Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Let me start off by saying, Brian is a wonderful husband with many amazing qualities. He is great at picking out clothes for me and forcing me to spend money on myself, like getting a massage or a pedicure. He’s also really great at middle of the week, ‘I was just thinking of you’ gifts. The first month of Reagan’s life, he would bring me coffee and/or breakfast in bed before he went to work in the morning. He’s a keeper. However, his downfall is “high pressure” gifts on holidays; birthdays, Christmas, and Mother’s Day… Let’s just say his best gifts are the ones I send him a link for.

This list is mostly compiled of mostly small businesses; specifically businesses run by moms. I think there’s no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by supporting hard-working moms who somehow also find time to run successful businesses.


-For the minimalist: Made by Mary jewelry – fairly priced, customizable and sweet. Being a non-jewelry wearer besides my engagement ring, these are minimalistic enough that they go with everything and even I love wearing them. They always have some sort of Mother’s Day promotion. Keep an eye on their Instagram! **Bonus: they also have matching ‘mini-me’ pieces and their customer service is amazing. I further customized my necklace immediately after ordering it and they were more than happy to accommodate.

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-For the breastfeeding mom: Sacred Legacy Arts – definitely on the pricier side for a gift, but they do have some cheaper $150+ options. I would personally love to commemorate my breastfeeding journey (which is sadly coming to an end soon) with this beautiful ring. But I would be mad if Brian spent that kind of money ($700+ for this set) on jewelry instead of toward a family getaway. The struggle is real!

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-For the yogi: Gathre vegan leather yoga mat. These are beautiful, however, they won’t be shipped until June/July as they aren’t even made yet. This company also offers a mini-me mat, which makes for a really sweet gift set.

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-For the Fixer-Upper fan: Magnolia Table cookbook (just released April 24th). I recommend from Barnes & Noble as they currently have a discount code for 15% off.

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-For the green-thumb (or those that wish they were): Green house plants (Ikea and Lowes have great ones for great prices – FYI, Lowes will accept and return DEAD plants up to a year after you buy them, so if your woman is a murderer of house plants, this may be a great option for you).

-For the sentimentalist: The Night Sky. Also makes a great anniversary present. I bought ours as a surprise for Brian for our 1st wedding anniversary (which is paper, if you do the traditional wedding gifts. This was definitely not intentional. I’m not that organized.) For Mother’s Day you can make it for the night she became a mother. Look for discount codes on their Instagram, that’s how I scored 20% off ours.

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BONUS: For every home-making woman: Professionally cleaned home and/or carpet. We just splurged and got our entire carpet professionally cleaned last month and it makes all the difference. What person would not appreciate this??

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side hustles for SAHMs (no network marketing involved)

Last night, my 15-month-old-daughter had a rough night. This always happens after Brian comes back from an “away week”. She’s missed him and she knows he’s only a room away and only wants him. Last night she practically jumped out of my arms to try to get to him and I definitely pulled something in my back. So I am currently working while laying on my stomach across the bed. Dream life, right? Working from home.

I have had several new mom friends ask me over the past year about the transition to being a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Though there is nothing wrong with multi-level marketing jobs, they just aren’t for everyone and that’s all I will say on the matter. So I wanted to share some of the other ways I have been able to supplement our income to make living on 1 income work in California (though these can be done from any state!)

**Side note: I’ve been doing all these long before I ever was married, so they are nice ways to make extra cash while working/going to school.

  • Consignment Stores

I love Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads, but have also used Plato’s Closet in the past. Check online for local Consignment stores near you. There are even some consignment stores that buy children’s clothing, I just prefer selling them online as you get to name the price. These typically either give you the option to walk away with cash or receive store-credit, which worked best for me as my body changed so much after having Reagan that I was able to swap out styles that no longer work with my mom-bod.

  • Facebook BST pages, Local Marketplace, or Instagram
    For this, you will need an active Paypal account, poly shipping bags, a kitchen scale, (I linked the ones I bought) and shipping materials i.e. wrapping tissue, washi tape or twine, and regular packing tape. Well worth the investment for how much I have sold + shipped over the past few years!

All of the items shown below I spent a total of $8 on from thrift-stores while shopping for my daughter. Some brand new with tags. One made in Italy. I made about a $60 profit from this bundle of clothes alone and I definitely don’t price my clothes as high as I probably should (because I don’t know the environment they’re from).

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My favorite FB group for selling baby/kid’s clothes is: Gap, Old Navy, Zara, H&M, and Target BST. I’ve also had luck selling on several Anthropologie BST pages as well as different baby-wearing BST pages. I’ve sold 2 Wildbird ring slings for exactly what I paid for them because the demand was so high, but my biggest advice would be to find a BST group for whatever brands you want to sell. That’ll give you the best input into what you should price things at.

