To all my teacher friends - don't hate me for the reminder that summer is almost over. I remember being in your shoes.
In two short weeks, Caleb will be starting preschool for the first time ever! It's a half day program, but it's at a school that goes from preschool through 8th grade, which means it functions similarly to a regular school.
I like to be prepared early, so back in early July I made sure to take care of all his supplies so that I wasn't running around in the mad rush during the few weeks before school. Here's a list of what I picked up for him. Items may vary depending on your child's age and what their school requires, but I think across the board you'll find that most kids need similar items.
I think that's everything! Are you ready to start the school year with your little ones?
Dear 18-year-old Jenise,
You probably can't imagine this yet, but yesterday, we turned 32. I know. You probably think 32 seems so... ADULT. But really, it's not that bad.
As a matter of fact, 32 might actually be a prime year for you. In the last year, you've achieved things you didn't think you ever would - like run a half marathon (yes, I'm serious!), maintain a successful photography business while working from home, and reach many women, most of whom you have never met, via your blog. The next year only holds promises of even greater things.
You are married to this amazing man, Eddie (you've actually already met him and been on a date with him, but it didn't work out just yet. Be patient.). He treats you like a queen and loves you probably more than you deserve sometimes. You have a beautiful home you have built together, and an adorable two-year-old boy named Caleb. He is the light of both of your lives. You have a dog named Bella, a Lhasa Also, just like your first dog, Sassy.
The road here hasn't always been the smoothest. But with faith, family, love and support, you've made it to where you are, and you have come out stronger on the other side. But I'd like to give you some words of wisdom, from yourself, a few years down the line.
Love your body. Your body will do some incredible things over the next couple of years. Those boobs you were ashamed of because they grew so fast and were never perky enough? They will nourish your baby for nearly TWO years. They will sustain him completely for the first 6 months of his life. You'll carry your son in that belly that has never been quite flat enough, and there will be nothing on earth that will make you more proud of your body. Keep exercising - your body will do whatever you push it to do - including run 13.1 miles through Walt Disney World Resort. Feed it wisely - stop going through those drive-thrus and eating crappy junk. When you finally start to nourish it well, you'll notice a world of difference. Trust me.
Stop chasing love. Love will find you. Or rather, you will find each other. And it will be sweet, and it will be fiery, and it will leave you weak in the knees. But the day you decide to make it a forever kind of love, will be the day where you are more certain of anything than you have ever been in your entire life. Stop stressing yourself out over love. It will come. And on that note...
Don't put up with anyone mistreating you. This comes to guys and friends. You'll have one relationship in particular that will challenge you and leave you with scars. Don't let those scars get too deep. But if they do get too deep, don't beat yourself up over it, for one day, they will heal (because you will find the kind of love that is perfect for you). Friends will come and go. Friends who you thought would be forever friends will slowly start to fade into the background and new friends will emerge. But anyone who mistreats you or disrespects you shouldn't be in your life.
Don't carve your path in stone. This monumental decision about your career? Go with your gut. You will have a successful run in a profession you love. But you will also find something else that you are passionate about, and you will hone your skills and become good at that. You'll also find that running your home is a lot more work than you ever thought it would be, and you'll adapt to life as a stay-at-home mom, too.
Trust your gut. At 32, it hasn't steered you wrong. It will guide you on everything from your career, to your love life, to being a mother. People will try to give you advice about what you "should" be doing all the time. Your judgement will tell you which way to go. Trust it. You will always make the best decisions for yourself.
Accept yourself. Love yourself for who you are. Don't change your personality because someone else said it was cool to be a certain way. At the end of the day, if you've been true to yourself, you will lay your head on your pillow every night and rest easy. Be your kind, level-headed, easygoing self. You'll appreciate those traits more the older you get.
But most important of all, enjoy the ride. Life is so sweet. Savor every moment. Dance. Read. Hop on a plane. You'll never regret living your life fully.
