When that little voice in your head is telling you "Mama, you need a break"...

Hey  mamas! I know the inner voice struggle - it goes something like this, right?

What do you mean “take time for myself? What on earth? How would that even be possible? My husband barely knows how to keep the kids alive and he wants to relax on the weekend after a hard week at work. There’s no way I’d be able to get away for a few days to have time for me. That’s selfish and honestly, I signed up for this gig - this parenting thing. I’m a mom and it’s my job. It doesn’t matter if I’m exhausted all the time and I only think in terms of “what do I  need from the store?, “how many hours of sleep will I  get tonight?” and “does anyone else thinks all these crazy thoughts in their heads?” all the time?!

Kelsy here and I thought this same thing, too - that I  would never be able to stop the hamster wheel that is my life because I ’d feel too guilty, I  didn’t deserve it and my family NEEDED me. And trying to find childcare or someone to cover me at work?? Gaaahhh, that’s just too much, right??

Then I  joined Thirty-one Gifts. Now, truly, this is NOT an ad for the company - I’m just telling you how I  came to see why time away for ME is so important. My kids were 3, 9 and 11, attending 3 different schools, in multiple sports and I  was OVER IT. I  knew I  was in need of a break for a long time but If we’re being honest here, I’d taken a couple weekends off when the kids were littler and had always felt so guilty before, during and after that I  finally decided it wasn’t worth the stress. I  also knew heading to Vegas with the girls wasn’t my style anymore - those party weekends were great when I  was single and had no responsibility but after being a happily married mom, I  was looking for MORE. I  hadn’t found the right fit for me - the right getaway that spoke to my heart and made me gleeful and HOPEFUL just thinking about it!

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After being invited to a Thirty-one conference where I  was promised a wonderful time in the form of a girl’s weekend, away from my routine, plus I’d be offered motivation AND free goodies, I  was IN! I KNEW I  needed that break and that it would fill me up and I  decided to put myself first, for once. I  told my husband how badly I wanted (needed) to go and I  asked my mother in law, my mom and a few friends to help out with play dates and carpool for our 3 kids and then I  booked my flight and hotel room, all the way across the country! 

Was it hard to ask for those things - the money for the trip, the childcare coverage, the time away? Absolutely! 

Was it worth the stress leading up to it  - making the decision to go and putting myself first, asking for the help, getting on the plane heading to a city I’d never been to where I  had no idea what to expect?

YES, YES, YES!

Being part of a group took some of the stress off of leaving and the guilt seemed lighter when shared with the other ladies going with me. Hence the term “girl’s weekend”- having your girls with you makes the stress-load lighter, promise! With 4 women sharing one hotel room to keep the cost down, it’s a built-in slumber party and was just the icing on the cake. 

I’ve since attended 4 of those conferences in 3 different cities - none I’d ever been to. I  roomed with women I  barely knew and some I’d known for years. I’ve ridden in pedicabs, on rental bikes, eaten at a food truck and had drinks at a fancy restaurant, dressed up, slept in, learned to find my confidence (thanks to all the motivational speakers) and held my head high when I  returned home because my CUP WAS FILLED.

I  can’t even begin to tell you how good you’ll feel if you give yourself the chance to get away from your routine so that you can just BE, be the YOU you were before you were changing diapers, doing dishes, homework and deadlines, racking up wrinkles and laundry…let that girl you were BEFORE life got so busy that you put her on hold - let her have a lighthearted, carefree weekend to herself….

I  can tell you that putting yourself first, to just breathe, to honor your hopes, to REST and to spend time with friends, relaxing and trying new things is one of the best gifts you can give yourself as a woman.

But don’t take my word for it - find out for yourself! Carve out your own time away by scheduling something NOW, ahead of time! Don’t wait until you’re so overwhelmed that you’ve lost sight of yourself - book a weekend away now with a friend or two so you all have something to look forward to and anticipate with excitement! And for goodness sake, when you come back - let your family know how much fun you had, how much you enjoyed yourself and show your children that it’s okay to take a break sometimes and not feel guilty about it….your kids will see this and learn from it and your partner will appreciate how refreshed you are when you come back home from an unforgettable time with your friends!


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Need ideas for some great getaways? My favorite is obviously our Start Loving You girls’ getaway/women’s conference. It’s our own version of those first conferences I  went to but it’s for ANY woman…there is no multi-level marketing, political party or religion you have to be a part of. You’ll get all the inspiration, celebration and booty-kickin’ motivation you can use to go back home with a spark in your step! Navigating a new city, eating at trendy restaurants, dressing in something other than your Lulus and making new memories with your #girlsquad will be a gift to yourself that you’ll treasure forever. 

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There are also many other ways to enjoy time for you…find a friend who has a winter cabin or summer place and make a weekend of it with her! Or - one of the easiest is a staycation in your own city - I  just did this with friends to celebrate our winter birthdays and it was a blast! Ten of us split 3 hotel rooms at the nicest hotel in town and shopped, ate out, took pictures with Santa and stayed up until way too late in matching Old Navy PJs and giggling! It doesn’t matter how or what you do to give yourself time away from your normal routine - it just matters that you care enough about yourself to do so! 

