Very Lovely Soles – cute stylish shoes for summer or work!

Cute flats crafted with printed canvas with soft patent cap toe, and an elastic opening for comfort!

 

Last year I took the big leap from being a stay at home mom to a working mom.  It was a tough transition to make but with family health concerns, the switch-around had to be done. While I miss being with my boys all day, I admit that I am enjoying the change of pace at work.  I also love feeling like dressing up and wearing something other than yoga pants and t-shirts for once, but it is coming as a challenge since I have been out of the fashion loop for a few years.  I have discovered the comfort and beauty of ballet flat style shoes and I am in love!  It is a style that I can be comfortable in at home as well as at work.  Recently I was introduced to Very Lovely Soles, a brand of high quality, hand-crafted flats.  They have a variety of cute styles and colors to choose from and I had a hard time picking just one!

 

Flats for spring, summer, or school colors for teachers!

 

Orange and blue are the school mascot colors where I work so I decided to go with Orange West Palm for a pop of color.  When they arrived, I was a bit surprised at how bright the color actually was compared to their online representation, but they will definitely work out!  Orange is a perfect summer color for just about everyone.

The palm pattern is cute but not overbearing, and the colored toe cap definitely adds to the design.  I feel casual yet dressed up when I wear mine.  And you can definitely feel the quality of the materials – the shoes  have substance and durability to them as opposed to many of the cheap flats.  Being handcrafted in Italy, I would expect nothing less!  The price tag is a bit of a shock at first but for a good shoe that has so much care put into it and will last, it is worth it.

 

Leather soles on my Very Lovely Soles flats

 

Sizing can be tricky when ordering online, but from my experience, Very Lovely Soles’ sizing is very on point.  I normally wear right between a size 7.5 and 8 and have a difficult time finding the exact right size, so I went ahead and ordered a 7.5 as that is usually my best bet.  My flats are snug as I expected but they are already starting become much more comfortable as I wear them.

I loved the packaging for Very Lovely Soles – the shoes come in a cute box with a rope handle, and have plenty of space so they do not get squished and misshaped.  Inside the box, tissue paper surrounds the shoes so they do not move around in their box and get damaged.  They were among the cutest packaged shoes I’ve seen.

Very Lovely Soles is a brand you may not have heard of before or seen in stores, but I am happy to have discovered them and the honor to introduce them to you!  You can find them in select boutiques or online at VeryLovelySoles.com.

 

Cute, comfortable flats that helped me take the leap from stay at home mom to working mom!

 

 

Summer fun in Springfield, Illinois with the kids!

 

A list of fun things to do in the Capitol City with the kids (Springfield, Illinois)

 

The Capitol City is known for its abundance of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia and historical buildings.  Unfortunately this has little significance to my kids who are both under 5 years old and I’m sure you can relate. Luckily there is still plenty around to do while the kids are young!  Here is a list off the top of my head of some of our favorite sites to see and places to go in Springfield, Illinois:

 

Henson-Robinson Zoo (see over 90 species of animals including bears and primates, ride the train!)

Downtown and the Capitol area (beautiful architecture, water fountains, tall buildings, and a taste of “city”)

Ergadoozy Creative Play Center (perfect for a rainy day)

Visit a Park

  • Washington Park (large play ground, feed the ducks, go for a long walk)
  • Lincoln Park (Nelson Center with ice skating and other activities, younger/smaller childrens’ outdoor play area, frisbee golf, go for a hike)
  • Southwind Park (splash pad, two separate playgrounds, fishing pond, 2.5 miles of trails)
  • and many more!

Knights Action Park (water park, outdoor putt-putt range, go-karts, outdoor ferris wheel)

Springfield Library (or one of the surrounding towns – Chatham has an awesome kids’ area!)

Scheels (huge aquarium, $1/person Ferris Wheel, cafeteria area with $1 cups of ice cream, bowling, kid’s play area, animatronic presidents, and the list goes on)

White Oaks Mall (children’s play area, carousel, indoor glow mini-golf)

Springfield Lake (parks, watch the boats, skip rocks)

Lincoln Memorial Gardens (6 miles of trails through wildflowers and wildlife)

 

There is so much to do in Springfield, IL if you have small kids but sometimes it takes a little inspiration and a list to think of everything!

 

Still need ideas?

Head inside Barnes and Noble on Veterans Parkway for a LEGO Duplo table, children’s books area, seats for reading, and a stage to perform on.  Down the street towards the interstate, you’ll find a McDonalds with an indoor PlayPlace (and another one on south Sixth Street!)

Lowes has Build & Grow workshops for kids.  You may have to check in store for a schedule.

The Illinois Products Farmer’s Market is Thursday evenings from May 12 – October 13th at the State Fairgrounds.  On Wednesday/Saturday mornings May 13 – October 31, you can visit the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market.  Farmer’s markets can be educational and fun for the kids!

