Monday, June 11, 2018

Utah-bound and Packing Faves



Hey everyone! I am headed to Utah tomorrow for the Young Living Convention (more here) and I'm so excited! I got a ton of questions on Instagram about the items above (what I'm bringing on the trip), so I wanted to share here, along with a few extra favorites.

See my "Girl Gang" shirt here.

Gucci waistbag/fanny pack (thank you Hank!) here. It's my new favorite!

Striped shorts can be found here, along with so many cute Club Monaco items.

The sparkly dress is for the Young Living Gala- I'm so excited to dress up with girlfriends and have a great night.

The green smocked dress can be found here.

You need this hat! My friend Tiffany recommended it to me and it's so cute.

Floral dress is H&M and old but search wrap dress on their site for other options.

Classic checkerboard Vans are a must! These are a fresh pair and so pretty.

I am loving the new Cult Gaia summer bags. The one pictured here is the smaller sized one.

Find the chambray off the shoulder dress here.

The red shoes are Sole Society via Nordstrom. Sold out, but check back often!

Also bringing (in my beloved Away luggage!):

My diffuser and my must-have oils- sign up and join me here, then follow along at Convention- you'll love it!

These pajamas (they're my fave!).

Pouches for packing are everything. I really love these and always use them for my shoes, and all of these from Baggu are great too.

I am not bringing one of these travel pillows but I wish I was!

Hope you found some fun faves- I'll be sharing via Stories on both of my accounts (here and here) so be sure to tune in! :)

xoxo

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Peanuts and Kids


I can remember being pregnant for the first time, and suddenly having a huge list of things I could and could not eat. No lunch meat, no sushi, etc. And then once I had Henry I felt like that only continued- no egg whites, nuts, the list of what babies couldn't eat was huge. I did so much research during that time, and throughout each of my three little ones' baby time (with Olive still in that stage), so when the National Peanut Board reached out to me to partner up on spreading awareness about preventing peanut allergies, I was intrigued.

None of my kiddos have allergies of any kind, but two of my dearest friends have little ones with a handful of food allergies, including peanut! I know how hard it can be for their sweet children, so I felt a personal connection to share some of the new guidelines about early introduction to peanuts, which I'll share more about below.



Here's the news: a study found that parents of children at risk for peanut allergy could reduce their baby’s chance of developing a peanut allergy by up to 86 percent by feeding them small amounts of peanut foods as early as 4-6 months of age. The study led to new guidelines by the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID) that you can explore here.

You can read all about the recommended way to introduce baby-friendly peanut foods here, dependent on each child’s individual risk factors, and any parents who are anxious about introducing peanut foods early (ME!) should consult their pediatrician for support and guidance. We love our pediatrician and I ask her everything and anything- this was one of those questions I had with Olive, so definitely speak up and ask all the questions.

There are many, easy ways to introduce the recommended amount of peanut foods to a baby:
-Make “thinned peanut butter” by mixing 2 teaspoons of peanut butter into 2-3 teaspoons of hot water, formula or breast milk. (Allow to cool before feeding.)
-Mix 2 teaspoons peanut butter or peanut powder into 2-3 tablespoons of previously tolerated pureed fruit or vegetables.
**Whole nuts should not be given to children under age 5. Peanut butter directly from a spoon or in
lumps/dollops should not be given to children younger than age 4.

I'm so happy to help spread this news. I wasn't aware of this when Olive was in the early-introduction phase, but because we are nut-lovers in this house she tried peanut butter around her first birthday and loved it. I'm grateful that she is not allergic to peanuts, and my hope is that this research helps to cut down the number of little ones who deal with this allergy.

Lots of love and thanks for reading!
xo




This post created in partnership with the National Peanut Board.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Weekly Links


Hey guys! Thanks so much for the kind comments on my recent posts. It's been very up and down following my Dad's passing and it's been nice to have an outlet here and on Instagram to share my thoughts. And today I wanted to post some links to kick off the weekend! I will be heading out of town for an evening with friends, and then soaking up family time. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Some links --

Absolutely in LOVE with every one of these bags.

Great round up of indie clothing brands for kids.

Read this: Do What Feels Right, Repeat.

I am in need of a new pair of sunglasses, and I love pretty much all of these. This is a great (lower priced) brand also.

Have you read the Madewell blog? I always enjoy their articles.

On my reading list: one and two.

