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*This post contains affiliate links*

1 // Personalized Family Portrait

I’ve noticed these customized family portraits all over Instagram these days, and I can see why. Not only are they absolutely adorable, but I love how personal you can make them. I found the cutest shop on Etsy that sells them! They have great reviews and so many options. I’m definitely going to make a purchase after we have our last baby.

2 // Date Night Box

This handmade date night box is perfect for anyone who needs a bit of inspiration. The seller has great reviews, and her product is made from recycled materials! This is also a great bridal shower gift ;).

3 // Custom Star Map

This is one of my favorite ideas for Valentine’s Day, or even an anniversary! Not only is it such a thoughtful gift, but it fits with almost any type of decor. I love how you can customize each map to your unique situation. Plus, it’s handmade!



4 // Couples Pillow Cover

This is my TOP Valentine’s Day pick for any couple! It’s a playful gift for you and your spouse in the bedroom (as long as you don’t keep the ‘NOT TONIGHT’ side visible for too long ;)). This pillowcase would make the perfect gag gift for a bridal shower, or your best friend who just got engaged! Keep in mind it is a pillowcase cover, and the shop is running a few promotions right now!

5 // Vow Canvas

As soon as we buy a house I already have plans to scoop up on of these beautiful vow displays. The seller has so many stunning options! They are the perfect gift to highlight those custom vows you and your partner worked on for so long. My husband and I were set on writing our own vows, and I can’t wait to have them on display so we can read them from time to time.

6 // Couples Mugs

If you are looking for a practical gift, these couple mugs from BOLDLOFT are a quick and thoughtful gift option. I fell in love with all their options, but chose these two mugs in particular because you can buy matching pillows.

7 // Stacked Bracelets

This is a great gift for a couple who has just become parents. My husband bought us these bracelets for Christmas and I can’t get enough of how thoughtful they are. Stacked has a nice amount of options available, and even celebrities are into them! I love that it’s something my husband and I carry around together that also incorporates our daughter.

I hope you guys found some inspiration in this gift guide! It can be so hard to find a decent gift that doesn’t break the bank. Comment below and let me know what your Valentine’s Day traditions are!

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*This post is sponsored by My Infinite Agenda*

All opinions & positions are my own.

Happy New Year, Friends!

The clock has struck twelve and it’s time to start a new. I think the majority of us are ready for a fresh start in the new year! My yearly goals always begin with a supercharged health and wellness plan. I start to actually meal plan during the first few weeks of January, with the hopes of making it to the gym 3-4 times a week. I try my best to walk into the new year with a more positive mindset that will carry me through the year, but somewhere along the way I always fall short on those plans.

2017 was a year of strength and growth for me. My husband and I finally tied the knot, A turned two, I made more time for loved ones, dealt (and currently still dealing) with my endometriosis, and I learned to fight for my mental health! I’m not much for labels (except hot mess) but I found out what it really means to be a warrior. I finally championed for myself and took control of my postpartum depression. But with all of these new changes, the one I’m most proud of is re-evaluating my goals AND MY FREAKING WORTH! Halfway through 2017 I realized how lost I had gotten in my role as a mother, and thanks to my amazing therapist I’m now on a track to pursue what I worked so hard for in college.

I’m not ashamed of the fact that I let motherhood take over my life. And I’m definitely not afraid to say that I had postpartum depression. What I’ve learned from the past two years is how to be a better fighter and friend, not only for the people around me, but for myself. This new way of life didn’t come overnight. My low point came just after our wedding where I was at my absolute worst.

As I searched through my agenda for a certain quote, my eyes turned to tears as soon as I opened this page. August was the month I decided my life needed to change BIG TIME, and would seek out help from a therapist. She helped me find the good within myself again, and taught me to be kind with my inner self. Postpartum depression left me with a broken soul that I tried to fix by overloading my schedule, in hopes I wouldn’t think about it; which in turn only worsened the problem. So I have spent the past 5 months fighting for my mind, body, and soul. I took on a new eating plan that is working well for me physically. With the help of my therapist I’ve gained a new way of speaking to myself, by showing kindness first (and as I write that out all I can think of are the countless sesame street songs centered around kindness). Yoga and meditation have become a weekly routine for me, which has helped keep me grounded. And I’m heading into 2018 ready to tackle the goals I’ve laid out for myself.

I have two main goals for 2018.

Grow my blog into a place of community and outreach for Women. 

