My 8 for 18

This year is already flying by. I intended to get this post written the first week of the year, but it’s been fast and furious. Between Westley’s birthday party, work travel and life — I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and write.

I’m not a fan of resolutions because it becomes a joke to see how fast they can go down the drain. Instead I see every new year as an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and let go of what doesn’t work and continue doing what makes you happy.

So with 2018 moving at a frantic pace, here are my eight commitments to myself and my family for this year:

1.Choose Happy – you can always look at something from a positive or negative light, so this year I’m choosing to embrace the good in everything.

2. Be Present – it’s so easy to get distracted, wooed by your phone, social media, held hostage by your inbox. We have so many devices and distractions, but I’m making a concerted effort to push it all away when I’m with my family.

3. Be Kind – there is so much hate and negativity in the world, so my goal is to always be kind, even to those who don’t return it. You never know what someone is dealing with or why they choose to act the way they do. Regardless, always take the high road and kill them with kindness.

4. Stay Fit – last March, I began working with a personal trainer and it has been a game changer. Working out has become a passion and a key part of staying sane and happy. I love seeing how much stronger I am with each work out and pushing myself to do more reps, lift heavier weights or conquer new exercises.

5. Reward Myself – as a working mom I’m always on the go and doing things for others. That’s 100 percent fine by me, but I also want to continue making time for myself from workouts and manicures, to quiet mornings and bubble baths.

6. Nourish my Marriage – I am lucky to have a true partner in life who supports me and believes in 50/50. Having a child has made our marriage stronger and we have so much to be thankful for, but I always want to make time for us. From late night talks and date nights to belly laughs and weekend getaways, I never want to lose what makes us, us.

7. Support my Tribe – I have so many wonderful women in my tribe who I love and respect. Often times we don’t see each other as much as we’d like, but I’m committed to making time for lunches, manis, ladies nights and if not, at least phones calls, texts and lots of positive vibes sent your way.

8. Keep Creating – I was so excited when Word Press sent me an email alerting me that this domain is a year old and it’s time to renew! That means I’ve been blogging consistently for a year and I love it. Having a creative outlet to share my thoughts is rewarding. I love hearing from people I don’t know who find what I create valuable. I want to keep sharing, creating, photographing and looking off into the distance, while I dream BIG.

Can’t wait to read this post next January and see how I did. I’m excited for this year and what lies ahead.

XO,

Ivette

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Plan Ahead: A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish

One of my favorite parts of starting a new year is getting a new planner to keep me organized. It may be my Type A personality, but there is something so exciting about writing down all the planned activities for the year, adding work and personal travel and filling up my calendar with to dos. Am I right?

Part of staying organized for me includes color-coding. I use my favorite Pilot FriXion Color Sticks, which are erasable gel pens that come in a variety of colors. Because I’m beyond crazy, I assign a different color for Westley’s activities, personal/family trips/events/activities and then each of my clients has a unique color, which allows me to quickly glance at my planner and immediately know what event corresponds to what person or client. The best part…these pens are erasable (they actually work, not like the old school blue pens with the grey eraser of elementary school), so my planner does not look messy or disorganized when something inevitably changes. (Not a fan of a messy planner) On top of color-coding, I outline the days I’m traveling with a highlighter – pink for personal and yellow for work travel. All of these things combined, help me stay organized and on top of my to dos.

Speaking of to dos, I’m a huge proponent of a good To Do list, which of course I hand write. For me, writing things down makes it stick. I also like feeling accomplished when I write out my weekly to dos, so I always add a few items I’ve already conquered, so I can immediately cross them out. I feel accomplished from the get go because nothing feels better than crossing out an item on the list 🙂

Since I am trying out a new planner this year, I wanted to share a list of my favorites, if you’re in the market for a planner!

Bloom Daily Planner – I came across this company (my 2018 planner) when looking for the perfect planner for this year. I immediately connected with Bloom because the mission is to “help women bloom into the best versions of themselves.” Sold! It’s made for women, by women and the designs are absolutely adorable. I went with the Pineapple design with the words “Be Sweet.” I chose the Monthly & Weekly view layout. Excited to become a #BloomGirl.

Lilly Pulitzer Agenda – This has been my go to agenda for the last few years. Not only do I love the beautiful patterns and stickers (I’m still stuck in my Lisa Frank days…LOL), but the layout is great. The monthly calendar view also includes a To Do list section and there are notes, travel lists, pockets and more. Definitely a great choice!

