5 Ways To Make Your Privileged Child Feel Humbled & Thankful During The Holiday Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching.  With Thanksgiving upon us, I’ve been taking some extra time to reflect on my life and really notice all.the.things I’m so very thankful for.  From the really big things all the way down to the tiny, minute things.   I’ve been thinking about this post for a few weeks, brainstorming it all in my mind and somewhat dragging my feet about putting it out there.   As I was sitting in church today, listening to the sermon, I realized that it was extremely important for me to put this message out there and share with anyone else who may be feeling the same way.

My children and my family are extremely blessed to live a life where we never have to worry if there will be food on the table or clothes to wear.  We never have to worry where we’re going to sleep or how we’re going to get somewhere.   But the very harsh reality is, MANY people in this world worry about those things every single day.  Things that most of us take for granted.   Many children do not know where their next meal is coming from and they often wonder if they’ll have electricity at home to keep them warm.

Because my children are blessed with the lives they have, I have tried my hardest to make them aware of how difficult some peoples lives are.  Partly because I don’t want them to grow up and be ungrateful brats and mostly because I want them to be empathetic and have a servants heart.

When my kids start acting particularly entitled, I usually give them a big ‘ole dose of “here’s how bad some people have it.”  I’ve learned over the years that it’s best to be honest with our children and not try to hide poverty from them.  It’s important that they see it, they understand it and that they process it.   The amazing thing is – your kids will want to help the less fortunate.  I’ll never forget the first year we took our then-4-year-old daughter to the City Mission’s annual banquet.   Children, living at the shelter, put on a beautiful play.   My tiny little pre-schooler was so touched by that play and her heart was broken that those children (who looked just like her) did not have a home, or toys of their own.  My sweet girl had the idea that we should collect toys for the children at the Mission and deliver them for Christmas.   She spear-headed the entire project and I was so unbelievably proud to watch her be a helper for those in need.

Y’all, Acts of Service is where it’s at!  Involving your children, and the entire family, in Acts of Service will not only make you feel good about what you’re doing but it will also really make a difference in others’ lives.  Sometimes we’ll never truly know how much it means to a stranger to receive an act of kindness.   Below are some of my favorite ways to teach my children thankfulness and kindness, not only during the holidays but all throughout the year!

  1.  Take your children grocery shopping with you.  Make the entire trip dedicated to buying meals and supplies for the homeless shelter or your local foodbank.  As you’re shopping, talk to your children about how some people are not lucky to have warm meals at home.   Get your children involved in the decision process on what to buy and what foods make them the happiest!
  2. Adopt an ‘Angel’ from the Angel Tree.  Adopt a child that is close to your children’s age.  Take your child shopping with you and let them help pick out the items.   Talk to them about how sometimes we humans get to be Santa for less fortunate families.
  3. Start a winter coat drive at your school or office.  Many adults and children go cold every winter because their families can not afford a winter coat.  Often children are absent from school simply because they do not have clean clothes to wear to school.  Let’s work to keep every baby warm this winter!
  4. Clean out your play rooms each year before Christmas.  Get your children involved on what items to donate and let your children go with you during the donation process.  Explain that their old toys will be ‘treasure’ to a child in need.  (Or run a new toy drive!)
  5. Take your entire family and go serve a meal at the City Mission.  Honestly, this will be the harshest dose of reality that you will ever receive; talk about a humbling experience.   It is also a gentle reminder that none of us are that far away from poverty.

What do you all do with your children to ‘pay it forward?’  Leave a comment below and let us know!

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

XOXO

Jill

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Real Men Wear Pink! When Breast Cancer Hits Home

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, this is the perfect time for us to bring attention to a cause that is near and dear to my heart!  My mother in law is a breast cancer survivor.  Thanks to innovative medical equipment and early detection, she is alive and well with us today!  PTL!  Millions of Americans face this scary disease every year but thanks to the American Cancer Society, through their funding and research, many lives are saved!  While others aren’t as lucky, it is important that the research continues so that hopefully a cure will soon be found!

I’m sure you’ve seen the slogan circulating on social media, stating to “Mammogram Your TaTa’s, not Instagram them!”  While this slogan may give you a giggle, I hope it also hits home.   Often times our society focuses on all the wrong things (I’m equally guilty of this.)  Take a break from your very busy lives and know your risk factors; know if you’re at a higher risk and seek preventative care if you are.

