Friday, November 17, 2017

Crooked By Design in Simply Saratoga Magazine

I am so excited about this. Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by Simply Saratoga Magazine for their holiday issue. The awesome free publication featured local shops and local Etsy makers, and I'm absolutely thrilled to have been a part of it.

If you're local to the Saratoga, NY area, you can grab a free copy at most grocery stores, or if you are impatient like me, you can check out this online copy.

It does mention it in the article, but I figured I'd give the deets here too about where you find Crooked By Design locally this holiday season.  My amazingly talented friend Michelle, owner of Stella's Salon in Schuylerville, NY has hats available, along with scrunchies and cowls.  If you're in Saratoga, NY, you can stop by Cuddle Bugs Consignment and pick up some hats and bonnets. If you're a store front who'd be interested in carrying Crooked By Design, please give a shout! I'd love to work with you.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Beauty Bag-Part 1

Anyone else out there love taking a peek inside other people's beauty bags? I do. I love seeing what other people are using and what they like and don't like about it. If you're like me and have sensitive skin, this can be tricky. I often buy things and then realize I'm either allergic to it or it just isn't what my skin needs. My younger sister gets a great deal from this because I've probably supplied her enough toiletries to last the next couple of years.

After trying a bunch of different things, I have finally found a few things I cannot live without and that feels like a small victory! Are you wondering why this post is in two parts? I'm not trying to be mysterious. But I figured I would do skin/body and a separate one for hair. I hope that's ok with you.

Ok ok, so here they are. The things I can't live without.

1. Eyebrow pencil. This is actually a new thing for me. It had literally never occurred to me to pencil in my eyebrows but when I discovered this concept, I haven't gone back. This one from Target was the first I tried and it was so good I never tried another. I use the Taupe one for my skin tone.

2. A pen eyeliner. I do cat eye a lot to hide how tired I am (more on this in a moment) and a good eye liner is key. I have tried pencils, liquid and a pen kind and find the pen one works the best. I am not too picky on the brand of this, but I use black usually.  Sometimes I get a Physicians Formula one in brown tones but lately my go-to has been this one by Neutrogena.

3. Everyday Oil. You guys, I had never know such an amazing product existed and it I love it so much it makes me regret all those products I have bough over the years and not liked. If only I had discovered this sooner!  Everyday Oil is made in small batches so it sells out a lot. You can read all about it on their site but it cleanses, moisturizes, helps your hair and balances your skin. It can help with UV damage and repels bugs. And the smell. It smells so good. I've been using it for a couple weeks now and have reduced the need for foundation to even out my skin. I use it at night before bed and in the morning after my shower. I can't say enough good about it. I use it on my face, and all over my body. I get the post partum "chicken skin" and this oil has helped clear that up. Put it on your face, lather it on your post partum belly, put it on your dry ends. Just cover yourself in it. You'll be happy you did.

4. Burt's Bees. For my lips, I rarely use color and usually stick to plain old original Burt's Bees. Because I'm always kissing Mira's cheeks, I like to use something that won't leave kissy marks all over her face. Wouldn't want to embarrass her!

5. Mascara. I am not often seen sans mascara since I have very boring lashes (my kids have the best ones, they come from their dad). Finding a mascara I like that doesn't bother my eyes has been challenging but at last I did it, thanks to a sample from Ulta. I tried Tart's Lights Camera Lashes when it came with an eyelash curler I picked up (admittedly I don't use it often) and it's one I will buy when I run out. It doesn't clump and it's easy to remove which is key for me because I can't stand a stubborn mascara. I want it there when I want it but gone when I'm ready. This one really did exactly what I was looking for.

6. Under Eye Color Corrector. Ok, this is a biggie for any moms out there. I am very sleep deprived and it always shows in my eyes. I really enjoyed Bare Minerals Well Rested but it is expensive, so I thought I'd try something else. The first time I used NYX Color Corrector I was hooked. It doesn't do anything to fix the problem (if it could get my kids to sleep more that'd be great) but it does mask the bluish tones of tired eyes. Oh, and it's super cheap too.

Do you have a product you recommend? Let me know! And stay tuned for part two of this that is all about hair. I'll even have a little photo tour of the salon I use and am obsessed with. It's such a gorgeous space and I can't wait to show you!


Until next time, be sure to follow on Instagram and say hello @KnaptimeKnitter!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nursing Friendly Dresses-They Do Exist!

Any other nursing/pumping moms out there feel like it is very hard to find cute nursing dresses that aren't actually maternity? I wanted easy to use, comfortable dresses I could nurse and pump in and I didn't want to pay a fortune for them. So here are a few that I personally own and have fed a baby in!