Happy Trails, girlfriends! XO Kelsy 





Easy, thoughtful Valentine's Day gifts to give....

Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, a birthday or another special occasion - finding just the right gift for your loved ones can be overwhelming!

We’re here to give you some EASY but excellent ideas to make sure the gift you give will be one they’ll treasure forever!



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  • PHOTO CHARMS for the women/girls in your life

Why she’ll love it: 
Tell her story with this round, silver-tone zinc charm personalized with a photo of her kids, parents, wedding day, new grand baby, (can also be a wonderful reminder of a loved one who has passed). Creating beautiful, custom photo jewelry has never been so easy!
These darling charms are only $22 each and can be added to a simple bracelet, chain or an already established charm bracelet. This small ( 0.75" diameter) but meaningful gift will definitely have a big impact! Shop here, delivery usually 1-2 weeks.


  • PHOTO BOOK in a day!

Yes, you read that right! You really can get a photo book ordered and picked-up in just 1 day! If you’re in need of a last minute gift that still offers that thoughtfulness behind it - head to the Walgreens App and choose PHOTO. Starting at just $6.99 for a 4x6 that will hold up to 25 spiral bound prints, you can upload your favorite pics for your GIFTEE and have the order ready for pick up in as soon as 2 hours. We’ve used this App more times than we can count for a quick way to share memories and celebrate - it’s sure to be a gift they’’ll love.


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  • COLLAGE BLANKET

One of the most-loved and easiest gifts I’ve ever given is a photo blanket! This literally took me about 10 minutes per blanket to place the order but the look of surprise and excitement on our mom’s faces Christmas morning was priceless! Head to Collage.com and find the blanket options. I chose the multi-photo option and used my phone to start the order and download the photos (I tend to have more photos on my phone than computer)….a tip to make it really special:: go to the Facebook page of the person you’re giving the blanket to and download some of their favorite photos! Once I had saved the photos and downloaded them to my order, I saved it and then used my laptop to make sure it looked exactly how I wanted. You can even add custom names (i.e. Nana) to make this gift even more special! Delivery took less than 2 weeks and the quality is great. You can’t go wrong with a warm, thoughtful gift like this that someone can literally wrap themselves in! - Kelsy


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Tiny Tags as seen on mom and actress, Tiffani Thiessen

  • PERSONALIZED NECKLACE for her

A mother’s most precious gift is her child. Gift the women in your life with a custom necklace that will adorn her neck or wrist for years to come. We love the timeless quality of Tiny Tags and their mission to “celebrate our most precious gift and the journey of motherhood”. Whether the person you’re gifting this beautiful piece to has one child or 4 or has a baby in her heart and Heaven, you’ll find the perfect Tiny Tag necklace or bracelet to give! Sign up for their email and receive 10% off your 1st order.


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  • DAY OUT TOGETHER

There’s nothing more special than spending quality time with a loved one, whether it’s a family member or a beloved friend! Plan a fun afternoon out by choosing some of your GIFTEE’s favorite things to do or places to go. The amount of money spent can be none (free admission) or a bigger gift of time like a weekend together. Here are some examples :

A day out with your BFF might look like a a long walk to a local coffeeshop in the morning (no dogs, no kids) where you can enjoy each other’s company and the fresh air! To gift this, include a gift card to the cofffeeshop in your card that says you’d love to spend time with them! This would obviously work well for a lunch date or happy hour, too. Then, it’s your job as the gift-giver to make sure and follow through - pick the date together and put it in your schedules!

A day out with your partner might mean spending a Saturday afternoon together. Wrap up a pair of movie passes, add some boxed candy from the Dollar Store and make it a matinee date! Choose something that is THEIR favorite genre to watch. Not a movie fan? Pick an activity to do that would be their choice (i.e. skiing at the local resort or spending a couple of hours at Cabela’s or ?? - making them the center of attention is what will make this gift of time with you even more meaningful.

A day out with your kids gives you so many options! For winter gift-giving, pick up a new pair of cozy gloves for each of them and inside, tuck a packet of hot chocolate, handwarmers and a sweet note that says it’s good for a snow-day with you. Make it fun and have a mini snowman-making contest. Use mini carrots for noses, m&ms for the eyes and pretzel sticks for the arms! Don’t forget to take photos! You can’t NOT have fun with this kind of gift! In warmer weather, choose something you know they have fun doing like making a big production out of a lemonade stand! To present the gift - wrap up a posterboard, markers, can of lemonade mix and a sleeve of quarters and tell them you’re ready to be their assistant! Another inexpensive but joy-filled day would be to have a picnic at their favorite park with some of their favorite friends. Wrap up some undecorated white lunch bags, markers, bottles of bubbles (yes, boys like bubbles, too so bring ‘em!) and sidewalk chalk. Once the gift is given, let your child choose the friends (mom, coordinate with the other moms) and have them decorate the lunch bag for each one. Pack a lunch or snack for each kid, throw in the bubbles and chalk and head out for a day in the sunshine. Looking for more of a one-on-one time with your kiddo? Take the picnic for just the two of you! Another sweet idea that is sure to be a recipe for fun - buy and wrap a children’s cookbook or print out some kid-friendly recipes and let them choose one to make with you!