My blog was always something of a hobby for me. A way to share my story, and connect with other mothers who have gone through, or are going through postpartum depression. But this past year has shown me that it isn’t just mothers who are reading my blog. It’s Women (and some men!) of all ages, and stages in life. I get so many messages from mothers who’ve gone through postpartum depression who share my blog with their daughters. It truly warms my heart to receive all your love and support for this little space I’ve created. And I’m so glad my blog is helping to connect mothers and daughters, as it is something I hope to strengthen my relationship with my own daughter one day. My hope for this year is to share the many different sides of what it means to be a millennial mom.

Take the reins on my career.

The goal that I’m putting in the spotlight for 2018 is my career. For those of you that don’t know, I graduated in 2013 with a BFA in Musical Theatre. I’ve danced for most of my life, and was rooted in the arts up until I had my daughter in 2015. With everything that has happened my career took a HUGE nose dive, and I didn’t realize how much that affected me. My career has always been at the forefront of my life, and I’m determined to make it that way again. Over the next few months I’m starting with some ballroom lessons, finishing my reel, and auditioning for local theatre. To tell you the truth, I’m petrified. I’ve been out of the game for almost three years, and my talent is not at the level it was when I graduated college. But after facing a point where I almost ended this life, I have nothing left to fear but not trying at all. I’m taking my doubts and using them to push me forward with the strength I’ve already found within myself. And a little help from my support system :).

So you’re probably thinking: “Oh those dreams are nice, but how on earth are you going to stay on track with those two hefty goals??”

When I came across My Infinite Agenda on Instagram, I was so intrigued to find out more about this company and their agenda. I’m one of those ‘everything happens for a reason’ kind of people, and this company definitely showed up on my screen for a reason. Their focus is simple, turn your dreams and goals into reality by weaving them into your daily schedule. When you open the agenda you are met with encouragement, and the excitement of a fresh start that comes with the new year. My favorite part of this planner is the vision board, which I’ve been filling with motivational images for 2018! Each month is packed with intentional tools to keep your ambitions and goals at your fingertips, with the use of quotes and functional writing prompts.

This month I am excited to accomplish these short-term goals…

This month I will grow closer to these long-term goals…

In my wildest dreams I am looking forward to receiving…

And you’ll end each month with a recap of what you’ve accomplished throughout that time.

I’m excited to define those short-term goals each month, which will get me closer to my overall goal. And to help with motivation, each page has an uplifting quote printed at the bottom. Sometimes all we need is that encouraging word to get us through a slump. Agendas are always my first step to a positive new year, but there are other ways to stay on point during the year. So I’m sharing a few tips for myself that I’ll implement to keep things on track during 2018!

1.) Keeping My Infinite Agenda on my desk where I can see it everyday

2.) Getting to bed at a decent hour, so I can wake up refreshed and ready to start my day

3.) Setting a daily alarm to check-in with the goals I have written down

4.) Create a community to keep me accountable

Number 4 is where you guys come in! My Infinite Agenda has been so kind as to include a discount code for my readers. Use PROMO CODE: MOM10 for 10% off your order! I would love it if you tagged me on instagram and shared your goals for the new year, while using your My Infinite Agenda :). Not only will you be setting up your goals for success in the new year, but you’ll be purchasing a product with purpose! When you buy one of their agendas a portion goes to one of the lovely charitable organizations they’ve partnered with!

My navy agenda is linked with Sing For Hope, an organization that brings the arts to under-resourced parts of New York City’s five boroughs! One of my smaller goals for 2018 is to spend money in a more meaningful way, by supporting companies who give back to the community. Since the arts have been such a huge part of my live, supporting this cause was a no-brainer in my book!

If you’d like to learn more about My Infinite Agenda and the organizations they’ve partnered with, head to their website for more information. And if you decide to purchase one of their planners, don’t forget to use the coupon code!

Wishing you all a safe and happy new year filled with infinite possibilities!

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The Millennial Mom Blog | A Motherhood, .. by Themillennialmomblog - 2M ago

*This post may contain affiliate links*

One of my favorite stores to shop at is Old Navy! The prices are great, there’s always a sale, and I can find something for everyone in my house. Below are my top picks which I will be updating throughout each season. I’ll also keep you guys updated on any sales they are having via my Instagram stories (so if you haven’t added me yet my username is // @_themillennialmomblog_). Free feel to leave comments or message me on what you guys want to see! I will try to get as many pictures in outfits as I possibly can do you have a visual.

