The Slobification of America

Books That Will Change Your  Life bb

There was a time when people would have been mortified to be featured on the People of Walmart website. But that was years ago. In fact, I wrote a blog piece several years ago about this very topic and I was blasted by the 20 something crowd for being insensitive, not minding my own business, or even worse, being a hater.

To set the record straight, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a hater. I am definitely a peace and love kind of girl. Perhaps I should just mind my own business, but I am a teacher by nature, whether it is teaching children, or sharing a tidbit of wisdom here and there with fellow adults.

Today’s bit of wisdom is to please put your clothes on. The truth is, people judge you in about 2.5 seconds based solely on your appearance. Your boss judges you, your neighbors judge you, the barista at your favorite coffee shop judges you. Have you ever noticed that a nicely dressed woman (who looks like she can actually purchase something) gets customer service rather quickly, while the sloppily dressed woman has to ask several times and gets told, “I’ll be right with you,” meaning the sales clerk is going to help the woman with money as opposed to the woman who didn’t even bother to brush her hair today.

Is this attitude of judging fair, certainly not, but is it going to go away any time soon?  Should people judge you? Probably not, but all the same it is happening, and it is happening every single day.

Also, I like to look at it from a different perspective, a more positive perspective. When I wake up 15 minutes early to put on some make up, fix my hair, and put on a pretty outfit I selected the night before, I am telling the world that I think I am important. I am saying that I am worth the fifteen minutes it took to look like this. When I see women in ripped sweats, stained shirts, house shoes, or pajamas, I don’t see a woman who is comfortable, or a woman who feels good in her own skin. I see a woman who has given up on herself. A woman who shows the world she isn’t even worth putting on a pair of pants or a swipe of lipstick.

I know it takes time and effort to look nice but you can make it happen. Working women have been doing it for years. I am a working mother of two. I wake up at 4:50 am to get myself ready, get my children ready, drive a 35 minute commute, and be in my classroom by 7:00 am every day. True, I could sleep in an extra fifteen minutes and go to work looking like a disshevled mess, but I care about myself, my appearance, and the message I put out to the world.

Believe me, I love pajamas very, very much. I spend a decent amount of money purchasing the softest and coziest of nighties, two piece sets, and dressing robes. One of the greatest pleasures in life for me is removing my day clothes and slipping into my jammies and my slippers. But pajamas are for wearing inside your home. I would never in my wildest dreams think of going to Target, or Kroger, or even Walmart for that matter, in my pajamas and slippers. Yet I see it all the time!

I already know what people will say, “but I have a right to be comfortable.” I agree with that, I truly do. I also love to be comfortable. If you go in my closest you will find several pairs of black knit pants with comfort stretch waist bands. L.L. Bean and J.Jill sell the best ones that hold up for a couple of years. They feel like pajamas but look like a nice pair of slacks.

Many of my shirts are glorified t-shirts. I get them with v-necks, boat necks, short sleeves, elbow length sleeves and 3/4 sleeves. I get them in solids, prints, and nautical stripes. On a hot sweltering day I might just wear a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, but in just a moment I can toss on a pretty scarf in a light weight material, a pair of sandals, and a cute clutch or hand bag and look very dressy!

I indulged this summer with some great tees from J.Jill and even purchased the matching scarfs. J.Jill is one of my favorite stores because the clothes feel like pajamas but are elegant and they do all the color matching and coordinating for you.

Another great way to look fabulous with minimal effort is to adopt a French capsule wardrobe. I am not a minimalist, I could never live with just a few pieces of clothes, but what I have really done is turned my wardrobe into two capsules. One capsule is very French, black pants, breton shirts, gray drape cardigans, white t-shirts, a red scarf, etc. The other capsule is my color coordinated capsule, with corals, lavenders, and a sage green color, along with a pair or white jeans, khaki pants in a stretch material that feels heavenly, and fun scarves. It took me a while to put my wardrobes together, but once it is done it makes getting dressed so much easier. You know everything in your wardrobe works together. You also know that everything in your capsule will be perfect because you only purchase clothes you absolutely love!

Dressing nicely is something I have tried to do my entire life. Recently though, I read several books written by Jennifer L. Scott that are truly little works of art. Her suggestions for creating you Ten Item Core Wardrobe and tips on the five minute face and hair are fool proof.

Also, a big part of her book series is not about advising you what to buy, but advising you that you probably already have a lot of what you need, and to hold on to your money and only spend it when you do find that piece of clothing that you simply have to have, but only if it works with the clothes already in your own closet.

