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

 

 

 

 

The Law of the Modern Jungle

When we were kids, we were in a huge rush to grow up, thinking adulthood was where we wanted to be. And now that we’re here, it doesn’t involve nearly as many jet skis and margaritas as I was hoping it would. It’s cold in these streets, but here’s my top 5 list of pointers for making it work:

  1. Be mindful of how you occur in social media.

Going viral isn’t always a good thing. It can sometimes mean this or it can mean blowing up your life with a stupid tweet. Just ask Justine Sacco.  Accidents can happen, but the consequences of making bad choices- especially after a few cocktails- can linger.

  1. Talk to your children about how they interact in the digital world.

It’s not just a matter of cyber safety, which is still a real issue. Your children’s conduct online can affect your entire family in more ways than one.

  1. Watch your side hustle.

Look at your own social media feed.  What would a stranger see?  Is it all MLM sales pitches?  Are all of your “friends” just contacts for skin care, essential oils, and body wraps? Is your side hustle kosher with your day job?  Many employers have secondary employment rules.  Did you clear that up front?  If not, you could be subject to disciplinary action. Stories like thisthis, and this are embarrassing and could negatively affect your reputation, if not your career.

  1. Whether it’s personal or not, it’s all personal.

Declaring an account to be “personal” doesn’t immunize you from the consequences of your content. A County Councilman in Maryland ran his mouth off on Facebook.  He then had to learn a hard lesson about boundaries in public.  Then he had to issue a very public apology.

  1. Make good choices when it comes to textual intercourse.

Just because a photo of an intimate nature is locked in your password protected phone doesn’t mean it’s safe.   You may remember this story of the massive phone hacking which resulted in hundreds of celebrities’ nude photos being leaked on the internet.  The perpetrator in that case was caught, but it took two years to bring him to justice. Shared iCloud accounts are a new frontier in catching cheating spouses, handing divorce lawyers all the ammunition they need to take to court (including one iconic couple for those of us of a certain generation). Whether you’re married or single, it’s worth bearing in mind that 1) hacking happens and 2) you lose control over these photos once you send them to someone else.   Remember the “Cookie’s cookies” incident on a recent episode of “Empire?”  We can’t all bounce back as easily as she did.

Alexis Lambert is an attorney, endurance athlete, and curator of funny things on the internet. Her hobbies include power vinyasa yoga, SoulCycle, PureBarre, and GoRuck.  Her fantasy girl squad would include Morticia Adams, Ouiser Boudreaux, Emily Gilmore and RuPaul.

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.”

Family Getaway: Omni Amelia Island Plantation

At the beach, the air is always different and you always feel better. As a beach baby growing up in Miami some of my fondest memories are on the water and I absolutely love seeing my son enjoy a good day at the beach now. I also appreciate the ability for a quick getaway and living in North Florida, we have access to many destinations within a 4-hour driving radius.

Back in the fall I won a free 2-night stay to Omni Amelia Island Plantation as part of a social media engagement contest at work (woot woot). We decided to cash it in for a “winter” (it’s Florida after all) family weekend escape.

We had never been to Amelia Island, but had heard great things about the area and the resort. Family friendly places are huge for us since I never want to feel like we are inconveniencing other people, but I also don’t want to apologize for my toddler. OAIP Resort was perfect. There was a great mix of guests, but the majority were either older empty nesters or young families. And no surprise, Westley was a hit.

Arrival

We arrived Friday evening and were welcomed by the friendly valet staff. As guests, you can choose to valet for $25 a night or you can self park at a nearby garage and can change your decision at any time – no pressure. Resort staff, taking our luggage and then meeting us in our room once we checked in, handled everything seamlessly. The resort has a beautiful lobby and smells delicious…there is juts something so welcoming and soothing about a tropical scent at resorts. For me, it sets off the stay.

