Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saving Sanity, One iPhone at a Time

My husband must think I am crazy because my goal in life is to be perfectly organized all the time with every part of my life. Notice I said, "my goal." I am not perfectly anything, not even a little bit. But they say a goal is the first step, next comes the plan and then the execution. The problem is that I feel like I am forever living in the planning and execution phase of organization, but I never actually get to where I want to be. Why even go for it in the first place? But I find that when I am short on time, which is always, when things are organized and I know just where to find something, it takes less time to get out the door and I feel much less stressed. I think most of us can agree that that is the case. The big, huge question now is how to get from here to there. So I thought I would share with you a couple of my secrets for trying to stay organized with almost anything and how to from execution to done, even on a really small scale.

The most important thing to remember and realize is that you don't need to do everything all at once or find 7 hours to set aside to get something done. You can do almost anything for 15 minutes. I did not come to this realization on my own however, I am just not that enlightened. A couple years ago, I came across a website FLYing means Finally Loving Yourself and its a system to help you establish routines and build a basic weekly plan. While I don't FLY as much as I would like it, I definitely find the bedtime and morning rituals help me keep things in order and checked off my list. I have it set up for email reminders to keep me motivated. She says that you can do anything for 15 minutes and its so true. Set a timer and go, you will be surprised how much you can get done! My only issue was that I really wanted a Fly Lady App because I live and die by my iPhone but up until recently there wasn't one. Enter Cozi...

Now Cozi on it's own is fantastic. Cozi is a free online organizer that helps families manage crazy schedules, track shopping lists and to do lists, organize household chores, stay in communication and share memories—all in one place. You can find them at What I love about Cozi is that I can manage everything either online or from my iPhone app and so can my husband and kids (if they choose to). When you add something to your family calendar it is color coded by family member and you can choose to have a reminder texted or emailed to you (I  love this feature because let's face it, we don't always remember to check our calendar) Recently, I was reminded just in time that it was picture day at my son's daycare and we were able to quickly change before heading out for the day. You can easily download school and sports teams calendars quickly to your Cozi calendar without having to retype everything. As long as its an iCal, it will work. I love this feature because it used to take me literally hours to do this for 3 different schools and three different sports teams per season. And since Flylady loves Cozi just as much, they got together and now I can have my cleaning lists stored in my Cozi account. Every week Flylady offers up a new Zone in your house to clean. Evey day she offers little tasks to do in that Zone to keep away the Chaos. I can now add those daily chores to my Cozi account and they show up on my calendar. Honestly, I don't do them most days cause I just have no time but at least they are there just in case.

Most recently my parents both got iPhones and I took two seconds to download the Cozi App to their phones as well. Now, whenever they want to know when my son's next basketball game is (and where) or what I have planned for the week, all they have to do is open their Cozi App.

As we are smack in the middle of the crazy holiday season, with time being a precious commodity, Cozi will hopefully help you organize things a little better and keep the family all on the same page. Just wanted to share something that this busy mom has found to be a life savor.

P.S. - I have also stopped trying to put up a dry erase calendar each month which takes forever to get just right. Now I print this month and next month from my Cozi account and post them in our family message center. It looks so much neater, everything fits and if things change I just print a new copy and switch them out. Love it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten Things I Wish My Children Could Understand (repost)

Parenting is hard stuff. Now if you are a parent, you just said AMEN SISTER! and if you are a child, you just rolled your eyes at me. As I sit here writing this, I really wish that our kids knew just how hard it was because maybe then they would cut us some slack. My husband and I were lucky enough to take a 5 day trip to warm tropical places without kids recently and it sure did put things in perspective. I am pretty sure that we didn't fight once, not a single negative thought entered my head during the entire week. Being among adults for that long was like being in heaven. No one talked back to us, no one was rude or condescending and no one expected me to pick up after them. Then we came home and reality hit me like a slap in the face. Life is hard. Being a parent is hard. And doing what you know is right is hard, especially when it makes your children unhappy. Let's face it, as parents we want nothing more than for our children to be happy all the time, but that just isn't possible and its hard to be the reason they are upset. So for all you kids out there, here are ten things that your parents wish you knew and understood cause it would make the next 10+ years so much easier for everyone...

