Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Look For The Helpers (Miracles From Heaven)

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Miracles-From-Heaven-Review

This post is sponsored by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

Mr. Rogers said it best when he said,“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

It is a quote that has stuck with me for a very long time although I had not realized how much we would need our helpers until we had to call upon them this year. This year’s diagnosis has been tough on our family, but we have gotten through it because of the people that have been our helpers in our lives. Being one who refuses to ask for help (even when I really need it), my friends took it upon themselves to assist our family in the most generous of ways…through a random acts of kindness that would show up on our doorstep.

flowers

I was in crippling pain and extremely depressed.  I have been angry at God and frustrated by my body’s new limitations. One of my girlfriends saw what was happening and organized my friends to do a doorstep delivery each day. One day I came out to a pretty candle from a favorite shop, a gift card to Amazon to buy a book, beautiful stationery, flowers and a meal, a basket of gluten-free treats, a pail of sunshine (with items all in yellow), wine tucked in our mailbox, and fun snacks to enjoy with my wine. Each day, my spirits felt lifted. I felt really and truly loved.

sunshine

Not only did they make these gestures, but they kept me busy to help take my mind of the pain. I went for walks, I had friends to join me for yoga classes, coffee invitations, movie dates…It is amazing how much a social outing can pull one out of their slump. There was no time to fixate on my circumstances.

Luckily for me, these past two weeks have been magical thanks to a pill that we have finally found that is finally controlling my pain.

To me, that pill feels like a miracle.

My miracle pales in comparison to the incredible miracle featured in the movie, Miracles from Heaven though. The film, which was just released on DVD,  is based on the true story of the Beam family and their special little girl named Anna who is diagnosed with a very rare and incurable disease.  As if that family had not been through enough, Anna is involved in a terrible accident that should have killed her, but brought an unexpected miracle into their lives that helped to restore their faith.

My daughter & I had a movie day together to watch this one and it lead to a great discussion on our feelings about miracles and about turning away from God when you feel so angry. Although my situation has been mild in comparison, I still can acknowledge that there is anger when you don’t understand why God will let things like this happen.

What stood out to me more about this story though is that there were SO MANY helpers in that family’s life that got them through those difficult moments. Those helpers got their family through some of their most difficult moments from caring for their children to assisting with travel when they needed to be together to working Anna in with the top specialist to make sure she was cared for. Just like me, these helpers are what made many unbearable moments bearable and broke up that desperation that they were feeling.

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner delivers a truly incredible performance as Anna’s mother. The emotion she is able to deliver is powerful, as is the mother’s determination to try to get the best care for her daughter. I don’t know how anyone could watch this and not be moved.

Miracles-From-Heaven-Review-3

If you haven’t checked out the film yet, you can pick up a copy of the DVD at Walmart for a family movie night together. If it is anything like our experience watching it, I am sure your kids will have lots of questions and it will give you a chance to talk about this family’s miracle.

For more information about, Miracles from Heaven, visit the Official Website, give them a Like on Facebook, & follow them on Twitter!

This post is sponsored by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining ($100 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway!!)

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

Those summer nights…tell me more, tell me more.

Is it stuck in your head now too?

I think evening gatherings are the most fun to host and our patio always gets a workout in the summer months with friends and family gathering around our picnic table for meals, wine, and board games.

Also, a big shout out to night skies for hiding our not-so-awesome lawn.

Keeping it real here, friends! We can’t be good at everything!

Today I am partnering up with the BHG Live Better Network to show you some fun additions for your outdoor space AND I’m giving away a $100 gift card to Walmart to get you started on your shopping.

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Bring on the Twinkle Lights

To me, one of the most beautiful sights in the evenings are strands of twinkle lights. They are a super affordable way to dress up your patio without spending a lot of money.  Not only are they beautiful, but they help extend those evening hours outside to play games or enjoy a meal together. You can see how we rigged our lights over our patio in this post.

Patio lights have a tendency to get shattered on our cement patio so I was REALLY excited about these vintage cage lantern lights because the cage helps protect that little bulb inside. That should really help prolong those lights!

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Bring Inside Elements Out to Keep Guests Comfy

I never look at things inside our house and think that they can only be used indoors. You will often find me dragging out dining chairs, piling up our throw pillows up, and heaving side tables out onto the patio.

I love  to create warmth and comfort for our guests, but I’m not a millionaire.

Smaller homes require you to really consider what can function in multiple ways for your home and it helps cut down on out of season storage. That’s why I rely on the items in my home to create a comfy space outside too.

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Here are three pillow options that go inside AND outside in our home (option 1, option 2, option 3- all under $12!!) when entertaining.

I don’t know about you, but there can never be too many throw pillows- am I right?

To add a touch of spring to my home, I pulled in the coral color to mix in with my blues. All of these pillows happen to transition really well with our gorgeous outdoor rug on our patio and match our stained picnic table outdoors too.

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Tips & Tricks for Evening Entertaining from MomAdvice.com

Warm Your Guests (S’mores NOT Optional)

Having a place for a fire has been lovely and may have contributed to summer weight gain (ahem!)  I can never resist the opportunity for a s’more though. Have you seen my S’More Toppings Bar I created?

Clearly, I have an addiction.

We love to get our fire pit going and nothing completes the evening like a bit of warmth and a  killer playlist on Spotify.

I’m talking about you, Adele.

I hope these ideas inspire you and I wanted to share a giveaway so you can create your own perfect evening outdoors with a few of your favorite people. Check out the widget below for directions to enter our $100 Walmart Gift Card giveaway! Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Live-Better-Network-Badge

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

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Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics Under $50

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics Under $50 from MomAdvice.com

One question that I get A LOT is what I would recommend putting in a capsule wardrobe. Curating was tough, but now I finally have all the building blocks in place to create many outfits easily.

