Tea Collection’s Summer Sale

I’ve been a Tea Collection for the last several years for a couple of reasons. Their clothes are high quality and wash up well and last and also because they aren’t the same old, same old that I often see in stores.

Their patterns are always diverse and vibrant and they are a brand that I’m proud to put my little girls in.

Right now they are having their summer sale and I’ve been asked to share some of my favorite dresses.

 

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I love the chevron look and this dress is perfect for both summer and sleeveless weather and also transitioning to fall with either a shirt underneath or a cardigan over it.
Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.31.36 PM I can’t get over this floral print. Love.

My little girls own several of their dresses and sometimes for special occasions I’ll purchase matching ones like these ones:

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Have you ever shopped Tea Collection? What’s your favorite children’s brand? Shop Girls Styles at Tea Collection

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

It’s Time for Your #AmericanSelfie

We all love a good selfie, don’t we? Think you can manage an #AmericanSelfie?

This 4th of July Macy’s is asking us all to take a selfie, an #AmericanSelfie, to honor our military veterans. Here’s the lowdown:

What’s #AmericanSelfie?

In support of America’s military veterans, Macy’s is inviting customers to use #AmericanSelfie to share their favorite “selfie” photos.

Between now and the  4th of July, post on Instagram and/or Twitter those photos that capture the faces, places and things you enjoy most about this country.

With each use of #AmericanSelfie, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $250,000, to Got Your 6, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping our returning service members make America stronger.

Some #AmericanSelfie photos will be part of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, the nation’s largest Independence Day display telecast nationally on NBC.

{Did you read that?! Your #AmericanSelfie could be on national TV!!}

All you have to do is:

Snap a pic
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It could be of your signature style, you and your bestie or you at your fave place.

Tell us 

What makes someone or something an American Icon today
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Post it

On Instagram or Twitter with #AmericanSelfie

Leave a comment here sharing where you shared your #AmericanSelfie and you’re entered to win your very own SELFIE STICK! Now who doesn’t need one of those, right?

For a bonus entry, follow me on Instagram.

Winner to be chosen on Saturday, July 4 at 10 p.m.

So what are you waiting for? Go take those #AmericanSelfie pics!
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EPantry- A Convenient Solution for Household Shopping

I recently, after the prompting of my friend Anna, joined ePantry.

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It was super slick to sign up, choose the items I’d normally buy elsewhere and order them to be shipped to me.

I decided I had nothing to lose by trying it and placed an order for several Mrs. Meyers products I’d normally purchase along with some toothpaste and shave gel.

I was super excited when the box arrived but that quickly changed to disappointment when I opened the box and found that one of the soaps had leaked so everything had a thick coating of soap on it.

But. My ePantry experience doesn’t end there. I let them know about it and they handled it like pros by sending me a new box and assuring me that what happened to me was definitely not typical.

I was impressed, not just by the way they handled a customer service issue but the variety of items I would normally purchase being available on the site, the prices AND the free shipping.

Right now ePantry has a special deal for YOU, my friends and readers.

Join today using my link and you’ll receive $10 off your first order AND a free Grove candle.

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No exclusions, no shipping cost and no obligation to order again. It’s pretty much win, win.

Have you tried ePantry yet?

 Disclosure: Affiliate links were used in this post.

Breakfast at Crave: A Review

Last month, J and I had the opportunity to have breakfast at Crave in the West End after we went away to celebrate our 11th anniversary. When I think of Crave, I usually think of happy hour so I was excited to try something new.

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While I rarely ever eat breakfast at home {I know!} I do love me a good breakfast. Even better when I don’t have to make it, clean it up and I don’t have kids needing this and that and the other thing while I enjoy it.

We loved Crave’s new breakfast menu.

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We both started off with a mimosa because who can resist, right?

And then we had to try the donut holes dipped in Nutella. Can I just say delish? I could go and eat these every. single. day. {Also, my kids would LOVE these.}

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They come fresh, hot and just the right amount of sugar on them and the Nutella is so smooth. It’s really a treat.

J ordered the Southwestern Omelet

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…and I ordered the Classic Waffles and bacon. {I’m kind of boring, I know.}

We both loved our meals and plan on going back. Specifically on a Sunday because you guys, KIDS EAT FREE on Sundays. Could that be any better? A good breakfast for all and our kids eat free?

