Growing up, I was incredibly shy. When I was 12, I was moved from private to public school and for the first time, since I was a toddler, had to make new friends. #ad While 8th grade prepared me a bit, high school was even harder since I only knew a handful of people there. I realized that in order to gain the confidence I was seriously lacking, I needed to become a part of something bigger than me. I tried out and made our high school’s dance team, the Titanaires, in 9th grade. Suddenly, that shy girl found herself. I continued to dance throughout high school and discovered the power of teamwork.  We all walked out onto that field the same, no matter how skilled we were, what we looked like or what our home life was like. We came together as a family and put on a show that always had the fans in the bleachers cheering. Being a Titanaire changed me. 20+ years later, I’m still really good friends with a number of my teammates. Now, as the Mother of three girls, I always encourage them to find something they love, practice and become a part of something that will change their lives as it did mine. Whether it’s volleyball, gymnastics, dance or soccer, I watch my girls transform each and every time they practice, perform or play. Did you know that between the ages of 12 and 13, the number of girls who say they’re afraid to fail increases by 150%? By age 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. That’s why @Athleta is committed to helping keep girls in the game. That’s the #PowerofShe.  #AthletaGirl #girlempowerment #girlsquad #girlsrock #womenathletes #womenempowered #womenempowerment #girlmama #girlmom #gymnastics #gymnasticslife #handstand #handstandpractice #novahighschool #novatitans #novatitanalumni #titanaire #letsgotitans

Growing up, I was incredibly...

Yesterday, I posted my deepest, darkest secret on my blog. It look me 24 hours to get the nerve to share it on here. I’ve been writing that post for a while. It probably didn’t go live the day I intended it to and it might disappear at some point. But enough is enough. Time for me to put my big girl panties on and stop lying to myself and everyone else. I hope you won’t think any different of me or judge me in any way. I’m still the same person, I’m just not pretending anymore. .
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Art: @kobrastreetart 
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Yesterday, I posted my deepest,...

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#ad Falynn has a very...

How would you like to win FREE glasses for your entire family?* #sponsored We recently went to our local For Eyes for our annual vision exams and had the best experience. Dr. Hanna and the opticians really made us feel comfortable and at home, especially Falynn, who had never had an eye exam before. They helped us to find our new prescription and choose the frames that looked best on us. We also sat down with Dr. Hanna to learn more about the importance of annual eye exams and the dangers of blue light. Stay tuned for our IGTV interview later this week! Also, swipe to see the first photo that Falynn ever took by herself, with my camera. Great, right?  We’ve partnered with For Eyes to give you the opportunity to win up to 6 FREE eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses valued at up to $250 each. 
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As someone that has suffered with both anxiety and depression for many years, I can tell you that there are signs that your loved one is suffering. While not everyone who exhibits these characteristics is having mental health issues, it's quite possible that those who are, exhibit many symptoms as a result of their anxiety and/or depression. Today on the blog, I’m discussing those symptoms and what to look for if you suspect you or your loved one is suffering with anxiety and/or depression. .
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As someone that has suffered...

#ad Let’s get real for a moment. While they play a large part in us becoming Mothers, periods are no fun. They also weren’t something that I knew a whole lot about up until a couple of months ago, if I’m being honest. But results from a recent survey got my attention.  3 in 5 women surveyed reported at least one symptom of heavy periods – and among those respondents, over half had not discussed them with a doctor (57%) Why? Most women have resigned to heavy periods as their reality, with 43% saying “it’s just normal for me” and 36% saying “I’ve just learned to live with it.” Sound familiar? I must have said those exact statements plenty of times over the last 30 years. 
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#ad Let’s get real for...

In just about a month or so, we will start to look for our dream home. #ad I’m excited at the opportunities and better rates we can get because of the bump in my credit score. I’m so grateful for the @lendingtree app, which has helped me to monitor my credit score closely, so I know what needed to be improved. The LendingTree app provides all the tools you need for a better financial health. No matter where you are in your life or what big milestone is coming up, your credit is important and should always be a priority. The LendingTree app is free and signing up doesn’t affect your credit score. You can download it in the App Store (click on the #linkinbio and then on “LendingTree”). Why is your credit score important to you? .
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In just about a month...

