blog

2017 Year in Review

First of all, if you are reading this…Thank You! My blog adventures are written specifically to connect with you, hopefully provide you with useful information, and entertain you. Without you, my blog would not exist!

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In the beginning….

2017 was an exciting year! The blog officially launched on May 29th and I really had no idea what I was in for! I thought that I would start a blog, write content and people would read it. How hard could that be!? (I can hear other bloggers laughing!)

I had thought about starting a blog many times, but didn’t know how to do it and didn’t want to invest in something I wasn’t 100% certain about. I was motivated to start when I saw a post on Facebook from Pete and Heather Reese of It’s Lovely Life titled, ‘Start a Money Making Blog’. I didn’t realize that blogging could be a source of income! If that was the case, if  I could make a enough money to pay for the blog expenses, then it would be worth sharing my thoughts!

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I built the site, teaching myself the in’s and out’s of WordPress using YouTube and articles written by fellow bloggers. I quickly realized that I had to get more active on social media. I didn’t even have a Twitter account at that point and barely even looked at Instagram!

Every morning was a challenge planning my day; making time for home, kids, blogging, and (oh yea) my full time job! Every evening was spent learning something new, preparing posts and trying to keep up. My husband and kids were, and continue to be, my biggest supporters.

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I was hard on myself. I wasn’t getting enough views or followers or likes on social media. I was spending money and not making any, and felt guilty. My husband assured me that it will take time and you have to ‘spend money to make money’.

As time went on….

Then, I started joining groups and mom-blog pods. I couldn’t believe that there was this large blogging community across the world that came together to support each other, offer advice and help a fellow blogger in need. It was certainly a welcome surprise when I started making new friends in this new venture.

As a matter of fact, Sara at Travels with Tots helped me learn a new social media strategy today! And I’m always reaching out to Lauren at The Gabbing Ginger with all sorts of random questions and she is always happy to help.

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I fumbled around (and still do) with what I should write about. Do people really want to hear about me and my struggles and successes? Do you care how I pack for a long vacation or does it help you? Does hearing about my struggles with my step-daughter give hope to others in the same position? I think about how I can use my blogging platform to help others, be it a small business or a charitable organization.

I hit a few milestones too! I reached over 5,000 followers on both Instagram and Twitter. I received my first ‘free’ products in lei of a review. And just a few days ago, I had my first paid post. I didn’t earn much, but you have start somewhere, right?

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 Goals for 2018

Thinking about the new year, there are so many goals that I have for the growth of The Mommy on the Move.

  • Patience – To be more patient with myself and success with the blog. I know that I will be successful, I can feel it, I just have to be patient and take it one step at a time.
  • Steady Income – It doesn’t have to be life changing, but it would be nice to at least be able to pay for blog expenses with blog income!
  • Relationships – Build strong relationship with other bloggers and brands as well.
  • Life Balance – I tend to have moments of getting caught up in blogging that I forget about everything else. Then, step away completely to refresh. I would like to be able to balance all of life’s priorities in 2018. It is going to be important to my mental health that I do that.
  • Meaningful Content – As mentioned in the beginning of this article, The Mommy on the Move exists for you. In 2018, I want to continue to provide you information that is meaningful to you!

Happy New Year to all of you! 2018 is going to be amazing!

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New Years

5 Ways to Keep your New Year’s Resolutions

Here’s the scenario: Christmas is over. The tree is still up. The house is a disaster after all the holiday fun. You are exhausted. The kids have been out of school for a week and are bored. And….it’s New Years Eve.

You head to a New Year’s Eve party or stay in your nice quiet (yet messy) home, and you are supposed to feel renewed and ready for the new year to begin. I don’t know about you, but all I can think about it trying to figure out how to stay in bed for an entire day!

New Years

Why I don’t like ‘New Year’s Resolutions’

Yep, I said it. I don’t like New Years Resolutions.

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on what you accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) in the previous year. It’s also an ideal time to think about goals for yourself, define ways to improve yourself, and work on a plan to get them done.

