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    The Challenge in Raising Brave Girls

    I jokingly did a Periscope on being a mom of girls and the challenges that we face as a response to constantly hearing about moms of boys. Being a parent to any child is difficult and I have no idea what faces moms of boys but I know intimately about the struggles in raising little girls. When you think of little girls, you think of these docile, beautiful little creatures sitting pretty having tea parties with their dolls. That’s what I thought I was getting into when the doctor announced that I would be having a little girl in 2010. What I got was the exact opposite. I have two wild, rough, rambunctious little girls that are fearless. When I look into their eyes, I find my own fearlessness and backbone. I wasn’t always as bold and brave as I am now and I certainly don’t want them to have the struggles I did growing up.

    "Brave Girls" offers an introspective look at raising today's young girls to be powerful beyond measure. Check out more at www.thecrunchymommy.com and enter the giveaway!

    my girls that i’m raising to be brave

    Growing Up {Not So} Brave

    As a woman, I know all too well the struggles in finding balance between having a strong voice, being opinionated and then being called a bossy b!tch. I also know the struggle of hiking my skirt up too high so that boys will notice me or compromising my character and beliefs to be what someone else wanted me to be instead of who I am. Just a brief history of me and my childhood: I went to all girls schools until I graduated college with a brief 2 years in co-ed public school. But in grammar, middle, and high schools I was always 1 of a few black girls in the class which is a whole other issue for another post as my babies are that 1 of a couple in their classes as well. The good thing about constantly being in an environment of all girls is that we were able to struggle with our issues as girls in the community of girls we were surrounded with. It wasn’t a big thing when one of us was on our period. No one was really tripping when we wore bras. We all had attitudes, hormone issues, and self-esteem troubles.

    "Brave Girls" offers an introspective look at raising today's young girls to be powerful beyond measure. Check out more at www.thecrunchymommy.com and enter the giveaway!

    My grandmother and I… I always thought she was so powerful…

    But I was out of middle school when my issues hit. I began acting out and there were some things that were going on with me that I didn’t know how to communicate. I was lost in the sea of hormones and figuring out who I was as I entered high school–my first time being surrounded by people I didn’t know and boys. At that time, there were no articles running rampant on the internet about how to handle your girl going through puberty or blogs devoted to gentle parenting or great books like “Brave Girls” by Stacey Rodin, PsyD. My mom saw that I wasn’t talking to her about what was going on so she found someone that I could talk to. Someone who was (and honestly still is) the very walking definition of a beautiful woman who was doing everything I wanted to. She was this tall, beautifully featured, woman who was a mom of two, wonderfully funny, charismatic, and had character that was out of this world. She was bold but tactful, classy, and had an amazing wit about her that was so refreshing. We would talk about things we were passionate about (we both loved science and movies), hang out, and most of all, she trusted me with her kids. Her youngest sat on the potty for the first time with me and took her first steps with me. I would take her oldest to the movies and his sports games. She taught me that not only was it ok to be myself but that it was so necessary to find who I was and be that person proudly. I still miss Tracey and wish we hadn’t lost contact.

    Brave Girls

    "Brave Girls" offers an introspective look at raising today's young girls to be powerful beyond measure. Check out more at www.thecrunchymommy.com and enter the giveaway!I received a copy of “Brave Girls: Raising Young Women with Passion and Purpose to Become Powerful Leaders” by Stacey Rodin, PsyD at the perfect time–both for myself and business as well as in this crazy role as a girl mom. For me, my blog is just tip of the proverbial iceberg of my dreams and reading Dr. Rodin’s book has put an even greater fire under my bottom to get things rolling in 2016. In 2010, Dr. Rodin started a program called Unleashed. Unleashed is a program that combines two of Rodin’s passions: helping young girls and puppies (two of my passions as well). In this program, she helps young, middle-school girls find their voices and develop their power in a 12-week afterschool program. To date, the Unleashed program has served 300+ girls and 400+ puppies. But even greater than this is how these 300+ girls are going to go on and help other girls–that trickle down effect is so real!