Thinking back to last month and our stay in that cute little airbnb, it makes me so grateful for the opportunity to blog full-time. Not only do I get to work closely with companies that I love, but occasionally I get the opportunity to take our family on a little, but much needed vacation. It really is the best job I’ve ever had. Today on the blog, I’m continuing my series for bloggers and influencers and discussing what might be the scariest part of this job… pitching companies and applying to campaigns. Head over and check out my suggestions to nail those pitches. I look forward to hearing your thoughts! .
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Thinking back to last month...

Today I had a plan. Wake up early, get the girls ready for their first day of school and then take the perfect first day of school picture to post on Instagram, where I would talk about how bittersweet it is to watch my girls grow up into these incredible young women. 
But things don’t always go as we plan. Instead, Falynn and Iyla woke up at 3:30am, got ready for school and then came downstairs at 5:00am to let us know they were ready. 5:00am... two and a half hours before they actually needed to be at school. I rolled myself out of bed at around 6:50am, Super Dad made me some coffee and I quickly shooed them outside so I could take a picture and realized that Falynn was in a long sleeved shirt, a jacket, jeans and old sneakers. I’m pretty sure her hair wasn’t brushed either. Lucia wasn’t awake yet so it would be the first year without a first day of school picture of all three of them. 😫 Whatever. I was tired. So I quickly took a picture (swipe to see) and got them off to school. Lucia woke up late and I couldn’t take a picture of her because my camera lens kept fogging up. When we walked back into the house, the dog escaped, making her even later. 🤦🏻‍♀️ And my coffee’s cold. Anyway, since I couldn’t get the perfect first day of school picture, I hope you enjoy this shot of the girls and Super Dad in their @swimzip.
How was your first day of school? #firstdayofschool #backtoschool #backtoschoolshopping #backtoschoolstyle #mycrazylife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #motherhoodmoments #momlife #momsofinstagram #swimzip #girlsswimwear #familyswimwear #worldoflittles #myeverydaymagic #sharetheeverymom #rawmotherhood #momswithcameras #cameramama #mommybloggers #oldnavystyle #oldnavy #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #momentsinmotherhood #momentsofmine #thehappynow #watchthemgrow #momstyle #momgoals

Today I had a plan....

My girls are snackers. When they get home from school, they want to be able to grab a quick snack to take with them on the way to after-school activities, or to enjoy while they do their homework. #ad Peanut Butter is a huge hit in our home, but it can get messy, so when I found out about Windstone Farms Creamy Peanut Butter Portable Packets, I couldn't wait to grab some. Instead of making a huge mess (and forgetting to close the lid) with a regular container of peanut butter, the girls can grab one packet and easily add it to just about anything. Some of our favorites are bananas, apples, pretzels, celery or crackers. They have fun creating new combinations and I love that they come in convenient 1.15oz squeezable packets. So much less mess! They are also perfect for their lunchboxes. The peanut butter is so creamy and delicious! BTW, they are naturally gluten-free! @windstonefarms peanut butter packets are now available at your local @walmart. Make sure to pick some up, and check out our stories for a special offer from Ibotta! What will you put #WindstoneFarmsPB on?
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My girls are snackers. When...

Our Guide to Road Trips Done Right

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This post is sponsored by Firestone Complete Auto Care but all opinions are my own.

Thinking back to all the trips that I took as a child, the road trips with my grandparents were always my favorite.  Whether we were driving up the east coast, or just a few hours away, each minute spent in the car and sightseeing were so memorable.  I knew that when I had a family of my own, I was going to make sure to give my kids that same experience.  And while there are always lots of “are we there yet”s and more rest stops than I can count, I know that the memories we make will last a lifetime.

Road Trips Done Right

Earlier this year, we took a road trip from Florida to Georgia and back.  It was a week we will never forget.  We loved the experience so much, we started planning our next road trip before we made it back home.

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Safety First

Before we head out on any road trip, we always make sure that our car is in perfect shape.  Whether it be the oil, the tires or the breaks, when you’re driving long distances, there is nothing more important than making sure you and your family are safe. For this reason, we rely on Firestone Complete Auto Care.  Firestone Complete Auto Care backs all of their work with a Triple Promise that guarantees your experience will be Fixed Right, Priced Right, and Right on Time. Their 4,000+ hardworking and trustworthy ASE-certified technicians keep your car running newer, longer since 1926.  I trust them with my car and with my family’s safety.

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Prepare for the Journey

Each of us are different. We have a variety of things that we love to do when we have free time.  So we make sure to give the girls each a backpack and have them fill it with things to keep them busy while we’re on the road.  The contents of those backpacks range from headphones, coloring books and crayons, journals, drawing pads and playing cards to stuffed animals.  They always make sure to leave some space in those bags for souvenirs from each of the places we go and every adventure we have.

