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back to school, office envy, wayfair, virtual learning,

Back-to-school looks a little different this year for many families, mine included. I’ve been a work-from-home for the past 13 years, so I’m used to the rigorous scheduling of being a stay-at-home mom while balancing working full-time, only this year, I decided to add going back to school to earn a Master’s degree in the middle of a pandemic. On top of that, and the world being on fire, my girls are embracing virtual learning because I have a dreaded “underlying condition”. We had to make some concessions and tweaks on expectations because it’s hard, all of it, for all of us.

Disclosure: I am a Wayfair homemaker ambassador and this is a compensated post, however, all opinions are my own.

I’m sure that we can all agree that the “new normal” is not normal at all. My girls are learning from home because it’s the safest option for our family. I actually love having this extra time with them, when our time is so limited. In a couple of years, Bella will be heading off to college and that fact is not wasted on me. I know these CoVid days at home are a gift to us. Still, working from home while going to school with both girls learning virtually and not being able to do the things we normally do or even the simplest things like vacation, is absolutely exhausting.

READ MORE: What is Coronavirus and what every mom should know

So, we try our best to find the extraordinary in the ordinary moments and appreciate the challenges for giving us fresh perspective on our blessings and still, even with all the positivity we can throw at it, it’s still been really hard on all of us. I’ve learned to pick my battles, as a wife, mother, student and freelancer, let things go and give grace to others. I’ve become more forgiving and understanding and even still, there are days when it’s almost too much to bear.

One thing that has helped me throughout this pandemic and not leaving our house has been to be able to change our spaces. It sounds simple but some plants, some paint, a little blood, sweat and tears and a few new pieces of furniture can be a simple way to create a completely new feel in an old space. Aside from refreshing bedrooms to make them more calming and relaxing, streamlining bathrooms and scrubbing kitchens, the most important refresh I’ve done is creating functional schooling areas for the entire family.

READ MORE: How to Enjoy Your Summer While Social Distancing

I have a home office but normally, there is just me at home. With three people going back to school in a pandemic, in Zoom meetings, trying to read, write papers and stay focused, there had to be more than 1 office. We can’t all squirrel away in our bedrooms and work, that would be too depressing. I spruced up the office with a mini makeover and the cutest Ghislain daybed because during a pandemic, even big kids need naps sometimes.

back to school, office envy, wayfair, virtual learning,My latest spruce-up efforts have been directed towards the virtual schooling oasis AKA our living room. It just didn’t feel particularly uplifting and definitely not inspiring. The furniture is big, heavy and dark-colored. The walls were actual 1970’s brown paneling. PANELING! It felt like being stuck in the past. We removed the paneling and primed and painted the walls in a more contemporary grey with bright white molding. We painted the brown shelves and beams white. I covered the brown leather couch in a teal couch cover. Covered the cold hardwood floors in a white furry shag rug and placed a matching throw pillow cover on the sofa.

back to school, office envy, wayfair, virtual learning,In addition to that I updated the look with, my favorite piece, the Janelle End Table that replaced the oversized wood tables. Since it was going to be transformed into a study area for one of us, I also added a new lamp to provide better lighting and added some plants for fresh air. Throw in a small modern shelf with some classics and inspiration is everywhere. I love the way it feels and looks. The more open, bright design and concept feels like a breath of fresh air when your brain feels too tired to go on.

What would you do to freshen up your virtual school area?

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If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label project

Do you love coffee? Is it something that’s part of your daily routine? I’ve been drinking cafecito bombon since I was a tween and sneaking sips from my dad’s mug since before then. Coffee has always been comforting in my life. Even now, one of my favorite things to do is sit on the back deck with the Big Guy and sip coffee over conversation or make TikToks while dancing around the kitchen with my teens sipping our whipped coffees. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is comfort and enthusiastic support on all days and in all the ways.  But what if you found out that your coffee had toxic chemicals in it? Worse, what if you were pregnant and found out that your decaf coffee had paint stripper in it?

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored campaign in partnership with the Clean Label Project. All opinions and pregnancy experience is my own.

When I was pregnant, I kicked my coffee addiction. I gave up caffeine completely. A few times, I did treat myself to a decaf Frappuccino. We lived in Tennessee, 600 miles away from our parents. Some days during pregnancy, I really needed to be comforted and I thought it was safe to treat myself to a small decaf coffee. Was I wrong?

READ ALSO: Unexpected Pregnancy at 40

My mom has a heart condition. She doesn’t drink caffeine because it’s bad for her. She drinks decaf coffee twice daily. A lot of older people drink decaf coffee because caffeine is bad for them. Pregnant women drink decaf because caffeine is not great for development. There are several different kinds of medical and mental disorders that encourage those diagnosed to switch to decaf because it’s “better for you”. But what happens when the very thing that you are told to be healthier is terrible for you?

