Everyday Practices To Keep You Thankful All Year Long

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season. The season that reminds us all to be thankful for our blessings, family and friends. Every year across social media I see people reminding themselves that life isn’t so bad after all, but wouldn’t it be great if we could be thankful all year long? When you take on this perspective, it’s pretty amazing how your outlook on everything changes.

I’m happy most of the time. Sure I have my bad moments. I cry, I get upset, I get depressed sometimes, but overall – I’m happy.  I’ve always been a glass half full kind of gal, but I’ve also had many challenges (like most of us) in life that greatly tested that happiness. So, for the last decade I’ve been training my mind to be thankful for everything – even the bad times. When you do this, you start to realize just how amazing your life actually is.

Here are some best practices I’ve adopted over the years to help me stay positive and not let outside influences ruin my happiness.

Dinner time is thankful time.

Every night at dinner my family and I go around the table and say three things that made us happy that day. When we first started this I got a huge wake up call because my son would say things like, “I’m happy I got to play with a ball and hug mommy and I’m thankful for this cheese stick.” Those were the things that made him happy. A cheese stick. I knew if he could find joy in a cheese stick that I should be grateful for a lot more.

The beautiful thing about this activity is….. even if you had horrible day, your mind finds at least three things that were positive and you forget about the bad stuff. You also start appreciating the little things like: I’m happy I got to drink my coffee hot today! I’m happy my boss didn’t yell at me today! I’m happy I didn’t break my ankle when I fell and only sprained it instead! You see – there’s even a silver lining in the bad stuff!

Have your phone remind you. 

I love putting reminders in my phone. I have six that go off everyday starting at 8 am. They are a combination of goals I’ve set for myself in my personal and professional life and reminders to be thankful. Keep them simple. Mine are: Be grateful, you got this, you use to pray for what you have now, and the best is yet to come. The last one I recently added, thanks to a work friend making the recommendation, is just the word RIGGED. This reminder goes off in early evening to remind myself that anything that happened during the day was supposed to happen. Life is rigged my friends – so start finding the joy in the journey.

Cut yourself a break.

Look, you’re not perfect….. but you don’t have to be! Moms, you’re going to forget crazy hair day at your kid’s school sometimes. Don’t worry! Your kids will remember the hugs you gave them and how often you told them you loved them, not that you forget to gel their hair up one day.

You’re not always going to get the promotion you wanted. It’s okay, something better is around the corner. Maybe you weren’t ready. Maybe it’s the universe saving you from mountains of stress!

At the end of each day you should thank yourself for getting through another day as a mom, wife, friend, leader, employee, etc.! It’s hard out there sometimes.

Use resources.

There’s some really great books and people out there that helped me along the way. My recent reads that I absolutely loved and put into practice are: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

If you use these best practices every day, they become habit. Habits become part of your behavior and then you’ll start to see some positive changes. There are so many things to be thankful for, we just need help and reminders to be able to see them every day.

Happy Thanksgiving friends! I’m thankful for all of you.



Moving Soon? Here’s What You Need To Do…..

Are you moving? Having trouble prioritizing your preparation process? Here are some great tips to prepare you for setting up in your new home. Happy moving! 

Moving can be a very exciting but stressful time. From deciding which items to keep or get rid of, to making sure all of your utilities are set up on time – it can be easy to overlook important things. Today, I will be sharing a few tips to help make the moving process a little less overwhelming.

Sort Through Your Belongings

One of the first things you should do when preparing for your big move is to determine which items you will take with you to your new place and which items you to get rid of. Any prized possessions or items that have sentimental value should be taken with you, whereas any items that are old or worn out should be sold, donated or thrown out. If you’re having trouble deciding if you should keep or get rid of an item, think of the last time you used it. If you can’t remember the last time you used an item or it’s been years, chances are you don’t really need it. Here is a great article on items that you should get rid of before you move.