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Stray From the Itinerary

We try to plan things out for each of our road trips, but some of my favorite experiences are those that were spontaneous.  When you’re on a road trip, and you see a sign for something on the side of the road, don’t be afraid to pull over. It’s those little gems that you didn’t know about that turn out to be the most memorable.  For us, one of those places was St. Augustine Alligator Farm.  We live in Florida, so we aren’t strangers to alligators. In fact, we occasionally have them in our backyard.  Going to an alligator farm wasn’t at the top of our list but we decided to take a detour and visit the alligator farm and the girls had an absolute blast.  Had we stuck to our plans, they would’ve missed out.  One of the things we love to do is ask for local treasures at the front desk of the hotel we are staying at. You can also reach out to the local visitors bureau for each city and they will be happy to share their top tourist spots.

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Capture Every Moment

Photography is something I truly love.  There is something so special about being able to capture a moment and look back on it.  Whether it’s on your phone, or with a camera, make sure to capture every memorable moment (especially the ones that aren’t posed).  I love to sit back and let my family explore and have fun.  Allowing them to live in the moment, gives me the opportunity to capture it for them.  Once we get back home, I’ll print my favorites or create a photo book filled with photos of the trip.  The girls love to pull those photos and books out every now and then and relive the trip.  Each photo sparks a memory and I find them sharing stories that I know they’ll be sharing as they grow up.

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Plan as a Family

No matter where you go, or what you do, make sure you are enjoying your family.  We find that road trips always bring us closer.  Being confined to a car for hours on end, gives us more of an opportunity to connect.  Planning a road trip is not something that is done by just one of us. It’s a family affair where each of us gets to give our suggestions and choose places to stop and things to do. Allowing our kids to help us plan our trips gets them just a little bit more excited about each stop.  The look in their eyes when they see us enjoying their part of the trip is a sight I’ll never get tired of.

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Relax

You don’t have to be out and about all the time to have fun.  Dedicate some of your time to relaxing.  My family loves the water, so give them a pool or a beach and they can spend hours having the time of their lives.  Don’t be afraid to enjoy your downtime.  Find a hotel that offers the on-site amenities that work for your family and take advantage of them.

We can’t wait for our next road trip this Summer and can’t wait to show you all of the fun places we will be headed.  Have you recently taken a family road trip? Comment below and share your favorite road trip memories.

Are you planning a road trip? Make sure to visit Firestone Auto Care and download a coupon to get your car ready for your family road trip.

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When it comes to our family road trips, we follow 6 important steps each time. #ad Here is our guide to road trips done right along with a coupon from @FirestoneAuto #FirestoneAutoCare

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65 Comments
  • Wanda Lopez
    July 9, 2018

    Great tips. We love road trips. We love making the plans and packing, but when it comes to taking care of some very important details we don’t take it lightly. It’s all part of having a great time. Being safe, staying safe while making new memories.

  • Shannon Gurnee - Redhead Mom Blog
    July 9, 2018

    It sounds like you and your family had a great time on your road trip! These are some great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  • anvita
    July 9, 2018

    these are great trips. we just got back from a long road trip from NC to montreal with our 5 year old. setting the expectation for the kids and making it fun and relaxing for them always helps.

  • Charli Bruce
    July 9, 2018

    What a great post! We are going on a very long road trip in two weeks with all the kids, we are quite looking forward to it! x

  • Shilpa Bindlish
    July 9, 2018

    Our family loves to take frequent road trips. Your tips are definitely helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kusum
    July 8, 2018

    I would also include plan for the unexpected too. Roadtrips are always a great way to bond with each other and so fun.

  • Novel Blondes
    July 8, 2018

    The best trips are a balance of scheduled activities and unplanned surprises! Thanks for sharing your tips.

  • Sayanti | bingeonbasics.com
    July 8, 2018

    I must say that excellent planning is done and all the special moments are captured right 🙂

  • Cat Uy
    July 8, 2018

    it is important that you are all insured before doing a road trip. good points!

  • Michelle Snow
    July 8, 2018

    I’ve been road tripping all my life and I whole-heartedly agree about straying off the highway if you see something interesting. Part of the fun of a road trip is discovering things you didn’t plan for. =)

  • Apostolia Delikosta
    July 8, 2018

    You cuties! You look so happy in the pictures! Totally love your tips on road trips… I’m planning to go on a road trip in the beginning of September! Totally using your tips!