READ ALSO: Things no one tells you about pregnancy

Clean Label Project recently released findings on methylene chloride (the active ingredient in paint strippers), which is found in popular decaffeinated coffee. Clean Label Project has filed lawsuits against four national brands for false and misleading advertising and labeling. These brands claim that their decaffeinated coffee products are “pure and natural.” In contrast, Clean Label Project’s study showed that methylene chloride was detected in the decaffeinated coffee products of these brands.

I’m not saying that you can’t drink coffee. I love coffee. Just ask my Nespresso account. Seriously, coffee is still warm and comforting to me but, as I’ve gotten more label savvy in the past year thanks to my recent health scares, I am also more discerning about what I put into my body. There are always healthier options, we just need to be aware of all the facts and ingredients.

 

So what’s going on with decaffeinated coffee? Removing caffeine from coffee generally involves one of two processes: water-based vs. solvent (chemical) based. However, the FDA currently allows methylene chloride to be used in the coffee decaffeination process and brands are not required to disclose which decaffeination process they use on their labels.

 

 

Clean Label Project tested 25 popular brands found in major retailers for the presence of methylene chloride. Ten brands tested positive. The onus is on the consumer to demand chemical-free decaffeinated coffee.

 

The thing is we have enough to worry about when we’re pregnant or elderly or just trying to take care of our health without having to go in search of all the hidden dangers of every single thing we ever want to eat or drink. There shouldn’t be secret chemicals in our food that can poison us or cause harm to our unborn babies. You don’t have to just take it. You can take action and Detox Your Coffee.

If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label projectIf you Wouldn’t Drink Paint stripper while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee. If you don’t think paint stripper is acceptable in decaf coffee, use your voice to contact your favorite brands and demand that they make it safer.

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podcast

Has quarantine got you doing home renovations? Wanting to change the style and decor of your home? Designing the perfect home is never easy; it takes a whole lot of planning, skill, and sometimes a few risks! You might love the interior design or not know the first thing about it. Either way, these top five podcasts have got plenty of magic to inspire you on your next design project.

5 podcasts to inspire to your next interior design project

1. Clever

Clever is a top design podcast, featuring the skilled designers between the latest trends. Every week Amy Devers interviews talented designers, discussing the styles and objects that they create, and most importantly, where they find their inspiration. Amy interviews a wide range of architects, interior designers, and artists, leaving you with plenty of inspiration. In recent episodes, Amy has explored ideas including designing for a pandemic’. She has also interviewed established designers such as Marquise Stillwell and Jamie Bush. The podcast is so much more than interior design tips; you’ll learn a whole lot about the design world overall.

2. Home Style Green

Home Style Green is a podcast that can help you to create a more eco-friendly home. You’ll find plenty of topics, including heating your home, insulation types, passive homes, sustainable building, and more. From your architectural services to your energy and interior fabrics, Home Style Green can help you to keep things eco-friendly. The latest episodes have discussed ‘sustainable architecture’ and ‘energy-efficient homes.’ Besides these ideas, eco-friendly decor can be as simple as decorating with plants!

3. Affordable Interior Design

New York-based designer Betsy Helmuth is the talent behind ‘The Affordable Interior Design Podcast.’ Throughout these episodes, Betsy is on a mission to teach you that interior design doesn’t have to cost the earth! Betsy explores topics including ‘making space your own,’ ‘renovation reality checks,’ and ‘to drape or not to drape.’ If you love the idea of making your home beautiful, but you don’t have a huge budget, the Affordable Interior Design podcast is just what you need!

4. The Great Indoors

Come and join Kate Watson-Symth and Sophie Robinson as they celebrate the wonderful world of interior design. Here you’ll find frank and engaging discussions about living room makeovers, design and diversity, awkward spaces, and garden rooms. The Great Indoors will teach you all about mood boards and perfect lighting, color psychology, and budgeting your design. Find it hard to keep up with the latest interior design trends? The Great Indoors has got all the tips you need to keep things fresh.

5. Confused Room

In the ‘Confused Room,’ Jenny and Tony discuss home renovations and help you make the most of your space. Each week listeners send in their ‘confused room’ photographs, from here, the design-savvy pair will give the room a digital makeover. These beautiful before and after pictures are enough to inspire the most confused designers out there! You’ll find plenty of ideas on revamping your home for the summer, bathroom trends, and more. Looking to decorate a room and have no clue where to begin? Simply take a photograph and send it over to the lovely people at ‘Confused Room.’

