The People You See in the Airport and Other Entertaining Ways to Pass Time

At some time or another, we have waited at the airport, subway, for a bus or even just in the Starbucks or school pick up line. I think we can all agree that WAITING SUCKS! What is the first thing we do when we are presented with a wait (besides uttering four or five choice words)?? Pick up our phones, right?! We start scrolling though social media like a boss (you are MINE Snapchat filters!).  However, sometimes we are in areas with little to no (free) access to the internet – cue people-watching! During my last few kid-less flights (because we all know this isn’t happening when you are wrangling tiny people) I noticed a trend in the groups of people I saw in the airport. They might look a little different, but they all follow these general categories –

People You See in the Airport:
  1. Judgy old people – This is the couple or group of friends that finds something wrong with everyone around them: “those people are too loud”, “why so much luggage”, “that muffin top isn’t going to stay in those jeans for long”, “there are seats all around here [*there actually aren’t], why is this boy sitting right next to me”. Of course they are loud and everyone can hear them. Depending on your mood (and how close you are sitting to them) these people are some of the most entertaining ones.😜
  2. College/Grad students – They are always talking about how busy they are (HA! Get back to me in 10 years), what exams are studying for and what paper they have just written. They love talking about their coffee addiction and you’ll hear: “UUGGGHHH, I need a double espresso mocha latte…I haven’t had a coffee in hours”.☕
  3. Emo high schooler – This kid is wearing all black, has hair in their face and is scribbling in their journal or drawing some dark picture. 🧛‍♀️ 🧛‍♂️
  4. People with headphones – They like to pretend that headphones makes them or everyone else invisible, leaving them with no situational awareness. Someone needs you to move your giant bag so they can wheel grandma through the aisle? “Sorry, I neither see nor hear you.” (I have to admit that I am a recovering earbud wearer – they are basically an accessory in D.C.) 🎧
  5. Exhausted business travelers – These people get really irritated (somewhat like my toddler)  when anything delays their mission of getting home (*raises hand*).😴
  6. Over-packers – Its one thing to over-pack your checked luggage (it only harms your back and your wallet), but it is quite another to over-pack your carry on! There is always that girl – and I say girl because it’s 9 times out of 10 a girl – who has so much junk stuffed in her carry on and personal item, plus the 4 to 5 things she is holding, that you are praying that you don’t sit next to her on the plane, because you know that shiz is not going to fit under her seat and will most definitely be spilling into your personal space.👜 💼
  7. Food on the plane – Now I know that it is a necessity sometimes and anyone wearing a military uniform gets a pass on this one, but the people that bring STINKY FOOD on the plane…shame on you, just shame.🤢
  8. Overly friendly mid westerners – Ok, I know what you are thinking, don’t you live around the friendliest people ever? Yes, but while I appreciate courtesy and a friendly smile, I’m usually not looking to make a life long friend and bare my soul to the person sitting next to me on the plane. Sometimes people are interested in convo, sometimes they aren’t – check the body language, people.😂
  9. Over/Under dressed – Just recently I was on a flight with a guy in a full (and I mean full) Gucci get-up. It wasn’t gaudy and believe you me, I took note and appreciated e.v.e.r.y. piece. There are also always those people in their PJs. It’s a jungle out there.😎
  10. Family with kids – God have mercy on your souls. I know your pain but, have also already inserted my earplugs/headphones.🙏

