Breezy Days: April 2016

Tulips and Ruffles

April 25, 2016
 

My heart is yearning for the warm weather to stay. WHY WON'T YOU JUST STAY SUN. My go-to summer look are sandals and sundresses, so breezy (see what I did there ;), fun, and easygoing. This wrap bracelet from Standing Goose went perfect with my ruffle dress and striped espadrilles, so sunny and happy! Use the code BRI25 for 25% off your entire order at Standing Goose, code expires May 31st 2016!



Friends. I just booked our 5 year anniversary weekend trip, yes it does seem crazy to have been married for that long. Where did all the time ago?! 

I booked a hotel in St George that overlooks the city, with a pool that looks ridiculously awesome. I also got us tickets to Tuacahn's Tarzan, super stoked because it'll be our first time there! I want the next month to fast forward so I can just lay by the pool with the husband and relaxxxxx



Do you have any fun plans for the spring/summer that you're looking forward to? :)




Dress: Shop Stevie
Shoes: Solodus
Earrings c/o Made by Jewls
Initial Necklace: Bauble Bar
Eyelash extensions & Eyebrow microblading: Layers n' Lashes

How to Protect Your Skin: Minimize Skin Cancer Scars

April 19, 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyMederma #CollectiveBias


Five years ago this month, I had my first surgery for Melanoma. At the time I didn't realize the seriousness of the situation. I had Basil Cell Carcinoma in high school on my upper back, where the doctor excised a small football shape around the mole and that was it. I thought Melanoma was going to be the same route, and gosh I was wrong. 

I've been checked every 6 months since that surgery and this past month they found 2 more spots of Melanoma, because of these routine appointments I have tons of biopsy scars all over my body. I always tell the doctors that I'd rather have scars than skin cancer! With this being my life the past few years, Mederma has become my best friend! This post has some steps on how to take care of and reduce the appearance of those biopsy scars. 


1. Use skincare products with SPF 
Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Can I say that enough? The tan is not worth it! There are some amazing sunless tanning products on the market now, so there is no reason to be exposing your bare skin to the sun! 

The Mederma Scar Cream with SPF 30 Sunscreen can be used on fresh scars to help protect from the sun. It is the #1 scar and pharmacist recommended brand to help smooth and soften the look of your scars.  I applied this to the new biopsy scar on my upper arm. 



2. Protect your skin from the sun; wear a hat! 
Another way to protect your skin and scars is to wear a hat and sunglasses; it's a great excuse to go shopping for fun accessories ;)  Whenever I'm visiting California and we hit the pool and beach, I am ALWAYS in a big floppy hat and sunglasses. It protects the skin on my face and my eyes, plus it is a fabulous way to be sun safe!



3. Apply Mederma Advanced Scar Gel before bedtime
Sleep is such a wonderful thing. It re-energizes the body, and is a time for your body to repair itself. I apply Mederma Advanced Scar Gel to all the scars on my arms and back, so my body is relaxed and my skin can absorb the specifically formulated medicine it needs to improve the look of the scars. 



I picked up my Mederma gel and cream from my local Walmart for a killer price. For a limited time, when you purchase Mederma from your Walmart, you can take a picture of the receipt and send it in for a free $5 Walmart gift card! 

Stop by your Walmart and grab some Mederma to help reduce the appearance of those scars!


Melanoma

April 17, 2016

This is a hard post to write, but I want to share my life as of late with all of you. Also for myself, writing is therapeutic and this is a journal of sorts for me and my family.

Five years ago this month I was operated on for Melanoma Stage 1B. At the time I didn't realize the gravity of the situation, which in retrospect was a blessing because I would have been way more terrified going into surgery. (Read here for more information on the stages of Melanoma)

They excised a massive portion of my right forearm and 3 lymph nodes under my right arm. Luckily nothing had spread to my lymph nodes, which meant no chemotherapy. The excisions took months to fully heal, and even now from time to time I'll feel a little pull from the stitches underneath my skin. 

Every 6 months I have been visiting the oncologist for check-ups, as I'm now considered a high-risk patient. Mind you, I've never been in a tanning bed in my life. I've not purposely gone out in the sun with no protection to burn/tan. The doctors have come to the conclusion that my body is simply pre-dispositioned for this cancer. 

Each appointment during the past 5 years I've held my breath until I got that phone call. The doctors office letting me know the biopsy came back as negative. That was the case until March 14th. 

