Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Thank you Janet Kinkade the creator of JK by Thirty-One jewelry for today’s tips. Her ultimate passion is to inspire women and help them recognize their own beauty and potential. Read more on Janet’s blog, and follow her on Instagram!

I love how we set aside a whole day to honor and celebrate the women who raised us. My mom is an amazing mother. She is selfless yet strong – and the most beautiful woman I know!

Mother’s Day holds a special place in my heart because of my own daughter – Belinda.  I remember several Mother’s Days in the past, waking up to handmade gifts she had poured her hearts into making. These moments remind me motherhood is a gift and my favorite job of all despite the fact my “baby” is all grown up.

Thirty-One makes it so easy and fun to find the perfect gift for all of the special women in your life! Here are a few ideas for you:

Save the day with a fun and funny “New Mom Survival Kit”

New moms get so many gifts for baby, why not take this opportunity to put together a cute and creative gift just for her? Help ease her transition – and give her a little chuckle at the same time – with a sweet “survival kit” tucked into a reusable Zipper Pouch or Swap-It Pocket, along with a note explaining each item:

  • A healthy snack to keep her energy up!
  • Hand sanitizer so she stays healthy. (Moms can’t get sick!)
  • Dry shampoo, because regular showers are a thing of the past.
  • Yummy-smelling candle to help create calm when she needs some alone time.
  • Snickers® bar and Laffy Taffy® to keep her sense of humor.
  • Bag of marbles to replace the ones she’ll lose!
  • Rubber bands to remind her that flexibility is key!
Take something off her plate with an all-in-one meal kit

You can pack an entire meal inside one of our gorgeous totes that Mom will love to use long after the meal is over! Put all the ingredients for a delicious dinner in a personalized Zip-Top Organizing Tote or Catch-All Bin – or in one of our new Summer Essentials like the Summer Fun Caddy or In the Clear Tote. You can even add some hand-painted soup bowls, a matching kitchen towel and potholder – and don’t forget a bottle of her favorite wine!

Why not try one of my family’s favorite meals: Taco Soup! Most of the ingredients are in cans, so it’s perfect for packing.

Taco Soup
Ingredients:
3 cans of beans (I mix red beans and black beans)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of whole kernel corn
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 package of taco seasoning
1 package of ranch dressing mix
32 oz. of chicken broth
2 cups of cooked ground beef

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 hours. (You can cook on low for 8 hours, instead, if you’re going to be gone all day.)

Express your love and gratitude with custom home décor

If you’re looking for a personalized gift that will last long enough to become a family keepsake, look no further than our custom Statement Canvas Pillows, Statement Canvas Wall Art and wooden Close to Home Tray! These gifts can be a creative way to show off her Personality, talk about her Passions and inspire others with her Purpose as a mother. Check out our 3 Ps of Personalization for tips to make a beautiful gift for her home that she’ll always treasure!

Stay close to her heart with a mother’s necklace

Our new Charm Catcher Necklace is the perfect way to design Mom her very own meaningful – and wearable – keepsake! Create a beautiful piece of jewelry (moms LOVE jewelry!) that she can put on every day to remind her of all the joys of motherhood.

Start with our Charm Catcher Necklace in gold or silver tone, then add:

What special gift are you getting your mom?  Share it with us, we won’t tell…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Affordable and Fun Staycations

 5 fun and affordable spring break staycations

The weather has been crazy – some days it is freezing cold while others it is close to 60!  I love the warmer weather and I know many are thinking about Spring Break or those long weekends, right?

As a single mom, I didn’t have a lot of many for vacations and I wasn’t as creative as some of these ideas from the ThirtyOne blogger… We lived close to the shore so trips to the beach and boardwalk were always a easy and inexpensive way to take a break.  Check out some of these “staycation” ideas;

Spa day at home

Fully embrace the spring break spirit with a spa day in your very own home. First, gather the supplies. Fill a Double Duty Caddy with the scrubs, cleansers, mud masks and other items to make you feel relaxed and renewed. Make sure your Glamour Case has a variety of nail polishes so you can choose the hue which strikes you when it comes time for your do-it-yourself manicure and pedicure.

Light a candle, soak your feet and grab a refreshing beverage. Bonus: Now your caddy and case are ready and waiting, it will be easy to create your own at-home spa long after spring break ends, whenever you need a little pampering without the price tag.

Park and picnic lunch

Take in the great outdoors! You don’t need to visit a national park to stop and smell the roses. Head to your favorite local park or playground and relish a few hours under the sun. Hike the trails, spot some wildlife and make the outing a little more special by eating al fresco.

The Picnic Thermal Tote’s zip-around closure makes it easy for you and your companion to pack a picnic lunch, or choose the Fresh Market Thermal when you want to carry enough sandwiches, sides and drinks for the whole gang.