Other Ways to Pass Time:
  1. Zulily – Do you all know about this site?? I think most people think babies when they think Zulily – but not so! You can get everything from Egyptian Cotton Sheets to Swimsuits (for the whole family to yoga mats and kitchen appliances.
  2. Shop It To Me – If you love bargain shopping but hate surfing the web 24/7, Shop It To Me does the work! It is a completely free, daily shopping update for the clothing, shoes and accessories you love. You pick your size and favorite brands, and Shop It To Me searches hundreds of online stores  to find your favorite items on sale in your size.
  3. Poshmark – This is an easy way to buy and sell your fashions! There are over two million sellers and millions of shoppers. I have sold and found tons of great items on this site. Use the code: LAUR_SAV to get $5 when you sign up!
  4. Virtual Library – I have recently rediscovered the awesomeness of my local library! There are tons of books that you can “check out” virtually and read them on your kindle/iPad/phone. If you live in Ohio, check www.clevenet.org. It has one of the most expansive virtual libraries.
  5. Ebates – The Ebates Cash Back Button gives you Cash Back while you shop! It even applies coupons automatically at checkout so you’ll always get the best deals. I was really skeptical of this at first. How does this work? Is there some type of bot that follows my purchases? What are they getting out of this? Well, I have to say, I have regularly been receiving checks since signing up! Sign up with my referral code and you will get $10 right off the bat: Ebates.
  6. Ted Talks – Want to learn about your sleeping disorder? Need some parenting advice? Want to know what it’s like to go undercover in North Korea? Plus tons of other interesting videos? Check out Ted Talks. They are some of the most interesting and inspiring videos of varying lengths.

What are your favorite ways to pass time??

Have a great vacation and here’s to all those entertaining co-travelers!🍹

Lauren

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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

 

(Affiliate links included.)

 

 

 

 

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Say NO to B.O. – Go Native!

B.O.  It’s just one of those things that is not socially acceptable, unless you are living in a commune or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think any of those people are reading this blog. 😂

In my pre-teen or early teen years I started using deodorant (mostly because it was cool and a bit because I needed it).  I progressed from Teen Spirit to Secret to Dove and that’s where it ended. I have tried all varieties of Dove over the last 15 years, but recently noticed that it hasn’t been working as well.

About that same time, a friend of mine (thanks Jenna!), asked if I had ever tried Native deodorant. I had heard of Native but never really gave it a second look.  Since I am trying to eat/live more simply (I had a party in the Target aisle when I found a 4 ingredient granola bar for the baby), I thought I might as well try to do the same for the things I put on my body.

I love the fact that Native deodorant is aluminum free – which helps with the laundry situation and clogged pores.  (It is also parabens, phthalates, and talc free.) If you are like me, you might wonder if all of those eliminated ingredients would make the deodorant less effective, so I tested it out in several scenarios.  My first test was a day at the office, not much activity, but can we say stress sweat?!? 😂  The Native deodorant passed with flying colors! The second test was a high intensity workout AFTER a day at work. I didn’t reapply and jumped into the workout. This was another success! I was super sweaty but didn’t have that dreaded B.O. smell. The third test was a day at home with my two toddlers. It was an 85 degree day and we were in and out of the house. I probably sweated the most this day. While I didn’t HAVE to reapply, I started feeling a bit gross, so I swiped on a couple more times. 😂

Native gives some helpful tips when making the switch:

One drawback is that you can’t pick up Native in local stores. However, they do offer a subscription, so you aren’t stuck without deodorant! Also, it’s free shipping and free returns (music to my ears). I would definitely recommend Native and hope you like it as much as I do! If you order now, you also get a free travel sized deodorant, here: Native.

We’d love to hear your deodorant experiences. Let us know if you make the switch!

XOXO,

Lauren

 

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Making Kimbap with my Mom

Kimbap (or Gimbap) is one of my favorite Korean eats and in honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to show you how one of the best (my MOM!!) makes it from scratch.

Throwback to one of my bridal showers. (circa 2008)

For those of you unfamiliar with kimbap, it is basically the Korean version of sushi (but fresher and less raw fish). This dish is a healthy, super easy one to pack and take as a snack or eat at home (after your kids have gone to bed, because seriously, you aren’t going to want to share.) BEWARE – after you make this once, your family will be begging for it day after day. 😂

Ingredients:

