On Being Present During The Busy Holiday Season

Thank you Shopify for sponsoring this post. Track your holiday shipments in one place with the new Arrive app!

It was ten years ago (and also, I’m certain, just yesterday) that I was waiting for my sweet first born to enter this world.  I can close my eyes and remember the details in our Manhattan apartment while nesting for our Christmas baby.  A few blinks later, the holiday magic is very much alive in our home with two big-ish kiddos during this special time of year.

I suppose that with every year that passes, what I want and value, more than anything, is to be present in the meaningful moments that color Christmastime.

This simple beauty is found in the excitement over the first snow.


And the memories built into the mess of baking perfectly imperfect gingerbread cookies and houses.


It is found in the childhood wonder of seeing New York City’s magnificent holiday lights, and enchanting department store window displays, that stop you in your footsteps.

I’ve learned that I have to be intentional with holiday planning to preserve and focus on the important things that I believe my children will grow to remember.  A few simple steps help to keep me on track.

  • We Can’t Say Yes to Everything: Often, saying “no” to something is essentially saying “yes” to our family.  This is always a challenge for me as a writer who’s invited to a bunch of fun holiday gifting events and activities.  I’m constantly trying to stay hyper-organized with meeting work deadlines while the kids are at school, so I can be there for the in-school invites and throughout the weekends, to fully soak in the family togetherness. We can’t do it all (and neither can I), and sometimes saying “no” translates into a familial win.
  • Shop Online: This is a steadfast time-saver for me! Although stepping into a picturesque holiday-decked-out store can be fun – it’s usually a time-suck.  Shopping online and researching deals helps me stick to a budget, and not throw away precious time.

online shopping

  • Utilize the Shopify Arrive AppAfter singing online-shopping praises, I’m sure you can all agree that the most inconvenient aspect is waiting for a shipment’s (safe!) arrival. With two young kids who are package-inspection-detectives (“I think the doorbell rang, I bet it’s a PACKAGE!!”), a busy mom who may forget something that was ordered – coupled with NYC-living – it isn’t ideal to not be home when packages come to the door. Arrive intuitively syncs to my Gmail account scanning key phrases like “tracking” and “order shipped” to track the progress and status of shipping all in one place – across all my retailers and shipping services. Arrive adheres to strict industry standards for information security management to safeguard sensitive information. It also requires explicit permission before any tracking information is surfaced from my inbox and is organized all in one place.  I don’t have to sift through emails to look up tracking numbers, saving me tons of time along with delivering the gift of peace of mind.


  • Make a Holiday Bucket List: Lastly, it helps to make a list of activities that we’d like to make happen.  This year, a visual list gave us the push to finally view Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights Christmas lights, along with prioritizing little dates at home, drenched in holiday music and all the good stuff, like simply being together.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Tackle Family Laundry with LG’s Front Load Washer and SideKick

Disclosure: Compensation provided in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or the product/service at a reduced price or for free. 


Do you struggle with the beast that is laundry in your home like I do? On many days, as soon as we wash, fold and put away a few loads – another heaping pile of dirty clothes appears. Although I adore living a vibrant (and often messy!) life with kids,  I do believe in innovative products that help make our tedious (yet essential) everyday tasks so much easier.

Enter LG’s Front Load Laundry:
LG-Front-Load-Laundry-RoomIsn’t it all so beautiful?! Besides the visual appeal and convenience of the LG Front Load Washer and SideKick, they’re packed with helpful features:

  • Cleaning performance is superior to top load washers.
  • The energy efficient design of the front load washer uses less water and consumes less electricity (hello, reduced utility bills!).
  • The spinning function of the front load washer spins faster – making clothes dryer while reducing overall time in the dryer.
  • Garments last longer because front load washers provide gentleness on clothing with efficient cleaning.
  • SideKick compatibility allows two loads to wash at once!


Just head into your local Best Buy to chat with the Best Buy Blue Shirts – they’re all experts in filling you in on the LG Front Load laundry’s many benefits.

Also, take advantage of their current savings! Purchase an LG Front Load Washer and Side Kick at Best Buy to save $150.


Super Bowl Sunday and the Halftime Bathroom Break

While I may tune into the Super Bowl solely for the brilliant commercials, halftime show and “Hamilton’s” Schuyler Sisters’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” – I’m well aware that most of the country is fired up for the on-field action.

And while talk turns to game-day recipes, drinks, and decor – let’s not neglect super simple ways to make those raging football fanatics feel comfortable in every room of the house.


