The Stiles Studios

The Only Shower Cleaner You Will Ever Need 

All Natural Shower Cleaner That Actually Works 
We’ve all been there. Running around so busy we don’t even have time to take a peaceful shower! We jump in – scrub the hotspots and look around at yet ANOTHER item we need to put on our “To Do List” – the shower needs a good bath. (Insert explisitive) “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.

What’s the resolution??

STOP INGNORING THE PROBLEM UNTIL IT’S A HOT MESS!! 

Stay with me here.

Step 1 – Get your shower clean. Like really clean! Break out those harsh chemicals, scrub that bad boy down and then throw that shit away. (Okay maybe throw it in the back of your chemical pile under your sink – because one day you will end up here again.. no matter how many times you swear to yourself you won’t)

Step 2 – Buy THIS (link to scrubber on Amazon)

Make sure you have the following items on hand when Amazon delivers this bad boy to your door: 

  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • White Vinegar 

Step 3 – Mix up your All Nautual Cleaner

  • 1 Part Dawn
  • 1 Part Vinegar 

Step 4 – Wait for your next shower & scrub away. 

Multi-tasking saves my sanity and when I get 10 minutes to spoil myself with a conditioning mask or heck even my recent ipsy shower scrub

5 Things You Must Do To Rock Your Boudoir Session 

1. Choose your outfits wisely. 

Don’t think sexy $100+ Victoria Secret Lingerie.. think what do I wear everyday that he loves? Yes – super sexy lingerie is nice, but he thinks its nicer laying on the floor. Show him pictures of you wearing the shorts you wear 4 times a week and he will think about you all glammed up wearing stilletos with that great angle your photographer caught – every single time you’re in them! Also consider his favorite clothes. What does he wear often or love? Are you getting married? Consider his wedding dress shirt, jacket, or socks! Maybe even just one of his ties or favorite hats. The little details are what take your boudoir pics to the next level! Choose your ENTIRE outfit wisely!!
2. Pay attention to details. 

Get your nails done and make sure your ring is clean. Get your eyebrows waxed and try to avoid harsh tan lines. These small details will make your photographer’s job MUCH EASIER!! Accessories make boudoir sessions fun! Consider getting a fun new prop for the bedroom and then surprise him with it when you deliver the pictures. 
3. Find your humor.

Nothing is worse than an uncomfortable and stiff boudoir session! Lighten the mood and be willing to laugh! Real smiles are far more photogenic than anything posed and I can promise you – if you’re taking sexy pictures for him, HE WILL LOVE THEM! He’s not going to be looking at that stretch mark or roll, he’s going to be looking at the women he loves. Let loose – have some fun and you’re pictures will be amazing! 
4. Choose your photographer with care.

This is arguably the most important thing!!! Photographer’s are artists. You wouldn’t walk into an artist’s studio carrying pictures of other people’s art you want them to replicate and expect the replica to be a masterpiece. You also shouldn’t pick a photographer who’s portfolio is full of yellow undertones and expect vibrant colors and black and whites. You are choosing your photographer because you love THEIR ART! 

You not only want to admire their past work, but you have to vibe with your photographer’s personality. They have to make you comfortable and confident. Give you advice and suggestions and be willing to tell you when you’re looking crazy! A true professional photographer isn’t afraid to be bossy and is more than willing to give you suggestions and input BEFORE your session even starts. Be willing to send outfit ideas or visual inspiration of things you like. This is the time to share with your photographer your Pinterest envy! It gives them time to consider your goals and adjust accordingly. It will also give them time to set the proper expectations and prepare the necessary gear to achieve the most successful session possible! 
5. Bring a Tuck & Fluff

What exactly is a Tuck & Fluff?? That’s your most trusted friend who is willing to do just that.. Tuck ‘stuff’ and Fluff ‘stuff’. It’s always helpful to have an extra set of hands on set to create those epic shots that require a little off camera assisance. Or more importantly – someone who is willing to move that piece of hair out of your face or help keep an eye out for your insecurities without your photographer having to constantly jump down and make the adjustments themselves. 

Shooting outdoors? Even more reason to bring someone along to be on lookout! Not all beautiful landscapes are private property. Sometimes this business is a little risqué! Embrace it and have fun!
BONUS 

6. STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

No matter how much weight you think you need to loose BEFORE or how many “just one more things” you think you need to do – JUST DO IT! Right now – no excuses! Just book a session and let the good times roll. (No pun intended) You won’t regret it and neither will he!! 

Dear Mom with Older Children, Please Stop Telling Me I’ll Miss This

I hear you say that worrying is worse than this.

Never knowing where or when your kids will be home next. Constant worry and stress. The mouths, the attitudes, the teenage years.

I hear you say you wish you could have “this” back.

I hear you say that this is “easy” and I need to savor every minute.

 

You know what I think?

You’re damn delusional. Time has fogged your memory and you’ve forgot just how exhausting this is. Nostalgia has you fooled and your well intended advice is not only unwarranted – it’s insulting.

 

I see you strolling the isles of the grocery store, buying whatever your heart desires.

