Month: November 2014

I mentioned last week that one of the holiday traditions that my husband and I have is to watch our favorite holiday movies together. This means that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we watch 20+ holiday movies (don’t judge, there is nothing else on between those two holidays). I always look forward to sharing this with my husband, as we have our own inside jokes and personal favorites.

I thought I’d share our list and see if there are any classics that we’re missing that we should include in our list for this year.

Here are our favorites (in no particular order):

  1. Family Stone
  2. Bad Santa
  3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  4. Home Alone 1
  5. Home Alone 2
  6. Miracle on 34th Street
  7. Home for the Holidays
  8. Family Man
  9. The Holiday
  10. Love Actually
  11. Nothing Like the Holidays
  12. Elf
  13. Serendipity
  14. It’s a Wonderful Life
  15. Just Friends
  16. The Santa Clause
  17. The Santa Clause 2
  18. The Santa Clause 3
  19. A Christmas Story
  20. This Christmas
  21. Fred Claus
  22. Four Christmases

Now this list does not include any of the kids favorites, since the point is for us to share these movies together.

Let me know if there’s a must watch flick that we’re missing.

Brace yourselves – the average American Thanksgiving dinner adds up to between 4,000 and 5,000 calories (gasp). Unless you’re getting up and participating in a local turkey trot (overacheivers) or a rousing game of after dinner football with the family, you’re probably not planning to workout on Thanksgiving. I mean who has the time with all the parade/football watching cooking to be done.

In an effort to help all of us burn off some of those calories, I put together these Thanksgiving workout moves you can do throughout the day while you’re cooking, watching football (or the parade) and having dinner.

Follow the instructions below and do the recommended number of reps (until you pass out on the couch after dinner):

  • Every time you check the turkey (or the person cooking the turkey checks it) – 5 squats
  • Every time someone asks for you to pass a dish during dinner – 5 situps (you can save them all up until after dinner)
  • Every time someone sings during the Thanksgiving Day parade – 5 push-ups
  • Every time a Black Friday Sale commercial comes on – jog in place until the commercial is over
  • Every touchdown – 6 alternate lunges (3 on each side)

Here is a fun graphic you can pin or save to your phone as a reminder of the moves throughout the day.

My kids are constantly asking for things. Everyday, I am inundated with requests for food, a drink, a blanket, a new toy, a hug, and a variety of other things. Obviously, I have no problem obliging their needs for food, shelter and love (after they’ve added a ‘please’ to their request, of course). The ‘I want that toy’ and ‘Mom get me that’ pleas really get on my nerves, especially this time of year when they want everything for Christmas. These are the same little girls that could play with a different toy every day for a year (or five) and probably never play with the same toy. Seriously, they are not toy deprived by any means.

Yesterday while we were at the store, I suggested to my oldest that we select a toy to give to a child who might not get presents this year, she said ‘Okay as long I get a toy too.’ I wanted to scream (but obviously didn’t) and then realized maybe it was my fault that she didn’t get the point of the gesture. I have never really taught her that there are people out there much less fortunate than us. It’s not really her fault that she sees commercials for toys and then wants them (damn you savvy marketers).

So I’ve decided to take responsibility and make it my mission to get my kids into the giving spirit this year. I want them to understand how truly blessed we are for all that we have as a family and for them to WANT to give to others, both by giving things as well as giving their time.

These are the 5 things that I’m doing to try to teach my little gimme monsters that giving is just as important as receiving (all year around):

  1. Get them involved in giving to family – have them help choose gifts for family members, or better yet, have them make gifts for dad, grandma, aunts/uncles, cousins, and friends. This will help them be excited to give the gifts and see the recipients open them.
  2. Encourage them to donate old toys or clothes – ask them to go through the toys and clothes they’ve outgrown and pick a couple of items in good condition to donate to a local organization that distributes them to the needy. You can help but let them make the choices, so they feel like they’re doing the ‘giving’. And do this every 3 to 6 months, so they understand that giving is important all the time, not just during the holidays.
  3. Have them pick out a toy or book for a local toy drive – take them to the toy store and ask them to select a toy or book that another child may enjoy (and no, they don’t get a toy while they’re there – that defeats the purpose). Talk to them about how there are some families that can’t afford toys, or sometimes even food. If you can, take them with you to drop the item off in the toy drive bucket/box as well.
  4. Let them witness the effects of giving – if they’re of an appropriate age, take them with you to a soup kitchen to serve meals to the homeless or to a local food bank to help sort and pack food boxes. If they’re younger, ask them to help you bake cookies and deliver them to an elderly or sick neighbor. Experiencing the joy of giving can help them understand why it’s important.
  5. Start a ‘Giving’ jar – get a jar and start regularly putting money into it and encourage them to do the same. It doesn’t have to be a lot (try putting your loose change in for a start), but having a physical reminder can help keep giving top of mind for them throughout the year. Decide as a family how to best use the money to help others.

