By: Molly Kay
If you are looking for a way to feel more connected and spend more time with your family, set aside some quality time everyday to enjoy a meal together. Studies show that it is extremely beneficial for children and parents to eat together, and increases mental and physical health, and is linked to positive behavior.
Why Is Eating Together Important?
Researchers have found that eating together inspires healthier emotions and habits. Connect with your kids around the table by asking about their day and starting a conversation about healthy eating habits. This encourages engagement and builds strong conversation skills through natural socialization practice, and has been shown to increase a child’s vocabulary. Coming together for meals is especially helpful to children with attention deficits and learning disabilities, giving them a safe and comfortable environment to practice their social skills. Family meal time can also be a moment away from school/work stress, social media, and other distractions, so power off electronic devices, and use the time to disconnect.
As we all know, adolescence can be a challenging season of life to navigate, and it’s easy for children and teens to hold onto their everyday stresses. Having a specific time devoted to talking over the day gives children and young adults a platform to express themselves. According to a survey, American teens said they were most likely to talk with their parents during dinnertime, as opposed to any other time during the day. Family meal time gives parents and children of all ages the opportunity to have a few moments in the day to converse and have an open dialogue with each other. This alone has been linked to lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as putting young adults at a lower risk of abusing alcohol and other harmful substances.
Getting Your Family To the Table
Life moves at a million miles an hour, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for everyone's responsibilities and commitments. However when you make eating dinner or breakfast as a family a routine, and the table a comfortable and welcoming place to gather, your entire family will make dining together a priority. An important aspect of family meal time is the atmosphere that you create within your dining space. When designing your dining area, you should have dining furniture that is warm and comfortable and bring in colors like browns and purples to invoke a calming, natural atmosphere. Fresh flowers and festive table mats are also great features to create a balanced space, perfect for energetic conversation. For more interior design inspiration, check out pinterest and instagram from companies like Arhaus who have detailed room designs on their pages. Family photos and decor pieces with affirmative mantras are also great to hang in your dining area help to set the intention for your family oriented and positive space.
Aside from creating a welcoming environment, as a parent, you’ll also want to be understanding and approachable when you engage in conversation with your children. If conversations continually become hostile or turn into lecture sessions, your children won’t feel comfortable to have an open dialogue. The conversation doesn’t have to be completely centered around the kids and their experiences. Use it as an opportunity to share the challenges that arose during your day as well. Being open, and sharing details and successes as they relate to adult life will enhance trust, and encourage children and young adults to share details of their own day. Dinner table conversation starters like these are also great talking points that can help you connect with your child and allow them to get to know their siblings and parents on a deeper level as well.
The Best Summer Makeup Products For Your 5-Minute Face
It's summer, and I couldn't be happier.
Days on the deck with lemonade, sunshine, and ponytails for days.
In all seriousness, summer is a time for me to step back from the makeup routine and keep it easy, breezy.
Below, check out a sneak peek inside my all-time favorite products for a 5-minute face. These are my tried and true products of all price points that you'll want to latch onto this summer.
Do you have any products that are must-try products? I'm a proponent of cruelty-free products, and I love a good bargain. Comment below with the must-haves for the season.
No One's Love Is Instagram-Worthy All of the Time
With some sweatpant-material shorts I wore yesterday and my hair in a greasy ponytail, I plop some sauerkraut and hot dogs into a crock pot. When my husband gets home from work, we'll probably sit in silence eating our meal that is embarrassing to admit to let alone photograph for social media as I'm a terrible cook (I know right now the mashed potatoes are going to be lumpy and the hot dogs will probably be under or overcooked). We'll sit and play on our phones, read, play video games, and get through another Monday in mundane adult life.
In truth, it's a far cry from the swoonworthy couples all over Instagram or the #forever pictures we see on our social media platforms. And, in truth, if I thought too much about it, I might be pretty down in the dumps about the fact that our relationship's Instagram-worthy moments are few and far between....and even the ones worthy of Instagram probably aren't getting any awards anytime soon.
I'm a romance author who is married to the boy she met at 12 at the art table. We've been together ever since, and we've now been married almost 7 years. We are the typical opposites-attract couple, and he is my everything. Our simple life is truly more than I could've asked for.