The thing is, that this is MY capsule so none of these ideas may work for you. I like to dress very feminine, I usually dress less casual than my friends, and I dress for a petite pear shaped body. You may be a long lean lady or a curvy petite gal or gravitate towards a style that is less feminine…that is all okay! These ideas are just simply my own building blocks that I am thankful I invested in.

I explain over and over again that I am committed to a gently used wardrobe (you can read my tips for shopping for your capsule secondhand over here!) so almost all of the things I have bought were expensive pieces bought for a fraction of the retail price. That is how I am able to keep it on budget for me. It’s a bit like treasure hunting to find these items I needed and I got a real thrill from it. If you don’t, I’m offering some budget-friendly ideas for consideration.

I am incorporating all seasons in the recommendations to simplify today!

Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics

Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics Outer Layers Under $50 from MomAdvice.com
(inspiration board above)

Capsule Recommendations for Layering Under $50

I do not count my winter jacket and trench into this mix, these are just the layers that I rely upon the most when it comes to dressing up my capsule.

Black Blazer

Jean Jacket

Striped Blazer

Utility Vest

Cardigan (in your favorite coordinating color)

Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics Tops Under $50 from MomAdvice.com (inspiration board above)

Capsule Recommendations for Best Tops Under $50

Chambray Shirt (can also do this in a short sleeve for summer!)

White Collared Shirt

Black & White Striped Shirt

Black T-Shirt

Gray T-Shirt

White T-Shirt

Floral Shirt (sharing this landing page to find the best style, cut, & season for you!!)

Jean Shirt (Dress)- I use it as both!!

Gray Sweater (short sleeve option)

Flannel or Gingham Shirt (depending on seasons!)

Bonus: Lace Shirt

PS- I skip the tanks thanks to these!! They are AMAZING! Please buy one and come back & tell me how much you love it too! 

Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics Bottoms Under $50 from MomAdvice.coms
(inspiration board above)

Capsule Recommendations for Bottoms Under $50

Black Pants

Black Leggings

Colored Jeans (choose your favorite coordinating color)

Dark Denim Jeans

White Jeans

Colored Skirt (pick your favorite cut & color)

Denim Skirt

Black Midi Skirt (vegan leather option for fall & winter)

Patterned Pant

Denim Shorts

Bonus: Lace Shorts

Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics Dresses Under $50 from MomAdvice.com

(inspiration board above)

 

Capsule Recommendations for Dresses Under $50

Black Dress

Striped Dress (long sleeve option)

Floral Dress

White Dress

Jean Shirt (Dress)- I use it as both!! I’m pointing here so you can pick your favorite cut!

Maxi Dress (I also love this patterned option with sleeves because I’m always freezing!)

Browse My Capsules & Wardrobe Planning Advice

Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Summer 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2016 Wardrobe

Spring & Summer 2016 Wardrobe

Creating the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe (that really works!)

How to Shop Secondhand For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

Best Capsule Wardrobe Basics Under $50

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Happy wardrobe planning!

 Have you done a capsule wardrobe before? What makes your must-have list! I’d love to hear!

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support! xo

Adore Your Wardrobe

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Adore Your Wardrobe Membership

One of my dearest blogging friends has been working on a course series for women that I have been so excited to share about with you. The course series is called, Adore Your Wardrobe, and it is designed to help women discover their own personal sense of style and find the right clothing for them.  It’s a beautifully shot video e-course series that will walk you through everything you need to know about how to look your best always.

In February, Kelly shared with me the course series and I requested that I have full access to review it. I love her, she’s one of my dearest friends, but I also want to be sure that any program I am vouching for is one that I have done myself.  After going through the series, I can honestly say, this is the PERFECT course if you have always struggled with picking the right clothing for you, if you don’t know how to put outfits together, or if you are unsure what cuts of clothing are right for you.

spring-capsule-wardrobe

One of the biggest things that people tell me is that they LOVE my capsule wardrobes, but they don’t know how to do this for themselves. I feel like I have a strong personal sense of style and have learned how to translate that into my capsule, but I know that someone else might have that desire for a slimmed down wardrobe, yet have no clue how to do this for themselves.

rent-the-runway

I was so excited to share this with you when it originally launched and then my health decided to tank on me.  In spite of everything,  I was determined to head to a conference this week, mainly because Kelly and I were rooming together and I can’t imagine not being with her.  The truth is, not only is she an amazing business woman, but she is an incredibly loyal friend.

When I wasn’t feeling up to doing anything, she would share a pizza in our room and gab instead.

Or ditch a night of dancing and eat a burger with me instead.

Or forfeit a fancy lunch at the Ritz to grab Chinese takeout in our room instead.

Now that I think about it, I might be using food as a form of comfort.

As fashion questions would arise from her series I would ask her stuff (from my bed while shoveling food in my face).

“Hey, Kelly, that whole should I wear white or ivory thing…I’m not sure. Look at me, what do you think is the best white for me?” Or “Kelly, I forgot jewelry for my Rent the Runway dress for tonight, should I have bangs or no bangs? How can I distract people from my lack of styling?” Or “Kelly, I’m a pear, right? Let’s be honest, I am a pear.” She would answer all my questions and give me incredible tips.

Now I know she can’t be everyone’s roommate, but she has a Facebook group that you get to join after you take her course and you can ask those kinds of questions and ask other members anything you need help with. That means you can basically be Kelly’s roommate and ask her all the things that you need to know in a private setting with people who are figuring out all this fashion stuff too. You can post something you want to buy or try on something in a dressing room and get feedback on if it is the right wardrobe piece for you. How awesome is that?

