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Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Do you live near a Primark? Me neither. But I do frequent Primark Boston when I’m in town each summer. What is Primark? It’s an Irish fast fashion retailer headquartered in Dublin, Ireland but is now the fastest growing retailer in the United Staes. We’re talking Depeche Mode at its finest if you ask me. But why do I think that Primark is the best place to shop with teenagers?

What does that mean? I think the about us page says it all…

Adored by fashion fans and value seekers alike Primark is widely established as the destination store for keeping up with the latest looks without breaking the bank.

Primark is an international retailer based out of Europe that offers the latest fashion, beauty and homeware trends at the best value on the high street. Simply put, amazing fashion at amazing prices. Don’t walk in there expecting Nordstrom quality but you won’t be paying Nordstrom prices either. In no way am I saying that the products are of bad quality. I am a big fan and my daughters are even bigger fans.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Boston with Teenagers and Tweenagers

All this to say, I love Primark. My daughters love Primark. Why? Because I can get them trendy clothes at a great price and good quality. But budget-friendly enough that I’m not going to get upset when they outgrow pieces or it goes out of style because we all know that trends change faster than a teenager’s mood these days.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Not convinced that Primark is for you?

Let me give you 5 reasons that Primark is the best place to shop with teenagers.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark has all different trends available.

Not into crop tops? Hate denim? Love denim? Love rompers? Prefer long dresses? No, more of a mini dress connoisseur? Maybe you love Harry Potter t-shirts? Or maybe Disney is more your speed? Perhaps you want to look a little more mature with some chic professional tops and blazers? No matter what you need, Primark has got you covered.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark has constantly changing inventory.

Didn’t find anything you liked today? I’m calling bullsh*t because I never leave that place without finding something but if you did, come back tomorrow, there will probably be some new inventory. Awesome if you didn’t find anything yesterday but not fun if you found the perfect jeans and now you want 12 more pairs. Best to buy it when you see it. They don’t call it fast fashion just because.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Try it Before You Buy It.

No, I don’t mean you can rent the runway at Primark but it sure is easier and more cost effective to buy that Zimmermann dupe before buying an actual Zimmerman piece with a much higher price tag. BTW, I love everything Zimmermann and if I could afford it, I’d have it all.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark has Cute Clothes that you won’t find everywhere else.

Well, at least you won’t find these pieces at your local Target or Kohls. I feel like the pieces are more fashion-forward than some other staples. For example, I saw lots of pastel flower patterns, cotton eyelet dresses and paper bag pants and shorts on the runway this spring but I’m not seeing those in the stores, at least not here in the Midwest. I love that we can get cute clothes and won’t see everyone else in town wearing them.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark is budget friendly.

I will post my last haul below. I spent around $150 between 2 trips. At any other store, I would have only gotten a fraction of the items and I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have had the selection of sizes and variety.

Still not convinced that Primark is for you and your family?

READ ALSO: How to have a High Fashion Wardrobe on a Budget   

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

This is what $150 got me at Primark:

3 pairs of culottes $12 per pair

1 pair of awesome fit, high-waist, skinny, raw edge jeans $24 (*Best jeans ever).

2 Flutter sleeved, cotton eyelet blouses $17 each

1 adorable pair of Aladdin lounge pants $11

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

1 pack of Harry Potter socks (the softest socks I’ve ever owned) $2 ( on sale)

Cropped blouse with arrows on it $5 (on sale)

6 pairs of lightweight lounge shorts $4 per pair

1 lightweight festival dress $17

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

I don’t know about you but that’s a steal because that’s what I normally pay for one blouse/dress at Free People. And yes, I do love Free People and I mostly, shop the FP sales at Macy’s but still I could never get this many pieces for this price, not even at Target. With Primark Boston we don’t even have to worry about what to pack for our trips to Boston because we know we’ll be buying plenty.

Did I mention that the girls got so many cute and trendy outfits? They are like little kids in a candy shop every time we hit Primark. Maybe I should change the saying to like teenagers in Primark Boston. Every time we visit Boston, this is the first place the girls want to hit. In fact, hotel distance from Primark may even be a factor when we travel. Shhh, don’t tell the Big Guy.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Have you ever shopped at Primark Boston? Or any Primark? What do you think of it?

Are you a Primark devotee or can you take it or leave it?

We’re obviously obsessed.

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Tarte, Sugar Rush, Tarte Cosmetics, Best Cosmetics for Teens, Best cosmetics for Generation Z

Earlier this spring my favorite cosmetics company, Tarte, launched a brand new sister brand called Sugar Rush. You may be wondering why I care. I’m already devoted to Tarte but as in all things, there is always room for improvement. I’m not just looking at cosmetics for me anymore, after all, I am raising two young ladies. I’ve got a tween and a teen who want nothing more than to raid my makeup drawers.

Disclosure: I was provided some products in the Sugar Rush collection by Tarte but all opinions are my own.

The thing is it’s always been my belief that makeup isn’t necessary for girls that young because they are so absolutely beautiful, as is. Ah, remember when your pores were that small? Remember when you looked that rested? Oh and let’s not forget about the creaseless, voluptuous faces of the youth. But, I remember even then wanting to use makeup as a creative way to express myself and I know that’s what our young girls want to do too.

