4 Ways To Save On Kids Clothes

Friday, November 29, 2019

Any parent knows that dressing your children can get pretty expensive. Kids grow so fast, and that may mean that their clothing is often too small to wear after no time at all. And then comes the rough and tumble of youth, grazed knees, tree climbing, and falling in the mud. Clothes become scruffy and worn out very quickly.Soon you find that you are replacing clothes faster than you can buy them.

So, how do you continually find clothes for your kids without breaking the bank? Here are some top tips for clothing your children for less.

Best Online Reads

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Three smart, unexpected things you can do with a dishwasher via Apartment Therapy.

2. Bedtime beauty tricks for a smoother morning via PureWow.

3. How to avoid housework arguments via GQ.

The Books I Read in October

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

One of my friends read 6 books last month. What? How does she do that? I wish there were more hours in the day to read. There are so many books to read and so little time. Speaking of so little time, I was able to read only two books this month. Both of them were quick reads that I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend both of these books. They are definitely page-turners! I'm 3 books away from meeting my reading goal for the year, and I'm not sure I'll be able to do it with the holidays coming up, but I'm going to give myself a pep talk and go for it and maybe even exceed my goal by one book.

In Defense of Taking a True Vacation (And Why The Blog Has Been Quiet)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Two weeks ago we embarked on our annual vacation to Captiva Island, Florida. We own a timeshare through Hilton Grand Vacations at South Seas Island Resort, and every 45th week of the year, we head to Captiva and stay in the same townhouse (we don't have flexibility in our timeshare the way many others do, but we like it that way). Being tied down to a particular week each year forces us to (and guarantees that we will) take a vacation. But is it a vacation if we are working while we are away?

This is a question I pondered extensively while I was away. One day while sitting at the pool, I saw two different people with their laptops propped up on their laps, typing away feverishly with a fruity cocktail at their side. My own husband opened his laptop at least 3 times per day to check and respond to emails. While I didn't take a true vacation this time around, I did learn the value of stepping away from work to recharge and refresh.

As an independent contractor, I don't get paid when I am not working. So for me to miss out on 10 days of work isn't feasible. Unfortunately, I have to fill some of my vacation time with billable hours to clients. It's just the nature of my job and the industry I work in. Fortunately, because I work in social media, when I am "off", I tend to do less social media in my personal life. It was on this vacation that I posted on Instagram less, had zero desire to share every detail of my vacation with my followers, and was reminded how important this quality time away with my family really is.

Vacations are just that...vacations. They are a vacation from work, from the domesticity of home life (cooking, cleaning, etc.), from the daily grind that keep us moving forward. Vacations are a time to slow down, to appreciate that our jobs give us the opportunity to take a vacation, and to re-charge so that when we return home, we have a renewed desire to get back to our daily lives.

When we returned, I had every intention of jumping right back in to the blog head first. But I still wasn't quite motivated, and the last thing I want to do is to bring you content that isn't coming from my heart and soul. In addition to all that, I've been dealing with a persistent cough that has lasted almost two months. I've been back and forth to my general practitioner who has been wonderfully patient with me as we try all sorts of medications and options. Some days I feel great, and others not so much. On those off days, I've tried to take it easy and rest in hopes of speeding up my recovery.

Finally, after two months of coughing and endless journaling of my symptoms, I think I've finally figured out that it could be exercise-induced asthma. Anyone else have it? My symptoms flare up just after exercising and take hours to work through my system. By the time I'm feeling better, it's time to work out again. Hopefully, he can prescribe an inhaler to see if it alleviates and eliminates my symptoms.

But for now, I am back and ready to dive right in. The busy holiday season is coming up, and I'm excited for lots of good holiday content and much more good stuff to come. Thanks for sticking around and for your support. So many of you emailed me asking if everything is okay since the blog was quiet, and I truly appreciate your concern. xx

Weekend Dispatch

Monday, November 18, 2019

We are finally back home after spending 10 days in Florida. It was a restful vacation, and I was grateful to soak up some sun before settling in for a long winter. ☹️ I spent the weekend catching up and preparing for this week. On Saturday I finished a book that I started on Wednesday, caught up on a few weeks worth of episodes of the The Affair, and of course, laundry, laundry, and more laundry.

