I love Halloween & Easter, but geez, I don’t like the amount of candy my kids get! For Easter specifically, I know they will be getting a ton of candy between baskets and Easter Egg hunts, so I never include candy in their basket. Here are some non-candy gift ideas (mostly geared towards boys since I’m a boy mom for life!).
My kids are stuffed animal obsessed. Squishmallows are the squishiest stuffed animals you can find, hence the name, and my kids love them. They come in the fun colors and over 800+ characters (my current favorite is the Avocado), and usually have a new line out each season. Each has a name, but of my course my kids like to rename them the most ridiculous things. They come in a ton of different sizes, from 8 to 20 inches, there’s a size for every kid (or big kid adult :). They are sold in 40+ countries, and you can find them online at http://www.Squishmallows.com and Amazon.com. You can find them in store at Target, Claires, Five Below, Meijer, and around the holiday at Costco (and usually the really large ones the size of a bean bag!).
My oldest son is really getting into Legos and can finally do the sets by himself (within reason). It keeps him busy for hours and he’s so proud of his creations afterwards. I was never a Lego kid growing up but as an adult I love to build with my boys! They have such a large range of kit sizes it’s easy to find the perfect one for an Easter Basket.
My boys are so obsessed with Bakugans and Beyblades. I don’t mind them because they are small and don’t take up a ton of room. Beyblades are geared towards a little bit older kids (around 8) but my 3 year old has the hang of them and loves to play with them. This is a good option for them to play together too (they battle each other).
Is it weird that I love these things? I would totally have been into them as a kid. Smashables are little eggs (appropritie for EAster!) that you smash open (they are plastic, don’t worry!) and there’s a little figurine inside. They also have giant eggs that have several smaller eggs and activities inside them. Usually all of the activities go together to create a dinosaur or some kind of creature.
Because we live in the Midwest, the weather usually starts to warm up around Easter time, and it gets us all excited for Summer. I always get the boys swim shorts and rashgauards for their Easter baskets, and they are usually matching (I’m going to match them until they fight me on it :). Goggles, dive toys, sand toys and pool floats are also good options! Old Navy has the cutest boy swim trunks right now!
I would love to hear any other ideas for non-candy Easter Basket stuffers! Please comment below!
I love that my kids share my love of reading. I love getting lost in a book. I love the feeling of not being able to wait until the next time I can read a few more pages (I love a good thriller). Every night, from the time the boys were born, we read to them. And now my oldest, Max, is reading to us. It warms my heart when his younger brother sits and listens to his older brother read him a story!
I discovered Bookroo when searching for subscription book services for my boys. When schools and libraries closed last year, I was looking for a way to make learning fun and give the boys (and me!) something to look forward to each month. Bookroo offers a 1, 3, 6 and 12 month personal and gift subscriptions with the following options:
Board books (ages 0-3), 3 individually wrapped books included per box
Picture books (ages 2-6), 2 individually wrapped, hard cover books included per box
Chapter book s(ages 7-10), 2 individually wrapped books per box
Each month the books arrive beautifully wrapped and kids have a blast opening them!
Not only do I love Bookroo for my kids, but it’s a great gift idea. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving. The American Academy of Pediatricians has said “reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development, strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime. In a year that’s been very different than what we’re use to, and includes a lot of quarantining, anything to help with social-emotional skills, in my opinion, is a win/win.
Bookroois an awesome idea for a last minute gift as well. Kid party and no time to shop? You can gift someone a subscription! Friend out of town having a birthday? No problem – email them a gift subscription. I’ve never heard anyone say “we just have too many books!”
If you happen to get a book you already have, no problem. Bookroo just asks that you send them a picture of you giving the book to someone else and they’ll give you $5 off your next subscription. You can take a peak at past boxes HERE.
If you’re interested, Bookroo was nice enough to give my readers 15% off subscriptions – use code THANKSANGELA at checkout! Let me know what you get in the comments below!
*I was gifted by Bookroo but all opinions are my own
When is it too late to say ‘Happy New Year’? I heard after January you can no longer say it, but I’m going to do it anyways….Happy New Year everyone! One of many things that 2020 taught me is the importance of self care. It’s like what they say on the airline videos, “put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others.” I found that in all the uncertainty with Covid, work and my sons’ schooling, I was able to better help my family through 2020 when I was taking care of myself. Eating healthy, keeping my routine exercise schedule, working the same hours, etc, kept me feeling as good as I could going through a global pandemic, and in return I was able to be strong and supportive for my family when they needed me the most.