Finally, her books encourage women to once again use grace, manners, and poise to get through the ins and outs of their day. She shows how you can be a lady even in the most trying times. Think Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, even Taylor Swift. When the going gets tough these women don’t throw a hissy fit and scream and curse like the Real Housewives or Wherever. They have a stiff upper lip, they give a pretty smile, and they walk away, all the while looking fabulous!

 

Madame Chic 1    Madame Chic 2   Madame Chic 3

To hear more on the topic click the Link below!

 

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Cuddle & Kind

Cuddle & Kind

The amazing folks at Cuddle & Kind reached out to me a while back to ask me to review their products as well as their site. I was unfamiliar with the company so did a little research first, and what I learned about them made me proud to partner with them to bring you this post.

Cuddle & Kind has to be one of the best fair trade, socially conscience companies in existence. It was started by a mother and father who wanted to instill in their own children  a sense of kindness and responsibility. Cuddle & Kind’s primary mission is to provide meals to children, children around the world and here at home in the US.

The way they raise the money to feed all these hungry children is to make adorable hand knitted dolls. What makes their mission even more wonderful is that they employ over a hundred artisan women in Peru to hand knit their dolls. This provides the women with a livable income to raise their families and improve their homes.

c+k_quality_doll

Cuddle & Kind was nice enough to send me one of their dolls, and since I have a young son who loves stuffed animals I requested they send me Scout, their male white tail deer. Casey loves Scout, who he quickly renamed Bucky, and has been sleeping with him ever since. The doll is made with high quality yarns and vibrant colors. Bucky the deer has now gone on several adventures outside with Casey into the woods behind out house as well as spent several days in the tree fort. The doll still looks brand new.

For every doll that Cuddle & Kind sells through their website it provides 10 free meals to children as well as pays their artisans in Peru. So far the company has been able to provide 210,598 meals to children as of this post. Their goal is a big one! They want to provide 1,000,000 meals a year to children every where.

Be-kind-print-framed blog

Besides their adorable dolls they also sell artistic prints suitable for framing and hanging  in your child’s room. Each print sold provides 5 free meals. The print I received was colorful, cute as could be, and made of good paper stock. My son loved the print because Bucky was part of the illustration.

If you want to learn more about this wonderful company or purchase one of their darling dolls for your child, a niece or nephew, or as a shower gift for someone who is expecting, check out their fun website here, www.cuddleandkind.com

To see more about Scout the Deer and one of the prints click on the YouTube link below!

**I was not paid money to endorse Cuddle & Kind. I received a free doll and a free print for the purposes of reviewing and sharing with my subscribers.

Love,
Tina

11 Tips to Help You Find Your Happy in Your 30’s & 40’s

11 Tips to Help YouTwo years ago I was having a real crisis of self. I was Casey and AJ’s mom. I was Bill’s wife.  I was Mrs. Bietler to hundreds of children but who was Tina? Somewhere with all these different titles and roles I played through the course of the day I had become lost.

I had a conversation with my best friend where I basically asked the question, “Is this it? Is this all there is? I wake up and start working on the house and kids. Then I go to work. I come home from work and cook dinner, spend a little time with the boys and help them with homework. Then I grade papers, kiss my husband goodnight, and go to bed, only to repeat the entire process day after day after day. Is this really all life is? Work until you die? Where did my fun go? Where did my happy go? Where did Tina go?”

I expected her to look at me and tell me to stop being so dramatic, but like a good friend she didn’t. She listened to me and then, to my surprise told me she often felt the exact same way. I wasn’t nuts, I wasn’t a drama queen, I was lost.

Over two years I made some changes and did a lot of self discovery. I moved myself higher on my own priority list. Watch my video below if you want to see some of the changes I made in my days to make me find the spark, the very essence that is ME.

October Lifestyle Favorites

October Lifestyle Favorites

 

I love sharing when I discover new items that become much loved favorites. This month I found the most perfect foundation ever! I also came across the cutest ink pens you ever did see. Just picking them up brings a smile to my face. Also included this month are several lip products, super soft sweaters and blankets, as well as beautiful and fun stickers for my planner! Click the link below to see everything that made me happy this October!

https://youtu.be/dhs62jJAcKY 

 

New Erin Condren Life Planner Review & VillaBeautifful Sticker Haul

 

Erin Condren Life Planner Review & Sticker Haul

It is no secret I love Erin Condren Life Planners. The truth is my life would fall apart without my planner. This year I upgraded to the Platinum Metallic Planner. It is unbelievably beautiful. I especially love the foil pressed velum pages inside. It is simply gorgeous.