Crave West End serves breakfast every Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Have you had breakfast at Crave West End yet?

Disclosure: Crave West End invited us to visit and review their new breakfast menu. All photos and opinions expressed are mine.

 

My 6th Stitch Fix

My 6th Stitch Fix came this past week. I’ve been trying to schedule one every two-three months because they are typically a little bit more than I would usually spend on clothes but it’s been really fun to see what comes each time and I also know that many of the items I’ve received are things I wouldn’t normally have looked at or even tried on if I saw them in the store.

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This is what I got:

1. Pixley Jakobe Maxi Dress $78

I knew I would love this one when I saw it in the box and even though I probably don’t need another dress in my closet, I’m keeping it. I already wore it out to dinner last night.

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Decision: KEEP

2. Mystree Monica Dress $68

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In theory I liked this dress but I didn’t like it on myself. Too tight and too much stripes going on.

Decision: RETURN

3. Papermoon Bastille Tulip Sleeve Blouse $38

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This is the perfect top to dress up or dress down for a professional event or a dinner out with friends and the price point? Perfect.

Decision: KEEP

4. Chambrai Norene Linen Cuffed Shorts $64

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When I saw these in the box I hated them and contemplated not even trying them on but then once I tried them on I didn’t want to take them off. Super comfortable and actually really cute. That said the $64 price tag is pretty high for a pair of shorts.

Decision: UNDECIDED

5. Fun2Fun Sheridan Striped V-Neck Tab Sleeve Blouse $48

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I immediately thought I would love this top when I saw it in the box but then I put it on and it felt too short and too boxy for my liking.

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Decision: RETURN

My First Stitch Fix
My Second Stitch Fix
My Third Stitch Fix
My Fourth Stitch Fix

My 5th Stitch Fix

Have you tried Stitch Fix out yet? What have you liked or not liked? If you haven’t signed up yet what are you waiting for?

For a $20 styling fee, you fill out a questionnaire and all of your likes/dislikes when it comes to clothing, style, price points etc and a stylist puts together five pieces they think you might like. Hate it all? The only cost is the style fee. Love it?  Your $20 style fee goes towards your purchase and if you buy all five items you receive a 25% discount.

If you sign up and use my link I receive referral credit {it costs you nothing more or less by using my link, I’m just disclosing that I will receive credit}.

Stock up for Summer at Just Between Friends Eden Prairie

Well I don’t know about you but with this on again, off again spring weather, it’s made getting dressed in the morning a little tricky. Just as soon as I think it’s going to be nice, we’re pulling jackets and sweatshirts out again.

But.

We all know that eventually summer will be here and if your kids are like mine, they’ve outgrown all their stuff from last summer.

Cue the tears as your wallet deflates, right?

Wrong.

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It’s time for Just Between Friends Eden Prairie. Where you can go and shop the best of the best hand me downs from local consignors. You’ll be able to find everything your little ones need for summer from apparel to new outdoor toys, baby gear and even some SANDALS.

And you’ll be saving money while you do it. Most items are gently used, in great condition, name brand items. Items sold go through a careful quality control process in which they are checked over for stains or tears or damage.

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And it’s not just clothes. Need a climber or a trike for your little one? Baby swing or some new to you puzzles? They’ve got you covered.

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The Just Between Friends Eden Prairie Sale begins Saturday and runs through Monday.

Sat. May 30, 10am-7pm  Free Admission
Sun. May 31, 10am-7pm  Half Price Day, All items with no star on the price tag will be 50% off today.
Champions Hall (Turf Fieldhouse)

7000 Washington Ave. S., Eden Prairie, MN  55344

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by JBF Eden Prairie. All opinions and words are mine. Photos used with permission from JBF.

TWO.

And just like that our youngest, our last, our little Frannie. She’s two.

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Two years have never gone so fast, yet, it’s as though she’s still our babe that we’re carting here and there and everywhere.

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I am loving this age and stage with Frannie.

She is busy and funny and so, so smiley.

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She sits in her car seat and beams, she just beams with excitement for life.

And she has got the best dimple on her right side. It is the best.

She loves her siblings fiercely. And her and Miss E have got something special. I love this. Everything about this, I love. Before I was pregnant with Miss F, it was so painfully clear that Miss E needed to be a big sister and you guys, she is so good at it.

