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

 

Mom Hacks: Car Seats

Since I have a lot of friends who are either brand new moms or currently pregnant, it was pretty perfect timing that Reviews.com reached out to share with me some of the research and findings surrounding car seat choices.

There are so many decisions to make as a new parent and many times we make them with zero point of reference and very little research. There is no parent handbook and in my opinion, there are no right or wrong ways to do things. I’m a firm believer that what works for you and your family is the best decision always. No one lives in your shoes, so as a parent trusting your partner and your instincts is always a good idea.

Everyone will always have an idea, opinion, suggestion, etc. So with that said, I’m sharing overall info for all the new parents out there to consider when selecting a very important piece in your child’s arsenal of safety tools…the Car Seat.

As the folks at Reviews.com share, all car seats are designed to be safe, but some are definitely easier and more convenient to use than others. Their team of experts worked with over 100 parents to identify the most sought after features, while also consulting with child passenger safety technicians and pediatricians. They then compared the functionality and features of an infant car seat vs. a convertible car seat.

Since both serve unique purposes, they ultimately created a guide for each to provide parents with all the info needed to make a choice that is right for their family.

You can read more here about their tests and recommendations:

Infant car seat: https://www.reviews.com/infant-car-seat/

Convertible car seat: https://www.reviews.com/convertible-car-seat

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For W, we started with the infant car seat that was part of our travel set, which I absolutely loved. We each had a base installed in our cars and would take W into daycare in the car seat. When they’re little babies, the flexibility of the portable car seat is awesome. You can go from the car to the stroller in one easy click!

Once he was close to a year (he was big and tall y’all), we transitioned into the convertible car seat that will then become a booster once he’s old and big enough.

Good luck to all the mamas out there as you navigate all the safety and tools needed to keep those sweet babies safe.

XO,

Ivette

Holiday Gift Guide: For Her

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for some finding the right gift can be stressful.

I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite things at a range of prices as inspiration for the lady in your life. These can work from your family and significant other to friends and co-workers. A little something for everyone! Enjoy.

Versace Eros – My hubby gifted me this fragrance two birthdays ago and I instantly fell in love with the unique scent that is not too overpowering. Works for day or night. Bonus, the bottle is absolutely gorgeous, a work of art that will elevate a perfume collection and look lovely on the vanity!

Fuji Instax – Retro vibes and nostalgia reign with this gift for capturing memories. This is the perfect gift for the photo obsessed or a great addition if you’re taking someone on a trip as part of the gift. Add this cute camera in a fun color, extra film and a post card for the gifted destination for extra points 🙂

Toms – I just received the Toms holiday catalog (love still getting printed pieces in the mail!) and the collection is vast and beautiful. From classic Toms with a holiday twist, to velvet, fur lined slippers and booties galore, there is no shortage of choices. Bonus – you always feel good buying or gifting these because a person in need receives shoes too. One for One and One for All!

All Birds – A friend introduced me to these beauties from New Zealand. They ship to the U.S. and the company just recently opened a NYC flagship store. This is the perfect gift for the Athleisure obsessed lady in your life. The shoes are super comfortable, chic and come in a variety of gorgeous tones!

Comfy + Cozy – Truth be told, I have not thought of Abercrombie since college, but I came across this adorable menswear inspired PJ shirt paired with comfy socks and fell in lounge love. You can never go wrong with cozy loungewear and sleepwear as a holiday gift. Whoever receives this will instantly want to sit by a fire, sipping hot cocoa and binging on Hallmark Christmas movies (Candace Cameron Bure not included).

Baublebar – Give me all the baubles. This year’s holiday collection is beautiful with tons of options from my favorite jewel tone studs for every outfit to fun tassel earrings and dainty necklaces. Major plus, the gifts come in gorgeous packaging for stress free wrapping. This is especially great for someone like me who is definitely on the struggle bus when it comes to gift-wrapping.

Prive Reveaux – I used to be a fan of spending beaucoup bucks on designer sunglasses, but after most of them have either been ruined, broken or lost, I am now all about great looking glasses for affordable prices. Enter Jaime Fox (yes the Oscar winning actor) and his new sunglasses line for men and women. Apparently he was also tired of paying premium for a product that is pretty disposable. The styles go from classic to risk shader and the price cannot be beat$29.95! Gift a pair and get yourself a pair for being so frugally fabulous.

Sephora Favorites Sets – Who doesn’t love receiving a black and white striped bag with beauty goodies inside?! Last year, hubby got me the skin saver set, which was amazing and introduced me to tons of new products including my favorite face oil. There’s also lip kits, mascara, face mask kits and more. Depending on whom you’re gifting, I guarantee you there is a kit to fit!

Sparkling Champagne Bottle – This is the perfect gift for the bling and bubbles obsessed on your list! ONEHOPE glitter champagne bottles are stunning and philanthropic. ONEHOPE was founded by eight friends with a lofty vision: to create exceptional products that inspire people to indulge while doing good. The bottles come in a variety of glittery goodness filled with Cali bubbles. Pair with some flutes or a cute “I’ll Be There in a Prosecco” sweatershirt from Target for a little EXTRA in your gift giving.

Mug with Gift Card Bouquet – This is for the “hard to shop for” lady in your life. Buy a fun and fabulous mug with a great saying, add a foam ball and make “gift card” flowers (aka gift cards on a stick) for everything from coffee and fast food to fine dining and movies. It’s creative and won’t disappoint!

