Focusing on Gut Health + Overall Wellness in the New Year

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My thoughts on turning 40
2018 was the year I focused on my health. First, I changed what I was putting into my body, in adding things that would help me and removing things that would not. Since I have Hashimoto’s, the first thing that had to go was gluten. Yup, bread, pasta, beer — it all had to go, or at least be modified to gluten-free. Next, I did some experimenting with food, eliminating known inflammation triggers like dairy. I added them back in one at a time to see how each one made me feel once I had eliminated them. I found a new way of eating and working out called the Faster Way to Fat Loss (FWTFL​) and it was a game changer for me! I also did a food sensitivity test and used those results to help guide me in what foods to avoid or temporarily eliminate. Read More

A Simple Self-Care Toolkit

How to Make a Self-Care Toolkit | ohlovelyday.comEver since the term “self-care” got trendy I think it garners an eye roll from some people. I even do it — when I see young, single people who don’t have children or much in the way of life stress yet using the term self-care I think “your LIFE is self-care right now!” That’s probably not entirely fair either (stress is relative to where you are in your life I suppose) but I get the urge to find the self-care trend a little self-indulgent. But everyone does need to be mindful of self-care: getting enough sleep, doing things you enjoy, taking time to center yourself, exercise, stress-management, etc. It doesn’t have to be all spa days and meditation retreats. It can be simple things that restore our minds, bodies, and spirits. I’m sharing a few things in my self-care toolkit to show you how simple it can be to take a little time for yourself.Read More

Setting Intentions For a New Year

setting intentions for a new yearIt’s a new year, which means we’re all refocusing on our self-care and mental and physical well beings, am I right? I know I am. Every January I recommit to making myself a priority — not in the form of resolutions but as intentions I set and goals I put into the universe for a new year. And while I might not succeed quite as much as I hope to when I set the intention, I do always make progress from the year before. Here are some intentions I’m setting for myself for 2019:Read More

Faster Way To Fat Loss: Review, Results, Before + After Photos, and Tips

How I finally changed my body with the Faster Way to Fat Loss ; FWTFL before and after photosI’m a mom of three. I have Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. I turned 40 this year. And two months ago I was at my unhealthiest (mentally and physically) that I have ever been, despite years of trying to get fit, restricting my calories, doing Whole30s. For the last three years since I had my last baby my body has been stuck. Nothing I did made a difference. NOTHING. I thought it was because I was breastfeeding. But once my baby weaned at 20 months nothing changed. I thought it was my thyroid or my anti-depressants or my IUD. I think those all contributed to my stuck-ness, but once I removed or corrected all of those things my body was still stuck. And then one of my readers messaged me about a program she had done that finally worked for her. I immediately signed up. That program is called The FASTer Way to Fat Loss. And it is working for me! Read More

Tips for Stocking Your Wine Bar for the Holidays

This post is sponsored by Discount Drug Mart, but the opinions and experiences are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the brands who help me bring you content here on Oh Lovely Day. 

Tips for stocking your bar for the holidays

Every year before the holiday party season hits full swing, I like to stock up on a variety of wine. I use it for gifting: take a bottle with you when you go to your hair stylist for your last haircut of the season or bring a bottle to someone else that takes good care of you throughout the year. I always take a bottle with me to any holiday gathering or party. And if I’m hosting, I obviously need quite a few to stock my bar cart. I also like to make mulled wine during the holidays. There are so many times I need a bottle during the month of December and into the new year. Whether you are hosting a holiday party or attending one, it helps to have a stock of wine on hand to save you from scrambling and running to the nearest wine shop at the last minute. So I thought I would share a few tips on stocking your own wine rack with bottles you can use for any occasion and how you can get it all without spending a ton of time shopping or a ton of money.

Tips for stocking your bar for the holidays

You might be surprised to learn where I stock up on all of this wine: Discount Drug Mart! They actually have a large selection and a great variety at low prices. I bought all six of these bottles of wine for around $60, and I think I spent ten minutes at the store selecting them. Discount Drug Mart is seriously the solution to save the runaround at this time of year: one stop, ten minutes, and you’re stocked for the season!

Another tip: choose wine brands or types that you actually enjoy as well (if you are a wine drinker). That way, you can also enjoy some at a party or if you have wine leftover. Plus, if you like it chances are others will too. Here are a few brands and types I selected:

Tips for stocking your bar for the holidays

  • Noble Vines: This one is known as the numbers wine and 337 is the most popular and the one I usually reach for. But this time I went for Black the ONE because it is a blend of wines from their most exceptional lots. It is a red from California and I’m really looking forward to trying this one for the first time.
  • Ménage à Trois Wines: This brand is known for creating the popular California Red Wine blend (a play off their name). I have been a fan of that blend for a while but this time I also grabbed their California White Blend and this is the one I took to my stylist when I went to get my hair done this week. She opened it on the spot. Obviously I had to try it (for research guys!) and it was delicious. I’ll be going back for more of this one.
  • Castle Rock: this is a consistently highly-rated wine from Washington state. I selected a California Cuvée Pinot Noir — my favorite red. I’m trying to save this one for a holiday party but am tempted every day to have a glass with dinner.

Tips for stocking your bar for the holidays

Tips for stocking your bar for the holidays

  • Robert Mondavi Wines: Wine is aged in repurposed bourbon barrels to give each wine a unique flavor. I went with the Chardonnay (because you really can’t go wrong with Chardonnay). This one is great to serve after dinner with a sweet treat or dessert.
  • Cocobon: This is a great red at a great value, making it a great choice to take as a hostess gift when you’re attending a holiday party, especially if you’re on a budget. It pairs well with a sharp cheddar and crackers!
  • 19 Crimes: I love taking this one to smaller dinner parties. Not only is it a delicious choice, but the Living label app lets you hear historical stories from the 19 Infamous that appear on the labels (hence the name). It is a fun conversation starter! This time I choose the Pinot Noir (I think we’ve already established this is a favorite of mine and that you should choose wine you also enjoy).

