The Best Comfortable Shoes for Moms

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


The Most Comfortable Shoes for Moms. Check out the best sneakers, casual shoes and heels for moms. Great shoe options for chronic illness and arthritis.

Isn’t it funny how once you become a mom, all of those super tall, gorgeous (and expensive) heels start collecting dust? Motherhood has a funny way of ushering in the era of comfortable footwear, especially during those baby and toddler years.

It’s just not logical to be chasing your kiddo full speed in a pair of heels or tall wedges, right? They’re great for date night, deadly for everyday.

As a mom with arthritis, you can bet I know what’s what when it comes to comfortable footwear. Here you’ll find my absolute favorite shoes that will last you all day from school drop off and the playground to grabbing a bite to eat and running errands – everything from comfy sandals to fashionable sneakers.

Vionic sandals

Vionic is my go-to brand since the moment I started dealing with foot and ankle pain years and years ago. I started with a pair of their supportive flip flops, which last forever, and have built my collection from there! Vionic offers such a wide variety of styles and everything from wedges and heels to boots and sneakers.

My current favorite for this spring and summer is one of their newer styles, the Vionic Roni Slide. It’s a super on-trend style with great arch support, luxe suede and leather, and a feminine touch with the ruffles up top. They come in three colors which are all great neutral pieces to go with everything in your summer wardrobe.

My go-to for the summer is the Vionic Tide Flip Flop. They are so incredibly supportive, especially for high arches, and come in dozens of colors and styles – leather, sequins, suede and more. And with an average rating of 4.5/5 from more than 2,200 ratings, it is definitely a crowd favorite. Fun fact: I even slipped into a gold sequin pair of Tides for my wedding reception so I could dance the night away in comfort!

Adidas Grand Court Sneakers

Does it get any more classic than this pair of Adidas? Not only are the Grand Courts so comfortable – wear all day comfy! – they go with just about everything. Pick up a few different pairs with more than a dozen color options.

They help put a fun, playful spin on dresses and skirts, a perfect pairing for jeans and a tee and of course, a great companion to leggings and yoga pants. Win, win, win. Not to say I was an early adopter, but I definitely had a pair with turquoise stripes in the early 2000s!

P.S. right now some colors are HALF off! Save up to $32.50 right now through Amazon! (4/22/2020)

Nike Running Shoes

If I had one shoe that I absolutely wear the soles out, my pair of black Nike Tanjun running shoes would be it. Comfortable, easy on and off and go with everything under the sun for those active days with kids. These babies have been to the zoo, aquarium, doctors’ appointments, preschool, the beach… you name it, they’ve been there.

These shoes are so incredibly flexible and can complement all your cute workout and casual outfits with more than two dozen different colors!

Keds Charter Sneaker + Sperry Lounge Away Sneaker

My Keds and Sperrys are two peas in an adorable little pod. They’re comfortable, a bit more stylish than your average mom shoe and fit just about everything in your everyday closet.

These two shoes are similar in style and always in my travel bag, too! I highly, highly recommend either pair of these slip on shoes for plane travel. Wear a pair of no-show socks, slip ’em off at security and they slide back on in seconds. Great for sightseeing, too, if you’re not into wearing obvious tennis shoes while exploring tourist attractions.

BOC wedges + Naturalizer Heels

Most of the shoes on this list are definite casual wear, so I figured I’d throw in some dressier pieces! Two of my favorite brands for heels and wedges are BOC and Naturalizer. They offer cushioned soles and great support, along with heel heights that aren’t too tall to chase littles at special events. Two of my favorites are Naturalizer’s Fawn heels and BOC’s Schirra wedge. When looking for heels for special events, I recommend going with a thicker heel. They help distribute your weight a little better than thin heels, which means better balance and comfort.

Shop my picks for the most comfortable shoes below!

Tell me: What are your go-to comfort shoes for chasing littles around?

Best Beauty Products for Arthritis

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.

The Best Beauty Products for Arthritis

One of the most difficult tasks for people with inflammatory arthritis is getting ready in the morning. Between the fatigue, stiff joints in the morning and whether or not you’re in a flare, simply doing your hair and makeup can be a mountain of a task. Over the years, I’ve figured out the best products to help me get ready in a flash, flare or not.

Revlon One Step Hair Dryer & Hot Air Brush

I genuinely don’t know how I’ve gone so long without discovering this little gem, the Revlon Hot Air Brush! When my arthritis gets bad, sometimes my husband would have to help me blow dry my hair. While he had gotten really good at it, the time and effort this hot air brush has saved me is beyond words.

It used to be a three or more tool job, using both hands — hair dryer, round brush, then a straightening iron or curling iron after. Now, I can use the hot air brush and not even need to straighten my hair! And it gets the job done in a quarter of the time. I’m usually finished with my hair in five minutes flat! It’s absolutely a life-saver for folks with arthritis in their hands. 