“Self-care” has become such a buzz word these days but it truly is, and always has been, SUPER important! I challenge everyone to take a little bit better care of themselves this year. Here are a few self-care ideas to help start 2021 out right:
1 – Pick up a new or old hobby. You are currently reading my new hobby! I used to blog a LOT before kids, then life happened, and my blog took a backseat. I didn’t realize how much I missed it as an outlet until recently. So, I rebranded my blog so it aligns with everything that is important to me, and hopefully it will be easier to find the time to write about topics that I’m currently experiencing every day. Other hobbies could include knitting, a dance class, a new sport, and reading more. And as much as you can, immerse yourself in it. Join a Facebook group that focuses on that hobby, start the hobby with a friend, join a book club, sign up for a course, etc.
2 – Take something off your plate…being a full time working mom makes this a no-brainer. Breaking your back cleaning house? Hire a housekeeper every other week. Struggling to find time to cook dinner? Sign up for something like Blue Apron or a food delivery service like Small Potatoes Catering (local Detroiters can check them out!). I found that grocery shopping took 3 hours on the weekend, which was 3 hours I didn’t get to spend with my boys, so I signed up for Instacart (click here to save $10 on your first order) and haven’t looked back (plus so much safer during a pandemic). Kids crazy? Hire a high schooler to be a mother’s helper so you can focus on you for a few hours a week. Get comfortable with asking for help.
3 – Get healthy. I’m not referring to a short term new years resolution to lose 10 pounds. I’m talking about sustainability. You can set milestone goals along the way (this is what I do) but beyond that you need a plan that you can commit to for years to come. Come up with a nutrition and workout plan that is tailored for you that you can stick to long term. There are so many resources online that are free, or you can pay to work with a trainer or nutritionist to put together a plan. Figure out what kind of exercise or movement fits your lifestyle and make time for it.
4 – Pick one night a week to be your pamper night or “me” night. I know it’s not realistic to get hours to yourself, however, pick one night where you prioritize a bath with a glass of wine or you do a face mask after your kids go to bed. One night a week I try to do an at home facial treatment. A face mask, under eye masks, a clearing mud mask, etc., can be relaxing and help any problems you have with your skin. My skin tends to get really dry so I like to do super moisturizing treatments. I’m a huge Neutrogena fan, and I like their simple Hydro Boost masks you can buy at a drugstore, Amazon or Target. I also recently discovered Lapcos and I’m loving their 24 karat Gold Foil mask(Lapcos has an amazing price point too, and you can buy on Amazon).
5 – Splurge on something for YOU. Last year, I signed up for laser hair removal and let me tell you, it works. I always wanted to have it done but never believed it truly worked. It took my best friend working at Milan Laser Hair Removal in Ann Arbor to convince me to try it, and I never looked back. I started with my bikini line which included an awful c-section scar, and I saw hair reduction after the first treatment (meaning I had to shave less!). I’ve had about 5 treatments so far and barely need to shave anymore! I was so impressed that I signed up to get my lower legs done. I’ve only had one treatment on my lower legs so far and I can already tell a difference. I haven’t shaved in a week and barely have stubble. It’s so nice to get those minutes back from shaving in the morning!
I usually make morning appointments and think of the whole process as ‘me time.’ I get a coffee before I drive to the appointment, I get to visit my friend while she works, and have the satisfaction of knowing that I won’t have to shave much longer.
Milan Laser Hair Removal has a lifetime guarantee, meaning, you get as many treatments as you need for one price (it’s what they refer to as their Unlimited Package). It was a no-brainer for me. If you have a Milan near you (they have over 110 locations!) and want to find out more, you can book a free consultation. And, if you decide to purchase, you can use my custom discount code ‘Angela60’ for 60% off a body area! Please email me or comment below if you have any questions regarding laser hair removal!
I’d love to hear any other self-care suggestions you may have! What are you doing to take care of and pamper yourself this new year?
*Disclosure: I am a Milan Laser Hair Removal partner – all opinions are my own
Happy Valentine’s Day (a little early!). My husband and I really don’t do anything crazy for Valentine’s Day – I just get small gifts for the boys. However, this year I wanted to put some cute gift bags together for my girlfriends, moms and aunt. I went with makeup bags (because I fully believe you can never have too many pouches and bags), pens and Dove chocolate hearts. Here are a few ideas that you can still get from Amazon in time:
I’d love to hear other Galentine’s Day gift ideas you have in the comments below! Happy Valentine’s Day week!