This Jersey Swing Dress doesn't look like it would be easy to nurse in but it is stretchy enough that you can easily pull down the neckline. Keeps you discreet and comfortable. This is a shapeless dress which normally I wouldn't like as much but being five months post partum it is perfect for hiding the lingering belly! Style it with sandals in the summer or transfer into fall with a denim jacket and Converse. And the best part? It's under $15 right now! (and definitely have your significant other take an awkward picture of you standing akimbo trying to figure out why your son is shrieking in delight like I did here). 

This dress from Target. Ok, technically it's Juniors, so maybe go up a size (I did and I wish I had gone up one more). But it buttons up and makes it really easy to just unbutton a few and nurse.  The straps are wide enough that you can still wear a bra (for me that is essential because I require nursing pads daily). Throw on some booties and a cardigan and you can easily use this in more than just the summer but it's perfect on it's own too. If you hurry over, it's only $19!

While you're at Target, go ahead and pick up this one too.  If you're following on Instagram, you may have seen this post.  This dress was perfect for going out with the baby because of that gauzy stretchy top that I could just pull down. It looks really cute off the shoulders, but I pulled them up so I could wear a bra. Best part: pockets! I should have gone up a size to accommodate the milk let down (and by that I mean nature's boob job that happens about every two hours!) but you may want to try it on so you know the length will be ok if you do go up a size.  Oh and guess what? It's $30 and comes in two adorable patterns.

Every so often I like to splurge and order a Stitch Fix box. Sometimes they hit it out of the park and sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they don't. But this past box I asked for nursing friendly when possible and they nailed it with this dress. USA made, easy to wear, can be used in all seasons and under $50! Haven't tried Stitch Fix but want to? I say go for it! Sign up and create your style profile and you can even link your Pinterest to give your stylist ideas of what you like and your Instagram so they can get a feel of who you are and cater to your lifestyle even better. It can get expensive but the quality is great and it's a nice treat every so often!  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5 Ways to Make & Save Money This Month

Now that we are a family of five plus two dogs, I am always looking for more ways to save money and cut costs. We are working the Dave Ramsey baby steps (though I admit I've been lazy with it lately) and every little bit helps towards the ultimate goal of paying off those pesky student loans.

I do a lot of things throughout the month to cut down on expenses and save money, but here are just a few of the things I have done so far the past couple weeks (and my apologies that this is a long one):

1. Purge the house of clutter! Whether you're looking to donate items, toss them or sell, this feels so good once it's done. The process is daunting, but by tackling one room or space at a time you can really start to feel the progress. One effective things to do is to take everything out of a room and enjoy the empty. You're probably less likely to fill it right back up once you've seen the calm of an empty and clean space.  I suggest starting with a closet, yours or a kid's. Be sure to order a ThredUp Clean Out Kit  and fill it up with quality clothing items you're done with.  Since I began sending items into ThredUp, I've made $342.43! If it doesn't fit, isn't worn, or you just plain don't like it, get rid of it. You can consign with a local consignment shop, send into ThredUp, have a yard sale, post on Instagram or a Facebook group. Or there is always eBay.  Whatever avenue you take, you'll be amazed at how much you can make on items you aren't using. And it will feel so good to have a clutter free space.

2. Start a Coin Jar: this might sound odd, I know. But we recently started a family coin jar and everyone puts their loose change in. The kids have the option of adding their pennies and coins to it if they want but they don't have to. We told them that when the jar is full we will roll the coins (with an awesome coin roller) and when we eventually save enough money we will take a trip to Disney. This has worked as motivation in so many ways. It gets us to use cash instead of the debit card (that always makes me watch my purchases more) because we look forward to the change. The kids are less likely to ask for things at the store because I keep reminding them of the jar. Everyone is working towards a common goal and it makes us stop and think about our purchases and also motivates us to literally save our pennies.  Just the other day my kids stacked wood for their Papa and were paid in coins and you would have thought it was Christmas morning they were so filled with excitement.

3. Join iRazoo: I know what you're thinking. Another survey company, come on, Amanda! But iRazoo is different. The idea is basically the same, do some surveys, earn some points, get a reward. In their case, you can earn gift cards to Amazon, Target, Home Depot and so many more places. This obviously cuts down your household expenses but also passes the time if you're waiting at school pickup, pumping or nursing, at the doctor's office and there is a long wait, waiting for a flight, you name it! Do a quick five minute survey, rack up some points and boom! You're on your way to a gift card. They also have a great Refer a Friend program where you can score some major points and get even closer to your rewards goal. They are very user friendly, have a excellent help team and don't have a million pop-ups attacking you as you're trying to earn your points.  So next time you're aimlessly scrolling Facebook, do a survey instead and you'll really be making your time worthwhile.

