The Best of Boho Chic

I’ve been on a Free People dress kick lately. Ever since I found this adorable dress last Fall and basically wore it everywhere. It is so flattering, hid everything I didn’t like and emphasized my best features. I’ve found that the majority of Free People dresses fit similar (my other current favorite is this black one) and run a little big, which means they can fit more women. I wear a size large in the Free People brand and their dresses honestly fit like a glove. This adorable white dress was purchased a few months ago and also comes in black and terra-cotta. It’s currently 40% off so the best time to buy! I’m thinking I may snag the black or terra-cotta to wear this Fall. Since it stays pretty warm into the Fall and Winter months here in Georgia, adding knee high boots and tights would be a super easy transition to really maximize the wear.

 

Dress // Monogramed C Bag, Sold Out but similar here // Pom Pom Tote Bag, Sold Out but similar here // Hat

The Resort at Longboat Key Club

As summer comes to an end, I can’t help but reminisce about my amazing visit last month to Longboat Key. I had never heard of Longboat Key until March of this year when a friend told me she was moving there. I’m not sure how I’ve gone 34 years without knowing this quaint little barrier island off the coast of Sarasota existed, but it does, and it’s beautiful. Given that the month of August is low tourist season in Florida, Longboat Key was relatively quiet, peaceful and relaxing. Basically the entire opposite of the hustle and bustle of Atlanta. I spent 8 days in Florida and despite my innate fear of alligators, I came to love it. The Resort at Longboat Key Club is conveniently located near the South entrance of the island, making the drive in from the Sarasota airport a breeze. Speaking of driving in, if jumping in the back of a random Uber isn’t your thing, then request Marcia from Longboat Limousine to pick you up because her infectious personality will make your day and possibly your week.

The photos do not do justice for how beautiful the property is. I’ve stayed in many hotels over the years and The Resort at Longboat Key Club was one of the best. The service was far greater than any other resort I’ve been to and everyone went above and beyond to make sure I had a fun and comfortable stay (like bringing 3 Amazon packages to my room that I ordered, finding me a steamer and locating a tape gun so I could send back a box of things that wouldn’t fit into my suitcase. I’m really low maintenance you guys … ). The view from my room, which overlooked the ocean and pool, was amazing, especially for sunset and sunrise. My room had a full sized refrigerator, microwave, washer/dryer, two balconies, a separate living space and dining table. It was comfortable, clean, and quiet. Not once did I hear any noise from the hallways or pool, even though I was only four stories up. Despite the red tide being prominent in the area when I visited, I saw no dead fish and the smell locals talked about didn’t bother me at all. Since The Resort at Longboat Key Club is privately owned, their stretch of beach was kept impeccably clean no matter what time of day. Drink service comes down to the beach as well so you don’t have to constantly walk back and forth.

There is plenty of parking on property if you have a car with you but if not, there is a complimentary shuttle that will take you nearly anywhere you want to go, including all the resort restaurants, the golf course, gym, even the CVS or Publix down the street. Speaking of the gym, Longboat Key Club has an impressive class schedule and fitness center. I thought chasing two kids around for the past 6 years would keep me in shape but walking into an aerobics class with women twice my age who have more endurance than me was an eye opener and very motivating. Take a class taught by Barbara at the Mind & Motion studio located on the property if you want to keep up your current workout routine, or if you’re like me, and had too many piña coladas at the pool and need to squeeze into a form fitting dress.

Among the several restaurants located in and around the resort, my personal favorite was Portofino. It overlooked the beautiful marina and had plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. The portions are huge so you’ll get use out of your room refrigerator. One important thing to note is that you either have to be a member or a guest of Longboat Key Club in order to dine in any of their restaurants. No matter where I stay, eating breakfast in bed is a must. The room service always came super fast and the food was delicious and the presentation always beautiful.

Relaxing poolside under the lush palms while enjoying the sun without the sounds of my children fighting was basically Heaven on Earth. There is poolside food and drink service which was always met with a friendly, smiling face of the Club staff. Everything is charged to your room so there is never any need to have your wallet with you.

I’ve hit my fair share of golf balls from the third level at Top Golf but I’ve never had an actual golf lesson, so having my first at Longboat Key Club was especially fun. My grandfather was an avid golfer and used to live on a golf course, so my earliest memories of golf were from him. At Longboat Key Club, they offer 30 minute or one hour lessons plus 3 hole and 9 hole playing lessons. My instructor, Jim, had the patience of a Saint and was an amazing teacher. The course was well maintained and the views are breathtaking. Longboat Key Club also has a luxurious spa and salon. On my last day I had the Resurfacing Facial which was much needed after several days in the sun and a few too many frozen drinks. The entire atmosphere and experience was relaxing and I felt so calm coming out of the spa. I only wish I had more time to spend there!