Buying/Replacing Items

Since you’ll have a new space to fill and will also be getting rid of items, you’ll have to buy new items to replace the old and fill up your new space. Instead of having to worry about moving these new items (especially bigger pieces like furniture and appliances) into your new home, try to purchase items from companies who will ship your new items right to your front door. Companies like Wayfair will ship furniture, home décor, and kitchen appliances right to your new home. If you’re replacing your mattress, Casper will also ship your mattress directly to your front door.



Now that you’ve determined what items you will be keeping and what items you’ll be getting rid of, it’s time to begin packing! Try to create a system to organize your items. Don’t take the easy route and just throw your things into random boxes. Remember that everything has to be unpacked and put away too. Sort items by room and put them into their respective boxes that way you can unpack each room one at a time. Don’t forget to label your boxes! This will make things easier when you unpack and help keep track of items you may be looking for.  Still overwhelmed? You can hire people to do all the packing for you. Check out rates in your area. The money might be worth it – if it saves your sanity! 


Schedule Serice/Utility Appointments

Lastly, before you move in to your new home make sure that all of your service/utility appointments are scheduled. Some services like cable and internet schedule their appointments months out, so make sure to call ahead of time to ensure that your services are ready in time for your big move. Don’t forget to switch over your power and water to your new place as well! 

Lastly, don’t forget to forward your address with the post office. You don’t want to have to hunt down packages or mail once you move.

After all this – you’re all packed and ready to move! Congratulations! Enjoy your new place, make memories and have fun personalizing your new space!

What are your tips for a smooth move?

Chicago Pizza Just Got A Facelift

I’m a foodie and a Chicagoan – luckily those compliment each other well. Chicago is known for their food innovation, the hottest trends, the incredible chefs and of course, our pizza. At any given day our “must-have” pizza joints have a line around the block, yet locals and tourists alike will wait hours to get their mouths around a slice of yummy Chicago pie. And, who can blame them?

Pizza, one of my favorite dishes, was recently removed from my diet due to some unknown food allergies. To my good fortune the amazing team over at Rossopomodoro, the official pizza partner for Eataly Chicago, invited me and my son to try out their four new doughs – one of which is gluten and egg free! Eataly, a newer Chicago staple, is an Italian marketplace featuring a plethora of amazing italian delicacies, cafes, counters, restaurants, and a cooking school. At Eataly you can eat, shop and learn.

Prior to my Eataly visit, I was honored to connect with Simone Falco of Naples, Executive Chef & Owner of Rossopomodoro West Village and President and CEO of Rossopomodoro at Eataly USA, and ask him a few questions.

Simone Falco was born in into into a family of sportsman and entrepreneurs. When Simone grew older he became a rugby player and obtained a PhD from the University of Naples Federico II, one of the oldest Universities in Europe. Since he was very young, Simone has worked in the family company to learn the proper skills needed to run a successful restaurant business, leading into the launch and development of several new restaurant locations in Italy and abroad. Rossopomodoro in New York City’s West Village – an outpost location of the Rossopomodoro’s U.S. operations at Eataly New York (Flatiron & Financial District), Chicago, Boston, and San Paolo – has been carrying on the tradition ever since its opening in 2014.

He designed the restaurant’s menu to embody the brands manifesto and presents dishes that are simple, seasonal, straightforward, healthy and flavorful – and he goes way beyond just pizza & pasta. Simone would describe his personal style as classic Neapolitan.

I started out the interview asking Chef Falco what passions of his led him to pizza.

“Growing up in Naples, pizza was our breakfast every weekend. How could I not be attracted to pizza?”

As someone with food allergies and a passion for health, it’s refreshing to see more and more offerings that cater to a healthful lifestyle without giving up the things we love – like pizza. What’s the secret to maintaining great taste yet being healthy also?

“The secret is high quality ingredients (wild, organic, no chemicals) and good sourcing.”

As you know, Chicago is certainly a pizza town. What excites you most about these four new kinds of dough and how are they different from the others we can find in the city?

