Motivation MOMday Profile: Wendy Kerr

Today I’m featuring one of my work mom squad members – Wendy Kerr. She is an all around bad ass who kills it on the job, but always makes family her top priority. Her sweet daughter Chlo-$ is one of the cutest and sassiest 7-year olds I know. Hope you enjoy reading about this awesome mama.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family – My family is my life and includes my daughter 7 year old Chloe Sophia, my husband, Rob our kitty, Calvin and our newest edition, Sequin our 6 month old Teacup Yorkie. Since we struggled with infertility for so long to welcome our little girl after 3 IVF attempts and 4 years of treatments, I never take anything regarding her for granted and try to enjoy every stage of her life to the fullest.
  2. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by – Work hard but family is always first, life is too short to not enjoy every minute with your little one as time is not our friend…
  3. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity  Love a great run or a spa treatment because me time is so hard to come by…
  4. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom – Competition between other moms, I do what I want to do for my daughter not to impress anyone else and not for social media, I just love that Chloe knows she is always the most important part of my day.
  5. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention – I just started using a new app called Chore Monster, it helps to assign chores to Chloe and keep her motivated with an built in incentive system.
  6. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance – Refer to #2, I’m on point always while at work but I know how to separate from my home life to be fully engaged with my family
  7. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships – My work moms, my school moms my faraway moms are always good for advice and much needed laughs to get through this mom life…
  8. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational – My main goal right now is to focus on as much family time as we can squeeze in, my husband works crazy hours and travels a lot so time for the 3 of us is definitely my priority…
  9. Mom-cation – Dream vacation – Always somewhere tropical on a beach with a good book and watching my little one soak it all in…
  10. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you – My mommy is sweet and takes me to nice places and dresses up with me and gives me the funnest parties. I love her the most.

If you’re interested in being featured in an upcoming profile, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com.

 

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Mom Hacks: Amazon Prime Music

First off, if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, then you’re missing out. Casa Faulkner is an Amazon household and Westley especially loves Alexa – the Amazon Echo. He talks to her all the time and says goodbye to our dog Lucy and Alexa every morning as we head to daycare.

As first time parents, we have struggled with bedtime and creating some sort of a routine that realistically works for our family. With both of us working full time and me being on the road a good chunk of the time, we really never expected Westley to ever be asleep by 7pm. Our family usually gets home around 6pm and selfishly we’d like to spend some quality time together before calling it a night. Between bath time and dinner, 7pm would not be feasible, but we wanted to get to a point where he was asleep around the same time every night and it’s an enjoyable experience.

Enter – Amazon Prime Music. Not only is it included with our Prime Membership (best $99 you will ever spend a year), but also it has an amazing array of lullaby play lists and stations. I tried lullabies on a whim because we were having issues with Westley actually napping on weekends. One day I randomly thought about lullabies and looked it up on Amazon Prime Music and found the holy grail of lullabies…Disney Classics – instrumental versions of some of Disney’s best songs. The best part, of course, is that I know and love all the songs from The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” – basically 14 songs that each make me nostalgic and I sing in my head, while my toddler goes down. This was a game changer during nap time and transitioned seamlessly during bedtime, making the bedtime routine way more relaxing and enjoyable for this mama.

As with all things Disney (even lullabies), it’s magic. Westley has really gotten into these songs and looks forward to bedtime. Every night between 8 and 8:15pm, he tells us he is ready for “Night Night” and with that we say goodnight to Lucy, Alexa and Elmo, turn off all the lights, grab his “Leche” (milk) and lay down to the tunes of Disney. That along with our beloved white noise maker (which we also found and bought on Amazon…obvi) creates the perfect environment for our little guy to be out within 15 minutes.

It took us a while to get here, but we are thrilled that at least bedtime has become a fun and enjoyable time. With a toddler tyrant, you have to celebrate the little victories because you never know when the next tantrum will hit.

