Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Mother of All Babyshowers - Recap!

Okay, I am fully aware of how far behind I am on my blogging and how late this post is. BUT! Better late than never, right?!?! Between all the blogger events, oil classes and Halloween activities and parties these past few weeks, there is never a dull moment!

Let's talk #MOABS!

This event was incredible! It had everything this mommy blogger could ask for! We are fans of the Young At Art Museum and let me start with saying they completely transformed the place! There was everything from celebrities, to an expert panel of certified pediatricians and lactation consultants, as well as mommy lifestyle blogger Modern Boca Mom (my fave)!

The variety of different panels had their thumb on the heartbeat of all the issues all the new mommies and mommy-to-be's were facing. There were no shortage of questions regarding nursing, lactation, feeding and even sleep issues that were addressed.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the lovely "mompreneurs" Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, authors of "The Sh*tty Mom". They were super sweet and hilarious guest speakers on the "Mom Panel". Some of the excerpts from their book were down right hysterical! Although I'm an advocate for attachment parenting and couldn't pull of some of their "mommy hacks", the main premise for the book is to poke fun at something we all deal with, Mommy Guilt! An empowering message to women to do the best with what you've got, laugh at what you can and move on. #YaYa!
They shared a table with the adorable NFL Network host and new mom-to-be Jenn Brown. She was absolutely gorgeous and gracious enough to send me home with an autographed picture for the hubby! #CoolestWifeEver!

I was curious to see some new vendors so after a quick photo-op with my favorite mommy blogger and guest panel speaker Modern Boca Mom, we hit the ground running!

Thanks to Jennifer Reina Photography for the awesome photo booth!

The first vendor that really caught my eye was the Nuroo Pocket booth! This is an absolute MUST HAVE for any baby wearing mom! The benefits of skin to skin contact with babies are endless! From accelerated brain development, soothing, lowered stress levels, improved sleep, weight gain and even building immunity! Not to mention the benefits for moms like increased milk production and lowering your risk of post partum depression, and the liberty of being hands free! There is a ton of scientific research supporting these facts and you can learn more about hormone stimulation and the soothing effects of skin to skin baby wearing on the Nuroo Baby website.
Nuroo Baby also had an adorable selection of swaddlers (with babys hip development in mind), as well as some fashionable nursing scarves. Where were these when I had a 15 month old and a newborn to care for? This was my mantra at just about every booth I encountered at #MOABS. 

Next on my list were the lovely people at the Soothe Jewels table, turns out were Instagram besties!

I used teething jewelry with my youngest son, but boy has it come a long way! Their selection was gorgeous! Fashionable and safe jewelry for a purpose, I was in love. Such a great find for new moms!

This event had something for everyone, even dads! I decided to hit the "Dad Zone" and check it out. But first, let me explain. MOABS was catered by Whole Foods Market, I was surprised to see a table with a  wonderful selection of  pasta salads, dips and even cake! 
How cute is this???
Needless to say the line for this table was filled with pregnant bellies and hungry moms as far as the eye can see (myself included)!

Which is one of the reasons I went to check out the Dad Zone, which was awesome! There was virtually no line and they served beer! I treated myself to some fine Pumpkin Ale and scarfed down a few of the tasty Swedish meatballs served by Ikea.

Now, you notice there are no photos of this area. That's because what happens in the Dad Zone STAYS in the Dad Zone! 

I moved on to my next favorite table, the folks from Kuddle Coat! Can we just say, perfection??? This recovering germophobe was thoroughly impressed!

This germ resistant coat gives nervous new parents peace of mind knowing that there is a protective barrier preventing transmittal of harmful bacteria and allergens. If you have one of these handy you can simply ask your guest to put it on before holding your new bundle of joy, GENIUS! No need to feel as though you are inconveniencing your guests by constantly making them change or worrying if your precious little one is at risk, this coat protects from strong odors like pet hair, pollen and perfume as well as carcinogens from cigarette smoke. You can check out their website for more info on all potential effects on newborns and young infants.
(photo credit: Sandy Smith, CEO of Kuddle Coat)

I strolled past the folks at Blankie Pillow on the way to retrieve "alleged meatballs and beer" and had to double back to take a look afterwards. They were so soft and so comfy I wanted to take one home for ME!