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How to Safely Reenter the World After Coronavirus Quarantine

Over the course of 2020, the ‘new normal’ has become staying indoors, avoiding others and keeping our distance. As sad as this reality is, it is a necessary step for keeping ourselves and others safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Staying indoors and being afraid to hug or be near others was bound to have a negative effect on our mental health; many people struggled to cope with the reality of the situation, and understandably so. I am too.

While this pandemic is still a part of our lives, slowly the world is beginning to open up again, freeing us up to socialize again. But what if we don’t want to? What if it’s not safe? Sometimes, just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean that we should. We all want to know how to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

Reentry is anxiety-inducing and frightening. Re-emerging into normality after quarantine is stressful. Those of us who’ve diligently stuck to the rules and been isolated for months feel trepidatious and scared to go back to socializing like we used to. The idea of commuting on public transportation or being in a crowded office is totally overwhelming. How can we get used to being outside and back to reality when almost everyone and everything can be a potential threat in the time of Coronavirus?

Here’s how to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine:

Firstly, ease into it. Jumping in at the deep end and going totally back to normal is both unsafe and unsettling. Prioritize your own mental health and take it step by step. Don’t over commit to too many things. Even if work or friends are pressuring you into doing the ‘normal things’ you used to do, get comfortable saying no. Just like the transition into quarantining was challenging, coming out will be equally hard, and you should allow yourself to feel vulnerable and worried. Trust your gut.

Secondly, prepare yourself. Bring your mask. Just because you’re going to an event where social distancing is in place that doesn’t mean people will be following the rules. You’ll feel safer if you come prepared with your mask and hand sanitizer. Don’t feel weird or apologize for wearing your mask, even if others aren’t. Do what makes you feel comfortable. If you need to leave, leave. Don’t put yourself in danger because you’re afraid to hurt someone else’s feelings.

READ ALSO:  Can You Safely Send Kids Back to School During a Pandemic?

Thirdly, invest in helpful tools to help you organize your life while on the go. We’re all comfortable being home all day – collecting packages, organizing your space throughout the day and having everything just so. Going back to spending more time away from home can create organizational anxiety which negatively affects your experiences of re-entry. Using online organizational tools such as https://physicaladdress.com/ can help alleviate stress and create a calm outlook on returning to normality.

Finally, be sure you keep in touch with the real news, not speculation that circulates on social media. Don’t let Facebook be your source of information. Check the CDC, WHO and your local health department’s websites. Read the actual facts and figures of coronavirus cases in your area. Don’t assume what you read on Twitter or Facebook is always true. Reading opinions rather than facts can spin you into an unnecessary panic. Social Media will stop you from feeling comfortable living your day to day life.

It’s vital to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine

For now, we’ll be learning virtually and working from home. As cases are rising here, home is where I feel is best for our family. What is your plan to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine?

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ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.

I grew up in a big family with an even bigger extended family. Our family wasn’t just the people we were related to. It was also the people in our community whom we loved and who loved us and cared for us, too. I am grateful for those people who were there when I needed them most. 

My parents are good parents. They’re even better grandparents. When I was small, they were new at parenting and, like all of us, they didn’t always know the right thing to do. I’ve made mistakes as a mom, just as all of us do. But I survived those moments thanks to good intentions and the village that was there to help guide me when I was a little lost and couldn’t find my way. In many ways, I’ve thrived because of the positive childhood experiences I’ve had.  

I did however live through my fair share of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). ACEs are negative childhood experiences that impact children and can have long-lasting effects. There are 10 ACEs, and they fall into 3 categories: 1) Abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual); 2) Neglect (physical or emotional); and 3) Household dysfunction (mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, incarcerated relative, substance abuse). Thankfully, ACEs can be prevented or mitigated when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. 

There are a lot of traumatic things that can happen in a child’s life, including death, pandemics, or natural disasters, but ACEs can be prevented either directly with help from another person, or indirectly through policy, education, or society changes such as paid family leave or prison sentencing laws. 

The ACEs that I experienced were physical and emotional abuse by a father who was an alcoholic. He has since stopped drinking. He has been sober for most of my adult life, but those early days have left their scars. His alcoholism sucked all of the air out of the room. This isn’t to say he wasn’t a good dad. When he was sober, 5 days of the week, he was a devoted, loving, and involved father. But when he was drinking, he was selfish, mean, quick-tempered, unpredictable, and volatile. He was scary, maybe even more so because when he was sober, he was so good.

