Best Dressed Moms on the Emmys Red Carpet

October 2, 2015
entertainment, lifestyle

Last weekend, the stars shined bring on the Emmy’s red carpet but none had that special glow quite like the celebrity mamas!

 

Here are just a few of our favorite fashionista moms:

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Amanda Peet is a mother of two daughters with Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff. At the Emmys she looked incredibly elegant in this Michael Kors floor-length black brocade dress.

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Is it just us, or could only Kerry Washington pull off this Marc Jacobs dress? The star of Scandal, and mother to one daughter, is fiercely confident which makes her all the more beautiful.

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been owning the red carpet since her Seinfeld days. Julia is now the star of Veep and mother to two sons. Julia’s style is always timeless, and this Safiyaa gown is no different.

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Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Always bright-eyed and cheerful, Maggie Gyllenhaal wore this Oscar de la Renta gown perfectly. This mother of two girls is a great example of “the happiest girls make the prettiest girls.”

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Photos courtesy of www.mom.me

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 Glamour.com. 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!

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!

10 Household Hacks that Double as Beauty Treatments

August 24, 2015
lifestyle

10 Household Hacks that Double as Beauty Treatments! #joyofmom

 

Hey, Moms! You don’t need an appointment or a babysitter to book the hottest spa in town. In fact, this is a place where your spa treatments will either cost nothing or just a few dollars.

Yes, you have the makings in your home for some very luxe spa treatments.

Here are 10 Household Hacks that can turn your home into a spa!

One: Kosher Salt. That fancy exfoliating agent at the tony spa is probably an inexpensive kosher salt mixed with a scent. You can do the same thing at home. Just take a few teaspoons of the salt into the bath with you for a great mommy leg scrub. Add to it your favorite amazing scent depending on your mood. Peppermint energizes while lavender, chamomile or sweet marjoram to relax. Use geranium or clary sage for balance and tea tree oil to purify and cleanse. Feel the smooth!

Two: Grapefruits. It’s not just a great dieting aide! Make sure to save the other half of your grapefruit to rid your elbows and knees of that summer dry skin. Go outside since this is messy and scrub the dry spots. Rinse. Moisturize.

Three: Coffee Grinds. Save your cooled coffee grinds to make an amazing cellulite scrub. Just take the room temp grinds into the shower and with your hands scrub the cellulite areas. The caffeine in the coffee helps to break it down. Rinse. Moisturize.

Four: Leftover Water from Rice. For centuries, Asian women have saved their rice water as a hair treatment. Rice water contains inositol, a carb that helps to repair damaged hair and protect it from damage. Plus, the amino acids in the rice help strengthen the hair root and make hair silky smooth. Cool the rice water before applying. You an also use it on your skin to calm inflation as the rice water is moisturizing and is also an antioxidant with healing properties.

Five: Egg Whites or Yellows. If you have oily skin take the whites of an egg, whip them and make a facial mask. If your skin is dry, take the fatty yellows and make a mask. Smear on your face and let it set for 20 minutes. Rinse well. Just don’t eat the raw eggs!

Six: Marbles. Do your kiddos love marbles? Borrow them at night and make this relaxing spa treatment. Fill a plastic bin with warm water and drops of your favorite essential oil and/or liquid scented soap. Great scents for relaxation are chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, mandarin and jasmine. Place the marbles on the bottom of the bin. Now, rub your feet over the marbles as you close your eyes and relax for 20 minutes. It’s an instant reflexology treatment. Rinse and moisturize when you’re finished.

Seven: Peaches are still around for the next few weeks, so let’s put them to good use. Did you know that the vitamins in peaches in also a natural skin brightener that will make it look like you’ve just had a facial. Simply mash the inside of a small peach, discarding the skin. Smear on your face and relax for 20 minutes. Rinse. You will notice instant brightening.

Eight: Love chocolates and your bathtub? Now there’s a way to combine both of them. Add 1/8 cup powered milk plus 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder into your bath plus ¼ cup Epsom salt. Stir the tub water with your hand to make sure the chocolate dissolves. Melt into your tub while smelling delicious chocolate, which is also an antioxidant. Another variation: 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk plus ½ cup unscented bubble bath. It’s a chocolate bubble bath now! (Moms, this is also big fun for the kids!)