Having survived severe acid reflux with my firstborn I couldn't help but wish I had this on those tough nights. This comfortable plush pillow is not only great for propping up your infants while relaxing or for tummy time, it doubles as a toddler pillow as they grow! This is a win/win in my book, I can't tell you how many time my little guys toss and turn at night looking for a cuddle, these arm rests are great for that as well as ensuring they don't take a tumble turning over! A wonderful comforting pillow for children of all ages.

MOABS was a complete success! There was no shortage of new and interesting vendors. It seemed every time I turned a corner there was a new section I hadn't seen with new and interesting products. Couple that with some awesome raffles and giveaways and this event is aptly named. It was quite truly The Mother of ALL Baby Showers

It only adds to the appeal that the founder of MOABS, Amy Lundy is a "mompreneur" herself. She's a mom first and decided that moms needed a place they could go to find out about all the top notch products geared towards babies and children. It's easy to get overwhelmed as a parent in a market that is over-saturated with products that either don't work or you do not need. I heard she's already busy with big plans for the next Mother of All Baby Showers, I can't wait!

I'll be sure and keep you all posted!

Essentially Yours,


Friday, October 17, 2014

Guess Who's Back in Town... It's Green Baby Fair Time Again!!!

We're fresh off the heels of the Mother of All Babyshowers event from last night, but we're ready to jump on in again!
The Green Baby Fair is in town once a year and it is taking place once again at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami! I will be there for sure getting the scoop on all things baby AND green! General Admission is $15 if purchased online or $20 at the door. Children 13 and under are free. But of course you know I had to sneak in a last minute ticket giveaway! Enter now until midnight to win a pair of tickets to the greenest fair in Miami! Only a few hours left to enter! You can qualify by following us @EssentiallyErika on Instagram and tagging a friend, it's that easy! The winner will be announced tomorrow before 10am, which is a good thing because that's when the festivities kick off! a Rafflecopter giveaway Good Luck! Remember, if you don't win tickets you can still purchase online by clicking here.
In the meantime, check out our visit to the Green Baby Fair 2013!

Essentially Yours,


Everybody Loves A Good Yard Sale!!!

I'm a self-professed #ThriftyMom, if there's a deal within fifty feet I can find it!

The Boca Raton Children's Museum is hosting it's yearly community Yard Sale and yours truly will be there talking oils! 

Come support this wonderful local museum and bring the kids along for some fun!

Pssst... There may or may not be a free giveaway!

Hope to see you there!

Essentially Yours,


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mother of All Baby Shower Ticket Giveaway Winner Announcement!!!

Congratulations to Sarah Winslow on winning a pair of tickets to The Mother of All Baby Showers being held at The Young At Art Museum!

If you don't have tickets yet, it's not too late!

Tickets are $15 for regular admission (the first 50 regular admission guests will also receive a swag bag), $25 for couple admission, $25 for VIP admission or $45 for VIP couple admission. Click here to purchase tickets to the event and use coupon code MOABS for a $5 discount! All proceeds go the The Young At Art Museum. The festivities begin tonight at 6pm!

This evening is going to be full of fun AND prizes! NFL Network's Jenn Brown and Emmy Award winning producer's and authors of the NY Times bestseller "Sh*tty Mom" will be there!

Not to mention our favorite guest panel speaker Michelle Olson-Rogers from Modern Boca Mom!

Hope to see you there!

Essentially Yours,


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Big Announcement - Essential Oils at The Salt Suite!

The rumors are true! Essentially Erika is bringing Essential Oils to The Salt Suite!

Our newest collaboration is so exciting I couldn't wait to share with you! My obsession with essential oils is well documented, along with my obsession for anything all natural or organic. What could be more natural than SALT? We currently use salt lamps in our boy's room as their night light (It's known to reduce allergens, moisture, pollutants and emitting negative ions), and also Pink Himalayan salt for seasoning.

