Author Archive

Get Fit on a Small Budget: My Fitness Confession

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Get Fit on a Small Budget

I have to admit that I am doing a few things that I don’t feel entirely comfortable with today. I am sharing with you a very vulnerable place in my heart, I am exposing a time in my life that I wasn’t the most proud of, I am sharing one picture (of many) of a person that I don’t really recognize, and I am telling you that I am trying to be different…knowing that saying it out loud is the hardest part.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

In my college years, after numerous indecisions about what I wanted to do with my life, I settled on a career path in Food & Nutrition. While learning about the formula for calories, flunking my cooking class twice, and taking courses on exercise and physiology, I became a blimped out version of my former self. I ate out almost every single day, stopped exercising, partied hard, and lived a sedentary life. My hair suddenly became greasy, my face was shiny all of the time, I had chronic stomach problems, exercise-induced asthma, chronic back pain, high cholesterol, and I need to nap because I was constantly tired. Freshman 15 would have been mild compared to the Freshman 35 that I put on. It was such a gradual process that I don’t think I even realized what was happening.

So gradual, in fact, that I found it strange when I overheard a guy friend say that I had a pretty face and would be cute if I could just lose some weight.

I was that girl now.

I bring this up because I know that sometimes it can be hard to relate to someone if you don’t see the struggle, the work, and the decisions that are made daily to accomplish their current body, and the daily commitment that is made after you have reached your personal goals for fitness or weight loss.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

In my thirties, I am in better shape than I ever was in my teen or college years. My skin is great, I no longer take any medications, I have no chronic health conditions, I am at a healthy weight for my body, and I am proud to show my kids that physical fitness is an essential part of my day.  When a ten minute workout would have winded me before, I can now run on my treadmill miles at a time.

Each day that I put in my exercise time, I remind myself that I am running and exercising against a family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, low bone density, stomach problems.

I am running towards quality time with the people I love.

How is fitness and frugality related? Well, frankly, it is simple… the more fit you are, the less you pay in medication and doctor visits. Fitness doesn’t require a big investment at all, but it is an investment that will pay off for years and years down the road.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

Connect your workouts with your passions

Working out used to be a real struggle for me. Each day working out was a hurdle for me. It was something that I felt compelled to fight against my weight and health problems, but it never was enjoyable or something I looked forward to. All of this changed with a Groupon that I snagged for a local dance fitness studio. Some of my best childhood memories were dancing on a stage and discovering that there were dance classes for adults has reignited my passion for working out.  My biggest struggle now isn’t if I have to go the gym, but when should I LEAVE from the gym.

Abbi said it best in her article that she shared with us this week when she said, “Remember your childhood passion and transition it into your adult life.”

This simple switch really has been the key to my own fitness success this year. Groupons can be a great way to explore a new class or workout routine without making a large investment.  I have tried so many classes and gyms through their offerings and have had great success in adding variety in my workout routines without spending a lot of money.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

Eat healthier during the day

No matter how hard I was exercising, I was still eating whatever I wanted and not seeing the results that I was looking for.  As a mom it can be difficult to not give in and just eat whatever the kids are eating. My days were filled with macaroni, chicken nuggets, crackers, chips, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Unfortunately, that was not filling me up and I would feel hungry throughout the day.

One thing I have found is that starting with a smart menu plan for the week really helps to keep me on track.  Due to some of my own health struggles,  this past year,  I switched to eating gluten-free and it has transformed my life and eating habits. It also requires a lot of thought and planning to execute a health menu plan for us all and keep our family on budget.  Each week I make a batch of slow cooked steel cut oatmeal for the morning,  I try to make a double batch of taco meat so that I can make taco bowls (brown rice, meat, tomatoes, & lettuce, with a little greek yogurt to top) for my lunches, I  keep salad and smoothie fixings in the fridge for quick meals, and always have lots of fruit on hand for snacking.

Double batching items or making a pot of something that can be enjoyed all week are the keys to my success. Where I used to deprive myself of foods to lose and maintain my weight, I now eat what I want, but in moderation.

Although I would love to do all my shopping at an inexpensive market in town, I have found that I can feed our family a lot more healthy food exploring a discount market like ALDI.  One of my favorite offerings from that store is their produce picks of the week that have been deeply discounted for the week. Now it isn’t an issue to splurge on lots of fresh fruits and veggies since the price fits right in my budget and I work to incorporate this weekly produce item in our cooking for the week to keep our grocery budget on track.

