Family * Travel * Food

4 Things Everyone Should Know About Being Married

Are you considering walking down the aisle with the love of your life? Do you think that you have found the one? If yes, then let me tell you that while everything might seem perfect from the outside, there is something that you must know before you get married. I agree that there is no better feeling than getting to spend the rest of your life with the person of your dreams. However, you need to be objective about it and make sure that you go all in without any regrets.

For many women, marriage is something that they have been looking forward to. All the excitement leads to this one life-changing moment. But, to help you prepare mentally and emotionally, you should keep the following things in mind. 

Don’t Expect Your Partner to Change for You

The very first thing that you should be doing is not to expect your partner to change for you. The idea of love is that you have to agree to be with the other person for who he is. If you don’t like something about your partner, the only sensible thing you should do is to point it out. If you make it your life’s goal to change your partner, it will end up being pretty toxic. If he changes for you, he will feel like he is no longer in control, and if he doesn’t change for you, you will feel like he doesn’t love you. 

Communicate About Everything 

Where I said that you should never expect your partner to change something about him for you, it doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore it. The institution of marriage is built upon trust, and if you can’t trust your partner to tell him something that’s bothering you about hi, you have other issues at hand which need solving. Most couples say that the fire in marriage only lasts for a few years, but I believe that if both partners keep communicating and stay true to their feelings, marriage can last as long as you want it to. 

Learn About Family Law

I never suggest for anyone to jump in the well of marriage without learning how deep it is. Before you get yourself entangled in something that you don’t understand, you should talk to someone who can help you figure out the basics. I have seen a lot of couples fall out during the first few years and go through an ugly divorce. Instead of forcing yourself into another person’s life, if you think that you are not compatible with your partner, the smarter choice is to take a divorce. You can get in touch with a professional like Matrimonial Home so that everything goes smoothly. 

Be Financially Independent 

Last but not least, being financially independent is a very important part of being married. While I agree that marriage should be built in a way that both partners should act as stepping stones for each other’s career, you should never abandon your career for marriage. The dreams of spending the rest of your life with your loved ones sound good on paper, but when it comes down to real life, being independent matters. It doesn’t matter how much you think your partner loves you; you should never rely on him financially. Being financially independent means that you are not getting married because you need to. If you are able to cover your own costs, it will maintain your worth, and life would not be as much devastated after a divorce as you will be able to stand on your own two feet. 

It's Our Anniversary!

Another year has gone by, and today we celebrate 24 years of marriage. It really is so hard to believe that it has been that long since the day we said I do. Marriage isn't the easiest thing, but I feel like it gets sweeter with time. This last year was a bit a test. I lost both of my parents, and felt like I wasn't fully present most of the time. My sweet husband has been so supportive and definitely put me first. I guess in reality, that's how marriage is supposed to work. You have to be strong when the other is weak.

I am thankful to have someone to catch me when I fall, and that I can do the same right back. You don't question anything, you are just there. I tell younger or newer couples to never give up on each other. I'm sure that's easier said than done, but I believe in putting in the work. So many of the arguments that couples have can be worked out. I wish for everyone to have the kind of marriage that I have. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that I don't have to face anything alone.
Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband and best friend of 24 years. Cheers!
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Date Night: The Romance of NYC

It can be hard to keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship or marriage, but sometimes all you need to do is go away for a bit. Even more difficult is finding a proper date to start. Being romantic is no easy task, but whether you are taking time away from the family you’ve made or you’re on a first date, New York City makes the ideal date easy to plan.

Relaxed Romance
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If you want a slow-paced date with your husband or want to get to know someone quietly overtime, choose one of New York City’s lush, beautiful gardens. Brooklyn Botanical Garden, for example, is a paradise of flora and fauna. With acres of romantic cherry blossoms and an on-site conservatory, this natural beauty is sure to set your hearts aflutter.

A bit of Childhood Whimsy

Sometimes, it can be hard to be yourself on a date – especially on a first date. Head over to Brooklyn Heights and take a ride on the gorgeous Jane’s Carousel. This hundred-year-old children’s attraction will bring you back to a simpler time and put your mind and heart at ease around that special someone. Top off this idyllic afternoon at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, which is just nearby. You can take a more cultured route and take in a show at St. Ann’s Warehouse.

A Night Out

The Slipper Room on the Lower East Side is a seductive experience for a date that needs close contact. With performance art, comedy, dancers and singers, you and your date will find something exciting going on here on any night of the week. Take in the swanky atmosphere of this throwback lounge and create the ideal first date.

