When Groupon first came out, I was an addict. Never one to pass up a good deal, Groupon and I became besties fast. Our relationship has always been strong–especially now since mama is NOT a baller just yet.
But Groupon did something even more spectacular: They added coupons to their site. Some may know about this, some may not but as a lover of useful information, I’m dropping that hot fire knowledge on you today. And because I don’t want you guys left out in the wind since Mother’s Day is THIS WEEKEND, here are the Groupon coupons you should be focusing on:
Top 10 Groupon Coupons You Need This Mother’s Day
Edible Arrangements Coupon: This is one of my favorites because I love Edible Arrangements! They always have the best tasting fruit. Their pineapple? True perfection!
Shutterfly Coupon: There’s actually a plethora of these which I love. After having the photo shoot done, I now want to display ALL the photos without using my entire tax return!
T.J. Maxx: If your mom or wife is a “Maxxinista” then you need to make sure you’re gifting her with some free shipping! I know it’s not just me who will load an entire cart online and rethink my $500 purchase over $7.99 shipping.
Jane Stone: Prior to seeing the coupon on Groupon, I’d never heard of this store but after checking it out, I’m quite happy that there’s a 20% off coupon for their items!
Macy’s: My mom and I have bonded over many trips to Macy’s! They have such a great selection and what better way to celebrate the mom in your life by taking them to pick something out they love and getting an awesome discount?
Target: Don’t judge me–I’m an addict. I love shopping there with my RedCard and getting that 5%. Plus their always trying to make me save more money with Cartwheel and coupons and in-store deals. TARGET I LOVE YOU!!!
With Mother’s Day around the corner I’m feeling nostalgic–especially since I just got the photos in that my friend Richard from This Original Life took during our “Mommy & Me” photo shoot.
I’ve always said that if my girls can look back on their childhoods the way I look back on mine, then I was successful as a mom. Thinking back to my childhood, there are so.many.fond memories. I can probably fill a book with the times that we laughed, cried, loved and hated each other–yes, hated (my girls get their drama honest).
But not one of those times is a staged photo shoot but I wish I had photos of those times so I could show my littles how things looked, how I smiled, the gleam in my eyes–everything that Richard captured during the morning he spent with my family.
My favorite times were when my mom would wake my brother and I up, toss us in the car and we would venture on what seemed like an unplanned road trip. As a little girl, it was so much fun to just hop in the car and go! I thought my mom was truly the coolest. Now as an adult, I know there was so much planning she did behind the scenes. What I would give to see pictures of my mom sneaking around the house and our rooms (which were ALWAYS messy) to pack us up for our impending trip.
We would go to places like Hershey Park, Busch Gardens, or just to visit her family that we rarely saw so it was always a special occasion to see them. I remember when it was my turn to play navigator (I was horrible at it) but I loved the chance to get my mom’s attention all to myself. We would talk about everything–swimming, school, the future. We would laugh and joke or we would just stare out into the road that was waiting for us.
Another of my favorite memories were all the times that she took to make sure I understood the importance of good skin care. While the saying of “black don’t crack” is popular now, it wasn’t always! The lessons in Clinique care stick with me now as I still have a beauty regimen in place that was started as a child with my mom. Masks, toners, face wash, creams… I knew how to use them, when, and how often at a young age.
One of my least favorite times were my years of puberty. We would argue so much. There was lots of talking back, swift pops to the mouth and anger. I hated myself but I didn’t know why. I didn’t look like my svelte blond hair, blue-eyed counterparts and I hated it. But my mom loved me through it. She forced me to see the beauty that society denied me. She taught me that though my curves and body were beautiful, not everyone needed to see all of it. She taught me that it doesn’t matter what others think of me just so long as I thought of myself as being great nothing else mattered.
These are the times I wish I could photograph. These are the lessons I wish I could keep in a physical sense so I can wrap them up and pass them down to my daughter.
The very daughter that she held as soon as my body pushed her out. The very granddaughter that she fell in love with the instant she saw my belly pop out showing I was holding her life. The very granddaughter that the swooped in to save me so that I could be the best mom I could to her.
And now I’m building my own memories with my daughters. Neither one of them will look back on the day we had our staged photos done. It was stressful as we all tried to smile just right through makeup and semi-done hair. But you know what they’ll remember? They’ll remember the day that “that man came and took our pictures”. Mini has already referenced the morning that she helped me make her “favorite” french toast. These are the times that matter. These are the moments worth remembering. And I’m so happy that I have these pictures to illustrate the narration that I have in my head.
Check out this deal that my friend is offering!
Check out some more of the photos from our Mommy + Me Morning Photo Shoot!
