Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year of Inspiration, Style, and Blessings

When 2011 rolled around, I had two main goals: to finish grad school with my two master degrees (check, check!) and get the job that I dreamed of. When 2012 rolled around, I had the degrees, but not the job. Yet. So I had to buckle down, grind through, and work. Hard. Until I got the job. (Check!)

It's a blessing.

It seems as though I've been in a constant state of "Go!" since 2011, but for the past few days, I've been taking the time out to stop.

And take it all in.

And reflect.

I'm blessed.

And this here community is such a blessing to me. (And I hope it is to you as well.)

We've shared a lot in this place and space, and for that, I am grateful.

Way back in January, I shared with you how I've found my "happy." And I challenged many of you to find your happiness within as well. The emails that I received after that post was truly inspiring.

I spent some time thinking about what kind of mother I want to continue to be and how I'd like Aiden to remember his childhood 15 years from now

I've taken time for myself by traveling to Miami and indulging in life's little pleasures. I've shown that moms are anything but dull and boring by sharing my fashion and style sense with you and by putting myself first. Sometimes. I've dated. Again. And had fun. Again. And learned some lessons along the way. Again

I've continued working with eBay, which led me to the west coast, singing Katy Perry's "California Gurl" as I toured San Fran and drank fine wine.

I also continued writing for REDBOOK Magazine and, in addition to writing online articles a couple times per month, I was published in print as well. And then there was the September issue of Parents Magazine in which I was passionately discussing all things education, educational reform, and the achievement gap.

Speaking of education, I wrote admissions essays, collected recommendations, and braved interviews so that I could get Aiden into a good private school. And for those of you who live in a big city (or know anything about the NYC private school admissions process), you know what that means: I worked. Hard.

Co-parenting failed, but I embraced life as a solo single mom. And it ain't half bad, especially if I continue to learn from hard life lessons along the way

And how can I forget modeling a swimsuit on the first day of summer on a double-decker bus all around Manhattan? Or the nod from NY Metro Parents? Or Red Tricycle? Or the collaboration with NY Family Magazine? Fun times!

I got my butt kicked a couple times, but that's alright because I learned the lessons. And shared them, of course. 

I couldn't make it to the press trip in Atlanta with Coca-cola, but my blogging pal YUMMommy represented very well. (Thanks girl!)

Oh yeah, and I've hung out with some celebrities too -- Jessica Alba, Jennifer Hudson, and Soledad O'Brien, to name a few. Pretty epic.

Needless to say, it's been quite a year. 

I share all this to say two main things: children of single parents can thrive and be happy and do well in life. It's possible. And having a baby in your early 20's is not the end of the world, but the beginning of something so wonderful and so monumental. All of your comments, messages, and emails prove it. Everyday.

So, in 2013, let's keep sharing. And let's keep showing 'em what we're made of!

Cheers and high-fives all around!

{I was not compensated for this post. It contains links to posts written in conjunction with the eBay Parent Panel and REDBOOK Magazine, for which compensation is received.}

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All You Need Is Love

Yesterday was filled with nothing but love -- love for Aiden, love for family, love for friends, love for this single mom life.

I am so blessed. Beyond measure.

And I'm grateful. Oh so grateful. 

I hope your day was just as amazing.

Wishing you all an amazing (and stylish!) holiday and a glorious New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Look For The Helpers...

Today is the last day of work for me in 2012. At my school, we'll round out the year by giving all 433 of our scholars a holiday gift and sending them off for a much-need two week break. Seeing the looks on their faces as they receive their gifts will be beautiful and precious and absolutely wonderful.

But this week was rough.

Between our holiday performances and finishing off the year strong, I worked long, long days. (And last week too.) From 7am until 8pm most days. And then there's this thing called single motherhood. Aiden is such a trooper and even stayed at work with me until 8pm one night. (Not that he had a choice in the matter.)

I'm tired.

But, in the midst of it all, I'm continuing to remind myself that it's not only about me.

(Don't get me wrong, sometimes it is about me. And I'll be the first person to advocate taking time for yourself and doing something that you enjoy. Guilt-free. Because, you can't take care of others until you take care of yourself first.)