I’m going on a year without gel nail polish, and my nails are thanking me. They are much stronger than when I was getting gel manicures every other week. Even if I took the gel off the correct way, my nails were still so thin. Since I’m not traveling to see clients I figured I’d save money, and my nails, and try to master the at home manicure.
I’ve been using the Olive & June Mani System (use ‘xoangela20‘ for 20% off your first kit!) to work on my at home manicure skills and I love how easy they make it. The kit has all the tools you need for an at home manicure that looks like you came from the salon. Here’s what it includes:
Clippers & File – Clip first, file second. Or don’t clip at all. Either way, both are included for your preference.
Nail buffer – I use to skip this step and would always wonder my nail polish didn’t lay smoothly.
The Poppy – a patented polish bottle handle to paint both hands perfectly. I had my doubts. How can this rubber thing help you paint your nails? It does! Especially for your non-dominant hand! Olive & June nail polish bottle caps slide off so you can slide the Poppy on. Since its larger than a nail polish brush it’s easier to hold and control.
Nail polish – the basic kit comes with one color bottle of no chip paint, and the larger box comes with 6. You get to choose! Or, you can purchase the seasonal box that has the polishes pre-selected. I received this box and LOVED all of the Winter colors.
Super glossy top coat – essential, and gives your manicure a beautiful shine and longer wear
Polish remover pot – No cotton balls needed. Just stick your finger in and twist!
Clean up brush – I LOVE this mini brush. After I’m done painting I stick it in the polish remover pot and clean up my edges to give me a flawless manicure.
Cuticle serum – Last step, moisturize!
Being a busy mom, I look for long wear with my nail polish, and of course, pretty colors. Olive & June covers both of these. I love that I’m giving my nails a healthy break from gel. I just told my best friend the other day that I also love changing my nail color more often vs. having the same color on for 2 weeks. I can also tell a clear difference on how this polishes applies vs. drugstore brands. The wider brush, the Poppy and clean up brush make it SO EASY to get a salon-like polish. I’m so impressed with how my polish skills are coming along!
My manicures have been lasting anywhere from 3-5 days with minimal wear, and I am HARD on my nails. I’m constantly washing dishes, cooking, using cleaners, etc. I usually paint them Sunday nights to start the week and then Thursday/Friday for a weekend color change. Busy mom hack: if they chip mid-week, I usually touch up with same nail color polish or add a glitter coat. Olive & June polish is also so easy to remove. It’s a nice change from peeling layers of nail off with gel or soaking them in acetone.
Olive & June offers all of their nail polishes separately, as well as everything in their nail kits and nail art. They also have a membership option. For $30 a year you will get free shipping on every order, 10% off everything and some special surprises. You can use my code ‘xoangela20‘ to get 20% off your first kit! I’ve got my eye on all of their Spring 2020 polishes.
Have you tried Olive & June yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments. I highly recommend their manicure kit and nail polishes!
I’m not a crafty DIY mom, however, I DID come up with a fun way to display our Christmas cards that I’m excited about. This was such an easy project! I ran to Michaels and purchased ‘burlap’ ribbon and turned our barn yard sliding door into a giant present. I already had cute mini clothespins from a different project, so I reused them to display our Christmas cards as they come in the mail. I’m so excited at how this came out! If you don’t have a sliding door this can be done to a kitchen cabinet, pantry door, basement door, etc.
Being from downriver, and having my parents still live there, I was overjoyed when I saw a local holiday event we could do together outside. Winterfest: Blizzard of Oz is a walk through winter wonderland of interactive light shows, holiday displays and characters throughout Heritage Park in Taylor, MI.
I love how they spaced everything out. When you buy tickets you sign up for a specific time to arrive. Once you walk all the way through you can no re-enter which keeps the crowds down. The longest we waited for anything was for Santa (the best part!) and it was only about 5 minutes. I felt extremely safe (in regards to Covid) at this event. We took our time walking through and it took us around an hour and 15 minutes to get through.