Tip: Clip sections of your hair and dry one section at a time, starting from the bottom of your head and working your way up. Trying to dry huge sections of hair will take longer and is more difficult to manage.

Kristin Ess Blow Dry Mist

This blow dry mist by Kristin Ess is a huge helper in getting my blow dry and style time down to five minutes. In fact, a few days ago I forgot to use this product in my hair and it felt like it took me forever to dry my hair! In reality, it was ten minutes, but wow — what a difference! Less is more when it comes to this mist. I have shorter, thin hair and I use only two brief sprays to cover my hair. More than that and it gives your hair a greasy look — not pretty!

Aquis Fast Drying Microfiber Towel

This towel is a cult favorite for a good reason. As you can see, I’m ALL about getting my hair to dry quickly. For most people with arthritis, doing your hair can be one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks when getting ready in the morning. I’ve had my Aquis Towel for more than two years and it still looks and feels as great as it did when it first came out of the package!

This towel claims to dry hair from wet to damp 50% faster than regular cotton towels… and I believe it. And a bonus to it drying your hair quickly: It helps prevent damage and frizz, too! 

Beaky Makeup Sponges

When I’m having a rough hand day when it comes to my arthritis, sometimes putting on makeup with brushes or fingertips can be difficult. That’s when I reach for the makeup sponges. I love the multipack Beaky offers, because they’re different shapes that are easy to grip. Plus, they’re a bit larger and sturdier than the average makeup sponge, making them even easier to hold. They’re hypoallergenic, too, a must for most people with chronic illnesses.

The key for using these sponges with liquid foundation is to “dot” the foundation on your skin first, then use the sponge to blend it in using a tapping motion. Each sponge lasts about one month, but be sure to clean it every few days by rinsing and applying facial cleanser, then rinse clean.

Use Pump Bottles Over Twist Tops

For those of us with arthritis, we know the battle of twist top packaging. When you can, make sure the beauty products you purchase have pumps or other easily accessible openings instead of twist tops. Shampoo, body wash and face washes are typically easy to find pumps for. Brands like Lorac and Mac have magnetic or pump packaging that make it incredibly easy to use, too!

Do you have any products or tips that make getting ready easier when you’re in a flare? Tell me in the comments below!

Transitioning to solid foods with Beech-Nut® Naturals™ — Arthritis-friendly jars!

This blog post is sponsored by Beech-Nut® Naturals. In exchange for this post, I may receive perks and/or compensation; however, all opinions are my own. Click here to view our disclosure policy.


It feels like yesterday I was getting into the swing of having a brand new bambino, figuring out the whole breastfeeding thing and wondering why in the world my kiddo wouldn’t take a pacifier. Now, he’s eight months old and we’re onto solid foods! And boy, does he love his healthy fruits and vegetables.

 

Beech-Nut Naturals Baby Foods - BrendaDalton.com

As good of intentions we have as parents, not every single meal is going to be perfectly made from home, especially when you have a new baby in the family. Whether it’s a matter of time, being out and about or — for many of us with chronic illnesses — energy, sometimes we need an extra hand!

When looking for baby food to take on-the-go, I wanted something made with real fruits and vegetables with ingredients I can pronounce — nothing else.

 

Beech-Nut Baby Foods - BrendaDalton.com

Baby food that’s inspired by homemade

In comes Beech-Nut® Naturals, which is inspired by homemade. I’m excited to partner with Beech-Nut® Naturals as I continue to introduce more flavors to my eight-month-old. We were given a few cute little glass jars to test out courtesy of Beech-Nut® Naturals, but know that my opinion is 100 percent my own (okay, and baby Grayson’s, too!).

It was a no-brainer to introduce him to Beech-Nut® Naturals, since it’s 100 percent natural, nothing artificial. With that, I know that I’m starting baby out on the best of the best when it comes to real food.

Being someone with several chronic illnesses, it is so incredibly important to me to start my child off with the right nutrition and set the stage for healthy eating habits. It’s never too early to start!

Flavors babies love

Hands down, my favorite flavor is pumpkin, but I find it way harder to cook and puree pumpkin than any other fruit or vegetable; however, my baby absolutely adores pumpkin. He gives me a run for my money when it comes to loving pumpkin!

Beech-Nut Naturals Baby Foods - BrendaDalton.com

We tried out Beech-Nut®’s Apple & Pumpkin puree and it was a total hit. In fact, had I let him, kiddo would have licked every drop out of the precious honeypot jar! A few other favorites are Just Carrots, Just Pear & Blueberry and Just Green Beans.

Depending on what flavor I’m feeding him, I’ll halve the four ounce jar and pop the rest in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Grayson loves to mix up flavors and have a little taste of several different foods at a meal. We love offering a green vegetable like Just Green Beans and an orange vegetable like Just Sweet Potatoes, then giving a little fruit like Just Apples for dessert. We can’t wait to try out more Stage 2 foods in the coming weeks!