Yep! I’m talking about the bathroom, and don’t worry; this isn’t a tutorial suggesting that you whip up Pinterest-worthy homemade potpourri. With more than 100 million fans tuning into the game, half of those Super Bowl viewers spend little to no time at all prepping the bathroom for their Super Bowl Bash.  Did you know that 62% report being likely to forget to buy bathroom supplies for game-day party planning?


Febreze and Charmin have you covered for the inevitable Halftime Bathroom Break that occurs as millions of Americans rush to the bathroom (after holding it in!) in those precious few minutes between the halftime whistle blow and the halftime show.

That other paper-thin, 1-ply toilet tissue isn’t up to the challenge.  Ditch it and stock up on Charmin Ultra Strong.  Why? Because three rolls of Charmin Ultra Strong Mega Roll are long enough to span an entire football field, so guests won’t have to use as much toilet paper but will leave the bathroom feeling clean.


When I learned that more odor molecules come from the halftime bathroom break than there are blades of grass on all the NFL fields in America combined, I couldn’t add Febreze to my cart fast enough.  Throw in an excess amount of wings, Instagram-worthy nacho towers, beer and more – and (AHEM!) you better have your odor fighting game on strong to ensure your guests feel at home. We found our hero in Febreze’s tiny and discrete smallSPACES that fight repugnant odors while secured nicely and discreetly on the toilet bowl tank or bathroom vanity.  Add Febreze Air to unleash an instant fresh force and eliminate airborne odors in the powder room and party room too.


Have fun watching the game and don’t sweat the stink!

Thank you to Febreze and Charmin for sponsoring this post.


Design Tips to Update and Elevate the Living Room

living-room-design-tipsWe’re excited to share a living room update in collaboration with Raymour & Flanigan who provided furniture and decor. Opinions, as always, are my own. 

Like many families, we spend the majority of our time in the living room.  It’s where we decompress, host friends and family, and enjoy simply being together – cocooned between our walls.  It’s arguably the most important room in our home, and we’ve always felt connected to the ways in which our interior space impacts our everyday.  With a goal of continuing to tell our collective family story with heirloom pieces, meaningful artwork, and some new furniture and decor to compliment our Tudor style space – we found a way to easily upgrade the communal area in our home – just in time for the holidays, and the fresh start of a new year.  See below for our simple design tips to instantly update and elevate the living room.

living-room-home-design-tips-raymour-flaniganMAXIMIZE AVAILABLE SPACE

Selecting a specific couch or sectional was perhaps the biggest design decision in our living room update.  While I initially went with a plush beige sectional, the Soto 4-piece Modular Sectional Sofa with Soto Ottoman suited the available space so much better. As opposed to something oversized, the low back, tapered feet and raised design (that my robotic vacuum can work under!) deliver the sort of warmth and comfort that we were looking to maintain.


In addition to the dimensions and overall feel of the 5-piece sectional, we knew its functionality would work well for our lifestyle.  When guests are over, we just slide over the armless chair to cozy up in discussion and add the ottoman for those who want to catch a quick cat nap (hello husband!).  Being able to pull apart the pieces, with the option of latching it all together (while set up in sectional mode) made this key piece transform the space visually and functionally.

living-room-home-design-how-toUTILIZE ARTWORK AND PLANTS

Whether meaningful family heirlooms, new treasures or flea-market finds, we’re big believers in loving the art displayed on the walls every single day.  I adore having my husband’s work in clear view, and the way that our living room design allows treasured gifted pieces to take center stage. We also picked up this great Copper Flower Wall Decor to pull together the color palette while providing impact to an otherwise bare wall.  Also, every space can be perked up by natural elements like fresh plants – just don’t forget to water!

home-design-tips-statemen-pieceINCORPORATE STATEMENT PIECES

With a mirrored interior and lightly antiqued gold finish, this large Bevan Gold Oval Tray houses a rotation of decorative items, fresh flower, flameless candles and more, while making a statement in the overall space.  Go ahead and put curated stacks of books on display too, while mixing them up to keep your current reads interesting. 

raymour-flanigan-modular-sectional-sofaADD A RUG

Rugs always add an instant cozy vibe.  If we didn’t have a bold and colorful rug in the front area of the room, we would have selected a loud or patterned rug for this portion of the living room.  This Bella Sisal Hazelnut Area Rug complements the overall aesthetic while meshing well with the bright accents in the designated play area.