I can’t rave enough about this peaceful oasis and I’m already thinking about taking the kids down next year. The Resort is perfect for couples, families, or girlfriends. My whole experience was incredible and it could not have been a better trip. If you have any questions about the Resort, let me know and I’ll be happy to pass them along!

A huge thank you to The Resort at Longboat Key Club and Diamond PR for sponsoring this trip. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Delicious Matcha Cookies You Will Want to Make

Usually the baking bug doesn’t hit me until Fall rolls around. Frankly, I’m just too hot to do anything at all in the summer so my yearly baking romance is September – February. This year I’ve challenged myself to bake something new each week and so far this week I’ve made two new things (so basically I can quit now, right?) If you’ve been following along for a while then you know I only like to make things that are pretty easy and quick. I have very little patience when it comes to cooking and baking and the thought of spending all day in a hot kitchen with messy dishes everywhere makes my blood pressure rise. Also, like most mothers, my time is limited so I need a recipe that can be made in under an hour.

A few weeks ago I purchased some Matcha from a new company, Ritual Cosmic, and loved the taste of it in my lattes so much that I wanted to experiment more with using it in food. I knew that their Matcha was hands down the smoothest I’ve ever tasted and I was super excited to bake with it. I’ve never baked using Matcha before so I started off with a simple cookie recipe. What I love about easy recipes like this is that they are so adaptable and you can add fun ingredients like chocolate chips, nuts or even dried fruit.

The health benefits of Matcha are endless and it’s easy to see why it has become so popular lately. It’s packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg, calms the mind and relaxes the body as well as boosts brain function. Henry (6) and Evelyn (3) absolutely loved these and when my husband was gone last night I may have let them eat several for dinner … #YOLO. They kept referring to the cookies as Halloween cookies so I just went along with it. I’m already contemplating making a fun Halloween cookie sandwich using purple frosting which I’ll need to perfect this month. For those concerned about the caffeine in Matcha and giving it to children: in this entire recipe there is only 1 tablespoon of Matcha which has roughly 64 mg of caffeine. Divide that up into 18-24 cookies, and each cookie contains less than 4 mg of caffeine. I assure you that my kids weren’t bouncing off the walls or had any trouble sleeping.

Here is the recipe for what the kids have been calling “Halloween Cookies” for the past 24 hours. You’ll need:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Habitual Matcha
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Salt

  • Using a hand blender, cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl
  • Slowly add the eggs to the butter mixture and blend
  • In a separate bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time. The dough should be a light green. If you feel like it needs some more color, add a tad more Matcha!
  • Chill the dough for at least an hour, or even overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and roll the dough into balls between your hands. Place on baking sheet lined in parchment paper. Depending on the size of your rolled dough, you can get anywhere from 16-24 cookies.
  • Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes. I had to bake mine in two batches since I made 18 cookies.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. The cookies will be a tad soft on top so be careful not to poke or touch them because they will collapse. They will also continue to bake from the inside out for a few minutes on the cooling rack and will harden slightly, but not too much!
  • Let cool and eat immediately (if you are like me and my kids who can’t wait for anything)

Have you ever cooked or baked with Matcha before? Share your recipes if you have because now that I’ve made these, I’m obsessed with the taste and want to try all the Match things. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Back to School Bags with Style

When back to school time hits, it seems like endless amounts of paperwork that come home with kids each day. In addition to lunches, water bottles, extra clothes and sports clothes the amount of things to keep up with can be overwhelming. Evelyn started ballet last week which she has once a week and Henry has been expressing interest in playing some sports. So now, in addition to packing their bags for school, they also need bags packed for their after school activities. We bring Evelyn’s monogrammed mini book bag from Stuck on You which is the perfect size for her and also her ballerina lunch box.

Stuck On You has all of your back to school essentials. From the most adorable mini backpacks for your toddlers first day of Mother’s morning out to bento lunch boxes and monogrammed water bottles. It’s a one stop shop for everything you need and what makes Stuck on You extra special is the variety of colors and designs you can customize. Literally everything can be created to match your child’s personality. I love the Custom Clothing Name Stamp which is amazing for labeling the kids extra clothes that stay at school. I can stamp them super fast and not have to worry about the ink smearing of washing off.. Not only do I use all Stuck On You items year round, but their monogram name labels are perfect for summer camp. I imagine Henry will be doing sleep away camp in the coming years so labeling all his belongings will be a must.

Are your kids playing any sports this Fall or have after school activities? Be sure to check out Stuck On You because they never disappoint! Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Thank you to Stuck on You for sponsoring this post! 