 

Beech-Nut Naturals Baby Foods - BrendaDalton.com


Arthritis-friendly jars

Plus, there’s a bonus for my rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis mamas, papas and others: Their iconic green lid is so incredibly easy to open. I struggle with jars, bottles and even those foil safety seals on food and drinks, but Beech-Nut® Naturals jars are a breeze to open. You’ll hear the handy little pop to know it’s open and you’re good to go.

Find Beech-Nut® Naturals™ near you

To learn more about Beech-Nut® Naturals, visit their website. Beech-Nut® Naturals is available at national retailers like Target and Walmart, but you can click here to find a retailer nearest you.

 

The Perfect Gifts for Mamas with James Avery Jewelry

This blog post is sponsored by James Avery Jewelry. In exchange for this post, I may receive perks and/or compensation; however, all opinions are my own. Click here to view our disclosure policy.


 

While Mother’s Day has come and gone, it’s never too late to gift that mama in your life with something special. And with that something special, I am so excited to be partnering with James Avery Jewelry here on the blog. Check out the bottom of the post for a special offer, including a free bracelet or necklace!

 

James Avery Jewelry - Gifts for Mom

My story with James Avery Jewelry

One thing I love about James Avery jewelry is that each piece tells a story — everything in their collection is meant to represent your heart and to remind you of important moments, people and things in your life. James Avery Jewelry was kind enough to gift me with a few pieces to represent my story.

James Avery Jewelry - Gifts for Mom

Family trips to the beach

One of my favorite vacation spots is Rosemary Beach, Florida. My husband and I first visited when we were dating several years ago, and since then, it’s become a special place for our family. From a girls’ trip with my own mom to our babymoon last year, our trips to the little beach town on 30A signify such important seasons of my life with those that I love.

I chose a sand dollar charm to commemorate these trips to the beach, reminding me of those incredibly special memories with my favorites. In fact, each time we go to Rosemary Beach, we find at least one untouched, beautiful sand dollar. That’s a big deal for someone from landlocked Oklahoma, ha!

 

James Avery Jewelry - Gifts for Mom

Welcoming our baby into the world

Most importantly, this year I became a mama! With chronic illness, pregnancy was quite the journey, but in early March, it was well worth it and more when our son came into the world – a bit early and by surprise! – via c-section.

I chose his birth stone to mark the most wonderful moment in my life, which is also a moment shared with loved ones. His birth stone even matches his crystal baby blues, making the charm even more special.

Every time I wear my James Avery necklace with its sweet little charms, I think about the most important things in my life and it brings me such joy. I am genuinely so excited to continue to build this necklace – and my family’s story! – with each and every lovely milestone.

 

James Avery Jewelry - Gifts for Mom

Get a free bracelet or necklace from James Avery

Do the same thing for a mama in your life and help her start her story with James Avery Jewelry. It’s the perfect gift for your own mom, an expectant mother or even the mama to your cute little nieces and nephews! From simplistic styles to 18k gold and gemstones, there is something for every woman and every budget.

When you shop at James Avery through May 29, you can buy two charms and receive a charm necklace or bracelet for free, up to a $70 value. What charms will you choose to tell your story?

 

Shop the collection here!

 


*Charm promo details: *Purchase two James Avery charms* and/or pendants and an eligible charm bracelet, hook-on bracelet, ankle bracelet or charm necklace and receive up to $70 off the transaction. Customers purchasing eligible charm necklace (NK-207; $30), charm bracelets (BR-20; $40 or BR-599; $50) or ankle bracelet (BR-613; $40) will receive that item’s value only. Offer valid 04/16/18 through 05/29/18 while supplies last. Available atJamesAvery.com, James Avery retail stores, through James Avery Customer Service, at select Dillard’s Department Stores and at Dillards.com. May not be combined with any other offer or applied to previous purchases. We reserve the right to limit quantities. No cash/credit back. *Glass Enhancer Beads do not count as James Avery charms for this promotion.

8 Tips for Hitting the Gym with Arthritis

8 Tips for Hitting the Gym with Arthritis 

This blog post is sponsored by Planet Fitness. In exchange for this post, I may receive perks and/or compensation; however, all opinions are my own. Click here to view our disclosure policy.

8 Tips for Hitting the Gym with Arthritis, Chronic Illness Autoimmune Disease - Sponsored by Planet Fitness - brendadalton.com

1) Get the go-ahead from your physician

First and foremost, if you have any sort of temporary or chronic health issue, always get the go-ahead from your doctor(s). They can recommend the best plan of action for your fitness plan, including how often, at what intensity and the types of exercises that will fit your body best now and in the future.

For someone dealing with arthritis, low-impact exercises like yoga, light weights and machines like the elliptical are perfect ways to get started in the gym.

2) Work with your physical therapist or personal trainer

Much like working with your doctor, if you have a physical therapist, they can recommend great exercises for you to take part in at the gym. They’ll also give you handy stretches that you can use before and after your workout!