  • WOOD PHOTO PANEL in a day!

Print your photos on colorful, glossy wood panels. These are great for displaying on walls or tabletops. Same day pick up is available and you can find these simple but beautiful blocks at Walgreens.


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  • CANDY COLLAGE

This gift is sooo sweet to give, like seriously sweet! LOL I’ve made this for my husband, my son, several friends and even a co-worker with a sweet tooth! Here are the basics: head to the store and pick up one white pasteboard, a pack of crayons or markers and packages of candy that you can use to make a fun saying about the person you’re gifting this to! i.e.. for my husband my kids picked out a MilkyWay, Reese’s Pieces, Extra gum, Sno-caps, a !00 Grand bar and 3 Musketeers (from his 3 kids). Lay the candy out and come up with a sentence or two to wish the person you’re making the candy collage for a special day! More sweet ideas like this can be found on Pinterest.

Just a little bit of thought, effort and time will make even the smallest gift more meaningful! Happy Gifting!

































Time to fill back up that bucket!

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Is your cup feeling 1/2 empty right now, rather than 1/2 full?

Here is why we ask….

January is that strange month where women tend to exhale heavily and think, “Whew - I survived another holiday season!” What it also means is that many of us are depleted, both mentally , physically and even creatively. We’ve spent so much time worrying about the things that need to happen to make the holidays run smoothly (and if you’re counting Thanksgiving thru New Year’s, that’s WEEKS of worry on top of what we already worry about!) that we just keep going like the little engine that could, trying to fill up everyone else’s buckets and meeting all of their expectations.

It’s exhausting - the Elf on the Shelf, the deep-cleaning for houseguests, the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, the obligatory cocktail party, cookie exchange, perfect Turkey dressing and oh my, the Christmas cards! Don’t even go there!

So what happens to us in January? Well, for many people - our cups are empty, our hearts a little heavy (especially when family heads back out of town and kids go back to school) and our self-love is not in the right place because we put ourselves on hold. And we gave. And gave. And gave some more. We may have given so much that we gave away more than we got back. No - we’re not speaking of gifts and material things, we’re talking about mental, physical and spiritual health - these are easy to overlook when you’re busy.

How do I fix this, you wonder? Will you ask for someone to help fill your bucket back up with love, kind words, uplifting messages and encouragement to get you back to that place you need to be to be the BEST you? No - most of us won’t do that, but… we’re here to remind you that YOU CAN DO IT FOR YOURSELF!

How do we do this, how do we get back the confidence, the excitement for the new year, the desire to feel better than the rundown shell we’re feeling as everyone else posts their new fitness routine, shake recipe or 2019 resolutions….IT’S ALL UP TO YOU!

It’s time to SHAKE IT OFF now — no one but you will know exactly what you need to fill that bucket back up but you can easily make a plan to make it happen! If you need a little encouragement or inspiration on ways to love yourself and fill your cup back up right now, we have a FREE self-care bucket list download for you HERE! Share with a friend who might be needing this same type of support - we’re #bettertogether!

Invest in YOU this new year!

Every year at this time, people are excited to start fresh, to begin again and it usually involves one or more of the following categories;

  • fitness

  • family

  • fun

  • finance

  • faith

  • friends

2019 can be that year for you, the amazing one that you’ll always look back on and remember as the pivotal shift that you needed to feel and do your best. What it starts with, though, is COMMITMENT.

Let 2019 be the year you decide to

COMMIT TO YOU!

So what are you waiting for?? Let’s START now!!

Grab a piece of paper and take a moment to jot down any or all of the above mentioned categories that are important to you. Add any in that speak to you (for example, I’m adding fashion because I want to make it a daily goal to be out of my sweats and dressed up in an outfit that makes me feel pretty and confident every Monday-Friday)! Make it fun and use different colored pencils or pens for each category.

Next, close your eyes and think about them individually. Write down a few things for each category that you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Just remember: you are the only one committing to this list so the sky is the limit!

Maybe you want to start a blog or write a book, have a monthly date-night with the hubs or become a home-schooling mom, snag a promotion at work or learn Mandarin or even chop your hair off - whatever it is that brings you EXCITEMENT when you think about it, write it down NOW because it’s ALL YOU. YOU get to determine what you want to accomplish in 2019!

Studies have shown that when you write down your dreams and ideas, you are more likely to pursue them. We couldn’t agree more! This might explain why vision or dream boards have become increasingly popular! There’s nothing more motivating than seeing your own thoughts and passions displayed to remind you of who you want to be and what you want to do. Hop on to Pinterest to get some inspiration, go a step further and pick up a poster board at The Dollar Store - transform it into your own dream board. Use the categories and your ideas from above to fill it in - cut out articles, print out photos, add stickers or labels and make it your own. Then put your board somewhere where you will see it every day!

*you can also join our upcoming dream board workshop - details on Facebook at Start Loving You Tribe!

Imagine what you can accomplish this year just by seeing the reminder on a daily basis, whether it’s in a jumble of post-its on your mirror, written in your planner in a tidy little list or scattered on a poster board with magazine cutouts and stickers….committing to yourself is the first step!