One of the most important ways to teach your kids about giving (or really anything) is by modeling the desired behavior. So make sure you’re giving year round by helping neighbors or sick friends, volunteering your time at your child’s school or donating money to one of your favorite charitable organizations. This doesn’t mean your kids will stop asking for stuff, but hopefully, it will help them think of others more often.

And with it being Thanksgiving week, let’s not forget about teaching our kids to be thankful, too.

I’m a working mom, so I rarely have time to go shopping for myself (I tried it once with the kiddos and would rather be naked in public than do that again). If it weren’t for Stitch Fix, I’d probably still be wearing the flare leg embroidered jeans from college (that’s so 2002). That means I need help remixing the items I already own, which is where Pinterest comes in (and we already know I’m totally obsessed with pinning). Pinterest is a great source for outfit and styling inspiration. Once I find an outfit I like, I break down the individual pieces and find similar items in my closet to put together my own look.

When I started thinking about what to wear to Thanksgiving dinner, my first thoughts were my cleanest stretchiest pair of yoga pants and a baggy sweatshirt. I don’t think my fam would really appreciate me showing up in my usual ‘around the house’ uniform, so I searched Pinterest for some Thanksgiving outfit inspiration.

Here’s how i went from chic outfit ideas I pinned on Pinterest to actual outfits pulled from my own unorganized closet.

Outfit 1 – Casual dress with fur vest

I’m really obsessed with my fur vest right now so I loved the look of this casual dress paired with a fur vest. I chose my orange H&M skater dress (really any casual dress would work) and added my H&M fur vest, black booties and a simple necklace (I didn’t want a crazy necklace to complete with my already crazy vest). Plus, the dress is a great option for when you know you’ll be ‘gobbling’ up mashed potatoes and pie (see what I did there).

Photos: left – shopbelleboutique.com, right – {Macaroni & Mascara}

Outfit 2 – Structured jacket with loose fitting top

The easiest way to upgrade a simple top and jeans is to add a cute jacket. I really like the simple look of this tan leather jacket and striped tee. I decided to use my brown leather fur lined jacket (because it’s oh so cozy) over this avocado green Anthropology top and dark jeans for a pulled together look (hint: these jeans have a bit of stretch to them which makes them comfy both before and after dinner).

Photos: left: coastwithme.com, right: {Macaroni & Mascara}

Outfit 3 – Casual t-shirt and cozy scarf

There is nothing easier than a t-shirt (well unless you want to be naked). Add a fun scarf and ‘bam!’ there’s your outfit. I went with a black loose tee (nobody should be wearing fitted clothing on Thanksgiving), this cozy mustard yellow scarf and some comfy boyfriend jeans. Grab a long cardigan to take with you just in case you get chilly.

Photos: left – cstyleblog.com, right – {Macaroni & Mascara}

Now this is not rocket science, but gives you a good idea of how to take inspiration from places like Pinterest and translate it into outfits using items you already own (unless yoga pants are socially acceptable, in which case always choose yoga pants). And let’s be honest, odds are if you have children, whatever you’re wearing will be covered in a mixture of gravy, whipped cream and milk by the end of the meal.

Now, which of these outfits do you think I should wear to Thanksgiving dinner?

Once you become a parent, the holiday season (and your life) quickly becomes all about the bass babies. And just like in life, you must remember that it’s important to make time for your partner as well. The holidays are the perfect time to make memories with your spouse and show them how much you appreciate and love them.

My husband and I have a holiday tradition that involves watching all our favorite holiday movies together. This means that we watch about 20+ holiday movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas (don’t judge). We also have specific movies we watch on specific nights, like Christmas Eve is always ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘A Christmas Story’.

