Sunday, December 18, 2016

An Eye-Opening Post About Self-Care for Moms

I'm sharing #Clarifye in my life as part of a
LensCrafters sponsored series for Socialstars.#ad

As mothers, I think we can all agree on one thing. Motherhood is incredible. It's an incredibly enriching, painfully beautiful experience raising and shaping the future. The demanding, tantrum-throwing, back-talking cuddly, precious future. A future often wrought with excessive demands and little empathy for the fulfiller of said demands- but what a sweet, beautiful, amazing future it is, am I right?  

In turn, all of this constant excessive demand-meeting creates an almost one-sided relationship in which we, the mother givers, give so much of ourselves to those around us without so much as taking time for ourselves.

This is why self-care is so important. This is why we, as mothers, need to take time to consistently care for ourselves so that we can take better care of those around us. It took me almost one and a half kids to really appreciate what self-care meant but now I'd almost consider myself an expert in the arena.  

It's worth noting that self-care looks different for everyone. For some it might be a closed door, a hot cup of coffee and a good book while the kids play safely in another room. For others it might be group exercise, going on a long solo run or busting out a quick exercise DVD in the basement. Maybe it's a haircut, something you haven't been able to fit in for months on end. Or maybe it's a night out with girlfriends.

For me, it's often taking time by myself for myself. Whether this means heading out after bedtime for a manicure or just a quiet ride around the block and the nearest Starbucks drive-thru, it's essential, imperative really, that all mothers take time for themselves. 

Remember, too, that every day needs change. Yours, your kids', your spouse's, etc. So what self-care looks like today may not be what it looks like tomorrow, or two weeks from now.  

Sometimes, like this past weekend, for instance, self-care is disguised as taking a break from some last minute Christmas shopping for the family and popping into a local LensCrafters to experience the quick and comprehensive Clarifye eye exam. Knowing that I was overdue for my annual eye exam and in dire need of a new pair of glasses, I grabbed a coffee, set down my shopping bags and took a seat at my local LensCrafters for a quick visit. 

After all, busy moms are busy and with the rare amount of time we have to ourselves, the last thing we want to do is waste it waiting in doctors' offices. No other eye exam is more precise than Clarifye which means you'll receive the initial digital measurement in about 60 seconds. Yes, that quick!

LensCrafters provides the highest standards in eye care, eye wear and service. I would know, after all, I've been using them since I was a little girl. In fact, they fitted me for my very second pair of glasses, a large round red-rimmed pair very similar to Sally Jesse Rafael's. Talk about dating myself... 

Completely underestimating the mall scene during the last shopping weekend before Christmas, it literally took me longer to find a parking space than it did to have my eyes examined, see a doctor, browse the enormous selection of frames, select one and be fitted for a brand new pair of eye glasses. LensCrafters makes it easy to take time for myself and still make time for others in my day.  

As you can see, I've got a lot of years of reading bedtime stories ahead of me which means I've got to take care of the only set of eyes I'm going to have in this lifetime. If this means I'm able to see better, feel better and take better care of my family, it's worth every minute.

Tell me, how diligent are you about carving out time for yourself? Moreover, what does that time often look like? I'd love to know!

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gift Ideas for the Gracious Host - A DIY Gift Basket

It's that time of year- holiday open houses, Christmas cocktail parties and progressive dinner parties begin dotting calendars left and right. If you're like me and refuse to show up empty handed to any little soiree then this post is for you. It's time to ditch that bottle of wine your girlfriend may never, ever drink and check out this easy DIY hostess gift basket that you can put together for as little as $25 and guarantee yourself a repeat invite into their home. 

When gathering trinkets to add to the basket, I try to think of things I would like to be on the receiving end of. That may sound selfish but the truth is, I tend to choose sweet, thoughtful accessories for my home and self that while I wouldn't necessarily splurge on them personally, I'd undoubtedly love to receive them from others. It's a creative way to say "thank you" to that gracious hostess and friend in your life. 