Be frugal, but make wise fitness investments

Workout gear can be pricey, but doesn’t need to be. This is the time of year when workout gear is deeply discounted and the best time to stock up thanks to those semi-annual sales. The shops know that many of us are making resolutions to get back in shape and they drop the prices on fitness equipment in anticipation of this.

I get a lot of my workout gear from the Danskin brand for Walmart because most of my key pieces are $15 or less. I also have found that if I want to get brand name workout gear I check sites like Twice or Thredup for the expensive gear I want, but at half the price. Many people I know have had great success purchasing coveted brands like Lululemon on eBay as well.  If you want quality pieces, you can find them through these secondhand retailers.

One investment that you shouldn’t skimp on though is a good pair of workout shoes.  While new tennis shoes were a big investment for me, they are an investment that has really paid off and allowed me to workout longer and not feel achy after my workouts. Different activities require different types of shoes and being properly fitted is key to preventing injuries.

Don’t be afraid to make an investment if it will improve your fitness experience and help your endurance levels with working out. My tennis shoes are just one example of something that had held me back from feeling my best, and something that has made a huge difference in my motivation to keep moving.

Switch up your routines

If you are hitting a plateau in your fitness routine, then it might be time to switch things up a bit. For many years I had been working out at home. I found a lot of variation in my routine compliments of the library and the DVD’s that they offered.  Now I have joined a gym, which I consider one of the wisest investments that I have made. Since I am frugal, I try to be there 4-5 days a week (at least) so that I can really get every dollar out of my monthly membership, bringing the class prices down to around $3 each.

Think about what you are spending your money on and see if it could be allocated to something healthier. Do you have a movie club membership or premium cable plan? What if you put that money towards a gym membership instead?  With my cable plan and my movie membership, I felt forced to sit in front of the boob tube. After canceling the movie membership, I have felt less dedicated to television time and more dedicated to the things that matter most to me.

Workout buddies can be a wonderful way to keep on track with your fitness too. Having a commitment to others or making social engagements with them after your workouts can be a great way to stay on track with your goals while building lasting friendships.

Turn off distractors

The hardest part of working out for me are all of the distractors that can pull me away from my goals. I make deals with myself where I am not allowed to login to Twitter, Facebook, or my email until my workout is complete. What distracts you from reaching your goals? Some distractors (our children, for example) are more difficult to reduce, but many are silly things that could be pushed aside until your workout is done. I decided to take this all a step further this year and stopped updating my personal Facebook page after discovering just how draining these distractions were to my energy levels and time.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

(my beautiful inspiration)

Get inspired

What inspires you? Is it a picture of your former self on your fridge, is it having an awesome workout buddy that you can check-in with, is it reading the victory stories of weight-loss from other bloggers? Is it your beautiful children?

Whatever it is, get inspired and try starting a new workout routine today.

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Amy’s Notebook 01.07.15

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

alisa-burke-in-the-kitchen via Design Mom

Source: Design Mom

 

Living with Kids: A Look Back at 2014 is eye candy for my home for miles!

Best Books of 2014 = more library requests.

And I can’t wait to listen to the year’s best audiobooks!

A reminder to take back pizza night.

Twelve months of organizing through a bag a day challenge.

Six strategies for maximizing the value of a warehouse club.

The paint colors we loved in 2014.

Personal Doormat via A Beautiful Mess

Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

I love a good personalized craft project.

To replace my Serial addiction.

Finding closet contentment.

LOVE this peek into another fashion capsule from Sarah!

I am joining in to read this one.

7 tips to help keep your resolution to declutter.

I love this for many reasons.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

This is a guest post by Abbi Pollyea for the m challenge series.

It is a new year, and with it comes an opportunity to start fresh and perhaps create some positive change in our lives. One of the most popular New Yearʼs Resolutions is the one that goes like this, “Iʼm going to get in the best shape of my life this year!”