  • Korean Seaweed (aka Kim or Gim) – Make sure you get the full sheets and not the snack size (at least 5 sheets)
  • Rice – Get the short grained variety for this recipe (2 cups, uncooked)
  • Eggs (2 or 3)
  • Carrot (1 large or 2 small)
  • Spinach (1 bag of baby spinach or 2 small bundles of fresh spinach)
  • Garlic Cloves (3 whole or 3 teaspoons of the pre-minced kind)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Soy Sauce (2 tablespoons)
  • White Sugar (1 to 1.5 tablespoons – to taste)
  • Sesame Oil (2 to 2.5 tablespoons – to taste)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Canned Tuna (optional) (1 can)
  • Skirt steak or tenderloin (optional) (.5 pound)
  • Yellow pickled radish (optional) (1 radish or 5 small strips)
  • Cucumber (optional) (1 large or 3 small)

Ok, this seems like a lot, but if you are like me, you will double it and have enough for a couple of days.

Directions:

  • Cook the rice (do yourself a favor and get a rice cooker if you don’t have one already).  A rule of thumb I learned from my mom is that you should rinse the rice at least two times to get it clean. After that, fill the pot to about an inch of water over the rice line.
  • Transfer the cooked rice to a mixing bowl and add .5 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil with a rice scoop or a wooden spoon.
  • You are ready to prepare your veggies!
    • Dice the carrots into matchstick sized pieces and saute them with a drop of vegetable oil and pinch of salt. (TIP: buy the precut carrots and save yourself a few minutes!)
    • Spinach (recipe here!)
  • Crack Eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and beat. Spray or drizzle some vegetable oil in the pan (just enough to lightly coat the bottom) and add the eggs. Cook the egg on low and flip with a spatula before it gets too brown.
  • The rest is optional:
    • Steaks – Trim the fat from the skirt steaks and slice into ¼ inch wide, 3 to 5 inch strips. Put the strips into a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 minced garlic clove (or 1 teaspoon of pre-minced), ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper,1 tablespoon white sugar, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. (Let marinate while you are prepping the other ingredients.)
    • Tuna – Brace yourself…open the can and drain (whew!) – Many times I opt for this instead of the steak.
    • Yellow pickled radish or Danmuji – cut into thin strips.
    • Cucumber – cut into thin strips or dice like the carrots.

TIP: If you have all of these ingredients ready before you attempt to assemble, it will make your life so much easier!

READY to ROLL:

  • Place a sheet of kim (seaweed) on a bamboo mat (like this one) or just on a cutting board if you don’t have a bamboo mat.

  • Add a layer of rice on the kim (seaweed) on about half of the sheet.
  • Add the carrots, a few egg strips, and spinach in the center of the rice (in addition to tuna or steak)

  • Here’s the tricky part, use both hands to hold the filling and start rolling the kim. Check out the master at work:

  • Then, simply cut the roll into ¼ inch pieces.

If you really want to send this over the edge, dip the pieces in soy sauce or as I like to do, pour a few drops on each piece as you devour them! Ha.

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Lauren

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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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Packing Hacks and Must Haves for Family Vacations

I have noticed that there are two camps when it comes to packing for vacation. Those who pack everything and the kitchen sink and those who try to take as few bags as possible. I generally fall into the first category. 🤪 This leaves John to try to juggle at least 4 or 5 bags while I wheel the kids through the airport. In this scenario, we usually (A) break down and pay one of the porters to help us, (B) John hurts himself (and is grumpy the rest of the day) or (C) we rent one of the carts (which you can never find where to put them when you are done).

If you’ve been following the blog this year, you know that one of my resolutions is to travel more. So far, I’ve been to the mountains of WV, NYC and now sunny Florida! After each trip, I vow to pack less. Besides the packing and lugging it through the airport, there’s the UNPACKING!😭  This trip I dove in and tried minimalist packing!!

