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What did one helmet say to the other?  I'll stay here, you go on a head. .
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What did one helmet say...

Let’s talk about family vacations... #gifted I struggled for years with the amount of time it took to pack up to go back home. There were always dirty clothes all over the floor and while I tried to pack it all into those hotel provided plastic laundry bags, 1) they were plastic and we are trying our best to do better for our planet and 2) they rip so easily, so we often wound up with dirty clothes spilling out in the car (yuck). A couple of months ago, I was watching a friend’s Instagram stories and she was talking about the @swoopbags she uses for her son’s toys. I immediately had an idea and knew I had to get one. 
On our last vacation, I opened up my large swoop bag and left it flat in the corner of our hotel room. We used it as our “laundry corner”. We instructed the kids (and ourselves) to drop our dirty laundry in the middle of the flattened Swoop bag. When it was time to pack up, I just swooped the bag, tied it and voila… it literally saved me all of the aggravation of finding and picking up all of the clothes and trying to find something to carry it all in. Don’t forget to check out the blog for more family travel hacks and a quick video on how I fit all 5 of our clothing into one small suitcase! I put the link in my bio! .
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Let’s talk about family vacations......

Anyone else super excited that today is National Dress Up Your Pet Day?! Elle will be going through a few wardrobe changes today. 🙈 What will your pet be wearing?
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Anyone else super excited that...

As a family, we road trip quite a lot. It's a ton of fun, but also a lot of work (for me at least)! Over the years, I've found a variety of ways to save time and money and I'm finally sharing those family-friendly travel hacks with you on the blog today! Click on the link in my bio or swipe up in stories! How do you save time and money when you travel?
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As a family, we road...

Growing up, I always wanted a sibling. I wished over every star and every birthday candle. I even asked my magic eight ball constantly if I would ever have one but as many times as it told me “all signs point to yes”, I remained an only child. I look forward to the days when my three girls appreciate that they have best friends for life... two women who will always have their back, lend them a hand or provide a shoulder to cry on. In the meantime, I make sure to create fun reasons for them to “work” together without bickering. So, I’m excited to announce that Iyla and Falynn are starting a new venture together, @thesuperkidlife and I hope you’ll follow along and show them some love. Although I will run the IG page for them for now, Iyla will be in charge of content and stories, so you’re in for a treat! They already have their first sponsored posts lined up! Stay tuned. . .
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C O L L A R D  G R E E N S 
If you’ve never tried them, this is your reason to. If you’ve tried them and aren’t really a fan, this recipe is going to change your mind! I haven’t met a person who wasn’t a fan after they tried my collard greens. After years of keeping this recipe all to myself, I’m finally sharing it to change the minds of all of those greens-haters. So no preconceived notions about whether or not you like collard greens. Instead, I challenge you to try this recipe out and tell me you aren’t a fan! The recipe is on the blog (link in bio or swipe up in stories). Will you try them? .
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C O L L A...

I was going through an old post on the blog, sharing funny love quotes and this one had me rolling. If @thesuperdadlife and I had to describe our text convos, this pretty much covers it. Swipe to see the proof 😂🤣😂 Do you and your spouse do this too?
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Is it just me or is the weekend before the kids go back to school after a break, the absolute busiest?! AD: While it felt like we were go-go-go, we did make some time to visit our local park so Falynn and Iyla could play with their new favorite toy, Stomp Rocket! Have you seen this yet? Swipe to see it in action and check out our stories for even more fun! Stomp Rocket is pretty much the coolest toy and it teaches STEM principles, which is a huge plus! It comes with three different stunt planes designed by aeronautical engineers to do a variety of amazing tricks. The rockets soar up to 400 feet in the air, so it keeps them running after the rockets (amazing exercise)! @originalstomprocket reduces screen time with a toy that’s 100% kid-powered by jumping on the launch pad. The girls love to see who can make it go the highest and the farthest! I love that you can play with it in your backyard but it’s also portable and light enough to take with you. It makes the best gift and is available at your in @target stores and online! 
#gostomp #stomprocket #targetrun #targetfinds
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It didn’t take me long to find my word for 2020.... COURAGE. Courage to try new things, courage to continue on even when I’m afraid of the “what if’s”, courage to grow as a person, courage to get out there more, courage to fight the anxiety that kept me locked up on most days in 2019, courage to make our dreams come true... this year, I’m going to let my courage shine. Make sure to check out our newest blog post where we are sharing our 2020 family goals and how many of our 2019 family goals we achieved. Link is in our bio or you can swipe up in stories. What is your word for 2020? .
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It didn’t take me long...

