5 Favorite Gifts That Bring Joy

The joy of gift-giving has endless possibilities. If I am being totally honest here, I recycle gifts all the time! No, it doesn’t mean I take unwanted gifts or used gifts and “gift” them to some unsuspecting friend or family member. It means, I have realized that I have My 5 Favorite Gifts that I always seem to buy for multiple people throughout the year! No matter the age, budget or occasion, these gifts always seem to be hit for those on the receiving end. The brand or choice of item might change slightly depending on whom it is for, but for the most part the concept of my 5 favorite gifts remain the same.

My 5 Favorite Gifts That Bring Joy To All
Tea/Coffee with a cute mug
Beauty & wellness products
Slippers or cozy socks
Food gift sets

Using these 5 gift ideas as a base for my holiday shopping, I found some wicked cute items and great products. Not only did I buy them for myself, but I can not wait to gift them to those I love. No matter the age or budget, you can find these items for just about anyone on your list! I love to shop for my family. However, when I am happy with the product personally I am even more excited to buy it for someone else! Spread the love, right? Below are the products I am gifting this year!

Forks, Knives and Spoons By Leah DeCesare
This book is insanely funny and I was so lucky to receive a copy from the author herself and fellow Rhody Blogger. First, where was this book when I was in college? It could have saved me from myself and from many player forks. If I am being honest, it is almost 400 pages, about 200 pages longer than most books I like to read, but it was such a good one that I really didn’t mind the extra pages. It is light, yet emotional. Funny, yet serious. And the analogy of branding utensils to certain types of men is really ingenious that I often say, why didn’t I think of that? This book is on my list for all my college graduates and those friends who are just starting out in the dating world or newly married! If you want to check out this book or more from Leah DeCesare you can do so on her Amazon author page and follow her on Facebook.Pukka Tea & Yoga Expression Mugs
I am no stranger to tea and cute mugs. I have way too many of both, but they always seem to get into my cart even when I am not in the market for either of them. I recently was introduced to Pukka tea at The Well Summit that I attended last month. I instantly fell in love with their mission and their quality of ingredients. Organic, fair trade and ethically harvested herbs are just some of the reasons this brand is my new favorite! Their blends of teas are unique and taste even better, this I promise. I am pairing two fun mugs that I recently scored at Home Goods with a box of Pukka Love Tea for a great hostess gift for an upcoming party!Calm-A-Mama Flower Remedies
Wellness is so important to me. Caring for my body in the most natural way possible is always something that I hold in high regard. With so many products on the market, I was so grateful to discover Calm-A-Mama about 18 months ago. The power of the flower is as natural as you can get. These drops are a blend of flower essences and an herbal water extract, or hydrosol. The herbs work on your physical body, while the flower essences support you emotionally. They use all USDA organic, non-GMO and pesticide-free herbs and all their blends are alcohol free! The sleep & immune drops are my favorite and I can not wait to gift this to all my friends! If you want to learn more about these drops and other blends, you can visit the website here.
Trader Joes Rainbow of Honey
I love to give food sets to foodies, especially out of the box items like the Rainbow of Honey from Trader Joes. Sure, you see spices and sauces and even baked goods in a jar, but nothing is sweeter (IMO) than a literal pot of gold in a rainbow of colors! The flavors vary based on where they come from and I’ve tasted all of them and each one stands out for different reasons. Some are sweet, some are floral and some a bit more nutty. Regardless, you can use these jars of honey for so many reasons! My favorite way to indulge is some mimosa honey over brie with a side of grapes! Have a Trader Joes near you, get there and snag one of these sets for you and a friend!Victoria’s Secret Pom Pom Slippers 
Chances are if you are like me, the idea of spending my own money on socks & slippers doesn’t make me thrilled. I mean, the stuff goes on your feet and no-one sees it anyway? However, when I get my feet all cozy into some fluffy socks or slippers I instantly feel better. There is nothing better than relaxing on the couch on a cold winter day with a pair of cute slippers, a good book, some tea and a yummy snack. See what I did there? These pom pom slippers from Victoria’s Secret are so cute and trendy that anyone would love to open a pair of these this holiday. I might have grabbed a few extra pairs for myself as well!As you can see, I can take My 5 Favorite Gifts and can spin them in many ways that bring joy to all the people in my life! Do you find yourself recycling some of the same things to other people because you love them so? When you find something good, why not stick with it and spread the joy to others in the process.

