A few weeks ago, Eddie came home and mentioned that he wanted to put together "Blessing bags" to keep in the car. I had never heard of this and I asked him to elaborate. Blessing Bags are bags filled with essentials like deodorant, water bottles, a toothbrush/toothpaste, snacks, etc. You keep them in your car and when you see someone who is homeless, you can hand it to them.
Eddie and Caleb took complete charge of this project and Caleb has been very excited to help those who are in need. Every morning he asks me, "Mommy, keep your eyes out for anyone we can give the blessing bag to!" Finally, last week, we had a chance to give one out, and he was very excited. He told me afterwards how good he felt doing something for someone in need.
Blessing bags can contain pretty much anything you think might be helpful, including, but not limited to some of these:
Have you ever done these before? Let me know what you included that we forgot!
My bracelet set is Taudrey and you can get it here. Use the code topknot10 for 10% off.
When we all think of 2020, we initially think "Good Riddance!" But last night, while having dinner with friends, we talked about how for us (and we recognize that many people had terrible years in many senses of the word), 2020 wasn't really all that bad in hindsight. Was it hard? YES. Did it push every button it possibly could? Also YES. Did it challenge us in ways we didn't think we would be challenged. HECK YES. But 2020 has given us a lot of good things too.
This morning I listed all the accomplishments I felt I had achieved in 2020, and the list was longer than I thought it would be. The accomplishments weren't all huge, but they were all significant to me somehow. Some of the highlights of 2020 have been big - Eddie started a new job and smashed it right out of the gate, I won the 2019 Best Parenting Blog by South Florida Bloggers, I secured partnerships with some household names, started a podcast with my friend Leci, and I reached 10,000 followers on Instagram. But some of the highlights of 2020 have been smaller - Caleb lost a couple teeth, Chloe started school, we got to know our kids so much better. We grew more intimate relationships with friends because we limited our circle.
In 2019, I did a Word of the Year for the first time, and I felt like it was so successful that I decided to do it again in 2020. I'm not sure I ever shared my word of the year this year, but it was Consistency. I applied the word to everything - my sleep schedule, my diet, moving my body, the kids' schedules, and how I worked. It was definitely a year where it was hard to keep consistent some days, but in the end, it was worth the effort.
So while 2020 definitely challenged us, it won't go down as the worst year ever in my book. And at the stroke of midnight, things won't magically be "normal" again. But the new year always brings the promise of a fresh start, new goals, and new dreams.
Cheers to the end of 2020 and to a happy and healthy 2021!
This year, I am thinking about gifting earlier than usual. Due to social distancing measures, the threat of rising cases of coronavirus, slower-than-usual mail, and a busy November, I don't particularly want to find myself at a crowded mall a couple days before Christmas. I also knew that I really wanted to highlight local small businesses. Check out some of these shops and start checking those gifts off your list!
Selah Skin Studio - Selah is a holistic skincare studio offering hand batched clean skincare for your skin + soul. They will include a hand written note with your special message on all gift orders. I have been using their face masks and serum for a few years now, and they are incredible. I have also gifted their products on multiple occasions and they are always a hit!
Droplets of Love - Jennifer makes unique natural products for all ages for hair, skin, and everyday emotional support, using high quality oils and herbs, as well as pure, steam distilled essential oils. Her products are made from my smoke free home and shipped within the U.S. Aside from that, she offers products from DŌTERRA, which can be purchased on the site. All of her products are made with love and with you in mind. If there is something specific you are looking for, just ask her. Chances are, she can make it to suit your unique situation. Whether you are looking to improve your hair, or you have skin goals that seem unattainable, she can help. Her Persephone night time elixir is a staple in my skincare routine.
Mari Cabrera, Mary Kay - This Christmas, give a tired friend the gift of self care with these amazing hydrogel patches! Personal Skincare and Makeup Consulting services - Mary Kay products ranging from personal care to skincare and makeup. Mari has been in business for over 8 years and serves customers across the U.S. She can help you check off gifts for almost anyone on your list!
Plume Home Decor - Plume Home Decor is a globally inspired home accessories boutique offering a variety of interior design objects, cushions, florals, and table top decor. They also offer interior design services! Gift cards are also available. They have beautiful, unique pieces, and are always willing to help answer your questions.