No concerns for the color, texture, or any sudden food aversion your toddler may decide he now has.

 

Your nice bottle of wine and steaks fill up your cart and I think – it must be nice to eat a hot meal.

It must be nice to sit down after a long day at work and have a glass of wine without the guilt of it tainting your milk.

Yeah, that sounds pretty damn easy to me.

 

That pasta you’re buying – I bet you won’t peel that off your walls later.

 

I don’t see diapers and wipes in your cart, which makes me think you likely haven’t wiped anybody else’s ass today – have you?

Nobody peed in your bed after they came to your room at 3am.

You don’t have luggage in your cart so I assume you can pick up and leave the house with just your kids and a pair of keys.

Yeah that must be pretty easy.

 

I don’t see sweat rolling down your forehead from this “quick trip” to the grocery store.

Nobody hit the floor in protest or made you carry them while pushing a grocery cart.

Damn – those teenagers of yours are a lot of hard work.

 

I see you watching me struggle.

I see you recognize the sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion and yet you think you’re being helpful by telling me  – “You’re going to miss this”.

 

Is that advice you would have welcomed a decade ago?

Time hasn’t only made you delusional – it’s made you an asshole.

 

I will miss a lot of things about my children being small.

I can assure you, taking them into public to run my errands will certainly not be one of them!

 

Sweating while shopping will not be a cherished pastime and I will never tell a mother of young children how “easy” she has it.

I will never demean the tireless work of young children and compare her stress to mine.

I won’t forget this pain and most importantly I won’t impose my nostalgia on her “easy” life.

 

Raising kids is hard freaking work. No matter their age – we worry. We’re exhausted and we’re all just doing our best to savor the moment while not loosing our shit.

 

It’s a fine line we all walk. Learning as we go and feeling inclined to pass along lessons learned the hard way.

Let this be a lesson to you – don’t insult this stage of our life with your hindsight theory. We’re in the trenches and we’re just trying to survive. It’s not easy. Motherhood isn’t easy. You may think you remember, but your story may be vastly different than ours. Don’t compare. Don’t judge. Don’t try to help with your words of wisdom while my child looses his shit in the middle of the checkout line.

If you feel inclined to say something – say “you’re doing a great job”.

Say “this doesn’t last forever.”

Say “I remember those days.”

Say “I’ve been there before, do you want to go ahead of me?”

Say anything other than “I used to think that was hard too. Just wait until their teenagers.”

 

Even if it’s true – nobody wants to hear that shit.

Remember labor?

Yeah, we all some how seem to forget just how awful that was and recall only the sweet moments and beauty.

 

Could you imagine telling a laboring mom how “easy” she has it compared to your teenagers?

This isn’t a pissing contest, this is motherhood.

Not one second is “easy” for you – or for me.

6 Things You MUST Know About Your Front Loading Washer

If you’ve purchased a washing machine lately, likely you have yourself a brand new front loading spaceship.

If you’re anything like me, when your new fancy washer was delivered – you had to take a seat with the manual to figure out how to operate it.

The manual teaches you all about the 36 buttons and settings, how to use the fancy economy and steam features, loading soap via the auto dispenser and using the “clean” feature. You THINK you know what you’re doing. I mean it is a washer, not rocket science – right?

WRONG!

It’s a racket. Ran by the Washing Machine Manufactures and supported by the Detergent Companies.

 

Let me tell you a little more – stay with me here.

 

At the bottom of the Affresh website, you know the “Cleaning Solution” recommended BY NAME on your Whirlpool Washer, you’ll find this written in size 5 font:

“® Registered trademark/TM Trademark of Whirlpool, U.S.A. for Maytag Corporation or its related companies.”

 

Let me translate that for you – Whirlpool owns the Affresh Brand.

 

Here’s what it likely reads in your manual for cleaning and soap recommendations:

“Clean Washer with affresh® Use this cycle every 30 washes to keep the inside of your washer fresh and clean. This cycle uses a higher water level. Use with affresh® washer cleaner tablet or regular liquid chlorine bleach to thoroughly clean the inside of your washer.”

“Load & Go™ Liquid High Efficiency “HE” detergent cartridge Each dispenser cartridge holds up to 18.5 oz. (550 ml) of liquid HE detergent, enough for up to 36† loads, depending on cycle and detergent concentration. The cartridge fits into compartment (B) of the dispenser drawer for convenient loading. 

Change detergent concentration setting if detergent used is different than factory preset of 2x concentration. See “About Detergent Concentration” section.”

 

Then in font so small it’s almost illegible:

“† The number of loads will vary, depending on detergent concentration, load size, cycle used, soil level, and water hardness. The maximum capacity of up to 36 loads requires use of 6x concentration detergent.”

 

Again – Let me translate that for you. If you’re using more than a half tablespoon per load on a single load of laundry, you’re using too much.

If you’re using more than a half tablespoon per load on a single load of laundry, you’re using too much.

 

Seems insane – right?!

 

What does this all mean? Why do you care if you’re using too much soap?

If you’re anything like me you assume the more soap – the better!

The cleaner your clothes will be – right?