Some of the information that I found most invaluable was how to pick the perfect pair of jeans, what neckline looks best for your body type, discovering which colors work best for you, and recommendations on wardrobe splurges and what to save on. This is about finding the right fit, not promoting a brand or even her own personal style. These are tips you can take with you no matter where you shop! Did I mention she partnered with Nordstrom so you can have someone help you locally right at your very own store? Ah-mazing!

Here’s What’s Included In Adore Your Wardrobe

Adore Your Wardrobe is a “video course” designed to transform the way you think about clothes and put outfits together.

In this 30-day course, you’ll get the following:

  • Dedicated Fashion Strategy For You. Adore Your Wardrobe is not a one-size-fits-all class. We know every person is different. You will use key formulas to create a fashion strategy that works for YOU.
  • 9 Instructional and Informative Videos and Written Lessons. These lessons will reframe the way you think about fashion and how it relates to your own body.
    • Lesson #1: Getting Personal With Measurements
    • Lesson #2: Determining Your Unique Body Type & How To Create Balance and Proportion
    • Lesson #3: Laying The Right Foundation
    • Lesson #4: Jeans – How To Find a Pair You Love
    • Lesson #5: Anatomy of a Shirt – Necklines & Length Matter
    • Lesson #6: 11 Items to Splurge On (And Four To Save On)
    • Lesson #7: Create A Closet You Adore
    • Lesson #8: Rule of Four
    • Lesson #9: Putting It All Together
  • Worksheets and Printable Resources. These worksheets are where the real work happens. The lessons teach you the fashion formulas, the worksheets are where you put them into practice.
  • Access to the PRIVATE Facebook Group. If the videos and worksheets are the course, then the Facebook Group is the lab. Connect with other Adore Your Wardrobe Makeover-ees and share resources, encourage one another, and make new friendships. Plus, have access to fashion coaches to answer your questions.
  • Special Bonus #1: One-Of-A-Kind Wardrobe Planner. Fashion isn’t spontaneous, it’s planned. With the course, you will be given a printable wardrobe planner, so that you can plan your outfits in advance, saving precious time getting ready.
  • Special Bonus #2: Shopping Dos and Don’ts. You’ll receive a cheat sheet full of items that you should buy and others you should stay away from, making sure you never make a “bad purchase” ever again.
  • Special Bonus #3: A Masterclass on Discovering The Right Colors To Wear.Wearing the right color is so important and yet, very few articles have been written about it. You’ll discover the right colors for you, so you always look healthy and vibrant.
  • Special Bonus #4: Facebook LIVE Chats. Got a question? Kelly will have an answer. And she will give it to you in LIVE time.
  • Special Bonus #5: Nordstrom VIP Experience. Nordstrom and Adore Your Wardrobe have an exclusive collaboration that allows students a VIP experience at their local Nordstrom store.

The cost is $69 and that’s it- no additional membership fees. Once you pay, you are a member for life! 

I am happy to answer any questions that you might have about my experience with the program. I, TRULY, only promote things that I really love. If you are wanting to take a capsule wardrobe adventure with me, but need help picking your wardrobe items, this series is for you!

Sign Up HERE!!!

*I am an affiliate of this program, but only promote things I truly love- promise!

Spring and Summer 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

Monday, April 25th, 2016

spring/summer capsule wardrobe 2016

The warmer weather is upon us and that means it is time to switch out my capsule wardrobe. Instead of trying to do a spring wardrobe and then a summer wardrobe, I am combining my capsule to save time and brain space for later.  The number of items has shifted, but only to make room for the two seasons. Long sleeve clothing and light sweaters will fall off and a summer dress or two will replace them, getting me back to my typical wardrobe of 28-33 pieces.

I decided to start a SEPARATE Instagram account for my capsule since it feels like two separate audiences. This account is only about fashion & the capsule. You can follow me here (@momadvicecapsule) or if you just want the general usual odds & ends, you can follow me here (@momadvice). I hope that makes sense! 

Let’s talk about this  2016 spring and summer capsule wardrobe.

First, What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.

Spring and Summer 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

(this is my ENTIRE WARDROBE!!! Look at all that closet space in our little closet!)

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

I tend to be a pretty colorful person so you will find color mixed in with basics in my wardrobe. Monochromatic isn’t my thing, but can be yours if you are trying to simplify your wardrobe. Many people begin their capsule experience very monochromatic and then find they are comfortable branching out into color after figuring out how to make everything work together.

Capsule Wardrobe Patterns

What Trends Did You Embrace for Spring?

This year I am mixing in floral, polka dots, colored jeans, and lace into my wardrobe. I am aiming for a few feminine touches to mix into my wardrobe basics. I stayed mostly in the pink, coral, & mint colors, but I still threw in a red skirt to switch things up with the navy and basics. I like a lot of color and textures in my wardrobe.

Again, almost everything was purchased gently used using credit from cleaning out my closets from season to season so it made this capsule affordable for a very frugal girl.

Get some inspiration for how I’m using pieces on my capsule wardrobe board.

What Makes My Capsule Wardrobe Unique?

I am committed to purchasing the majority of my wardrobe gently used. You will find that the majority of the items have been purchased this year using my thredUP credit (I get $10 and you get $10 to spend my referral) or I have owned for years. Thanks to pointing out this resource, I was able to get the majority of my gently used wardrobe for free. Be sure to visit my tips this year for purchasing your fashion capsule wardrobe second hand.

It was a prompting really through this film (watched on Netflix) that has solidified my commitment to buying used and investing wisely.

Watch it and tell me if it doesn’t make you want to do better with fashion purchases!

