5/31/16

Five Thoughtful Father's Day Gifts Worth Considering

With Mother's Day and Memorial Day behind us, it's time to start planning for a very special day, Father's Day! This year, Father's Day is on June 19, 2016. Leaving, only a few weeks to get dad the "perfect" gift. 

While, The Aussie would tell you his perfect gift would be a Tesla, I have a few awesome tricks up my sleeve to make him forget about that silly ol' car for a day! Starting, with a few super thoughtful gifts. Below are a few super-fun and thoughtful Father's Day gifts ANY dad would LOVE! 

**Today I am partnering DadGifts.Com with to bring you a few of my favorite Thoughtful Father's Day Gift ideas. All ideas and opinions are my own! 


1.  Father's Day Fill-in The Blank Printables. 

These are so much fun to do with kids young and old. This is the second year I'm doing this with Ollie. The answers are PRICELESS!  DO THIS!






2. Father's Day photo collage

I LOVE this idea from, Positively Splendid. In the right frame, this goes from a super-cute idea, to a life-long cherished conversation piece for home or work!






3. Skip the tie and grab a funky bowtie! 

I ran across Ethan, a 15 year-old entrepreneur and fashion designer, at a local street market. His handmade funky and fun bowties blew me away. Seriously, the kid is bringing the bow tie up about a thousand notches!  If dad needs a new bow tie, get him a handcrafted super-fun one! Checkout, All Tied Up Bow Ties, on Facebook to see more fun bow tie designs!







4. Original Works Of Art



Nothing says cute, sweet and adorable like baby's tiny fingers and toes! Give this to new dads. SO CUTE! Plus, No Thoughtful Father's Day Gift Guide would be complete without a Star Wars Gift, Right? 






5. A New Wallet Full of Surprises!

Men a notorious for holding on to a favorite wallet until it's worn down to two scraps of leather held together with a crappy rubber band. Draw the line on that crappy old wallet and wow Give dad with  a new wallet complete with a few fun family photos, secret love notes and maybe even a homemade, Best Dad In The World, membership card! (Use a business card as a size guide)

                                

Since FTD is on-the-go, all the time, I got him this travel wallet with ample space for everything--credit cards, passport, fun photo, love notes, cash... 

The wallet featured above is a, Lined Brogue Travel Wallet, from DadGifts.com. The website is PACKED with gifts for dads! 


What is your favorite thoughtful Father's Day Gift?

5/29/16

Three Tips For A Beach Ready Body


Is your body not beach ready? Totally dreading putting on a bikini? Still struggling to get your yourself back to the pre-pregnancy days? Unfortunately, the natural aging process and childbirth mean stubborn fatty tissue and stretched skin. So, how to combat Mother Nature's effects and restore our post-baby health and physique? Below are three foolproof methods.


  1. Healthy Eating: A diet rich in protein, fruit, vegetables and vitamins is the best choice for everyone, especially moms looking to improve their health. High-protein foods contain a hunger-fighting hormone and will fill you up more than carbs. And many sources of protein—fish, beef, and eggs—are also rich in iron and vitamin B12, both of which have been shown to increase energy levels. (What mom doesn’t need that?) Fruits and vegetables are also part of a well-balanced and healthy eating plan. They provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Vitamin intake including A, C, D, E and Potassium also promotes overall health.
  2. Exercise: Smart fitness is all about moderation and consistency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that women between the ages of 18 and 64 require 75-150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and 2 muscle strengthening workouts that include all major muscle groups each week. If you split the aerobic activity into three sessions, that's 25-50 minutes per session. A strength training session that works all the major muscle groups will take about 45-60 minutes. This is where I suggest finding a workout partner to maintain motivation and add some fun.

  3. Mommy Makeovers: Aka. in-office pampering and 'touch-ups'. It's common for moms (who are finished breast feeding) to seek cosmetic surgery to enhance their appearance and help build confidence. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to feel young and youthful again. TIP: When considering surgery options, be sure to find a board certified surgeon, for your mommy makeover that may include procedures like tummy tuck, breast augmentation and liposuction.

5/12/16

Why I will NEVER EVER Stay In A Hotel Room Again

Picture it: A family of three (Mom, dad, four-year old boy), five large suitcases, one bed and no floor space. 

Chances are, if you've stayed in a hotel with your family, it's not that hard to picture. The thought alone  even be stirring up some pretty torturous memories. Especially, if you stayed for more than three days in the cubical called a hotel room. 

I've done this one time in my life, and have sworn to never, ever do it again! 