It never, ever hurts to bring a personal trainer into the mix, either. They can help you learn the ropes if you’re new to the gym, the machines or even fitness classes, suggest workout plans that fit your medical team’s suggestions and your lifestyle. Plus, having a personal trainer is like having a personal cheerleader, pushing you and cheering you on along the way!

Planet Fitness gyms in the United States offer free fitness training with their memberships. It’s amazing, since working with certified trainers can get eeeeeexpensive! Learn more about their personal training here.

3) Take it one step at a time, don’t push it!

After working with your doctors, physical therapist and even a personal trainer, you should have a good idea of how often you should work out, the types of exercises you should do and at what intensity. Trust your team and stick to it! Pushing yourself further can bring upon injury – temporary or permanent – and with that, can ruin the fun of building up to your fitness goals.

Start with shorter, less intense sessions and work your way up with supervision from your medical and fitness team. Trust me, having patience in this area is well worth it when you meet your goals and stay healthy the entire time.

8 Tips for Hitting the Gym with Arthritis, Chronic Illness Autoimmune Disease - Sponsored by Planet Fitness - brendadalton.com

4) Find a time that works for you

Finding the time is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when trying to make it to the gym on a regular basis. Personally, I love Planet Fitness because of the number of locations across the United States and they’re staffed 24 hours a day.

I’ve been a member of 24/7 gyms before, but was always totally weary going in the early, early mornings or late evenings due to the fact they aren’t actually staffed. Planet Fitness is key on safety and makes sure they always have someone in the building at all times to keep you safe, answer questions and help you meet your goals.

And even better, if you’re a PF Black Card member, you can visit any Planet Fitness location in the United States – at any time! – which makes it a perfect little companion whether you’re traveling for work, visiting family in other states or want to get a little workout in on vacation. In the Tulsa-area alone, there are six Planet Fitness locations, which makes it easy to stop in for a workout when out and about or running errands.

Pssst, check out the bottom of this post for current Planet Fitness specials — you could save big right now on a membership!

5) Bring a workout buddy

You’ve probably heard this advice before, but I’ll add it because it’s true: Find a workout buddy. Not only will they help hold you accountable – and vice versa! – it’s nice to have someone to chat with while you’re working out. Plus, they can give you a few pointers on your form, right? And here’s something fun: If you’re a Planet Fitness Black Card member, you can bring a guest for free as many times as you want. Goodbye, gym boredom… hello, endless exercise pals!

6) Try a fitness class

I love fitness classes for the fact that I can find a time that works for me, pop it in my calendar and I am way more likely to show up than if I were just going to do a regular workout on my own. It’s like a little can’t-miss-date in my calendar!

For those of us with chronic pain, yoga classes are a great way to stretch out those muscles and loosen up those joints. Most places that offer yoga classes offer a variety of levels. Start with the beginning classes, let your instructor know of any injuries or pain you currently have, and they’ll help walk you through the rest!

8 Tips for Hitting the Gym with Arthritis, Chronic Illness Autoimmune Disease - Sponsored by Planet Fitness - brendadalton.com

7) Find a gym or facility that’s judgement-free

For those of us with chronic illnesses, especially those that can impede our physical capability, we can sometimes be a little self-conscious. Have you ever been to a gym where everyone looked like a supermodel and folks were lifting hundreds of pounds with muscles bulging? While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it can be incredibly intimidating for those of us who are just getting back in the swing of things or aren’t there to win awards.

I’ve had memberships at many other gyms and frankly, Planet Fitness has been my favorite. They pride themselves on being a Judgement Free Zone® (no, really! It’s even their tagline!). You’ll find folks of all ages and abilities working out at any time with staff that is there to encourage and support your goals and success.

8) Take advantage of those end-of-year and new-year sales!

This is the time of year that people are making New Year’s resolutions to get fit. Why not join in at a great price?

Gym memberships can be expensive, but if you keep an eye out for special promotions and sales, you can join a gym that suits your needs best for a fraction of the cost. That means you can save a little (or a lot ofmoney and put it toward cute new exercise clothes and comfy tennis shoes, right?

Right now, Planet Fitness locations in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area are offering a year membership for new members for just $99 until Dec. 14 (when paid in full) and $0 enrollment fee and then $21.99 a month for Black Card membership through Dec. 31. Use code DaltonPF to activate your Black Card membership for 2018 with no enrollment fee when you sign up here!

Black Card memberships cover all of the basics, plus you’ll get access to more than 1,400+ clubs in the United States, guest (aka bring a friend!) privileges no matter what club you’re visiting, unlimited use of HydroMassage chairs, half-price cooler drinks and so much more. Learn more about Black Card perks at Tulsa Planet Fitness locations here.

8 Tips for Hitting the Gym with Arthritis, Chronic Illness Autoimmune Disease - Sponsored by Planet Fitness - brendadalton.com

This promotion is available for Tulsa, Oklahoma-area Planet Fitness locations only, including:

Broken Arrow | Claremore | South Tulsa | Tulsa (Admiral) | Tulsa (Riverside) | Tulsa (Memorial)

Click here or one of the locations above and use promo code DaltonPF to activate your Planet Fitness Black Card membership for 2018 with $0 enrollment fee!