Simplified Planner, Emily Ley – This planner features a minimalist design and luxurious paper with open pages, bringing to life the company’s mission “to inspire women to organize, simplify and carve out white space for the good stuff of life.” This line includes Daily and Weekly editions based on your organizational needs. Every planner purchase also includes Emily’s monthly “planning tips” via e-blast. Emily Ley also has Home + Kitchen, Baby + Big Kid Books, Journal + Notebooks as well as Notepads + Notecards.

Are there any planners you love or organizational tips you use? Would love to hear from you guys.

Happy Planning!

XO,

Ivette

 

Motivation MOMday: Kimberly Hand

Motivation MOMday is back with one of my favorite mamas who is also an old friend. While we’ve traded clubbing for playgrounds, this Southern doll always keeps it real. Enjoy my dear friend Kimberly Hand’s profile and the sweet pic of her family. Hilton is a total ham 🙂

  1. Mom 411 – a little about you and your family: My husband and I met when I was 14 years old! We were high school sweethearts and of course soul mates! Jason joined the Navy in 2000 and we were married in July of 2002. Right after we got married we moved to Washington State and then to California where he finished his Navy career in 2006. We knew we wanted to move back to the South, so we packed up and found ourselves back in the best town, our hometown of Thomasville! We were blessed to find jobs pretty quickly and started spreading our roots back down South. In July of 2015 we were blessed in finding out that we were having a baby. On March 28, 2016 we welcomed a happy and healthy baby boy into our lives! Boy….we had no idea how amazing and full our hearts would become.
  2. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by: I saw a saying once that I love…. Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own. To teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is… and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.
  3. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity: Love to escape for a girls day with my beautiful mom and go shopping.
  4. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom: Judgy moms….we are all trying to be the best mom we can be, we may all have different opinions on things, but in the end aren’t we all in this together?
  5. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention: Love any kind of good app, or anything to help keep organized.
  6. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance: I work in the fast paced environment of advertising, however, it’s so important to have a good work/life balance. You have to set time for yourself and your family! It’s hard at times…but you learn how to adjust.
  7. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships: I’m blessed with some pretty bad-to-the-bone friends…I definitely have an awesome tribe of mom friends, as well as single friends! They all help get me through this fun thing called life.
  8. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational: I think my main mom goal is to continue to be there for my family! It’s hard at times when you are a working mom to balance work, family and friends. However, at the end of the day when I look at my life, I want my son to continue to see me as a strong woman and know that I gave him my all!
  9. Mom-cation – Dream vacation: Would love a mini escape to somewhere tropical…but who wouldn’t want that?!
  10. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you: Hilton isn’t old enough to ask him how he feels about me yet. If I had to guess I would say he thinks I’m silly and make him laugh a lot! He would probably also say that I give really good hugs…but I kiss him on the face a lot and squeeze him which embarrasses himJ

Having It All OR All In Your Head

Bottom line…you can have it all, but not at the same time. Working mom means you’re always working and you’re always a mom, but how you manage the madness and prioritize is how you achieve having it all.

You can’t give 100 percent and slice and dice it a million ways. Instead you look at your (virtual) pie and make room for the things that fit, the things that matter and the givens.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you work, then a minimum of 40 hours is spent at work (not counting random late night emails, travel, client crisis, special projects, etc.) What you do with the remaining 128 hours is up to you.

There are always things that will suffer or take a back seat from dishes and friendships to social events and sleep. There is only so much room for it all…having it all also means having less of it all.

One thing is certain, parenting is never ending (hardest but most rewarding work you’ll ever do IMO), but the daily “hard time” commitment is getting kids ready in the morning, daycare drop off, pick up, bath time, dinner, play/fun time and bed time. It’s never enough time during the week, so for me weekends are mostly dedicated to my family. I always have room and time to spend with my hubby and son. Never gets old or boring 🙂

Working out keeps me sane, but fitting it in always looks like a jig saw puzzle. I literally squeeze it in when I can. Luckily I have an awesome partner who trades daycare pick up, bathing and dinner duties with me so I can get my sweat on. I return the favor a couple of times a week.

But in order to work on my fitness, I work it in at all times. Monday and Wednesday circuit training immediately after work, Tuesday PT during lunch with one of my fave girlfriends, Saturday morning Body Sculpt at 8:30am, randomly in my garage or even doing squats and planks while catching up on TV😂😂

To “have it all” means to integrate it all, make the puzzle pieces work and embrace the madness.

In my world it translates to maximizing lunch hour by getting a manicure or catching up with girlfriends (HH post work is hard to fit in…something’s gotta give.)

It’s working faster and smarter and moving the To Do list to tomorrow when the day is done.

It’s folding clothes and doing laundry, while watching my new obsession A Handmaid’s Tale on HULU or redefining date night with a yummy meal and glass of wine with the hubby once the rug rat is asleep.