My Husband, Caleb, has personally experienced the deep pain that cancer can inflict on a family.  Caleb has lost both of his grandmothers to cancer and his mother is a survivor.   This year he was asked to take part in a Nationwide Campaign to bring awareness for Breast Cancer Research.  Without hesitation, he said YES!

Now here’s where you come in! Caleb is an ambassador for the State of West Virginia.  Below is a link to his personal page on the ‘Real Men Wear Pink’ campaign website.  Businessmen from various professions, across the nation, have been asked to wear their pink and take part in this very important fundraiser.  {Let’s be real – have you seen Caleb’s closet?!  That man LOVES pink and he LOVESSS his momma!  So this was a no brainer for him!}  We ask that you consider making a donation to Caleb’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign.  Let’s make West Virginia Survivors proud!  Nearly everyone I talk to has been personally affected by Breast Cancer whether it be their mother, grandmother, sister, daughter or them personally.  How has breast cancer affected you?

We would love to hear your stories and know that we will be praying for your loved ones who are actively battling cancer or in successful remission!

To access Caleb’s Campaign, click here!  We appreciate your donation more than you’ll ever know!

XOXO

Jill & Caleb

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‘Swing’ Into Fall With This Must Have Dress; Perfect For Every Occasion!

Last week Lauren clued you all in on her super cute bibs (they really are adorbs!)  This week, it’s my turn to fill y’all in on one of my favorite fall pieces.  I’ve mentioned to you before how much I absolutely adore a good swing dress, BUT these are my favorite swing dresses of all time. This is the perfect combination.  I love the oxford dress shirt look, but the flattering fit of a swing dress!  This design is more fitted through the chest and then very forgiving in the waist and hips.  It also provides the perfect amount of twirl factor!  

These swing dresses are the perfect weight for nearly every season – you can wear them bare-legged or with tights.  There are so many ways to style them: just throw on a cute pair of slides or tennis shoes to dress them down or pair them with booties to dress them up.  As the weather gets colder, just add in a pair of opaque tights and you are good to go!

While the pattern above in unavailable right now, there are still several colors/patterns to choose from!  (Spoiler alert: I ordered them all this past weekend – I’m not even kidding.)  Check them out and let us know what your favorite one is!   And keep checking back as we continue into fall; last year they came out with a Holiday collection and it was the perfect amount of plaid.

XoXo

Jill

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An Open Letter To My Daughters: Letting Go Is So Hard!

Hey Y’all!  It’s been a while.  We’ve been soaking up every.last.second of summer.  Family time is everything in our household.  Sometimes it’s good to take a step back from our social media lives to focus on our real lives and the people that mean the most to us.   My girls are growing at the speed of light.  This summer I feel like if I looked closely enough, I could’ve actually seen them grow.   We’re heading into major transition times in our household.  This week begins a whole new world for both girls.   Tonight I put my big girl to bed for the last time as a “little kid.”  Tomorrow she wakes up and heads off to Middle School…..MID-DLE SCHOOL.  I can’t even believe I’m saying those words.  While every parent out there knows just how fast time goes, there are often moments that slap us in the face and make us realize that our babies aren’t quite babies any more.

My sweet toddler is officially a Pre-Schooler now.  Not just that pretend “pre-school” where you say the word Pre-School just to sound cool.  But she’s actually in a class that counts attendance, gives out tardies (I can only imagine how this is going to go…..I’m sure my just-turned-4 year old really understands the idea of tardies when there is no actual bell that rings) does class work and gets a progress report.  Like, she’s in legit pre-school.  And honestly, I’m not here for it.    When I look at her, I still see a baby.  She’s still my cuddle bug that can’t go to sleep each night unless momma lays with her.  How is she capable of writing her name, saying her ABC’s and being graded on her social, emotional and educational skills.  I’m not ready for someone else to “judge her,” even though I know she’s progressing just fine.  I want her to just be my baby a little longer.  To live in that stress free world of constant fun and entertainment.  Babies don’t keep and that hurts a momma heart.