READ ALSO: How to Teach Teen Girls to Put on Make Up

Tarte’s Sugar Rush is made especially for Generation Z. The packaging is cute and fun, like the girls using it. However, it’s vegan and cruelty-free which makes me feel better about spending my money on it and allowing my girls to use it.

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Did I mention everything in the Tarte Sugar Rush collection is under $30?

The thing is that it’s make-up and skin care made with good-for-you ingredients. Even though it comes in super cute packaging and is perfect for your favorite Generation Z girl, the quality is just as good as what you’ve come to expect from Tarte over the last 20 years.

Can you even believe that Tarte has been around for 20 years? Tarte has always been committed to cruelty-free cosmetics so what better way to celebrate their 20th anniversary than by evolving the brand with the launch of Sugar Rush.

READ ALSO: The Parents Guide to Teen Slang

This colorful new collection uses quality ingredients to create long-lasting wear, skin-loving formulas with recyclable packaging that aesthetically pops. Everything in the collection is cruelty-free, vegan, naturally derived, dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic which is perfect for my girl with sensitive skin!

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls

The collection offers a nice variety of skin-care and makeup picks including two eye shadow palettes, lip products and facial products. Sugar Rush also has a few cute skin-care and brush sets and sweet, summertime scents that conjure up memories of the beach.

Sugar Rush may be “powered by glitter and good vibes” but it’s also backed by the high quality and reputation of Tarte. My girls are in love with the collection and so am I.

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I can’t get enough of the Sugar Rush vacay day rollerball and Sugar Spritz body spray. Bella is loving the cake butter whipped body butter and Sugar Rush sweet slice eye and cheek palette. Gabs can’t get enough of the Couple Goals double-ended lip gloss, squeezy clean face wash and star factor cleansing face brush.

Overall, we love Tarte’s Sugar Rush collection and, more importantly, I feel good about letting my girls put it on their face.

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Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

Earth Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it’s a great reminder to take a moment and be thankful for the planet we live on. I know, it sounds super crunchy but it’s like realizing that you should be thankful for your body for all that it does for you, instead of complaining that it doesn’t look like everyone else’s. I’m always looking for awesome Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids.

Aside from raising your children to be good human beings (which should be first and foremost every parent’s goal) and showing them how to commit random acts of kindness in the world, we have to teach them the importance of taking care of our planet. We have to make it clear that the earth provides for us; food, water, air and everything else we need to survive and thrive in the universe. We need to take care of it in return. Like any good functional relationship, it takes two and lots of respect and reciprocity.

READ ALSO: 10 Steps for being Environmentally Aware

Kids understand so much more, at much younger ages than we often give them credit for. They can understand concepts like climate change, endangered species and overflowing landfills better than some of their adult counterparts. Showing them the way could motivate them to adopt Earth-friendly behavior. Encourage them with your own actions.

You should be having Earth Day conversations with children as young as preschool-aged about why taking care of the planet is such a good idea. The more you talk with your kids, the more they’ll understand but don’t dumb it down too much. Talk in age-appropriate explanations.

READ ALSO: Beach Bag Must-Haves

  • Use Analogies: Wasting the Earth’s resources too quickly is like spending all your piggy bank money before allowance day.
  • Outline Causal Relationships: If you throw trash down a storm drain, it can make ocean animals sick.
  • Define New Vocabulary Terms: Like “biodegradable,” or “renewable energy.”
  • Make Connections to Prior Knowledge: Just like plants use sunlight to make food, solar panels use it to make electricity.

Show your child how important the environment is to everyone around you. But you have to do more than just show them on Earth Day. For eco-friendly behavior to truly become second nature to our kids, it helps if it is done daily, rewarding and fun.

Here are Earth Day Tips for Raising Environmentally Aware Kids

  1. Recycling: Cut bottle, can and paper slot shapes into your bin lids to make sorting recyclables a fun family game. You can even sing a song while you sort.  And if you take your collected items to a recycling center, consider sharing the redemption money with your kids for an added incentive.
  2. Transportation: Look for chances to reduce emissions (and your stress levels) by taking car-free trips whenever you can. Biking, walking and riding public transportation can give your family some exercise and make traveling a lot more fun, too. City dwellers should find this easy, but even if you live out in the suburbs, we bet you have a park, restaurant or friend’s house within pedaling distance.
  3. Reducing Waste: Help your kids look forward to saving electricity by having one fun candlelight dinner every week. Or encourage them to use less water by timing who can take the fastest shower (while still coming out smelling clean, of course)!
  4. Water: Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible.
    Rain barrels can be used to collect rain and then you can use it to water a family garden.
    Bathe together. Put the kids in the tub together. Shower with your kids or your husband. It saves water, creates memories and nurtures the bond between siblings Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.
    Take advantage of medication take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection programs that accept medications, pharmaceuticals, oil, paint and other liquid wastes.
  5. Pass on gas! For example, take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
  6. Make sure your home’s air is healthy, learn about indoor air pollutants from indoor energy use and toxins.
  7. Plant a tree. Or plant many trees! Plant a garden. Plant a vegetable garden.
  8. Prevent additional air pollution by finding alternatives to burning your waste.
  9. Use pesticides safely! Reduce or eliminate where possible.
  10. Learn about composting, try it out!
  11. Reducing yard waste by recycling yard trimmings into free fertilizer.
  12. Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non-native plants and animals in the environment. Plant native species in your gardens, encourage important pollinators such as bees and birds by planting gardens full of their favorite plants. Join a team in your community that removes non-native species.
  13. Save energy at home Choose energy-saving appliances if they’re available. Look for Energy Star!
  14. Hang dry your clothes. This is one of my favorite things to do.
  15. Go renewable! Create your own power from the wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.
  16. Find alternate ways to reduce the use of diesel and other fuels for transportation, production and energy.
  17. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transforms it into something of greater use and value.
  18. Recycle metals, plastics and paper
  19. E-cycle Recycle and/or properly dispose of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets
  20. Don’t litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste

 

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The best thing you can do is simply the act of getting your kids outdoors; no matter the ages. In our high tech world, kids spend a lot more time indoors looking at screens. I’m not judging. I’m stating a fact. We all do it but we need to actively get our kids moving outside, for their health and the health of the planet.

One amazing experience in the great outdoors is worth a thousand nature lectures. Children who have an immersive experience in nature between the ages of 5 and 10, tend to care more about the environment. There is also a greater likelihood that they will actively work to preserve the important life-giving aspects of the environment as adults.

READ ALSO: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Rather than teaching our Earth Day tips about sustainability, give your kids a nature experience that will instill them with an environmental ethic that will inspire them to develop their own dedication to sustainability.

We’ll be spending this beautiful Earth Day outside, as we always do, watching our girl play soccer, going for a nature walk and playing in the backyard. There is something about getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and playing that truly inspires my family. Nature is like my church.  I feel most at peace just being still and taking in the wonder and beauty that is outside.

What are your best Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids?

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Gucci sunglasses, gucci women sunglasses,gucci for women , gucci for men, fashion for moms, designer wardrobe on a budget, prada, dior, louboutin, chanel

Do you love brand name and designer clothing, accessories and shoes? Be honest, do you want them because you genuinely love them or is it more of a status symbol, like in middle school? Hey, I’m not belittling your “why”, I’m just asking. If we’re telling truths, and I usually am, brands matter to me. I don’t choose a product because you’ve slapped a fancy name like Versace, Prada, Dior or Gucci on it. But I do love these brands.

I don’t like it because my favorite celebrities rock it or some rapper is singing about it. BTW, no child should be rocking Gucci on the regular, though I was completely fine with mine rocking Burberry. Hey, a woman’s got to have her limits. The point is I like the quality behind the label. If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say, “I’d rather pay $200 or even $500 for a pair of jeans that I’ll wear every day than $50 for a pair that I’ll never wear because then I threw $50 in the trash.”

This is how I came to know the answer to the question, ” Are Gucci sunglasses worth the price tag?”

For me, the answer didn’t come right away. I love big, beautiful sunglasses. I collect them. They protect my eyes from the sun and they protect my face from wrinkles. I’ve been rocking giant sunnies since before it was cool to do so. But other than a pair of Oakly sunglasses the Big Guy bought me back when we first started dating, I’ve never owned or paid more than $75 for sunglasses.

READ ALSO: How to Have a Designer Wardrobe on a Mom Budget

Once I became a mom, forget about it. For one, babies like to pull sunglasses off your face to see their mommy and throw those suckers to the ground. I can’t tell you how many pairs of beloved sunglasses were throw to the pavement and scratched beyond repair. Sure, I tried to wear them but they were essentially making my blind. I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t have nice things (unless it was jewelry, bags or shoes) and there started my tenure as queen of the under $25 sunglasses. I just couldn’t risk it.

 

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But are Gucci sunglasses for women worth the price tag?

Once again, the Big Guy gifted me my first pair of Gucci sunglasses for our anniversary last year. He knew I needed new sunglasses and he knew I liked them big and beautiful and he is sort of a sunglasses for men connoisseur himself so he got them for me. It surprised me because I totally wasn’t expecting them but really wanted them. I just can’t make myself spend $300 + dollars on Gucci sunglasses ( or any other women sunglasses for that matter). Buying for others is not an issue but for myself, I need a steep markdown (because there is always something else that I can be spend the money on). It’e the mom guilt. We don’t allow ourselves these little pleasures.

READ ALSO: How to Teach Teenage Girls to Put on Makeup

I love third markdown designer everything. There is some sort of satisfaction that comes from knowing you got a quality ( not irregular or last season) piece of clothing, shoes, accessories or handbags for a reduced price. Fortunately, the Big Guy is not as frugal as I am. That’s how I got these amazing sunglasses.

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Yes, Gucci Sunglasses are worth the price tag!

But why, Debi? Why are Gucci women sunglasses worth the price tag? Why would anyone pay $300 + dollars for women sunglasses, men sunglasses or Gucci sunglasses when that could pay for 2 weeks of groceries? Because, you can’t get the groceries if you can’t see to drive to the grocery store. You can wreck when you are being blinded by the sun. You will get wrinkles if you try to squint through life while looking into the sun. Guess what costs more than $300? BOTOX!

