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    HOMESCHOOL

    life over the weekend [symphony, rocks, and beets]

    Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preseti’m a huge advocate of loving your city, and now that i’m back home in lakeland, my family and i are making efforts to love our city and get involved.  there are usually tons of events going on, most for free, to get you involved in your community.  unfortunately, we missed the largest event this weekend, Mayfaire by the Lake, but we were able to enjoy a few other activities.

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    Friday night we were able to catch a free performance by the Imperial Symphony Orchestra (ISO).  I remember seeing the ISO when I as in elementary school.  it was kind of a neat experience to take my kiddos for the first time.  T enjoyed some interpretive dancing, leaf fighting, and wrestling with daddy.  but he did throughly enjoy the music.  PZ was a pea and just cuddled and watched/listened wide eyed.  it was a wonderful evening to relax before bedtime and enjoy the cool evening air.

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    Saturday morning I ran to the farmer’s market to get our weekly goods.  (post coming soon re:  farmer’s market).  we are obsessed with Solterra farms and have been buying all of our meat there.  it.is.amazing.  i even went early enough to snag some beignets from the poor porker, but since we are starting the whole 30 this week, i’m thinking ill save that delicious goodness for the major cheat day coming at the end.

    after a morning at the market, we headed over to Medard park.  one of hilllsborough county’s parks, to let T run around on the limerock mountains.  PZ slept the entire time in her ergo while Daddy and T played an ultimate game of hide and seek.  after exhaustion from running up and down and all around the trails, we let T get some fishing in before we headed home to clean up and rest.  (FYI it’s only $2 bucks to get into their parks for the day!)

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    sunday of course was mother’s day, so we went to church and then came home to celebrate with my family and a Skype date with the hub’s family.  all in all a great weekend.

    hopefully you didn’t miss out on the mother’s day sale we were having in the shop over the weekend.  i’m getting pretty excited about the new urban summer collection that will be trickling into the shop.  we’ve also got some new leggings up from the zoe collection.  my favorite thing about the upcoming collection?  gold.  stay tuned.

    happy monday!

    ash

    DEVOTIONAL

    s- s- s- summa time, summa time gladness.

    Major thanks to contributing writer of today’s post, Jessi Ellerbe.  Check out her blog, The Dreamer of Improbable Dreams.

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    Whether you’re laying out on the beach, headed on a road trip or just spending a lazy day at home, there’s always a song for every occasion. And if you’re anything like me, having the perfect summer playlist is an absolute must. No matter if these songs are new on your iPod or are ones that have been played since your childhood, each song is as important to the playlist as the next. Now, of course, these are only suggestions and starters. But I promise that if you use maybe just a handful of these, your summer soundtrack will lead you down a fun-loving, danceable season.

    “Raging Fire” by Phillip Phillips  This new tune from one of the most unique winners of American Idol is quite the toe tapper. His voice is a little muddy, but that’s what makes it so charming. It’s a positive, uplifting song with a great beat; the perfect start to a great playlist.

    “Happy” by Pharrell Williams  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard this fellow’s most popular tune. Sure, it’s repetitive and overplayed. But you know what? It’s a feel good song, and your kids will love to dance to it (and you might too).

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    “Magic” by Coldplay  Everyone’s been waiting anxiously for new music from powerhouse Brit group Coldplay. Though this song isn’t peppy and danceable, there’s nothing wrong with slowing things down and listening to Chris Martin’s delicious vocals for just a few minutes.

     

     

    “Lift Your Spirit” by Aloe Blacc  I found this soulful tune through the free downloads on iTunes. With a sweet sound, clean vocals, and a laid back beat, this song is perfect for dancing in the sun-filled living room.

    “Sing” by Ed Sheeran  Okay listen up, Mom and Dad. Though I am a massive fan of this dude, this song might not be the greatest for the little ears. It is, however, one of the best playing on the radio right now (IMO). If you’re okay with letting the kiddos hear it, I say more power to you. Just beware of the underlying sexual references. Some may catch it, some may not. Either way, it’s a great song for dancing and bobbing along. Ed Sheeran can do no wrong in my eyes.

    “Hey Momma/Hit the Road Jack” by Pentatonix  If you don’t know Pentatonix, let me introduce you to your new obsession. They are basically the greatest a cappella group ever. This is a mash up of two very fun, upbeat songs (one specifically made famous by the great Ray Charles). It’s totally something everyone can enjoy. And don’t worry, they keep things clean. They’re all about family in their fandom!

    disney-dconstructed-album-cover“Let It Go [Armin van Buuren Remix]” from the album DConstructed  If you’re tired of hearing Idina Menzel’s fabulous vocals from Disney’s Frozen (in which case you’re crazy) but your kids just can’t get enough, try throwing this tune on and see what they think. Disney recently released an album with popular songs from some of their best movies remixed with a new electric/techno/dubstep flare. So don’t fret, there ARE other versions of your kids favorite songs. Though I’m still partial to the original.