Nine: Avocado. Don’t eat this one with chips (although tempting!). Mash a small avocado in a bowl and add half cup of coconut milk. Use this mix as a deep conditioner that you leave on for 20 minutes for silky, shining hair. Rinse.

Ten: Coconut and Roses. Find a small jar or a mason jar. Add one large scoop of coconut oil on the bottom that should comprise 1/3 of the jar, add rose pedals to comprise the middle third of the jar, add raw sugar for the top third (brown sugar or raw cane sugar. It should be course). Keep this as a fragrant scrub.

Bonus: We can’t leave without one more tip. Got lemons? You can make a fabulous fresh clarifying toner by mixing a few drops of coconut water with three drops of lemon. Use a cotton ball and gently pat your face. The coconut hydrates while the lemon brightens and clears your face of congestion. To learn more bit the power of lemons click here.

Here’s to a beautiful you (inside and out) this fall!

Put A Hold On Back To School Time

August 12, 2015
family, lifestyle, motherhood

Put A Hold On Back To School Time! #joyofmom

 

It started with that special aisle in the market.

My heart began to sink FAST. It was filled with Mead notebooks, lined paper and three ring binders in every color.

“No,” my mind screamed “It’s not that time of the year!” Then I glance again and asked myself, “How can it be here so soon?”

I think every mom feels a bit melancholy when you see that first Back to School sale despite the fact that a clean, beautiful new backpack for your little one does seem like a really good idea. Or maybe it’s that special comforter for the child who is going away to college. Will it be Batman or SpongeBob this year for the little one’s lunchbox? Will it be… STOP. NOT YET.

The first whiff of back to school also begged the question: Where does the time go?

Five minutes ago, it was the last day of school and kids were literally running out those big heavy doors with their hands in the air cheering on summer vacation. Or maybe it was that college student who is finally back from a different time zone with a new maturity. As a mom, I’ve always loved the last day of school because it signals to me that it’s time for some “family time” with the kids.

Gone are those endless nights of homework and projects. Gone are the hectic school schedule of rehearsals and games. Gone is the fact that I can only reach my child through a phone or device, but can’t give him or her a real hug.

Summer is one giant improv where you can find an adventure with your kids at every turn, if you just look for one. I love every part of it from the backyard barbecues where the garden hose attack is on to the lazy family car trips and those big breakfasts at a diner in the middle of nowhere. Summer is sleep overs and sleep ins. Early morning walks. And sweat from that breathless bike ride up the hills. It’s outdoor cafes for heart to heart talks.

Those three months of summer are golden and not just because of the bright morning sunshine declaring another free day to turn into something memorable. Just having this mental break with the kids is priceless, but it moves too fast.

June went by in a blink and suddenly July 4 was over. Gulp, did I hear someone mention Labor Day? Did I really go to the craft’s store and see all the Halloween stuff? Is a giant turkey far behind?

And now…..now, I’m supposed to think about a sale on multi-colored pencils?

Stop the summer. I want to get off the back to school train already.

Quickly, I swung my cart to a different aisle. Then I convinced myself that it’s only mid August and there was precious little time left.

There was still time for another dip in a pool and the promise of movie night at my local park.

But just as I was buying some veggies to grill, my heart sunk. I saw those mini pumpkins in a bin about to be put in the produce aisle as a signal that fall was nipping on my sandals.

Darn it! It’s coming…..but until then I’m enjoying every moment.

The Power Of Lemons

August 10, 2015
lifestyle

The Power Of Lemons! #joyofmom

 

I absolutely love the color yellow, which is a natural and scientifically proven joy or mood booster. One of my favorite yellow things is the lemon, which is in peak season whether you grow them in your backyard (a fun family project) or buy them at the store (also good for counting games).

What are some great uses of lemons? I love these suggestions:

*It’s a Mood Booster: There is nothing more refreshing during the hot August days than water with lemon, but doctors know that it is also a great way to relive depression and stress. Add lemon slices to a water pitcher and have this refreshing drink at the ready. Extra Credit Tip: The juice from the lemon also helps to clean out your liver thus boosting your metabolism.

