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7 Ways to Show Gratitude at Home

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 19:58:10 +0000

What makes a happy home? I'm sure it's different for every family because we come in all shapes and sizes. I must admit I'm not an expert here. I've witnessed plenty of chaos and more meltdowns than I want to admit at home. But through it all we have supported each other and, dare I say, even blossomed. And gratitude seems to be the common element that makes life the best. So here are five ways to share gratitude—family tested and approved.

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1) Ask family members about their day. Set down your smart phone and be fully present in the moment. Yep, that one is so simple you'd think it would be automatic. Hearing the stories from each of them opens doors to new discussions. Friendly conversation—no matter the topic—somehow begins to heal those disagreements that might have popped up yesterday. 

2) List three good things that happened to you today. Ask your kids to name three. This has turned into a favorite bedtime ritual with my kids. 

3) Write in a gratitude journal every day. You can even post your gratitude thoughts on social media. Snap a photo and hashtag it #gratitude and #thankful and post it on Instagram or Twitter. 

4) When chaos hits the fan, then it's time to focus on your breathing. Close your eyes. Inhale slowly. Exhale slowly. Repeat. When you open your eyes again, acknowlegde that negative things happen in life and then turn your thoughts to how far you have come in life. It's a way to map the progress in your mind and appreciate the good in life. No matter how many screaming kids are running around you, never forget it only takes one calm person in a room to transform a whirlwind of activity—and even a typhoon of negativity—into gratitude. Share a smile. Give a hug. 

5) Pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. The simple act of calling someone is a way of reaching out and showing you care about them. Checking in with someone shows your gratitude. 

6) Volunteer. Find something you are passionate about and search for volunteer organizations that serve that need. Make it a family project or an individual project. Service to others brings each of us a new perspective on the world. 

7) Collect moments, not things. At the end of the day, the "stuff of life" that I am most thankful for is not something I can touch or hold in my hand. It never is something I can purchase. It's all about those memories—those moments that I treasure. Remember them. Write them down. Talk to your family about them. Replaying the movie in your head of those grateful moments can keep you going during those bleaker moments.

The list of ways to share gratitude can go on and on. Share yours in the comments. 

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~ Chris Olson

Editor and illustrator

Momathon Blog: The 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four




It's Okay to Say No

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 18:42:32 +0000

I think some of the most empowering moments in life happen when we meet a challenge and say "I can do this." Even kids like to say it. Moms and dads clap their hands and cheer when their little ones accomplish something big for the first time on their own. This do-it-all attitude becomes part of our psyche growing up and when we leave home for college, or start a new job, move to a new city, get married, or begin our own families. At some point in life the "I can do this" idea might turn into the feeling that "I can do it all." And this often happens just when life gets complicated with new responsibilities, new challenges, and new goals.

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Today I'm stepping up on my soapbox and telling you that even if you are blessed with the most amazing capabilities, it's still okay to say no. Just because you can do it all, does not mean you should. 

Not every challenge is meant to be tackled today. Some challenges require teamwork. And I honestly can say when I've stood in front of that seemingly insurmountable mountain of an obstacle and asked for help that's when I've been lifted up by the kindest and smartest people.

(Images: Graphic above (and photo) by me, Chris Olson.)

 

~ Chris Olson

Editor and illustrator

Momathon Blog: The 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four




Be Silly

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 17:42:56 +0000

Having fun and laughing came so easily when I was a kid. I think all the giggling was contagious. And even though I didn't know it then—laughter is a great stress reliever too.

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Do you remember that childhood friend that made you laugh so hard with a silly story during lunch that milk would burst out your nose? Or the pal who could turn a frustrating situation completely around with a goofy face. We don't make many funny faces as adults. I'm thinking maybe we should. I'm going to start out with at least three today. I'll try to post a few silly "selfies" all week. And I'll let you know if all the silliness helps me feel less stressed :)

IMAGE: The funny face photo above by me was inspired by an awesome class with the always fun and sassy Alison Faulkner, blogger at The Alison Show. Her blog is guaranteed to make you smile! 

Looking for more silliness? Check out my laugh more post here.

~ Chris Olson

Writer and illustrator

Momathon Blog: The 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four




Oscars 2013 {I'm Tired of the Bullying on Twitter}

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 21:03:55 +0000

I started working on this post with a sketch of Anne Hathaway on the red carpet. I planned on writing about the gorgeous dresses at the Oscars. But after seeing all the negative commentary about Anne on Twitter I decided to change my focus here. 

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On Sunday night during the Oscars the negative comments about Anne began building. Some comments were about hating her dress. Then even more tweets chimed in saying she is annoying because she acts too "perfect." And others made snarky comments about her face... Really? 

Of course, I could just ignore the mean stuff being said online, but I'm a mom. And maybe some of you will think I sound a little too preachy here, but that is what moms do some of the time. 

In a culture where young girls (and boys) are bullied daily for how they look and act, I think it is time for the grown-ups to set a better example online.

