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Category : Living

Happy birthday to YOU, Mom!

Some moms are easy to shop for (mostly because they’re always shopping for the kids and never for themselves!), but some are trickier to buy for. Whether you’re looking for some ideas for gifts for moms in your life — your mama friends, your own mom or mother-in-law, your sister — or if you’re on the hunt for some gift ideas to leave as hints for your own upcoming birthday, these birthday gifts from one of our favorite places to shop, UncommonGoods, are the perfect place to start.

Not only do we love UncommonGoods for their carefully curated selection of gifts for moms (and for dads and kids, while we’re at it!), but we love the way they operate, with a focus on carrying products that are made in the USA and that are created using recycled and/or upcycled materials. Plus, their dedication to the charities they support makes shopping with them twice as sweet.

10 Birthday gifts for moms from UncommonGoods

10 Gift ideas for moms from UncommonGoods

1. Foldable Market Basket, $35
Fill this basket with a bouquet of her favorite flowers or stock it with colorful fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market or give it to her just as-is for the perfect birthday gift for Mom. These foldable baskets come in handy for everything mom-related, from last-minute park picnic dates to hauling her baseball game watching supplies to the bleachers.

2. Wearable Candle, $28
For the mom who loves to relax after a long day, gift her with one of these pretty candles that doubles as a solid perfume and a body butter! It’s fresh scent will be a favorite for any mom, no matter what kind of perfume or lotion she typically wears.

3. Wayuu Handwoven Cosmetics Pouch, $38
Have you ever looked inside of a mom’s purse? There’s a reason why moms are known for carrying everything and the kitchen sink in there! Help keep Mom organized with one of these bright, colorful cosmetic pouches. Fill it with some of her favorite beauty products to make it extra special!

4. Cheese & Crackers Serving Board, $48
Moms who love to entertain will think this cheese and cracker serving board is the perfect gift. Add a few of her own favorite snacks to go with it… and maybe a bottle of wine, just to be safe!

Looking for something a little more personal for your mom? Take a peek at the personalized gifts from UncommonGoods here.

5. Forget Me Not Rings, $48
Not that she could ever forget her sweet kiddos (even if she tried!), this ring is a precious gift to remind her of the little ones who love her most.

6. Wine Jelly Set, $14
Hey, Mom? Want some wine on the side of that wine? These wine jelly sets are a fun addition to her next mom’s night out and are available in two flavors — sweet or savory.

7. Mom Vase, $32
Just add flowers to make this one of the most memorable birthday gifts for moms. And, don’t forget to keep adding fresh flowers to make it a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.

8. Define Bottle, $25 (Editor’s Pick!)
With a million cool water bottles to pick from these days, this one is a standout. Add fruit or slices of lemon or fresh mint in the bottom compartment for flavored water to keep Mom hydrated when she’s chasing after her little ones.

9. Bike Tote, $48
The perfect spot to stash some snacks, drinks and, most importantly, a first aid kit, for family-friendly bike rides, this bike tote is super cute and functional. Plus, it detaches and turns into a tote!

10. Benbini Watch, $99
A watch that was designed with functions that moms can appreciate with two rotating bezels to bookmark times for feedings or nap times. Beyond its function, it’s also made of soft silicon and extremely stylish, too.

Any of these gifts for moms on your wishlist?
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Flower essential oils

How can natural solutions like essential oils enhance the lives of both you and your family? There are a number of ways. And, more and more, parents are finding how effective they can be at helping their children in numerous ways — both at school and at home.

For instance, lavender is an essential oil that delivers calming benefits, making it an ideal fix for those children that struggle with finding quality sleep. It can also help relieve stress. So if your child is fretting about homework or the various social activities during the school hour, essential oils provide a solution that is both safe and natural.

Which oils to use?

When it comes to the world of essential oils, at first it can seem a little overwhelming. After all, there are dozens of oils to choose from and determining which one to use for which purpose can be a daunting endeavor. For starters, consider these issues and the oils that can work to resolve them.

  • Calming effect: Dilute a drop of lavender with a carrier oil and apply to the bottom of the feet for relaxation.

  • Digestive support: Dilute a drop of lavender and orange with a carrier oil and rub on your child’s tummy in a clockwise motion.

  • Improved respiratory health: Dilute lemon and apply to the chest and feet. Also combine with frankincense for improved support.

  • Stomach ache: Combine a drop of orange and roman chamomile with a carrier oil and mix in warm bath water.cloves and oil

How to apply essential oils

Two of the most popular methods for applying essential oils are:

  • Topically: Apply directly to the skin, with a “carrier oil.”

  • Diffusion: Mix with water and run through a diffuser.

To be clear, applications depend largely on the type of oil, the brand of the oil, and at what age the oil will be applied. While there are oils that can be applied “neat” (meaning, no dilution), for children it is always recommended to use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil or grape-seed oil.

Remember that quality matters

When applying essential oils, whether it be for you or your children, the quality of the product cannot be overlooked. Not only will you gain more potent benefits from a higher-grade oil, you’ll be able to ensure the safety of the application.