*Get Rid of Browning Fruits and Veggies: A simple squeeze of lemon will stop your child’s leftover apple or avocado slices from turning brown. You can also squeeze a teaspoon of lemon juice on cauliflower to prevent it from turning brown during cooking. Boiled potatoes with a squeeze of lemon juice will also avoid browning. Extra Credit Tip: Having a party? Squeeze fresh lemon juice over your guacamole to keep the brownish tinge away.

*Cutting Board Rehab: I love my wooden cutting board, but after some use the board will begin to take on the smells of what’s cut, especially if you like to use it for onions and garlic food prep. An easy clean is to slice a lemon in half and rub it all over the board. Rinse. All the old smells will be gone. Extra Credit Tip: You can also use those half lemons to clean out your bathtub. Just rub the lemon over stubborn dirt spots.

*Natural Bug Spray: I don’t like a chemicals in the house and this is a genius way to get rid of bugs. Just take the juice of four lemons and ½ gallon of water and use it as both a floor wash and also spray it into the holes, cracks and crevices where you’ve seen ants and other little critters. Insects and lemons don’t mix and they will stay far away. Extra Credit Tip: Bring the lemon spray outside for your porch, patio doors and windows to prevent little critters.

*As A Skin Lightener: Who doesn’t have a few age spots? Yes, you can go buy that $50 cream or try the juice of a fresh lemon. Just slice the lemon in half and apply to your spots for 15 minutes and rinse with cool water. It’s a natural way to lighten skin. Extra Credit Tip: A little spritz of lemon in the hair before you go out into the sun is still one of the cheapest ways to highlight your hair.

*Get Rid of Dark Polish Stains: If you’ve loved your winter dark polish, but hate what its done to your nails then a lemon is your friend. Make a mixture of one-cup warm water, your favorite suds and the juice of half a lemon. Dunk your nails for five minutes. The stain of the dark polish will finally fade. Extra Credit Tip: Don’t forget to dunk your toes, too.

We Time Vs Me Time

July 29, 2015
family, lifestyle, motherhood

We Time Vs Me Time! #joyofmom

 

I remember the early days when my son was a baby and taking a shower was an actual event. Could I leave the baby for a few minutes even though he was sleeping? Was my husband watching? Should I pop out of the shower in my terry cloth towel and check one more time? Do you know how many little drips were in the hallway when I checked on the person who was checking on my son?

As mothers, our time goes from “me” to “we” the minute that we gaze at our beautiful children for the very first time. It begs the question: Is it selfish to take a little time for yourself? I was reading a recent story on Yahoo Parenting where “The Biggest Loser Host” Alison Sweeney said, “I try to impress upon parent contestants the same thing I tell myself: It isn’t selfish to give yourself the time and energy you need to be healthy.”

I think Alison makes an amazing point. I know so many moms in yoga class or who run around the track by my house who feel so guilty about taking that bit of time to work on themselves. Surely, there are a million things to do at home or with their child. Was it fair for them to take that hour (door-to-door) to do something for themselves. I say a resounding yes! A healthy mother can only give so much more to her children, and so can one who is engaged in life and striving to be her own personal best.

In this interview, the lovely Alison went on to say, “Working out, getting to sleep on time…those things make me a better parent. Being the strongest me I can be allows me to be there for my family.”

Absolutely, 100 percent, true. I believe that you’re a child’s first and number one teacher. Your lessons are the 24-7 kind and those little eyes are always watching. Do you want your child to see a frazzled Mommy who eats junk food and never exercises, only to lament the fact that she feels those extra pounds? Do you want your son or daughter to have a mom with little to no energy reserve? Or would you rather defy the age on your driver’s license, take time for yourself in the name of health, and be on that playground kicking that soccer ball and running like the wind? You also want your child to see you in other roles: as a caring child to your own parents, as a good friend and a great partner to your mate.

I know that it’s tough to take any time away from your child, especially in a world where many of us have to spend hours away due to work. The idea of another chunk of time away isn’t optimal, but it’s often necessary. Perhaps you can involve your child in exercise. If not, take a little “me time” and then bring all your gusto to your “we time.”

It isn’t selfish. It’s your best self that will be on the Mommy front lines – for your child, your family, and you.

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