Loved reading this article about the Royal Wedding.

There are so many fun pieces here! I'm also super into these very simple bracelets.

A good daily reminder.

8 ways to practice gratitude everyday.

Have you checked out the Free People Movement line? It's all so, so comfy. I love it.

Rihanna's 10 minute makeup routine.

I always love reading these business profiles.

Step in your power and manifest your dreams!

Read this: Outcomeless.

Round up: the best sunscreens.

Wishlist: this jumpsuit, these jeans, and this dress.

I also love these straw bags, these sandals, and this hat!

And finally, this video is EVERYTHING! I loved watching these two love birds.

xoxo


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Waiting.


For the past two years since my Dad was diagnosed, it's been a lot of waiting. My Mom would often say that cancer is mainly "hurry up and wait," because you're waiting for answers, waiting for treatment, waiting for doctors, nurses, people to tell you what to do and how to do it. And then later on, when we knew there wasn't much else we could do, we waited to say goodbye.

I'm not sure which is worse, watching a loved one suffer through pain and agony, or losing someone suddenly. I'm still not sure.

The last time I saw my father was a day and a half before he passed away. Hank was out of town, so I had to head back home with my kids, and planned to come back down Sunday to stay the next week with my parents.

I was well aware that every time I said goodbye to my father it may be the last. This wasn't our first rodeo. Over the years my Dad had been in and out of the hospital for various things, usually heart-related, so I knew the sadness attached to leaving him while he lay ill. But this time it was different.

The boys said their goodbyes, asking about the snack bags my Dad would always make them. This time there would be no snack bags, as my Dad was bed-bound and could barely grasp a tissue. I had the kids say goodbye, I started the car, put them in, and had my Mom go out with them so I could spend an extra few minutes with my father.

At that point my Dad's voice was barely audible- his words were mumbled and came out in a whisper, and when I leaned in to give him a hug he grabbed my arm and had me look right at him. His blue, watery eyes were piercing. I never remembered them being that blue, and when I had asked him about that the week prior he told me the color was from all the tears he'd been crying- they washed away the hint of green-grey that had always been there.

His bright ocean eyes locked into mine, and his small voice got stronger for a moment.

"I'm not going to see you again."

I told him, oh sure you will Daddy, I'll be back in less than 48 hours. He shook his head like a small child would and told me again, no, no you won't.

He asked me then to give him a long hug, and if I would lay my head on his chest.

It must have been just a few minutes but it felt longer. I tried to take it all in- I imagined I was 3 again laying on my father's chest. He was big and strong and nothing could hurt him. He was invincible. I closed my eyes as the tears squeezed out of the corners but still I didn't move. I didn't wipe them away. I remembered being tiny and young and I allowed memories to quickly wash over me, my thoughts bobbing up and down in the waves, old forgotten things coming to the surface.

The beach in New Jersey. Sandy peanut butter and jellies. My Dad holding me up in the water, the sunlight in my eyes. Apple cider and donuts, pumpkin patches and scarecrows. Riding in the car on the highway, picking up Chinese food and cardboard boxes of water. Suitcases and big windows and waving goodbye. Switlik Elementary and Wawa subs and soccer practices. Bright white thoughts rolling in and out as I lay there listening to his labored breaths.

I was 3 years old and my Dad was strong. I was safe and nothing could hurt him. We had our whole lives ahead of us.

Except we didn't.

I got up and kissed my Dad's cheek, his head, his hand. I said goodbye and I really believed Sunday would come and I would be able to have another goodbye. His eyes told me differently though, and as I walked out the door and looked back, he turned his head into his pillow. I could hear him softly crying.

When my Mom called me Sunday morning and told me my Dad has passed away in his sleep there was a deep, hollow ache that began to grow. A pit in my stomach I could feel in my throat. It was hard to swallow. Now two weeks later it's still there, a part of me now. If I stay busy I forget about it, but the moment I'm alone with my thoughts I remember, and I can feel it.

I miss my Dad terribly. I know it won't ever go away, and even just two weeks later I can see all of these spaces where he should be.

So now I am waiting again. I wait for the moments I can feel him, in the cool breeze before the sun goes down, or the sound of the wind in the trees. I wait until it's late and everyone is asleep, and I can look up at the ceiling and talk to him. I wait to go on walks in the morning and long runs at night, and listen to his favorite songs and remember all of the things he loved.