His behavior had ripple effects. His instability caused my mother to spend a lot of her time distracted, overwhelmed, afraid, and unhappy. She loved us so much, but it always felt like she was withdrawn, even though she was always physically there. She teetered between being emotionally removed and overly emotional. For me, I never felt like she was completely present; putting out fires while awaiting the next crisis. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

In turn, this caused me to pick up the slack, and that impeded my childhood. With 6 children, a volatile father who drank, and a mom who was always overwhelmed, worried, and afraid, I was left feeling abandoned even when I was living in the house with both of my parents. They were physically there, but I felt very alone. I needed to talk. I needed to be seen. But I was just one more thing on their lists of things to survive, and sometimes, my needs were too much for their patience that day. 

Each day was an unknown—maybe it would be a day at the beach followed by a cookout and laughter, or maybe it would be a drunk dad, an overwhelmed mom, and a slap or a belt buckle for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I just never knew, and that was my entire childhood until I went away to college, which may have never happened if not for a few special people who saw me drowning and threw me a buoy. University was my escape plan, but these people were integral in helping me get through some of the rough patches. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodThankfully, for as many adverse childhood experiences as I had, I also had many positive childhood experiences with my parents. Luckily for me, a few very special people’s simple acts of kindness towards a little girl in crisis helped me to grow into the person I am today. They’re the reason I’ve always made myself available to lift children up when I can, to advocate for my children’s friends, and to be a champion and cheerleader for my girls. I learned from the mistakes and the kindnesses of the adults in my life. Our actions, good or bad, have ripples and can make a difference in other people’s lives, especially a child’s. 

There were many but these are the three that I would like to thank:

Mrs. Vrabel, my 2nd-grade teacher who took a special liking to me and saw me at a time when I needed to be seen. She nurtured my gifts and praised me at a time when I was one of five children under 7 at home. She made me feel special when my parents were too busy, tired and overwhelmed to do it themselves. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

My Tio Narci and my Tio Ramon, who both made the time to talk and listen when I was trying to understand what was going on with my parents’ fighting and my dad’s drinking. They made me not feel alone, and I felt safe knowing they were there to intercede when my mom couldn’t. I felt heard when my voice felt small. They stepped in on my behalf to remind my parents we were still there watching—afraid and confused. They made me feel normal at a time when my life felt out of control.

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

My friend’s mom, Linda, who I will never forget. To this day, I adore her. A lot of things were happening at home when I was a senior in high school. It was all so much that I was depressed and, at one point, suicidal. School wasn’t very important to me. I knew college was my escape plan and I got good grades, but I was depressed and I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be anywhere.

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodBy that point, I was suffering from eating disorders, and that was just one more thing I had to hide. I suffered from a lot of stomach issues from anxiety from my home life, so I missed a lot of school. My mom let me stay home because she knew what was going on and that was the only thing she could do to help. My English teacher tried to fail me for the last quarter of my senior year because of my attendance issues despite my grade being an A. 

He would have succeeded. I was terrified when he gleefully told me. Yes, he smiled. He didn’t know what was going on at home, and he didn’t care. That wasn’t his job. He just knew that I missed his class a lot, and he felt that deserved punishment. Did I mention I was #3 in my class? Did I mention that I had been in journalism, yearbook, and newspaper for all 4 years of high school? Did I mention I took 2 languages, all 4 years? I was the nerdy girl who worked her tail off to get accepted to every college she applied to. I got a gold seal on my diploma. But he tried to fail me, and I had no one to advocate for me because my parents were otherwise engaged.

I didn’t know what to do. Then my friend, Laurie, stepped in with her mom, who happened to be on the school board. The teacher was overruled because all of those journalism classes counted as English coursework, so his one quarter was not going to affect my overall requirements. She saved my future when no one else could or would. 

I’ll never forget what these people did for me. They saved me at pivotal moments in my life when I could have been lost. It’s so important to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments in childhood, which are essential to lifelong health and success as well as the prevention of ACEs. Prevention or mitigation is possible when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. That’s the idea of preventing them directly. You can help other people and stop ACEs from happening, and other people can help you and stop ACEs from happening. That’s why support networks are a necessary component of preventing ACEs. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodThese three people changed the trajectory of my life. I am who I am, in part, because they were in my life when I needed them most. Are you one of some child’s three people? Are you a  resource that children can rely on to create those safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments? How can you be part of someone else’s “three,” and provide that vital support that every child needs growing up?