There is a wide range of quality when it comes to these life-changing products. For starters, some oils are therapeutic grade, while others are not. Moreover, some manufacturers produce 100% pure oils, while other brands contain additives.

Consider this general list of guidelines:

  • Where the plants are sourced and whether they’re sourced from the regions they’re indigenous to.

  • Quality control measures taken by the distiller, along with adequate labeling standards.

  • If ingredients are manufactured appropriately by experienced workers.

Simply put, you want safe and effective oils that will deliver the benefits you and your child need.

Think about essential oil safety

To ensure safety, don’t stop with the quality of the brand. Essential oils can be very potent (particularly therapeutic-grade products), so applying them with the right measures is important to prevent skin irritation or other side effects.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and therefore, can cause allergic reactions. While oils like lavender and chamomile are among the safest, it is still recommended that they are used sparingly and diluted with a carrier oil. This is particularly important when applying essential oils to children, because their skin is generally more sensitive than adults.

Incorporating essential oils into your daily routine harbors the benefits of enhancing both you and your children’s lives. Simply find the symptom you’re looking to address and be sure to find the oil and brand that is right for you.

A teacher and natural health guru, Heather Koenig has a passion for all things natural. In addition to living a natural lifestyle herself, Heather loves sharing her expertise with others on her blog, Natural Remedies.

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Home office inspiration makes working at home look gorgeous

Working from home can be a dream come true for many moms, but sitting at the kitchen table is hardly inspiring. A home office doesn’t have to be a dedicated room — even carving out a small space in a room used by the whole family can help your productivity. Browse home office inspiration and add personal style and touches to carve out a workspace that works for you.

chic home offices

Let your workspace inspire you

In her Office Reveal on Avery Street Designs, Laura walks readers through her beautiful — and inspiring — desk area. Laura confesses that the office is visible from many areas of her home, and we think the clean, modern desk is such a stylish addition to her home. You’ll notice the visible quotes and inspiring phrases around her desk — a fabulous way to stay motivated and inspired in your office.

home office inspiration

A beautiful workspace brightens your day

Working from home has advantages, but it can be difficult to transition into “work” mode at the start of your day. A gorgeous home office or workspace welcomes you to begin your day refreshed and inspired. Megan, from Lush to Blush, has Desk Styling Tips to help bring your personal style aesthetic to your office space.

home office inspiration

Share your space with your little ones

We adore the space Gemma from The Sweetest Digs designed when transitioning her guest room/home office into a nursery/home office in Project Nursery: Before + After. The nursery is functional, bright and airy, and the workspace is tucked into a corner without feeling crowded. Work materials are on shelves, away from little hands, which will help with the transition when her little one becomes mobile.

home office inspiration

Make the most of the room you have

Your home “office” doesn’t have to be a dedicated space for it to be functional. The Craft + Printing Space from Delineate Your Dwelling has transformed her guest room into a multi-purpose room. Amy spend a lot of time at her craft table — you can’t beat the light coming through her window — but the rest of the room is beautiful and functional, too.

home office inspiration

Work with the furniture you have

Creating your ideal office space doesn’t mean re-mortgaging your home to completely refurnish your workspace. Liz, from Love Grows Wild, took an old desk from glum to glam in a Mint Desk Makeover.   Refinishing wood furniture isn’t nearly as intimidating as it seems, and the steps Liz describes are clear — and so is the gorgeous, updated desk.

home office inspiration

An organized desk increases productivity

Keeping your workspace organized helps improve your productivity. Lots of people work better in an organized space, and you won’t waste time digging around for the paperwork or materials you need. The Desk Organization tips — and gorgeous examples — from Kristin at Modish and Main are especially helpful if you’re having a hard time deciding where to put all of the things you need for your work day.

home office organization
Organize your desk with pops of color

Desk accessories are the perfect place to showcase your personality in your home office space. Melissa, from A Prudent Life, organizes her desk with gorgeous accessories in Desk Organization Reveal. We love the metallic touches mixed with the colors she’s chosen — it feels whimsical and chic while keeping her desk neat and streamlined.

home office inspiration

Personalize your desk accessories

Styling your home office means you can add personal touches to your desk accessories to fit your personal style. With just a few materials, Home Made by Carmona‘s Ursula turns a basic acrylic file box into a chic, eye-catching feature on her desk. Check out Stylized Office Accessories for instructions on how to transform your home office accessories — it’s not the first thing she’s glamorized on her desk!

home office inspiration

 

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Get Your Follow Finger Ready

50 Instagram Accounts to follow

In honor of Valentine’s Day being less than a week away, we’re sharing 50 Instagram accounts we LOVE to follow. From moms who post pictures that make our hearts skip a beat to party planners who make everyday feel like a celebration to families who give us pangs of wanderlust with their gorgeous #nofilter travel shots, get ready to follow, follow, follow. Times 50.

Before you peek at these Instagram accounts, be sure you’re following Savvy Sassy Moms on Instagram, too!

