Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Nightfall

I have always been afraid to be alone at night. I never minded Ray going out with his friends, as an introvert I preferred to stay home while he went out, but wanted him home before bed. As it would get dark I would get anxious and hear every little noise.

When he died I was suddenly alone in a house at night and would lay in bed petrified to close my eyes. Every little noise scaring me and waking me. How was I going to sleep?

Ray's brother decided to stay with us Tue-Thurs nights to help me out and so I wasn't alone. On the other nights we would go to my parent's house and stay the night. The girls weren't in school and I was able to come and go as I pleased so this worked. Slowly as the girls got older and in school I realized I needed to learn to be able to be alone with them.

My sister started coming over once a week and my bil continued to come over once a week. This gave me a little break, sometimes I would go to the store or just sit and do nothing for a bit.

This continued for quite a while until finally I realized that company was cutting into the girl's bedtimes and I also was sometimes frustrated with people always over.

I slowly became more confident in my ability to be alone with them at night and not scared of everything, waking up less and less at night. I still do on occasion, but not like I used to. I have had some scary situations and called people for help and luckily have a great support system that I can count on that will be over in .2 seconds if I need them.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Hair with Kimi K Salon and Spa

 Before with no makeup and straight hair!

I am so excited to share this fun project I got to be a part of with Kimi K Salon and Spa in Downtown Rochester! They asked if I would be a hair model for a spring style shoot they were part of for the local Rochester magazine. 

I plan to do a whole hair post soon, but for those that don't know I have been going to this salon for years. Jeni has made me blonde, dark, cut it short, put in extensions, you name it I have probably had it done! I have super thick hair that grows pretty fast, so I like to change it up often! 

I had really short notice on the shoot so I didn't have time to get my color touched up and right now I am in between my darker winter hair and my summer blonde. Anyone else hate that hair stage? I just want to be blonde again! The goal of the shoot was to create a spring hair style and braids are very in right now. Jeni decided to do curls with a sweeping braid across the front. This style looks so pretty and I think I can even recreate this on my own at home! It has such a boho vibe, which if you know me is right up my alley. 

The whole experience was so fun and I can't wait to see what the final photo looks like in the magazine. I will post it to my Instagram as soon as it is published! If you don't follow me on Instagram my handle is youngwidowedstylishmama if you want to follow along. I post a lot of style content on my Instagram that is all shoppable through the liketoknowit app!

**I want to thank Jeni Jubb at Kimi K Salon and Spa for the hair! It turned out amazing as usual. 

My tunic is Zara, shoes are Vici Collection, and my jeans are Abercrombie. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Widow Wednesday--What now?

When Ray was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer I knew he didn't have a lot of time and I didn't know what I would do after his death. Do I return to work? Do I move? How would I survive as an only parent? What would my future look like?

When he died I realized I just needed time. Time for it all to sink it. I felt like I was drifting through for the 8 months he was sick. There is no timeline in a cancer death. You never know when it will be. You try to prepare but how do you know what life will be like?

I had a just turned 2 & 3 year old that didn't really understand what was going on except Daddy was in heaven. They were super attached to me and had been shuffled around for 8 months. I had so much guilt over not being with them at a crucial time of development. They needed stability and to feel safe. After being a counselor that was one of the biggest factors I had felt were of importance in a child's upbringing. I just wanted to go back to being their mom full-time and doing the things I had planned to do with them.

Part of stability and feeling safe I felt, was keeping them in the home they were used to. I didn't think it was the right time to pick up and move. We had only just begun making this home ours when he was diagnosed. We were having it painted when he was in the hospital, the basement bathroom still had the tools in it from where he left off working.

I had weirdly always felt like the girls were "just mine." Maybe some premonition of what was to come? I don't know why because he was such a hands-on father and spent a lot of time with them. I did feel like I needed to navigate the world without him here though and learn how to do things on my own.

I had so many decisions and things that needed to be dealt with that working seemed to not be the right answer at that time. I had cars to deal with, finances, paperwork, etc. You never realize how much needs to be done or should be prepared for until someone does die.

I remember our first outing after he died was to the Armada Fair, with my Dad. It felt so strange to be going out and doing something fun when we just buried my husband...was it ok? Should I be out and having fun?

Summer had open house for 3 year old preschool 2 weeks after he died. I remember going to the school and showing her around and the room filled with all these parents, mom and dads. I remember thinking this isn't how it is supposed to be! He should be here...he would be so proud and excited for her. I remember thinking that I needed to tell the teacher about our situation. I stopped her in the room and introduced Summer and I and preceded to tell her that my husband had died 2 weeks before of cancer, and the tears started to flow and I kept apologizing. I had never cried to anyone when talking about it and why here? Why now? In the middle of all these people that don't know my story, I was so embarrassed. I remember her trying to comfort me and telling me she would be in good hands.

Navigating this new world wasn't easy and I never knew how I would react in different situations, my emotions were all over the place.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Spring Transition Outfit

A little Tuesday post today because I just never had time to sit down to work on this to post yesterday. I have been trying to do new posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but that seems to get thrown off quite regularly because of the kids, weather, other obligations, etc. 