Here's what I am up to this week:

On the top of this week's list of priorities is to buy the cat advent calendar at Trader Joe's before they sell out. Anyone else? No? Just me? I was so excited when I heard that Trader Joe's was releasing an advent calendar specifically for cats this year. It comes complete with cat snacks and dried seaweed! The crazy cat lady in me is already doing flips!

When I made the switch to a plant-based diet several years ago, it was a documentary that influenced my decision. I had never been a big meat eater, but when I saw what took place deep in the depths of the meat industry, it was hard to have that on my conscience. I have since watched countless documentaries and still know that my decision was the right one for me. Over the weekend I started watching The Game Changers, a documentary about plan-based eating, diets, and finding sources of protein that are not animal-based. My biggest takeaway from this documentary was the alarming number of professional athletes who have made the switch to plant-based diets and perform better and faster. Plus, I liked that it wasn't preachy but had a focus on providing information and educating consumers.

At the end of the day when I am doing my nightly skincare/bedtime routine, I typically listen to music or read an ebook. But I've found that reading is very distracting (it's hard to wash your face and read a book on your phone at the same time), and listening to music after pretty much listening to it all day just doesn't seem relaxing at night. So, I've taken to winding down my day with my nightly self-care routine which now includes listen to the Today, Explained podcast. The podcast is dedicated to one episode each day which guides you through the most important stories of the day. Since I start each day by listen to The Daily on my drive to the gym, adding Today, Explained to the evening seemed like a good way to bookend my day.

It's finally soup weather, and I am here for it! I've been pinning soup recipes like crazy because they are my favorite recipes to make in the cold weather months, and they are super easy and most don't require a ton of ingredients. This Mediterranean white bean soup recipe is on the menu this week. It's only a few ingredients and is super easy to make and is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
photo via
So, tell me. What do you have planned this weekend?

How To Appeal To A Moody Teen

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Parenting teenagers is no joke. If you ask any seasoned parent whether they’d like to look after a newborn baby for a day, or a teenager, most of them will probably say the newborn. Newborns are hard, but at least a newborn eats, sleeps and burps. They’re content with closeness and cuddles, with milk and a diaper change every few hours. Teenagers? They’re terrifying on their best days. Moodiness, rebellion, questionable friends, whining about boredom - spending time with a teenager can be painful.

The key to tackling teenagers isn’t a deep secret or a puzzle to be solved. Just like that newborn, they need love, understanding and patience. They also need some communication - which means we need to be proactive in how much you interact. Appealing to a moody teenager is no easier than reasoning with a toddler having a tantrum, but that doesn't mean it can't be done! Below, are a few of the ways I communicate effectively with my moody teenagers!

Your teenager may love to stay in their bedroom and do nothing, but that doesn't mean that they don’t want to have a conversation with you. Aim to have at least fifteen minutes for casual conversations with your teenager every day, and aim for a time they CAN talk, like at a meal or just before bedtime when there's less chaos.

As much as it’s about talking, you need to listen when your teenager is talking, and listen without judgement. Be open and ask them what they want to gain from the conversation. Do they need you to solve a problem? Do they need you to talk it out? Do they need to vent and want you to just listen for a moment? Either way, try to listen carefully to what they’re telling you. You’ll build a high level of trust with your teenager that you wouldn’t get any other way.

Spend Some Time Together
What does your teenager love to do the most? Spending time with your teenager is just one way you can encourage your bond, and Dear Evan Hansen tickets is a great way to expand their horizons and get them talking about something new. Not only that, you’ll get to spend a couple of hours together making new discoveries. Even if they grumble and say the theater isn’t their thing, they’re still going to have a great time - you just wait and see!

Enforce Boundaries
Teenagers are notorious for testing limits and trying to bend the rules. It’s always important to be open and honest with your teenagers, but that doesn't mean you need to allow them to get away with anything. Boundaries are important and you need to ensure that those boundaries are followed. Teenagers must learn which behavior is acceptable, and they do that even with the boundaries that they push against.

Best Online Reads

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How to wrap a gift to absolute perfection via House & Beautiful.