Thankfully, there is a new trend in the hotel industry, making it easier for families to travel, Apart'hotels. Offering more than one room with a bed and limited footprint, Apart'Hotels provide a fully equipped home away from home, with plenty of room for a family to move around.

I've stayed in three, from Melbourne, Florida to Melbourne Australia. They are the real deal, super budget-friendly for family travel and offer SO MUCH MORE ROOM!!!!!

Photo Credit: Ascott Limited

While in the past, fully equipped serviced apartments were considered only for relocation and extended stays of more than a week or two, times are changing. Serviced apartments, or Apart'hotels are popping up in major cities across the world, and with comparable nightly rates to traditional hotel rooms, they are staking their claim on the hotel industry. 

Pictured above is a two bedroom serviced apartment at the Apart'Hotel Citadines on Bourke, in Melbourne Australia. The Hubs, kid and I stayed in that beautiful space our first two nights in Melbourne. Offering two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen (with Dishwasher!), a separate living area and work space, we were FLOORED! The place was huge, with beautiful views from the 25th floor, and centrally located in the Heart of Melbourne's CBD!  Like, on the biggest shopping street in the city! 




But that's not all... The room rate was comparable to a traditional hotel room down the street! 

The trend towards Apart'hotel development is showing the growth of serviced apartment units to far exceeded traditional hotel unit expansion over the next two years. According to a survey conducted by the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP), 48 serviced apartment operators show expansion targets both in the UK and globally, at an anticipated global increase in supply of 145,000 serviced apartment units through 2018. 

The shift towards Apart'hotels is great news for budget-friendly family travel. With the larger room foot print, fully equipped kitchen, and in-room washer and dryer facility, families can pack lighter and prepare meals in the room. This is especially helpful when traveling as a large family, or with young children. The money saved on baggage fees and eating meals out may even pay for the room.

We were able to eat breakfast in the room, store left overs from meals out, keep bottle waters cold, do laundry, and be centrally located. I cannot stress it enough, before you book a traditional hotel room, look for an Apart'hotel or serviced hotel first. Your family will thank you. YOU, will thank you. Most of all, your family-budget will thank you. 

5/5/16

Say, Happy Mother's Day, On A Global Level


I joke about the best thing about my mother-in-law's is that she's on the other side of the world-- I'm a daughter-in-law, it's my job say those cheeky things, right?--But the truth is, having her on the other side of the world isn't such a great thing. I love her dearly and miss her dearly, especially around birthdays, holidays, and of course, Mother's Day. She's really a remarkable woman. 





As you may know, we just returned from three weeks in Australia, visiting family and friends. On our last day, we had a Mother's Day Brunch. Even though it was three weeks early, we wanted to take her to breakfast. I spent most of the time apologizing for taking her son across the world. I feel horrible about it. 

If we could, my husband, son and I would visit Australia every year, maybe even twice! Unfortunately, financially that's just no feasible.  Not. Even. Close. 

Thankfully, after eight years of working through the challenges of having my husband's family on the other side of the world, we've found ways to make it work. Ways to feel like we are there--celebrating the birthdays, holidays and births, without leaving our house. 

We video call regularly, never missing a chance to sing happy birthday, or watch presents being opened on Christmas morning. Sometimes, we even get to see our presents being opened! Which, is nice since I order most of their gifts directly from Australian shops and websites. The shipping is a fraction of the cost, and sometimes, if the exchange rate is in my favor, the product will be much cheaper than buying in the US, And the flowers are so Beautiful over there. The Birds Of Paradise grow wild and line the expressway in Sydney!




I know you might be thinking I'm crazy to buy from unknown overseas online retailers, but it's OK,  I have Paypal. A.k.a  SUPER-SAFE-SHOPPING! I've been using PayPal for my business and personal needs for five years. I even have a Paypal Debit card. Seriously. Safe. (You get cash back with it too!)

In Fact, the entire time in Australia my husband and I exclusively used our Paypal Debit MasterCard (he has one too!)  for all in-store purchases, hotels, gas, and street vendor market purchases. Never once was I worried about someone stealing my details. Paypal is not directly linked to my back account. 

Sending cash to our Aussie family is easier than ever too, thanks to Xoom! Through the Xoom App, I can send money to over 51 countries, instantly! Eight years ago when my husband and I sent our first international wire transfer through our bank, it cost $50 and took three days. With Xoom, I can transfer gas money to my niece standing at a gas pump in Australia. Seriously. 




If you have a mother you want to celebrate this year and are separated by many miles, definitely consider looking into PayPal and Xoom. Both have changed the way I interact financially with family, friends and clients on a global level.


**Looking for the perfect gift for the special mom in your life? PayPal is offering Mother’s Day shopping deals from merchants like Macy's and Kiehls at PayPal.com/MothersDay...

