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From “busy” to “balanced” in 2015 (hopefully)

Yesterday was one of those days. During the course of the day I vacuumed the house, cleaned 4 bathrooms, did 3 loads of laundry and meal planned for the week. I also cooked dinner, and went grocery shopping. The word busy sums it up, and that’s how I feel about life lately. Our weekends are booked for next month and a half, and evenings are spent hectically cooking dinner and then starting the bath & bedtime routine.

But tonight, as I finished up Vivien’s bath and was about to tuck her into bed, I heard her squeaky voice ask me, “Mommy, are you too busy to read me a story?”

I thought of how exhausted I was, and how I longed to sit down and possibly pour myself a glass of champagne before I started my “working hours” of photo editing, Daily Mom, or (sometimes, usually not) writing. Truthfully, I was busy. But in that moment, everything came to a screeching halt and I stopped to read Vivien her Berenstain Bear book while she nuzzled her wet head that smelled like soap into the crook of my arm and recited most of the book by memory to me before I even got the chance to turn the pages. That. I should never be too busy for that.

While I was mentally giving myself props all day for kicking ass at being a housewife, I failed at being a stay at home mom. I was too preoccupied to spend the day helping William do somersaults like the day before. (It’s his favorite pastime. He’ll do them for hours.) I didn’t take Vivien down to the playroom and watch her “grocery shop” and then come up with something “deeeeelishush” to pretend-feed Will.

Sometimes I need to work on balance. My mom has always said that I have the world’s worst case of “tunnel vision.” If I want/need something done, it must be done NOW, and there’s no rest or downtime until it is. I enjoy immediate gratification, and hate the process of waiting. However, what’s happening daily (and, dare I say, immediately?) is my kids are growing up. Quickly. They won’t always want me to read them stories, or carry them around all day, every day (::ahem::Will.)

So maybe I’m late to the proverbial blogger punch bowl, but this year, I am striving to work on balance. Hence, my word of 2015 (Two months late.) Including finally taking some time for yours truly in the mix. My kids should never ever have to question if I’m too busy for them.

Look, I’m only 5 days late to posting Vivien’s Valentine’s Day photo. That’s a record here, as of late.


Love is in the air: Plant Therapy Essential Oil Feature & Giveaway

Plant Therapy Giveaway

Essential oils seem to be everywhere these days. I can’t browse facebook without seeing someone tout their belief in this all-natural sensation. When I first learned about essential oils, I learned about larger, more well known companies, which is great. It wasn’t until I really began to research essential oils on my own and read more than a few articles about them that I stumbled into the Plant Therapy brand.

As I investigated the website a bit more, I really dove into what oils should be used for certain things, and how to use the oils safely and effectively. Here’s some more information about the brand, specifically:

“At Plant Therapy, we believe in the power of essential oils, and want to ensure they are available to everyone. You may have heard, there are many different uses for essential oils ranging from simple aromatherapy to topical applications. However you incorporate essential oils into your routine is up to you; that is why Plant Therapy is built on the goal of providing the highest quality, 100% pure & natural essential oils, nebulizers, and other essential oil accessories. We strive to exceed all of your expectations for an essential oil resource, and that means offering the best essential oils for the lowest prices.

All of the essential oils you will find at Plant Therapy are sourced from top suppliers around the world. We purchase all our oil in bulk, and negotiate the best prices so we can pass those savings along to you. At Plant Therapy, we believe that essential oils and essential oil accessories should be affordable without compromising quality. Our aromatherapy accessories include nebulizers and oil diffusers from a variety of manufacturers. Look through our online store to see one of the largest selections of 100% pure essential oils & accessories online. Thank you for visiting Plant Therapy for your essential oil needs.” (Source)

I began having conversations with certified aromatherapists and learning more about the different uses of essential oils. One of my favorite ways to use EOs is diffusing them. I’ve personally tried really hard to rid my house of nasty chemicals, such as those in spray air-fresheners or fabric scent sprays, and love that I can use 100% pure and natural diffused essential oils to not only make my house smell fresh, but to also diffuse the healing properties of these oils throughout my home. Many times I will use the Kidsafe Germ Destroyer blend diffused in my living room after a day where Vivien would have been exposed to lots of germs (ie: anywhere in public these days.)