In Brooklyn, you’ll find the aptly named Brooklyn Night Bazaar. There is too much to do in just one night, but if you can manage it, you can play mini golf, belt it out at karaoke, and experience the fun of being a kid with arcade games. Dinner, drinks, and vintage knick-knacks give this artisanal-scented marketplace the best date night vibe out there.

Traditional is Fine, Too

If you crave that classic dinner and movie vibe, Greenpoint is famous for its rustic pizza house and you can take in the awe-inspiring skyline of Manhattan. Over in Williamsburg, the Nitehawk Cinema is a lux movie theatre that serves a full menu (tacos, anyone?), large and comfortable lounge chairs, and showings of retro and independent films alike. You can even get a drink with your movie.

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Find a tour of the city at if you cannot exactly decide what to do on a romantic getaway. An informed tour guide can give you a plethora of ideas and you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them yourself.

While New York City hasn’t been nicknamed the city of love, it is certainly overflowing with art galleries, high-end and unique restaurants, and a botanic paradise in all that steel and chrome. For your next big date, New York City has something for every couple.

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How Being Middle-Aged Has Changed My Life

I have been going through so many changes this year. It has been an unfortunate year filled with loss in a lot of different ways. I have really learned who is truly in my corner, through good and bad. It turns out that number has tremendously dwindled, and I struggled with it. I have been taking time out for myself to rest, refresh, and reset almost daily. If I'm not close to 100% emotionally and physically, well then I'm simply no good to anyone.

I have experienced some really great things this year. When I chose to stop focusing so hard on what I have lost, it opened my heart and mind to clearly see how much I have gained.
  • Worrying- I had to put a stop to this. I became so immersed in worry/anxiety/panic that it started to affect my well-being. I had to pound into my head that I can't change or control everything. Obsessing over things that might go the wrong way, or maybe go the right way isn't living. I had to come to a point where I say to myself, "Whatever the outcome may be, I will deal with it". As small as that might seem, it has helped me a lot. Things are going to happen the way they are intended. I can't do a thing about anything that has happened in the past. I can only focus on what's to come. 
  • Putting myself first- Most women don't know what this even means or how you even do it. I have made my health and happiness a priority. That is not negotiable. I no longer feel guilty doing nice things for myself or even indulging in what I want. As long as I don't go above my means, I allow myself the pleasures of life. I don't skimp on things for myself any more. 
  • Eating and sleeping- It's so hard sometimes to eat properly when all you want is cheese fries and sushi. I still fight hard to maintain balance, but don't deny myself of what I really want on occasion. I do drink plenty of water daily, and know if I haven't had enough by the way I feel. I find myself taking naps as I need. I don't worry about the dishes in the sink because they will still be there when I get up. Some nights I go to bed before 10:00. A well-rested Shelly is a happy Shelly. 
  • Protecting my spirit- I have been staying away from watching the news. The negativity really gets to me, especially when it deals with sexual abuse. It has come to the point where I have to deactivate some of my social media accounts for short periods of time. If it's not positively feeding my spirit, I steer clear of it. 
  • Saying no- For most of my life, I have felt a deep obligation to doing things for people. I would feel so guilty to not help. It has come to a point that if my gut tells me to say no, I say just that. The best part is I offer little to no explanation. Now that's some real growth right there! 
  • Ditching the planner- I have spent way too many years planning every single moment of my life down to the minute. I dumped my planner somewhere in my office and life has gone smoothly since then. Sometimes my husband will ask me if I want to take a ride to the beach or up north on a whim. This normally would have freaked me out because it wasn't planned, but now I don't care. I grab my shoes and bag and GO! 
  • Getting in pictures- I learned some time last year that my husband has been sneaking photos of me every time we travel. He would take pictures while I was applying make-up or cooking. I saw some of the photos and was like, you better not let anyone see these awful pictures of me! He didn't see it that way at all. He explained that my true essence shined through as I did the things I would normally do. I was being ME. He simply wants our children to have photos to look back on of me doing things either for myself, with them, or with him. Memories is what it's about. I've stopped being so hard on myself and started hopping in front of the lens instead of behind it. All of my 'imperfections', belly pooch and all are perfectly me, and I have grown to accept them.

Although I have experienced significant growth over the last year, I know I still have more to go. I'm open to it and not letting fear get in my way. So what's next? I don't know, and I don't intend on planning for it. I will let things be. Thanks for stopping by today.
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Don't Let Someone Else Drag Your Health Down!

Everyone wants to take care of themselves right? Surely it only makes sense that, since we only get one body, that every single person would want to take as much care of their health as possible. Sadly this isn't the case. As strange as it might sound, but there are a lot of people out there who simply aren't that interested in keeping themselves healthy. It's probably not something that they're doing intentionally, a lot of the time people's unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors come from a lack of awareness of the impact it's having on their body. It's a shame that it's happening but if that's what they want to do then you can't really stop them, the major problem is when other people's poor decision making starts to have a negative impact on your life. With that in mind, here are some situations where other people's behavior could damage your health, and how to stop that from happening.