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Motivation Monday: The 30-Minute Challenge

For the last month, I’ve been waking up about 30-minuets earlier than normal to see what I can accomplish during this time. Everything from laundry and loading/unloading the dishwasher to quiet “me time” and reading.

It sounds simple, but giving up 30 minutes of sleep has been a game changer in terms of productivity and taking back my weekends.

This idea came out of a recent workshop I attended/guest hosted given by my friend and life coach, Chelsea Quint. The workshop was all about approaching the holidays stress free and having more joy, but it turned out to be much more beneficial than just for one season.

As the women gathered in the “living room” of a lifestyle retail space, Hearth & Soul, sharing their thoughts on what brought them joy versus what induced stress, one of the attendees shared a simple, yet transformative idea. She had started waking up 30-45 minutes early to do chores around the house with the goal of not spending her entire weekend doing these very things.

I could immediately relate. While we usually run errands and do house work as a family unit (with the toddler usually undoing what we do), it would be way more fun to do other things during our time off from work. Things we enjoy much more than laundry!

The idea struck a cord in me and on that rainy Sunday, I committed to waking up 30 minutes early as a test. Certainly 30 minutes is doable and would not result in me giving up too much precious sleep.

The results have been phenomenal! First, I feel much more energized and ready to take on the day by the time my old “wake up time” rolls around. I’ve already accomplished so much, had some quiet time and am ready for the day.

I also have noticed a difference in the amount of weekend chores we have to do. Laundry is usually finished (or close to it) by Friday and the house is in pretty good shape.

This extra time also let’s me exercise creative outlets outside of work. For example, I wrote this blog during a few of these early morning sessions!

I also use this extra 30 minutes to sometimes get ready earlier, and run an errand before work like dropping off dry cleaning or running by the post office.

My verdict – I’m committed to giving myself these 30 minutes. It’s life changing. It makes me happier, healthier and more energetic. Win win.

What would you do with an extra 30 minutes a day? If you’ve tried this, I’d love your thoughts!

XO,

Ivette

Halloween Style: Recreate Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” Looks

I have always loved dressing up for Halloween. It is after all, the one day a year, you can be whoever you want to be…no judgement.

With Halloween a few days away, I’m sharing super fun and easy looks inspired by Taylor Swift’s smash hit and epic video – Look What You Made Me Do.

These are four unique looks that can be recreated with items you probably already have in your closet plus a few accessories!

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  1. Biker Babe – Channel your inner badass and race into the holiday with this bold look. It’s easy, slimming and hot. Just grab a pair of black leather leggings, bustier or tank, leather jacket and booties and you’re on your way. Spice it up with a biker hat, studded accessories and choker to complete the look. Motorcycle not included 😜 zhalloween17-7424-Edit
  2. Frosted Taylor – This look takes commitment and confidence. If you happen to own a diamond encrusted bra and bottom, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you can use a white or silver sequined dress and fake diamonds to pull this look together. Top it off with a bold red lip. zhalloween17-7375-Edit
  3. Lady in Red – This look is sleek as “snake-y.” You will need a red kimono dress, snake accessories including a long necklace and bracelets, gold heels and pomade to slick hair down. If you’re a brunette like me, you may want to invest in a bottle of Jerome Russell B Blonde to complete the look. zhalloween17-7407-Edit
  4. Naughty Cat – If you’re in a rush or in witness protection, this is the Tay Tay look for you — the ultimate comfort and incognito Halloween costume. You get to wear an oversized sweater and a cat head, so no one will know who you are. Also, no need for hair or makeup. Craft queen? Go ahead and make an amazing paper mache cat head like my friend Jillian. Otherwise, purchase a pre-made cat mask and meow your way to trick or treating. Finally, no one will mess with you – after all you’re an angry feline with a bat! Finish this look off with thigh high colorful boots or sneakers…whatever your heart desires. zhalloween17-7405-Edit

Photos: Brooks Photography

Happy costuming and Happy Halloween!

XO,

Ivette

Listen Up: Podcast Reccos

While I love to read (book finds is a post for another day) and watch my fair share of good and bad TV, I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with podcasts.

The hubby and I listened to Serial during a road trip and while it was fast and furious, I only associated podcasts with long stretches of driving. And I guess my love affair with a podcast always starts with a drive.

Except these days I listen while I’m on the elliptical, in the car, in bed, wherever. So if you’re into (true crime) podcasts or want to get into them, here are my latest obsessions. And if you’ve never listened to Serial, start there, since a lot of these were inspired or produced by the Serial team.

Up and Vanished: Documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey investigates the unsolved murder mystery of a small town former beauty queen and teacher, Tara Grinstead. The 24 episode, two season podcast is a must listen and does not disappoint. If you’re a real junkie, Payne has in depth case evidence file episodes and more. Bonus – for my North Florida and Georgia peeps, this murder happened in the small South Georgia town of Ocilla, so it will feel familiar and close to home.

S Town: Another day, another small town inspired podcast. S town aka Shit Town is a seven episode podcast that starts as a murder investigation, but quickly transforms into a profile piece on an eccentric, genius man. It’s fast and interesting, albeit the ending left something to be desired. Nevertheless, worth a listen. It’s like watching Dexter and making pretend the last episode/”lumberjack” gate never happened.

Dirty John: this is the newest true crime podcast to “go viral.” I’m four episodes in and it’s every woman’s worst nightmare…older divorcee meets “man of her dreams” who turns out to be a liar and master manipulator…more to come as I listen on.

What are your favorite, must listen podcasts?

Happy Listening,

Ivette