I also discovered the cutest Etsy shop called VillaBeautiful where i purchased stickers to decorate my weekly spreads in my planner.  Click the link below to check out the new planner layout and extra goodies.

*Save $10 off your first purchase at ErinCondren.com using the referral code:  https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/tinabietler

Villabeautifful Etsy Shop:  http://www.villabeautifful.com

Video Review:  https://youtu.be/Z-5WEJHOhhc

 

An Autumn Night at Home

An Autumn Night at Home.jpg

Something about Autumn just stirs the soul. The crisp air, the beautiful leaves, and a quiet night at home after a long week of work and school make for a perfect combination.

The perfect dinner is a rich and hearty soup. Chicken tortilla is one of my families favorites!

Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 Package of Bear Creek Chicken Tortilla Soup Mix
4 cups water
1 (32 oz) box of low sodium chicken broth
1 Rotisserie Chicken leftovers shredded
1 can Kidney Beans undrained
1 cup frozen corn
Corn chips
Sour Cream
Shredded cheese

  1. In a large soup pot bring broth and water to boil.  Add soup mix a little at a time whisking to break up clumps. Lower heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add shredded chicken, entire can of kidney beans and frozen corn. Let simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Serve hot and top with crushed tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese.

The perfect ending to this type of night is a family movie night with a roaring fire if you have one!

https://youtu.be/m6hnrP5DB0

 

 

 

I Agree With the Idea of a Wife/Mommy Bonus

I Agree With the Idea of a WifeMommy Bonus

Recently Polly Phillips wrote a piece for the Huffington Post bragging about her Wife Bonus and defended why it made sense that she should receive it. Her article sparked a lot of outrage on Facebook and Twitter, but honestly, I agree with her.

I think what was so offensive to many who read the article was that the bonus was five figures and that her purchases were $1,500 trench coats and designer purses. At times it did seem as if she were rubbing our noses in her designer collections.  I believe the sheer indulgences and frivolousness of her purchases were more than a lot of hard working stay at home moms and even working moms could wrap their heads around. The truth is, Polly and her husband are part of that 1% that most of us will never achieve. When she talked about her hopes of getting a $15,000 Birkin bag next year I admit, the only thought that went through my mind was $15,000 would pay for a semester of college for one of my children.

The title of the article surely didn’t help either. When the title tells you to STFU before you have even read the article it is going to put one in an antagonistisic frame of mind before the reader has even engaged with the content. Of course this title was designed to grab your attention and make sure your sense of outrage carried you through right to the end.

For many women who choose to be a stay at home mom, their family has to make sacrifices. For most stay at home moms her only luxury is the fact that she can be a stay at home mom. Things like fancy clothes, expensive handbags, and designer shoes fall to the way side as the family struggles to make ends meet on a single salary.

Still, once I looked past her shallow snobbishness I had to agree with her premiss. I was a stay at home mom for two years after my second child was born. I had been a gainfully employed woman since the age of thirteen. It was actually very odd for me to suddenly not have an income of my very own. I was grateful for the opportunity to raise my children during that two years, but I admit that I felt awkward suddenly having to discuss my purchases with my husband.

There was never a problem with my buying groceries or clothes for the boys. Food and clothing for growing boys was a necessity. But I felt selfish when I purchased clothes, makeup or personal items for myself. We were already spending so much money each month for diapers and formula.  Eventually, though, I started to feel real anxiety over the money issue. This resulted in a conversation with my husband to ask what was mine, what was his, and what was ours? What could I reasonably spend in the course of a month on non-necessary purchases?

Part of this anxiety came from my first marriage to an abusive husband. He used money as a tool to control me. In my first marriage all money earned was considered his, even though I made more money than he did. He used to accuse me of stealing from him just because I would buy myself something nice occasionally. I didn’t want that kind of a feeling of anxiety to transfer on to my new marriage and my new husband, who was nothing like my first. The struggle I was feeling was my own and my new husband was actually rather oblivious to the fact that I was even having these feelings.

In the end we had a talk and we agreed that I could spend $200 a month. Now that money wasn’t just spent on myself. That money was also used to purchase holiday outfits for my boys, cute things for the house, gifts for my extended family and friends, and, yes, clothing and shoes for myself.

