Welcome 2018 Part 3 : Consuming vs Creating

This is the final piece of my series on 2018 intentions…go here to see part one on social media and part two on friendship.

As 2017 came to a close a couple of weeks ago, I decided to re-evaluate several areas of my life, and one that stuck out was my consumerism in the past year. At my core, I’m not a big shopper. I can’t stand buying clothes and I have a lot of anxiety about spending money, especially on myself. But in the last year, due to varied circumstances, I found myself spending more on clothing than in past years. Maybe it was a form of numbing…spending money on “stuff” to make myself feel better, to treat myself or to fill some sort of hole inside me? Or maybe I just needed to replenish my closet after a few big purges and life/career changes? Regardless of the reason, when I looked back on my spending habits last year, I was a bit surprised at how much I spent on clothes for myself. An even bigger surprise was looking around my closet and still feeling like I had nothing to wear…how was that possible?!

Consumerism Vs Creation

When it comes to clothes and apparel, less is definitely more for me. When I have too many choices, I become paralyzed and can’t make a decision. Plus, I found I was purchasing the same items over and over again! It was just silly! I was shopping for sales instead of shopping for pieces (that dress is 50% off, I have to have it!) and that’s not a habit I want to continue.

So this year I’ve made a commitment to myself to not purchase any new clothing, excepting specialty items like underwear or socks. I’m actually pretty excited about the whole thing! I think it will be a fun challenge to make due with what I have. Along with the cost savings to myself and my family, I have also been doing research on the global cost of “cheap” clothing (I have this book on reserve at the library…have you read it?) and how it’s affecting our communities and our planet. As someone who spends a good deal of time working with an organization who’s main goal is to help the poorest people in the world, my blatant consumerism of cheap clothing, most of which is made on the backs of these poor communities, just doesn’t ring true. It’s been fun to see how I can make this work, as more and more people seem to be trying this sort of challenge. I’m excited to start perusing thrift and vintage stores for used garments and have even pondered learning to knit or sew this year. I’m not very crafty by nature, so this would be a pretty massive challenge!

What about you? Have you ever thought about your purchasing habits when it comes to clothing? Would you consider cutting out buying anything new for a year?

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Holiday Gift Guide for Teachers

My kids’ teachers are some of my heroes. They often spend more time per week with my kids than I do, and I’m so appreciative of everything they have done to shape the amazing little people in my life. Being a teacher, especially in Kansas, is not always easy. With budgets being constantly cut, salaries stagnant and long hours, many teachers don’t get the recognition they deserve. So over the holiday season I like to do whatever I can to make them feel special. I pulled together some of my favorite products from local, Kansas City-based retail stores and brands that would make awesome gifts for a teacher this year!

*While gifts are always appreciated, I have polled my teacher friends, and they are just as grateful when they get a thoughtful note or handwritten card from a child. Just remember, it’s not about the money spent, but about the sentiment behind it!*

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Huglife KC T-Shirts (created by a teacher!) | Penguin Ornament from Pink Antlers Studio | Kansas City Ornament from Restoration Emporium | All Natural Lip Treatment Set from Handmade Holidays

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Andre’s Confiserie Suisse Gift Box

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Kansas City You’re My Favorite Tumbler from J. Lynn Designery | Terrarium Ornament from Pink Antlers Studio

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

School of Sock Kansas City Socks from Best of Kansas City | Andre’s Cookies and Hot Cocoa | Handmade Soap Gift Set from Restoration Emporium

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

2018 Refresh Planners from J.Lynn Designery | CST Sweets Dark Peppermint Toffee and Yummylicious Cookie Company Cookie Mix from Handmade Holidays | Pink Peppermint Candle from Pink Antlers Studio

Tate First Day of Kindergarten

Saving Money and My Sanity with Groupon Coupons

Anyone who has met me knows I’m not a big shopper…I just find the whole process extremely overwhelming, especially when it comes to shopping for clothes. I walk into a department store and my skin starts to crawl. I can’t help it! The chaos of all the clothing racks and the multitudes of options make my heart race and trying on clothes in a dressing room gets me all clammy.

The worst part of this particular aversion is that it ends up being pretty expensive. Most discount stores and shops with reduced prices tend to be the ones that are, for lack of a better word, messy! While the more expensive, exclusive stores are set up in a way that is much easier for me to navigate, with lots of white space, limited options and uncluttered dressing rooms. I always hear of friends getting amazing deals on clothing for themselves and their kids by using coupons or shopping during special sales, but the thought of that makes me want to hyperventilate. Shopping is stressful enough without crowds and clipping coupons!