How to Make Hosting Stress-Free & Easy During Holidays

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.

How to Make Hosting Stress Free This Holiday Season

As with most, the holidays often include hosting at least one event, whether it is at your house or helping others prepare a glorious meal or fun little event to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and everything in between.

Unfortunately, for those of us with chronic illnesses, hosting can be a daunting cloud, filled with worry as to how everything will actually get done.

Before I was diagnosed with chronic illnesses, I loooooooved hosting get togethers and entertaining friends and family. Whether it was a holiday, shower or just a fun little party, I loved every aspect: The planning, the mood boards, the shopping, the prepping, the celebrating – everything!

However, now that my energy levels have decreased and I have to choose wisely on how I expend energy, I’ve come up with lots of shortcuts to make hosting stress-free and easy during the holidays.

Make lists

I’m the over-preparer in my family and lists are an absolute lifesaver for me when I’m hosting any sort of get-together. For example, for Thanksgiving, I have several lists:

  • Menu
    • By appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts and who is bringing
  • Shopping lists
    • Broken down by perishables, freezer items and non-perishables
    • Broken down by store, if applicable
    • This makes it easy to break shopping into several trips over the course of a month!
  • Preparation timelines
    • I make my timeline over the course of the week or two (see the next section on preparing in advance!)
    • Timelines include food prep and cooking, plus things that will need to be done around the house, like cleaning, organizing, pulling items from storage and so on

Prepare in advance

Just as I mentioned in my baby shower post: prepare, prepare, prepare! When you have limited energy, this is key. The week before, I start pulling out utensils, platters, crockpots and store them in a corner of my dining room. Wash table linens early and store in a clean area.

Take advantage of shortcuts

Over the years — and thanks to technology, too! — I’ve found a number of shortcuts that have saved my life:

You don’t have to make each dish from scratch. This is by far the easiest time saver. Pick up a frozen pie or two, add a can of whipped cream and I guarantee your guests will be just as happy as if it was homemade! Frozen vegetables can easily be put on the stove with your choice of seasonings. And of course, frozen rolls, biscuits or bread can be ready in the oven in a matter of minutes.

Try online grocery shopping or delivery. Our local (and my favorite) grocery store in northeast Oklahoma, Reasor’s, offers online shopping and pickup at the curb.

When I have an especially large load of groceries, heavy items or I’m short on time and energy, I take full advantage of placing my grocery order online or through their app. I pull up to a designated parking spot, call the store and they bring my groceries out and load them into the car. This is such an energy (and pain) saver, especially when my arthritis flares up.

Most services have a small fee per order (Reasor’s is $5 for orders under $100) or charge a monthly or annual fee. I just got started with Shipt, a grocery delivery service, and can’t wait to report back on the experience! And a bonus: you can get $10 off your first order with Shipt when you click this link.

Start cooking early

You would be surprised at how many things you can cook or prepare in advance and/or freeze! This is such a lifesaver, because who wants to be mashing potatoes and slaving over a stove over relaxing and enjoying time with guests?

For our family, we make the cranberry sauce and applesauce as far as two weeks in advance and both freeze beautifully. Pull them out 48 hours before guests arrive and it tastes like it was made that morning.

Many folks like the presentation of a beautifully cooked bird and carve right at the table. I like to make it a bit easier and cook and carve the turkey the day before. About 30-45 minutes before serving, pull the oven-safe platter with your turkey out, pour a little stock on top and reheat until warm. Place on a beautiful platter and you’re ready!

I also like to prepare any sides in advance, a day or two before, then place all of the ingredients in plastic bags. For example, the bacon is cooked a day or two early, placed in a large bag with green beans. I then place any seasonings in a smaller plastic bag and ta-da, everything is ready to be dumped into a Crockpot or slow cooker to cook the day of.

Slow cookers are a miracle!

Speaking of green beans in a slow cooker, this is a major thing for me for any gathering, holiday or not. From appetizers to reheating main dishes, slow cookers can save you time, hassle and space in the oven.

Slow cookers may technically take longer, but it cuts prep time and worrying in half when you don’t have to check on items in the oven or worry something might boil over on the stove.

All in all, thanks to my shortcuts I’ve mastered over the years, holiday dinner prep comes to about one hour per day the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas and with the help of guests, less than an hour of prep and active work the day of!

Tell me in the comments: How do you make hosting or preparing for the holidays easier?

A Rustic Farm Baby Shower

Please note: I received products or promotional items mentioned in this post for free as part of the HP Millennial Influencer Panel. Links in this post may be affiliate. All opinions are my own.


A Rustic Farm Baby Shower

A Rustic Farm Baby Shower, complete with bundt cakes, rustic decor, farm animals, baby shower games and popcorn bar.

