11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

Last year, I shared my personal story of domestic abuse and how I survived. I shared it because I knew I wasn’t alone in how I felt at the time and I wanted my story to maybe help someone else. I promised myself I would continue to share, continue to be open in what I lived through and continue to try to help other women in similar situations.

As a writer with a platform, I get a LOT of emails with pitches about various products, services, and people. I’ll be honest, I don’t read them all but this one email got my attention and I feel compelled to share it in the hopes that this could help another woman.

The email talked about how women who are being abused by their partner are under a tremendous amount of stress, which may have a significant impact on their ability to think and make decisions clearly and calmly. It shared this list of how to prepare to leave your abuser from financial advisor and candid abuse survivor Rosemary Lombardy 

I remember when I decided to leave that I did as much prepping as I could without it being noticed. I started to put my toiletries in boxes under the guise of an organization project and I started to stash money away. So this list hit home for me.

This list provides a clear roadmap for women to follow so that they can prepare to leave their abuser, minimize the damage he will try to inflict, and do what is necessary to protect their children, themselves, and their assets. Rosemary has a new book out, Breaking Bonds: How to Divorce an Abuser and Heal—A Survival Guide.

You are not alone. There are people who will help you and you can always reach out to me and I can help you get in touch with resources.

11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

1.  Safety First. Your family’s personal safety is the only thing that really matters. If you or your children are being subjected to physical violence, take them and leave the home right now. If you suspect that physical abuse may be imminent, take the children and leave right now. Use the resources listed in the Emergencies Tab on the Breaking Bonds website to find a secure place to stay if you don’t have somewhere else to go. You can access the rest of the information on this website from a safe distance.

2.  Have Money. Before alerting your abuser that you plan to leave him, set aside hard cash for emergencies and transfer up to half of the balances in the bank accounts to an account in your name alone. Have the bank mail the statements to a post office box instead of to your home. You will need to be able to pay bills until you are able to petition the court for financial assistance. Abusers will frequently drain the accounts once they discover they are going to lose control over their victims in order to retaliate, or to force them to drop the divorce petition or settle for unfavorable terms. Do not drain the joint accounts yourself and leave your husband without any funds, as that would be unethical.

Disclose what you have done with the money in your first meeting with your lawyer.  He or she may have different advice as to whether you should move funds to a separate account before filing for divorce. Inform him or her that an abuser will do whatever it takes to be punitive and maintain control, and it is highly likely that he will drain the household accounts as soon as he is aware that his wife plans to divorce him. Although your attorney can ask the judge in your case to issue a temporary order to freeze your jointly held bank accounts, such measures will take time. You must have funds for your day-to-day living expenses and to pay your attorney and court expenses in the meantime.

3.  Go-to Bag. Prepare a go-to bag that contains contain cash, your driver’s license,  credit cards, checkbooks, a list of your assets and debts, a set of clothes for you and the children, toys, court papers, your passport, birth certificates, medical records, marriage certificate, social security cards, , medicines, insurance information, immunization records, welfare documents, immigration papers, and other legal documents. Keep copies of court papers in your possession to prove to the police that your spouse is violating a court restraining order if you have to summon them.

4.  Make Copies. Make copies of bank and other financial statements, deeds, paystubs, recent tax returns, estate documents, and emails or posts that incriminate your abuser or prove his infidelity without alerting him that you plan to file for divorce. Store this evidence somewhere safe outside the home. Abusers frequently remove or destroy records once they become aware of the divorce.

5. Protect Children. When you leave your husband, take your children with you to avoid losing custody of them. The courts may consider your leaving them behind to be abandonment, a sign that you are an unfit mother willing to leave them in danger. Or that you are lying about the domestic abuse. Even if your husband tries to intimidate you to leave without the children, you must not let him force you to leave the house without them under any circumstances. Call the police if you must.