That’s why I was so excited to hear about Groupon’s newest offering, Groupon Coupons. Groupon has partnered with a huge number of retailers to provide thousands of online coupons to shoppers, and it’s so easy to use. You just head to their website to find tons of coupon codes, many of which you can use online and in the store. And this isn’t just for random shops either! With back-to-school shopping and kids who grow out of their clothes on a monthly basis, I have been using Groupon Coupons at some of our favorite shopping spots, like J. Crew Factory and Macy’s. We also like to stock up on extra special school supplies, educational games and books at Barnes & Noble, so we were super pumped to find a Groupon Coupon for there as well.

I’m so happy that Groupon is helping shopping-averse goofballs like me save a little money, and that they are keeping it super simple with Groupon Coupons!

This post was sponsored by Groupon, but all opinions and words are my own.

Making Me Happy

A Few Happy Things

Okay, friends…it’s been a hard, long, exhausting few weeks around here. When things get hard, that’s when I used to reach for unhealthy solutions to make all the bad feelings go away, but in the last few years I’ve made it my MISSION to find better ways to cope. Some of these things have been ongoing (exercise, eating better, watching dumb TV, therapy, recovery meetings, etc.), but since the last few months have provided new and unique challenges, I’ve found myself more mindful of things that are making me happy. It’s just how things work, isn’t it? When life is all happy frappy, you don’t necessarily notice the little things that make you smile. But when life is a bit darker, the things that light up your day, even if it’s just a little bit, make all the difference.

So here are a few things that have been making me happy lately:

Making Me Happy

1. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton – I have shared my love of Glennon, the brilliant mind behind the Momastery blog, before (remember when I met her and cried and she hugged me?!), so I was more than excited when I heard about her upcoming book Love Warrior. I preordered a signed copy last Spring, and while the official release date is September 6th, I was pleasantly surprised to find it in my mailbox yesterday! I’ve only read a few pages so far, but I’m already engrossed in this memoir. You should absolutely order yours so you can get it next week when it comes out everywhere!

2. My Fake Candy – You guys, I’m a bit of a sweet tooth. I may or may not have bought an entire cherry pie the other day because I was feeling low. And while I definitely think it’s okay to treat yourself and ice cream can help when you’re sad (and it’s a much better choice than alcohol or drugs!), I know myself, and treating feelings with food isn’t usually a good choice (note: USUALLY…there are always ice cream exceptions). So I’ve been looking for a few healthier options for when my sweet tooth is raging, but I know I don’t want to eat a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. These chocolate chip cookie dough Larabars legitimately taste like candy to me, and are my favorite substitute when I am craving sugar. I’m also a huge fan of these wolfberry crisp bars from Young Living, which curb my chocolate craving.

3. LUSH Dream Time Temple Balm – My sweet husband LOVES giving gifts, so he always finds the kids and I little presents when he goes on work trips. When he returned from Las Vegas a few weeks ago, he brought me back a kit of fun bath products and beauty items from the brand LUSH, and this Dream Time Balm is my favorite. You rub a little on your temples right before bed, and all of a sudden your bedroom feels like spa!

4. Mai Tai Spritzer from Drybar – Okay, I’m not gonna lie…the other day I was feeling depressed and decided to go wander the mall. Is this healthy? Probably not, but I am not much of a shopper, so I figured it would be alright to do it once. Anyway, I found myself in Sephora with the goal of “finding something that makes me happy.” This sea salt spray for my hair was the winner! It smells like summer and heaven, and every time I put it on my mood elevates. #worthit

What’s making you happy right now? I need a few more things to add to my arsenal! All suggestions are welcome! If you need me, I’ll be over here eating ice cream Larabars…

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

Easy Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!

Sidenote: We have one week left of school for one kid and two for the other. God help me, summer is coming!

While I always want to let our teachers know how much they are loved and appreciated, it can be a little difficult with kids in different schools, especially when they each have a handful of teachers they interact with on a daily basis. Between my kids we had ELEVEN teacher gifts to put together this year, which meant we needed to keep it a little more cost-friendly. We tend to do bigger gifts for our main room teachers at the holidays, and then do smaller gifts at the end of the year. And I do my best to try and give something that the teacher will actually use!

This year we kept it simple with these great disposable coffee cups from the Design Love Fest/Cheeky line at Target! I loved how happy they looked and that I was supporting a fellow blogger/small business owner by purchasing her products. We filled the cups with a few instant coffee packs, tea and added a Starbucks giftcard. I had the kids sign the back and we were done. Easy peasy!

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