Jul 232014
 

International Self-Care Day @meredithspidel #selfcareday14 #OTCSafetyDid you know that International Self-Care Day is July 24?  I’m all for the big holidays of the year, but in my opinion, we should raise the roof for this particular day.

Self-care is so very important, especially as a momma.  Caring for young kids is an endless task.  And while I would do anything to keep my kids safe, fed, and feeling loved, sometimes I look at the magnitude of the task and just feel…exhausted.

To me, being Supermom means being able to ignore the piles of laundry long enough to take a second and feel good about at least a couple things that happened that day–even if it was just remembering your daughter’s sippy cup and stashing the preschool payment in the mail before it was too obscenely late.  It’s hard; I want to ace this gig out, but the pace can be stymieing.  That’s why self-care is so valuable.

I am a firm believer that in order to care for others, we must first care for ourselves.  That can be a really, really hard thing to do as a mom. Oftentimes we have to sneak it in the corners of everything else.  Oftentimes while we long for a spa day and solid nap, we only have time to pour ourselves a fresh glass of water or steal two extra seconds in the shower.  However you do it, it’s vital to refresh and rejuvenate to gain the energy needed to be there for our kids.

Before becoming an OTCSafety Ambassador, I hadn’t considered managing medications to be part of my self-care routine.  The World Health Organization defines self-care: “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, environmental factors, socioeconomic factors, and self-medication. “

Huh.  Go figure that all those vitamins and supplements I stuff in my fridge are a way of loving on myself.

Have medicines or other pills in your home?  Make sure they are a healthy part of your own self-care regimen.  Mark a date on your calendar to go through your medicine cabinet and get rid of anything expired, and of course, make sure to keep everything up and out of the hands of kids.  And consider if there’s a supplement that might benefit you or your family.  If you are responsible about your meds, they are a super-easy way to sneak in some self-care!

To help further explain the value of self-care and give us some cool ideas for how to do it, I got the input of some very smart ladies about what self-care means to them.  The smart, real ways they embrace this concept are down-right inspiring:

Jenn of Coolest Family on the Block–”As a mega introvert above all else “self care” means quiet alone time.”

Kathy of My Dishwasher’s Possessed–”For me I find writing a few things that I’m grateful for has the power to instantly change my mindset. When I do it, not only does my day improve, but the whole mood in my family changes. When I don’t it’s not very pretty here!”

Jenn of Something Cleaver 2.0–”Since my son was born, my husband and I have had a deal: I get to sleep until 10 on Saturdays, and he sleeps until 10 on Sundays. As parents, it’s important to have one day a week where we don’t get up earlier than the birds!”

Kristen–”Self-care is being late to my therapist because I took an extra 5 minutes in the shower to shave my legs – life is full of choices!

Stephanie of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion–”I used to think healthy meant a killer bod; since having kids, healthy means being able to keep up with them. So I don’t have the abs of my former self? But I can play a mean game of street hockey and a mind-numbing game of princesses.”

Kathy of Kissing the Frog–”Nowadays, self-care simply means doing something that makes me happy. It could be a long walk, it could be reading a novel, it could be writing something I’m really proud of, it could be lunch with friends or dinner alone with Hubby, or a spa service all by myself. Stephanie Barone Jankowski is right, the definition of self-care changes after motherhood and the demands on one’s time.”

Adrienne–”Extra minute in the shower. Plucking my eyebrows. Painting my nails once in a blue moon. Being alone, being with others. Walking/Running. Spa days with my sister :)”

Janine of Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic–”I admit I probably don’t take care of myself as much as I should will be pulled in so many different directions daily, but the one thing I do try to make time for is a quick workout when I can and even (I know it may sound crazy) but doing my nails, just polishing them myself makes me feel a bit better and it is the quiet alone time that does it for me…”

Meredith of From Meredith to Mommy–” I take a bubble bath with a book almost every night. It’s how I relax and unwind from being “on” all day. Productive use of child free time? No, but a happy mom is a better mom!”

Jessica of Domestic Pirate–”I think self-care evolves with us. When I had an amazing support system and my depression was under control, self care meant working out, eating well, and writing every day for me. Now? It means showering whenever I get the chance, giving myself the green light to sit and take my time to enjoy my coffee in the morning, and getting out of the house by myself at least once a week.”

Kari of Rhymes with Sorry–”I think “self care” is very fluid, because every person has different needs, just like the difference between extroverts and introverts.”