Happy Toddlering,

Ivette

Motivation MOMday Profile: Katie Ibarra

Happy First day of Spring and Motivation MOMday! Today I am featuring one of my oldest and best friends, Tia to sweet Westley and a fierce and fab mom – Katie Manning Ibarra. Katie was my go to mama when I was preggo, she told me all the stories no one else tells you (especially about The After Birth…), helped me maneuver through the overwhelming task that is the baby registry and continues to be a soundboard for all things mommy hood. She has an adorable daughter, Bella, who also happens to be our Goddaughter and one of Westley’s favorite people in the world. Enjoy her take on being a mama!

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

We are The Ibarra Family: Chris, Katie and Isabella. Chris and I have been married for 5 ½ years and have a headstrong, sassy, fierce 3-year old daughter!

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

“Dear God, Please Give Me Patience”

Isabella is what we call “strong-willed.” I can’t wait to see how kick ass that will be when she is an adult. However, the path to adulthood is filled with independence and stubbornness as a child.

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity 

I insist on having lunch by myself once a week: Just me, my Kindle and some food. It is absolutely refreshing to not have to do anything or speak to anyone for an hour.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

When Bella says she needs to potty and then suddenly no longer has to potty once seated on the toilet. It’s tough because I don’t feel like I can call her bluff just yet. So for now, we go to the potty.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention 

When Bella was a baby, my best Mom Hack was Amazon Mom. Their discounts on diapers and wipes were unmatched and the subscription service just makes diapers and wipes one less thing to worry about.

My Mom Hack to a 3-year old is: Snacks and Netflix. We have a 25-30 minute drive to and from daycare from Monday to Friday. Snacks and Netflix give me a little bit of peace at the beginning of my day and at the end of my workday. If Bella is fed and entertained when we are in the car, I have a few minutes to prepare for the next step in our day.

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance 

I do work full-time so Bella is in daycare during the day. During the week, we are in work/school mode. During the weekend, I do my best to plan fun activities for us to do together. I am a firm believer in family time and family vacations. But, for my own personal sanity, I have been known to play “Parent Hooky” and drop Bella off at daycare, while I spend the day at home resting and relaxing.

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships 

I would say that the Captain of my Mom Squad is my own Mom. She’s the first person I call when I need parenting advice. The rest of my Mom Squad includes my friends Michelle and Catherine. They both have children older than my daughter and have already experienced all of the phases that I encounter with Bella. They are my friends, my parenting mentors and my sounding board.

Having a child changes so many aspects of your life – your friendships are no exception. I have been fortunate enough that the majority of my friendships have only grown stronger with parenthood. Girls nights out have become mommy mornings at the park or playtime at Sky Zone. Sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood with your closest girl friends is just another way to strengthen your bond.

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

My parenting inspiration comes from my own parents. Looking back on my childhood, I have so many fond memories of adventure. My parents were spontaneous and fun. We traveled all the time – even if only to the Keys for the weekend. My father would create these challenges and my brother and I would rise to the occasion. We biked, snorkeled, fished, swam… There wasn’t much we didn’t encounter as children. I have so many great memories filled with love and laughter. My parents just had so much love to share. Not one person came into my parents’ house without becoming an immediate “adopted child.” There was always room and always food and always time. I am forever grateful to my parents for the way my brother and I were raised. I want that for Bella. I want her to travel, to experience spontaneous adventures, to be challenged, to volunteer, to have laughter, to have unconventional traditions that she will always remember, to be brave, to be open-minded, to be loving, and most of all, to be loved unconditionally.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation 

I don’t know that I have one specific place in mind for a Mom-cation. I kind of want to do it all! However, I think I want our family travels to stay within the United States. Traveling abroad is great, but I think that there are hundreds of places in our own country that I want our daughter to see. I would say my top 5 are: New York City, The Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia.

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Yep. Totally forgot to do this one!