But, there is a bigger picture. Life is bigger than me. My purpose and my mission is bigger than me. Being a blessing to someone else and being a helper requires me to look outside of myself. (Which is why I continue to share my story on this corner of the Internet.)

It's about my son. And seeing the look on his face when one of the elves delivered an early gift and a note from Santa... just for him.

It's about Aiden's holiday performance and his chance to showcase what he's been working on in music class.

{Aiden's on the far left}
It's about the scholars that I serve everyday. And being there for them as they showcase all that they've learned in Performing Arts this semester. (Their performance was so good! There was standing-room only the night of their show.)

{3rd grade scholars}

{4th grade scholars}
It's about my more challenging scholars, who, really and truly, need more love and support from their teachers and administration to keep 'em on task.

This is about more than just me. And my actions affects more than just me.

So yes, I'm tired.

But I'm also encouraged. Everyday, I'm encouraged. To do more to help. To go from good to great. To be a helper...

What about you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

{Personal Style} Shimmer

[sweater, blouse: Joe Fresh; skinnies: AE; socks: H&M; boots: Steve Madden]
Last weekend was a pretty child-centered one for me. Aiden and I stayed in on Friday night, headed to a kid-friendly media event on Saturday morning, celebrated his classmates' 5th birthday early Saturday afternoon, and had a play date late Saturday afternoon. But, after the events of last week that shook all of us to the very core, could you expect anything different?

But I digress.

By Sunday afternoon, it was time for some adult conversation so I headed to Prospect Heights in my lovely borough (Brooklyn, stand up!) and met my girl K for brunch. I wasn't ready to let him out of my sight yet, so Aiden came along. But that's okay because we had drinks and girl talk, and was surrounded by love. In the midst of yelling at asking him to get out of my picture, we snapped a shot of us together. Precious!

It was rainy and cool, but that didn't stop me from being festive with a bit of gold shimmer and bold red lips. Love! I paired the sweater with a green silk blouse, and added a layering effect with the black skinnies, gray thigh-high socks, and over-the-knee flat boots.

Hope you're all having a great week. Stay stylish!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thank A Teacher Today

I had a different post scheduled to go live today. It was going to talk (in-depth) about how stressful life could be when you're raising a kid and trying to climb the career ladder. Because it is.

It's hard.

But, when you look at the bigger picture, it's irrelevant.

Life is stressful. Things happen. But as long as we are alive, we can always work towards getting over it. These crazy life circumstances and stresses are nothing (nothing!) when you compare them to real tragedies, to real misfortunes.

What happened in Sandy Hook Elementary school on Friday was a real tragedy.

Today, instead of heading to school with their beautiful children, two families are heading to a funeral for their children, and too many more families are preparing for their children's funerals.

The names of the victims were released by the New York Times yesterday and seeing their names in print made it that much more real for me. 

The children were Aiden's age.

As a parent, I can't even fathom what it must be like. As a former teacher, I can't even fathom how it must feel. As an educator and elementary school administrator, I spent my morning listening to parents' concerns and assuring them that our school building is as safe as possible, that their beautiful children will be okay with us, with their teachers. Today and everyday.

Then, I took action. I thanked the teachers in my building for their grit, their hard work, and their relentless dedication to our scholars and our mission.

It's not an easy job, but I know that every teacher in my school building would have done exactly what Victoria Soto (age 27) did for her students -- protect them at all costs.

So today, join me and hundreds of blogger across the Internet to say, "Thank you." Send a card, draft an email, send flowers. Show your gratitude in some small way because teaching ain't easy.

And you have to love this job in order to do it well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hair Products to Beautify Your Holiday

When it comes to looking beautiful, it's in my hair. I know that that may seem a bit shallow, but if I don't think that my hair looks good, I don't feel good. Which is why whenever I find a hair care product or a hair styling tool that works for me, I stick with it.

{Folica's Hair Products}

A few weeks ago, I was introduced to Folica, a line of hair products and hair styling tools, and I wasn't sure what to expect at first since I've been a diehard fan of another product that was working for me. But, I must admit, I'm impressed with Folica.

That's why I'm happy to share the deets on their latest giveaway. This holiday season, everyone wins great hair with Folica.

How so?