50 Instagram Accounts We LOVE
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@bellatheblog Instagram
@bestfriendsforfrosting Instagram
@cakeandconfetti Instagram
@christinedovey Instagram
@clairebidwell Instagram
@crazyforcrust Instagram
@designeatrepeat Instagram
@emilyley Instagram
@hesterandcook Instagram
@homelycreatures Instagram
@honeyandfizz Instagram
@jamiesmoore Instagram
@jenniferbuske Instagram
@jennycookies Instagram
@kaelahbee Instagram
@kaitlinkkeegan Instagram
@_kayleedaily Instagram
@laurenlefevre Instagram
@littledovie Instagram
@lovelyindeed Instagram
@mandychiappini Instagram
@mindy_creativejuice Instagram
@mrskalso Instagram
@msrachelhollis Instagram
@mulberrypressco Instagram
@northwestmommy Instagram
@onelittlemomma Instagram
@ourvintagefarmhouse Instagram
@persnicketyprints Instagram
@projectnursery Instagram
@raisingmatildajane Instagram
@ritzyreba Instagram
@rubensshoes Instagram
@sarahholstrom Instagram
@simplyshe_ic Instagram
@spearmintbaby Instagram
@spicyperspectiv Instagram
@strollerinthecity Instagram
@subsidyshades Instagram
@sugarandcloth Instagram
@sugarbylindsay Instagram
@taylorjoelledesigns Instagram
@teachinspirechange Instagram
@the_handmade_home Instagram
@thetrendysparrow Instagram
@tribeisalive Instagram
@wannabefashionblogger Instagram
@whitneyenglish Instagram
@whitneyharms Instagram
@yourcupofcake Instagram

1. @bellatheblog
New mom Elisabeth shares the sweetest pictures of life with her sweet little baby in her Instagram feed, which links back to her blog, Bella.

2. @bestfriendsforfrosting
You don’t have to love frosting to love everything about this Instagram account, but let’s face it… everyone loves frosting.

3. @cakeandconfetti
Straight out of Houston, we love this Instagram account for the best party and craft inspiration.

4. @christinedovey
A little bit of chic design, a little bit of fun with kids (all FOUR of them!), a little bit of fashion and a whole lot of style in this pretty Instagram account.

5. @clairebidwell
Life in LA with her girls is looking sweet on author, Claire Bidwell Smith’s Instagram account. If nothing else, you absolutely must follow her for the priceless Ballet Wednesday photos.

6. @crazyforcrust
Dorothy, a dessert blogger and cookbook author is crazy for crusts and we’re crazy for her delicious Instagram account.

7. @designeatrepeat
There’s something so irresistible about an Instagram account that is light and bright and this one is absolutely one of our favorites.

8. @emilyley
If her Instagram account wasn’t follow-worthy enough before (and, it was!), it sure is now that her feed is filled with pictures of her newborn twins.

9. @hesterandcook
Looking for a bit of modern chic inspiration? Head straight to this Instagram account and don’t look back.

10. @homelycreatures
We can’t help but wonder… does every kid-friendly house in Australia look like this? It does in our dreams.

11. @honeyandfizz
Another Instagram account from Down Under, we love following this mum of three. And, psst! She has an Etsy shop!

12. @jamiesmoore
Half of a very talented wedding planning duo (the other half is her husband!) and new mom, we can’t help but click LIKE on every single picture.

13. @jenniferbuske
Where kid and baby gear reviews meets life with four kids under the age of four, we adore every moment she captures and every hilarious and heartwarming word.

14. @jennycookies
Dessert-maker to some of our favorite celebrities, we think that her Instagram account is star-worthy all on its own. Also, yum.

15. @kaelahbee
Okay, that’s it. We’re all moving to Nashville.

16. @kaitlinkkeegan
If you’re on Instagram for outfit inspiration, there’s nobody better to follow. We’ll take one of everything in her wardrobe, if you don’t mind.

17. @_kayleedaily
For everything bright, and pink, and full of fun, and purple hair, we adore this Instagram account.

18. @laurenlefevre
When a wardrobe stylist has an Instagram account, good things are bound to happen. Don’t you agree?

19. @littledovie
All the party inspiration you’ll ever need is wrapped up (with a pretty bow, of course) in this Instagram account.

20. @lovelyindeed
Lovely Indeed, indeed. And, hold on to your ovaries, mamas. There’s a new little one to swoon over on this account.

21. @mandychiappini
There’s nothing better than when photographers have Instagram accounts to capture their everyday moments, just like this one does so very well.

22. @mindy_creativejuice
You guys. She makes macarons for a living. Of course her Instagram account is going to be amazing.

23. @mrskalso
We can’t resist the hilarious captions from this mom of two. Oh, and did we mention that her toddler has an Instagram account, too?

24. @msrachelhollis
There’s more chic on this Instagram account than we have in our pinky finger. Make that in both of our pinky fingers.

