Easy Ways to Create a Space You Love {Giveaway}

  I'll admit it that I fully hadn't accepted this space as our own until right before we had Blake. I think in my mind it was always going to be a transitional space for us that would be a pit stop as we lead our way onto our more permanent home. But guess what? We moved in right before Brande's fourth birthday and he will be nine this month, so it's time to really embrace it. If you've followed along our adventures in the Cooper home, you know that I went a little nutty during my pregnancy and completely re-did our apartment decor (you can see the before here and our big after reveal here) and I've been loving our space since. But I realized throughout this whole process that it really doesn't take a lot of work or money to create a space that you love, just a few new addition or spruce up an old space to make your home or a corner within your home truly become your happy place. Easy Ways to Create a Space You Love So whenever I shared earlier this week that I wanted a major focus to be on self-care, I wanted to put an emphasis on all that encompasses self care. Translation: it's not all about getting manis and pedis on the reg - it's about so much more than that. We spend more time in our homes than we do anywhere else and I think it's important to start there. Here's my foolproof ways to creating a space that I love so that I can spend more time thinking about what matters most. 1. Fill it with pictures that make you happy. You've probably seen that I've ... Read More

What I’ve Learned About Self-Care That Has Seriously Changed My Life

  I joke a lot about how this past year has made me older and wiser and even though that may not be true about an awful lot of things in this world, it has most defiantly made a lot smarter about taking care of myself. I know that "self-care" has sort of become a buzzy word in this millennial generation, but it couldn't be more true: putting self-care in the forefront of my life has made me a better person, wife and mom, so I'll take whatever stereotypes comes my way. Truth be told, my realization that I needed more self-care in my life started a few years ago when my eyes were opened as a young mom and wife.  Instead of ever thinking about myself, I was putting everyone's needs before mind in pretty epic proportions. I was so consumed with making sure that I was being completely selfless, that I forgot to ben think about myself at all - and I started to crumble. I was made all the time and starting to resent those around me who were taking all my time away from myself and it got messy. Then I finally made the decision to start making myself important again. Years ago when I was a young Army wife and we barely had two pennies to rub together, I would just spend more time at the gym in our building, get up early to take a quick shower without a baby screaming for me and Chris would help give me time to do my nails, read or whatever I needed to do for my own sanity. Then years passed and he got a better job and I started working almost full time and I ... Read More

Teaching Kids to Love Avocados From The Start

This post was sponsored by Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® as part of an In-Home Party Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. You all know how important healthy eating is for me and especially being on keto right now - I ALWAYS have avocados handy. It's especially important to me to make sure that Blake is introduced to healthy foods, like my green favorite, right from the start. So when we traveled last weekend to visit my sister and her family in Ohio, I thought this was the perfect time to have an #AvoKids party and introduce these kiddos to some innovative ways to enjoy avocados.  We all sported our new favorite t-shirts, with what I feel is my everyday slogan in life, "Keep Calm, It's the Good Fat" on the front of them all. It's officially everyone's new favorite and Branden has been wearing his to sleep quite frequently. When we first started introducing Blake to solids, avocados were one of the first things that I started blending with other fruits and veggies to give to her because of its smooth, creamy consistency and mild taste makes it one of the great first fresh fruits that she enjoyed (I mean, can you see her peaking over the table above?). Avocados are nutrient dense and contribute nearly 20 nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and phytonutrients, that are important to infant/toddler nutrition. They are more than just a good fat, but a superfood, in my ... Read More