Throughout the remainder of this month, Folica is offering a special promotion where everyone wins up to $50 to spend on hair styling products at Well, maybe not everyone. But, 1 in every 100 people will win a $50 credit to spend instantly on hair care.

As stated by, "With over 60,000 great hair products, more than 300 beloved brands and over 70,000 customer ratings and reviews, is your one-stop shop to recreate today's hottest hairstyles."

Want to enter? Head on over to check out Folica's hair care and hair products. (You're welcome.)

{Disclosure: This post is being sponsored by Folica. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

{Guest Post} Tips for Traveling with Kids this Holiday Season

Written by Debbie Fishman

While traveling during the holidays, we get so consumed with finishing holiday shopping for our little princes and princesses, figuring out what we need to pack (my little one always wants to bring her tutu and rain boots even if we are flying) and finalizing destination plans, that we sometimes forget little things that can turn out to be very large problems. Here are seven simple steps to ensure a safe and stress-free holiday without the help of medication.

Plan Ahead
Make plans and buy tickets ahead of time to guarantee your travel plans. Planes fill up. If you wait too long, you, your hubby and even your kids may be sitting on opposite sides of the aircraft, if on the same flight at all. This will lead to tears, lots and lots of tears (not just from the kids). Plus, you can save money and time if you plot connections carefully and, as suggests, build in time for flight delays. If possible, create a buffer day to account for weather woes and snotty noses.

Try to be flexible on time if you are attempting to save money. The peak travel hours will slow you down on the road, in the airport and with all of the planes going out at the same time, you could miss your connecting flight even if you were solo, let alone with the troop in tow. Breathe easy and plan ahead.

Monitor It
Thanks to the ever-growing world of technology, we can now visit our home from our mobile devices. You can get web access to a visual live feed of your home from Life Shield. You can look at history of what's happened in your home and you can arm and disarm your system right from you phone or laptop.

You can also put your interior lamps, along with your outdoor sconces, on a timer and there is a device available that simulates the flickering glow of a real TV. Check out

Home Security Tips
A holiday issue of Reader's Digest looked inside the mind of burglars and found some interesting things they will do (and notice) to be sure your home is easy to invade while you are away. Here are some simple steps to take to ensure your home is not vulnerable.
  • Stop newspaper delivery
  • Have a neighbor collect door flyers
  • Avoid Facebook posts and check-ins (watch the kids with this)
  • If it snows and you're away, ask a neighbor to create tire and foot tracks to your home. Virgin snowfall in the driveway is proof you are nowhere in sight.
  • Of course you'll turn on your home security system, but be sure to have it wired over your kitchen sink and on the second floor. People often overlook these locations and thieves know it. Reader's Digest suggests motion detectors near your valuables.
  • According to the RD article, burglars tend to avoid young kids' rooms, so if you have something very valuable, hide it there while you are gone.
Getting Through Airport Security Quickly 
Airlines are flying full during the holidays so the planes will be packed. Want to get through security quickly and easily? Prepare the entire family ahead of time.
  • Everyone wear slip-off shoes and don't wear a belt.
  • Don't pre-wrap your gifts. TSA will rip them open if there is a mysterious shape on their monitor.
  • Put your liquids (if not in checked baggage) in one clear quart-sized sealable bag with no liquid bottle being over 3.4 oz. and take it out of your carryon while in line.
  • Check to see if there is a family line.
  • Certain foods are allowed but check with the TSA website for specific guidelines.
  • Snow Globes are not allowed in your carryon baggage.
Keep Your Wits 
Be willing to endure.  Put a worry stone or something in your pocket to remind you that it is going to be alright and that you can get through any challenge. Realize, it's going to take some composure to get through this holiday travel and keep through the nose and out through the mouth.

About the author: Debbie Fishman used to be a flight attendant and now she writes about travel. She doesn't miss waiting on people, but she does have a strong appreciation for attendants who can demonstrate how to fasten a seatbelt without scowling. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Kid Is Not Perfect

Last week Friday was Aiden's report card conference at school. I sat down with both his teachers for about 45 minutes or so to discuss all things Aiden, and I can sum it up with one thought -- my kid is not perfect. But... he's quite lovely.