The truth is, I will love my children at every age and every stage.  It’s not that I only want “babies,” it’s just that I know with each new year comes new challenges and they learn more about this cold, cruel world.  With each new stage in life, it’s necessary to have uncomfortable, scary discussions with our children.  While preparing for Middle School today we had to talk about drugs, alcohol and boys who may act inappropriate.  While it’s important for her to know this stuff and even MORE important for her to hear it from me, I wish we could just go back to the days when I could shelter her from literally everything.  It’s no secret, guys.  We live a Mr. Rogers lifestyle – I’m not even kidding.  My kids have no idea how scary this world can be.  For YEARS my daughter thought “the F word” meant “fart.”  And she thought that was so seriously bad.  (Lord, can we please go back to those glorious years. The years when I could shield her from all the bad and heal all her wounds.)  The hardest part is, there is no going back.  I just have to build her up, show her the way, give her all the mental and emotional tools that she will need in life, encourage her and pray that she always knows how much she is loved.  We have to trust that we’ve done everything that we possibly could to prepare them to leave the nest.   Then we have to let them go and watch them soar.

This is the stage I’m in right now.  My oldest daughter has been soaring so high and I’m so proud of her.  We moved to a small town where we know no one.  She’s starting a new school, she’s meeting new people, she’s playing school sports and she’s putting herself out there every day.  She’s walking into a gym full of 70 girls and she knows not a single one.  She’s brave and strong and she’s facing life head on.  She was scared the first day, but fear didn’t win.  She held her head high and made her way through the crowd.  Now she’s packed her bookbag, picked out her first day outfit and she’s put herself to bed excited to start a new chapter in life.  You all, she is actually excited….like really excited.  Now that is BRAVE.  She is going to slay at this thing called life.  And if my 11 year old can be brave like that, so can I.  Sometimes we can all take a queue from our kids.

There are good things about the kids getting older, too.  This year, for the first time ever, I actually enjoyed back to school shopping.  We took an entire weekend and just shopped ’til we dropped.  I didn’t allow myself to be in a hurry.  I didn’t allow myself to constantly say “no.”  I was present with no outside distractions.  There were so many belly laughs and so many good memories made.   It made me realize how, I may not have babies any more, but I’m gaining bestfriends.  This stage is new and different and I’m not totally sure how to navigate it sometimes, but we will survive and we will thrive.  Although I’d rather talk about bottles and blankies than boobs and pubes, I know that this too is part of my job and we’ll make our way through it.

All my love and hugs to you mommas who are sending your ‘babies’ back to school.

XOXO

Jill

 

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The Hidden Danger Of Splash Parks! The Incident That Landed Us In The E.R.

Ok, I’ll be the first one to admit it; I am the safety queen!  I’m always analyzing risk and calculating hazards in my head.  There is constantly data running through my brain – sometimes I drive myself crazy.  I’d say this is mostly a side effect from my day job and, honestly, it makes my husband want to jump off a cliff at times; but here I am still living the worried mom life.  I used to be wild & care free and now I’ve somehow turned into that “be careful mom” that frets over everything (you know who you are!)  The mom who’s always yelling “BE CAREFUL” any time your kid does something even remotely dangerous and you stand there with your eyes closed just praying they’ll land safely.

Well, last week I told my sweet momma that she should take the kids to the splash park one afternoon….”it’ll be fun,” I said.   Famous.last.words.  While they were there, she had sent me a few sweet pictures of the kids playing in the water, splashing around.  My first thought was “WOW!  That water is spraying REALLY high.”  But, I’ve vowed to try to be more relaxed about things so i just let it go, looked at the pictures and smiled.   (I assumed I was just overthinking things again.)  Fast forward about an hour and I get a panicked FaceTime call.  Baby girl was crying so hard i couldn’t understand her and her eye was swollen shut.  (Ok, now I’m allowed to internally panic, right?!)