Accidents on the road
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You might be the safest driver in the world, but there's still a chance that something could happen. This is because, for every careful, considerate driver on the road, there's another one who has no interest in their own safety or the safety of anyone else. The best way to deal with these kinds of drivers is something called "defensive driving." Defensive driving is essentially a method of driving where you're constantly aware of and predicting potential hazards. That way you're in a much better position to avoid them. Of course, you won't be able to avoid everything, especially if someone is determined to drive like a maniac. If you are in an accident, then you should hire a personal injury lawyer so that you can make sure that the other person's lack of responsibility doesn't need to have more of a negative impact on your life than it already has. 

Your partner's diet
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It's hard enough taking care of your own diet, let alone having to think about someone else's. It's surprisingly common that one person in a relationship will be much more conscious of their health than the other. It can be surprisingly difficult to eat healthily and stay active when your partner is constantly buying greasy, unhealthy food. For one thing, having to work around two diets can be pretty expensive, not only that but it's often very tempting to go for a quick, unhealthy fix instead of something healthier after a long day at work. Make sure that you talk to your partner and try to get them to support your attempts to become healthier, for your benefit and theirs.

Your friend's lifestyle
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Everyone likes to have a good time now, and then. There's nothing wrong with that! But we all have that one friend who just seems determined to take it too far. They seem to want to go out every single night, and when they do, they behave as if they've never heard the word moderation in their life! Even if you choose not to drink as much as they do, the late nights and lack of sleep that come with this kind of lifestyle are going to catch up with you eventually. Talk to your friend, and if they're not willing to try to quieter nights in every so often, it might be a good idea to spend some time apart so that you can take care of your health.


The Family Files - Can Siblings With Big Age Differences Get Along Well?

These kids of mine are truly something special. They are all so different for the most part, yet have some striking similarities. Their ages are now 22, 20, and soon-to-be 9. It's funny, I often call William an "only child" because his sisters are adults. The nice part is that his big sisters come home from work/school and are fully ready to do child-like things with him. He always complains that his siblings are his biggest botherers 😆The girls are fully obsessed with their little brother. Every little thing he does is so cute to them. Oh, and the fact that he is the most adorable little thing makes everything even cuter! This is why they stay in his face. 

The older siblings do indeed start stuff with the little one. William will be so calm and quiet all day until they get home. That's when the adult children start to behave like little children. I admit, it's a lot of fun seeing the bond between the three of them. William will be the first one to get sad if one of his sisters have to go out of town or are spending the night away from home. By the way, he calls them "my girls". He asks me all day, "When will my girls be home?" And when they do finally get home.....

There are so many days where my husband and I listen to those kids laugh together, talk to each other through the walls, or get into some sort of mischief that results in all of them getting yelled at. It reminds us of how very blessed we are to have children who really love each other and enjoy time together. Our biggest hope is that they will be this way forever.

Do you have children with big age differences? Do they get along well?

Mom Files Is 10 Years Old

I seriously can't believe that 10 years ago, my husband bought the domain, He is actually the one who believed that it was going to become something very special. He pushed encouraged me to start this blog although I really didn't want to. No lie, I did not believe him. Who would bother to read my blog? Where would I even find readers? I decided to humor him and figured I'd try this whole blog thing and see what happens. This came with very little expectation of any kind. I was simply doing it as a online journal and a place to connect with like-minded people.

Fast forward ten years... I had no idea that blogging would bring so much added value to my life, and I'm not talking about income. It has connected me with so many great people all over the country. Crafters, home cooks, interior designers, tech specialists, artists, writers, and regular every day folks. I have bonded and become really good friends with some truly amazing people. Some communicate with me regularly via text, phone, and social media. If I'm going through something and need someone to talk to, I'm covered. I really needed that. I think being a stay-at-home mom for so long makes me feel lonely sometimes. My blog friends seem to fill that void and I don't even have to leave home (score!).

I have really enjoyed engaging with my readers and it brings me joy when I get the occasional comment from those I started out with. I hear a lot of other bloggers ask the question, "Does anyone actually read blogs anymore?" I say, yes! It makes me so happy when someone tells me that they searched my blog for a particular recipe or they bought something based off of a past review I did. I appreciate the trust that is shown.

One of the greatest things about this blog is the fact that I have 10 years of family memories. I've shared so many milestones, experiences, funny videos (remember Vent Day?), heartfelt thoughts, reviews, birthdays, disappointments, and even some very random things. I have always felt like you all celebrated with us, cheered for us, cried for us, or just simply listened.