Over the weekend, we hosted a co-ed baby shower (more appropriately, a sprinkle!) for my sister and their new arrival. Rustic farm and barnyard is the theme of his nursery, so I wanted to pull together a simple party that surrounded that theme.

We focused on farm-fresh vegetables, cheeses and meats for light snacks, “pigs in a blanket” as a cute nod to the theme, and more bundt cakes than you could shake a stick at! We also incorporated flavored popcorns from a local vendor in Tulsa, which was also a feature at their wedding three years ago. Everything comes full circle!

Typically, the guest lists for baby sprinkles are small, so we kept games to a minimum with baby Pictionary and little activities like writing a wish for the baby and guessing his due date.

I created all of the printed items from the baby shower like the food and drink cards, welcome sign and more with InDesign and printed with the HP AMP 100. It was my first test drive using this HP printer as part of the HP Millennial Influencer Panel for the next year.

And the AMP isn’t your everyday printer. Not only is the quality of printing perfect for at-home printing for things like parties, showers and other get-togethers, the printer has bluetooth capability and a speaker. Yes, a speaker!

I’ll be honest: I was a bit skeptical of a bluetooth speaker in a printer. I didn’t think I would ever find it useful; however, when testing the speaker out by launching Spotify on my iPhone and connecting effortlessly to the printer, I was blown away by the quality of sound. Even my husband walked into the office and asked, “Is that coming from the printer?!” 

It has much better sound than my MacBook Air, which is what I usually listen to music on while I’m working. The tones are great and unlike other Bluetooth speakers that are smaller and/or cheaper, it has a nice, full sound. I wouldn’t mind using the HP printer‘s speakers during a party!

Tips for hosting parties when your energy level is low

As a reader of this blog, you probably know I have autoimmune diseases, arthritis and I’m pregnant! So to say I had boundless energy was far from the truth.

Prep in advance. I began designing the printed materials weeks in advance. By the week of the party, they were ready to print and be cut! The day before the shower, we began setting up the tablescapes and decor and arranging the flowers so we weren’t rushing around the day of the event.

Enlist help. It’s okay to ask for help! Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you can’t have an army behind you making things a little easier and more organized. I sent my husband on errands, my mother to the grocery store and by the time everyone chipped in, it took a major load off my shoulders. All hands were on deck after the shower was over, too.

Have a seat. A good host greets their guests and makes sure they have a good time, but you, too, deserve a good time! Due to arthritis, it’s difficult for me to stand for too long, but I made sure there were plenty of places to sit and socialize during the shower. In fact, chairs are a top priority for any event I plan and host! Another tip: Make sure your seat is in a central location so you can keep an eye on things.

Who are your favorite people to enlist help from when it’s your time to host?

Fall Decor Finds on a Budget

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


Fall decor finds on a budget

The best fall decor on a budget

 

1 Round Metal Wire Storage Basket  | 2 Pumpkin Gourd Garland | 3 Distressed Wood Lantern | 4 Set of Six White Pumpkins | 5 Metal Filigree Pumpkin Tealight Holder | 6 Round Metal Filigree Pumpkin Tealight Holder | 7 Autumn Wooden Sign | 8 Harvest Candle | 9 Large Distressed Pumpkin | 10 Burlap Jute Acorns

While most people go all-out for their holiday decor in December, I’m a little partial to the warm tones and coziness of what autumn brings! Bright orange pumpkins don’t have to be the main event when decorating for fall on a budget.

Throw in some warm colors like deep oranges and reds for a traditional focus on the season. For more of a glam, or even relaxed farmhouse feel, add some distressed whites and grays to your mantle to showcase those gorgeous white and neutral pumpkins this time of year!

There is often a debate as to how early is too early to decorate for fall. For some, it’s when the air starts to chill and even when the leaves start to turn. Being in Oklahoma, my guideline is just after Labor Day, the official end of summer since it can still be relatively hot even in October.

The gorgeous natural tones and the thought of cooler weather makes me want to turn on the fireplace and curl up with a good book and a warm drink!

Airplane Essentials | Travel Tips

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Airplane essentials for the modern woman. What to pack in your carry-on for easy and stylish traveling by air for arthritis and autoimmune disease. Read more from brendadalton.com!

For some people – like myself! – half the fun of traveling is packing and over the years, I’ve perfected my airplane essentials list. I’ve figured out the things I can’t live without while traveling by plane and the things that make my life with arthritis, a gluten-free diet, and autoimmune disease much easier. Most importantly, I’ve figured out the things that aren’t worth bringing because they never get used. I’ve even figured out the items that help me speed through security without an additional bag check, because that can slow down your race to the gate by a few minutes to half an hour!

First, it’s important to start with what’s on your body before you get out the door.

Things I never wear to the airport:

  • Statement jewelry
  • Dresses – especially maxi dresses – you’re more likely to be stopped by TSA for additional screening
  • Flip flops or strappy sandals – Mostly because you don’t want your bare feet touching the floor where thousands of others’ have, especially if you have autoimmune disease
  • Layers that are difficult to remove, like over-the-head sweatshirts and jackets
  • Belts
  • Hairstyles that require lots of bobby pins or metal hair accessories
  • Outfits that would work well in hot weather – because airplanes can be cold!