This is going to come off as stereotypical, but Aiden is all boy. He's always been a rambunctious, fiery, little ball of energy. He's in a new school this year and really loves it, which makes him even more excited, especially on days when his class has something fun. Like swimming. Or PE. Or library. Or on Mondays. Or Tuesdays. Or Wed-- you get the point.

Aiden's teacher had glows and grows to say about him.

Aiden is a little mathematician.
He's one of the only kids in his class who can count backwards from 100 -- 0. (That's gotta mean something, right?)

Aiden has a really good number sense and he even helps his friends solve number problems too.
In his class, the students are encouraged to choose their own work for a portion of the morning after morning meeting, and Aiden loves to choose the Penguin Work. With this, he rolls a die and picks up the amount of penguins on the die, rolls a die that is a plus (+) sign, rolls another die and picks up the amount of penguins on that die, and adds it all up. He then has to write out the number sentence. (Example: 3+5=8). He loves choosing this work and is really good at it.

Aiden knows his sight words, and the sounds of letters.
He's well on his way to becoming a strong reader and writer, and he's able to sound out many words (because we've done a lot of practicing with me saying, "What sounds do you hear in the word _____? Great! Now write that down!)

Aiden is opinionated and writes letters to the school's staff members.
No, really. They were out of bread in the cafe so Aiden wrote a letter to the school's chef, saying [sic], "Deer shef tim, we need mor bred." (aka "Dear Chef Tim, We need more bread." Not bad, huh?)

Aiden is mega popular. And funny.
(And, I'll add, silly). As his teachers said, "He's SO popular and funny. All the other kids love him. When he comes in the morning, they all say, 'Aiden!' and crowd around him." 

Aiden is kind and caring and likes to be there for his friends. He loves school and has grown a lot since that first day he arrived in September.

Aiden is a rambunctious, fiery, little ball of energy. And that doesn't always work well in a school setting. Sigh. Most days he has to be reminded to sit quietly in his class meeting. (Sometimes his teachers give him a lap pad in an attempt to help him sit quietly.)

When he actually does sit in meeting, Aiden calls out and talks over his friends because his thoughts are so important and he has to get them out. Right this instant. (We're actually working on this at home because he cuts me off does it to me and I find it really annoying I've learned that I need to teach him habits of discussion.)

Aiden doesn't always keep his hands to himself and touches his friends while walking in line or transitioning from one room to the other. Not cool.

So... my kid is not perfect.

But, still... he's quite lovely.

And it's a work in progress.

{The photos are scenes from his Aiden's holiday photo shoot. Stay tuned for the holiday card.}

Thursday, December 6, 2012

'Tis The Season... To Shop!

I didn't participate in the craziness that was Black Friday. I never do. There's just something about heading out at an extremely early hour to load up on things... the day after I give thanks for all that I'm grateful for. But I know that many folks get their holiday shopping done that day.

Not me.
{via MommyDelicious on Instagram}
While I love me some shopping (duh... did I even have to mention that?!), I don't always like holiday shopping. In fact, I love to do most of it online. That way, I avoid the crowds in NYC and spend my free time loving up Aiden and actually enjoying the magic that is NYC around this time of the year.

For us, it's the most wonderful time of year, indeed.

{photo via eBay}
Which is yet another reason I'm thankful for all things eBay. I'm using the eBay Holiday Gift Shop this year to get my holiday shopping done, not only because eBay has a lot of new items that's already on my holiday list, but also because I can score them for up to 85% off of the retailed price.

But wait. There's more.

Users can create gift lists (that no one else will be able to see!), create toy lists for the kids on your list who have been "nice," not "naughty" this year, and get awesome recommendations from eBay experts.

But wait. There's more. The plot thickens.

You can access the eBay Holiday Gift Shop from your smartphone, which only means one thing: you can shop anywhere, anytime.

And... if you're stuck and need a little inspiration on what to get folks, you can use the eBay Holiday Gift Guide to help you out. (I used it last year and it had/has pretty good suggestions on it.)

{photo via eBay}

The Sweepstakes:
Anyone who uses the Gift Shop to create their gift list will be entered for a chance to win an item off their list. How's that for cool?! Participants will also be eligible to win eBay gift cards (which, I know you like more than a little bit).