If you’re interested in being featured in an upcoming Motivation MOMday, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com!

Motivation MOMday Profile: Heidi Floyd

Happy Motivation MOMday! This week, I’m featuring one of my sweetest friends —  a fellow PR Pro who juggles media relations and mom hood on the daily. Hope you enjoy her mama advice.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

Wife to one handsome dude named Keith / Raising 3 littles in the south with the sweet tea and green grass – Grayson (4), Oliver (3), Lucy (1)

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a no.

 

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity

 

Coffee. In Silence.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

Sanctimommies.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention

    GROCERY DELIVERY!!!!!!

 

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance

 

Lucky to do a job I love (head operations for healthcare PR firm based in NJ), and do it from home where I stay connected to the littles. I don’t believe in work/life balance – work/life integration makes working and raising babies possible in my world.

 

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships

As necessary as air. To the tribe of women who keep me grounded, honest, and upright – you have my heart, and all the gratefulness I can muster.

 

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

 

Throw kindness around like confetti.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation

Machu Picchu.

 

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Grayson — “I like that you build electronics with me. And you give me apples. Oh, and you love flowers. I will pick you all the flowers.” #winning

 

 

 

 

Motivation MOMday Profile: Jocelyne Fliger

Happy MOMday, friends! So excited to share the first Motivation MOMday profile with you guys. This week get to know my awesome friend Josie who is teaching her little girl how to be a lady boss and change the world from day one 🙂 She shares some really great advice. Enjoy!

  1. Mom 411– I am a 37-year old social worker and activist who married someone that I love and respect, Jeremy Deese. We decided we should have a child together about 7 months after meeting and it was the best decision of our respective lives. Morgyn just turned 3 and is very smart, insightful, and a bit sly at times (aren’t they all at this age though).
  2. Mommy Mantra– We must make the most of every single day because we might not get another chance to go around the sun. Keeping this in mind creates perspective when it comes to parenting my daughter and creating experiences for my family. I take Morgyn everywhere with me- to volunteer outings, traveling, to community events. I feel that she and I should experience a wide range of activities together and if you plan correctly, you can do anything.
  3. Me Time– When I get a few, very rare free moments to myself, I love to read (right now I am hooked on the Dresden Files books- can’t go wrong with a sexy wizard!) or watch any and all of the Real Housewives, with a glass of wine of course.
  4. Mom Peeve– My biggest pet peeve is when my child doesn’t listen, but I think that is pretty par for the mom course. My other pet peeve is when anyone (ahem, grandparents, ahem) gives Morgyn too much sugar. Sugar to a child is like water to a mogwai – they do not mix well!
  5. Mom Hack– I carry an extra set of her clothes in my car with me at all times. You never know when you might want to stop by the Railroad Square Park and play in the water tubes. Another must is Boogie Wipes, which are not just for noses.
  6. Mom-preneur– I have my master’s degree in social work and actually got pregnant in grad school (while working 3 jobs no less). So I am proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do it! I believe it is my purpose to help others have a better life, so I am very involved in volunteer and civic activities. My full time gig though is as the Director of Senior Volunteer Programs at Elder Care Services. I stay quite busy with that role as we have a 15 county footprint; I might be in Jefferson County one day and Bay County the next. While there is a bit of travel, if Morgyn needs me I can remote into my work computer and work from home. I am so lucky because I love what I do and have a pretty flexible schedule. My advice to keep a good balance between home, work, and extracurricular is to try to be truly present when you are with your family and that it is okay to say no to things.
  7. Mom Squad– I am so lucky because my best friend had her child four years before mine. I get to ask her about all sorts of icky and worrisome situations. I am also lucky to have a bunch of strong women in my circles that inspire and push me to make my community better for my daughter. Lastly, I admire you, Ivette, because you are a hard working mom who is smart, determined, and an expert traveler!
  8. Mom Goals– I want to make the best world that I can for my daughter (it’s that social worker drive in me). I want to promote inclusion and cultural competence in her as we have so much to learn from each other. I relish the fact that the preschool she attends has a tremendously diverse group of students (many are even international). I want her to know that even if we do not look alike, we all have something kindred in our spirits.
  9. Mom-cation– Dream vacation hands down has to be Ireland. I can see all of us enjoying the beautiful countryside and ancient wonders. I will have to see if they let kids into the Guinness factory though… 🙂
  10. My Children’s Take– “I like to go on adventures with you.”

