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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

10 Must Have Stocking Stuffers



Dry Bar 'Hold Me' Hair Clips - I use these clips all the time! When I initially ordered them, I wasn't sure if they were worth the money, but then I realized what a difference they make when I'm straightening or curling my hair! Definitely a gift that will be used often! 

Dry Bar 'Lil Lemon Drop Detangling Brush - My daughters & I both use this brush every day. It is the perfect detangling brush - which is important when you have wild curly hair like Ella & I do. This mini version is perfect for stockings & travel! 

Fuzzy Socks - You just can't go wrong with fuzzy socks!

Packing Cubes - These packing cubes are life changing! We are constantly on the go for long weekends with our family & I love how these keep us organized! I first heard about them from Cassie & now I'm totally obsessed. 

Orange Sweet Vanilla Conditioning Detangler - I bought this for my girls, but use it for myself now! It smells SO good & it smooths out our snarls perfectly! 

Pom Pom Hat - I love a good winter hat. Practical & fashionable. This faux fur pom pom version has my heart!  

Flair Pens - As a teacher, I can't live without my Flair Pens. But, I will tell you that EVERYONE who ever borrows a pen from me wants their own. Perfect stocking stuffer! 

Lightening Cord - I'm adding this out of practicality. You can never have enough iPhone chargers. Never. These come in a variety of lengths too, which I love because I prefer extra long cords next to my bed & at my desk. 

Phone Case - I love the pink tones in this marble phone case! 

B.P. Stud Earrings - I wear studs just about every day & these are some of my favorites. B.P. makes a ton of affordable options, so you change it up without breaking the bank. 
Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday Friends! Today I'm linking up with Andrea to share my Friday Favorites! It's a pretty random assortment this week, but I hope you enjoy! 


First up is my new lifesaver - Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. I love having my nails painted, but between #momlife, #teacherlife & coaching, they never hold up that long. Take into account the fact that I rarely have 15 minutes to sit down, paint my nails & let them dry - a lot of times I skip it. But now I've found this little miracle in a jar! This Insta-Dri is really dry in less than a minute & it takes no more than one coat. I'll be honest, it's thicker, almost like a paint when it goes on, but it holds up well & is nice & smooth. I have it in the Slick Slate color and throw it on all the time because the dark gray goes well with everything! I plan to get Ablazing as well so I can quickly throw it on for holiday parties too! 



Next favorite of the week is a totally random find from Wal-Mart, but I'm loving it! How festive & fun is this Sherpa sweatshirt! They're sold out online :( But I have friends who have bought them in store this week, so I know they're still out there! 



Another favorite at our house this week is Christmas movies! We've watched one every night & the girls just love it. The Grinch (animated version) is Ella's favorite this year & my favorite is The Santa Clause. I also watched a new one on Netflix called The Christmas Prince that was very cheesy, but totally cute and heartwarming. 


Image result for the christmas prince

Wednesday night was Visitor's Night at Ella's dance studio & I got to get a sneak peak of what she's been working on! 



Olivia was totally fascinated & danced along at my side most of the time. She cannot wait to start dance next year! 



I hope you have a wonderful weekend friends! We'll be celebrating one of our favorite people turning one! 


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Gift that Gives Back with Cool Effect





If you're anything like me, you have a few people on your gift list that are impossible to buy for. I've spent hours racking my brain for those hard to buy for friends & family members. It's frustrating for me & probably disappointing for them when they open their gift & find that it's a gift card to a department store because I either flat out gave up or I ran out of time. 


That won't be the case this year though, because this year I'm giving a gift that gives back with Cool EffectCool Effect is a non-profit crowdfunding site that lets people like you & me support carbon emissions reductions through a variety of projects around the world. All of these projects fight climate change & support the goal of cleaner air.  90% of each contribution to Cool Effect goes directly towards the projects. For the holidays, Cool Effect has put together a variety of gift bundles for you & your loved ones to choose from! 

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sunglasses, selfie and closeup
Meet my Brother-in-Law... aka Mr. Impossible to Buy For
When I started doing some research on Cool Effect, I discovered that it would make the PERFECT gift for my brother - in - law, Derek. He is incredibly passionate about protecting the environment & I know that he'll appreciate a gift that supports a worthy cause. 