The App that Finally Calmed My Anxiety

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When I finally shared my anxiety disorder with everyone, I got a lot of advice. While I was grateful for each of your messages, I found myself doubting that any of those things would actually help me. Because, well… I suffer from anxiety. Worrying and feeling doomed is kinda my thing. Sleep more, eat less, do more exercise, find a new hobby… everyone had a suggestion.  What I found most interesting is that there was one recommendation that was repeatedly suggested.  It was meditation.

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Meditation? Really?

For me, meditation was something that people did with their legs folded in awkward positions, on the floor of their dedicated quiet room with a fancy robe and incense burning nearby. It’s no surprise that I’m a Mom of three, so I don’t have a quiet space in my home. Believe me, I’ve tried to find one. I also don’t have a fancy robe and haven’t burned incense since I was in college. So I couldn’t imagine that meditation was for me.

Having so many people suggesting meditation to me just seemed pointless. Where was I going to find complete silence in my crazy house? It was laughable. But something told me to do some research. That many of you couldn’t be wrong.

According to Wikipedia, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.

Ok, sounds pretty doable. No mention of robes or incense.

Let the Research Begin

The more I researched, the more I was finding that an app would be my best bet. So I asked around and finally decided to give Calm a try. Calm is the #1 app for meditation and mindfulness. They offer 100+ guided meditations to help you manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep better. Calm is the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users.

My family bought me some noise cancelling headphones and I downloaded the app. That night, just before bed, I turned on my first meditation session. Tamara Levitt, the Head of Mindfulness at Calm is also the voice on the app. She has such a soothing voice and she instantly put me at ease. Not only did it finally calm me down (my heartbeat is crazy fast around bedtime), but I fell asleep before the 20 minute session had even finished. When I woke up, I was less of a sceptic. Maybe you all were onto something.

Over the next week, I added a morning meditation session into my day. As soon as the kids were dropped off at school, I put on my headphones and tried the 7 Days of Calming Anxiety series. I was finding that every one of those sessions was changing my mindset.

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I Call it the What If’s

I suffer with something I like to call the “what if’s”. Before I go anywhere, I think of all of the catastrophes that can happen on the way, during and on the way back. I literally make myself crazy over what might happen, so no matter where we are, or how much fun we are supposed to be having, I’m too busy watching over my shoulder to make sure everything is safe and none of my crazy scenarios come true. Ridiculous, I know. It’s part of needing to be in control, which is something people with anxiety need.

On one of the sessions, Tamara spoke about this exact issue and talked through how we can acknowledge our thoughts and then watch them pass by like a cloud. It sounded a little too good to be true, but I wasn’t ruling anything out.

I was scheduled to go on a cruise that week and my anxiety level was at an all time high. I imagined just about everything that could go wrong. But once I listened to that Calm session, it was like something in my brain clicked.  I stopped thinking of all that could go wrong and started getting excited about everything that could go right.

When I got anxious on the cruise, I went back to the room, meditated and got right back into the fun. I walked off of that ship a new person. I have meditated every day (sometimes multiple times a day) since and I haven’t seen a glimmer of anxiety.

Now, while I won’t tell you that it’s cured me, because I’m not sure that’s really possible, I can tell you that when I’m feeling most anxious or my heartbeat is a little faster than I’d like it to be, I pull out my headphones, turn on the calm app and I calm down.  I feel better. Much better, actually. It’s a great distraction for me. It causes me to stop, breathe and relax. And when you are calm, there is no place for that anxiety to rear it’s ugly little head.

