The top 7 apps & websites making a working mom’s life easier

Moms are busy. Really busy.

Add a JOB to the mix and it’s a wonder we get anything accomplished each day. {Ignore that pile of laundry in the corner.}

I’m always looking out for the best resources for working moms that make my life just a little bit easier. That means fewer to-dos, and more time back in my day for the things I really care about.

I’ve rounded up the top seven apps and websites that all working moms need to know about to rock it at work and at home all from your smart phone.

theSkimm

online resources for working moms theskimm

As someone with an interest in current events, but very little time to actually stay current, I rely on theSkimm. Their tagline promises to “make it easier to be smarter” and it does just that. In the time it takes me to nurse Audrey in my bed in the morning, I get briefed – and entertained – on the latest happenings around the globe. If time allows, I can dive in deeper to the news stories via the links theSkimm provides. If I have a hungry toddler begging for breakfast or a pressing work issue, I can come back to it later or wait until the next day.

Target

online resources for working moms target

There’s a reason moms are known for loving Target. Affordable prices, cute items, a Starbucks by the front door? Yes, please. But as much as I love the store, going there with all three kids in tow is pretty stressful. So I’ve turned to the Target & Cartwheel app. After I had Audrey, I was feeling a little down about not fitting in my usual clothes. Using the Target app I was able to skip the store, order a variety of items in a variety of sizes and try them on in my own home. Read: without the unforgiving lighting of a department store dressing room! I scored free shipping, and an easy in-store return that I completed with only one baby and no toddlers {and picked up my latte on the way out}.

Amazon

online resources for working moms amazon

When I went on bedrest with Audrey I knew I was going to need help when it came to errands. It was right before the holidays and I needed to do all of the Christmas shopping for our family. I quickly turned to online shopping and fell in love with the convenience of Amazon Prime. I was officially converted into an online shopper.  The real game changer was when my husband gave me the Amazon Echo Dot a few months later. This product tells me the weather so I don’t have to track down my phone, confirms my calendar appointments, adds things to my shopping and to-do lists, and even orders stuff through my Amazon Prime account all with simple voice commands. Plus, Daphne has learned how to ask for some pretty fun family dance parties. “Alexa, play the Trolls soundtrack…”

InstaCart

online resources for working moms instacart

The other thing I had to figure out while I was on bedrest was the groceries. Luckily, I found the InstaCart app. It’s like the Uber of groceries. Pick your local store, select your food items, and schedule a delivery time that works for you. The app even has great features that allows messaging back and forth, like if you have really picky eaters who only eat a certain ripeness of banana {Henry}, or if the store is out of an item. It’s so simple and convenient, that I was able to order groceries for my family while still in the hospital after giving birth. Someone took care of the shopping, and delivered the groceries my husband at home with our older two.

76th & Newbury

We didn’t find out the gender with our last baby, which made setting up a nursery a bit of a challenge. I knew our new bundle would be in our room for the first few months, so I didn’t worry…until she was born! I realized I was crazy to think I would be able to go out and shop for her room with three kids. And I was already feeling badly that she didn’t have a beautiful room to come home to like the others did. Luckily, 76th & Newbury provides completely custom artwork for the home without leaving the house. I was able to create prints just for Audrey that matched her bedding perfectly. I was super impressed with their customer service. Through my many rounds of edits to make sure it was just right, they always made me feel like the project wasn’t done until I was completely happy.

Poshmark

online resources for working moms poshmark

My husband discovered this app after cleaning out his closet and uncovering a bunch of hardly worn clothes and accessories. Poshmark keeps the clutter at bay while earning a few bucks! Since becoming a mom, I’ve always been into shopping at Consignment events like Just Between Friends. But now that I’m on the other side with some of our items, the cleaning, sorting, tagging, dropping off, etc. overwhelms me. In the Poshmark app, you snap a pic from your phone, add a description and price. Once the items sells, you simply print the shipping label and drop it off at a nearby UPS and wait to collect your cash. My husband has sold random things from jerseys to watches, and I’ve already had great luck in the maternity and children’s sections!