Tips for stocking your bar for the holidays Tips for stocking your bar for the holidays

One last pro tip: grab some eucalyptus or pretty greenery and some holiday-themed coasters and your bar will be festive for the holiday season! It doesn’t have to take a ton of effort or money to be prepared to host or attend a holiday party. It should be effortless, so you can actually enjoy this time of year. Head to your local Discount Drug Mart and look for the wines I shared above and you’re all set. Done and done!

Not sure where to find the closest Discount Drug Mart near you? CLICK HERE

This post is sponsored by Discount Drug Mart. 

How and When We Told Our Older Child the Truth About Santa

How and When we talked to our older child about Santa | Oh Lovely Day

I don’t know how or when it happened, but suddenly my baby is old enough to have grown out of believing in Santa. The photo above was taken this year, 2018, and my son Charlie is 8. He had been skeptical about Santa this season, asking questions and sharing his doubts. When we were at the Zoo to attend the Wildlights this year the line for Santa was fairly short and we decided to hop in and get that over with for this year. Charlie really didn’t want to do it. And I wasn’t ready to have the Santa conversation while waiting in line for Santa. So I told him that he didn’t have to talk to Santa but I would appreciate if he would go along with things for his brothers and get in the photo. He agreed. He always has been a good sport. But Santa noticed Charlie’s reluctance as well and after Charlie walked away Santa pulled me aside and told me that Santa is a job, not a person. Anyone can choose to carry on the spirit of Santa (or the original St. Nick, if you go by that story) by helping to make others’ holidays magical and perpetuate the spirit of giving, and when a child stops believing this often helps to explain why we did the whole Santa thing in the first place. This is similar to what I planned to say to Charlie, but the line “Santa is a job, not a person” really helped form our talk. 

How and When we talked to our older child about Santa | Oh Lovely Day

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the idea of Santa. I truly don’t like to lie to my children, even about something fun. I feel like it is ok to only share things in an age-appropriate way, but to flat out perpetuate the myth of Santa was different. And yet, we did it. It is hard not to go along with, especially when you do celebrate Christmas. People bring it up to your kids even if you don’t. Santa is almost unavoidable. So I’ve always tried to use him as a symbol of giving, tried not to use him for blackmail too much (although that is the upside to Santa), and never let Santa be the one who gave the big gifts on Christmas morning. Charlie has always questioned things about Santa (for good reason) and I appreciated that he didn’t just take my word for things. I am not a person who can take things on faith (believe me, I’ve tried. It just does not work for me) so I really understood where Charlie came from in his approach: his desire to believe and dive into the magic and his need for explanation and logic. In past years if he asked me a question I would reply with “well, what do YOU think?” If he believed then I went with it. This year, he did not. So I gave him the “Santa is a job, not a person” schpeel. I told him that a long long time ago there was a man who people called Santa and he brought gifts to children and was a really kind person and ever since people have taken on that job of Santa to spread joy and kindness to others through giving. And once you no longer believe the story of Santa, you can decide to take on the job of Santa yourself. That is why his dad and I play Santa in our house and now he could help. Guys, he was both relieved and thrilled. I think getting the truth was like a weight off for both of us. And he’s so excited to help be Santa for his little brothers. I did make sure to tell him that his brothers and other kids at school might still believe in the Santa story, and that he shouldn’t ruin the fun for others. He said “no, of course not!” Like, I didn’t even need to say a word to him — he was in on the Santa story and he was committed. And that’s how Santa gets you — because it really is about spreading joy and magic and it is infectious.

How and When we talked to our older child about Santa | Oh Lovely Day

Until we moved to Ohio we took Charlie to see the same Santa at The Grove in LA every year for 6 years. Last year we weren’t going to see Santa but happened to stumble upon him and took advantage of it. But it just wasn’t the same. I found out that the Grove has a new Santa this year — the one we had seen for so many years passed away. While he wasn’t the jolliest Santa for sure (in fact, we often thought he was grumpy due to his lack of smile in most of the photos) he did bring my kids joy and magic for 6 years. He’ll always be Santa to us. RIP Grove Santa 🙁

How and When we talked to our older child about Santa | Oh Lovely Day

This is the last Santa photo I have from when all of my kids believed. But I think this year’s photo is even more special because Charlie knew in his heart that Santa wasn’t who he had always been told and he jumped in that photo for his brothers anyways. Because he was already playing Santa in his heart <3

So that’s how we fessed up about Santa to our son. I think when your child starts asking questions it is important to ask them what they think (we do this about a lot of things: questions about God, religion, politics, etc.) and then explain that you don’t have all of the answers but you are always there to try to help them figure things out. You’ll know when it’s time and when your kiddo truly doesn’t believe anymore. And when that time comes, you can pass on the job of Santa to them and let them help make this time of year special to others. Charlie now hides our Elf on the Shelf for our younger children every night and it is the best. I never thought it would be more fun when my kid no longer believed in Santa, but honestly it is!

How and When we talked to our older child about Santa | Oh Lovely Day

This photo is making me tear up a little though. Do your kids still believe in Santa? How have you or do you plan to deal with the Santa story? I’d also be curious how people who don’t celebrate Christmas deal with Santa in their homes — how do you explain why some kids get a visit or believe in him?