February 27, 2013

So Apparently I'm Arm Candy Now...

Not too long ago I used to live on an airplane.  Okay, I didn't actually LIVE on an airplane, but I spent a postively ridiculous amount of time traveling in them.  Until recently I flew 100,000+ miles each year traveling back and forth across the country doing fashion industry trade shows and hopping around Asia visiting manufacturers.  In fact, Kayla logged more miles in my belly than most kids will ever fly in their lives.

Mommy Testers Cwonder cork ballet flats, Zara coated pants and J.Crew silk blythe blouse #cbias

So it gives me great pleasure to say that in a few weeks, for the first time ever I'll be taking a business trip on which I have zero responsibilities.  In fact, when I told one of my bloggy besties where I was going she immediately informed me I was "arm candy" which is a hilarious concept to me and something 25 year old me would have had a fit about and defended my liberated, self supporting woman status.

That's right, I'm tagging along while my husband attends his annual securities traders conference in Palm Springs.  For 72 wonderful hours my only job is to show up at the amazing La Quinta, look somewhat put together and enjoy myself while hanging out with my most favorite guy in the world, his industry buddies and their wives.  Jackpot!

Mommy Testers CWonder cork pointed toe ballet flats #cbias

After calling my mother in law and arranging for her to come stay for the weekend (Thanks mom!) I got down to the best part of vacation planning if you're a bit of a clothes horse -what to pack.  It would be a lie if I said I needed some new clothes for this trip since living in San Diego my wardrobe is pretty much planned for eternal Spring but really, who doesn't want to get a few fun new things before a trip to a warm place?

As you probably know by now, my default for online shopping is J.Crew,  but when I saw that C.Wonder was having a flash sale it was impossible to avoid poking around and seeing what they had to offer.  If you're not familiar with C.Wonder, my take is that it's sort of a hybrid between J.Crew and Kate Spade but with more down to Earth prices on most items.  The pricing of their flash sale was insanely awesome to say the least, so I helped myself to a couple of cute accessories, guilt-free.

Mommy Testers CWonder pave cushion cute earrings and JCrew necklaces #cbias

Most people assume that having worked in jewelry for so long I have a ton of it.  I really don't though.  In fact, staring at it for so long has made me overly choosy when it comes to picking pieces and I only buy a couple new pieces a year.  I love that these pave earrings are timeless and easy to wear with nearly anything whether it's a T-shirt or a cocktail dress.  Clearly mine will be worn with more T-shirts these days!

Those cork ballet flats you saw above?  When I found them there was no question as to whether I was ordering them.  I have a cork clutch I bought last Spring and it has become a go-to piece in my wardrobe.  I was hoping to find a pair of cork flats this year and the fact that these have a pointy toe makes them so perfectly on trend.   This girl also loves mixing neons and neutrals so I was pleasantly surprised when these shoes arrived from C.Wonder and I saw the hot pink leather accent on the back of them.

Mommy Testers CWonder cork pointed toe ballet flats #cbias

And yes, they go with lots of things too.  Even an elephant clad shirt!  Here's a rule I always go by.  If the shirt is busy I keep the accessories simple, pair it with tailored pants and neutral shoes.  It keeps you from being "that woman" who tried to wear it all and everything is competing.

Mommy Testers CWonder cork pointed toe ballet flats #cbias

I've recently had some friends give me an earful about my "$60 sale shirts" to which I say I hear you, but it's all about high and low.  These pants were just $18 at H&M, but paired with the right things you'd never know it (I mean, unless I bragged about it on the internet.)

Mommy Testers CWonder sparkle canvas tote  missoni ipad cover#cbias

And what woman doesn't need a great big bag to keep all her stuff in? I grabbed this cute canvas tote that can function as both my big handbag for the trip to Palm Springs and back and a bag to take to the pool.  The gold hardware is gorgeous and the fabric is a great balance of casual and refined with a touch of sparkle.

It fits all the essentials and leaves plenty of room behind for sunscreen, magazines, a change of clothes and the ever growing collection of Apple products I seem to be unable to function as a human being without.

Mommy Testers CWonder sparkle canvas tote textured lace skirt

So now that my wardrobe needs are taken care of I can move on to my husband's.  This means I have about 3 weeks to convince him that Adidas sandals are not casual attire.  They are what boys in high school wear with sweat pants when they roll out of bed late for school.  Any suggestions to help him get to that realization?

Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric of course everything you see here is my personal and incredibly picky opinion. Suffice to say I'll be making a trip to the C.Wonder store in San Diego soon!

