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Earlier this month I was lucky enough to get away for the weekend with some girlfriends to The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. It’s just a short 3-hour drive from Chicago, so we woke up early one morning and headed out for a fun road trip. As guilty as I felt leaving the kids, I knew it was something that I needed to do for my well-being. As a mom, I find myself feeling guilty before trips sometimes. I always remind myself that when I come back home I feel renewed and relaxed and ready to be a better mom.

The rooms at The American Club were spacious and beautiful. There was a huge, bathroom with all Kohler fixtures and a huge soaking tub in the middle of the room. Talk about a mama’s dream room! I had so much fun eating healthy food and relaxing.

Andrea Levoff, kohler water spa, mama well being

Dope Ass mom, Kohler Water Spa, Andrea Levoff

Here is a list of activities that you must try when you visit:

The Waters Spa :

Kohler is known for it’s Spa. We spent an amazing afternoon at the beautiful water spa at Kohler. The baths and the lounge areas are so nice and I could honestly spend an entire day there without even getting a treatment. I had an amazing Himalayan Salt Stone massage and reflexology treatment. The salt stone massage has so many benefits including, increase blood circulation and reduced inflammation.  Reflexology is one of my favorite treatments. I find it so relaxing and because you spend the entire treatment on your back it’s so easy to fall and stay asleep.

The American Club, Kohler, Yoga on the lake

Yoga on the Lake

Our hostess, Carla Jian taught at 8 am hot yoga class at their beautiful studio on the lake. Waking up early to work out is not my favorite thing to do but I felt so good after her class. Her energy was infectious and the studio was perfect. Not to mention her kick-ass playlist!

Bold Cycle 

Bold Cycle kicked our butts. I felt like I got a killer workout and the best part was the awesome shop they had inside the store. Good thing I had a hard time standing and was so tired because I could have done some major retail damage in there!

Trap Shooting

This activity I was a little bit nervous about. I can honestly say there was no part of me that wanted to shoot a gun but the instructor convinced me to try and it and I’m so glad I did! I felt oddly empowered after doing it a couple times. It’s definitely not something I will do often but I am very glad I tried it.

By far the best part of the trip was just being with my girlfriends at dinner and hanging out with everyone in our hotel rooms. I’m so glad I gave myself permission to enjoy this time alone without all the unnecessary mom guilt. I had some much fun at The American Club and hope to be back very soon!

 

Andrea Levoff Comedy, Dope Ass Mom, how to make mom friends

Let’s face it making mom friends can be a challenge. Making friends in your 30’s and beyond is so different than making friends in your 20’s. Throw a couple kids into the mix it can feel like an olympic sport trying to schedule a lunch with someone that doesn’t want to make you poke your eyes out.

Nap schedules, feeding times, family pressures can make meeting new people seem almost impossible. Wow, can things get complicated.  I remember the early days when my first was a baby. I was so starved for adult interaction, I would befriend anything that would talk back to me. I would try to go to mom groups and occasionally I would meet someone I clicked with.

Let’s  face it mamas, just because you both have kids, does not mean that you share other values that adds up to a great friendship. At the heart of it, we are all looking for a friendship where we felt seen and heard, for who we are, not the kids we’ve had. So, I’ve rounded up some simple ways that you can also make lasting friendships with mom’s that you genuinely connect with.

Andrea Levoff, Dope Ass mom friends, jennifer worman, red soles red wine

1. Be yourself ( from the beginning ) 

One of my best girlfriends and I joked that on our first playdate we were like perfect mother robots of ourselves. We sat across from each other as our sons played blocks and pretended that everything was fine, mother hood was perfect and that our kids were fabulous. Was any of this even remotely true? No! We were too caught in up trying to be normal and impress each other to make a real connection.  Thank goodness we were able to drop the facade quick and get down to the real business of being friends. My advice, be real, from the get go. If you despise soccer practice or your little one’s tantrums have you one step away from crazy town, say it! Chances are she has felt, or feels the same way!