6. Document Abuse. Take pictures of any physical abuse and date them. Start documenting verbal abuse in a journal that you keep outside the home. If your abuser becomes violent, call the police immediately and have them take pictures to document the abuse. Make sure that you have written down the names of the officers who are present. Have your abuser arrested. If you give him a free pass, the abuse is likely to escalate. Protect yourself.

7. Get Help. Use the Resources Tab on the Breaking Bonds website to find safety resources, therapists, and financial and legal assistance in your area.

8. Protect Credit. Before you file for divorce, obtain a credit card in your name alone. You may not be able to get credit based on your income alone, so make an application to get the card before you file for divorce so that you can qualify for credit based on your joint income with your spouse. As soon as you file, close any joint credit cards that have a zero balance and put a freeze the jointly held credit cards. You won’t be able to close them out completely if they still have a balance, but you can prevent any additional charges from being added to joint debt by freezing the account.

You are responsible for payment of any joint debt that you or your husband incurs during your marriage, even debt that your husband will ultimately be assigned in the settlement. Credit card companies are only concerned with whether you signed for the card, not the terms of a court order. Document all phone calls you make to the credit card companies and send them follow-up letters requesting that the lender report to the credit agencies that each of these credit card accounts was closed at your request.

Late payments and skipped payments will adversely affect your credit score for years to come, so do your best to make sure that payments are made by the due date for any debts you or your husband have incurred while the divorce is still going on. Your credit score will affect whether you can buy a home in your name alone or if you can refinance your existing home to remove your husband’s name afterward. It also affects the rate of interest that you will be charged on any loans you apply for in the future. Do what you can to protect your credit score.

9. Confide Well. Be careful whom you confide in. Some of your friends, colleagues, and family members may be judgmental or repeat to others what you have said to them in confidence. Even worse, word may get back to your abuser. Do not confide in your children unless it is absolutely necessary, as they are dealing with enough emotional turmoil and deserve to have their childhood protected. When discussing the situation with your children, say that you don’t feel safe living with their father or leaving them alone with him. Tell them that he does bad and scary things, not that he is a bad person. It is not necessary or helpful to elaborate. The best plan is to confide mostly in your therapist and your dog. Then give it to God.

10. Self-Care. Take care of yourself so that you can handle the stress of the divorce effectively. You will need physical energy and brainpower to deal with a very manipulative and unscrupulous opponent over a period of many months. Begin making changes now in your daily routine so that you get enough nutrients, exercise, and rest to feel empowered and think clearly. This will also boost your self-esteem and confidence.

11. Choose You.  Choose not to be a victim any longer. Stop blaming yourself! He has been brainwashing you into thinking that everything is your fault. He is the one who is mistreating you and making your family life miserable. Take back your power and take appropriate action. Do not argue or engage with your abuser. Use your legitimate fear of him to protect yourself and your children. Use your anger, which is telling you that something is very wrong with your life, to overcome your fear and make the changes that you need in your life.

I will not lie to you – this is all really scary but it’s possible. I’m proof that it is. That there is a better life out there that YOU deserve. If you are feeling alone, I’m here for you. Promise.

You can also call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1?800?799?7233 or visit their discrete website for more information on how to get help.

You are worth it.

11 Step Guide: How to Leave Your Abuser

Skin Care Tips for Every Budget and Skin Type

Skin Care Tips for Every Budget and Skin Type

I shared a post on my Instagram the other day about my love-hate journey with my hair. I posted a selfie and got a lot of messages asking what I use on my skin. Skin care tips have never been my thing, mostly cause I am just way too lazy to be a beauty or fashion person and partially cause I think that my skin is mostly good genes but I am ALWAY happy to share what products I love.

I also find it so ironic that people would complement my skin. There was a time in middle school and even some of high school that I was ridiculed for my acne. Funny how those moments can stay with you even after so many years. I tried every skin care tip under the sun to make my zits go away and eventually they did but that mentality never left me.