GO FOR IT!

COMMIT TO YOU in 2019

Let's get inspired for 2019!

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There is nothing quite like a fresh start, and the New Year is the perfect time for that! One thing that helps when you are ready for a fresh start is looking to inspiration, so we wanted to give you a list of a few ladies who inspire us over here at Start Loving You!

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Dear.November.Days

Kristina Williams makes motherhood look GOOD! This fashion and lifestyle blogger in Charlotte, NC isn’t just pretty pictures though, her stories are so relatable that you can’t help but love her!

Check out her blog HERE

Kristina Kuzmic

If you aren’t following this mama, RUN, don’t walk, to follow her! Kristina is a past Start Loving You speaker and mama who will help you see that parenthood has challenges and IT’S OKAY!

Check out her blog HERE

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Deliciously Ella

Seriously, we dare you not to drool when you look at her blog! Ella Mills inspires us through her love of plant-based foods and her blog is rich in resources for anyone who is looking to get healthier!

Check out her blog HERE

QiQi

We just love her! What an inspiration as she shares her fitness and weight-loss journey….she is down over 60 pounds! #self-care!!

Check her out HERE

Tone It Up

I promise you, 5 minutes on this site and you will be motivated to crank up some tunes and get moving! These girls are the CUTEST as they encourage health and balance, it’s no wonder they have gained a huge following!

Check out their block HERE

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Love Brown Sugar

This boss mom talks about it all, from parenting and entrepreneurship to life lessons. She’s real, she’s positive, she’s sassy and we just LOVE her!

Check out her blog HERE

Jasmine Star

She takes on the world of social media that so many of us find overwhelming, offering tips and advice on the regular, but what we love most is her upbeat reliability and constant encouragement!

Check out her blog HERE

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Ashley Lemieux

This is a gal on a mission and if you haven’t heard about The Shine Project, we encourage you to check it out! We love her for rising through her own painful experience to help other women and families through her organization!

Check our her blog HERE

Jessica Honegger

Her mission is simple: to help us gain courage and move past our fears. Through her career in fashion (she is founder of Noonday Collection), she met so many women who were being held back by fear that she decided to help!

Check our her blog HERE

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Joanna Gaines

We all know her, we all love her (I mean, what’s not to love?)! She inspires us to live beautifully, intentionally and to focus on family…. plus, it doesn’t hurt that everything she does is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!

Check our her blog HERE

Our Vintage Farmhouse

For everything art, creative living and interior design, check out Sarah Elizabeth! Her style is impeccable and we seriously want to move into her house with her!

Check out her blog HERE

Giftapalooza | Gift Guide + Giveaway!

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December is almost upon us and this is your friendly reminder that even though you have a MILLION and one things to do in the next few weeks, it’s important to take care of YOU, too! To help you do just that, we’ve partnered with a few of our favorite brands to make holiday shopping easier with special offers on awesome gifts that can be given (or kept for ourselves!) - check out this gift guide, complete with discount codes on many items!

AND - we are giving away a HUGE bundle of gifts from all these brands worth over $1100, so be sure to click below to enter!

DETAILS ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY!
Here is a complete list of prizes included in the bundle:
Project Repat | $110 credit for a custom blanket
Go Sili | 2 cups and a bowl ($40 value)
As You Wish Jewelry | Handstamped “JOY” Necklace ($34 value)
Mama Needs Box | One curated self-care box ($39.99 value)
STARTplanner | 2019 Daily Hustle Planner ($60 value)
STARTdetoxing | One “Maintain” Box for gut health & wellness ($148 value)
Start Balancing | One copy of Start Balancing Book ($23.95 value)
Starbucks | One pound of Holiday Roast + One Coffee Mug ($33 value)
Jam Threads | $50 credit
Holy Motherpreneur | One copy of Holy Motherpreneur Cookbook ($39.99 value)
Shock Your Potential | One copy of Michael Sherlock’s book
Sarah Happ | Lip Scrub holiday set ($58 value)
Melinda Maria | Handcrafted ear cuff ($48 value)
PuraVida | Bracelet trio ($15 value)
Sarah Hamilton FACE | Set of facial products ($260 value)
Thirty One Gifts | 2 medium utility totes with 1 insert ($110)
Kristen Hewitt | One copy of the gratitude journal ($20 value)


5 Things To Do When You Are Stuck In a "Mommy-Rut"

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We all have that friend who makes motherhood look effortless as she shows up to preschool drop off each morning fully dressed with her make-up and hair looking like she just stepped out of a magazine… How does she do it?! 

Even if you don’t want to get all dolled up for drop-off, (and we totally don’t blame you - you do you!) we have a few tips to help you get out of your mommy rut:


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Ok, it sounds funny, but I promise you washing that baby vomit out of your hair and putting on some fresh yoga pants will make you feel like a new woman! 


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Find other moms and talk about something besides your kids! Remember that woman you used to be before kids? Maybe you had a passion for fashion or were a foodie at heart? Finding other moms with similar interests outside of your kiddos can help you get your identity back!