1. Start with your basket. Now, this doesn't need to be a basket in the literal sense, as there's many receptacles you could choose to fill. My girlfriend once gave me a beautiful little serving bowl filled with spa goodies that was just as appreciated had it been stuffed in a sock. Whatever you choose, aim for something that could be used time and time again. For this basket I chose a little wooden crate from TJMaxx that could easily be re-purposed as next year's Christmas decor.

2. Who doesn't love a pretty candle? Whenever I pull together a gift basket, I always try to include a seasonal candle in a decorative jar. This one comes in an ornate mercury glass jar and smells like a fir tree!

3. Include something for the hostess herself. For this particular basket, I threw in a pair of tech-savvy buffalo plaid gloves and a knit pom hat (because what woman couldn't use an extra winter hat or gloves?) Other great ideas include a pair of costume earrings, nail polish or a lip gloss set. 

4 and 7, The kitchen is the heart of a home. Therefore, I always like to include something for the kitchen when I'm putting together a gift basket. This basket includes an oven mitt and Kate Spade dish towel set. 

5. Sneak in some sweets. While a homemade snack would undoubtedly go the extra mile, chocolate is chocolate no matter how it gets in the basket. In past years I've whipped up a generously sized batch of Moose Munch and divvied it up among hostess gifts- this year, however, these dark chocolate covered mint patties will have to suffice. 

6. Don't forget the bubbly. Ever.

Read on below for some more great gift basket ideas from some of my favorite blogging gals. Whether you're shopping for the coffee lover, beer drinker, spa frequenter or mom to many in your life, there's some excellent ideas for everyone!

Craft Beer Gift Basket - Ellie & Addie

Coffee Lovers Gift Basket - Chasin' Mason

DIY Money Tree - Seeing All Sides

Homemade Hot Chocolate Gift Basket - Running From The Law 

Champagne Gift Basket - East Coast Chic

Spa Day Gift Basket - Secrets of a Stay At Home Mom

Kid Craft Gift Basket - The Adventure Starts Here

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

From Ponte Knit to Fringe to A Cotton Target Tee, How This Mom Does Holiday Style - A $250 Nordstrom Giveaway!

Today, I'm really excited to be teaming up with the fabulous and fashionable girls over at Take Time For Style to share my take on how "Moms Do Holiday Style." 

I had grand plans to talk a bit more about what I wore for our family pictures but then thought maybe I'd write about my favorite new style item, the frindged-capelet, but as I was uploading some photos, it got me thinking- not only will there be plenty of glitz and glam shared by some fantastic ladies during the next few weeks (many whom are much more fashionable than I), but since I spend the majority of my day in jeans and t-shirts, why not share a holiday twist on my every day look? 

At first is was ponte knit pants and a dolman-sleeve sweater for family photos, paired with my all-time favorite pair of booties...

And then it was almost a fringed capelet (which totally feels like you're wearing a warm blanket) paired once again with my favorite favorite ankle boots... 

And yes, this is what it's really like taking pictures with our family. 

But ultimately, it's function over fashion that always wins out, so jeans and a santa silhouette t-shirt is what I decided to go with for today's post.

What prompted this fun and festive purchase, you might be wondering? The answer is simple. As room mom for my oldest's Kindergarten class, I wanted something merry and whimsical to wear for his upcoming class party. I first wanted to buy this shirt when it rolled out in early November but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger before Thanksgiving. Thankfully there was a whole entire rack left when I went back to Target this week for, you guessed it, bread and laundry detergent. 

Because when does one EVER walk into Target to buy just what's on their list, especially during a holiday season? As soon as Carter saw me in this shirt, he immediately exclaimed, "Mom, you could TOTALLY be one of Santa's elves wearing that!" 

Nailed it. This year? This is how I'll be doing Mom's Holiday Style. (Just don't tell my Cyber Monday JCrew Factory purchase that...) 

T-shirt: Target
Jeans: JCrew Factory
Wellie Boots: Hunter (from $79!)

Be sure to tune in all month long to Take Time For Style's Mom's Do Holiday Fashion collaboration and check out all the many different styles shared. 

Before you go, click here to enter to 
win $250 to Nordstrom!

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