the food.  Ughhh the cuteness is too much to bear.

vaccuum with dad iggy@16months

Last week we stopped at the pet store and he decided to say hi to the cats that are up for adoption.  Again, I melt.  And then we went to the toy store to buy him a vacuum so he can vacuum the rug with Dad.  My boys love to vacuum, what can I say?  I'm lucky.

Iggy has some of his back molars now, which we found out when he was having a meltdown at the doctor's office and he threw his head back to cry and yell - we could see them!  Hmm.

He has never had a haircut since he was born because he doesn't have a lot of hair.  Except in the back, where he's sporting quite the mullet right now.  I think we're gonna let it keep growing and see what happens...

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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