Melanie of The Not So Super Mom–”‘Self care’ always makes me think of hygiene or a beauty routine. Since (for me) there is no such thing as a beauty routine, sometimes those extra minutes in the shower/bathroom make all the difference. Showering without rushing, shaving my whole legs (not just below the knee)…”

Laura of Squeezed Fresh 4U–”Self-care to me, means making sure I get the people I take care of…to pay attention to me, too. To know that, hey yeah I just cooked all the last meals, been doing the dishes…and now it’s your turn.”

Amanda of Questionable Choices in Parenting–”Now that I’m a mom, self care tends to be my last priority but I’m working on changing this. The truth is, if Mommy gets sick, this whole ship goes down! So I’m eating better, working out, and finding time to get to doctors appointments.”

Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy–”I can often be seen running with my ipod smiling like I slept with a hanger in my mouth. It’s not pretty but man alive does it relieve my stress. A less stressed mom makes for happier children. :)”

I hope you caught the important message that how self-care looks is different for everyone.  Notice too how several of these ladies noted that the way we self-care is not stagnant; it will change as we grow and move through life.  But whatever you figure out works for you, do it!

To care for others, we must first care for ourselves @meredithspidel

Join us on International Self-Care Day to redefine the notion of SuperMom as being a mom who takes the time to care for herself. And let us how YOU care for yourself below.  Jump on the self-care bandwagon–it’s a very cool place to be!

****I am compensated as an OTCsafety blogging ambassador for this post, but my opinion are my own.****

Jul 072014
 

MomAssembly @momassembly @meredithspidleIf I had to guess my most oft-said phrase in my parenting journey, “I’m losing my mind” would probably go for the win.  From the moment my son let loose his first wail, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of being completely clueless.

I had read all the books.  I had friends. I even managed to find the phone under some of the piles of burp cloths so I could call them. I still felt alone.  I still felt lost.  I still longed for someone to hold my hand and tell me exactly what to do.

Five years later, I now have a daughter in addition to my son, but overall, there are far less diapers to change and food doesn’t need cut in quite as small pieces.  It’s a bit less never-being-able-to-sleep-more-than-an-hour-at-a-time, but there are other fun things.  Like trying to figure out discipline and making decisions about preschool.

The truth is, I don’t feel like I know anything more than when I first started being a mom.  I have questions every day.  I find myself longing for an instruction manual…

Enter MomAssembly, the world’s first online video-education site for moms.  It’s an interactive university, available 24-7 from the comfort of your home, that gives you all the information you need to raise happy, healthy kids. Whether you are interested in child-oriented topics like baby development, sleep or behavior or want to focus on more parent-focused goals like finding work/family balance, losing the baby weight or childproofing your marriage, it’s all there. MomAssembly was co-founded in 2012 by Jill Spivack, LCSW and Jennifer Waldburger, MSW , who have nearly two decades of experience as family and parent educators.  These ladies are experts at knowing what help moms need, and they are bringing it to you in this incredibly convenient format.

I’ll admit, when I first heard of  MomAssembly, I was a bit skeptical.  A site full of expert parenting video courses sounds fantastic, but the idea of taking a course was somewhat intimidating.  Would there be grades?  Was there a weekly schedule to keep up with?  Exams?  I have trouble finding time to shower, so wasn’t sure if I could handle going back to school.

But how wrong I was.  MomAssembly couldn’t be easier.  There are no exams, schedules, or grades.  It is super user-friendly.  You log into the site, and the menu of courses immediately pops up.  You click on the age and stage of your children, and all the available courses of interest appear. To take a course, you click on it and then press the play button.

@MomAssembly @meredithspidel

Courses are broken up into class segments, average of about 8 classes per course.  Each class is typically around 5-10 minutes.  You can start and stop them at any time. Read: sippy cup emergency?  Hit the pause button and it’s fine.  Come back when you can–or wait a few hours (or even days if need be!) and come back when you can.

I love that the courses are audio-friendly, meaning that I can set-up my laptop on the kitchen counter while I attack the dishes and still take my classes.  If you’re a bit more modern than my old school self, you can also snatch up the learning from your phone/iPad/etc while you are on the go.  It’s all online, so whatever is easiest for you.

The price of this assistance is minimal.  For only $7.99/mo., you receive access to over 500 classes, over 50 downloadable handouts & workbooks, and you can add up to 4 family members & caregivers to your account for free.  Ready to sign up for the whole year?  It’s only $3.99/month with the annual plan!  Both options come with a 7 day free trial to make sure than MomAssembly is a good fit you.

