Finding Ways to be Thankful

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Today is #thankfulthursday and I am not going to lie, I have had a hard time coming up with one thing that I am thankful for. Part of this is because some of the things make me feel materialistic and other things feel like given things in life.

Yes, everyone is thankful for the basics in life like food, water, shelter and clothing. Thing is, there was a time in my life where I was living in my car and lived in a homeless shelter. There is a time where I was trying to come up with change just to find money for food. If you look in my drawers, most of my clothes are from 10 or more years ago, from thrift stores or cheap clothing from Walmart. At least I have clothing to wear right now.

Lately, things feel like they have been going in opposite direction that I want which can be so frustrating and makes it hard to find the things to thank the universe or your Higher Power for. Sometimes, you need to step back and remember the basics in life and that the rest is just an added bonus.

My housing situation isn’t ideal right now but at least we have a place to live that allows us to keep our special puppy. We need to move and finding a place that will fit our family and puppy has been the most difficult thing in the world. I wish we had the money to buy the house we are living in or another house but it is a very difficult option right now. All we can do is to continue to look and the right place will find us.

Holding to a meal budget has been such a difficult thing for my entire adult life. I will make a list, purchase what is on the list (online grocery shopping has made this so much easier), stand at the fridge or cabinet and struggle to find something to make or eat. So then I blow the budge out of the water because I end up getting takeout somewhere. I need to learn how to stick to a meal plan, meal budget and learn to be creative with the food I buy because there was a time when I didn’t get a choice of what I ate. I need to be thankful for any and all food and not be so damn picky.

I went from having a job that I could afford to buy my first Coach purse and Jimmy Choo shoes. High end clothing, handbags and shoes was my life over 15 years ago but that all changed in an instant. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to afford those luxury items again but they don’t make my world go round now. I have always been one to shop at consignment and thrift stores which I have found some amazing deals.

I have 2 specific claim to fame for my finds… My first amazing find was a vintage knee-length wool coat that zipped up the left side and had a corset-type ribbon back. My words can’t even describe who gorgeous this coat looked but someone stopped me on the streets of SOHO New York and offered to buy the coat off my back for a client of his (he was a personal stylist). As tempting as the offer was, I cherished that coat and declined. Unfortunately, when I became homeless I lost the coat. My second claim to fame was finding a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS Baby Dior outfit at a Salvation Army store for Danyella. Now when I found this outfit, it was before I even knew she was a girl but I couldn’t resist not buying this amazing outfit and thankfully she was a girl!

Since the only decent, affordable consignment shops (yes there are ones that are way overpriced for used clothing!) are a bit of a drive for me, my options have been limited especially since getting pregnant. I know that there is online shopping but I still prefer to go to a store and try clothes on so I know that they fit right. My go to is either Target or Walmart which sometimes you can feel the (lack of) quality that you are buying with cheap clothing. One good deal I have found at Walmart has been these super-soft, stretchy shirts for $5 for a short sleeve shirt. They had them in basic navy, black, maroon and olive-green colors which I bought XL in each size because they are large enough to cover my growing belly. I was super, super excited to find them in long sleeve (only $6.88) in some Halloween prints and other solid colors which I bought in 1XL and 2XL to keep me going while my belly grows. I wish I could afford the adorable pregnancy clothing on the market but it really isn’t an option when you are out of work for most of your pregnancy so I am sticking to these comfortable, affordable shirts and leggings.

Sometimes we take the basic things in our life for granted when we need to step back and be thankful for these necessities because life could be worse one day or you could have worked your way up from a situation that is worse than it is right now.

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Dry Skin Season is Coming

Spray and Style Hair Blog

 

It is that time of year where our skin begins to dry out, crack and just hurt no matter how much we drink water and try different lotions from your local store. Having a child with severe eczema, I had to experiment with different lotions and soaps to try and find some kind of relief for her, especially in the winter. Even the products labeled especially for eczema didn’t work for her.

So I began to make my own products for her so I knew exactly what was going in the products and on her skin. I came up with a formula for a hardened lotion made from coconut oil, olive oil, pure beeswax (not the candle stuff with additives for candle burning) and a few drops of essential oil. This formula has been magic for Danyella’s skin for many years now because it creates a barrier layer with the beeswax to protect it from further damage while healing the skin problems with the coconut oil and olive oil.

As friends and family, began to see her skin go from bleeding eczema patches to beautiful clear skin, they began to ask for their own Lotion Pop in different essential oil scents. I use a mold that is for cake pops but it makes it so much easier to glide the lotion pops across the skin with this design.