I know in the US we take pride in the fact we have the right to express opinions. Even opinions that are very controversial. Social media has made it very easy—maybe too easy—to criticize people publicly. Eventually all the hate from strangers online starts snowballing to the point the criticism takes on a life of its own. And in this case, I think the online commentary of hate is not so much about Anne, but just about bashing someone—as if this person were a thing. 

(You can continue reading my post on my blog here.)

~ Chris Olson

Writer and illustrator

 




Hurricane Sandy: Tips to Keep Your Pets Calm and Safe

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 20:01:09 +0000

 

If you live in the path of Hurricane Sandy, then your pets are feeling very anxious. I've got some tips to keep your pets safe, ideas to reduce pet stress, and guidelines for packing hurricane supplies to have ready for your dog or cat in case you have to evacuate.

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1) If the weather permits, when you go outside keep dogs on a leash
Dogs can sense when threatening weather approaches and they will sometimes hide. Make sure you keep track of your pet as the storm approaches. When you take a dog outside, use a leash. Never assume that a dog trained to be safe off leash in normal situations will stay with you during a storm. Even though your dog looks calm, the advancing storm my cause your pet to try to run away outside to flee the situation. 

2) Follow social media updates on Twitter and Facebook
If you are not safe to stay in your home during a hurricane, then your pet is not safe either. The best advice to pet owners in the path of a hurricane may be to evacuate early. Remember to share your evacuation plans with relatives and friends. Many shelters are accepting pets with their families. Here are a few Twitter users to follow because they provide updates on shelters accepting pets in your area: @ASPCA and @HumaneSociety. Also you can follow the hashtag #sandypets. The ASPCA's Disaster Preparedness Checklist is a great resource. The Humane Society of the United States has helpful information via this link: Disaster Preparedness for Pets. If you live in NYC, information regarding the storm is available via Office of Emergency Management

3) Check your pet's collar for an ID tag
It seems obvious, but if you change collars you might not remember to have the correct pet ID tags on the collars. (Also, remember to place proper identification and vaccination identification in your pet's  "Go Bag" explained below) 

4) Continue reading on my blog for 5 activities to help keep your dog calm during a storm.
 

~ Chris Olson

Writer and illustrator

Momathon Blog: the 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four wh




How to Follow Fashion Week at Home

Sat, 08 Sep 2012 20:18:14 +0000

Are you following Fashion Week? I'm quite envious of my son, he's sending me NYFW photos whenever he gets a chance.The good news is thanks to the wonders of digital tech, you don't need to be in NY to catch the amazing designers at Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week—you can catch live streaming and on-demand content via Live From the Runway on YouTube. You can watch highlights from specific runway shows you missed this week via the Maybelline Look Book on YouTube.What's on? The official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week YouTube channel provides extensive coverage of runway shows including:BCBGMAXAZRIA, Richard Chai, Rebecca Minkoff, Nicole Miller, Charlotte Ronson, Lacoste, Diane von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Betsey Johnson, Badgley Mischka, Vera Wang, Narciso Rodriguez, Nanette Lepore, Michael Kors, Vivienne Tam, Anna Sui Go ahead, be social too. Pin something Pinteresting from fashion week here. And follow @MBFashionWeek on Twitter. Why not be Instagram-ish and check out their photos from the runway and backstage at Followgram. Be friendly and like NYFW here.BlogHer has a new Style Squad. Here are a few of their bloggers covering the show.The Budget Fashionista, BlogHer Editor-at-Large Kathryn Finney...love Maegan, BlogHer Style Editor Maegan TintariLoveBrownSugar, Christina Brown Style Within Reach, Caitlin MoranHairdresser on Fire, Reagan BakerThe Makeup Girl, Lianne FarbesSTYLISH CURVES, Alissa BrownThere are waaaaaay to many fashion bloggers at NYFW to list here, these are just a few of my  faves :apartment 34The GlamouraiBryanboyMan RepellerOlivia Palermo's Style Blog and WebsiteNYC PrettyCult of PrettyTuulaYou can see the NYFW schedule here. Fashion Week ends September 13th.>•<  Connect on Facebook  >•<  Image: NY Fashion Week by my son KM Olson. ~ Chris OlsonWriter and illustratorMomathon Blog: the 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four wheelsThe Juice, by Tropicana Trop50 [...]