February 26, 2013

Stork Stack - Yes, I Still Love It.

What can't you get sent to your house in a box these days?  Since we've last discussed Stork Stack many months ago, a whole lot has happened in the world of subscription baby and kids products.  Some companies who seemed like major players in this industry have vanished.  Others have changed their mission completely and now sell an entirely different product.  And a few still do exactly what they set out to do and do it well.  So I was pretty curious to see if anything had changed about Stork Stack since I checked out their very first box.

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The answer to that would be yes and no. Stork Stack still serves the ages of 3rd trimester through 3 years old and has a monthly theme.  This month was animals and I feel like it's fair to say that the items in the box related to that.  I'm all for themes so long as brands don't get so carried away with them and sacrifice on quality and mix of products...obviously that's not the case here or I wouldn't even write this post.

 I received the stack meant for toddlers 12-17 months old and when I opened it up the first thing that caught my eye was this Melissa & Doug turtle.  Hmmm.  I wasn't sure how to feel about it since Melissa & Doug is a company I think most parents know pretty well.  It's not like their products are very under the radar or anything so a part of me was surprised to see them in Stork Stack which is known for finding products from more unknown brands.

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But then I opened the Peek-a-Boo turtle and realized why it was in this box.  Sure it's Melissa & Doug, but it's not an item I've run into even while checking out a few specialty toy stores beyond the big box places.  The grasping worm - yep I've seen that, but this little guy is like a hidden gem.  How do I know?  Because I have a 4 year old that is begging to play with the turtle all the time despite the fact that she's about 2 years too old for it.

In fact I found myself on a call the other day and what was I doing while talking on the phone?  Playing with the damn turtle.  Its little head and legs are attached with a thick elastic and click back and forth from a hiding position to a walking position and make a little click any toddler would find satisfying and most parents wouldn't be bothered by.

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Next, it would be impossible to ignore the cuddly little elephant from Under the Nile.  They're a brand I'd classify as less widely known and I've bought a bunch of their cute products for baby gifts.  Everything is made from organic Egyptian cotton and they offer some pretty funny toys similar to this elephant like broccoli and eggplant because if your child is going to stick it in their mouths it might as well be an organic veggie, right?

And of course I couldn't forget one of my favorite toddler snacks - Little Duck Organics.  Remember how I told you they would be my first choice for snacks?  That's still true to this day.  It's fruit.  Nothing more, nothing less, and no scary unpronounceable ingredients you wouldn't want to feed your child anyway.  I love that these make a good on-the-go option for parents who are very conscious of what their child eats.

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In my eyes this is totally one of those products you can dispense on occasion and by keeping it as a "special" item it can easily take the place of a less nutritious snack your child might beg for.  Just the other day I had Kayla begging me for some kind of junk leftover from Valentine's Day and I countered her with the Little Duck Organics snacks and she totally went for it!

Also in the Stork Stack February stack were Babylegs and some Eboost samples.  I personally never had much luck with Babylegs when Kayla was a baby.  I think more of it had to do with her fantastically chubby thighs than the product though.  No joke, the kid had thunder thighs!  I do have plenty of friends who swear by Babylegs and have multiple pairs.

So how has Stork Stack changed?  Well, you no longer get a hand written note, but seriously I understand why - they are growing and that's exciting!  In lieu of that hand written note, you do get a great printed note that discusses what's going on with your child at this age and why they sent the products you received.  It still feels personal and their printed info cards feel a little more refined than they did in the very first box.

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What hasn't changed?  Their charitable mission for one.  They make what I think are pretty substantial donations to wonderful charities like Operation Showers of Appreciation and Baby Buggy.  Few companies out there can say that they give back in this scale and if you have ever spoken to Chris, Liz and Terri you'd know that they're not just doing it be able to say they do it.

What also hasn't changed (and this is the most important thing if you ask me) is their approach to customer service.  I always think the death sentence for any company is lackluster customer service with a no-can-do attitude.  The chances of you having a problem with their stacks seem much smaller than the other subscription services I've seen and tested out and if by chance you did they are very quick to apologize, correct it and most importantly make sure it doesn't happen again.

So I'm happy to see a company I've come to love growing and doing it carefully to make sure their products are on target and their customers come first.  If you'd like to check out Stork Stack and more of what's in their stacks along with membership information you can here: Check out Stork Stack

Want to win a stack of your own?  Of course you do.  Check back in the next couple days for a sweet giveaway where you can win a Stork Stack April stack.  My lips are sealed as to what's in it but I promise you there are some amazing products you have never seen as well as some ones that have me ooohing and aaahing.