I truly appreciate all of my readers and social media connections. You are the reason I'm still here. I go through my times of wanting to scrap everything and shut down shop. Then someone will message me and tell me they loved something I posted recently that really helped them at the time they needed it most. I'm always very happy to help anyone that I can.

I want to say, thank you! Thank you all for connecting with me. I genuinely feel like some of the best people I've ever known are those I've never even met in real life.

Thanks for reading!

Maintaining A Superb Relationship With Your Parents

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When you were growing up, your parents were your constant companions. Your relationship was filled with love, trust and fun. Even though you annoyed each other from time to time, it’s a bond unlike any other. But now you’ve grown up and have your own family to look after, maintaining this relationship can be difficult. You’re both facing new challenges from health concerns to changes in career. So it’s vital that your relationship adapts to this change in dynamic to help keep it in a strong and healthy condition. Here are some simple ideas you should consider to make you and your parents closer than ever.

Call each other regularly

Instead of making excuses for your lack of communication, do something about it. Schedule a suitable time each week where you can call and talk to each other. Even if it’s only for five minutes, your conversations can assist you in maintaining a good relationship. You can update each other on what’s going on in your lives and plan days out together. You can also use these conversations to find out about their health conditions and whether they need more help. Without these conversations, you might be unaware that your Father has hired senior care companions. Or that your Mother needs to have a hip replacement. Take an interest in their lives to stay fully involved.

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Ask for their help

Many parents feel they lose their purpose and feel insignificant once their children have grown up. But there is still a lot you and your family can learn from them. If you've always wanted to bake like your Mom, ask her to give you some lessons and share her tips. Your Dad could show you how to change the tyres on your car or how to start saving money more efficiently. If something goes wrong in your life, whether small or large, turn to them for support. This will make them feel important and that you appreciate their advice and wisdom. They then might feel more inclined to ask for your help whenever they need it too.

Let them know how you feel

As children, we don’t like to think of our parents no longer being here. But sadly, this is a harsh reality we all have to face. So make the most of every second you have with your parents.  Let them know how much they mean to you and how important they are to your family. You can do this by writing a letter or sending them a video via email. Surprise visits where you can both talk face to face also provide this opportunity too. They may even return your feelings of gratitude with their own and tell you how proud they are of you. This is a conversation will be one that neither of you ever forget, and it can instantly strengthen your relationship.

While these ideas can help you to maintain a healthy relationship with your parents, they all require two key ingredients. Time and effort. Making the time and effort to spend time or to communicate with each other is essential to preserve this special bond.


How to Create Your Own Dixie Deadzone Diners

Dixie, the leader in disposable tableware, has launched ”Deadzone Diners,” a campaign inspiring people to disconnect from their mobile devices and connect over a meal.  The initiative will transform the negative perception of cellular dead zones into unique opportunities for people to “Be More Here.”  To help families better connect over the dinner table, the company had a created a set of tips to help them create their own “Deadzone Diners” and foster conversation and interaction.

With a focus on family, friends and mealtimes, Dixie is committed to promoting environments where meaningful interaction can occur in the absence of distractions such as phone calls, social media and text messages. 

​1. ​Put your phone away during mealtime.  Establish a guideline that everyone must put their phones on airplane mode and leave them in another room. This will allow families to focus solely on having meaningful face-to-face conversation with the people around them.

​2. Have dinner in unique location with no cell signal.  Make dinner more fun, compelling and unique by finding a change of atmosphere.  See if you can find a cellular dead zone to have a meal, such as your basement, a park or an isolated spot in the backyard. A change of scenery with “no bars” will encourage engaging conversation.

3. Come to the dinner table with one topic to discuss.  Everyone in the family should come prepared with a conversation topic.  It can be as simple as the best thing that happened to you that day.  A shared meal is an important opportunity to have your family's full attention to talk about the things that matter most. 

4. Make sure everyone is involved.  Make sure everyone at dinner has a role, whether it’s helping in the kitchen, setting the table or cleaning up.  If everyone has a responsibility, it will limit the time they can spend on the phone and create a shared experience. 

5. Try a new recipe, but keep it simple.  Introducing a new recipe could be the start of great conversation.  A home-made meal doesn’t have to take hours and it can be fun to prepare.  Cooking will bring the family together, while avoiding the distraction of cell phones.


Simple Ways to Let a Friend Know You Care

Whether your loved one is going through a hard time or you’ve just been feeling a rush of gratitude for their presence in your life, letting them know you care takes just a pinch of thoughtfulness and a moment of effort. You never know the difference it might make, so peruse these options and let your friend know how much they are appreciated.