Let's talk Dead Sea Salt people... It's found at the bottom of a deep valley in between Israel and Jordan 1300 feet below sea level. It's long been considered a healing place, historians dating back 2000 years made notes about the special properties contained in the water. The unique, un-polluted air and warm climate providing a healing environment unlike any other in the world. For years visitors would bottle some up and take it home with them.

According to The Salt Suite, modern science has proven the therapeutic and rejuvenating characteristics of Dead Sea salt with its unique composition of minerals. Dead Sea Salts contain 21 minerals including magnesium, calcium, sulfur, bromide, iodine, sodium, zinc and potassium. These essential minerals are lost throughout the day and as they naturally occur in our bodies they must be replenished.  These minerals are known to treat, detoxify, and cleanse our bodies. To learn more about the contents of dead sea salt and its benefits visit The Salt Suite.

The Salt Suite opened its doors this year in both Delray Beach and Lake Worth bringing those healing properties to you fine folks. If you haven't been there yet you need to book a session, the first one is FREE! Owner, and new friend Jessica Helmer has even been featured as a Mompreneur on our fellow bloggin' mama's site  Modern Boca Mom.


Once a month Essentially Erika will be bringing essential oils to The Salt Suite and teaching essential oil education classes! We will be breaking down the components of essential oils, where they come from, how they are processed and how they can help you! We will be covering all types of uses for essential oils in your home and how to incorporate them into your life. Classes offered will be:

  • Medicine Cabinet Makeover
  • Pregnancy & Childbirth
  • Essential Oils for Babies
  • Kids Health & Wellness
  • "Make & Take" classes
And More...

Classes are FREE and will be held monthly in the Yoga Room at The Salt Suite, our very first class is scheduled for Tuesday, November 11th at 6pm. To register for the class you can call (954) 770-0861 or RSVP via email at Classes will be interactive and there will be products there for you to try and sample.

Registration for classes will include a brief tour of The Salt Suite where you can get more info and even maybe a quick salt session! (wink, wink)

Hope to see you there soon!

Essentially Yours,


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Last Minute Giveaway! Enter To Win a Ticket to the Mother of All Baby Showers!!!

It's not too late!!!

Hurry and enter below for two free tickets to The Mother of All Baby Showers!

If you haven't heard already this event is the talk of the town and yours truly will be there with some awesome Mommy Bloggers.

Just enter to win below and I'll see you there! The winner will be announced Thursday before noon and can pick up their tickets at registration at The Mother of All Baby Showers.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When Life Gives You Bruised Bananas... Make Banana Bread!

Some days I wake up wondering exactly how I am physically going to accomplish everything that needs to be done. It seems there just aren't enough hours in the day, I'm programmed to tell myself this. Now I stop myself and think, "There are just enough hours in the day to accomplish whatever it is I need to get done". The former control freak slowly loses this battle as I become more and more aware of my words and the power they hold.

As I get older I realize that I cannot do EVERYTHING all of the time. I simply cannot be EVERYTHING to all people in my life, and I'm finally okay with that. I feel as a society we get wrapped up in "yes" and don't realize the wonderful power in the almighty "no". Being okay with however things turn out and accepting them as if they were chosen to be that way has been a power struggle for me. There is no such thing as "perfect", only how your mind chooses to perceive the way something should be. Anything outside of that is okay too I've come to learn. It's ALL okay and is going to be just fine. The belief in this is what has lead to my peace and stillness while things seem chaotic or overwhelming.

There is a certain surrender that happens when you have children (especially if you have them close in age) that helps you understand that at the end of the day it's not all under your "control". A surrender I feel is necessary to be able to enjoy the "bruised bananas" so to speak. Let me elaborate...