I was sick with a killer flu. Throwing up, body aches, sore throat, the works; couldn't be far away from my restroom for very long. I got a phone call from my dermatologist saying that 2 of the 5 spots came back as something. The spot on my back was Melanoma Stage 0 and the mole that grew on top of my Melanoma scar came back as "highly atypical" which is essentially the pathologist saying it was on its way to becoming cancer. 

I was home alone when I received the call, and held my composure with the doctor while I was speaking with her on the phone. As soon as it was over, I got weak in the knees and just cried and cried. I knew what was coming, and this time I knew how serious it was. 

I called my mom first because I knew Ryan was in class for another hour. I was crying so hard that my mom couldn't make out what I was saying at first. Once I calmed down, I was able to explain the situation and she made arrangements to be at my back surgery that week and the oncologist and mole mapping doctor appointments.

I had the mole on my back excised 2 weeks ago. It is still healing, and last week the oncologist took out stitches from underneath the wound because my body was rejecting it and not healing properly. I had the mole excised from my forearm this past Wednesday, it's still pretty ugly and painful.

Right after surgery I feel pretty ok because the local anesthetic is still in effect. I was under the impression that I would only have 1-2 stitches on my forearm because the mole was so small. My mom and I were in Target purchasing new bandages, when I decided to unwrap the bandage on my arm and noticed the 7-8 stitches, swollen skin, and spots of blood covering my old Melanoma scar. I was taken by surprise and felt the tears streaming down my face in the middle of the Orem Target. 

My mom was coming back to the cart from another aisle and saw the look of gut-wrenching sadness on my face and brought me in for a huge hug. Over the past few weeks I've felt emotionally raw, vulnerable, helpless, and despondent. I'm sure we've all felt that way in one fashion or another. When I first had the excision on my back, where no one could see, it opened my eyes to other people's pain and suffering that we can't see on the outside. I've been working on being kinder to others; since I never know what wounds, physical or emotional, they are nursing back to health. 

The past few days I've been at home recovering. I tire easily, as I'm still healing from 2 chunks of skin being taken from my body. I've been blessed and lucky to have an amazing support system. I wouldn't be recovering this well without all the help I've received from family, friends, and strangers. 

I've always told the doctors that I'd rather have scars than skin cancer. My thoughts occasionally make its way to my future family. This is a cancer I need to take care of to be there for my husband and future babies. Even though it is frustrating to be in pain and helpless, I'd rather take care of this now than let it grow and deal with it down the road. I can show my babies all my scars and be proud of them, as they are a symbol of strength and a reminder of how much I've overcome to be there for my family. 

Please get you and your families checked, it is only a quick trip to the dermatologist. Protect your skin, and your family! Thanks for letting me share :)

Birthday Party in a Box


My youngest brother Jesse is serving and LDS mission in Louisville, Kentucky. He has already been out for over 6 months, which is just crazy to me! Time has flown by :) His 20th birthday was last Monday, so Evan (the middle brother) and myself put together this "birthday party in a box"!



Guys. A MINI PINATA. OK? OK.


We threw in a 'Happy Birthday' banner, candles, candy, party hats, tabletop tennis, a piñata, candy and some letters from us and a few of his friends. 


Obviously needed some Monster to get through the day haha




Evs had fun stuffing the mini piñata, it's so cute I'm gonna dieeeeeee.


He got his box last weekend, and he looked like he had a blast with it! Happy birthday Elder Jess :) 





Get the "Blah" Out of Your Work Day

April 7, 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TasteHydration #CollectiveBias


You know that spot of the work day, the dreaded 2-4pm window where your energy is down and you're ready to wrap up for the day? It's real folks, and it has got to stop. That's where my vitaminwater Zero strolls in to save the day!


I like to purchase snacks and these vitaminwater Zero packs to share with all my co-workers, so we can all combat this mid-day "blah" together! This fits into my employee snack budget, especially with the $3.50 in-store Sam's Club discount that runs from April 1st-30, no coupon needed. Score! 



In addition to picking up some vitaminwater Zero, I've got a few tips and tricks for you to overcome that midday "blah"!


1. Sit in the sunlight
Sitting at a desk, behind a computer, can be a little soul-sucking :/ I love being at a desk next to a window or skylight that pours in tons of sunlight. It brightens my mood! 