Image result for irazoo

4. Join Stitch-Fix: Ok, this one I bet you're really thinking "you want me to shop to save money?" but hear me out! I get a Stitch-Fix box every quarter and I look forward to it so much, it actually helps me not to shop in between fixes. Knowing there is a fun, surprise, hand picked box of great quality items headed my way makes me empty my Target cart of wardrobe purchases I'll likely get sick of in ten minutes. New to Stitch-Fix? Not a problem! Here's the run down: you make a style profile, tell your stylist a bit about yourself and what you like and more importantly, what you grossly dislike. You can provide them with your Pinterest where you can have a style board and also your Instagram so they can get a sense of who you are and what you like. This helps a ton when they are picking things out for you. A stay at home mom like me doesn't need work pants and blazers, so they don't send that to me. I recently asked for my box to be nursing friendly and was so happy with what they sent. I also learned a couple weeks ago that their customer service is great. I get really excited when my box is set to arrive and I was disappointed when I received a box with a personalized letter to Teresa, not me!  It was all my size so I tried it on anyway and ended up buying a cardigan from it so it turned out ok. They sent me a new box and credited my account the style fee and they were wonderful about the mix up. But be careful here. Don't just buy the items because they're in your hand. Try them on, feel them. Keep what you absolutely love and what has a place in your wardrobe. And if you happen to love all five items, you get a 25% off discount. What are you waiting for? Go make your style profile now! 

                                           Image result for stitch fix

5. Ask Other Moms: As a general rule thumb, if there is a baby item I need, I usually ask my mom friends, mom group or consignment shop before buying new. Especially with this being my last baby, I don't want to spend a fortune on things.  I recently bought a new stroller at Target and didn't like that it wasn't a system with my car seat so I asked my mom group if anyone was selling one and immediately found one. I got a great deal on a barely used stroller and another mom got some cash in her pocket. Now I'll be selling the original one I had so the circle continues! My sister is so good at consignment sales, she's like a thrifting goddess. But here is where it gets tricky-do not, I repeat DO NOT just buy all the second hand things because they are good deals. Don't do it. If you don't need it, or already have it (you don't need seven baby plat mats) just put it back. A deal doesn't mean you have to have it. Someone else will need it and scoop it up. You aren't looking for clutter or bad quality. You're looking for the same item you'd buy at Target only at a discount and from another family who will benefit more from your purchase. And to go back to number one on this list, when you're done with it, especially baby gear, sell it. It's a win win.


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Friday, April 28, 2017

I'm Back, Baby! (Like, literally, I had another baby)...

Hello, my friends! I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything over here but I promise, I have a good reason.  In February we welcomed our third baby, a 9 lb 2 oz bundle of snug named Mira Jolene.  If you're following on Instagram (@KnaptimeKnitter if you're not and you want to-you totally want to) then you've likely seen my baby spamming...

A lot of people ask me about transitioning to three babies. So here's my breakdown: zero to one is the hardest ever. One to two, you learn you can juggle, and that's a necessary skill.  And then two to three, for us at least, has been the easiest transition. Mira is a very patient and wonderful baby, and she has taught us all to be more patient too. I think also, as we have more kids, we get more confident in what we are doing and that helps a lot. Seriously, you're doing amazing. Keep doing it.

Mira slid right into our family in such a way that we can't remember being without her. I know that is said for all babies, but I found this to be the easiest one. She's our last baby so I can't speak to any more than three.

Now, don't get me wrong here. It is hard. It is very very hard. We are a military family, and where I am thankful we don't lose my husband to deployments (not yet anyway), he is often traveling for work or at military schooling.  That leaves me grossly outnumbered a lot. My juggling skills come in very handy these days! To all you moms out there with one kid, or 10 kids, I'm thinking of you as I'm walking around with bags under my eyes, chugging coffee, wondering how I'm going to make it to bedtime. No matter how many babies you have, one thing remains the same: it's worth it, all this hard work and fatigue. Because they are just amazing.


I get asked a lot of questions (which, honestly, makes me feel honored because I'm still learning my way around this mom thing), so if you have a question, please feel free to email me! Just fill out the Contact Me info and leave me a message. I love hearing from you and I'll do my best to answer them for you. oh, and don't forget to add yourself to the email and/or follow the blog so you'll know when I have a new post up. I promise you, I won't let months go by. But I also won't spam you. A happy medium, perhaps?

© Chronicles of a Knaptime Knitter. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.
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