And as a special offer to my readers, the first 10 Mom Of The Year readers who sign up for a MomAssembly plan from THIS LINK will get their first month of membership free!

Mom Assembly‘s user-friendliness is fantastic, but my favorite part of the courses is that they soothe me.  I know, this might sound a bit odd, but it’s true.  The first course I took was Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting 101.  More than any other course, this title appealed to me (My stress level of late managing my 2 and 5 yr. old has a “bit” high), so I eagerly selected this course.  As I listened to the the instructor speak, I felt myself relax, normalize, if you will.  I was feeling like someone got me and was giving me welcome advice on how to manage my life better.

Once I started, I kept taking more and more courses as I realized how helpful the classes were.  Raising Children that Other People Like to Be Around?  Yes, please!  Please help me figure out a way for my kids not to be the weird ones at social gatherings.  Coping with Preschool Panic may actually be more for me than them, but my family needs this course.  It’s a really hard and sad/happy things sending your kiddos off to school for the first time and I’ll take any help I can get.

And The Discipline Do’s and Don’t’s course has been a blessing–am I the only one who never received the clear instruction manual on how to raise kids?? Check out one of the classes from this course for a sample of how MomAssembly works:

Remember my longing for an instruction manual?  This quote from MomAssembly sold me, “Good news! Babies do come with instructions!”.  The truth is, as a new mom, as a current mom of toddlers/preschoolers, this remains the promise I most want to hear.

Thanks to MomAssembly, the instruction manual is here, and I am grateful.  So, so grateful.

Jun 302014
 
Source aka Fantasy Land

Source
aka Fantasy Land

It was the stuff of fantasies–a Saturday, kids at the zoo with my in-laws and my husband and I were left peacefully alone to tackle our massive to-do list.  Despite the stymieing length of the list, there was hope in the air.  We had a boatload of errands to run, sure, but we could attack them without having to dedicate 16 minutes after every stop trying to wrangle children back into their car seats.

The mood was light, giddy with the potential of completing an entire task before the sun set.  Stopping on our way for coffee to celebrate our good fortune, we were off.

Two hours into all our running, we were still cheerful as we pulled into Sam’s Club.  Upon walking through the doors, I proudly yanked my membership card from the depths of my wallet and flashed it front of the bouncer.  “Look at me! Leaving the house without kids! Getting things done on a Saturday morning!”, my head shouted.  I was majorly bummed when the sweet elderly lady didn’t seem as impressed with me as I was.

Whatevs.  This shopping trip was ON. We had driven in separate vehicles, as we thought the van might have to be left for the day so it could be suited up with new tires. Surprised to learn it would only take 45 minutes, my husband suggested we leave, cross a few more things off our list, and then return to pick up the van.

Yes! Me! I want to be organized!

Yes! Me! I want to be organized!

“But,” I ventured, wild possibility boiling inside me, “Can I stay?”

“You mean stay here while I leave? What would you do?”, he struggled to make sense of the insanity.

“I think I would shop.”

“Will you get bored in 45 minutes?”

Eyeing up some adorable new oven mitts in the corner of my eye right next to a fabulous pile of margarita-maker ball gadgets, I breathed, “No, no I don’t think I will…”

Shooing him away, I immediately realized my error of not grabbing a cart.  What a fool I’d been!

Cart the size of a small flatbed secured, I dove into my glory and BEHOLD.  The things!  Clothing!  Not all of which looked like something my grandmother would have worn in the 70s!  And the most adorable pair of flipflops and a perfect baby gift for my sister.

Speaking of my sister, I’d better check to see if she needed any road atlases. Or cucumbers.  So very many cucumbers.  Do I eat enough cucumbers? Lots of quick texts sent to her.

I’d better send my husband and his friend a pic of the beekeeping novel I found too–might be fab for them to do some light hobby-relevant reading together?

And the Lysol–Holy Cow!  What an amazing price on Clean Linen scent spray.  And such a super deal on kids’ vitamins…now, actually, I was starting to get a little ticked, feeling as though I’d been thoughtlessly left in the dark.  I called my sister, “Why have you never told me how awesome this place was?!”

“I thought you knew.”

“Well, I knew in the way I knew all things before I had kids.  You were supposed to keep me updated.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You should be.  Do you want more books about The Civil War?”

“I don’t have any. I don’t want any because I don’t read about it.”

“Fine. I’m stocking up on pizza in case you get hungry.”

“I don’t live with you.”

“You still might get hungry.”, Gracious, I hate it when she’s so illogical.

