The 10 Gifts Mom Bloggers Really Want For Christmas

 

Gifts, Christmas, Mom bloggers

As moms and as bloggers, there are plenty of things that run through our mind. Many of which get an “Oh, wouldn’t that be nice” and are promptly filed away in our brain as unattainable and forgotten. Well, I think it’s time to do what we do best: compile a list. This list, specifically, consists of all the things we really want for Christmas. And if anyone reading it is able to make it happen, I’d call you Santa, I’d call you Saint Nicholas… honestly, I’d call you anything you want.

Canva

So, if you’re curious what the mom bloggers in your life actually want for Christmas, check out this list:

  1. Canva to have an app for phones. If you haven’t used or heard of Canva to create your designs, pull your head out from under a rock and check it out! It’s such a simple and quality way to create awesome images for your posts and they have so many free options. There’s also the option to purchase some designs for $1. Either way, it’s a win, and if I could access it on my phone, I would be unstoppable via mobile. You can be happy that I did receive the response in the photo above from Canva when posting this request via Twitter. Click on the photo to go to their suggest-an-idea page and suggest it!
  2. The ability to schedule texts. As a blogger and social media manager, I’ve gotten in the habit of scheduling E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I make calendars for content an entire month in advance. I schedule posts weeks in advance. I schedule social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) posts days in advance. Basically, the second I think of something, I either set a reminder in a calendar or schedule it. Otherwise, there’s a certainty possibility I’ll forget. Lately, I think of a text I want to send someone but it’s either too late or not appropriate at the moment and all I want is the ability to schedule the text ahead of time like I would a reminder or a post.
  3. A tool that will preschedule across ALL social media platforms. No, it doesn’t openly exist yet. And you know what? I’d even be willing to pay for it. I said it. I would pay money for a tool that allowed me to schedule my posts across every single one of my social media platforms. I’m so tired of going from tab to tab and app to app to schedule posts to all of my platforms because there’s no tool that encompasses any and all platforms I want to promote on. Come on, creators! It’s almost 2016, and it’s time we have the option readily available. Bonus points if this tool includes tracking, statistics and engagement charts.
  4. The ability to “like” as much as we want on Facebook without receiving the infamous like ban. I’m a social person. I run both my blog and a growing company’s social media sites. I “like” things A LOT. And although I have strategically avoided the dreaded like ban, I think there needs to be some appeal process in place that allows those of us with legitimate promotional marketing strategies to heighten our “like” quota, within reason.
  5. A discount on Adobe–InDesign or Photoshop, specifically–products. Students and teachers get discounts. They get HUGE discounts, as a matter of fact (60% to be exact). And you know what? I’ll be damned if moms who blog don’t deserve a discount too.
  6. A photography class. Seriously, if there’s one thing on this list YOU as the reader can legitimately buy the mom blogger in your life, it’s a photography class at your local college or studio. Get on Groupon or just skim over some local college websites, and if they’re offering a beginner or general photography class, we would be so impressed with the person who gifted it to us. It’s something we all want to improve upon but one of the last things on our list to invest in.
  7. A photogenic house. Yes, the messiness is great for the posts where we reach out to other parents who deal with crazy children who are also terrorizing lives and homes, but once in a great while, it would be nice to be able to snap a photo of a picture-perfect, decorated home. No toys, no laundry strewn throughout, no food splattered on all the surfaces. Maybe just hire me a cleaning service for a month. I can’t speak for all mom bloggers, but I promise you that I, personally, will not be offended.
  8. More time. There’s never enough of it. By the time we take care of our children, try to keep our house under control, fix a few meals, possibly work or run errands (and also attempt to create a coherent post), it’s 12:10 a.m. and we still haven’t had time to finish putting away laundry, respond to 1/3 of our texts or finish any of the other 99 errands/tasks we have left to complete.
  9. To not have our greatest ideas come to us in the shower or at 1 a.m. At some point in my life, I’m going to need to sleep more than three hours a night, and as long as my creative juices flow at 1 a.m. and my children awake anywhere between 5 and 7 a.m., that’s not a possibility. If you want to offer babysitting services from the moment our children wake up until around 9 or 10 a.m., we’d be forever grateful. A waterproof iPad case and suction cup display for the shower would also suffice because shower time is about the only other time we get to think coherent thoughts by ourselves, and even that is hit or miss.
  10. An appreciation. So many times, I think we’re ashamed to tell people what we do because most people really don’t understand. They think we write some stuff and press publish, but the reality is–just like any profession–we put a lot of effort into what we do. The content is one thing, but there’s also the research that goes into the content, creating images, promotion, interactions, emails, tracking statistics, finances, design, HTML, SEO, website specifics, ads and the list goes on. We’re essentially running our own business, and although it may be much more plausible than a single person running a large company by themselves, it’s still quite an undertaking. Just taking the time to think about and recognize that is much appreciated.