I read somewhere your grief never goes away, but your life gets bigger, so your sadness doesn't feel as big.

I miss you, Dad.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” — Anne Lamott

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Shift: My Story About Why I Decided to Hop On the Business Side with Young Living Essential Oils

Here with my Golden Roller- one of my fave DIY perfumes. See the recipe here. Also- top here and jeans here. xo

Let's talk Essential Oils. It's so funny- I remember experiencing some eye rolls as I saw blog friend after blog friend jump into sharing oils on their social media accounts. I personally had signed up with my friend Casey many years ago but always felt weird about sharing them online, so I'm sure those initial eye rolls were my own self wishing I was brave enough to do so. My Aunt and Mom had been using them for well over 10 years (closer to 20!), so Young Living had been a part of my life for a long time, but even then I felt uncomfortable talking about them, let alone selling them. The MLM-stigma was alive and well in my mind, and paired with a pretty big sensitivity to what others thought it was a no go for me at the time.

Fast forward a few years ahead, to now. What changed? Well, I did. My friends who used oils had been asking me here and there if I wanted to come do the business. It was always a "good for you, not for me" kind of thing, so I always declined and I continued to quietly use what I loved. Then one day in December my friend Jessica got real with me and showed me her paycheck. I was in shock. I had seen the compensation plan but sometimes you don't really know if you can believe stuff like that. But there it was, a real life example of what was possible, from my long time friend. And so much bigger than the averages on that sheet even show (and I can attest to that now, having now experienced it myself).

My initial thoughts were all over the place. I knew I wanted to do it, because I saw was a really sweet spot for me to share something I already loved while making (a lot) of money doing so. As a side gig, this was much better than the sponsored posts I still dabbled in from time to time. But to be really honest I was terrified of jumping in and sharing anything in the network marketing realm, regardless if I loved it or not. I have built something here for a DECADE, and it was frightening to think I would possibly be letting my audience down by being an "MLM person" or cheapen the what I have created here. I've always tried to walk a fine line of sharing what I love, but also being receptive to my readers/audience. It's tough to do as a blogger, and as I've grown (I'm almost 36 now!) I recognize more that it's most important to just authentically share my heart and thoughts, and if people want to come aboard and be a part of it, cool. And if not, cool too! And that's what I really tried to remind myself when I decided to jump into the business.



So there I was. I started a new oils Instagram account and went for it. Casey, Lesley and Jess all told me- you need to just own it. Don't apologize, just share what you love. And when I began in January I did just that. I started flipping ranks very quickly- so many of you online friends, and the "real life" people in my world signed up right away. This was so exciting because I was getting oils in the hands of so many new people, and I was buzzing everyday from imagining them all having the experiences I have had. And on the business side I knew exactly what to do thanks to the women who were coaching me from day one, and I started growing quickly. I hit Executive in one month, followed by Silver in another month, and now I'm on my way to Gold. I won't stop until I am Royal Crown Diamond (then I still won't stop!), and I'm taking every single woman on my team with me which is one of the best parts of all of this. It's SO exciting, and it's still shocking to Hank and me that this little side project I decided to do is blooming into this really large dream I didn't even know I had...but now I can imagine it any other way.

It feels good to have gotten out of my own way, and to be so inspired every single day. It's so much fun, it feels amazing to be helping so many families live their best lives, and the community you guys! It's the best! My Mom, Aunt, Lauren, Sarah, so many girlfriends are all doing this with me and it's the most fun thing I've ever done online. You don't need to be a blogger or "influencer" to be successful. In fact most who are successful aren't- you just see us and hear from us a lot more! ;)



So with that said, I wanted to invite every single one of you to come join me, whether you're interested in the business side or not. You will LOVE the oils and YL products- I can say that with 100% certainty. The first time you or your family receives sleep support from a diffuser blend, the second you feel that emotional support from a roller or try out one of my go-tos like Progessence Plus (read my story about that here), you will be hooked and have that "ohhhh I get it now" moment where your eye rolls or skepticism falls to the side, if they were ever there. You can explore how signing up works here, or just get right to it here. I'll be with you every step of the way, as will the entire community you'll be joining. And if you decide you want to run with me and do this business, I'll/we'll be with you every moment of that too. Let's do this.

Love to you!
xoxo

A Season of No


A Season of No. Not always what we hear talked about though, right? It's more say yes, expand, try something new. Branch out, be open, go forward. But what about when we need to say no?