Right now I offer Lotion Pops in my online store Kaella Boutique in Lavender, Orange and Peppermint. The pops are 3 ozs each and come in a cute little box for storage. They also make great small gifts for people on your list this Holiday Season.  How many of you suffer from Dry Skin?

You can click on the pictures to be take to my online shop:

 

Emotional Burnout #MotivationMonday

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It has been a week since I have been able to get a blog post out of me. If you look at my drafts, I started multiple posts but just couldn’t finish them. Yes time was a factor but if I am being truthful, my heart just wasn’t in it to write this past week. Being pregnant, I know that I am more emotional than usual but I would just sit and start crying multiple times throughout the day because this past weekend was my little brother’s 9th anniversary of his death and I was becoming emotionally burned out.

The week leading up to his anniversary is always an emotional one but we keep busy by planning his annual balloon release memorial service and cook out. Add the stress of the pregnancy hormones and the pregnancy itself… my stress level felt like it skyrocketed. Now add that my psych paper this week was on Addiction and basically I just mentally shut down.

More than once my boyfriend found me crying and when he would ask why, all I could muster up was that it was all too much this week and I couldn’t take it. In one week, I dealt with my brother’s death anniversary, my pregnancy complications (had a few close call fainting spells) and one of the Mama’s in my group had to have her twin boys early because of complications (I sat on the couch and cried for hours for those boys who are now in the NICU and getting stronger everyday). I just hit my end and crashed but it felt like every time I did something, I crashed all over again.

Last night was the first night I was able to get to bed and sleep before midnight which was a nice thing for me. I was living off of little sleep and an occasional nap. My poor boyfriend had his head bitten off more than once in an hour for the past week (sorry babe). I had the Mom Emotional Burn Out but this week it is time for recovery and get myself back on track.

Every mom has their emotional burn out moments trust me! Some are definitely not as extreme as mine but we all have them. The key is to let yourself feel your emotions, embrace the discomfort while it lasts and when you are ready, pick yourself up and love yourself again. Motivation Monday!

**On a little side note, my boyfriend has made it without to many scars through this pregnancy and other times so I have to say Happy Anniversary! I love you and everything you do for our family.

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Craft and Art Store Coupons #savingsunday

Using Craft Store Coupons for Supplies#SavingSunday

As a Fine Arts Major, Artisan, Crafter, Mom to budding artists and craft supply hoarder, I have learned the art of using coupons to get what I need for as little money as possible. Recently, my Painting Professor emailed us the list of what we needed to purchase for her class with the links to Amazon to purchase all of items. When I put them all in my cart, they were over $300… not in my budget at all!

That is when I turned to my local craft/art supply stores! In my local area, I have Michaels and Hobby Lobby which we frequent both because each something different to offer plus their coupon structures are very different. If I need to look elsewhere, I can travel about 45 minutes or so to Joanns or AC Moore but I prefer to stick to the 2 stores that are only 10 minutes away from me.

At one point in my life, I worked for Michaels because the discount was great and I loved being surrounded by arts and crafts all day long but sadly I needed money for then fun so I went back to waiteressing. Still, when I walk into Michaels, I know at least one person so I can get the scoop of what is new in the store which is awesome! Michaels offers more of a broad range of art and craft supply items so that you have a little bit of everything to choose from but I can’t always find that exact thing I need or idea that is stuck in my head.

Now back to the subject Michaels coupons…. They offer a rewards app that includes all their coupons for the week. Most weeks, you will find a 40% off one non sale item. On certain days or weeks they will offer special coupons like 20% off your entire purchase or 30% off yarn. Some of these coupons can be great, especially if it includes sale items! Another plus for Michaels is that they will accept competitor coupons, so if Joanns is offering a 60% off coupon, they will allow you to use it at Michaels (score so savings there!). My one gripe is that there is a HUGE exclusions list which includes books! They have cool coloring books for adults, craft sets for kids that have books plus pattern books. If it has a book then it is excluded which just frankly makes a crafter very angry! Before I go into Michaels or while I am walking around, I will look at the other craft stores to see if they have a better coupon offer to max out my savings.

On to Hobby Lobby…. they offer fabric which Michaels does not which is a plus in my book! They have added to their soap making supplies (though they still make that damn melt and pour soap a big thing like you are really making soap but that is a post for another time) which I like being able to go there to buy some of my butters and oils when I need to make a small batch of something. Everything else is pretty comparable to Michaels with having a little bit of every type of supplies.