As you all are probably aware, traveling with kids really makes you want to curl in the fetal position changes the game. So, one big caveat to this minimalist packing experience is that I knew that there were (easily accessible) laundry facilities at our condo. Here’s what my minimalist packing looked like for a 4 year old:

Here is what it looked like for my 1 year old:

All-in-all, I was super happy with the experience. It really did streamline our check-in (yay Southwest – and yes, I did sit next to the window; if anyone was getting sucked out it was going to be ME!) and we generally had everything we needed. Believe it or not, we didn’t even use everything we packed! While, I’m sure my over-packing days aren’t over, I am going to try my darnedest to pair down my packing. There really is something to be said for simplicity (especially when you will be spending the majority of the time in a bathing suit).

Just to clarify, the items above are just the clothes portion of the packing. After all of our travels with a baby, baby + toddler and two toddlers, here is my MUST HAVE non-clothing packing list (click on the pink links below to get a better look at the product described):

Pack ‘n Play – If you have a baby, this is the numero uno crucial item. We were lucky because one of my mom’s friends had a smaller pack ‘n play that she gave us after our son was born. This was awesome to take to grandmother’s house and also to travel with! If you can, find a smaller one than your large one with the bassinet and changing table, you will be glad you did. This Costco one is only $50! Not only is is smaller, but lighter! Your baby won’t know the difference and you can have a little peace of mind bringing your own. Another option is to use the one at your hotel or condo. I was weirded out by that with my oldest, but the poor second child has used the hotel’s several times, after a clorox drench wipe down.

Toddler Cot – This might sound weird, but we got this idea after seeing our kids sleep so well on the cots at school. Our kids were introduced to cots at 18 months (or earlier) at their “school” and there’s something about them having their own space. It’s smaller than a pack ‘n play and if you can get away with it, it’s less to pack (it can even fit in a suitcase)! This Regalo one took the cake. It comes with a case and a sheet  – win/win.

Car Seat Cover – We like the J.L. Childress brand for the car seat travel bag. It is durable, can be worn like a backpack and fits most car seats. It’s always a struggle to figure out what will be less of a hassle – taking car seats or renting them upon arrival. What we’ve found, is that if you are renting a car, rent the seats. If someone is picking you up at the airport, take your own. There is nothing worse than being trapped in a rental line after a tiring flight with cranky kids, when everyone just wants to get to the destination.

Umbrella Stroller – We love the UPPAbaby 2015 G-Lite Stroller. Anyone who knows my husband, knows that he researches like crazy to get the best deal. This stroller has proved to be great for ages 1 – 4 (we don’t have anyone older than that, ha). The best part about this stroller is that the shade has an extra extender part, that keeps the sun off the kids. I also love the mesh back and it has a strap so you can carry it over your shoulder. It is crazy lightweight and worth every penny. It made it across the Pacific Ocean and back and still looks brand new.

Stroller Cover – This gate check stroller cover has been super durable and it prevents parts from going missing or wear and tear to the stroller.

Sippy Cups – I seriously might have all the sippy/insulated cups ever created and sold in the U.S. market. When traveling, my fav and go-to is the CamelBak. I like these because they hold a lot of liquid, can clip to a stroller hook and the spout can fold down to be less exposed to whatever gross stuff it might come into contact with. The runner up is the Thermos Funtainer. This is a little heavier and not as convenient to hook to a stroller or backpack. However, the spout is completely covered and it does keep things cold/warm longer.

Sunscreen – Toddler tested, mother approved. My son tans really easily and we haven’t had a burn (knock on wood). My daughter is super fair, like her Dada, and I was pretty frantic about finding a non-toxic sunscreen to provide crazy coverage, without tons of re-application. Here’s what I found, Babyganics. We applied this once in the morning and once in the afternoon and girlfriend didn’t get pink! Hooray!

Bumpers – These hiccapop bumpers were recommended to me by a friend (thanks Brittany!) and whoa!! total GAME CHANGER. Forget lugging those bulky plastic or metal bed rails/guards around. These take up little space when rolled up and have treads that keep them in place under the fitted sheet. Not only are these great for traveling (*read – you don’t have to drag the toddler cot around all of the time*) but, they are also great when transitioning your toddler to a big bed. Buy them, you won’t regret it.