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February 25, 2013

Raccoon Rumpus - Preschool Game Cuteness

Seriously, what could be more fun to a small child than a forest creature wearing a pair of tighty whities?  Even I am entranced by his friendly smile.  So it's not surprising that Raccoon Rumpus has earned a lot of laughs and "mom when we get home can we play the raccoon game?"

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I picked up a copy of Raccoon Rumpus when I visited the Educational Insights booth at Toy Fair.  I saw hundreds of toy and game companies at Toy Fair and this was one of my favorite preschool games I saw.

What I like about this game is:
-It's easy to explain to a child
-There are no abstract concepts to cause confusion
-Although there are times where you might have to "start over" it's still a fairly quick game
-It teaches following directions, color identification and problem solving
-The illustrations are adorable

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So here is how it works.  You start out with your underwear clad raccoons, spread out all the outfit cards and let the youngest player roll the dice first.  There are 2 different jumbo sized dice, one with clothing items on it and the other with colors on it.

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Here we rolled yellow and a shirt, so you'd look through all the costume cards for one that has a yellow top on and put it on your raccoon.  The object of the game is to be the first to get 5 costume cards on your raccoon.  The possible setback is if you roll the clothing die and the underwear comes up you'll have to strip your raccoon back down to his underwear and start over again.  


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Since Raccoon Rumpus is aimed at preschoolers and I'm not a huge fan of pushing "winning" as the object of the game we just played with the point being for everyone to get 5 costumes on their raccoon so it worked more as a cooperative game.  

The illustrations definitely appeal to children as they range from fairy princess to doctor to lifeguard and keep the game interesting.  I also like that the costumes are easy to place on the raccoons eliminating any possible frustration.  I can't even tell you how many games I have come across that have some unintentionally frustrating aspect of them for kids that ruins the game.  This one has none that I can find.

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Educational Insights also says you can use the cards as a sort of memory game, giving it a dual purpose.  I suppose you can, although I wouldn't buy it for that feature.  Their version of the memory game is definitely a more advanced kind than the traditional finding pairs kind of memory game.

All in all I would definitely buy this as a good birthday party gift for a 3-5 year old child.  It's reasonably priced at $15 retail, but you can find it on Amazon.com for $13 and under here: Check out Raccoon Rumpus

February 24, 2013

Can you recycle that? You probably can!

After about 3 years of complaining about that the cordless phones my husband has had since before we started dating, we finally got replacements.  And then I found myself with a box of electronic junk and wondering what to do with it.  Sound familiar?

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I added figuring out what to do with said junk to my to-do list and promptly forgot about it.  Several weeks later I circled back to that phone system and couldn't even find the box containing it that had been sitting in the garage so either we have been burgled by someone looking for barely functioning electronics or one of us had unintentionally tossed it in the trash, which you are definitely not supposed to do.

Then last week my husband came home with a new vacuum to replace the one we've had for years that has eaten one too many Legos and regardless of how many times I clean the filter it has the smell...you know what I mean?  Yet again,  I found myself in the same predicament, yet determined to make sure this one got recycled.  Then I got lazy again (shocking) and THEN I found out about this program.

...which is pretty awesome because you can bring in super old electronics, regardless of where they were purchased and they are accepted at all locations throughout the US and Puerto Rico for free, safe and responsible disposal.

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When I first read that I figured sure, let me show up with my giant vacuum cleaner and be THAT weirdo.  But hear this little factual tidbit - Best Buy recycles 387 pounds of electronics for every minutes that their stores are open!  That's pretty incredible and makes me feel like I won't be the only one cruising into the store with my old hunk of junk.

While I'm there I'll be eyeing the Energy Star washing machines they carry because I can tell it's just a matter of months until our low-efficiency, dinosaur of a washing machine goes into cardiac arrest and officially quits on me.

So do you have an appliance that is about to turn in its two week notice?  Or better yet one that has just quit with no warning?  You can check here and see if it's on the list.  If it is, Best Buy will recycle it for you and you can check out more efficient alternatives  like I'll be doing for our "vintage" washing machine.

Just so you know, I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy giftcard for sharing this information but I would have shared it anyway since it's an awesome program and since technology waste is the fastest growing waste stream on the planet I'll be making sure we're more careful about what doesn't go into the trash and it's nice to see Best Buy is doing their part too!