You’re shaking your head and thinking to yourself, how wasteful to spend that kind of money for sunglasses. I would have agreed with you 2 weeks ago but then one morning I drove home from dropping the kids off at school and I looked directly into the sun…like Wonder Woman and I was unaffected. Nobody was blinded. I did not squint or swerve. I looked directly in the direction I needed to without any squinting or wincing. Looking life right in the eyes is empowering and that is priceless.

READ ALSO: Why Mom Guilt is Useless

While I never would have bought them for myself and I hardly even wore them for months because it felt embarrassing to be so opulent in my every day life. Just like I feel like a jerk every time I carry the Louis Vuitton the Big Guy me a few years ago for an anniversary. Then it hit me. I deserve nice things. And it’s only wasteful if I don’t use these things. If I wear my Gucci sunglasses every day, for drop offs and picks ups to school and ballet; in yoga pants and cocktail dresses, then I’ve used them $300 worth and so I am.

So, yes Gucci sunglasses are worth the price tag because I’m worthy of nice things and so are you. Buy the Gucci, buy the Louis, buy the Louboutins and the Chanel….just make sure that you have the money to buy the groceries too.

What is your favorite designer brand piece of fashion that you own or have dreamed of owning? Why and what makes it special to you? Now, go treat yo self!

 

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How to Decorate Your Home with and Care for Your Succulents

Do you love succulent plants? There is just something appealing about the idea of something beautiful and green that doesn’t require a lot of attention. Succulents are the cats of plants. They are everywhere these days. They’re cute and succulent care is easy. Put them in a cute gold hanging planter pot and voila, you’ve got an instant conversation starter.

succulents, boho, Wayfair, succulent plants, succulent care

I’ve been redecorating my office; updating and streamlining. I’m trying to make my workspace a more peaceful place with less distractions. I want more light and less clutter. A workspace should be a place of inspiration and warmth, especially when you are a creative type. I’m a writer. I thrive in natural light, free-flowing energy and clarity.

Succulents remind me of driving to my grandpa’s house in Mexico when I was a child. Yes, we drove from Chicago to Mexico every summer. At that time, there were five of us kids ( later there would be six) and it was a long, hot drive in August. One of the things we looked forward to the most was the change of scenery. We didn’t have cactus and deserts in Chicago so we always thought it was pretty cool to see.

READ ALSO: How a Piece of Furniture Transformed my Life

Succulent plants have been on my list for my office for quite some time. Between watching all the dormify Youtube videos with my teenage girls and just wanting something more natural, something that could actually lighten the air in my office, I finally bought myself a small collection of succulents. Now, I need to figure out succulent care and how to keep them alive and thriving.

succulents, boho, Wayfair, succulent plants, succulent care

The thing is that I don’t know too much about succulent care other than my rule #1, when you have these types of plants, you have to plant them in pretty planter pots. It’s the only way to do it, right? There is just something about a tiny, hearty succulent sitting in your line of sight that conjures up thoughts of warm weather and the summers of my childhood.

READ ALSO: When a Deck is More than a Deck

Since I don’t want to be that person who buys beautiful plants and then lets them all die because I don’t know anything about succulent care, I’ve done some research. Turns out that it’s pretty simple to take care of succulents but do you actually have to give them some love and attention.

Succulent care for Newbies

 

  1. Choose a succulent that you love but that is appropriate for your home.
  2. Provide a very well-draining potting soil. You do not want moisture staying in there too long.
  3. Choose a beautiful succulent plant pot. This is where you can really make your succulents shine as a part of your décor.
  4. Place your potted succulents in a bright and sunny location. Mine are in my office window.
  5. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. When watering, be sure to soak the roots.
  6. Last but not least, be sure to fertilize your succulents at least once a year.

Succulents are great because they are hearty and hard to kill. They are perfect for someone who wants to care for plants but who might not necessarily have the time to care for something fickler like orchids. A succulent garden is every bit as beautiful as any other kind of plant and sometimes even more so because each plant is so different and they come in such a variety of textures and shapes. It’s also a great way to teach kids responsibility and caring for living things. My 11-year-old loves hers.

Do you love succulents? What is your best tip for succulent care?

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Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, Paris

Still wondering what to get mom for Valentine’s Day? Wondering what to get everyone you love for Valentine’s Day? It’s hard because once a woman gets to be a certain age (grown) we just kind of buy what we want when we want it, so it’s difficult to find the perfect gift. And after 40, forget about it. We’re tired of waiting. We know life’s too short to not eat the cake and buy the fancy dress.

READ ALSO: When No One’s Looking

My, real talk, advice to everybody who is having issues figuring out what mom really wants is to go deeper than just price tags and popularity. Pay attention to what she says and does. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift guide should include getting her the things she never has to ask for. They should be thoughtful and consider who she is. The best gifts are not the generic gift that everyone else is getting their moms because a commercial told them to. It’s knowing your mom’s heart and giving her something that will be meaningful to her.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

Tickets to a Broadway Show

I love giving experiences and I love getting them too. Things tarnish, tear and wear but experiences age into sweet memories that are priceless. That is what I want to give. I want my mom to hear a song, see a show, a photo of a far off place or a movie and smile while she remembers to herself, that one time at so and so. One experience I love to give to everyone I know is tickets to a Broadway Show. It is truly an experience that elevates you. Hamilton, anyone? I know for a fact, this mom would never forget seeing Hamilton with her family.