The Family Candle Shop - Who doesn't love a candle? This shop, run by a mother/daughter duo, offers 100% soy wax candles. Made with all ingredients made in the USA. Poured in small batches in Miami, Florida.
Bee Made Handcrafted - This small local shop makes beautiful handcrafted items for the home. These make great gifts for almost anyone on your list!
Meet Lala - This is a curvy boutique in Miami serving our fellow plus size gals offering sizes XL - 3X. Their mission is to offer the boutique experience to the plus size community, by featuring thoughtfully curated pieces, including everything from their “not so basic” basics to styles for every occasion in sizes XL - 3X (sometimes 4X).
Taudrey - Taudrey is an all-female-led jewelry brand focused on connecting and empowering women through meaningfully personalized accessories. Their mission, their brand, and their work ethic are definitely setting a gold standard. I'll have a collaboration launching with them later this month so stay tuned for that!
Grow & Design - Natalie turned her hobby into a business after losing her job in the pandemic. She creates meaningful pieces - from earrings to decor with polymer clay. She actually sent me this heart shaped diffuser for the car, so I can have my essential oils diffusing when I'm on the go! Because her pieces are made with clay, you can add oils to the earrings, too - especially helpful for these anxiety-ridden times! She prays her pieces can give hope and peace. They are handmade with a lot of love.
So Me Jewelry - So Me Jewelry is a local handmade jewelry company that prides itself in creating on trend affordable pieces. Sophie started her business nearly 4 years ago on a total whim at 15 years old. Since then it has continued to flourish and grow in so many ways. They offer everything from bracelets, earrings and necklaces. This holiday season they're adding rings to their collection as well. They are also in the process of creating brand new packaging since this year many people may be receiving gifts via mail and they want the unboxing experience to be as special as ever.
Pretty Girl Charm - A luxury jewelry business that specializes in personalization and making your dream pieces come to life. Lina and Sarah are best friends and mommies to best friends that decided to make their love for dainty jewelry into a full time career. Every piece is gold filled and hand made with love. Whether it is your little one's initial on a gorgeous chain or a “Mommy and Me” set you can share with your little one, their goal is to make something you will always cherish.
Press Pause Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelets - Miami Mom, Janelle Fuente, is an advocate of pressing pause on the daily hustle to enjoy our life and the people right in front of us. When she's not encouraging us to care for ourselves through her blogs and on Instagram, she's creating tools such as these "Press Pause" Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelets to empower women with the ability to “press pause” from anywhere at any time to ground and gather ourselves. Janelle is a Miami native, a mompreneur of one (with another on the way) and 10% of her earnings goes back into our local community through charity.
GT Stitchery - GT Stitchery offers custom embroidery and personalized gifts. Their products include one of a kind personalized masks and holiday apparel. They will also be offering embroidered hats, baby blankets, masks and towels in our holiday sale. GT Stitchery is proudly run by a Miami mom of three little kids, and everything in their shop is custom made with love.
Little Owly - Little Owly is a boutique featuring apparel, accessories, play and decor, bath and wellness, feeding, nursery products and more for newborns and children up to age 6. They carefully curate each item in their store with products from across the globe for little ones to wear, create, explore, play and be inspired everyday. They are a place for families by family.
Caprilina - Caprilina is a baby brand, run by a local mom. They offer personalization of baby clothing items, blankets, and other items for baby.
Food & Drink
Pudding Parlor - A variety of homemade puddings include classic banana pudding, chocolate hazelnut, triple chocolate, and seasonal flavors such as pumpkin gingersnap, cinnamon apple and boozy banana. All puddings are made to order. If you have a small gathering you'd like to take a sweet treat to, this is your ticket to wowing your host (or your guests!). This pudding is homemade and so creamy and delicious.
Obvious Wines - Sustainable, Vegan & Obvious Wines! Because you can NEVER go wrong with a bottle of wine. My fave from this lineup? Bright & Crisp - but be careful, it's kind of like drinking juice!
A Taste of Well Being - In a year when so many of us have been focused on health, why not give someone you love a gift that will benefit their health? Alexandra offers personalized nutrition & health programs without fad diets, specific to your health needs. The nutrition programs focus on healthy habits for long-term health success. Each program establishes balanced eating habits with meal plans, nutrition education, virtual consultations, and healthy lifestyle habits. No matter your health, nutrition, weight loss, weight gain, or lifestyle goals the program will benefit your long-term health success.
