blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: September 2018

September 24, 2018

Morning Power Hour

I get asked all the time about how to become a morning person and how to make mornings a productive time. Mornings have almost always been my most productive time – something about just waking up, making a cup of coffee, and having the rest of the world still asleep – just me alone watching the sunrise. And then I had kids. And the rising sun laughed at me as I struggled to maintain the sanctity of my mornings and also get myself and three kids 4 and under ready to get out of the house.


It’s taken me years to feel like I’m back into a routine (so new moms, be kind to yourselves)! But I finally feel like I have my mornings again - though still not like my pre-children mornings, and that’s ok. Today I’m sharing five tips to turn your morning routine into a Power Hour – so let’s jump right in!


  1. Make your bed. It helps that Nathan is out of bed before I wake up otherwise making the bed gets difficult! I wake up dying to press the snooze button over and over again just like anyone else, but one of the most important things I do is just get up and out of bed, and immediately make the bed. Once I do this I get rid of the impulse to hop back in! More importantly, this small act starts your day off right, giving you a sense of accomplishment and really setting yourself up to be more productive for the rest of the day. For me it also helps declutter my mind (and space) and makes me feel more at peace. If you haven’t listened to the viral video by Admiral McRaven I highly suggest you go listen! Right after I make my bed I make my cup of coffee (not included on this list but a critical part of my routine)!
  2. Power mantra + power list. It may sound silly, but having a power mantra can really get you excited and feeling empowered for whatever the day may bring. I actually have my desktop background on my computer set to my current power mantra -"You have what it takes" – and I see this and repeat it as soon as I sit at my desk. I open my calendar and planner, sip my coffee, and make a power list for the things that need to be done that day. I typically spend a little more time Sunday nights making a big to-do list for the entire week, that way each morning I can simply pick and choose from that list what I need to get done for that particular day. Writing it all out and having a grasp over what has to get done that day really makes me feel on top of everything and more-than-capable of completing things (even though I don’t always)! Usually by this point at least one of the girls is awake and ready to eat. 
  3. Eat a good breakfast. I’m sure all of our mothers and grandmothers told us this, so I guess I’ll just echo it! We love breakfast and it’s a great way to start our day right (all of my girls and myself are prone to becoming “hangry” so food is critical to our morning success)! Some of our favorite easy breakfasts include instant oatmeal, overnight oats & chia, and hard-boiled eggs that I make in bulk during the weekend (all take less than a minute)! After our breakfast, I take a vitamin and have now started adding in a probiotic as well. Did you know that our gut not only has one of the largest numbers of our immune cells, but it also has a huge microbiome of its own made up of bacteria – there are more bacterial cells in our body than human cells!! Now more and more research is emerging on the role this bacterial community makes up in our health – last fall an incredible paper came out on the role of “good bacteria” in responses to immune therapy for metastatic melanoma, and data continues to build for other disorders like atopic dermatitis. I think it’s still too soon to make any claims (the scientist in me needs more rigorous data), but this is an incredibly exciting area of medicine! We do know that probiotics support digestive health and our immune systems, and are suggested to also affects mood, memory, sleep, and even kids’ development! So we decided to add them regularly! We’re currently using Renew Life Extra Care 30 Billion Probiotics because they have 3 times more good bacteria in every capsule compared to the leading probiotic brands. A strong probiotic helps build a strong gut so thanks to Renew Life Probiotics we start each day off strong.  
  4. AM playlist. Music is therapy for me, and the same way movies have soundtracks, so does my morning routine. I like silence first thing, but once everyone is awake, we get the music going. The kids (even Ro) recognize the songs and it really reinforces our routine of breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair, and getting out the door! Once we’re in the car the girls get to pick the playlist for the drive (it really changes the whole mood and makes everyone happier). And once I’ve got the kids to school, I put on my own playlist of potentially-not-so-kid-friendly music that gets me pumped up for my day at work! Those of you who watch my instastories know what I’m talking about!
  5. Roll with the punches. This is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned since having kids, and the most important part of ANY routine. Things happen, especially with kids, but remembering that it's our reaction to those things and not the things themselves that set the tone for the rest of the day is incredibly important! Having a break from the routine does not mean we have to throw the whole routine out of the window! So often we have this all-or-nothing mentality and if things don’t go as planned we call it a failure, but one of the keys to success (in general or just in getting out of the door in the morning) is learning to roll with the punches and keep going! 


I hope you guys enjoyed this post and are ready to make your own Power Hour out of your morning routine! I’d love to hear what your power hour tips are.  You can join the #PowerHour discussion on Instagram and Twitter and share your tips to maximize the morning routine for a chance to win a Renew Life Power Hour Kit and other great prizes.  All you have to do is follow @RenewLife on Instagram or Twitter and post a picture or video of your morning routine with #PowerHour, #Sweeps.


Thanks to Renew Life for teaming up on this post and inspiring me to write about our mornings! As always thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

September 4, 2018

Keeping Home Smelling Fresh Without Aerosols


I LOVE a clean home, and part of that is not only having a space for everything, but also making sure our home smells fresh! I used to love candles and other room sprays, but as I’ve learned more about fragrances (heck, our workplace is “fragrance-free” we have so many patients with allergies and sensitivities) and aerosols, I’ve been on the hunt for a product that can keep my home smelling fresh but also felt safe and less-irritating for my family! We recently got a package of Febreze One fabric mists to try and we are officially converts (and if you don’t believe me, check out all of the reviews over on Amazon)!



I love that this has a light fresh scent (all 3 scents - bamboo, orchid, and mandarin - are lovely) but is never overpowering, and most importantly has no aerosols or dyes! And the girls love how easy it is to spray around the house with a unique nozzle and ultra-fine mist. As they get older I’m slowly easing them into more small chores around the house and they happily ask to “spray” the house after we’ve cleaned! It’s literally one of their favorite things and they have to decide who gets to spray which room!



While I love that everything is more natural, just as important to me and our busy/crazy/dirty family is that the product actually works - heck I can spray super all-natural water all around the house but that won’t help much with funky smells! I love that these Febreze ONE mists actually do the job and handle tough smells like my beloved husband’s running shoes, post-poopy-diaper-changing aroma, and after dinner lingering smells. Yay for products that work and are safer for our families! 


PS- get 10% off using this link!!

Thanks so much Febreze for partnering with my family for this post - as always all opinions are completely my own - I never partner with brands who aren't willing to let me share my honest opinion! 
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