Last week was a doozy! A busy week where it seems we just couldn't seem to catch up. An endless rotation of dishes, laundry, packing/unpacking snacks and lunches, groceries, meals on the-go and rushing through our bedtime routines. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job. I call it a job because it is the hardest work I've ever done in my life. Although it is my greatest pleasure to raise my boys and be able to witness the constant evolving miracle they are, it's a round-the-clock, never-ending, no-lunch-break-having, lucky if you get a shower in before racing out of the door kind of job. Still, I consider myself a very lucky woman, whose husband is not only capable of providing for his family but wouldn't have it any other way. I am well aware of the struggles that working mom's go through as well, I couldn't imagine working a full shift and only getting a few stolen moments with my boys each night before rushing to do it all again the next morning. I also know working moms who couldn't imagine pulling off what work-at-home moms do all day without a break or much adult interaction.

I feel as though sometimes mom's compete in this arena. DON'T! We ALL have our struggles, no matter what we choose. What works for you may not work for other moms. What you may be willing to sacrifice could be unimaginable for some. We come in ALL shapes and sizes and so do our families! The more comfortable you are with your decisions, the less you need others to be comfortable with it. So do what works for you and your family un-apologetically and move on! (That's all I have to say about that) I can only speak from my own experience and my experience is this:

Some days I look at my house and have no idea how I am going to pull it all off. Last week I looked at dishes piled high (the price you pay for being Eco-friendly and refusing to use paper products AND cooking everything from scratch) and decided I was going to skip the frantic cooking/cleaning mom bit and do what makes me feel good in the midst of chaos, BAKE!

I had some old spotty bananas and remembered I had pinned an awesome banana bread recipe that called for some fresh blueberries. I decided to round up my two favorite assistants and get to work!

The joy that they get from helping me bake is endearing, all they have to do is hear my Kitchen Aid stand mixer turn on and they race from the playroom to the kitchen with bright eyes eager to help. These baking breaks we take are fun and informative. They are allowed to add and mix the ingredients and following recipes all on their own as I stand by and facilitate for safety and the good chuckle I get from their little conversations. I enjoy showing them the process of cooking / baking from scratch and using whole ingredients, teaching them the importance of using real food instead of canned / boxed items. I stop and embrace these simple special moments knowing that all too soon they will be in school and a new phase of our lives will begin.

It still doesn't take away from the nagging pressures of everyday responsibilities, sweeping, mopping etc... I used to have internal meltdowns or hustle until the wee hours trying to get it all done, only to start again each day. I often see new or young moms struggling with the same pressures and figuring how to juggle it all. I've since learned to stop in these moments I feel overwhelmed and get back in touch with what really matters. To center myself and be fully present in the moment, no matter what it may be. My boys won't remember how clean the kitchen floor was growing up or how dinner was always promptly at 5pm. They will remember those times their mom threw caution to the wind and "changed the dance" so to speak. Those evenings she left the laundry on the couch and took them for pizza at the park on the inter coastal to watch the boats go by at sunset. Or the time she used all the bananas in sight to bake the best Blueberry Banana Bread known to man in a kitchen that would scare Cinderella.

Having lost a parent I know all too well the memories that stick with you the most and get me through the toughest moments long after they are gone. If all I'm doing is dishes and laundry what sort of memories will I leave my boys with? What will I teach them about coping with life and learning to let their freak flag fly? How will they learn to be silly and draw laughter and perhaps a bit of grace from those tense moments life often offers.

So if you come on over and the floors are a little sticky, or the tables, windows and counters aren't polished. You must excuse us, we are baking memories...

Essentially Yours,


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cloth Diaper Confessions!!