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The two share a room now and I love that they sing and talk back and forth each night for a few minutes and when F awakes in the morning, it’s usually E who will get her from her crib. They will talk and sing and play and sometimes even head to the kitchen for breakfast. It is so special.

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Miss F is also very opinionated. None of our other kids have really thrown fits but she can do a doozy if she tries. Thankfully as she learns how to communicate better this seems to be less and less because I’m getting too old for this.

She loves her some Frozen and walks around with pride when she wears an Elsa shirt or Olaf socks. It is the sweetest obsession ever and I don’t care what I used to say, she can wear character anything because it makes her so happy.

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She is precious and loving and the way her little arms wrap around my neck and give me a squeeze are things I just don’t want to forget about this age and stage of life with her.

She is busy but she is full of life and fun and she is a true gift to me.

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Oh Miss Frannie, we are so thankful for you. You are the baby we knew we needed and wanted to complete our family. Every day we thank God for you, your smile, your joy, your sweet belly laugh. You are everything a youngest babe should be. Love, Mom

 

 

On The Best Yes I Can Give Myself.

Last week, because of life’s commitments, my inability to say no and everything landing on the same week I found myself out four nights out of five. Three of those nights were “work” related and these evenings were in addition to going downtown a couple days, doing some media work within my community and trying to stay on top of life at home and being a mom. I’m not proud by any means because four nights out of five last week I wasn’t home to put my kids to bed and while I’m definitely ok handing off the bedtime baton to J many nights, it also stung because I knew that I wasn’t balanced and I wasn’t doing life the way I need to. The way I want to.

Midweek as a friend and I grabbed lunch downtown she suggested that I really need to work on saying no. And I agreed. Kind of. It’s just everything I had going on I wanted to do. I did. But I also knew it was unbalanced and that by Friday I’d be worn down and that come Saturday morning, I’d be promising myself not to book a week so full again like that.

Just yesterday I sat trying to plow through some emails and my cell phone rang, “Unknown” flashed across my screen.

I admit, I often screen my calls in the middle of the day but often I answer out of fear it’s school or an emergency of some sort.

“Samara” the voice on the phone said and I listened as the PR person went on and on thinking maybe I didn’t get her email.

Oh, I got her email. Twice. Inviting me to an event that I knew I couldn’t attend. But I didn’t reply and say I couldn’t attend. Because I would have liked to attend. Really. Instead I just let the email get buried in the abyss of my emails.

“So we’re wondering if you might be available to come, we would just love to have you there and think it would be a great experience,” she said, oh so kindly.

“Oh yes, let me check my calendar,” I said even though in my mind I am screaming at myself that checking my calendar will make no difference, I can’t do it.

Why is no so hard?

At last I broke the news.

“Unfortunately that won’t work for me. I’m so sorry.”

Wait. Why am I apologizing? What is going on here?

She was fine, she accepted my no and promised we’d be in touch soon and I know that we will be.

You guys. This is so ridiculous, right? I mean, wouldn’t it have been much simpler to just reply to her first email with a simple, thanks for thinking of me, I won’t be able to make it?

I spent much of the rest of the day dwelling on this. There are too many yes’s and not enough no’s. And it’s a good problem to have, yes but it’s a daunting challenge.

Here is what I’m learning.

It is not enough to tell myself to say no more. I need to pause. I need to give myself the moment, whether that is 10 minutes or 2 days, to really think through what I’m saying yes too.

And sometimes, this is the really hard part, I have to say no to things that are really great things. Because even though they are really great, I can’t have weeks where I am missing out with my family four out of five nights.

I am finding that I am the only one who can hit the pause button and decide to forgo the long to-do list and say no to the “great” opportunity to enjoy life more. So this week I’ve been reading more {I’m loving Amy Poehler’s Yes Please!} and sitting outside playing more instead of trying to accomplish the unending laundry or cleaning a bathroom or the kitchen just one more time. Of course I still have work commitments and life responsibilities but I don’t have to do it all. Isn’t that freeing to say?

I often joke that I want my cake and I want to eat it too. But here’s the deal, it’s not a joke. It’s really what my heart desires.

