GYM TIME = ME TIME

I will be the first to admit, it’s so hard for me to stick with a strict workout schedule. I was in an amazing groove last year when we joined the YMCA, but decided last August that I’d cut that expense and that we didn’t need to pay that much since I knew Brooke would be in school full time.  I figured I’d go back to some at home workouts and be just fine…

Well to be honest, it wasn’t.  I did do a Stepbet which helped me keep active early Fall, but once the weather turned (I don’t love the cold, but mostly the ice! It gets so darn slippery out there!) I was definitely not as active and was losing muscle, gaining fat, not fitting into my clothes and feeling like POO!

So I decided to take matters into my own hands (stop being a victim) and checked out a local women’s only gym that is less than half the price of the Y.  Sure it doesn’t have all the cool amenities for the kids, no pool, no gymnasium, no “Mystery Cavern” but you know what it does have?  A small, clean child care center with lovely ladies who love on my kiddos.  And for $2 an hour, per kid, I can’t beat that!

I mostly noticed a huge difference in my needing to be around other women.  Even if I’m not necessarily socializing, I feed off that positive energy especially in a class like Zumba or Turbokick. I am loving my small group trainings I do once a week where I am pushed beyond my comfort zone and literally feel like it’s a personal training sometimes when the group is super small.

Some days I don’t feel like going, but I still push past it.  I may only walk on the treadmill for a half hour and then sit in the dry sauna for a bit.  I can’t tell you how amazing the heat feels on my skin, bones and muscles! I make sure to drink lots of electrolytes as I noticed I felt a little dehydrated after some intense workout sessions or the sauna.  I also use the time to maybe sit in quiet and plan out my day or read a few pages of a book.  I usually only book an hour with the kid room, so I use it wisely.

I love cute hats and headbands to help hide the dirty hair and plus I sweat a lot!! I also have been dropping Bradley off at Preschool, going to the gym and have managed to get home and shower before picking him up again! I feel like a total rockstar on those days.

This week is February break and I feel a little bad I scheduled the gym every morning, so there haven’t been any lazy days, but honestly? I feel so great afterwards and the kids got out of the house, played with other toys/kids and I just explain how mommy feels better working out! I think batman enjoys himself a lot too.

They are the reason I push harder every day.  I know that I need to be in great shape so that I can keep up with them for the rest of their lives!  I also want to model how important is is to take care of our health, at any age.

I never regret working out, but I always get down on myself when I break that promise to myself.  I have made sweating a non-negotiable lately and while things do come up and I may not workout every day, I will say that I am active most days!  Prioritizing myself has really lifted my spirits and made me do everything else so much better.

I know that my to do list won’t get ever be complete, but skipping a workout never helps the overall cause.  I do listen to my body and rest when I need to, but having access to a treadmill in the dead of winter I believe is helping me with some Seasonal Depression issues. (Not that I’m diagnosed, but I do believe lack of sun and the abundance of cold is hard sometimes!)

I still want to checkout some different classes, but it’s a great rhythm I’m in right now and I’m proud of myself for putting myself on the top of my priority list. I don’t know why it is so hard as a mom, but the saying is true. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Weekending

We had a busy week last week! Valentine’s Day brought little parties for both kids in schools, Joe working late and us attending a board meeting.  I did make a delicious lasagna for dinner and even both kids gave it “all the thumbs up!”

As for celebrating? I stopped into the Dollar Tree and scooped up just a few little goodies for our babes.  I knew they’d get a ton of candy at their V-Day parties, so I saw these adorable heart baskets, and filled them with a chocolate heart, a stuffed puppy, a little workbook and a balloon.  They loved it!  They even loved the workbooks; Brooke did hers right away and Bradley worked on his at lunch; he did a wonderful job tracing the words for each color!

Bradley did cry a little bit Friday morning saying his ear hurt, so my mom instinct kicked right in and I took him right into the Drs. Sure enough, he does have an ear infection.  I’m grateful it’s nothing crazy like the flu, but I know ear aches are awful!  Poor guy.

I am trying so hard carve out time to read our newest book club book. It’s a thriller and a page turner, but I can’t really read it at night–I don’t want nightmares!

  • Update: I actually was on page 77 Sunday night and decided to try and read a little…and well, I just stayed up until 1 am reading to finish it! If you love a page turning thriller, scoop this one right up!

Hubby and I did get out for our first date night of the year!! 2.16.19. We had not gone out since the weekend before Christmas, as he was so sick and life got crazy.  We had a delicious dinner at Good Luck and hit up our favorite spot, The Revelry for a few drinks.  We are old and were home by 11:30, but it was so nice to get dolled up, out of the house and having actual adult conversations!

Sunday brought some time for Brooke & Joe to spend together.  Since she’s gone to full day Kinder, she doesn’t get to see Joe that much and we could tell they needed some QT. She insisted that I took her and Bailey’s photo.

That left Mr. Bubs and I to cuddle on the couch. I hope he never gets to the point where he doesn’t want to snuggle!

He is all boy.  If he’s not dressed up as a superhero, running, crashing, shooting, jumping, then he’s tinkering with his trucks, cars and guys.

While Bradley played, I sat with the laptop and caught up on some blogs; I felt called to sit and write.  I have abandoned this little space here for some time, but I know that it always waits for me to return.  If you’re reading this, hello! Welcome if you are new, thank you for returning if you’ve been around for a bit.  Hubby swooped home to gift me with a Matcha Latté and it was divine.

I also worked on some advertising for our social media pages.  I’m on the fence about joining Rachel Hollis’ business coaching.  I really love her and I think I would learn so much!!

Recently a new BK went in around the corner from us.  The kids have been dying to check it out as they have literally watched it form from the ground up! I think they just love the crowns.

The rest of the day was relaxing, as you’re supposed to work 6 days and rest one.

Currently {Sunday Edition}

Reading:

I love a good thriller, but I have trouble reading them at night!  Our local book club chose this book for our next read and I can’t wait to meet up with everyone in a few weeks!

I really loved this advanced reader copy!  I don’t even want to explain any of the book because it was THAT GOOD! You just need to trust me, and grab it once it’s available!!

 

 

Watching:

I hit up YouTube for some hair tutorials before our date night. I learned a few things! I think it came out pretty well.

Drinking:

All the water and all the rehydrate!  I noticed that I was feeling really yucky and after talking with friends and my hubby, we realized I was probably dehydrating myself.  I have upped my workouts a bit and also sit in the dry sauna–I feel so much better sipping on some electrolytes while sweating it out.

 

Listening:

I have been loving this book.  It’s inspiring me to stop and smell the roses more…as well as all myself to feel my emotions, but then let them go.  We cannot sit and dwell on things and I love this concept of acknowledging how we feel but then not allowing ourselves to run away with that.  Feel and release. It was an Oprah recommendation and I find listening to amazing books like this feeds my soul.  I guess you could say it’s like therapy for me.

I just finished this book last week.  It was a little bit meh in some spots, but I did have some interesting conversations with Joe about these topics.

 

Cooking:

This sheet pan dinner was super easy!  I sprinkled a little seasoning and evoo, baked at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

I’ve been digging oatmeal, but I may go back to this breaky.  I love to dunk the sprouted grain toast into the egg and always feel better if I add veggies first thing. (Side note on the cleanse: I officially lost 3 lbs. I feel like I’m getting a better handle on my eating, but I still need to play around with how much and when I am eating.  Work in progress!)

 

Baked Cod.  I melted a little butter, oil, wine and lemon to pour over the fish and baked it until cooked.  Brooke likes it!  I needed to add more spices for my liking.  I served it with mixed veggies & white rice.

I switch lunches up when the kids are home, so it’s a little bit of everything for them. It’s a great way to clean out the cupboards too!

Feeling:

I was going a little nutty gathering ALL the tax information for our properties, but it’s all done! Wooo Hooo!!

I’m also feeling strong.  Non scale victory–small tank tops my sister gifted me for Christmas now fit!  Working out again makes me feel less all over the place, more focused and a lot better overall!

I’m also feeling grateful for family time and enjoying time all together.

Loving:

This is excellent for headaches/sinus pressure that this wacky weather sometimes gives me.  I roll it around my hair line, being careful to not get it near my eyes.

 

Incredible Soft Boiled Eggs

For some reason, I have been absolutely terrified (dramatic much?) of making soft boiled eggs.  I just recently, well as of having children, starting making hard-boiled eggs so that we could decorate Easter Eggs.

However, these delicious, delicate and perfect little bundles of egg joy we call soft boiled? I was just sure that I’d mess them up and the perfectionist in me just didn’t want any part of that.

And then Joe got really sick with his Crohn’s recently.  I still want to share more on that, but for now, we’ll stick to eggs.

I know that eggs are the easiest protein for his poor body to digest.  I make him eggs for breakfast daily, since I’ve been a stay at home wife. I also know that when we go out to get fancy Ramen, his favorite part is always the egg.  (duh, who doesn’t like the egg!?)

So, thanks to good ole’ GOOGLE, I figured out how to make these silly little things.

I now can whip up some old school Top Ramen and throw an egg or two in it for him.

I’ve even gotten fancy and added some slow cooked organic beef from time to time.

And his scrambled eggs have taken a backseat; as he laid awake one morning feeling ill, he thought about what he might like to eat.  He said his mom used to make him soft boiled eggs when he was little, with the buttered toast all cut up.

I let him have the pleasure of slicing open the eggs, as there is something so oddly satisfying seeing the yolk ooze out! These happen to be his grandmother’s chickens’ eggs.  They’re always extra tasty.

 

So how do you make these fabulous eggs?

  1. Boil a small pot of water.
  2. Gently spoon each egg into the water.
  3. For a runnier yolk (breakfast above) I do 5 minutes boiling.  For a harder yolk, 6-7 mins.
  4. Remove from boiling water and then rinse off until you can hold the egg to peel it. (I was doing an ice bath, but he said the eggs were cold, so now I try not to burn my fingers!)
  5. Enjoy.

*tip* take the eggs out of the fridge when you start to boil the water, I find they crack less often when put into boiling water, as they’ve come closer to room temp!

I won’t lie, these are a total pain in the ass to whip up every single morning! The timing of the water boiling, peeling the eggs, making sure they aren’t too hot for my fingers or cold for him to eat.  Getting the dogs out of their crates & outside, fed plus getting two littles ready for school—I run the gauntlet every morning!! But I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I vowed to be an exceptional wife and taking care of my husband and kids as well as myself is always my number one priority in life.  Some women find working out of the house their thing, decorating their homes like a magazine, and I personally find the greatest joy in cooking real food for my loves.  It’s not easy and no I am not a personal chef, nor do we eat homemade and 100% organic, but I do my very best at meeting all of our dietary needs most of the time.

I just wanted to share this recipe because I had so many questions on Instagram when I shared some photos!

On a funny note, Joe recently saw Soft Boiled Eggs with Caviar…maybe for your birthday honey, but no, not every morning!!

Let me know if you try making some soft-boiled eggs!

Thoughts as a Work at Home Mom

Snow day (or rather, “Cold Day”) number 2 with the littles today!! Honestly, I am as giddy as ever when I see my babies will be home safe with me.  Being a former teacher, I have never outgrown the love a good day off from school.  I also have the pleasure (and stress) as being a work at home mom.

There I said it. Whew.  I think for so long I have been battling with this idea that I don’t really work…and in reality?  I really do a lot of work! Simply staying home filled my days with more than enough to do.  The laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, tidying, tending to, it’s endless, am I right? No matter if you stay home or work outside of the home, being a mom is hard work but someone’s gotta do it, and no one better than you mama.

I think I’ve struggled a little bit with coming to terms with working because I don’t exactly get a paycheck, nor do I get dressed up daily and go clock in somewhere.  It’s not the conventional way I used to ‘work’ when I was teaching full time and so I know that internally I had some things to overcome.

Sure I’ve done my fair share of side hustles.  I loved getting healthy with Advocare and with that, helping a lot of friends and family find a better way to live their lives as well.  Why did I stop?  Well, honestly some of the products just didn’t work for me the way that they once used to, or how I would have liked them to.  I still believe it’s a great company and I take daily supplements but my heart was not into devoting all the time and effort into that business.

As Bradley began crawling around, I saw the new up and coming jewelry KEEP and got super excited with that! I also felt that pull of needing to be a part of something. I reached out and did a ton of online parties, made some new friends and really had fun.  Which lead me to my next little venture with Stella & Dot.

Stella & Dot had been around for awhile and while I truly love love love their accessories, what I didn’t enjoy were doing in person trunk shows.  Sure you can still have a great business online, but at the same time as I was rocking with this biz, my husband and I changed the way we were running our real estate company.

Two years ago in March we decided to switch our business model from renting single family homes, to Rent to Own Homes.  This has totally changed the game for us, but as with any business, it continues to grow and evolve. We now have ten properties and a lot of book-keeping, marketing, advertising, taking calls, paper work, collecting money from all tenants…the list goes on.

What was once a small hustle, is turning into an empire.  My husband still works beyond full time and I refuse to raise Bradley differently than Brooke, in the sense that I don’t want to put him into day care and not be with me.  So?  Somethings have to give.  There is no ‘balance’ so I won’t pretend that I’ve found it nor do I believe one day I will magically feel all zen.   But I do believe that as we grow, change and become better versions of ourselves each and every day, we have to say goodbye to old patterns, habits and move forward.