Between beach living, having babies and being over 40, my skin has transitioned from an oily nightmare to so very dry. My skin is also sensitive to certain products and starting a very slow gradual loss of it’s elasticity. I’m constantly on the hunt for the best hydrating products and have taken the advice of esthetitians that I’ve seen to heart to keep my skin healthy – hydrate and exfoliate.

Number 1 Skin Care Tip

Now, if I were a good blogger, I’d put this at the bottom of all my skin care tips so you have to read all the way down but I’m so passionate about this I want to put this right here at the top. YES, products are fun and they play a huge role in having healthy skin. So do genes. But what I’ve found to be most important in achieving that radiant glow – nutrition. Just like your muscles or your heart or your brain, your skin is an organ that needs to be nourished. I’m a HUGE fan of Whole30 but just eliminating processed foods from our diets and eating more organic items when we can afford it has made a HUGE difference. I try to drink a lot of water and I also am a fan of a scoop of Vital Proteins in my coffee in the morning. So, feed your face!

My favorite skin care tips and products are (no surprise) mostly all on Amazon. I also buy some of the organic products at my local Sprouts. Some of these links are affiliate links which means that if you buy them, I’ll get a small commission for giving them traffic. None of this post is sponsored, these are all products that I found on my own and use almost every day.

Morning Skin Care Tips

My morning routine usually consists of an early morning class at my gym and then a quick shower before work. With two small girls, I have limited time to get it all pulled together, people fed and myself out the door.

E-Raorganics Facial Exfoliant – I like to use this a few times a week in the shower.

Image Daily Moisturizer – This is a product that I never really stray from. I’ve been using it for 4 years and it just feels so good on my face plus the SPF is a great bonus!

Acure Brightening Oil – This facial oil is somewhat new to my routine. So far, I’m really happy with it. It smells great and makes my skin feel really soft and moisturized, plus it’s super affordable. I like to switch up my syrums that I use though cause you skin needs will change seasonally.

IT Cosmetics CC Cream – Are you on the cc cream bandwagon? This product is a dream for my skin. It’s light but provides full enough coverage that my skin appears even toned. Goes on super easy and doesn’t feel cakey on your skin. Not everyone is a fan though so I highly suggest heading into an Ulta store and trying a sample of it first.

Nighttime Skin Care Tips

I wish I could say that I was really diligent about removing my makeup each night but that would be a total and complete lie. BUT, when I do, these are my go to’s!

Burt’s Bees Wipes – My skin can be really sensitive, especially to make up removing wipes. One day, out of desperation, I grabbed some of Little Nugget’s butt wipes and took my make up off. No stinging in the eyes for me and it got *most* of it off. Another plus side to using these…they are cheap and readily available in this house. #allthediapers

Witch Hazel – This is a great and affordable toner for your skin. I was using an apple cider vinegar toner for awhile but it was throwing off the ph balance of my skin and making it extra dry. Once I replaced that with witch hazel, it’s been smooth sailing ever since. It also is a great second swipe at getting off all of your makeup.

Derma e Syrum Vitamin C – I love the Derma E products and this vitamin C serum is a new addition to my routine. I also love this one for a super hydrating feel you can use both in the morning and at night.

It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream – I have no words for this cream, it’s just magic in a bottle.

Favorite Skin Care Splurges

If money (and time) wasn’t an issue, I think I’d be a day spa junkie. I LOVE to go get facials and even do my own masks at home. It’s indulgent but my skin feels so amazing afterward. When I do make the time, here are some of my favorites.

Alexis K – Now, this is definately a splurge but if you are in San Diego and looking for an amazing experience, get yourself to Alexis K in Solana Beach. Their facility is gorgeous and their service is above and beyond. I’ve been twice, once to get my eyebrows done and another to have a facial with dermaplaning done. I loved how my skin looked after my dermaplaning here – soft and smooth and so hydrated. Their brow powder is my go to and their products are all great. I really loved the Zabana facial scrub.

The rest of these are fun masks that I use when I find some free time or the girls are taking an extra long tub and I can squeeze one in.

I put an entire list in my Amazon Store – just it out for a one stop shop for all my favorite skin care products.