Greetabl

Greetabl calls itself “the total gifting experience made easy.” And I’m totally obsessed. I’ve sent it for every reason you can imagine – babies, birthdays, losses, and just because. I love it for those times when a full blown gift may be a little much, but a card doesn’t seem to say quite enough. With each box I’ve sent, I was able to customize with photos and patterns, and add a small gift -such as chocolate or handmade soap – with just a few clicks from my phone. It’s the perfect gesture for letting friends and family know I’m thinking about them even when life gets in the way.

Best Resources for Working Moms

What are your favorite online resources? How do they help you keep your life organized and simplified as a working mom? Tell me in the comments!


The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Bouncing back: 5 tips for climbing out of a rut

climbing out of a rut

Y’all. I’ve been in Texas almost a month and I’ve realized two things. The first, I say y’all now. The second is that I am in a big time rut.

For starters, I’m coming off of one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Buying and selling a home doesn’t always bring out the best in a person. Moving cross country is a total mental, physical and emotional drain. Uprooting toddlers and finding new friends, new things to do and a new school isn’t my idea of a walk in the park. Plus, I’ve had to pull all this off before climbing into bed at 9 p.m. each day because baby Golden is zapping all of my energy for him {or her!} self.

So it’s no secret why I’m in a rut. The boxes are unpacked, the kids are settling into their new school and yet finding a way to climb out of this uninspired, unproductive hole still seems impossible.

If you’re normally quite constructive like me but have found yourself in a rut from time to time, read on!

Cut yourself some slack

As women we tend to be so hard on ourselves. Yet when I give myself a hard time about something, it tends to make me feel way worse. But who hasn’t been in a career or life rut? It happens to the best of us! Over the last few months I’ve chosen to be generous with myself when it comes to how much television I’ve let my kids watch or how little I’ve contributed to this blog. I was doing my best given my situation, all of which was temporary after all.

Start small

You’ll never get out of your rut if you acknowledge you’re in one and decide to to try to climb out. I recommend starting with something small. A big, overwhelming undertaking could send you right back into rut-mode, but taking on a manageable task and finishing it with ease may give you the encouraging boost to move on to the next to-do. Momentum gained!

Find inspiration

If you’re having trouble even getting started, you need to find a bit of inspiration. Maybe it’s going for a walk outside {I always bring my phone on walks because A. music and B. note taking for when those big ideas pop into my head}. Or listening to music. Or visiting an art exhibit. Whatever activity clears your head will help you forget your rut and fill your mind with motivation.  If that nature hike doesn’t shake your rut strut, spend some time with your children, husband or best friend. These people we love {who don’t judge us!} tend to remind us of what we’re capable of.

Do your best

If you’re like me, you are used to giving everything 110%. But vying for perfection could leave you drained or disappointed. For climbing out of a rut you need to abandon your usually high standards and find satisfaction in getting the job done. There’s plenty of time to improve when you’re rut-less.

Keep climbing

You did it! You’ve done something. It may not be your best work. It may not even contribute to your goals at all. But it was something. Anything. And now you can – and will – move forward, gradually introducing a renewed focus and quality. You’ve got this, mama!

“Be present as these moments go by fast”

support women entrepreneurs

Q&A with Violette de Ayala

Today’s a big day! Femfessionals Kansas City is celebrating it’s one year anniversary. While I couldn’t be more excited to recognize the amazing women {like her and her and her} who make our community great, it will also be bittersweet as I pass on the presidency in preparation for my upcoming move.

My year launching Femfessionals in Kansas City wouldn’t even have been possible without the woman behind it all. While I’ve never met Violette de Ayala in person, I’ve shared countless conversations with her by phone, email and social platforms.

Not only did Violette teach me the profound impact we can have on one another {often without even knowing one another in the tradition sense}, but she’s showed me {and thousands of others} that we become our best, most successful selves when we lift up one another.


Self-promo time. What do you do?

I am the Founder and CEO of Femfessionals and committed to helping millions of women grow business together, in positivity and in harmony according to their vision.

If that wasn’t your gig, what do you think you’d be doing?

I would be an Angel Investor helping women entrepreneurs grow business! Same thing, but from another perspective.

What on your resume led you here?

I launched my first business at the age of 22 and haven’t stopped launching businesses. I have owned companies in personal training, Pilates, marketing and PR industries. All of my past experience helps me serve women globally from the understanding of knowing how to create a business from scrap funding and limited time. I personally know the real struggle of launching businesses while raising a family and juggling life and work and all the other stuff in between.

It sounds like you’re paying it forward!