Blissful meandering continued, delightful treasures at every turn. This was the best Saturday morning of my life.

And then, right there before my very eyes, I saw It.  The Post-it aisle.  I think my heart actually skipped several beats.  I whipped out my phone and immediately texted my husband and my sister, horrific feelings of being foolishly unaware flooding my being, “WHY HAS NO ONE EVER TOLD ME SAM’S CLUB SOLD SUCH CUTE POST-ITS?!”

Can you EVEN IMAGINE all the cute notes I could write with these?

Can you EVEN IMAGINE all the cute notes I could write with these?

Here's the thing: if you can stash your Sam's Club haul in the passenger side of a Honda Civic, you're a good woman.  A very good woman.

Here’s the thing: if you can stash your Sam’s Club haul in the passenger side of a Honda Civic, you’re a good woman. A very good woman.

My sister wrote back, “Jared, I’m so sorry.”

As I continued to shake my head in disbelief before the glorious stock of Post-Its, my husband returned from his errand run and walked up beside me.

“Jared…,” I exhaled and grabbed his arm.

“I know,” he said, “I know.”

Beautiful, beautiful Sam’s Club.

 

May 232014
 
Source The Shining Hour

Source
The Shining Hour

Logic has never been my strong suit.  That’s okay with me.  I have other positive traits, like being a whiz at online bargain shopping and falling for products then snagging them on the internet for a song. Wait; those may be the same things.  Mmmh…like I said, logic’s not really my thing.

Except when it’s the middle of the night.  That’s when I shine.

You see, I have been a chronic insomniac for as long as I can remember. I have tried everything under the sun, from prescribed meds to warm milk to on-my-knees praying.  It appears that restful sleep and I just aren’t meant to be. I raged over this for years, debated the merits of illegally pursuing horse tranquilizers, then finally picked up a book and settled into a homey wee-hour reading addiction.

It’s lovely.  I love my books.  A bit tired, but that’s beside the point.

The tricky part comes in the foggy moments, before I fully realize that I am awake and will not be going back to sleep.  This is when I Figure Out The World. I am aware, and I am inspired. My husband refers to this as “paranoid”, but let’s not mince words here.

These mid-night moments are when I realize the All Astounding Truths:

There is surely someone breaking into our house downstairs. Unless, of course, it is the friendly raccoon.

Source Why sleep when you can panic?

Source
Why sleep when you can panic?

I am 100% out of nylons.  I have no foreseeable occasion that requires nylons for the next 3 decades, but I must remedy this situation ASAP.

What if I run out of people to follow on Twitter? This could happen! And, since there are only about a bajillion Twitter users, I must prepare myself for the inevitable.

Thank God I organized all the Sharpie markers in the house today.

Definitely someone in our house. Oh gosh, I hope they don’t see the pile of dishes I left in the sink. So humiliating. I am the only person in the world with dishes in their sink.

When should I mail the invitations to my daughter’s birthday party in July. What should I wear? Will my husband grill burgers? Should I wake him to ask?

Speaking of my husband, does he care about the robber laughing at our dirty sink downstairs? Is this an appropriate reason to wake him? Surely…

Also, I haven’t made my Christmas to-do list yet.

Probably cool, it’s only May.  Crap!  It’s May. I must change us over to spring clothes. Where is the box? Can I even lift the box? Should I wake my husband to ask him to go get the box?

I really want to eat eggs.

Do you think we could keep the raccoon as a pet?

You’ll excuse me, friends, but I may need to go get a bit more rest…

May 192014
 
Source Babe, don't look at me like that.

Source
Babe, don’t look at me like that.

Facebook is a funny beast.  As in, it doesn’t show your stuff to anyone and it’s totally depressing.  Also, it does neat things like make helpful recommendations.  For example, I might go to a simplistic home decor site and it will subsequently suggest I start following  a death-metal band who dresses entirely in metallics.  Sure.  Makes sense.

So when a couple Facebook friends started telling me that Zuck was paralleling those who were interested in my site with the likes of John Stamos, I laughed.  When a half dozen more friends told me the same thing, it was time to draw the obvious conclusion: John Stamos was obsessed with me and had bribed Facebook to start linking his page with mine.

On a basic level, I have no objection to John Stamos.  Yes, Uncle Jessie was definitely a bit wild for my tastes, but praise God, Danny Tanner reined him in and it all worked out.  In 23 minutes, every episode.