2. Stay hydrated with vitaminwater Zero
A lot of times I'll be sitting at my desk and it hits me that I NEED HYDRATION. I love how vitaminwater Zero has electrolytes and vitamins in it to give me that pep I need! That's something I definitely need to be better at with my busy schedule, staying constantly hydrated. It's helpful to have a drink nearby at all times so you can sip to your hearts content!



3. Collaborate and share with co-workers
When I'm working on a project and just get stuck, it doesn't help to blankly stare at my computer. I grab a co-worker and ask for their advice! We chat about work and grab a drink together, which inspires me with a solution to my problem!


4. Walk around while taking phone calls
Getting up and walking around helps shake out the wiggles and get the body moving a bit. I find that when I'm up walking around while taking phone calls it helps me think clearer. Give it a try!


5. Step outside for a snack
Finally, enjoy that sunshine and get outside for a quick snack! Even popping outside to get some fresh air will bring back that energy to finish the work day strong.


Hit up your local Sam's Club and grab a pack of vitaminwater Zero with the $3.50 discount; and help get that pep back into your work day! 

Gimme Summer Braid Tutorials

April 4, 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WholeBlends #CollectiveBias


Now that the warmer months are here to stay (cross your fingers!), I've been practicing my braid techniques. I absolutely love those thick Elsa-like braids, but find it so difficult to achieve with my color-treated thin hair! Which is why I've really enjoyed Garnier's new Whole Blends Color Care hair care line. 


I picked up the Garnier Whole Blends Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner from Walmart, and am looking forward to the hair mask when it gets stocked at my store! This line is created using naturally wholesome ingredients and comes in a variety of formulas. I absolutely love how soft this shampoo/conditioner combo made my balyage-colored strands. The argan oil and cranberry essence protects my color-treated hair, and it enhances the natural beauty of my blonde locks! 


This argan oil/cranberry combo hydrates, repairs, and nourishes my dry hair; and brings it back to life. I love using argan oil to hydrate my skin, and now that I can use an argan oil infused product on my hair, I've been over the moon. Doesn't hurt that this duo smells heavenly! :) 



I've got a couple of summer braid tutorials for you, and after washing and conditioning my hair with the Garnier Whole Blends Color Care products it was much easier to style my braids! 


I love this style for when my bangs are driving me nuts and won't behave! It gets the hair out of my face while also looking like I put it some serious effort into my 'do. 


1. Before! Spritz in some sea-salt spray and let's get started. 


2. Grab at least 2-3 inches of hair towards the front and clip the rest of it back. Don't want to accidentally grab some unwanted hair. Then spritz some hairspray so your braid will keep it's shape, especially if you have shorter bangs like I do. 


3. Start with 3 small strands of hair, and instead of braiding the strands over each other, we are going to braid them under one another. Braid each strand once, then start grabbing a piece of loose hair with your main strand to braid. 


4. Take a piece of loose hair with each strand and go under so the braid will sit on top of your head. Braid it tightly and angle towards the back of your head. 


5. Braid normally once you don't have anymore hair on your scalp left to braid. 


6. Hold the end of the braid and start to tug lightly at the outer side of the braid (the part away from your eyes). This will give it a bigger and fluffier look, which is the style! 


7. Tuck the braid behind your ear and pin it tightly with a couple of bobby pins. 


8. Bring the rest of your hair over the top of your braid and cover the pins. 


9. Huzzah! Enjoy your new braided bangs :)



I love this look! Fishtail braids are kind of a pain because they take a while, but the end product is absolutely worth it. 


1. Spritz your locks with some hairspray and brush back into a high pony. 


2. Secure with an elastic and take a piece of hair from the bottom-side of the pony, wrap it around the elastic and then secure it with a bobby pin. 


3. Split braid into 2 thick pieces. Then let's get ready to rumble.


4. Take a piece from your right hand chunk, and move it under and grab it with your left hand so this piece can join the left chunk family. 


5. See that strand from the right side now at home on the left? Yippee!


6. Take a piece from the left side and move it under to its new home with the right chunk family. 


7. Look at that! They've swapped places and are lookin' mighty fine. Continue this routine until you reach the end of your pony. 


8. Hold the end of the braid, and fluff away! It's also called pancaking, look it up my friends. Secure with an adorable tie!



9. Voila! Look at how fun this braid is! Perfect for those warm days :) 

Look for this Garnier Whole Blends hair care line display and pick out your favorite Whole Blends formula! Check out all the options here