Things I do wear to the airport:

  • Sneakers, Sperrys or slip-on Keds
  • Socks (and if not, I have them ready to slip on at security/TSA Checkpoint)
  • Leggings or stretchy jeans
  • Tank top or plain tee
  • Oversized cardigan, preferably with pockets!
  • Simple necklace and earrings (these go in my carry-on until I’ve passed security)
  • Crossbody purse as a personal item

The number of items you may wear or pack depends on your ultimate destination, but here are my can’t-leave-home-without-’em airplane essentials that make traveling a breeze!

Travel Pillow & Blanket

This guy is a lifesaver. Not only is it easy to strap to your carry-on, but I also put some of the items that appear in this list in it: nose spray, facial spray, earbuds, a spare pen, Kindle, eye mask. What I love about this travel set is the pillow inflates when you take the blanket out, so you can control the firmness.

It works great as a lumbar pillow, regular pillow or just something to rest your hands on when tray tables are in their upright position. Shoutout to my arthritis friends! It’s also nice to have a little pillow and blanket in unfamiliar hotel rooms, too.

Lavender Mini Towelettes 

One time while traveling, I realized I was down to only one of these and still had a flight left before I was home. It was not pleasant. These delicious-smelling towelettes are a lifesaver on dirty planes, in not-so-clean hotel rooms and a great way to take makeup off or refresh your face at the end of a long travel day or a mid-flight nap. The lavender scent is also a great way to naturally ease any jitters before takeoff.

Since they’re antibacterial, I use these to wipe down the tray table, seat belt and everything around me when I board a plane. These are also great to do a little extra cleaning when you get to your hotel room, because trust me, it’s not as clean as you think!

Evian Mineral Water Facial Spray

My husband teases me about this one when I remember to bring it, but especially when we’re traveling early morning or late night, this is a lifesaver. It’s a great way to restore moisture to your face when you’re in a rush. And this spray lasts forever. Once you’ve stepped off the plane, spritz this facial spray under or over makeup. It’s especially lovely whether you’re on your way to your destination or back home to the real world.

Filtered Water Bottle

I do not travel anywhere without this thing. Seriously, it’s such a life saver. As someone with autoimmune issues, I’m not keen on drinking out of the tap or water fountains. I bring this empty water bottle through airport security and fill it up before I get on my flight.

This water bottle is also a big money saver! Ever notice how water bottles can get pretty expensive in hotels? The filter in this water bottle removes all the gunk and leaves you with delicious water even from your hotel bathroom. The ounces markings also make it easy for me to track how much water I’ve had for the day. Gotta stay hydrated!

Kindle & Kindle Unlimited

If I had the time, I would read three books a week, minimum. While I use my Kindle at home, it gets the most use when I’m traveling. I’m a fast reader and once I start a good book, it is impossible for me to put it down. This is especially true when on planes and in airports where the wifi is spotty, expensive or non-existent. Plus, it feels a little better to pass the time reading a book than it does to mindlessly play games on your phone or scroll through Facebook, right?

My favorite thing about my Kindle – besides the fact I got it half-price through a Black Friday sale – is Kindle Unlimited. For anyone who reads more than one book a month, it is 100% worth it. For $10 a month, you have access to over a million books on your Kindle.

Considering Kindle books can be anywhere from $5 to $15+, if you read one or two a month, you get your money’s worth. They even have super popular books, like the Harry Potter series and The Handmaid’s Tale.

With Kindle Unlimited, you also get access to thousands of audiobooks and magazines in addition to the massive library of regular e-books. Double win!

Portable Electronics Charger

It’s hard to imagine traveling without a smart phone, laptop, tablet, and ahem, Kindle! Even on short flights, I bring a portable charger. This thing has saved many a situation and is at the top of my airplane essentials list. You never know when you might have to bust out the navigation on your phone, which is a total battery suck, or research gluten-free restaurants near your hotel without access to an outlet.

This particular charger from Anker has been my favorite. I’ve gone through a few, but the Anker PowerCore has lasted me a few years. It holds a charge for a long time (fully charges an iPhone from 0%), is so small it can fit anywhere – even a pocket! – and recharges itself quickly. As of June 2017, it’s on sale for 50% off (under $20!).

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

I’ve mentioned this staple in blog posts before, but it bears repeating: This stuff is amazing. It’s on the list for airplane essentials and life essentials. This sweet little balm goes beyond a simple lip balm: Calm cuticles, patches of dry skin, smooth flyaways, keep brows in place, and even as an emergency makeup remover.  It’s perfect for ladies with psoriasis to help soothe skin! It’s soft, gentle, and the little tin gives it a luxurious feel and makes it incredibly durable for travel.