The fitness industry as a whole blows up in January. Gym memberships are up, fitness dvd sales are high, and fitness classes everywhere are full. As a fitness instructor, I love this special time of year as I get to meet many new potential clients and share in their enthusiastic energy. I attempt to encourage all new students with words of empowerment in the hopes that they will find passion in movement and fully commit to an exercise program. Unfortunately, however, January comes to an end and numbers in classes start to go down. By the end of February, many of the new people that I hoped I would get to know as regulars, have stop attending classes altogether.

New healthy habits are simply hard to permanently implement into our lives and it can be easy to fall back into old routines that are comfortable and not challenging. There needs to be a driving source of motivation that exists from within in order to fully commit to a fitness program. It is my intent to help you find this motivation and use it on a regular basis to help keep you moving!

I have created a simple formula that will help make your fitness resolutions attainable. The formula is as follows:

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

(A source of INSPIRATION) + (A type of MOVEMENT that you LOVE) + (A COMMITMENT to yourself) = A new found PASSION and COMMITMENT for fitness and health

For the initial part of this formula, (INSPIRATION), I am going to share a brief version of my journey into fitness. I am hoping that some of these words and themes will be relatable to those who have struggled with similar situations.

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

As a child, I was drawn to gymnastics and dance. I loved each sport with such passion and was a natural at both. Adolescence proved hard for me however, and my late teen years were extremely rocky. I gave up both beloved sports and without a passion to direct my energy, I floundered my way through high school, putting on weight and taking poor care of myself. Luckily, I made it through somewhat in tact, fell in love with a great,great man, had a baby, got married, and had another baby. This would bring us to 2004. So, from 1994-2004, I did not dance or do anything that I would have considered athletic.

I was now a mom of two beautiful boys, and felt happy at being a mom, but unfulfilled with my individual accomplishments. I felt sad that I would never be the dancer or gymnast that I aspired to be as a girl. I was twenty-six and pretty much felt that my dreams were over, which is a confining way to feel. One afternoon, I watched a movie called “Center Stage.” In this movie, there was a scene in which an adult jazz class took place. Something about it made me want to dance again so badly, that it made me cry. Later that day, I dried my tears, opened up the phone book, (it was 2004!) and looked up every single dance studio in South Bend, Indiana. I called them all until I found one that offered an adult Jazz class. I signed up, bought myself some jazz shoes and was more excited than I had been in a really long time.

The class was on a Monday night at 6pm, I showed up at 5:30 and waited while about fifteen other women came in. It was then that I got nervous and started to feel like I had no business being there. I actually went out to my car and almost went home, truly. But…..I didnʼt. I stayed, and danced, and after taking the six week class two times in a row, I was asked to be an instructor. This began a teaching career that expanded into Pilates, Yoga, and Barre. My job has helped keep me in shape, stay home with my kids, (two more came along in 2010 and 2012) as they grow, introduced me to the BEST people, and has never, ever, stopped inspiring me. Most importantly, however, the experience of attending that one dance class brought passion back into my life that had been lost in the years between childhood and adulthood.

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

I hope that story helped inspire you to look back at your own childhood, and think about the sport that brought out your greatest joy. Whatever activity that comes to your mind is going to help you with the second part of the formula, (MOVEMENT that you LOVE). This part of the formula is essential. Exercise shouldnʼt feel like a “have to”, it should feel like a “want to”. So… if you were a soccer player, find a local adult soccer league, if you loved gymnastics, try Pilates, if you loved riding bikes, try a Spin class. There are adult programs everywhere! Whatever movement or game that brought you joy and passion as a child, will still bring you the same feelings as an adult. There is something so magical about revisiting our childhood dreams in an adult setting, it is an opportunity to reconnect to our younger selves and say to our present self, “It is never too late to pursue your dreams!”

The final part of the formula is the hardest, (COMMITMENT to YOU). It is so hard to take care of ourselves and try to pursue our dreams when we are doing this around the clock for our families. In order to inspire and take care of others, however, we MUST commit to ourselves. I know I am a more patient and kind person after I have danced for an hour. We all need an outlet that is healthful and keeps us inspired. Know fully that you are worth the commitment.

Below are two pictures, the first is of me at age ten, happy as I could be on my balance beam. The second is of me last year at age 36, happy as I always am on my Pilates Reformer working on a dance move:

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

Remember your childhood passion and transition it into your adult life. I wish you a happy, healthy, and magical 2015.