 

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event planning tips, quinceañera, Disney, Credit Repair, financial security, financial freedom, quinceanera

We are less than 6 weeks away from Bella’s big day. Her quinceañera is something we’ve been planning for years and I can’t believe it’s almost here. For her, it’s the moment our culture recognizes her as changing from a child to a woman. As a mom, it’s a moment of ostentatious pride, which if you know me is not something I ever do. It’s also the opportunity to learn all the event planning tips I didn’t know I needed.

Give me all of your quinceañera planning tips.

I love my daughters more than everything but I’ve never felt the need to brag on them to impress anyone. I know who they are and what they are capable of. I know that they are smart, funny, witty, creative, kind, compassionate, good human beings who love life and care about people and they know that I feel that way about them. I tell them. I just don’t feel like it does anyone any good to boast about them to strangers and put them in competition with anyone else. The only competition I want them to have is to become their own best self. But, make no mistake, I am so proud of my girls and then young ladies they’ve become.

READ ALSO: How to plan a quinceañera

Next month, we’re celebrating Bella’s indoctrination into womanhood with a big party with all of our family and friends. Think of a wedding-like party celebrating how much we love our daughter, how proud we are and how excited we are for all to come for her in her life.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Basic Invite. However, all opinions are my own and Bella ( and I) adore her invitations from Basic Invite. They’re everything we’ve dreamed of.

Big life events like a quinceañera are exciting. The energy, the love, the sheer celebration of such a momentous occasion. There’s nothing like it. When you’re hosting the party there are added stresses. In fact, it can be very stressful.

Everyone expects weddings to be challenging to plan, coordinating and organizing all the things is hard. I’m finding that planning Bella’s quinceañera is pretty much the same.

Event planning tips to for the best quinceañera ever

It’s helpful to be organized and to take the time to plan and do research, from choosing the venues to deciding where to shop for the dresses for the quinceañera and damas. There are a few simple tips that we can do to help make the whole process easier on ourselves and get the celebration of our dreams without the anxiety.

  • Start planning as soon as you set the date… or sooner if you can. Sure, you may not have plans to celebrate your daughter’s quinceañera for several years, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get planning now. It’s never too early to go on Pinterest and start a wedding planning/quinceañera board with ideas of things you’d like. It’s never too early to start watching hours and hours of quinceañera surprise dances. You can also start looking at venues and booking appointments. Starting early can be the one thing that gets you the date that you want for your event.
  • Sort out your budget at the very beginning. No need to make big plans with no realistic budget in mind. Before you can start buying anything, you need to know what your budget is and what’s going to tip you over the edge for your big day purchases. The earlier you have a concrete budget outline, the more accurately you can plan your event. This is one of the hardest parts for me.

READ ALSO: How to throw an awesome party on a budget

  • Get as much of your family and friends involved as you can, from photographer and videographer recommendations to getting to know who’s able and willing to help you with your big day. You need to know which family members are willing to give you a hand with organizing everything from the prevents to the main event. The most important thing is that you enjoy every moment with the people that you love.
  • Be selective with who you choose to invite. Everyone you’ve ever known doesn’t get to be a guest on your big day. You need to get RSVPs to know how many people you’ll be catering to. Invite the people who you know will show up. Don’t feel obligated to invite everyone you share DNA with or anyone you’ve ever known.
  • event planning tips, quinceañera, guestbook, basic invite, quinceanera
  • A well-thought-out personalized custom guest book can really be the perfect keepsake for your big day. With almost unlimited colors at Basic Invite, it is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. You can change the color of each element on a card or guest book. With over 180 different color options, your invitations or guestbook can be exactly how you want it, down to the littlest detail, making the little details perfect.
  • Pick your court early, you’re going to need their help. The planning won’t be as smooth without them by your side. They’ll need dresses and tuxes, makeup and hair. Ask them early and plan accordingly.
  • Always have a backup plan. Things can and do go wrong, even if that’s the last thing you want to think about. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Your special day can go off perfectly, as long as you do your research.

What is your best tip to make your big day the thing dreams are made of?

 

 

 

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#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, castaway cay, Disney Creators Celebration, What is Disney Creators Celebration, #DisneyCreators,Disney, Credit Repair, financial security, financial freedom

Thank you CreditRepair.com for sponsoring this post. CreditRepair.com’s team understands that a credit score is not just a number; it’s a lifestyle.

The holidays are coming up really soon and with that, so does gift-giving, which is my love language. Whether you like to give toys, clothes, travel, or experiences (my personal preference) to your loved ones, at the root of all of it is the innate desire to bestow upon the people you love gifts; tokens of adoration and gratitude. We wait all year for this one day to give. Why do we wait? Oh yes, because that is when the sales happen and we’re trying to spend responsibly.