10. Being a parent is hard work, really, really hard work. From the moment you are born, until the day you die we worry about you and feel responsible for you even when you are grown up. It is a job that takes every minute of every day and creeps into every thought. And there is very little thanks given until you are old enough to understand the sacrifices we have made for you. But we wouldn't trade it for anything.

9. We don't want to say no all the time. I know you find this one really hard to believe, but our lives would be much easier if we could say yes all the time. But unfortunately, we don't have the time, money or bad judgement to always say yes. If you think No is hard to hear, you should know it is a million times harder to say. We love you and we want you to be happy, but life just doesn't work that way and no is a big part of life. Sorry...

8. We actually do know what you are going through. While it may seem to you that we are ancient, we still remember what it was like to be your age and we definitely remember how hard it was. In fact, most of us wouldn't go back no matter how much you paid us. And even as adults, we hate homework just as much (if not more) than you do. Growing up is hard and other kids can be mean. If we could, we would shelter you from everything bad, but we can't. However, we are always here for a hug (and we won't tell anyone). And every now and then you might want to listen to our advice because we have already lived through it (and no, it wasn't totally different when we were growing up).

7.  We are on your side. That is the great thing about family, we are here for you no matter what and we are always on your side even if doesn't feel like it. We will always listen to you and try our best to help in anyway that we can. But we can't help if you don't tell us what is wrong, so trust us a little - we might surprise you.

6. The world is a cruel place and our job is to protect you. Unfortunately there are bad people out there that do bad things (even good people do bad things sometimes). Our job is to make sure they don't do bad things to you. You may think we are being over protective or just plain annoying, but in the end we are always worried about "what-ifs" and will make our decisions based on keeping you safe. We know you think it won't ever happen to you, but believe me it is going to happen to someone. We don't want that someone to be you. Please listen even half of the time, because it could honestly save your life some day.

5. Money does not grow on trees. I am sure you have heard this a million times, I know I did growing up. (And yes, when you are a parent you will totally say all those annoying things your parents said that you swore you would never say.) It's hard at your age to understand the value of money or just how hard you have to work to earn it. You will soon find out when you get your first job, but until then please take our word for it that money is hard to come by. Not only do we not make enough to begin with, but everything costs money like the house you live in, the food you eat, the car that takes you everywhere, even the water you shower in every day (yes, water is not free). Again, if we could buy you everything you wanted we just might (reference #9).

4. Sometimes it breaks our hearts to punish you. I know you think we love to do this, but honestly we don't. Taking away things you like is no fun for us, remember - we really want you to be happy. Many times after I punish my kids, I feel sad and guilty all day. And most times, without you being occupied by computers, video games and friends, it honestly makes life harder for your parents. But our job is to teach you right and wrong and that you need to be held accountable for your own actions. My advice - if you don't want to be punished for something, then you should think twice about doing something you know you shouldn't do (and you totally know you shouldn't be doing it so don't try to play dumb - we are on to you).

3. If you want me to be nice to you, be nice to me. This should go without saying, but for some reason this is lost on most people under the age of 22 (and even some adults). I don't like to yell, really I don't. I would like nothing more than than to float from day to day with a smile on my face happy as can be. However, I also don't like when people are rude or mean to me, just like you don't like it when I am rude or mean to you. So let's make a deal. I will smile and be nice (and say please and thank you) if you can promise to do the same for me. It may take some getting use to, but I think you might actually find it is nice to get along.

2. You get more bees with honey. Okay, so the saying really goes "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar", and means being sweet-tempered will get you what you want sooner than being sour-tempered. This is very similar to #3. What is boils down to is this - if you want something from me, ask me nicely. I am much more likely to say yes (even to something I should say no to) if you are nice and polite and give me good (real) reasons as to why this is important to you. Your presentation will actually set the tone for how the entire exchange between us goes, so tread wisely...