Today I am discussing one of my favorite topics, were talking CLOTH DIAPERS people!
So I usually get one of three reactions when people find out that I used cloth diapers on both of my boys:
  • They think it's gross and old fashioned "Why would anyone do that when they don't have to anymore"?
  • That's awesome! "But I don't think I have the time for all of that".
I suspect there is a crowd of "in-betweeners" who just don't understand how cloth diapering is done nowadays. It's not as gross and outdated as it may seem, and it doesn't take much time at all. I'm pretty passionate about climate change and the effect that we leave on this planet. When I was pregnant with my first son, we made a conscious decision as a family to not only be mindful of the footprint we left, but also in the footprints started by our children. The choice to cloth diaper our children was more than just a parenting choice, it was a lifestyle choice. 
We agreed wholeheartedly that we wanted to model values of accountability. We strongly felt/feel there is a disconnect between people and what they use just as there is a strong disconnect between people and what they eat (we will save that conversation for another time). It was important to us as a family instead to teach our children to not only be "consumers", and to feel responsible for how much we use. For every action there is a reaction, we wanted to show them not only to be mindful of what you "take" but also to give back as much as you can. Within your life, your home, your community and local surroundings in order to be a part of the "solution" as opposed to just being a part of the "problem".

Time for some facts: Disposable diapers are the third largest consumer in landfills to date, and represent about 4% in solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of the household waste. I was disturbed to find out that diapers are dumped into landfills, covered and not exposed to sun or air at all, nobody knows how many hundreds—or even thousands—of years they could be around.

Without sun and air, even so-called “eco-friendly” diapers labeled biodegradable do NOT biodegrade in landfillsand cause just as much of a problem as regular diapers. It's estimated that every five minutes another 200,000 throw away will enter landfills in the United States alone where they will sit for at least 500 years before decomposing.

 That means long after you AND your children are long gone. That doesn't even include the wipes used!

This just breaks my NY heart! In 1991, an attempt towards recycling disposable diapers was made in the city of Seattle, involving 800 families, 30 day care centers, a hospital and a Seattle-based recycler for a period of one year. The conclusion made by Procter & Gamble was that recycling disposable diapers was not an economically feasible task on any scale.
You can check out more facts on the effects of disposable diapers on our environment here.

Now that we understand a bit about the effects disposables have in our landfills, lets talk health! It's no secret I go through great lengths to limit the amount of chemicals and toxins my family is exposed to. This is the reason I make all of my home cleaning products, laundry detergent, you name it! I'm either making it at home already or researching the recipe. Some of the chemicals listed as ingredients in disposable diapers are just downright scary, and to think were putting that on our baby's genitals!

Not So Fun Fact: Did you know that the instructions on any disposable diaper pack require that you dispose of any fecal matter (you know, poop!) in the toilet before disposing of the diaper itself? When you toss a disposable into the trash can, you are adding to the 84 million pounds of raw fecal matter going into the environment every year. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Public Health Association advise parents that fecal matter and urine should NOT be disposed of in the regular trash, because it contaminates the ground water and spreads disease
Have you ever seen what happens to a diaper in a pool when completely submerged it water? It explodes! A weird gel substance oozes from the back end. Some big name diaper companies have been under scrutiny over the past few years for some terrible rashes and in some cases even welts that were experienced in children who used their diapers. 

Now that we've covered the hazards and harmful effects of disposable diapers, let's get to the fun stuff..

Does it get any cuter than this???

Cloth diapering is not what it used to be, no more pinning and poking yourself nonstop. Lots of cloth diaper companies have gotten pretty fancy with snap and velcro enclosures and All-In-One inserts that make changing your baby simple and affordable! 

Not to mention the designs! They are absolutely adorable, crunchy AND cute! There are so many to choose from. I've decided to list the companies that we have had success with. I can only speak from personal experience and offer advice on where we were able to purchase these options online for the best price.

These were awesome, easy cloth diapers that were very easy to figure out and worked best for my boys during the daytime. Their cloth insert made quick changing possible. You just put the cloth insert in the pocket diaper when you are putting it on and remove the insert when you are changing and dispose into a diaper pail liner bag.