We have had a glimmer of spring here in Michigan, but also still snow and cold. I crave to wear some new spring styles, but I also love being warm way too much! When shopping for a few new spring pieces I always try to pick stuff that I can still wear into summer. This is one of those outfits!

The shirt was a Target find. I love the boho style and I can easily pair this with shorts and sandals in the summer. It is a nice light material and reminds me of something that I would find in a more expensive retailer. I paired it with my black jeans and black backless heels (that are on MAJOR sale, I almost want the brown now too!!!) It still gives off that warmer weather vibe, but I still was able to wear it on a cold day. 

Speaking of a Target find, I can honestly say, I never shopped much for myself at Target until recently. They have really upped their game in the clothing department with all these new brands and styles. Prior I probably purchased 1 thing for myself in about 10 years at Target. Kid's clothes...that is a different story! I have always loved the styles for kids and regularly buy stuff for the girls at Target. I find myself browsing quite often to see what is new. I can usually find a great deal on something that is a great dupe for something much more expensive or a trendy item I don't really want to spend too much on. The order online and return to store is also very convenient. 

I also want to talk about my bag today too! Vintage Boho Bags is an online retailer that sells revamped Louis Vuitton bags or you can send in your old bag to have revamped. They offer all different types of ways they can revamp it. This bag was an old bag of mine that had been thrown in the back of my closet because the tie closure had broken from usage and I just never went to get a new one. I figured this was the perfect bag for them to work their magic on because who wants a Louis in the back of the closet unused? You send them a picture of your  bag and what you want done, then they send you a quote and invoice. You ship them the bag and a few weeks later they ship it back. I am so happy with how mine turned out! This bag is now back into rotation and fits me perfectly with the new boho flair. 

Now if the weather would just warm up so I can finally wear some of my other spring clothes comfortably, I would be happy!

As always all items are linked below to click and shop! I linked a few other tops that are similar and a dress that I love too!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Amazon Spring Dress Try-On: All Under $30

So, in all honesty, I never ordered much in the way of clothes from Amazon. Maybe the occasional item that I couldn't find in stock someplace else or that was cheaper, but that was all. Lately, I have been seeing a ton of posts with cute Amazon purchases so I decided to give it a try. All the items were prime and came in a few days and the ones I didn't like I easily printed off the return slip and dropped them off at the UPS store and returned. Only one item was such a fail (you can see it on my Instagram story today) that I didn't even remember to take a photo to do the collage. Just image these all worn on a beach or on a 75 degree day with a tan. So here goes...

Black Dress--This dress has a super cute fit and gathering on the side that make it really flattering. It is an easy basic that can be dressed up or dressed down. I paired it with these wedges, but easily could have thrown on some flip flops. I have it on under the kimono in the second pic, but think it would be really cute worn with a jean jacket and baseball cap! This dress has 24 options to pick from! You can chose from multiple colors and sleeve lengths and it is under $20!

Palm Kimono--This is one of my favorite purchases from last year. I already owned this and wore it on vacation last summer, but included in this try-on because it seems to be a favorite for a lot of people. I posted it on my Liketoknowit. recently and it was a popular item. I wore it over my swimsuit last year, but it can easily be worn as a layering piece over a dress or even jean shorts and a tank. This is a steal at under $17!

Pink Dress--This dress runs really short. I am super short and it is a perfect, short length on me. I tied the belt at a weird spot now looking at the pic I took, it should have been moved up, but it is a cute little dress. It looks much more expensive than it is...again only $20 and comes in 4 colors.

Peach Dress--This dress looks like a Free People dress, but at a fraction of the price. It is a thinner material and you would have to be mindful of what you wear underneath it. I included a pic of the front and back because I think the back of the dress makes it. It has a tie that you can adjust to make the back tighter and not droop. I personally was a little nervous about the back and chose to return this, but I have seen a few other people posting this dress and it makes a beautiful dress for family photos or even to wear on a beach vacation. This one comes in 5 colors and is under $30.

Floral Romper--I saved my favorite for last! This was actually one that I added to the order "just to try" and didn't intend to keep it and it ended up being my favorite. The fit is so cute. The length is perfect, not too short or too long and the elastic at the waist makes for a flattering fit. The entire back is open! I love the long, flowy sleeves and paired with some neutral heels make it a perfect spring outfit. I think I may wear it for Easter even.  This one comes in 2 colors and is under $25.

I did a whole try-on with these items and will be uploading the video to my Instagram story today for you to see them on along with a little more of a review. I also linked the shoes, but the tan ones are almost sold out. I posted these in my shoe picks when they first came out and knew they would probably sell quickly and they did. You can shop all these looks by clicking on the pictures below, it links straight to them!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Widow Wednesday---Still not over

The days following, I just wanted over with. I hate being in crowds of people that I know. I am very anxious and even for our wedding I chose a private, immediate family only ceremony and a reception for all afterwards and that was only because that is what others wanted. I hate any type of attention or showing any feelings in public. I am a pretty private person when it comes to those things.