    In her book that was released earlier this year, Dr. Rodin details the reasons WHY developing the Unleased program was so important. She goes into the psychological breakdown behind what these young girls are dealing with (where the silence comes from, how their attitudes are telling us more, etc) and it’s honestly so refreshing to see someone take such a positive outlook on dealing with young girls. In Brave Girls, she talks about the defining process that young girls go through in finding out who they are–not what they world wants them to be. My favorite chapter was on “Leveraging Gender Differences”. Men and women will never be the same but that doesn’t mean we can’t be equals–and not just viewed as such. The beauty of our differences from nature to nurture makes us equal if we play to our strengths.

    Because I went to predominately all-girls schools, there’s a lot that I missed out on. Now as a mom of two girls, there’s a lot that I have to be prepared for. As Dr. Rodin points out in the book, there’s a lot of powerful women today that are still dealing with the same issues that middle school girls are simply because they were never dealt with but she points out that relationships between women are necessary to dismantle barriers and help each other.

    I would love to share even more about this book but then this post would turn into a book itself BUT you can grab your copy from Amazon or enter the giveaway:
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This book is a great read that offers insightful information on being a productive part of young girls’ lives.

    To learn more about the Unleashed program and how you can become involved, check them out here.

    **Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post but the opinions and thoughts are mine alone.**

    Holiday Gift Guide for Bloggers

    Bloggers… We all know them and love them! This holiday season get them a gift that they’ll really love and use!

    gift guide

    1. EPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial Planner by Regina Anaejionu – The mastermind behind the uber successful blog By Regina came out with her own blog planner. This planner is purely for blogging and includes a monthly editorial calendar, blog business plan and more to keep every blogger focused on their goals.
    2. The Badass Blog Planner by Sarah Morgan – Another planner by a successful blogger xo Sarah. This one has more color and graphics. She developed printables to accompany her planner as well and what blogger doesn’t LOVE a printable?!?!
    3. 365 Blog Topic Ideas: For The Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About by Dana Fox – Sometimes we have writer’s block or we just don’t know what to write about. Dana Fox, the woman behind the many successful sites, developed this book specifically to help us bloggers. 

    4. A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book: 95 Inspiring Ideas for Photographing Your Friends, Your World, and Yourself by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman – Blogging is no longer just writing. As a blogger, you have to be a creative, writer, chef, tutorial creator and photographer–just to name a few. Most times we start out with this great idea but struggle with capturing this great idea photographically. This is a great resource!

    5. Erin Condren Life Planner – As bloggers, we also have lives outside of our editorial and social media calendars. As a mom and wife, I have to be able to balance the schedules of 4 people and a household of bills, chores, and meals. I love this Life Planner because you have choices on how you want your planner to be: weekly, hourly, daily, etc.
    6. Nifty Notebook – This one pictured is by Erin Condren as well. I love a notebook with a motivational quote. It really encourages me to write and stay focused. Sure, we have OneNote, EverNote, and every other virtual notebook but oftentimes it’s best to go back to the basics with notes.
    7. Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR – I’m a newbie when it comes to photography–as are most of us–but I still want my photos to be hi res and look amazing. The Canon Rebel makes that easy.
    8. Coffee Mug – Everyone loves a warm drink in the morning to get their days started. And let’s face it, most bloggers don’t get much sleep since we’re either writing, thinking about writing, or writing about writing. Show your support of their passion!
    9. Sleep All Day Blog All Night T-Shirt – see previous description ha!
    10. Samsung Chromebook 2 – I love mine. The battery lasts for days, charges fast, and has a super fast start up. This is incredibly important for any blogger who does conferences or is an “on the go” writer. I was one of the only ones not stalking power outlets at my conferences this past year because my baby holds a charge!!!

    As a blogger, what gift would you want? And if you love a blogger, definitely get them something from this list!

    **Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.**

    Fun With Cagles Family Farm

    I received complimentary admission for myself and family for this post though these opinions are all my own.

    Corn maze. Pumpkins. Hayrides. Bonfires.

    This fall I’m determined to do them all and Cagles Family Farm offered all of this in one place (plus a haunted barn but our littles can’t participate in that just yet). Finding time to spend together as a family isn’t hard–we see each other daily–but making it fun? Now that’s been a challenge as of late but I adamant about changing this and this past weekend was our first step in mission fall fun.