Again… WRONG!

 

Laundry Detergent 101:

The main chemicals in laundry detergent are called surfactants. Surfactants – AKA: Surface-Active Agents are made of molecules. One end of the molecule is attracted to water-repelling substances like grease and dirt. The other end is attracted to water. So when the washing machine agitates your clothes, the molecules form tiny spheres, which stay suspended in the water and are rinsed away when the water is drained.

When there’s too much soap, it begins to cause suds. Suds are actually a thin layer of water sandwiched between soap molecules. So when your washer is done agitating and moves to the rinse cycle, there will still be soap in with your clothes.

 

Why does this matter and why do I say it’s a racket?

Well first of all if you’re anything like me, you have no idea what concentration your laundry detergent is nor what your auto dispense setting is set at.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

 

If you’re using too much soap (which likely you are) you’re causing buildup in your clothes AND your washing machine. Soap scum builds up inside your washer and molds. Even worse -it builds up on your clothes and smells like mildew and can even ruin them.

Soap scum builds up inside your washer and molds.

Your washing machine company (like Whirlpool) KNOWS you’re likely using too much soap, which is why they not only suggest a cleaning solution that is made to clean soap scum, they went ahead and started a whole other company and brand to capitalize on this growing market! The more soap you use, the more likely you are to not only need to clean your washer more often, but the higher the likelihood your going to break your machine due to the misuse or even better – you’ll notice the black mold growing inside your machine and replace it all together!

you’ll notice the black mold growing inside your machine and replace it all together!

Why do I say the detergent companies are in on the racket?

Well go check out your detergent bottle. Does it tell you the concentration amount? Mine doesn’t. So how are you supposed to know exactly how much detergent to use or set your washer on for the auto dispense? Well Whirlpool gives you this handy dandy chart..

Concentration

Number of Ounces ÷ Number of Loads

1X >2.5
2X 1.5 – 2.49
3X 0.9 – 1.49
4X 0.7 – 0.89
5X .05 – 0.69
6X 0.3 – 0.49

Clear as mud – right?

Okay, so maybe you just use the lines inside the bottle. Wait – that’s WAY more than half a tablespoon!

No surprise they want you to use more than you need. The more you use – the more you buy. That’s basic economics.

 

So let’s talk about the mold.

The bad.. if you have a front loader, you likely have mold in your machine.

The ugly, it’s in more than one place and some of them can’t be cleaned.

 

The good news?
You can come back from this and learn from your mistakes. Here’s what you need to know:

 

  1. Never use more than a tablespoon of soap for your dirtiest load of laundry.
  2. Clean your washer at least once a month using the recommended cleaner per the manufacture.
  3. STOP CLOSING THE DOOR ON YOUR WASHER. When your washer isn’t on, it should always be left open to dry out. Moister and heat breed mold.
  4. Dry out your gasket after every load and make sure your drains are clear of dirt & hair.
  5. Wipe down your washer door and keep the soap scum from building up on the bottom side of the glass.
  6. Pull out your soap drawer and clean it regularly. Not just the drawer, the inside of the washer where the drawer sits.

If you’re anything like me, you not only learned a lot, you have a lot of cleaning to do now. Just do your friends and family a favor and SHARE THIS!

 

An Open Letter to My Mother In Law

An Open Letter to My Mother In Law

You will never know all of the ways I admire you.

Not just because you’ve always made me feel welcome and like a part of your family. Instead it’s because of how my husband, your adoring son talks about you.

He speaks of you with so much love and admiration. He tells stories of his mom that are full of laughter and pure joy. He appreciates your sacrifices and he knows how much he’s loved. You’ve given him space to grow and make mistakes, but most importantly he doesn’t need his mom – he wants to have you in his life. This is something I can only hope my boys will one day emulate.

“he doesn’t need his mom – he wants to have you in his life.”

An Open Letter to My Mother In Law

You’ve shown me what it’s like to have a mom who is tough, but willing to help. Who knows how to have a good time and allow her children to make their own path, their own lives and a safe place to fall when things don’t always pan out. Tough love isn’t hard for the kids, it’s hard for the parents. Standing back to teach your children that life isn’t easy and hard lessons need to be learned. This isn’t something I always knew.

You are from a different generation of mothers than me. A generation who didn’t have ‘Pinterest Parties’ or social media to shame you. A generation who kicked their kids outside to play and wasn’t ashamed of a good ol’ fashioned attitude adjustment, when need be. A generation of mothers who’s most important role was to love her children and raise them right. I admire the simpler times, although nothing about motherhood is simple.

A generation who kicked their kids outside to play and wasn’t ashamed of a good ol’ fashioned attitude adjustment, when need be.

I appreciate your no judgement approach to my journey into motherhood. I do things very different than you and I have never felt anything other than love and support.

Well besides that one time that involved a chicken nugget and I think we can all agree to pretend that didn’t happen.

They say when you marry your husband, you marry the family. This is my biggest blessing.

You shared not only your son with me, but your entire family. All of the chaos, the good and the bad.

The love and the memories. You will never know how much that means to me!

 

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