Motivation MOMday

We all know #MotivationMonday and #MCM (Man Crush Monday) are a thing, but I’m launching a new Monday series all about mamas – Motivation MOMday. And I hope it takes off 🙂

This series is all about sharing stories, advice and insights from moms I know and love with the goal of creating a digital network of amazing and supportive moms! Each week, I will feature a different mom who will share with us her take on 10 items. To kick things off, I’ve completed my MOMday profile below.

  1. Mom 411 – (Tell us a little about you and your family) I have a sweet, fun, funny, energetic goofball of a 2-year old named Westley. He absolutely turned our life upside down in the best of ways. My husband, Sam, and I have been married for 5 1/2 years and we also have a fur baby, Lucille Ball, a Boston Terrier who will be seven this year. Family is my top priority and my favorite way to spend time.
  2. Mommy Mantra – (Words you live by) Parenting is an art, not a science. Do what works for your family and don’t worry about what others think. Only you know what is best for your family and your child.
  3. Me Time – (Favorite escape, activity) Now that I’m in my 30s, taking care of my skin has become a top priority. Topping my list of favorite escapes is a spa day including a relaxing massage and a face altering facial 🙂 While a spa day isn’t in the works every month, I do indulge and have budgeted for manicures every two weeks. Something about having my nails done makes me feel like I can conquer the world 😉
  4. Mom Peeve – (Biggest pet peeve as a mom) Moms who judge other moms or make you feel guilty for your choices. We’re all doing our best, so let’s support each other, not put each other down. Rant over.
  5. Mom Hack – (Necessity is the mother of invention) Y’all don’t judge…but when I need to get things done around the house, my ultimate hack is courtesy of a little red monster named Elmo and a fabulous show called Sesame Street. Westley loves to watch and he also learns a ton (all the parts of his face for starters), while I can get laundry and chores done around the house. Their message about kindness makes me feel better about this choice.
  6. Mom-preneur – (Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance) As much as I love being a mom, I equally love my career. I firmly believe working makes me a better mom and allows me to use my talents outside of raising our little guy. I work in public relations and absolutely love being creative everyday and working with clients from pens, tires and gyms to hotels, websites and restaurants. While balancing work and life isn’t always perfect, I try my best to give 110% at work and not think about home and then put work away at home and give 110% to my family. Being present is something I strive for every day. It’s a work in progress.
  7. Mom Squad – (Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships) I’m beyond lucky because I have such an amazing squad of moms! From my work moms who know the struggle of our industry to my daycare mom squad and our sweet kiddos who have been together since they were 3 months old to my “friends who are family” mom squad of Tias, Tatas and Ninas (my kid has a lot of aunts – not by blood, but by choice), there is no shortage of moms, advice and “mom juice” aka wine in my life. I adore each of my mom squad members and am always looking to grow the squad with new moms 🙂
  8. Mom Goals – (Aspirational, inspirational) With the Oscars last night, I’m reminded of Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech in 2014. He talks about wanting something to chase and that chase being his hero. He chases himself and looks forward to the man he will become with each decade that passes. This struck a chord with me because I love the idea of chasing yourself, a better self and growing and being your own biggest competition and aspiration. When I think of a mom goal, I want it to be about me chasing myself and hopefully becoming a better mom every day, every week, every year and eventually being around to see, love and spoil my grandchildren.
  9. Mom-cation – (Dream vacation) For me, a fabulous family vacation is what I love. I’m a total Type A maniac, so I LOVE planning trips way in advance and savoring the wait. Case in point, our summer family vacation in July to Maine has been planned since November. I can’t wait to take Westley on his first flight (Delta woot!) and spend a week on the beach in Maine eating way too much lobster and wearing way too many nautical stripes 🙂 Other dream vacations include a Disney Cruise (in 2018) and going on a South African safari once W is old enough to appreciate it.
  10. My Children’s Take – (Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you) Like any proper 2-year old, when I asked W how he would describe me, he didn’t quite give me three words…instead he looked at me and grabbed my face and said “mama” with a big ole smile. I’ll take it!