The deets:
The Holiday Gift Shop promotion will end at 11:59:59 PM PT on December 21st, but since there will be daily winners, don't wait too long to enter. Actually, just head on over and enter now.

Happy holiday shopping!

{Disclosure: As a member of the eBay Parent Panel, this post is being sponsored by eBay and Splash Creative Media. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

{Guest Post} Madness, Chaos, and A New Degree

Written by Tami McVey

Things had to change, and change fast. I'm not referring to one of those changes you can carefully weigh the options for, or plan ahead so things go smoothly. I'm talking a life-altering change that's thrust upon you just when you feel some semblance of normalcy with your life and children -- a workplace accident that leaves you with permanent injuries, a suddenly part-time job, a mortgage and two children you support on your own. That was what I faced almost four years ago. Although I had an education in accounting, I had spent years in the manufacturing industry working in warehouse management. Considering I couldn't lift a laundry basket after the accident, I had to think of a new "normal" in a hurry.

About two weeks after the accident happened I realized if my boys and I were going to come out of this on our feet I had to find a new way to make a living. In many ways the injury showed me I hadn't been living up to my potential or been truly happy; I was going through the motions so there would be enough money to pay the mortgage, the bills and to support my sons. Enter business school. I think I was somewhat mad. Two boys, a job (reduced to part time, but a job), an injury, and a house to take care of. I had dreams though, and this was going to happen!

Since the boys were school age, I already had childcare in place so that was one item on the list that could be crossed off. My days started at 5 a.m. and I was home by about 5:30 pm like I used to be when my job was full time, but with homework my days now ended around 1 a.m. for the year of school I needed to get the business courses that would make a good addition to my accounting background.

The best part of all this madness was the routine the boys and I established. Although there was a lot of work and stress involved, we ended up having more quality time together than we did when I was just working. When I got home I would make dinner, we'd share our days and after dinner we would all sit down to do homework. They thought that was pretty cool -- having Mom doing homework with them. They actually worked at theirs for a change! Admittedly, I had to do much of my own once they were in bed, but the hours we spent doing homework together are some of my fondest memories despite all the chaos that was going on while trying to build a new future.

If you're a mom who feels like you have the world on your shoulders and are always struggling to try to make your ends meet, you should consider furthering your education. Not only will it give you a brighter future to look forward to and a huge boost to your self-confidence, it can help you teach your children valuable life lessons and bring you closer than ever.

About the author: Tami McVey is a self-employed freelance writer, mother of two, with a shiny business degree. She's also a contributor to, a resource site for university students and parents.

Monday, December 3, 2012

{Personal Style} Spiked Wedge Sneakers

{sneaker: Aldo; denim: GAP}
I've been loving on wedge sneakers ever since Beyonce was first spotted in them while holding Blue Ivy somewhere in New York City. And with good reason -- they're fabulous!

{Mojitos galore. And my friend M's sad, sad diet coke.}
This weekend I fully embraced the fabulosity as I donned them in a very casually chic look for ladies night at a cuban restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. I paired them with dark denim jeans, a purple blouse, and leopard print cardi, which added a pretty trendy touch.

[blouse, cardi, necklace: H&M; belt: Banana Republic]
The sneakers are quite comfortable and I loved that it adds 3 inches of height to my 5'4" frame. (You know how I feel about my heels!) Basically, these are my latest obsession and I'm in love!

{photo bomb by Aiden. Check out his new hair cut!}

The pictures are super blurry. (#iPhonefail). But... what do you guys think of the shoes? Lovely, eh?

Hope you all have a very stylish week!

Friday, November 30, 2012

No Judgement Day

{mimosas and OJ at Sunday brunch}
I have no contact whatsoever with Aiden's other parent. Neither does Aiden -- none at all.

But that's old news; you knew that already. I've spoken about it so many times before on this site. Today, I'm speaking about it over on REDBOOK Magazine.

I've been judged for my decision not to co-parent too many times before. But every time I see that Aiden is healthy and happy, my decision to do what's best for my son (and myself) is confirmed. I chose happiness. And safety. And that makes all the difference.

Check out my article on REDBOOK and feel free to share it as well.