BlogHer12 in the City

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 16:11:47 +0000

The first week in August, bloggers from around the globe came to NYC for the 8th annual BlogHer.com conference. I missed this year's conference but I kept in touch via Twitter updates and the BlogHer '12 Virtual Conference.Even though I was at home, I loved the fact I could stay connected with the conference and find Twitter updates from Laurie White—the @BlogHerAtHome host—and other bloggers via Twitter and at BlogHer.com.The BlogHer conference always has an amazing list of keynote speakers and presenters from the blogging world. Imagine this, on Thursday afternoon, BlogHer co-founders Lisa Stone and Elisa Camahort Page welcomed conference participants with a very special guest via a live video address from President Barack Obama. You can watch this video here. As a nonpartisan group, BlogHer also extended an invitation to candidate Governor Romney, but he was unable to participate via a live video address.Martha—yes, that Martha!—was the keynote speaker at BlogHer12 and she shares her thoughts in her personal blog here. And Martha puts BlogHer on her list of  "good things" when she says:BlogHer has become the largest community of women who blog:  40 million unique visitors per month.  They are drawn there to seek and share advice, opinions, and recommendations.  If you’re a female blogger, or are interested in blogging, visit BlogHer.Katie Couric was Lunch Keynote Speaker on Saturday. You can watch the presentation here and find out how you can participate in Couric's new daytime show.Julie Ross Godar, the executive editor of BlogHer, shares the must-watch conference highlights here in a video. Section editor for BlogHer Family, Jenna Hatfield has a nice round up of what happened here. We all know bloggers are a style savvy group. On Saturday, a BlogHer Fashion Show MC’ed by BlogHer’s editor-at-large, Kathryn Finney featured women from BlogHer’s Style community and guests from across the BlogHer community. BlogHer rocks the fashion runway in video here. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME INSPIRATION?One of the most inspiring part of reading blogs is when a blog post is about turning lemons into lemonade. That's exactly what Linda Doty did when she couldn't get to the NYC conference—but she was able to stay connected and make lemonade via the virtual BlogHer12 conference at home. Linda writes the awesome blog Just Linda. She blogged about the BlogHer12 and packed her post with loads of blogging inspiration and tips here.Looking for more BlogHer12 inspiration? You can find the BlogHer virtual conference liveblog posts here and conference videos from the event here.A FEW OF MY FAVORITE BLOGGERS ON BLOGHER I would love to include the hundreds and hundreds of amazing bloggers at the conference, but today I'll give a sampling of the many bloggers that continue to impress me from BlogHer12 and BlogHerAtHome. In no particular order, here are a few faves in the list below. So when you need a little inspiration, check out a few of these blogs—and remember to say HI in the comment section :) Living Like the KingsJust LindaCait Plus AteThe Cottage HomeSew Country ChickSimple Simon & CompanyAlexandra WroteEnjoying This Life - Just the PicsSarah by the SeaPragmaticMomStop, Drop and BlogMomo Fali'sWilma the Prairie DogDomestic ExtraordinaireI Spy DIYHow To Be A DadCakeSpyDouble Duty DivasUppercase WomanA Girl & Her Mutt Dec-a-PorterThe Six Year ItchFrom somewhere in my imaginationSlow Love LifeMama Non GrataCharlene ChroniclesSassymonkey ReadsMama of All TradesMy Charming Life! Hearts into Home   A FEW MORE LINKS FROM BLOGHER12We're Reading What You're Writing About BlogHer '12 | BlogHerImage: BLOGGERS IN THE CITY graphic above is by me[...]



It's so Etsy: London Calling

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 20:59:34 +0000

Are you watching the Olympics in London this week? I love visiting London so I rounded up a list of four fabulous London-themed items on Etsy. Check them out below. It's never to early to start your holiday shopping—Christmas is only 145 days away.

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Here are the links on Etsy for my London favorites:

1) London Calling Art Print by Sacred and Profane on Etsy $8.50
2) London England Art Print for Nursery by My Tiny Tot Creative on Etsy $16

3) Vintage London British Phonebooth iPhone 4 case by Case Orama on Etsy $18.95
4) Passport Fabric Case Cover - I Love London by Baffin Bags on Etsy $8

~ Chris Olson

Writer and illustrator

Momathon Blog: the 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four wh




DIY: Make It Sew Modern (a craft book)

Tue, 31 Jul 2012 19:07:08 +0000

If you like to sew and are looking for a book that adds texture to your sewing projects, then check out the new book Make It Sew Modern by the mother of four and craft divaVanessa Christenson. In her patterns she uses ruffles, twisting, gathering, and pleats to make quilts, pillows, scarves, purses, bracelets, rings, and more.

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Are you looking for more sewing inspiration? Connect with Vanessa:

Image: MAKE IT SEW MODERN photo graphic above is by me, Chris Olson and features pages from Vanessa Christenson's book. Feel free to Pin it on Pinterest with a link back to this post. Thanks! 

 >•<  Connect on Facebook  >•< 

~ Chris Olson

Writer and illustrator

Momathon Blog: the 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four wh




Shelter Dogs of the Week: Amber and Harley

Sun, 08 Jul 2012 18:25:56 +0000

Who can resist Amber's smile? Amber is a young, active dog that was rescued as a stray in Colorado. She is a mixed breed—probably some Boxer and Cattle Dog. Whatever she is, Amber is very friendly and loves everyone. She is young and will need plenty of exercise and some training. She would be the perfect hiking pal and a joy to her forever family. You can find out more about Amber here.

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You can help Amber (and Harley below) find a forever home by pinning the image on Pinterest with a link back to this post. Thanks!

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Harley and Amber are both playful dogs and available for adoption. Harley is a true ambassador for the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. He is a handsome and sweet young guy! He is strong and would would benefit from some obedience training. Harley would probably be happiest in a family with children 9 years old and older. More information on both dogs here
 

Images: Photos and graphics above by me, Chris Olson

 ~ Chris Olson

Writer and illustrator

Momathon Blog: the 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four wh