Holiday Gift Guide for Girls

Okay, so I know it seems really early to be talking about Christmas gifts but a lot of companies are already doing “Black Friday” sales and shipping is delayed due to Covid. It will feel good to be done early & enjoy the holidays without rushing around or stalking FedEx mid December.

Our parents spoil the girls so we try to do an “experience” or a few special gifts from us. We let them ask Santa for 2 gifts each that we leave unwrapped [they are still working on those lists]. Stockings are my favorite to fill up so I will do a separate guide for those soon! Here are my top picks for this year.

1.// J.Crew pajamas are great quality and these were 50% off (40% now)! I lay them out the night before Christmas for the girls to wear. https://www.jcrew.com/c/girls_category/pajamas

2.// The girls fight over who gets to snuggle with my https://saranoni.com/ blanket so I cannot wait for them to each open their own. They have toddler/teen sizes in such dreamy colors.

3.// I grew up playing with Polly Pockets (it was even my Powder Puff jersey name haha) and the girls love them! They are great to bring out to dinner or on road trips too. https://play.mattel.com/polly-pocket/en-us/products

4.// Can’t wait to fill this darling cart with fresh new art supplies & stickers!! They come in a few other colors but naturally I am drawn to the pink. https://www.amazon.com/Darice-30043103-3-Tier-Rolling-Storage/dp/B07G95FFKX/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=Utility+Cart+Pink&qid=1604054282&sr=8-10

5.// I first saw these little Maileg mouse toys at the Paris Market in Savannah, GA. and knew the girls would love collecting & using their imagination with them. https://www.mailegusa.com/products/princess-and-the-pea-mouse-2

6.// How many Cuddle & Kind dolls are too many? Asking for a friend. These support a great cause and the girls sleep with every night. https://cuddleandkind.com/collections/hand-knit-dolls

7.// These clogs are 50% off right now! https://www.hannaandersson.com/shop/15233.html

I hope this gives you a little inspiration for holiday shopping. Bring on all the Holiday Cheer! Side note- who’s ready to start decorating November 1st? SIGN.ME.UP.

The First Quarter Doesn’t Determine Our Final Score

Can you believe there are less than 100 days left in 2020? While most of us celebrated BIG going into a new decade with fresh dreams and intentions, none of us could have predicted or prepared ourselves for the crap show that was to come in the first quarter (and the two after it). A pandemic. Virtually homeschooling our kids. Working from home. Running out of toilet paper (while potty training). Social distancing. Zoom calls. Masks. Drive by birthday parties. Washing hands until they peeled. You get the point.

This year has filled me up with anxiety, uncertainty and fear but it has also unexpectedly brought so much joy, gratitude, simplicity and peace into my world. Who would have thought living through a pandemic would give a person all of that? I love that this year has taught me to SLOW down and enjoy the little things. I have had so much more intentional time with my family, spent time outdoors in nature, learned to throw intimate birthday parties (yes, they exist), exercised daily to keep my mental health in check and most importantly grew in my faith.

I am determined to finish this year off on a high note and always remember this as the one that shaped me into the best version of myself. Here are five things I am going to focus on in these last three months.

• Moving my body for 30 minutes a day – I started training for a half marathon and the struggle is real in the heat but I love pushing for a goal.

• Tightening up my diet. I feel better when I eat gluten & dairy free so time to cut that back out. Also waaaaayyyy too much vino consumption this year so no alcohol during the week. When I enjoy wine on the weekends I will stick to Scout & Cellar, which has no added sugar = no hangover.

• 5am wake up. I have always been a morning person but feel like as a mom I have to be up super early to avoid craziness before school/work. When I hit the snooze button I am frantic and become the official chaos coordinator. There is something so calming when you are up before the sun and have a hot cup of coffee alone.

• Bible vs Social Media. I have gotten into a bad habit of sipping coffee and scrolling through IG or Facebook first thing in the morning. While I mostly follow people who inspire me, it’s still not helping me set my day up for success. Reading through Psalms will keep my heart, mind and eyes on Him.

• Wellness Routine. Eat, sleep, oils, repeat. Knock on wood but our gang is going on three years of using essential oils and plant based products and we have never been healthier. Consistency is key! I’m so excited to diffuse all the festive fall blends to support our immune systems + make our house smell cozy.

What are you focusing on as you finish the last quarter of 2020? Thanks for following along & wish I could hug you all! xo.