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Every day does not have to be the same! Libraries, Parks, Play Dates and Museums can all offer a free or cheap break in your schedule and give your littles something else to focus on than the fact that sister just stole their goldfish crackers.

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Do you ever feel like you just can’t stay on top of it all? At Start Loving You, we are HUGE advocates of self-care. If you feel like you get lost between the cooking, chores and bedtimes and you don’t remember the last time you had a massage, saw the inside of a gym or did something just for YOU, it might be time to splurge on a cleaning service or meal prep service so that you can take some time to fill your own cup! 



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Schedule some fun things to look forward to: Date Night, Book Club, Play Dates or a mommy-only trip to Starbucks.  Whatever gives you something else to focus on when you are putting your kiddo back to bed for the 895,475th time that night, sometimes just knowing there is a break in sight can really help! 

No one ever said motherhood was easy, but making small changes in your day-to-day can really help your perspective and help you feel more connected and supported!

Some of the things we use on the daily, created by WOMEN! 

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DID YOU KNOW??  

PAPER COFFEE FILTERS // MELITTA BENTZ

Coffee-lovers have a German housewife to thank for their grit-free cups of joe. Melitta Bentz filed a patent for a paper, disposable coffee filter in 1908. She came up with her filter after piercing holes in the bottom of a brass coffee pot and lining it with a piece of blotting paper from her son’s school notebook to catch the grounds. Prior to her invention, the only ways to get one's morning coffee fix were to make it unfiltered and scoop out the grounds, use a cloth filter and wash it after each use, or to use a brewing method that left a bitter brew—all methods which were messy and a daily hassle. After receiving her patent, Bentz began selling the filters out of a shop in Dresden with her husband and two sons. The coffee filter company Melitta still bears her name today. *


DISPOSABLE DIAPERS // MARION DONOVAN

Marion Donovan made life a lot easier for generations of parents when she revolutionized the diaper industry. By 1946, the 29-year-old former Vogue beauty editor was a Connecticut housewife and a mother of two. The cloth diapers that were ubiquitous at the time were messy, and while rubber baby pants locked in moisture, they also left nasty rashes. Exasperated with what was available, Donovan set to work creating a waterproof diaper cover on her own. The "boater" was made from nylon parachute cloth, and it kept cloth diapers from leaking without irritating babies' sensitive skin. Consumers were smitten, and in 1951 she received a patent for the invention. Her next idea was even more innovative: diapers made from durable, absorbent paper that were intended to be thrown away. After struggling for years to convince the male executives she met with that her product was useful, the idea was taken up by Victor Mills, who used the concept to found Pampers. *

LIQUID PAPER // BETTE NESMITH GRAHAM

Bette Nesmith Graham was a single mom working as an executive secretary when she invented the answer to the typo. Prior to the age of autocorrect, setting copy correctly on the first try was essential to a typist’s job. But for Graham, that was easier said than done. She came up with a solution to her sloppy typing habits after observing a man painting a sign in a storefront one day. Whenever he made a mistake she noticed he'd cover up the blooper with the same paint he used for the background coat. Feeling inspired, Graham went home to recreate the scene on a smaller scale. She ended up creating "Mistake Out," a white, water-based tempera paint solution that matched the color of paper. She started out bottling the stuff in her garage with her son (and future Monkees musician), Michael Nesmith. After changing the name to Liquid Paper, her invention grew into a patented enterprise. Despite her success as an entrepreneur, she didn’t quit her secretary job—though she was eventually fired for accidentally typing the name of her own business in a company memo. *

http://mentalfloss.com/article/92879/10-great-things-invented-working-moms


The Dishwasher // Josephine Cochran

Is there anyone more resourceful than a mom? When Josephine Cochrane wanted a device that could wash dishes faster than her servants could, while still protecting her china, she decided to make one herself. She created the first dishwasher - a motor-powered, spinning copper boiler that had wire compartments for plates and cups. In 1893 her invention was exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair.

Tips to freshen up your face for fall and get your glow on!

Introducing Sarah of Sarah Hamilton FACE


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We have 5 of Sarah’s favorite healthy skin tips for you!

Yes! We know, you have heard it a million times, but here it is for the million and first (because it is THAT important!). Use sunscreen! 365 days a year! Non-negotiable! My favorite brand is Elta Md.  My whole family uses their products. Look for one with a minimum of 5% zinc or titanium oxide. 

Use a retinoid or retinol at night starting in your mid-twenties. It’s the best topical anti-aging product out there. Check out my Blog “For the Love of Retinoids” on why you should use them and what they do.

Wash your face every night - twice! Once to remove make-up, second to remove the last layer of dirt and oil. This gives your skin a clean slate so your products absorb better.

 Eat a diet high in Omega Fats (or a high-quality supplement - my favorite is NutriGold and Source Naturals) and low in sugar. Sugar breaks down your collagen. This anti-inflammatory diet will give your skin that healthy, beautiful glow!

Starting in our 30’s, we start to lose collagen so invest in collagen-stimulating treatments like microneedling, laser and Sculptra. They will help rebuild and boost your collagen which is the protein that gives us youthful, wrinkle-free, healthy skin.