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

Since the day we had our girls, we’ve been head over heels in love with them. We wanted, and still do, to give them the world. I don’t feel like it’s wrong to give them special gifts, I feel like it’s a blessing to be able to do it. Giving is a salve for my soul.

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But then the accident happened my own personal life-altering moment. I took a misstep in a bridesmaid gown and our entire world changed. I broke and shattered the bones in my left leg while completely dislocating my ankle. I had no idea how momentous one wrong step could be. It’s actually a good metaphor for life.

READ ALSO: Bridesmaid Down

It was as painful as it sounds and that broken leg nearly broke us. The bills were astronomical. Recovery included 3 surgeries over 3 years, countless hours of physical therapy and rehabilitation and the cost of renting medical devices to just be able to take a shower or get around my own house. I couldn’t bear weight for 12 weeks. I couldn’t work. All I could do was sit and watch as the entire world moved on without me. It took a village to pick up the slack and there were lots of unexpected, hidden costs involved.

Christmas rolled around that year and all my weary heart wanted was to give to those I love but how could I? I got depressed and when I’m depressed, it’s cliché but, I like to shop. Somehow it empowers me when I’m feeling helpless. So in the middle of hemorrhaging money on one surgery after another, I kept shopping. It wasn’t about the stuff it was about the joy it brought me to give the smiles on my daughters’ faces.

READ ALSO: Tips for Maximizing Your Disney World Vacation

That Christmas was a plastic Christmas. I couldn’t let my broken leg ruin our holiday. It had already robbed the girls of their Disney World trip, I wouldn’t let it take this from them too. As the medical bills began to roll in, when I still couldn’t walk, I had my husband push me around the mall in my wheelchair.

Christmas came and went. My cards were maxed out and the medical bills just kept coming, even when the paychecks were late; the bills never were. I wish the hospital’s billing department could give tips to the people who owed me money. Apparently, that scenario never works out in my favor.

Pretty soon, the bills were coming more and more frequently and the stress of owing money that I couldn’t pay and afford groceries at the same time, just became too much. I began to shut down. I stopped spending and started focusing on paying bills down and saving but the bills were already so high. I felt like I couldn’t breathe or move under the weight of it all. Meanwhile, my credit score was moving in the wrong direction.

We were in over our heads with the medical bills. We were drowning with no life preserver in sight. Humiliated and embarrassed, I didn’t want to ask for help. I’m an adult. I just wanted to hold on long enough to be able to fix it but I could never catch up.

Then one day, I had to ask myself, “Why should my children pay because of an unexpected medical emergency? Why should we be punished for a momentary lapse in footwear judgment on a warm autumn day? Why?” I was angry and I was sad. I was frustrated and I felt out of control and I didn’t like any of it.

READ ALSO: What’s a Quinceanera and how to plan yours

I was struggling with the idea that I had school tuitions, ballet, cheer, work trips, family vacations, and quinceaneras coming up that I had to pay for. The fact was not lost on me that college is coming sooner rather than later too. How was I going to afford all of it? Why should my family miss out on these important things to them because of debt that had nothing to do with them. It felt punitive.

Disney, Credit Repair, financial security, financial freedom, quinceanera

Bills kept mounting. I’d pay the bare minimum when I could. I used to feel like I would never finish paying off the medical bills because once I broke my leg that set off a chain of unexpected health issues and more trips to the hospital.

Worrying doesn’t help. You have to make a plan and take action. The first thing I did was call my creditors. I spoke to them, human to human. Explained the situation and they worked with us to help us pay the debt down without starving or damaging our credit score. This wasn’t a magic pill and we’re still working that plan. It was a Band-Aid. It takes time but it was a relief to have that life preserver.

The thing you have to remember is that credit is fluid. Your credit is not set in stone. Every single day is a new day for you to repair or destroy it. It’s your choice. One resource, CreditRepair.com is a leading provider of credit report repair services in the United States. Their credit professionals help educate and empower individuals like me achieve the credit score I want and the lifestyle my family deserves.

CreditRepair.com can help you make good choices because a credit score is more than just a number, it is a way of life. A credit score directly correlates with quality of life, not just because of the things you can afford but more importantly because of peace of mind and security. For me, and most people, debt and compromised credit cause unnecessary stress and worry and then you can’t enjoy anything. It’s a vicious cycle and sometimes it feels like there’s no way out. But there are resources available for just that. We just need to know they are available.

CreditRepair.com professionals believe everyone has a right to: Achieve their dreams. Increase their ability. Enjoy a lifestyle of greater opportunity.