As I went through the various options, I chose the Snowman Gift Pack. The Snowman Gift Pack helps prevent climate change by reducing carbon emissions around the world. This pack supports every single one of the projects that Cool Effect has & I loved that I was making a difference in so many places by purchasing just one gift! 

A few of the projects that the Snowman Gift Pack supports are...


Cookstoves for Kids - a project that provides schools and orphanages in Malawi with clean cookstoves, which leads to healthier students. 


Renewable Energy Wind Turbines in Los Santos, Costa Rise - building wind turbines to supply clean energy to families living there. 


Protection of the Alto Mayo Forest  in Peru- which saves 450,000 acres of rainforest from destruction... as well as saving coffee beans - and we all love coffee. 


Community Biogas Program in India - which as gross as it sounds, takes cow manure & turns it into clean energy! 

I truly encourage you to read more & support these programs because not only is it important work, the science behind all of it is fascinating! It amazes me the doors that technology opens in our world today! There are more gift packs to choose from as well, so if you have a specific cause in mind, you can contribute directly to that one! 

As for wrapping this gift, Cool Effect makes that easy too! Each gift comes with a personalized certificate, instructions and paper to make your own origami snowman (so fun!) and a personalized message from the sender. I can't wait to give mine to Derek this holiday season! 

Who would you gift Cool Effect too? 
Monday, December 4, 2017

Holidays at the Market

Sunday morning the whole family bundled up & met Aunt Britt, Uncle Matt, and Madigan at the Public Market for Holidays at the Market! If you're unfamiliar with The Public Market, it's basically a large outdoor farmer's market that is open year round in Rochester. We (and most people) typically go in the summer months when it's warm, but Holidays at the Market is a special occasion where they open on Sundays to bring in special vendors. The big draw - besides beautiful fresh wreaths & trees - is the free carriage rides with Santa. 


You have to get there early to get a good spot in line, so we arrived right at 9 as the market was opening. We still ended up being ticket #34, so we wandered around the market for a bit. 


Ella helped her Aunt Britt pick out a wreath for their front door! 


And Miss Madigan was all about the fresh air! 


We wandered through the Christmas trees & found some adorable hand painted ornaments to give as gifts. 


We found our favorite donut vendor - Duke's Donuts - which are fresh apple cider donuts! Livy didn't really like the sugar on her hands, but once we got her napkin situated she was a happy girl! 


Ella & I drew snowmen pictures together at the art station they had set up to keep kids busy while they waited. I gave mine to her, so she decided to give hers to me! 



They also had a cookie decorating station that was free for kids. Ella ate about half of hers, but definitely enjoyed decorating it! She definitely ate way too much sugar that morning, but we let it go since it was the holidays :) 


After cookie decorating, it was time to head outside & wait for our carriage. Olivia loved the horse & got so excited each time it arrived. At this point, she was so excited to see Santa & kept telling me that she was going to sit on his lap. 


Once we actually got in the carriage, neither of my girls would sit next to Santa. Thankfully Maddie is brave, so she & Aunt Britt sat with him. 


We sat across the aisle from him & chatted the whole ride. Ella couldn't decide what she wanted to ask for, so they decided that she could mail him a list later. Livy would smile at him & touch his bells, but was NOT going to sit on his lap. 


Finally at the end of the ride, we were able to scooch over & get a good picture with him! I defiintely reccomend this ride to meet Santa. We've done it twice now & he is a GREAT Santa. He's very friendly & authentic looking and the carriage ride itself if just so magical to kids! 


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Friday Favorites on a Saturday

I got totally wrapped up yesterday - literally, I was wrapping presents - and never got around to posting my Friday Favorites! I had lots of fun things that I wanted to share, so I'm just going to go ahead and post it on a Saturday.

purse (similar) // leggings // sneakers // T-Shirt

I went out Black Friday shopping with my normal crew and had all sorts of fun! A few favorites in this photo - this bench! How fun is it? It's just sitting in a plaza in between Home Goods and Kohl's, so we knew we needed a picture on it! And then there's my purse! Isn't it festive? I got it last Black Friday at Target and use it for all the festive holidays - Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Fourth of July. They don't have the exact one in stock anymore, but this one is super cute & festive too! Last up, I live in the leggings I have on in this photo. In fact, I have them on right now as I'm typing this! They're from Athleta and so incredibly soft. My sister bought a pair for herself too because I love mine so much. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for a lady in your life, I highly recommend them! 