In truth, I was inspired by the lovely Snarkfest, who had a dream of meeting Mike Rowe and made it come true. She was the original informant who had tipped me off on John Stamos’ obsession with me.  And as she proved through her diligent meeting-of-a-celeb-in-real-life, fascinations with famous persons are best done when taken very seriously.

Granted, in my situation, the tables were turned.  I was clearly not nearly as taken with John as he was taken with me.  But still, there was a considerable level of obsession and a reasonably differential level of fame in question.

What was one to do?

Source Have mercy, indeed! (I do not understand all the upward arrows?)

Source
Have mercy, indeed!
(I do not understand all the upward arrows?)

Should I social media stalk him in return? I don’t want him to humiliatedly feel his efforts have been rebuffed.

Should I call Rebecca Romijn to fill me in on where she went wrong with John so I don’t replicate her errors? Could I also ask her for the proper pronunciation of her last name while I have her on the phone?

Should I just call a public meeting and lay it all out on the line while flashing my wedding ring? It would hurt at first, but might be best for everyone in the long run. Rip the band-aid off.

In the end, I have settled on assuredly the very most appropriate action for any WAHM of two young kids: heroically accepting the truth of a man’s love and commiting to carrying the burden stoically.  It won’t completely temper the fervor, but this is okay; the knowledge of his passion will most assuredly give one something to think about while stirring the steamed veggies come dinner hour. = TOTAL WIN

John Stamos, I get you.  I see the advances you have been making, and I appreciate them.  I appreciate them on behalf of all the tired yoga pant-covered 5pm-exhausted moms everywhere.  Together, we are refusing to ignore your overtures and will keep believing in your love.

It keeps us viable. It will keep us interesting (at least to ourselves).  And it will light the fire under our dinner peas.

Most sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for obsessing over me. xo

Apr 162014
 

You may recall that whenever a book signing event is on the horizon, I tend to lose my crap a bit.  Specifically, I start running around the house in heels, obsessively emptying the garbage and fighting with my husband over birdbaths.  I repeatedly send selfies of myself in different dress choices to my friends and force them to weigh in when they really don’t care.  You see, it’s all fun and games until you hear the UPS man muttering curses under his breath when he hauls yet another box of books from Createspace out of his truck. Hey, I didn’t want to run out.

Ladies Night Out @meredithspidel @sproutsconsignment 5/1/14

But listen, I’m playing it cool this time around.  I made myself wait until AFTER April 1 (a month away from the signing) to pack my “book signing tote bag” and threw in only ONE new pack of sharpies.  I totally don’t want to go overboard on the preparation for this signing.

All this said, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a little excited about the Ladies Night Out on 5/1/14 from 7-9pm at Sprouts Consignment Boutique.  

To celebrate the release of our best-selling book,  I Just Want to Be Alone, Bethany Meyer of I Love Them the Most When They’re Sleeping, Christine Burke from Keeper of the Fruit Loops and I are going to be hanging out, selling and signing copies of our best-selling book, and looking forward to meeting YOU.

To make it even more fun, a bunch of talented ladies got on board to sell their fantastic items and help us put on an event that will leave you throwing chicken nuggets in front of your kids while making speedy tracks out the door.  Not that you’d ever want a night away from your family or anything…

Ladies Night Out @meredithspidel

Here’s the deal.  Come.  Treat yourself to a night out with a glass of wine and a gourmet cupcake from Cupcakes Gourmet.  If you need more a of a reason to head out?  You’ve gotta get your Mother’s Day gifts bought soon, right? And isn’t the end of the year with all those needed teacher gifts coming up just around the corner? Tell your husband you need to take care of some essential shopping.  He’ll be thrilled, I’m sure.

Not only is Sprouts Consignment generously hosting the event, they are offering 10% off all shop merchandise that night.

Looking for a few special gifts?

You’ll completely fall for the delectable scents of the homemade soy candles from Candle Krazy.

Five Forleys decorative headbands and belts are one-of-a-kind accents for the ladies in your life!

Ring in spring with a quality handmade purse, tote, or bag from Jenny Lynn Bags.

I can’t stop buying the sweet little bows and clips from Elephants on Parade for my little girl.

Valerie Ames will be there tempting us with all the too-gorgeous pieces from the latest Stella and Dot line.

And I’m pretty scared I will begin drooling immediately upon seeing the fab Matilda Jane Trunk Show.

Need even more love about this event? 10% of all these ladies’ proceeds are going to support MOMS Club International, an organization that has blessed my family in so many ways.  Also, all of your purchases will be supporting small-business women, something I think is incredibly boss.