Packing Cubes – I can’t stop talking about these.  Here’s the latest review: packing cubes.

Things to NEVER forget (and might be best in a carry-on):

Blankie

Favorite Stuffed Animal

Sound Machine

Tablets/chargers

Snacks/drinks for take-off and landing

Time Savers

  • If you are going to be somewhere for a week consider ordering essentials: diapers, wipes, formula, baby food from Walmart and have it delivered to your room (2-day shipping 🙌 ). Amazon Prime works for this too!
  • Walmart has free grocery pickup in tons of locations now. You just order online and they will load your groceries for FREE! Here is a $10 coupon to try it: Walmart Grocery Pickup
  • Many grocery stores offer free shipping to your room/condo if you order over $50 (which is super easy with 4 people).
  • If you want to stay in one night and don’t want to cook, check with GrubHub or Seamless. These services deliver from tons of participating restaurants.
  • Look really strung out and desperate in the airport…lol. TSA usually has mercy on our souls and lets us through a shorter line.

Many of you have asked me for these tips, so I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any favorite products you can’t live without when traveling. I love hearing new ideas!

Happy Vacationing!

XOXO,
Lauren

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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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We Love Our Teachers and Here’s How To Show it!

I know you all have seen the teachers strikes in the national news. No matter where you fall on the teacher’s salary issue, I think we can all agree that there are some teachers we want to go above and beyond for! We want to show them our love, support and gratitude for taking care of/teaching/nurturing/mentoring/coaching our kids! If you are anything like me, every April I have the same conversation with my mom friends about…you guessed it, what are we going to get our kids’ teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day! Sure, there are the old stand-bys of flowers and  candy, and those moms that have it pulled together enough to present a gorgeous pinterest creation, but I wanted some new ideas.

Enter my first college roommate, Deborah Penwell:

She is an elementary school teacher and mom, so she has tons of experience on both the giving and receiving ends of Teacher Appreciation Day.  Here is her take on gift ideas:

As I was thinking about how to best write this, I didn’t want it to come across as “Go buy something for your kids teacher!” but as a way to look at really appreciating the people who spend SO much time with your children for 180ish days.

I love the teachers that my son has had since he started Kindergarten. He’s now in 2nd Grade and has had some really wonderful teachers work with him. They nurture him, teach him compassion & kindness, give him band aids when he’s hurt, rub his back when he’s having a rough day, smile and laugh at his stories when they could be working on other things, make a huge deal when he does well on his work, and the biggest…have patience with him when he may be getting on their last nerves! For these reasons along with MANY others, I want them to truly know how special they are to me! I totally understand that we aren’t going to love every teacher that our children have. I mean, really…who likes everyone person that they’ve ever met??? Keep in mind though that these are the women and men who are with our children all day. Are there a few bad apples? Sure. For the most part though, the teachers I know are AMAZING. They are at school hours more a week than the 7:30-3:15 day. They take work home so that the needs of their students can be met. They would literally sacrifice their lives for their students as we’ve seen far too many times in the past few years. So for one week…or throughout the year if you want, why not show them a little love for all of the things they do for our babies!

On to the goodies! Okay, I know not everyone has the same budget. Some of us aren’t even in the same ball park so I’m going to give several different ideas. I want to preface these ideas by saying that most teachers don’t expect anything. I can honestly say that a heartfelt note of thanks or encouragement is a HUGE deal for us. Some of my most cherished gifts are notes from parents where they shared how much they thought of me. One of the quickest ways to make a teacher cry!

A great way to find out what your child’s teacher likes is a quick questionnaire. It can be as short or thorough as you want it to be. Some good questions to start with are: What is your favorite snack? What is your favorite restaurant? What are your monogram initials? What size shirt do you wear? What are your favorite colors? Are there any foods that you are allergic to or try to stay away from? With just a few questions, you have all the information you need for some pretty awesome gifts. Your child will probably be able to give you some good ideas too. For instance, my students know that I love coffee. They comment on it pretty frequently.

