My Social Spa

If you’re looking for a night where Moms can make memories, while getting crafty with sangria and tapas…try My Social Spa. The new girls night out in Tampa is located near you at Boca in Riverview. 

This trendy and fresh restaurant/bar located in Winthrop Center, offers exclusive $5 drinks and $7 tapas at our events. So you can eat and drink while you craft fresh spa products led by a Sparista. 

No experience required, just fun moms and your favorite drink. We provide all ingredients and take home containers. You can borrow one of our aprons to keep you looking cute and clean! September is Bath Bomb Month, so our 2 classes on Sept. 12 or 27th will be crafting fresh bath bombs. 

Group nights are simple. We will provide you a registration link, everyone purchases their own ticket, and done! Just show up and have fun. 

Use promo code: EM 

and receive $5 off when you register! It’s easy..

1. Click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/learn-how-to-make-bath-bombs-tickets-27093708010

2. Select the date of Sept 12 or 27th 

3. Enter promo code “EM” 

4. Enter registration information & done! 

An email will be sent with your ticket and confirmation. 

We are currently running an Advanced ticket sale of $29.95, so with your code – that gets you a ticket for $24.95! 

But hurry, its for a limited time and our classes do sell out. 

Our regular ticket price is $39.95 and you can use your code towards that once our Advanced Ticket Sale ends. 

My Social Spa has been featured in TBT as an “ideal girls night” along with our 5 star customer reviews of: 

 “Fun & Unique Girls Night Out, I loved knowing what goes into my products!” Christina K. Tampa 

Check out our website for more info, reviews, photos:

 www.MySocialSpa.com

and 

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/mysocialspa

Check out reviews, photos, and more at www.facebook.com/mysocialspa 

I’m Doing the Whole 30 and Here is How it Changed Me

Disclaimer: I am a personal trainer. So naturally, I am at least somewhat fit, and was already eating pretty healthy especially by the general standard but let’s get real – there is always room for improvement. When a friend and coworker recommended The Whole 30 to me, I completely shunned the idea of giving up wine, dairy, and beans (among other things), but the notion of feeling better than I already did sounded pretty appealing.

So a few days passed and I became increasingly aware that I didn’t feel as healthy as I should. When I would manage to get both my boys down for a nap, I would literally have to lay down too. Too tired to utilize the time for laundry, cooking, cleaning, or anything that I really did want and need to get done. I would be so tired in the morning, hitting the snooze several times, until I had to rush through my morning, barely getting the kids and myself where we needed to be on time. I was doing the bare minimum when it came to everything, simply out of exhaustion. Oh, and let’s not forget that I feel like my head is trudging through quicksand no matter what time a day it is. I’m not talking about the normal “where did I put my keys” stuff, I am talking forgetting super-important stuff that used to be no problem for me. But why? I am exercising, I’m eating “healthy”, and I have no huge stressors in my life besides the normal day-to-day stuff. “Something has got to give” I told myself.

Fast forward to the last day of the month. The following day was to be the first of the month and a Monday. I was thinking I needed to make a change if I was going to feel better and this was the perfect time to start fresh. Something HAD to change and I was no longer willing to accept that I should be feeling like this all the time. Do I drink wine too often? Is it the dairy? I eat whole wheat, but could the breads/grains I am eating be making me feel this sluggish and mentally foggy? All these questions flooded my thoughts on the last day of the month. Whole 30.docx

That evening I made the choice to do it. I didn’t have the book so I asked some questions and searched the internet for information to guide me until I got the book. I began the next day. 6am came and without dairy/sugar free cream for my coffee, I had to forgo my usual cup of Joe. Agony! Pure agony! I made eggs, sautéed some veggies, and called it breakfast. Lunch came and it became abundantly clear that I had not really prepared for this properly. With so many restrictions, I now needed to prepare and cook more often in order to make this work. That evening I ran to the store with a must-have list to get me through the next couple of days.