Happy Gifting & Happy Holidays~

Why I Set Intentions AND Not Resolutions

2017 has reared it’s head and people are shouting out to the world what they “resolve” to fix this year. I’ve written about this very notion before (see here) and I stand by my initial thoughts. I don’t do resolutions, never have and never will. A resolution to me, seems to be a means to end. And end to something bad or a flaw. Like I need to fix something that was broken or change immediately (or else). I don’t think I need to change and I certainly don’t think I am broken. Change is good, but not when it comes with baggage…

I totally get the idea that a new year should bring change, hope or a fresh slate. That sounds positive, whereas to me a resolution has a negative connotation attached to it. Instead of thinking onto 2017 in terms of what you resolve to fix, why don’t you think of 2017 as an opportunity to CREATE something positive in your life? Listen, if the word “resolution” doesn’t get your panties in a twist like it does mine, then by all means RESOLVE away! Who am I to judge? I however, don’t like anything that feels negative or daunting to me.

This year I am setting intentions and not resolutions. Maybe you can set an intention for the life you are actively CREATING?  Change your intentions whenever you see fit. Commit yourself to being PRESENT in this world, for each moment can bring something different to your life.  Resolutions, opportunities, intentions, goals, wishes, whatever you call your deepest desires, don’t fall victim to them. Don’t let them hold you hostage. Change them without warning. Grow through, what you go through. Not being free to express yourself without judgement (even from within) is damaging enough.

If you made a resolution this year, I wish you the very best. For me, my intentions are clear.

In 2017,
I intend to live with intent;
I intend to love my body more
I intend to laugh louder
I intend to hug longer
I intend to try new things
I intend to express my emotions without fear of judgement
I intend to create
I intend to love deeper
I intend to breathe
I intend to embrace my life, for it is the only one I am ever going to get….

Don’t fear failing, fear having never tried at all.

Pedal For A Purpose

Want to pedal for a purpose? Well, then join me at the 2nd annual Body Armour Spin-a-thon Fundraiser this Sunday October 30th! For those who might not know, my niece was tragically killed in as car accident as a passenger one night 5 years ago. It is something that we as a family will never forget. Each year, the Elanna Zuller Memorial Sports Fund hosts fundraisers and events to raise money for local kids, sports organizations, scholarships and more. Body Armour is graciously hosting their spin-a-thon again this year in honor of Elanna Zuller!


There’s no better way to show you care than donating to a good cause and burning some calories while you’re at it!  A Spin-a-Thon is just like a walk-a-thon, except that participants cycle on stationary bikes rather than walking.  Cyclists gather and members trade off cycling time to raise money through sponsors and donations. One hour is all it takes to help make a significant positive impact in the life of a local family. Your participation in this event will help support those in need in our community; all proceeds raised will benefit the Elanna Zuller Memorial Sports Fund, and your $10 registration gets you a Tshirt and a bike.  Bikes are still available for timeslots! $10 holds you a bike and you raise whatever denomination you wish!

Some Fundraiser Day Activities: 

8am Spin (instructor Rosemary)
8:15-8:45am The Art of Yoga with Joy (kids yoga and art project)
8:30 Pumpkin decorating goes all day long!
9 am Spin ( Instructors Amal & Jenna)
9:30-Noon Face Painting begins with Hazey Daze Creations 
10 am Spin (Instructors Jess & Tara)
10:30-11am The Art of Yoga with Joy (kids yoga and art project)
10:30-noon Complimentary lunch provided by Jersey Mikes
11 am Spin (Instructor Pete)

There will be snacks and drinks served all day. Raffles to win. Items to purchase. Boot camp demos. Fun to be had! The event itself is FREE. However, $10 registers you for a bike to take a spin class! Don’t want to spin? No worries. Come join in on the fun and support by trying to win some of the great raffles we had donated graciously by local companies and friends! Perhaps purchase some merchandise or just donate directly to the Elanna Zuller Memorial Fund.

I would love to have you pedal for a purpose with me!


A Busy Moms Guide To Staying Active

If you know me, you know I adore fitness. Not for vanity reasons. I am what society likes to call “plus-size”, so I think the vanity portion is lost on me! I adore fitness because of how it makes me feel. I feel strong. It clears my racing, anxious thoughts right away. It sends a dose of happiness right to my brain. I am over 1 year free of my anxiety medication because I turn to fitness. Plus, it is fun. Yes, fitness can be fun. It can social. It can be life-changing. It can be what gets you through the day. It can be whatever your heart desires. But, only if you commit yourself.