However, the idea behind New Year’s Resolutions is that you need to start implementing those changes on January 1st.

The reality is, even though New Years Resolutions are  intended to be for the year,  we are lucky if we last a month. It’s tough to ask ourselves to think that one day in the year holds the power to helping us achieve a goal. Most people are not going to change something (quit smoking, start a new diet, etc.), until they are ready. It’s silly to think that everyone should be ready on January 1st.

What we should do instead of New Year’s Resolutions

Reflect.

The end of a year, and the beginning of another, is the perfect time to take a good look at ourselves and make some decisions about what we would like to do differently. When reflections turn into actions, we start to make progress. These actions will only be successful if we are motivated. So, create a list, prioritize and plan!

Make sure that you don’t have too many on your list; 3-5 is good. Once you have your list, prioritize them based on what you would like to start accomplishing first, second, etc. and start a plan.

5 Tips to ‘New Years Resolution’ Success

Here are some simple guidelines to creating your plan:

  1. Start with the goal that is easiest or quickest to achieve. Getting a quick ‘win’ will make you feel accomplished and motivate you to continue down your list.
  2. Start goals early in the year that will take a while to accomplish (like weight-loss), but remember, it doesn’t have to be on January 1st!
  3. Give yourself some time to let these first two changes set in before you implement a new one. For instance, you could plan to start goal #3 in March or April.
  4. Identify what success is for each goal. For instance, if losing weight is on your list, identify how many pounds would be successful to you. (Keep in mind everyone’s idea of success is going to be different)
  5. Write it down! In any fashion you choose – electronic, on paper, posted to the mirror in your bathroom – whatever works for you! Putting it in writing will make it ‘real’ and help you to achieve it.

The key to successful ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ is to not expect yourself to take on a lot of changes at one time. Space it out and prepare yourself for success. By identifying your goals at the beginning of the year, but giving yourself a few weeks/months to start those changes, you are giving yourself an opportunity to adjust to change and giving yourself a better chance at success!

What are your New Years Resolutions for 2018???

Stitch Fix

December Stitch Fix Review

I am so excited to be a part of the Stitch Fix family again! I started with Stitch Fix a few years ago. As a matter of fact, I think they were pretty new at that point. I took a short break, but decided to sign back up and received my first stash of Stitch Fix goods a few days ago!

How it Works

If you have never heard of Stitch Fix, or aren’t sure what they do, here is the down and dirty…

Having Stitch Fix is like having a personal stylist. Once your account is created, you fill out a profile so your stylist knows your sizes and what you like. You can also add links to your social profiles and Pinterest to give your stylist even more insight. Sign up for reoccurring deliveries (I have them delivered once a month) or request one when you are ready. Your stylist will hand pick items for you, based on your profile, and mail them to you. Keep what you want and return what you don’t want. You also receive a 25% discount if you keep all items!

That’s it! 

Stitch Fix Perks

One of the many things that I love about Stitch Fix is that they send you items that you may not have chosen for yourself. Some times this works out fabulously! Other times, it may be a little too far out of your comfort zone. It’s a good thing that you only keep and pay for the items you like!

Because your stylist not only knows your sizes, but your height, weight and other measurements, they can hand pick items that are certain to fit. When you receive your Fix, it also comes with a note from your stylist, with ideas on how to put the pieces together. It also comes with ‘note cards’ with samples on how to style the items with other pieces you may already have in your closet.

If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix, they have a special offer just for my readers! You can receive your first Fix FREE because they are waiving the $20 styling fee through January! Click here to try Stitch Fix for FREE! 

Now for the fun part! Check out my December Fix below:

Puffer Vest

Marc New York – Pierce Puffer Vest

stitch fix vest

This is an ideal pick for me! I have a few other puffer vests, but only in neutral colors.  I never would have picked a pink one for myself, but it goes with so many things that I already have in my closet! This one goes into the KEEP pile.

Vigoss – Erika Distressed Skinny Jean

Stitch Fix Jeans

Who doesn’t love distressed skinny jeans?? I already have a few pairs of these in my closet, but I could always use more! These fit so perfectly too, I can’t pass them up.  This one goes into the KEEP pile.