You are Beautiful Cursive wall hanging

Let mom enjoy an artful reminder that she is beautiful inside and out with this hand cut three-dimensional display. There is so much we feel that we never say and sometimes we just need to say them so the people we love can hear them. How many times have we thought how much we love someone or how beautiful they are to us and never say it? This simple, elegant wall hanging will serve as a constant reminder as to how beautiful they are to us. This You are Beautiful cursive wall hanging is also the perfect gift for your daughter.

BOLT 700 Wireless headphones

Sure, at first, these sound like just another awesome tech gift for the mom who dreams of walking the CES floor but it’s so much more than that. BOLT BT 700 are true wireless earphones with a charging speaker case. Mom can get some peace and quiet from the chaos in her world by simply putting these on and shutting it out. They’re the first earphones to have balanced armature drivers which means more detailed sound with less power used. Your sound goes everywhere. The earphones’ case is a portable speaker, too.

Mother Nesting Birds necklace

Help mom keep her flock close with this recycled sterling silver handcrafted mother nesting birds necklace. This beautiful necklace showcases mama and her baby birds. I have this particular piece and it is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever owned. You know my story. You’ve seen my logo. This necklace makes my heart feel whole again. Every mom would appreciate this meaningful gift.

Nima Peanut Sensor

So this may sound like a weird Valentine’s Day gift but for the mom who has a child with peanut allergies, this connected food sensor detects traces of peanut in food for those with peanut allergies in under 5 minutes. The Nima Peanut Sensor is a quick and portable handheld sensor, easy to use and incredibly accurate and that all adds up to peace of mind for mom. That is absolutely priceless. I’m not one who normally advocates for sensible gifts for mom but this one is absolutely perfect for some moms.

READ ALSO: The Greatest Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, ParisBring Back the Romance Date Night Package

This is for the mom who has everything but just wants a little grown-up time romance with her favorite person. Like I said, thoughtful. There’s nothing like a night in with a Jameson and Ginger in one hand while snacking on bourbon pecan pie and playing a rousing game of Kinky Truth or Dare with the person of your dreams. Seriously, how much fun could this be? Bonus: Pretty sure that the guy in your life would love this as Valentine’s Day too.

A set of 2  Whiskey wedge glasses it creates an ice slope that chills spirits but minimizes dilution with this rocks glass’ fitted silicone mold.

Sounds crazy but if you have a Valentine with a sweet tooth and a taste for the finer things in life, this decadent Bourbon Pecan Pie Filling will be perfection. Did I mention unique? Mix the contents of this jar with butter and eggs for a bourbon-soaked piece of pie heaven or warm and pour over ice cream for an adult sundae that your special someone will not soon forget.

Last but not least, spice up date night with this adult version of the classic game truth or dare Kinky Truth or Dare. The best part is that this is great for a brand new couple just starting out and even better for those of us who have been together for years. Even at 21 years together, this game could make us blush in the best way possible.

 Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA

Wi-Fi Cloud Picture Frame

The digital frame by Nixplay is a personal favorite. Perfect for children (of all ages) to get for their moms this Valentine’s Day or for that cute InstaCouple who have all those great pics to share. I have taken thousands of photos of my children but they are almost all digital and I never have the time to print them out so I love the idea of this digital frame. Using Wi-Fi, you can instantly display and share your most precious photos/videos sent from anywhere in the world with your friends and loved ones. I think this is something that my mom would love. You can share photos/videos with ease amongst family and friends over Wi-Fi directly to the frame from your phone or tablet and it works with Amazon Alexa. No need for memory sticks or cards.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Made My Marriage Sexy

Something Sweet

How about a Macaron Kit? Yes, I know, maybe it sounds a little bit like work but I love Macarons and if my guy ( or my girls) got me a gift and made me these French patisserie-style delicacies at home with this DIY macaron kit, I’d be impressed and happy. They are decadent and dainty and I love them but we all know everything tastes better when someone else makes them. Also, it is really difficult to find macaron’s where I live so having the option of making them whenever I want is pretty sweet to me. While I think this definitely belongs on my gift guide for mom, I actually got this for my macaron loving teenager and I know she’s going to flip.

Surprise Trip to Paris

Speaking of French Patisserie-style delicacies, if you really want to get the mom of your children something amazing for Valentine’s Day, why not whisk her away to Paris (or London , Santorini, Rome or the Grand Cayman islands) for a weekend filled with nothing but her being the center of the world taking all the magical Instagram photos her heart desires or maybe just holed up in a small Parisian hotel room facing the Eiffel Tower. Comme c’est romantique!

Every mom deserves a thoughtful gift on Valentine’s Day. She showers her family with love every single day. If you’re at a loss because she has everything, I’ve got you covered with this list.

