Mother’s Day Gift Ideas!

It is April 24, which means we only have a FEW days left until Mother’s Day. Since becoming a mother myself almost 5 months ago, I can tell you that every mother REALLY deserves an awesome gift (or at least a nice card or a phone call!). Here is my list of best gifts for moms! It covers moms of all ages, many different tastes, and different price limits.

The Fancy Mom

A Designer Key Chain or ID case

If your mom likes designer purses, but your bank account does not…

Get the idea of an expensive brand without breaking the bank TOO much with a fancy key chain or ID case! For a few years, I have given my mom a Coach key chain. She loves the valet style so that she can separate her keys. These bag charms from Fossil are a little bit cheaper and are also really cute! The ID holders also give you the taste of luxury without breaking the bank TOO much.


A Designer Makeup Case

I LOVE this Fossil Key Per box style makeup case. It is easy to wipe clean, snaps together nicely, and allows me to easily see all my essential makeup: mascara, foundation, eye shadow, and lip stain. There are not any on the Fossil website now, but there are some on Ebay!



The On-The-Go Mom

Tile Key Finder with Personalized Skin

This is what I got my mom this year! This little tile can be attached to any valuable item you have that can be easily lost. You can call it so that you can easily find it. I got one for my mom to use on her key ring — and I added a customized picture of her grandson to put on either side! Just $25 for one Tile.



Passport Cover

I never knew these cute passport covers existed! This one from Barnes and Noble is especially adorable.


Coffee Warmer

For new moms, working moms, or just plain busy moms, a coffee warmer is a great gift! Check out this one on Amazon.

coffee warmer

The Mom Who Has Everything

Himalayan Salt Lamp

Himalayan salt lamps are pretty, relaxing and even good for you! They emit negative ions that help purify and deodorize the air. Right now they are 40% off on Groupon.


Hair Dryer and Curling Iron Organizer

I bought this hair dryer and curling iron organizer for mom one year. She loves to have things in their place! I think it was one of her favorite gifts. Here’s another option that is great for organizing all her goodies that stay on the bathroom counter.


The Cooking Mom

iPad/iPhone Stand and Stylus

If your mom often follows Pinterest recipes on her phone or iPad while she cooks, an iPad stand and stylus would be a perfect gift! No more messy spaghetti sauce on her iPhone.



Have you heard of zucchini noodles? They are the perfect healthy alternative to spaghetti noodles. You can turn many of your favorite veggies into noodles with this handy kitchen gadget commonly called a spiralizer or “zoodler.” Be sure to get this one with the handle, because the other type takes a lot of elbow grease!


The Fit and Healthy Mom

FlavorGod Seasoning

FlavorGod Seasonings are chemical free with low salt and are SO delicious! They are all the rage among health and fitness enthusiasts. They even have a chocolate doughnut flavored seasoning.


Jaxx Meal Prep Lunch Bag

The Jaxx lunch bag comes with 6 containers that are perfect for portioning out meals and snacks for the day. It comes with a shaker bottle and a little case inside for daily vitamins. I own this and LOVE it!


Pure-Wave Handheld Massager

There are a lot of handheld massage tools you can buy, but this one looks awesome! Pure-Wave is marketed as an alternative to foam rolling to get the lactic acid build-up out of your sore muscles.


The Reading Mom

Personalized Barnes and Noble Gift Card

In my humble opinion, a book store gift card is not the best gift for your mom on Mother’s Day, UNLESS it’s personalized! Barnes and Noble offers gift cards that can be personalized with a picture. One year for Christmas, I put a picture of me as a little girl decorating the Christmas tree onto a gift card, and my mom LOVED it. You can also customize the card that it comes in with your own message.

The New Mom

Chewbeads Necklace

I know this would make a great gift for a new mom because I bought one for myself from Barnes and Noble! Chewbeads necklaces are cute and safe for a teething baby to chew on.


Mom’s One Line A Day

This is one of my favorites! With enough space to record a single thought, a family quote, or a special event each day for FIVE years, this makes a great keepsake! I would love it to save all my baby’s “firsts,” or later on, I can write all the cute things he says. Here it is on Amazon.


White Noise Machine

A white noise machine will help a new baby AND new parents get some much-needed sleep! Check this one out on Amazon.

There you have it! That’s my list of favorite Mother’s Day gifts. What great finds would you add?


Things I Didn’t Know Before Becoming a Mom

I had a lot of respect for moms before I became a mom, but I can’t even tell you how much more awesome I think they all are at this moment. Moms who adopt or moms who birth their own kids, and moms who are raising their kids’ kids… all of you are awesome. Here are a few things I’ve learned from the moment I found out I was pregnant to now, with an almost three-month old:

1. All moms are rock stars.

It sounds a little cliche, but enduring nine months of pregnancy and many hours of labor is more than enough to catapult any mom straight to rock star status. In fact, I don’t think there is anything cooler a person could do than to bring a baby into this world. I guess accomplishments equally as cool might be among the ranks of… saving someone’s life, traveling through time, or being an actual rock star.