Last year I spent a lot of time juggling a lot of things. Running from one meeting to the next, fitting things in between things, and then more things wherever I could. In all honesty I thrive when busy. I like plans and schedules, and I do very well under pressure. I lean towards perfectionism (always trying to fight this), but with that comes a very strong urge to do everything myself, so everything is just how I want it, and giving 110% to anything I sign on for.

However I recognized a need to slow down when I fell in the bathroom a couple months ago and hit my face, ending up in the ER. Do you guys remember that? At that time I was still under one year postpartum, exhausted, stretched way too thin, and had run myself down with work, dealing with my Dad's illness, and everyday life. My body responded to the stress I had created with simply stopping me in my tracks. And I listened.

First, I said no to taking on a new client. This is always hard for me because I really love working. It's funny to say that here- it's another "do you remember" moment- but I can recall really believing when I left teaching I would never go back to work. Never say never has been a huge takeaway through all of this. But anyway, I said no to this client I was set to say yes to, and I remember feeling incredibly relieved after. And I wanted more of that. Next I decided to decline an invitation to be a part of another non-profit board here in town. Another full-body sigh of relief when that wasn't on the horizon. Although I had wanted to do both of these things, I also knew for my own well being I needed to say no. I continued to release myself of any extra things outside of my family, friends, work, and Mothers in Bloom, and it felt good. And so I decided to lean into that.

It's natural to want to say yes to everyone and everything, because yes makes people happy, and making people happy naturally makes us happy. So it was always a yes to a night out with friends, yes to a girls' trip, yes to a new project, a new client or work trip, yes yes yes. But now I ask myself simple questions when making a decision- first and foremost, does this take away time from my family? Is this something that helps me be a better wife or mother? Sometimes the answer to the first question is yes, but the second question is yes too- so I do it. We need time away to recharge and refocus, so even if planning a dinner with girlfriends means I'll miss bedtime, I know I'll come home ready to be a better wife and Mom, with my "friend cup" filled up. This is how I think of working out too- a must for me- and it helps me be a better everything, so it's a major priority I will never skip.

Other questions I ask myself, especially during the work day- is this an income producing activity? Does this further me along with my businesses? Does this reenergize me and inspire me to create? Whatever I'm doing, I want to be there fully. When I'm working, I am working. I do not have a nanny or a babysitter, so it's my responsibility to use every minute I have during naps to maximize my output. With lots of practice I've managed to become very good at time management, but a big piece of that is also saying no to things that will make the rest of my day harder. Yes, going to lunch with a friend on a Monday would be lovely, but if I choose to do that, then I'm going to have to stay up late and complete any projects that need to be finished before the next day.

It's a choice. And we are all in charge of how we spend our time, and the effect our choices have on our lives. I always think about something my Dad would tell me- "you can do it all, but you can't do it all well." Sure I can say yes to everything, but something's got to give. Balance is hard, but it becomes easier when we simplify the things we're trying to maintain.

So yes, I believe you CAN have it all, if you define what your "all" is. You get to decide that, then create it, and have it. It's up to you. I know in my life, my "all" includes deep relationships with my family and friends, enjoying the work I do, taking time out for me, and giving back to my community. It's very simple and I refuse to complicate it.

So maybe you want to join me and say no a little more. Or not...feel free to decline! ;)

xoxo

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Springtime Favorites


There are so many super cute things out right now for Spring/Summer. I'm so excited the weather is finally warm and I'm looking forward to pool days, park days, and spending as much time outside as possible. Here are some of my favorite things right now:

LOVING all of these swimsuits so much!

Cute dresses: one, two and three.

And some swim coverups: one and two.

Have you seen all of these Star Wars/Leia bags? I feel like I should get them all for Olive! So cute.

On my list for summer: one of these bags, a new straw hat, and a cute sundress.

I love all of these for the pool! So fun!

This is such a fun shirt!

Wide leg, flowy pants are my favorite. I especially love this bright pair!

Some great shoes for warm weather: all the Madewell sandals and these too.

Aren't all of these straw bags great? And well-priced, too.

Some really, really fantastic swimsuit lines (seriously check these all out!): one, two, and three.

My favorite jeans in a different cut. Love them. These too.

This is a really fun vacation bag.

Also loving this comfy looking romper.

Enjoy and happy shopping!

xoxo