Whether you’re a mom blogger or not, what do you really want for Christmas this year? Comment below and tell everyone about it!

Might I also add, drinking a cup of coffee while it’s actually still hot would be nice, too, but I’m willing to overlook that for any of the ten above.

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5 of My Favorite Mommy Gifts (Online Version)

5ofmyfavoritemommygifts

As we can all tell, after stuffing our faces full Thursday and stuffing our carts full Friday, Christmas is the next big thing we have to prep for. As I get older, my family gets larger and my life gets crazier, it’s a pretty big goal of mine to get done with shopping as early as possible, as easily as possible and as frugally as possible. It’s almost become a game to see how far in advance I can be completely ready for Christmas and to track how much money I can save in the process.

Gift giving is one of my favorite things to do because I love finding unique and personal gifts for people–holidays or not. So with that in mind and Black Friday out of the way, below is a list of a few of my favorite, unique gifts that you can, for the most part, only find online right now. Some of them are great for kids but help parents out, some are good for just parents and others are more for parents and kids to use together.Lolly + Pop

  1. Lolly + Pop. Adorable, hand-made leather bows (I might use some as bowties as well) for little ones. I love these because they’re leather, they’re simple yet elegant, and the color palette selection is gorgeous. In my experience, leather lasts longer–as far as children’s accessories or jewelry–and has a classy, unique look that you don’t find with just any material. The designer and creator for Lolly + Pop is a mom of two from NYC, who hand makes everything, which makes me love them all the more. For those who are interested for Christmas gifts or for themselves, Lolly + Pop has 40% off this Cyber Monday until midnight AND if you’re a reader of mine, feel free to use code “Homemade15” for 15% off. You really cannot beat that!
  2. Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (And Then I Had Kids). When I was little, I used to love reading Chicken Soup for the Soul books because they were a compilation of stories Lose the Cape - coverby real people that were relatable and made me feel warm and content. This is the same type of anthology, except for parents. Lose the Cape is full of great, funny and relatable stories from parents like you and me, and the perfect book to read while cuddling up with a blanket and warm drink throughout the winter season.
  3. Butler BootsI love these boots so much for our toddler because to me, they’re different than most boots. I can use them in rain or snow plus they slip on as boots by themselves or over other shoes because of a washable liner placed inside. This way, when my toddler’s wearing an outfit requiring shoes I IMG_6283don’t want to get wet or that don’t wear well in the snow, I can slip the boots over top and take them off when we get inside without having to hassle with sitting her down and changing her into completely different shoes. They come in several bright, fun colors–my favorite being pink and yellow.
  4. Fun Foodie Friends CookbookObviously, as parents, we have to cook on occasion. Okay, daily. Often, my children want to help, which slows me down and makes the evening Fun Foodie Friendsdinner/bedtime rush more hectic, but having a cookbook that’s both healthy and made for kids to join in on the cooking makes things much smoother, easier and helps my children learn about food and cooking while assisting with their own meals.
  5. Birchbox. This is a great way for moms (or dads) to sample and try new products across several categories–lifestyle, home & food, skincare, makeup, tools, games, etc. For most of us adults who don’t really find the time to spend on picking out new products or trying different brands, getting a monthly box of goodies is a great thing to look forward to (or a nice surprise if you forget about it like I do) and Birchbox, specifically, is a nice way to try several items before buying them to decide what works for you and what you actually like best.

On Cyber Monday, and especially once the madhouse shoppers hit in December, it’s just nice to sit back and order online. The difficulty I find when ordering online is pinpointing the gifts I think are still personal and unique while at the same time remaining well-priced with minimal–if any–shipping. This list hits all of those requirements for me; plus, all of these items either benefit me as a mother or myself and my children together. Hopefully, this list can help with your holiday gifting, as well!