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 01.06.15

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Linen Pinafore Apron via Etsy

Source: Retro Home,  $85.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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m challenge: Focus on Health

Monday, January 5th, 2015

the m challenge

Welcome to our first month of exploration in the m challenge series! I have so many wonderful posts for you this month as we explore our health and fitness goals for the new year. You can ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that my fitness routines and caring for my own health has been a big priority for me over the last few years. Part of it comes with the aging process and wanting to remain youthful as long as possible. The other reason is simply wanting to live a long and healthy life with my two children, hopefully bypassing some of the things my body might face if I didn’t take my health so seriously.

the m challenge: minimize

This month we will be getting some advice from a fitness instructor on her winning formula for getting and staying fit, I will be sharing a little bit about my own journey towards a healthier life, I will be asking a fitness instructor what items she recommends you keep in your gym bag, we will be getting expert advice from an ER doctor on the must-have items we should keep stocked in our First Aid kits, and I will be sharing an amazing reader testimonial from a woman who continually inspires me with her weight loss journey.

Each month I will be sharing a book selection that you can read that goes along with our theme for the month. This month’s selection is WHEAT BELLY by William Davis (affiliate link). It is a book that I have been wanting to read and keep hearing about and I thought we could read it together.  I am not big on fad diet books and this might be a risky first choice, but I would love to chat with you about it!  I hope you can snag it from your local libraries and we can have a discussion on this at the end of the month!

 

Wheat Belly by William Davis

I really hope you are as excited as I am for this new series on the site. I can’t think of a better goal than a renewed commitment to your own personal health and fitness. See you tomorrow with our first post on getting and staying fit in this new year!

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Welcome to The m Challenge!

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

m-challenge-big

With a new year upon us, I am finding the need to change directions. I can’t believe that I have had the privilege of blogging for a decade. What a wild, & crazy ride this has been. Many of my fellow bloggers have been making changes or have given the blog scene up  recently.

I feel that pull too.

Instead of feeling sad or wondering why they would do this, I admire their bravery.   It is hard to stay motivated,  to keep pursuing all of this while juggling my family and home life. I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying how to continue this or if I should continue.

What have I said that you haven’t heard already?

How can I continue to create value while honoring my own life?

I don’t feel like I am ready to give up on you, but I have decided to switch the direction of our site this year and see where that takes us. I am so excited about this that I am finding I am already motivated and restored just knowing that I have a direction to take you. Are you ready?

Welcome to the m challenge. This year will be all about challenging you to live a focused life that you can truly be proud of.  One thing I hear a lot of from you is that you struggle with balance and organization. Guess what? I do too.  This will be a year-long exploration brought to you by a panel of experts that can help guide us a on a path toward a better life.  I am calling it “the m challenge,” in honor of our site name and the three areas of focus.

The m challenge will consist of three key ingredients:

m-challenge-min

MINIMIZE- Each month we will minimize one area in our life or in our home. We will declutter our homes, slim down our closets, slow down on obligations, streamline our menu plans, and minimize technology & social media time.

m-challenge-max

MAXIMIZE- Each month we will maximize by bringing the good things back in. This can be by maximizing our time, making smart purchases, adding great new dishes to our family table,  making the most of small spaces, making time for creativity, making the most of our money, discovering our passions, and exploring volunteerism opportunities that align with our passions.

m-challenge-morph

MORPHOSIS- Each month we will feature one expert to help us from life coaches, to financial advisors, to fitness gurus, to counselors, to ministers. These people will further the conversation towards a richer life and give us strategies to achieve it. I also would love for you to be a storyteller and share your journey towards minimizing, maximizing, or sharing about someone who has been a muse to you and helped you make positive changes in your life. Under this category, we will explore books that can help you be a better parent, money manager, minimalist, and creative.

I want this experience to be interactive for you. If you have a passion for one of these topics and would like to share with our readers, please let me know!  I will be reviving our MomAdvice Book Club and featuring a nonfiction selection that will help you as you work through your month. At the end of each month, we will provide a syllabus that has all of the features here for our month as well as supplemental reading materials that will help you explore each topic further.

