GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK

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I’m pretty excited about this blog post…as I started looking for gifts, Joel and I discussed searching for gifts that keep giving. Party and gifting season is here! Hostess gifts, thoughtful gifts, thank you gifts…. If there’s a chance we can “purchase with a purpose” this season, let’s do it! There are many companies out there supporting a greater purpose, so look for them! I even wrote my holiday column for Soap Digest (out soon!) about this. The column has many more different ideas.

And to kick off the spirit, TODAY, we are giving away three of the candles I created that benefit LAFD.

CANDLES

Last night, I left the one “HOME” on my nightstand (not burning). I would get little waves of vanilla, oak and myrrh with it just sitting out near me. HOME is a subtle scent that relaxes me. There are three different ones, each developed with specific moods I wanted to create. (If I haven’t reminded you a ton yet, I helped design and create these candles.) BRIGHTEN gives me energy with the fresh, uplifting scents of Tuberose and Gardenia. And GET COZY is just that….cozy feeling from mistletoe, evergreen and fir. Truly obsessed with it.

Made in Hollywood. GET 20% OFF today!! Plus, we are giving away three of them! Make sure you are following @makersandgoods and me on Instagram, leave a comment here and/or on our last posts on our pages with your favorite one!

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IMPACT: 10% of proceeds go to SupportLAFD in the wake of the devastating California fires. Makers and Goods also feeds a child in need for every $10 spent.


STARFISH JEWELRY PROJECT

I’ve written about this company before (in this post) because I was very moved by their mission after speaking with them. Their products also come in the cutest packaging with a letter from the woman that made it and wrapped it. Any of their items are meaningful gifts. I wear these delicate dangles earrings a lot. Just ordered this necklace for a gift. If you ordered anything from Starfish, I’d love your feedback in the comments. I hope you felt the same way I did! Check out their sale going on now!

IMPACT: 100% of your Starfish Project purchase is reinvested into our social mission to restore hope to exploited women and girls. Your support allows Starfish Project to help exploited women experience freedom, establish independence and develop careers.




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HOSTESS

Honestly, I love the idea of giving one of the candles, but I like having options;)

A cute spatula designed by Gwen Stefani.

IMPACT: 30% of purchase price benefits NO KID HUNGRY.

A set of reminder mugs with sayings like FILLED WITH GRATITUDE.

IMPACT: When you purchase this set, FEED will provide six meals to children in need – and with every sip of coffee or tea, the mugs will serve as a stylish reminder that we can all be part of the solution. 


BABY AND TODDLER

I really like these sweet handmade treasures from Cuddle + Kind. They are so unique and meaningful. I want the unicorn for myself!

IMPACT: For every doll purchased, cuddle + kind will donate 10 meals to children in need in the USA and around the world through one of their giving-partner organizations.


GIFT OF nutritional CHOCOLATE

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Another great hostess gift is Good Day Chocolate’s variety pack. My kids beg me for these vitamins and if you’ve been following along on social or this blog, you know I personally enjoy keeping them around. I love the feedback from those of you that have ordered them. Check out their sale right now! This great variety pack is marked down!

IMPACT: Good Day Chocolate supports Smile Train. Read about how the founders give back one smile at a time. It will leave you smiling, I’m certain.


Fashion ABLE friends

This whole site is full of worthy gifts that truly give back. This scarf is a fun gift for any girlfriend on your list and you can both feel good about the impact your are making in the world.

IMPACT: ABLE is a lifestyle brand focused on ending generational poverty through providing economic opportunity for women. Read their full mission!

A FUN PERSONAL GIFT - HOME TEE

I love these fun, soft t-shirts. A few people on my list are receiving these. I also think they’re a fun hostess gift if you know the hostess well.