Swim Outing

Swim outing (inside!)

Instead of a trip to the beach, stay closer to home! Find the closest indoor pool or water park and spend a day in your swimsuit, come rain or come shine. You might not be able to dig your toes into the sand, but you can enjoy the next best thing when your Essential Storage Tote is filled with snacks, goggles and water toys. Even better? No sunscreen required!

Movie under the moonlight

See the stars – on the big screen and in the sky. Planning an outdoor movie night add a little bit of pizzazz popcorn alone just can’t manage. Once you locate a projector (pro tip: check your local library), the rest is easy. A mobile movie screen (inflatable or otherwise) is great, but a white or cream-colored garage door or even a large blanket will do.

A Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote is roomy enough to hold everyone’s favorite movies, snacks and drinks with space to spare for outdoor necessities. Keep the bug repellent close at hand in one of the tote’s exterior pockets. Or carry a Catch-All Bin outside, filled with enough candy, napkins and glow sticks to keep even the smallest movie buffs entertained.

Road Trip

Road Trip!

How far can you go on a tank of gas? Forget the overnight bag and instead explore some of those hidden treasures an hour or two from home. A Crossbody Organizing Tote can fit everything you need for a day on the road – books, toys, snacks, water bottles and even a few diapers for tiny travelers. Best of all, you can throw it over your shoulder and keep your supplies close at hand all day long!

What is your favorite type of staycation?  Share it with us…..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

HIV/AIDS Still Exists

Today December 1st is World AIDS Day.  For some, it is just another day.  For others, it is a time to remember those who have fought the battle and lost, encourage those who continue to fight and educate to end AIDS in our lifetime.  Since leaving the field of HIV/AIDS many years ago, I seem to have become complacent about what was a passion.

Living with a chronic illness has brought back many memories for me. So today, I am reflecting on the lessons I learned when I worked for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.  As a new “inexperienced” Social Worker and a recovering addict, I was the “crazy white lady” who stepped into Bridgeton wanting to help the world.  Yes, it is what many of my clients thought of me and willing shared as we got to know each other.  I didn’t see any of the people who walked through our doors as “diseased”, “hopeless” or less than.  I saw them as people who because of their bad choices were sick.  “There by the grace of God go I” was a constant reminder for me since I had made many bad choices over the years.  So what could I do in a little office (actually half a duplex) with little funding, the only paid staff, a handful of volunteers (who in many cases were also clients) and a heart wanting to save them all.  In those early years, AIDS was not a “manageable disease” for many it was a death sentence.  It took babies from their mothers.  Moms and dads from their kids.  It took people from all walks of life – yet no one talked about it.  I can remember the first few funerals where the family said “they died of cancer” because they did not want their loved one to be remembered for the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  This was the world I dedicated many years of my professional life too.  Belinda grew up joining me in this battle to end the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  She played with kids who were HIV-positive, she shared her toys, she helped with fundraising, as well as sorting and delivering holiday toys.  She grew up with a passion for helping people which I admire.

Fast forward to today when little is spoken about HIV/AIDS.  It is a manageable disease so we seldom hear the prevention message.  There are medicines to keep you going, so why worry, right?  The theme for World AIDS Day 2017 is “Now Let’s End It”

Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Only 1 in 4 people are making their way through the obstacles called health care and medications.  Let’s not be complacent.  Let’s continue to share how HIV can be transmitted.  Let’s all work together for a day when there is an AIDS-Free Generation.

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World AIDS Day is important because it reminds us and government HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

What are you willing to do to help?  Today, I remember those who fought a great fight – Jackie Wise, Matt McCrossen, Sam, Maria and all of the others who walked through the doors of my office in Bridgeton and the other SJAA offices.  I honor those who continue to fight especially Jeff, Donna and Veronica.  They continue to inspire me with their strength and determination after 26 years.

Honor someone you know who is living with HIV/AIDS or who has lost the fight.  Share their names so we too can honor them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

Are You Ready for a Storm Emergency?

da6112a71651c8c23f7ef058c9676329It was a crazy hurricane season and thankfully, it is almost over.  Over the last several months, people have had to leave their homes due to hurricanes, fire, and tornados.  Now some of us are starting to think about winter – the Farmer’s Almanac says it will be a bad one.  UGH!  I am not one for cold weather but I am gratefully I work from home so I can stay snuggled in on those cold winter days.

If you were a Girl Scout or a Boy Scout, you have always been told “be prepared” and we want to help you.

The truth is “Be Prepared” should be your motto.  I mean who wants to be in the midst of the “craziness” when an evacuation  or storm warning is issued.  We have all seen the news when a storm is forecast, right?  People running to the store for bread, eggs, milk and maybe some batteries.  I am grateful hubby is BIG on being prepared and we are well stocked.