1. We love you no matter what. I am not sure there is anything you can do that would make me stop loving you. (That is not an invitation to try however.) I know that you will make mistakes and do stupid things as you grow up. That is what growing up is all about. But please know that I will love you anyway and in spite of all that. My job is to help you through the hard times and move past the mistakes and kiss away your tears. We are in this crazy ride together so we might as well hold hands as we fall.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Inspirational Quotes for Women

For some reason, I am feeling rather inspired on this glorious Tuesday so I thought I would share some words of encouragement and wisdom (of course a lot of the thoughts below are ads but hey, I am not picky about where I draw my inspiration from). I hope you feel beautiful and empowered even just a little!

10. "My butt is big and round like the letter C and then thousand lunges have made it rounder but not smaller. And that's just fine. It's a space heater for my side of the bed. It's my ambassador. To those who walk behind me, it's a border collie that herds skinny women away from the best deals at clothing sales. My butt is big and that's just fine. And those who might scorn it are invited to kiss it."  - Nike

9. "You don't stand in front of a mirror before a run and wonder what the road will think of your outfit. you don't have to listen to its jokes and pretend they're funny in order to run on it. It will not be easier to run if you dress sexier. The road doesn't notice when you're not wearing make up. It does not care how old you are. And you don't feel uncomfortable if you make more money than it. The only thing the road cares about is that you pay it a visit once in a while." - NIKE Goddess

8. "All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough, they'll say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. They will tell you no. And YOU WILL TELL THEM YES." - Nike Unknown

7. "A WOMAN IS OFTEN MEASURED by the things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn't curve, by where she is flat or straight or round. She is measured by 36-24-26 and inches and ages and numbers, by all the outside things that don't ever add up to who she is on the inside. And so if a woman is to be measured, let her be measured by the things she can control, by who she is and who she is trying to become. Because every woman knows measurements are only statistics and STATISTICS LIE." - Nike 1994

6. "Too often we are scared. Scared of what we might not be able to do. Scared of what people might think if we tried. We let our fears stand in the way of our hopes. We say no when we want to say yes. We sit quietly when we want to scream. And we shout with the others, when we should keep our mouths shut. Why? After all,we do only go around once. There's really no time to be afraid. So stop. Try something you've never tried. Risk it. Enter a triathlon. Write a letter to the editor. Demand a raise. Call winners at the toughest court. Throw away your television. Bicycle across the United States. Try bobsledding. Try anything. Speak out against the designated hitter. Travel to a country where you don't speak the language. Patent something. You have nothing to lose and everything everything everything to gain. JUST DO IT." - Nike 1992: Barry Sanders

5. "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass." Maya Angelou
4." You are more powerful than you know; you are beautiful just as you are." - Melissa Etheridge

3. "I always thought that people told you that you're beautiful--that this was a title that was bestowed upon you, that it was other people's responsibility to give you this title. And I'm sick of waiting, people! I think that the world is pretty cruel to women in what it considers beautiful and what it celebrates as beauty. And I think that it's time to take this power into our own hands and to say, "You know what? I'm beautiful. I just am. And that's my light. I'm just a beautiful woman." -Margaret Cho

2. "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." - Marilyn Monroe

1." You have the power. You are the magic wand." - Laura Schlessinger

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bad Mom Here

Okay, so I don't really think I'm a bad mom. Overall, I think I am a pretty great mom when it comes to some things and a mediocre mom at best with others. What got me thinking about this was the start of school and how moms are pretty much divided into two groups, the ones who are sad to see the kids go and the ones who can't wait for the kids to get the f**k out of the house. I am fully committed to the second group. Does this mean I don't love my kids or enjoy their company? Not at all, but our time together needs to be taken in small doses. And honestly, this is as much for their sake as it is for mine.

Growing up as a girl of the 80s, I never even considered I might be a stay at home mom. The message back then was that we could absolutely have it all. We were pretty and smart and we would have glorious careers AND be mothers. In high school, I was voted most likely to lead a feminist movement (but in a 'like to wear makeup and be girlie' way) and most likely to become a Supreme Court Judge. Needless to say, I was quite outspoken about how great girls were and how we could do anything we wanted to do. Even when I had my first son, I never gave much thought to staying at home.