My biggest investment is always tailoring my items to fit me. I am a petite girl and pants need hemmed, waistlines nipped, and shoulders shifted. Although this can get a little pricey at times, it is 100% why I love the clothes I wear! I feel really confident in them because of these alterations.

Spring and Summer 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule.  Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you.  When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in.

I suggest peeking in your closet and selecting what makes you feel beautiful and start your planning around those pieces.

That’s been the best place to start for me.

Do Accessories Count in the Capsule?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

What Are the Rules for a Capsule Wardrobe?

Here is my modified Project 333 rules or you can go to Courtney’s website to read more about the official guidelines!

Below is my spring & summer capsule wardrobe. Any with an asterisk by their name is a new item in my closet.  

Spring and Summer 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

* 1. basic white t-shirt (target)

* 2. black & white striped t-shirt (target)

* 3. hi-lo dolman black t-shirt (ann taylor loft)

* 4. hi-lo dolman ivory t-shirt (ann taylor loft)

5. coral t-shirt (target)

6. vintage gray t-shirt (old navy)

* 7. j. crew lace tank (j. crew from thredup)

8. black & white striped shirt (t.j. maxx)

* 9. coral & navy print shirt (gap from thredup)

* 10. floral & striped t-shirt (matilda jane)

* 11. denim shirt (madewell from thredup)

* 12. no-iron white collared shirt (brooks brothers from thredup)

13. chambray shirt (j. crew from thredup)

14. light denim shirt (gap, similar)

15. no-iron pinstripe blue & white striped shirt (white house black market from thredup)

Spring and Summer 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

15. white blazer (nordstroms from thredup)

16. black blazer (gap)

17. jean jacket (boutique)

18. black & white polka dot silk top (j. crew from thredup)

* 19. navy & white polka dot silk top (j. crew from thredup)

20. green vest (boutique)

21. black & white maxi dress (ann taylor loft)

* 22. floral sundress (old navy from thredup)

* 23. paige mint jeans (nordstroms from thredup, same pair here)

* 24. rose jeans (nordstroms from thredup)

25. floral pants (old navy)

26. jeans (boutique)

* 27. white jeans (nordstroms from thredup)

* 28. black crops (ann taylor loft, same pair here)

Spring and Summer 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

* 29. black lace dress with nude underlay (bcbg from thredup)

* 30. navy & white sweater (j. crew from thredup)

31. denim midi skirt (eshakti)

32. black sweater (stitch fix)

33. black midi skirt (ann taylor loft)

34. black lace shorts (the limited)

35. red skirt (anthropologie)

spring-2016-capsule-wardrobe-46

36. Floral Romper (matilda jane)

Browse My Capsules & Wardrobe Planning Advice

Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Summer 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall/Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Creating the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe (that really works!)

How to Shop Secondhand For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

closet clean out with thredup

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is what I am getting rid of this time. Off to thredup it goes for credit for the next capsule- so proud!! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Happy wardrobe planning!

*this post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

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How To Start A Successful & Fun Book Club

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

I couldn’t be more exited about this fun and inspiring guest post from my fellow book-lover and friend, Nicole Bennet! I LOVE book clubs, Nicole’s tips are great, and her club? Adorable!

How to start a successful and fun book club with Nicole Bennet for MomAdvice

For someone who had been devouring books since learning to read, and had enjoyed talking about books almost as much as reading them, last year was the first time I had the realization that I’d never been a part of a real, in-person book club.

I decided it was time to change that. I’d recently seen some inspiration both in real life and online, and had some ideas about what would constitute a fun, engaging group, so I made a simple plan and jumped in.

The result? It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all of us. And the takeaway? I wish I’d done this sooner!

In case some of you bookworms might be feeling the pull to gather some people who you can discuss books with, I thought I’d share the details of how I got mine started– it can be as simple or elaborate of a venture as you want it to be, and bonus: you don’t have to do all the leg work if that intimidates you.

lake house book club

How to Start a Book Club

The Members

The first step: choosing whom to join up with. I chose two friends at church who I often found myself discussing books with, Sarah and Susan. We happen to have pretty similar tastes in books so we had been frequently reading the same books already.

I approached both of them, and when they expressed interest, I asked them each to invite a friend if they wanted. Susan invited Hannah, and then I invited another reader friend, too, Rena. We decided to keep it fairly small, and got started.

After a couple of months, I ran into Amie, a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. She commented that she’d seen me briefly mention my new book club on my blog. Did we have room for one more? I ran it by the group, and we decided we’d love her to join us. Amie jumped in for the next book, making us six, and our group has felt like a great size.

There’s no perfect number for a book club, but we’ve found that keeping our group pretty small makes gatherings simpler and discussions have plenty of space for everyone to share their opinions.

Choosing Books

At the end of each meeting, we draw a name of someone who hasn’t yet chosen a book. That member then gets to pick the book and host the next meeting if she wants. Easy Peasy! Sometimes we pick a book we’ve all had on our to-read list, and other times some of us end up reading something we wouldn’t have otherwise picked.

So far we’ve read Where’d Ya Go Bernadette? (my choice), In the Unlikely Event (Rena’s choice), The Lake House (Sarah’s choice), and next up is The Nightingale (Hannah’s choice).

Frequency

For now, we’ve decided to meet seasonally, as I originally wanted to make our club fairly laid back. We all have other commitments in the evenings and weekends (like Bible study or church small group, or kids’ sports games) so I didn’t want it to add stress to our lives. It’s worked out to meet about every three months, which gives us plenty of time to acquire (often via library holds waiting lists) and read the book, and also have time to keep reading plenty of other books.