Casual Outfits

Grey Sweater // Wearing a small // Fit is not tight, definitely has movement and so comfy

Jeans (Pictured in both) // I’m normally a size 4 at Old Navy but I recommend sizing UP

Vest // Wearing a small // Perfect for winter over a nice sweater

Grey Turtleneck // Wearing a small but recommend sizing up for looser fit // Would be great tucked in





A Little Flare

Purple Sweater // Wearing a small // Must have for Winter

Navy Skirt // True to size // Wearing an 8 but I’m usually a 4-6// High waisted

Striped Sweater // Wearing a small // Soft and comfortable fit

Jeans // Wearing a 6 // Size UP

Special Occasion

Yellow Dress // Wearing a small // This dress is amazing but I do suggest wearing a slip underneath

Blue Velvet // Wearing a small // Great fit and not irritating at all

 



Those are my picks! I’ll be updating as much as possible. Let me know what you guys like, or what you would want to see.

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I said it wouldn’t happen,

BUT…

My career took a backseat after having kid(s).

Taking care of children and a career is hard.
Having kids and starting a career is quite the challenge.

When I found out I was pregnant I told myself nothing would change. I’d have the baby and a few months after I’d go back to working on my career. I convinced myself I didn’t have to give anything up or compromise, mostly because for months I had to listen to people tell me how I’d have to put my career to the side for the baby. I don’t enjoy people telling me what i need to do. I wanted to be that super mom who could do it all.

Then we had A.
Then I was diagnosed with postpartum depression.
Then I fought for my life.
Then I fought for my family.
And now I’m fighting for myself.




My career took a BIG backseat and for a while and it killed me inside. I stressed about it more than I care to admit. I would pull up Instagram and see my friends killing it with their kid-free lives. I let it consume me for a while. It ate at my passion and I grew a bit resentful. Then the excuses starting pouring in, which led to me getting no where in any sort of career. My postpartum depression only amplified my fears, reservations, and insecurities about it. But when I started seeing my therapist she asked what I thought was really holding me back.

I went to school for musical theatre and I had just spent 2 1/2 years doing nothing related to the arts. I was knees deep in all things kid-related. The thought of putting myself out there just seemed like a mountain too big to climb. How would I be able to go full force when I was running at about 20%? She suggested taking unnecessary things off my plate.

Get down to the foundation and build from there.

So that’s what I did. I cleared my plate and started from scratch. Each day I made a list of something to work on that would get me closer to my main goal. I asked for help when I needed it so as to not become overwhelmed. I let myself mourn the time I had lost from having A, and I didn’t feel guilty for it. Soon enough, my career became the priority in my life. And I embraced the fear!

In fact, I found a way to thrive on the fear. It makes me feel alive again, like this spark was suddenly ignited. And it’s exactly what I needed to push myself forward. Now I’m heading into the new year with a new mindset and a new mantra:

“You can’t build a great building upon a weak foundation.”

When the tasks become scary or overwhelming I bring myself back to the foundation. I search from within to find the strength to move forward. And I clear my plate as much as I can, which isn’t easy with children, but it is feasible. Lean on the people around you for strength and comfort. It’s not going to be easy, but that fear inside isn’t your enemy. It’s a took and a motivator!

Life might get in the way of your career. Just like your career might get in the way of life. But I strongly believe we can have our cake and eat it too, especially moms. We are the queens of multitasking after all ;).

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*This post may contain affiliate links*
This past weekend we saw HAMILTON!!! It was everything I dreamed it would be and more. I held my husband’s arm the entire time because my eyes never left the stage, and I didn’t want him to feel like I was ignoring him. This trip was his wedding present to me, and it’s definitely going in my top 10 list of our favorite things we’ve done together. We scheduled a babysitter for A and made a date night out of the entire evening. Since life has been crazy I didn’t realize my closet was a bit lacking in the formal wear department (motherhood, am I right?), so I was a frantic mess the Thursday before trying to find a dress to wear. I’m a big believer in buying quality over quantity, so I wanted to find something I would be able to wear for Christmas as well. I tried a few stores before I found the perfect dress at H&M (pictured above)! It’s a great classic green dress that I can wear for multiple occasions, and I might even wear it for a wedding we are attending in January. So since Christmas is right around the corner and I know a few people who might be struggling to find something last minute, I decided to put together some ‘nigh out’ styles for you guys! These are all UNDER $150 and a bunch of the stores are having Green Monday sales. So check them out and let me know what you think!
*Green Monday Sales are listed below*
Dresses
Jumpsuits
 



Outfits

Enjoy!

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“Well, It’s almost here
So spread some cheer
Let’s give love and get some back
The more you give, the more you’ll have
Well, the fire’s bright now
And snow comes down
Grab your family; hold them near
Christmas time is here”
The More You Give (The More You Have) by Michael Buble

Holiday season has arrived and once again, I’m totally blindsided. Thankfully we don’t host Thanksgiving or Christmas at our place since we are still renting, but we always have family coming into town for events. I’ve recently blogged about what I use to clean my floors with and Bona sent over some more products to talk about for those Holiday cleaning tips! Since we are renting at the moment I’m a bit neurotic when it comes to keeping the space clean because we have to leave it the way we left it. After being introduced to Bona a year ago, I was hooked. I’ve used multiple mops and cleaning systems before Bona, but none of them worked for me as well as Bona has. And since it is the holiday season you can find me singing along to the Michael Buble Christmas album while I clean ;).