{Seriously though, look at the height and pressure of this water!  My oldest daughter is around 4’10” and it’s nearly twice as tall as her!}

So, as luck would have it, my youngest daughter (who just turned 4 and is much more vertically challenged) decided to lean over and look down at the ground right as one of the timed, pressurized water sprinklers went off.  The blast of high pressure water took her right in the eye and since she’s much closer to the ground, it hit her with a lot of force!  It immediately gave her a black eye and her eye began to swell shut.  Long story short, we rushed her to the urgent care because our main concern was eye damage or vision problems.  After they painted her eye balls with this orange serum and flashed all these different lights into her eyes, it was finally determined that they think she will be just fine (PRAISE THE LORD!)  They think the main impact of the water hit her check bone, just centimeters below her eye ball (truly a miracle!)  But talk about a scary wait and lots of praying.   Poor girl was just having fun.

Now, I’m in NO way saying to not ever take your kids to the splash park again – I’m really not!  BUT, I did feel like it was important to share this so hopefully other parents won’t go through the stress that we felt!  Be sure to educate your small children about not looking down or make them wear goggles (I’m ok with my kids looking like nerds at the splash park).  Anything to protect those precious little eyes!!  I mean, honestly, there is just no way that we are the only family this has happened to.

Prayers for a safe summer my friends.

XOXO

Jill

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How To Create The Perfect Bronze Glow With Self Tanner: Part 2

 

Although self tanner is currently the new rage, I’ve been using it since way before it was cool!  I can remember being a Freshman in High School and having a big show choir performance coming up that I just had to look perfect for.  It was early in the spring and I was as pale as a pregnant lady with morning sickness.  I knew I had to do something and there was no time to get a real tan, so I bravely decided to try “man tan” {as my dad so lovingly refered to self tanner.}  I literally went.to.town with the self tanner.  All over me, everywhere; rubbing in every direction imaginable and paying no attention to the “problem areas.”  It quickly started to show color and I was SO proud of myself.  {Look at me, gettin’ all tan and stuff.}  I was beyond excited, until I woke up the next morning to the zebra stripes all over my hands, wrists and feet.  Ironically, my body wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.  Needless to say, self tanner has came a long way since the 90’s and I’ve learned a lot in regards to the application process.  Many of my friends refer to me as the “Self Tanner Queen” (a title i’ll proudly wear) so i’m here to share my opinions on everything self tanner!

Helpful Tips For Application:

1.  Before applying self tanner, make sure to moisturize your problem areas: hands, wrists, ankles, feet, knees and elbows. Lather those areas with lotion before AND after self tanner application. Those areas will grab the color much easier and appear darker than the rest of your body. Be very sparing when applying self tanner to those areas.

2.  ALWAYS wear gloves during the application process. I always wear latex surgical gloves. Some self-tanners even come with latex gloves included (Like Toma Self Tanner- i loooove Toma.)

3.  Rub in a circular motion and stay concentrated in one area until that area is fully covered (don’t get crazy and just start rubbing it everywhere!)

4.  Apply self tanner in a cool room or in front of a fan! DO NOT apply self tanner in a hot bathroom that is full of humidity or on skin that is sweaty/moist. It will cause the self tanner to run/streak. Always apply self tanner to cool, dry skin.

5.  To apply self tanner on your back, I have two suggestions: If you have an awesome husband like me, ask him to apply it – the back is very flat and pretty hard to mess up! So far, my husband has a good track record. If your husband/significant other isn’t an option, then I suggest keeping a can of spray on self tanner for those times that you need to wear something backless! The QuickTan listed below is great for this.

6.  To avoid self tanner build up, I suggest exfoliating once or twice a week. The easiest way to do this is to buy a body scrub that has the little “scrubbing beads” included in the body wash.

7.  To blend any areas that are either too dark or too light, I suggest using the leg makeup that’s listed below (as mentioned before, you can use this all over your entire body!)

8.  Once the application process is complete, make sure to wash hands thoroughly and once again apply lotion to your hands – specifically around your palms, knuckles and wrists.

9.  After applying self tanner or bronzer, make sure to allow adequate time for the product to dry!  Do not rush and put your clothes on.  I generally wear a towel after application and I also keep an old robe that I often wear when the tanner is still fresh.  I would suggest that you wait 20 minutes or more after application before putting on nice clothes.  Be particularly careful with tight undergarments – especially your bra!!  If you put a bra on too quickly it will create “tan lines.”

10.  Because it takes several hours for the full color to develop, I always apply my tanner at bedtime, when I’m fresh out of the shower.  Clean skin and a full overnight for the color to develop will bring your best results!