Maybe you’ll choose monthly or bi-monthly, or keep meetings spread farther out like us– do what works for your group.

After a couple of months have passed from our last meeting, the next host will send out a Doodle (a brilliant little free tool), which lists a handful of possible dates/times to meet. We all fill it out to see which time slot works for everyone and get the next date on the calendar.

Discussion

Whoever chooses the book runs our discussion. Sometimes we find questions online (often the publisher or author has questions on their website), other times we just let the discussion flow. Either way, we all usually end up leaving book club liking the book even more after having talked about it together.

unlikely event book club

Theme

My favorite aspect of our club has been designing our gatherings– we follow the theme, setting, and time period of our book to spark inspiration– it’s so fun!

Sarah is our most careful reader (and also happens to be a total foodie), so she has volunteered to keep a running list of food mentioned in each of our books as she reads. She then emails it out and we use that to draw ideas from and decide what we’ll each bring. It’s fun seeing how food plays a part in the plot of our books, and when we eat together while we chat about the book, it makes us feel somehow more connected to the story (and each other).

bernadette book club

Sometimes we dress up a little, too, or have fun setting the table or coffee table to jive with the feel of the book. For Bernadette, we all donned big sunglasses and and scarves (and Rena even wore a sweet cargo vest!), and for The Lake House we enjoyed Sarah’s beautiful tea set as we snacked (see first photo). This is the area where you can really get carried away and have fun with it if you want.

Our book club has been such a fun way to enjoy each other’s company and feel like we are getting a little extra something out of the books we read together. If you love to read, I highly recommend gathering a few friends to read with.

It doesn’t have to add any stress to your life– life which I’m sure is already full, and possibly busy. On the contrary, it will be sure to add an extra dose of joy and fun.

Nicole takes a book everywhere she goes. She loves encouraging others to read and talking about books, both in real life and on her blog. Sign up for her newsletter and you’ll receive a free ebook titled Read More: Why & How to Make Time for Reading Amidst the Busyness of Life.

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Winter 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Winter 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

I am so very ready for a little capsule switch after being in this capsule since October. I held off until after the holidays to get this one off the ground, waiting to see if any of my holiday gifts might make the cut! I think my family is scared to buy me anything though now, other than accessories, since I have become so choosy about my clothes! There are only a handful of switches though from my fall capsule because I did such a great job planning that one that there is very little that needs to be added or taken away other than my really heavy sweaters!

What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

I tend to be a pretty colorful person so you will find color mixed in with basics in my wardrobe. Monochromatic isn’t my thing, but can be yours if you are trying to simplify your wardrobe. Many people begin their capsule experience very monochromatic and then find they are comfortable branching out into color after figuring out how to make everything work together.

What Makes My Capsule Wardrobe Unique?

I am committed to purchasing the majority of my wardrobe gently used. You will find that the majority of the items have been purchased this year using my thredUP credit (I get $10 and you get $10 to spend my referral) or I have owned for years. Thanks to pointing out this resource, I was able to get the majority of my gently used wardrobe for free. Be sure to visit my tips this year for purchasing your fashion capsule wardrobe second hand.  It was a prompting really through this film (watched on Netflix) that has solidified my commitment to buying used and investing wisely. Watch it and tell me if it doesn’t make you want to do better with fashion purchases!

My biggest investment is always tailoring my items to fit me. I am a petite girl and pants need hemmed, waistlines nipped, and shoulders shifted. Although this can get a little pricey at times, it is 100% why I love the clothes I wear! I feel really confident in them because of these alterations.

Winter 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule.  Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you.  When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in. I suggest peeking in your closet and selecting what makes you feel beautiful and start your planning around those pieces. That’s been the best place to start for me.

Winter 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

What Trends Did You Embrace for Your Winter 2016 Wardrobe?

I can’t omit trends altogether so once I have my timeless pieces in place, I try to add a few trends that I love this year.

I am sticking with the plaid trend and added in a little faux leather with a faux leather skirt I had been eyeing. As time goes by, I realize how smart it is just to just stick to the classics for ease and for longevity from capsule to capsule.

I’m adding in just a couple of spring colored clothing items since I will be wearing this until April. I only have 29 items this time so I can switch 3 (as outlined in the rules) and possibly add a couple later, if needed as the weather warms up! Be flexible with yourself- there is no need for it to be miserable! 

I add daily trends to my Fashion Capsule Pinterest Board to help keep me inspired with styling and ways to use the key pieces in my wardrobe.

Do You Count Accessories As Your 33 Items?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

A Modified Project 333

This project was inspired by Project 333, but I am making a few of my own rules for my own personal challenge.

33 Piece Wardrobe- The wardrobe can have 33 pieces  in it. This wardrobe does not include pajamas, workout gear, undergarments, or camisoles (something that is a necessity for me).  The capsule is made from items I already own, some purchased to be workhorses in my wardrobe  All of the items I am not wearing and still love are being tucked in storage for the next fashion capsule.  I have created a Fashion Capsule Pinterest Board to help inspire me with the pieces I am using.

Choose 3 More for Rotating- You may choose three additional items and put them aside in your closet. You may rotate these items in during the next three months, but three other items have to be rotated out. Consider donating those items.

No Shoe Shopping- I am not including my shoes for this challenge, but I am challenging myself to not buy any more shoes and use what I already have.

One Steal Per Month- Things and events come up and I am allowing myself one steal per month from items that I already own. I may find I don’t need this, but I think it might help with the shopping bug.

No Shopping For Clothing- I will wear the clothes I have selected and not shop for three months and only shop two weeks prior to the next capsule for items for the next season if needed. This is going to require a lot of discipline for me and I am planning to unsubscribe to shopping newsletters and avoid the shops as much as possible.