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I’ve also sold a lot of bigger/heavier household items on local Facebook BST pages. This is a little trickier living in an apartment building, but I can typically arrange a pick-up around the buyer’s schedule. Other local selling apps I recommend and use semi-regularly are Offer Up and Let Go.

  • Poshmark (Use code HBUI91 for $5 when you first sign up)
    My advice is take clear shots in bright light, model the pieces when you can (though I don’t ever), and when you can, try to find the original picture for the item online.

Poshmark is nice because you don’t have to deal with the hassle of making a label and weighing. They email it right to you after the sale is complete. However, they do take a percentage of your sale, so you do have to factor that into your price and the selling is typically very slow. I have sold over $500 worth of clothes on here in the last year. Slow and steady, but I really don’t have to do much work other than refresh my postings and add anything new to my closet that I want to sell.

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  • Mystery Shopping

I’ve listed three companies that I have worked for and are legitimate. I haven’t found a way to make a living doing mystery shopping, but it is nice supplemental income and you get to choose when and what shops you do. As a SAHM, it’s also really nice to have an excuse to get out of the house and not feel like I’m spending more than we’re making. What I do before accepting a shop is plan a day around that particular city or area so I’m not investing so much money in gas just to get there. For example, I will always choose to do a Best Buy shop in Burbank on a day I can have a date day at Ikea. I also schedule Disney Store shops when I have a few returns to make to the mall.

Bestmark – mails you your check 2 Fridays after you complete the shop

This company works best for people that drive a car in the Chevrolet/Ford family. You will basically never pay for any routine work to be done on your car ever again – in exchange for writing about your experience. Though we did get lucky once with a Lexus service shop, they are few and far between. Aside from car shops, which are the majority with this one, I have also done movie theater shops (reimbursed for 2 tickets, popcorn + soda) , dinners at Maggiano’s ($50 reimbursements), Best Buy shops (pays about $14 a shop) and so many online “car inquiries”. These only pay $3 a shop, but they definitely add up and don’t take a lot to complete.

My total income from all the shops I did over a 6 month span last year was about $400, which isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it was a lot of great (and free) memories for my little family. They also have a lot of other shops that I just wasn’t able to do with a toddler, such as new car dealerships and hotel stays, that definitely pay much more.

Amusement Advantage – long narratives, but often reimburses in additional tickets

Very involved shops and must be okay with writing long narratives about your experiences. It probably took me 2 hours to write up the one shop I completed and upload the receipts. However, they offer shops for Six Flags, the Zoo, bowling alleys, mini golf, and several museums all over LA; so if you’re into any of those things and are okay writing long narratives, this may be the company for you. All I really want is a Disneyland shop, too much to ask??

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Intelli-Shop – Sends $ via Paypal on the 20th day of the month after you complete

Lots of retail shops, which work best for me as a SAHM. I choose to only do the Disney Store shops (each time being reimbursed up to $20) and Famous Footwear. The fact that they pay a whole month later makes it a nice surprise once the money does come through because I typically forget that I had completed them. Other than retail, they also offer Hospital shops, Home Depot, valet parking at hotels/malls, and fast food shops.

  • Ibotta – use this code for a $10 bonus: jhmbdst

I cannot sing this app’s praises enough. It has revolutionized “couponing” for me as a SAHM trying to save a little here and there and they literally have on the app every store I shop at; CVS, Target, Costco, Trader Joe’s…etc. They even offer cash back on online stores/apps, such as Groupon, Old Navy, and even Uber! The way it works, is you type in the store name where you’re shopping and  type in the category of what you are buying. For example, you need a 6-pack of beer for a BBQ. You type in beer, and you choose from the list, many brands will give you $3-$5 off their beer. You add that “coupon” to your account, then forget about it. Once you get home from the store, upload a picture of your receipt and you automatically get credited the amount. Sometimes you have to scan the item to prove it. Once you get over $20, you can transfer the money to your Paypal. Make sure to look for the *25 cents off any purchase* and use that with every single purchase.

Literally so easy. It’s all done electronically, there’s no remembering to bring your coupon, and no having to worry about it expiring. You can even apply additional coupons in person, which is what I always do when I buy Huggies diapers from Costco (which are already discounted). The other day, I was ordering a bunch of clothes for Reagan on Old Navy and I double checked Ibotta and sure enough, 2% cash back on any order from Old Navy.  Score!