If you’ve been following my blog you know we have two cats AND a toddler. I feel like I’m always cleaning up after a little army of mess-makers. We store the Cats litter box in our bathroom and they always seem to make a mess of the floor/trim. I took a little BEFORE/AFTER photo for you guys to see how awesome this cleaner is. I use it regularly on the bathroom floor to prevent build-up since Bona PowerPlus has 3x the cleaning action.

Surfactant loosens tough, heavy build-up.

Oxygenated formula penetrates for a deep clean.

Bubbling action enhances and lifts away debris.

Tip: I spray the Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner and let sit for 1-2 minutes, then wipe away with the Bona PowerPlus Deep Clean Pad.



The holidays always get a bit crazy, and as much as we try to avoid loading up our plate, that’s exactly what ends up happening. Below is a little list of tips for you guys that have helped me over the past couple of years!

Schedule Now, Relax Later

I’ve talked about making daily ‘to-do’ lists before, and I can’t rave about them enough. I always seem to come up with a HUGE list in my head that becomes an overwhelming rain cloud on my day. Writing down my tasks makes them easier to tackle because I have a visual of everything I hope to accomplish. Scheduling in cleaning is a great way to make a daunting task just another thing to check off!

Make It a Family Affair

A is so interested in everything I do during the day…don’t now how long that will last though, haha. She has a little Melissa & Doug cleaning set that she’s absolutely in love with. I usually tell her to grab her mop and help mommy clean the floor. It turns into a fun little game for the both of us.

Floor It! 
My Mom always taught me to clean from top to bottom, the floor is the last thing to clean. Cleaning from top to bottom avoids redistributing dirt and debris to previously cleaned areas. If you have hardwood floors, now would be a great time to give your floors some extra protection with an application of polish. Since we have carpet, I try to schedule in time for a DIY shampoo job.

Remember the Real Reason.
While we may fuss and stress over getting the house in immaculate shape or getting the most picture-perfect atmosphere, remember that these things pale in comparison to spending time with friends and family. When you use Bona PowerPlus you’ll have more time to spend with your loved ones thanks to Bona’s powerful cleaning system!

Bona offers a great range of products that can help you get your home ready for the holidays. From mops, floor cleaners and more, Bona has all that you need for a festive family get-together. Click the link below for more information. Happy Holiday Cleaning!

Bona PowerPlus

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Dear A,

When I go through the first two years of your life in my head it plays like an old movie projector displayed across the walls of my mind. And each memory holds an emotion I can still feel throughout every inch of my body when it’s transported for display. What will one day be a distant memory, lingers like the shadow that follows behind on a sunny day. And although you won’t remember what has happened I know it is as much a part of you, as it is of me.

Which is why I want so badly for this story to come from me.

But I know there will be certain times in your life when you’ll hear comments from family and friends who’ve made their own opinions, and assumptions. People who either didn’t help, had no idea what was going on, or couldn’t possibly find a solution. I won’t tell you these comments will be kind, because this story comes with quite a bit of hostility. I won’t tell you their comments will be joyous, because a joyful time in our life was filled with darkness. But without you, my dear, I would not have made it through that darkness.

From the moment that second line appeared I knew I loved you. A love that grew inside me, and a part of me for nine months. A love that came bursting out on her due date and whisked away within minutes. When the nurse quickly brought you over I couldn’t even see your face, and although she thought we were touching, I couldn’t feel you.

The thing no one tells you about Motherhood is that having a child is literally giving a piece of your heart, mind, body, and soul to another human being.

So when they whisked you away to the NICU I was left in a room full of people but felt this unbearable sense of loneliness. That’s when the darkness started to creep in. And I was the last person to meet you that night…I regret it with every fiber of my being. When I was finally wheeled up to see those tiny eyes that are just like your father’s, I felt nothing, yet my heart was full. I know it’s a strange thing to say, but that’s the only way I can explain it. Every part of me loved you but I couldn’t feel a thing, until I was crippled with heartache, despair, and worry. There was a hold on me, like a demon inside suppressing every joyful sensation.