American Able – Vivianna Cut Out Knit Top

Stitch Fix Sweater

This 3/4 sleeve shirt is so cute and comfortable. It has a stylish cut out around the neckline, that is hard to see in the photo. I appreciate that my stylist read my profile because I indicated that I don’t like short-sleeve shirts, due to my body type, but love 3/4 sleeves! This one also goes into the KEEP pile.

Nakamol – Avalon Multi-Strand Beaded Choker

Stitch Fix Necklace

This is the first time that I received jewelry from Stitch Fix and I am so impressed. I have recently decided that I need to incorporate more jewelry into my style, so I am so excited for this piece. This one goes into the KEEP pile.

Kimono

Alice Blue – Hallie Burnout Velvet Kimono

Stitch Fix Kimono

This is definitely not something that I would not have picked for myself. It’s cute, but something that I feel would look better on someone else. I have put it on a few times, and checked my note cards to see how to wear it, but I am still not sure. However, since one of the reasons that I joined Stitch Fix is to get out of my comfort zone, I appreciate this pick. In addition to that, with the 25% off I receive for keeping all items, it’s actually cheaper for me to keep in that return it! It also goes into the KEEP pile.

What you are your thoughts on my Fix? Would you have kept all the items or returned some?

Looking for a last minute gift? Give the gift of fashion with a Stitch Fix Gift Card!

 

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Holiday Gifts for HER

Holiday gift giving can be stressful. I get it! You want to buy the special woman in your life something she will love and appreciate. You want it to be something she will remember and talk about with her friends. Check out the following gifts! You can’t go wrong with these!

Looking for Holiday gifts for HIM? Click here!!!

Jewelry

Jewelry is always a winner when it comes to gift-giving, but how do ensure it’s something unique that she will love? Check out the companies below. They offer beautiful jewelry that will make any woman feel special!

ALEX AND ANI

ALEX AND ANI offers a variety of beautiful jewelry that can be purchased separately or as a stunning set. Choices include bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings and more! And if you can’t decide what she will truly love, a gift card will allow her to pick something out for herself! (Hint: Click on the picture to visit the site!)

November Set of the Month

STELLA & DOT

Shopping at STELLA & DOT will ensure that the special woman in your life receives something that she will truly love! From large statement pieces of jewelry to simple and elegant, there is something for everyone woman here! (Hint: Click on the picture to visit the site!)

Sparkle Avenue

If you are looking for something more unique and less expensive, Sparkle Avenue is a perfect choice. Sparkle Avenue is an Etsy store where all of their items are hand-made. This a great place to buy something unique that she will love! (Hint: Click on the picture to visit the site!)

Pamper Her!

Women are notorious for not taking item for themselves.  They give to others so much that it’s a beautiful gesture to get her something that requires her to relax and do something nice for herself. Check out these great gifts aimed at pampering her!  

Spafinder

Give her the gift of relaxation with a Spafinder gift card. Spafinder is a gift card purchased that allows the recipient to redeem the value of the card at any of the service partners in the program. Cards can be redeemed for a day at the spa, workout classes, and alternative healing. Gift cards can be purchased in any amount from $25 – $500, up to a total of $2000 and can be delivered via email, printed or delivery of the actual card. (Hint: Click on the picture to visit the site!)


Key West Aloe

Key West Aloe uses aloe to create some of the best moisturizing and anti-aging products around! They offer amazing gift sets that any woman is sure to love! Use the coupon code MOMMY15 at checkout to receive 15% off your order! (Hint: Click the photo to be taken to the site!)

Get a free oatmeal body bar with a $65 order at keywestaloe.com. Coupon code FREEOBB is required.

Clothing

Giving the gift of new wardrobe items is always a winner! Check out a few options below that will definitely make her smile!