In August the Illinois State Fair will run for two weeks with rides, fun foods, and lots of entertainment.  It’s always a blast for the whole family!  I recommend taking a stroller or a wagon if you have little ones though.  All the walking in a hot day can really wear them out!

 

Do you have any other ideas?  I’d love to hear about them!  We love trying out new things!!! 

 

5 Tips for Back to School the Healthy Way

5 Tips for Back to School...the healthy way!

 

When preparing kids for school, it’s easy to forget to take the small steps necessary to keep them healthy. Yet by taking the time to create a routine to ensure their health, they will do better in school and enjoy their time there.

Here are five ideas to build up their immune systems and keep them strong and healthy in school.

 

1. Choosing comfortable clothing.

Clothing can often chafe and irritate children’s skin. Seamless clothing for children, like undies and socks for sensitive skin, are ideal for kids who hate irritating sock seams that wrinkle or bunch. These form-fitted socks hug little feet, and can be slipped on or off easily. They are also perfect for kids with autism, hypersensitivity or sensory processing disorder.

 

2. Getting enough sleep.

Everyone needs to get enough rest, especially growing children. Sleep deprivation causes a wide variety of problems in both adults and children. While most parents know what it’s like to deal with a temperamental child who didn’t get enough sleep, they only have a vague idea about why sleep is essential for good health.

When Rebecca G. Astill at the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience researched the effects of sleep deprivation in more than 35,000 children between the ages of five and 12, she found that it had a noticeable effect on their behavior and school performance. Children who did not get enough sleep compared to their well-rested schoolmates, suffered from cognitive performance and exhibited aggravated behavioral problems in school.

She developed the following list of problems that arise when children don’t get enough sleep:

• They tend to be overly emotional.

• They have difficulty waking up in the morning.

• They have difficulty concentrating or focusing during play.

• They take excessive naps during the day.

• They tend to be hyperactive.

• They show defiant behavior.

• They have difficulty falling asleep because they are overtired or they fall asleep as soon as they lay in bed.

• They have an increased appetite.

• They are more clumsy and accident prone.

• They are excessively talkative.

It’s estimated that children of school-age need between nine and 11 hours of sleep at night. This means that you have to prepare them for bed a little earlier than bedtime to give them enough time to settle down for a long night’s rest.

 

3. Calming anxiety about school.

Parents need to work with children who have anxiety about school instead of simply dismissing it. Children may feel nervous about things like a heavy homework load, conflicts with their friends, or a new teacher. While these may seem trivial things to an adult, they are important concerns for the child, making them anxious, nervous, and fearful.

Here are some tips to help children manage their anxiety.

  1. Don’t share their anxiety, but appear calm and in control off your own emotions.
  2. Find out the details about what makes your child nervous. Often, simply talking about it helps a child put things in perspective.
  3. The worst thing you can do is to not make time to listen to their concerns.
  4. Don’t minimize, tease, or offer some clichéd advice on courage.
  5. Remind them about what is working in school, what they do like, and how well they may be doing in certain areas. This will help them see that school does have some positive aspects.

 

4. Learning to like healthy foods.

It’s difficult enough to persuade adults to avoid unhealthy foods, let alone kids. Perhaps the biggest challenge parents have is persuading their children to eat healthy foods. It’s not enough to simply pack healthy meals, lecture them on the value of good nutrition, or scold them for eating unhealthy foods. You have to interest them in eating healthy.

Food manufacturers have made unhealthy food rich in salts, fats, and sugars because their food scientists understand exactly what appeals to the human appetite.

 

Here are 10 tips from Melinda Sothern, PhD, director of the childhood obesity prevention laboratory at Louisiana State University:

  • 1. Avoid placing restrictions on food.
  • 2. Keep healthy food at hand.
  • 3. Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad.”
  • 4. Praise healthy choices.
  • 5. Don’t nag about unhealthy choices.
  • 6. Never use food as a reward.
  • 7. Sit down to family dinners at night.
  • 8. Prepare plates in the kitchen.
  • 9. Give the kids some control.
  • 10. Consult your pediatrician (if your child has a weight loss or weight gain problem).

 

5. Stay Alert to Health or Safety Issues

These five suggestions will help your kids ward off common colds and flu and other airborne illnesses this school year! However, it’s also important to stay alert to problems your child may be having is school. Some issues may appear trivial on the surface, but be the cause of a deeper, underlying issue. For instance, your child may not be able to hear the teacher or make out what’s on the blackboard. If this happens, you may you may have to see a pediatrician to see if they are having hearing or visual problems. Or perhaps the child is being bullied in school and it is much more severe than they are admitting. In this case, you need to talk to their teachers or the other parents about the bullying.

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