Have any favorite products you like? Share them with me! I love finding new stuff to try.

Skin Care tips for Mom’s regardless of  time or budget. Affordable and natural products for anti aging and over 40 skin. Skincare favorites for your face and neck and perfect for dry skin.

9 Rainy Day Activities to Maintain Your Sanity

9 Rainy Day Activities to Maintain Your Sanity

We have had rainy day after rainy day this year in San Diego. It feels great at first, we know that we’ve been suffering a drought for years, but it’s starting to feel like Seattle. It has been the wettest winter I’ve ever had in my nearly 12 years living in Southern California.

San Diego is made for an outdoor lifestyle. We have gorgeous zoos and incredible beaches. Our endless summers soil us. When the clouds roll in the sky’s open up – we don’t know what to do with ourselves on a rainy day – much less consectutive rainy days.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

My girls have been loving the change in weather. We aren’t used to this. Rain boots are novelty items that get pulled out a few days a year. Umbrellas are used more to keep the sun away than raindrops. The rainy day novelty has worn off though and we’ve found ourselves desperate for ways to keep occupied in a city that isn’t built for rainy weather.

Things to do on a rainy day. Fun activities for kids of all ages from crafts to art to outings that can turn their gloomy day to awesome.

Here are 9 great rainy day activities

  1. Activity Books – these books are great for all ages. They have a variety of activities that occupy the kids from coloring to stickers to alphabet worksheets. Big Nugget loves all things unicorn so she loves this one and while Little Nugget is happy with a blank notebook, she also loves these coloring books.
  2. Cloud Dough – my girls love a good sensory bin and this cloud dough recipe is simple and will keep the girls occupied for a while. It’s a great way to use up any leftover food coloring and not nearly as messy as slime.
  3. Invitation to Play – I’ve really never heard of these until I started to follow other bloggers. The concept is amazing, you set out an assortment of things to play with or craft with around a theme or interest that your child has and let them have at it. This is a great example of it and uses the cloud dough from above.
  4. Movies – Yes, this is a rather obvious rainy day activity but you can switch it up and go see something in 3D or even better, something in 4D. You can read (and watch) our review of a 4DX movie here.
  5. Process Art – much like invitations to play, process art was also a new term to me. My friend Ashley just launched an Instagram page, Little Makers and Bakers, with so many adorable and fun ideas for kiddos. And as a busy mom of three girls, this former teacher has you covered with ideas. Give her a follow for some great rainy day activities.
  6. Nail Salon – my girls love when we do our nails together and it will chew up a little part of the day. I love Piggy Paint for the girls, it’s non-toxic and doesn’t smell. If I want to get real fancy, I’ll do my own nails with Color Street and then use the scraps for Big Nugget’s nails. They don’t need time to dry so I don’t have to worry about it smearing. They don’t seem to last as long on her as they do on me but then again, no paint stays on their nails.
  7. Make Jewelry – These bead and button pipe cleaner bracelets are so cute and so easy, you probably already have the supplies on hand. Glitter on a Dime has so many great ideas for crafty activities, her site is a treasure trove of creative fun.
  8. Rainy Day Roundupthis is a great list of ideas that you can do with kids of all ages. Even some ideas if your rain is of the frozen snow variety…
  9. Post-It Note Matching – Our wonderful nanny put this activity together for the girls one day – all you need is some paper, a marker, and post-it notes. She put their names and either some shapes or some numbers on the paper, matched each with a Post-It, and then let them match it all up. So creative and so easy.
Things to do on a rainy day. Fun activities for kids of all ages from crafts to art to outings that can turn their gloomy day to awesome. #activities #crafts #rainyday

How I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to stay organized

How I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to stay organized

Keeping a busy family organized and on task is no small feat. There are a million apps and shared calendars and fancy techy ways to do this, but for me, I’m old school. I need to write things down to remember them. I like seeing our week and month come together. So for the last four years, I’ve used the Erin Condren Life Planner. It’s been crucial in keeping my sanity and our family to events on time – especially now that I’m back to work full time.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Choosing the right planner