#HE is pumped to be partnering with Fun Foodie Friends and Butler Boots for this post’s awesome gift list!

12 Reasons to Love Your Kansas City Roots

KC Roots

Kansas City is, literally, too much city for just one state. There are too many things to count that make the city great, but only if you’re a part of Kansas City do you truly understand why it’s so outstanding. For those who aren’t a part of Kansas City, here’s why our roots run deep, and to those who are locals, here are 12 reasons you should be proud to call Kansas City your home.

1. Contrary to Lorde’s belief, we will always be Royal. The Kansas City Royals may have their ups and downs throughout the years, but Kansas Citians always stay loyal. And it has paid off, royally. Last season, after coming back from trailing 7 to 3 in the eighth inning of a game that merely put them into the playoffs, the Royals ended up one big hit away from winning the entire World Series.

2. Because parties at Paul Rudd’s mom’s house. Paul Rudd loves himself some Kansas City Royals, too, and after the Royals won the ALCS last season, he told a local news station, “Kegger at my mom’s house!” He may have been kidding, but of course, Kansas Citians aren’t going to let him off that easy. He did redeem himself on one of David Letterman’s final shows by promising that if the Royals win the World Series this season, there will be two kegs at his mom’s house. We’ll hold you to that, Paul. For now, drinks bought by Royals’ players at Power & Light will suffice.

3. The Love Longer KC Project. If you live in Kansas City, and even if you don’t, it’s very likely you know local radio personalities Lazlo, Afentra, Jeriney, Danny Boi and the rest of the crew. The radio station, 96.5 The Buzz, is well-known for The Big Fat Morning Buzz and The Church of Lazlo, while also recently starting an amazing movement called The Love Longer KC Project. The whole movement started when Lazlo saw a billboard off I-70 that was hateful, and instead of responding negatively, 96.5 The Buzz took it upon themselves to turn to Kansas Citians via Kickstarter. Their goal was $7,000, but together, the radio station and Kansas City raised almost $20,000 to create billboards that encourage others to be kind and accepting. “Be Kind” and #LoveLonger is the message they display.

4. We take our art with a side of GIANT badminton. If you haven’t been to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, well, you just wouldn’t understand, but that’s just one instance of Kansas City’s passionate love of art. We also have the Plaza Art Fair, Kauffman Performing Arts Center, Starlight Theatre, Union Station, Brookside Art Fair, the Midland and the Kansas City Art Institute to culture ourselves. Creativity thrives in this city.

5. The Plaza lights at Christmas. As Christmas nears, so many communities decorate their homes, streets and buildings. It’s a warm and fuzzy time, but the plaza lights take it to a whole new level. What began as one single strand of lights in 1925 has easily become one of the greatest Christmas lighting displays in the nation. To top it all off, there’s a traditional lighting event on the Plaza every Thanksgiving, and tens of thousands of people show up to watch the kid who’s chosen at random hit the switch. Could it get any warmer and fuzzier?

6. Boulevard Brewing Company’s craft beer. Wine’s not the only thing we drink with our pinky in the air. Now one of the largest craft breweries in the U.S. and the largest specialty brewery in the Midwest, Boulevard Brewing Company is a local brewery dedicated to the production, craft and deliciousness of unique beers and brewing techniques. We don’t settle for just any old beer around Kansas City; instead, we drink the best of the best.

7. First Fridays. A seriously impressive compilation of local artists and crafty, unique goodies located in the West Bottoms of Kansas City. On the first Friday of each month, Kansas Citians gather for a great cultural, musical and thrift-ful experience. For many people, the draw isn’t just the artistry but also the history of the area, old buildings and gorgeous architecture.

8. This performance of “Kansas City” by the The New Basement Tapes and Marcus Mumford.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X3hdFWmerQ

9. We know how to get LOUD. Baseball isn’t our only strong suit–the Chiefs’ fans know how to bring it, too. Kansas City’s very own Arrowhead stadium is officially the recorder holder for loudest outdoor stadium in the world. The Chiefs received their Guinness world record spot when the noise level at Arrowhead reached a booming 142.2 decibels. Go CHIEFS!