The app has a session for almost anything you may be going through. You just scroll through, find what you’re struggling with and listen. It’s incredible. If you’re struggling with anxiety, or just overwhelmed as most of us are these days, consider giving it a try. Calm does offer a trial period. If you love it, you can upgrade it to the full year. It took me only one session to decide that it was worth it.  I haven’t regretted it one bit.

Do you meditate?

I have gotten so many recommendations, but one that seemed to stand out was meditation. And the Calm app has been a game changer.

XOXO
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47 Comments
  • Dr. Dawn
    July 6, 2019

    These meditation apps are absolutely fantastic!

  • Ankita
    January 3, 2019

    I use calm. I love the app. I downloaded it after the free trial & loved it. Using it since then.

  • Ankita
    January 3, 2019

    I use Calm. And yes i agree it is a good app. I downloaded it after its free trial.

  • blair villanueva
    December 5, 2018

    Thanks for sharing your feedback about this app. I will check this as well and shared to my friends!

  • berlin | Momi berlin
    December 2, 2018

    This makes me check my current status. I sometimes feel frustrated and tired. I believe I also need a few time to listen to myself and body. I need to medicate, too.

  • Kay
    December 2, 2018

    I really need to start meditating. It’s a good way relieve stress. I will check out the app.

  • Alvern Bullard @ Success Unscrambled
    December 1, 2018

    I find that studying the bible, praying and trusting in God brings a huge amount of peace in my life. I also spend time interceding for others who are having a difficult time and that helps me as well.

  • Sigrid Says
    December 1, 2018

    Oh wow! Good for you. In my case, it’s oils. I am using Young LIving oils and they are calming me. I use them either in the diffuser or rollers.

  • Cristina - Memories of the Pacific
    November 30, 2018

    I recently discovered Calm as well. I used to be very skeptical about this kind of thing but when I tried it, it changed my mind completely. Whenever I feel depressed or anxious I listen to a podcast and it makes me feel better. Just like you, what if’s take control of my head and I end up having a really hard time when I have to travel, especially if I’m taking a plane.

  • Shanab
    November 30, 2018

    I’ve been using this app for a while now and I love it. The asmr element has definitely taken off in recent years. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • ANOSA MALANGA
    November 30, 2018

    I actually downloaded this app before but I didn’t make use of it so much until it was offloaded then I removed it. I guess I need to redownload it again.

  • Sundeep
    November 30, 2018

    Normally I listen music to control my anxiety. But this app looks promising and I need to try for sure. will give you my review for sure

  • Julie Plagens
    November 29, 2018

    I find reading my Bible and praying to be a great calming effect. I get the what if’s too. Like you, it happens a lot when I travel. I don’t let it stop me though. I don’t want to live my life stuck at home.

  • Ashley Grant
    November 29, 2018

    Normally I use insight timer to meditate, but I’ll have to look into this one. I’m always down for a new meditation app.

  • Shoshana Sue
    November 29, 2018

    I don’t meditate but I do get anxiety attacks but not often. Finding an app that calms anxieties is simply magical- I will share this with friends who meditate!

  • Angie
    November 29, 2018

    I’m big on the anxiety around here too… Oh man, especially since I became a mother. IT seems like everything about motherhood is anxiety inducing. I’m so so bad at meditation though…

  • Rachel
    November 29, 2018

    I have heard of this app. I am going to give it a shot. THanks for the recommendation.

  • Amy h
    November 29, 2018

    My Anxiety level has been way up high these past few weeks. Not sure if it’s just a side effect of pregnancy or if its something else. I really need to check out this app.

  • Catalina
    November 29, 2018

    I’ve never heard about this app. But I am so curious to find more abou. I will even try it. I think I will like it.

  • Adriana Lopez
    November 29, 2018

    I am a BIG fan of this app “Calm” my husband discovered it and I started using it too. Worth the price helps me to go to sleep and relax.

  • sparky
    November 29, 2018

    I’m trying to get better at it. I’m really great about practicing for a week and then totally falling out of practice. Maybe I should download calm to stay on track.