If you’re interested in being a part of this series, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com.

XO,

Ivette

 

 

 

#YouReady Working on my Fitness

So my fitness journey since becoming a new mama (2 years ago) has been touch and go. Balancing my full time job and work travel along with  being a mom and spending time with my hubby and little one sometimes puts fitness on the back burner. While I’ve consistently worked out in some form or fashion, I could certainly up my game.

Enter Youfit Health Clubs. They became a client of our agency late last year and while I usually dive right in and support all my clients as a brand ambassador, this specific client truly resonates with me. Not only was I former member, but now doing “work research” includes getting to work out during lunch, after work, on weekends, etc. I really have zero excuse now to not get in the best shape of my life.

Outside of the ridiculously close proximity to my home and office and the awesome hours and class schedule, Youfit is also super welcoming. While I can navigate my way through a gym, work out, take a class, etc. I don’t consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination. So for me, I want a place where I can feel comfortable and not intimidated. Youfit fits the bill. I’ve had issues in past work out lives with feeling like I joined some sort of cult — where if you’re not working out 24/7, eating a certain way and planning to compete professionally, you’re less than. As a working mom, I don’t have time to feel like the gym is an extra to do. I really want my time working out to be positive, fun and produce results, but on my own terms.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been consistently working out at Youfit with a combination of group exercise classes including Zumba and YouGX body sculpt and going in for cardio and my favorite workout, the Express Circuit — a 30-minute full body workout with 10 machines and 10 sets of cardio. I love this because I can go during lunch, get a great sweat session in and mix it up with the cardio portion. I’ll do kettle bell swings, planks, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, etc. Each time, I can customize it for me and how I’m feeling that day. They also have two weekly Express Circuit classes with a YouCoach where you complete the circuit with other members. That’s always fun since you have a certified personal trainer running the class and inspiration/competition with the group aspect.

Now I have decided to take my fitness game to the next level and have signed up for a Fitness Assessment (free at Youfit with your membership) and to start working with a YouCoach Personal Trainer. I’m super excited, but also scared to see what my assessment reveals. I know I could be in better shape and definitely could eat healthier (I’m Cuban and I can’t resist certain yummy, but bad for you food) — so I’m equally excited and terrified for the results.

This will be the first time ever working with a Certified Personal Trainer and I’m excited to go on this journey and hopefully look and feel better.Probably my favorite part of the PT program is having one-on-one attention with a customized program that works for me and my schedule and where I’ll be held accountable. I’ll be able to work with my designated YouCoach during days/time that are convenient and to meet my specific fitness goals.

I don’t really have a specific goal in mind outside of toning and tightening my current body. To be perfectly honest and vain, I’d love to be able to wear a bikini and feel confident in it again. Since having Westley, I’ve enjoyed and rocked one pieces during the summer. While I don’t think they’re going anywhere (because I LOVE them and they’re sexy and comfy), I’d like to have the option of rocking a two piece and feeling confident as in 20-something, pre-baby confident!

I’ll be posting and sharing photos along the way in hopes to inspire other moms to make health and fitness a priority. Trust me, I know how hard it is to carve out time for yourself, but being a more active, healthy and present mom will benefit not only me, but also my family.

Cheers to the journey. Wish me luck!

Ivette