All of my experience in MLMs or Direct Sales, whatever you’d like to call them, not only brought me the BEST of friends—hi guys!!– but also a huge sense of confidence in sales.  I now surround myself with other leaders, continue to read the best professional development books and know that when I have my down days, (and oh, do I ever!) It’s always important to pick myself up and keep going.  I also learned a ton about social media, how to connect with folks and as always the number one reason why we are on this planet?  To help one another.

So I suppose I share all of this because maybe you too feel a shift and want to change.  Perhaps there’s something new you’d like to try but maybe feel like you shouldn’t.  You are never too old and it’s never too late.  I went to school for a very long time; received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Masters Degree.  While these may just be pieces of paper to some people, to me I accomplished my goals, lived out some dreams and was able to teach some amazing and beautiful souls throughout my 8 years teaching English.  The best part?  I will forever have the knowledge I’ve gained, and if I decide to go back ever, I have a NYS certification.

As for now?  I will be parting ways come March with my fun little side gig of Stella & Dot.  It was sure fun while it lasted, but I feel that it is in my family’s best interest to focus on our family business and help grow what we have started to build.  Since realized that time really is the biggest and most precious thing on earth, I really value where I spend it and whom I give it to.

I think I’ve been nervous to admit that I do in fact work, partially because I wanted to be a perfect stay at home mom, making all the meals from scratch or at least semi-homemade.  Do all of the cooking, cleaning, organizing, shopping, etc…but if you are a successful person, you already know this: You cannot do it all.  With 24 hours in the day, it’s imperative to figure out what needs to get done and what and when to let go of things.  (Grocery pickup, I’m looking at you!!)

As far as 24 hours?  I saw a quote that said, there’s 24 hours in a day.  You deserve 1 hour to do whatever you want with it.  Or something like that. Basically, it put me into tears because so often I find myself turning into ‘all work no play’ and then turning into a potato at 8pm and scrolling FB/Insta because I never gave myself one small morsel of the day to spark joy, inspire myself or heal.

I need to write more, so that’s back up at the top of my list.  Working out.  Spending quality time with the kids and Joe.  Dating my husband.  Re-establishing and even creating new friendships. Cooking.  Building our real estate empire.  Playing with our dogs.  Being in nature (when it’s not a Polar Vortex!) Yoga.  Meditating. Networking with other leaders/girl bosses. Giving back to our community. Reading.  Walking. Being.

As I continue to lean into this year, 2019, the year of SIMPLIFYING, as long as this month seemed to be, I could not be more clear or driven on my purpose and reason on this earth.  I pray that we are blessed with better health in the coming months and that by Summer time, all these seeds that have been planted, will bloom.

Makeup Monday: Perfect Nude Lip

I feel like there are so many good nudes out there, I cannot get enough!!

I don’t spend hours a day getting ready, and when I see a fab look I have no shame in asking that pretty girl how she achieved that glow! I was at Ulta before the holidays, and one chic lady working there had the most perfect nude lip!

I went right up to her, complimented and asked what she was using.

Her answer–

I’ve worn it a TON and I do get compliments too, so I had to share my find! I love that it’s a high end (MAC pencil in Stripdown)  mixed with a drugstore lip Maybelline Super Stay, color: Driver. The MAC pencil is super soft and glides right on! I do apply some chapstick first (Younique lip bon bon) and then the pencil, followed by the Super Stay.   Honestly sometimes I just do the bon bon and the pencil if I’m super short on time!  The Maybelline has a nice smell/taste too, which is key. I HATE when lipsticks taste weird!

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I will admit that it doesn’t stay ALL day, but It’s easy to apply and lasts for about 3-4 hours.  It’s

I’ve been trying to up my makeup game a bit more, while trying to stay low maintenance and keeping things simple.

And a little fun Monday vibe–

Have a great one dear readers!!

Happy Half Birthday – to Me

37.5 years on this earth.

That’s really freaking close to 40 people.

The older I get, the more I want to not necessarily slow down, but savor life?  The little in between moments.  The quietness in the middle of all the chaos.  Amongst the rush, the crazy, the real world day to day insanity that pulls.

In 6 short months I’ll be 38.

It will be hot, sunny & hopefully I’ll be sipping on some fabulous dry rosé, Veuve perhaps?

My husband will feel like a new man.  My children will be even more awesome than now, (if that’s possible.)

Life will be ebbing and flowing as it always does, throwing curveballs and strange things, but perhaps maybe it will just be that much better too.

2019 has been a bitch so far, I said it.

My heart is overflowing with emotions to share, but I’m not quite ready I suppose.  We are all doing well, so thank you so much sweet friends for reaching out, commenting and checking on us.

I’ve been so lucky to find my better half and feel a love that I’m not quite certain every person actually feels…I wish that everyone could feel it!  It takes hard work, dedication, compromise and a lot of communication, but the love I have for my husband and he for me I know from the depths of my soul is real and true and pure.

I am strong and he is stronger.

I know that each year we will get better together, no matter what obstacles are thrown our way, and trust me there are always lots!

I miss writing, sharing, feeling, reflecting…

Happy half way to 38 Jennifer Lynn; you are doing an amazing job at navigating life. Sure it’s messy, confusing, scary and sometimes all too much–but the good parts?  Oh they are so sweet & juicy!!   And I truly believe they are on the horizon.

Here’s to making mundane moments magical and always finding the silver lining…

Being Brave

In the midst of two very special birthdays, coming off of Christmas and well into the New Year, I finally find a minute to breathe.

It’s within these stolen moments where I can reflect on, count, and re-count my blessings.  Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we intended it to; in fact, it doesn’t go the way we in which we planned at all.

I’m learning to lean deeper into surrendering and to focus on the now, the present, the little bit I can control and letting go of all the things I don’t.

This New Year has been nothing short of intense, painful and quite life-altering. It’s been hard, unfair and there have been more tears than smiles.

This too shall pass.

I believe there is a bigger picture, a plan in place and I have no choice but to let go and let God.

If you’re looking for comfort, then do what it is that gives you that feeling.  Life is short, and so uncertain.  If there is one thing I keep coming back to in these brief 16 days of 2019, it’s to embrace what we are given, with the people we have in our lives.

I’ve begun a small journey with a new devotional, 100 Days to Brave.  I’ll admit I was so angry at the words I was reading and literally said to myself, “You are far from brave.  You are so not brave it’s not even funny…” and then I cried.  After a few moments of stumbling through my own in-coherent thoughts I thought about what I needed most in my life.  And then I acted on that thought.

And you know what dear reader?  That made me brave.  Acting in the face of fear, no matter how small, makes you courageous.  You do not have to go fight an actual battle to be considered brave, but you do have to figure out your next right move, (thank you Oprah) and have the desire to change.  Put one foot in front of the other.  For me it was reaching out to a friend whom I hadn’t seen or really spoken to in quite some time.  It was asking for help.  It was stepping down from “trying to do all things alone because that is what bravery is.”

No.

Being brave is doing the thing you didn’t really want to do, but that still small voice inside of you won’t be quiet and so you must act.

Do the thing, and you will have the power.  — Emerson.

The universe has my back, and I am highly attune to all the small things.  Rachel Hollis said on her live video with her husband yesterday something that made me stop dead in my tracks.

She said that it’s not going to get easy.  If you think for a second if you just work really hard and then one day poof you’ll be flying high with no cares or worries, you’re sorely mistaken.  (I know I’m improvising her words, but still the same meaning is there…) essentially we are all going to have struggles and stumble.  Through sickness and in health marriage will be hard work, babies will be hard work and living a beautiful and meaningful life will be hard work.

Just don’t quit.  You can fail. You can rest. You can do whatever you need to do temporarily, but the moment you give up?  That’s where it ends.

So while I may have a few obstacles to overcome in life, no one and nothing will stop me from going on.  I know that there will be so much good after so much pain.  Without rain, we’d have no flowers.

What helps me be brave?

  • Reading inspirational books
  • Talking to people who understand me
  • Exercising
  • Acting even if I’m scared
  • Trusting God

Top 10 Books I Read in 2018

I started the year out with a goal of reading 52 books in 2018.  While I am bummed I did not hit 52, I did read 41 and I can’t be mad about it.  I would never have read that many if I did not set a goal to begin with! (I will share my full list on another post!)

Reading is a passion of mine and I am obsessed with getting lost in a good book.  Ever since I was little I remember falling in love with fictional characters, story lines and allowing my imagination to run wild as I read though words on pages.  It’s become tricky to make the time nowadays, but this is the year of #noexcuses.

I went to school for many years to become an English teacher and I honestly wonder how many books I read through my 4 years in undergrad and then a few more as I completed my Master’s Degree. I didn’t read many books for pleasure during those years, but I did read some great books!

Out of the 41 books, I chose these 10 as my “WOW” books.  These are books I think of often, connected with, learned something and really just had a great vibe with.  As you can tell, I read all types of genres!  I really want to up my memoir game, so if there are any you’d recommend, let me know.  I love me some professional development and typically listen to the audiobook version.  Hands down, my favorite way to read is an actual hardcover book, but I do use my phone/iPad with the Kindle app, Audible and Overdrive apps too.

My top 10:

Braving the Wilderness

I do appreciate Brené Brown’s books.  She puts forth a lot of research and shares her thoughts unapologetically.  This book was really worth the read, especially if you’re someone who struggles with the past election.  She talks about how we can all be different, have different viewpoints, but we must stop attacking each other.  While I am not here to debate whether our president is a good fit, she makes some valid points about how we should act.  If you get offended over mockery of Hillary Clinton, then as a HUMAN you should get offended over mockery of Donald Trump.  I had a photo I thought about sharing, of a bunch of Women marching, with signs of genitals and horrible things said about Republican women and such.  It proves Brown’s point of how is that acceptable? What are we teaching our daughters by tearing down other people simply on their political views?  My favorite quote from this book, “Stop looking for ways you’re not belonging.”  Wow.  So true!! If you look for it, you will find it.

Educated

Wow.  This memoir is so beautifully written and Tara endured a life that doesn’t even seem like it could have happened–but it did.  She didn’t receive any formal education until the age of 17.  Can you fathom? The way her father controlled her and her brothers and sisters as well as her mother, was so bizarre and yet from Tara’s point of view, as the reader you can empathize with why and how this family lived (ie. Mormon survivalists)   Her will power and perseverance is undoubtedly some of the strongest I’ve encountered.  It has some hard to read moments, but at the same time is absolutely worth every page flip. Tara is an extremely talented writer and the literary elements are beyond expectations.  If you are a lover of words and language, she strings sentences together so beautifully to tell her story.

The Wisdom of Sundays

If you love Oprah and her courage, optimism and voice, get the audio version of this book!  There are many little interviews from other amazing people, authors with their spiritual lessons.  I will most likely listen to parts of this book again this year.  (You will find other books to read from these authors!) We only get one life and Oprah helps us uncover how to live our best lives and feel everything along the way.  Our spiritual connection with other humans and purposes is one that will elevate us to the next level.

Little Fires Everywhere

Get ready for a book hangover with this book!  It’s so wonderfully written–this story and its characters will stick with you for awhile.  This coming of age story, intermixed with interesting topics of adoption– is motherhood more about blood relation or is is the bond of love?  You will be turning each page in anticipation to see where the story leads and will not be disappointed.

The Last Mrs Parrish

Coming off of The Wife Between Us I had a total book hangover. I wanted to call the characters and see what was going on.  I didn’t think this next book could hold a candle to it as far as keeping my attention or desire to read another book right away. Boy was I wrong!! I read this one probably even faster?! It had such great detail, and right away your instincts and detective skills are trying to figure out what this main character is up to and what is really going on.  You love to hate some of these people and you really develop a desire to know how it will all unfold.  It will keep you up reading til midnight.   I loved how the book ended, and while I won’t give it away, I will say it was a little over the top…but in a good way.  Sometimes what seems perfectly perfect, may not be so perfect after all.  Definitely a must read in 2018!

Where the Crawdads Sing

This was one of my last novels of 2018 and it was a quick listen! I could not put it down.  I fell in love with the main character and felt for her every step of the way.  Basically abandoned at her home in Marsh, Kya’s tale of survival and success is so beautifully told.  You’ll empathize with her in more ways than one and I promise that it’s totally worth reading until the very last sentence!  You’ll love some characters and despise others; I recommend finding a reading buddy to chat about what happens.

Small Great Things

This is one of my first Jody Picoult books and wow.  Just wow! I listened to it over the Summer when we were in the South taking in all the history, so it truly was a perfectly timed read for me.  It delves into the topics of White Supremacy and racial issues; an African American nurse is refused by a white couple to deliver their baby, and the baby dies shortly after birth.  This story was well researched and beautifully told.  It gives insight as to how or why people act, say and do things they do.  I’m for sure not saying that they are right, but you only know, what you only know–and this book is a must read for everyone.  I absolutely loved listening to this book.