The number one question I get is “how do you do it?” As a result, I teach many classes sharing my method of duplicating your productivity in half the time of the norm.

What has been your own biggest setback?

The hardest challenge has been what many women entrepreneurs experience themselves: a lack of funding. More and more companies share through the arms of advertisement how they invest in women and their businesses. Yet still, its incredibly difficult for women to find outside funding. We didn’t have the financial funding/support like some of the other organizations. We had to wear many hats and work 75-hour work weeks and make less then minimum wage a few times. We are not alone in that scenario. I hope to personally change this in the future.

What keeps you motivated?

Hearing the ways our organization has changed the lives of thousands of women. They have grown businesses together, shifted their lives to walk in their purpose and become friends along the way. That’s the best! I love to see our FEMS connect on social media and work together to lift one another up.

Finish this sentence. If I could go back and do it all again, I wish someone would have told me that…

…it will all work out and stop the stressing.

support women entrepreneurs

 

What is a typical day like for you?

My typical day is a sitcom on Comedy Central! The standard is 6 am wake up with some email responses. 7 am out the door with the two girls {one on a bus stop and the other directly to school}. I hit Equinox to work out because it makes me a better human. I work back to back until 3 pm carpool. Then 4 pm carpool. Then the pick ups between girl scouts, volleyball and all the other playdates and activities. After dinner and homework time, I connect back at work from 7-9 and then work again from 9:45-10:30. I work on Sunday’s a bit to prepare for the week and that is my golden hour.

They say it takes a village. Who helps you with your kiddos?

It takes a planet!!! My village {aka. my planet} is composed of my neighbors, my girlfriends and other mommies. Steve is a great dad and works a lot of hours during the week. On the weekends he helps out and takes the kids out so I have some downtime. I have a great support system.

What’s the best part about being a mom?

The best part of being a mom is witnessing three humans change the world through their kindness and service to others. All three of our little ones, in their own way, are authentic in their connection of how they want to leave their legacy. It’s beautiful to know the world is a better place because of these kiddos.

Any advice for working moms?

Create a network with other moms to help you and be sure to dedicate quality time to your kids. Schedule off work hours/no wifi connectivity time. Be present as these moments go by fast. The worst regret is not being there for those moments that seem ordinary but turn out to be filled of lifetime highlights. Be. Present.

I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you think you have it all?

We all have our own personalized visions, our own desires and goals. “Having it all” {as I define it} is a fluid state of mind that continues from one platform to another one. We never arrive at the state of perfection but instead flow continuously within harmony to our next great milestone. Everything in life is compromise and balance, and between those lines is the sweet spot of having it all. To discover that delicate balance is indeed the gold of the topic.


I always ask my mamas if there is anything else they want to share at the end of their interview. Violette ended with these words: support other women by purchasing from their stores, using their services, recommending them to others and being there to lift others up when needed.

Amen.

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

Leap Day: 24 things you should do with your extra 24 hours

Leap Day too busy

How often do you claim to be too busy to take on a new project at work, join another committee, meet up with a friend, indulge in a pedicure, or even just finish simple household chores?

I know I’m guilty of dropping the “I don’t have enough time” excuse more often than I’d care to admit.

But that’s exactly what it is: an excuse. The reality is that we do make time for the things that we value the most at the moment.

What we really mean when we say “I don’t have enough time” is that the thing we’re too busy to do simply isn’t a priority.

We’ve all wished for just a few more hours in the day, but have you ever thought about how you’d spend that time if you actually had it?

Well, every four years we get our wish on February 29. Leap Day quite literally boosts our year with an extra twenty-four hours. Are you making the most of your bonus day?

Here are 24 things I’m going to do today that in a typical 365-day calendar year would probably fall off of my to-do list. {Hint: saying, “I don’t have enough time” isn’t one of them.}

1. Wake up early

If I’ve got an extra 24 hours to get things done, I’m certainly not going to waste it sleeping. As my husband would say, “Carpe Diem.”

2. Meditate

If you know me, being still and quiet takes some serious focus. It means clearing some time in my schedule when I can be by myself. While I rarely create time and space for this, the reality is that it leaves me more calm and more creative.

3. Research a house project

Neither my husband nor myself are super handy when it comes to housework, plus it would take us triple the time it would take a professional. So for today, I’m going to prioritize which project needs to come next {likely freshening up our exterior paint job} and start researching the man {or woman} for the job.