Back in the Groove

People THRIVE when they follow a ROUTINE. For kids, a routine gives them a sense of safety. For adults, it gives us a feeling of purpose. You feel me? After a Spring Break that seemed to never end we were SO off schedule. No routine whatsoever and this mama felt it.

I am happy to report that two weeks into “in person” school (sorry, I hate that I am even having to write that) – our routine is back and our family couldn’t be better. Here are a few things that we are so happy about having back:

1. Early bedtime– The girls get to watch a show from 7:30-8pm then off to the bunk-room where their diffuser is pumping all the sleepy vibes. Most nights they pile into one of four bunks (which makes my heart melt). Nick plays guitar & then after we get to watch a show or talk in peace.

2. High/Low– Thankfully my MILove picks the girls up from school until I get off work. Once those little babes pile into my car I immediately ask – “Ok, what was your high? What was your low?” I get so excited to hear their responses (still working on Ava)- she tells me she went pee & played play doh.

3. Friday Family Date Night– We love to end a work/school week off with a bang! This is our night to go out for pizza (our fav) or stay in and make pizzas! Wine included for parents for both options.

4. 5am Wake-UpUp until Quarantine I was waking up every morning at 5am getting my workout done before sipping coffee and lunchbox making. That ended quickly once I was working from home, homeschooling and navigating this new reality. I started working out whenever I had time, which didn’t end well. Hello, excuses. This week I am back at it and my mood has already shifted. Tip: find friends with the same mindset and start an accountability group via texting so you wake your ass up (Amber & Kelsey)!!

5. Power Hour- I drop the girls off at school by 8am. Which means I have ONE uninterrupted hour before work to go to my favorite spot. Any guesses? Yes, the Starbucks parking lot. Once a week I buy myself & the person behind me a coffee but other days just bring my own. It’s my dedicated time to work on my essential oil biz or staging prep. I am lucky to say that I love my full time job, but wellness & interior decorating run through my blood and set my soul on fire.

This year is the hardest ever for parents to decide what’s best for their family (no right or wrong answer here!) Just happy to get back into a routine, and I’m sure you all are too! PS- packing lunches still sucks. XO.

Mama Hen

It’s been a minute since I have posted anything over here. Mostly because that quarantine forced homeschool/work from home life took every last bit of my energy and by the end of the day all I wanted to do was drink wine and binge shows on Netflix. Once the girls were officially on summer break and my 9-5 work schedule resumed, I felt a sense of calm. Maybe a little too calm because if you know me, I do better when I’m busy and have a project or two happening.

Fast forward one week and we had drawn out plans to build chicken coop and had six new baby chicks on our back porch- Nellie, Mae, Alice, Goldie, Nora and Clara.

I never imagined myself as a mama hen holding dried meal worms and scrolling through blogs about chickens but here I am, and I love it. The girls absolutely adore the chicks and ask to give them “recess” out of the metal trough 24/7. We have an existing shed in the back of our property that Nick is building the “Chick-Inn” coop off of and we will transfer the girls within the next few weeks! Stay tuned.

Disney

Disney World. I feel like you either love it, or you hate it. I grew up going to Disney World with my family several times a year (Florida native over here) and have the best memories! I knew once I had a family of my own I wanted to create those same kind of memories. It’s so nice being able to take an impromptu weekend trip to Orlando when its only 3 hours away. When Harper was 2 years old we decided to take her on her first trip and it was indeed, magical. We’ve been passholders ever since. There is just something so heartwarming when you see your kids light up from excitement at Disney. Yes, it’s hot as heck, the lines are hours long, and the princess bubble wands that light up cost as much as your weekly grocery bill. However, there are a few hacks to make your time a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. I’m no expert but can tell you what has worked for us each time. We are already booked for our next trip to kick off summer break and can’t wait to share our experience at the newest Disney Resort, The Riviera! Here are my top 10 tips + tricks to do Disney right:

  1. Get Annual Passes. If you go to Disney twice a year this makes the most sense. We have found that not packing all the rides into one day helps us to feel less stressed. If we only go on 5 rides and head back to play at the pool, we don’t feel guilty. For our girls we also alternate each year between a birthday party or family Disney trip for a night so we definitely find that we utilize the passes enough.
  1. Stay on Disney Property. In my opinion this is the way to go when you have little ones. They provide transportation to and from the hotels which is huge and the overall experience and feel is “Disney.” We typically stay at Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Resort – they are our favorite. We made a bad decision (well, it was actually really good) and stayed at the Four Seasons as part of the girls Christmas gift in December. OMG. If you ever decide to splurge, this is the place to go. The service, food, transportation to parks, rooms and pool were over the top. Warning- once you go Four Seasons everything will feel like the Motel 6 after. 😉 When I booked our upcoming trip I did first look at Four Seasons but almost fell off my chair when I saw the prices for May. We are super excited to explore the Riviera Resort- I have heard only good things!
  1. Bring Snacks & Bottled Water. We bring a backpack filled with Uncrustables, bottled waters and LOTS of snacks to avoid meltdowns at the parks. Waters are overpriced and if your kids are picky eaters like ours its best to pack known crowd pleasers before they have Mickey Ice-cream or cotton candy.
  1. Buy Disney Treats at Target or Amazon. Do yourself a favor and buy a few “Disney” themed items for half the price on Amazon or at Target. I love surprising the girls and having treats when we get to the hotel that they can play with (princess bead making, coloring books, barbies, etc). We usually get suckered into a treat at the park but we don’t go overboard.
  1. Fast Passes & Dining Reservation. Don’t skip this step. Set up your Fast Passes and make dinner reservations as soon as possible. Especially if you want to do a character breakfast (Ohana at the Polynesian Resort is a must) or dinner. There are a ton of great options at Disney Springs too!
  1. Take a Nap. Staying on Disney property allows you to have “Extra Magic Hours” so get to the park early, but plan to head to hotel around 2pm for naps. Then you can head back to the park for dinner or after dinner for shorter line times and fireworks.
  1. Stock your Hotel Fridge. We usually eat breakfast at hotel before parks and because our kids wake up at sunrise. We bring bananas, cereal, milk, granola bars, etc. to keep in the room so they don’t get hangry!! We also bring adult bevs for when the kids are napping. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
  1. Keep your Magic Bands. Until recently, Disney sent you Magic Bands for each trip you booked. We always lost them post vacation but now you have to pay to replace them. So, make sure you collect them from your family and keep in a safe place for your next trip.
  2. Download the “my Disney Experience” app. It is so helpful to see wait times for rides, park maps, your fast passes and so much more.
  3. Outfits. Naturally, I have to touch on this because I love dressing the girls in matching clothes while I still can. We find cute Disney tees at Old Navy, Gap Kids and Target. Mickey overalls from Pepperkids are darling, Eli and Emery have custom shirts, and June and January have comfy solids that pair with Disney graphic tees.

Alright friends, as always thanks for following along! If you haven’t been to Disney yet I hope this helps in making your first trip a magical one.

Hosting a NYE Bash!

A few months ago Nick and I were talking about how we haven’t hosted an ADULT ONLY party in years. In fact, it’s been about 7 years because #kids. We decided to claim NYE ‘19 and host a soirée going into the new decade. If you know me at all you know I LOVE throwing parties, even though they are usually for my girls. Either way, I usually go all out! Nick and I put a list together of our closest friends and I got an adorable invite made. Then the planning began…

I knew from the start that I wanted to create an entire charcuterie table because it would offer so many different options of snacks for everyone throughout the night. I bought everything from Trader Joe’s + Costco as it was most cost effective. We even got all the champagne, wine and beer from the two stores. I am not gonna lie, I was a little nervous that the table would be tough to put together but it was so easy (with help from my sister + BFF). We covered the table with craft paper and placed boards down that would have the meat and cheese on them. I had a festive champagne tower as the center piece and we just started loading it up!

My mom convinced me to have “Nothing bundt Cake” as the desserts and they did not disappoint. The leftovers didn’t go to waste 😉

I used our farmhouse sink as a giant cooler for all of the drinks. We had a separate tub for the champagne and a small “mule” area- which was a huge hit for the guys.

We had three cornhole games going allll night, major fireworks and fire pits to hang around. It turned out exactly as I had hoped and we had a blast ringing in 2020 with our friends!

Christmas Cheer in the Girl’s Room

Christmas Cheer in the Girl’s Room

I had so much fun making the girl’s shared room extra festive this year! Target for the win (as always!) They had a sale on Christmas sheets so I picked these up for under $25 a set! I added Stress Away + Peppermint essential oils to my wool dryer balls so their sheets smell like candy canes!