  • Mane
    July 8, 2018

    That is an amazing roadtrip with the family. I can see you really enjoyed it. Thanks for the great tips as well.

  • Puja
    July 8, 2018

    Agree with all the tips. We do roadtrips with our son quite often.

  • Laurie
    July 7, 2018

    One of my favorite road trips to take is to St. Augustine and have never been to the Alligator Farm (my fear runs deep!) I love planning for trips almost as much as I do taking them. But I agree that it is important to not plan out every moment. You never know what type of experience that could come up out of nowhere.

  • Aleese Hughes
    July 7, 2018

    I’ve traveled on the road a LOT, and I agree with all these tips! Thanks for sharing!

  • Echo
    July 7, 2018

    I love this! Road trips can be so much fun and you get to see so much!

  • Jessica Taylor
    July 7, 2018

    Roadtrips with kids are so fun, but so nervewracking. Super important to make sure everything is good with the car before we leave.

  • What Corinne Did
    July 7, 2018

    I love road trips! they are always so much fun! they were also very spontaneous but i guess when you do it as a family, you need some prep!

  • Agnes Dela Cruz
    July 7, 2018

    The hardest and painstaking thing when you go on a road trip or travel is going unplanned especially when you have the kids with you. It will take your time and it will be expensive too!

  • Shanab
    July 7, 2018

    This is a great guide to road trips and it looks like you guys had so much fun doing it too!

  • Adaezeboltbethel
    July 7, 2018

    I Just returned from a road trip and I must tell, it was fun but I must commend you for being able to manage the kid during your road trip.

  • Ricci
    July 7, 2018

    YES to straying from the itinerary! Some of my favorite memories as a kid were doing random unplanned stuff on road trips!!

  • Ada
    July 7, 2018

    These are all wonderful tips to road trips. Packing a bag for every person is definitely a must! I like to pack books, of course music, snacks and my iPad for any last minute work.

  • Jeanine
    July 6, 2018

    Love this. Such great info. Road trips freak me out with 8 kids but at some point we will get into them!

  • Ashley
    July 6, 2018

    Straying from the itenerary sometimes brings the most memorable experiences! Looks like you guys had a blast!

  • Vaishali
    July 6, 2018

    We love road trips. They are such a learning experience

  • Nancy P
    July 6, 2018

    Love the guide! We are big on road trips! At least 1 trip every month! Having a plan and most importantly safety is a must! Looks like you guys had a blast on your trip!

  • Terri Beavers
    July 6, 2018

    I do quite a few of your tips but not all of them. I need to learn to stray from the itinerary to enjoy our surroundings more. And I definitely could take more photos too.

  • Nina
    July 6, 2018

    I love road trips 🙂 there are so many things to see and explore. you have pointed out many of the major points 🙂

  • Anosa Malanga
    July 6, 2018

    Definitely planning ahead of time and budgeting plus safety first is a must when going on a road trip. Of course, considering the food to bring is a must too.

  • Marcie
    July 6, 2018

    Encouraging kids to help plan the itinerary is key for any family vacation. Looks like you had an awesome road trip and made some amazing memories!

  • Gisele
    July 6, 2018

    I love the suggestion of straying from the itinerary. Nothing is better than spontaneity ! This looks like it was a great trip

  • Evelyn
    July 6, 2018

    Great tips, stray from the itinerary, that always leads to amazing finds!

  • Janet C
    July 6, 2018

    Planning a trip together as a family is probably some of the best advice. This will ensure that everyone has a say in activities before they are locked in.

  • Alison Rost
    July 6, 2018

    Those are really awesome tips for families who plan on going to road trips this season. Above everything else, safety is the most important especially if you have little kids with you!

  • Backpacking Series
    July 6, 2018

    Road trips are a great way to explore and the tips you have shared definitely makes it an easier ride! Especially when you say “Plan as a family”. Sometimes, kids are kept out of the planning process but I think this is a great way to inculcate responsibility and planning skills.
    Best
    Backpacking Series
    https://www.backpackingseries.com

  • Emma Riley
    July 6, 2018

    Who doesn’t love road trip? This will make them change their mind. Great ideas and tips to all road trippers. Now, I’m looking forward to our next road journey.

  • Thatsmeonline
    July 6, 2018

    That guide was very useful! Can’t wait to go on my next road trip. Thanks for sharing!