2. Volunteer to be the social mom in your child’s school

I don’t normally advocate for an additional workload on top of all your other mom’s duties, but somebody needs to do it and it might as well be you! Volunteering to set up social events puts you in prime time mom friend real estate.  Plus, this way you can control the restaurants and timing of the get togethers. This is a perfect way to meet other mom’s and feel out who is your crew and who is not. Plus you’re able to see who utilizes the dreaded, “Reply all.”

3. Try out an App 

Why not? Our millennial counterparts are finding successful hookups! Forget booty calls,  who is down for a 3pm nap time coffee call!?  Apps like Peanut allow you to select certain criteria if and search based upon interests. Being a stay at home mom can be so isolating and with all the demands on your schedule it’s sometimes hard to even leave the house. That’s why I love the idea of trying out technology to meet like-minded mamas in your area.

mom friends, Dope Ass Mom,

4. Passionate about something? Host an event ! 

Most mom’s are dying for connection. When we choose to share something we are passionate about it naturally draws like-minded people towards us. If you’re an expert on breastfeeding, why not host an event at your house and form a support group? Do you love to talk about sleep schedules? Arrange a meet up at a local coffee shop and form a sleeping mastermind. Offering support and helping others is a great way to authentically connect ( and also focus less on the fact that you are lonely) If you’re the one looking for support, there is bound to be a group in your community that is already formed and just waiting for you to be a member. Ain’t no shame in our support game!

5. Phone down, head up!

As much as I love social media, there is a time and a place for it. At the park with your kids where their might be other mom’s to socialize with, not the time! Put your phone down and look around for other mom’s to talk to. Complimenting someone’s kid is a great way to start a conversation. I know it can be awkward to make plans with someone you just met but if you feel a connection take the leap and ask for her cell phone number. Chances are she is wanting the friendship just as much as you are!

My friendships with these mommas get me through each day.  Take the step and reach out as you’ll never know who you’ll meet!

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When I found out I was pregnant with a girl I had so many emotions. Excitement, joy, and a little fear and uncertainty about how to be the best girl mom I could be. Sure, I was girl but I was also a girl who was walking around with of bunch of misbeliefs about what it meant to be a woman.  I was 28 when I had my daughter, in many ways I was still a girl finding her way in the world. Eventually I grew to understand the life lessons I wanted to teach my daughter but in the early days. I was still a hot mess sometimes.

Watching her grow from a baby girl into a young woman has been one of my greatest blessings of my life. It has made me think deeper about myself and questions some of the beliefs I held about the feminine before becoming a mother. Here are my 5 updated beliefs I hope to impart upon her.

1.Vulnerability is your superpower.  We’ve somehow been conditioned to think that being vulnerable is weak. Don’t show your cards, keep your feelings to yourself. But true, authentic  vulnerability is powerful. It takes courage to speak up and speak your truth. When we speak up, we give ourselves a message that we matter and that our feelings our worthy of consideration. It also provides us with the what we are truly seeking, deep meaningful relationships and connections. People see our vulnerability, feel safe, and get inspired to do the same with the people in their lives. I hope Anna always feels safe enough to be vulnerable and has the courage to show up for herself in this profound way.

2. Following your dreams is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. If she chooses to have a family, I hope she always makes room for her dreams. Taking time for yourself is so important when you are taking care of other people. Self – love is getting a lot of hype these days, but real self love is more than spa days and at home facials. It’s taking time and responsibility for your spiritual and emotional well-being.

 3. Stay Curious.  Anna is the most curious person I have ever met. Sometimes her curiosity drives me a little crazy when it comes in the form 0f 10,000 questions, but I love that quality about her. It serves us well in every aspect of you lives from our careers to our relationships. The ability to wonder “why” and is a gift given exclusively to humans. It’s been shown that curious people are happier overall and have lower levels of stress. Curiosity is great for relationships because it’s gives us the ability to empathize when we can understand how and why they are feeling a certain way.