When most people think of ladybugs, they think of luck. These might be one of the only bugs that when I see it, I don’t immediately begin to feverishly swat at it and secretly pray for it’s imminent death. Nope, none of that happens when I see these little guys.
Having little girls, ladybugs are popular with clothes and accessories and I always thought they were these cute, little bugs meant to spread good luck and cheer all over the world. But they aren’t. These little guys have a purpose and a rather awesome one that I learned about during the recent release of ladybugs held at Pike Nurseries.
Ladybugs Are More Than Just Good Luck & Fortune
These babies are killing machines!!! Yes, killing machines as in they will eat those nasty little bugs that are determined to kill your gardens. Its a dog eat dog world, right? Or a ladybug eat nasty bugs world to be more accurate.
Fun Facts About Ladybugs:
There are over 4500 different species of ladybugs with 450 in the US–including a pink one that looks more like a beetle.
These pink ladybugs look like the beetles because they are beetles! Yep, they are part of the beetle family–not to be confused with Ringo though.
These babies are natural enemies (yes, even ladybugs have enemies) of aphids and pesr insects making them a chemical free pesticide.
They’re small but have a huge appetite. A ladybug will eat over 5000 aphids in it’s lifetime.
They’re the opposite of people when it comes to aging–their spots fade the older they get.
Legend has it that they became known as lucky because European farmers in the middle ages would pray to the Virgin Mary when their crops would go bad and swarms of ladybugs would come in and save the day. Amazing, right?
Pike Nurseries: A Wealth of Knowledge
At the event that Pike Nurseries had (which was then followed up by flyers sent home in mini’s backpack) I learned so much. While I don’t have a garden just yet, I do know that they’re the ones that will be able to help me when I’m ready. Did you know that you can take a dying plant to see them and they’ll nurse it back to life? I’ve got a tomato plant sitting here that needs some emergency care, sheesh.
Now if only ladybugs ate weeds. We’d be in business!
Check out more ladybug information here including how to build your own ladybug garden!
Have you been blessed with a green thumb? What are you growing?
The day that we’ve all been waiting for is around the corner. No, not your birthday or Christmas.
Even before I became a mother, I loved Mother’s Day. There’s something special about showering the person who created you when they’ve done a pretty awesome job of it. But just because it’s always at the forefront of my mind doesn’t mean that I act on it in a timely fashion and I know I’m not the only one. So this is for my last minute friends, my procrastinator peeps, the ones who have NOT forgotten but have yet to move on it.
This list is for you.
7 Last Minute Ideas for Mother’s Day
Schedule A House Cleaning: Remember last year when I said that we really want our house cleaned? This still rings true. Now don’t get me wrong, I love it when my husband cleans the house. He does a way better job in putting things where they belong but after having my house cleaned twice by WellKept, the best gift is having someone else do it. Now WellKept is only in Atlanta but if you’re elsewhere, find a reputable service and make an appointment. Can’t get scheduled in before Mother’s Day because you waited until the last minute? (I swear I said this without judgement.) Print out something and stick it in the card so she knows her clean home is coming!
Order Flowers: Trust me, this never gets old. I made the mistake of telling my husband that I don’t really like getting flowers because they die and are a waste of money. I lied. I love flowers. There’s nothing like pretty flowers to brighten a home. “But Aaronica, where should we get flowers from?” Proflowers is my choice. I photographed these flowers pictures after having them for 6 days and look at how beautiful they are? And while they will die, this vase is mine forever!
Take Her to Brunch: Every weekend the hubs and I combine our strengths in the kitchen and whip up magnificent breakfasts/brunches (we’re slow to leave the bed on weekends). As delicious as these are, there’s nothing like not having to cook or look at the havoc that cooking has done to your kitchen. Nope. We want clean kitchens and to be served. My favorite brunches have been at Copelands and Doubletree–they do a special Mother’s Day brunch.
Do Something Active: Not run a half marathon or anything but plan a nice walk or trail hike or something. Something that will allow your kids to release the pent up energy from trying their hardest to act right during brunch and so they aren’t driving you guys crazy. But most women are a little conscious about our weight and although we won’t count the calories of the meal we just ate, reality says they do count. So take her on a nice walk to relieve some of those bits of energy before they get stored as fat. Some of my favorite trails in the Atlanta area are along the Beltline, Roswell Waterfalls, the Chattahoochee off of 285 and Kennesaw Mountain. These all offer great views!
Plan a Picnic: Since getting my picnic mat from uncommongoods, I use any excuse to have a picnic. But there’s nothing like the intimacy of sharing picnic in a beautiful park. It’s so movie-like right? This way the kids are free to be themselves as you feed her some strawberries and mimosas–which are a must. Be sure to pre-make them since glass bottles like that aren’t allowed in parks.