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate
    November 28, 2018

    I love this app! I also love meditation, and never thought I’d be able to do it — I am not a relaxer nor is my mind typically calm. But, once I practiced a bit, I loved it!

  • Roch
    November 28, 2018

    This may be good for my dad. She has tried a lot of methods to help her calm down and to treat insomnia but none has helped.

  • Tiffany
    November 28, 2018

    I love the idea of mediating. When I was a teenager I use meditate to help with anxiety and over the years I have forgotten to use this helpful tool.

  • Pam
    November 28, 2018

    My daughter uses Calm to help with her anxiety. She has had really good success with it.

  • Terri
    November 28, 2018

    This is a great app. I am in the psychology field and this app has been recommended in some of my trainings. I have used it from time to time! Great share!

  • Alexandra
    November 28, 2018

    I have been wanting to check out this app for so long – and this post has convinced me to do so. It sounds as though it really helps.

  • Scott Gombar
    November 28, 2018

    I have seen this app before but never downloaded it. I don’t suffer from anxiety but still feel it might help me relax. I will check it out.

  • Tomi C
    November 28, 2018

    I meditate from time to time. It really is a great stress reliever. An APP for meditation sounds interesting. I’ll have to download CALM from the App Store. Thanks for the introduction

  • Andrea
    November 28, 2018

    I’ve seen this app on ads on Instagram but I wasn’t sure I should try it. The funny thing is, I’m going on a cruise next week, lol and this app will surely help my anxiety! Thank for this wonderful review! 🙂

  • Ashley
    November 28, 2018

    I should download this to try out when I’m having a high stress day. Thanks for sharing about this.

  • Tara Pittman
    November 28, 2018

    We all need a way to chill our brains and meditation is a great way. I find that running helps me.

    • Heather Castillo
      November 28, 2018

      I’m going to be adding exercise into my routine now that the weather allows me to be outdoors more!

  • Ayanna
    November 28, 2018

    What a great app! Having something so handy within reach whenever you need is so important.

  • Tasheena
    November 28, 2018

    This is a really informative post. I really enjoyed reading it. I have to look into this app. It sounds pretty amazing.

  • Terri Steffes
    November 28, 2018

    I do meditate and for the same reasons as you. It seems that I get all anxious about performing well at work. The app helps me realize that I am a professional and I have knowledge to impart.

    • Heather Castillo
      November 28, 2018

      Work has a lot to do with my anxiety as well (even though I’m self-employed).

  • Candy
    November 28, 2018

    Doing your research and finding something that works for you is what’s important. Perhaps this app can benefit others as well

  • Amber Myers
    November 28, 2018

    I’ll have to check this out. It sounds like a great app to have. I do try to always take deep breaths when I’m upset. Or, I’ll be honest, I turn to chocolate and stuff my face. That helps too.

  • Jeanette
    November 28, 2018

    I think we definitely all need to take time just for ourselves. Just to sit and be calm and relax! An app like this can definitely be useful for that.

  • Melissa Chapman
    November 28, 2018

    I love these ideas to deal with anxiety which I have too. I have never tried meditation but it seems like it is worth a try.

    • Heather Castillo
      November 28, 2018

      We seem to have a lot in common, Melissa! I highly recommend it. It’s done wonders for me.

  • John
    November 28, 2018

    As a Menieres and Tinnitus sufferer this app looks like it could benefit me! Thanks for sharing. All the best, have a great Christmas!

  • GiGi Eats
    November 28, 2018

    While technology can cause so much anxiety, I am glad there are apps out there that focus on reducing it!!

    • Heather Castillo
      November 28, 2018

      You’re so right! There is a game that I was playing and was pretty addicted to. I felt so anxious during the day when I didn’t have time to check it. And when I finally realized what was happening, and I deleted it, it reduced my anxiety instantly.

  • Alli Smith
    November 28, 2018

    Whenever I feel myself getting anxious or stressed out, I do take time to deep breathe and meditate on positive affirmations. I tend to be a positive person most of the time and thinking positive thoughts really helps me relieve stress.

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