February 22, 2013

Girl Scout Cookie Blondies with Thin Mints and Tagalongs

Yes, this HAD to happen. Quite frankly I've been feeling a bit jealous of all those food bloggers who churn out delectable treat after delectable treat, so when the only solicitors that people actually want coming to their door, the Girl Scouts showed up at mine and a friend sent me an email with 25 different over the top indulgent blondie recipes it seemed only fair to add 26 to the list with some Girl Scout cookie blondies.  

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I don't know about your home, but in ours Thin Mints and Tagalongs rule the roost so I whipped up a batch of blondies and used both of them.  

Mommy Testers Girl Scout Cookie Blondies, Thin Mint Blondies, Tagalong Blondies, Girl Scout cookie recipes, Girl Scout cookie Blondie recipe,

Super Simple Blondie Recipe

1 cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of all purpose flour
A pinch of salt.  Seriously, just a pinch!
1 large egg
1 stick or 4 oz butter  - yep, I know.  I didn't say they were super healthy!
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of chocolate chips (optional) - milk, dark, semisweet it's up to you.

First I mixed up the wet ingredients, added the dry ingredients (including the chocolate chips) and kept stirring until it formed a uniform dough.

When making brownies or blondies I always use wax paper and lightly grease it so when the blondies are done they are easy to remove and slice up.  I used a little less than half of the batter and spread it as evenly as I could in an 8x8 Pyrex baking dish.  If the batter is sticking to your spatula you can wet it with a little bit of water and that will help with spreading it out.

Mommy Testers Girl Scout Cookie Blondies, Thin Mint Blondies, Tagalong Blondies, Girl Scout cookie recipes, Girl Scout cookie Blondie recipe,

After I got that bottom half of the dough spread I chose my cookies and pressed them into the batter one by one.  I tried to space them evenly so I could slice them in a way that each blondie would have a whole cookie inside.  Pressing the cookies into the dough means you won't have to work as hard to cover them up when you add the remaining batter.

Mommy Testers Girl Scout Cookie Blondies, Thin Mint Blondies, Tagalong Blondies, Girl Scout cookie recipes, Girl Scout cookie Blondie recipe,

Scoop the rest of the batter on top and spread it out as evenly as you can making sure to cover all of the girl scout cookies.

Mommy Testers Girl Scout Cookie Blondies, Thin Mint Blondies, Tagalong Blondies, Girl Scout cookie recipes, Girl Scout cookie Blondie recipe,

Pop the pan into a 350 degree oven for just about 30 minutes and you'll have perfectly golden brown blondies with the holy grail of cookies inside.   The wax paper will make them easy to pop right out of the baking dish so they can cool on a wire rack or your counter top.

Mommy Testers Girl Scout Cookie Blondies, Thin Mint Blondies, Tagalong Blondies, Girl Scout cookie recipes, Girl Scout cookie Blondie recipe,

Take these to a party and you'll almost certainly be asked to bring them next time...sure beats assembling a lasagna!

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February 21, 2013

What's your breakfast looking like these days?

When I think of breakfast my mind wanders to beautiful plates of eggs that have been lovingly prepared  and are accompanied by seasonal fruit, buttered toast and the occasional serving of bacon.  Okay, so maybe that's a reality once a week in our home.  It's also always on a weekend because during the week it's physically impossible for us to sit down as a family and eat that first meal of the day together.

MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings

My husband works stock market hours and living in California means trading starts at 6:30am so he's out the door by 5:30.  In fact, I really don't know what the man eats for breakfast most of the time.  Now that Kayla FINALLY sleeps till 6:30 or 7:00ish  I usually try to sneak in a quick breakfast for myself before she gets up so I can focus on getting her ready for school.

I'm not sure about you, but for me that usually means it's a meal eaten standing.  By my calculations if you have a child under the age of one it's almost certainly done while standing AND juggling a baby.  For me it's also usually eaten while tackling several other things at the same time like checking email, packing the lunch I should have packed the night before (yet again) or writing out my always growing to-do list for the day.

MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings peanut butter english muffin

When you're doing that five days a week it's pretty easy to find yourself stuck in a boring-bowl-of-cereal with skim milk or English muffin with butter rut.   It's also easy to completely ignore things like portion size when you're not really paying attention to what you're eating.

Did you know most serving sizes for cereal is 3/4 cup?  Have you ever actually measured out your cereal?  Because I did recently and realized it's pretty easy to pour 2-3 times that amount into a bowl without realizing it.  Especially if you have big cereal bowls like I do.  Looks kinda sad, right?

MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings cereal portion sizes

So how about pouring that cereal into a mug.  I know it sounds a little silly, but it'll seem like more and you'll be less likely to double up servings.  I recently picked up this new Honey Nut Cheerios medley which is like a hybrid between Honey Nut Cheerios and one of those cereals with flakes and clusters in it.  To up that vitamin intake I've been throwing in different fruit like bananas, strawberries, blackberries and raisins.  

MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings fruit for cereal



No fruit laying around? I am guilty of getting to the point when all we have left are a few wrinkly looking strawberries and bananas that look like they've been to war before heading out for a fruit run.  How about grabbing a glass of orange juice?  


MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings cereal in a mug and orange juice

One of my good friends has orange trees growing in her backyard and makes her own juice.  Suffice to say I'm completely jealous.  Perhaps one day when we do a backyard makeover.  Until then I've been loving Simply Orange.  In a huge rush or work outside the home and have to take breakfast to-go?  Then bag the cereal and grab one of these single cute single serving bottles.  I didn't realize that each one has about 60% of the calcium and 25% of the vitamin D you need each day.  

MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings simply orange and Honey Nut Cheerios Medley

Speaking of in a rush, one of my little sisters turned me on to Kind bars and they're beyond yummy plus often gluten free and without lots of added junk.  On a recent trip to Vons I was pretty surprised to find them cheaper there than any other store I had seen them in so I grabbed a few.  Paired with some Silk soy milk and a banana it makes a pretty well rounded breakfast to go.  


MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings Silk soy milk with fruit and Kind bar

Coffee lover?  I've moved towards tea lately but recently picked up some Maxwell House coffee because it's what my parents always drank and I'm expecting them to make a visit to San Diego soon.  I was surprised to see that they now make K-Cups! 


MommyTesters easy breakfast from Safeway Vons #cbias #BreakfastSavings Peanut Butter Apples Maxwell House coffee

Just like the peanut butter whole wheat English muffin above, these apples are a nice way to get some extra plant derived protein into your morning. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that none of these ideas are revolutionary concepts BUT I feel like I always see these complicated breakfast ideas in magazines that look awesome but are completely unrealistic for most of us so all of these can be put together in three minutes or less and mixed and matched to make a bunch of quick combinations.  

Want to know how you can help give a good breakfast to a child that otherwise might go hungry? See what Kellogg's is doing to share breakfast.  It's as easy as a couple clicks of your mouse and bound to change a child in need's day!


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Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Safeway #cbias #SocialFabric Everything you see here is my personal and super picky opinion.

February 20, 2013

Caption This Step2 Easy Turn Coupe Giveaway

Now that I've told you why Kayla and I love the Easy Turn Coupe here is your chance to win an Easy Turn Coupe of your own, courtesy of Step2.  I don't frequently talk about it, but Kayla was actually born with a birth defect which was discovered on her 20 week ultrasound that caused hydronephrosis and required a scary 6 hour surgery at just 9 months old.  

As you can see below, today Kayla is a happy, healthy little girl and our family is forever grateful for the research and surgery techniques that allowed her to be easily treated for an uncommon issue in a baby girl.  

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Step2's own Tena Crock had a similar (yet more terrifying if you ask me) experience and also found out at her 20 week ultrasound that her little boy had a complex congenital heart defect which would require several surgeries before he reached school age.  He's already gone through three like a champ and has one more to go.  Thanks to the folks at The Saving tiny Hearts Society, Tena was able to get support and information to help get her through the experience.   Below you'll get a chance to help out StHS in a quick and fun way!

Check out why Kayla and I think the Easy Turn Coupe rocks here.  Then take a good look at the photo below and follow the Rafflecopter.  You'll get a chance to caption that photo however you like...serious, funny, just plain strange... whatever comes to mind.  Just be sure to keep it family friendly (nothing you wouldn't want to be caught saying in front of your own kids) and have fun!

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After giving it a caption you can head on over to Step2's Facebook page where you'll have a chance to tell them what you love about the Easy Turn Coupe and for every comment on the special Easy Turn Coupe tab they will donate $1 to The Saving tiny Hearts Society, up to $10,000 so join me in doing that and let's make them give the absolute maximum to help babies with congenital heart defects.

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Just so you know, I am a Step2 Test Drive Blogger and I received an Easy Turn Coupe to check out and share with you!  Our family are long time users of Step2 products and this new little car just plain rocks!