So come on out, get your shopping in, kick back with a glass of wine and look for me–I’ll be the one nervous-hyperventilating into a paper bag in the corner, and trying to hide all the loot I bought in my tote bag. Hey, I have to at least try to make it look like I’m there on business, and not a shopping fest, right?

See you there!

Apr 072014
 
Source Send that dude packing...

Source
Send that dude packing…

Blow me away; I survived my husband’s business trip last week.

Survival defined as 1)keeping my children alive and mostly fed, while 2)significantly limiting the mental explicatives that flew when my husband called and announced that the whole of Germany’s airline pilots were going on strike, thus potentially delaying his return home by 3 days.  Excellent.

We made it through.  While it would be so easy to focus all of the moments I earned my Mom of the Year award a million times over, it would be wrong if I didn’t come clean and admit the truth; I actually enjoyed parts of his trip.

I know; maybe you’d better sit down for this very uncharacteristic announcement?

But it was kind of boss to just give up one day at 12noon and tell the kids we were going for an ice cream lunch. Plus, I felt like a genius mom for sitting at the booth farthest away from the spinny Children’s Miracle Network coin slot thing and only giving them one coin at a time so they kept having to run back and forth to get a new coin.  Energy burn and supporting a worthy cause? Go me.  I only cringed in minimal shame when my son asked me if he could have a marshmallow for dessert when he got home.  And I let him.  

Obviously, the catching up on a month of Revenge after I stashed the kiddos in bed.

Delighting in my cheap pink moscato wine without the judgemental eyebrows of my booze snob husband? Pass the bottle.

The minor incident one morning when I decided to wake early, be productive and order some undies for my daughter and a new bra for myself using Kohls’ coupons, ended up getting wildly lost in online intimate wear for 2 hrs. and then spent $400 (with plans to return most).  I got confused, panicky, and just ordered everything.  Seriously, if you want a bra from Kohls, don’t bother–it’s probably sitting in its package in the return pile in my kitchen. That said, if my husband had checked our credit card bill from Austria, he may have given up on me and decided not to come home. That said, it was wicked fun to be stupid and not have anyone there to notice.

Ice Cream Lunch Date with Kids @meredithpsidel

…we’ve got this!

Making a shrimp dinner for the first time in ever because my husband doesn’t eat seafood.  Yes, tragic, tragic circumstances in which to conduct a marriage.

Telling the kids they can sleep in the same room on the floor in their sleeping bags because, let’s be honest–I don’t care where the heck they crash, just so long as they are no longer talking to me.

The very real and very empowering realization that my dear friend predicted–I may be stronger than I think and not need my husband for the day-to-day as much as I think I do.

The very sweet and true fact while I can do it alone, I’d much rather him be here because I like my husband and enjoying having him around–after getting in my full course of Revenge and several stupid late-night hours of playing mindless word games on my Kindle, that is.

So his next business trip?  It might not totally suck either.

***Disclaimer to all friends–I will still most likely annoyingly whine before, during, and after my husband’s next business trip.  So sorry.  xo*** 

Feb 212014
 
She's the kind of gorgeous that hurts to look at, I know.

She’s the kind of gorgeous that hurts to look at, I know.

On Wednesday, I shared with you why appreciating beautiful things is important to me (aka how I justify buying the “good” mascara to my husband).  The HUGE PART I left out is my gratitude to Rebecca of Frugalista Blog for being part of this process.

You see, Frugie has become a mentor to me.  Moreover, she has become a patient mentor.  As in, I can randomly message her “I don’t understand brow wax” and she a) doesn’t laugh at me b) actually tries to explain brow wax.  I know. I also know it’s weird to care about brow wax. 

Her endless graciousness with all my bizarre questions is kind, but it’s her gorgeous heart behind her glowing skin that has made me totally fall for her.  Through blogging, I have gotten to know Rebecca pretty well, and I begged her to let me share her sweet spirit with all of you.  She will tug on your heart strings as she reminds us all that celebrating beauty is a pretty boss thing.  And bonus?  Frugie really knows her stuff.  So pay attention–you will learn something.

Also? She is hysterical and does stuff like this with captions like "Here, Ashley is cheering on teammates at Sochi. I’m just dreaming of a self-folding dryer of the future." And I die laughing.

Also? She is hysterical and does stuff like this with captions like
“Here, Ashley is cheering on teammates at Sochi. I’m just dreaming of a self-folding dryer of the future.”
And I die laughing…

***************************************************************

Questions I threw at Frugie:

Why is taking care of yourself important to you?