As for Hobby Lobby coupons, they only ever offer one coupon… 40% off one regular priced item. They do not accept competitor’s coupons so you can only ever use that one coupon. On the plus side they have very little exclusions and they allow coupons on their books! This has been huge for me because sometimes I get a request from someone to make a specific item and if I find it in a pattern book at Hobby Lobby then I get a bunch of patterns for a much lower cost!

Back to my painting class supply search, I learned that Micheals and Hobby Lobby had a majority of what I needed on this list so I was going to use my coupons as much as I possibly could to save as much money as possible. Hobby Lobby had the wood panels so I have been going there nearly everyday (except Sunday because they are closed) to purchase the panels. The rest has come from Michaels and they have had a 50% off coupon this past week which has been a huge help! So the list that would have been $300 or more has cost me about $150 with just a few things left to get.

If you are a parent, these coupons come in handy for kids projects for school and home. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to utilize these places and coupons for book reports and science projects that needed to done for school. In my opinion art and craft supplies are so overpriced to enjoy the stimulation of the artistic side of our brains so use these coupons and save some money to enjoy more art projects in the future!

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Thankful For Being a Dance Mom #thankfulthursday

Thankful For Being A Dance Mom

Let me start off by saying, I am not one of “those” dance moms where I get all crazy and cut throat so that my child is the focus of the dance studio and rant all about the studio to get my way! Not my style unless I feel the need to step in because there is a problem or something comes up.

Even though the show “Dance Moms” is what inspired Danyella to want to take her first dance lesson at age 8, I vowed to never be one of those crazy sports moms because they just embarrass themselves and more importantly their child. Don’t get me wrong, the drama on that show can be addicting but I started watching it with Danyella years ago because she loved to watch the dances these girls would learn and perform in less than a week.

When Danyella first started out at the studio, she wanted to take Musical Theatre and Jazz. She wanted to take the musical theatre class because she loved watching me work on the costuming for local theatre shows when she was younger. With jazz, Danyella knew that it was fundamental in learning dance. I was shocked when I saw her excel in dance because in everyday life she is quite clutzy (don’t tell her I said that). Part way through the year, we added a ballet class to her dance schedule and Danyella found her passion in her young life… Dance!

All this girl wanted to dance, day and night. It was heart-warming to see her find a passion like this at a young age. That first year, she was much older and taller than the other girls in her classes because I didn’t know how she would like, let alone find a passionate talent in dance.

At the end of the year, her studio announced that they were forming their first ever Mini Elite Competition Team.  Even though Danyella had only been  dancing for a year and wasn’t at the class level required to audition, she was encouraged to audition anyway. Bad mom moment…. my thoughts on her auditioning were that she would learn the lesson that she needs to work hard to achieve things she wants in her life. Aka, she wouldn’t make the team and learn the lesson of losing and being denied something you desire.

2 months after auditioning, I received the email and was mind blown, shocked to read that she had made the team! What?????? She had only been dancing for a year…. A YEAR! Did she really have that innate ability to dance that she would make a competition dance team? How would these other dance moms act? Would we be living the show’s drama now?

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Our First Competition Mom and Me Selfie!

After 2 years of dancing under our belt and one year of competition team, I am so happy to talk to you about MY life as a dance mom! Both Danyella and I have made wonderful friends through her dance passion. When you spend every week, sitting in a room with the same moms you begin to have conversations. Most of those conversations began with a mom asking what I was crocheting or making because I can’t just sit and not have my hands moving. From that first conversation, we began to share stories of our kids and our lives. That is how friendships are formed and kept.

 

The Elite Moms had an extra special bond because we would live our lives based around dance every weekend from August through March. We would travel together to the competitions and bond over what it was like as a first year competition mom. We were all in this together. Eventually, we started connecting over Facebook and still chat about what is going on with our girls. We have been able to commiserate over our girls and their behaviors. It was great to know we weren’t alone with our tween girl problems.

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The shirt that I made for the Dance Moms for last year’s competition season.

As the girls bonded as a team, so did us moms. We have learned to rely on each other when we need help or have questions and never feel alone in this experience. This year, the team has changed because some people have left the tea

m, so girls moved up and new girls were added. Our girls embraced the new girls just as us moms embraced the new moms. Another new change was the addition of the Petite Elite Team, which consists of some younger girls and a new set of moms. The Minis and Petites bond and help each other just as us “experienced” (not really but we fake it) moms help the new moms navigated the uncharted waters of having a child on the competition team.

Last night, I was reminded of the bond that us dance moms have because as I was sitting for 3 hours of classes on the first week of the new season. Witheach class, brought in a new set of moms and we would all begin to catch up from either having the summer not seeing each other, having a year of our girls having opposite schedules or having a week since the last elite rehearsal. Each conversation just picked up like we never lost anytime.