4. Listen to a podcast

I love Podcasts. I think it’s a great way to sneak in some professional development. If I’m honest, I actually do this most days anyway, but I’m typically multitasking while I listen {either cooking dinner or jumping on the elliptical}. Today I’m going to sit back and relax while I check out this new podcast a friend recommended.

5. Read a book

My husband loves to read. He works much longer hours than I do outside of our home. Then he has to pay bills, take out the trash, help with bath time, play with the kids, fix the broken toys, etc. when he gets home. But he always makes time to read. Because for him, it’s a priority. I, on the other hand, am the worst at making a date with a good book. I’m going to snuggle up with a new read {it was a Christmas present I have yet to begin} with my extra 24 hours today.

6. Go out for lunch

I’ve always been guilty of eating lunch at my desk. While this is a habit I will likely return to tomorrow for productivity’s sake, today I’m heading out to a restaurant and fully intend to enjoy my time away from my computer.

7. Put laundry away

Based on conversations with other moms, I’m doing okay in this category. Regardless, my lag time from dryer to laundry basket to dresser drawers is still about 1.8 days. Some families do just fine ditching the drawers altogether, but this mom is going to set aside some time to put the laundry away while the kids are at school.

8. Enjoy a cup of coffee outside

If you live in Kansas City, you know the weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately. With another cold front on the way; however, this morning I’m going to soak up the sunshine with a cup o’ joe on my back deck.

9. Take a bath

I love to take baths, yet I probably only do it a handful of times a year. Maybe it’s because our children use our bathtub and so it’s filled with toys and God knows what else, but today I’m going to light a candle, grab a glass of wine and relax with some bubble bath.

10. Drink a glass of wine

See No. 9. {Sauvignon blanc, please.}

11. Light a candle

See No. 9. {I usually only light a candle when we have company coming over and I want our house to smell cleaner than it really is.}

12. Support a cause

I mailed a gift to a local charity that’s close to my heart. It wasn’t the hands on approach I wish I’d planned for today, but having worked for a not-for-profit, I know that every gift matters.

13. Call a friend

I got a jump start on this over the weekend, but plan to follow up today. If you have a friend who lives in a different city than you, it’s time to pick up the phone and call them. Leave a voicemail. Follow up with an email if you need to. Just remind them how important they are in your life with something a little more personal than an emoji text or Facebook post like.

14. Stretch

Whether I pop in a yoga video or just do some simple stretches, this activity brings me the same calming benefits as meditation while making my body feel stronger and more bendy. While stretching is something I know is good for my body, it almost always gets overlooked.

15. Throw a dance party

Kind of like the podcasts, this is something my family does almost everyday anyway. We love to turn up the music and just be silly together. It gets us moving, interacting with each other and having fun. Every family should throw a dance part every single day!

16. Give a compliment to a stranger

The great thing about making other people feel good about themselves is that it has the powerful ability to make you feel better, too. I plan to fill my extra 24 hours with a lot more warm and fuzzies.

17. Take a different route

Driving down the same road everyday is incredibly mundane. My children’s school, dance class and grandparent’s house are all down the exact same road. Today I’m going to switch it up, even if it takes a bit longer. Plus, it’s actually good for your brain to take different paths!

18. Paint my nails

I don’t typically splurge on pedicures. The problem is that I also rarely take the time to properly self groom. With spring just around the corner, I’m going to spend some time polishing my piggies before someone notices the same coat of paint from the last time I wore sandals.

19. Try something new

I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to squeeze this in today {maybe I’ll order something I’ve never had before at my lunch out today?!}, but getting this extra time seems like the perfect opportunity to try something new.

20. Plan a vacation

I have a jump start on this one. My husband and I are heading to California this May for a close friend’s wedding. The plane tickets have been bought, but that’s about it. Oh, and we’re flying out of a completely different state than we’re flying into. Road trip! Time to start working through some of those details…

21. Learn about my city

Kansas City is an amazing place to live. Because I’m from here, I’ve always told my coastal friends what a great city we have here in the “flyover states,” but the truth is that I’ve only experienced a fraction of what KC has to offer. I’m going to spend some time researching my hometown and plotting our next date night or family outing.