Still, it gave me a peace of mind to know that I had access to my own little reserve of money. After two years I returned to work and once again had my own income. I missed being a stay at home mom but that first paycheck felt so good. I immediately went to Coach and purchased a new purse. It is now five and a half years later and I still have that purse and I have since even purchased a second one. Two purses in six years doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me.

I never considered my money to be my wife bonus. I never thought about it in that way, but now I guess you could have called it that. Really, I view it as a reminder to pamper yourself once in a while. Whether you stay at home or work outside of the home, the bottom line is moms work, and they work hard. Moms take care of everyone else to the point that they often fail to take care of themselves. I truly believe that women need little rewards at times just to give them something to look forward too, to remind them that they matter too.

fabfitfun fallI think this is where the popularity of Boxycharm, Popsugar, and Fabfitfun boxes comes in to play. I admit it, I subscribe to all three. I rejoice when one of these boxes arrives on my door step. Its like getting presents. Often the products inside are things you would never purchase for yourself because the price tags are hard to justify when the kids need new shoes, the roof needs to be repaired, or the car needs to go in the shop. Luckily the cost of the box is a fraction of the retail value inside it.

Hugs and kisses from our children bring a smile to our face, being told by our husbands that they love us sends us to the moon, and getting a new finger paint handprint from our kids on Mother’s Day is something we will cherish forever, yet sometimes a mom just really needs a new lipstick, a high end mascara, or an amazing anti-aging serum. Everyone loves to get presents, even moms.

So while most of us will never receive a five figure wife bonus, I do believe in the idea of wives and moms having the occasional indulgence and pampering, whatever that may be, and what ever it is that works for their family and finances.

~Tina

Hello Fresh~Easy Meals for Extremely Busy Moms

Hello Fresh Unboxing & Review

As a working mom I live to find ways to make my life easier. One of my hardest jobs day in and day out is putting a healthy meal on the table five days a week. I try to meal plan, I really do. I go to the market and buy healthy foods, I really do. But then life happens. I forget to take the meats out of the freezer. The beautiful produce I bought gets shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten about and spoils. Suddenly in a time crunch out of desperation I am popping frozen chicken tenders and steak fries into the oven because we need to eat something and we only have forty minutes before we have to run out of the house to go to baseball practice or piano lessons or where ever it is we have to go.

When I learned about the Hello Fresh company I was definitely intrigued. First of all, I love pretty much anything that comes from a box, hence my Boxycharms, Fabfitfun, and Popsugar subscritions. But, what I found most appealing was that this company was going to provide my family with three healthy week night meals, all proportioned, loaded with vegetables, and with meats that are hormone and anti-biotic free. Plus, the best part! They cook in about 35 minutes. A quick dinner in about half an hour, what mom wouldn’t love that?

As awesome as it sounded I wasn’t convinced I needed this service. Then, fate smiled on me and sent me a $40 off coupon in my Spring Fabfitfun box. Obviously a higher power wanted me to try this out, and who am I to argue with a higher power. (Yes, I know that is total malarkey but whatever, just go with it. I was looking for any excuse to order!)

So I ordered my first box. It came a week later. The company makes sure you know your delivery day so you don’t leave it out too long. Mine was delivered on Thursday after 4:00. When it arrived everything inside was still cold and yes, fresh, even though it was 85 degrees outside. The food is packed with lots of ice packs that are reusable. The food is packed in individual meal bags and they are careful to separate all meats from your produce using a cardboard layer to prevent cross contamination.

I was truly impressed with the quality of the food. Nothing was past its prime. We have now made two out of the three meals and thoroughly enjoyed them both.  I have already placed my order for next week and while I may not order them every week I am sure one or two times I month I will be placing an order.

You can pause your deliveries or cancel out right at any time. To get 3 Meals for a family of 4 is $129 a week, and to get 3 Meals for a family of 2 is only $69 a week. Plus, I have the same coupon code to offer to my followers that I was able to use. To save $40 on your first box just click the link below!

http://www.hellofresh.com/?c=HRQU9T

Also, if you want to see more about my first box or see how quickly the first meal prepared just click on the videos below!

Finally, if you really love the meal and want to cook it again in the future each meal comes with a recipe card with photo step by step instructions and an ingredients list so you can replicate them again on your own!

Disclaimer ~ I was not paid to review this product. I purchased my boxes with my own money, minus a coupon I received from Fabfitfun. All opinions are my own.