No matter where you live, there is always the potential for an emergency situation to arise and it’s infinitely better to prepare ahead of time rather than having to scramble at the last minute. So here’s some steps process for preparing.

#1 Make a List

What kind of emergencies are you likely to face in your area? Maybe it is hurricanes, or tornadoes, or blizzards.  Whatever it is, create a list of items you might need.  Yes, there are the basics like food and water, but how about those unusual things?  Maybe a pocket charger for your phones, LED or solar lamps (in the event of long-term power outage and the need to work in the dark to repair something, etc.), baby wipes and perhaps the most essential emergency supply: chocolate.

#2 Gather Items Into One Location

Maybe you have the emergency supplies on hand,so you figure you are all set. The next question is but can you find them quickly?  If not, they won’t be much help to you or your family. You can keep items in a closet like we are now, or in plastic totes in an accessible area of your garage.

Have kids?  What about a Go Bag, or an emergency backpack for each them. A variety of things they might need based on their age if you need to leave your home in an emergency.

#3 Rotate Your Supplies

You’re all stocked, right?  You have everything you need, right?  Did you know canned goods and bottled water don’t stay fresh forever?  They have expiration dates on them.  So be sure to check your supplies at least once a year to rotate out the about-to-expire goods and replace them with fresh items.

#4 Develop a Preparedness Mindset

This is a great time of year to check out the clearance and sale items to add to your emergency stash. Camping goods (portable stoves, lanterns, etc) are in the Fall.  Backpacks at the end of the back-to-school season. Canned goods are often cheaper around the holidays and you can stock up on candles at Christmas. You can also find many emergency supplies at the dollar store.

So…………are-you-prepared-16291hw

Will you be ready when an emergency hits?

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If the answer any of these questions are a resounding NO, then you need to get it together. It is never too late to start. Batteries should be a mainstay in your home. Candles, extra food with important papers & medications easy to grab if you need to evacuate.  Do you have a list of all of the medications and supplements you take available?  I have one in my purse, one in my planner and one on my phone with the name of my doctors so if there was an emergency, I am ready.

What are your best tips for being prepared in an emergency?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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Essentials for a Momma to Be


It has been many years since I was pregnant and things have changed ALOT!  My Facebook feed has been filled lately with birth announcements and pictures of adorable new babies.  So are you a soon to be mom? Or do you know someone who is having a baby?  Here are some great must have recommendations:

1. A pregnancy (body) pillow or extra pillows Pillows are a good way to get more comfortable in bed. Tucking one pillow under your tummy and another pillow between your legs supports your lower back and may make sleeping on your side more comfortable. You can also buy pillows made specially for pregnancy. A wedge-shaped pillow supports your tummy when you lie on your side. A full-length body pillow will support your back and cradle your belly.

2. Tennis Balls. I know, you’re like, “What?” But seriously, keep a couple of these handy. When you’re further along, have your hubby or significant other roll one around on your lower back with his hand using firm pressure; it’s amazing. You can even do it yourself, using a convenient wall and a bit of balance–but be careful! Also great during back labor.

3. Aveda ‘Stress Fix’ Soaking Salts. These natural lavender scents help with sleepless nights and restless legs. These soaking salts used at the end of the day or early in the morning soothe those achy body parts!

4. Ginger. Ginger is wonderful for dealing with morning sickness, especially the kind that never goes away! There is candied ginger, which is slightly chewy and spicy-sweet, but you can also add it to foods or try it in homeopathic remedies.

5. Wintergreen Essential Oil. Wintergreen is a natural muscle relaxant.  However, it is really strong when concentrated so mix a few drops with almond oil to dilute {check the packaging on your oils to see if they are concentrated}. It also works wonders on headaches when applied to your temples.

6. Almond Oil. All over the body, twice a day – will help to avoid stretch marks at all costs!  If I only knew this way back when.  🙂

When I asked my customers what their top picks were for “must have momma products”  The first one was a Zip Top Organizing Tote.  It is water resistant, has 7 outside pockets and is the perfect size for carrying everything you will need.  It is a practical solution for mom before baby is born and then is can be used as a bag to take to the hospital. It can be personalized with their name, an icon or just leave it blank.

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Next up was Thirty One’s Double Duty Caddy.  This makes a GREAT mobile changing station for anywhere in the house.  It has 2 separate interior compartments and 4 exterior mesh pockets, there’s plenty of room to take whatever you need with you when you’re on the go.  it will hold up to 15 lbs.!  It is approximately: 10.5”H x 10”L x 8”D

  

What were some of your favorites when you were pregnant?  I wanted Mexican food 24/7, crazy right?  Let the expectant momma make a wish list and let me help coordinate what she wants and needs.  What about a surprise Thirty One Baby Shower?  Who doesn’t love a party?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!