Tuesday, December 12, 2017

5 Ways to Feel Warm in the Wintertime


5 Ways to Feel Warm in the Wintertime
Thank you Idahoan® Steakhouse® Soups for sponsoring this post. Stay warm with this winter with a cozy bowl of soup!

It's no secret to my regular readers that I am not a fan of winter. At all. Aside from the holiday season, there is very little I find enjoyable about the cold months here in Chicago, and I'm basically counting down the days until spring as soon as I see the first leaf drop off a tree. I don't want to cover myself in endless layers just to go get the mail. I want to be able to walk outside in bare feet and a sun dress and feel the sun shining on my face, man.

That said, I find that in the wintertime - and in life in general - self pity and a negative attitude don't get you very far. So instead of curling up in a ball and weeping for (at the very least) four months of the year, I try to find ways to make the most of freezing temps and gray skies. And the biggest way I do that is finding simple ways for my family and myself to feel warm, even when it's snowing and brutally cold outside. Today I thought I'd share some of my tips for staying toasty, just in case you're in need of some wintertime warming up yourself.

5 Ways to Feel Warm in the Wintertime
5 Ways to Feel Warm in the Wintertime

1. Pile on the blankets. I know, I know. It's a no brainer. Do it any way. I can have on seven sweaters and three pairs of socks, and I still feel cold until I get under blankets. The psychological aspect of associating blankets with coziness and warmth is what does it for me more than the actual physical increase in body temperature.

2. Run a humidifier. I recently read something that said that because humidity in the air slows down how quickly perspiration on the skin evaporates (which has a cooling effect), you'll feel like the air temperature is warmer. I swear I notice this when I have mine running, so I'm going with it.

3. Listen to summertime music, or watch a movie that takes place in a warm climate. This is another psychological one that works for me (and my family) in a big way. Even watching Moana with my daughter makes me feel like I'm running around in a tropical location for a couple of hours. Try it!

5 Ways to Feel Warm in the Wintertime
5 Ways to Feel Warm in the Wintertime

4. Move. Even if you can't do a full work out, some simple jumping jacks for a minute or two will increase your body temperature. There are also some forms of yoga that help raise body temperature just through breathing. If I'm working and start feeling cold, I get up and briskly walk around the house for ten minutes. It does the trick.

5. Eat lots of warm comfort foods. In my opinion, this is hands down the best way to feel warm in the wintertime. (Hence all of the food photos in this post.) And when it comes to winter comfort foods, our go-to is Idahoan® Steakhouse® Soups. We stock up on all four flavors: Loaded Potato, Creamy Potato, Cheddar Broccoli, and Cheddar Potato, and whenever we need an edible winter warm-up, we whip one up. It only takes five minutes to prepare, but has the same flavorful, slow-cooked taste of restaurant-quality soups served at my favorite eateries. Idahoan Steakhouse Soups are also such easy meals to prepare in a pinch during the holiday season - and anything that makes the holidays less stressful is instantly my favorite in my book. Warm winter comfort perfection, guys.

5 Ways to Feel Warm in the Wintertime

Fellow summer fans (and winter fans too!), how do you seek warmth and comfort during the cold months? I'll take any tips you've got!


Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered


Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered
This post is in partnership with RoC®, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. 

I had my first child at 39, and my second at 41. I am now what is considered to be an "older mom" of very young kids. My 20s and early 30s were spent traveling, moving all over the U.S. (I lived in 9 states in a 12 year period), and focusing on my career as an eco-friendly clothing designer. I knew that I probably (although not certainly) wanted kids someday, but it wasn't a priority. And then, I turned 38, and suddenly it was. I knew that having a child later in life would likely come with judgment, but being aware of the possibility didn't make it any easier when it happened.

The majority of my friends who wanted to be parents waited to have children as well, but outside of that circle, I was given all sorts of opinions when I did get pregnant - from relatives to strangers to the health care system itself, which automatically labeled me as "advanced maternal age" and presented me with an abundance of extra tests and doctor appointments. While more and more people are waiting until later to become mothers and/or fathers than in the past, the truth is that most people who choose to be parents still give birth or adopt in their 20s or early 30s. There is often a stigma attached to older parents, who are assumed to be less equipped for the job because of their ages. About a year ago in fact, I stumbled upon a stereotype-laden opinion piece online about how older parents usually don't have the energy to keep up with their kids, often have less in common with their kids and therefore trouble establishing good relationships with them, and even have a greater potential to feel challenges at social gatherings with other parents because they will have less to talk about and look physically older than the other parents. Yep. It said that.

Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered
Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered

I'd be lying if I said that article didn't get to me on some levels. Shortly after reading it, I was at one of my 3 year old daughter's activities, and I started talking with another mom. We had a great conversation about our children that led to discussing our pregnancies and birthing experiences. I said something about my "advanced maternal age" label while pregnant, and she asked me how old I was. When I told her, she said, "Wow, I would have guessed you were much younger. You look really good for your age." For your age. I know she was trying to compliment me, and I thanked her, but my mind immediately wandered back to that article. That night, I sat up in bed trying to read a book, but I kept thinking about my conversation with the other mother, and that awful article, and what it meant to be an older-than-most mom who didn't simply look good, she just maybe looked good for her age. I mean, would that apply to all aspects of being an early-40s parent to little ones? Would I be considered active with my kids for my age? Would I have a good understanding of my children's generation for my age? Would I be a good parent in general for my age?

I was convinced I was going to wake up the following morning riddled with anxiety, but the opposite happened. I woke up feeling empowered. I mean, seriously, why would I allow myself to feel bad about my appearance or parenting skills because of outdated stigmas attached to getting older? I'm doing great as a parent, and my age - old or young - has nothing to do with it. I am actively involved in my kids' activities and my daughter's school. I keep up with my children and have lots of hands on playtime with them, even after working all day. I maintain a healthy social life with friends, including parents of all ages. And I focus on taking care of myself and appearance - I attempt to put myself together well when I dress each day, I eat healthy foods and regularly exercise, and I use the best skin care, like my beloved RoC® RETINOL CORREXION MAX Daily Hydration Créme. (I love what actress Thandie Newton says about it: “I am proud to participate in the mission of RoC® and it’s For Your Age campaign as this Brand understands and celebrates every way a person wants to feel, and how they want to look.” Amen!) I have zero regrets about waiting to have kids until later. I personally needed to have the life experiences I had when I was younger to get to where I am now, and I am consistently using those experiences to improve my parenting skills. That whole cliche of age just being a number is truth, guys. I consider myself to be a young mother despite being in my early 40s. And I'll say it again. I'm doing great.

Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered
Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered

Since this occurrence, I've continued to think more and more about how compliments given to women - moms or otherwise - ending in "for your age" are so prevalent in our society, and the potentially negative impact they could have. And while the giver of these compliments most often means well, the implications are that if a woman does look her age (middle-aged or otherwise), she doesn't look good. What if you are 40 and you genuinely look 40? Does that mean there is something wrong with you? Why should beauty be defined by how old we look? And deep down, does being consistently told she look great for your age have a detrimental effect on a woman's self esteem? RoC® actually did a study on this, where they partnered with Wakefield Research on a nationwide survey of 1,000 women aged 40 and up. The results showed that 82% of women have been told that they look "great for their age” in the past year (and most on average of every 6 weeks!), most women would rather not be given a compliment at all than get one ending with "for your age," and that 87% of women feel that society expects women to act their age, but to look younger. This isn't right. We shouldn't have to feel that we look any way, because of our ages, or for our ages. Beauty should not be determined by age, period. (To learn more about the study, click here.)

We can change this way of thinking though. We can. I strongly feel that we, as moms of any age and as women in general, need to take the initiative to band together and reevaluate how beauty and age are connected - beginning with removing phrases like "for your age" from our vocabulary. And this can extend beyond beauty to success in parenting and/or careers as well. Today's woman is genuinely the healthiest, most active/successful/influential of all women throughout history, and the fact that society tells us we should still be longing for our youth represents a huge problem. We as women can be anything, and that should have nothing to do with how old we are! I truly believe this, and as an "older mom" who is loving (and doing a great job of) being a parent, I hope I am proof of this.

Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered
Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered
Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered

I vow to continue to work hard to be strong, successful, confident, and beautiful on my own terms. I'll keep dressing in clothes I love and that I personally find to be chic or stylish, regardless of what department I find them in or if magazines tell me I should be dressing older to match my age. I'll take care of my body by eating healthy, nutritious foods that fuel me and exercising everyday. I'll take care of my skin by using my RoC® RETINOL CORREXION MAX Daily Hydration Créme, which offers a powerful retinol formula for well hydrated, beautiful skin, quickly moisturizes to deeply hydrate skin for 24 hours, and is clinically proven to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles in 1 week. I'll continue to work hard, enjoy what I do for a living, and feel good about helping to support my family. And I'll remain an active mom who enjoys keeping up with 2 littles ones, and is happily involved in their playtime, activities, and school.

Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered

Whether you're an older mom like me, a "middle aged" career rockstar, a strong woman who is past what society seems to consider youthful, or just a righteous babe in general, (or all of these things!), I would so love to hear your stories of shattering age stereotypes and feeling strong and beautiful regardless of your number of years. Feel free to comment below, email me, or DM me on Instagram. We're in this together, and should feel empowered together. Thank you for letting me share my story with you!


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Friday, December 8, 2017

A Different Kind of Holiday Gift (One They Really Want)


Thank you PayPal for sponsoring this post. Visit PayPal to give the gift people really want this season: money!

Ahhh, the holidays. When I think of this time of year, my mind is filled with two distinct types of thoughts. One is full of positivity and wonderful stereotypes: freshly baked sugar cookies, crackling fires, Christmas music and movies enjoyed under blankets with loved ones, and luxuriously excessive levels of cozy. The other is slightly more realistic and infinitely less fun: stressful last minute running around, expectations that can't be met, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. And when I get more specific and start thinking about holiday shopping and holiday gifts, my mind once again is split in two. One half is all about an ethereal vision of smiling people walking through busy, snow-covered city streets holding piles of beautifully wrapped packages, and the other is about the unavoidable anxiety that comes with trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on my list. Holiday gifting can be hard, man.

Lucky for me (and all of us, really), I just discovered a super easy but genuinely heartfelt way to give friends and family gifts they will actually use, with none of the stress. But more on that in a minute. First I have a story.

Years ago, my sister Morgan (aka my bestie forever) and I lived in the same city. We would do everything together during the holidays - from shopping to holiday coffee dates with manicures to seeing holiday movies together to cookie baking marathons and more. The holiday fun was endless, guys. These days, we live in different states, and even though I do get to see her on Christmas Eve and Day, the holiday season leading up to that can be rough. We talk, text, and FaceTime consistently during the holidays, but it's just not the same.


A couple of weeks ago, I was putting together my holiday shopping list, and when I got to my sister, I started to feel a little sad. I miss her so much, and I felt like this year, I really wanted to get her a different kind of holiday gift - something that would represent all of the wonderful things we used to do together in the days leading up to Christmas. And then I got an email about something called PayPal P2P. Boom. I had my sister's gift, and it was perfect.

Using PayPal P2P, I'm sending my sister a surprise money gift - along with one of PayPal P2P's super cute digital holiday greetings (co-created in partnership with bad ass babe Leandra Medine, founder of Man Repeller!) - so she can treat herself to a holiday manicure and coffee date, just like we used to do together. Awwww! Seriously though, I can't wait to hear her reaction. I feel like this will be such an incredible way for her to celebrate the season just like we did when we lived close to each other, and to also give her a gift that she will actually use and appreciate. And it alleviates stress off me as well, because it's so much more convenient than trying to shop for a gift she may not even want, but still has a really special personal touch. As you can see in the image below, the greetings can be personalized exactly how you want them so they're genuinely heartfelt. And there are so many fun designs to choose from!



With PayPal P2P, you can securely send and receive money with family and friends using just a phone number or email address between PayPal accounts. Be it food for Friendsgiving, the taxi to a holiday party, or that group gift for Mom and Dad, there are many reasons to use PayPal P2P payments this holiday season. You can send a PayPal P2P digital greeting by simply logging into your account on PayPal.com, select Send Money, enter the recipient's contact information, designate the amount, click the gift box, select your favorite greeting, personalize with a message, and send. The funds go right into their PayPal account; if they don’t have an account, they can quickly open one for free. Pretty great, right? To learn more about PayPal’s holiday offerings, go to: http://clvr.li/2hwucFV.


I'll be sure to try to capture my sister's reaction via FaceTime and embarrass her by sharing on my Instagram Stories. Anybody else have a holiday partner in crime for all of your December activities? Who else is using PayPal P2P for holiday gifting this year?


Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Some Thoughts On My Daughter


Dog Bone Sugar Cookies

In 3 weeks, Essley turns 4. I won't get into the whole cliche of how quickly time passes with kids or how fast they grow, but I will say that I am having a difficult time grasping the fact that this little baby to whom I seemingly just gave birth is now so far from infancy. I look at her and she seems so grown up you guys. She is bright, independent, creative, and kind, an incredible teacher, and while admittedly sometimes a complete a-hole, a really wonderful human being. I talk about the kids from time to time around here, but the more emotional posts have been about Emmett and what he's been through with his epilepsy journey. Today I felt inspired to pop in and just say something about how much I adore my daughter. I am so grateful for her.

Any other mamas of daughters, do you feel me here? Aren't they just the best? (Tied with the sons of course.) Oh, and thanks for allowing me to express the occasional gushing of emotions around here guys. Gotta keep it real now and then.

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