However, after the kids go to sleep and I’m settling in for the night with my computer, and hours of editing client sessions in lightroom and photoshop, I love diffusing oils to simply smell, and improve my clarity and mood. (I’m a total “smell person”)

Some of the scents have been “misses” with Eli, and he has strongly told me not to diffuse it with him around. (For example, he says peppermint gives him a headache, and isn’t especially fond of lavender as well.)

When I recently bought some rose hydrosol (water) from Plant Therapy to use as a face toner before bed, he finally admitting to actually enjoying the smell of roses. I began searching for rose oil, but it is on the expensive side. That’s when I found the Sensual Blend from Plant Therapy.

There are strong floral overtones in Sensual, from the Ylang Ylang and Jasmine, yet also an earthy, woodsy smell from the Sandalwood and Patchouli. Orange oil and lavender are used to soften the oils used in the blend, making it my favorite, go-to oil to diffuse. It’s the perfect aphrodisiac oil for diffusing, mixing with epson salt for a romantic scented bath, massage oil mixed with a carrier oil, or any body care product.

Sensual Synergy from Plant Therapy is the perfect scent for Valentine’s Day!

One sniff will get you hooked, and the good news is that Plant Therapy has generously agreed to giveaway a 10ml bottle of Sensual to one lucky reader.

Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US Residents only.


Disclaimer: I received one bottle of sensual to review, however, I was not compensated for this post. Plant Therapy is an independant company and does not have distributors, so I did not benefit financially from this post at all- I just wanted to share the love for a great company and a great product. Plant Therapy does not recommend using this specific oil blend around children under 7 years old (learn more about their suggestions here.) I personally love diffusing this blend on my first floor of my home after my kids are asleep upstairs. This post was not meant to provide any medical advice. To learn more about essential oils, please contact a certified aromatherapist and before using any oils, please make sure to talk to your doctor.


A {very belated} Christmas post.

The thing about being a Mommy blogger is that sometimes, it’s justified to take a break for family time. While I like to pretend that my break was entirely spent playing games, or coloring with Vivien, life gets busy. The holidays at Daily Mom are insane. Like 30 different holiday gift guides insane. Not to mention that between the months of October through December, I had 22 photo sessions on the books to photograph and edit.

I feel like a broken record of justifying, but the fact of the matter is, I adore being busy. I also love relaxing once it’s done. Which kind of explains my attitude for the past few weeks.

During my hiatus, we celebrated William’s first birthday. I can’t even explain how it feels that my boy is one. We also had family in town for two weeks, and that was also great, and I miss my Mom daily. Oh and Thanksgiving, which I hosted like 25 people in my home. Needless to say, having a low-key Christmas was kind of important to me, as was chalking it full of traditions that we’ve established over the past few years.

 Christmas Eve we spent with Eli’s family up north, and had a great time catching up and eating yummy food. We then came home and the excitement began to rise, at the idea of Santa’s arrival that night. Vivien made sure to tell me to pass on the message that Santa was not allowed in her bedroom that night, and he had to stay strictly within the living room. And he better bring her stuffed Olaf and a candy cane. Check, kid.

Photos by Memoirs Photography from a Mom's Club Santa Event.

Photos by Memoirs Photography from a Mom’s Club Santa Event.

So that night, after the stockings were stuffed and presents put out, we watched my favorite Christmas movie, The Christmas Story.

“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDGE. Except I didn’t say fudge.”

We woke up, and I was prompted by a fellow DM gal with the idea that you should set up your DSLR on your tripod and set your camera on an interval setting and capture candid photos- with you in it. (shocker for most momtographers.) While I didn’t have time to bust out my manual and figure out the interval setting, I simply decided to use the remote with the 10 second delay timer, and snapped a ton of photos that I will love and cherish forever. My hair is tied back with a neon green scrunchi channeling 1995. Eli has insane bedhead. Most of the photos involve a dog photobomb. But it was real life, and I can’t wait to continue that tradition every single year from now on.