Girl Wash Your Face

Ah, Rachel Hollis.  I could and should devote an entire blog post or two to her.  She’s a firecracker for sure and lays it ALL on the line.  She tells ya how it is, like it or not, take it or leave it.  In my humble opinion, those that resonate with her, are like her.  Real, honest, raw & truth-seekers.  Those that continue to attack her, her Christian faith, her ideals, morals, her choice in running an empire and the ways she mothers, really blow my mind, but like I said, another blog post.  The book itself helps out women at any age re-discover that yes, her happiness matters.  Yes, it’s okay to put ourselves first as moms and wives.  It’s okay to want to work and build an empire–she almost gives permission to go out and fail, live out your dreams, no matter what the age. My mother gained a ton from reading this book, friends of mine have and clearly I am huge Rachel Hollis fan girl.  If you are questioning your life’s purpose, self worth or what the hell am I even doing?  Read her book.  She talks to you like a friend and spills a lot of her soul; you may just find out that yes sister, you were indeed made for more.

Think your Way to Wealth

Throwing in some good stuff here.  This old school book would get some feminist panties in a bunch I tell ya! Haha.  I love Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, the “O.G.” as my husband calls it.  This is his interview with Andrew Carnegie so there are a lot of simialr themes throughout this book, but told slightly different.  I 100% agree with some of his philosophies on how to make money, stay wealthy and the steps along the way to get there. One of my favorite quotes from the book was, “Idle Minds tend to develop ailing bodies.”  Whoa, ain’t that the truth! If you surround yourself by garbage and feed your brain nothing but crazy, your body will probably fail you earlier than if you are constantly re-inventing yourself, becoming a better you each and every day.  So often I see people play the victim and sit back and give every excuse in the book as to why he’s not better, richer, smarter, more in shape, whatever.  Either you want it, or you don’t.  “Do the thing and you will have the power.” – Emerson, from this book.

The Wife Between Us

It’s been awhile since a book has really held my attention and made me devour it in a sitting or two.  This book did exactly that!! I couldn’t tell who was who, what was really happening, who was the crazy one?! It had so many twists and turns, that it kind of did feel a little loose at the ending. I won’t give anything away, but I am still left with questions…that are unanswered and that always annoys me!  However, this book was JUST what I needed to get back into the reading saddle.  I despised some characters, felt sorry for some, and really was thrown off by a few things that came up.  There was some bothersome subject matter, but overall this book kicked off our book club and if you like Gone Girl type books, I’d say totally pick this one up or at least at it to your TBR pile.

 

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Hello 2019, you Sexy thing!

I may have had a quiet night in and no, I didn’t even see the ball drop.  I think the last time that happened I was at my Grandma Owl’s house sleeping on her pull out couch? I feel like I spent NYE there quite a few times and loved it.

It was a long Winter break full of lots of sickness, but all is well.  I will miss my little girl today! I’m not ready to send her away all day.  There were moments of pure bliss where I would just stop and watch her and Bradley play so well together. (There were also time-outs and some fights but eh, I like to focus on the good!)  It made me miss having her around so much.  I haven’t had her all day long for over a week since August!

Since I was pretty much stuck at home with all the illness (myself included but I rebounded fast, thank you God!) I was able to really organize and de-clutter my office, Brooke & Bradley’s rooms.  I still need to go through the basement playroom, but after wandering around my extremely messy house aimlessly for about a day or so, Oprah finally told me, “what’s the next right move?” I was seriously starting to go insane not even knowing where to start or what to do with myself and the insanity that was surrounding me.

It’s so true though, just break down your overwhelmingly large to do list and just do one thing. SOME thing. It can be anything, but just do it.  Now all of the odds and ends are out of my office and I am actually sitting here typing my little blog here on a clean desk. #winning

Baby toys are gone and all broken, missing pieces, fast food toys and little annoying pieces of I don’t even know, are now removed from my son and daughter’s rooms and everything has a place, I mean EVERYTHING! We are only on day 3 of this, but so far so good! If they know where something is supposed to go, it makes pick up a whole heck of a lot easier.  Plus it will help with the random, “hey let’s dump all the toys out so I can find that one thing I am looking for!”

So my word of the year?

 

Simplify

I started a few years back with choosing one word and trying to repeat it to myself throughout the year.  {2017: Success & 2018: Be}

I know my life is chaotic but I believe it could be a more organized as well as simplified chaos.  I want to focus on what matters most, what has to happen/get done and what fills my soul with happiness.

This week off was unexpected. I thought we’d be here there and everywhere doing all the ‘fun things’ as well as having some down time.  But honestly?  This is just what I needed as well as my little family and though I would not wish sickness on ANYONE especially the loves of my life, I am glad I could be the one to take care of all of them.

So here is to an amazingly epic & simply sexy 2019!

What is your word or resolution for this year?

 

 

 

Year in Review

In January we threw our 3 & 5 year old a Troll Birthday Party

Rent to Own Open House was held come February, for our real estate business.

March made me lose my mind and We got a Puppy! 

My bestie got us tickets and in April I met RHONJ Teresa Guidice!!

May brought The Most Beautiful Mother’s Day Yet!

June was stressful but we still enjoyed Father’s Day & Family Time

Joe & I celebrated July and Our 8th Wedding Anniversary

On 8.18.18 My Momma Got Married!

September brought back to school.  (I vowed myself to be a present and happy mama when getting my oldest off to Kindergarten & my youngest starting Pre-school.  I made the after school cookies, I cooked healthy meals & was very in the moment. Apparently I was so in the moment with that I barely blogged…I did share some Fall Fashion. 

October I made an attempt to blog every day, and re-introduced myself.

November came and we Stay-Cationed.

Queen of Christmas, I made sure to soak up all the things in December.

Overall, 2018 was a pretty kick-butt year.  We had some downers, and I’ve learned not to trust people so easily.  (ALWAYS PERFORM A GOOGLE SEARCH!!!!) My family grew closer, loved ones beat illness, bonds grew stronger, we traveled with the kiddos on a plane and by the way, they just keep growing bigger and bigger!  Getting a puppy was probably the most stressful and one of the harder things of the year.  Things were just getting into a groove with the kids being older, and well having a puppy is legit 10x harder than a child. I said it.

I’ve learned a lot this past year.  I feel like I’ve finally understood how precious time and who and what to give my time to.  I pretty much re-learn weekly that I need to put myself first sometimes and that in order to give, I need to take time outs for just me.

I’m working on letting go, I know I’m a control freak and I want things to go a certain way.  Like this blog; I write because my soul craves it and my heart feels so happy when I share.  However, I struggle with how much I share because anyone can read it.  I’m always real, authentic and honestly don’t know how to be any other way.  This is my happy place and if I’m going through something I share because maybe my words could resonate with someone else.

There is so much power in written words.

I pray my words will be used for good and not against me.

I’m hopeful and excited for the new year.  I will be sharing my “word of the year” for 2019 soon and have quite a few blog posts already scheduled–who dis?!

Have a beautiful New Year’s Eve and stay safe friends!

 

Self-care Sunday: Masks

Who doesn’t love a spa day??

Goodness knows that I could use an actual facial, in fact I have my eyes fixed on a Hydrafacial (This treatment offers the perfect skin care solution for the time-challenged, by bathing the skin in rich antioxidants and deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid. It starts with deep cleansing and gentle exfoliation, followed by painless extractions, and ends with a burst of hydration.—Relax the Spa)

But the reality is, spa days are far and few between.  So what’s a mama to do?

Try all the at-home masks she can!

Here are a few of my favorites.

These guys have been on rotation for awhile now; a friend told me about them and she didn’t steer me wrong!  They’re great to keep in the refrigerator for an extra cooling effect.  They’re SUPER inexpensive and I feel like the do a little something for my under eyes.

Collagen Eye Masks

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I also grabbed these off of Amazon after my step mom gifted one in my stocking last year!

I honestly do think my lips look a little more full for a few hours, but more than anything the hydration is KEY! These NY Winters are so tough on our skin.

Gold Lip Mask

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My husband and kids think I look ridiculous, but hey if I can help any wrinkles, (that may or may not be caused by them! Just kidding, I’m sure the dogs are mostly to blame!)

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For Christmas my future sister in law gifted me these gold eye patches and OMG.  Talk about a luxe treatment!! If you are looking to splurge a bit and get an even better effect–try these!

I still can’t decide which way to put them on…I like them both ways! Christmas morning sipping on some  Cocoa.

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The last facial I did get at a spa was on my 37th birthday in July and the girl told me that ANYTHING in Korean skin care was the way to go.

My friend Kristin hooked me up with some of these from a shop where she works, and I LOVED them! I then spotted them at Walgreens and just stocked up.

I’ve been trying to make it a habit to use them once a week minimum and I must say that I believe that it’s helping my skin stay hydrated, clearer and for sure getting a more “glowy” look with my makeup.

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The “bubble sheet mask” was a bit crazy! It did bubble up quite a bit and was rather foamy.  I will say it wasn’t one of my favorites, I really love the gold masks and the pearl!

What Masks are Great for:

  • before date nights
  • in the mornings before applying makeup (especially the eye patches!)
    • Late mommy nights or partying the night before? Use these!
  • at night before bed to relax
  • any time you’re feeling stressed out and need to “take a pause” from kids, dogs, LIFE!

Fashion Friday: Save on Style

It’s that time of year—redeem your dot dollars!!  They are like “Old Navy or Gap Cash” and super easy to use!! Spend $50 get

Don’t have any? I have a few extras if you’d like, e-mail me at Jenndellefave@gmail.com

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My current faves you can save on:

Chalet Vest

Darby Collar

Always Tank.

Darby Collar.

Soirée Top (in black)

Reversible Skirt

Tone it down with the black side (if you must!)

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Addy Poncho

Sparkle Studs

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Mixed Metal Sutton.

Chalet Vest.

Work Hard Play Hard Leggings

Camo Sweatshirt–super soft and lightweight.

Rebel Pendant.

Seriously, let me know if you’d like a coupon code!!  I have until 1/3 to hook a sista up!

Style yourself right into the New Year!!

Easiest Recipe on the Planet

If you’re like me, you are probably thinking about dinner while eating breakfast…no?

I try to plan out a rough idea of meals on Sunday, but I also try to have ingredients on hand and easy recipes memorized so I can go to them in a jiffy!

3 organic chicken breasts cut into strips

1 small bag of potatoes cubed

Small bag of green beans

1 packet of Italian dressing

1 stick of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Basically throw the main ingredients into a pan, pour seasonings over them, pour melted butter.

The best part is at that point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake which makes this an excellent make ahead meal.

Otherwise, bake for one hour or until the chicken is cooked through and potatoes are soft.

It certainly isn’t going to win any amazing awards but it feeds your family is semi-healthy and requires zero thought process.

I found it to be the perfect go to meal in this crazy week before Christmas chaos that we experience!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

Holidays can be so wonderful!! I also know that they can be stressful and bring up hard emotions for people as well.  I try to focus on all the good things and stay positive! It’s important to know we are all on this journey of life and none of us really know what tomorrow brings. This holiday season I had so many memories throughout the years pop into my mind.  All great! I think it’s because the kids are getting older and we are way out of the baby season and full throttle into the magic, mystery and wonder that is Christmas, Santa, Rudolph, Elves, Frosty…

I have always loved Christmas and all that comes along with it. It was an interesting month juggling all that I did, but we made it!  Bailey the pup always keeps it extra around these parts.

Now that I survived the hustle and bustle of the week prior, (moms of school aged kids, can I get an AMEN!?) I’ve had a few days to wind down, enjoy some quiet time with my little family, and even watch a Hallmark movie!!

We also decided to change things up and not travel all around on Christmas Day so I’m looking forward to some breakfast casseroles, a day in our pjs and really enjoying the day at home.

Some things that helped me get through the crazy lead up to Christmas…

It’s just a day.  Make it your main goal to make memories of happiness and the true meaning of Christmas.  Don’t try to get to everyone’s house on Christmas day; take time to enjoy different friends and family throughout the week.  People need to understand it’s impossible to e-n-j-o-y if you’re stressed.

Communication. Talk to your family and friends about how to make it less stressful.  Everyone is in a different stage of their lives.  Some of us have little kids, some have grown kids, some are traveling…just talk it through and be open-minded!

Build in down time. We had some unexpected kid free time last weekend and it really helped break up the chaos.  It was so nice to squeeze in extra date nights and alone time for Joe & I!

Let go of expectations. This seems to be a recurring theme in my world.  The more I let go and let God, the better off I am.  I used to try to control everything and have it all in my head exactly how something would play out, only to be mad, disappointed and upset that “it did not go the way I planned.” Newsflash–nothing goes the way you think it should, it goes the way God intends.

Include one or two old traditions, but make new ones too. I stopped putting pressure on myself to try and do a whole bucket list of things.  Reality is, the kids get so much from outside activities, school, and us I don’t have to do it all.  It’s refreshing! I have one thing scheduled for sure on our Christmas break and it’s lots of snuggling time!

Don’t try to be a Pinterest anything…just be present. Don’t get caught up in the illusion of perfect; I’ve talked about it so may times, but seriously. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses.  Don’t compare yourself and try to be something you’re not.  Just do your best and have fun with whatever you chose to spend your time on.

When in doubt, always have an extra bottle of vino on hand! I don’t think this needs much explanation. But seriously, cheers to Christmas and all the fun that awaits!