And SMILE - there’s nothing prettier than a happy person!

Body positivity for our kids...

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Earlier this year, Reporter Kristen Hewitt went viral for her stance on short-shorts for her daughter (read here). As any mom knows, teaching positive body image can be tricky with today's media constantly bombarding us. Today we want to share 5 ways you can send the right message to your child about their own body image:

  1. Talk about who they are instead of how they look.
     

  2. Encourage a healthy lifestyle (eating and exercise) but don’t obsess over it.
     

  3. Lead by example.
     

  4. In sports and school, foster self-worth by letting your child know you value them because of who they, not how they perform.
     

  5. Teach them to embrace their imperfections.

A child measures his or her own value by how others perceive them.

The one thing children can excel in is being themselves.

How to calm the school and sportsgear chaos in your home!

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This week’s goal:

Turn a jumble of homework, sports gear and lunch boxes into an organized system!

As you hit the reset button on a new school year (some of you as far back as early August, ouch!) - there is no better place to start organizing than your pile of kids’ school stuff! Whether you have a kindergartener or a teen, your home will soon resemble a hurricane of papers, water bottles, snack sign-up, soccer cleats and more. Take a few minutes this week to tackle these little piles and you’ll see your hard work add up to a big difference in your own peace & quiet.


Find a spot in your mudroom, pantry or by the front or back door where you can hang up bins or baskets for each child’s paperwork. Be sure it’s at a height that little ones can reach.

Here are a couple of different organizers we found for a great price! HERE and HERE

Iron-on a name tag or letters (like THESE!) that can be personalized for each child and you’re winning at this “file” the papers away game! This is a great spot for your kids to put the papers or permission slips they need to have signed. I also store the classroom info sheet from Back To School Night in ours for easy access to the class schedule, teacher contact info, etc.http://www.mabelslabels.com 

Choose the most convenient spot that your child will actually use. Again, the mudroom or back door entry might be perfect - a good choice is wherever you walk into the house from the car so that it’s easy to grab things and/or drop them off before bringing dirt into the house ,etc.        

When considering how to organize the balls, cleats, shinguards and more - it’s always easier to do so by CHILD, just as you would their hanging homework files. Grab some great custom bins you can personalize (anything with your own name on it makes it more fun!). Here are just a few examples:

  1. Personalized storage bins like THESE  or THESE
     

  2. Storage cubbies like THESE that can have custom Mabel’s Labels Tags attached to personalize them for each child.

Isn’t it a mother’s worst nightmare to buy that cute GAP poncho or cool Nike jacket for your kiddo and then find that they LEFT IT ON THE PLAYGROUND??? Worry no more! Pick up some of these simple labels, add your kiddo’s name and quickly iron-on. Voila! 

Let’s love the environment together and choose reusable options to pack snacks, lunches and water. We love THIS one and THIS one, but there are great options all over the internet! 

Are your littles so little that they’re at daycare or pre-K? Check out THIS awesome label pack just for that.

Let us know if you tackle your pile and how it went! We want to know!

Kelsy's Favorite Health & Beauty Products!

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I    never thought I'd want to write blogs but then I    started reading other people's and I've figured out that it's like having a lot of magazine articles right at your disposal! You can find great tips, hacks, funny stories and deep, meaningful life stories - it's really a beautiful way for people to connect and build community. I'm kind of addicted now!

So - I realize I'm no beauty expert but I    do have a list of daily products that help make me feel good (and pretty, and not bloated, and....). You'll see, just read on and I'm sure I'll be oversharing by the end but sharing is caring, right?! Anything to avoid looking like a hot mess is what motivates me ...there are enough things that can go wrong in the day that I    want to be able to have my toolbox of health & beauty products I    trust to ensure I     can make some things go right!

  • ExfoliKATE by Kate Somerville

    For that fresh, just “washed my face” look - I use it every morning.

  • MEDERMA

    It’s meant for scar treatment but it also happens to work on wrinkles! I use it on my upper lip where my straw-drinking habit has caused lines and it’s really helped diminish them!

  • NYX Shine Killer

    Anyone with an oily T zone or nose area will LOVE this - it is soooo good!

  • Papaya & Pineapple Enzymes

    I carry these always but especially when traveling. They are chewable, fruit-flavored natural tablets that take away tummy troubles in no time. These are good for kids and adults, alike. I find that my tummy always bothers me and my digestive system doesn’t work as well when I’m out of my routine and traveling somewhere (i.e. bloating, constipation, etc) - these little gems are magic and I like to describe them as a healthy version of TUMS.

  • TINKLE Razors

    Meant for eyebrows mostly but these are so awesome for those little facial hairs that creep up along your jawline (and the ones on your kneecaps that your shaver always misses!)

  • AQUAPHOR

    I use this as a lip balm and also to condition my nail cuticles. Feels so good and obviously works really well on kids’ boo-boos, too!

  • MAYBELLINE Clear Mascara

    Might be my very favorite! I use this for my brows (it’s basically hair gel in a mascara wand) and to tame the fly aways around my hairline EVERY SINGLE DAY. Cheap & easy!