I have a ton of posts I’m behind on, such as William’s first year video and cake smash photos, and also some thoughts that have been running through my mind. So I’m back in 2015, and can’t wait to share the happs of my family for another year.

 

Vivien and William’s leggings and head pieces are c/o the talented Sew Itty Bitty Designs.


Barnes & Noble Discovery Weekend and Tons of Holiday Gift Ideas ( #BNDiscovery )

Wednesday night was so much fun getting out of the house and spend some adult-only time at Barnes & Noble learning about the store, their holiday gift items, and browsing (without a toddler running around like crazy) and truly taking my time to look around and find the perfect book matches for all my holiday gifting.

See look- here we are! (Photo courtesy of Colorado Moms)

But what I took away from the event was far more than I imagined. I learned all about the Barnes & Noble Discovery Weekend.

Discovery Weekend:

Barnes & Noble designed Discovery Weekend to help customers discover the perfect holiday gift for everyone on their list, including an amazing selection of books, NOOK® reading and entertainment devices, toys and games, and inspired gifts for all ages. Throughout the weekend customers will find a variety of promotions, special discounts and NOOK offers to begin their holiday shopping. 

Events and Activities In-Store for All Ages

No matter the customer’s age, Barnes & Noble Discovery Weekend boasts a complete lineup of holiday activities for all. Events taking place at Barnes & Noble’s more than 650 locations across the country include:

  • Friday, November 21:
    • 7 p.m.: Linkee® Trivia Tournament:
      • For those who like their quiz games simple, fast and fun, Linkee is the shout-out game with a twist. Players don’t win by answering the questions, but by guessing the link between the answers. (Recommended for ages 14 and up)
  • Saturday, November 22:
    • 10 a.m.: Create With ArtFolds:
      • Customers are invited to transform a book or card into a piece of art using the ArtFolds technique. Customers are encouraged to arrive early, as space and supplies are limited. (Recommended for ages 13 and up)
    • 11 a.m.: Learn to Draw Like Mo Willems – Storytime & Activity:
      • Children will enjoy a reading of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, then learn how to draw the beloved Pigeon with instructions created by the award-winning author and illustrator. (Recommended for children ages 4 and up)
    • 1 p.m.: Puppet Making & Holiday Sing-Along:
      • Young ones are invited to create a puppet and sing with their newfound puppet friends. Customers are encouraged to arrive early, as space and supplies are limited. (Recommended for children ages 4 and up)
    • 7 p.m.: Holiday Fluxx® Game Night:
      • Customer are invited to get introduced to this unexpected holiday card game with ever-changing rules – even the object of the game changes as often as players draw a card or say “Go”! (Recommended for ages 12 and up)
  • Sunday, November 23:
    • 1 p.m.: Snowmen at Night Storytime, Crafts & Activities:
      • Kids will enjoy a reading of this winter tale that follows the secret life of snowmen at night, then create one to bring home. (Recommended for ages 4 and up)

 

More than 100 Author Appearances at Local Barnes & Noble Stores

A number of Barnes & Noble stores will host more than 100 bestselling authors for book signings and readings during Discovery Weekend. Local authors will also make in-store appearances at their Barnes & Noble stores. Notable events include:

  • Chanda Bell, who will read and sign her recently released book perfect for the holidays, Elf Pets: A Reindeer Tradition (November 21, Bensalem/Philadelphia, PA)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers front man and bestselling author Anthony Kiedis, and David Mushegain, who celebrate the band’s fans in Fandemonium (November 21, New York City)
  • Musician Lisa Loeb, performing songs from her new songbook, Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ and Shakin’: The Air Band Song and Other Toe-Tapping Tunes (November 22, Calabasas, CA)
  • Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and author of Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (November 22, Paramus, NJ)
  • Actress Evangeline Lilly, who will read and sign her new picture book, The Squickerwonkers, vol. 1. (November 22, Los Angeles, CA)
  • Joel Osteen, author of You Can, You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner and other bestsellers (November 23, Costa Mesa, CA)

 

More information regarding Discovery Weekend events, activities and a complete listing of author appearances taking place November 21-23 can be found at www.bn.com/discoveryweekend.