I like to be transparent about money with you. This year-long exploration will be FREE to you.  For me to provide all of this for you, sponsored posts will have to happen. I don’t have another way to do this. If I did TRUST ME, I would.  This is the only way that I can pay everyone for their time to give advice to you.  My commitment to you is that the opportunities I take will also align with these three categories. I won’t waste your time pursuing the things that won’t benefit you. I also am committed to exploring this journey with you. I am doing these things right along with you because my life needs it too.

Here are our chosen topics for the m challenge 2015! 

January- Health & Fitness

February- Money Management
March- Fashion
April- Home Organization
May- Technology
June- Travel
July- Beauty
August- Meal Planning
September- Better Mornings
October- Transforming Your Space
November- Giving
December- Self-Care

I can’t wait to go on this journey with you and am excited to see this year unfold. Check back on Monday for our first post for our brand new year together!

 

 

 

How to Make a Breakfast Bar

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

We have come to the age of slumber parties and epic sleepovers in our home. If you were anything like me when I was a child, you just couldn’t wait to wake up and find out what would be for breakfast.  Making a breakfast bar can be a fun way to serve a large group whether it is your child’s birthday or simply an easy way to entertain guests for the morning. I am partnering with Walmart today to show off a cute display for creating a breakfast bar in your home.

My favorite sleepover when I was a kid involved a huge display of toppings for our waffles and pancakes. I remember as a child delighting in all of the options and I still have that delight even as an adult.  Now as mom, I love creating a self-service bar of choices for our meals where everyone can customize their own meals to their own tastes.

Breakfast, in particular, as a buffet is a great idea so that guests can sleep in and then come and create their breakfast whenever they are ready, eliminating the need for you to all be around the table at the same exact time.

Even on busy school mornings, I find that this option would work beautifully since we all arrive at the table at different times. By prepping the toppings ahead, you can save time in the morning and really enjoy that cup of coffee.

Here are some of my suggestions for creating a beautiful and easy breakfast bar spread!

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Make Serving Easy With Scoops & Trifle Bowls

Ditch the cereal boxes for an elegant display utilizing clear glass trifle bowls and an inexpensive all-purpose scoop. Give your guests choices by providing more than one selection of cereal.

 

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Create a Simple Toppings Bar

I love to provide a variety of toppings so everyone can make their bowl their own. Fresh strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries can be a wonderful fresh topper. Dried fruits, slivered almonds, or crunchy walnuts can also add variety to your toppings bar. Make an easy batch of granola (I love this vanilla-scented granola or this easy honey nut granola) and add this to the mix for another crunchy layer. Remember to take advantage of what fruits are in-season to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Add a Gluten-Free Option

As someone who is gluten-free, I love when there are options for me. Yogurt can be a delicious option and give your guests a chance to also create their own bowl utilizing the delicious toppings you have provided for your breakfast buffet. I like to keep small bowls handy to pour the yogurt out into and giving me room to really layer on the fruit, nut, and granola toppings, just as I would do with cereal. Make sure that you are using gluten-free oats if making your own granola or purchase gluten-free prepared granola if purchasing them.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Make a Pretty Display

If there is one investment that I am glad I have made over the years, it has been in classic white dishes. Display your toppings in pretty bowls and add an inexpensive bouquet of flowers to the center of your breakfast bar. Even if the ingredients are not all homemade, you can still make things feel pretty and upscale with a few inexpensive additions and beautiful plating.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

I hope these ideas inspired you for your breakfast. Whether it is a weekday rush or a leisurely morning with out-of-town guests, the breakfast bar can be an easy way to serve a meal!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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Amy’s Notebook 12.31.14

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Printable Paper Crowns via The House That Lars Built

Source: The House That Lars Built

 

Printable paper crowns for NYE- too cute!

How to make perfect domed muffins.

Best books of the year according to Hollywood Housewife- I love her selections!

Disco ball headbands- what’s not to love about this?

Goodbye, Serial (oh, how I miss you!)

Learn 7 easy morning rituals that will change your life and boost your day’s productivity and awesomeness.

Kids NYE Bingo via Thirty Handmade Days

Source: Thirty Handmade Days

 

Fun printable New Year’s Eve Bingo sheets for kids.

Small kitchen inspiration.

Five smart ways students can use Google Scholar.

Very excited about this beloved author writing another book!

5 under-the-radar reads- I must add these to my book pile!

What adoptive parents will want to know about the new ANNIE movie.