 

***One leg bronzed and one bare leg.  The difference is unbelievable.***

Favorite Self Tanners:

1.  My Current Favorite is Tanwise One Hour Sunless Lotion.  This can be found at Sally Beauty.  This gives a very rich, deep color; like you’ve just been to the beach.  This is a more drastic look, which I prefer.  If you’re going for a subtle tan that people won’t notice, this may not be the one for you.  However, this gives the most natural looking color I’ve ever found!   No cheeto look with this one, ladies.

Tanwise One Hour Sunless Lotion

 

2.  Next up is Toma’s Perfect Tan Self Tanning Lotion.  This can also be found at Sally Beauty and also gives a deep color.  This is a VERY close second to the Tanwise.  Anytime they’re out of Tanwise, I get Toma’s and it never disappoints.

Toma’s Perfect Tan Lotion

 

3.  Body Drench Quick Tan Bronzing Spray:  For years, this was my go to!  It’s like an at-home spray tan.  It’s in an aerosol can and the color is amazing.  It actually has a 5 star rating, and for the most part, I would agree with that.  However, the last two cans I’ve purchased, the aerosol spray lid has malfunctioned causing me to lose/waste some of my tan.  Therefore, I’ve rarely purchased it lately because who wants to spend $20 on self tanner and then have the bottle malfunction.  This aerosol tan is perfect for a “top layer” of tan to give you a very bronzy glow!  Do one layer of Tanwise lotion and then apply the QuickTan Spray the next day for a seriously deep tan!

QuickTan Bronzing Spray

 

4.  Loreal Sublime Luminous Bronzer:  I’ve used this one for years.  It’s good, not as great as the tanners listed above, but it’s a very good substitute if I only have time to run in the drug store and grab something quick.  You can find this one at most pharmacy’s, Wal Mart, Target, etc.  I almost always keep a bottle of this one hand as a back up.  It’s also slightly cheaper.

Loreal Sublime Luminous Bronzer

 

5.  Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer.  This product is fresh on the market, and so far, I’m loving it!  This provides a gradual, subtle color.  Although you will notice some color after the first application, it will take 2-3 applications before you notice substantial color change.  For someone who is scared of applying self tanner, this is definitely the place to start!   Here’s the wild thing about this one – you literally apply it to wet skin, fresh out of the shower.  As crazy as it seems, it works!  I do pat my skin semi-dry before applying.  {Sidenote: I have applied it to completely dry skin as well and it worked just fine; no streaking.}   This gives you just a nice sun-glow look.

Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer

 

6.  Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, Deep Glow Leg Makeup – Ladies, this is a game changer!  Literally, keep this in your makeup kit at all times.  This is foundation for your legs (and can be used on the entire body to cover up anything that you want to hide; tan lines, blemishes, scars, *self tanner fails!*)  This stuff is amazing!!  It’s in an aerosol can and sprays out like hairspray, but has the same consistency as foundation for your face.  This has immediate color and gives your legs a flawless, airbrushed look.  Once it dries, it rarely budges.  The only time I’ve ever had it get on my clothes was at a football game when it was approximately 100 degrees and we had been tailgating for hours.  My sweat (gag) did eventually make it slightly rub off on the inside of my shorts.  However, it did not ‘run’ or cause any major streaking.  I often use this on top of my self tanner to just give it an even more natural look.  I highly suggest buying a can of this, like right now.  You’ll thank me later.  This product can be found at your local drug store or Wal Mart.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Leg Makeup

 

7.  St. Tropez Self Tan Express – This one is a FAN FAVORITE, hands down.  Even the ladies at Ulta swear by this one.  It has the most radiant bronze glow and it rarely streaks!  While I highly recommend this one, it does come at a much higher price tag!  If you’re committed to your tan and want to take it to the next level, you must purchase St Tropez Self Tan Express!

Ladies, I hope this information was helpful!  As always, we would love to hear your feedback if you decide to try any of these products!  Comment with any questions below!  If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and subscribe to our blog!

 

XOXO

Jill

 

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Major Life Hacks From A Military Momma! How To Streamline The Moving Process And Make Friends Easily!