 

Festive Pretzel Hugs

One of our favorite holiday treats that is SUPER easy and very kid friendly are these pretzel, hershey kiss and M&M sweets.  We made them last year and were such a hit with the kids, us and as gifts!!

The Hersehy “Hugs” are so cute and look really great with the red and green M&Ms.

  1. Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Have your kiddos unwrap the kisses and place into a bowl

 

3.  Place pretzels on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

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4.  Put one kiss on each pretzel.  (invite Aunt Bri over for some extra fun!)

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5.  Place in oven for 2-3 minutes until the kisses are just starting to melt.  The pan will be hot, so be careful with little hands.  Place an M&M on each kiss and press down lightly.

Hand them out to all your teachers, friends, mailman, UPS, Fed Ex, child’s bus driver…it’s a little extra work and does add to that holiday crazy the week before Christmas, but I just LOVE giving and showing my appreciation especially with little tasty treats!  It’s worth the extra mile.

We had some plan chocolate kisses and they were delightful as well!

What are your favorite holiday treats?!

 

Recipe:

1 bag of sqaure pretzels

1 bag of Hershey Hugs

1 bag of holiday green and red M&Ms

Oven: 350 degrees

Start to melt kisses on pretzels for 2-3 minutes, watch them!

Press M&Ms onto warm kisses.  Cool & give away—or eat/gain all the holiday weight. 😉

Chaos Coordinator

There are so many times in life where it’s almost as if the devil himself is trying to stop me.  There are many times throughout the day where I feel like maybe I should just give up something.

Life is hard.

You just do it.

You don’t whine.

You don’t complain.

You focus on the little things.  Be grateful.  Stop trying to be perfect.  Smile. Surround yourself with people like you and people you want to be like.  Get a mentor.  Stop trying to please everyone.  Just live your own life!

There are moments when I tear up or flat out cry, but I always pick myself up and keep going.  I have so many goals, dreams and aspirations for myself and my beautiful family.

Letting go of expectations, judgements and ‘should be’ ideas, is the only way to live peacefully.  I could literally write an entire book on how I thought my life would be right now, but guess what? I was dealt a totally different hand of playing cards. I don’t know all of the reasonings why, maybe I will never know, but I do realize that this is what I have to work with and it’s my choice to be happy or not.

I jokingly had my friend Rachel make this shirt, but oh how true it is!!

Life with littles, dogs, businesses etc is nothing short of chaos!

The best advice for you, if you too are in the trenches, is to not put yourself last every day.  Maybe you can’t do you every day, but if you put yourself first a few times a week? I promise your mind will stop playing tricks on you and you’ll feel better, look better, and life won’t seem so hard.

This is my post Zumba glow—err sweat.

Stop and take the silly photos to remember your season; photos do NOT have to be perfect.  Life is not staged. There is no re-do.  There is no dress rehearsal.  You are given today, and hopefully tomorrow.

Make games out of simple mundane tasks, like homework.

And for goodness sakes, if you’re in a funk?  Lay off the Netflix and Chill and feed your mind, soul and heart with some inspiration. Maybe everyone out there won’t seem so awful, scary, money hungry, etc. if you worked harder on yourself rather than watching everyone live out her dreams.

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This could not be more true–

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And if you’re ready to quit, whether it’s the gym routine, the eating well, the hard work you’re putting into your marriage, the effort in raising your babies right, the side hustle, the career…just keep going.  Just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, you literally could be SO stinking close to striking gold!

 

Don’t lose sight of the big picture sweet sister; you may not be able to control anyone else, but you can always control your own mind.  Remember that what you think about, you bring about.  As soon as your head starts going down that negative path, tell yourself (aloud too!) “I won’t go there.”  It really is that simple.  You will need do it over and over again, but you too can be happy.

When all is crumbling or you feel like you’re failing?  Just laugh.  What is there, if you can’t laugh?

December-ing

Happy December 10th!!

Holy smokes, was last week insane or was it just my crazy calendar??  We literally had something going on every day of the week and my husband worked like a crazy man, which is not that unusual.

I’m happy to report that we are all doing awesome and enjoying this hectic and magical season!

We got our tree (on a 60 degree day no less!) and had so much fun decorating it.

This little ham helped mama make cookies for his preschool class.

Mama is working hard on staying present, taking time each day to breathe, offer love & light and enjoy  all of the Christmas joy.  (Tea with me on instastory lives btw!)

‘Tis better to give than receive day at preschool is always one of my favorites!  It’s hard for little 3 year olds to understand that giving is better than receiving; heck sometimes it’s hard as an adult!! But we had fun decorating our sugar cookies.

We crafted a snowman ornament too!

It’s a full time job keeping the dog fur and real pine needles cleaned up, but when it is spotless, oh it looks so nice!!

Brookie had an adorable Christmas party with her dance class friends.  One of the moms hosted and it was so nice to talk with them while the girls played.

I think she enjoyed herself!

My cookie party was another success!! I didn’t snap a lot of photos, I was too busy being in the moment!  We had 9 adults and about 14 kids I believe?! It was crazy, but so much fun.  I always say I miss the moments when these two were babies, but I adore the memories we are making each year!  I loved our little coordinating outfits, of course.

I did not professionally style the cookies for a good photo op, but there were TONS!

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I helped her craft this headband and she then went up and picked an outfit to match! She cracks me up.  Bailey loves posing for photos…

I’m staying focused on gratitude.  Not sweating the small things: see above photo–pine needles, foot prints, dog hair…

 

I hope if you are reading this, you are enjoying this month of merry as much as we are!! I think this week is a little less crazy, but it is December, so I won’t hold my breath for too much peace and quiet!  I do plan on making it to the gym more this week, because CHRISTMAS COOKIES!  Moderation, balance, whatever.  I know sugar is the devil, but you just can’t say no to Christmas cookies.

Have a fabulous week!

Mama Monday

If you are like me, you probably LOVE your kids SO much, you would wear their name(s) around your neck if you could.  Clearly, they try to just hang from my neck, but they’re getting a bit big for that!

Well, with our fabulous engravable pieces, you totally can!  Right now all of our engravables are 25% off until Monday night.

I currently have a Mystery Hostess link open too, so anyone who shops this link could win ALL of the rewards!! Be sure to check it out! {Mystery Hostess Trunk Show}

Whether it’s a gift for a teammate, a bestie, your mom, heck, even yourself, there are SO many amazing options to choose from!  This newer piece is to die for.   Have you thought of your “word of 2019?”  I am digging this one– FEARLESS.

Did you or a friend recently get married?  How cute would this be?

Each child’s initials…

Do you have a babysitter you just adore?  Maybe cheerleading is her thing?!

This other adorable necklace that says, “mama” is only $34 and is LOW IN STOCK.  It will not be back until January.  Run and getcha one!!

The glue that holds the family together, even when she she may fall apart; it doesn’t get more real than that, huh?  Us mamas need to stick together and what better way to show someone you love them, by sending them a little surprise gift!

This necklace is gorgeous too.

The layering look is not going anywhere people; keep the necklaces comin!

I pretty much wear my gold engravable bar every day.  From working out to running errands…

Playing with a little Addy Poncho in Blush/Camo Scarf combo!

I adore this look!

Christmas will be here before we know it, so let me be your holiday helper! Every gal loves engravables. I’d love to help you design the perfect gift!!

And of course, to end on a giggle. Can I get an “Amen.”

Staycation Re-cap

My favorite part of Joe taking off from his full time job?  Being able to be around for the little things.  I love that he’s able to get outdoors and hunt; it’s truly his only passion/hobby outside of the kids, myself & working hard/making money.

We started out the week with some warmer weather, so it was nice to take a walk with Bradley and Holly.  Brooke had some homework so I had Joe help her.  When we got back from the walk, they had turned it into a game show and she was a spelling machine!

Tuesday Brooke had a half day and we got dressed up to go out to lunch.

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The sun was shining, there were blue skies and the leaves were hitting the last of their peak colors.

After lunch we went to a mall to look for some work pants for Joe, but Banana Republic was just gone!  It’s so sad to see brick and mortar stores closing left and right.  The kids had fun playing in the play area though!

I took a lot of time to self-reflect, hone in on what makes me happy and felt a huge shift in my spirits.

Joe snuck in plenty of hunting time and while Brooke danced, Bradley and I went to the library.  It seems to be our new thing!

I had some early morning wake-ups; Joe likes to be out of the house by 6 am (or so?) and I get up to make him a hearty breakfast.  Bailey enjoys the alone time after he leaves.  It’s just us two until the kiddos wake up.

I saw this and started implementing it.  Being present in every day moments seems to help any feelings of ill ease, overwhelm, stress or anxiety.

I saw Bradley’s turkey at preschool and couldn’t resist snapping a pic.   His neck/head may be a little lower than it should be, but isn’t that what makes it perfect?

Getting to the gym a few times a week has been such a game changer for me.  Releasing toxins, sweating out the day’s stress and focusing on my health is so important.  I can never forget this again!

I feel very open to the universe lately and seem to be receiving all sorts of signs, quotes, affirmations and know that I am in good alignment.

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We finally put in a new rug in our living room again.  It’s been since March (when we got Bailey as a puppy) and she’s pretty much house trained I would say 98%.  It’s nice to have a rug again!

I took this one to Wegmans for lunch after school and clearly this photo says it all.  Pizza is life.

We even got out on a Friday night date night!!

We checked out a swanky new place, Skybar.  It was pretty cool!  We went super early since Joe wanted to go hunting the next day, so it was not busy at 9pm, obvs.  They had champs so all was well!  We can’t wait to go back and check it out when it’s busier.

This girl decided to hang out with her doll finally!! It was pretty cute.  Santa may have to bring some fun accessories for her!

I started this book! I was lucky enough to score an advanced reader copy and so far so good!! I love me a good thriller and the authors wrote one of my favorites from 2018, The Wife Between Us.

I ended the week with some family time, baking pies with my step-mom and sister.  The apple pie was delish!  Here’s to more family fun coming up for Thanksgiving.

Have you ever “staycationed”?  We do it every year so hubby can hunt. I can’t say that I mind it one bit!!

Fashion Friday: Saint James Boutique

Today I am sharing a recent new boutique find!! Stephanie owns this adorable online boutique which has the cutest clothes and accessories!! She is a mom, teacher and hustling her dream biz of owning a boutique.  She’s so easy to work with and very sweet!

See how beautiful she (and her clothes!) are!?  This Susie Leopard Knot tank would be the perfect layering piece for Fall/Winter. 

I opted for this gorgeous Lauren V-Neck Twist top in hunter green.  My husband loves the way green looks with my blonde hair and I knew it’d be a fabulous top for the holidays!  You can dress it up or wear it casual.  I’m wearing it with a pair of leggings for a causal day look.

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Her shop’s Instagram & Facebook feeds are full of her beautiful pieces as well as uplifting and positive quotes.  If you’re looking to support a small business and add a little style into your wardrobe, be sure to check her out!

I was able to scoop up these cuties!!  They can be worn so many different ways.  They have sold out, but check out her Jewelry page to see more!  She also has a collection of perfect bags to accompany your outfits.

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How sweet is this Mila Pleated Drop Waist Dress for holiday gatherings?!

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Steph is so amazing, she is offering my readers 10% off your order!!

Code: JENNDELLEFAVE

If you join her mailing list, (link is in her bio!) you’ll get 15% off.

Cheers to the weekend my friends! Happy Friday Style babes!

Getting Quiet

If you happen to follow me on Instagram you may (or may not) have noticed I haven’t posted in a week.  If you know me well, Insta is my favorite slice of social media.  I started blogging back in 2011 and I believe it was that year that Instagram made its debut.  I loved my little blogging/insta community. It was real, raw, and pure.  Friends from all over could share their photos instantly with adorable captions.  I had so many amazing connections with women over fashion, food, family, husbands, you name it!!

Fast forward to 2018 and my feed was filled with overly airbrushed images, ads to buy something and picture perfect squares of everyone’s perfect lives.  I knew that when I would scroll, put the phone down and then only to pick it right back up and scroll again, it wasn’t making me feel good.  I kept brushing it off because I still do have some amazing, inspiring and uplifting people that I follow—but that wasn’t how I was left feeling after looking at Instagram.

Instead of feeling empowered, I felt insecure, jealous, envy and literally joy was being sucked out of me.  I’d wish that my house was more perfect, that my kids could strike amazing poses for photos and that I must not really be inspiring anyone because, well? To be honest, I was hung up on the numbers.  I don’t have 21k followers.  Hell, I don’t have 1,000.  And I was beating myself up.  I must not be helping enough people.

Regardless, I was going through a low point, feeling sorry for myself, oh woe-is-me, playing the victim, and if I’m being brutally honest? I was ready to go to a Dr and ask for a little magical pill that would maybe make me feel happier.

All because of Instagram? No.  Absolutely not.

But I can say that taking a little fast from Instagram, helped me quiet my mind, soul and allowed me to truly listen.  I have never been addicted to anything, but I believe that I had a problem with incessantly checking this silly app! So once I removed it off my phone, a lot of things happened.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling, I picked up a book:

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This book seemed to speak to me and allow me to reflect on what the hell was going on inside my mind.  I didn’t read it cover to cover, but I don’t think that I needed to or was meant to.  I got what I needed out of it.  People need other people in order to not only survive but also thrive.  Staying home I clearly don’t get as much social interaction as I used to when I was a teacher, but somehow I stopped going out pretty much all together.  I’d get the groceries.  Visit my husband at his work.  Do the school drop off/pick up.  Take the kids to the occasional park or library.  Dance class.   But when was the last time I did a mommy meet up?  Play date?  Had fun with the kids some place other than home?