How We Keep Our Kids Entertained Without Technology

Thank you CLIF Kid for sponsoring this post. Be sure to check out the new CLIF Kid Zbar Filled and encourage your kids to get outside and play! Summer is completely flying by and the next time I blink my eyes, Branden will be starting 4th grade and Blake and I will we be easing back into our bus stop morning and then running at the park (in the jogging stroller) routine. The one and only rule that I made going into this summer (other than bed time and chores, of course), was that we were majorly limiting our screen time - to only one hour a day. But, living in NYC means that in order to have all those adventurous days that I've yearned for, I needed to be really involved in planning and getting the kids outdoors, so that's exactly what I've been up to. First things first, I had to shift my schedule around. Instead of working all day long and being free in the evenings, I started working mornings then taking a huge break in the late morning/afternoons for our adventures and then would come home and work more after the kids went to sleep. And during our busy days, we've always had CLIF Kid Zbar Filled packed in the diaper bag for easy access to keep Branden fueled. The new CLIF Kid bars come in 3 yummy flavors that moms can feel good about giving their kids. They make snacking more fun and much easier, especially when we're on the go. They are the first and only organic, soft-baked snack bar with smooth, creamy nut butter filling to surprise and delight ... Read More

3 Major Ways I’ve Learned to Eat Smarter

This post was sponsored by Eat Smart as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I feel like "eating smart" has been my motto lately. Obviously, I'm over here still tying to slim down after having Blake almost a year ago and finally have fit back into my pre-pregnancy size (hooray!), which definitely came from shifting my mindset a bit about the way that I eat. I've always been a salad lover and for as long as I can remember, I've had a salad almost every single day for lunch. But, my salads were bare because I was thinking about cutting back on calories constantly, and not thinking about the big picture. Eat Smart salads have taught me to focus on clean ingredients and include things that not only satisfy me, but keep me full for long period of time. So how am I eating smarter? I've made some changes to the way I eat that have made a tremendous impact on my health goals! Batch cooking breakfast ahead of time. This has been one of the biggest life savers for me and I have no clue why I never considered doing it until a few months ago. I make a high protein egg bake every 6 days because it makes 6 servings and add tons of veggies. My mornings are so busy (and I can only assume that yours are, too) so having something prepared that I can quickly throw into the microwave in a rush is life changing. Bringing salads back into my life. Honestly, I got so bored with my salads that I started veering away ... Read More

Outdoor Eats For Fun in the Sun

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media. Summer is in full swing and every chance that we get, you'll find the Cooper family outdoors. I love to entertain, but close quarters in our NYC living doesn't make that possible too often, so we cram in as much as we can during the summer months - especially when healthy eating (for me), grilling (for my husband) and frozen treats (for the kiddos) are involved! I'm so excited to share with you all 4 different products that are totally rocking our summer. 1. FROOZER These treats have become a favorite of both kiddos this summer! Froozer is made with 100% fruit, so I feel good about Blake eating them to cool off, too. They are natural and made with no preservatives, non-gmo, gluten-free, dairy-free and super convenient - making them the perfect healthy snack. I'm super conscious about everything that my kids eat, even when it comes to frozen treats and Frozen is totally a brand that I trust.  Get your treats here and a coupon code here! 2.  OPRAH COOKBOOK: Food, Health, and Happiness You guys: whatever Oprah Winfrey says, I'll do. This personal cookbook of her's is packed with so many healthy recipes that even Branden will eat. But beyond that, it really takes you into the life of our beloved Oprah and is filled with personal essays and her favorite chefs, as well as all her on-point recipes. Food, Health, and Happiness features 115 pages of great meals for living your best life. Get your ... Read More

How To Create The Ultimate (Keto-Friendly Snacks) Charcuterie Boards

  Seriously, even your kids will love these keto friendly snacks. These charcuterie boards will satisfy your hunger and are great to bring to parties! This post contains affiliate links.  This post was sponsored by Heluva Good! Cheese as part of an Influence Central campaign and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. How To Create The Ultimate (Keto-Friendly Snacks) Charcuterie Boards About a week ago I officially started the keto diet that so many people are talking about. I'll be telling you all more about that later on, but wanted to share a recipe today that's not only keto friendly, but one of my favorite keto friendly snacks that your whole family will love - a Charcuterie board. This charcuterie board is so easy to put together, they are great for entertaining (while sticking with your diet), and make a great meal if you don't want to to turn on the oven. Our Charcuterie boards are always made complete with our favorite Heluva Good!® Block Cheese! What exactly is a Charcuterie board? A Charcuterie board is basically a mix of cheeses, meats, and things like nuts, olives and pickles that make up an assortment of grab and go type foods. If you aren't doing a keto diet, feel free to add things like jams, dips, hummus and crackers for loading - it's totally up to you! Tips for building this keto friendly snack charcuterie board For my Charcuterie board, we started with Heluva Good cheese. I chose Colby Jack, Extra Sharp Cheddar and White ... Read More

