The Easiest Way to Make Time for Friends as an Adult

My friends come in all ages. Some are single mothers, some are mama’s to be, some are done having kids, some haven’t had kids, some are dating and some are married. I love knowing these women at different stages in their life. One thing that can be hard to navigate is making the time to see each other in person. Between jobs, kids and life in general, it can be very tough. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that the people who want to be in your life will make the time and vice versa. Even though we all have our own families who we love and adore, our friendship is like a chosen family that enhances our lives.

Probably the easiest way to catch up is over lunch or dinner. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy all night thing and since we all have day jobs we know we can easily commit to an hour lunch without feeling guilty for cutting it short. One of our favorite places to go is Chili’s® Grill & Bar! There is something for everyone at Chili’s because it’s both kid and family friendly, and you can eat at an affordable price. Last week some girlfriends and I got together for lunch to enjoy Chili’s 3 for $10 meals! We each were able to get a non-alcoholic beverage, appetizer and entree for only $10 each. The Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadillas were to die for and of course I can never resist chips and salsa. There are so many choices and plenty of food. We even had some leftovers which we were able to bring home to enjoy later.

If you’re a busy mom, working parent, or just need a break from kitchen duties in general, then the Chili’s 3 for $10 meal is for you. This affordable dining option will give you that much-needed night out that we all so desperately need! Do you have a chosen family of friends that you love to catch up with? What are some of the easiest ways to keep in touch with them? If you haven’t tried the Chili’s 3 for $10 menu, be sure to check them out next time you need to reconnect with family or friends!

Girlfriend Getaway: Chateau Elan

When planning a trip there are some factors that the destination has to have: great food, an amazing spa for pampering and incredible views with endless photo opts. This summer a girlfriend and I visited the beautiful Chateau Elan for a quick getaway and lucky for us, Chateau Elan meets all the criteria listed! For those who are unfamiliar with Chateau Elan, it is a luxury winery and resort less than 2 hours north of Atlanta.

There is so much to do on property that you could spend a full 3 days here and still not get to it all. The Winery and vineyards is a must-see. The landscape at sunset is breathtaking. It’s perfect for families, girlfriends, couples, work events … basically any occasion. There are winery tours and wine tastings available as well. Even though there wasn’t enough time to experience golf or tennis, the courts and courses are highly worth mentioning. If you’re looking to surprise your hubby with a guys weekend this is the place to do it.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and their breakfast buffet at Versailles was incredible. Not to mention there is a waffle and omelet bar – my favorite! In addition to Versailles there are 6 other on site restaurants to choose from so you’ll never go hungry. If you’re like me good food at the hotel is a must when traveling! Marc bar and chophouse is located inside the Winery and also amazing. The scenery alone is worth the visit, even if just for a drink.

The gym was incredibly clean and had a great variety of weight and cardio equipment. Katie and I spent a solid hour there before heading to the pool for the rest of the day. Speaking of days spent at the pool, we were living for the delicious cocktails served poolside smack in the middle of the afternoon. Is there any better way to spend summer??

I’ve never had a full body scrub before and I was lucky enough to experience the Château Winery Harvest Crush signature Treatment. No joke, my skin felt like a newborn babies after I was done. Red wine grape seeds slough away dead skin, leaving a healthy grape seed oil on the body to moisturize and rebuild the skin. My technician therapist was Ally and she was the sweetest and so professional. If you book any treatments at The Spa she is your girl so request her!

Chateau Elan is undergoing an extensive $25 million renovation and should be fully completed by November. This means deluxe and modern rooms, updated spa and in house coffee shop. If you are thinking of making the trip I would definitely wait until after the renovations so you can experience the new and improved Chateau Elan!

Budgeting for the Holidays with SunTrust 

This content is sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust. All opinions are my own.

If you’re anything like me, then the holidays are an indulgent time. I basically live my best YOLO life wanting to experience all the festive events, parties, gift exchanges and gift giving. It definitely has gotten out of hand in years past and once January rolls around I’m left with sticker shock that lasts well into the New Year. This holiday season I will be more conscience of not only how I spend my time but also my money. I have learned that I don’t have to say yes to every experience or buy every gift the kids ask for. Sometimes just being present is worth more than anything else. 

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit The onUp Experience at SunTrust Park in Atlanta. If you’ve never been or aren’t familiar with what exactly it is, it’s a free fan experience filled with interactive games and money saving tips and budgeting for financial confidence. 

When Evelyn and I visited they were having a Christmas in July event where you could take free photos with Santa, eat some cookies and take home a lot of awesome goodies. There are interactive games and experiences for kids and adults … seriously it is fun for the whole family, for a group of girlfriends, or even on a date night. I didn’t even mention the best part, The onUp Experience is 100% free and open 365 days a year. Check out their calendar of events so you can plan your visit. Remember it is free and open to the public regardless if you’re attending a Braves game or not. There were kids of all ages and even young couples having the best time on the simulated pitcher’s mound, broadcast booth and virtual reality lounge where you get a behind the scenes sneak peek into SunTrust Park. 

