Posts from September 2015

Favorite 5-Free Nail Polishes!

September 15, 2015
family, lifestyle, motherhood

Favorite 5-Free Nail Polishes! #joyofmom


A mom’s hands are priceless.

We use them to pick up our precious children and to wipe away the tears after tumbles and stumbles. Our hands are often the first touch of the day…and the very last.

As moms, we want to create the safest environment as possible for our little ones – and that includes the nail polish that we put on our busy hands!

Whether you can get away to the salon for a mani-pedi or you’re putting on a new coat of polish on the couch at night, fresh nails always seem to feel good!

As both a mom and consumer, I’ve always been passionate about what’s safest, healthiest, and best for our families health and well-being. And when in doubt, I do my homework – and then some. I’ve been concerned about the toxins in regular nail polish including toluene, which is added to gasoline and is a solvent. This particular toxin can wreak havoc on your respiratory tract and eyes. Many polishes also contain formaldehyde, which is not only flammable, but has been classified as a carcinogen. If your polish has DBP in it or dibutyl phthalate, you’re wearing a substance known to cause hormonal imbalances, liver and breast cancer. In fact, DBP is banned in Europe.

The good news is that there are polishes out there that are natural and toxin-free.

A few of my favorite 5-free include:

Zoya: Zoya was voted the longest lasting nail polish in Lucky Magazine’s Green Guide and a Top 10 Nail Polish by I love their colors including deep reds, subtle pinks, natural tones. Some of my faves for fall are Rue, Rowan and Normani.

SuncoatThis company has been around since 2001 and creates their polishes with a water base and no toxins. They use mineral pigments and natural ingredients instead of chemicals, so they are free of acetates and parabens. They even have peelable polish, so you don’t need remover.

Sheswai: This is clean, fabulous polish with beautiful bamboo toppers. The colors are sweet as their names! Just a few… so pretty, for real and nice. They have the most perfect violet and even an awesome yellow.

Piggy Paint: I love businesses created by moms! Piggy Paint is a great choice when our little ones want their nails done just like Mommy’s! Melanie Hurley created this brand that is “natural as mud.” Her polish is water-based, non-flammable, non-toxic, and cruelty-free. Say goodbye to harsh, smelly chemicals and hello to mommy daughter mani pedis and Piggy Paint!

WatercolorsThis line from Honeybee Gardens is also a water-based polish formula that’s odorless and doesn’t include synthetic food dyes. There are 25 amazing colors from blue to red and even black. It’s free of formaldehydes, toluene and dibutyl phthalates.

Whether this is your time to escape or you have a set of small fingers lined up next to yours, enjoy the guilt-free fun and treat those busy hands!

Seven Things You Should Say To A Mom

September 6, 2015
inspiration, motherhood

Seven Things You Should Say To A Mom! #joyofmom


In honor of a different kind of “Labor Day,” I’ve got some mama love for you today! Today {like everyday} is a great opportunity to celebrate the hard work that moms do 24-7. Here are seven of my favorites:

One: Do you need a hand? You see that mom juggling ten things as she tries to help a four-year-old and a toddler on a plane? Or perhaps you see that same mom trying to juggle a baby and groceries. There is nothing nicer than saying, “Can I give you a hand?” Nine out of ten times, moms will say, “Thanks, I’m good.” But there will be that one time when the mom might say, “Can you help me lift this box?”

Two: You look great. Moms often have three seconds to get themselves ready in the morning after tending to their families. It doesn’t take much to tell your mom friends, “You look great. I love your shirt.” It’s just a little daily pick-me-up for a mom who might be wondering if she has had a shower in the last 36 hours.”

Three: One day your kids will thank you. It might not be today, and a seven-year-old isn’t really programmed to thank you for everything. But reminding a mom that someday her kids will be grateful for her love is life affirming. You never know just how much someone needs to hear those words.

Four: Take a little “me” time. Help a family member or close friend who needs a little break. Call them and say, “I’ll watch Rowan. You need a little me time.” Maybe that mom will want to get a haircut or just take a nap. But those two or three hours you offer to babysit might be just what that mom needs to recharge and regenerate. For you, it’s a little time to spend with the kids. For the mom, it might just be priceless.