As I got older and the reality of motherhood and life set it, I must admit I was a bit jealous when I would go out at lunch and see moms with their kids at the store. I would feel a yearning for not having a boss, having the freedom to come and go as I pleased as well as spend unlimited amounts of time with my kids. (Okay, I know that freedom is a bit of a misleading word when you are talking about toting little ones around all day, but I was all about the grass is greener back then) And then I was laid off for eight months when my second son was two and I started to recognize all the things I was not good at.

For starters, I was not good at being a stay at home mom. I just wasn't. I tried, I really did.  For a while, I did the library trips and the nature walks and even attempted some arts and crafts. But as my time at home with my toddler increased, it became very clear that I was not cut out for this. The longer he was with me and not at daycare, I started to worry that I was hindering his growth. They were such great teachers and had taught him so much, like the alphabet song and how to count. I had no time for these indulgences as I felt like my days were pretty much spend chasing after him, cleaning up the chaos that he left in his wake. Clearly school was a much better place for him. I had no idea how they did, but it was obvious to me that they did it better than I ever could. And honestly, I was okay with that. I am back at work now and everyone is much happier (and much smarter).

I am also terrible at playing. I have all boys and I must admit that I never understood the lure of matchbox cars, ninjas and sword fighting. I try hard to fake it, but I am not much good at that either. When my son wants to play a game of one on one, I cringe before I finally say yes. And I think the last time I tried to pitch to him it came right back at me and hurt like hell. I am a girl, not doubt about it, which makes it a challenge when you have only sons. Ballerinas and tea parties are more my speed. I am really a good fan however, and love cheering them on with all the sports they play. I am also really great at making sure they are outfitted with everything they need every season. So there's something.

I love my boys more than anything and would do anything for them. But I can honestly say that I am not really that sad to see them head off to school. I think we all have lives to lead outside of our family and we are all better people because of it. I love our dinners, bedtimes (mostly), and weekends spent together. But I also love the quiet just around 8:30 in the morning when my house is still and empty and the only one home is me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The new "keeping up with the Joneses"

This was posted as a guest post on last September, but since I have been feeling this way all summer and plan on writing a follow up today (or later this week, cause lets face it, I totally suck at blogging lately), I thought I would re-post on my own blog...enjoy!

The new "keeping up with the Joneses"

I have a friend, who as a teacher, had the summer off with her kids. At the beginning of the summer she posted, on Facebook, a picture of her kids on the beach and labeled it, "Day 1 @ Salisbury Beach!" in her photo album titled, "69 Days of Summer 2010." As the summer progressed she posted pictures of fun activities such as Water Country (twice), bowling, Chuck E. Cheese, parades, snow cones, fireworks on a boat, Storyland, and well, you get the picture. All the while, I was doing my best just to get through the hot summer days without major incidents. This isn't the first time that a friend's post on Facebook has made me feel less than adequate. Much like I used to feel when I was growing up and I would read Cosmopolitan with all those perfect girls who had great hair, gorgeous skin and skinny legs, I was feeling imperfect all over again. Except now it was bigger and worse somehow. When it was just me, the only one I had let down by not being skinny was myself. But now, I had a whole family to let down. Not to mention what all the other moms would think if they knew that I wasn't as perfect as they were.  There were pictures of fun family vacations, while mine turned out to be a disaster. Of course I would still try to get one or two "perfect" pictures to post on my own page so everyone could see just how great my family was too. But still I didn't get it.

Then, one day, I told my teacher friend how great of a mom she was and terrible I was to not have done such great things with my kids. She laughed out loud and said that they were only a handful of days and all the other crap that happened over the summer didn't make her profile. And so I laughed too. What I slowly started realizing is that most people try to paint the rosy picture of their lives that they show you on Facebook. No one wants you to know that their life is crap 90 percent of the time. Every now and then you will see a post of a mom complaining that she is seriously in need of a glass of wine. But you will almost never see one that talks about the terrible fight she had with her husband last night and how she almost threw him out. Instead, you will see her post her wedding picture and thank the most wonderful man in the world for ten years of wedded bliss.