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is a personal style service that delivers styles as often as you choose! Your favorite lady will fill out a ‘style quiz’ and a stylist will provide her the new styles right to her door! ‘Fixes’ can be scheduled on a reoccurring basis, or requested one at a time.  If she likes her ‘fix’, she buys it. If she doesn’t, she returns it free of charge! Stitch Fix offers sizes from XS – 3X (0-24W), as well as maternity and petite sizes (basically, there is something for almost everyone!) A gift card can be purchased in various amounts from $20 – $2000 can can be delivered via email, printed or delivery of the actual card. (Hint: Click the photo to be taken to the site!)


The East Side Shop

Get her something fun and relaxing from The East Side Shop. With fun sayings like ‘Love My Crew’ to ‘Somewhere between Proverbs 31 and Tupac’, there is something fun for everyone! (Hint: Click the photo to be taken to the site!)

Make Every Day Life Easier

Give the gift that keeps on giving with items that will make her (and everyone’s) everyday life easier. Check out some options below:

iRobot Roomba

While I realized that a ‘regular’ vacuum is definitely NOT something you want to buy her for the Holiday, am iRobot Roomba is. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like telling her she will NEVER HAVE TO VACUUM AGAIN! We have one of these, and I promise you that she will elated if she receives this during the holiday season! (Hint: Click the photo to be taken to the product!)

Blue Apron

Blur Apron is a way to simply your life at dinner time. No more wondering ‘What’s for dinner?’ No more last minute runs to the grocery store because one ingredient is missing. Get everything you need for dinner delivered to your door! No matter who cooks in the family, this is something she will enjoy! (Hint: Click the photo to be taken to the site!)

Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System

The Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System is one appliance that is perfect for gift giving, especially for those who like to cook! This system makes smoothies, ice cream and snow cones. It also chops, purees, and makes dips. It has a fettuccine and a spaghetti blade for making veggie pasta!

The Gift of Technology

Everyone loves to receive the most current technology gifts. While not necessarily considered to be ‘romantic’, it’s definitely something she will appreciate!

Alexa

Alexa is a wireless speaker for you home, and so much more! Using nothing but the sound of your voice, create to-do lists and shopping lists, search the web, shop online, get weather and control popular smart-home products. (Hint: Click the photo to be taken to the product!)

 

Thoughtful Gifts

Emotional gifts can sometimes be the hardest to give because it comes from the heart. But you can’t go wrong with giving something thoughtful!

Gratitude

Given either together or individually, giving her a way to express and receive gratitude is important. These simple items will surely have her feeling grateful!

Wine Accessories

Check out some of the fun items you can get to help her unwind at the end of the day!

Monogrammed Stemless Wine Glass – Comes in all letters!

Wine Socks!

A bath AND wine!

Looking for Holiday gifts for HIM? Click here!!!

weight loss

How I Lost 5 lbs. in One Month (without counting calories)

Many women (and men) struggle with their weight. For me, it’s been a struggle almost my entire life. I have never been a ‘petite’ person, nor will I ever be. As a matter of fact, the modeling community would probably classify me ‘plus-sized’, but that’s a different topic for a different day!

Over the past 10 years, I have tried so many diets such as:

  • Food delivery diets that provide the perfect portion of food that I should eat
  • Diets with number systems correlating to the food I ate
  • Apps (oh the Apps!), counting calories and tracking exercise
  • Sprinkling ‘weight-loss powder’ on my food to make me feel full faster (yeah, remember that one?!?!)

Some of these were a total loss, while others helped but were not a sensible long-term solution. I needed to find something that was simple, could be incorporated into my daily life and that had the potential to become my new way of eating, not just a diet program.

How I lost 5 lbs. without counting calories

First of all, I am not a weight-loss expert or dietitian. I’m not a fitness guru or trained in any manner in this subject. I’m just a woman and mom who is trying to be healthy and am more fit now, and weigh less now, than my entire adult life. You should always consult with a doctor before making any change in your diet or exercise program.