A Surprise Delivery
Order a bouquet of flowers for delivery to their home or office and write a sweet note to accompany it. You can make it as general as “Hope this brightens your day” or personalize it for a particular situation. A vibrant surprise such as this is sure to bring a smile to their face and remind them of your love every time they see it.

A Kind Letter
With social media saturating our daily lives, it’s easy to “like” our friends’ photos and status updates and call it a day. But if you’re truly feeling like reaching out to a friend and making sure they know you care, consider putting your feelings into writing. That’s right, writing a good old-fashion, pen to paper letter. Just a few paragraphs outlining how grateful you are for their friendship might be the pick me up they need if they’re having a rough go of things.

Take Them Out for Lunch
The work week can drag for all of us, so if you want to let your friend know you care, stop by in the middle of the week at their office and take them out to lunch at a local place. Breaking up the monotony of a long day and the added bonus of surprise will make your friend feel appreciated and give you two a chance to hang out even in the midst of a hectic week.

Actively Listen
If your friend needs to express something, make sure you do your due diligence and listen actively. Too often we hear, but we don’t really take in the message. Your friend might be hiding feelings between the lines and hoping that you’ll pick up on it, so do your best to repeat the words that are spoken to you and analyze the information given to better respond. It may sound like common sense, but many of us fall out of the habit of active listening. Being conscious of this will heighten your communication skills with everyone in your life.

Put the Phone Down
You might feel connected with the outside world while missing out on the person sitting right in front of you. Nothing beats in-person interaction, and constantly looking at the blue light of your iPhone screen just tells the person you’re with that they’re not interesting enough to capture your attention. Put your phone away and give them your full attention; you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better your communication is.

Show Up With a Meal
If you notice a friend is struggling to get everything done and could really use a break, doing something as simple as bringing dinner over could change their entire outlook for the week. If you’re not a chef extraordinaire there’s no harm in picking up something from their favorite restaurant or having it delivered—it’s the thought that counts, not the food. This is an especially good idea for moms and dads who might be running themselves ragged with responsibility.

Send an Inspirational Book
We don’t always have the right words for someone going through a difficult time, so don’t be hesitant to reach out with the wise words of someone else. If you find an applicable book of inspiration that fits the situation, pass it along. You don’t have to let them know it was a gift specifically bought for them, and you can work under the pretense that it’s been in your library all along. Sometimes it’s hard for people to accept gifts, so if this fits your situation, definitely take it into consideration.

Wine and Chat
Another easy option? A wine night. Grab a personalized wine bottle from a company like Etching Expressions with a picture of the two of you or a cheery message guaranteed to make them smile. Even after you finish its contents, they’ll keep the bottle as a memento of your fun night together and it may bring light to their life on a rainy day in the future. Nothing sparks conversation like a little liquid courage, so give them the chance to express themselves without pressuring them. Simply letting them know you are willing to listen can speak volumes.


Celebrating Your Girlfriends on Gal-entine’s Day

Haven’t heard of Gal-entine’s Day, yet? It’s high time you started observing this wonderful celebration of female friendship. Originally coined by Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope on the hit NBC show “Parks and Recreation”, this occasion is celebrated on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day. It’s meant to commemorate the beautiful bond and love between best friends, and if you’ve got a great crew of gals you adore, you need to celebrate your friendships and give a nod to the many different but just as wonderful types of love in your life.

Gifting isn’t Just for Lovers
Give your best gal pals a token of your appreciation for their friendship with some sweet and sentimental presents this Gal-entine’s Day. Skip the stale presents and make your besties feel like queens with some heartfelt presents you know they’ll adore. Whether it’s friendship bracelets (those aren’t just for preteens you know!) or tickets to a show you know all of you will enjoy, sweet little presents will definitely have your besties feeling the love.

A Fun Project
Want to keep busy while you’re hanging out? Provide all the supplies for a fun DIY project. Whether it’s making a dream board of all the hopes and wishes you all have for the future using pictures and terms cut out of a magazine, or a wonderfully scented homemade shower scrub, you’ll laugh over your arts and crafts project and leave the evening with a fun memento of the fun times you had that evening.

Paint ’N Wine Night
If you haven’t done a paint and wine night yet, you’re missing out. There are tons of companies in every big city that offer evenings where you and your girlfriends can get firsthand instruction from an artist and create a copycat painting masterpiece, all while sipping on alcoholic beverages and eating yummy appetizers. You’ll all go home at the end of the night with a new painting to hang on your wall, and every time you see it hanging on your wall in the future you’ll smile and think of the amazing women in your life.