When I was shopping around for a planner to use to keep our family organized, I knew I wanted something that was paper and that I could customize in some way. The Erin Condren Life Planner allows me to structure my weeks either horizontally or vertically. The first two years, I used the horizontal layout and then switched to the vertical layout and it works so well for us.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization

I loved the variety of colors and choices and that I could customize it with our family name or the year or both. The spiral bound pages make it easy and durable to flip back and forth between weeks and months. The Life Planner comes with a few pages of fun and functional stickers but Erin Condren also offers additional accessories to make the planner even more effective.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization

This year I ordered the large sticky pocket and the additional sticker book. It’s so fun and festive.

Organizing your Life Planner

  • The first thing I do each year I get my new Life Planner is to transfer all of our birthday’s and anniversaries – and any other date that don’t change each year.
  • Then I’ll add stickers to each of my own payday’s as well as the day’s that we pay our nanny. This gives me a quick visual of some big ins and outs of our checking account.
Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization
  • Next, I grab the school calendar and put in all the important dates and closures for the rest of the school year. Then I had a minor panic attack that my baby girl is starting Kindergarten this year and our worlds are going to change! Ah!
Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization
  • Finally, I put in all of our goals for the year in the boxes at the front of the planner. This helps me keep them top of mind and also allows me to track my progress during the year. I make all of our goals SMART goals. You can read more about them in my goal setting post from last year.

Life Planner Weekly

Now that the months are set up with big dates, I start in on January and transfer those dates into the week view pages. Since I use the vertical layout, I use the first two boxes to keep track of day and evening events. In year’s past, I’ve used the last box to plan out our meals. This year, I’m using that space for our nanny to leave notes on activities and milestones each day.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization

For meal planning, I’ve started using the meal planner from Simple Purposeful Living. I’ve been using it for a month now and I love the organization and functionality of it.

I also go back and write down things that we did or milestones that happened in the week layout. It helps me remember things and it’s also fun to have a book to look back on and see all the fun things we did as a family.

Maximize your family’s organization with the Erin Condren Life Planner. Get ideas on how to setup your life planner with easy layouts and best practices. I’ve used this binder to organize our calendar and track my goals for the last four years, and it works! #goals #planner #organization

Returning to work is all about planning

Returning to work is all about planning

Returning to work after being home with a baby can be intimidating, scary, exhilarating and sad. When I was laid off from my marketing position in the summer of 2017, I was given an amazing severance and knew that I wanted to make the most of it and spend time at home with my girls. I also knew it wasn’t a long term arrangement. Fast forward to the fall of this year and I realized it was time to start looking for my next career move. 

Here is my complete guide to land the job you want and how to prepare to make the complicated transition of returning to work easier. 

Envision what you want

The first step I did was to reflect and write down what I wanted in my next job. I envisioned the role. The office. The people. The work. I knew the two most important things for me this time around were flexibility and stability. It really helped me prioritize opportunities.

Take out a piece of paper and write down where you want to work next. What does your day to day look like? Where is the office located? What kind of office is it? Open concept and modern? Or traditional? 

Tell people

I’ve been laid off quite a bit in my career, it’s the nature of being in marketing departments, so I’ve gotten pretty good at finding a new job. I’ve used all the big job boards and have gotten limited traction there. Where I’ve found the last few opportunities is through my network. I told everyone that I knew that might have a lead on a new position that returning to work was a priority for me. Ultimately, my new role came from responding to a post from the CEO of the agency I’m joining on LinkedIn. He mentioned they were looking for someone and I emailed him to get the ball rolling.  

If returning to work is something that you want to happen in the next six months, go make sure that your LinkedIn profile is current. Then tell the world what you are looking for! Write an article about your job search. Post an update with what you are looking for. Interact with people that might be helpful in getting you in the door for your dream job. 