CreditRepair.com’s technology provides its members with a personal online dashboard, a credit score tracker and analysis, creditor and bureau interactions, text and email alerts, mobile apps and credit monitoring. They give you the tools to be the master of your own financial destiny. They focus on your personal story and your determination to develop a healthier relationship with your credit and dedication to the process of changing your lifestyle and spending habits to achieve your financial goals. It’s very personalized.

I’m still working my way out of financial debt and learning better spending habits.

My credit repair goals are:
· Pay everything on time.
· Pay off all of my medical debt.
· To get to a place where I can pay more than just the minimum payments on credit card bills.
· Pay off debt and use my credit cards less.
· Carry low balances versus maxed out cards.
· Establish a regular savings schedule and contribution goal.
· Get any negative payment history removed from my credit report.

If your credit isn’t perfect, that’s ok. You can fix it with a little guidance and help from CreditRepair.com Get started today with your free consultation.
What are you waiting for? You deserve the freedom, joy and peace of mind that having good credit can provide. Your family deserves that version of you.

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Telic Après Ski recovery boots

I’m fairly new to this all year workout stuff. I’ve never been one to work out and walk 5Ks every day just because. I was about as fair-weathered a workout friend as you could find. I loved working out. Cardio was my jam but only when it was convenient. I wasn’t about that walking in 110 degrees with 100% humidity. And I sure as shit wasn’t running in 20-degree weather but here we are. If I’m going to do it, I’d like to be able to do it the best way possible. Enter Telic Après Ski recovery boots, the one thing I never knew, I always needed. Look at me, learning all the new things about myself.

Disclosure: I gifted a pair of Telic Après Ski recovery boots to experience them for myself but all opinions are my own.

I’ve had to do some pretty substantial research and I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way. For instance, I learned that I am allergic to the sun last summer. Yep. This means that I need to wear SPF at all times or a rash guard or I break out in a crazy rash all over my exposed body. I’ve learned that I am stronger than I ever knew. I’ve also learned that fleece-lined running pants are my friend and all fleece-lined pants are not created equal. I also learned that yes, that very expensive North Face jacket and those $200 running shoes are absolutely worth the money. Guess what else I learned?

READ ALSO: Ways to Work Out When You Don’t Have Time to Hit the Gym

I learned about a thing called sports recovery boots. Sounds made up, right? I thought so too but hey, I love cute shoes and I was sold. When I think of after sports shoes, I think of the Adidas soccer slides we all wore back in the day after soccer games. But those are not the sports recovery shoes that I am referring to in this post.

Recently, I was gifted a pair of Telic Après Ski sports recovery boots. When I saw them, I thought they were super cute and what could it hurt to try them out. They came awhile back. We’d just spent 7 days walking 20000 steps daily around Walt Disney World. My feet were sore and in desperate need of some relief.

Telic Après Ski recovery boots

Since breaking my leg, most of my day’s end with a limp. I work with preschoolers all day and they like to pull and climb on you so it’s inevitable that my legs are sore each night. Today, I wore my Telic Après Ski recovery boots to work (I told you they were cute) and for the first time in 4 years, I was not limping at the end of the day. It was kind of a big deal for me.

READ ALSO: How I Broke My Leg in the Middle of My Sister’s Wedding

I wish I could say that I was exaggerating and every night I don’t walk like a pirate but it’s all true. Every night since September 2015, I’ve walked like a pirate. It’s my new normal. But not tonight and if I’m being honest, I almost cried because I was so happy. I never thought any shoes, other than a pair of Louboutin’s, could make me weep with joy but these comfortable, beautiful recovery boots did.

Let me tell you about the Après Ski recovery boot. Firstly, it’s not just for after you ski, as the name would imply. It’s for after any sport. If we’re being really honest, it’s pretty great for everyday wear.

Telic Après Ski recovery boots

Telic is known for its award-winning comfort. The Après Ski recovery boot is also:

  • Insulated & Water Resistant
  • Traction Control Out-sole
  • Pillow-Soft Comfort
  • Lightweight Stability
  • Athlete Approved
  • Dr. Recommended

100% all true and I can attest to it because I’ve worn them every day since I got them, in the mornings after working out during drop off but not until today did I wear them for my entire work day and they impressed me. Actually, they blew my mind. I don’t know that I really believed anything could really work, especially with my foot and leg issues from the break but these did.

READ ALSO: Never Ask a Disabled Person if They’ll Return to Normal

You can enjoy Telic’s award-winning comfort year-round. They are designed to be worn by athletes to help relax and rejuvenate after training and competition, this recovery series incorporates Telic’s Novlaon Footstrike Technology and offers a soft supportive comfortable fit and feel for year-round Telic comfort.

What does that mean for you?