The Room 

Once we made it to the 6th floor, exited the elevator area and walked outside to the room, it was time to see our “home” for the next two days. All rooms face the ocean, so that was a wonderful surprise and our suite was incredibly spacious. You walk into a little hallway and the room is split into two sides – to the left was a fabulous seating area with a full sized sectional couch, armchair, desk and flat screen. To the right was the bedroom with a king size bed, a chaise and the en suite compete with a beautiful tub. My favorite part of course was the balcony with a breathtaking view of the pools, hot tubs, fire pits, bar and the ocean. I absolutely adore ocean front properties not only for the views, but also for the sheer convenience of getting to the beach with a toddler.

Nom Nom & Sip Sip

The resort has great options food options for all tastes and budgets. We chose to keep it simple and kid friendly trying Natural Slice for pizza, the Sunrise Café for breakfast and Falcon’s Nest for dinner. The breakfast buffet at Sunrise Café “The Art of Breakfast” definitely lives up to the name. The are feel like a large chef’s kitchen in a fabulous beach house with a gorgeous wooden island housing artisanal house made breads, gourmet cheese spread, local honey, etc. The breakfast also includes almost all the items on the a la carte menu from eggs benedicts and frittatas to bacon, eggs and potatoes. The best part was that children four and under are free, so Westley enjoyed a big plate of delicious breakfast on the house J Breakfast was the priciest meal of the day per person at $23 a head, but the experience, amount of food and filling quality was a good investment overall.

My favorite spot was Falcon’s Nest where we went to dinner Saturday night. It’s in the Amelia Island Village area a short shuttle ride from the resort. Shuttles are free and allow you to navigate the expansive resort without ever having to take your car! A burger and brews restaurant with airplane décor, Falcon’s Nest, was family friendly, but definitely had an edge. The second floor has a game room complete with pool table, dartboard, virtual golf and bowling and an iconic Mr. Pacman arcade. We grabbed a couple of local IPAs, Intuition I-10, and hung out in the game room during our 20-minute wait. The burgers were delicious and creative. We ordered the Plantation Burger with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, shaved ham and corn relish and the Seaplane Burger with Fernandina shrimp, pickled red onion and lemon mayo. Both were winners and were accompanied by fried and onion rings that came in really cute little baskets. Westley took down a kid’s cheeseburger that was served with fries, applesauce, yogurt and milk. Overall, this place gets an A+ and the bill including drinks was only $55.

Finally some details on the libations. Drinks were good with a kick and prices were not too prohibitive for a resort. We grabbed a few drinks at pool including the signature Plantation Punch and a Margarita and had Moscow Mules at the Piano Bar after dinner.

Because we had Westley, we didn’t venture into the fancier restaurants, but OAIP also boasts a few more premium dinner options including Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Verandah and Oceanside.

Resort Activities 

We lucked out and had wonderful weather with highs in the 70s, so naturally we spent the bulk of our day at the pool (which was heated) and running around on the beach. Westley was all about the water and really got into playing with the sand and shells. To clarify…”playing with the sand” was more like grabbing large clumps of sand and throwing them on us.

We also checked out the Nature Center and one of the playgrounds on property. There’s tons more to do on property including Mini Golf and of course venturing out into  Beach, St. Augustine, etc.

Entertainment 

Of course no evening is complete without music – Westley’s favorite. After dinner we took our drinks on the shuttle (awesome perk for resort guests) and headed back to the hotel. The piano bar was the happening spot and Gary could sing and play any song requested from today’s hottest songs to classics. We ordered some Moscow Mules and sat back to enjoy the music while W put on a dancing show. He was a huge hit among the ladies and Gary even gave him a shout out. All in all it was a fabulous evening and we were all in bed by 9:30 p.m. Crazy, wild weekend indeed J

We definitely want to come back to visit Omni Amelia Island. Hopefully next time we’ll stay a little longer. If you’re looking for a great resort on a gorgeous beach, this one is a treasure.

Happy travels,

Ivette

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