10. We really love fountains. Every city as its own thing and Kansas City’s is fountains. They’re gorgeous, they’re unique, and they’re everywhere. When in Rome… No, actually, when in Kansas City–the city of fountains–do as the Kansas Citians do. It was profound locals like George Kessler, August Meyer and J.C. Nichols that originally envisioned and created a beautiful city with “more boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome.” Today, some of the most famous Kansas City fountains include J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain, Northland Fountain and Crown Center Square Fountain.

11. Kansas City BBQ. Arthur, Jack, Joe and Gates are all great friends of ours and for delicious reasons. According to Carolyn Wells, executive director of the Kansas City Barbecue Society, “The beauty of Kansas City barbecue is that you can ask ten different people to define Kansas City barbecue and you get ten different answers and they are all correct.” As any Kansas Citian will tell you, if you want to try real BBQ, come visit us.

12. Jazz music is our jam. We even have an entire Jazz District to prove it. As Kansas City Jazz took over in the 1920s, it filled the streets of 18th & Vine and made the area an essential pillar for Kansas City throughout the Depression. A few decades later the area began to decline, but eventually, Kansas Citians breathed new life into the Jazz District and nearing the 90s, it was reborn again. Now, the Jazz District maintains and represents a historical musical legend that can be heard throughout Kansas City.

Why I can appreciate the one-year-old’s birthday list email

Let me preface this post by expressing that I more than understand why this email seems rude and entitled. A gift is a gift is a gift, and the fact that someone put any thought, time, effort and money into giving a gift is more than enough in itself. That being said, I can appreciate this email and let me tell you why.

Birthday List

Anytime there’s a holiday, birthday or gift-giving event approaching, I find myself asking or being asked repeatedly, “What do you want … What do you need … What’s a good gift for [child]?” but rarely do I ever get–or give for that matter–a straightforward, helpful answer.

Because of this, I’m often left bouncing off the aisles at Target or entering search after search on Amazon trying to find something I hope the gift receiver can appreciate. However, if we’re all being honest with ourselves when we play the gift-guessing game, unless we’re with the person we’re shopping for on a daily basis, we probably haven’t picked up on all the little things they need or appreciate day in and day out.

Cut to the gift opening: I can honestly say the majority of holidays, events, parties, showers and birthdays I’ve been to have resulted in at least one duplicate gift and who knows how many other gifts that were never used or immediately returned. Personally, I don’t enjoy living in a false reality where I pretend like my gift was truly appreciated. When I go into a gift-giving situation blind, I leave hoping my gift wasn’t one of the duplicates, re-gifts or returns but I’ll never know to be honest. That sucks.

And that is exactly why I can appreciate this woman’s email. The majority of people who are going to get you, or someone close to you, a gift try to find out beforehand what they want, need or like. The woman hands you the golden ticket to the correct gifts in her email.

The next question that always pops into my mind–if I happen to actually find out or know what a person wants–is, “What if someone else already got it for them?” Guess what … the woman split up her gift list so there’s no second-guessing, and I think it’s convenient she let everyone know that. You’re welcome. Gift-buy in peace.

Finally, this woman confronted, admitted and put into words what we’ve ALL done–returned a gift [GASP IN HORROR]–and for some reason, everyone’s offended by that. Personally, I’m glad she said it. She just saved people from potentially wasting their time and money, because whether we like it or not, she’s right. If she or anyone else returns a gift and doesn’t have a receipt, the gift-giver potentially just wasted a chunk of their money.

What’s that? “Don’t return the gift and be grateful you got anything at all,” you say? You’re right–that’s a fair argument, in which case the gift never gets used and you’ve wasted all of your time and money.

So, is this letter slightly tacky, overboard, rude and/or entitled? Perhaps, especially in our society, it’s definitely not a social norm. Sometimes people get offended–myself included–and I can see how this email offends, easily.  From my perspective though, this woman is just being honest and to the point. I. Appreciate. That. It’s refreshing and rare.

I’m sure people asked her what to get her daughter for her birthday, so she made a list. She told people what they already had too much of, and she admitted that if it was a gift they couldn’t use, they would have to return it. We all know those things to be truths in our own households, whether we tell them to other people or not. I can’t be mad when someone has the gull to answer a question in the most straightforward manner possible and ask for exactly what they need/want.

And that’s why I can appreciate this one-year-old’s birthday list email. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or are you just absolutely appalled by the email?