A Mom-thrival Guide: you may not need them to survive but they could help you thrive.

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Being a mom involves experiencing a lot of stress. It’s part of the sign-on package that unfortunately doesn’t come with very good pay or health benefits. As moms we have to find our own little guilty pleasures and mini retreats and stress relievers. I am going to share 10 of mine in hopes that they may offer some release and enjoyment to all the other moms out there.

Top of my list is my mini oil diffuser and my Natrogix natural oils. First, I love its lotus shape; it fits beautifully in my office/library by the window with all my plants. It’s not overly powerful, but it works great in a small space, and I am typically sitting by the window when I write. Natrogix oils smell fantastic and come in so many great scents. Today I mixed lavender and lemon to entice those summery outdoor vibes. I have a second diffuser in my bedroom, and I also use oils at bedtime. Both of these items can be found on Amazon, but if you have access to a local small business that sells products like this, I recommend buying there!

These little guys are a lifesaver on mornings after sleepless nights or when you just didn’t get enough sleep because your kid decided that 3 AM was a great time to get up, turn all the lights on and watch TV a volume of 1,000. I was skeptical at first, but there were so many good reviews I decided to try them. First, they feel amazing. They are cool and refreshing, and if nothing else will help you wake up. Second, they truly work! They can be a little slippery when first applying so you may need to hold them in place for a few moments to get them to stick and you will also look like an odd sea creature while you wear them, but if it’s only your little monsters and spouse seeing you, who cares?

This stuff is awesome! If you are a peanut butter fiend like I am but don’t want all the extra fat in baking and smoothies get yourself some powdered peanut butter. I mainly use it to make banana smoothies. My recipe is a frozen banana, PB powder, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, agave, almond milk and vanilla protein powder. I also freeze bananas, add a little bit of milk and the aforementioned spices, I even add a little cayanne sometimes, and mix it int he blender. It makes an ice cream like treat that will have you forgetting that other stuff in your freezer.

Let me start by telling you that I hate perfume, no really I do. I am allergic to many, they make my eyes itchy and my throat close up. A co-worker gave these to our team as a Christmas gift and I LOVE THEM. They roll on, are extremely subtle and don’t have that over powering chemical scent I feel most perfumes have. Dab a little on your wrists, collarbone and behind the years and you will smell fresh as a Daisy, or in this case as fresh as exotic fruit, fresh amber or powdery floral. You can check out their website here.

I am obsessed with these. I first bought them on a whim because they were on sale and I thought, why not? Now I buy them every week at the grocery store. I am even eating one now as I type this. They are great for a person like me who doesn’t like to eat too much at the start of the day, or when you need a little sweet snack that is still healthy. The best part is because they are healthy your kids are less likely to eat them all leaving you with an empty box in the pantry! I purchase mine at Giant from the Natural Food aisle.

I am a tea tree oil junkie, and this, in my opinion, is the best. I use it as part of my skincare regime at night. If you have never used tea tree oil before, go slowly at first, or you can make your face red and burning with over use. I recommend to start you only apply once every other day to build up a tolerance. Make sure you are using 100% oil as well. Once your skin has grown accustomed to it, you will feel and see how smooth and fresh it makes your skin feel. It is also great to mix in with your shampoo or conditioner if you have an itchy scalp. Just a few drops will do.

I know, it’s seltzer water, but I absolutely love this flavor. I drink a lot of seltzer, I have never liked soda and juice is way too many calories and it’s not socially acceptable to drink wine all day so if I am not drinking regular water, I am usually having seltzer. I buy a handful of this flavor every week. It doesn’t have that artificial sweetener taste and it is sodium free.

While we are on the drink kick…. Typically I am a red wine or gin martini kind of girl, but my partner’s oldest son gave us this bottle of port, knowing his dad likes port, for Christmas, and I am fully on board the port train. This is the perfect way to unwind when you have the kind of day that where your son asks for a Strawberry Poptart; you repeat back to him “You want a strawberry Poptart?” because you know due to his ADHD he often says things or ask for something and then 5 seconds later looks at you like your crazy for giving you the item he just asked for. He replies yes, so you make said Poptart and give it to him. Ten minutes later you walk into the TV room to see two bites taken out of the Poptart when you ask why he tells you he doesn’t like this strawberry kind, he wanted the other strawberry kind (what other strawberry kind? we’ve never had another other strawberry kind!) and asks if you can take the strawberry filling out of the strawberry Poptart that he asked for. This port is perfect for that kind of day.

I have been using this product since high school. It is what you might call my “Old Face-full,” OK, I know that was the ultimate cheesy joke. I love this stuff; it uses natural exfoliators, so no plastic beads junk up the water system, and it keeps my skin clean and fresh looking. I use it every time I shower. St. Ives is one of my favorite companies for bath and beauty products, and I have several of their offerings around the house.

My last indulgence is glasses from Zenni Optical. I have more than a few. I have more than are even pictured here. They offer a wide range of colors, styles, and materials at a cost-effective price. I have a pretty strong prescription and astigmatism, and I have never had a problem with any pair. I use my glasses as part of my outfit, I have worn glasses since I was ten, so I do not feel myself without them on. In addition to standard eyeglasses, I also own three pairs of Sunglasses made by Zenni. The only time I take them off, besides sleeping, is when I am performing in a theatrical production, or they don’t match my Halloween costume! If you love glasses as much as I do or just need a new pair check out their site here.