Disclosure: Some of the items on this list have been provided to me for review purposes but all, in my opinion, are things that I would want or have gotten as a gift recently and love.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

What are you getting the most important lady in your life for Valentine’s Day this year? If you are a woman, what would you love more than anything this Valentine’s Day?

 

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daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

As many of you know, we’ve been in the midst of a full-on Marie Kondo-ing of our entire house and this is when I realized how a daybed with trundle could transform our home office. I was hoping we’d be done by the end of January but, alas, it’s going to take more time. Even though January was an entire year long, so many things came up.

There are some things that I’ve realized that I want to do since beginning this organization journey 1) Stop acquiring “stuff” 2) Minimize what I do have 3) Minimalize our home. I want to focus on experiences and making memories not having stuff.

I’m finding that all this “stuff” not only clutters my home, it clutters my mind and my life. Let’s be honest, as a mom, I don’t have room in any of the three for clutter. Clutter overwhelms me and keeps me from being present. The stuff keeps me from entertaining because the stuff is literally in the way and taking up too much room.

READ ALSO: Is the Marie Kindo Method for You?

In my quest to embrace minimalism, I decided to not only get rid of stuff but replace things with more efficient things. For example, my home office is in desperate need of being streamlined. It’s a small space with a lot of stuff. Stuff that belongs there and stuff that’s found its way there while trying to escape another room. My girls have a tendency to believe that “cleaning” their room means moving all the extra stuff that doesn’t have a place to my office.

My office is supposed to be a bedroom. But I need an office since I work from home. My family comes to visit from out of town a lot and I need a place for them to sleep. One of the things I’m doing in my pursuit of streamlined minimalism is replacing the uncomfortable futon in my office with a stylish daybed with a trundle. This will give me adequate seating space in my office, a great place to shoot video in good light and bonus, a sleep space for 2 people. At the very least, I can put my girls in there and give their beds to adults who stay over.

READ ALSO: Home is Wherever the People You Love Are

daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

We decided on the Ghislain Daybed with Trundle in gray. It is very modern and aesthetically pleasing daybed but also very functional and purposeful. You can’t believe how a simple piece of furniture can transform not only the space but the functionality of that space. It also helped to streamline the space in a way that makes it more usable.

Have you ever owned a piece of furniture that not only changed the space but changed the way you used the space?

 

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organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

My house is in disarray. It needs tidying up like I need sleep. Desperately. I don’t know about you but when my house is in chaos, my mind is in chaos. When my mind is in disarray, I feel overwhelmed and it’s hard for me to get my bearings.
When my perspective is skewed, it’s hard to stay focused on the positive and when that happens, it’s impossible to hit goals and chase down dreams because you’re too busy chasing your own tail. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo organization method is helping me to organize my life, my home, my mind and my soul. Who knew the KonMari organization method would work for me.

Enter fate and an unlikely Netflix binge, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Not going to lie, I bought the book a couple years ago. I started reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and it made sense but I’m a visual learner. You can tell me but it’s better if you show me.

Friday night, I turned on Netflix to find my next great binge and there it was, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Not normally my cup of tea but as I’m trying to be more positive and I know my method of tidying up is not working, I knew that organization is not my strong suit but it needs to be.

As soon as I saw the look of being lost on the first couples face, I could relate. It’s like one day you look around and you’re asking yourself, how did I get here? Whose life am I living because it’s so off the mark from what you imagined for yourself.
Before we had kids and when the kids were toddlers, my house was immaculate. Organization was my jam. A place for everything and everything in its place. Tidying up was not a problem. Then, the Big Guy lost his job and we had to do the whole commuter marriage thing and I was alone with a 2 & 4 year old.

READ ALSO: What is Commuter Marriage?

I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and if I’m being completely honest, a little depressed. Everything became too much and something had to give. I had to let go of the idea of a perfect house and focus on taking care of 2 small children by myself. The house went on the market and loads of stuff went into storage so the house could be shown. A couple temporary moves with stuff in storage and us in small quarters and somehow we acquired more stuff.

Then there was the miscarriage, our dog dying and the year of living with our in laws while stuff was in storage. My goal was just to survive. Tidying up and organization were not my priorities. It was just one more thing to do in an ever growing pile of things to do. Things that were overwhelming and exhausting at a time when I was already buried up to my neck in obligations and in full survival mode.

We’ve been in this house for 6 years and we’re still not fully unpacked and we’ve accumulated so much stuff just to replace stuff that was in storage or unfindable when we needed it. There’s always a holiday, visitors, traveling or some other obligation so we never get the time, or if I’m being honest, have the desire to sift through and sort through our lives so we keep the downstairs clean while the attic and garage are bursting at the seams and clean, folded laundry is stacked in all the bedrooms towering over us while we sleep.

READ ALSO: How to Get Your House Company Ready without Killing Yourself

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

It’s embarrassing, all the “stuff” we have. We don’t need it. But I’ve realized, the way some people eat their feelings, I shop to feel better. Then, I feel worse when I get the bill and I feel complete shit when I see my house full of stuff. I feel guilty. I actually feel embarrassed to carry my Louis Vuitton handbag bought for me as a gift by my husband because I feel like it’s just one more possession; a luxury that I either don’t need or don’t deserve. I haven’t quite figured out which.