There are so many reasons why it’s important. I have lost friends to breast cancer. So health and disease prevention are paramount for me. The things I do to improve my appearance start with my health inside. Vitamins, greens, avoiding sugars and alcohol (not easy!) If vanity is a contributing factor- then I admit- I want to look nice! Motherhood can sap it away. So giving myself extra time to put on sunscreen (an absolute must) or hiding in the bathroom to apply a mask is something I let myself do.

Why do you share this with others through your blog?

Sharing beauty tips and product discoveries is something I’ve been doing for years. Early on in high school, my friends noticed that I’m the one who always went to the Clinique counter for their gift with purchase, or that I got as many beauty magazine subscriptions as my mom would allow, they would ask me what could work for them. So I thought it would be fun to blog about it.

Where do you go for your inspiration?

I am constantly reading magazines and checking online. I love award shows. I love old movies. The makeup always intrigues me. YouTube is an amazing source of tutorials and knowledge. Several makeup artists- Lisa Elderidge and Wayne Goss have their own channels, and provide some great tips.

Tell us all your secrets–what is your favorite accessory?

My favorite accessory is probably a scarf. I wear them all the time- summer or winter. I just love how cozy they make me feel. They add a pop of color and frame your face.

Her latest tutorial. Get your glam on!

Her latest tutorial. Get your glam on!

Skin care product?

I love my glam glow mask right now! I’m addicted to the eye one and the mud one for my pores around my nose!

Make-up item?

I love the Hour Glass Ambient Light Powders. They really give you an airbrushed look without drying out your skin or settling in your lines. Next would be any YSL lipstick. So buttery and beautiful, I could wear them all the time.

You write a lot about dupes–which is the best one you’ve found so far?

Wet n Wild has really surprised me. I think their shadows and lipsticks compare easily to MAC. And I know other beauty bloggers have dupe boards on Pinterest that list so many WW products. My favorite dupe that is my most popular on Pinterest is the L’oreal liquid powder foundation that is exactly like the Giorgio Armani Maestro foundation. Exact match!

Goals for another year of loving yourself? (beauty-wise, blog-wise, etc)

I will try to work out more!! I really think I will be happier with myself as a whole if I tone up a bit. I’ve noticed my double chin is looking extra droopy lately. Too many donuts!

Also, I will not obsess over every little flaw. Lines and pores are what make us human. We aren’t plastic. And most people will agree that you are your harshest critic, so try to see yourself through other people’s eyes, especially the ones that love you. They see your beauty and spark when you’re not even trying.

*********************************************************************

I love her.  Thank you for pushing me to be a better me, Frugie. xoxoxo.

P.S. I just pinched myself with an eyelash curler and want to cry.  Can you do a house call??

P.P.S. Very likely, there may be a rooming assignment situation at Blog U, in which you find your nifty new neighbor Meredith, make-up brush in hand, expectantly awaiting you to work your magic EVERY MORNING at an ungodly hour.  Apologies in advance?

Feb 192014
 
This will ALWAYS be me...

This will ALWAYS be me…

Several months ago, something weird happened. Very weird. I started to care about myself.

It wasn’t a sudden, overwhelming recognition that Meredith, outside of sippy cup provider and snotty nose wiper, existed, but it was more a dull thud of a reminder that some part of her was still hanging around somewhere.  The thud grew louder and then all the messages my mother spent a lifetime imparting to me started to thunder.

You see, my mother loved beautiful things. She delighted in taking time to make her world pretty–both through loving on others and enjoying tangible loveliness. So stuff like jewelry and make-up mattered to her.  Not because she was shallow, but because she appreciated the beauty God creates on this earth.  I spent a lot of time thinking my mom was crazy. but when it comes down to it, I’m her daughter.

I’m also 34, really tired, and too often feel like I don’t exist in this selfless cloud of being a mom to two young kiddos.  Throw all of this together with lots of heavy missing my mom, and it was time–time for me to dig out my make-up. Time for me to start washing my face. Time to stop living in fear of skinny jeans (not sure my ginormous thighs are on board with this one yet). Time to consider stashing my diaper bag and digging a regular purse out from under my bed.

...but it's nice to know she's in there somewhere too.

…but it’s nice to know she’s in there somewhere too.

I subscribed to People Stylewatch. I cashed in my LivingSocial credit to score a sweet at-home gel nail kit and fell in love with it.  I learned what a hydrating mask is really supposed to do and couldn’t be prouder of the gorgeous Stella and Dot necklace I snagged from my online yardsale group.  I gasped in horror over the discovery of my ladystache and schooled myself quickly in the intricacies of home waxing kits. 