Practice

I had quite a few interviews before I had the ones that ultimately led me to my new job. I’m incredibly thankful those opportunities didn’t work out. I needed the practice. I was so far removed from tapping into that side of my brain that it took awhile for me to feel “back”. After each interview, I would write down what their questions where and formulate better answers so that the next time, I would be a little more on my A game. It was such a great exercise for me. 

If you are starting to apply and interview for roles, I encourage you to practice answering some sample questions. Here are the ones that I used: 

  • What are your top 3 strengths? 
  • What are your top 3 weaknesses? 
  • Top 3 professional accomplishments?
  • What are you looking for in your next company/role? 
  • What makes you unique? (Read my answer here)
  • If you were going to drop the ball on something, what would that ball be? 

Returning to work emotions

Once you find that role and know that it’s going to fall into place, allow yourself to start to grieve. I had a really hard time with this because the emotions that came up were big and raw. I left my new office after my final interview, job offer in hand, and I sobbed. 

One weight was lifted and another immediately took its place. There was immense relief that I found the right role and the right company and that I could start contributing again to our family’s finances. It was quickly replaced with the gravity of managing this transition of returning to work, finding someone to take care of my girls, and dealing with the emotions of not being with them all the time. Sure there were days when I couldn’t wait for this to happen but even in those rough moments, I knew I would miss it. 

I keep trying to keep the big picture in mind, returning to work is not the end of the world, just a change in seasons. There are plenty of season changes in motherhood, this was just one of them and we are all going to be just fine. 

Prepare

Now that the start date is set and returning to work is a reality, it’s time to GET to work. Literally. 

First things first, figure out your childcare situation. Whatever the right choice is for your family – nanny or daycare – getting that in place will allow you to take a big deep breath. Help to prepare your kids for any changes in their schedule by talking about it with them, even if they are toddlers. Little Nugget is in a phase where she likes to run through everyone in our family and tell me where they are. “Dadda at work. Sister at school. Mama, home” So I’ve started to tell her that soon I’m going to go to work also and that she was going to be just fine. I also took the girls with me when I dropped off my signed offer letter. It gave them a chance to get a visual of where Mommy is when she goes to work. 

Second thing is your wardrobe. I found myself scrambling to pull together outfits just for the interviews. Now I’m going to need a few new pieces because I highly doubt yoga pants and a hoodie will be acceptable. I’ve relied on my trusty friend Ebates to make sure I’m getting the best deals. Most of my shopping has been online cause trying on clothes with a toddler in tow is one of the levels of hell. 

Third essential item you need is a family planner. Life just got a little more complicated and having a system to keep everyone on the same page is crucial. I’ve been using these Erin Condren planners for the last four years. They work so well for our family and I love having a book of activities and milestones to look back on. 

Fourth item is to start to meal planning NOW. I think there is a common misconception that meal planning is this arduous process that takes forever  but it’s so not the case. Meal planning can be as simple as jotting down what you are going to have for dinner and making sure that you have the ingredients you need. I used to use my Erin Condren planner to track all of our meals for the week – and that system worked great. Then my friend Erin developed this meal planner and I love it. It keeps the whole year together so you can easily reference back to previous weeks for ideas AND it has tear out grocery lists. I also keep a master list with our favorite dinner ideas and a handful of my favorite cookbooks so that I can plan quickly.

Be Proud

This is probably going to be the hardest part for us Mom’s – setting aside the guilt and the to do lists and be proud of what you accomplished. Being a stay at home mom was never on my radar, never something I thought I would want to do when we started our family. However, I was given this unexpected gift of time with them and I will forever be grateful for that. We’ve all grown in so many ways and quite frankly, the fact that we all survived is a damn miracle. 

I’m also proud to be returning to work and to model some new behavior for them – one of a woman who loves her family and puts them first but has ambitions and a career. That’s always been important to me and I’m proud of myself for putting that on the back burner for awhile and equally as proud to be taking this leap back into the workforce. 