“We decided to launch the four doughs in Chicago because it is THE pizza city. We wanted to bring something truly Neapolitan to Chicago and something different than everyone is used to.”

Last question, and it’s the obligatory one. You may know that New York and Chicago have an ongoing pizza war. So, which would you say is your favorite between the two signature styles? Chicago or New York?

“My favorite is Neapolitan of course but I have an appreciation for all types. Different pizza has different uses. Sometimes I crave a New York slice and sometimes I crave deep dish. Chicago pizza is more of treat because I live in New York.”

Hearing his story and passion for pizza, I was thrilled met his team and head Chef Simone Lavarone at the Chicago Eataly location. While there he prepared several pizzas showcasing their new doughs.

My favorite was this little slice of heaven with a zucchini cream instead of tomato base. Perfection.

There new doughs now available are:


  • The Original Pizza Napoletana
  • This classic-style pizza from Napoli made with “Type 00” flour is the most elegant and complex of all. The long leavening time (24-plus hours) paired with the brief cooking time produces a pizza with a thin, elastic center and a charred, airy crust.


  • Old World Innovation
  • This dough is the precursor to the pizza we know today, originally made from leftover bread dough from bakeries in the suburbs of Napoli. The “Type 1” whole grain flour and slow-rising process yield a slightly sweet and hearty dough.


  • Classic yet Crispy
  • This contemporary take on pizza is typical of the coastal towns near Napoli (think: Amalfi Coast). Made with the same “Type 00” flour as the Classica, this dough proofs longer and cooks longer resulting in a lighter, crispier crust that is soft in the middle and never disappoints.


  • Light and Gluten-Free
  • This airy, slightly caramelized crust is made from an innovative blend of corn, rice, and gluten-free buckwheat flours, offering all the flavors of the real pizza napoletana with a lighter base! While the dough is gluten-free, our environment is not, meaning trace amounts of gluten may be present — it is not certified for those with celiac disease.

Needless to say, the pizzas looked beautiful and tasted even better than one can imagine. This is truly pizza reinvented!

My six-year-old, the notorious picky eater, enjoyed the pizzas so much that he asked if we could take them all home to save for later. Bonus – Sunday’s kids get $9 pizzas where they can pick their own toppings and the pizza comes in fun shapes like a heart, bunny, fish or butterfly. How’s that for family friendly?

Eataly Chicago has many spectacular summer promotions and events happening, so mark your calendars and make your way over to see Chef Simone and the Eataly team for some delicious game-changing pizza. Tell them I sent you!

What You Can Do This Earth Day & Everyday To Protect Mother Earth

Earth Day is around the corner and each year my family tries to incorporate a new practice to do our part in protecting Mother Earth.

In recent years, we have made a lot of easy changes around the house and with new technology and findings there are plenty more we can do! If you’re just starting out or have a goal to lessen your carbon footprint – here’s some ideas to help you out along the way.

Curb the addiction

So many of us have becoming addicted to stuff. Do we really need all those shoes, clothes, collectables, toys – the list could go on for ever…..

As a female who loves fashion, I love to buy clothes. But, I also love trends which means once the trend is over all those clothes I spent a fortune on end up in bags for donation. Did you know that the average American throws away 85% of their clothes each year? That is 65 lbs of textiles/person heading to landfills and a total of 14.3 million tons of textile waste in landfills each and every year. YIKES! We can do better than this.

I know how important and great it feels to stay trendy and fashionable, but we also know the huge impact we can make as consumers by supporting companies that offer a green alternative. A few trendy pieces are fine, but try to buy classic pieces you can pair with many other items to keep them feeling new.

When you do shop, you can also take advantage of websites like, Swap.com, the largest online thrift and consignment shop, which has all your favorite brands (such as ZARA, American Apparel, J.Crew, NIKE, DKNY, BCBG and many more) that are available at up to 95% off retail prices on Swap.com. Sounds like a win-win to me! They also carry toys and games. Parents, what a dream is this?! Kids play with toys for like a mili-second and are over them.