The following few days, were pure hell. I was tired, hungry, cranky, and having sugar cravings all day. I knew I was detoxing from all the garbage I now realized were wreaking havoc on my body. By Friday and into Saturday I started to come out of the other side of the storm. I began to feel better, became more alert, and generally happier. I had finally begun to see the benefits, both physically and mentally. I dropped 5 pounds of fat (you’re not supposed to weigh yourself but I had to when I noticed the difference in my clothes), I woke up easier, and took less time to really perk up and engage in my morning, I no longer crashed at 1pm, I was more efficient throughout the day, and I had even begun to handle the day-to-day stressors with more grace.

No foods on whole

I am happy to report, that although I am not done, I am on day 22 and going strong. The sugar cravings are gone and I feel amazing. I see more definition in areas that I had been missing due to the extra layer of fat covering it all.  Even my skin looks better! I miss my evening wine from time-to-time, but I know that without it, I am better the next morning. Although I have not completed the program, I came to realize that life is way too short to accept feeling tSelfiehe way I was and that making changes in order to get the most out of my day is absolutely worth the sacrifice. I thought I was healthy before, but this – THIS is wellness. Feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally strong is totally worth giving up all those things for the gains I have made.

Making Art Easy and Accessible

 

Since becoming a mother I have always made it a goal to share my passion for the arts with my daughter. My husband and I are both artistic and so are our mothers. So naturally our daughter is artistic as well. I, like most moms, have at times dreaded dragging out the paints and having to clean up 5 minutes later when my daughter’s attention span wanes. When she was a toddler I searched to find ways to make art more accessible to her and an easier clean up for me.

Here is a list of some items that I purchased:

Ikea’s Mala Children’s Easel

I found this easel to be the best. It features a large tray and holds a roll of paper. It is also affordable.

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Creative Street No-Spill Paint Cups and Brushes Set

These are amazing; They are spill proof and come with lids. They have brushes with colored handles that match the cups. Your child can easily grab the color they need and put it back in the proper cup without mixing colors.

I filled the cups with washable crayola tempera paint and left them out on the easel daily. My daughter was free to grab a paintbrush and paint on the easel whenever she wanted. I made things easier by always leaving her apron and a new sheet of paper on the easel. I also placed the easel in the kitchen on the tile, just in case there was an accident.  This process gave her a sense of accomplishment. No matter what she painted she was always proud to show it off. *If your child is not quite ready for tempera paint, try leaving a palate of washable water color paint and a cup of water on the easel instead.

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Teach your child early that crayons are for paper. I introduced crayons fairly early and started by simply scribbling on paper in front of her. She would then mimic my motions.   As soon as your child is ready, have a bucket of crayons and paper always available to them. If your child is not ready have them somewhere out of reach where they can be seen.  This allows for self directed creativity.

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Combine art and nature. Paint on pine cones picked on walks around the park. Paint on shells found at the beach. Paint on pots for planting flowers. Paint on sidewalks. Painting on items found together is fun and creates long lasting memories.

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Play-doh Play-doh play-doh, get some play-doh out and let them have at it! We love play-doh. Get everyone in your household involved. We sit as a family with play-doh (and various other crafts) talking and creating. These are some of our best moments together, ones that I hope my daughter will remember forever.

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Art improves a child’s motor skills, visual learning, and creativity. Art in the home does not have to be a chore. The more easy and accessible you make it the better.

XOXO,

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Suzette Foister

Mother, Wife, Owner/Artist at Bring Your Own Canvas

 

Healthy School Lunches

There are so many things to think about when you are getting the young people in your house ready to go back to school. There are supplies to purchase, clothes to pick out, and let’s not forget the all-important finding the right backpack. I still remember the Snoopy debacle of 1992. Mom and I picked out a great Snoopy backpack that I thought would be all the rage, but it turns out Lisa Frank was where it was at and my backpack was the bane of my existence for the entire year. These errands take up a lot of time in the month or so before our kids go back to school, but they are, thankfully, not an ongoing issue (unless you pick the wrong backpack).