If you’ve been interested in learning more about budgeting, money saving tips or how to plan for your future then the SunTrust’s onUp.com has a vast library of tools, quizzes, calculators and worksheets. There is something to help you in every stage of life. From saving for football season, paying off college loans, budgeting for a wedding or childcare and planning your retirement. 

As you start think about the upcoming holiday season, take a look at this budget worksheet, and join the onUp movement at onUp.com to start building your financial confidence. 

Creating a Back to School Night Time Routine

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

Both the kids started school earlier this week, yay! It seems like summer lasted forever but also flew by. I love summer for several reasons: no curfews or schedules, lazy mornings, late nights, last minute vacations and being with the kids. Things I don’t love about summer? no curfews or schedules, late nights and being with the kids all day everyday, haha. Now that Henry and Evelyn are both in grade school this year (2nd and Pre-K) it’s extra important that they’re on the same schedule and that we have implemented structure in our household.

The most important part of any schedule is Routine, Routine, Routine. I cannot stress this enough. Henry especially thrives off of structure and routine. He likes knowing what to expect and having rules. Without them he acts out, becomes anxious and gets into trouble easily. Evelyn is also at a very impressionable young age and picks up on bad habits. She is also very feisty in her own right so basically I have two very strong willed stubborn children who need constant routine.

A few weeks ago I started implementing a night time routine which included going to bed at 7:30pm instead of 9:30/10:00pm (why summer … whyyyyy!) Needless to say it did not go over very easily. With the first day of school creeping closer and both kids refusing to fall asleep earlier I knew I had to find something that would help them. I decided to try Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies. Natrol is the #1 melatonin brand in America and recently formulated a kids melatonin product which is 100% drug-free and non-habit forming. Each gummy is only 1mg in strength and comes in two kid-friendly forms – Fast Dissolve tablets and Gummies. They are non-GMO, vegetarian and free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Sleep is one of the most important things little bodies and developing brains need and Natrol Kids Melatonin helps my kids relax and fall asleep easily (for specific dosing instructions, or if your child is below the age of four, please consult your pediatrician).

Our new back to school evening schedule looks something like this: 3:05pm Bus Stop pick up. Home for a snack and play time (outdoor sand table, coloring, legos, kitchen etc. – no screen time). 6pm dinner. 7pm bath time, brush teeth, story time. 7:30pm lights out. The Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies have helped the kids fall asleep faster when they have a hard time falling asleep on their own and they wake up feeling refreshed and energized. I even started taking the Natrol Adult Melatonin Gummies and were amazed at how fast they work. By nature I am a night owl and could stay up until 2am or later. Getting only 4 hours of sleep won’t cut it since now having to wake up at 6:30am and get two kids dressed, fed and dropped off at school. The Natrol Adult Melatonin Gummies help me get to bed by 10pm so I can get around 8 hours of sleep a night and not feel groggy in the morning.

Do you have any tips for creating a nighttime routine in school aged children? Let me know in the comments below!

“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.”

 

3 Tips for Throwing a Kid-Friendly Party Under $200

This post is sponsored by Tuesday Morning. All thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Throwing fun birthday parties for my kids is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I love bringing the theme to life with perfect touches and unique decorations. (You can see my past parties here). One thing that is always in the back of my mind when planning and shopping for a party is staying as close to my budget as possible. I have 3 tips that I always stick to which helps mainline my party planning and I’m excited to share them with you today!

1. Shop at a single location if possible. From invitations to thank you cards, Tuesday Morning has everything you need from pre-party to post party at just a fraction of the cost. I was able to get everything I needed at Tuesday Morning for this gender neutral art party for under $200! The rose gold silverware, pewter cake stand, candy and snacks, adorable goody bags, the canvases, paint brushes and paint. It helps save time, money and my sanity when I can find everything I need in one place! Click here to find a Tuesday Morning in your area!

2. Look for Home Decor Accents for party decorations. I love finding home decor and setting it on the party table, near the entry way or around the house to carry the theme throughout. The bonus is you can reuse this decor in your home even after the party ends. While I was strolling the aisles at Tuesday Morning I literally squealed with excitement when I saw the dog painting with colorful dots. It was the perfect addition to this art party and was only $40! It makes such a statement and will look adorable in Henry’s room now. Tuesday Morning has such a great art collection so be sure to check out those aisles when shopping for your theme or trying to come up with one. Inspiration is everywhere! I didn’t have a theme in mind but after seeing the dog print the art party came to me so easily!

3. Keep food at a minimum. With the exception of a few parties I typically choose “off ” times that don’t coincide with a mealtime. Hosting a party for a bunch of kids and their parents at 12pm will cost you a lot of money in food and drinks. By pushing the party back a little to 1:30 or even 2:00, you can serve some light snacks or desserts only. I love doing a full on dessert and treat bar with cupcakes, cookies, candy, pouches and juice boxes. Limit alcohol for day time parties as well since that’ll set you back in the cost department. Tuesday Morning has a wide assortment of snacks that are perfect for goody bags and treats and each bag ended up costing me just under $5 for everything, including the paper filling.

What are some of your budget tips for a party? Have you ever shopped at Tuesday Morning for a all your party needs? Click here to find a store in your area!