The ABC’s of Being a Working Mom

The ABC's of Being a Working Mom

 

The ABC’s of Being a Working Mom

 

A is for alarm clock. A maniacal task master that controls your life.

B is for bed, the place you want to be more than any where else but your children refuse to go!

C is for chauffeur. Between sports, band, karate, cub scouts, and piano lessons you will be schlepping your little darlings all over town for years.

D is for dinner, a meal that you have to cook every damn day because your husband refuses to eat Cheerios for dinner.

E is for energy, something you have very little of these days.

F is for Facebook. You are so busy managing your children’s schedules that this is the only form of communication you have anymore with anyone you don’t actually work with.

G is for garage. This is the place where you can’t park your car because it is filled with over sized toys, multiple bicycles, and sporting equipment.

H is for happy. It’s a crazy life, but really, you wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe just one or two things.

I is for iPhone. This is the small device that you use to control every aspect of your life. Loss of this object can result in uncontrolled panic and anxiety.

J is for juggle.  You have more balls in the air than Bozo the Clown but you are careful to not let any of them fall…ever.

K is for keys. Damn it, where did they go this time! I’m going to be late!!

L is for Lego. These little pieces of creative play will soon consume every room in your entire house and no matter how many you buy your child will still want more.

M is for milk. Seriously how can I buy four gallons a week and we still run out???

N is for nuthouse, which is your current residence, and you gave birth to your fellow inmates.

O is for occupation. Sure, it pays the bills as well as your child’s private piano lessons, but you are quite sure you would be a better mom if you didn’t have one. If not better than at least calmer.

P is for purse, and ever since you had kids you now only carry industrial sized ones to hold all the crap you need at any given moment.

Q is for quiet. This is something you long for but have not experienced since giving birth.

R is for run. This is what you do the minute your feet hit the floor and you don’t stop until the children are in bed for the night.

S is for sick. You can always count on one of your children waking up sick in the middle of the night on a day that you absolutely, positively can not miss work.

T is for toilet. This is the one place in your house where you can actually have ten minutes to surf the net on your phone and decompress. Sure, you pants are at your ankles and you lost sensation in your rear end five minutes ago, but the door has a lock so you aren’t getting up any time soon.

U is for uneventful. The best days now are the ones where you actually get to stay home all day wearing your pajamas and not putting on a bra.

V is for vodka. Sometimes you don’t even bother waiting for 5:00. There is no shame in admitting that.

W is for wrinkle cream. You suddenly find yourself slathering this stuff on your face every night.

X is for Xanax. These little magic pills keep the anxiety attacks away when work, school, and family obligations collide and your brain goes into maximum overdrive.

Y is for yo-yo, which is the perfect word to describe your ever changing emotions. Is it PMS? Menopause? The constant stress? Who knows, but you can go from happy as a clam to I’ll rip your face off in 0.6 seconds with just one flippant remark from your teenager.

Z is for Zoloft. When Xanax isn’t enough your gynecologist will write you a script for these.
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What’s in My Mom Bag?

What's in My Bag Mom Edition

It’s been two years since I showed everyone what was in my purse. Some of the items have stayed the same, some have changed. Still, my focus is on being prepared for anything, both for myself and my boys. Be sure to check out my new video to see what’s in my bag. It might just give you a few ideas of items you might want to add to your bag.

If you have a great product you carry be sure to list it below. Moms need to be prepared and it is great when we share things that help us in a pinch. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for watching!
~Tina

My Bag~ http://www.jcpenney.com/liz-claiborne-real-fit-tote-bag/prod.jump?ppId=pp5005210773&searchTerm=liz+claiborne+handbags&catId=SearchResults&_dyncharset=UTF-8&colorizedImg=DP0323201517030001M.tif

PAK Original~ http://thepakstore.com/

Organic Pops~
http://yummyearth.com/natural_organic_lollipops.html

Note Pads~
http://www.lorealparisusa.com/en/Products/Makeup/Face/Powder/True-Match-Powder.aspx?shade=N3-Natural-Buff-Neutral
&
https://riflepaperco.com/

Honest Company Baby Wipes~
https://www.honest.com/baby/honest-travel-wipes

Honest Company Hand Sanitizer
https://www.honest.com/bath-and-body/hand-sanitizer-spray

My Charge Phone Battery~
http://www.target.com/p/mycharge-energy-shot-patterns-mobile-battery-charger-iphone-multicolor-as006-6pk/-/A-15583780#prodSlot=medium_1_7&term=My+Charge
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