Fall In Love With Taking Care of Yourself

This post is sponsored by thinkThin but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

As mothers, we tend to overlook ourselves and our needs. I’ve always been very vocal on my blog and social channels about keeping my identity even after having children. I think that the more we vocalize how important self care is, the more normal it will become for women and mothers. It’s so important to make time for myself and carve out time each day to be alone with my thoughts. Motherhood, marriage, work, and life in general is hard and spoiler alter: we are all secretly a hot mess. Even though the kids are in school my days still feel packed to the brim. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I’ve tried to implement 3 small changes that I can do every day, or almost every day. I hate committing to things that seems unachievable, and I’ll ultimately feel like a failure if I can’t complete them.

Moving – Notice how I didn’t say exercise? I go back and forth with the gym. I have a love/hate relationship with working out, usually because there is something else I would rather be doing. However, I recently reactivated my membership because I’m not getting any younger and my body needs movement. I’m not going to the gym to have a staring contest in the mirror or take selfies in the bathroom after lifting weights. I’m there solely to stay active for my overall health and mental wellbeing.

Reading – Before I got married or had kids, I used to read all the time. I would be able to finish at least one book a month and loved getting lost in a story. I’m ashamed to admit that in the past seven years, I haven’t finished a single book. I’ve joined book clubs to try and stay accountable and there’s well over 40 books in my Amazon cart. Unfortunately, reading just got added to the list of something I had to do like a chore instead of a hobby I enjoyed. A few weeks ago I bought “Girl, Wash Your Face” and finished it in two days. I literally did nothing but read any chance I got. The book was motivating enough on its own but it reminded me of my love for books. It also reminded me that I do have the time to read if I just make it a priority.

Eating Smarter – If you follow me on Instagram (@chanelvanreenen) then you know over the past 6 months I’ve been making changes to my diet in order to become my best healthy self. I rarely eat past 6pm and try to go to bed no later than 10. I’m not much of an early morning eater so I have my “breakfast” usually between 10-11am. One food that has always appealed to me is oatmeal. thinkThin Protein and Probiotic Hot Oatmeal can fit into any aspect of my life. From running out the door to carpool drop off, or quickly getting in 10 grams of protein before my morning walk. It’s one less thing that I need to think about during the day. Being able to pop the oatmeal in the microwave and still get a delicious healthy meal is definitely a mom win. Cinnamon Almond and Maple Pecan are by far my favorite flavors, however thinkThin offers a variety of others. It really is the best way to jumpstart by day and leaves me satisfied and alert for longer.

Do you have any daily rituals you practice for self love and wellbeing? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

 

 

5 Ways to Make Family Walks Easier

This post is sponsored by © Nature’s Recipe, LLC., all opinions are my own.

Our Pit Bull, Winnie, has always loved being outdoors. Even though she is almost 5, she still acts like a puppy most days.  She loves to play, run, and be around other dogs and humans. As fun-loving as she is, getting her to calm down when it matters has always been challenging. Unfortunately, my 81-year-old grandmother doesn’t always like to be jumped on when she comes to visit, so we needed to find a way to channel all that energy Winnie has. We had always taken our other dog, Sammy on walks, but the older he gets, the more he likes to be walked in the morning alone. We call him Old Man Sam because he really enjoys his quiet time 🙂 Since Winnie is younger and has more energy, we knew the kids would love to start taking her on walks. After some trial and error, we finally have a routine down! Here are some tips that have helped us have successful family walks!

1. Plan out your route. This is especially important when you’re bringing along young children. You want to make sure the terrain can easily be walked for kids and dogs. If it’s uneven or in a remote location, I can almost guarantee someone will have to use the bathroom, or will fall and scrape their knee 30 seconds into the walk. Luckily, we live in a subdivision with wide streets so our route is the same most nights. Following a route helped Winnie get accustomed to walks, our neighbors and neighborhood, and learning obedience. Now, we feel confident that we can take her on new paths and trails.

2. Let your dog lead the way! From the moment we started taking family walks together, we always told the kids that the dogs were the leaders of the walk. Dogs need mental stimulation and they get this from sniffing and exploring. After all, if your dog has been in a crate or indoors for most of the day, this may be their only time to enjoy the fresh air!

3. Be prepared to take lots of breaks! This is especially true for family walks involving kids. Not only do Henry and Evelyn like to stop frequently, but Winnie also likes to rest about every 10-15 minutes. Follow your dog’s lead and also have realistic expectations. If your pup tires easily from a walk around your neighborhood cul-de-sac, then he probably isn’t up for a 3 mile hike in the woods.