     

    “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Drake Bell  This Queen hit has been remade by Drake & Josh star Drake Bell. Is it as fantastic as the original? That’s for you to decide. But it’s something fresh, and he certainly doesn’t let Freddy down.

    “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John  This is an oldie but a goody for sure, but it’s my personal favorite song by the legend Elton John, and I feel like its sound is truly timeless. The whole fam will love to sing along to this tune.

    “Destination” by Nickel Creek  I don’t own much music by this band, but let me tell you, this song is super catchy. If you love clean, seamless harmonies tied in with an acoustic sound, this is the summer song for you. It has a pretty chill vibe, but I feel like this could potentially be the perfect road trip song. I’ll let you be the judge.

    tumblr_inline_n3q9o9OmRA1qfo293“Higher” by the Ready Set  I find this guy’s voice completely addicting, and most of his popular tunes are serious ear worms. This song is nothing meaningful; it’s pretty typical pop/electric. But when it’s a fun song, it’s a fun song. Am I right?

     

     

     

    “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News  Here’s another oldie but goody for you. If you love 80s music, here is your chance to crank up the stereo system and torture the rest of your family while you belt it out with Huey. Yeah, I’m that type of person too. I’d rather listen to 70s and 80s music than anything else. So you know what? Pump up that volume and own this song.

    “Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton  Spotify recommended this song to me, and when I listened to it, it reminded me slightly of something you’d hear from the popular band Maroon 5. It’s nothing fancy, but it has a good beat and the dude’s vocals are pretty delish. It’s definitely worth a listen.

    “Golden Ticket/I Want it Now” by Harry Connick, Jr  I’ve been stuck on Harry Connick recently, and this is one of my favorite covers he’s ever done. Am I huge fan of the film? Not really (I personally prefer Tim Burton’s version simply because it mirrors Roald Dahl’s novel a little better than the early film). This is simply just a super fun song. Not to mention that Harry’s voice is one of the smoothest, clearest in the industry. Between him, the whimsicalness of the lyrics and the big band sound behind him, this song just makes a great tune for the ear.

    81X04FklQDL._SL1500_“Wake Me Up” by Home Free  This song is probably Avicii’s most popular hit, and even though it’s wonderful, this a cappella cover is pretty dang good too. Home Free is the most recent winners of the reality talent show The Sing Off (Pentatonix was the winner before them. And we all know how great they are). Home Free claims a southern rock/country sound, and they don’t disappoint in this cover. With that being said, it stays true to the melody of the song. The lead vocalist (named Austin) has one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in a long time.

     

    “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen  Listen, this song right here is just one of the most outrageously fun songs I have in my music collection (be cautious of the lyrics parents!). If you don’t feel like dancing while listening to this then I honestly don’t think you have a heart. Okay, you probably do. But I mean come on! Queen?! Freddy Mercury!? Who wouldn’t love it?! Ps- Please go watch Paul Rudd lip sync this on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It is hilarious. 

    “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede  This song is weird. Like…SUPER weird. But I put it on here because, if you’re a fan of the Marvel Studios universe, you’ll probably recognize it. You got it; this song can be found in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. I don’t know anything about this band or how they came to the conclusion to use it in a Marvel trailer, but they did. And since GOTG comes out this summer, I feel like it’s completely appropriate to tack onto the list.

    “Chainsaw” by Family Force 5  This band right here has a special place in my heart. And I think, after they hear this song, they will have a special place in your children’s hearts as well. At first this song wasn’t my favorite, but the more I listened to it, the better it became. Family Force 5 will never cease to surprise you, so if you’ve never listened to them, I’d suggest listening to their discography and just letting your ears soak in the craziness that they are. This tune is completely ridiculous, yet totally danceable and catchy.

    haim-days-are-gone“Days Are Gone” by HAIM  If you’re into that vintage 80s pop sound, this song (and band) is for you. I’m completely obsessed with HAIM’s whole album Days Are Gone, and the title track listed here doesn’t disappoint. These three sisters make some seriously unique music, and they are the queens of it. I can’t fully describe HAIM in a short paragraph, so take my word for it and add this song to that playlist…and then go listen to their whole album.