Five: You’ve made me a better mom. All of us borrow parenting tips from moms we know and admire, but we might not give them the credit they deserve. If you have a mom role model then tell her. Send her a card or just say, “You’ve made me a better mom because…” then list the ways that this mom has served as a mentor to you. Your words will tell the other mom that she’s not just influencing her own kids, but other mothers around her. Now, that’s an amazing feeling!

Six: It’s okay to mess up. Maybe your friend didn’t take little Liam to the doctor yesterday and then his fever spiked. Or she didn’t sign up for that baseball team and now it’s too late. Moms have so much to do and so many decisions to make in one day. We blame and guilt ourselves to the extreme when things aren’t perfect. Stop and tell yourself and your mom friends that it’s okay to mess up now and then. You’re only human.

Seven: You’re doing a fabulous job. There are days when many moms feel like they’re failing everyone because they’re pulled in so many directions. There are other days when we just maintain as we do our best. And we never give ourselves the credit we deserve. Celebrate yourself and others as a mom and remember that you have happy, thriving kiddos! That means you’re doing a really great job!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your little ones snuggled close ~ and maybe even a little time to put your feet up!

Photo courtesy of Colibri Photo

Tips For a Successful School Year

September 1, 2015
family, lifestyle, motherhood

Tips For a Successful School Year! #joyofmom


There’s just something about seeing the bright yellow school bus rolling down the street and little ones excitedly (or nervously) waiting for it to arrive to climb aboard. Even through it’s been many years since my kids have taken those sweet bus rides, I warmly smile as I see the bus approaching on my early morning walks in my neighborhood, and I feel for the mamas who have a whirlwind of emotions during this time of year. School is just back in session. As much as it’s an exciting time for both parents and their kiddos, it can also be a bit stressful. As a mom of three, I’ve gone through many back-to-school days that taught me about how to help my children through this special and all-important transition time of year.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned:

Children Handle Change Differently: One child might welcome a new class filled with faces that will soon become close friends. Another child might withdraw because they’re shy and have trouble meeting new peers. As a mom, it’s important to take special note of how each one of our kids embrace and handle the new year. The shy child might need a play date on the weekends with a good buddy. Or perhaps you might spend a little more time asking about the new classmates, giving examples on ways they can say hello and meet new friends.

A New Teacher Can Be Your Best Resource: Although teachers themselves are easing into the new school year, I’ve found they warmly welcome e-mails from parents. This is a great time to introduce yourself and ask if perhaps the teacher needs any help in the classroom, if your schedule permits. If you have concerns and insights you’d like to share for them to better know your child and make the transition period a little smoother, it’s a good time to share this or ask to schedule a quick conference chat. Perhaps your daughter had a very hard time with math last year and feels a little bit reluctant about the subject. Teachers need to be aware so they may best work with your child and their special needs or areas of attention that may need a little extra encouragement or TLC.

Don’t Complain About Homework: As Moms, we set the tone. When you pick up your child on a busy day, it’s fine to hope there’s not a lot of homework because it takes away family time. Just remain positive about it even if your young one is swamped. A project on the Grand Canyon? You say: “Great! Let’s go collect some rocks. That will be fun.” Have to draw a map of the states? “Cool. Let’s make a family list of what places we want to visit.” Your enthusiasm is contagious!

Make The Little Things Easier: Please don’t sweat the small stuff. Pack those lunches the night before. Choose their favorite (healthy) lunches to prepare. Don’t immediately jump into carpooling. A little one-on-one time to start the school year can make a world of difference. In other words, make it as uncomplicated as possible to have a smooth start.

Send Sweet Surprise Notes: There’s nothing better than getting a happy “I love you” note in a lunchbox! A sweet, simple note to let your child know you’re thinking about them can be just the warm hug they need while away at school. If you have little ones still at home, they can draw special pictures along with your note. A touch of home is so welcome especially during the first couple weeks of the new year.

Moms, you’re the permanent and most influential teacher in your child’s life. If you teach your little ones to love school and welcome new adventures, then your newly minted first or third grader (or any grade) will go out there with the best of attitudes.

Here’s to our kids having an amazing school year! And to the moms having one, too!

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