the importance of shopping local

The importance of shopping local-and why you should do it!

I’m a local lovin’ lady!

When I can, I buy local produce and meat. I shop at local stores. I support local charities.

“Why?” you ask?

Here’s why:

reasons to shop local


The Christmas season grows my love for shopping local more and more each year. In my search for the perfect item I seem to come across the coolest local artisans on Facebook and Etsy that offer one-of-a-kind goods.

This year is no exception!

Each year we buy a new ornament for our tree. I can’t help but fall in love with these charming dreamcatcher ornaments from Shop Ava to Zoe.  They are handmade with quality leather and lots of love, and would be the perfect addition for you to put up on your tree.

Christmas ornament

Photo credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

Once our tree is decorated, this optimistic Mama attempts to do the impossible: take a holiday photo. They may not have brushed hair or clean clothes on throughout the year, but I like to give the illusion that they are mostly presentable in our holiday pics:) These adorable hats and headbands are made with eco-friendly and natural materials by Lille Mus , and are a perfect addition to any outdoor activity. How can you not fall in love with these hats-do you see those pom-poms?!

Cool hats and headbands

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

For a warmer, indoor option for a head accessory a sweet bow in a nice choice!

Isn’t She Lovely makes the softest elastic bows that were suitable for all my children , ages 5 months to 9 years. These bows are offered in different styles, colors, and patterns and are a sweet accessory to your little one’s outfit (speaking of outfits-she’s got adorable rompers to go with these charming bows)!

By the way, did you notice how lovely and NOT tired I look in this photo? Organic Makeup Artistry by Stef offers all natural make up and hair done for all occasions, and if I do say so myself, she does a pretty nice job!

Baby wearing a bow

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

You know how it goes–toddlers don’t like to wear clothes. However, mine was convinced that pants were a good idea when she got to wear one of these easy-to-use belts to hold up her britches. Made with top quality materials, Belted Apparel offers a snazzy solution for your naked toddler problem (and are even available in adult sizes)!

Local, handmade belts

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

Shoes are a girls best friend. Trust me. I’ve got 4 girls…I know. These handmade, comfortable shoes from Wild Ones Mocs are a Mom’s best friend! They’re beautiful AND they’ll stay on your little one’s feet. What more could you ask for?

Cutest moccassins for baby

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

My favorite part of Christmas (aside from rum and eggnog, of course) is gift giving. There is nothing better I can think of for little girls and boys than a gorgeous handmade doll from Friends For Keeps. Each doll is created to be as individually special as your child. They are a sure way to bring smiles to your children’s faces on Christmas morning.

beautiful handmade dolls

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing


Are you inspired to join in on some local lovin’? Maybe you already are a local lovin’ folk? Share with me in the comments!

get rid of stress during the holidays

5 simple ways to find your zen this holiday season

The holidays are stressful.


Gift shopping. Present wrapping. Dinner cooking. Party hosting. Treat baking. Decorating.


This chaotic mess of festivity can make anyone fall out of a state of relaxation pretty darn quickly. While it may seem like you don’t have the time to get to a blissful, zen-like frame of mind, taking a few moments to regain your sanity will be worthwhile.

5 simple ways to find your zen this holiday season:


(Don’t forget to Pin this so you can find it next year, too!)

How to relax this holiday season


It’s hard to clear your mind of your to-do list. Sometimes taking just a few short moments to forget about it can recharge your foggy brain so you can accomplish things more efficiently and effectively.

Need help guiding yourself into a Zen state? Check out “guided meditations” on YouTube. Put on some headphones and tune out the rest of the world for a few minutes.


No, dashing to the store or reaching for the roll of wrapping paper doesn’t count. Take advantage of the snow and put on those snowshoes. Bundle up and go for a walk. Throw on an exercise video (and a spandex body suit, obviously) and do a workout in the livingroom. Release all of that extra holiday stress and burn off those extra cookie calories. Your body and mind will thank you.


Healthy food and lots water.

Rum and eggnog is barely dairy. Cookies are not a food group (although they should be).

Christmas treats are inevitable. Don’t add extra stress to yourself by avoiding them, but make sure you are fuelling your body with that veggie plate that’s been put out. Drink lots of water. Don’t fill up on only sugary treats. A sugar crash is not going to contribute to your productivity.

Take “You” time.

There’s a lot of time put into doing things for others over the holiday season, and that’s SUPER rad. However, you’re going to start running on empty if you forget about yourself. Keep up with your journal. Take a long bath. Enjoy your coffee in front of the fireplace. Do whatever it is that brings you to your zen. Don’t forget to take care of you.

Slow down.

This is supposed to be a time to enjoy. Before you spend time and energy on anything, really consider if it’s going to be worth your while. If you’re feeling the fatigue set in ask yourself if putting up decorations in each bedroom (on top of the rest of the house you’ve already done) is going to benefit everyone. If the answer is no, forget about it. Put that energy into doing other things you may enjoy more, like hiding your kid’s Elf on the Shelf* that you currently love and hate .

(*This reference to Elf on the Shelf was my kind way of reminding you that you need to do that still. Go on. I’ll wait here until you get back. Need ideas? Click here for my resource of ideas.)


It’s easy to get caught up in the things we need to get done, but try not to forget to enjoy this time of the year. Taking the time to regain your feelings of zen during the holiday season will make it so much more enjoyable for you and those around you. You’ll have and be more fun, and won’t lose your spot on Santa’s “Good list”.


breastfeeding social media

Breastfeeding tips and tricks from a saggy boobed pro

Last week I answered the door. It was the pizza man. He looked…uncomfortable. I thought maybe I smelled bad? Maybe I had spit up on my shoulder? I closed the door. I looked down. I realized why he looked so…uncomfortable. My boob was hanging out of my shirt because I forgot to put it away after my baby was done feeding and I answered the door. As I stood there thinking about what had just transpired I couldn’t believe it…he forgot to give me the dips!


Breastfeeding has been a challenging journey for me.

Some women have no problem and have Pamela Anderson looking jugs full of milk even before they’ve had their baby. Some women go through hours of torture to literally squeeze out one drop.

The latter was me.

I spent hours researching ways to make me produce more milk (and help me fill out a D-cup). Here’s what I came up with:

breastfeeding, nursing, milk production, fenugreek, blessed thistle


I did all of those things, plus skin-to-skin contact (get naked, Mama!), baby wearing, and got proper nourishment, including tons of water.

While all of these things worked well, nothing worked the way these lactation cookies did:

lactation cookie recipe, breastfeeding, breastmilk production

If you’re not feeling up to making cookies, simply add some brewers yeast to your smoothie. That’s the main ingredient that really helped me!


I mentioned breastfeeding wasn’t easy for me, right? It was a hard go right from the beginning. When I was told by a doctor that “not all women were meant to be cows” I nearly gave up. Instead I spent hours researching, days in discomfort (mastitis, thrush, engorgement, cracked and blistered nipples are no joke, friends), and months breastfeeding. So far, I breastfed for a total of 5 years and 8 months. My breasts may never be the same (in other words, they may never look like they don’t appear in a copy of “National Geographic”), but my choice to breastfeed was the best one that I could have made for myself and my babies.


I want to hear your breastfeeding journey! Comment below and share your story!