Back to School on a Budget with Dollar General

This post is sponsored by Dollar General. All thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Next month I will have 2 children in elementary school! Where does the time go? Truthfully I have always thrived more on a scheduled routine so I am looking forward to getting back into the school year and having both kids be on the same schedule. This past weekend I took Henry and Evelyn to pick out their school supplies and they were so excited. We bought way more than we needed but since we went to Dollar General we didn’t have to pay office store pricing. 

Dollar General not only has all the school supplies I need at a fraction of the cost, but also lunchbox snacks, classroom supplies and more. When you Spend $15 you can Save $5 on school supplies like backpacks, lunch kits, folders, glue, pens and pencils. It’s a one stop shop for everything my kids needed from their school list. 

In fact, if you’re overwhelmed with what to buy and can’t remember if boys bring tissues and girls bring hand wipes, then you can use the Dollar General Teacher’s List feature online. You can find your child’s supply list by entering your zip code to find their school. If you are a teacher or faculty member you’re in luck because Dollar General offers a 20% OFF Teacher’s Discount. Just need to show your school badge at the register to Save 20% on stationery. 

I love supporting companies that give back and Dollar General has been added to that list. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in honor of J.L. Turner, co-founder of Dollar General. He was functionally illiterate with only a third-grade education. After his father passed away at a young age, J.L. quit school so he could work on the family farm to provide for his family. With hard work and determination, he went on to co-found Dollar General. 

In 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in his honor. In May 2019, Dollar General donated $8.3 Million to youth and adult programs in the 42 states they operate in. For any item marked with the Dollar General Literacy Logo, Dollar General donates 100% perceNT of sales to continue funding education through their foundation. 

Have you done your back to school shopping yet? What is your favorite part about the school year starting back up? 

5 Ways to Get Your Energy Back

As mothers and women we generally take on more than we can handle. As a Type-A-Go-Getter it’s in my nature to say yes to everything, even if it means added stress, anxiety and exhaustion. It’s normal to have days where you’re exhausted or sleepless nights here and there, but if you’re feeling drained all day everyday then you may need lifestyle adjustment. Over the course of the past 7 months I have slowly implemented the following changes into my life and I can 100% say that I never felt better.

Say ‘NO’ More Often – Feeling drained doesn’t have to just be purely physical. Mental exhaustion can be just as taxing. Lightening your load of commitments can make a world of difference. The past few months have brought a lot of changes to my life and I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed even by the smallest task. Usually I am a social butterfly who loves to go out and be around my friends but lately I’ve found comfort in saying NO to every social gathering. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of yourself physically.

Invest in a Proper Supplement – I will be the first one to admit that I’m awful when it comes to taking vitamins and minerals daily. Even with bottles of supplements sitting on my counter I still can never remember to take them. Maybe it’s because I like eating more, haha. Recently I started taking Bioactive Multi from Healthy Cell. It contains a broad spectrum of micronutrients including essential vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients, botanical antioxidants, and prebiotics. Delivered through Bioactive Gel™ for maximum absorption, it ensures a daily nutrient foundation for optimal health. It can be taken solo, mixed with water or a drink, blended in a smoothie or added to a meal. Bioactive Multi contains No Dairy, No Egg, No Peanuts, No Tree Nuts, No Wheat, No Shellfish and No Artificial Flavors. These little packets are perfect to keep in your gym bag, purse, car, kitchen, office drawer, etc. Now there is literally no excuse for me not to take my supplements daily because of how easy Healthy Cell has made it. Not to mention the taste is actually really, really good so you’ll want to take it daily.

Limit Alcohol & Caffeine – I’ve discussed this a lot on my blog and social channels, but I am a huge advocate of social drinking only and limiting alcohol when possible. There is also a sedative in alcohol which sucks energy from your body. In addition to cutting back on those sugary cocktails, it’s also worth mentioning that guzzling cup after cup of coffee throughout the day will not boost your energy. For some reason we are wired to think that the more caffeine we drink the more energy we will have but it’s actually the opposite. Caffeine can cause insomnia so try not to drink it after 2pm (or try taking a break all together!)

Exercise – I will be the first to admit that when I’m exhausted and mentally drained that the last thing I want to do is change into my workout clothes, drive to the gym, and do an hour of cardio. However, after exercising nearly everyday for 8 weeks I can tell you this: when I miss 1-2 days at the gym my body becomes sluggish and heavy. I actually have less energy than I do when I get that cardio in. My body has started craving daily workouts and I feel so much better when I’m active, even if only for an hour. I also sleep so much better which in turn gives me more energy for the following day.

Water, Water and More Water – Our bodies are made up of 60% water so it goes without saying that we need to have sufficient water intake to survive and be healthy. I cut out 99% of the Diet Coke and Iced Vanilla Latte’s I was drinking and replaced them with water and have felt so much better. Even though I’m still not getting my 64 ounces of water daily, I have more energy when I drink more water.

Do you have any tips you swear by to get more energy? Let me know in the comments below!

*This post is sponsored by Healthy Cell. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

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