Pamper Her: Give her a gift card that she can only use at a nail salon or massage place–don’t do a Visa or MasterCard gift card because she’ll probably end up spending it on you or the kids and she really needs to spend it on herself.
Say Thank You: No shade to fatherhood, but motherhood is hard. Every day most of us are doubting what we do as moms. There’s no book to say that we’re doing the right thing or on the healthy path with our parenting. It’s something we’re sensitive about and want to succeed in. Say thank you. It’s so big. These two words spoken to us about our mothering can help us survive the rest of the year. Say it and mean it.
It’s a celebration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And yes, every.last.one of those exclamation points was needed.
On May 1, 2014, I started my journey as an entrepreneur/mompreneur/solopreneur. So many names for it but it’s basically all the same. I have so many words, thoughts, and emotions surrounding this monumental event that it’s hard for me not to just write a book right here but I’m not–not yet anyway!
I Got A New Look
When I launched TCM on April 6, 2014, I had one of the ugliest “logos” according to my dad. I knew it but I needed something because I just couldn’t wait any longer so I just threw something together–literally. It was awful. But then I moved on quickly to what TCM became branded with–the sparkles and typewriter font which I loved so much–because I’m a writer. After that one, I figured I would just go with it. I don’t think it really represented the totality of what I wanted my brand to be but it worked in the moment.
After blogging as a business for a year, I have more clarity on my look, feel, and more importantly how I want my brand to be perceived. There’s so much depth to what I have going on here–I’m not “just” a mommy blog–and I wanted all of that to be encompassed in here. The site has a new design that’s cleaner and more streamlined in my opinion. And the best part? I did it all myself! Sure, I would have loved to have forked over $2000 to someone else to do it. Ok, I’m lying. I would have preferred to save the $2000 for a family trip but whatevs! Either way, I desired a new look and feel and I created it. The branding will be represented all throughout my social media as well. I’m so excited!!!
I’ve Gotten Clearer Direction
I love writing. Like love, love, love writing. If it were up to me, I would write about everything under the sun. It’s such a release for me and I love the feedback that I get. But I’ve learned that I don’t exactly want everything housed here on TCM. Some things are great for HuffingtonPost (have you seen my posts up there?!!?) and I’m working on getting published on some other sites too. But more importantly, I’ve paid attention to the numbers, the comments, and seeing what it is my readers find valuable. Taking that into account, there will be more DIY projects, recipes, and the like. I’m excited about those as I’ve been working on my photography skills!
The Truth Behind Working For Myself
I have so much to share about starting a business that I’ve decided to do a series for the month of May. I’ll be showing you how to set your blogs up from start to finish, talking about becoming a successful Etsy seller, and things NOT to do. But I’m going to share a bit of an inside look here…
I watched Beyonce’s “Lemonade” along with the rest of the world and unlike many who could relate to her as it pertained to a person in a romantic capacity, I felt like she was telling my story in entrepreneurship. I love working for myself.Love, love, love, love, love it. But my goodness, there have been moments where I have felt so betrayed by it as well. There have been moments where I wanted to scream and shout and cry out and did just that. Then there were the highs that followed that made me feel like I was rocking a Beyonce onesie as I sashayed down runways disguised as Target aisles. Then I would be sad because of rejection but on another high because of acceptance. Then I would just be lost and confused until someone in my village took my hand and led me back to my path.
This all seems so cliche and esoteric right? It’s not. Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller coaster. Everyday you put yourself out in to the world and you try not to take it personally as you’re told that you aren’t enough because of numbers. Or you watch as others celebrate their accomplishments that you’re genuinely happy about but can’t fully show it as you lick your own wounds. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, the overly sensitive or the resistance to change. Just last week I called my entire family in tears because April has been the hardest month for me while simultaneously being the most rewarding. From them I have received the best advice I could have and I pass it on to you:
Yes, you will. There will be lots and lots and lots of failure. But you can’t stay down. You have to see what went wrong, make the adjustment and be ready to try again.
80/20 Rule & Seasons
The 80/20 rule doesn’t only apply to relationships. As my best friend Terrence explained it to me, there are times where certain parts of your business will require the 80% and other pieces the 20% but the key is in knowing what part of your business needs what percentage of your time and knowing when the seasons for this change.
Hard work doesn’t guarantee success but that doesn’t mean you don’t still keep pushing.
My dad and I are in similar positions right now. He used to make way more and is now not despite the passion and skill he has for his artwork (post on that to come soon). But no matter what, he’s still working hard.
Your family’s got you.