I am pretty sure I am not the only mom out there who has faced Facebook depression. The problem with this type of social site is, although it is public (for the most part), most people treat it as a private little scrapbook. People talk about how great their girls' night out was, while others see that and realize they weren't invited. It's worse than high school when you only knew about the snubs and 'perfect' people for a couple hours a day. Now, 24 hours a day, you can log on and feel inferior.

And then there is the creepy, Facebook stalker syndrome. Okay, I know you have been there. This is where someone (maybe you) feels like they know you simply because they are a friend of your friend. I have seen it happen personally when with a friend at the mall, I ran into another friend and introduced the two only to have one of them make a comment about how she knows who she is because she sees her picture all the time on Facebook. Another time a friend of mine made an update that she was headed to the Post Office to get her passport. I happened to be there the same day and crazy enough, I knew exactly why she was there when I ran into her. I know when people are hung over, when they are on vacation and when their kids win a basketball game.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Facebook and Twitter and all that stuff. I am definitely addicted. I have it on my iPhone and uploads pictures of nothing to share every chance I get. They have helped me stay in touch with friends and cousins that I might otherwise have lost touch with long ago. Sometimes life is so busy that I don't talk to my local friends for days, but I still know what they are up to. I wouldn't give it up, but maybe I need to read it with more of a disclaimer in my head like, "The events depicted in this site are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental." Then I will realize that Facebook is like looking at a snapshot, a frozen moment in time that doesn't usually tell the whole story. It's a guilty pleasure much like magazines at the grocery store checkout.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Words of Wisdom from a Golf Widow

Yes, it is that time of year again. For all you golfers out there, this is a time filled with joy and anticipation of long days spent hitting the links and hanging with your friends. For all your wives and girlfriends, better known as golf widows, it is the time of year we dread the most. Don't get me wrong, we want to be happy for you, we really do. But along with your new found freedom and happiness comes our misery and servitude.

Imagine if you will for a moment that once a week (or more), we were to leave you with all your kids for say, five hours or more. During which time us ladies would be enjoying the beautiful outdoors with our friends, having a great time and thinking nothing of you and the family. Keep in mind that I am completely unreachable by text or phone. While back at home, you would be feeding, dressing, cleaning and entertaining the insubordinate mob that seems to subscribe to Lord of the Flies order of things. There would be dishes to wash, laundry to get done and all the while a snotty, crying little person would be hanging off your leg cause his brother wouldn't let him play the violent, rated M video game he shouldn't be playing anyway. And this is just the first 20 minutes. And then, just when you think you have had as much as you can take, and you start to get excited because my car pulls in the driveway, I walk in, ask what's for dinner and proclaim how tired I am. I then immediately head for the couch, lay down and fall asleep. Welcome to our world from April til November. I am not complaining mind you, just telling you like it is. No wonder we are crabby.

Now I am not suggesting that you golfers quit, because I know that would never happen (and that most of you actually need golf to breath). So I have put together a couple tips that all you golfers out there should follow during golf season to ensure marital bliss in your household:

1. Thank your wife (a lot) for understanding your need to play golf. Thank her the morning before you leave, thank her when you get home. And if you can throw in a quick text on the 10th tee thanking her, that would be phenomenal!  Helpful Hint: Flowers bought on the way home from your round of golf are a great way to say thank you and show her you were thinking about her.

2. Tag, You're It! Your wife has just been "it" for the past five hours. She is very tired and is completely done chasing after everyone and answering each little demand. When you walk in the door, you are now "it." Give her some time off so she can regain her sanity. She might want to go shopping, she might want to crawl into her bed, or she might want to slip into a bubble bath with a glass of wine. But whatever she wants to do, I can guarantee it will be kid free. And you must tell the kids that daddy is now in charge cause saying, "but honey, the kids wanted you" is not allowed. They wanted you too just as you were about to chip onto the 8th green, but I didn't drop them off...