4. Take up Space. When I was a little girl I somehow learned that women are small. We sit dainty, we don’t impose our feelings much less our person into other people’s space. Yet, the feminine form was meant to take up space. When we are in our power we are full and embodied. Not meek and small. We often engage in making ourselves smaller to make other people feel comfortable around us. Being told we are “too much” as children we learn that it’s not ok to fully be ourselves. Sometimes we end up walking around as an edited, acceptable version of ourselves.  I want Anna to know that she was born to take up space and to own it!

5.Your biggest hurts will be your biggest gifts.  The places inside that feel broken or shameful are what transform us and help us grow. While they might seems hard and like you are being punished, on the other side is always gold. These places inside, or these pain points are often what we come here to share with the rest of the world. I hope she learns to embrace the heartaches as growth opportunities and eventually share her learnings with others who might be struggling with the same growing pains. Getting out of yourself and into service is one of the greatest ways we heal our own pain and struggles.

What about you other mama’s with the little girls? I’m curious, what do you want to teach your daughters? Or if you don’t have girls, what’s one thing you wish you would have been taught? Let me know in the comments!

I can’t believe the summer is coming to a close. The kids will be back in school in a few weeks and my schedule will be jammed back with activities. That’s why I’m soaking up these last few weeks of warm days and no schedules and enjoying wearing my favorite summer staples. I love wearing dresses in the summer because it requires such little thought. I have a few on  rotation that I like to layer with different shoes and light jackets to change up the looks.

This has been my go to dress for going out at night this summer. It’s so easy to change up the shoes to give it a different look. It could just as easily be paired with sneakers and a light jacket for the day. I can’t wait to put a big comfy sweater over it in the fall and wear it as a skirt.

This is another great dress option that transitions easily from day to night. This one has been on repeat for me and in the fall I can see myself wearing it with a long coat and great pair of boots. Photo credit: Megan Weaver

There’s nothing easier in the summer then throwing on a white dress and some white sneakers. It’s fresh, looks put together. This dress from Maje is sold out, but I linked a lot of other good option below.

 

 

 

We all know by now that happiness is an inside job, but how do we continue to cultivate our inner worlds when the outside world is constantly telling us that what we are looking for is outside of us? Well, for me it’s a combination of  a lot things. Meditation, prayer and being more mindful of the media I consume are high on my list. Books have always been a big part of my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to read. Curling up with a good book and a hot tea is one of my favorite things to do. There are different kinds of book that I enjoy, but ever since becoming a mother I’ve found myself reaching for anything that propels my spiritual growth and connects me to deeper truths.

I’ve come up with a list of 5 books that have really helped me understand my place in the world and have overall made me a more self-aware, happier person.

 

Loveability – “Love is your destiny. It is the purpose of your life. It is the key to your happiness and to the evolution of the world.”  I love this book so much I’ve read it three times. It’s like a warm and fuzzy hug for your soul. This is not a book about relationships with other people, it’s a book that explains how to love, without condition. He states that, ” Love is the real work of your life.” How beautiful and simple is that?

The Untethered Soul – I got introduced to Michael Singer when I was getting my masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. It’s a kind of reading meditation and if you’ve ever wanted to or been curious about the practice, start here. While it’s not a meditation road map per say, it does go over the basic concept of ” who am I ?”  If you have ever wanted freedom from your emotions and a bigger picture of who you are outside of all the feelings we all experience, this is a great book.

Daring Greatly – I wrote a response to Brene Brown’s recent article on a midlife unraveling here.  I’ve watched all her Ted Talks and read all of her books. Her main message is that they key to everything we desire is through vulnerability. It really get’s at the heart of what we are all seeking which is connection. This book maps out a pathway to get there in a honest and real way. To be vulnerable in our lives takes a lot of courage but it’s the only way to live in a truly authentic way.

Let Your Life Speak – Parker Palmer talks about “living the life that wants to live in me” instead of living a life that we “think” we should be living. If you’ve ever struggled with living up to your own expectations, or anyone else’s for that matter, read this book without delay.

The War of Art – this is a great book if you’re looking to take your creativity to the next level. It gets to the heart of what keeps so many of us from doing what we want to do. It’s a short and sweet guide about overcoming the resistance that inevitably  comes up when we are doing something worth doing.