No, you do not need to go all in. You don’t need to start running 5 miles per day and spending hours at the gym. You can start small. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Chances are if you run into something without taking the time to properly see what works for you, you might end up jumping ship real fast. I don’t want that. You don’t want that. I want you to succeed. Whatever your definition of success is. Everyone’s success is measured differently. Just as everyone needs to find what works for them!


I recently wrote an article for Rhode Island Health & Fitness entitled, A Busy Moms Guide to Staying Active. I talked about some of the ways we as moms, or any individual can fit more activity into their lives. We are a nation that is constantly living in the fast lane. Self-care can’t happen if you don’t slow down and make the time!  Check it out here, and perhaps there are some tips you could take into your lives today and become happier & healthier!


The Great Escape Room: A Brain Busting Experience

A few weeks ago, a small group of us Rhody Bloggers got to try out The Great Escape Room in Providence and boy was it AH-MAY-ZING! However, it does do a little something to your ego if you do NOT escape! Kidding, but we were shy of escaping by about 5 minutes!  I thought I was pretty clever, but boy were the clues wicked tricky! I think that’s what made it so enjoyable. It wasn’t your average clue. You had to think and really use your mind! They were out-of-the-box clever and challenging! I think I can safely speak for the bloggers in attendance and say it was a great experience, one we will surely take part in again.IMG_3473

Picture this,  you are locked in a room. You have 1 hour to solve a bunch of clues in order to solve a bigger puzzle that unlocks the doors to said room. Problem is, you don’t know what you are solving or looking for. It is a riddle? Is it a numeric code? Are you looking for words? Are you looking for numbers? At the beginning, it was quite confusing. You just start tearing the room apart piece by piece. Literally. Our in room guide Andy (who was so great),  kept telling us to just make a mess and search anything and everything.  So we did! We started finding clues (can’t tell you what) and started to put them in the right order (or so we thought). Nothing is as it seems and yet everything was. Don’t over-think. That’s a hint I can give you!

Great Escape room

This is great activity for the whole family, a bunch of friends, team building and even private parties! The location is perfect for anyone looking for some fun in Providence. After you ESCAPE, you are surrounded by tons or yummy restaurants and cool shops. Perfect summer afternoon in the city.  This could be a great rainy day activity this summer as well!  Tickets are $28 with a $1.80 processing fee. They also offer Student and Military discounts and 10% off a group of 10 or more.

The Great Escape Room Providence is a real-life room escape game based on the popular computer and mobile phone escape games. Escape the room games are the newest craze sweeping the nation! After entering a room with your team, the door is locked behind you. 60 minutes are on the clock! You must work together in order to find clues and solve puzzles that will lead you to your escape. It is part scavenger hunt and part puzzle game. 

Are you ready to become a Master Sleuth?  Get ready to Escape The Room!


Love & Marriage


Love & Marriage. It just hit me. On this day exactly one year ago, my husband and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary with a vow renewal. So, technically we just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary, but who’s counting! We have been together for 15 years, since we were just babies at 18 years old. It was a magical day, one that I can’t wait to do again at our 20 year vow renewal!

Anyone who says that the longer you love that person the easier it gets, is just full of shit. Plain and simple. It’s just not true, and I will tell you why. Things happen in 10 years. Shit, that’s a decade. Trends can come & go all within a decade. You might be loving those crop top shirts at the beginning and as time moves on, baggy shirts are in. You’re screwed and now need a whole new wardrobe. Fuck. That’s hard-work and expensive. Just like being in a marriage takes hard-work (and can sometimes get quite expensive)…

Just as trends change, people do too. They grow up. Literally, they get taller. It’s just what happens with time. Time is the burden on marriages these days. New situations and new feelings only occur and arise because time passes. You are put into new scenarios and the world is changing around you. You are always racing against time. It’s life. Once you realize that time is of the essence and can recognize that you need to proactively work on your marriage, only then can you truly have a chance at being happy. I can say this without reservations because time has changed me. It has changed my husband.  What I wanted at 18, is not quite the same as what I want now. Same for my husband. We’ve learned to embrace the change that time has brought us.

Don’t be mad at someone for wanting something different than before. Embrace it. Challenge it. Allow it to become a new part of your lives. Understanding and being open to change is what will help you grow together, appreciate each other and will allow you to continuously fall in love with your significant other all over again.  I don’t know why this hit me like a ton of bricks tonight at 9pm on a not-so random Wednesday evening, but it did. Sure my soul and spirit might be the same, but I am not the same naive girl I was at 18. My husband knows this. He values the change we have done together. Value what you had, what you have and what you will become; together.




Photography Credit: Midnight Shift Photography  I have talented friends!