I immediately decided to take the kids to the Museum of Play that very next day since Brooke had a day off.  We had so much fun.  While they played in the “Vet clinic” for no joke, 45 minutes, I decided to look up the local gyms in my area.  Interestingly enough, the gym I was interested in was having a $1 sign up fee and $20 a month membership.  What?!  You know what I did? I took immediate action.  Why? Because that is how you conquer fear.  Anxiety.  Stress.  You do something. Anything!! After we left the museum I went straight to the gym and signed up. I knew that the classes would be excellent for me, I’d be more social and around happy, energetic and healthy people.

Know what? It’s working.

I’m not saying that medicine is a bad thing; if you honestly need anti-despressants or anti-anxiety meds then definitely take them!  I was at my OBGYN’s office Wednesday of last week telling him about how I had been feeling.  It seemed to coincide with my monthly cycle.  The sadness, crying, overwhelm.  He suggested I figure out the root of my problem, come to a solution and execute!  If that didn’t work then he obviously suggested that I go and talk to someone and maybe explore medicinal options if need be.

I can’t explain why I was feeling the way I was.  I have a beautiful life and everything I have ever dreamed of.  I listen to positive podcasts.  I read leadership books. I was grateful, writing gratitude lists, trying to cling to anything that seemed to try and help pull me from that funk.  The guilt I felt about just not feeling happy or well, was becoming overwhelming and only when I took the bull by the horns and acted upon something did it all change.

While I have only been going to the gym for a week, my body, mind and spirit are in so much better of a place.  I feel as though I’ve cleared some cobwebs, decluttered the social media accounts I choose to follow and have really begun to listen to what matters most.

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I’ve also started to listen to a little meditation on you tube each morning. Maybe about 10 minutes or so, and I just allow myself some time to wake up and listen to good things.  I feel like it helps our crazy morning routines go by with more ease, less stress and certainly more smiles.

As women, we can sometimes take other people’s problems on as our own.  It’s our job as a mom to fix boo boos, wipe tears and lend an ear.  I tend to be overly empathetic and while I know watching the news isn’t great for me, I didn’t realize how much toxic energy I was absorbing through social media apps.

I’m a little apprehensive in sharing all of this publicly, but as Brené Brown keeps speaking into my ear, the power lies in vulnerability. (I’m currently listening to her newest book, Dare to Lead.)  So I suppose I am sharing all of this on my blog so that if you’re feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed or just not happy, I am suggesting that you get quiet.  I went and got a pedicure and put my phone down.  I read some of a book.  I listened to that still small voice that I don’t make enough time for.  It’s never too late to start something different.  To make one small change.  One step leads to so many more. After you get quiet, I also highly suggest you force yourself to work up a sweat.  10, 20 or 30 minutes whatever–get your body moving! Just as we were intended to be social creatures, our bodies crave movement.

I think I’ll be taking more “social media cleanses” and I know that checking myself has done more wonders than I could have imagined. Once I realized that time is our biggest gift and the one thing we can never ever get back, I knew I had to be more strict with my time.  Where my time goes, my energy flows.

 

And of course, in Jenn fashion, there are a few quotes that really resonated with me…

 

 

 

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You matter. You are beautiful.  You are strong.  You are brave.  You are real.  You are living this one life that is truly a gift.  When you fall down, brush yourself off and get back up.  You are not a victim; you and you alone are responsible for your happiness.  Happiness is your birthright.

All my love,
Jenn

My Thoughts on Being a Stay at Home Mom

So many thoughts.  Good thoughts. Frustrated thoughts.  Scary thoughts. Silly thoughts. Wonderful thoughts.  FOMO thoughts. Unforgettable thoughts. Questioning thoughts. Breathing thoughts.

It’s funny, if you think too much how crazy you can drive yourself.  Staying home to me has been one of the biggest gifts, blessings, passions, best and most wonderful thing!! At the same time, it can be a tad lonely, scary, worrisome, and if I let it, questioning.   In today’s world, women are told we can be and do anything.  Yay!  No I am not a feminist (far from it) but I love that we have the ability to do whatever we want.  I think the hardest part is that you have to find what you’re happy with.  Throughout the last 5 1/2 years I have had thoughts cross my mind that maybe I should go back to work. I will admit that it’s mostly when things are hard, (duh life is hard!) but also as teacher friends get ready to go back to school in the Fall, I have a twinge of “what if…?”

But as with anything, I allow myself to work through my feelings.  I write, I talk it out, usually with my husband and good friends, or my mom.  I try to figure out why I may feel a certain way and go from there.

I will say that running a business and staying home is not for the faint of heart.  I truly believe there is MORE than enough work to do taking care of a child, or children, cook from scratch, clean the home, care for dogs, and take care of a husband who works crazy intense hours.  It’s hard to find time to do things that need to get done, things you want to get done, plus play with the kids, enjoy the time with them and possibly give yourself some down time too.

I believe it takes a village to raise children, and villages don’t really exist in my world, so other than an awesome sitter who actually just had a baby of her own, it’s hubby and I.  Family lives far away and so a lot falls onto my shoulders.

I had to take a good look at our life and pick and choose what and where I want to spend my time.  For me, there are several non negotiable terms when it comes to our home life.  I find it extremely important for the kids to eat a warm breakfast most days.  Even if it’s a bagel and cream cheese or one little egg.  I think that a hearty meal first thing in the morning sets you up for success.  I also will always be here to greet the kids off the bus.  Until they are in high school, I truly find that after school time to be crucial.  Is this the only way to be a mom?  Absolutely not! But in my heart, it’s the way I want to be.

I’ve recently discovered my true need to break a sweat at a gym.  We had a monthly membership to the Y, but I decided it was a tad expensive and canceled it in August.  Well, September was absolutely nutty trying to get into a groove with one in Kindergarten and one in preschool a few hours each week.  Once we settled into the swing of things, it was all of a sudden Halloween.   I would make lame attempts to do at home workouts, or walk the dogs and play with the kids, but I missed socializing with people! I haven’t even been there a week yet, but I can tell you in the few times I’ve gone, my smile is bigger and my mind is quieter. I’ve also implemented a few more things, but I’ll touch on those later.

Bottom line, being a momma is hard.  We worry even if we don’t want to and I always want to do the right thing.   I will tell you it’s difficult to not give into the tantrums, the junk food, the instant gratifications.  But it’s so worth it.  Stay at home or work at home, moms are amazing.  (Dads are too, but this post isn’t about them!)

Like I’ve stated before, there is not “right way” when it comes to staying home or working as a mom.  There is only what’s best for you.  For me it’s a crazy combination of staying home, and also working.   I believe that once the kids are both in school full time I will be open to even more opportunities.  I have quite the ‘bucket list’ of dreams I’d like to accomplish and the ultimate dream being to work with my husband every day.

Regardless of what your “job title” may be, the best advice I can offer is to stay focused.  Don’t get caught up with what other people are doing.  This I am learning, is very tricky with social media in my hands.  I can very quickly get down on myself for not being where I would like to be.  It’s good to push ourselves, but it’s a whole different ball game to compare and lose sight of what is right in front of us.

Would I stay home or go back to work if I had to do it all again?  

I’d stay home 100%.  Even on the hardest of days where I feel like I accomplished nothing, I know that I am making the right choice for my family.  If you stay home and feel like you’re in a rut, then I highly suggest shaking up your routine.  Get out more; have more fun; meetup with some other mommas or do a baby or toddler class.  Leave the dishes be and get on the floor with the kiddos.  Snuggle them on the couch and ignore the laundry.  It’s all gonna be there anyway.

Also, mamas, ladies, women friends, do not ever feel guilty for filling your cup!!  Take the bubble bath and lock the door.  Pour a glass of wine and play the jazz music.  Sneak off to the coffee shop and bring your laptop.  Join that gym and go do your favorite class.  Read that book or follow that dream inside of you.  You are worth it!!  If you’re so caught up in your crazy busy life and don’t even know where to start, then you definitely need to stop and take a pause…

I’ll be sharing more on my pause in an upcoming post.  Until then, feel free to comment or reach out to me. You are not alone!! Motherhood aint easy, and there are way too many mean girls out there competing.  Life is not a competition; it’s your journey and yours alone.  Tune out the negativity and quiet your mind…I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Make today beautiful friends.

 

Hello November!

Well, October came and went….pretty damn fast!!

I could say, “sorry I didn’t blog every day in October,” but you know what? I’m not sorry.  I did what I could; I had a few rough moments, days where life turned into a blur and things just didn’t turn out.  So ya know what? You get yourself up, brush yourself off and start again.  Don’t quit.  You can rest, just don’t quit.

I feel like I needed to take a few steps back, re-evaluate where my heart and mind were at and just be.

I really had such a great time trick-or-treating with my gang last night!!  We went to our friends’ house and we basically just started an awesome new tradition.   Their little ones are 2 1/2 and 6 months, so it gave me all sort of feels and flashbacks to when our life was like that!! It was so cool to see our two, who are 3 & 5 run to each house and really get excited over their costumes, candy and all things Halloween.

I will remember this Halloween as, “Black Panther & Mavis.”

We enjoyed pizza, cider & donuts as well as some much needed hanging out time.  All work no play is never good for anyone and I am realizing that this mama NEEDS MORE TIME WITH OTHERS!

How cute is this little dalmatian!?

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The trees are really changing and it’s quite lovely!

This has got to be one of my favorites.

Baby’s first Halloween!

It’s crazy when you can step back for a bit and reflect, you can come to some amazing conclusions.

I enjoyed a much needed pedicure, latté and even read a bit of a book earlier today.

Tomorrow Brooke has off from school and hubby’s staycation begins.  *Let’s pray he gets a big buck sooner than later!!

Here is to the last 60 days, the final months of the year.  We have so much to be grateful for this year and in this season, I hope to find the magic all around.  I look forward to an amazing Thanksgiving with family and a joyous Christmas spirit.

May your days for the next two months be Merry & Bright!

Fall Beauty Must Haves!

I am such a girlie girl.  I absolutely love makeup and all things beauty related.  I am not a beauty guru by any means, and I was brought up in a “less is more” household.  I was raised not really wearing any makeup.  Bonne Bell chapsticks, a little cover girl blush and my eye lash curler got me through high school.  In college I overplucked my brows and wore way too much white/shiny eye shadow.  Thanks to Britney Spears!

However, as I have gotten older I do find the joy in applying makeup and using great skincare products since I am 37, not 22.  I have never had Botox, but am not against it.

This past Spring I decided to switch from Mary Kay skincare to a more natural, botanical line which happens to be a Stella & Dot sister company.  Ever Skin Care has done nothing but better my skin!! I haven’t had any crazy breakouts and honestly feel like my skin actually has a glow to it.  I do use makeup wipes to take off my makeup with every night and I just started using this Trio into my routine.  I love the beauty water, which cleanses and removes makeup.  The brightening gel is amazing and I am really loving the priming moisturizing cream.

I also use their tinted moisturizer daily as I don’t like to wear a foundation. (not pictured)

They just launched a few matte long lasting lip colors.  I have been a HUGE fan of their plumping nude glosses for every day.

I tried this long lasting matte and it does last for awhile! I will say that I felt like it was a tad drying, so I need to work on keeping my lips moisturized.  It’s a super pretty color, this is Crush.

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My friend Jenna sold me on these two products!  This I saw HUGE results with.  An instant glow and rejuvenated face for sure!  They do sting a bit around my nose, but nothing terrible.  I don’t use them every day but when I do, my skin looks and feels fabulous.  It does have witch hazel which my friend Elizabeth told me could be a bit much on sensitive skin, but as long as I don’t use it daily it seems to be fine!

I was a really big fan of Younique’s Rose Water as a toner, but honestly after they changed the glass bottle to plastic, I was meh over it.  Jenna also recommended this to me and WOW!!  This stuff smells so good and I use it as a toner or even a mid day spritz to refresh!

If you are local, she knows her stuff and is excellent at what she does.  Show owns Mint Skin Spa in Spencerport and I swear, before the end of the year I am booking a lash tint and lift with her!!

The Younique gals never steer ya wrong!  Use the chapstick (vanilla) then line with Prim which is actually an eye pencil, followed up with a liquid lipstick called Stellar. Shop those products here!

And this is a bit blurry, but again I used Younique, it was palette 2!  Here I have on my beloved Lipsense, I believe in Sheer Berry.  I just love a good bold lip for date night!  I still curl my eyelashes daily and I am obsessed with Younique’s Epic Mascara.

Never forget the brow powder either! I got mine years ago at my brow place.

As for my hair products, I have been trying something new, which I will blog ALL about soon!  (Icy blonde, anyone!?0 I’m using the purple shampoo, by Joico found at Ulta or Amazon.  I curled my hair with my chi straightener.