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Anyway, these are just a few of the ways I have been able to supplement Brian’s income. Last week alone I sold a dress and a huge stack of Dr. Seuss books I’ve accumulated over the years (the ones I truly can’t stand reading) on Facebook BST pages and made over $100. Though there is nothing wrong with donating these things, it feels so good to be able to contribute to our income. What else do I have to do to keep me busy during nap time? 😉

Hello Blogging World, It’s Me…Again

I can’t even say for sure what inspired me to get back on the blogging scene again, especially considering it’s been almost 4 years since my last post (eeek), but I decided that as a stay-at-home mom I need a creative outlet. Several blog ideas have popped into my head these past few weeks and since it’s not quite March yet, it’s definitely not too late to jump on a new aspiration for 2018, so here we go!

2017 for me was a year of a lot of hardship and change. In the fall of 2016, I got married and had a baby, so all of 2017 was pretty much just recovering from/acclimating to those big changes in my life. Childbirth wasn’t all that traumatic for me physically, (I will definitely share Reagan’s birth story at some point) but emotionally and mentally was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. Postpartum is definitely not talked about enough, so it came as quite a surprise that I could feel anything but happiness and rainbows. More on that later.

All that to say, I am fully emerged from my ‘funk’ and 2018 so far has been hugely motivational and I feel nothing less than inspired to figure myself out again. It’s so easy to feel mom-guilt for taking time for yourself, but as much as I love being a full-time mom and wife, I know I will be better for doing this.

Writing has always been therapeutic for me and even though I’m not currently living and writing about my exotic, travel-filled, carefree backpacking across Europe days, my current adventure is “mama-hood in the ‘burbs”. Not as interesting, I know, but this is my new norm; and I hope you enjoy this journey with me!

xx
Hannah

Gratitude Lately

Today was my 292nd and very final day living in Southeast Asia.

I leave in 12 hours and desperately need to get some sleep, but before I do…gratitude.

Where to begin?

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I am thankful for surprise reunions with old friends.

…and clever HP Christmas gifts!

For sweet ‘let’s pretend’ with my favorite boy on morning break.

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For being connived into playing and singing for everyone at my ‘despedida’.

I’m always grateful for it — after the fact…

For these sweet ladies and their friendship; one last coffee together!

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Psh, who needs electricity?

For my family and how they love me well.

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My heart is so full.

in which i learned to belong

Lately I’ve resorted to the use of writer’s prompts because I’m at a loss for things to write about. Creative juices are running slow this year. Today the word is, ‘belong’.

It conjures up so much emotion for me; especially when preceded by the word ‘I’.

I belong.

Growing up, I did not belong. I was the ugly duckling. Not that I was ugly, I don’t think… I just stood out. A lot. I wasn’t really like anyone else. When I was home in Latin America, I didn’t look like anyone else. When I would visit America, I could physically blend in easily enough, but I couldn’t change how I was made or how I thought about life. I never belonged completely to either group. Common TCK dilemma.

Where's the white girl?

See if you can spot the white girl…

Typically in life, you belong with the people you share common interests with. Ever since I can remember, my parents have said that I was born in the wrong era. I never liked the same things people my own age enjoyed. I had developed from a young age a deep-rooted love for: jazz, reading classic literature, classical music, baking, gardening, old movies, and ballroom dance… These loves continued to manifest in my life and you can just imagine how many kindred spirits I found through the years — very few.

I was the middle kid in a larger than average family of 9. I didn’t feel like I belonged with either the olders or the littles. I mostly just did my own thing and bounced back and forth between the siblings, whichever I could profit from in the moment. I was also the only white girl my age living in a town full of boys and was considered to be ‘one of the guys’. I’m taller than average for girls and I grew taller than many of the boys I was friends with too. The only thing that was ever average about me was my shoe size (US 7.5); and even in that, I am female bigfoot in Mexico. From a young age I was taller than and had bigger feet than most full-grown men.

It really does wonders for a girl’s self esteem…

These were my closest friends from age 13 until I graduated high school, plus 2 visitors from Canada.

My best friends from age 12 until I graduated high school (and 2 visitors).

To belong.

Although my college friends would never be down to fox trot with me to ‘A Foggy Day’, they do share my love for food; specifically, Korean BBQ. We’d frequently go into the heart of Koreatown to share a late second dinner. I’d look around the table at the people who had become my friends in a short amount of time and I began to view our group as an outsider would see us, realizing we were probably the most diverse group of people you could place together. If I were to give each friend a label identifying them based on the surface: race, sex, background, and genetics, there’s no way we’d be friends; let alone sharing a meal together; let alone be in the same room. Picture Jets vs. Sharks. I’d totally be with the Sharks. We Latinos gotta stick together, man.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, it wasn’t until my senior year that I realized: ‘belonging’ has nothing to do with sharing physical characteristics, the same interests/dislikes, or having a history with a person. It doesn’t even have to do with race, background, or age. If you were to go around our table and label us based on our hearts, you would find a commonality. We are no longer defined by our pasts. Jesus Christ died for our sins. We are bought. We are chosen. We are redeemed. Because we first belong to Christ, we can then belong to and love each other; because we see one another as God sees us — a new creation. Belonging is rooted in the deepest fibers of us; the parts being made to look more like Christ. Because of that, I can look at the diversity of my friends and think…for now anyway, belong here.