Still, in comparison to social media couples, our love seems lackluster, dull, or even non-existent. Romantic getaways are few and far between, and most nights, romance is defined by a quick kiss goodnight or an "I love you" in between feeding the dog and doing dishes.
Here's the thing, though: I truly believe that no one's love is Instagram-worthy all of the time. I truly believe that all relationships, all real ones, probably have more non-Instagram-worthy moments than anything.
We all have the moments cuddled up on the couch in clothes we wouldn't go out of the house with, too lazy to move a muscle let alone make a romantic move. We've all had those classless dinners, those moments of boredom, and even those moments of sheer rage.
My husband and I are no exception.
There are plenty of times we plan a nice date or a trip and he is a total asshole... or I, admittedly, play the asshole role. There are plenty of moments we thought would lead to this picturesque, romantic scenes that led to nothing but misery in a rain storm, long lines, and a realization that the experience we thought would be revolutionary turned out to be overrated.
We've had copious weeknights of boredom, of survival, and of just trying to get by anyway we can. Romance is out the window on these nights.
In short, our lives are far from the tropical fantasy getaways, candlelit dinners, caviar, and smiling, perfect people on social media. Our love is rarely an Instagram-worthy moment.
However, I think that's okay. I think if we are all being honest, the moments we post on Instagram or Facebook or our social media of choice are just a snapshot, a blink in the true relationship we live. In reality, no one's love is perfect. No one's life is a string of perfect snapshots.
We all have our struggles. We all have our weaknesses. We all have moments in our love stories where we feel like giving up.
So just because your love story isn't always Instagram-worthy doesn't mean it's any less real.
Love isn't perfect. Love doesn't have to be a constant photograph opportunity. This is the realization that led me to writing the books I write.... ones that showcase real love, the gritty, raw, candid kind that isn't always perfect.
Because when we start to realize that no love is perfect, we can give our own love a little slack and start appreciating it for what it is.... beautiful in its own right.
Join me in celebrating candid love. Follow me on Facebook where I talk about our "real love" moments and where every Saturday, my husband and I chat love, marriage, and adult life on our show, Chapters & Checkpoints at 7pm EST.
Why You Need To See The New Mary Shelley Movie Now
As a writer and a teacher, the movie Mary Shelley caught my attention from the second I saw the trailer. I always love a good backstory to the great writers of history, especially when they are strong females. I also have always had a soft spot for the classic of Frankenstein and was intrigued to learn more about the woman who wrote the story.
The movie (2017) features Elle Fanning as Mary and also has an appearance by Game of Thrones Favorite, Maisie Williams. This PG-13 movie is two hours in length and has stellar acting as well as beautiful film techniques. It really humanized the woman behind the famous tale and showed the struggles she faced as a woman writing in her time period.
I loved seeing the story of young Mary and learning about what influenced her to become the writer she was. I was shocked by the scandal in her love life (she was in a very open relationship with Percy Shelley, who was married at the time she started an affair with him). I found the movie interesting, though, because it really showed how revolutionary Mary was and how empowering she was of herself. She ignored social conventions of the time, choosing to seek her own version of happiness. It's no surprise, thus, that her writing would be so revolutionary.
I did feel that the movie focused a lot more on her sexual relations that on her writing, which was a disappointment. I understand they wanted to expose this scandalous aspect of who she was, but I wanted to see more of her writing.
The story of how she came to write Frankenstein, however, didn't disappoint. I had known that many people of her time assumed she didn't write it and that her husband, the poet, did. I was content with the ending, however, and the fact that she found her own version of happiness.
Many writers who become famous endure a lot of struggle and pain to get to the point they are. Mary Shelley is no exception. It was inspiring as a writer to see her struggles and to realize that sometimes the pains in our lives help us become the writers we are meant to be. It was also inspiring to see a woman rise up and rise against social conventions of the time period. It was empowering as a woman to see her challenge the gender roles and conventions of the time period and really showed that there is no excuse for modern women to do the same when necessary. If Mary Shelley could rise up during her time period, so can we.
All in all, I give the movie a 4 out of 5 star rating. It was engaging, the acting was spot-on, and the storyline was interesting. I do wish there had been more focus on her career instead of on her sexuality, but all in all, it was an eye-opening look at the woman who created the famous tale.