*I have not been paid nor am I being compensated in anyway for mentioning any of these products. These are my personal opinions.

Halloween 2019, I mean Maleficent cannot wear glasses

Are Dresses Without Pockets Even Worth It?

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No.  A resounding no.  Nothing is a more perfect and essential garment than a maxi dress with pockets.  Done.  I could end the post here.  Of course, I am not going to because I feel the desire, not the need, to expound on why dresses with pockets are a must.  If it needs explaining, then this post probably is not for you. 

Photo by Joanna Malinowska

First, where else will I put all the lovely things my children and students give me throughout the day?  A hundred tiny pieces of white paper my son handed me saying they were diamonds for Valentine’s Day, glad I have a pocket.  The 37th pipe cleaner bracelet one of my students has made me?   In the pocket, it goes; I love my students, but even I have difficulty keeping up the excitement after the 10th bracelet in a row.  Snotty tissue, you guessed it, in the pocket.  Every single damn Lego you find because they are never actually in the Lego container, viola! Pocket.  Pockets are one of the most essential tools when interacting with younger kids. 

Photo by Xenia Bogarova

Second, pockets are perfect for the socially awkward adult that I am.  I have no problem talking to kids all day but put me in a social situation where I am expected to speak to adults, and I have no idea what to do with my hands.  Even worse, are one on ones where there is no one to get me out of the conversation I do not want to be having.  For example, when the woman in front of me at Panera Bread turned around to exclaim to me that nobody should eat the food here because it causes cancer, hands in the pockets. Or, how about when my co-worker started telling me about the problem she has been having with her vagina.  Perfect. Pocket. Situation. Or, what about when checking out at the grocery store and the woman scanning my items was talking to the cashier the next station over about her nail fungus? Put ’em in the pockets. 

Third, pockets are everywhere in our life because they are functional.  You have pockets in your car door, and on the back of the seats, I am not currently utilizing any of these pockets, but it makes me happy to know they are there.  Purses and backpacks have pockets because it makes finding things easier.  I love pockets so much that when my mom made me a themed bag as a gift for a theatrical production, I was in, I gave it back and asked for her to add a pocket (which she did, thanks Mom!)  Cabinets are basically pockets for your kitchen, I mean where would you put all your stuff if your kitchen didn’t have pockets?  As a side note, I decided on the spot that I will hence force refer to cabinets at kitchen pockets.

Photo by Amy Humphries

Now perhaps you are not pocket dependent like I am, and if so, I probably am falling flat on my face as I describe the importance of pockets to you.  But, if you love dresses with pockets as much as I do, I know you’re standing beside me in perfect pocket solidarity.  I love dresses with pockets so much that I am wearing one right now as I write this.  This spring, I have systematically started to replace every dress I own with one with pockets.  I have been known to squeal with glee when I discover a dress I like has them; at times, that is the only impetus I need to purchase the aforementioned dress.  When I am wearing a dress with pockets, I lord it around the house like a queen in her castle; somehow, they make me feel instantly better.  Pockets provide a sense of security.  Whether it’s a place to put things, hide my hands or for comfort, I need pockets in my life.  I cannot always hide from the world, but I can slide my hands into those delicious pockets concealing at least a part of me; for that alone, I will always love a dress with pockets.

Essential Mom Outfits

If you are a mom, guaranteed you are busy and have your hands full most of the time. There is often little time to yourself, let alone time for fashion and strategically planning outfits. I have been known to go to Target in sweatpants and a t-shirt because I just couldn’t care at that moment. But, if you’re like me, it feels good to feel put together from time to time, even if it is in a casual way, so, I’ve created a list of my favorite and easy go-to “mom looks” that won’t make you look as haggard as you may feel!

1. This is one of my favorite go-to looks. A Graphic T, Denim Jeggins, and Nude Flats. Toss your hair up in a messy bun and you are good to go. It’s classic, simple and won’t break the bank. I have a selection of graphic T’s that could rival what’s available for sale in the entire Women’s section of Target and Kohl’s combined and own jeggings in light blue, dark blue and pink.

2. For the days you don’t care but still don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed (even though you did), I recommend patterned leggings, a plain oversized sweatshirt and some stylish sneaks. LuLaroe are my favorite leggings and can be found on eBay and in thrift shops. The great thing about leggings is they come in so many colors, patterns and designs there is guaranteed to be a pair out there for you.

3. My other, personal favorite, go-to is a maxi dress, especially if it has pockets. They are sooooooo comfortable and they make it simple to get ready with little effort, while at the same time look put together. I often wear mine with sandals, flip flops or flats. This look is as easy as 1,2…. no 3 needed. I have two of the dressed posted currently hanging in my closet.

4. These are all things you probably have in your closet already. A pair of jeans, a loose T either solid or striped, a cardigan and a pair of white sneakers. Four very basic pieces that can be easily slipped on and have you ready to be out the door in no time. I prefer a pop of color in either the cardigan or shirt but this look can easily be done with more neutral/calm tones like gray and navy and look just as good!

5. Lastly, we have the sweater or sweatshirt dress. I usually pair mine with thick tights and boots in the winter or with loafers or flats in the spring. They are cozy, cute and it’s basically like wearing a hug.

The important thing is that no matter what you wear that you stay authentically you. I love would love to hear from other mom’s about what your “go to” looks are! Please comment so I can get some more ideas for my closet!