Oh My Stars Designs https://www.facebook.com/ohmystarsdesign/ has some great teacher gifts! She can put just about any design on a shirt or tumbler. And ALL.THE.GLITTER!!! I love my pen holder that I got from her shop. It’s perfect for Flair pens or Sharpies! Flair pens are a new favorite desk item of mine this year. https://www.amazon.com/Paper-Mate-Medium-Limited-1982970/dp/B01M306M92/ref=sr_1_10?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1523494242&sr=1-10&keywords=flair+pens Since her items are custom made, make sure you check on her time line before ordering!

A pretty easy to pick up gift is blank notecards and pens. It may sound silly, but teachers go through a lot each year. I know that I try to write thank you notes for my students when they give me something. TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, and Amazon all have some great ones. I’ve also ordered these before and they were super cute! https://www.peartree.com/teacher-stationery/aligned-apple-mini-note-cards-teacher-stationery/p/PTG5979NTFC2-KT/ Look for promo codes first and it’s even more affordable.

Bluestone Sign Co. https://www.facebook.com/bluestonesignco/ has adorable signs. She has some premade signs available and also takes custom orders. Again, make sure to check the time lines before ordering so you know if it will be finished on time.

Gift cards to local restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries are also a big winner. You could also go in with a couple of other parents for a gift certificate to a nicer restaurant as well.

Another option to really spoil a teacher is to go in with several other parents and get a gift certificate for a massage or mani/pedi!

I hope this has helped you all think of some ways to show you appreciate everything that a teacher does for your child each day.

Thanks Debbie! These are awesome ideas, in plenty of time to make those teachers feel special and appreciated.

Guest contributor Deborah Penwell lives in North Carolina, but is originally from wild, wonderful, West Virginia. She taught 4th grade for one year and 3rd grade for the past 12 years.  She enjoys her family, coffee, the beach and traveling.

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Perfect Spring Dress Alert!!! BOAF Boutique Coupon Code Included!

It’s a beautiful winter we’ve been having this spring!  (*eye roll*)  Who’s ready for spring to actually show up and stick around?!? I know we at Glitter Jungle are! This weather has teased us with a couple of warm, breezy days and left us craving sundresses and sandals!  So naturally, we went looking for the perfect, casual spring dress!

We found them at our first stop: Birds of a Feather Boutique (BOAF)! It is a cute, cozy boutique located in Huntington, WV at Heritage Station. BOAF sells unique and trendy items at super affordable prices both in store and online.

This easy fitting, jersey swing dress has a cute lattice detail and comes in tons of spring colors! The best part is that it has POCKETS and is only $24!! It will take you from the ball field to dinner to church and can be paired with sandals, mules or heels. This dress comes in sizes small through extra large. It is SUPER roomy and depending on how you like to wear your dresses, a Medium could range anywhere from a size 6-12. Lauren is 5’8″ and the dress hits 2-3 inches above her knee. She is wearing a medium.  Jill is 5’2″ and you see that it hits below her knee. The dress is fitted through the chest and arms but extremely forgiving in the body.  If you are larger chested (like Jill) I would say that it runs true to size.  If you are smaller chested you could definitely size down for a more fitted look.

In addition to this dress, BOAF also has a sleeveless swing dress with pockets in a variety of colors for spring – that could be dressed up or down and will take you right into summer!  The sleeveless dress would be PERFECT for the office – just throw on a cute cardigan, slide on some mules and you’re all set!

Because we love BOAF and know that you will love these dresses and, well EVERYTHING else in the store, BOAF is giving 15% off your entire order (not just the dresses listed) from today through Wednesday with the promo code GLITTER! Be sure to grab your favorite dress because sizes are limited and these are going to go fast. Also for you locals, check back for an in-store sale later this week.

To give you some outfit inspo, we’ve styled our dresses several different ways below to show you just how versatile these dresses really are!  What’s your favorite style?  Let us know!  We’d love to hear.

 

We know you will love your BOAF order! Let us know what you got!

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

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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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