25. @mulberrypressco
You already know them for their awesome Hustlin Mama tees and now you need to know them for their super cool Instagram account.

26. @northwestmommy
Life in the woods has never looked so appealing. Especially when you add a sweet little boy, two of the biggest dogs we’ve ever seen and an occasional guest appearance from a horse.

27. @onelittlemomma
Thank goodness for this Instagram account that keeps our daily style ideas flowing with her cute, thrifty outfit posts.

28. @ourvintagefarmhouse
Even if you’ve never, ever considered packing up your life and moving to a farm, you might after you start following this Instagram account. You’ve been warned.

29. @persnicketyprints
You know all of those Instagram photos you’re taking? This Instagram account will inspire you to do something other than let them collect data on your phone.

30. @projectnursery
Your go-to Instagram account for all things nursery, this is also the home of Project Junior on Instagram and we love every review, design and gratuitous crib-shot.

31. @raisingmissmatilda
San Diego by way of Australia we love the moments captured raising her sweet daughter, Matilda… and now her newest daughter, Lucy, who just arrived last month.

32. @ritzyreba
Photographers on Instagram are one thing, but graphic designers on Instagram take things to an entirely new level of swoon.

33. @rubensshoes
An Instagram account that is sharing amazing pictures while they do amazing work in this world, this one is a must-follow.

34. @sarahholstrom
We spy palm trees. And cute kids with hair for days. And cool tees. And sunshine. And adventures.

35. @simplyshe_ic
Sharing everything that’s stylish about life (and there is so much to share!), we devour every picture of this gorgeous Instagram account.

36. @spearmintbaby
If you’re on the hunt for the latest trends in all things baby and kids, this is the Instagram account we insist you follow because you’re going to see them here first. Always.

37. @spicyperspectiv
Are you ready for an Instagram account that will make your tummy growl?

38. @strollerinthecity
She makes life in the city with three kids look easy and chic and with every stroller you’ve been swooning over in tow.

39. @subsidyshades
An Instagram account that will pull at your heartstrings and have you clicking LIKE over and over again, this clothing brand benefits families adopting children from around the world.

40. @sugarandcloth
Can we get another shout-out for Houston, please? We’re loving this DIY Instagram account that’s filled with sparkle for days.

41. @sugarbylindsay
She dreams in gold and pink and we’re pretty sure that she must have her own custom gold and pink Instagram filter, too!

42. @taylorjoelledesigns
We’ve talked about Instagram accounts featuring styles for moms, but this one is all about the stylish little ones.

43. @teachinspirechange
These daily outfit inspirations via Instagram are kid-friendly. She should know… she’s a teacher!

44. @the_handmade_home
It’s like all of those pins we pinned on Pinterest came to life in one Instagram account.

45. @thetrendysparrow
Where Etsy shop meets lifestyle meets Chicago style, you’ll find this pretty Instagram account.

46. @tribeisalive
We can hardly stand all of the cute kid tee designs from Tribe is Alive and their Instagram account is icing on the cupcake.

47. @wannabeefashionblogger
Style that comes straight out of the West Coast with a fashion-based Instagram account from San Francisco.

48. @whitneyenglish
Her Instagram account is just as amazing as the insanely popular planners she design.

49. @whitneyharms
Filled with fun adventures with their little ones and gorgeous, inspired pictures, we love seeing life as a mom through the eyes of a professional photographer.

50. @yourcupofcake
Let us warn you… If you’re on any kind of diet, stay away. Because the dessert overload on this Instagram account will make you cry.

What are some of your must-follow Instagram accounts?
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Valentine day breakfasts
Make these Valentine’s Day recipes ahead of time

Sweetheart Strawberry Scones from On Sugar Mountain are a quick and easy Valentine’s Day treat. The filled scones can be made a few days before Valentine’s Day, so you don’t have to worry about rushing to get breakfast ready that morning. Adults will love them with coffee, and little ones can try dunking theirs in hot chocolate for a special treat.

Dessert Now, Dinner Later urges you to prep the Vanilla Strawberry Monkey Bread from the night before Valentine’s Day, and enjoy a sticky, delicious breakfast with your valentines. With only six ingredients, the prep is simple, making it the perfect recipe for a busy mom.

The Overnight Pecan Praline French Toast from Carlsbad Cravings is designed to be prepared the night before you serve it, so you can relax while it bakes. The recipe is more simple than it sounds, and your mouth will thank you for the sweet, sugary, caramelized nuts.

Not only can the Chocolate Loaf with Cream Cheese Glaze be made the day before Valentine’s Day, it can be enjoyed with afternoon tea if your family doesn’t finish the entire loaf at breakfast. The rich bread, from Family Food and Travel, doesn’t take long to prep, though it definitely tastes like a special treat.