Like any good story about the journey to stardom, becoming a mom would probably not feel as B.A. if it weren’t for all the challenges along the way: morning sickness, round ligament pain, contractions, labor, and countless sleepless nights. I think back to when I (completely out of shape) finished a half-marathon. It was one of the hardest, most miserable things I have ever endured, but crossing the finish line was the most amazing feeling ever. It comes in second place now, though, behind becoming a mom.

2. On our team, my spouse is the MVP.

While it’s true that I did most of the heavy lifting during this whole process, my husband is the unsung hero. For nine months, he did so many things I was too tired to do. He made countless trips to the grocery store, rubbed my feet, cleaned the litter box, and dealt with my all-too-frequent moodiness. He took notes during our Lamaze class, and when it was “go time,” he completely blew me away with his mad sherpa skills. Through every contraction, we went “up the ladder… and down the slide” together. He talked me through each one, and helped me remember how to breathe (somehow I had forgotten). Now that our baby is here, the feeling that he and I are on the same team – with the same goal of loving and raising a happy, healthy person – has never been more real.

3. All moms get a pass.

mom memeI’ve seen memes floating around the internet that say something to the effect of – all moms should get a “pass” for their messy kitchen and piles of laundry or for being late to everything. Now that I am a mom, I not only believe moms deserve a pass, I think they NEED one. There have literally been times where I could seriously “not even” because I’m physically or emotionally exhausted.

When I accomplish something, like choosing to wash the dishes instead of take a nap, type an article for my freelancing job with only one hand, or arrive somewhere on time with my hair brushed, I am amazed at how accomplished I feel. If I don’t get any of those things done? Hey, I took care of myself and my kid today! I’m always reminding myself that that’s a big deal, and it’s THE most important thing I could do with my time.

4. Life is not about me anymore.

I used to feel bad for new moms when they would come to parties. It seemed like people would often smile and coo and talk to the baby, looking straight past the mom. I feel like I love my baby so much that he is literally an extension of myself; for him to be happy is for me to be happy. Life is not about me anymore, but when people show him love, I can feel the love too. In fact, nothing makes my heart happier.

5. I have to be OK with “someday.”

When I want to get something done, I typically want it to happen right now. With a newborn, I am no longer on my own schedule. I can’t just leave the house whenever I feel like it, and I can’t always get a big task done in one day. Any Pinterest project, party, or major chore takes a lot of planning ahead. In order to avoid frustration, I have HAD to make peace with myself that things do not have to happen right away. Someday we will install those new shelves in our kitchen cabinet. Someday we will get to take a road trip that’s longer than an hour. Someday I will organize my closet. Some things I can accomplish little by little, and some things I’m just going to have to put off. Until then, I’m going to love every minute spent with sweet baby while he still fits perfectly in my arms… because someday he won’t be this little anymore.

This post is dedicated to my mom. Three things: 1. OMG, you are amazing. 2. THANK YOU. 3. You were right.

Get Pumpkin SPICED for Success

Pumpkin spice latteIt’s the beginning of September, and it already feels like the busyness of fall is in full swing. My newsfeed is filled with first day of school pictures, Starbucks is serving pumpkin spice lattes, and I even saw someone trying to wear a scarf in today’s 90 degree weather. Although I can’t relate to all the “back to school” hustle and bustle of a whole new schedule, my daily routine is still definitely changing with the season. Here’s what’s new:

  • I’m swapping my CrossFit membership for 10k training. (So much cheaper but equally as scary!)
  • I’m going to join a small group at my church that meets once a week.
  • I have started blogging, so I have to keep up with that now 🙂
  • Of course I have to make time for at least one good fall TV show! (How will I ever choose?!)

Though these changes are few, they definitely require me to shift my focus and stay organized. SO, in lieu of pumpkin spiced everything, I was reminded of SPICED, an acronym I learned that is designed to help you work on ALL the areas of your life that need tending to.

Here’s what it stands for:


  • S – Spiritual
  • P – Physical
  • I – Income
  • C – Community
  • E – Education
  • D – Domestic

Every letter stands for an area that is likely to be a priority in your life. The idea is to write these words down each day, and think of ways you can fulfill a goal that relates to it. If you work a little bit in each area every day, just imagine how much you will have accomplished by the end of the month!

I owe the credit of this great goal-reaching idea to a lady I interviewed for my CBU alumni column in The BannerPatricia Drown, PhD, is a professor of criminal justice, a published author, and a criminologist. When I asked her to remind me of her acronym, she told me that the letters of SPICED have shifted through the years as her priorities have changed, but the basic idea has helped her maintain and grow her success. At the age of 63, she is now a dean at the university where she teaches, is very active in her community, and has maintained her trim figure for years. You can check out her daily inspirational blog over at

Anyways, if SPICED doesn’t suit your goals, you can definitely change up the letters. I tried to adjust mine, and I almost made a cool acronym with SUPER, but it didn’t completely work. I tried for a really long time and even used the Words With Friends cheat for help… Ha! If you can come up with one that spells out a cool word, PLEASE let me know in the comments!