Meet, Greet and Shop with Nick Jonas NOOK App Sweepstakes

During Discovery Weekend, customers can visit the NOOK counter and use a Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 NOOK® demonstration device to enter for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime shopping trip.  One lucky winner will receive a trip for two to New York City, with a $1,000 Barnes & Noble Gift Card to meet, greet and shop at Barnes & Noble with “Jealous” singer Nick Jonas in celebration of his new self-titled solo album. For complete details and official rules, learn more at www.bn.com/discoveryweekend.

Holiday Gift Ideas:

We all know that I have a Frozen obsessed child. All her friend’s are also crazy into it. I love that Barnes & Noble seriously has a gift for anyone you could possibly want to shop for- from a baby to a grandparent and tons in between. If you have older kids who love Minecraft, you seriously have to check out their selection- it’s super impressive.

Oh, and Barnes & Noble now carries records. Hipsters beware! Bust out your grannies’ old record player and listen to your fave Pearl Jam record coming from that baby. It’ll flash you back to….well…I’m not sure because I didn’t grow up in the turn table era. But I hear they are swell, and it’s kind of a rad niche they carry.

My Takeaway:

Barnes & Noble is paving the way to becoming truly a one stop shop in holiday gifting. I must also say, normally when I go into a store, I typically don’t ask for assistance. I was super surprised to see how helpful the employees are. They really did help steer me in the direction of the perfect book for my kiddos.

Also, I usually don’t “treat” myself while I’m shopping with/for the kids. I tend to get in and get out. However, the cafe at Barnes & Noble is amaze. Their cookies are delicious and their pumpkin cheesecake is what dreams are made out of. Make sure to swing by the cafe when you’re in there, because there will be lots of specials going on over the weekend, from discounts to speciality tastings. (It’s Cheesecake Factory cheesecake!)

 


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post courtesy of Barnes & Noble and Resourceful Mommy Media. All opinions are 100% my own.


One day….

One day, when the kids are older and I am wiser and have a dual income again (or some wiggle room in the budget) I will have regular housecleaning services. My visit with Mile High Cleaning Company solidified that, today.

Sidenote: Ooooh I’m busted. My kids totally watched two episodes of Daniel Tiger while they were here so they didn’t run amok and undo all the cleaning that was occuring. 

Now let me tell you- I’ve never had a housecleaner before. My dad swears by his, and my sister has even splurged on one in the past. And for the most part, my house is pretty clean (while the upstairs bathrooms may leave a bit to be desired.)

But before company arrives, I always stress myself out and rush around like a mad woman cleaning the day before. I hate it- Eli really hates it (I get snappy) When Mile High Cleaning Company contacted me for a two hour cleaning in exchange for my review- seriously the timing couldn’t have been better, and I nearly wept with joy.

I cannot believe how thorough of a cleaning it was! From wiping off cupboard doors, to cleaning inside the microwave, they seriously made my house sparkle in a mere two hours. It was magical.

Here’s a bit more about the company:

Mile High Cleaning Company is family owned and operated locally here in Denver. We offer many different cleaning services for both the residential and commercial customer. No job is too big or too small.

Get 2 hours of cleaning for $44.95 or 3 hours of cleaning for $59.95 from Mile High Cleaning Company .

Mile High Cleaning Company is the perfect company to call if you’re in the Denver Metro Area, and you have family coming to town this Thanksgiving. Prepping for dinner is stressful enough- don’t let the mundane housework also pile on top of you and add more stress to the situation. And with the amazing specials they have for new and returning clients, there’s so many reasons to let go and let them do your housework. :-D

So now, I have the time to get some Daily Mom work done, and blog, while smelling my clean and fresh house that’s perfectly waiting for my visitors to arrive.

Happy Tuesday, friends!


Disclaimer: I received 2 hours of cleaning free of cost for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own and I highly highly recommend them.