Karaoke Night
What better way to spend an evening celebrating love than singing your heart out to some ballads with your besties? Head to a local karaoke bar and pick your favorite jams, sing some duets, and rock out to girl groups for a celebration that will have you losing your voice (all in good fun, of course!)

Television Binging
What is a night in front of the television without some delicious snacks? Order in food and have it delivered from a company like DoorDash, or do it smorgasbord style with a yummy charcuterie and cheese board, mini sliders, and chocolate berries from a company like Shari’s Berries. Celebrate women by picking movies with female leads: think Katniss from “Hunger Games” or the funny, singing gals from “Pitch Perfect”.

For Far Away Besties
If your best friend lives far away but you still want to let her know you’re thinking of her, send a fun card that will provide a happy surprise come February 13th  when she checks her mailbox. Plan a Skype date to catch up and get all the details on any Valentine’s plans you two might be celebrating with the lucky fellas in your lives.

A Girl’s Trip
If you and your friends are all single for the Valentine’s holiday, then you’ve got the entire weekend to work with for your Gal-entine’s celebrations (no wallowing about not being a relationship necessary, ladies). Go out on a sweet getaway weekend that will have you all feeling rejuvenated come the following Monday. What about a wine tasting weekend with a side of luxury spa treatments? Or perhaps you’ll head out on a ski weekend to make the most of the snow still clinging to the ground as winter winds its way down. Whatever it is that you like to do, plan a last-minute trip and celebrate with the girls who know you best.

Romantic relationships can come and go, but your best friends are always there for you, so make sure you celebrate all the types of love in your life this February.

When Life Gives You Lemons ... Keep Your Head to the Future (Guest post)

2013 is a year that I’ll mark down as one with plenty of ups and downs.

I had the wonderful experience of moving into a new apartment with my girlfriend, becoming a proud owner of a husky puppy, and I did rather well in my work.

Though …

The last few months have been somewhat rough. I lost two of my grandparents and my girlfriend lost one of hers. There were a few rocky parts about the “what’s next” in the relationship. The holidays certainly added to the overall pressure.

But in the end, I am grateful for what I have experienced. It really helps to shine a light on the important things in life. It reminds you of the old saying of “when life gives you lemons … make lemonade” but, for me, it became a thought of “look to the future”.

The things that became Increasingly Important

I can’t speak for all of us, but when you’re faced with these types of ups and downs, you can’t help but think of the big picture.

The more I age, the more it has become increasingly important (and apparent) that I figure out what’s in store for my future.

These are items like:
•  If I had a child how would I pay for their college?
•  Why do I get wrapped up in the “rat race”?
•  How am I going to plan for my retirement?

I know these are some of the very same thoughts you have and I believe I might be able to share a bit of wisdom about these topics.

1. Keeping Healthy

I like the concept of “your body is your temple” because it helps you understand that you have just one and what you put into it really does matter.

It doesn't matter if you let yourself go, if you’re already lean, or if you’re dealing with some kind of setback. What matters is that you take control of your health and the best way, on the fundamental level, is through proper food.

Don’t continually wait for the New Year to make a commitment to better living. Start learning healthier options for your cooking. Start getting out there and exercising (even just 15 minutes a day). Get the whole family involved – get them excited.

You’ll add years to your life if you make the commitment to be healthy – and you’ll certainly want to see the same for your family.

2. Finding Acknowledgment in a Career

Being proud of your work and gaining acknowledgement of your commitment is very rewarding on a psychological level.

I noticed this with my grandparents. They were from another time so they were the type to put in the hard hours even when the task was far out of their league. They went through times far worse than mine and came out very successful.
I think you should do the same.

Your career doesn't need to suck away the time you can spend with the family. On the contrary, you should strive to increase proficiency in work rather than throwing more time at it. Not only will you have that extra time to spend with the family but you’ll set in motion what’s needed (savings and investments) to ensure your child has the opportunity for a higher education.

3. Knowing what’s at the end

We all meet our end, which is a scary thought in and of itself, but even scarier when you think about what you leave behind to your children.
Bills? Maybe. Inheritance? Hopefully.

It doesn't matter how you start – just the fact that you do start planning for your retirement. This can involve any number of savings plans. Schwab recommends investing in an IRA account, but that's just one of multiple options.

You won’t always have the same energy or skill set to compete in your career. You will eventually retire. You also want to plan for the unexpected (those lemons).

Get real about your life and how you impact others. Save anything (even a little) for the future. Give up chasing material possessions that holds you back from enjoying the bigger picture. Solidify the well-being of your family (and all those after) by committing to planning for the end.