And lastly, I may not be 19 any more, but goodness gracious I still love me some good old fashion Bath & Body Works Fall scented lotions.  They may have chemicals and I try not to use them all year, but once in awhile? Yes. Yes. Yes.

What are your current favorite Fall beauty must haves?!

CBD Oil

I’ll preface this post by saying, I am not a doctor nor do I have any sort of certification in the health world.  I do however love sharing what helps my family and I feel our best.

My husband has Crohn’s Disease and has dealt with it since diagnosed at 17.  He’s been on all sorts of medications and steroids, eliminated certain food and drinks from his diet and really watches his stress levels.

He saw a HUGE change in his overall health this past year when he added CBD.  First and foremost, for the love of all things, IT DOES NOT GET YOU HIGH.  There is no THC in CBD, it is NOT the same thing as “pot or weed” as most of us know it.

I’m still “new” to CBD, but I wanted to document n

It does not have to be smoked.  You can use a vape pen, or a tincture or it can be an edible like these gummies.

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The gummies my husband buys from a local CBDepot here in town.  They do taste yummy, but I don’t love the extra chemicals…

My husband was so kind and saved these for me to share, if you’re into visuals like this:

I know this is a bit blurry, but it explains how CBD can effectively work in our bodies.

I personally like this oil from Thoughtcloud, which I’ve seen others post about as well.  The quality is great and it’s super effective.  I started with this 750 mg bottle and just did a little drop under my tongue before bed each night.  I slept like a rock!!  I also noticed that my moods were a little more stable and the biggest difference for me was that typically the week before my period I was a MESS.  I’m talking, crying, angry, frustrated, hating the world, everything felt like it was crashing down on me.  I was making mountains out of mole hills and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I really rely on holistic approaches, not that I’m against doctors and modern meds, but nothing that I was doing seemed to help.  I was getting ready to bring up my issue as possible PMDD at my next OB appointment because of how badly I was feeling.

Since adding this, I have felt SO much better.   It does take awhile (I’d say a few weeks for me) to start seeing a significant change. It’s not a quick fix, nor can you feel an immediate effect if you’re super overwhelmed or feeling a bit out of control.

I upgraded to the bigger bottle last time so that it would last me longer.

Does it make you sleepy?

I have taken it during the day and have had zero effects of feeling lazy, tired or unable to function. If anything, it has helped me focus and get whatever I was trying to accomplish, done.  I have even had really great workouts because of it!  You will not wake up groggy from taking it the night before either.

My husband and I have nothing but rave reviews about CBD oil.

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If you are interested, use this link to checkout Thoughtcloud! They are constantly running sales and promotions on their products.  I only wish I had started taking the oil sooner! Any of my friends who have tried it also have seen great improvements in their ability to sleep, better moods and less anxiety.  It is the FIRST thing I now recommend to people, along with Acupuncture, eating clean & healthy foods as well as exercise and rest.

Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer you honestly, as always!

Stepbet Thoughts

My best girlfriend Ann joined a “Stepbet” and basically made me join too.  LOL!  No really, she encouraged me and said it’d be fun, all we have to do is meet our daily walking goal 4x a week and power goals 2x a week and you get a day off.  You put $40 into the pot and if you stick with it all 6 weeks, you get your money back.  If others drop out, you get a cut of their money split amongst the rest of the crew who stuck it out.  If you have an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, it will calculate your averages for you. Somehow my friend Nikki thought it’d be fun too, so she joined in! HA!

The first week is a prep week and it doesn’t actually count. This is where I learned the value of charging my watch; it died a few times and that was bad. I am not gonna lie, the second week I ROCKED it!  I was walking the dogs, pushing the stroller, running around like a mad woman–all while the weather was nice.  However as soon as the temps started to drop, so did my activity level.

Now I’m not a stationary person to begin with; but I don’t hit almost 11,000 steps every single day either.  I’ve learned that this is harder than I thought!! There are days where you are stuck in the car, going to appointments or sitting doing work (chores, playing with kids, snuggling, etc) and there are also times where you just want to not walk!

I literally have 4 days left.  2 can be active and 2 have to be power.  I developed a small (yet annoying!) chest cold on Saturday, so my energy has been zero.  I tried to “rest” as much as I could while still getting in my steps Monday & Tuesday.   Today as I type this at 3pm, I’m at 5,322.  I still need to get to 10,781 by midnight tonight.

My friends and I have found ourselves doing jumping jacks, pacing hallways, running in place and just walking for literally NO reason.  I think it’s kind of hilarious and kind of obnoxious all in one.  I’m a huge fan of challenges, but man alive I’m ready for this one to be OVER! Why is the last week of something always the hardest?

If you’re reading, then please say a little prayer I’ll actually finish this last week; mama needs all the support she can get!  I so appreciate all of my friends who encourage me and to those of you stepping, we’ve got this!!  I will let you all know how much money I end up with at the end. #positivevibes

Here is what today looks like:

Here is a look at the whole 5 weeks that actually counted.

I must say there are a few pros/cons.

Pros- I feel like my legs are super muscular! My booty is looking fine too (according to the hubs! LOL!) I have not gained any weight and honestly, I’m enjoying carbs and yummy treats.  I’ve bonded with some good friends.  I feel like Superwoman when I complete each week.  I know I’m being healthier and getting outside with the kids, when I maybe would wanna curl up and be lazy.  I feel like I’m being a good role model for my son and daughter.

Cons– Really the biggest is maybe the stress of it this last week.  Getting sick sucks and I’m just tired! I don’t want to lose my money, so I must finish! The only other con is that I miss lifting weights and doing yoga.  If I’m “going to spend time being active” then I need my darn steps!

Have you or would you do a Stepbet?

#blogtober…the show must go on!

Hello hello!! I am not even sure who even reads this little space here.  In true life fashion, I have missed two days of my #blogtober challenge.  Le sigh.

However, I will not apologize.  Sure, I didn’t show up for myself, but ya know what?  It’s okay.  Saturday I started coming down with a little scratchy throat, of course the night where hubby and I were to have a fancy date night and be able to go out and be wild, crazy & kid free!

In reality, I ended up bumping the back of my head getting into his car and we were home by 9.  I felt like to total poo yesterday but it was nice to “rest” a bit.  I say that because let’s be real. Moms and wives don’t get sick days.  There is no time off.  I got to watch a few clips of Food Network in the morning and I didn’t have to  make dinner two days in a row.

Life is nutty!  I tried so hard to form the words to explain the benefits of CBD oil, but I just couldn’t get my sentences write, but I do promise to post about it.  It has changed mine and my husband’s lives so it’s that important I will get to it.

I just didn’t want to neglect my little spot here once again; I’m fitting in this tiny post in between searching for certain Land Trust agreement paperwork (So much paperwork in real estate!!) and going to tuck my little munchkins into bed.

We are all healthy, alive, well and good… Okay I’m not 100% there yet, but give me one more day I’ll be there.

So if you’re hanging on by a thread, I’m here to tell you, it’s all okay.  Push yourself just a little more, but not too hard.  Get some sleep. Drink more water.  Breathe.  You’ve got this; whatever it is, don’t give up.

It’s like my girl Rachel Hollis was saying this morning on her Live video with her husband Dave. (I was organizing my daughter’s dresser–out with the old and in with the new!)  Just because you ate a cookie, don’t beat yourself up!! We are here to build a better version of ourselves daily.  How do we do that? By being NICE to ourselves.  Yes, that means no talking badly to yourself if you didn’t get your blog done, or the workout in, or you yelled at your kid.  Just be better tomorrow.  Be sweet to yourself; she’s the only one you’ve got and you’ve got to be with her forever!!

On that note, stay healthy friends!! Wash your hands, use the essential oils and for goodness sakes, get some sleep.

See you on the flip side!

xo

Why I Started Blogging

Back in 2011 I went from working a full time teaching job that was about a 45 minute commute to and from my home, to staying home as a housewife.  I absolutely loved my job teaching English 7-12, but the stress of the commute and literally feeling like I NEVER saw my husband took a toll on us.  When Joe suggested I stay home and not go back to work, I thought he was kidding…turns out it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

While I was super happy and confident in my decision to stay home, I longed for some connection of other women who too were happily married and lived a not so average life.  I had always wanted to start a blog, but never found the time to figure out how to get it up and running.  Finally one day I just sat down and figured it out, thus launching Bliss to Bean.  Reading and writing have always been a passion of mine and as soon as I figured out Blogger, it was go time.  With the ease of our cell phones snapping photos and quickly uploading, I was sharing my heart on here in no time at all.

I immediately found a bunch of amazing girls, younger and older, who shared similar values or simply just loved sharing their lives on the internet.  I’ve learned so much and made some really amazing inter-web friends! It was super fun to post daily back in 2011/2012 and once I found out I was pregnant, it was a great way to share my journey.

I also have family who lives far away, so I knew that this online space would be a great way for them to see what we are up to and then of course once I had kids, it was nice to create a family diary of sorts.  I’ve waffled back and forth on whether to quit blogging all together.  I’ve taken breaks.  I have changed my content here and there…

But the reason I always come back is that I feel like I have something to say.  There have been a few times where people have reached out to me and thanked me for my honesty.  They tell me that they don’t feel so alone, or that I inspired them to have a better day.  I absolutely love this!!  I can only hope that more women feel connected to my writing, even if I don’t hear from them.

I’ve always been as honest and true here on my blogs, as much as I feel comfortable being.  There are some topics (like potty training) I feel are off limits.

I never try to come off as perfect or having it all together.  I share what works for me, what doesn’t, and honestly my main goal in life is to just be happy.  There are a ton of obstacles life throws at us, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you and you alone to create your happiness.

Some people think I should be making money off my blog and heck, if I could I would!! I just personally don’t want to turn into a sponsored ad every day.  If I find something that I love, I share it! If I find something that isn’t working, I may just share that too.  I also don’t want it to feel like a burden; I love finding the joy in blogging.  It’s no fun when it becomes tedious and work-like.

While the blogging community has changed A LOT over the last 6 years, I still smile when I see the “OG” girls that I used to really connect with… a lot of them are on instagram, but most do not blog any more.  There were real friendships made and during hard times and good, it was nice to have uplifting ladies in my life.

I set my brand new blog up in January of 2018 and had no idea what I was doing.  If I’m being honest I am still trying to figure out WordPress!  I just wanted to own my site and ensure that my words were safe.

I am not entirely sure where my blogging journey will take me, but writing makes me so happy and this #blogtober challenge has been so good for my soul!

If you’re ever feeling compelled to blog, just do it!! You never know what can happen until you just try.

Happy Friday friends!

Favorite Fall Recipes

We’ve had a bit of a heat spell here this last week, so not much Fall cooking or baking took place.  That’s ok! We had some cooler weather a little bit ago and looking at the forecast, we’ll have some coming up as well.   I absolutely love it when the weather does drop, to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen.  I find it so therapeutic to cook and bake for my beautiful little family.  Food is a major love language of mine!  When the cool temps come, bring on the warm and cozy comfort foods!

All time favorite Fall comfort (read, not healthy) food?  Mac & Cheese.  I am obsessed with the best ever, and I mean EVER mac and cheese: Over the Rainbow Mac & Cheese by Patti LaBelle.   It was a chilly Sunday a few weeks back, so hubby smoked some babyback ribs and slathered them in BBQ and while I didn’t have all 7 cheeses (yes, you read that correctly!) I did have cheddar & velveeta so I made do…plus I had half and half and wow.  Kids didn’t like it; I’m wondering who’s children they are??? But Joe and I really enjoyed!

Who doesn’t love chili on a cold day?  If you’re looking for a healthy and filling meal, check this one out!  Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Quinoa Chili.  It made a TON so I froze some for later.  I will admit, I was the only one who ate it. Joe can’t do all that fiber and the kids didn’t like the flavor.

Kid Friendly:

Pizza Pasta Bake They loved that it looked and tasted like a pizza! It was a nice way to use up some pasta and cheese.

And an oldie but goodie, 2 (or 3) ingredient muffins~

1 box of spice cake

1 can of pumpkin

Chocolate chips

Stir pumpkin & boxed cake in a bowl, spoon into muffin tin.  Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes. I top with chocolate chips because why not?!

Family Vacation: Charleston, South Carolina

Back in August, we headed South for my mom’s wedding.  Her and Mark got married on Folly Beach, which is about 20 minutes or so from Charleston.   It’s a super cute little beach town with fun little shops, restaurants and of course an amazing ocean view.

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We stayed at the Tides Hotel, which is one of the only hotels on this beach.  We enjoyed our stay and the wedding was held here too!

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We grabbed a quick dinner since the 4 of us were starving from traveling all day.  This was our first “officially on vacation” photo.

The kids enjoyed their kid friendly strawberry daqs.

Brooke was LOVING all of the seafood!

That night we checked out the beach and the kids of course loved swimming in the pool.

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The next morning we headed out for some girl time!! Pedicures and a tea room lunch with the bride to be…my mama!

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Brooke loved it.

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My sis and I snuck out to grab a quick “Folly Vice” at the beach bar.  Gosh it was tasty!

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Later that night was the rehearsal dinner.  We all had dinner & drinks at the Pier which was next door to our hotel…I never did get to walk that damn pier! haha

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After that we played in the ocean…I mean, figured out who went where for the next day!