These specially designed bags are excellent for keeping tough smells inside until you prepare to wash a load, you can place them inside a makeshift diaper pail like I did or you can hang them on back of a door (I've only seen this online and is not my personal recommendation). Fuzzinbunz also sells an awesome travel wet bag for on-the-go changing.
This is also excellent for keeping odors locked into its zipper pocket compartment. The specially designed lining inside keeps the moisture and odor in, while staying dry on the outside. The nifty loop makes it ideal for latching onto strollers or diaper bags in case you didn't want to stuff a stinky diaper inside. You can take it to the next level like I did and even use the Fuzzibunz cloth wipes! These fleece wipes are so soft and smooth, they wipe up a lot more than the store bought disposables I've used in the past. Plus, your already washing cloth diapers just toss the wipe on in when your done!

I was fortunate enough to purchase a six pack of Fuzzibunz diapers online at Baby Steals for about $45, which helped to really give me a good base for my stash.

It's also great if you can find an online store that is local to cut down on shipping costs. If not, you can find a website with low shipping costs like the All Natural Baby Center or Kelly's Closet.

These  are wonderful highly absorbent one size fits all cloth diapers that grow with your child. They are easy to maneuver and even come with a weight limit for each setting to make it even simpler. Another pocket insert which allows for multiple inserts (doubling or tripling) making it perfect for over night wear. As my boys grew older and needed more nightly support I was able to use a Knickernappies organic hemp double insert that fit inside the Bumgenius pocket diaper. This assured me dried bottoms each morning!

Bumgenius also provides Flip diapers for a more on-the-go option. This insert diaper allows you to only change the insert  and keep the diaper shell on for quick access.
Perfect for park days or a stroll through the mall. The stay dry shell was great for preventing leaks, a much thinner insert with great absorbency.

Most of my Bumgenius products were purchased online at Cotton Babies. They have great sales where you can buy five diapers and get one for free. This is a great way to also add to your cloth diaper stash. Seeing as how babies need to be changed 8-10 times a day, its best to have at least 20 or so diapers on hand so your not washing daily.

Ahh yes, the part that scares most people away from using cloth diapers... POOP!

Folks, there's nothing to fear here. With all of the updated cloth diapers on the market today, you simply empty the diaper over the toilet, remove the insert and put into your lined diaper pail. If you have enough diapers in your rotation you can wash every other day. When I needed to wash I would simply remove the lid on the diaper pail, grab the diaper bag and empty straight into my washing machine for a cold soak. There was a secret to my soak, I would add about a third of a cup of Bio`kleen Bac Out.
This all natural stain fighter contains live enzymes ensuring bright whites as well as a fresh scent. Once I felt they had soaked long enough (usually overnight), I would start a hot wash with my cloth diaper safe detergent, also by Bio`kleen.

This laundry detergent is cloth diaper safe (not all detergents are), I found that this worked best for me and I was able to purchase it locally in a pinch if I needed to. Most cloth diaper detergents like Rockin' Green are only available online which can be inconvenient. I've seen Charlie Banana detergent on sale at Walmart before but haven't had any experience with it.
I would also include a hefty scoop of Bio`kleen's Oxygen Bleach Plus for good measure.
I found that this was helpful when dealing with tough stains and any strong odors as the boys grew. Plus it made me feel better knowing there was some bleach action going on, even if it was all natural.

I would end with a cold rinse before drying the inserts, or a few hot rinses if I was stripping the diapers.

Stripping is the process of repeatedly rinsing the inserts in hot water. This is usually done when you first receive the diapers before your first use, or if you feel they have lost some of their absorbency due to build up. Some folks use dish detergent and bleach in their stripping, I always went the old fashioned route with vinegar and hot water.

Just like detergent, not all diaper creams are cloth diaper friendly. There are quite a few on the market, we've only tested three and had great success with all three:

All are available for purchase online at any of the sites mentioned above. 

If you are considering cloth diapering your baby and still are unsure of which brands to trust, there is a great trial program offered at Jillian's Drawers. This site is a great starting place if you are new to cloth diapering looking for information, and great if you are finished with cloth and looking for outlets to pass on some of your experience. 

Also, if you're very interested in cloth diapering your baby but just can't seem to find the time or energy to wash at home, you can consider a company like Mother Earth diaper service. Pick-ups and Drop-offs with ease, no muss no fuss!