When I finally made it back to my room I was greeted by family who had nothing but encouraging words for me. And in truth, I was still coming down from the drugs to realize how upset I was. So when my Mother asked if I wanted her to stay that night I should have screamed, “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” But instead I reverted to my usual ‘I can do everything myself’ mode, and told her to go. As soon as they closed the door, and I settled in to rest, the tears came streaming down. I’m not sure if I even slept that evening because all I remember is crying, yearning for you, and wishing for a happy emotion to flood my body. I had just spent nine months reading about this unforgettably radiant feeling Mothers get after giving birth, but that feeling never came. So I began to search for it…

The real journey started when we brought you home and your Father returned to work. What I told myself was just the ‘baby blues’ quickly turned into a dark hole I found myself desperately trying to dig out of. And the circumstances of the first few months only seemed to deepen the hole. Every cry, health issue, frustrating moment, parenting fail, and my inability to breastfeed was just another blow to my character. I started to define myself by the failures, and I let them fester inside-spreading throughout my mind. I was able to delay an emotional response for only so long before it came pouring out like a broken faucet. Usually your grandmother would be the one to talk me through it until I could muster up the energy for a few more hours of neutrality. And although the sadness had a crippling affect on me, I wasn’t truly prepared for what came next.

THE RAGE

This part of my PPD turned me against everyone. It’s a terrible thing to experience, your mind turning against you. I no longer spoke to myself with grace. Instead, the rage turned every encouraging word into hateful mantras inside my mind. I slowly became a person I no longer recognized. I alternated between rage and sadness like a seesaw for months. Memories, relationships, new adventures all turned into negative experiences that I could never fully enjoy. But there were these tiny bursts of light that kept breaking through. Every time you smiled at me it was as if to say “Mom, I see you.” And so I held on to those moments in each day. When I could not draw strength from myself, you were my light in the darkness. I poured every ounce of energy into you because without you, I would not be here. When you became a toddler and started wearing your heart on your sleeve-never holding back emotions, I learned to embrace all of mine. Each day we faced got a little bit easier, until the failures and frustrations no longer seemed like road blocks. They turned into little speed bumps we now cruise over without giving it extra thought. And I have found myself again. I am growing and changing just as you do everyday. Through it all I became a survivor and you have been my little north star.

My light in the darkness.

And I love you through and through. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow too.

John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Special thanks to my dear friend, Steve Walter Photo for capturing these stunning photos. I can’t thank you enough, Steve, for your support and collaboration over the last couple of years!

Written by: Kimberlee Ward

Edited by: Sara Auriemme

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Gift guide season is upon us, so I thought I’d put together a fun little gift guide for Millennial Dads (although these are great for ANY dad in your life). Most of these my husband already has, or has been asking me for over the past couple of months. I’ve linked them all for you guys, and they can all be bought online because who has time to go to the store anymore?!?! Unless it’s Target we are talking about!

Harry’s Razors

Harry’s razors are my absolutely favorite! My husband bought one when we started dating and after a while I jumped on the bandwagon. They have a few gift sets out now that are $100 and under. You can even have them engraved (although that seems a bit excessive for a razor lol).

Harry’s Razors: Gift Sets

That Green Jacket Everyone and their Mother has

Ok my husband has been bugging me about this jacket since August. He usually doesn’t like the latest trends, but who can resist this one?! I wear my green jacket almost everyday! It’s perfect to throw over a sweater during the early winter months.

Jacket: Old Navy

A good pair of slippers

Please tell me I’m not the only mom who drops their kid off at school in a pair of slippers like these ones? I swear A’s teacher probably thinks I’m a bum. This is one item I’m definitely getting for my husband this year! These slippers are the perfect pair of shoes to throw on for that early morning Dunkin run ;).

Slippers: Clarks

Home Brew Kit

I bought my husband one of these brew kits a few Christmas’ ago, and even though he has yet to actually brew the beer, it was such a great gift! Be warned, it takes a quiet afternoon without kids around, and a LOT of patience, but I’m sure it’s worth it…I’ll let you guys know when my husband actually brews his!

Brew Kit:BREWDEMON

A Daddy Diaper Bag

I wholeheartedly believe Dads need their own diaper bag! Something they pack themselves for when they are out with the kids. My husband has his own and has used it quite a bit. I think it makes him more comfortable to take A out on those solo trips.

Diaper Bag: Ferlin Diaper Bag

Car Driving Experience

I saved the best for last you guys! I bought my husband a car driving experience through groupon a couple years ago and it was SO MUCH FUN!! If you want to see a grown man become a teenager again this is the gift that will do it. A and I accompanied him and we had a great time watching from the sidelines. I definitely recommend buying a voucher through groupon!

So that’s my little list for you guys! Let me know some of your favorite gifts to get for dads!

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