Andrea Levoff Thanksgiving, grateful, what I am grateful for, 2018 reflections, chicago blogger, mom blogger, mom styleAndrea Levoff, ALC Dope Ass Mom Grateful, Andrea Levoff Thanksgiving, grateful, what I am grateful for, 2018 reflections, chicago blogger, mom blogger, mom style

Andrea Levoff, Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff Thanksgiving, grateful, what I am grateful for, 2018 reflections, chicago blogger, mom blogger, mom style

Andrea Levoff, Thanksgiving, Andrea Levoff Thanksgiving, grateful, what I am grateful for, 2018 reflections, chicago blogger, mom blogger, mom styleOne thing I’ve noticed in my life, when I am sincerely thankful, life is easier. Taking the time to notice the things in our life that our good, truly makes room for more good. I’ve contemplated best practices to teach my children gratitude and what seems to work the best is to actually be grateful and let them see that. It’s easy to rattle off a perfunctory list at the Thanksgiving table, but to really feel it in your heart is a magnet for more miracles.

So here is my non-perfunctory list of what I am grateful for:

The challenges this year has brought. These growth opportunities, even though they were a bitch to go through, without them I would have remained the same. Change is scary but to me the scariest thing is not growing. I’m grateful for every coach and mentor I’ve had along the way because they always pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, even if it was just a different way of looking at something.

My family. They truly give my life meaning and support me everyday. They also provide me ample opportunities to heal on a deeper level when they trigger my hot spots.  My kids make me laugh and remind me to never take life too seriously.

My friends. The ones that I talk to everyday and the ones that I barely have contact with but are in my heart. I’m even grateful for the ones that taught me boundaries and the ones that I don’t talk to anymore.

My passions and dreams. Part of what drives me forward when I’m feeling like I’m making no impact is the idea of reaching more and people. I’m so thankful for my unique gifts and opportunities to help other people along their journey. I am so thankful to God for guiding me to live even deeper into my purpose.

Lastly,  I’m thankful for my readers and the blogging community! Without you guys I’d be talking to myself and writing with no one to read anything! A big thanks to everyone who has ever read a blog post, liked an instagram post or showed up to one of my events!

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Andrea Levoff L'Occitane

I’ve  always struggled with giving holiday gifts. Let me make that clear, I don’t struggle with receiving gifts at all. That part I am really good at. First of all, my to-do list is a mile long and I like to give meaningful gifts, that can sometimes take time to come together. Since my kids have no issues telling me what they want, I guess it’s because you will rarely find an adult that will tell you they need something much less make a suggesting for a gift.

Since having children, there are so many more people I am responsible for buying gifts for, which is great except for when it’s 6:30 the night before the last day of school and I am trying to decide if 19 bottles of wine is appropriate for a kindergarten teacher.

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That’s why when I was introduced to L’Occitane’s gift ready sets it was like the pressure of finding the right gift just melted away. Everybody loves receiving their coveted formulas that have a long, rich history in Provence.

Here are some things that I think make L’Occitane so special:

1. I wash my hands no less than 10,000 times in a day. Living in Chicago does not help my dryness and seriously, by March my hands can look pretty rough. It’s not that I don’t have a ton of lotion, it’s that it’s not accessible to me all day. That’s why I love these little bottles.  I keep one in every area of my house, car and purse.

Andrea Levoff, L'Occitane 2. The shower oil is so luxurious. It feels like I’m at a spa even if I’m actually trying to take a 4 min shower before my kids beat down the door.

3. Hearing people try and pronounce the name! Seriously it’s the best.

4. The gifts boxes and adorable ornament are already super festive and cute so no need to spend the extra time or money on wrapping these bad boys.

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5. The best part about L’Occitane is that their company is committed to empowering the women of Burkina Faso by giving them economic opportunities. Through business development training, L’Occitane empower 10,000 women in environmentally friendly Shea processing.

I love feeling good about the gifts I’m giving and knowing that this is helping other women who are out there making it happen for their families everyday.

To me, these gift sets are a no brainer for a busy mom on the go. Shop the link above or head into the nearest location to check them out, I think you’ll agree!

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You know those women that are so beautiful, smart and driven you’re constantly like how are they pulling it off and still able to be a good mom? Well, folks, meet Monika Dixon. I was first introduced to Monika through a mutual friend and was immediately in awe and had to know more. Over the past couple of years I have gotten to know her more and what stands out to me is her entrepreneurial spirit. She’s the owner of MDPR,  a single mother of two and has such a kind spirit. She truly is a boss! I know you will love her as much as do after getting to know her a bit more through our interview!

1. What is the best thing about being a mom? 

Seeing how your love and guidance helps your children to courageously develop their personalities – their mannerisms, quirks, likes and dislikes. Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege than raising the next generation. What a child doesn’t receive they can seldom later give.

2.What is the hardest thing about being a mom?

I always worry about my children. Whether they are at school, on a playdate, or standing right next to me, I am constantly worrying about them! One of my favorite quotes is, “Being a Mother means that your heart is no longer yours, it wanders wherever your children do.” I think this sums up my feelings perfectly.

3. What habit do you hope to pass down to your kids?

That despite their deepest desires, they will be able to clear their mind and bring themselves to a leveled position that will allow them to make the right decision.

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4. What habit do you hope to not pass down to your kids?

Where do I even begin? LOL. But in all seriousness, probably the need for “perfection” – not everything has to be perfect to serve its purpose. There is so much beauty in the imperfect!