    When we arrived, we were greeted by a wooden fence and guides that helped us park in the vast field that had been sanctioned off as a parking lot. The walk to the entrance was a short one and the girls got really excited as we were greeted by the pumpkin patch at the entrance. We were there to specifically do the corn maze, hayride and bonfire which was exciting enough but they also had these big trampoline like things that the kids had so much fun jumping on. We jumped a bit and then it was time to attack our first corn maze.

     

    pillow jumps

    I’ve never done a corn maze before. In fact, they scare me a little since I always think of “Children of the Corn” which was a freaky movie. Cagle’s offers 2 corn mazes–1 that takes about 10 minutes long and another that takes about 20 minutes. Naturally we opted for the shorter one first. I had to make sure I wasn’t going to hyperventilate or have an anxiety attack as we navigated through the maze.

     

    The first maze did take us about 10 minutes and it was fun. The stalks were super tall and mini led the way as we tackled the different riddles that offered us hints for the right direction. When we wrapped up the first maze, we immediately jumped into the second one. This one was a bit harder and I’d be remiss if I said I wasn’t a smidge scared when we got a little lost. But the guides were there if we needed their help and knowing that made me feel way better.

    corn maze

    We made it through the corn maze just as the sun started to go down and the zombies started to come out which was perfect timing for me. We grabbed some snacks (the funnel cake is delicious!!!!) and headed on over to get in line to jump on the hayride. To get to the hayride, we had to walk through this tunnel which mini thought was really cool. We were greeted by some friendly teens as they took our tickets to hop on the hayride which didn’t take long. The ride itself over to the bonfire took about 7 minutes but the views as we crept along were beautiful.

    hayride

    I’m not sure what I expected when we got to the bonfire area but it wasn’t what greeted us. There was another huge field that was filled with little bonfires surrounded by families. This was my favorite part and what I had been waiting on literally all day. We were helped off the truck by a friendly gentleman who was welcoming as he directed us to the marshmallows that were already calling my name. Gone are the times of searching for a good stick that wouldn’t crumple under the flames. Nifty metal and rubber skewers replaced them and proved to be perfect for roasting both hot dogs and marshmallows.

    bonfires

    The girls “danced” (to be read as abc running in circles and mini chasing her) around the fire as the hubs and I roasted our goodies. Being close to the fire warmed us so our light sweaters and jackets weren’t necessary. The air was filled with the scent of burning wood and cinders–one of my favorite scents–and my heart was filled with happiness seeing my family enjoy an easy day out.

    Days like this create the best and longest lasting memories and we’re happy to have created them with Cagle’s Family Farm.

    What fun things do you have planned for your family this fall?

    “Back”-to-School Shopping w/ Carter’s

    “I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.”

    denim shirt dress

    I use the term “back” loosely since today marks mini’s first day at big girl school. Now that she’s officially a kindergartner and my impeccable sense of style has rubbed off on her, I thought it would be fun to take her school shopping for some new threads. Most of her wardrobe has magically appeared in her drawers courtesy of big cousins and Once Upon A Child but now that we’re in big girl school, it’s time for her to shop in stores.

    I was super excited about our excursion at Carter’s since I love their style. I knew that taking her there and letting her pick out some cute outfits she would not only find something that would be cute, fresh, and stylish, but also age-appropriate. Shopping at Carter’s was easy and fun since they have a wide variety of easy outfit sets, coordinate collections, and ready to wear shorts and tees for both mini and abc. They’re normally donning some cute piece from Carter’s–especially since I can coordinate their outfits together since mini loves having abc match her.

    french terry dress

    When we got to the store, mini was ready to shop. As soon as we walked in, she was dropping cute shirts, colorful dresses, and fun pants in the stroller to buy. This Fall line is probably one of my favorites since I looooooove florals, denims, cheetah and army fatigue. Carter’s definitely hit the nail on the head here! I really wish that these things came in my size because the way I would rock them so hard…

    leopard print

    Outside of the modern twist on some traditional florals, a fresh look at army fatigues, and cute cheetah, the deals were AH-mazing! I got between 40-50% off everything and yes, I’m talking about the new line here. Right now they have the “Bright Now” Sale (40% off the entire story thru 8/4) which features $5 doorbusters of baby shorts, short sleeve tees, $6 leggings & coordinated tees, and $12 hoodies. Beginning on 8/5 thru the end of the month they have the “Count Me In Preschool”Sale with up to 50% off. And if you think Carter’s is just for babies, think again! They now go up to size 8 in clothes and 3y in shoes! Even if you’ve already done your back to school shopping, stop in and stock up on some of the fall favorites at great prices.