3. Dinner is on  you. One of the most wonderful things you can do after a day of golf is be in charge of dinner. You have many options here. You can take the family out. You can grab some take-out on your way home (your wife's favorite of course) or you can even cook. But I guarantee your wife will forget all about her long, miserable day (well maybe) if you take on dinner that night. 

4. Encourage "me" time for your wife. Thank her again for letting you do what you love to do, play golf. And then encourage her to do something she loves to do that is all about her. Most important here is to really mean it. When she heads out to yoga on a Wednesday night and you are on bedtime duty, you are not allowed to complain or even utter a single sigh. Tell her to have fun and even do the dishes for her. Do not call her, do not text her unless the house is on fire or someone is in the hospital. The more time she gets to enjoy doing what she likes, the more golf you will get to play.

5. Help out more when you are home. This seems fairly obvious to us wives, but for all you guys out there - pay attention. When you are home, be engaged. Ask your wife if she needs help, play with your kids. We know you are tired after a long day of work, but we are tired too. The quicker the crappy stuff gets done, the more quality, fun time we can all spend together. The more fun we have together, the more I like you. The more I like you, the more golf you get to play. It really is that simple!

As we head into another spring weekend, I wish all of you golfers out there a birdie or two on your next round. Play your cards right and your wife might even be waiting at home for you to celebrate your best round of golf ever. And good luck to all you golf widows out there, may you survive another season!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Perfect Mom Bag

Some people like to bake, others scrapbook, some are even good enough to run - I organize. I consider myself a perfectionist. Not that I am perfect by any means, but I live in constant pursuit of organizational perfection. The problem is, there is no such thing as perfect. Therefore, I am constantly organizing and reorganizing. My poor husband can never find anything in our house and it drives him crazy. If there is a space anywhere that stuff is kept, I will strive to organize it - kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator (the Tupperware lady loves me), the bathroom and even the car. But recently, my attention was turned on my tote bag. You see, I have a three year old who only recently became potty trained, who also needs a lot to keep him entertained. He also has three older brothers who all play on multiple teams no matter the season. To say that he is carted around is an understatement. Football games, basketball practices, even tournaments - you name it, he goes. Don't get me wrong, he loves it. But trying to actually watch the older boys make a basket, while not losing the three year old (yes, we have lost him multiple times even though he knew exactly where he was) is a challenge to say the least.

Enter the bag...

When our three year old was born, a friend sent us a great LL Bean tote bag. It was blue and white striped and it had our son's initials on it. It was a very thoughtful gift. Unfortunately, there was not a single pocket in this bag (they had no kids at the time, so they really didn't know). This bag was put on the shelf while he was a baby and we used a diaper bag that made a lot more sense. But now that he is a preschooler, I have brought back the bag. And because there are still no pockets, I have been using large Ziploc bags to try to keep thing organized. Unfortunately, in my pursuit of perfection, this falls very short. I was always losing things in the bottom, the Ziploc bags would ultimately rip, and lets face it - it was not exactly aesthetically pleasing.

This is where my quest began for the perfect bag....

My first thought was that I needed compartments, which would take the place of my Ziploc bags and were more functional. I also needed pockets to keep my three year old's iPod (my old iPhone) and his iXL as well a my iPhone and my iPad (which is a great tool to keep him entertained). I wanted it to be a nice looking bag and durable. I pretty much wanted it all. I looked everywhere. I looked at all the diaper bags I could find figuring it was the best place to start. There are a lot of new ones out there today that don't look like diaper bags and have more pockets than most bags. No luck. Even though they had lots of pockets, they still all had one big compartment which is exactly what I wasn't looking for. I searched by every keyword I could think of and nothing. That is when it dawned on me that I would have to make one. Well not me, but someone was going to have to.

Enter Jen...

Jen owns the itty bitty bag company ( where she designs, makes and sells gorgeous, handmade bags through her website. I went to high school with Jen and recently reconnected with her on Facebook. Once I figured out what I wanted, I asked Jen for help. I asked for a lot, after all I was in pursuit of perfection. She worked on it and thought about it and worked on it some more. She took it to NYC with her girls and then changed it. And finally, she emailed me to tell me it was ready. And of course I asked for one more thing, a pocket for my iPad. And she said of course. Then finally, an email danced into my inbox with a tracking number announcing that my perfect bag was on its way.