February 19, 2013

Tea time is ME time! Wait - there is me time?

The other day I found myself in the position of being asked "what do you do in your free time?" Hmmm...well that is an excellent question!  I'm not quite sure where free time fits into my schedule.  Maybe it's those 10 minutes of picking my brain for dinner ideas, turning to Pinterest for guidance and getting distracted by blissfully organized looking home offices, pantries and the apple of my green-with-envy eyes, fancy laundry rooms.  Perhaps it's when I show up to preschool drop off with makeup on, implying I got my 3-5 minutes of solace in the morning.

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and girl scout cookie blondies #cbias

Before I had Kayla my favorite free time activity was very slowly drinking a cup of coffee while enjoying a good book in the quiet of my NYC apartment.  By quiet I mean on the corner of 8th avenue, so subject to constant honking cabs and blaring sirens, but it's all relative really. Plus, any mother knows that sirens are nothing compared to a crying baby so long as they don't threaten to wake up your sleeping child.

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and girl scout cookie blondies #cbias

Anyhow, this question of my free time or "me time" really got me thinking of how I can incorporate a few minutes here and there into my day.  Recently I've cut way back on coffee and started drinking tea to avoid getting jittery...which doesn't really help when a large part of your job is staying focused and writing.  However, while I tend to associate tea with fancy china, feeling zen and teeny tiny sandwiches mine is predominantly consumed out of a to-go mug while running around like a maniac in the morning.  Yes, not so zen or ladylike.

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea from Target and girl scout cookie blondies #cbias

So I decided I would actually make myself stop multi-tasking and enjoy that cup of tea even if it was for only five minutes.  I even bought myself this little tea bag holder on a trip to Target as a reminder that this was supposed to be for enjoyment and not a rushed thing.

Day one was an epic failure.  My phone was blowing up with notifications from all social media outlets and since taking care of that stuff is a part of my job,  I didn't even think twice about obsessing over my phone.  Day two was considerably better.  I thumbed through an issue of Cooking Light and put my phone on silent.  And on day three I effectively became my mother (in a good way) by tackling a little home decor project I had wanted to doand had been putting on the back burner for at least a month.

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and a DIY terrarium centerpiece #cbias

After enjoying my vanilla chai tea (yep, Bigelow makes a vanilla chai) and totally indulging with some homemade Girl Scout cookie blondies...post coming soon, pinkie swear!  I found myself in a mode of actually wanting to do something that wasn't for Kayla, wasn't for my husband and really was just because I wanted to do it.

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and a DIY terrarium centerpiece #cbias

A little while back I picked up this awesome vessel at a fancy La Jolla gardening store where I opted to buy just the terrarium and not the gorgeous but crazy overpriced succulents in their pre-made ones.  Instead, I bought a couple of plants at a local grocer for $3 each and vowed to take advantage of the neat ground cover that's been growing in our backyard.  Totally something my mom would do and make look amazing.

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and a DIY terrarium centerpiece #cbias

Living in San Diego it's pretty incredible what you can find growing on your property, like these birds of paradise that flourish without irrigation or love from yours truly.  If you've ever bought them on the East Coast you know they cost an arm and a leg per stem.    

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and a DIY terrarium centerpiece #cbias

Lately I've seen this delicate feeling ground cover growing and decided to whip out the one shovel we own and harvest some for my experiment in indoor gardening.  By experiment I mean yet another attempt to not kill a plant left in my care because they don't bark, talk or cry and therefore I forget to water them.  So succulents, which are plants designed to live with very little water or mindful gardening seemed like the perfect stepping stone in flora responsibility for me.  

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and a DIY terrarium centerpiece #cbias

I made myself a little potters bench by covering my kitchen counter top with some kraft paper so I could  have a nice workspace and toss the mess in the recycling bin after.  Transplanting the succulents and surrounding them with the mystery ground cover only took a few moments and I had this pretty zen looking terrarium which will also function as a centerpiece for our dining table.

Mommy Testers me time with Bigelow vanilla chai tea and a DIY terrarium centerpiece #cbias

Oh, and I realized that it is completely possible to put aside everything you have going on and make ten minutes of time for yourself to actually enjoy that morning beverage and do something that would otherwise get tossed to the side in the name of the greater good of your household.  In my limited experience taking that extra bit of "selfish" time makes me a more patient mother and less likely to jump down her husband's throat over something others might deem petty...so time well spent!


Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric, everything you see is my personal and endlessly picky opinion. So far, no plants were harmed in the making of this post :)
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