Because I am participating in their Earth Day campaign, they’ve graciously given me some swap credit AND have offered a discount code to all of you! I bought my toddler and my 6 year old an entire summer wardrobe for under $100! Use discount code 25SPRING  at Swap.com for up to 25%, some exclusions apply. Discount applied to purchases at check-out. Expires 5/31/2017.

Shopping secondhand not only saves you money, but helps sustain our earth and keep clothes of landfills. So, let’s swap instead of shop!


Go Meat Free 

I know, I know, people love their meat.

BUT, the meteoric rise of meat consumption globally over the last 50 years is no coincidence. As the socioeconomic status of communities has risen and the transportation of meat has become easier, more and more people have started eating large quantities of meat. In fact, over the last 10 years alone, total global meat consumption has grown by 20%.

All this extra meat comes at an extreme cost to our planet. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide – more than the entire transportation sector.

To make matters worse, producing meat also requires a huge amount of water. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. By comparison, soy tofu produced in California requires only 220 gallons of water per pound.

Imagine how much carbon and resources we could save if we ate less meat. Even just eating meat one less day a year would make a difference.

For instance, if over the course of a year you:

  • Ate one less burger a week, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.
  • Skip meat and cheese one day a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for five weeks – or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.
  • Skip steak once a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for nearly three months.
  • And if the entire U.S. did not eat meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

As you can see, the impact of not eating meat can really add up. Join us in pledging to not eat meat once a week. If you already don’t eat meat once a week, why not try two days a week or three! You could even begin a full vegetarian diet if you’re up for it. Every little bit helps.

Source: Earthday.org

At Home Action

There are small changes at home you can make that make a big impact.

First, make sure you’re turning out the lights when not needed. We only use the light of the room we are in and whenever we leave the house we make sure all are turned off. You can also switch out your light bulbs for more energy efficient ones.

Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and take quicker showers. If I can take a 5 minute shower where I have to shave and wash my long hair – anyone can do it!

Make sure you’re recycling. In today’s world, it’s easy to do with all the services and special bins. Once you get in the habit it’s not trouble at all.

Eliminate plastics. Use a refillable water pitcher for filtered water or attach one to your sink. Use glass or stainless steel containers for food storage – they arehealthier for you anyway!


Be The Example

Teach your children the importance of taking care of our planet and being mindful of waste. Share your best practices with friends and family. Donate to environmental groups, they need our help!If we all take even a little bit of action – it makes a huge impact!

What will you do to participate in #EarthDay 2017?


The Dos and Don’ts of Spending Your Tax Refund – Guest Post

Thank you to our friends over at Earnest for sharing these tips. We all need a little advice on how to spend the extra cash responsibly.

We all know what April means….Tax Day. While filing your taxes can be a hassle, especially if you end up having to pay additional taxes, some people look forward to receiving a tax refund. If you’re one of those people, you may be planning to spend your refund on that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing or that designer handbag you’ve been drooling over for months. Before you go out and buy all of the items on your wish list, you should consider using your refund to help you get ahead financially.

We all know how easy it can be to spend our tax refund in ways that are less than optimal. The most important thing to do to utilize your refund in the best way is to develop a plan for how to spend your refund. This will prevent you from spending money on things that you don’t really need. The next thing you should do is look at your savings. Do you have an emergency fund? If not, consider putting a portion of your refund into an emergency fund savings account.

Your tax refund can be used in several other ways to help you out financially in the long run. One of these ways is to pay off some of your high interest debts, such as credit cards or student loans. You can lower these high interest debts even more by refinancing them. Companies like Earnest can help you save even more money by lowering your interest rates and monthly payments by refinancing your student loans.

Now that you have a smart plan for your tax refund check, set aside a small amount to treat yourself with. Let’s face it, you work hard and you deserve it! Keep in mind that you should not treat your refund check like a bonus or spend your entire refund frivolously.

Check out the guide below to learn about more tips on how to better utilize your tax refund.