IMPACT: 10% of purchase price donated to multiple sclerosis research.

happy shopping.

xoxo

AAJ

ps- although the items we’re wearing are not included in the gifts that give back, I still wanted to share the info. The blue jacket is made by JCrew and so easy to put over anything! It’s on sale for $119 and comes in grey and red, too. I added the necklace for interest and a festive touch. It’s on sale for under $50 right now! But, otherwise, I’m wearing jeans and a white t-shirt. I love Joel’s sweater he calls Mr. Rogers.


Back-to-School Relief?

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It's funny to hear my friends with kids discuss back-to-school time. It's as if they just walked into a spa. Such relief comes over them. Before I had kids, I was almost shocked to hear how excited people are to get their kids back in school. But, I'm slowly starting to understand. 

I suppose that's one way to look at it, but for many of us, the transition can bring on stressors that attack both parents and kids alike. I saw a meme on instagram that said "I can either have a good morning or get the kids to school on time, but I can't have both." 

I'm still new to the process. Hayden will start pre-school soon, but Huck started first grade. (I don't want to sound like that parent that can't believe her step-son is growing up so fast, but take a peek at the bottom of this post to his sweet face three years ago!!) Stress from this time of year mainly comes from the adjustment period. A new year can bring on anxiety for kids. New classes, different friends, teachers, new schedules, homework, lack of sleep, etc. Plus, if you are in our boat as a blended family, it can be an adjustment figuring out schedules and communication with two separate households. 

From what I'm learning, the best way to prevent these stressors from taking over your household is to be prepared to identify them, talk about them and hopefully prevent them. Am I paying attention to the overall vibe of my environment? Taking a mental note of what worked well in our day and what needed improving helps me. For my family, it usually comes down to these three things:

SLEEP: I wrote about overall wellness starting with sleep HERE. It's incredibly important for all of us, especially kids. The National Sleep Foundation explains most of us need more sleep than we are getting. We are sleeping considerably better with our new mattress. We also got an adjustable frame. I slept with my head slightly elevated recently because I was coming down with a cold. It helped me breath 10 times better than if I had been flat. If your child has trouble going to sleep, staying asleep or waking up in the morning, it's worth discussing with your pediatrician.* Would a melatonin supplement help? Good Day Chocolate makes chocolate bites with 1 mg. suitable for children. A good night sleep helps the morning routine, school performance, attitude...just about everything. We all know that from experience.

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ORGANIZE and MOTIVATE: Both kids know if they listen and do their chores or homework (clean up toys for Hayden and homework for Huck) they get one Good Day Chocolate MultiVitamin chocolate treat. They love the reward. It helps with routine and schedule. And I love knowing it's so good for them. I also give them a probiotic

And Joel and I need to be organized for the week ahead of time. Joel works best when he knows the schedule. He likes me to jot it down in our shared google calendar. I'm not good at remembering, but when I do, it makes life easier for him (and in turn, me). I am currently working on a space for the boys to drop bags, shoes and file folders from school. If you saw my stories recently revamping the pantry and master closet, we also got tips for this "practical closet." Stay tuned on that small redo. I wonder if it's sad how excited I am to get seriously organized? It really makes me feel good! I finally got the boys this adorable bistro table from Delta Children (so affordable, why didn't I do this earlier?). It's under $110, search "bistro table" on that link. They love that it's their own table. Huck does his homework here, too.

I know the mornings run more smoothly when I have clothes and bags laid out the night before. I never regret doing that;) This sounds like more for my daily to-do list, but if I get in the habit of it, life runs smoothly. And this isn't just for the boys, it's for me, too. When my closet is organized (my clothes are ready to go, make-up isn't in several bags, but where it should be), I get ready so much faster with less stress.

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FAMILY MANAGEMENT TIME AND SOCIALIZE: This is hard. I'll be honest. I know they want/need to play, eat dinner, have bath time and bedtime routines. As kids get older, they have after school activities, sports, etc. I'm not sure how people juggle it all and work. Hats off to you! What are your suggestions? I would imagine delegating and preparation are the most important. Right now, my priority is to be prepared for dinner and family time (even if it's brief) all happening early enough so the bedtime routine starts earlier so we're not all rushed. How many of you look at the clock and can't believe the kids finally got down and now it's almost 8:30... or 9pm. It's not enough time for them or for us! 