    Love,
    Claudia
    http://thatsmeonline.net

  • Shell Feis
    July 6, 2018

    Love all these points! We road trip as a family quite often and you’re so spot on with everything. We’re especially concerned with safety because most of our road trips are 80% hot desert, so if we got stranded out there we’d be in trouble!

  • Emma Riley
    July 6, 2018

    I love doing road trips and I think all these tips are the best for me. I love avoiding itinerary because I think it is impossible to follow your plan itinerary if you have a younger kids. Thank for sharing this with us.

  • Cassie
    July 5, 2018

    We love road trips! We usually plan one big thing to see or do and play the rest by ear

  • Kayla
    July 5, 2018

    I really like that you included avoiding an itinerary, because life with kids makes it nearly impossible. The stress that is lifted once you just kinda go with the flow is amazing.

  • Rachel
    July 5, 2018

    These are really great tips. I need to remember to stray from the itinerary!

  • Tara Pittman
    July 5, 2018

    I like short road trips best. A couple of hours in the car is all I can handle.

  • cait
    July 5, 2018

    oh yes the joy of road trips ha- planning is key for me too!

  • Jenn
    July 5, 2018

    Yes to all of this. Road trips are the best. We have made some of our favorite family memories during road trips. Some of which were planned and some were not. They are all great.

  • Sarah Bailey
    July 5, 2018

    These are some great tips – road trips can be hard, after all you have a lot to do and think about so making sure you make it as easy as possible is a must.

  • Marina
    July 5, 2018

    Such a lovely family. That crocodile looks real 😉

  • wendy
    July 5, 2018

    Great tips! We leave soon for a long road trip and I do think it’s good to make sure everyone is included in the plan.

  • Ashley
    July 5, 2018

    I always tell people to get the car checked out before road trips. It is so important!

  • Riah Tarango
    July 5, 2018

    These are such great tips! It can be hard to stray away from the itinerary but necessary to really experience the world at times!

  • Tomi C
    July 5, 2018

    We take a lot of road trips and it’s important to have the car checked out before hitting the road. Better safe than sorry. We look at it as creating memories. Discovering this beautiful world of ours one highway at a time.

  • Amber Myers
    July 5, 2018

    This is good to keep in mind. I always want to be safe when we go on road trips. We’re headed to the beach this weekend and I hope everything goes well.

  • Philly
    July 5, 2018

    Now we have 2 children our road trips take much more planning but it is so worth it when you see the excitement in their eyes.

  • Tammy
    July 5, 2018

    Great ideas. I love all those places you have been with your family. Atlanta is a fun place to visit. There is also another great alligator place called Gatorland in Orlando if you are there with the family.

  • valerie christie
    July 5, 2018

    Nice sharing all the wonderful memories. Love to see that you are focused on Safety first. Have a great summer.

  • Melissa Chapman
    July 5, 2018

    We don’t have a road trip planned yet but the summer is young and we have some ideas. I think getting ready for a trip with a well tuned car is essential and everything else will work itself out.

  • Courtney
    July 5, 2018

    Love these tips! Especially capturing the moments! I love to relive past trips by looking at all of the photos! ♥️

  • Teresa
    July 5, 2018

    Road trips do take some planning, and great organization. We have taken quite a few road trips with our children over the years and you have pretty much pointed out the key components!

  • Heather
    July 5, 2018

    I don’t live in the States at the moment but I dream of taking a road trip up to the New England area during autumn so we can go leaf peeping. You have some great tips here to make it a fun trip instead of stressful.

  • Tasheena
    July 5, 2018

    These are wonderful tips. I’ve learned that planning our trips as a family just makes things so much easier especially with teens.

  • Glenda Cates
    July 5, 2018

    We will be taking a trip soon, and I will be using the tips you compiled for us. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  • Jeanette
    July 5, 2018

    We love going on road trips. There is so much to explore in this country that flying misses. I love when we don’t have much of an itinerary and sort of just stop along the way! It is a fun way to go.

  • GiGi Eats
    July 5, 2018

    I love road trips with my husband and soon enough we will have a son to go on road trips too!! And all of a sudden I got randomly excited.

  • candy
    July 5, 2018

    We just returned from a road trip. The car inspection to make sure everything was okay came first. We planned where would stay and many other things. It turned really hot the last couple of days so we changed it up to include more inside things to see and do. Had a blast.

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