My mom has always taught me this and it’s been reinforced by my friends who have become family. When you go into business, you’ll need to be fed, reminded of your greatness, loved on, supported, and someone to just be there. And this is your family, your village, your tribe.
It’s My Anniversary!!!
Yes, it’s been hard. So.very. hard. But I look back and I’m sooooo proud of myself!!! I have made it the first year of many without corporate America! I’m a better mother, wife, and woman because of it!!! Oh, and because you guys are my virtual village, I have a giveaway for you!
No, I didn’t freeze my entire city, run off and then create my own frozen castle while embracing fabulous powers that I’d been hiding for years but I did break through my own mold and let go of a lot. I also did embrace some pretty fabulous things about myself that lead to even more fabulousness. But what am I talking about, right?
I cut all of my hair off and I, a plus-sized mom, wore a crop top. For a performance. In front of everyone.
Some might think this isn’t a big thing and for many it may not be but for me, it was huge.
Breaking through the barriers I had on myself
On Saturday morning, I woke up to a medium length, curly frock that I hadn’t washed in 5 days. When you’re a natural haired woman, washing your hair is quite a feat that involves tools, products, and most of all, time. I love my hair and try really hard to take good care of it so that it will love me back but bleaching, coloring, not sleeping on satin really takes a toll on one’s curls. I thought I wanted long hair because the curls had become so much of my identity. But Saturday after a lovely thrifting trip, I had my India Arie “I am not my hair” moment and had the poor lady at Great Clips questioning her career as she snipped away the fears of boldness that I had grown with every inch of my hair.
I am not my hair. My hair is not me.
This was the first of many barriers that I broke this weekend.
I had the honor of reading in front of hundreds for the Listen To Your Mother production on April 23. I made my outfit and was really proud of it. I’m not sure why I thought that in the span of a couple days I would all of a sudden lose 100lbs and be this svelte mama ready to rock a crop top. But Saturday came and I still had the fluff. But you know what? I put my crop top that I made on with my flare pants and rocked the hell out of my reading as both my story and rolls made their debut.
I am a plus-sized woman and I wore a crop top. And I rocked the hell out of it. Proudly.
For so long I had subscribed to this standard of beauty that said that when I achieve it, I will feel proud to be myself. Then and only then would it be acceptable to no longer fear my truths because I would be pretty/skinny/strong/accomplished enough to stand on my two feet. But this weekend I basically said “eff that! I’m doing me and I’m doing it now!!!” And you know what? It feels pretty amazing.
Embracing my truths
Sure, cutting my hair could be seen as a symbolic gesture of something or another. I could make up some deeply rooted attachment for what hair meant and no longer means to me. But I want to walk in my truths now and no longer fear judgement because of it.
I like my hair short.
Whew! So liberating that is!!! This is my truth. I simply like short hair. But I had brainwashed myself so long that I needed my hair to be long. Not because my husband liked it. Not because I liked it. But because it was part of this mold that I had created for myself.
I wanted to be safe. I wanted to be the safe black girl with curly hair that gets along with everyone and offends no one. Safe from being targeted from racial slurs as I walk through the parking lot with my peanut butter skinned daughters. Safe from being labeled the “angry black woman” when there’s a lot that angers me. Safe from having to feel strongly about anything but my family.
But that’s not me.
I’m a fiery, passionate woman that cares about a lot. I care about the homeless man that I drove past with a backpack and dog who had a sign that said “Will Work for Food for My Dog”. Not himself, his dog. I care about the black women being exploited in the meat industry. I care about my friends being called racial slurs as they walk through the gym parking lot. I care. And I’m not safe.
I was talking to the hubs and he was asking if I felt like I had to play it nice all the time or have long hair because that’s what society deemed appropriate and I couldn’t have disagreed more. I don’t believe in being held down by societal expectations. But it was me that had created this mold for myself and I did it because I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be “that” mom. You know the one–flawless hair, always put together, adorbs even in her top knot and yoga pants as she brought perfectly baked cupcakes in for her kid’s birthday. But you know what? I hate doing hair and I’m not always put together BUT I’M STILL BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND SMART AND INCREDIBLY TALENTED!!! And capable of creating stellar run on sentences. And not to take away from “that” mom. But that’s just never been who I am. In college, I wore socks and shower shoes and sweats every day to class. I thought I looked amazing. I was also significantly smaller with a larger amount of self-confidence but you get where I’m going.
I had to break my mold this weekend so that the real me could breathe and exist and grow. April has been an incredibly tough month but you know what? Those tears from April have watered the seeds that I’ve planted in life and May I’ve got my baskets ready to pick the blooming flowers because I “Let It Go“.