Saline Nose Spray

This is a pretty recent addition to the carry-on essentials list and not super glamorous. About two years ago, I started to get incredibly painful headaches and facial pain upon descent on airplanes, no matter what. My husband’s grandmother recommended a simple saline spray… and it works like a charm. About 30 minutes before landing, I pop this guy out, spray twice and relax.

I later learned this headache actually has a name: Aerosinusitis or an airplane headache, as it is commonly known. What happens is some folks are unable to equalize the change in barometric pressure when a plane begins to land, and that causes pain around the eyes and face. It typically clears up within 30 minutes of landing.

Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

Airplane snacks and meals can be expensive and if you have food allergies, finding gluten free or dairy free food can be a challenge! Some of my favorite travel snacks are nut mixes, oatmeal, popcorn, jerky and dried veggies and fruit. For morning flights, I love to bring a banana (or two!) from home with some of Justin’s individual nut butters; however, but bananas don’t always travel well in a purse or bag. Check out my full list of favorite traveling snacks and where to buy them in this blog post.

Overnight Essentials

Knock on wood, I’ve never had my checked luggage lost, delayed, or stolen, but I am always prepared just in case. In my carry-on, I pack the necessities that will last me overnight once I get to my destination. These overnight airplane essentials include: A comfortable tee (for pajamas or another outfit), linen shorts or leggings, underwear, bra, swimsuit, travel toothbrush, makeup and skincare basics, comb, hair ties, flip flops, mini first aid kit, and so on. And for my spoonies: Always, always, always carry all of your medications (even over-the-counter meds) in your carryon or personal item.

Backpack

For the longest time, I only traveled with “cute” or designer bags. After I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, my doctors suggested I stop carrying heavy bags on my shoulders. I love fashion, so I was devastated. …Until I realized the joy in traveling with an adorable backpack. Backpacks – or bookbags – are 100% in now. They make travel so. much. easier. And so much less painful!

I picked up a Herschel backpack in a gorgeous gray and can fit all of the airplane essentials on this list, plus a few other essentials like my laptop, notebooks, and more with room to spare. I typically check my larger luggage because arthritis can make it difficult for me to lift and carry for hours on end, so having an easy-to-transport piece of luggage as my carryon has changed airplane travel for me.

What are some of your favorite airplane essentials?

Home Office Inspiration

Home Office Inspiration for the modern woman from Brenda Dalton - brendadalton.com

When we were house hunting a year ago, the thing that sold me on our house we eventually bought was the little home office set away from all the action of the living areas. However, ten months later, I still haven’t done much in terms of decorating. Things are getting a little out of control, guys. I need some major home office inspiration.

I run my graphic design and digital marketing business, 835 Creative, out of my home office. Over the last year, it has grown (yay!) but the paperwork, inspiration pieces and more are piling up with nowhere to be stored. Plus, my office has no straight theme. Not even a hint of a vibe. I know, it’s sad, and most days I end up working in other parts of the house because of the disorganized mess.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting inspiration and all the steps I’m taking to give my home office a major makeover, making it a serene and beautiful place to work every day! I’m so excited to share this journey with you.

Before we can even dive into even thinking about buying furniture and decor though, home office inspiration is a must. Who better to gain home office inspiration from than my fellow bloggers and boss ladies?

Home office inspiration for the modern woman

Home Office Inspiration from Polished Habitat - polishedhabitat.com

Functional & Fabulous Office from Polished Habitat

Melissa from Polished Habitat transformed her shared office into a beautiful space for her to work, create and prepare orders for her Etsy shop. This classic, feminine design is beautiful, well-organized and functional! Check out more from her office reveal by visiting her website.

 

Craft Room and Office Space from Thrifty Decor Chick

Sarah’s craft room went through several transformations before turning into this farmhouse-inspired, cleanly decorated multi-purpose room. It features space to work, craft, wrap gifts with enough room for two people, plus a dreamy window seat to relax.

 

Meet Interior Designer Laura Burleson on SarahSarna.com | Photo by Alyssa Rosenheck

Light, Bright Office by Laura Burleson

This gorgeous, light-filled office was featured by Sarah Sarna. The light fixture reflects the gorgeous gold accents to give the room a pop of color. Having enough desk space to spread your work out is ideal for makers and creatives. And a cute little window doesn’t hurt either!

 

How to Make a Small Office Space Work from The Fashionista's Diary | thefashionistasdiary.com

How to Make a Small Office Space Work from The Fashionista’s Diary

Lauren from The Fashionista’s Diary nailed her small office space. Carved out of a corner of her bedroom, this airy, feminine space packs a punch in storage, yet still allows her personality to shine through.

 

Historic Ivy Flat Designed by Alice Lane Home

Show N’ Tell Historic Ivy Flat from Alice Lane Home

Despite working with a tiny area, this precious office from Alice Lane Home features the trending “millennial pink” on the walls, a vintage light fixture and a statement mirror to reflect light around the room. This gorgeous interior design proves that you can make even the smallest of office spaces glam and functional!