I know, I know... I'm still pimping myself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alvin Ailey Takes NYC!

{AAADT's Alicia Graf Mack. Photo via.}
Meet Alicia Graf Mack. She's awesome. Not only because her body bends, twists, and defies the laws of gravity beautifully, gracefully, and artistically, but also because she's kind, sweet, and a fellow Columbia University alumnae. (CU, stand up!) During my sophomore year of college, I had the opportunity to meet her, get to know her a bit, dance with her, and perform with her. It was a truly memorable experience.

Fast forward 7-8 years and she's hanging out on the side of NYC buses, on the walls of subway platforms and all over the Internet in Alvin Ailey ads. Talk about finding your passion in life, setting a goal, and working hard to see it come to fruition. It's all kinds of inspiring and it quite literally gives me shivers and that you-can-do-anything-you-put-your-mind-to feeling.

I'm proud. And encouraged.

{Artistic Director Robert Battle with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Photo via.}
But I'm also super happy and giddy that it's that time of year again. With Artistic Director Robert Battle, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater season has begun here in NYC and it is quite literally a "must-see." I've seen the company perform so many times and it never gets old. Ever. I always leave the performances feeling rejuvenated and uplifted. It's part of the reason that the Holiday season is such a magical one for me.

This year, I'm particularly excited to share the experience with Aiden.We're heading to a Family Matinee performance this weekend and I can't wait. The performance, as all the performances in the Family Matinee series (Saturdays in December at 2pm), will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Ailey's amazing dancers.

{Revelations by AAADT. Photo via.}

{Revelations by AAADT. Photo via.}

And, of course, I'm excited about the finale in the Family Matinee program -- the timeless Revelations! (If you don't know about it, get thee to the website. Stat!) Not only is it a well-known and loved ballet, but it happens to be one of my favorites. The dancing and the spirit and soul of the ballet is pure beauty. And brilliance. The traditional gospel spirituals sends good vibes and gets me in a good mood. All. The. Time. (See why I think it's so magical?)

I'm so excited! (Oh, wait... I said that already.)

Tickets start as low as $25 and can be purchased at the New York City Center Box Office (212.581.1212) or on the Alvin Ailey website. (You're welcome!)

Stay tuned for an updated post and my review of the show!

{Disclaimer: I was provided with tickets to an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Monday, November 26, 2012

{Personal Style} Thanksgiving, School-Girl Style

[shirt, faux fur vest, neck bow tie: H&M;
skirt: thrifted; socks: F21; backpack: AE;
suede wedges: Steve Madden]

Aiden and I stayed home this Thanksgiving holiday and my sister and niece came over for a potluck dinner. After a morning run, I headed home to make my portion of the meal, which came out surprisingly good. (*Pats self on the back*). I'm getting better at this cooking thing. Too bad I hate slaving over a hot stove I'm not a big fan of cooking.

[fall leaves; old kicks; 2.5 mile run.]

Since I was indoors most of the day, I broke out the tweed mini skirt! Paired with a chambray top, a loose neck bow tie, and faux fur vest, I was good to go!

I've been crushing on over-the-knee socks all season long and have been wearing them with pretty much everything, including this outfit. Since it had a very "School Girl-esque" feel to it, I threw in the backpack, just because. And, of course, my top knot goes with everything!

All in all, Thanksgiving was low-key and wholesome -- just what this single momma needed to rest, rejuvenate, and prep for the rest of the Holiday season.

[almost the end of the night. relaxed.]

Only 29 more days till Christmas. Oye! That's totally cray cray!

Have a stylish week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Today, I'm Thankful For...

This single mom life.
As stressful and trying and somewhat difficult it may be at times, it is exceptionally interesting and quite amazing. I'm not only helping to grow Aiden into the person he is supposed to be, but I'm also growing into the person that I'm supposed to be. This may sound weird, but I can feel myself growing, mentally, spiritually, emotionally.

Growing pains. And growth.
I've certainly outgrown many of the things of my past, but haven't quite grown into many of the things of my future. I'm getting there though. The growing pains aren't always fun, but they're necessary. They push me out of my comfort zone and make me better.