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The wedding was beautiful! If you missed that post, you can catch up on that here.

We had a semi-early morning the following day as well, as we had a carriage ride/tour to catch.

The kids loved their new hats.

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They did pretty well on the carriage tour, but it was hot (obvi) and history isn’t exciting to them yet.  They did pretty well though!

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We had so much fun and were very grateful that my mom and Mark put together this activity for us to enjoy.  We only wish we had more time to go back and explore the old streets and sights!

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They loved getting to pet the horse.

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After that, we walked the market, hit up the Charleston tea & spice shop –yum!! We also enjoyed a nice lunch together on a rooftop–which I am totally blanking on. Mom?

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That was our final night in Charleston.  I believe I ordered this AMAZING Low Country dinner that night, which happened to be at our hotel restaurant.

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When we got up the next morning, Joe & I went off to Savannah, which I posted about here.

When we returned, we picked up the kiddos and checked into a Marriott in historic Charleston.  It ended up being a good place to walk to a lot of places!  We walked over to this BBQ joint which was quite delish!

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We made sure to make plenty of pit stops for ice cream, because, vacation.

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The next morning Joe found this amazing little French breakfast place, it was SO good!

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Brooke & Daddy basically had dessert for breakfast.

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I was pumped to have some Orangina!  It has been YEARS since I had this.  I’m thinking the last time was when we were in Paris on our honeymoon, 2010!

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We walked up to the market, hit up a Starbucks and let the kids rest here and there.  We stopped at this old water fountain and of course read the history all about it.

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We found some little Raw bar and the kids sort of ate whatever it was we ordered them.  Joe really enjoyed his lobster roll & I had a divine glass of rosé and some ceviché.

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That night we had a fancy dinner at the Charleston Hotel.  We all got dressed up and walked there.  On the way, Bradley kept seeing these bicycle guys and was throwing a FIT because he wanted to drive one!  We promised him on the way back to the hotel, we’d get one.

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The kids were PUMPED for their big bowls of popcorn!

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Mark, mom & us

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Our fun little ride back to the hotel.

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Overall Charleston is not extremely kid friendly, as it’s just a lot of walking, eating, history, and repeat.  I thought our 3 & 5 year olds did amazing!! They dined out at fancy restaurants and kept up with most activities.  My mom and Mark took them to the Aquarium the day Joe and I went to Boone Hall Plantation.

Joe and I had a drink at the Market Pavillion Rooftop bar that night and Saturday morning we went back home.

It really proved to us that we need to travel more.  Joe and I always went away a few times a year before kids and well, the idea of flying with babies terrified us.  We SO needed to get out and explore.  The kids are ready and it was so good for all of us to be in new places, get out of our routines and shake it up a little.

Not to mention, I really loved spending time with my mom.  We can’t wait to come back, or heck, just drop the kids off and keep heading South haha!!

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Happy Birthday to my Husband

41 years ago this man made his grand entrance into this world.  He is the definition of, “one of a kind.”  I’ve never met someone so confident, self-assured and positive in all of my life.  He is literally a glass half full kinda guy.

I wish we were able to whisk away to the Ritz Carlton, Toronto to celebrate again, but I guess a nice quiet Tuesday night at home will have to do.

He requested Man Pleasin Chicken for dinner and the kids are so excited to give him their gifts.  I’d have to say that year 40 was a huge year for Joe; he’s grown so much as a husband, father & business (man).

I still catch myself looking at him and feeling super sappy about all that we’ve been through and how much true love can endure.  We have such big dreams and goals, sometimes they scare me but I know there’s very little that frightens Joe.

Some of you may not know this about my husband, but he has Crohn’s Disease and this past year, he has truly found some BIG game changers on his health.  I will definitely share more on that later…(CBD Oil!)

As of today, I will have celebrated 10 birthdays with you.  You were 30 when I met you and and it still doesn’t feel like we’ve been together that long!

I am so excited for all of the adventures that await us in your 41st year.

May your day be full of love, your year be full of health, wealth, and most of all: happiness.  Brooke, Bradley, Bailey, Holly & I are very blessed to have you as our main man.  There is no one on earth like you, nor will there ever be another.  I’m so happy you chose me all those years ago and that I chose you too.

We make a good team, you and I.

Cheers to 41 baby!

I love you with my whole heart & soul.

Since I never blogged about it last year, I’ll share these memories right here.  Your 40th birthday at the Ritz, in Toronto.  It was a stunning corner suite king room. I can’t wait to go back again one day with you my love.

xo

Favorite Youtubers

I do love me some Youtube!!

I find a ton of inspiration from here.  Whether it’s meal planning, parenting, cleaning, reading or working out, there are videos out there for everything.

I really started getting into Youtube when I was pregnant with my first baby.  I wanted to know all things about pregnancy and being a new mom.  It was so helpful!

Throughout the years my faves are still on my to watch list. Here are just a few!

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Way to Relax

When the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, and it will at times, the best thing to do is stop– just take a time out.  I used to think in order to really, “relax” I had to have hours on end or even a whole day.  While that is really, REALLY nice, it’s not that practical when you’re a momma of two littles, two crazy dogs, a wife to a hard working hubby and a business owner.

I have learned to ‘pause’ and steal away moments in my hectic day to relax.

One of my favorite moments was July 1st.  I woke up really early on a Sunday and told my husband I just needed a little quiet time.  I had no idea where I was going, but off I went.  I hit up Starbucks for my beloved Matcha Green Tea Latté and found myself at the beach watching the sunrise.  Being present in nature, especially with such a beautiful display of God’s creation, I was more than relaxed.

If I am home and can’t run off alone, I will sometimes make a cup of tea, turn on some quiet jazz music and put away/shut off the phone.  The act of making a cup of tea is so serene to me.  If I’m feeling lousy, a little English Breakfast Tea, half and half & tsp of sugar can cure pretty much anything.  A cute mug always helps!  I’ve got my eye on this one!

 

If it’s nice out, I’ll go outside to sip it.  Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes, just taking a little break helps me out so much!

Bradley doesn’t always nap, but if he does I force myself to sit down (around 2 or 3 pm usually) and take a break.  A healthy snack, some essential oils & tea are a perfect way to break up the day.

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I also will scroll through some uplifting quotes to try and straighten out my mindset.

I firmly believe what we think about, we bring about.

If you focus on what you don’t want, you will get more of that.

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I am the first to admit, sometimes I get too caught up in #goals and #hustling I don’t stop to appreciate the life I have.  I need the reminder to stop and pause.  It’s a must!

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Another way I love to relax is curling up with a good book.  This is my current read for my upcoming Book Club at the Wine Bar.  Feared: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel

As per one of my last posts, I don’t watch a lot of shows on TV to relax, but I do have This is Us that I like.  (haven’t watched it much yet this season though!)

Blogging is a form of relaxation for me.

Pouring a glass of wine & cooking up a storm is pure therapy for me. It’s truly my happy place!

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I don’t do much crazy decorating, mostly because we’ll be moving soon and with two dogs and two kids, a lot gets ruined…but I do try to take time and make the house feel like a home.

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Cuddling with the kids is quite relaxing.  I also love snuggling with the pups when they aren’t too crazy, they too can be quite relaxing!

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Don’t get me wrong, a trip to the Spa for a facial, massage & pedicure are certainly some of my favorite ways to relax!  I just can’t afford to go there weekly, (darn!) so I find it so vital to sneak in ways daily to rejuvenate.  Filling my cup is so important to me.  When I provide self-care, everything runs a lot smoother.

What are your favorite ways to relax?

Do you have a book you can read again and again?

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I bet this answer will surprise some of you.

No!

I hate, no loathe reading books over again and again.  I don’t think I have honestly read a book cover to cover more than once!  I will read chapters or sections over, but I have never sat down and re-read books.  Can’t do it, won’t do it, don’t like to do it. (Although kids books don’t count!! I can basically recite most of our well loved childrens books! Especially, Go Dog Go.)

I also struggle with e-books.  I love the convenience of reading on my i-pad mini, but do not like feeling the pages turn!  It is such a struggle haha.

When I was teaching, I’d teach the same books each year (if I was in that grade level again) and still I could not bring myself to re-read an entire book.

Now that I’m older and have seriously limited time, my TBR (to be read) list is so long I can’t afford to read a book over and over!  Plus, I have set my lofty goal of reading 52 books in 2018 and I’m at 31…can I do it?!)

That said, I do have some favorite books that I certainly wouldn’t mind reading sections of.  I will forever love these novels and they hold a special place in my heart.

The Great Gatsby was a major turning point in my life.  I fell in love with literature my Junior year of High School.  The thematic elements, symbolism and imagery of this novel alone made me want to become a teacher.  Of course, it’s an excellent story and I certainly don’t mind that Leonardo DiCaprio remade the movie version.  Ol’ chap.

 

My favorite author of all time is Jane Austen.  If you’ve never read any of her work, it really is beautiful! I was slightly obsessed with her female characters and the intricate love stories of all those involved.  Oddly enough, I do not enjoy watching movies based on her novels!  Persuasion is my favorite book of hers.


I love love loved The Notebook! I remember being single, curled up in my big green arm chair, laughing, sobbing and wishing for a love like Noah & Allie’s one day… I loved this book so much I used a part of it during our wedding ceremony as a reading.

“The best love is the kind that weakens the soul, that makes us reach for more, that plants fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever. Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it’s like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt that you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I’ll never forget a single moment of it.”

And as for a recent read, this one.  Wow.  Tara’s memoir was such an excellent read.  It was one where I couldn’t just ‘rip right through it’ like some of my other books this past Summer.  I wanted to slow down, savor each sentence, each paragraph.  Her writing style is simply beautiful and her story is like no other.  It really resonated with me for many reasons; it really shows that how we are brought up and taught to believe does begin to shape us. However, if you can escape the crazy, you can make something amazing out of yourself.  The stories Tara shares are gut-wrenching and more than anything she makes you feel like you’re going through them with her.  I highly recommend it.

 

Is there a book you can read again and again? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

An Old Photo & the Story Behind it

I had my mom send me some old photos via text and this was one that made me laugh.  I was such a chubby cheeked little chipmunk!! I want to say I must have been around 9 or 10?  4th or 5th grade…

It was before braces and bras, I’ll tell ya that much!

I’m wearing my New Kids on the Block t-shirt as well as a watch.  I was a total fan girl and crushed hard on Jonathon!!

Hangin Tough, Step-by-Step, you name it, I knew it. I’d carry around my little yellow Sony Walkman and jam those cassette tapes!

This would be my natural hair color, which I still can’t believe both my kids seem to have.  I believe that I’m standing in my doorway to my bedroom.  Each of us three girls had our own rooms.  My parents had to put an addition on after the 3rd!

I’m holding my little hamster, Mikey.  We went to the mall and I believe it was Woolworths (I don’t think there are any around now.) They had the cutest display of Teddy Bear Hamsters.  I begged my parents for one, because you know a few cats and dogs weren’t enough apparently.  My dad said a firm no, but my mom for some reason I’m still unsure of, said yes! She hates mice and rats so I’m still shocked as to how I ended up with a hamster! (Kind of like me currently with reptiles…hell to the no!!   I just have that feeling Joe and the kids will come home with a Bearded Dragon or something creepy.)

Mikey was such a good little guy!!  He had this ball that he’d roll around in and he definitely took a tumble down our stairs once or twice. He was okay!! And his name?  Oh, I felt that if I named him after my dad, my dad would be okay with him! haha

Apparently it worked because later that year for Christmas, Santa made him a HUGE hamster cage…it was like a big condo for hamsters!  Mikey liked to escape/chew his way out of the top of the plastic cage, and I had trouble sleeping at night since they are nocturnal.

I think this picture sums up my childhood extremely well.  I think I was overall a pretty happy kid, my parents more than provided for us, loved us and encouraged me to always do my best.  I was never one to really follow a crowd, I kind of did my own thing.  I didn’t have a ‘clique’ and always tried to be nice to everyone.

I was, still am, a total dork.  I love that my parents kept my childhood innocence for as long as they possibly could.  I can honestly say that I do the same for my two and will continue to do it as well.  I was probably one of the last girls to wear eye liner.  (I started after I got married at 28).

Oh, the memories!

TV: Why I don’t Watch it

Yup.  I am one of the “weirdos.”  It seems like most people try to make small talk and ask what shows I watch and I laugh and say, I don’t have any.  (Ok, one.)

We actually have cable and to say that I never watch TV would be a lie.  I have nothing against it, but awhile back I realized I just don’t have the desire to get sucked into shows.  I feel like Steve Chandler’s 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself has something to do with it.  He said that when you watch TV, you’re watching others do what they love–they are living out their dream, while we basically sit like zombies. Now, I’m sure this post will get some eye rolls, but seriously, think about how much TV the average person watches…

l love a good movie and I do actually have one show left that I enjoy (This is Us), cue the tears– but long gone are sitting in front of the TV and watching episode after episode of The Real Housewives, or The Hills.  The kids do watch some TV, they actually prefer movies too lately which is funny.  They do enjoy Vamprina, Puppy Dog Pals & Fancy Nancy as of late.