  • RODAN & FIELDS Lash Boost

    This is one of those products that’s worth the extra cost - I have been using this for several years now and I see noticeable hair growth on my lashes but I also apply it to my eyebrows. Works wonders for those thin little hairs that are hanging on by a thread.

  • Beauty Blender

    This squishy little ball is so helpful when I’m applying concealer and tinted moisturizer - no streaks!

  • AVEDA Stress Fix

    If I could gift every stressed mama out there one of these little bottles, I would. The smell is yummy but not overwhelming and the mix of essential oils literally takes away my neck or head pain in minutes.

  • MARIO BADESCU Facial Spray

    I’m always a little on the warm side (as I’ve gotten older - hello, thyroid!) and being able to spritz a pretty rose or cucumber aloe scent onto my face with no heavy perfumes or dyes is just what I need to feel refreshed..

 

Not pictured but just as important in my day to day:

I    keep this little treasure in the fridge and each morning while my coffee brews, I    dab it under my tired, puffy eyes (yes, they pretty much are tired and puffy every morning - I'm a mom?!). The cool cucumber cream feels so nice and is a great morning wake up!

WAY TOO MUCH INFO but here goes:

These little absorbent pads have been like a friend who never lets me down. After having 3 kiddos. I can now pee a little when I    laugh, sneeze or jump up too fast. It's a gift, really. Ha. So - these little liners are in my undies EVERY DAY. I    will likely be buried with a Carefree thong liner when I   die but at least I'll be dry. You can buy the regular undies size or go crazy and buy the thong one for those sexy days (or every day because you haven't wanted panty lines since you were 16, so...).

THINNING HAIR?? Here is a product that works!:

  • VIVISCAL extra strength hair nutrient tablets

I    started taking these daily after my BFF told me about them. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to avoid losing all of her hair. Her oncologist even approved of Viviscal while she was taking chemo. IT WORKS - her hair thinned but was not noticeable to most people and once I    saw that, I     decided to try it and see if it would help me after I    was diagnosed with hypo-thydroidism (it can cause you to lose hair - eyebrows, lashes, scalp). It worked for me and I've since shared it with many friends (men, too). I've seen a really noticable difference in our male friend who had thinning hair on top! Give it a try and let me know what you think! Amazon has the best deal on it but you can also find it at med spas and Ulta, etc. 


Super savings side note: join Ebates and you'll get $$ back on many of these items. I    heard about Ebates from our gal, Jordan Page of Fun Cheap or Free - she's our frugal friend with great finds! I'd love to hear what you might go pick up and try! Several gals have already reached out after seeing my Insta Live and are enjoying the Shine Killer, the Viviscal and the enzymes! What are you loving?

XO Kelsy 

5 healthy & quick breakfast ideas for school mornings

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One of the nicest things about sending the kids back to school is getting everyone into a routine again. The hardest part for many families, though, is trying to manage all the basics - like a solid breakfast! To make life easier, we have put together 5 easy grab-n-go breakfast ideas to send your kiddos back to school with full tummies, ready to focus!

As a mom of 3, I’m loving being able to heat up Umpqua Oats oatmeal for my teens before they drive themselves to school. They’re always in a hurry so I just pick a flavor (the banana walnut is a fave right now), add blueberries or a dash of shredded coconut on it and send them out the door.

Our 10 year-old tends to move about as fast as a snail on school mornings and rarely finishes his breakfast, so I always pack a This Bar Saves Lives and a Go-Go squeeze (apple!) for a mid-morning snack. I’m personally addicted to these bars, too so we always have them around. I really love that for each bar they sell, they donate one to a child in need. 
 

Your Umpqua oats can work double duty if you throw them in a batch of blueberry oatmeal muffins on Sunday and send the kids out the door with a muffin each morning! 

These Oatmeal energy bites are another fan-fave around here (For the grownups, too!). They take about 20 minutes and can stay in the fridge all week. (Can you tell we LOVE oatmeal around here?!)

Jordan Page, of Fun, Cheap or Free, (and last years Start Loving You Keynote speaker) swears by these freezer smoothie bags - she dubs the "make ahead breakfast-of-champions". 


How cool is it that Umpqua Oats happened to be started by a couple of Oregon moms with the same idea in mind - to get their kids a yummy, healthy and quick breakfast?! Thank you to Founders, Sheri Price and Mandy Holborow, for thinking outside of the box (cereal box, that is!).

 

#momcrushing on Jordan Page, Fun Cheap or Free Queen

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So let's be honest here; MOTHERHOOD is hard! And then we come across these women online who always seem to have it together and look like a gorgeous mermaid to boot! Ha yes, that's Jordan Page and her besties in that photo right there and she'll be the first to tell you that "nope, I don't have it all together all the time but what I do have, I OWN!" She owns her imperfections (varicose veins!), her huge amount of kids (5 and one on the way!), her marriage that she and her husband work hard to keep on FIRE, her faith, her business (funcheaporfree.com) and yes, all the other things that mamas worry about. What I  love about her is that with all of that, she keeps it real, whether she's sharing a struggle, a budgeting success story or a great idea with us. You own it, girl!