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Sweetheart Strawberry Scones
Vanilla Strawberry Monkey bread
Pecan Praline Overnight French Toast
Chocolate Loaf with Cream Cheese Glaze
Red Velvet Doughnuts
Jelly Filled Donut Holes
Chocolate doughnuts with strawberries
Berry cream cheese pancakes
Cast Iron Skillet Pancake
White chocolate crepes
Strawberry sweet rolls
Strawberry cinnamon rolls
Red Velvet Waffles
Valentine breakfast ideas for donut-loving families

Red Velvet Doughnuts with Cream Cheese Frosting are Annie’s Noms’ sweet treat for your special valentines. The batter is the perfect consistency for your donut mold, and popping the baked doughnuts into the oven is simpler that frying them.

Deliciously Yum brings Jelly Filled Donut Holes to your Valentine’s Day breakfast table, and you won’t be disappointed. Filled with sweet jelly and rolled in sugar, donut holes are a sweet treat best enjoyed the day you make them — once you try them, you’ll see that won’t be a problem!

Chocolate and champagne are Valentine’s Day staples, and Boxwood Avenue combines the flavors beautifully in her Chocolate Doughnuts with Strawberry Champagne Glaze. Topped with festive sprinkles, these doughnuts are as adorable as they are delicious, and the recipe results in leftover champagne.

Valentine’s Day breakfast classics with a twist

The Well Floured Kitchen suggests trying her adorable Berry Cream Cheese Pancake Sandwiches with whipped cream and a sweet berry sauce. However, if your house is anything like ours in the morning, you’ll love that your kids can grab these and go, leaving the delectable dippers for you and your spouse.

You’ll never love your cast iron skillet more after trying the Cast Iron Skillet Pancake with Fresh Blackberry Champagne Compote. Goodie Godmother offers a recipe that’s simple enough for even “non-bakers” to master, and the blackberry champagne compote gives the fluffy pancake a special occasion flair.

If you’re stealing a few hours for a romantic breakfast this Valentine’s Day, The Gold Lining Girl has a decadent idea for you. The White Chocolate, Strawberries and Champagne Crepes only use a little bit of champagne to bring out the juices in the berry sauce — which means there will be plenty of bubbles left for you to sip with breakfast.

Dietary restrictions don’t mean boring breakfasts

Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Dark Chocolate Drizzle are a bit like eating chocolate dipped berries for breakfast. Amy’s Healthy Baking crafted these delicious rolls with whole wheat flour, and they’re dairy-free, so you don’t have to feel guilty about reaching for seconds.

The Veg Life offers her vegan-friendly Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls with Lemon Glaze in a heart-shaped package. Warm, gooey, homemade cinnamon rolls are a lovely way to start your winter morning, and even non-vegans will adore the bursts of strawberry and lemon flavors.

The Red Velvet Waffles from What the Fork are gluten-free — though they can be adapted to use regular baking flour if you’re not cooking for someone sensitive to gluten. Not only are the waffles delicious, but with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, they’re perfectly coordinated for the holiday.

If you feel the need to jump start your healthy eating after these breakfast treats, try one of the twelve healthy smoothies we love.

Do you do special holiday breakfasts for your family?
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date night ideas

Date nights add sparkle to your marriage

Many new year’s resolutions involve spending time nurturing your relationship with your significant other, and date nights are the perfect opportunities to reconnect with your spouse. Since Valentines Day is just around the corner, we thought we’d share some creative date night ideas to spice things up a bit! You don;t have to spend a lot of money or take off on an expensive weekend either, many of these ideas you can do right from home.

Five date night ideas if you’re going out
Find a drive-in movie theater

Drive-in movies are about more than nostalgia. Sitting in close contact with your spouse, with a movie on the big screen, creates intimacy not found at the movie theater. You can chat, hold hands and ignore the move if that’s the direction the evening takes.

Discover your outdoor style

Where you live will put limits on an outdoor date, but take advantage of your geography and the weather to find your perfect date night in the outdoors. Try an outdoor concert, bring a picnic to the beach or find an outdoor skating rink and hold hands so you don’t fall all over the ice.

Get a room

If you have the ability to do an overnight away, book a hotel room in town and become a tourist — a tourist who can sleep in instead of getting up at the crack of dawn with a little one. Eat at a decidedly not-family-friendly restaurant and stay out way too late dancing — or go back to your room early and curl up for the most blissful night of sleep you’ve had in months. You might love it so much you recreate the bed at home.

Paint the town

Nights out at local painting studios are quickly becoming a go-to for groups of girlfriends, but it can be a novel way to reconnect with your spouse, too. Bring a bottle of wine, and agree to laugh at each other when your painting turns out more like something your four-year-old would bring home than something you’d find in a museum. Doing something outside of your comfort zone can be more intimate that sharing a candlelit dinner.

Rock out and dance

It doesn’t leave much quiet time for talking, but seeing a favorite band — or at least one you don’t hate — gives you the opportunity to let loose with your spouse. Stand up and dance, yell your favorite lyrics and drink cheap beer that’s warm by the time you find your seats. Besides, a concert is the perfect place to wear your {faux} leather pants.