Here are 9 traditions to start with your spouse this holiday season:

  1. Dinner and shopping – during the holidays, it can be hard to find time for a date night (who are we kidding, it’s not easy any time of the year). Find a night to sneak away from the kids (maybe have them make holiday cookies with Grandma) and tackle two birds with one stone. Get your shopping done together sans kiddos and then grab dinner and a drink (or three).
  2. Hit up Starbucks and then go light seeing – there’s nothing better than a warm drink and Christmas lights. Turn on some Christmas music and get ready to be super judgy about the light stringing skills of your neighbors.
  3. Watch Christmas movies together – I’m not talking the Christmas cartoons you watch with the kids over and over, I’m talking about grown-up Christmas movies. Whether you like comedy (think ‘Christmas Vacation’ and ‘Bad Santa’) or more sentimental classics (‘Family Stone’ and ‘Miracle on 34th St’), make special time to snuggle up with a glass of wine or hot cocoa, just the two of you to share a movie (or like 30 in our case). Bonus, if you decide to watch ‘Christmas Vacation’, here is a fun drinking game to get you in the holiday spirit.
  4. Buy your spouse festive PJ’s – buy each other special pajamas for Christmas eve, wrap them up and open them after the kiddos nod off. Maybe they’re naughty, maybe they’re nice. (Looking for the lady in your life? Try some of my favorite cute and cozy pjs)
  5. 12 dates of Christmas – if you’re able to get away more often, plan 12 mini-dates for the days leading up to Christmas. Meet for pancakes before work or try fondue for dinner.
  6. Be creative with your spouses stocking – try a theme or gag gifts. Here are some stocking ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
  7. Holiday love letters – write a love letter to your partner, expressing gratitude for all that they do and other mushy stuff. Exchange them Christmas Eve after the kiddos go to bed.
  8. Make their favorite meal or treat – show them you care by making them their favorite meal, cookies, cake, whatever they really love, no matter how much work it means for you (even if it means calling your mother in law to get the recipe). It will mean a lot that you took the time to make something special just for them.
  9. Exchange gifts on Christmas Eve – With kids, Christmas morning is usually a blur of toys camera flashes and massive amounts of wrapping paper. Make Christmas Eve about the two of you and exchange gifts after the kids head off to dreamland so your gifts don’t get lost in the rush of Christmas morning.

Already have traditions with your spouse? What’s your favorite?

Fall is upon us but I’m just finally getting around to breaking out my favorite fall items. Maybe it’s because I spend a lot of time around the house in yoga pants these days, or that I continue to safely rotate between my 4 favorite outfits whenever I go out without the kiddos. I’m by no means a fashionista but I have learned how to put together basic kid friendly clothes that make me look like I put in at least a small amount of effort before heading out of the house to the grocery store or the park. (And these items are versatile enough for the single ladies, too)

Here are my 5 fall fashion essentials every mom should have in her closet:

1. Tall Boots – whether they’re riding boots or rubber wellies, boots are great for keeping your feet warm and dry while chasing kids around during the fall and winter months but they’re still cute enough for a trip to the mall or lunch with friends.

Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots $148

2. Fleece-Lined Leggings – comfy like yoga pants but more socially acceptable, leggings can go great with boots or flats. Be sure to pair it with a top or cardigan that covers your bottom (they’re leggings, not pants).

Anne Klein Fleece-Lined Leggings $26.00

3. Cozy Cardigans – classic layering pieces help pull a look together. Pair it with a t-shirt and leggings for a look that is comfy enough for lounging around the house but also public appropriate. Also, patterns can help hide dirt and stains that little fingers may leave behind.

Vertigo Metallic Open Cardigan $59.97

4. Fancy Sweatshirts – all the comfort of a sweatshirt but with a slightly more feminine fit. Also, fun patterns or embellishments make them less ordinary.

LOFT Heart Print Sweatshirt $54.50

5. Scarves – keeps your neck cozy with these easy accessories. Just throw on and go (or search Pinterest for hundreds of different fancy ways to tie a scarf). They also do double duty by providing strategic coverage for any spills or spit-up mishaps.

Forever 21 Tartan Plaid Frayed Scarf $10.80

Busy lady with no time to shop? I use Stitch Fix, an AMAZING personal shopping subscription service that’s like Christmas morning. You fill out a quick style profile and provide a link to your Pinterest style board (optional), pay $20 and they send you 5 items (clothes, bags, jewelry and scarves). You try everything on at home, keep what you like (the $20 gets credited toward your purchase) and send the rest back in the shipping-paid envelope they provide. Super easy for busy women who don’t have time to shop or know what to buy. If you haven’t tried it, DO IT!

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