There is one task that faces parents and guardians day in and day out – lunch. I don’t know about you, but for some reason my kids require sustenance throughout the day. You’d think they could save the hunger strikes, they go on at home, for school, now and then just to give me a break, but alas, they don’t. Lunch planning has escaped me in the past. Even when I was working out of the house full time, planning ahead on what to take myself for lunch was something that I wasn’t good at. I’d arbitrarily throw together something in the morning that was always a weird conglomeration of leftovers from dinner the night before, a yogurt and some kind of fruit. Now, with little tummies to consider, I’ve made it a point to be more conscious of the food choices I have on hand to send with them. I also consider the containers I use to send their food in, as I like to be eco-friendly and safe, when it comes to what will house our food.

First, a word about prep. You know how they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Prep is the same way. I find that if I take a few minutes, when I come home from my weekly grocery shopping trip, to consciously wash and prep the fruits and veggies I’ve brought home, they last longer and are much easier to use. It’s no secret that most produce is sprayed with pesticides during the growing process, but did you know that a lot of it (even some organic produce) is sprayed with accelerants that help it to grow and ripen faster? This is good for the farmers who want to produce faster yields, but not so great for the consumer, as it causes the food to continue ripening at an accelerated rate, even in your refrigerator. The secret to getting your fruits and veggies to last longer is to get these products off of them before you store them.

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The good news is that it’s easy to do. Simply fill your kitchen sink ½ to ¾ full of cold water and add around 1 cup of white vinegar to it. Then put all of your fruits and veggies, except berries, into the sink to soak for 20 minutes. Berries go in for 1-2 minutes only, as they will absorb the water if you leave them any longer. After the soaking, pat everything dry with a towel and let it finish drying on the counter before you put it away. Then slice up, portion out and put things away in containers that are easy to grab and throw into lunches throughout the week. All my produce, including fresh berries now stay good for at least a week!

So now that we’re all prepped, let’s check out some of the fun, healthy school lunch ideas I found on pinterest that are a hit around our house:

Tortilla pinwheels. For some reason, if I wrap sandwich ingredients into a tortilla and cut it into pinwheels, my kiddo loves the once mundane “sandwich” concept and gobbles it up. This is my quick and easy go to when the morning is kind of hairy and I need to get us out the door. You can fill your tortilla with whatever you’d like, spinach, cheese, meat, veggies, fruits, cream cheese; the possibilities are endless.

pinwheels

Image credit to foodformyfamily.com

Another sandwich variation is sandwich kabobs or stackers (the difference lies in whether I have a kabob stick to skewer it with or not). Simply layer cubes of meat, cheese and veggies with cubes of bread and skewer it together (or not). Voila! Sandwich on a stick!

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Image credit to littledairyontheprairie.com

Quick and easy nachos. Simply layer shredded cheese and chicken or beef pieces on top of tortilla chips and add a small container with black beans and sour cream (or a mixture of sour cream and plain yogurt to be a bit healthier). Your kids can dip the chips into the bean and sour cream mixture to create the perfect nacho bite.

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Image credit to whatlisacooks.com

We love bagels as a breakfast staple around here, but they’re also a quick, easy lunch choice too. My little guy likes the mini-bagels so I just slather a couple of those with cream cheese and stick them in his lunch along with some veggies, fruit and yogurt.

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When I have some prep time the day or night before, I love to make crescent roll ups. Simply add your favorite meat or cheese choices to a crescent, roll it up and bake it according to the package directions. For a pizza variety, add pizza or marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.   You can either make these completely the day before and refrigerate or prep them to be ready to bake in the morning before school.