Five date night ideas if you’re staying in

Game night

Playing games with your spouse takes on a whole new dynamic when you’re playing one-on-one. Wager something to amp up the good-natured competition — maybe the loser cleans the bathroom for the entire month or the winner gets to sleep in every weekend morning for six weeks. If board games aren’t your thing, try teaming up for online trivia.

Travel without leaving the house

Choose an area of the world and challenge each other to recreate the culture in your house. Whether you’re channeling Spanish culture with paella and a Pedro Almodóvar film or dreaming of France over brie, macarons and a photo tour of Paris, taking your focus outside of your home can be surprisingly freeing.

Throw a carpet picnic

Candles, a soft blanket and stemless wine glasses that won’t tip are ingredients for a carpet picnic. Stretching out on the floor is cozy, comfortable and gives you and your spouse a different perspective. It’s like a drive-in movie in your living room.

Wedding redux

Hear us out on this one! Select a couple of your favorite wedding details: your first dance song, your favorite passed appetizer, a cocktail you drank that day, the perfume you wore. Dress up a little bit and have a special night that allows you to reminisce about your past while dreaming about your future.

Focus on adult conversation

Talking with your spouse seems like a natural part of a date night, but when you’re dealing with kids and other family obligations, date nights can seem more like a conference call or weekly project wrap-up. Set aside fifteen minutes at the top of your date to get any pressing concerns about the kids out of the way, and then ban mommy-daddy conversation for the rest of the night. Having a tough time with it? Pull out the Taboo buzzer from game night and buzz each other if conversation strays.

What’s your favorite date night idea?
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Give your health a boost with fantastic smoothies

Fruits and vegetables have undeniable nutrition benefits, but some days it seems impossible to get in enough servings to meet your personal nutrition goals. Smoothies are a healthy — and delicious — way to add servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet for a boost of nutrition. Texture and sweetness of smoothies are a matter of personal taste, but we rounded up twelve amazing smoothie recipes we think you’ll love.

smoothie recipes
Green smoothies add bunches of nutrients
  • The Green Power Smoothie from A New Bloom packs a serious nutritional punch. The smoothie adds veggies, fruits, healthy fats — and even ingredients to keep your stomach settled. The balanced nutrition in the smoothie will increase your energy throughout the day. Like A New Bloom for more healthy recipe and lifestyle inspiration.
  • Love Me, Feed Me offers a recipe for a green smoothie bursting with tropical fruit flavor in her Tropical Mint Green Smoothie. In a delicious twist, the green smoothie can even be frozen into creamy popsicles. Follow Leah on Instagram for more fantastic, plant-based recipes.
  • Coconut water adds a refreshing burst to the Perfect “Pick Me Up” Green Smoothie. The recipe, from Fashionable Foods, adds a healthy dose of electrolytes and is filling enough to replace a meal — or be split into two snack-size portions. Like Fashionable Foods for healthy recipes — including gluten free tips.
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Green Power Smoothie
Tropical Mint Smoothie
Pick Me Up Green Smoothie
Blueberry Smoothie
Kefir Smoothie
Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
Cashew Cardamom Date Smoothie
Cherry Almond Breakfast Shake
Red Velvet Smoothie
Pineapple Nutmeg Detox Smoothie
Heart Beet Smoothie
Kombucha Berry Smoothie
Berry smoothies offer a sweet start to your day
  • The Blueberry Smoothie from The Loveliest Food is simple but filled with nutritious fruits and veggies. Not only is it beautiful, but the ingredients will keep you full until lunch. Like The Loveliest Food on Facebook to answer the always-pressing, “what’s for dinner?” question.
  • The Kefir Smoothie from The Merrythought uses berries and kefir to create a delicious smoothie that’s great for your tummy health. Kefir is 99% lactose-free and packed with pro-biotics, making it an ideal smoothie ingredient for people trying to cut back on dairy because of stomach upset. Follow The Merrythought on Instagram for fabulous DIY projects, recipes, and home decor tips.
  • Tattooed Martha shared a Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie with Allison at Dream a Little Bigger, and we’re dying to try it. It takes like dessert, but Greek yogurt gives the smoothie a boost of calcium and protein. Follow both Tattooed Martha and Dream a Little Bigger on Facebook for more fabulous ideas.
You’ll go nuts over these nut-based smoothies
  • Dishing Up the Dirt finds the perfect balance of sweet and spicy in her Cashew, Cardamom, and Date Smoothie. Dates are fabulous for muscle development, so this is the perfect post-workout smoothie. Follow Andrea on Instagram; she’s an organic farmer in the Pacific Northwest with wonderful recipes.
  • Try a Cherry Almond Breakfast Shake from This Gal Cooks. The antioxidants in the cherries and the protein in the almonds make this a nutritious smoothie to begin your day. Like This Gal Cooks on Facebook for simple — and delicious — recipes.
  • Nutrition isn’t normally the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the words “Red Velvet.” The Healthy Red Velvet Smoothie from The Balanced Berry will have you thinking about red velvet in a whole new — nutritious — way. Follow The Balanced Berry on Instagram for a glimpse into the life of a personal trainer who loves food.
Delicious smoothie ingredients that might surprise you
  • The Pineapple Nutmeg Detox Smoothie is a fantastic smoothie recipe from A Clean Bake. The veggie combined with pineapple and nutmeg might surprise you — it was the first recipe I tried with the ingredient, and I loved it! Follow A Clean Bake on Instagram for delicious recipes that combine baking with clean eating.
  • The Little Epicurean maximizes the cleansing properties of beets in this Heart Beet Smoothie. Beets are a sweet veggie, so this smoothie is just as tasty as it is beautiful. Follow The Little Epicurean on Instagram, where Maryanne entertains with food and travel photos.
  • Reap health benefits with the Kombucha Berry Smoothie from Veganosity. If you haven’t yet developed a taste for the healthy, fermented tea, this smoothie is perfect for you. It’s packed with veggies and berries for optimized nutrition. Like Veganosity on Facebook for more vegan living inspiration.
What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?
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Muffin tins make dinners easy… and delicious