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The first Elite Team at Competition last season.

 

It was an eye-opening experience to see all us in a room just talking like we have been friends forever. This is what a dance mom life truly is! It is not about drama, it is not about making sure our child is number one or gets special treatment, it is not aboutthrowing adult temper tantrums. It is about showing our children that they should pursue their passions. It is about showing our children that the friendships they make with their fellow dancers are ones that should be cherished. It is about showing our children that we should support one another no matter what and no matter our age.

 

Mommy is a College Student #thankfulthursday

Mommy College Student

Today was my first official day of classes that I attend at the actual college (my online classes started already)! It was scary as hell to pull into that parking lot surround my kids that were closer in age to my oldest child then to me. I swear you could feel my heart pounding out of my chest as I looked for a place to park (note to self show up earlier so I can park closer and not in the outskirts of town). Why am I so damn nervous?

The reason I am so nervous is because I was living in fear of being judged by all of these millennial that will shape the future of our lives with new technology, politics and so much more. Here I am… the old, pregnant woman taking classes among all of these young kids who are concerned about their Snaps and the latest party. How can I keep up with them?

My first class today was Speech which is something that comes pretty easily for me because of my background in theatre plus making speeches for the Homeless Shelter that I have been associated with for a few years now. I walked into class a few minutes late because with my belly I can only walk so fast from the other side of the parking lot and then up to the second floor to class. Already red in the face….

I take a seat in the front of the class because that was a close seat to the door and the other people at the table looked a little older than 18 and out of diapers. The professor keeps going and I start to feel more at ease until I look around the classroom and see all the young kids. Wow I begin to feel so so so old! There are a few of us older people though I think I am the oldest out of 24 and definitely the only pregnant one.

The first video we watch is about how we need to have self-confidence in ourselves and about our character. It was a wonderful video and one that I needed right in that moment. I needed to get past my fear of these kids in my classes because I would be spending 3 hours a week for the next 14 weeks with them plus I was going to have to get up in front of the class and talk to them.

I am thankful for being able to take this opportunity to get past my fear of these millennial and take courses that will help me not just in my career but in my everyday life. When I am at work or on stage, I don’t think twice about what I need to do or say but getting up in front of these kids gives me massive anxiety but I am thankful that I will work on getting past my fear this semester. I might be old and I might be pregnant but I want to further my education and life which is worth every single moment of fear and anxiety.

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Tips To Living Your Happy Mom Life

Tips to Living your happy life (1)

In my 36 years of living, one thing I tend to forget to do is living a happy life for myself. As a mom, I’m always taking the time for my kids to make sure they are fed, clothed and happy. As a girlfriend, I make sure that my boyfriend’s needs are met and he is happy. As a daughter, I make sure that my parents have the help they need to make their lives happier. Same goes for my friends. The big question is…. when do I take this time for myself to make sure I am happy?

The answer to that question…. when I can remember to take the time!

Here are some small tips to living your happy mom life each day…

  1. Enjoy your shower time! This is my favorite time of the day because I shut the dog, the kids and attempt with the boyfriend out of the bathroom, sit and let the water just run over me. When I was pregnant with Danyella and on strict bed rest, I was told that I could shower but I had to sit in the shower. I don’t use one of those old people shower chairs but I do use a cushy tub pillow. There are times that I can sit in the shower and let the water run over me like I was in the rain. I don’t get these times alot but I enjoy the moments when I get to relax in the shower, just me, myself and I!
  2. Enjoy your Potty Time! Oh yes I went there! The Mommy Potty Time is usually filled with kids and pets running in and out or shouting your name. Even for a 30 second pee, I let the kids and dog run amuck while I take the few seconds to hop on Pinterest. Just about since the start of Pinerest, I have been obsessed with this site/app. I have over 100 boards and thousands of pins all done in just a few seconds and minutes I have on the potty and other down times. Pinning makes my life feel more relaxed and I have found so many recipes, diy projects, kids projects and more to help my life.
  3. Get up Early or Stay up Later! I know that many mom bloggers talk about getting up a few minutes early to take Me Time but that is not me. I am a night owl and that will never change. I can be up until midnight, hours after the kids go to bed but ask me to get up even 15 minutes earlier and forget it because the snooze button will be hit! If you are a morning person then kudos to you! I like to take the time to do some stuff for me whether it is doing some reading, crocheting, journaling or other things that I want to do just for me.

They might just be a few, simple tips but these are things that help me enjoy a happier mommy life. I hope that these few tips can help you enjoy your happier mommy life!

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