4. Make sure pups & kids have a full belly! We love taking our walks in the evening after dinner. Living in Atlanta, the sun, heat and humidity is absolutely brutal during the day. Aside from wanting to be comfortable, I don’t want the kids or dogs to overheat and I also don’t want the pavement to be too hot for the dogs. We head out usually about 30 minutes after we finish eating. This gives everyone enough time for food to settle and to get hydrated. Recently we switched our dog’s food to Nature’s Recipe® Grain Free premium dog food. There are several reasons why this switch was a no-brainer for us. Nature’s Recipe is grain, corn, wheat and soy free and contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, or poultry by-product. It is made with real lamb, chicken, or salmon as the #1 ingredient. I never thought my dogs would be a fan of salmon, but that is their favorite out of all the Nature’s Recipe flavors! You can purchase all of the grain free products at your local Walmart. I love that there are options for small breeds, puppies and larger dogs so every pup can enjoy it! *Pro Tip – My husband carries a small baggy in his pocket with some Nature’s Recipe kibbles just in case we need to reward the dogs for good behavior.

5. Teach & Have Fun! No matter what, family walks should be a time to wind down and enjoy each other’s company. No iPads, cell phones or video games. No work calls, email checking or social media stories. This should be a time not only to have fun together, but to also teach kids the importance of safety when it comes to being outdoors.

Do you take regular walks with your dogs and family? What tips do you follow to make them easier?

5 Household Chores that Toddlers Can Help With

This post is sponsored by Bona but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

No matter what your parenting style may be, I think we can all agree that raising responsible children is important. After all, when they’re grown up and out of our house, they will need to function in and contribute to society. Easy, household jobs that are safe are a great way to teach a young child responsibility which will help them in the long run. My kids need tasks at home or else they will literally run wild. My husband and I decided to start implementing chores when our oldest was 3, and we’ve done the same with our daughter. In addition to teaching them to follow rules and be motivated to help, it’s also been rewarding to them to feel accomplished by helping others. Here are the 5 chores which the kids do on a daily and weekly basis.

1. Helping with Pets – We have 6 pets in our household. That is 6 extra mouths to feed, twice daily. Around the age of 4, Henry started feeding the pets breakfast and dinner. It’s a super simple chore that kids can do and all our pet food has a scoop next to the container to avoid over-feeding. Henry also loves to help his dad clean the fish tank and allows them some time to bond one-on-one. I love that they’re learning how to care for another living thing and it also teaches them empathy.

2. Putting Away Their Laundry/ Tidying Their Room – By the time both my kids were 3, they knew where all their clothes went in their room. Even though I still fold everything, the kids each put away all their clothing. Henry is 6 and has been practicing hanging up his shirts on hangers however Evelyn is not quite there yet. I’ve found that teaching them to care for their belongings has helped them value and appreciate the things they have.

3. Sweeping The Floors – Our hardwood floors have taken a beating since our house was built in 1985. The floors are still original and we probably won’t refinish them until the kids are a bit older and our dogs mellow out a bit. Until then, we try and keep them as clean and polished as possible. The kids absolutely love to use our Bona Microfiber Mop for Hard-Surface Floors. Ever since they were small toddlers, they loved pretending to sweep the floors with anything they could find (a hanger, the dog leash … the possibilities were limitless, haha). Now that they are old enough to actually sweep floors properly, and love doing it, we wasted no time in having them help us. Wood floors run throughout the main floor of our home, so they are the first thing anyone will notice if they’re dusty with pet hair or dirt. Bona offers a family of mops for every surface. There is also a variety of Bona hardwood cleaner products, depending on what you prefer. Bona is definitely the next generation of wood floor mops and cleans my floors unlike any other mop on the market today. It has the largest base plate out of any similar mop which makes cleaning fast and easy. The assembly of the mop takes less than 2 minutes, the cleaner dries in record speed with no dulling residue, and the retractable handle hook allows for easy storage. What I love most is that the pads easily come right off and can be tossed in the washer. My days sometimes feel like they blur together, and life comes at me fast. With Bona Quick Clean, I can embrace life’s surprises and carry on with my day, no matter how chaotic.

4. Wash The Car – This “chore” is really like playtime for the kids. Both of my children are born water babies and love water of all kind. Our cars get cleaned in no time with four extra hands helping out. They pay so much attention to detail and feel really good about themselves knowing we trusted them such an important job!

5. Bathe the Dogs – We usually do this after we wash the cars since the kids are already in their swimsuits. They love when Winnie & Sammy shake off all the water and get them wet. Bathing the dogs goes back to teaching empathy and our dogs look at the kids so lovingly. It really is heart warming. This chore can be practiced at any age. Before our kids could participate they loved watching us bathe the dogs and would burst out with laughter.

Do you practice chores at home with your kids or teach any other responsibilities? Let me know in the comments and Bona will give away a Quick Clean Kit to one lucky winner!

The “Quick Clean Kit” will include:

  • Tools – Bona® Premium Microfiber Mop for Hard-Surface Floors
  • Dusting Solution – Bona® Disposable Dusting Cloths
  • Cleaning Solution – Bona® Wet Cleaning Pads

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