While we were out for Black Friday, my mom found the cutest lacing activity at Target for Ella. We're in the process of learning how to tie her shoes, so this has been perfect! She works really hard on it & I love that it's building her motor skills! Also, check out those Poppy slippers! 


My mother in law makes the BEST Chex Mix and she had batches all ready to go home with us on Thanksgiving Day! I literally get so excited when I see this stuff. I could eat a whole bag full myself! 


Christmas movies & Christmas PJs have been a serious favorites around here this week! We've watched Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Elf so far! My favorite - The Santa Clause - is on this weekend & I can't wait! 


I saw these pajamas on Andrea's daughter & I knew I needed them for Ella. They're absolutely adorable and she loves them. You can't see in this picture, but the pants have ruffles on the bottom that she adores. Also pictured - our new Christmas plates from Pottery Barn Kids. We buy a set of these every year and have quite the collection now. I just love them & how they make every meal a little festive! 


On Friday morning, Ella had an eye appointment so we made a stop at Target on our way. She wanted a hot chocolate & look how fancy they made it! She thought she was pretty special, which she is!


And then there's this girl! Olivia is just hilarious these days. I never know what I'm going to find her doing. In fact, I'm not really sure what she was up to when I found her like this the other day. 


Last favorite - I found this hat at TJ Maxx and am in love with it! It reminds me of Kate Spade because of the red and pink color block. If you've seen my InstaStories, you know I'm wearing it all the time! It's so fun & festive! 
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Holiday Prep with Amazon's Same Day Delivery




Today we're talking about a company that we all know & love - Amazon. Now, if you're anything like us, you frequently contemplate how we ever lived without Amazon Prime. The great prices, the convenience, fast shipping and the selection of our favorite products has us reaching for our Amazon app day after day. But brace yourselves friends, because it's getting even better this holiday season! 


The only thing better than an Amazon package waiting on your doorstep? Having it arrive the same day that you ordered it! You heard me right, Amazon is now offering Same-Day Delivery on a variety of your favorite products with more than $15 in available coupon savings! 



Just picture this scenario - we're at my parent's country house - a solid 30 minute drive from the nearest store - and my mom realizes we're out of toilet paper, just as we're expecting the entire extended family for dinner in twelve hours. Normally, that would mean my sister or I driving an hour round trip to pick some up, but no more! We can now rely on Amazon for holiday emergencies! With a range of products from Cottonelle, Scott, Kleenex & Viva, you know you're getting quality products, at a great cost, in record time! 



Now, I'm going to be honest, the toilet paper situation has happened at the country house before. And if I'm being really honest, it's happened before at our own house. For that reason, we've been using Subscribe & Save for over three years now. I automatically set our subscriptions & they're delivered to my home monthly. Some things - diapers, shampoo, paper towels, teabags - I have delivered monthly. Other things - baby wipes, toilet paper, Kleenex, and dishwasher pods - get delivered every other month. I get an email the week before they're set to ship, so I always have the option of changing up my order and the cherry on top is that if I have 5 or more items in my order, I get 15% off! 



Since I use so many of these items in my classroom as well, that 15% off can really add up! Even with my small class, I go through 3 boxes of Kleenex a month, so even though many parents donate, I still find myself ordering all of the time! Subscribe & Save makes it easy for me to stay stocked up & no one ends up having to use the school provided paper towels to wipe their noses! 



If you're traveling for the holidays, Amazon's same-day delivery could be a life saver & a time saver for you too. Place your order in the morning as you leave, and then have your items waiting for you (or arriving shortly) when you get to your destination! This would be perfect for stays at rentals if you're traveling for the holiday season! 

Save yourself some stress & let Amazon help you out this holiday season! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday: Want, Need, Wear, Read

First, let me start today's post with a little PSA for my darling husband. Eric, if you are reading this, please pay attention & use the links to shop accordingly. #winkwinknudgenudge 

As we get ready for Christmas, I've already followed this formula for my two little ones. They're getting one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, and a few things to read. I have to say, it really made me think about what I was choosing & be more purposeful with my gift giving. As I started thinking about this post, I was surprised that I had a lot of fun picking things out for myself using the same guidelines too. 