I was provided with a subscription in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
I have been an avid reader my entire life. One thing I always imagined as I got older was reading to my kids. We don't necessarily have formal story time every day around here, but I do make it a point to read to Caleb throughout the day. Sometimes it's in the bath with a bath book, or right before we nap. New books are my favorite, and he loves exploring new reading material, too, but sometimes it's hard to figure out what new book to get!
Enter Bookroo, a monthly children's book subscription. They have two options for subscriptions: a Picture Book Box, which contains two picture books perfect for ages 2-6, or the Board Book Box, which contains 3 board books perfect for ages 0-2. Each book comes individually wrapped, and Caleb had so much fun unwrapping them. He kept saying, "Mommy, present!" I feel like this made him even more excited to receive a book as a gift!
Our first box had two really fun books, and Caleb has enjoyed them both greatly. His favorite of the two is "A Dog is a Dog," and he loves to point out all the animals.
They have one month, 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month subscriptions, so there is really an option for every budget. And while this is something great to get for your own children, I also think it makes a FANTASTIC gift.
Why not give a gift that keeps giving for months after a holiday or a birthday? And a gift that will allow them to keep learning and growing for so much time to come? As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to add this to Caleb's Christmas/Birthday wish list right now!
And guess what? If you use the code TOPKNOT, you will get 15% off of your Bookroo Box Subscription!
What are you waiting for?
This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.
We are in the dead of summer around here, and man is it HOT. I don't know about you, but when it is this hot outside, the less clothes that actually touches my body, the better I feel. Yoga pants are impossible, as are jeans. I spend a lot of the summer in shorts and swing dresses, which help me stay cool. So this outfit is perfect for me!
The shorts have a drawstring waist - I've actually blogged about them before. They are so soft and so comfortable. When I purchased them, I knew they would be a summer staple, and boy, was I right. Especially after two and a half weeks of vacation, and a weekend at BlogHer, the drawstring waist came in super handy.
The embroidery on the blouse keeps it on trend and makes the outfit a little dressier. I can't stand tight tops in the summer (hello underboob sweat!). I wouldn't normally pair two loose items, but this was such a fun outfit with so much movement that I couldn't help but be happy about it. The biggest plus was how comfortable it was.
I paired it with tan sandals and a tan choker, along with some colorful sunnies. It's a perfect summer weekend outfit. You can also dress it up with wedges or add some color with some fun tassel sandals. Either way, you'll be easy and breezy.
Tank: Habit Boutique
Sandals: Tory Burch
Sunglasses: Old Navy
This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.
I realized recently that Caleb is 2.5, and I've yet to share about his room with you all! When i first found out I was pregnant with Caleb, we had no idea if we would be having a boy or a girl. But I found a nursery I loved and I never ended up finding anything I liked more. So Caleb's nursery was chosen basically from the very beginning of my pregnancy.
I wanted something that was very gender neutral, that was good quality, simple, and that I could use for future babies. We zoned in on this Restoration Hardware Crib and dresser and purchased it during an end of summer sale. We also went ahead and ordered the conversion kit to make it a toddler bed, but since he has been sleeping well, we haven't made the plunge and switched it over yet.
The walls are covered in wallpaper that looks almost like linen. We purchased the wallpaper at Sherwin Williams and had it professionally installed.
We also knew we wanted animals to feature greatly in the room. The two elephant baskets that hold diapers and supplies are from Pottery Barn, as is the bedding, and the white animal heads hanging on the walls are from ZGallerie.
I originally had my heart set on a rocker from Pottery Barn, but by the time we made a decision, they were majorly on backorder and wouldn't have arrived until after Caleb was 3 months old or something like that. So I found an old fashioned rocking chair on Wayfair, and purchased that for less than $200.
About two months ago, I decided that Caleb's closet needed some major reorganizing. So does every other closet in the house, but that's for another day. With some help and guidance from my friend Jessica over at Thoughtfully Organized, I was able to purge a lot of stuff he no longer needed and purchased baskets to organize the odds and ends in his closet. I purchased all the baskets in his closet at Target.
I tried to utilize some of the wasted space by attaching Command hooks in the closet so we could hang smaller backpacks and items.