 

My name is Lorin Beier, and I’ve been married to an Air Force pilot for 11 years. We’ve moved 8 times to 6 cities and one foreign country. At any given time, I’ve got friends on just about every continent, in 10+ countries. We’ve got 3 kids who were born in Alabama, Japan and Georgia; and one on the way.

 

Over the years, I’ve gained some insight that I want to share with you! How about some moving tips?!

 

Moving Tips

  1. Valuables in your trunk! Our first set of movers taught us that. Jewelry, personal papers, etc.  Keep those in your possession!
  2. Plastic totes. We bought 30 from Big Lots and they lasted us through 4 moves and we lent them to a friend for her move as well. It was a tad expensive to do, but I really don’t have to save or buy new boxes every move.
  3. If you prepack, use your linens! Also, paper plates in between your dishes works great.
  4. Label your boxes by room. Make sure the movers place the boxes in the correct room at the new house. It’ll make the unpacking way easier.
  5. Take out your trash. They will pack it. Including dirty diapers {gag.}. I remember thinking surely, they know there’s TRASH in the cans, but if it’s not nailed to the floor, it’s gotta go in the truck or the crate. They’ll also pack drain stoppers, the rack in the dishwasher, and water hoses with water still in there. But heaven forbid they pack non-perishables.

 

Making new friends

In the military spouse world, we call this friend dating. Often times when you get somewhere you have to decide on someone very quickly to be your go-to person for those emergency contacts.

 

  1. Find a church!! And look what social opportunities they have. Whether it’s a mom’s group, playgroup, bible study or couples social group.
  2. Ask ol’ Facebook who you already know in the new location. An option would be to search for ‘Name of City’ Play group, or Mom’s Group.
  3. Once you get your kids in activities, try to recognize other parents who are there often and introduce yourself.
  4. Try to befriend your kids’ friends’ parents at school.
  5. Good golly, go meet your neighbors. Nothing says hello like a box of cookies! We have an inflatable, when we blow it up in the front yard, kids come out of the woodwork.  Great way to meet their parents too!

 

How to help kids adjust

This might be the hardest thing. Sure it’s hard on you leaving familiarity, friends and comfort zone. But, depending on kids’ ages, it’ll be nothing or the hardest thing they’ve ever gone through. And I think it all depends on your kids, their maturity level and your parenting skills.

 

  1. Start early. I will prepare them for an upcoming move several months in advance. Sometimes I know where we’re going, sometimes not. But we will play the “what type of house” will we live in next game. My son’s vote is a red pizza cabin mountain house. My daughter thinks it’ll be a yellow beach house.
  2. Look up their school and find an activity they can join. Special interest groups are instant friends with similar likes.
  3. Google the new city and what to expect. Will there be mountains or a beach? How about an aquarium or skating rink? Of course, find a Mexican restaurant, cause mama needs a margarita.
  4. Find fun things to do. For the first several weekends we will pretend to be tourists. Go find fun places, parks and restaurants, no chains!
  5. If you get farewells, I’d suggest giving stationary and switching addresses; so the kids can have a pen pal. Shoot, that would be great as an adult. It’s really cool at Christmas time getting cards from all over the world.

 

I know the inevitable will happen and the kids will get sad. My daughter is 6.5 and I think this is her first move out of 5, that she fully understands what is happening. Best advice I ever got was to let the kids be sad. Let them cry and feel the weight of the moment. But its really important that they don’t stay there. Kids are more resilient than you think.  It’s going to be fine, momma!

Guest Contributor & World Traveler,

Lorin Beier

 

 

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I Don’t Have Babies Anymore And I’m Not Quite Sure What To Do With Myself!

 

As I sit back and reflect on our lives over the last few months, and all the adventures we’ve gotten into, it suddenly hit me (like a wrecking ball) that I don’t have babies anymore.  And honestly, that hurts my momma heart.  Like, a whole lot.  Our kids seem to be growing at rapid speed.  Our oldest is nearly as tall as I am and her maturity level is off the charts.  Our tiny love  has surpassed all the “baby milestones” and looks much more like a little girl than a toddler.  Right now we have two kids playing soccer and one kid playing volleyball….and one mom coaching volleyball (which really just means that I can’t skip anything.  Don’t even think about judging me, y’all know exactly what I’m talking about.)  We live at ballfields, community centers and dance studios.  Our weekends come and go and we barely see our home because someone always has something going on.  Life seems to move in fast forward.  Recently I’ve been really looking at my children and trying to soak it all in.  Some mornings it’s like they wake up and i can tell they grew over night.  It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