I’m linking up with SheLoves Magazine‘s February writing prompt…in March.
Because I’m a rebel.
Just 
kidding…

28 days of music

I’m going to steer clear of my typical playlists this month so I can do something a little different.  Music challenges like the one I procured have been floating around for ages, but since they’re always set up as 28 day challenges, I figured why not make mine in February? That way every day gets a little love….

Day 1: Reminds you of summertime:

Day 2: Favorite to slow dance to in the kitchen:

Day 3: Favourite from an old movie:

Day 4: From a favourite movie:

Day 5: From a favourite musical:

Day 6: Would make the worst elevator music:

Day 7: One you enjoy, but can never listen to all the way through:

Day 8: A favourite instrumental:

Day 9: A favourite in another language:

Day 10: You recently heard again for the first time in a long time:

Day 11: #1 the year you were born:

Day 12: #1 the year you graduated:

Day 13: A favourite theme song from your childhood:

Day 14: You memorized with the wrong lyrics, but it’s too late to change:

Day 15: Few people know, but you love:

Day 16: Good cooking music:

Day 17: A cover you like better than the original:

Day 18: A favourite classical:

Day 19: A favourite jazz:

Day 20: Currently playing on your iPod:

Day 21: One you enjoy singing in the shower:

Day 22: From a singer that’s dead:

Day 23: From a singer who’s still alive:

Day 24: A favourite Coldplay song:

Day 25: A favourite Beatles song:

Day 26: From your last date:

Day 27: One someone else recommended to you:

Day 28: A favourite road trip song:

2013 in review | 13 memories

My main moments from the past year (at least ones with pictures) are from various trips I took. Pretty typical for a third culture kid. 2013 was a good year for me. I was able to see and experience so much life and growth: I graduated from college, visited a state I’d never been to before, went to Europe for the first time, and I moved to the Philippines! Here are 13 of my favorite moments:

The first few days of January were spent finishing off my sister’s and my UK trip! English tea & pudding, balderdash, falling down the stairs daily, intense jet lag, trying to stay awake (& warm), and laughing with these cool cats late into the night:

Trying to get tan at Formby Beach;)

Trying to get tan at Formby Beach;)

After returning from Liverpool, I spent one jet lagged day in California before flying home-home to Oaxaca to spend the rest of my holiday with the family. I was able to check this off my bucket list — well, I had to first add it to my bucket list, but then I checked it off…

While home and still recovering from jet lag, my youngest sister, Debbie, and I got to spend a couple days at our favourite beach in the entire world: Puerto Escondido. Do you see my jetlagged eyes?? I shouldn’t be allowed in public.

Ah, to be warm again!

In the midst of school (trying to graduate in May) & work, I got to be reunited with one of my favourite people ever – my partner from massage school! She came to LA, so I had an excuse to do the touristy things I hadn’t even done yet myself: the Griffith Observatory and the L.A. Zoo!

How I love her and her sweet son!

How I love her and her sweet son!

My friend Karina and I went on a spontaneous road trip to Seattle right before finals. It was one of the worst ideas I’ve had, but actually the best decision. I got to see my childhood bestie in Cannon Beach, which has been a lifelong dream to visit!

This girl and I have been friends for 20 years and counting!

This girl and I have been friends for 20 years and counting!

From Cannon Beach, we drove across the most epic state line ever, making Washington my 41st state visited. I didn’t want to leave!

Seattle in April was a brilliant idea. Those trees…swoon!

Seattle in April was a brilliant idea. Those trees…swoon!

Soon after the Northwest trip…Donna and I got our friend, Nicole, married off!

Nothin' like a Wednesday wedding to liven up the week!

Nothin’ like a Wednesday wedding to liven up the week!

Then I graduated from Eternity Bible College!

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After graduating, I flew home to Oaxaca to spend a week with my family before moving to the Philippines!

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These two deserve a gold medal in the friendship department! They put up with so much of me last year and they’re really the best of people. Have I mentioned I get to see them in a couple weeks?? I’m beyond excited!

And here are the people I spent the majority of the year with! We trekked all over Mindanao and even to Luzon together in 2013, we make good travel & living buddies;)

These were moments I knew would make the best Facebook statuses. Livin’ the life!

I ran my first 5k in November! I placed 8th for women and won an award for being the only white female racing. Check that off my bucket list — after adding it first;)

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Although it was hard to keep it at 13 memories, 2,013 seemed a little extravagant…

Until next time!