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Image credit to amandascookin.com

Now that you’ve prepped and got your meals all ready, what should you put them into? For my family, I choose glass, silicone or stainless steel options. Glass is great as far as being food safe and eco-friendly, but it’s heavier and breakable so I usually opt for silicone or stainless steel when they need to be portable. Here are a few of the options I’ve found that work best for us:

Silicone

This container is a favorite because it has two compartments and comes with a spork that stores in the lid.

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This little container is perfect for snacks or yogurt.

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Stainless steel

For hot or cold food storage, you can’t beat this insulated container.

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This divided container comes with a divider that slides to size to whatever you’re packing for the day.

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These nesting containers and square containers are great for packing things individually.

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Glass

This glass container is a favorite that we use at home.  I like it because it has the silicone sleeve to protect it.

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I hope these ideas are helpful and that they make it a little easier as you tackle the never ending question, “What’s for lunch?”  Happy eating!

13716016_10153862140698178_5093751296788590959_nSharon is a WAHM of two boys ages 2 years old and 4 months old.  She co-owns WrappedUpTampa.com, a natural parenting online boutique that has carefully chosen products from wooden toys and teethers made by hand, stainless, silicone and glass food storage and various types of wraps and carriers for babywearing.

 

 

 

 

 

Pinterest Picks: Back-to-School Edition

Written By: Jennifer Silverstein

While my kids aren’t exactly “school-age” yet, I do try to teach them as much as I can at home- the DIY way. Here are a few DIY/ back to school crafts to re-create with your littles.

  1. Alphabet Cookie Sheet

We are currently working on our alphabet, so when I saw this:

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Pinterest Version

I decided to re-create it myself. And on the cheap.

I didn’t want to use one of my own cookie sheets (because, cookies) so I went to the Dollar Store and bought one. After that, I just used a Sharpie and wrote the letters on it.

Luckily for us, we already had alphabet letters just lying around.

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My Version

2. Parts of a flower (using baking cups) 

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            Pinterest Version                                                     My Version

This one was fairly easy (and used materials I already had around the house/ kitchen). I started by painting the bottom of the paper brown for the dirt (and let it dry), then I had the kids glue down the baking cup while I cut out the stem and leaves for them.  Then, they proceeded to glue down the stem, leaves, “roots” a.k.a. yarn and seeds. The ones in the Pinterest version were sunflower seeds. I didn’t have any of those so I used popcorn kernels.

3. Paper Plate Sunflower 

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                                              Pinterest Version(s)

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                                                             My Version

I have actually purchased a stack of paper plates just for crafting! For this one, I let the kids paint both the outer edge of the plate (yellow) and the inside (brown) for the sunflower.

Then, I put dots of glue all over the brown part of their plate and let them place the corn kernels and black beans on.

Then, I let them cut the edges of the paper plate to make the petals of the flower.

Once the flowers were dried, I hot glued a stem to the back of the flower.

4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Letter & name Recognition) 

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              Pinterest Version                                                    My Version

I had this one saved for a while before we actually got around to doing it, but it was super simple! Probably less that 20 minutes!

I purchased alphabet letters from (you guessed it) the Dollar Store.

I painted brown tree trunks, cut out coconuts using a large hole puncher and cut leave shapes freehand.

I let the kids glue down the leaves and coconuts and then gave them some letters.

I handed them each their name letters and encouraged them to put them on the trunk.

 

I hope these “Pinterest Picks” encourage you to DIY some of YOUR own at home with your kids! Especially with back-to-school coming up!

xoxo

Jenn from GrowingUpSilverstein

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I’m a Stay-at-Home mom of two little girls. Addie, 2, and Emma, 3. They ARE NOT twins, no matter how many times people ask me. We live on 6 acres and have two dogs, 5 chickens and a tortoise! I’ve been married to my husband, Eric, for 7 years! I have a degree in Journalism, and am currently doing HIPPY Homeschool with my oldest. I’m UBER crafty and ADDICTED to Pinterest.