Want:





So this first item may seem a little over the top, and I honestly don't expect to get it, but as a girl with unruly hair - I can dream. I love DryBar products & would love to have this bundle. I actually do "need" a new blow-dryer, but due to the extravagance of this gift set I put it in the want category ;) It comes with a Buttercup Blow Dryer, a straightener, clips, a round brush, detangler, shine cream, & texturizing spray. And since we're being over the top, you could add on a diffuser too! 

Need:



Image result for pure barre gift card

I truly need to get back in shape & I think the best way to do that would be with a month of Pure Barre. I tried Pure Barre this summer while I was in Dallas & absolutely loved it! I went three times in the week that I was there! A studio recently opened in Rochester & I would love to have a membership (even just for a month) to kickstart my fitness for 2018! 

Wear:


Main Image - Barefoot Dreams® Cozychic Lite® Coastal Hooded Cardigan

So, my mom & sister both got hooded blardigans during the anniversary sale last July & I've never had such buyers remorse in my life. I should have pulled the trigger back then. It is so crazy soft & could easily be thrown on with pretty much everything I own. #notanexaggeration All I want for Christmas is a hooded blardigan


Read:

I absolutely love to read, especially in the winter, and knowing that we're road tripping to Virginia for the holiday, I'll have plenty of time in the car to indulge! (Yes, I'm one of those people who has no problem reading in the car. It doesn't make me sick.) I had a really hard time picking just one thing to read, but knowing that I bought 3 books for each of my girls, I let myself pick three too. #mommakestherules 



First up, Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines. I absolutely love all things Fixer Upper & I adore biographies, so I think this one would be a winner. 



Next up is Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. I am a huge fan of her writing & It Ends With Us is one of my favorite books of the year. This is her latest & I'm hoping to love it! 



Last, I'm going with another autobiography. I am a huge fan of Gilmore Girls & Parenthood, so obviously Lauren Graham is near & dear to my heart. Her book Talking As Fast As I Can has been on my "to read" list for awhile & I think it's time I checked it off! 

And after typing all this, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning waiting to open gifts! Here's hoping you all get what you asked for! 


**This Post Contains Affiliate Links. Thank You For Supporting My Blog!**
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Advice from Aunt Bri

As we approach Madigan's first birthday, my sister & I were musing about how anxious she was at this time last year. So many questions and unknowns filled her mind. Thankfully, I had been through it twice by this point & was able to guide her as she made important decisions. 



One of the biggest worries she had before she had Maddie was breastfeeding. She knew that she wanted to breastfeed, but she was stressed after seeing many friends acclimate & get used to it. I assured her that every baby is different! After really struggling with Ella - she was 5 weeks premature & losing weight at first - I still breastfed Livy, who absolutely loved it and thrived. The most important piece of advice I gave her was to stick with it, because it isn't easy at first, but once you both get the hang of it, it's so good for the baby! Other advice - get a good breast pump, invest in nursing tanks, and get comfortable feeding just about anywhere with your nursing cover. The more comfortable you are with it, the more successful you'll be! 



What I wish I'd known to tell my sister sooner, was to use Evivo. Evivo is a probiotic that is used in conjunction with breastfeeding to support gut health. It introduces a good bacteria known as B. infantis, which reduces other harmful bacteria linked to eczema, allergies, diabetes, and obesity. Over the years, this good bacteria has virtually disappeared in the United States. In fact, 9 out of 10 babies are missing it! Evivo is the only probiotic clinically proven to restore the gut to it's intended state. 


As a teacher, I see so many children enter my classroom with medical conditions that were extremely rare when I was a kid - food allergies, eczema, obesity, and type 1 diabetes. Evivo is proven to reduce the risk of developing these issues, and since both Livy & Maddie suffer from eczema, I truly wish I'd known about this product sooner!



Evivo arrives in temperature controlled packaging & can be stored in your freezer. When you're ready to use it, all you have to do is pour a packet of powder into the included mixing bowl, then mix with 3 to 5 mL of breastmilk. 



Using the included syringe, you then feed it to your baby & you're on your way to better gut health! You only have to do it once a day & it takes only minutes. You can even use it straight from the freezer if you forget to take it out ahead of time. 



The brand has created two exclusive offers just for Back to Bliss readers:
  • To receive $10 off an Evivo Probiotics Starter Kit of 4 weeks or more, use the code BLOG4011.
  • To receive $20 off a 12, 20, or 24-week starter kit, use the code BLOG4012.


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