We have one child going in to middle school this fall while another child will register for Pre-K.  I feel like I just had them.  Yes, both of them.  Where did the time go?  Not only do i realize how much they’re growing, but i also realize that I’m getting older as well.  Where’s the young, dumb 25 year old with the infant?!?  How have i been a mother for over a decade?  How am I turning 35 this summer?!?  Am i really done having babies?!  Is that portion of my life really over?!  While it sounds like I’m having a mid-life crisis over here, not to worry, I’m just processing all the random emotions that us mommas have to work through.  We dream our whole lives about the families that we’re going to have then once we’re actually in that situation, it all happens so fast that we can’t really fully enjoy it.

I wish i had all the answers and could tell you how to freeze time, but unfortunately, i don’t have those kinds of magical powers.  I do know that I’m realizing how important it is to unplug and be present; not just sometimes but all the time.  To listen to every crazy, long-winded story; to get in the floor and crawl around like a puppy dog and to play ball in the yard like you have no chores that need completed.  These are all things that we, as parents, would normally put off because we “don’t have time.”  But honestly, the older I get, the more I realize that the chores can wait but my children can’t!  They’re only little for so long.

Each day I’m forced to let go just a little more.  To let them walk a little farther away from me in the store, to let them sit at their own restaurant table with their friends, and to let them choose their own outfits and hairstyles (even when I most definitely disagree with their styling choices!!)  They’re only mine for a little while and I’m realizing that more each day.  This part is probably the most heartbreaking of all.  Who will I be when they’re grown and gone?!  We bring these tiny little bundles of joy into the world and vow to protect them from all evils.  We nurture them and hold them close, but letting go will definitely be the biggest hurdle we have to climb.

As I pave my way into becoming ‘middle aged’ and begin to tread the waters of being the momma to a Middle Schooler, I am reminded that each day is a blessing.  And even if I don’t have babies anymore, I know that they need me just as much now as they always have.  They just need me in different ways.  I may be taking the backseat for a while, but i’ll always be their biggest fan.  The truth is, I’m as lost as they are, but we’ll figure it out together….one laugh and cry at a time.

XOXO

Jill

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Happy Anniversary, Glitter Jungle! Come Celebrate With Us!

Believe it or not, Glitter Jungle turns ONE today!  It seems like just yesterday that we started out on this amazing journey.  As we sat and brainstormed, tirelessly trying to come up with a name for our new project,  we wondered if anyone would even read our blog.  Would people even be interested?!  Well, we’ve been astounded by how awesome you all are!  Not only have you read our blog, but you’ve shared us with your friends and welcomed us into your homes and lives.  Over the last year we’ve been able to partner with local businesses, collab with our friends and meet so many people along the way!  This first year has been so much more than we could’ve ever imagined.  And the good news is, the best is yet to come!  Here’s a short video, featuring some of our favorites, celebrating our one year milestone.

We’d love to hear your feedback!  What’s your favorite blog from this past year?  What do you enjoy reading the most – fitness, fashion, travel, fun, mom life?  What do you want to see us get into in 2018?  Would you like to collab with us?   Reach out to us and let’s chat!  We’d love to partner with you.

Cheers to many more years, and thanks for coming along for the ride!

XOXO

Jill & Lauren

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‘Rent The Runway’ And Steal The Show! High Fashion, Low Cost!

 

I’m normally a planner!  I love having a schedule and creating to-do lists.  I like mapping things out in my mind and checking off my tasks – especially if it’s something really big and important!  But as luck would have it, this year we decided to go to the Museum Ball at the last minute.   When I say last minute, I mean FOUR days before the ball!  FOUR. DAYS.  I was absolutely, one hundred percent unprepared.  I didn’t have a dress, shoes, hair appointment….nothing!  I quickly started scrambling; browsing every single dress website that I could find.  I knew what I was looking for – I wanted full length with long sleeves.  I kept running into the same problem over and over.  All the dresses I liked were either $350 – $500 (ohhh sweet Jesus! I can’t even.) or they wouldn’t ship until next Month (yeah, thanks but no thanks.)  After hours of searching, I finally decided to try Rent The Runway!  I quickly found several dresses that I loved….but this gold beauty caught my eye immediately.