We found the texture-rich feel we craved in a few Bryant Cognac Shag Throw Pillows.
We’ll eventually add more color and patterns to the pillow collection, and adore the starting layer of texture in these great shag throw pillows.


Lastly, we’re fans of mixing different designs with a bit of modern, mid-century, eclectic and antique along the way. The new pieces from our partner, Raymour & Flanigan helped to instantly upgrade our well-loved living room to a favorite place where more cherished memories will be made.

Looking for more design features?  View the kids shared bedroom upgrade here.


A Holiday Tech Gift Mom Will Love

This post is sponsored by Intel. Product and compensation were provided.  Opinions, as always, are my own. 

Most mothers know what it’s like to have their belongings acquired by their children. Favorite pens disappear, heirlooms break, and one day your computer keyboard is found to be coated with an unknown sticky substance.  This holiday season, we’re all for gifting mom something that she really wants and something that she can rightfully claim as her own.  In my home, it’s due time to retire the antiquated desktop that takes forever to start up in the morning.  I continue to be amazed at the level of innovation in the popular 2-in-1 devices; specifically, the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 13.3″ 2-in-1 powered by Intel® Core i5™.


At first glance, the modern, slim and sleek gun-metal gray design packs serious wow-factor right out of the packaging. I love the perfectly square corners and wide-angle screen – and after thoroughly testing it out, there are so many features to be excited about.


For starters, it’s incredibly convenient to have a touch-screen tablet that doubles as a notebook – all in one device.  And the 360-degree hinge is perfect for mothers who wear many different hats.  With four different modes, I’m able to go from working at my desk in laptop mode, cooking with the family in tent mode, reading before bed in tablet mode, and enjoying movies in stand mode. And for the mom who frequently travels or is always on-the-go, the 13.3″ portable size fits nicely and comfortably into a bag, without the dreadful feeling of being weighed down.


Mulitmedia on this 2-in-1 is super fun.  From watching 4K video on multiple screens – to editing photos and creating family videos – the intuitive system even provides automatic bursts of speed when you need it, with Intel® Turbo Boost (yes turbo boost!) Technology.  My whole family was super impressed with the speakers ability to blast enough rich audio to fill our living room – and I continue to note how fast the device functions – even with many different tabs open all at once.


I surprisingly discovered one of my favorite features in a backlit keyboard.  As a work from home mother, I often plow through deadlines late at night or enjoy catching up on social media.  The functional design helps with accuracy in typing, especially during those particularly tired moments.


Learn more about the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 13.3″ 2-in-1 powered by Intel® Core i5™  – and the great ways it will fit into any moms lifestyle.  She’ll be thrilled to receive one this holiday season – just please don’t ask her to share!

Wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday.


Fighting Stains in a Vibrant Life with Kids

This post was sponsored by the Maker of OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their White Revive™ Laundry Stain Remover, all opinions are my own.

Within our home, the color white always feels like the right design choice. It’s cool and calm presence can convey a sense of openness and peace.  It matches with nearly everything, highlighting bursts of creativity and pops of unusual color in our space.  And white continues to be the perfect, timeless fashion choice of summer.


I adore my white flowy dresses, and the look and feel of a fluffy bed with crisp white sheets. And perhaps I treasure the ways in which the family linens, vintage pillowcases, and handmade pieces grow in meaning and significance (even more) as the years pass by.

Some may believe that I’ve been overly ambitious in insisting on various shades of white decor over the years.  There was the sectional with acquired stains (that practically told stories) until we tossed it goodbye.  Black Play-Doh, red wine, toddler exploding-art, and the list goes on.  I think that my children have figured out ways to create stains with objects unimagined to do so.

However, all of the unexpected messes that go hand-in-hand with truly living a vibrant life with kids have managed to make me quite the stain removal expert.  My secret?  OxiClean™ White Revive Laundry Stain Remover.


Whether I’m using it to spot-treat a tough stain (like the ink seen below on my daughter’s lovely heirloom-quality dress!); simply brighten and revive articles in the washing machine – or go for the  suggested pre-soaking technique; OxiClean™ in my arsenal makes everything look so much better.


It’s managed to lift iced coffee stains off of my favorite summer whites, and vanish evidence of ice cream on the kiddos’ clothing – true marks of spontaneous summer days as a kid. It allows me to indulge in my penchant for white and bright, while getting full use of our summer wardrobes and go-to entertaining pieces.


Most importantly, OxiClean™ White Revive gives me the reassurance to not think twice about letting my kids focus on the important work inherent in childhood play – wrought with wild and free mess making.