These larger baskets are perfect for Caleb's collection of hats and for extra diapers. I also purchased these at Target.
What's your favorite part of your child's room? I'd love to hear all about it!
I shot this look back In February and hadn't gotten around to blogging it, but it's okay because it's actually a perfect look for a summer date night. My love affair with crisp white shirts is never-ending. When I was working, anytime I would come across a white blouse with interesting details, I would snag it and then I would wear the heck out of it.
While this blouse probably isn't work appropriate for most professions, it really is the perfect top for a night out. The off-the shoulder and the gorgeous bell sleeves are just perfect.
I of course, am a jeans queen and love my denim, but denim and a crisp white shirt are one of my favorite looks of all time. While silhouettes may change and fit may change, the look itself is classic and can be dressed up or dressed down. In this case, I paired it with olive green pointy-toed block heels, but this look would be just as perfect with a pair of flats, or wedges, or sexy strappy sandals.
I've posted about these embellished jeans before and how much I love them, but I think the embellishments add the perfect little touch to an otherwise pretty simple outfit.
While we're on the subject of independence this week, let's talk about it on a more personal level. In this day and age where helicopter parenting (it's a thing, I promise, look it up) is so popular and so damaging, let's remind ourselves to be more like America and loosen the reigns a bit. When I was teaching, the one thing I always swore was that I wouldn't be a helicopter parent. And while what you say before you have kids and what you do once you actually have them are two different things, this is one thing I have tried to stick to. And while Caleb hasn't started school just yet, and I don't know what I'll be like once he does, I am trying to make sure he doesn't feel like he is still attached to me by the umbilical cord.
According to the article I linked from Parents Magazine, helicopter parenting means that parents are overly focused on their children. In this day and age where we are so consumed with perfection, we sometimes forget all the great parenting skills our parents had, whether they were intentional or inadvertent. I find that I have to be very conscious and tell myself not to hover. We have been taught to fear so much, danger lurks around every corner. The other day, when talking about traveling abroad, someone told me, "You have to watch your stroller every second or they will walk away with the stroller and your child in it." I get it. We want to protect our kids. We NEED to protect our kids.
But it cannot come at the cost of their independence and ability to do things for themselves.
I think helicopter parenting is a term that is typically applied more to school aged children and parents who are making sure their children succeed at any cost, including completing assignments for them. However, I definitely think the tendencies can begin before school begins, and I am trying to do a few things to foster independence in Caleb that will help him adjust to life away from home and Mommy & Daddy's arms.
He plays independently. A lot.
Momma's got work to do. The house needs picking up. Blog posts have to be written, meals need to be made. When we over schedule our kids from such a young age, they never learn to be bored and use their imaginations. They feel like they need to be entertained at every moment. And I do not have the time, nor the energy, to entertain him every minute of every day. He's got a playroom full of toys of every kind at his disposal. This doesn't mean I won't play with him for a little while, or schedule play dates or take him to do an activity of some kind, it just means I'm not planning every second of his day.
He isn't attached by the umbilical cord.
They cut that thing the second he popped out. Literally - it was cutting off his air supply. There's no need for me to keep him within arms reach when we are in open areas. At the playground, at the park, at the beach, I give him space. If I see he needs help or there is imminent danger, I stop him or help him. But otherwise, I'm letting him build up that confidence. And I'm always paying attention and just a short distance away.
He gets hurt. And gets in trouble. And everything he does is not adorable or funny.
My child isn't always in the right. If he hits your child without reason, I'm going to scold him, but you can go ahead and scold him too. If I tell him not to do something because he's going to get hurt, and he keeps doing it anyway and gets hurt, I'll comfort him, but I also talk about the consequences of our actions. And contrary to popular belief, everything he does is not adorable, and we shouldn't laugh when he does something he really should not do. Is this hard sometimes? YES. But it's important for them not think that everything they do is adorable.
It isn't easy. I've had to make a very conscious decision for some of these things. And I know once he starts school, it won't get any easier. But when he applies for college or a job and stands out because Mom isn't the one doing his communicating for him guys this really happens, like for real), then I'll know we did a good job.