I saw Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and learned the KonMari method of organization at the right time.

Just as I’ve recently decided that there is no more try only do. I decided we were doing this. Saturday morning, I asked my family to watch the first episode with me so we were all on the same page. We’ve started with the clothes. We’re still sorting through them. I went through so much clothing and moved so much clothing, shoes and bags around my room that after 15 hours, my entire body was aching; buckling under the physical pressure of organizing closets but my mind felt free and light. That is worth as many hours as it takes.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We each went through our own stuff because I feel like only each of us can decide what’s important and sparks joy for us. At 11 and 13-years-old my girls can do that plus, they’re going to be more respectful of how they treat their belongings and how they appreciate the work it takes to tidy up more if they do it themselves. If we do it for them, they can’t fully appreciate what that entails. We all worked all day doing this.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We started Saturday around noon collected about 15-20 bags of clothing to donate to the women’s shelter. We’re not even done yet. There will be more. I plan to use the KonMari tidying up organization method throughout my entire home over the next month or so. We’re in it as long as it takes. I will keep you all updated on here on Mondays.

How does Marie Kondo’s tidying up method work?

It’s not about throwing out all of your stuff. It’s about keeping what makes you happy and letting the rest go because, after all, it is just stuff.

Does it bring you joy?

Pick it up in your hands and decide if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t give it to someone who it will spark joy for.

For me, there are exceptions, there are articles of clothing like undergarments, socks and pajamas that don’t particularly spark joy but are necessary so I kept them but if they caused annoyance or I just had a dislike for, I threw out.

The goal is not to have to rebuy spanx but to not have clutter and not hold on to stuff just to have stuff.

What to do with the stuff?

It’s hard for me to get rid of stuff because I grew up poor. I tend to want to hold on to things and I form emotional attachments to things, especially where my kids are concerned. Marie Kondo has a sentimental category and it makes you take a moment and consider what things really mean to you.

I’m still going through my clothes, shoes, handbags and jewelry in my bedroom but I’m planning on doing the entire house. It may take me a couple months with work and life but purging feels good, folding in threes calms me and the less stuff I have the less overwhelmed I feel. Maybe I’m a minimalist on the inside?

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

Where do I start?

The life changing magic of Tidying up with Marie Kondo and the KonMari organization method should be done in this order;

Clothing

Hold each piece in your hand and decide if it sparks joy in your heart. If it doesn’t, give it away.

Books

She says to give them a little shake to wake them up and then decide what sparks joy. The rest donate to your local library, school or build your own little free library for your neighbors and friends.

Papers

Bills, receipts and etcetera.

Komono

Kitchen, Bathroom, Garage, Attic and everything miscellaneous.

Sentimental Items

Things that have sentimental value to you like photos, videos, heirlooms and things that bring you sentimental joy. It’s personal and only you can decide. It doesn’t have to be logical or make sense to anyone else. Besides, you can always go through your “Stuff” again later.

I fully realize that for some people tidying up and organization is not life changing. Some of you already have a handle on this aspect of your life but some of us are out of control and the chaos of the clutter is an outward reflection of the inner mess we feel; controlling one helps us to reign in the other. So maybe cleaning up and folding in thirds is not your jam, maybe you don’t have “too much stuff”. Maybe you think its crazy to throw out perfectly good stuff. I have a problem with this too. That’s why we’re donating our stuff. Then I can feel like I am controlling my mess, getting the closet organizers and clearing my mind without guilt about waste.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

 

What are your tips for keeping your house clutter free and making your home feel peaceful?

Are you experiencing the Life changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and trying the KonMari organization method as your guide to your closet organizer?

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Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

The holidays are here and there is nowhere I’d rather be than home for the holidays. I repeat, this is not a drill, the holidays are here. Last week was Thanksgiving, which means my house is decorated for Christmas. We’ve officially entered Nutcracker season. Next week, we host our first-holiday party with family and friends. That can’t happen without my home exuding all the warm and fuzzy feelings of the season.

I know full well that the warm and fuzzies come from the people we surround ourselves with. People, family and friends, they are what make these special occasions special. But there is just something about a home decorated for the holidays that lends itself to that spirit of good cheer.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

It doesn’t matter how you decorate; whether it be traditional, modern, or a mix of both. The décor is the icing on a good time cake.  It helps create an ambiance. I won’t lie, there is just something about the glow of warm lights, garland and Nutcrackers that make my heart happy.

READ ALSO: Barn Doors are the New Black in Interior Design

 

The Big Guy and I have been building our décor, over many years and across many phases and homes, in our 20 years together so it’s a bit of this and that but when you put it all together, it’s sure to warm the cockles of even the Grinchiest of hearts and really, isn’t that what its all about? Smiles on faces, laughter ringing out above Christmas carols, glowing flames in the fireplace, stolen kisses under the mistletoe all while the smell of Christmas cookies baking wafts through the house.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

Huh. I guess I’m more excited about next weeks party than I thought.