10 Easy Muffin Tin Recipes

Kids love everything mini, so when it comes to making your favorite recipes, using a muffin tin is beyond brilliant — instant mini-meals! These 10 easy muffin tin recipes will turn any family meal into kid-sized portions that they’ll instantly love.

10 Muffin tin recipes your kids will love

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Muffin Tin Recipes- Breakfast Burrito Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Chicken Pot Pie
Muffin Tin Recipes- Deep Dish Pizza Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Lasagna
Muffin Tin Recipes- Mac N Cheese
Muffin Tin Recipes- Meatloaf Cupcakes
Muffin Tin Recipes- Mini Cheesy Corn Dog Muffin Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Omelet Breakfast Bites
Muffin Tin Recipes- Sloppy Joes
Muffin Tin Recipes- Taco Cups

1. Breakfast Burrito Bites from Ella Claire
Muffin tin recipes don’t have to be limited to dinners! These breakfast burrito bites use a tortilla as a base, keeping all of the yummy ingredients easily contained.

2. Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes from Sunny Slide Up
Comfort food in a muffin tin-sized portion is the perfect way to recreate this family favorite for your kids.

3. Deep Dish Pizza Cupcakes from Plain Chicken
We could all use a new twist on pizza, right moms? Try making pizzas in muffin tins the next time your kids are begging for pizza delivery.

4. Lasagna Cupcakes from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Lasagna is time consuming to make… unless you use muffin tins! This recipe uses wonton wrappers instead of lasagna noodles, which is a delicious — and easy — swap.

5. Mac and Cheese Muffins with Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese from Hip Foodie Mom
However you make mac and cheese at home, try making it in muffin tins. We love this recipe because it doesn’t skimp on what we love most about mac and cheese just because the portions have been sized-down.

6. Meatloaf Cupcakes from Six Sisters’ Stuff
Your kids may not eat meatloaf when you make it in the traditional way, but we guarantee that they will devour these little meatloaf cupcakes.

7. Mini Cheesy Corn Dog Muffins from Cooking with Mel
These corn dog muffins are a great idea for weekend lunches and using cheese-filled hot dogs is a twist that your kids will adore. Pass the ketchup!

8. Omelet Breakfast Bites from A Mitten Full of Savings
Another yummy muffin tin recipe that’s perfect for breakfast, you can adapt this recipe to include your family’s favorite omelet ingredients or customize different muffin tin cups for different palettes.

9. Sloppy Joe Cups from Recipe by Photo
Make that not-so-sloppy-joes! These will save you a ton of post-meal clean-up, since the sloppy part of the joes is contained in a muffin tin.

10. Easy Six-Layer Baked Taco Cups from Averie Cooks
Fun for dinner or for an appetizer, taco cups are such a fun twist on your traditional taco night and you can even let your kids add their own toppings!

Do you make any of your recipes in a muffin tin?
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Mason jar salads are a perfect healthy lunch option

Moms make sure their bags are filled with snacks for their little ones, but when their own hunger hits, they’re often left hunting for healthy options. The mason jar salad craze lets health-conscious mamas craft  flavorful, nutritious lunches in batches — the glass jar keeps the ingredients fresh, and the attractive layers make the salads look like the best option in the refrigerator.

mason jar salads

Farmer’s Fridge gives mason jar salads a whole new treatment

Instead of defaulting to a vending machine, Farmer’s Fridge wants you to feed your hunger at one of their veggie machines. There are currently 14 Farmer’s Fridge kiosks in the Chicagoland area, and the company is growing. The gorgeous kiosks are made of reclaimed wood, but the contents are even more savory. In addition to seven fresh salads, Farmer’s Fridge kiosks offer breakfasts, snacks, and protein-filled jars of fresh, delicious food.

mason jar salads

How Farmer’s Fridge works
  • We get fresh produce every morning.
  • We arrive at 5 a.m. and make everything from scratch… daily.
  • We make everything in our local, fully licensed, shared kitchen… daily.
  • We deliver the salads to the machine by 11 a.m. and remove the unsold salads (which we donate to a local food pantry)… daily.
  • We discount any unsold salads by $1 at 6 p.m. … nightly.

