Author: Kristen

Happy Year of the Monkey, baby. You’re intelligent, creative, and darnit, people like you!

Today starts the Lunar New Year, and lots of little Year of the Monkey babies are soon to be born. If not already. I’ve always loved Tree by Kerri Lee‘s beautiful wooden birth year blocks, which a make sweet gift for a special little someone. Handcrafted by artist Kerri Lee and featured in her sister’s Etsy shop, you can order these in three colors, all of which feature characteristics of a Year of the Monkey baby. I think they make such lovely, affordable keepsakes, whether the lucky recipient is super into the Chinese zodiac, or just appreciates the thoughtfulness of a...

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New and cool: Personalized Moleskines. Notebooks, journals, you name it. (Get it?)

I never leave home without my Moleskine notebook, as I’ve recently shared — or really, I should say “notebooks” considering how many I have for lists, ideas, and… more lists. Now I’m so excited that you can finally order personalized Moleskine notebooks online, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Or really any day in my book. (I can’t stop the puns!) Related: Illustrated handmade Moleskine journals. Ooh. If you love this as much as I do, hit the site, then choose from a huge selection of personalizable notebooks and journals — there are tons! Next click Personalize  under Add to Shopping Cart. You...

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7 little indulgences under $10 that make big changes to your mood.

I’m a huge fan of grabbing little indulgences or surprises for my kids here and there to help make them feel better after a bad day or, you know, just make them feel special. But when it comes to me, I have gotten pretty good at rationalizing myself right out of treating myself, even though I know that these little things are not necessarily treats but rather small ways I can help brighten my own mood. And they definitely have a trickle down effect into my work, my kids, and yes, my own mental health. No surprise then that I welcomed the final...

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Friendships after kids: Smart tips and resources for making new mom (and dad) friends | Spawned Episode 30

Making new friends as adults is hard enough as it is, but it can be especially challenging when you have kids. And it’s not just making new friends, but also maintaining those old ones too. I  know first-hand that when you’ve already gone all those life changes that come with a new baby, it would be so nice if there was at least one thing that stayed the same. Sigh. When our Spawned podcast listener Shari emailed asking us to discuss the topic friendships after kids (thanks Shari!), we jumped at the chance, because both of us have, in some way, experienced difficulties in that department....

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8 great cars for big families that fit 3 car seats safely in the second row

I still remember car shopping when I was pregnant with my third child, trying to figure out which cars for big families would be right for me. As in, I didn’t want a minivan, and I wanted my car to safely fit three car seats, for my three kids under four. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea where to start, and it turned out to be something that dealers really didn’t know too much about either. Not fun. If only I could have thought to check out our newest partner, Cars.com, which is a tremendous help for families who are car shopping. It actually features a wealth of...

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Stand up straight! 5 simple ways to improve your posture

I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m tall or because I sit hunched over a computer all day long, but I have terrible posture. This isn’t necessarily a new discovery, but what is new to me is how much bad posture can actually affect your stress levels — something I learned as part of our sponsor Aetna’s Month of Mindfulness #Mindful30 challenge. Yikes! Like it’s not bad enough that I realize I look bad slouching in pictures, now it’s contributing to stress? So for my 3rd challenge, they asked me to focus on “perfecting my posture,” and boy, did I need...

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The Volume Mascara by Kevyn Aucoin: You’ll never buy another mascara ever again.

I discovered The Volume Mascara by Kevyn Aucoin last year when Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere raved about it, and after using it for this long (hey, it takes me awhile!), I feel comfortable saying that it is by far the best mascara I have ever owned. If you’re looking for the perfect mascara, then I have the one for you. Cool Mom Picks is a reward style affiliate.     As someone who wears contacts and needs a smudge-proof mascara that’s not waterproof, I’ve only really ever found a couple that work well, and even then, I could...

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Meditation for parents: 5 easy ways to make it work for you

If you’re following along with me this month, you know I’m trying to make some positive changes in my life related to stress, something I’ve been struggling with both emotionally and physically for quite a while now. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in Aetna’s Month of Mindfulness challenge, and wow, it’s definitely giving me the extra push I’ve been needing to reflect on what’s really going on in my life and what I can do to fix it. Hopefully I’m not alone in this and you’ve decided to join me. My first challenge was  5 tips and...

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Becoming more mindful: 5 things you can do right now.

Last week, I wrote pretty candidly about the stress in my life and how it’s been affecting me both emotionally and physically, so it’s probably no surprise that one of my New Year’s resolutions (yes, I really do make them!) is to do something about stress in 2016. It’s one thing to know you have stress and to be able to identify your symptoms, but it’s another thing to really make necessary changes to your lifestyle. So I’m grateful for our partner Aetna’s A Month of Mindfulness 30-day challenge, which is giving me the push that I need to reflect on what’s been going on in my...

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Stress and Parenting: A Confession

Hi, I’m Kristen and I’m stressed out. Why is it hard to admit that? As if I’m somehow not as competent or together as I’m supposed to be, whatever that means. Yes, I’m a single mom with four kids and my own business, so you might say, well duh, but I think it’s something we all face, whatever our work, living, or parenting situations. And it’s all okay — you don’t have to feel guilty about your own parent-related stress, even if you think someone else “has it harder” or is going through something more intense. It’s a relative thing...

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