How Positive Words Can Help You Reach Your Goals

You is Kind, You is Smart, You is ImportantOne of the best pieces of relationship advice I have received is this: Never use definitive statements that attack the other person’s character or personality. This is often done using the words always and never.

   “You always take leave your dishes in the sink.”

   “You never shower.”

   “You are lazy.” 

When your significant other hears blanket statements like this, their automatic response is going to be defensive. This is because obviously, these statements are offensive. Your words have put them in a box, limiting them to that specific description, forever. Now, it’s one thing to learn not to do this to someone you love, but it’s quite another to learn not to do it to yourself. 

I learned about the power of negative self-talk for first time when I was on the volleyball team in high school. Every time I would miss a pass or shank the ball in the wrong direction, I would verbally beat myself up. I would mumble things like, “WHY can’t I EVER get this right??” I had no idea the effect it was having on my performance until my coach pointed it out to me. 

When you tell yourself or others things like, “I’m so lazy,” “I can’t cook,” or “I am never on time,” 1. People will believe these things are true, and 2. YOU start to believe these things are true. These negative words put you in a box. They limit you from even thinking you can achieve your goals, which will inevitably keep you from reaching your full potential. 

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”     – Henry Ford

A couple months ago, I learned this lesson again when I realized I was making no progress with my goals. I knew it was because I kept focusing on all the ways I kept failing. In hopes of fixing this, my friend (who also had some goals she needed to achieve) and I came up with an idea. Every Friday, we would email each other 3 to 5 “good things” that we accomplished that week. The only rule was that we couldn’t mention any failures, limitations, or excuses as to why we didn’t succeed. 

The results?

I now have a HUGE list of all these great things I have accomplished in the last two months. Overall, my house is cleaner, I feel healthier, and my relationship with my husband AND the Lord is a whole lot stronger. Simply reflecting on my “good things” each week gave me the motivation I needed to press on and achieve even more good things the following week. For the first time in a long time, I feel so encouraged. My goals are totally achievable! 

So, whenever you need to confront your significant other OR yourself when either of you are slacking, remember:

  1. Choose your words wisely. Words that attack the person’s character (or your own) are not going to bring on a positive response or a positive change.
  2. Kindly remind yourself that you CAN achieve whatever you put your mind to, and create a plan of action.
  3. Find a friend that will listen to your “good things” each week, or simply write them down and reflect on them when the week is over.
  4. Remember, if you’re a believer, you have the added bonus of asking God for help and using the strength of the Holy Spirit to help you achieve what seems impossible. 

One Easy Way to Make a Bad Day Better

photo (10)I stumbled upon this tip when I was having one of those “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days.” It was the Sunday after my birthday, and Chad and I had BIG plans to go to Disneyland and Downtown Disney after church to get my birthday present – fancy dinner paired with a cute, boyfriend style watch made by Fossil himself. It was going to be perfect.

Our morning was great. We went to church, came home, and everything was going according to plan… until we decided to check our mail before we left. Not only did we welcome bill after bill into our laps, but we found a friendly letter from Mr. IRS saying that we owed him a FAT sum of money. Apparently we had missed something on our taxes back in 2012, and now we had to pay that huge amount in full within the next week. It became obvious that our plans of buying a fancy Fossil watch and dining at the Blue Bayou were just not going to happen. We sat there on the couch bewildered for a while, pondering the terribleness of turning another year older and getting served with “responsibility” instead of expensive surf & turf… and then I got a brilliant idea. 

“When you’re having a bad day anyways, be responsible.”

Since the day probably couldn’t get any worse, I thought I would trudge through some miserable tasks that I had been putting off. First, I decided to pay all the bills we had just discovered. Then, I went to my computer and FINALLY figured out how to fix the annoying thing that keeps popping up on my screen. I just did it and got it over with. Next, I decided to back up my iPhone, which is always a stressful experience. I never know if I’m going to accidentally erase everything on it or send it all up to “the cloud.” 

All in all, I did about ten really UNFUN things that day. But you know what? I finished that day with a huge sense of relief. I took care of my business, and I was responsible. I no longer had those little annoying tasks to nag at me. PLUS, I knew that by doing these annoying things all at once, I wouldn’t have to risk messing up one of my fantastic days with a task that could turn it into a bad day.

Another advantage is that this whole experience made for a great survival story to tell a friend. “Susie, let me tell you JUST HOW BAD my day was.” And then Susie and I would laugh and laugh… because my day was filled with all these “terrible” things, but I survived. 

So, the next time you have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, remember that you can turn your bad day around by doing a few responsible things.

photo (11)Here are a few ideas: 

  • Call someone from India and tell them about false charges on your account
  • Give your cat a bath
  • Plan your budget; pay your bills
  • Hold your breath and sync your iPhone
  • Try to toubleshoot all your technology
  • Clean things that are meant to clean other things: e.g, the shower, the washer (It makes no sense)
  • Do burpees 
  • Drink prune juice 
  • Stand in line at DMV
  • Check the mail

How about you? What are some of your LEAST FAVORITE responsible things? Let me know in the comments!