From the Marriage Files: Dating your spouse

Life gets hectic almost all of the time. We have to juggle children, work, activities, bills and other life obligations. It can weigh heavily on a marriage. Although I don't make any resolutions for the new year, I did make a vow to have more dates with my husband in 2013. We both realize how important it is for us to have time together, away from the kids. Ever since January, we have taken time to go out alone whether it is for lunch, browsing the stores or just for cocktails. Having that alone time has brought us closer together and it is nice to engage in intimate conversation and a little laughter. So far we have managed to stick with our dating arrangements. The key to making it happen is to not plan it. We just randomly decide, "hey, do you want to go have dinner or catch a movie?"

Of course there are those times that my hubby looks up Columbia SC Flowers and surprises me with a gorgeous arrangement. After 19 years of marriage, he still buys me flowers. Having them delivered is a romantic touch as well. Just this past weekend, Dwayne asked me out on a date in a formal way. It was so sweet! It's also fun to get all dolled up and even wear heels to have some fun time away from the kids. Even if you don't have a lot of extra money, it is so worth squeezing out a few dollars to go out on a date with your honey.

Do you date your spouse? What do you usually do?


Married to Jonas on E! and my tips for the newlyweds {Giveaway}

Contest ended- Winner is Cheryl Free

Have you guys heard about the new show on E! called Married to Jonas? I can't believe Kevin Jonas is all grown up and married! Kevin and his young wife Dani make the most adorable couple. Their show will chronicle their new life together as a married couple and also give a peek into their new families... with the in-laws! Oh, they have some very interestingly fun times ahead! Married to Jonas airs on Sunday's 10/9c.

It got me to thinking, being so young and married is not easy. You think things will be as perfect as the day you met, but man oh man do things change! It is important to get some good advice from seasoned couples to make sure you do all you can to make things work. Since I have been married for over 18 years, I feel like I know a thing or two. Here is my top ten list of marriage tips to Kevin and Dani and to all the newlyweds out there. 
  1. Always try to impress each other. If the woman wore make-up and heels while dating, still do it. If the man dressed well and wore nice cologne, keep it up. Don't fall into the trap that your significant other loves you and there is no need to impress them anymore. Don't let yourselves go!  
  2. Ladies, if you and your man are lost in the woods somewhere and he tells you to wait in a specific spot, stay your butt right there. I confess that as a woman, I tend to want to show my man that I can hang and end up getting both of us in more trouble! 
  3. Gentleman, always tell your woman how beautiful she is. Don't tell her that because the world is always saying how beautiful she is that she knows you feel the same. She wants to hear it from YOU! 
  4. Always appreciate each other. Never forget to thank your mate for all the little things. 
  5. Ladies, let your man be a man. They need time to blow off steam and do "boy things". Perhaps not the same things they did when they were single, but you get the idea. 
  6. Be honest each and every day. If you don't like something about your mate, tell them! Holding back never helps things. 
  7. Give each other space. There will be times that you both drive each other crazy. Take some time away from each other. You don't have to be joined at the hip 24/7.
  8. Have a sense of humor. You can't take every single thing so seriously. Laughter is so important to balance out all the serious stuff. 
  9. Ladies, this is important. Be a lady in the street and a freak in the sheets. Seriously, just keeping it real! 
  10. My last tip is very important and it is for the men. Gentleman, just know that the woman is always right. It will make for a lasting and happy marriage. It's as easy as that! 
One lucky Momfiles reader will win a fantastic In-Law Survival Kit ($112 value) 
The kit will include:
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· Bliss Fabulous Skin-Reviving Rubberizing masks 
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· $15 iTunes Gift Card 
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I will receive the same prize package as the giveaway winner for posting. No other compensation was received and all thoughts/opinions are 100% my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

How chicken got me a husband (True story)

I can remember in late Summer of '91, Dwayne and I went to Miami Beach to take a dip in the ocean and have a little cook-out . We took along food, drinks and a small charcoal grill. I had pre-seasoned some chicken wings to cook on the grill. Dwayne and I were very young, so he really had not really tasted a lot of my dishes. This was the first time he would get to try my barbecued chicken wings. He took his first bite and closed his eyes. He yelled out how good it was and he was amazed at my cooking skills. He then goes on to tell me how me could totally marry me because I knew how to cook chicken. Can it get any more romantic than that? Turns out he was dead serious. The man loves his chicken cooked just right! 

Speaking of chicken, I wanted to share the latest product I tried courtesy of Lawry's and BzzAgent. It is the Lawry's Santa Fe Chili Marinade. I poured the marinade on some chicken wings and added a few dashes of garlic powder, Lawry's Seasoned Salt and some cracked black pepper. I let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour and then I cooked them in the oven using the broil/bake method. 35 minutes later we ended up with some of the best tasting chicken wings my family had ever had. I regret not cooking more of it because they were just that delicious! I highly recommend you try it out for yourself.