There are 3 things that I feel contributed to my 5 lb. weight-loss during the one month period I am referring to:

  • Eating a gluten-free diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • 14-Day Detox Tea

Gluten-Free Diet

A few months ago, my husband and I decided to start eating a gluten-free diet. We had heard that there were many benefits to not eating wheat products, and among those was weight loss. At the time we knew nothing about gluten. We didn’t even know what being ‘gluten-free’ meant other than we couldn’t have pasta and bread, two things that we loved. Together, we decided to give this ‘diet’ a chance, and try it for one month to see what happened!

We put ourselves through an online ‘crash course’ and decided to take the plunge. It was challenging at first, because we had to check EVERYTHING. We literally had no idea what foods contained gluten and what foods didn’t. To make it more complicated, some foods have the ‘gluten-free’ label on them, while others do not. We were unsure how to  know the difference.

As we started reading labels, we noticed that any product that is not gluten-free states clearly in the ingredients sections, ‘contains wheat’. Once we discovered this, it made grocery shopping that much easier! More recently, we have found an app called ‘The Gluten Free Scanner’. This app allows you to scan almost any bar code to determine if it contains gluten. If it does, there is a red exclamation mark. If not, there is a green check mark. This makes shopping for gluten-free food even easier!

I am still conscious about what I eat. I try to stay away from ice cream, corn chips and mashed potatoes and eat more protein, vegetables and fruit, but I DO NOT COUNT CALORIES anymore. No logging food an an app or checking to see how much more I can eat that day. I just get to enjoy my (gluten-free) food!

If you are interested in learning about how we started our Gluten Free journey, check out these articles:

Exercising Regularly

I can not stress the importance of exercising on a regular basis. For me, not only did I want to lose weight, but being in my 40’s, I want to ensure that my body is preparing for getting older (ugh). My husband and I are very active golfing and skiing among other activities, but I will only be able to continue those activities as I get older, if I ensure my body stays accustomed to activity.

Exercising regularly doesn’t mean once in a while, or even once a week, as I had once thought. It means fitting in some sort of exercise 2-3 times a week. More if you can fit it in! Each one of us needs to determine what the best way to exercise is. The key to regular exercise and ensure the longevity of it, is liking it. (Yes, it’s possible to like exercise!)

For instance, a few years ago, I was asked to participate in a 5k run. I hate running. But I took the challenge, and determined to succeed, trained for months and was able to run the entire 5k! I was in great shape, but once the 5k wsa over, I never ran again, because I HATE RUNNING. I know it looks like I’m smiling in the picture below, but that’s because it’s almost over!

weight loss

Then, I started dancing. I love dancing and always have, but thought dance classes was something that ‘kids’ did. Once I realized that there are numerous adult classes for all skills, I decided to give it a try. I started with one day a week at first. Eventually, I built up to 3 days a week. Because dancing is something that I love to do, I can envision continuing through the years!

weight loss

Your exercise can also be as simple as walking. You can join a gym, take up yoga, do Pilates; it doesn’t matter what it is. As long as you are doing something!

14-day Detox Tea

I testing the 14-day Detox Tea from FitTea as part of a complementary program. Because I was testing it to provide the company with a review, I was diligent about drinking it every morning. During the 2 weeks, I drank less coffee, as I substituted my morning coffee for the tea, and I had a lot more energy. FitTea does not claim to promote weight loss, however, having lost the weight during the same month as drinking the tea, I felt that there might be a correlation and worth mentioning.

To read more about the 14-day Detox Tea, click here.

Some of you may be wondering if I keep the weight off?

The simple answer to that is yes, in the last few months I have maintained that 5 lb. weight loss. I wish I could report that I have lost more, but life has gotten in the way! Due to our crazy schedules, my dance days dropped from 3 day a week to 2 days a week, and now it’s only 1 day a week. There were also a few weeks that I didn’t exercise at all due to being out of town for work. In the coming weeks, the kids activity schedule will be slowing down and I will be getting back to dancing 3-days a week.

Even with cutting down on exercise and being months past the detox tea, eating gluten-free foods has helped me keep off that 5 lbs. No counting calories and splurging every now and then.