At the end of the day cloth diapering is much like anything else, a personal experience. There is no one size fits all for every family. I hope that my experience can help anyone considering taking this rewarding journey. 

What's your cloth diapering experience been like?  I'd love to hear about it!

Essentially Yours,


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Essential Oils: Threads On My Legs!

I carry my essential oils with me all the time. You never know when there may be a scraped knee, an upset tummy or even just a tantrum that I can help soothe with any one of my oils. For this reason I create on-the-go blends that I can just roll on when needed. This is much easier than breaking out three to four different oils that I may need to mix for a blend (such as the "Owie Blend" you can find here).

I usually use 5ml or 10ml roller bottles that can be purchased from AromaTools, and premix all of my go-to blends beforehand. This makes for much easier application in a hurry (mom code for a screaming toddler). They are very affordable and make life much easier, especially during nighttime routines with wiggly boys.

When I first saw roller bottle carriers from Threads On My Legs shop on Etsy I knew I had to have one( Etsy is great for any custom items or party ideas for all you crafty people)! I'd never seen a carrier devoted only to roller bottles, how clever! This roller blend carrier can hold up to 8-10 roller bottles. Plus the designs are adorable and extremely well made. I decided to take mine for a spin last week and I absolutely loved it. I like keeping my roller blends separate from my other traveling oils, it kept me much more organized (hey, it's the little things people).

There are plenty of adorable handmade custom bags you can check out in her shop. You can keep up with  Threads On My Legs on their Facebook page or on Instagram. Word on the street is the shop owner Angela, may be designing a new blend bag that can hold up to 18 roller top bottles! I can't wait to check that out!

In the meantime, Angela has been kind enough to provide 25% off for any of my readers who are interested in purchasing a bag from her online shop. Just enter coupon code ESSENTIAL25 at checkout for your discount!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I'm enjoying mine!

Essentially Yours,


Thursday, October 2, 2014

What I'm Reading: "The Gifts of Imperfections" by Dr. Brene Brown

This month's pick is "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Be Who You Are" by Dr. Brene Brown.

Brene Brown, Ph.D. is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. For the past decade she has studied vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. Quite possibly not the most popular of studies being researched, but all the more intriguing. Brene`lives n Houston with her husband Steve and their two children.

Brown's 2010 TEDx Talk on the power of vulnerability is brave and moving. It also just happens to be one of the most watched talks on with over 15 million views.

That, as well as her closing speech, Listening to Shame, at the 2012 TED conference in Long Beach, have catapulted Brown "Into the Arena".

Coincidentally, the premise for her third book (which I devoured in two days) "Daring Greatly". The title of the book comes from the Theodore Roosevelt speech "Man In The Arena".

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  -Theodore Roosevelt

I'm getting ahead of myself here...

Brene` is the author of three books total to date:
  • I Thought It Was Just Me
  • The Gifts of Imperfections
  • Daring Greatly
I skipped right over her first book and dived head on into "The Gifts of Imperfections" (call it a cosmic "Freudian" draw). It was just what #DrMom ordered for this recovering Type A perfectionist.
The first book is on my reading list for sure!

Her introduction to wholehearted living is an inspiring and authentic view at ourselves and how we perceive the world around us. Letting go of "social norms" and leaving room for self compassion in order to truly be able to feel compassion towards another, is only one of the many guideposts to truly "wholehearted living". Her approach to cultivating creativity and letting go of comparison is something we all can learn from, especially our children.

One of the main draws in this book for me was that these were all values I wanted to instill in my children, and yet I had to sort of "re-wire" my own thinking before I could authentically model this for them. It's one thing to talk the talk, but children are masters at seeing right through your words and picking up on ALL of your actions. Not just those opportune "teachable moments" where you are prepared with all the right answers and theories, but all the in between moments of each and every day. Sensing your fear and vulnerability, even at times you may be unwilling to share or admit it. This is the reason I feel as though you have the constant ability to deepen your relationship and bond with your children, for there is no more intimate relationship on this earth we can share as we do with them.