VxV Consulting - VxV Consulting is a financial coaching firm that provides personalized insight, guidance and trusted advice for women and families. They provide independent, fee-based financial consulting services. They do not sell or manage any investments directly but offer personalized financial consulting services. Initial 30 minute consult is complimentary and can be scheduled directly on their site. What a great gift to give to anyone entering a new stage of life, or even yourself!
Shop Hello Happy - Shop Hello Happy was born out of a passion to make others smile and well, in this hectic world, to also bring some simplicity and ease to your shopping needs. They believe in gift giving and celebrating the little things in life. They hope you find what you are looking for in their shop and that you even treat yourself to a little something too. Our store carries gift items for home, her, kids and much more!
In times like these, I am extra grateful that my kids and my family are all generally healthy and don't have any major health issues. And recognizing the blessing that it is in our family, I know that not everyone is as lucky. There are so many out there who are still battling various diseases and require treatment on a regular basis.
And while during normal times, places like Ronald McDonald House Charities rely on the help of volunteers and charitable donations, right now they are extra reliant on the charitable donations since they cannot have volunteers on site.
I had the opportunity to visit RMHCSF with Miami Mom Collective back in November, and it was such a wonderful experience. We served meals, did arts and crafts with the families, and we were able to take a tour of the house. If you have never been there, check out this Virtual House Tour, which shares a little more about what they do there (and it's a LOT). I recently spoke with their Executive Director, Soraya Rivera-Moya, and asked her about ways we can help. They are very active on their Instagram account and regularly post what they are in need of. They have an Amazon wish list, where you can purchase items and have them sent directly to the House.
Soraya also let me know that they are currently in need of individual meals for families during the weekends. Sometimes restaurants donate meals, and other times people donate money to RMHC and they help out local restaurants. They are currently feeding about 20 people on the weekends. It costs about $8 per day to feed one person there, adding up to $160 a week. If you're interested in donating funds, you can do so here.
Gift cards can be a huge help as well. They can be delivered to their front entrance or they can be mailed. The address is 1145 NW 14th Terrace, Miami, FL 33136.
I know that times are hard for many of us, but if you're one of the lucky ones to have your job, health, and income intact, then I urge you to give what you can. If you can't give anything, share the information with friends who might be able to. And every day, count the blessing that is your health.
This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.
At the beginning of quarantine, toilet paper and paper towels were in short supply. If I learned anything from that, it was to buy what I needed and not to be a hoarder. But I always like to have a few extra toilet paper rolls tucked away because kids, ya know (and thankfully these items are back in stock)? Coffee is another staple that we go through regularly, and it always seems like we need more! And although we haven’t been entertaining much these days, I always like to have some kind of crackers on hand for when we can finally have guests over (or have an at-home date night once the kids are in bed). And whether the kids are home for days on end or headed off to school, snacks are a major necessity around here!
When it comes to grocery shopping, I know we all love a good sale. But there’s nothing better than being rewarded for buying the things you need anyway - like all the items I mentioned above. After being away from home and with the start of school (hopefully) around the corner, we were running low on a few of our staple products. So, I headed to Publix and picked up some of the products that I know I can be rewarded for purchasing!
Publix Stocking Spree is a program where you can be rewarded JUST for buying the products we already know and love. All year long, you can receive a $10 Publix gift card every time* you purchase $50 of participating Stocking Spree products (*Up to 12 gift cards per household, per year). Plus, you can save even more at Publix with special offers on select Stocking Spree 365 products during the sale week from 8/6 – 8/12 (Some markets 8/5 – 8/11).
Taking part in the program is easy - the list of products is available on www.stockingspree.com, so you can check out the participating products before you head to Publix. Make your list and purchase your products. When you get home, take a photo of your receipt, log into the site and upload the photo of your receipt - I did it in under 5 minutes! Once your receipt is reviewed and you have spent $50 on participating products, you will be able to claim your $10 Publix gift card. You can opt for a physical gift card, which will be mailed to you, or a digital gift card that will be applied to your Publix Digital Wallet. I prefer the digital option as you can receive the gift card in 24 hours and have it in time for your next shopping trip!
See StockingSpree.com for a full list of participating products and to upload your receipts. Don’t miss out on this awesome chance to be rewarded for your Publix purchases!
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