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These are basic points for success in many different situations, but seem particularly good to remember during this adjustment for the family. Lately, I've enjoyed adding a few extra resources if people wanna click away and glance. I like reading what teachers had to say about helping your child succeed in this article here. My mom taught school for many, many years. I know she would agree with the majority of this article. I notice getting to school on time and making sure kids are prepared for their day are on that list!

 

*Please always discuss any supplements with your doctor. Also, to find out more information on these scrumptious chocolates, go to the source: GoodDayChocolate.com

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Have a GOOD day (chocolate)!

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Hey y’all... sharing something too "good" to keep all to myself. No, it's not another baby (I keep getting asked) or what show I'm working on this week. But, I do get to reveal that soon! Actually headed in for wardrobe fittings in a few minutes. I'll try to share some hints in my stories if I can. SHHHh;)

This little secret is sweet goodness.

The wellness series is full of a lot of stuff I don't necessarily love doing, but know is good for me to do. Like swallowing huge supplements, downing all my water, working out, etc. I'm learning to love those things, but let's be real. So, I wanted to share a treat with you guys. Y’all asked for some of my favorite items from the Bloom Summit Health and Wellness day. I didn't forget. I've just been using some products and researching to find the ones I love the most. Now, part of what I think is cool about learning and experimenting with new products is two part: 1) I like switching things up occasionally and 2) not everything works for everyone's body. So, it's nice to throw ideas out there and see what might work well for you. 

One of the things I learned about is Good Day Chocolate. The creators are self professed “supplement geeks with a chocolate obsession.” It’s a chocolate vitamin (in the cutest packaging you’ve ever seen). Yes, it might sound confusing….a complete treat that is good for you? But, in the name of chocolate, I simply embraced the concept and have since enjoyed many a good days;) It is really hard for me to get everything I need from just food or one or two supplements. I really appreciate creative ideas to mix it all up!

I tried the “energy” chocolate first and loved the taste and gentle pick-me-up. Then, later that evening, I tired the “sleepy” version. I munched on a couple bite-sized chocolates and downed a large glass of water. I woke up refreshed. Hayden must have gotten the memo ‘cause he’s handing us the sleepy time version in the picture above! lol This mama could use a little extra sleep! He must know!

I'm interested in the turmeric supplement. Do y'all take turmeric? I looked up reasons why it's beneficial and was blown away. So, I would like to integrate these antioxidant bites into my weekly supplements.

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I did a bit more research and….this is why I like this company:

1) They support SmileTrain. (One of the founders is a plastic surgeon). 

2) Hayden and Huck beg for them (check out the kids section). Also, check my stories today on instagram. And for kids, they have a daily multi-vitamin that I love giving the boys. They are highly-tested, non GMO and made with fair trade chocolate. Your kids will remind YOU to give them their vitamins.

3) I can have a little sweet tasting something and know it’s beneficial. My go-to is one probiotic and one vitamin D in the AM. If I take one at night, it’s the sleepy time one. Since I'm trying to eat clean and drink the water right now (er...always!), it's a treat I'm adding that I don't feel guilty about. How fun to get a bite of something sweet that is packed with goodness in more ways than one? Really FUN. Great gift, too. Who wouldn’t want to receive this sweetness!? This variety pack is a fun hostess gift.

Warning for toddler moms: if your child is anything like Hayden, he likes to put any treat in his mouth, then hold it for a while in his hands, then put it back in his mouth. We’re working on this, but in the meantime, the chocolate does rub off on his little hands, so keep an eye. For more great info on this company, please visit: GoodDayChocolate.com where you can purchase (they also can be found here on Amazon and the kids' line can be found at your local Target). I have to give them a thank you shout out for sponsoring this portion of the wellness series! 

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