So, what do I do with my time?  I’m usually just busy livin the #momlife #wifelife.  I cook a lot all day long, which then involves a lot of cleaning and dishes. While doing that, I try very hard to listen to books on audio, good podcasts, or catch up with friends via Marco Polo.  Sometimes I put on some music; lately I’ve been listening to country music.  (Getting ready for Luke Bryan later this month!)

I also love You Tube.  I just feel like I need to be learning things all the time so I’d rather be spending my time doing these other things.  I enjoy being inspired by other moms or women who decorate, cook, clean and enjoy life!

I also work on our Rent to Own business, read books for pleasure, play with kids, talk with my husband, walk the dogs, and honestly the only time I find to sit (or stand) to watch anything I’m folding laundry.

I also try not to watch the news.  I can’t even do the Today Show without rolling my eyes and boy I used to LIVE by that show.

I do check in here and there, but I try to fill my mind with really good thoughts, education or personal growth.  I know that we watch way less TV in the Summer because we are outside doing all the things.  Come cooler weather, we’ll throw on football games and cozy up by the fire…but even then I’m still usually in the kitchen with my jazz music going or something!

Like I said, I’m not anti-TV but I certainly think, like anything, everything best in moderation.  If you feel like you have “NO TIME” just take a look at where times goes.  I am guilty at falling down the FB or Insta rabbit hole and have to catch myself and such, but I just don’t have Netflix or find myself having that habit of being a couch potato.  Growing up I wasn’t much of a huge TV or video gamer, so I guess it may just be in my nature.

Instead of TV ideas…

  • read a book
  • go on a walk
  • cook a meal
  • listen to a podcast
  • write a blog
  • exercise
  • play with kiddos/pets
  • work on a side hustle
  • write in a journal
  • have meaningful conversations with my husband/friends/family

What are your thoughts on TV?

My Favorite Season

Well, this isn’t a hard one for anyone who knows me.

While there are many reasons I love living in upstate New York, one of them happens to be the changing of the seasons. There is something so beautiful as the leaves go from green to red, orange and yellow…as they crisp up and the ground freezes, and the grass becomes covered with snow.  The way the birds come back in early Spring and the buds appear on branches, and it finally gives way to the hot bright sun that is Summer.  I love that we experience all four seasons!

But if I must choose one, I have been and will always be in love with Summer.

The feeling that I get when I open the door and I take that first breath of hot sticky air.  The way the green grass grows to such high heights!  The feel of a soft Summer breeze unexpectedly.  The smell of sunscreen, burgers on the grill and a hot pavement.  It’s always going to be my favorite!  I love being able to not wear a million layers, come and go with ease and slowing down to savor the season.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the slowness of a cold Winter’s night.  All bundled up, cozy in a blanket, sipping hot cocoa by our fire…ok or some Merlot.

But Summer?  Late nights driving around with my love with the top of the corvette down are so fun.  Joe grilling dinner and then all of us piling into the truck to go find a place to watch the sunset–the beach.

Bare feet, wet hair, sandy messes piling everywhere.

Sticky fingers and faces full of ice cream.

The way my babies smell of sweet sweat.

Meals outdoors, long walks, chalk driveway drawings, bubbles, building sand castles.

Sitting in our garage with the smoker going and smelling the hickory do its thing.

Fireworks, family gatherings, outdoor fire pits and running around in the back fields.

No real bedtimes, no real place we have to be…

I’m already starting to miss all of it!  But that’s the beauty about the seasons; they are here, do their thing and then roll on by.  Fall is in full effect, rain will turn to snow and soon I’ll be playing Christmas carols.

I don’t hate anything about our weather, other than the true lack of sunshine, which of course is the biggest reason I love Summer.

That big ball of burning fire feels SO good on my bones.  I blame it on being a Leo, but there is something special about that sun and if I can’t have it all year, I’ll just have to go after it come those winter months.

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What is your favorite season?  What makes it so?

Boone Hall Plantation

While down in South Carolina this past Summer, Joe and I really wanted to check out a plantation.  We figured the kids would be too little and it just so happened that my mom (Grandma) and her new husband Mark (Grandpa) wanted the kiddos another night!

My mom said of all the plantations she could think of, Boone was the place to go.  It also happened to be filmed in one of my favorite movies, The Notebook, so I just had to see!

Obviously the home is stunning, and learning the history of what it’s been through the years was quite amazing.  You can’t help but just stop at the gate in awe.

The Avenue of Oaks was also quite breathtaking; I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

As much as we enjoyed our day together, it was quite a somber experience.  The deep history of slavery was all around us.  I swear I could feel something a little different in my soul.

It was such an odd feeling, admiring the gorgeous home and beautiful views, but my heart was heavy thinking of all the people who were considered property here.

The trees were so old and breathtaking.  The little smokehouse below fascinated Joe, since we love our little smoker so much, how crazy that’s how they used to preserve their meats etc.

I had a hard time even smiling while standing in one of the slave cabins; I still have trouble wrapping my brain around how humans treated other humans so inhumanely.

But I suppose that is why we teach history, so we can learn and not repeat past mistakes.  My favorite part of the day was the Gullah presentation.  A lady sang and shared stories of her people. I had no idea that when the slaves would go out into the plantations and work, they’d often sing a song; this song would many times tell a story of what would be happening later that night or day, like an escape.

Above you can see the water way; that was the main source of transportation back then as there were no roads.  Slaves would try to escape that way, but it was so difficult!

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It was interesting because I was just finishing up a book, Small Great Things and it delved quite deeply in racial issues, white supremacy and was quite fitting for me to be thinking about all of it as I walked the cabins.

When I got home, I started a fiction book on slavery, which was honestly quite hard to stomach at times.  Again, I felt the importance of reading it as it is part of our history and it’s history that schools don’t really teach…we definitely give the watered down version to our students, understandably so.

If you’re ever in South Carolina, I’d make time for a stop here at Boone.  It’s one of the memories from our trip that continues to pop up in our minds and hearts.  Joe and I have had many beautiful discussions about it and how grateful we are to be living in a time period like today.

Introduction

Hello!!

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Photo: Summer vacation Folly Beach (I’m a Summer girl!)

If you are new here, I’m so happy you stopped by my little space here!  I’d love to connect with you, so please leave a comment!  If you’ve been following for awhile, welcome back.  I’d love to hear from you too!!  I started a blog back in 2011–(feel free to stalk me here, I totally don’t mind; I’d do it too!)

I am a 37 year old woman married to the love of my life.  We have been together 10.5 years, married for 8 and have two kiddos (a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy). We also have two crazy dogs!  I stay home and my husband works crazy hours.  We have a very 1950’s style marriage and I couldn’t be happier.  (I’m happiest in the home!)

It wasn’t always this way…back in 2011, I decided that teaching English 7-12 for 8 years was good enough, and I’d give it a go staying home as a housewife.  Boy did that get a lot of looks and comments!

My husband Joe and I decided that he worked enough hours and if anything, it’d make more sense to stay home because my district looked as though there’d be cuts in a year or so anyway.  I had driven about a 45 minute-one hour commute to and then another 45 -1 hour home each day.  It was about 2 hours of my life daily and as much as I loved the students and the school, it was a lot.

How did I spend my time? Well, I certainly enjoyed it! It was a nice buffer for what was to come, I’ll tell ya that much!  I perfected my cooking skills; think Food Network star worthy dinners 4-5x  a week. Yeah, that kind of backfired once I had kids, haha!  Hubby was like, um….and I was like, ya here’s another pasta dish!  I feel like now that we’re into a groove, my oldest is in Kindergarten and I have one in preschool 2 days a week, for 2 hours each, I have my head on a little more straight.

That said, we also decided to change up our side hustle a bit.  We had accumulated some rental properties, but decided to get into the Rent to Own business.  It’s awesome!! It’s also a lot of work; don’t be fooled.

We have a total of 9 properties and some amazing tenant buyers we are able to help out.  They are able to rent out one of our homes until they’re capable of getting a mortgage.  All they really need is a down payment & to afford the monthly rent–it’s so awesome to help people like this!

I still try to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner daily for my family.  It’s not easy, as my husband has Crohn’s, the kids are, well, kids and don’t eat Kale & spinach readily, imagine that!! My diet works best if it’s lean proteins, lots of veggies, some fruit & complex carbs.  I enjoy food, do NOT get me wrong!  I love burgers, tacos, steaks, grits, fries–and a good old mac and cheese!  However, I’ve learned how my body best responds to food and I definitely plan on sharing that in some blogs. Stay tuned!

I am a Stella & Dot Stylist as a very part-time hustle.  I just love the accessories and helping other women feel a little more confident and cute! It’s nice to connect and talk fashion with fabulous ladies.

I absolutely love to dance; it’s probably my favorite thing ever.  I just love moving and grooving to the music. Luckily my hubby and kids love it too. In fact, that’s one of the biggest things I look forward to with the cooler months ahead: Dance parties!

I am not perfect, nor do I try to be.  I make a ton of mistakes, learn as I go and try to enjoy every moment of this crazy ride called life.  Blogging is a way for me to keep my memories alive, share in hopes of helping another, and cherish what I’ve been given.

You may find me all dolled up in red bottoms, rocking an LV, or I may be in days old hair, sweatshirt & walking our land in the country.  We are really hoping to build this coming Spring and I am beyond excited.

As for religion, all I can say is that I am spiritual.  I feel like that’s a whole post/topic in and of itself, but I’m on journey that is for sure! There’s so much ‘wrong vs right’ when it comes to “being a Christian” I honestly find it ridiculous and a bit hypocritical at times.  I do love Gangster rap, I tend to swear from time to time & I love short dresses.  According to some, I can’t love Jesus too, and if that’s true, then okay. (Yes, I love me some Rachel Hollis.)

I have put blogging on the back burner for many reasons/excuses, but here I am ready to rock and roll this October.  Here’s to an awesome week!

Don’t be shy, say hi!  I’d love to read and follow some new blogs.

Prompts for Blogtober

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I’m so pumped to blog every day in October!  I feel like this will rejuvenate me in so many ways and I have been receiving so much positive feedback about going for this.

My friend Nikki will be blogging, be sure to stop over and say hi!  She has two adorable daughters and is so real.  Her blog My Life to Our Life is full of fun family activities, #momlife talk, fitness, essential oils & other fabulousness!!

I’m going to link up with Loving Every Day Life most days, but I did come up with a few topics I felt like sharing and delving into a little bit further.

Here is my list!

  1. Introduction
  2. Boone Plantation
  3. Do you have a favorite season? List 3 things that you love about it.
  4. Why I don’t watch TV Shows
  5. An old photo, explain it.
  6. Do you have a book you can read over and over?
  7. Most loved ways to relax?
  8. Favorite YouTubers?
  9. Joe’s birthday!
  10. Charleston, SC
  11. Go to Fall recipe?
  12. Day in the Life
  13. CBD Oil.  What is it? Benefits?
  14. Beauty Must Haves
  15. Why did you start blogging?
  16. Favorite Quote
  17. StepBet Thoughts
  18. What is your go to perfume or scent?
  19. Share a #tbt
  20. Do you have any hobbies?
  21. Favorite Song?
  22. SAHM Thoughts
  23. Weight/Diet–Real Talk
  24. What’s one place you’d love to visit?
  25. Seven Instagram Accounts to follow now!
  26. Fashion Friday #ootd
  27. What are you currently reading?
  28. What made you smile today?
  29. Motivation, Inspiration, Encouragement
  30. 10 Facts about you
  31. What does Halloween mean to you?

Fashion Friday (Feeling Fall)

The weather here is so wonky!!  It’s been as high as 90 degrees and down to mid 40s.  I just try to dress cute and accordingly, but I’m usually sweating or cold…#cantwin

We went out for a quick family dinner one night and I threw on some AE jeans, an Apricot Lane tank, some Target nude heels & a necklace my mama made.

If it’s been super warm, I’ll rock some cut-offs, botties & wrap a flannel around my waist.

On a cooler day,  I rocked our new Camo sweatshirt and dressed it up with the Sutton. As for the booties? I actually scooped them up at Walmart, of all places!?

This was my chosen September nail color.  It was called “Rubble” and they said it was an OG Shellac–and wouldn’t last long.   Well I’m sitting here typing this 9/28 and it’s still on.  My nails have grown out, but it’s still stickin!

It was a bit warmer for one weekend so I embraced Summer for as long as I could.

I did sneak out and do a little shopping– I had not shopped at American Eagle in forever! I found a few styles I loved; this top, the flannel (seen in a few photos!) and these jeans.

These pants are SO comfy!

Date nights have been simple…moto jacket and a dress!   I will go with open toe shoes as long as I can!

I also invested in some new leggings, mine were shot!!  I adore this new chambray top from Old Navy as well.

I added the celestial choker & some statement earrings for a little pop of fun.

My bestie’s sister in law has some fabulous leather earrings in her Etsy shop! I saw my girl wearing a pair and had to have some.  I went with Cognac.

In hair news—

I had been going ever 4 weeks and it’s just a HUGE time and financial commitment.  I also was looking for a bit of a change, so I decided to do more of an ‘icy blonde’ with a darker root.  I felt I was a little too gold and brassy, and the roots are horrendous! This way, the goal is to space out my hair appointments longer (6 weeks +) and I am using the purple shampoo on the in between.  So far I am LOVING it!