  • 30% off at Pink Blush Maternity 4/24/16 - 5/8/16
  • 35% off at Canvasworld 4/24/16 - 5/8/2016
  • $35 off $65 at SuperJeweler 4/24/16 - 5/8/16
  • $10 off $50 at Bits of Vintage 4/24/16 - 5/8/16
  • 25% off plus free 2-day shipping at Land’s End 4/28/16 - 5/8/2016
  • Buy one get one free any size jar or tumbler at Yankee Candle 4/28/16 - 5/8/2016
  • Buy 3 get 3 free at BodyShop 4/28/2016 - 5/8/2016
  • 20% off one item at Sur La Table 4/28/2016 - 5/8/2016
  • 25% off Friends and Family Sale at Macy’s Online 4/29/2016 - 5/8/2016
  • 2 deluxe samples and 2-day shipping with purchase of $35 at Kiehls 4/30/2016 - 5/8/2016
  • 25% off at FTD.com
  • 25% off plus free shipping on orders over $59 at Fragrancenet 4/30/2016 - 5/8/2016
  • Extra 10% off Mother’s Day favorites plus free shipping when you order 5/5; 5/1/2016 - 5/8/2016
  • $50 gift card for $40 at Overstock
  • $50 gift card for $40 at Legal Sea Foods
  • $50 gift card for $40 at bedandbreakfast.com
  • $50 gift card for $40 at Jiffy Lube
or let mom pick her gift at the PayPal Digital Gifts store


5/2/16

Don't Forget Date Night!


Remember the days before the birth of your child, when a date night could be spontaneous and happen as little or as often as you wanted? Now, it’s hard enough to find time to take a shower, visit the bathroom on your own, or eat a meal that doesn’t require you scarfing down your food or eating it two hours later when it’s cold.


As you gaze across the table at your equally tired partner, you both smile, promise one another some quality time, but secretly know that you’ll crash out during story time or during the nightly news. Despite the fatigue and the lack of time alone, together, it’s all worth it, especially when that “fairy godmother/father” (aka. friend or relative) swoops in, offers to babysit, and insists that you put on some lipstick, a clean shirt, and get out of the house with your partner (and don’t look back). Do you have a “date night” in your future? Here are some ideas:

Revisit Your Past



If you’re like many parents, you may want to use your time without your child to get stuff done, such as going grocery shopping and everyday errands. Please, reconsider doing some of these seemingly mundane tasks when you have a rare opportunity for a date night with your partner and unless you both really love to go grocery shopping, avoid it. Have an evening to yourselves and don’t know what to do? Why not revisit some of your all haunts BC (before child)? Maybe it might be fun to recreate your first date or to visit your favorite pub where you realized you and your partner were more than “just friends”? Even if your trivia team disbanded a long time ago, hit up trivia night and have a little fun like you used to.

Food & Drink



When was the last time you had a cup of coffee you didn’t have to reheat multiple times or a meal that had all your favorite ingredients (your child may be a bland or picky eater)? On date night, many couples go out for drinks and dinner, but honestly, it’s worth it. Not only do you not have to worry about cleaning up after your child, but you don’t have to do the dishes. You can order whatever you want, eat it any pace you want, and if you’re really feeling indulgent, have more than one glass of wine or order dessert. Don’t forget to be indulgent and treat yourselves. Whether you’re reconnecting over the perfect cup of espresso or toasting to parenthood over a margarita at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant, enjoy every sip, bite, and moment.

Head Outdoors



These days, all of your outings may require multiple bathroom breaks, hunting down a missing shoe, and gathering up everything you might need at the playground. A date night, outdoors, can be just what you need to rejuvenate and rediscover nature. Whether you do some stargazing, go on a bicycle ride, or even just have a picnic for two at the park, take some time to relax, enjoy the weather, and focus on yourselves (rather than having to keep a vigilant eye on your child at the park).

Stay In



If your son or daughter has been whisked away for the evening, you may have the rare chance to enjoy watching a movie of your choice or pull out your game console that you feel as if you haven’t played in years. If it’s been awhile since you’ve got your game on or even caught a movie, there’s so much online to choose from (no need to hit up the local game or video store). Used to go to casinos for fun on a Friday night? Why not visit an online casino? It’s a convenient and comfortable experience. If you’re afraid that you may get “lost” and sucked into the world of online gambling, don’t worry, you can always check out a gambling addiction resource to keep you in check or help you out. Whatever you choose to do, take advantage of some screen time that’s just for you and your partner (no need to watch or play anything for the preschool crowd).


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