Stay connected to Lawry's on Facebook .

I received a product samples and coupons because I'm a BzzAgent. All opinions are 100% my own.

Shelly, Mom Files

And it hit me...

I was just blow-drying my hair when I glanced over at the burgundy velvet box that was sitting on the dresser. Inside the box are the most gorgeous gold hoop earrings my husband bought for me as an anniversary gift. I love them so much that I decided I would only wear them for special occasions and if I am not wearing them, they would be tucked safely away in the box. Then I thought to myself...wait... why am I not wearing them right now? Last time I checked, EVERY day is a special occasion! I decided that I will wear the earrings as often as I want and enjoy them fully! What good do they do me if they are sitting in the jewelry box? I challenge everyone to eat your weekday dinner on that fine china that sits up on a high shelf. Grab those crystal goblets and drink Kool-aid out of them! Forget the holidays, silverware can be everyday ware! Why keep the special stuff locked up when we can be enjoying them NOW!

Shelly, Mom Files

18 years!

This weekend Dwayne and I will be celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. We have big plans and are both excited to share this time together. It still amazes us both how long we have been together, 22 years in all. Regardless of whatever life has thrown our way, we hung in there. We have seen each other through the darkest of times and have celebrated the the greatest moments of our lives-- together.
I appreciate and cherish our relationship and can't wait to see what the future holds for us *ahem* I am thinking luxury cruise?! ;-)
Shelly, Mom Files

My Pinterest is now linked to my junkie corners

I have a confession. I love to clean. I really do love to clean. Clutter makes me feel nervous. My house is very plainly decorated. Actually, my house is not really decorated.. more like void of a bunch of crap everywhere. Everywhere except... I have this little problem (so my husband thinks). He says I have an obsession with having tiny, junkie corners in several places in our home. I admit, I do. I have a tiny pile next to my bed, at the foot of my bed, in the family room... you get the idea. You are probably wondering what exactly I keep in my little piles... Everything from clothing, coupons, receipts, nail files, pens... nothing is exempt except trash. I have spent the weekend ridding my house of my junkie corners. Yep, everything is in the right place. No junk anywhere in sight. I have declared (no promises) that I will make an effort to cut down on my little bits of junk. Maybe.

Since it was a 3-day weekend I took some time to chill. I did some cleaning and cooking but for the most part I sat my little self down and relaxed (I think). I have recently started getting into Pinterest. I find myself pinning for hours some days. If you are already on Pinterest then you know just what I am talking about. If you are not then what the heck are you waiting for? So this is where my smart talking husband comes in. He says that Pinterest is filling my void for my junkie corners. He says now I can have virtual junkie corners thanks to Pinterest. Sadly, he is not lying! ;-)

Shelly, Mom Files

Before we had Ipads & Pinterest

I was sitting in my office thinking yesterday morning and glanced over at this clipboard. It is not the best looking clipboard at all. As a matter of fact, it is absolutely tacky. It has paint drips, marker smudges and who knows what else on it. Well it turns out that this tacky thing is filled with memories...about 20 years to be exact. You see, this was Dwayne's clipboard in high school. He was very into his office supplies. He even carried a briefcase! During his rap days, he went to visit our local radio station and had DJ Laz from Power 96 autograph it. If you are from Miami you would know what a big deal that was! DJ Laz is still doing his thing.
You can see where I wrote all over it. So high school girl of me huh? Even Dwayne signed his old rap name "D-Smoothe" 

I guess one thing is for sure, we have been together FOREVER!
I hung the clipboard on my office wall. It is very special and will be treasured forever :-) 

Shelly, Mom Files

Are people really who you THINK they are?

The husband and I were having an intense conversation this morning about our online circle of friends. Every day we log into our Facebook accounts and read the good, the bad and the ugly that goes on day-to-day of our "friends". Dwayne was saying how people assume so much off of posts that they fail to realize what is really real. For example he was saying how you might have a person living a certain lifestyle through social media and in reality this person might be going through a domestic violence situation. This is very true. We don't necessarily reveal the whole truth about ourselves online. Dwayne and I constantly go back and fourth about online interaction and how real-life interaction is dwindling. Then on the other hand, if you are not involved in social media you will get left behind. For me, I get so much from my online friends. I have learned so much that has helped me in my life and I love to share my views with others. If I can encourage just one person in some way then I feel I am using social media for good. I have made some amazing connections as well as some creepy ones. I do learn from both sides in different ways every day. It's funny that I do have local, personal people in my life that it seems to be a greater struggle to get together more than my online contacts. Interesting....

Shelly, Mom Files
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