If you want to check out the movie for yourself, click below to head to Amazon and rent it. I am a part of the Amazon Affiliate program, so I will earn a small fee when you use this link to purchase.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Thou Shalt Kill."
I love a good dystopian read, and this book did not disappoint. Set in a chilling, futuristic time period where humans have cured all illnesses and have found the key to immortality, Scythe looks at the problems with doing just that.
In this world, all diseases and injuries have been cured. Humans are now immortal. However, every civilization has its limitations--with out-of-control population concerns, the Scythes became an instrumental group in society. Charged with the task of killing humans to keep the population down, they mimic death in our current world. Filling their quotas and carrying out "gleanings," the term for murder in their society, Scythes are seen as figures to be revered. To be a scythe is the highest honor.
Citra and Rowan are two teenagers who, thanks to certain circumstances, are chosen to be apprentices for this position. Those trained to be scythes must meet one major stipulation--they can't want to be a scythe. Citra and Rowan certainly fit the bill. Assigned to the same Scythe, Faraday, both begin a journey to a life they never imagined for themselves.
Things get complicated as emotions bubble between them. In addition, as Citra and Rowan enter the secret world of the scythes, they learn that like in so many societies, not all is what it seems. As they uncover major issues and corruption within the scythes' secret society, they must question what is right and what is wrong--and how they will play a role in the path they choose.
I adored this book because it was such a unique concept. Nonetheless, it made so much sense. We always seek immortality but never really think about the consequences of achieving it. I also love the characters in this book. Shusterman has a wide range of characters, allowing the book to feel dynamic and engaging. All aspects of this society are really well thought out, leaving no plot holes. I also loved the format, with a diary entry from a scythe coming between every chapter or so.
I already bought book two in the series and am starting it immediately. If you like dystopian literature, this book is definitely for you. Even though it is young adult, it definitely is engaging for all ages as it raises interesting, ethical questions.
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Stitch Fix Box Review
So the last thing I ever needed was another subscription.
My mailman is probably already sick of delivering boxes to me. And I definitely also don't need any new clothes.
But when my best friend told me about Stitch Fix, of course I signed up. Because more fun mail instead of bills? A stylist telling me what to wear? Yes, please.
Stitch Fix is a subscription box that is really neat for a few reasons. You can pick your schedule. You can get the box once a month, once every other month, or on demand.
You simply pay $20 for the styling fee. You fill out an extensive survey, and a stylist picks out outfits based on your preferences.
Whatever you don't want, you send back in a postage paid bag. Whatever you want, you simply pay for on invoice. Simple as that. The $20 styling fee is also deducted if you buy anything.
I was so pumped when I got my first box. Honestly, I am a cheap-o when it comes to fashion, so there was some sticker shock.
Nevertheless, the jeans were the best damn jeans I've ever tried on in my life. Seriously. Like I never find jeans that fit...and these fit like a glove. At $88, they are a splurge for me...but a splurge I, of course, had to have, nonetheless.
Check out my video review below and let me know what you think in the comments. My friend has said that it gets better as you go because each time you return things, you leave feedback.
If you want to try your own box, sign up here and we'll both get a $25 credit. Fun!
For me, summer is a time to rejuvenate, recharge, and read a whole heck of a lot.
With school out for summer and my curriculum ready to go, I love to catch up on my personal TBR list. Right now, I'm reading The Arc of a Scythe series by Neil Shusterman and loving it so much! I'm also planning on reading a book by Shirley Jackson, Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men, and Night Circus.
This time of year, I also like to read books with a beach setting, a summer vibe, and some beautiful summer dates. If you're looking for a super summer read, check out my recommendations below. These are all books that just seem to say summer to me.
Do you have some great book recommendations? I'd love to hear what's on your list or what books you've loved recently. Hit reply and tell me what books I should read and review this summer.
Author Lindsay Detwiler
Books you should read this summer
1. Jane Green, The Sunshine Sisters
This book is set at the beach and is about three sisters brought back together over their very frustrating mother. This one is a realistic, sweet read about family loyalty.