My new job as Dean of Students at an elementary charter school is absolutely busy, absolutely stressful, absolutely demanding, and absolutely rewarding... all bundled up in a neat bow. It's not easy to coach teachers, direct school culture in every way possible towards positivity, manage 433 students, and build relationships with their parents, but I love that I get to wake up every morning and do the most important work.

I'm single. But I'm not alone. (I have Aiden.) And I'm not lonely. The past two weeks have been very stressful for me, and I've been feeling the effects of it physically. Not good. But, Saturday nights with the homies and Sunday brunch with my lovelies have been the perfect cure. I'm blessed to have wonderful friends. I really am. (By the way, I'm also thankful that I have enough self-awareness to know when I need to take a break and relieve some stress. It wasn't always like this.)

He's quirky. He's rambunctious. He's funny. He's clever and witty and smart. He's got so much personality and such an old soul. I didn't know love until I met Aiden. He teaches me how to be brave and bold. He teaches me patience. He teaches me humility and how to ask for help. He makes me better. He makes my life better. 

This community.
As I said before, I'm single, but I'm not alone. And I'm not lonely. I've found so much joy and purpose in this community. I've found inspiration. I've found friendships. Every single time I've shared with you, I receive comments and emails and messages from you all. You share your stories. You describe your journey. You tell your tales. And they inspire me and encourage me to keep on keeping on. All. The. Time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. A million times... thank you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

{Guest Post} A Mom's Guide to Staying Trendy

Written by Paul Taylor

Your main concern is no longer what is stylish and what’s in trend but rather when the next time your baby will need its next feeding. But every now and then, we mommas want to look nice and keep up with the seasons must have looks. Your time and money is dedicated to this beautiful bundle of joy, so here are some tips to help you look and feel good when you want to:

Jewelry: Those cute long necklaces and chandeliered earrings are not baby friendly. Imagine a slight tug on those earlobes, ouch! It’s a good thing that studs and small necklaces are in this season. Find a sturdy pair of studs in a neutral color that you can wear all season long like a pearl, charcoal or tortoise shell color. Leave the long draped necklaces and find a short necklace with a very small attached pendant. Think cross, heart, anchor or simply your child’s name.
Quick tip: Skip the bangles and watches for now, you don’t want spit up incrusted watches or bangles snagging baby diapers. 

Makeup: Man you thought you were tired before the baby. HA! Exhaustion is just another thing that moms can’t seem to get around. You don’t have time and energy to put on your full face so use the basics to boost your already natural new mommy glow. Dab some concealer under your eyes, a light powder on your nose and a 3-in-1 color stick for your cheeks, lips and eyes. Super easy and a huge time saver and for a night out, don’t forget the mascara!
Quick tip:
Brush on some highlighting gel on to your cheeks, inner corner of eyes and hair line to give you that extra punch.Don’t want to put in the effort for an evening out, just add red lips, very trendy and sexy! 

Hair: Being a stylish mom doesn’t mean you have to cut your hair off to save yourself time and possible hair pulling. If you have long hair, try braiding a thick and messy side braid or wearing a sock bun. These looks keep the hair out of face while keeping you in trend this fall. For the shorter hair mama’s: soft head bands are great for those flyaways and messy bangs you haven’t had time to get a trim for.
Quick tip: Buy some dry shampoo and spray in between showers to keep your hair looking fresh and polished; then throw it in a sleek and voluminous pony. 

Shoes: Your feet may still be swollen and not ready for heels, besides, who wants to carry their baby around in 6 inches of pain? Flats in bright jewel toned colors are popular and comfy for anyone-think royal blues, mustards and eggplant colors. Non-heeled boots are easy on the tootsies and very cute when paired with comfy leggings!
Quick tip: Consider buying flats a half size big, until your feet return to normalcy. 

Outfits: The goal for any new mom is to wear something that is comfortable, easy to change in and out of, while keep a flattering look on your post baby body. Invest in to some comfy stretch jeans or jeggings in neutral colors and find button up tops that are full of fun prints and color. Basic cotton outfits are the best for washing purposes when your little one decides to share his or her lunch milk. Quick tip: Grab a few light weight machine washable scarfs that you can throw on to change up your look in a moment’s notice! 

About the Author: Paul and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare through “”.


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