This month’s Project 333 Wardrobe is listed below. Feel free to join our MomAdvice Hangout for weekly wardrobe inspiration or give me a follow on Instagram! I piece outfits together on my floor and try not to subject you to too many of my awful selfies unless I can’t figure out how to make it work without me in it!

Winter 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

* 1. J. Crew Tan Cardigan (gently used, thredUP)

2. Anthropologie Angels of the North Mustard Yellow Knitted Cardigan Sweater (gently used, thredUP)

3. J. Crew Chambray Shirt (gently used, thredUP)

4. White House Black Market Pinstriped Shirt (gently used, thredUP)

5. Cynthia Rowley Black & White Striped T-Shirt (TJ Maxx)

* 6. J. Crew Factory Flannel Shirt (J. Crew Factory)

7. White House Black Market Polka Dotted Silk Shirt (gently used,thredUP)

8. White House Black Market Black Shirt (gently used,thredUP)

* 9. Anthropologie Black & White Striped Tank (gently used, thredUP)

10. Don’t Pull Me Down Mustard Sweater (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

11. Ivory Cowl Neck Sweatshirt (TJ Maxx)

12. J. Crew Red & Black Buffalo Checked Tunic (gently used thredUP)

13. Anthropologie Peacock Design Knitted Top (gently used, thredUP)

14. J. Crew Gray Wool Sweater (gently used, thredUP)

15. J. Crew Coral Tee (gently used, thredUP)

16. Mystree Peplum Jacket (purchased- Flourish Boutique)

Winter 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

* 17. Faux Leather Midi Skirt (purchased Forever 21)

18. Willi Smith Black Tunic (TJ Maxx)

19. fei Chambray Shirt Dress (gently used, thredUP)

20. Anthropologie Daughters of Liberation Utility Jacket (gently used,thredUP)

21. Madewell Gray Jumper (gently used, thredUP)

22. Anthropologie Maeve Red A-Line Skirt (Anthropologie)

23. Matilda Jane Willow Tree Rider Pants (purchase from Amanda Petit, Matilda Jane Independent Trunk Keeper)

24.  Old Navy Vintage T-Shirt (Old Navy)

25. Anthropologie Sweater Dress Jumper (gently used, thredUP)

26. Black Pants With Faux Leather Track Stripe (Loft)

27. Dark Wash Skinny 7 Jeans (Flourish Boutique)

28. Anthropologie Navy & Red Striped Shirt (gently used, thredUP)

29. Cynthia Rowley White T-Shirt (TJ Maxx)

(items with an asterisk are new to the capsule)

Winter 2016 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

Browse My Capsules & Wardrobe Planning Advice

Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Summer 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Creating the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe (that really works!)

How to Shop Secondhand For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

eShakti $40 off your first order!- Perfect for petite or tall girls because you can customize all their clothing to your own measurements!

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Happy wardrobe planning!

*This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love- promise! xo

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3 Ways to Find More Joy This Year

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

3 Steps to Finding More Joy (4)

No matter how many posts and articles I read (or write) about not making New Year’s resolutions and setting realistic goals and starting a new diet (or organizational system or meal plan or reading challenge) on any day other than Monday, I can’t help but start the first day of the first week of the first month of the new year with some degree of expectation.

When I woke up yesterday, I literally began the day with a smile on my face. And, as anyone who’s ever witnessed my reluctant rising can tell you, this night owl does NOT usually wake up happy! But it was a big day, the first “real” day in the new year! A day full of so much opportunity, a day destined for fresh starts and productivity and greatness.

Except, as it turned out, it was just another day.

Another MONDAY at that.

I had to remind my older daughter 17 times to brush her hair and her teeth – and to put her empty banana peel in the trash can, please and thank you. I had to change my toddler’s diaper and convince her that wearing her coat was a good idea, given the 20-degree air blowing around outside. I put on my sunglasses as we walked out the door, only to take them off again when I realized it was actually quite cloudy. And as I backed out of the driveway, I noticed that the recycling truck had knocked over our trash can, spilling bags of garbage all over the street and yard.

It was just another day. Another day we have chores and arguments and projects and appointments, another day with clouds and trash and cat hair and dirty dishes.

But you know what? It was also another day full of beauty and hope and joy. It was another opportunity to choose my outlook, to determine my attitude, to make a difference – even if it’s just for me, even if it’s just for a moment.

See, I believe that we can find joy – true joy! the kind that can’t be stolen by cloudy skies or spilled garbage (literal or figurative) – every single day of the year. I believe it’s possible and even necessary for our mental health and our relationships and our productivity and success. And I believe that just a few simple steps can help us find a whole lot more of this crucial, beautiful joy this year.

3 Steps to Finding More Joy (1)

3 Steps to Finding More Joy in 2016

1. SAVOR YOUR MOMENTS.

My friend Sara said once that moments are her favorite things. Not Oreos or the fifth Harry Potter book or the color purple or spicy queso, but moments. Much as I love all those other things, I’d have to agree. After all, capturing and savoring moments is why I used to scrapbook years ago – and why I love Facebook now. It’s why forgetting my camera is reason for turning the car around, no matter how far from home I’ve driven.

And it’s why I’ve been known to tear up at random times when I look around and realize this – THIS! – is beautiful. This life, this family, this conversation, this laughter. Even when it’s loud or messy or awkward or weird, a moment sometimes strikes me as so beautiful that I can’t contain my ridiculous tears.