Just because this process worked for me, I am not saying it will work for you. But if you have been struggling, like I have, to find something that is sustainable over time, you may want to give this a try!

wine

Good Wines at a Good Price

If your like me, you enjoy a glass of wine every now and then! What I don’t enjoy however, is how much most wines costs. With that said, searching out inexpensive wines that we like to drink is always on my list of things to do. Keeping track of what we like and how much is costs enables us to make better choices when we are buying a bottle just for us, or buying a bottle for entertaining.

My husband and I are mostly a red wine drinkers. I am partial to cabs, while he is partial to Petite Syrah. I am also an avid Prosecco drinker, so you will also find my recommendations for Prosecco here as well. If you are looking for white wine recommendations, my sincere apologies. I am not a white wine drinker, and didn’t feel that I could offer recommendations on something I don’t drink.

Continue reading “Good Wines at a Good Price”

Giveaway

Mommy & Me Coffee Date Giveaway is LIVE

It’s time to enter the Mommy & Me Coffee Date Giveaway! The Giveaway is now open and will be open until September 17! CLICK HERE to enter the Giveaway!

Want some new mom-gear for free? I have partnered with some amazing Mom Bloggers to offer this package of Mommy & Me items!

If your interested in entering the contest, check out the details below:

When:

Contest runs September 14 – 17.

How to Enter:

Entries are completed through Instagram.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Prize package includes:

City Mini GT Single Stroller  – Click here to check out the stroller!

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$15 Starbucks Gift Card

Mommy and Me Hand-made HatsClick here to see the hats!

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Storksac Noa diaper bagClick here to see the diaper bag!

Giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

Bashful BunnyClick here to see the bunny!

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Milk Wooden TeetherClick here to check out the teether!

 

 

 

 

 

Are interested in learning more about an Instagram Loop giveaway? Lovely Mama Loops is a new contest loop community managed My Momtastic Life. Click on either links provided to find out more!

In my 40's

10 Things I Don’t Care About In My 40’s!

They say that 40 is the new 30, but what does that really mean? I think they say that every ten years, so you don’t feel bad about being a decade older! Being a year and a half into my 40’s, I have to say it’s nothing like my 30’s…THANK GOD!

There is a sense of confidence and calm that comes with 40. Through life experiences, I have learned a lot about myself and who I really am as a person, as a mom, as a wife and a friend. It’s through these experiences over time that I have realized that there are some things that I just don’t care about anymore.

Here is my list of things that I don’t care about now that I am 40!

Continue reading “10 Things I Don’t Care About In My 40’s!”

Going back to college

How My Husband Went Back To College

Going back to college is a big decision. The older you get, the harder it is to go back. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when going back to college; family, time, money, among other things. These are the many things that we had to consider as a family when deciding if my husband should go back to school. How were we going to afford it? Would there be time for him to go to class? What about coaching the kids in sports and his work schedule? How would we be able to fit it all in? There were so many reason to put it off, but Western Governors University helped us change our mind.

The Hurdles of Going Back to College

For many years, my husband had told me that he wanted to get his masters. It was something that he had envisioned for himself, and for his career, would eventually be inevitable. With having 3 kids, a household to run and my own job to consider, the thought of my husband having to attend 2-3 night classes a week was not something that I was looking forward to. I also knew that he didn’t want to give up his time with his family. Missing sports practices or games, or coaching the soccer team, was not something he was willing to do.

Continue reading “How My Husband Went Back To College”

successful family organization

How to Successfully Organize a Busy Family

Back to school means back to busy schedules. Between sports, school functions, after school activities, play dates with friends and your schedule, it can be difficult to keep schedules straight! I have the fear of showing up to the wrong activity on the wrong day or at the wrong time. Preparing for karate in a soccer uniform heading to the basketball game! Well, maybe not quite that bad, but you get the picture!

By nature, I like to be organized and our family schedule is no different. I have tried many approaches to organizing our schedule; some have been great, while others have been epic fails. This article will run through only those scheduling systems that have been successful for me over the years.

Continue reading “How to Successfully Organize a Busy Family”