Make sure to take care of yourself throughout this process. I started work on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon, my body started to wave the white flag. I was exhausted and achy. The stress, anxiety and emotions had all caught up to me once the first day was done and I knew everything was going to be ok. I got through it enough to get dinner made and the kids bathed. Once I put Little Nugget down for the night, I walked straight into my room and got under my weighted blanket and slept. I woke up Wednesday morning and felt human. Ready to tackle this next chapter. 

Returning to work after baby can bring on a whole host of emotions. Whether you’ve always been a stay at home mom or just took a break, this guide will help you in each step. Job search tips, interview prep, how to manage your transition and your family so that you can feel ready to tackle this next chapter.

An Advent Hashtag We Can All Get Behind #ActInAdvent

Advent is coming faster than we realize and this year I need your help to make it an extra special season of giving and spreading kindness. 

A few years ago a good friend of mine started Act In Advent on her Facebook page. The first year, she did one act a day during Advent. The next year she invited her friends to help and sign up for a day. It was just something for her friends, a way to remind us that the season wasn’t about the commercialization but about giving. A way to hold us accountable to act in service of others. I really enjoyed taking part in it. She’s not able to organize it again and I asked her if I could continue the momentum. 

What is Advent? 

Do you know what Advent is? Christians celebrate it during the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s a time to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. A time for reflection and a time for action.

Even outside of a church setting, Advent Calendars and Advent wreaths with four candles representing the four Sunday’s during Advent are everywhere during the holiday season. 

Act in Advent

My Dad always said the secret to a happy life was the 5 F’s – Faith, Family, Friends, Food and Fun. It’s been something I’ve tried to live by and the basis for this blog. But the faith part is something that I’m not really comfortable talking about. I have my own relationship with God and I have my own beliefs (and struggles) with my Catholic faith but it’s personal to me. Not really something I openly discuss.

That’s just me and I completely respect people who like to share their faith – whatever it is. I think there is strength in our differences, we can all learn from each other and I love that people are comfortable sharing – this is a judgement free zone.

So with that being said, Act in Advent isn’t about me getting on here and preaching. It’s not about any one church or even any one religion. It’s about us coming together to do some good during this holiday season. 

This is how it works. Sign up now for a day during the Advent season and do something good that day. Take one day or take more, whatever you feel comfortable with completing. It’s really that simple. It doesn’t have to cost you anything or much at all. Act in Advent is about acts of service to others, not elaborate or expensive gestures. Kindness can be free. 

Then share it! Use #ActinAdvent but remember that the reason behind the social sharing isn’t for praise – it’s an effort to spread the kindness. You don’t even have to share WHAT you did – just that you did something and encourage others to spread that kindness. 

#ActInAdvent Ideas

We’ve started the tradition of the Kindness Elves during the holidays (instead of Elf on the Shelf) and they are always encouraging our girls to do kind acts during this season. This post has some great ideas but here are some other Act in Advent ideas you can do in  your own community. These small acts are a great way to get the entire family involved and provides an opportunity to model for them the type of adult you want them to grow into. 

  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Make Kindness Bags with your family or friends
  • Buy the order for the person behind you at Starbucks
  • Drop off a poinsettia at your local nursing home
  • Make cards for the troops
  • Bring supplies to a local homeless shelter
  • Purge your toys and donate them to a local charity
  • Adopt a family for Christmas
  • Make cookies for a neighbor
  • Leave a thank you note for your postal worker
  • Donate old blankets and linens to your local animal shelter
  • Tape a bag with quarters and laundry soap to a machine at your local laundry mat. 

I’d love to fill up this entire sign up form with people committed to one day of #ActInAdvent. Share this post and get your friends or community on board. I can’t wait to see all the good we are able to spread this holiday season. 

Advent season is a time for devotionals, calendars and wreaths. This list of activities will give you ideas on how to spread kindness this holiday season and celebrate beyond the candles, decorations and garland. Perfect activities for kids to join the movement and #actinadvent. #christmas #advent #kindness