Every day – the regular days, the cloudy days, the hardest days – has sweet moments. Even on days that come with banana peels and mountains of laundry and overdue bills, we can find something to savor.So when you’re struggling to find a silver lining or a glass half full of anything, look for those moments: your favorite song on the radio, the first sip of that cold tea or hot coffee, baby giggles or a side hug from a tween, rain showers or sunsets, an encouraging text message or inspiring quote posted on Facebook at just the right time.

Find those moments – and then savor them. Take a mental picture, close your eyes and bask in the joy for a few seconds, and save it for the next “just another day.”

3 Steps to Finding More Joy (2)

2. EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE.

I know, I know, this is nothing new! When she writes about how listing out the things we’re thankful for can be truly life-changing, Ann Voskamp boils it down to this: “Being joyful isn’t what makes you grateful. Being grateful is what makes you joyful.” Just like that – even when it’s hard to find something to be thankful for.

Sara, my friend I mentioned earlier (and, as it happens, my co-author in a book about joy), suffered from an extremely painful, debilitating disease. And yet, throughout her life, she learned to choose joy anyway. She wrote about that after spending another Thanksgiving holiday alone:

“I’m not in the least bit bothered to be here alone on the holiday of gratitude, because it’s the same as any other day. I am simply grateful. I appreciate my life because it’s the one God has given to me, and I don’t want to waste a moment of it wishing for anything else.”

She was simply grateful – every day, good or bad, no matter what. Wow! Personally, I’m still working on making that kind of gratitude such an ingrained habit. But I believe we can take strides toward this in 2016.

Perhaps for you it will help to keep a written journal of your thankfulness. Or maybe, like me, you need to commit to verbally thanking someone each and every day. I try to send my husband a text message every night before bed (he works nights), thanking him for something – even on days we argue, even on days we don’t see eye to eye. The habit of gratitude that leads to an attitude of joy is something I’m pursuing big time this year.

3 Steps to Finding More Joy (3)

3. MAKE YOUR CHOICE.

Sara’s and my book is called, Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. It was named after Sara’s mantra and mission: choose joy. That’s what she named her blog, and it’s what she painted on a wall in her condo. When she shared a picture of that painting, she pointed out that the biggest word, the most important part wasn’t JOY; it was CHOOSE.

If we’re going to make this year different than the last one, we have to make a choice. We have to choose to pursue joy, just like we will commit to health and love and hard work and fun. We must make a choice. We must draw a line in the sand, step over it and never look back. No matter what 2016 brings us, it will bring us moments of joy and opportunities for gratitude.

Let’s choose to find them and savor them – and to enjoy the beautiful picture they create!

Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver was released by the Hachette Book Group in 2016. It is a must-have for those searching for meaning and beauty in a world full of tragedy. Sara’s words breathe with vitality and life, and her stories will inspire smiles, tears, and the desire to choose joy. To learn more about CHOOSE JOY, visit TheChooseJoyBook.com.

 

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

Friday, December 18th, 2015

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3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

I’ve really enjoyed sharing some new holiday gift-giving strategies and traditions that are important to our family with you. Today I wanted to talk about a gift that I really struggle with… the gift card.

While practical in so many ways, I have found it difficult to make gift cards feel personal. I want people to always know that when I give them a gift card, it isn’t because I don’t care about them to shop, but only that I want them to treat themselves to something they really love.

I can tell you that I don’t know a single girlfriend, sister, or mother that would object to a shoe gift card. I may not know their shoe sizes to always shop for them personally, but I know that if I give them a gift card for shoes that they would be more than thrilled to peruse the shoe aisles for the perfect gift. Bonus points if that gift card accompanied a gift card to their favorite coffee shop so they could sip while browsing.

Today I wanted to share with you 3 ways I have created to make a gift card to Shoe Carnival more personal and make it truly stand out!

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

(Shoes: Nicole Carleigh in Black)

Create a Snow Globe Jar

If you put anything in a jar, I think it instantly amplifies its level of awesomeness on any gift. Jars are very inexpensive gifts to give and this little snowy-filled scene only took a couple of minutes to pull together and requires zero craft skills.

Simply add a little faux snow on the bottom with whatever you might have in your craft supplies or purchase those delicious rolls of snow they have out with all of the snow villages this time of year. Place a little snow on the bottom, add an inexpensive ornament, and finish with a bottle brush tree. TADA!

With just a few moments you have created something really cute for their mantle out of items that they can use for their own holiday decorating or food storage. Best of all, tucked underneath that blanket of white is a gift card to do a little shoe shopping!

WINNING!

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

 

Knit a Gift Card-igan

As you know, I am a knitter, so I always find fun ways to use my hobby for the holidays. This year, I stumbled upon this amazing little pattern for a Gift Card-igan and knitted this out of a little scrap yarn I had left over from another project. It is a perfectly gratifying project since it is so small in size and the pattern is easy enough to execute while watching holiday movies on the couch.

Whatever your craft skill set is, consider using it to create a unique gift card holder of your own. Sewing, embroidery, decoupage, crochet… there are so many fun ways to incorporate your own crafting skills to make a gift card holder that is unique and special. It adds that personal touch to any gift you give and showcases your talents in such a fun way!

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

 

(Shoes: Crocs Cap Toe Rhinestone)

Add Our Free Holiday Sparkle

I’m all about the holiday sparkle from attire to the gifts I give. These Crocs Cap Toe Rhinestone shoes add that holiday touch I love with their shiny cap toes and rhinestone embellishment. Did I mention how comfy these are? They are the perfect shoe for any gathering because you can be on your feet for days without any discomfort! I found the same holds true for the Nicole Carleigh Boots I got, thanks to their low and wider heel.

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

Of course, sparkle can also be added to your gift and I wanted to share this fun printable that our designer, MJ from pars caeli, created just for you to add that personal touch to your gift card this year!