2. Jane Green, The Beach House
This one is another perfect beach read. This was my first Jane Green book, and I really fell in love with her style .She doesn't shy away from realism in her books, and I appreciate that.
3. Jeannine Colette, Reckless Abandon
If you like some spice in your romance, you're going to love this alpha romance. However, I like that Jeanine makes her alpha's likable. I also love that Jeanine sets her books in different cities. Such a fun, summer read in the romance genre.
4. Nicholas Sparks, The Choice
Of course, every single Nicholas Sparks book is set at the beach. If you want some romantic drama with a touch of tears, this is the one for you. I adore this story, I adore the movie, and it probably has my absolute favorite proposal of all time in it. I think you'll love Travis because he's not your typical book boyfriend--but his loyalty to love and family is so admirable.
5. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
I'm a huge Moriarty fan, and Big Little Lies is the perfect book if you want some drama and some suspense. This book focuses on a group of women from wealthy families and a mystery that brings some unlikely allies together. Reese Witherspoon is involved in the HBO adaptation of this book, and it is also phenomenal.
6. Nights in Rodanthe, Nicholas Sparks
Another tearjerker, this one is about second-chance romance. I love that the couple in this book is in a later stage of their life, which I think is something we need to see more of in literature. This one is also set at the beach, and it's all about summer love.
Summer Reads You Should Grab Now
Do you have any summer reading recommendations? Please comment below! Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for weekly updates on the books I'm loving.
In the transition from living on your own to living with others, there will be changes that occur as you adjust to sharing a space with someone else. When it comes to sharing a space with your partner, you want to make this next chapter in your relationship one that is smooth and painless. Taking big steps in any relationship come with its own set of challenges, but every milestone is meant to signify the growing strength of your bond and love for eachother. The process of moving in with your partner should be exciting, and there is so much to look forward to. Before you take your first steps, you’ll want to do your research though, and have a few conversations with your new roommate.
The 50/50 Split
In most roommate situations, there is an agreement to split rent, utilities and finances down the middle. When you move in with your partner, you’ll have to decide how you’ll evenly split your bills, rent, and utilities like water, electric, and cable. If you agree to split finances equally with your partner, you want to make sure to pick an apartment or home that you are both comfortable affording as well. Keep this in mind when house hunting, and if you enlist a realtor for help, be sure to be honest about your price range. That way you stay within budget and avoid overspending, and the financial anxiety that comes with it. Also, don’t be afraid to talk openly with your partner about your annual income, any looming debts, and your spending habits, to help determine better delegate how much each of you will contribute to bills and other living expenses. Splitting the bills is a great way to start out, before taking more serious steps in your relationship, and living on a shared income.
Be Open About Expectations
When you are making decisions about moving in, you’ll want to be have honest discussions with your partner about your expectations in your new home. Discuss cleaning habits and preferences to set yourselves up for success. Adjusting to another person’s lifestyle may be one of the biggest challenges you face, and confronting them about issues that are bothering you will be even harder. The key is to approach confrontation with your partner without hostility, and addressing the direct issue that is upsetting you. For example, you might want your partner to wash the dishes more often, but maybe they need a little hint or push to do it. Don’t assume your partners a mind reader, and be patient and respectful during this learning experience for both of you.. You’ll also want to be clear about your preferences surrounding guests and pets. All types of pets can make great companions, but they are also a huge responsibility. When you are sharing a space with your partner, you’ll want to make sure your partner is on board with that level of responsibility before you decide to bring home a furry friend.
The Stuff: Yours, Mine and Ours
With the merging of lifestyles, also comes the merging of your “stuff,” which can be a challenge if you don’t stay organized. Prior to moving in, you’ll want to create a detailed list of belongings that you both have in order to avoid any duplicate furniture and appliances. This will also help you pinpoint what items you could sell to make a little extra money to spend on your new home. Now that you are living together, you’ll also have to discuss what colors and themes you’ll want to introduce into your new home. Take some time to look through catalogues or home decor blogs like this one to give you some ideas and tips on how to style your space to reflect both of your interior tastes. As you slowly bring your home together over a period of time, you might want to invest in a few key pieces like a living room furniture set or a kitchen table that you love, and center the rest of the decor around these pieces. If you don’t want to buy new right away, check out apps like craigslist and community Facebook pages where members sell quality used furnishings at affordable prices.