It means that this really cute pair of boots are comfortable and really do help you recover. To be honest, the fact that my leg hasn’t hurt after work since I’ve started wearing this is enough to convince me to wear these shoes every day of the year but in addition to that, I got so many compliments on the look of the shoe. If I had my way, I’d gift a pair to every teacher in my school because they are absolutely that cute and comfortable.

If you’re an athlete looking for a fantastic recovery shoe or someone who spends long hours on their feet and needs extreme comfort without sacrificing fashion, I would strongly suggest giving Telic’s Apres Ski recovery boots a try for yourself.  FYI, it also comes in a recovery shoe if boots are not your jam. Those are next on my list.

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red lipstick, tarte, perfect pout, The Right lipstick can change your life. the right shade of lipstick can change your life forever

They say the eyes are the window to the soul but the smile, the lips, they are by far the curb appeal. A lip can tell you a lot about a person and how they are feeling on any given day. It goes beyond the natural shape and fullness of someone’s pout. Your lips tell your story before you even speak a word. A woman can conquer the world in the right lipstick. The right shade of lipstick can change your life forever.

Want to change up your look? Not really into cutting off all of your hair? Don’t have time to drop 30 pounds before the Bikini season? As if we’ll even have a bikini season this year. Don’t have a zillion dollars to overhaul your wardrobe? I’ve got you covered. Why not express yourself via your lipstick? Who cares if you’re not going anywhere, think of the selfies.`

Sounds simple right? Maybe it doesn’t sound like it can do that much but have you ever pulled your hair down out of that pony, wiped off that chapstick and replaced it with a fire engine red lip stain? Life. Changing! I’m not even joking, you can go from daytime to playtime and sweet to sexy with the simple swipe of a lip brush. The magic of a strong lip is powerful.

Believe it or not, a change of lip color can change your perspective and change your state of being. A bold color can be empowering while a light one can be softening. A gloss can be flirty while a plum can be super serious. It’s your lips, you decide what you want them to say about you…nothings off-limit.

Disclosure: Thanks Tarte Cosmetics for gifting me all of the amazing colors and types of lipsticks to try out for the purpose of this post. All opinions are true and mine.

The right shade of lipstick can change your life forever.

A matte, like Tarte’s Tarteist quick dry matte lip paint in OG can make you feel serious and introspective. A touch of spice gives a different kind of energy and your entire vibe changes. Suddenly you’re a bit sassier, more bougie and even a little bit ratchet in the best kind of way.

Nude lipsticks may appear to be just a slight enhancement of your natural lip color but in reality, it’s your inner-self living its best life; more comfortable in your own skin.

A matte red like Tarteist quick-dry matte-lip paint in cheerleader can make you feel like a force to reckoned with. A strong red lip can fix any outfit, and give you great confidence. It makes you look bold and confident and that is what a great red lipstick is all about.

A gloss like Tarteist glossy lip paint in goals or snap can make you feel fun and flirty. Lip gloss was the first makeup that I ever wore and I love it. A shimmery gloss is an easy way to get full, 3D-looking lips. A perfect nude plumping gloss gives your lips a whole new dimension.

Woman in red lipstick, tarte, perfect pout, The Right lipstick can change your life

A deep plum lippie like Tarteist glossy lip paint in poison can make you feel like a bad bitch and give you the self-confidence to take on the world.

Woman in red lipstick, tarte, perfect pout, The Right lipstick can change your life

A subtle, flesh tone like Rainforest of the Sea color splash lipstick in rum punch or siesta can give you comfort and make you feel your most self. A matte mauve can make you feel pretty and feminine. It’s the perfect color to take you from day to night.  Wear it to work and then to a happy hour afterward. This is a perfect balance.

Woman in red lipstick, tarte, perfect pout, The Right lipstick can change your life

A bold red like Tarte’s crystal cream in power can make a woman feel confident and sexy. Red lipstick feels like an instant infusion of passion. Not only does red lipstick make your teeth look whiter and brighter, it evokes emotion and passionate responses in others.

A matte deep black can make you feel powerful and fierce.

Tarte’s double duty beauty glide and go buttery lipstick in tangerine target coral red creates a powerful statement, complimenting skin with a bit of a tan, and brightening the face. It unleashes confidence and power that can pick you up on even your worst days.

The truth is that the right shade of lipstick can change lives and for me, throwing on red lipstick is the makeup equivalent of putting on a pair of heels. It’s my armor and helps prepare me for whatever life throws my way. It’s empowering. A bold red lifts my mood and makes me feel fierce. It’s my way of reminding myself that I’m a force to be reckoned with.

What’s your favorite shade of lipstick and why?

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