It’s being much more of a scheduler in the love department than a free agent.

It means sometimes reading or writing in bed (current situation), while the rest of the house sleeps or getting up early to get stuff done around the house before the day really starts.

It’s choosing the 6am flight and 3:30am wake up call to spend one less night away from home during a work trip.

It’s less sleep and more love. Less complete control and more letting go.

It’s less about perfect and more about embracing the real and living in the moment.

One day we’ll have a teenager and then a college kid and then a full
fledged adult (scary writing that) and we will be empty nesters with all the time in the world.

But for now I want to cherish every crazy moment from work deadlines to toddler tantrums and embrace life for what it is — chaotic and beautiful all at once.

As everyone will remind you (ad nauseam) when you’re a parent of a young child…it all goes by way too fast.

The days are long, but the years are short. So I’m determined to savor every moment and have it all.

XO,

Ivette

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Tips for Working Mamas on the Road

I’m sitting on a plane. This is my 23rd flight of the year and I’ve logged in 22,700+ sky miles. While I love my job and traveling for it, I’m a mom too and there is always some level of guilt associated with being away from my son and husband. I especially feel bad because my husband doesn’t ever travel for work, so he’s always playing single dad, while I’m jet setting.

I know I’m not alone in the juggle and hustle of being a working mom, so I wanted to share some tips on how I parent from afar and stay connected with my family.

  1. FaceTime, Not Just Phone Time

Thank you, sweet baby technology. What would working parents who travel do without you? But seriously. We are so incredibly lucky to live in a time where a video phone call is possible. I can’t imagine traveling as much as I do and not being able to FaceTime with Westley. A FaceTime call is so much more special and it makes me feel like I’m part of his evening routine. I can hear about his day, make silly faces and see him in his PJs before he goes to sleep. He gets to see my face and I get to see his and give the screen kisses. It’s my No. 1 way to stay connected and close to Westley. I also get to see Sam, which is a bonus J

  1. Pics on Pics

This may just be me, but I LOVE a photo. A photo of Westley is worth its weight in gold. I already have thousands of photos of him in my phone (current photo roll count 6,762 and at least 5,000 feature W), which I scroll through on the regular while traveling. During my travels, Sam keeps me pretty up to date with all of Westley’s adventures with action shots, videos, etc. One of my favorite pictures I’ve ever received (a series really) was W eating my baked ziti, stuffing his face with a big ole smile and literally licking the plate. It brought me so much joy to witness him enjoying a meal I made especially for them to have while I was away. So a steady stream of photos and visual updates is a must to keep this working mama happy.

  1. Wake Up Call

No matter the time zone, I always start every day with a morning call with Sam to hear all about how Westley did the night before, his morning, etc. We time it so I call Sam right as he is leaving daycare and on his way to work for a full report. Some times it’s a very early morning, but to me it is the very best way to kick off my day.

  1. Digital Daycare

Westley has a phenomenal group of teachers at his daycare and my little charmer has definitely stolen their hearts. I’ve always made it a point to get to know all of his teachers because let’s be honest, he spends more time with them during the week than he spends at home. I feel very confident leaving him at daycare because the team there truly cares about the kids. So much so, that when they know I travel, they are more cognizant of Westley’s behavior, if he is spending longer hours there or coming in earlier because of my husband’s work schedule, their main priority is keeping W happy…and they succeed. I also keep in touch with his teachers via Facebook Messenger – they send me updates and photos. It’s awesome and makes me feel more connected.

  1. Just Say No

Once becoming a mom, I have set certain rules up for myself to keep my travel in check. Sometimes I fail miserably and have back-to-back travel, but for the most part I try and stay away no more than three nights in a row and try and avoid trips that stack up. I’ve also learned to say no more than I did before having a child. Sometimes a trip is not feasible and will be an issue for my family, so in that case I have to say no. Luckily, I have a great work family with a lot of moms who get it and clients who also are mindful of my work life balance attempt.

  1. Digital Detox

I rarely travel on weekends, so weekends for me are all about family. There is honestly nothing else and no one else I’d rather be with than Sam and Westley. So part of my being present is disconnecting from emails on weekends (I check once a day for a quick skim to ensure no client crisis have occurred). I also try and put my phone away as much as possible, although I still use it for photos and to check social media because it’s something I enjoy. Being present and not spending time checking email makes my weekends feel more free and 100 percent focused on my little family.

As my good friend Heidi Floyd put it, it’s all about the work life integration. And at the end of the day, it’s about making it work for you and your family – whatever that may look like. Would love to hear from you with any other tips!

XO,

Ivette

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.

 

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!