The One Thing That Saved Us During Our Summer Adventures

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hyland’s Earache Drops.  The uses for Hyland’s products are based on traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. When you take a look at our New York City life, it’s pretty easy to tell that we live in this busy, concrete jungle. But often, people overlook the fact that we’re near huge bodies of water and just a quick 45-minute drive from quite a few beaches. This past weekend, we set out to visit one of our favorites, but two things were different this summer: it would be Blake’s first trip to the beach and because of private swim lessons that Branden took during the year, he was much more independent in the water. Both kids loved the water and Branden swam constantly the whole trip there. We even had one “incident” where he swam out a little bit too far and a lifeguard pulled him in. He wasn’t drowning, but just swimming too far. Whenever the lifeguard pulled him in, he was so confused because to him, he was just having fun. He casually replied to me, “Mom, I don’t know what was going on - I was just having the time of my life.” All was good in the land of Branden Cooper - until we got home, that is. I think that he didn't want to say anything right away, because he didn't want me to keep him out of the water, but our little guy got a bad case of swimmer's ear. Thankfully, I had Hyland's Earache Drops waiting at home. I gave him his first set of ... Read More

I Finally Ran For The First Time Since Giving Birth

I finally did it. I hit the pavement for the first time in an entire year since giving birth and it was one emotional journey, let me tell you. If you know me in real life or have followed along on social media, you know that I've been a pretty avid runner since high school. I struggled running all the way through finally having a breast reduction at age seventeen, have never quite worked up the courage to run a marathon, but have always made it a part of my life. Before Blake was born or I was even pregnant, I would drop Branden off at the bus stop and start my runs from there, three days a week. I would log anywhere from 9-12 miles per week and really improved my pace using the Runkeeper app (it's addicting!). I ran and continued to do yoga throughout my entire pregnancy up until I was 30 weeks pregnant and then stopped. A lot of it was due to the hot summer heat but mostly I just didn't have the energy to do it anymore. While I have shared how I started at 6 weeks postpartum working out, I just hadn't been able to get back to running - something was always stopping me. It's no secret that I'm still struggling with accepting my postpartum body and I think that to some extent we always kind of are. Our bodies change so much after giving birth and it can take a long time for our organs to shift back to where they are supposed to be, let alone to drop that extra weight. I've been really hard on myself and am still determined to drop this last pant size. In all ... Read More

Cultivating Adventure

This is a sponsored post. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood.  You guys, this past year has honestly been a whirl-wind. I feel like I've blinked my eyes and I have an almost 9-year-old on my hands and I'm starting to plan little Blake's first birthday party. This school year has been a challenging one with Branden in third grade and some of the ups and downs we've dealt with in terms of the school, bus and bus driver issues, so when summer rolled around, I really wanted us all to just chill out. But at the same time, I didn't want to sit behind the t.v. al summer with the AC blasting, I wanted us to get out there and create adventures and memories together. So mid-May, when an opportunity came my way to go to Orlando for a conference, without much planning I said "yes" and turned it into a big family vacation. This is the summer of fun in my eyes and I want to cultivate as much adventure as possible with my crew. But, with that being said, we do have young children and need to keep them safe and healthy - so I have SingleCare in my back pocket to ease my mind. So we started our adventure by going to the place where adventures are made: Universal Studios Island of Adventure. I'm not typically one for theme parks (I know, I know) and doing it with a 10 month old didn't make it that much more appealing, but I said "let's do it" and we totally did. In the spirit of the day, I even went on some rides and decided not to stand on the sidelines, trying to show my kids ... Read More