Brown's outlook on vulnerability and shame is empowering. The true courage it takes to open up and share freely with someone (only those who've earned the right to hear your story, including your children) your fears or inadequacies. The fact that you may just not know what to do or say at any given moment, but you are willing to be open and accepting to whatever comes your way is truly brave. Because the risk of looking "uncool" is much smaller than the risk of not giving it your all.

Brene` is quoted as saying: "Being cool is the emotional straight jacket". I see this everyday with children and sadly even adults. Especially among little girls and even "women". I suppose it's easy to be a part of the "Mean Girls Club", to be too cool for school. In reality these "tough girls" who can't express themselves emotionally or step up and be counted for what they feel or believe without attacking are afraid. More afraid of the vulnerability it takes to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you. Afraid to be seen or heard, for fear that they may not be loved because of it. Fear of rejection even. As a society, as women, we are constantly pressured to dress and look a certain way. To live up to an unattainable expectation, and if you don't then you my dear are an outcast. Rather than focus their energy on the outside by physically changing themselves in pursuit of fulfillment or acceptance, I'd rather focus that energy on the inside. Once you get the inside right, the rest will fall into place. There's more strength and courage in standing alone with integrity than there ever was in selling out in a crowd.
It's easy for someone to shut down and turn to mean, rude or provocative comments as a means of defense. It takes a lot of guts instead to choose compassion and live with an open heart. To embrace our vulnerability as humans, and value the connection that comes with it is perhaps the most courageous.

Dr. Brene Brown believes that as humans we are all hard-wired for connection, and all we want is to be seen and heard. By acknowledging our children's feelings, ALL of them, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, we give them the opportunity to be seen AND heard. To truly give unconditional love, we must embrace the ENTIRE human being with acceptance and love. Giving the gift of love and total compassion. Only once we can do this for ourselves, can we freely and genuinely give it to others.

If only we lived in a world where differences were celebrated, maybe everyone would be able to share the same unalienable human rights and get married where they please. Perhaps little girls would feel comfortable in their own skin no matter what that skin looked like, and could grow into women who uplifted each other instead of judging and comparing each other while exchanging catty remarks. Little boys could even express themselves without societal judgment on what colors they should be wearing, or what "manly" toys they should be playing with. Then they could grow up to be men who could confidently stay at home with their children, or enjoy tender moments without shame.

This book and more books like it are a part of a higher consciousness sweeping the nation. It's a process, but there is definitely a shift in vibrational energy, a shift in consciousness for the human race. It seems at times we've come a long way, but there is much more to go. Making the change starts with you. Making a change in your own mind and breaking generational patterns, passing that along to your children. One mind. One Person. One Family. One Neighborhood. One Community. One Nation. One World. One Race.

Essentially Yours,


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mother of All Baby Showers 2014!!!

It's official!

The Mother of All Baby Showers is coming to South Florida and this bloggin' mama is excited!

It will be my first time at this event, and I hear it is THE place to be!

This year's event is on Thursday, October 16th from 5:30pm - 9pm. As if it couldn't get any cooler, it's held at the Young At Art Museum in Davie, FL. If  you haven't been you must go! We are big fans of this children's museum.

I am excited to join some of my bloggin' friends for a great time and enjoy learning about all of the latest products, new vendors and awesome giveaways! Word on the street is they usually have the Mother of All Swag Bags as well!

Tickets are $15 for regular admission (the first 50 regular admission guests will also receive a swag bag), $25 for couple admission, $25 for VIP admission or $45 for VIP couple admission.  Click here to order tickets and use coupon code MOABS for $5 off admission. All proceeds go to the Young At Art Museum (Bonus)!

This adults only / daddy friendly event has all the makings of an awesome production. Chock full of celebrities, giveaways & great swag! Yours truly will be there with some of my fellow bloggers to cover it all. Have you ordered your tickets yet? Hurry!

Essentially Yours,