I remember lots of visitors showing up dropping off food and sympathy gifts/cards and offering to help. It was well received since everyone was at my house trying to put together photo boards and funeral stuff. I remember being very hands off and not wanting to deal with any of it. I just wanted it all over and to go away and be alone.

Looking back, as a private person, I needed that time to take it all in and grieve and with so many around I wasn't able to. Instead, I did nothing.

We decided to hold off for a few days to do services since people were traveling in to make them. I remember going to the mall and buying shoes because I knew I would be on my feet a lot and didn't have any comfortable dress shoes. I remember using it as an excuse to get away and do something normal. Even that experience wasn't normal having to explain to the salesperson what I was looking for and why.

I spent the next few days taking more anxiety meds than I had during the entire illness. I was truly trying to get through the days showing as little emotion as I could. I remember calling my next door neighbor the wrong name! I was so embarrassed after but I truly was just existing at this point.

How do you act at your husband's funeral? I had 2 young children that were also running around and not really understanding what was going on. There is no manual for this. If I had to talk too much I knew I would lose it and that wasn't an option. I plastered a smile on my face and walked around. I remember a few things happening during the viewing that I felt Ray's presence and put a smile on my face because I knew he too was laughing.

You also never really know how many people you have touched till you die and it is too late. He had students make their parents drive from Detroit to be there, co-workers, friends, old teachers, coaches, you name it and each with a story. Still to this day I have people reach out to me to share things. Old students of his find me on facebook to tell me how he impacted their life. It really means a lot to see and hear how he impacted so many people.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Privileged Door

I have worked for my friend for quite a few years now creating with her for her Etsy shop called Privileged Door. Everything is handmade and put together. Her husband hand cuts all the wood bases and we finish the rest.

When I started working for her I was only doing the moss covered wreaths. Surprisingly, the biggest seller are Shamrocks! We would literally work day and night trying to send out all the orders. Now I am also working on pip berry and boxwood wreaths.

These wreaths are truly designed with so much attention to detail and care. As I mentioned earlier everything is handmade even the bases. Each one is different and unique since they are handmade. Both of us are perfectionists and spend a great deal of time making sure they look amazing before they are shipped. They are rustic and beautiful classic wreaths. Each holiday has its own collection and they can be personalized for weddings décor!

I am going to link some of my favorite or best sellers below! Just click photo to shop!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Looking for something to do?

I have really been struggling with getting any new posts up on the blog lately. The weather has been cold, and snowy which is making it hard to shoot outdoors. I have some fun spring outfits, but can't wear them in the snow to shoot. I was planning to do a hair and skin/makeup post but haven't gotten around to shooting anything for that either. I have been keeping up on my Instagram a little more and posting daily outfits or items I have purchased or plan to purchase, although I love to be able to have them on and styled for you to see!

Today's post is a little different than my normal. I have done a few posts highlighting things I like to do with the kids or spots I like and this is another one of those posts!

Last weekend, the girls and I went to Eastern Market to check out the soft opening of the new Mitten Crate storefront. If you aren't familiar with Mitten Crate they are a Michigan-made product subscription box. They recently expanded their website to sell items individually and now decided it was time to open up a shop where you can buy individual products or even make your own box to send. 

The store is located at 2478 Riopelle in the white Beau Bien building. The store was being used to produce jam and will still manufacture the jam and sell it, but also will be used for Mitten Crate. 

When we went to check out the soft opening last weekend Mitten Crate had only been in the building about 24 hrs, so they weren't completely set up how they plan to have it, but did have a lot of products on display. I was told they will have individual products to purchase and a station to create your own box once they are finally settled. 

I have sent these boxes to relatives out of town and even as gifts for hard to buy for people that don't really need anything. Everyone has loved to get a little taste of Michigan!

If you are in the Eastern Market area check them out! This weekend is their first official weekend open. They are such a cute little shop and have some big plans!

Mitten Crate website for more info or to shop online--Click here!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Welcome to the weekend!

Anyone else's kids count down the days till the weekend? Our weekends are usually packed, but they still can't wait till the weekend comes. 

This girl right here is all about the weekends and always loves to wear shirts that declare her love, so when I came upon this little jacket I had to get it for her. It is also part of a mom and me matching set so I also grabbed the matching one for myself! 

She is my casual girl that loves to live in jeans and tennis shoes, so that is how we completed her look. I wanted her to wear no show socks but after much arguing I gave up. She wore a pair of my Golden Goose dupes for the shoot that are currently sold out, but I was able to link other options. I think this is a perfect outfit for a little tween!

The jacket is from one of the stores I reviewed previously in another post and I just wanted to give an update on this retailer. I had also purchased a dress from here and I always wash everything before it goes in their rooms. It came out of the wash with little holes all in it, even following the directions. I ended up deciding it wasn't worth sending back and tossed it. I wrote in my reviews about what happened and within 24 hrs I had an email from customer service asking if I could provide a photo of the damage, which I couldn't because I had tossed it. They emailed again and said they would refund my purchase. I totally stand behind this company and the customer service I have received. I find trendy clothes at great prices and the service I have received has been great. I know people are scared to try it being a China based company but I have never had any issues. 

So on that note...have a good weekend!