My sister is terrified. I tell her to table her fears and give it another five years–then we’ll be drooling over the Urban Decay website together.  In the meantime I paint her nails, run her through the rigors of my new 10 minute skin-care routine, and ignore her eye rolls.  Whatever, she’s still in her 20s and ergo, clueless.

My husband is a saint.  He knows not to ask; when I ask him to help me convert a office drawer cabinet to an accessories case, he silently reaches for the drill (possible Pinterest-worthy post on this later if I am feeling brave enough to share). Past experiences have proven that whenever something possibly related to my mom is questioned, things can get a little tearfully messy, so it’s best to just roll with it.  Poor man.

Don’t get me wrong; I have worn basically nothing except my sweats in this delightful February Winter Wonderland and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve broken out the make-up since the Snowpocalypse has started.  I will always be the harried, unbrushed hair momma trying to hide from you at the grocery store, I promise.

But…but it’s nice to have options.  To know that Meredith does exist and if I get my crap together, I could maybe even say hello to her once in a while?

The entire time I was working on this post, this song kept playing through my head.  Because we know the breathtaking power of God to transform us into beautiful things extends far beyond the magic of nail polish. xo, friends.



And stay tuned; on Friday, I’m sharing a very cool blessing that has come my way in the form of the lovely Rebecca from Frugalista Blog.  Frugie not only captures me with her beauty, but with her kind, patient and generous spirit in mentoring me through this new world of self-discovery.  I can’t wait to tell you more about this beautiful gal and all of her beautiful things.  Check back on Friday!

Feb 172014
 
Source My kind of gal

Source
The superfan CAN be you!

One of my happiest memories of our early marriage is holing up in the bedroom of our first apartment watching the Olympics.  We channeled in The Games by carefully positioning the rabbit ears “just so”.  As long as we didn’t move or breathe too emphatically, NBC came streaming in with only a teensy bit of black and white static, and we were in our biennial viewing glory.

Ah…the good old days… While we’ve now gotten ourselves all cabled up with far clearer reception, we’ve hit another glitch: CHILDREN.  While the little loves are adorable, they have absolutely no interest in The Olympics. I know, ghastly incomprehensible.

For several days upon realizing this, I panicked that they weren’t actually my children, that the hospital had sent me home with the wrong set.  It didn’t feel like this vein of thought was an over-reaction.

I’ve semi-calmed myself with the very likely possibility that it is their young age, that they may indeed still be my offspring and that more blissful co-viewing may be in our future.  But I won’t lie; this serious stuff, people.  I’ve never lived with a non-fellow Olympic psycho, and it’s a jarring shock to my aged 34 yr. old self.  Colossal blow.

What’s a super fan to do?  Hold my paper bag and pat my hand while I hyperventilate in the background, and I’ll fill you in on our game plan. Obviously, there are the usual bribes, retreating to individual electronic devices, and the old school move of trying to teach your kids something classy, like sharing the TV.  But, this is The Olympics, so it’s time to get creative, people.

Source Look at the pretty princess!

Source
Look at the pretty princess!

Play the athletic attire to your favor. Shamelessly. The figure skaters? Clearly princesses dancing on ice in those pretty dresses.  And who says the skiers can’t be superheroes racing to someone’s rescue in their tight suits and fancy helmets?  Use the cards you have.

Fall in love with the short events. The biathlon and the long program in pairs figure skating?  They’ll be there in 20 yrs. Trust me. Does the biathlon ever go anywhere??  For now, get your short track on and time the diaper changes around the sprints. You’ve got this.

Bed time? Entirely negotiable. Let’s be real. You’ve now been snowed in with your cherubs for weeks on end anyway. What can they possible need to do with another hour to their evening?  Bathe ‘em up, read those night-night stories, and stash them in those beds.

Sure, as they get older, you can try to explain the sports and have them try to actually follow, but we’re working with a 2 yr. old and 4 yr. old.  I have better luck with, “See who can guess the winner!”.  Lollipop prizes are never a bad thing?

If you’re a die-hard, true story: the 3am broadcasting? NBC might actually not be that crazy. Maybe, just maybe, the programming execs are parents themselves?

Bottom line: the world is on the line here. Step aside, kiddos, Mommy and Daddy are needed to contribute to the global spirit of camaraderie.  We all have to make sacrifices. It’s The Olympics.

Source Super-hero on the loose!

Source
Super-hero on the loose!

 

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