22. Get involved

That’s right. This blog post started with me saying how busy I am, but I’m going to get more involved. Let me explain. My husband and I joined the Kansas City Chamber last fall, and I’ve only been to one event. What a waste! As an overly involved individual, I should know first hand that you get out of any organization what you put into it. It’s time to get involved.

23. Get ahead

I love to-do lists. I’m going to pick something that I hadn’t planned to work on until later this week and tackle it today. Man it feels good to get ahead!

24. Reflect on the day

I’m excited to find out if any of these activities make such an impact today that they stop being something I’m too busy to do moving forward.

Well, I’ve got a lot on my plate so I better get started. I want to know, how do you plan to spend your extra 24 hours today?

Get more done by adopting this one habit

After a week at home for the holidays, my kiddos are finally out of the house. My coffee is hot. My desk is organized. The day is young. I finally sit down to work.

I know I need to write another blog post, but first I think I will open up Facebook and schedule a few social media posts I’ve planned for a few of my clients for the New Year.

Then my phone pings. Someone liked my most recent Insta post about working on my business goals and plans for 2016. It’s so exciting to see new followers {strangers even!} finding my blog and corresponding social pages.

Back to Facebook. Okay, one post scheduled.

I better check my Femfessionals email. I haven’t checked it since before Christmas and I really need to finish my plan for our community in 2016. I fire off a few emails to fellow Kansas City business owners about some event ideas.

I return to the browser with my Facebook page open. I scroll through my news feed, just once, and an article called “21 Annoying Facebook Status Updates that Need to Stop” pops up. That looks interesting, and I definitely need to find out what those things are {to make sure I’m not an annoying Facebook status poster}, so I click on it.

I skim the article and go back to my news feed, fully confident that all of my friends totally are not annoyed with my posts. Cute pictures of my friend’s baby’s first Christmases rotate with puppies and snow and more click-worthy articles from Buzzfeed and the Huff Post.

And then I glance in the upper right corner and realize an hour has gone by already. And I haven’t even started this blog post yet.

I’m not much of a gambler, but I’m willing to bet some version of this has happened to you before. Our phones and computers have become major time sucks thanks in large part to social media. But it isn’t just mindless scrolling that can cause us to lose track of time and productivity. I didn’t have a plan. I sat down to accomplish one task, but immediately moved on to other things on my to-do list and then became distracted. While my email sending and social media managing still chipped away at my overall workload, I lost valuable time and creative energy bouncing between tasks. Not carving out specific time for particular projects prevents us from packing in a fully efficient work sesh. So what should I have done differently?

Start each day with not only a list of top work priorities, but a schedule for accomplishing them. This technique is called time blocking and it is a powerful tool that can truly help you get more done if you make it a habit. So how can you {we} become better at time blocking a get stuff done? Try these 4 tips to time block like a pro.

1. Block time to time block

You shouldn’t spend your freshest moments of a new day mapping out your time blocks, so plan them in advance. Carve out time on one of your least productive day, typically a Monday or Friday or even the weekend, to evaluate what you need to get done for the upcoming week. I use Google Calendar for everything, both work and personal, because it actually looks like little colorful blocks that can be shared with others so they know when you’re time blocking a.k.a unavailable.

2. The early block catches the worm

I’m a morning person. I’d say 80% of what I get done in a day happens before 1 p.m. Be sure to schedule your time blocks when you work your hardest so they don’t fizzle into a procrastination period. Just keep in mind that you should aim to get your highest priority work accomplished before you move on to things like meetings and emails. So if you’re a rare breed who perks up after lunch time, don’t over commit in the morning or meetings may intrude on your precious time block.

3. Tune out to block in

When it’s time to time block and you’re ready to dig in to that super top priority thing to do, eliminate distractions. No social media. No emails. No phone calls. No office visits. It’s go time.

4. Don’t over block

When you schedule out your time blocks, it’s important to keep windows in your day. Projects may come up that you weren’t anticipating and certain jobs make take longer to accomplish than you originally thought. No need to fret if you’ve left some holes in your day to work on these things, as well as catching up on any outstanding emails or phone calls {although I do recommend carving out an email time block if you receive a high volume of them}. Finish that important task before your time block was over?

Do you time block to reach maximum productivity during your work day and make sure important tasks get done first? What works or doesn’t work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Happy time blocking!