Capsule Wardrobe via Hollywood Housewife

Source: Hollywood Housewife

 

Love seeing other people contemplate the capsule wardrobe!

It’s so fun peeking into other people’s fashion capsules.

More winter fashion capsule inspiration.

How about a capsule Kitchen challenge- could you do it?

Nobody is more healthy, productive or clear-headed than a person who has planned and is living a meaningful life- love this reminder!

More joy less clutter.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 12.30.14

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Linen Snowflake Apron via Etsy

Source: Linen & Tailor,  $39.99

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week- the last week of the year! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Holiday Shopping, a Ghostly Tale, & a Tired Eye Cure

Friday, December 12th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I can’t believe that I am taking a real vacation from the blog! I really need to get back to center with my people so I will be out of the office December 13th-28th! I have a date with this book (have you read it? I can’t put it down!!) and an ambitious stack of library books that I checked out for the week. I hope you caught my annual list of the best books of 2014- it was a good year of reading!  I can’t wait to have a little quiet time before we ramp up for the holidays.

Before I check out of the social media world though, here is my happy list for the week!

Flourish Boutique Holiday Shopping

Stocking Stuffers Galore

I love a good statement necklace and last night I got the VIP treatment at Flourish Boutique to take a peek at their holiday offerings this year. Since I have some special ladies in my life, I I got some really pretty statement pieces for them that I can’t wait to give them for Christmas. If you are as big of a fan of costume jewelry as I am, you really should check out their store (online or in-person!) They had a ton of fun new arrivals, but my eye always gravitates towards their cozy leggings and shapewear offerings that I wear so much in my fashion capsule.  You can always use our web code MOMADVICE  to take 25% off of your purchases when doing your own holiday shopping!

Don’t worry- I was good! Although I had hoped to take a few photos this week for you, I am seriously in crazy mode for the holidays so you will have to trust me that I am absolutely loving my capsule wardrobe and continuing to learn so much from it about my purchasing habits. I will get back to sharing from it after the holidays although I am sure you can catch a picture or two on Instagram!

The Dead Files

The Dead Files on Netflix

I am just going to say it. Netflix has really been rocking lately. My husband and I picked up The Blacklist (did you know Netflix paid $2 million per episode just to secure that show? CRAZY!), The Mind of a Chef (craving noodles all day, everyday after watching this), and now The Dead Files which originally aired on the Travel Channel.

My sister-in-law shared this gem with us and I think we have watched ten episodes already because it is so fascinating. They send a private investigator into a home that is haunted and they send a medium in to the same scene, but each of them doesn’t get to meet with each other or share evidence until the end of the show. The detective spends time gathering the real fact about the house (meeting with town historians and local folks) while the medium runs around and talks to ghosts and works with a sketch artist to draw one of the ghosts that she sees that is bothering the family. Then they sit down and share their evidence and it is crazy awesome.

I’m not sure if you are into the ghost-hunting thing or not or believe in it, but just finding the true history of the homes is some seriously fascinating stuff. The show isn’t scary, just super interesting. I find the editing to be a little too tightly perfect and I’m not sure I believe all of it (she is never wrong!?), BUT I LOVE IT.  If you have a marathon of present-wrapping and need a little escape, this is a pretty good one.

If you have any other Netflix recommendations for me, let me know in the comments because I am going to have lots of stuff to wrap this week with a birthday and Christmas in one week!

L'Oreal Visible Lift Eye Concealer

L’Oreal Visible Lift Eye Concealer

I have terrible circles under my eyes that seem to be getting worse as I age. I haven’t been able to find a concealer that really does a good job covering these up until I got this gem at the drugstore. It is like a little deodorant roller that you just roll right under your eye and then pat in. It covers everything and makes you look well-rested when you are exhausted from yarn-bombing your home for the holidays. If you want to look five years younger, this stuff is amazing and super affordable.

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Bonus Happy

Happy 9th birthday, my beautiful and fabulous daughter! You forever changed our world for the better. I couldn’t be prouder to be your mama! I can’t wait to eat snickerdoodle cake with you-xoxo

Bonus Happy Two- the happiest of the happy!

Happy Holidays from The Clarks

Happy Holidays, friends! Thank you for your love and support this year! See you in two weeks!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?