    What’s even better is that I have a coupon for you to use when you go shopping. Print this coupon or pull it up on your phone to received your discount:

    carters_coupon_blogger_073115

     

    Check out our footage from our shopping excursion here .

    Have you done your back to school shopping yet?

    Check out Carter’s in store and virtually here:

    Carter’s Website: http://www.carters.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carters

    Instagram: https://instagram.com/carters/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/carters

    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cartersbabykids/

    Product Review: FitBit Surge

    I am a junkie of many things… makeup, purses, fabric, gadgets, etc. But one of my favorite things to have are these wearable pedometers. The first one that I had was the Nike FuelBand and after that one broke, I moved to the Jawbone UP. The UP band was pretty cool and I liked it alright. In fact, I was just going to get another one instead of the FitBit Surge but my UP bands kept on breaking so I figured that was a sign.

    I wasn’t even going to get another one of these watches since they didn’t tell me the time and they kept breaking AND the iWatch was making it’s debut. I’m also an Apple gadget junkie. But after reading everything about the FitBit Surge on the FitBit site, I decided to go ahead and get the Surge. my dashboard

    Per the FitBit website, the Surge has the following features:

    • GPS Tracking
    • PurePulse Heart Rate
    • All-Day Activity
    • Multi-Sport
    • Long Battery Life
    • Notifications + Music
    • Auto Sleep + Alarms
    • Wireless Syncing

    I’ve had my FitBit Surge for a couple of months and I still think it’s one of the better purchases that I’ve made. Here’s what I love:

    • Text Message Notifications I hate when I’m working out and my phone alerts are going off but I don’t know if it’s important or not. As a mom, I don’t have the luxury of just sending calls or texts to silent and not doing anything with them. If there’s an emergency with my kids, I can easily see what the messages are saying since they scroll across my watch OR I can just ignore a message and continue my workout. I love this feature.
    • It’s A Watch The UP band was cool but it didn’t do the basic function of telling time. I love that it gives me the time! So basic but I love it.
    • Tracks My Workouts AND My Steps I don’t have to use my phone to log workouts since I can just specify what workout I’m doing on my wrist. This is so convenient for me.
    • All Day Tracking of My Pulse This isn’t important to most but it is to me since I like to see what my heartrate is doing. I found out not too long ago that I have a heart condition where I essentially have a leaky valve. It’s not something to worry about (so they say) but now I feel better knowing what’s going on with my beats. I’m also a super anxious person so I have a visual that reminds me to calm down.
    • I Can Compete Against Others I’m super competitive and I love that I can challenge my friends in various competitions. It makes it so that it’s a community thing to get your steps in which I’m all for.
    • It Tracks Your Sleep Automatically By the end of my days I can barely remember to take my clothes off for bed–I certainly can’t remember to turn my watch on sleep mode but this does it for me. I love this.
    • The App is Lovely It really is. You can track your food intake, water, etc and it calculates how many calories you need to consume based upon your activity for the day.
    • It Takes Into Account That I’m Nursing Yep. This is the only app that I’ve seen that does this. It auto adjusts my caloric intake based upon that I’m a nursing mom. I’m SOOOOOOO here for this!!!!
    • You Choose Your Goals They can be activity time, steps, calories but it’s up to you. This is awesome.
    now up on the fitbit site...

    now up on the fitbit site…

    As much as I love my Surge, there are a couple of drawbacks from it:

    • The Wristband This thing is soooooo bulky and sooooo not meant for sensitive skin. My skin is always getting chaffed. It was so bad I had to go about a month without wearing it! That and it’s pretty mannish looking.
    • Alarms I chronically sleep through alarms. Like I can never wake up for them ESPECIALLY this one! The buzzing is so soothing I swear it just makes me sleep harder! I’d also like to see a reminder to get moving if I’ve been idle for 30 minutes.
    • It’s Not Waterproof I love swimming but I can’t wear this in the water and I hate that.

     

     

    Do you wear a smart watch/wearable pedometer? If you’re a FitBit user, add me as thecrunchymommy!

    **This post contains affiliate links. Using them will help support me so don’t be shy and share the love!**