(scroll to the bottom for this freebie!)

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

 

Shoe Carnival happens to be running a Give 1, Gift 1 Gift Card promotion this week which is perfect timing with our gathering of packaging ideas. If you purchase a $50 gift card, you can receive a $10 bonus reward card that can be redeemed from 12/26-1/16, in-store only.

Be sure to cash in on this incredible promo and I hope you can use a few of our ideas for your gift-giving needs this year!

3 Unique Ways to Package Gift Cards  (GIVEAWAY With Shoe Carnival)

FREEBIES Galore:

FREE Colorful Cute Shoes Fund Envelope

FREE B&W Cute Shoe Funds Envelope

 

Today I am giving away two $50 gift cards to two winners to add a little holiday sparkle from Shoe Carnival for those upcoming holiday festivities!  Follow the instructions below in our Rafflecopter widget to enter.  Good luck and happiest of holidays!

 

*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Tracking PixelMy Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

I hope you didn’t miss my post last week about our family’s first celebration of St. Nicholas Day. We had the best time adding this new tradition to our family rituals and hope you can bookmark it for next year for your family too!

Today I wanted to share with you a few of our family’s favorite holiday traditions. We really try to focus on simple blessings in our home and moments with our kids, rather than a lot under our tree. It’s a focus that has served our family well and it frees up funds to do more giving to those in need which is a big priority for us.

I’d love to share with you a few ways we have found to do this!

The 4 Gift Rule

The 4 Gift Rule

Years ago, I ran across a gifting strategy that has worked really well for our family over the years. As you know, last year our family went the Choose Your Own Adventure route with our kids and we had an incredible vacation to Florida. Due to my husband’s new role at work, it has become difficult to get away this year and so we are defaulting to a timeless tradition of 4 gifts that keep our gifts thoughtful and keep the excess at bay. Have you heard of the 4 Gift Rule? It’s so simple and easy!

In our family we do:

WANT

NEED

WEAR

READ

My husband and I do these gifts for each other as well and the tradition has really served us well over the years. Everyone gets one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, and one book to read. It simplifies purchasing for each other and we all end up with really great gifts that actually get used every year.

Open One Gift Early

Of all the categories, the wear category is my favorite because it is the one gift that my kids get to open early before all their other gifts. In that gift is typically a pair of festive pajamas that they get to slip on to see the holiday lights through a local neighborhood known for their tradition of incredible lighting in our town (that also happens to give back to our community).

We usually head to Steak & Shake for Peppermint Shakes and take in the beauty of the holidays in our jammies and bundled up in cozy blankets. Why icy cold shakes became the tradition, who knows? It is that cold and warm contrast that the kids love though so we have been doing this for many years for them as a holiday treat.

My Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

Have a Family Day in the Snow

Our family loves to play in the snow together and we make it a point to hit our favorite sledding hill at least once a year! When they put up a caution and sled at your own risk sign on our favorite hill, we felt like we were snow warriors or something!

If you haven’t checked out Shoe Carnival’s winter boot selection yet, you are in for a treat. Warm boots are a must-have item in Indiana and, thanks to my children’s enormous growth spurts each year, one of those items we purchase each year.

My Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

Welcome, to the boot show!  I picked out four great shoe options for our family that I think you will love. First, for girls I have the Capelli New York Kids Storm Duck Boots as a winter must-have. As I have said before, I have discovered Duck Boots are a really practical option for Midwest weather because it can protect you from the snow and rainy season very fashionably.

For the less snowy days (or for our friends enjoying warmer climates this winter) we recommend the Mia Lauren in Cognac Smooth for a great kid’s boot option to stay fashionably warm and that should go with everything in your closet.  I only wish it came in my size!

For my son, Tommy Hilfiger Charlie Duck Boots were the best option for all of the crazy weather conditions here.  We aren’t a very brand-focused family so I really just looked at all the options at the store and felt the insides for warmth, good stitching, and a well-crafted shoe. I can truly say that these are boots that will last him forever. Should he outgrow them, he can hand them down to his Dad to wear (how crazy is that?).  For tweens and teens, this is the boot option I would recommend!

My Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

My Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

The third option is for me, the fashionable Northside Bishop. The lower portion is water resistant while the top is decked out in faux fur and a Nordic-inspired trim.  It also has a Nor-Foam insulation to protect my feet against the cold. Once again, these boots are fashionable AND practical.

Do you remember the boots that we had when we were kids? They often weren’t that warm and they definitely weren’t stylish. How lucky are we to have such beautiful options and at such affordable pricing.

Lucky for you it is the Perfect 10 season! You can get $10 off for every $50 spent, upward of $40 off of 200! That is one great deal to take advantage of as you stock up on your winter necessities.

My Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

My Favorite Holiday Traditions (Peppermint Cocoa Recipe & GIVEAWAY)

This year I wanted to make the occasion even more magical so after our annual day of sledding we are finishing the evening with this rich Peppermint Cocoa to warm up by the fire. I created this delicious treat for my kids and would love to share it with you today to inspire you to spend a day in the snow with your kids!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
A delicious peppermint hot cocoa recipe perfect for sharing while viewing those holiday lights as a family.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 quart milk
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (3 ounces)
  • 7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed (1/4 cup), 4 left whole
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Place cocoa in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add chocolate chips and crushed peppermint; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Add salt. Ladle into mugs; serve each with a peppermint stick.

Today I am giving away two $50 gift cards to two lucky families to find some warm and stylish boots for the holiday season from Shoe Carnival so you can tackle those crazy sled hills too!  Follow the instructions below in our Rafflecopter widget to enter.  Good luck and happiest of holidays!

*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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