Flea season is here, so it's time to create and execute your battle plan. If you don't fight these tiny, horrible pests, your dogs and cats will suffer, and your family may end up covered with bites as well. Nothing good comes from fleas, so man your battle stations and stop the invaders in their tiny tracks.
Flea bites are more than annoying and itchy. They can cause some serious health issues in you and your pets. Fleas are literally blood suckers and survive by feeding off your dogs and cats. When given an opportunity, they'll suck your blood as well.
Fleas come equipped to pierce your skin and stay there, making it difficult to brush them off. They are also hard to visually detect because they are only about 1/8 of an inch long and are black or reddish.
A flea infestation can drive your pets crazy with itching. They often break the skin while scratching, and that can lead to skin infections and hair loss. Fleas are also notorious for spreading Bubonic plague. While the incidence of this disease is small, it is still a horrifying reality, even in the U.S.
Your vet can recommend an effective and safe flea medication for your pets. While you can use a topical treatment, some owners prefer to use medications like Comfortis, a chewable tablet that kills fleas in about 30 minutes and prevents them for a month. Click here if you would like more information on how to obtain such products.
When your dog or cat has fleas, so does your home and your yard. You can't just treat your pets and ignore their environment. Experts recommend thoroughly vacuuming your home to get rid of as many flea eggs as possible. Then you should put the vacuum bag in plastic and immediately discard it. Invest in a safe flea fogger and use it in your home to kill the rest of the fleas.
You will also need to launder and treat your pet's bedding every week. Don't forget to do the same with any place your pet hangs out, including your car.
Work on making your yard an unfriendly place for fleas. Try to get rid of warm shady places that collect twigs, grass clipping and leaves. Also, discourage wild animals from visiting your yard since they too can spread fleas. Keep your garbage secured and fix openings your fence.
Soothing Flea Bites
When your pets already have flea bites, you can take action to soothe their suffering. First, bathe your pet using a pH-balanced pet shampoo. An herbal coat rinse may help soothe the bites as well. You can either purchase a rinse or make one yourself using peppermint and chamomile flowers. Some people find that using Aloe Vera gel on the bites is helpful.
Consult your vet about using anti-allergy medications to stop the itching. Antihistamines can often stop the pain and swelling as well. Sometimes, the medication you take can also be used on your dog or cat.
Flea season can be tough, but you have many ways to battle these infestations. Always consult with your vet about the best flea medications. If your pets do have fleas, remember to treat their surroundings as well as their coats. You can win the flea battle, but you need to start now.
Lannie, writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online.
The Boy and His Ribbon by Pepper Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Boy and His Ribbon is a dark, winding tale of abuse, survival, and forbidden love. This book is definitely not a traditional romance and has elements that are somewhat taboo. Nonetheless, I found this book to be very well written, intriguing, and emotional.
The story follows Della and Ren, two children on the run after escaping from an abusive house of terrors. Della is the McClary’s biological daughter, while Ren is not. He was being held hostage and forced to do labor for them. When Ren, who is much older than Della, escapes, he takes her with him and their saga of survival begins.
As Ren tries to learn how to survive in a world away from the horrendous farm, he takes on a caregiver role for Della. The two grow up and grow together, both each other’s world entire. Nonetheless, when decades pass and the two are grown, those feelings of love will get more complex and confusing.
I will say that some people may find this book a bit taboo. Nonetheless, Pepper Winters handles the topic in a respectable, understandable manner. She manages to make the somewhat taboo topic the central conflict and also something the reader can fathom and even accept. The characters were well-crafted, and the plot was so intriguing. Nothing about this story is cliché or overdone—it truly is a piece that stands out in a crowd of stories.
I loved the back and forth feel of the book thanks to the alternating point of view. It really helped me understand both characters and their reasoning for their actions. In a dark world full of violence and abuse, Ren and Della find hope in each other, which is a beautiful thing.
I cannot wait to read the next book, The Girl and Her Ren, which releases this June. Thank you, Pepper Winters, for a uniquely engaging storyline that really had me thinking about the lines in love, survival, and what it means to truly love someone unconditionally.
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