Hear Jordan in her own words HERE as she shares her story of how she decided to just own who she is, Cheetos and all! Filmed at our San Diego Start Loving You #momference 2018! 

XO Kelsy

Celebrating National Best Friend's Day


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She's the salt to your pepper, the ketchup to your mustard, the gin to your tonic - she's your best friend and together you make a great combo!

In honor of National Best Friends' Day, take time to find fun, new ways to stay connected with your friends during the busy upcoming summer! Friendship Expert and Author Shasta Nelson shared with those of us at our San Diego momference that "friendships don't just happen; it's up to us to make them happen!" She reminded us that building and maintaining friendships is not an easy task but is well worth it, especially when you need a friend to lean on or vent to! And don't forget - the kids are home for the whole summer! You might need some extra adult time!

Here is a great download that Shasta and our title sponsor, STARTplanner, created together just for this special day! Hope you enjoy - we'd love to see what your'e up to so tag #startplanner and #startlovingyou when you take some of these adventures with your friends! 

XO Your friend, Kelsy 

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you know they’re always there.

 

 

Start Loving You San Diego Recap

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I'm beyond grateful that on May 17th, so many ladies embarked on a moms' getaway to Start Loving You in San Diego!

Women came from all over the country and Canada (15 states, to be exact - the same amount of states as our first conference in Portland 2017 - how cool is that?!) to be celebrated, inspired and motivated. Many local SoCal moms were also there and honestly, several of them were instrumental in sharing our event and showing us love and support before we even showed up to their hometown! That's what it's all about - women helping women! It's been phenomenal to connect with the ladies who took part in our event, whether it was as a guest, speaker or a sponsor. That's my favorite part - connecting with others but also watching the relationships made at our events that will continue to grow! 

While life is whizzing by and kids are growing like weeds, moms tend to take the backseat to self-care and self-love. In San Diego, our speakers were able to share stories of how they've grown as women and moms and perservered, failed, given up, started over, stayed strong, etc - all while keeping their family at the top of their list. It really reminded me, and lots of our guests, that moms don't have to quit our daydreams just because we have the title of MOM.

We kicked off Thursday evening at The Marriott Marquis at the Marina with a Welcome Reception under the palm trees! All the gorgeous styling for our event was provided by Soiree by Ria; Photography by the talented Alex Paige Clark.

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Friday morning was a rush of excitement as we welcomed everyone to breakfast (courtesy of Umpqua Oats and SD Toyota Dealers "start your engines" coffee bar!) and continued to hand out our premium swag bags at registration! Our guests went crazy over our sponsors and their products inside the bags!

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Our emcee, Meredith Masony of That's Inappropriate, was back for her 2nd time to host our event and lead the way in laughs! The morning started off with Keynote Jordan Page of FunCheaporFree, urging us to "own it" - own who you are and embrace it! Heroic mom, Angel Fiorini, and Sportscaster/Blogger Kristen Hewitt both shared their personal stories of inspiration (cue the Kleenex!). Author/Entrepreneur Kristy Dickerson and LadyBossMama Founder Laura Kyttanen took the stage with some serious motivation to hustle and "unfreeze" where you're stuck at in life!

We toasted with surprise mimosas to welcome Cat & Nat and enjoyed some down to earth chit chat with these BFFs who've come a long way from posting funny #momtruths in their minivan!

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But first, let me take a selfie!

Lunch time was the perfect break to shop our Sponsor Marketplace and meet some of our presenters, including authors Kristy and Shasta.

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Our Title Sponsor

A huge THANK YOU to STARTplanner - we are so grateful! 

We started the afternoon session with our GIVEBACK to the local community. Tamara Keefe & Misty Miller of Live Love Works were instrumental in bringing this heartfelt project together and each guest was able to package several "blessing bags" for needy families through Operation Hope - always one of our favorite parts of the day!
 


We were wowed by Chatbooks Co-founder Vanessa Quigley and her 4 sisters (Rikki, Leah, Shelley and Kara) - they left us laughing & crying! Lifestyle Blogger Rachel Pitzel then shared her story of being a mompreneur through the different stages of social media and her own personal journey. Then it was the perfect time to go on a quick adventure outside in the warm San Diego sun to enjoy a Pixsweet Icepop on the boardwalk! Our afternoon was capped off by the beautiful Shasta Nelson, author and friendship expert, who left us all knowing that it is OKAY and actually healthy to go have fun with your girlfriends, even when you're a busy mama and that we are entitled to take that time for ourselves. We couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect keynote presenter to end our 2nd annual conference! 


Speaking of dreaming, the whole weekend was pretty dreamy!

No cooking or cleaning, no laundry, dirty diapers, chores, deadlines or being a chauffeur - instead we got to trade our normal routine in for some well-deserved me time. Walks in the fresh sea air, dinner out (and how could I forget to mention our amazing VIP dinner at Seasons 52 on Friday night?!), sleeping in, hunting for sand dollars on the beach, shopping at the marina (for the kids, of course!) and quality girl-time with my friends, new and old. I already can't wait to go next year!

Stay connected to find out where we're headed in 2019! Announcement coming this summer!

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