Last week I had the pleasure of appearing on a segment on our local news station. Caleb and I appeared for Mommy & Me fashions on NBC's 6 in the Mix, in a segment put together by my friend Kathy over at Freshly Squeezed Fashionista (I've talked about her before - she's the one who took these shots of me, and these). Kathy has been super helpful in getting me out of a style rut - she wears combinations that I would never think to put together, and she's always challenging me to wear something out of my comfort zone.
When I was shopping for pieces for this segment, I went to Old Navy, and I sent her photos from the fitting room. I sent her a shot of this outfit and said, "I can do the shorts with a white top OR the shirt with white shorts." And her response was, "NO! I love them together!" I was a little hesitant, but I ended up really loving this outfit! I'm calling it my "Tranquila & Tropical" look - tranquila means relaxed (tranquil).
I would never have paired the same print on the top and bottom, but I feel like this just works, and it's a really fun look I could wear on vacation, or even for just a day out and about in Miami. The earrings and clutch were provided by Fringe Boutique, and the shoes were provided by Chiffino. My gorgeous hair and makeup were done by some awesome ladies from GlamSquad. I loved the side braid, and the bronzed makeup accented the (minimal) tan I acquired on our recent stay at the beach!
This top is the softest, thinnest material, and it is perfect for summer. Old Navy really hit it out of the park with this top! The shorts are a linen blend, so also really perfect for summer! It's a comfortable, breathable outfit - and aside from the fact I'm wearing heels, it's a great outfit to run around after Caleb,
I love the colors on this clutch - I feel like it would go well with almost anything, and those pom moms are too cute! And the heels, while a little high for me and what I have been wearing lately, I did love the way they made my legs look!
Stay tranquila & tropical, babes!
I don't know about where you live, but it has been brutally hot here. Some days you walk out the door, and feel the vapor attack you. It takes a good five minutes for my camera's parts to get de-fogged, and I'm sweating within 30 seconds of stepping outside.
Needless to say, we are consuming large quantities of anything cold around here - I'm drinking iced coffee, eating cold salads, and trying to be in the air conditioning every possible moment.
Obviously, cold treats are a must, but after consuming way more ice cream than we should while on vacation, I'm trying to opt for some healthier alternatives. So I ordered these popsicle molds* off of Amazon. (*affiliate link)
On Monday, I had some berries that I needed to use up, so I decided to go ahead and make some popsicles. I wasn't in the mood to use the blender, so I just tossed the ingredients into the mold. It could not be any easier! I'm not including measurements because I honestly didn't measure them. This isn't a true recipe, just a guideline!
These popsicles, aside from being crazy refreshing, also have no sugar added, are really hydrating, and contain a serving of fruits (as well as some protein because of the Greek yogurt). Plus, those last bits of fruit that hadn't been used up didn't have to go to waste!
strawberries, hulled and sliced
plain Greek yogurt
I mean, look at that face and tell me he didn't enjoy those! lol
Keep cool, lovers!
We are home from our two week stay at the beach! We enjoyed ourselves so much, but if you have ever spent a day at the beach, you know how hungry you can get - and let's just say that we ate heartily! I got groceries yesterday and decided to whip up some acas bowls for breakfast this morning, in an effort to get some good nutrients in and to fill our bellies with yumminess.
This is a breakfast that is easier to make than it looks. Just pick your ingredients and toss them in the blender! The fancy toppings are just an extra, and you absolutely don't have to spend a lot of time on that! I don't really measure the ingredients, I just do it based on what we want that morning, so I'll give you an estimate, but feel free to change it up and add what you like! Frozen fruits are always best to use in these, they make the bowl less "soup-y" and more custard-like.
Peanut Butter Acai Bowl
1 packet frozen acai puree (I get this at Trader Joe's)
1 cup kale
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup frozen cherries
1. Blend together first 6 ingredients until smooth.
2. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Top with blueberries, 1/2 sliced banana, chia seeds, and granola.
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.