It’s been a rough year. Things have been crazy and tight and pulled in lots of direction and on top of all of that, I’m recovering from surgery. Today is my first day out of the house in 24 days due to recovery (I’ve not suddenly become agoraphobic or anything). It’s only my second day out of pajamas and its time to get out of my head and into the Christmas spirit. I think the remedy to what ails me is to finish decorating the house for the holidays.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

READ ALSO: How to Create the Coziest House on the Block this Holiday Season

Every year, I add to our holiday décor. This year I did a little shopping at Wayfair because 1) I had a gift card 2) they had some crazy good deals 3) I love their variety.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

No matter what your style is, they have something for everyone. Honestly, I bought so much stuff, I didn’t decorate one area of my house with it. I decorated the entire house throughout with some of my new pieces and they make me happy. Can you say Moose with ornaments on its antlers? Because apparently in 2018, that is my happy place. Doesn’t sound holiday enough for you? That’s ok because Wayfair’s got something for everyone, like Santa.

How do you decorate for the holidays? What makes home for the holidays the only place to be for you?

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chatbooks, holiday cards, Christmas cards, design your own cards

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chatbooks though all opinions about designing your  own holiday cards are my own.

They say is a picture is worth a thousand words and, as a writer, I believe it. 1000%.  Though I am a woman of many words, I am visual whether that be held in my hands or born of my imagination.

Every year, I love to send holiday cards. For many reasons but mostly because I like to connect with friends and loved ones. I do the dance. I send a card and tell them a little about our year and they do the same.

For me, I tell people about our lives every day. It’s my job. I’ve made a career of telling the world what’s going on with me and my family.  Really, nothing is off the table. Don’t believe me? Go check out my blog or my Insta Stories.

But that is not how the world is for everyone. While I do have a lot of friends who are bloggers because that is my field, I have a lot of friends and family who are not. They don’t read my blog. Whew;) They don’t put all of their wins and losses online. So we connect in person, at family gatherings, via a Great-aunt gossip line and through those once year holiday cards.

They say it’s the thought that counts and the older I get, the more I believe that. There is truly nothing that makes me happier than thoughtful surprises in the mail. It doesn’t need to be of high monetary value, what I love is a well thought out gift. My favorite is a card with photos and a personal inscription (hey and bonus points if there’s a mixtape in there or some of my favorite tea.)

My point is that if you care enough to sift through your pictures from the past year, write a heartfelt message and wish me love and happiness that means more to me than any store bought gift ever could. This is why I do it. I hope it means as much to you that I thought of you. That you are in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers every day even when we don’t see each other.

chatbooks, holiday cards, Christmas cards, design your own cards

This is why every year, I take a day (and honestly, with Chatbooks it was a matter of minutes) and sift through my cloud and find a few pics of my family to share with my friends. Not because we did anything special or my kids are particularly good-looking (though they are pretty stinkin’ cute) but because I know that I miss your faces and your children’s faces and I want to see them grow. I want to know how things have been going for you and what is new in your family’s life.

Sometimes space and time separate us from the people who mean the most to us. But space and time can’t stop that love we feel for them in our hearts. It can’t stop the ache to know those we love.

Life is busy for all of us. We all have places to be, things to do and people to see that are right here and right now. Sometimes it’s impossible to get to where we really want to be…home.

But, just because we can’t talk to the people that we love every single day, hug them and catch up whenever we want, we don’t have to lose touch. That’s what holiday cards are to me. They are an opportunity to reconnect with those I love most. It’s a way for me to let them know that they are in my heart.

It’s an opportunity to open up the lines of communication. You know sometimes, time passes so long that it almost feels hopeless to try to reconnect. You feel embarrassed to be like, “Hey, I know it’s been years but I just wanted to say hi!”

There’s no reason to give up. I know, personally, there is no statute of limitations on friendship for me. If we were friends, unless you killed my dog, we’re still friends…forever and you and your cards are always welcome in my life.

So maybe we can’t give a lot to everyone we want to this year but we can always afford to give a quick hello. And right now, using my special code, you can get 20% off of your holiday card order from Chatbooks.

It really is one of the easiest ways to create professional Photo Books albums and Holiday Cards out of your favorite social media pictures. It’s an amazing gift to give to loved ones or a way to physically keep all of your favorite memories in your home.

chatbooks, holiday cards, Christmas cards, design your own cards

Holiday Cards are only $1 and you can order in packs of 20. The cards are made with premium and durable paper. Books start at just $10 – making them very affordable. Oh yes, I will be ordering a few. Did I mention how easy it was to create this year’s holiday cards? It seriously took me, from beginning to end, maybe 30 minutes.

If you want, you can subscribe to Chatbooks to auto-create and ship albums whenever you reach a certain number of new social media pictures. Then you will never have to worry about making the time again.

It’s so easy. Go here and click the link to order your cards now in time for the holidays.

Ordering Instructions:

  1. Go to chatbooks.com
  2. Create however many Holiday Cards ($1 each) you need, in increments of 20.
  3. Select Premium shipping so you can get your cards in time

Thank you Chatbooks for sponsoring this post and for the first time, in a long time, allowing me to get my holiday cards out before Thanksgiving.

chatbooks, holiday cards, Christmas cards, design your own cards

What are you waiting for? Order your holiday cards using my 20% off code Deborah20 and send well wishes and love to all of your friends and family.

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