     

    “In The Air Tonight” by Kelly Sweet  There are some songs that I believe should never be touched by a cover, and this song was one of them; until a few months ago. I heard this version of one of Phil Collin’s best songs on a commercial for a television show (though I don’t remember which one), and it literally stopped me in my tracks. I’m pretty sure I was mid-sentence when I shushed everyone I was talking to in order to hear it. There’s something really eerie—almost scary—about it, but it’s completely fascinating. For once, Phil Collin’s would be proud of this cover.

    secret-weapon-518e702f153af“Drowning” by MXPX  If you’re a fan of punk rock, this is your song. This by no means a new song in the repertoire of this long-lasting punk group, but it’s a song I’ve recently become attached to. They lyrics are great, the vocals clean, and the chorus catchy. Overall it’s just a great song that I’d suggest to anyone.

     

     

    “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” by Nine Days  Ah, the 90s. Some of the weirdest music came from this decade, but also some of the best. This is one of those songs that have been stamped on the memory of the late 90s to early 00s. You’ll know it the moment it starts, and you’ll find yourself singing along pretty much instantly. It’s an anthem for all young girls out there, and what better way to end the playlist than with a song everyone knows?

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    WARDROBE

    review: the honest company, honestly clean?

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    these days it seems like going green/natural is totally the trendy thing to do.  and while some people, may be doing it just to fit it, i can honestly (haha) say i’m not.  we’ve been on a journey to clean up our lives since we found out we were prego with our first.  there are so many bad things out there from the food we eat, to the soaps we clean with.  i will be the first to admit, i am not a purist in this movement, but i do try to keep our home fairly toxin/chemical free as possible.  i don’t do it because its cool, and i don’t do it because its better/worst.  i do it because i believe in it. while we may have higher cancer survival rates, we also have higher cancer rates..so what’s up?  our strive to do it bigger, better, faster…has driven a huge sacrifice in the integrity of our products.  i know i personally would prefer to not expose my children or myself to harsh chemicals, but there is only so much we can control.

    for me, one of the areas worth the caution is baby care.  when T was a bean, we were huge fans of method baby, but that line has fallen by the way side.  so when PZ came on the radar, we started our investigation again.  i’d been hearing all the great things about Jessica Alba’s ‘The Honest Co‘ and while it seemed tempting, the part of me that doesn’t like jumping on trends because its what the cool kids are going was super resistant.  we landed with another very well known, mostly clean personal care line that we’d been using for T, but i just wasn’t fanatic about the smell.  to me, i want my baby to smell like a sweet baby–but being so sensitive to smells, it’s practically impossible to find something safe that smells good–those darn major brands and their perfumes, are just so alluring.

    one night i was walking around one of those baby superstores—because let’s be real, they are kind of like crack when you have a baby, all the things you can ‘need’–looking for a friendly solution to PZ’s skin issues (i was convinced it was NOT baby acne, but a reaction to something in my milk and/or her supplement formula)  the store had a dedicated display of Honest‘s full line of goods…it only took one whiff.  finally, sometime that smelt good and was good for you.  i picked up a few things to try–the body oil (which consists of coconut oil, win!) for PZ’s face, the face+body lotion, and the laundry detergent.

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    i ran home and slathered, i mean..er…rubbed a bit of the oil on PZ’s face, and whaddaya know?  the next morning the redness was gone, she didn’t smell like baby powder, and her baby soft skin was back on track.  i was super excited with the results, but the downside was the costs!  for just my three items the total was $33, eek!  as much as i loved the product, i didn’t feel i could justify the expense, especially since I’ve taken time off from styling to be a SAHM.

    i jumped online to see if i could find their products on sale or discounted anywhere, and ended up at their site.  what i didn’t know, is that for just $36/month, you can get 5 of their awesome items, delivered straight to your door step…and there’s no contract—you can sign up for one bundle and cancel!  The even more amazing part is that if you want to keep your bundles coming, you can change the delivery frequency, and you can customize your monthly bundle!  This just seemed too good to be true.  it’s like get stuff for free, and who doesn’t love free?

    i signed up for my first bundle, and haven’t looked back.  in fact, i usually can’t shut up about how awesome it is, to have a great product come straight to my door, and i don’t really have to think about it.  we’ve now tried the laundry detergent, oxy boost packs, sunscreen, bug spray, bubble bath, dish detergent, dishwasher detergent, rinse aid, kids toothpaste, stain remover, all purpose cleaner, and gel hand sanitizer (both pump and travel sizes).  we honestly love the honest co.  the scents are delightful, the packaging is adorable, and the products actually work!  plus, they are constantly adding new goods–they just recently added a menthol rub for congestion, dish towels, and a line of supplements.  interested, but not ready to take the jump?  you can also sign up for a trial bundle!  so don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

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