 

I debated back and forth most of the day, trying to decide if I should try Rent The Runway.  I knew several people who loved RTR, but I also knew how very picky that I am (finding something flattering for this c-section x 2 tummy isn’t always an easy task!)  But I weighed my pros and cons and decided that I would take a chance this time.  If you all know me, you know I was really living on the edge by doing this.  I mean, what are the odds that this dress will fit and that I’ll actually like it?!?  Ironically, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be.  I guess I realized that it was my only option at that point.

So here’s how it works if you’ve never used Rent The Runway before.  You get to pick your dress in two sizes (in hopes that one of the sizes will work.)  As a first time user, you also get to pick a back-up dress.  You can rent the dresses for either 4 or 8 days, depending on how long you’ll need them.  They overnight the dresses to you (you typically get them the day before your event.) At the end of your rental, you take the dresses back to the UPS store and overnight the dresses back to RTR.

This process is SO perfectly streamlined.  It’s like a well oiled machine.  The dresses ship/arrive in an extremely heavy duty garment bag (they do not come in a box or typical shipping bag.)  The dresses are neatly packed deep inside the garment bag.  Once you are finished with your dresses, you pack them back into the garment bag, zip them up, change out the shipping label (they even provide the return shipping label for you!) and overnight them back to RTR.  I’m not kidding, it’s really that simple.  Aren’t these bags SO neat?!?!

 

 

When you’re scrolling through all the dresses on RTR, you’ll notice that there are TONS of reviews for each dress (pictures included!)  It tells you on there what size formal gown each person wore compared to their regular clothing size.  It tells if they sized up or down or if they felt that the dress was true to size!  It also tells the person’s height, weight and chest size.  This was particularly helpful when trying to decide on a dress size!  I normally size up a size or two when buying a formal gown, but nearly every review I read on my gold dress said that it was true to size.  I went out on a limb and ordered my true size and the size up.  But, just like everyone else, I ended up wearing my regular size.  I feel like the reviews were EXTREMELY helpful in picking out a dress!  Total game changer.

The dress I chose was technically a high neck with a low cut back. However, I noticed that one user reviewed that for short girls, it worked best to wear the dress backwards (seriously, who would’ve even thought about that?!)  But let me tell you, she slayed in that dress.  She was my total inspo.  Just like me, she was approximately 5’2″ and curvy.  So when my dress arrived, I decided to try the dress both ways and she was totally right.  The dress was so much more flattering when worn backwards!  (That’s probably more cleavage than I’ve ever shown in my entire life {YOLO!  Your welcome, husband!})

As for their customer service, I can not praise RTR enough!!  When my dresses arrived, they had sent the wrong back-up dress to me.  In my panicked state, I called and talked to the sweetest guy at customer service.  He told me how sorry he was, that my backup dress had accidently sold out so they just sent me something similar (it wasn’t really similar at all, but I couldn’t be mad at him!  ha!)  He found my original backup dress in a size down and he overnighted it to me for FREE!!!  So now I’ve received four dresses for the price of one – how amazing is that?!?  And sure enough, it arrived on time – before noon on the day of the event.  And although I ended up wearing my original gold dress, I can not tell you how thankful I was that he sent me my backup dress!

 

Here’s the cool part: if you absolutely fall in love with your rented item, you can purchase it.  The website tells you the rental fee vs. the purchase price.  My rental fee was $80 but full price for the dress was $700 (I might faint!)  Although i’ll never splurge and spend SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS on a formal gown, that dress was totally worth it.  It made me feel like a princess – and that was really fun for a middle aged momma!

In case you’re on the fence about trying Rent The Runway, here’s a Glitter Jungle Coupon Code for $30 off your first rental!

 

It was approximately 900 degrees in there!  I went full on Hollywood star and did a hair change mid gala.  Thank god for bobby pins and complementary hair spray!  I should’ve just brought that backup dress and had a wardrobe change as well (don’t even think for a second that I didn’t debate it! ha!)

Happy Shopping my friends – you’re going to look fabulous!

XOXO

Jill

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