I want to pursue my goals and dreams and opportunities and accomplishments and I want to take my kids to the park or the beach or better yet, a road trip. I want to go on that field trip and I also want to go to that marketing event. I want to have dinner with friends and I also want to sit on the couch in my pajamas and watch Criminal Minds on Netflix. Do you see what I’m dealing with here?

All this to say, I’m realizing that the fine art of balancing is my struggle. And likely 92% of the rest of the population too. But that the key is in my hands. Sometimes the best yes I can give is the one I give myself by saying no to something else.

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I’m curious how do you balance and juggle various work/family/life responsibilities? 

 

 

 

Farm Babies at the Minnesota Zoo {Giveaway!}

zooThe farm babies are back at the Minnesota Zoo for the month of April and my littles and I paid them a visit over spring break.

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We loved it, I knew Miss F would especially love the baby animals and hands down her favorite were the baby goats who loved nibbling right out of her hands.

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The pigs, the cows, the bunnies  were all out to visit last week on a nice sunny day and we even got to enjoy a ride around the Conservation Carousel, something we’d never done before.

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The Wells Fargo Family Farm is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through April 30 and there’s always a lot going on.

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Activities Include:

Hay maze in the Machine Shed 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

zoos2Weekend Activities:
9 a.m. – Enrichment at Snow Monkeys
10 a.m. – Enrichment at Brown Bears
11 a.m. – Enrichment at Sea Otters or Meet a Bird Keeper at Tropics Trail
1 p.m. – Enrichment at River Otters
2 p.m. – Close Encounters at End of Tropics Trail
University of Minnesota Bee Squad (April 18 & 19) – Learn why we should be more “bee friendly.” Get up close to a live hive and learn more about these important pollinators at the Farm.
MN Pork Growers Oink Booth (April 25 & 26) at the Farm
Daily Cow Milkings: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. at the Farm
Limited tram rides will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

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I’m excited to give ONE reader a family FOUR pack of admission passes to visit the farm babies this month.

You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway right here.

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. The Minnesota Zoo invited us to visit the Wells Fargo Family Farm last week over spring break and granted us complimentary admission. All opinions expressed are mine. The Minnesota Zoo has provided the free admission passes for the giveaway winner.

Moms Rock! Expo Coming to Minneapolis

Moms Rock! Expo is coming to Minneapolis this spring so mark your calendars, grab your girlfriends and make a weekend of it because the Minneapolis Convention Center will soon by crawling with MOMS!

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Moms Rock! Expo (May 2-3, 2015) is two amazing days, just for moms, filled with inspiring and informative Keynote Speakers, Real Talk Panels, “We Get Moms” career information sessions and a whole bevvy of demonstrations, tips, ideas and resources to help all moms Live Life Easier & Healthier in the best way possible. If Minnesota is to remain a great place to live, work, and play, we need to celebrate Moms and Support Families! Moms Rock! Expo is two special days (just for moms, women and girls) that will showcase the Best that Minnesota has to offer to help moms Live Life Easier!

You won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear well known speakers, attend seminars on various parenting and life topics, make up, cooking and career demos and if you do decide to bring those kiddos along, they can do science experiments with Kitchen Pantry Scientist and even meet peg + cat from PBS Kids.

The main stage speaker roster is pretty amazing too: Tamera Mowry-Housley, Lee Woodruff and Jaime Primak Sullivan.

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Tickets are available now for $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children ages 4 and under are FREE. The event is kid friendly but don’t feel like you have to bring kids, you can make it a girls weekend easily by booking a downtown hotel.

U.S. Bank has teamed up with Moms Rock! Expo to create and sell this exclusive Military Moms Rock! T-Shirt! 100% of the proceeds benefit military families. The goal is to support Operation Shower; an organization that provides baby essentials and organizes group baby showers for expectant moms whose husbands or partners are or will be deployed during the pregnancy. See more at: http://bit.ly/1xKpcsw

Moms Rock! Expo is sponsored by 3M, U.S. Bank, Target, Medtronic, Microsoft, Truvia, KARE 11, myTalk 107.1, TPT and MSP Magazine.

I’m so excited to be giving away a FOUR pack of tickets to Moms Rock! Expo. You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway right here.

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Moms Rock Expo! has gifted me tickets to the event and is also providing the winners 4 pack of tickets.