And it arrived today...

And even though I had nowhere to take the three year old today, I immediately packed it. Just in case...

So now I am ready for anything. The "Mom Bag" as Jen calls it, is red canvas with brown and white toile interior (my choices). The red 3-compartment insert is just that - an insert that can be taken out if I want to use the bag without it. The interior is lined with 6 pockets - 3 small ones and 3 larger ones. There is a hook for my keys so they won't get lost at the bottom. There is pocket on the front that fits my phone and a padded pocket on the back for my iPad. The bottom is made of leather for added durability and has feet to keep it off of dirty gym floors. Thanks to Jen for not only giving me everything I asked for, but for also making it a great experience along the way. The bag is gorgeous, well-made and well organized. And I can't wait for a good excuse to use it.

To order any of Jen's gorgeous creations, visit her site at She makes custom orders but also has a lot of beautiful bags ready to ship, including Easter Basket bags (so cute and unique). You can also read her blog here

And if you live in New England, I am hosting a trunk show for her on April 9th in Marlboro, MA. If you would like to attend, please let me know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trust Me, You are Beautiful

In my 35 years, I have had the privilege of  knowing many amazing women as I have traveled throughout my life. Some I am lucky enough to say, are still in my life, whether a daily fixture or the kid of friend that weaves in and out, picking up exactly where we left off without a hiccup. Some I have lost along the way, but I still think of them fondly as having brought so much to my life and taught me so many important lessons. Unfortunately, time and again, these beautiful women forget just how beautiful they truly are.

I am not sure where the doubt creeps in in our lives as girls that tells us we are not good enough. That nasty voice in our heads that makes us doubt our worth and our beauty. It manifests itself in different ways; some of us eat too much, some of us don't eat enough. Some of us settle for Mr. Wrong, some of us are afraid of getting hurt and never give Mr.Right a chance when he comes along. Some of us lay in bed at night going over everything we did wrong that day and worry about what will happen tomorrow. But how many of us look in the mirror and congratulate ourselves on how amazing we really are?
To all my friends (and family) out there and to women and girls all over the world, please listen to me and really hear what I am saying - you are beautiful and you are amazing. All of those little things that make you who you are, the ones that you probably obsess about and hate, are the very things that make you unique and special. Everyone is your life should appreciate what makes you who you are, and if they don't then  they aren't worth your time. Your time is valuable, spend it wisely. Surround yourself with people who love you and want you to be happy. Be happy, life is too short and your happiness will spread to your children, your husband and your friends and family. Plus, it feels better to be happy. Most of the crap we obsess about is just that, crap and all it does is wear you down.
Somehow we all think that if only I could do this...then I would be happy. Fill in the blank - be skinnier, be prettier, have more money, keep my house looking nicer, eat less, workout more, look like her, have a marriage like hers (you now her, the perfect one we all covet being even though we don't actually know what is behind her closed doors)...And then what? Would it still be good enough? Probably not...for whatever reason, most of us are programmed to want something other than we have and are convinced that that is our key to happiness.

Trust me, you have everything you need to be happy. I have loved (and still do) so many amazing women who do not love themselves and it makes me sad every time to see their pain and doubt. You are amazing and special and worthy of love. You are a brilliant friend, sister, daughter, wife, mother. What you do everyday makes a world of difference to so many people even if you don't see it. Women have amazing strength and beauty that make the world go round, seriously.

If you do only one thing today, take a minute to reward yourself for everything you did today that made someone else's world better (I guarantee your 4 year old things you are a princess and couldn't live without the hug you gave them today - if only you could see yourself through your child's eyes). Take a bubble bath, with a glass of wine and a candle. Curl up in a cozy chair and read your new favorite book without any guilt that you need to change the laundry. Sign up for a new yoga or dance class and relish in the fact that it is completely selfish me time you need more of. And when you wake up tomorrow, read this again cause it will be true tomorrow too.