mason jar salads

Luke’s 5 steps to making the perfect Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad
  1. Prep the Dressing Early: Start salad construction by combining the dressing ingredients the night before to allow all the flavors to marinate and meld together. To make the Red Wine Vinaigrette for the Mediterranean Salad, whisk together red wine vinegar, water, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil in a medium-sized bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil.
  2. Choose Your Greens: Instead of the standard romaine or iceberg lettuce, swap out the greens with something new. Experiment with varieties like arugula, kale and spinach. Each type of leafy green offers different health benefits ranging from improving immune defenses, lowering cholesterol, strengthening bones, combatting heart disease and promoting healthy vision.
  3. Start the Jar with Hearty Veggies: By reverse layering salad ingredients within the jars, the salad will be right side up and ready to eat when the jar is flipped. Base layers of Mason jar salads should include the heartier vegetables that can take the weight of the other ingredients – when the salad is flipped onto a plate, the lettuce will be on the bottom and other vegetables will be on top. To start the Mediterranean Salad, layer the quartered artichokes followed by grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, cannellini beans, parmesan and Kalamata olives.
  4. Layer it Up: After the heavy ingredients, pack the rest of the Mason jar with greens and garnishes such as croutons, berries, protein or nuts. For the Mediterranean Salad, top the ingredients with mixed greens and pine nuts. To finish, store separate 2 oz. container of dressing on top of the salad, screw on the jar’s lid and the salad is ready to go.
  5. Know How to Store the Salad: To prevent the salad from getting soggy, pack everything into the jar as tightly as possible to keep ingredients from moving around. Leaving the greens for last creates a moisture barrier making the salad able to stay in the fridge for a few days. Salads can be enjoyed on a plate or in a bowl, or ingredients can be shaken up and the salad can be eaten directly from the jar.

mason jar salads

Farmer’s Fridge Mediterranean Salad Recipe

If you aren’t lucky enough to live in the Chicago area, you can use Luke’s tips to craft your own mason jar salad.

Dressing:

  • Red Wine Vinegar – ½ cup
  • Water – 6 Tbsp.
  • Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp.
  • Honey – 2 tsp.
  • Dijon Mustard – 1 tsp.
  • Salt – ½ tsp.
  • Black Pepper – ¼ tsp.
  • Oregano – 1 tsp.
  • Basil – ½ tsp.

Salad:

  • Artichokes (canned) – 4 quarters
  • Grape Tomatoes (sliced in half) – 2 each
  • English Cucumbers (quartered and thinly sliced) – ¼ cup
  • Cannellini Beans (canned) – ¼ cup
  • Parmesan Cheese (grated) – 1 Tbsp.
  • Kalamata Olives (sliced) – 2 Tbsp.
  • Mixed Greens – 1.5 cups
  • Pine Nuts (roasted) – 1 Tbsp.

Start by layering the quartered artichokes followed by grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, cannellini beans parmesan, Kalamata olives, mixed greens and pine nuts. To make the dressing, whisk together the red wine vinegar, water, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil in a medium size bowl. While you are still whisking slowly pour in the olive oil. Dressing can be stored in a 2 ounce portion cup on top of the salad.

Do you have a favorite mason jar salad recipe to share?
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We have had quite a start to 2015! We were invited to the BodyLab Launch on Tuesday (January 6) in Santa Monica. We sat down with Jennifer Lopez and her partners, Chantelle Daines and Dr. Amy Heaton who showed us a look into their new lifestyle and fitness brand. Lopez looked absolutely flawless, wearing a Brunello Cucinelli champagne-colored low plunge sweater, with a Enza Costa tan wrap skirt that had a thigh-high slit paired with nude Louboutin pumps.

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“I want to inspire women to be the best and happiest versions of themselves,” she said with excitement. J.Lo does it all and she wants to share her secret with woman to help them to become “the girl of their dreams!”

“Yes, I’m an entertainer and I’m a dancer,” Lopez explains, “But ladies, we’re all athletes. We all have that in us. We do things for our men, our children, our families, our careers. What we have to do, it’s like a marathon daily. Every single day.”

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The 45-year-old (yes 45!) is the face and founder of the lifestyle and fitness brand, tailored for women. “I joined the BodyLab family not only because of their commitment to creating great health and fitness products for women, by women, but also because of their approach to the holistic lifestyle. It’s not a solution-in-a-bottle. It’s not a fad diet. It’s part of a health regimen that makes your metabolism work as hard as you do. It’s a way to love your body.”

We would have to agree with Lopez when she says “It’s like a marathon daily,” but it was relaxing to spend a few hours at the gorgeous Annenberg Beach House surrounded by inspiring woman drinking yummy protein smoothies! Lopez’s favorite is the chocolate protein!

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BodyLab is available in stores now. To learn more, visit www.BodyLab.com.

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