2. Why you can't forget your first love via Bustle.

3. Twenty-one ways to turn your leftover Halloween candy into dessert via Better Homes and Gardens.

The Importance Of Good Lighting In Your Home

Monday, November 4, 2019
photo via

Do you know how important light is in your life? It is a critical element of our everyday lives. Think about it; light tells us what time it is; it tells us when it’s time to go to bed and helps to wake us up in the morning. In the activities we do throughout the day, we might need light to assist us in the workplace, or a dimmed lamp can set the mood for a romantic dinner. Light has such a significant impact on our health and wellbeing that you must get it right in your home.

Natural Light
Daylight is essential as it maintains your daily cycle of activity and sleep - your circadian rhythm which allows you to perform at your best. Sunlight is how your body makes vitamin D, which is essential for your immune system and healthy bones. Vitamin D helps to control the hormones that control many of your bodily functions, and even your genes respond to daylight, which allows you to fight disease.

Ideally, all homes would be full of natural light, as this is the best lighting for everyone and everything. However, in many homes, this isn’t possible, so it’s essential to enhance the light that you do have in your home. You can do this by making sure all of your windows are clean. It sounds simple, but it's easy to let your windows go untouched for months even years. You get used to the dirt, dust, and grime building up gradually, and you won't even notice how diluted the natural light has become. It's a good idea to make a point to clean the inside of the windows at least once every two months. If you live in an apartment building, then ask to have your windows cleaned regularly throughout the year. Also, make sure you open your curtains or blinds every morning to let the natural light in and hang mirrors on walls opposite of windows to help maximize and disperse the light you get throughout the room.

According to a report from 2006, there is a link between sunlight, circadian rhythms, and your mood, and people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) experience depression during the autumn and winter months because their serotonin levels drop due to lower amounts of sunlight. Having less exposure to sunlight can also mess with your melatonin levels and circadian rhythm, and this can cause you to become sleep-deprived and grumpy. The windows in your home are your first connection to the outside world, and natural light will help you feel energized and ready to take on the day.

When looking to buy a home, choose one with large windows and lots of natural light. If that is not an option, look for ways to compensate for small windows: place mirrors on walls opposite to windows so that they’d reflect daylight and create a brighter home.

Bright Light Can Make You Feel Warmer
Studies have shown that bright light can make people feel as though they are warmer, even when the temperature of the room hasn't changed. If you're feeling cold and want to get warmer, then try turning on all the lights in your home, but be aware that brighter lighting and feeling warmer, can also heighten whatever emotion you’re feeling. So, for example, if you're feeling happy, excited, sad, or anxious, then you will feel more of this in more lighting. In the studies, the bright light increased the intensity of the participants' emotional response as well as making them feel physically warmer. However, if you are hot and need to put your fan on, you can also get fans with lights now too, which can add to the ambiance as well as making you cool.

Task Lighting
Whether you need it to apply your makeup, chop vegetables, or to read in bed, task lighting allows you to see exactly what you’re doing, which helps you avoid eye strain and headaches. To get the ideal task lighting in your home, put a reading lamp on your bedside table and desk, and make sure that your bathroom mirror and kitchen counters have good light too.

Provide robust and functional lighting for study rooms and at desks where kids do their homework. Table lamps are usually suitable for such occasions, but overhead lights are necessary as well.

Although many people dislike living and working under harsh, fluorescent ceiling lights, bright lighting is essential if you need to be alert and focused and is necessary to stimulate your brain and increase your serotonin levels, as these can help you to concentrate. If you’re working from home or doing some personal admin, then make sure the lighting in your home is bright enough to energize you and help you to focus. Try getting some halogen, LED, or compact fluorescent bulbs in your home.

Ambient Lighting
For a friendly atmosphere and to reduce electricity consumption, use candles whenever you can: in the dining room during dinners, in the bedroom while getting ready for bed, in the living room while playing games, drinking wine, or watching movies.

You can make your home an expression of your personality, taste, and style by getting creative with your lighting. Apart from just choosing floor and desk lamps in colors and designs that complement your home, think about using additional sources of light such as candles, night lights, fairy lights, or DIY Mason jar lamps with tea lights, which will make your home feel cozy, mellow, and warm.

Dimmer Switches For Sleep
When it’s dark, your brain knows that it's time to sleep, and the pineal gland secretes melatonin, which promotes sleep and regulates your body’s cycle. Spending time in bright lighting in the evening can interfere with your sleep-wake cycle, which can affect your overall health. You can help your brain and body wind down in the evening by dimming the lights and using
energy-efficient light bulbs.