We picked out very girlie ornaments & tinsel for their little tree and I am keeping my fingers crossed that Ava doesn’t knock it down at night from her crib.

Harper & Emmy made a paper countdown to Christmas chain to add to their room. This was a fun craft for them to do together with minimal arguments until they started to talk about who gets to rip the first one down on December 1st!

I also pulled out our really “tan” Elf named Jack. My mom didn’t know there were different elves to choose from, bless her. We love his magic around the holidays and definitely put Jack in the girls room a little early to watch their behavior – don’t judge haha. Who else does “Elf on the Shelf” tradition each year- I need new ideas! Thanks as always for following along friends!

Favorite Holiday Movies

I know, I know…it’s not even Thanksgiving yet but our family has already started watching our favorite holiday movies! Sunday nights are the best for painting the girls nails (and mine), unwinding from a typically hectic weekend and watching a movie together. Since the weather has been AMAZING here in Naples this past week though (low 50’s at night) we are loving having the windows open, fire place going and snuggling up together on the couch to get a head start on memorizing every line in these movies.

Here are ten of our favorite movies to have on repeat during the holiday season- some are family friendly & the others for the adults. What are your go-to’s year after year?

Tooth Fairy

When Harper lost her first tooth a few months back I knew I wanted to start a special tradition that would be easy to re-create a lot because #threegirls. A dollar bill covered in “pixie dust” sounded magical so that’s just what we did. The first tooth she lost we wrote a note from the tooth fairy and rolled up the sparkly dollar and tied it with a ribbon. It was perfect. Until she lost another tooth and we were scrambling to find a dollar bill and a glue stick. Luckily we found one but it was a lesson learned. I created a little “tooth fairy” kit and keep it hidden in my room. I put several dollar bills, glitter and a glue stick in it. Harper has lost six teeth now and I love that she wakes up just as excited as the first time she lost a tooth with pixie dust under her pillow.

Three months left in this decade!

Can you believe there are less than 90 days left in 2019? I feel like there are so many more things I need to accomplish before we head into a new year. Here are 6 things (among 100+) on my list. But first, coffee.

✖️EXERCISE. Freaking get back on the fitness bus. I fell off a few miles back and can feel it with my energy, patience and overall mood. Running is my favorite but summer heat in Florida is no joke. So now that temps are getting a little more tolerable, I can hit the pavement again. I am shooting for 4-5 workouts per week in general. Wish me luck.

✖️COOK. Dinner time kills me every single night. Chicken nuggets anyone? My plan is to prepare 3 meals a week that my ENTIRE family will eat without tears (remember, pickiest kids ever)! I work full time so it’s not easy preparing QUICK and EASY meals at 6pm -all suggestions welcome!

✖️PAINT HOUSE. When we bought our house in 2014 it was ORANGE everything (gag). We wanted a light blue house with a navy door so that’s what we did. Now we hate it. So we are planning on painting our little Naples bungalow white when the rain stops and the humidity moves on. Never thought picking a white would be so tough…

✖️DISNEY. Our kiddos get SO spoiled from the grandparents each Christmas and I honestly find myself hiding unopened gifts in closets for rainy days. This year Nick and I decided to fill the stockings (my favorite ever), get a few gifts and give the girls the most memorable trip to the most magical place, Disney. We are annual pass-holders so we go to Disney a few times a year which is how I grew up and I have the best memories. The girls legit cry every time we leave and want to live there too. We are going with my sister and her crew so it makes the trip that much more special! Stay tuned for all the magic and let the Type A planning begin!

✖️SILVER. This won’t mean much to most people but it’s still something on my list. I run a wellness business in addition to my full time job (I love both) and have been pushing to hit my next leadership rank. Essential oils have been such a blessing to our family, first with sleep and immune support but now financially. I want everyone to experience the magic they create. Girl boss hustle is on!

✖️EMBRACE 35. I am turning 35 on November 1st and for some reason this is the first age I’m a little scared of. While I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before, I also feel like 35 just seems “old”. I know it’s all mental so I’m ready to embrace my mid-30s and have FUN! Nick bought me a ticket to the Rachel Hollis RISE Conference in January 2020 as my early birthday gift and couldn’t be more excited to go with my friend Amber. Perfect gift 🖤

There are three months left in this decade! What is on your list that you are looking forward to checking off? I think you should just go for it!