Having my boys see Santa was my favorite part. The sat on a bench in front of Santa and Mrs. Claus (both wearing masks) and we could take a picture with our own phones. Afterwards they passed out candy to each kiddo via a ‘candy slide.’ The characters were also very fun and engaging. Alvin and the Chipmunks were so cute and made a point to interact with all the kids (and dogs!) passing through. They also had the barn open so you could walk through and see all of the animals (but could not pet them).
There’s a food truck at the entrance (outside of the event) selling fries and corn dogs. Inside they sell hot chocolate, adult beverages, cookies and popcorn. There is also a mini souvenir shop selling beanie baby stuffed animals towards the end. There are tons of great photo opportunities so make sure to bring your nice camera if you have one.
Winterfest runs through January 10, 2021. Each week there is a different theme. You can purchase tickets here. If you go let me know how you liked it in the comments below!
This is hands down one of my best DIY at home manicures. This was right after my first son, Maximus, was born. I miss my postpartum nails!
I’m always keeping my eyes open for pretty, light nail polish shades for every day wear for work. I spotted the new OPI Sheer Tints Top Coats and had to buy the pinkish-red Be Magentale with Me shade. In the bottle, it reminded me so much of a fun nail polish I had when I was younger.
I LOVE this polish as a quick go-to polish that will go with every outfit. I’ve seen other bloggers put 3-4 coats on it to make it more opaque, but I like the sheer look with my white tips coming through (this is right after I had my son, and the prenatal vitamins were still working overtime…such long nails!). Pictured is just two coats over my natural nail. It’s such a elegant, clean look. I use this polish all the time!
What do you think? Do you like the look of this sheer polish? Or would you be more likely to wear it over a color coat?
I can’t find this color in store or online any longer, buthere’s a close duplicate I found. I’d love to hear other recommendations for a sheer nail – drop them in the comments below!
Friday night we did a ‘mystery trip’ post nap to see the Magic of Lights at DTE Energy Theatre. The Magic of Lights is a 1.5 mile drive through holiday lights display featuring different holiday themed light displays using the latest LED technology and digital animations. This is an ideal quarantine-friendly holiday activity that is great for all ages. Pack some snacks, grab your Christmas 3D glasses and make a night of it.
The boys had fun yelling out all of the different displays. Dragons, dancing kids, Santa playing basketball, construction site, etc. There’s something for everyone. We got there around 7pm and it took is about 30 minutes from start to finish. Everyone goes really slow and halfway through there is a turnoff if you need to use the bathroom. There’s also a pull over spot towards the end where you can buckle your kids back in (if you decide to unbuckle for the show).
Magic of Lights started November 13th and will run until January 2, 2021.
Hours as follows:
Sunday – Thursday: 5pm – 10pm
Friday – Saturday: 5pm – 11pm
Weekday Pass: Valid for One Weekday Use on Any Monday – Thursday. Excludes Holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve)
Any Day Pass: Valid for One Use on Any Day, Including Holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day)
Bus Pass: Valid for One Use on Any Day, Including Holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day)
Standard Vehicle: 3 Rows of Seating or Less
Limo/Party Bus: 3+ Rows of Seating or Maximum of 20 Passengers
Bus: Any Vehicle of 20+ Passengers
Location DTE Energy Music Theatre 33 Bob Seger Dr., Clarkston, MI 48348
During quarantine I’ve mastered the DIY at home manicure. I use to get my nails done every other week at work (spoiled alert: we have a nail tech at the office) because I was constantly traveling to see clients (or at least, that’s how I justified it). Now that I’m home working out of my pantry (yes, you read that correctly) I have been spending time taking care of my nails myself, and they have been looking extremely healthy if I do say so myself!
I’m currently crushing on the new Zoya line, Natural 4. One of my favorite times of year is the transition from Winter to Spring….dresses + jean jackets, open toe shoes and more daylight . There are 6 new colors:
Evelyn – soft cool toned blush pink cream
Cami – pale mauve taupe cream
Barrett – taupe-violet cream
Vivian – dusty grape cream
Adeline – Deep fig taupe cream. I especially love this color because this is mom’s name!
Marlowe – duo-chrome with a rose-gold shimmer and slate blue base. This can be worn alone or as a topper over your favorite shades for added sparkle.
I’m teaming up with Zoya to giveaway the full new set, all 6 polishes from the Natural 4 line. Giveaway ends December 3rd at midnight. Must be 18+ and located in the US to enter. There are multiple different ways to enter – good luck!