5. How have you changed since being a mom?

I have changed a lot. Being a mother is a privilege and I take that role to heart. I no longer think for just myself, I’m thinking for 3 now and it is a very humbling experience. Also, your children learn from observing your body language, your actions and they watch how you speak and how do you treat other people. If we want our children to live by example they have to see it first.

6. What’s the best piece of advice given to you?

You are the only mother that your children know. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you make a mistake. The kids won’t notice it, only you will know.

7. What are three essentials you need everyday?

Fresh buns for breakfast (that’s the European in me), laundry detergent and water. My kids ask for water in the most inconvenient moments.

8. What late night food do you crave?

Ice cream!

9. What do you do to relax?

I read and I like to meditate at Chill Chicago. Yoga Sculpt at Yoga Squad is my non-negotiable. I absolutely need it.

10. How has motherhood changed your career?

The biggest challenge was adjusting my schedule. I limited my time for after work engagements that have meaning to me because my priority is and always will be my kids. Plus just love spending time with them!

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11. 3 words to describe yourself? 

Honest to the core. (Okay, that’s four but close enough LOL).

12. How has your style changed since becoming a mother?

 My style hasn’t changed much. I love fashion and change my wardrobe pretty often.

13. What traits bug you the most in other mothers?

 I don’t like uber controlling helicopter parents. Your children require you to love them, not to constantly correct them. I also don’t like parents who text you every 30 minutes to check how the play date is going.

14. What are 3 things in your bag you couldn’t live without? 

My wallet lol

15. Best advice you could give a mom with young kids?

 Listen to your body – if you need to sleep, sleep. If you need to cry, cry! Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself as your entire family starts with you! You need to be happy and healthy to be there for everyone else. Also, DO NOT compare yourself to other Moms and your kids to theirs. Don’t try to live on their schedule. Live the way that is best for you, listen to your heart – it will guide you properly just take the guilt out of the equation. Remember you will spend the first 12 months of your children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 telling them to sit still and be quiet.

16. If your life had theme music, what would it be?  

I go between classical music to hip hop to Polish hits – I guess that’s what life is all about. The notes are always changing.

17. What’s your secret to being a dope ass mom?  I just try to listen. In order to be heard, you have to listen. I listen to my kids, my team at work, my friends, teachers, news all that is left afterwards is your interpretation of the current world and how do you want your children to live and be.

18. Nanny, hairstylist or chef? You can only have one live in.Chef!

19. What does success look like to you in parenting?When I hear and see my children stand up for their truth. It brings me to tears. I know that it is hard on them yet they still do it and don’t bend their values to make others comfortable.

20. Kill, Fuck or Marry – Justin Timberlake, Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling?

None of them lol They are not my type.

21. How do you maintain your identity while still being someone’s mom?

Self discipline!!! It’s very hard but I have amazing friends who are great mothers. They help me remember to be myself. They also have similar needs and together we are stronger.

22. Do you have a favorite child?

My kids are inseparable, they are each other’s biggest fans. I could not just pick 1, I could not live with myself. Favoring one child could affect the other one in ways that could not be reversed and could threaten the balance of the family system.

23. What’s your opinion on screen time?

They get 1 hour per day and they can choose when they want to use it. At the end of the day, the key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.

24. What’s one way you hope to make an impact on your kids?

I want them to live by heart but not compromise their truth to please others. How you impact your children will not only have an influence on them but on everyone that they will meet throughout their life. I also want them to know that it is ok to be sad and to fail and remember that the real value comes from life’s lessons.

25. If you could change one thing about your child’s personality what would it be and why? 

That’s such a hard question. I can’t think of anything as it changes so fast. Their little minds absorb everything and adjust. I love the good, the bad and the annoying. If there was anything that anyone wishes to change in their child they should first look and see if it is not something that could be changed in themselves.

26. How has your relationship changed with your higher power since having kids?

It has not changed. They come to church with me now. People Church has an incredible program for kids and teenagers.

27. What would you be doing if you didn’t have kids?

The exact same thing.

28. Do you experience mom guilt? How do you deal with it?

I don’t experience Mom guilt often. I am very aware of how I spend our time together. I know that I am doing my best and I know that they feel it. I can see it in their behavior.

29. If you could change one thing about how society views mother’s, what would it be?
Just be more polite and patient to the Moms or women in general. They are already doing so much. Open the doors for them, if they drop something pick it up, help them if you see them in distress – just be a well rounded person. Manners matter!
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Tips for creating a more positive relationship with social media, mom tips, how to manage screen time, positive social media tips, advice from a blogger on tips to using social media

I never realized how addicting social media could be until I started to blog more and more. I can’t count the number of times I’ve found myself mindlessly scrolling and comparing myself to other peoples highlight reels. As the year wraps up, I’ve made it one of my goals to be more intentional with my time. This includes one social media free weekend a month that I intend to complete next weekend!  One way that I have cultivated a healthier social media relationship is to make sure that I am showing a fuller picture of myself and not just the happy times to my audience. I’ve found that setting boundaries with social media helps me keep a healthier outlook on something I feel so lucky to call my job!

One of the big things I’ve been doing lately is that if I feel a judgment creeping up on my part, I silently say to myself,  “don’t’ be a hater” and poof it’s released! It always makes me giggle and releases the weight of the judgment.  You see, how people want to live their life on social media is really none of my business. What is my business is what I choose to create and what I choose to consume. Here are some tips to help you get to a healthier relationship with social media :

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1. As soon as you find yourself comparing, stop scrolling.

2. If there’s a certain account that causes you massive anxiety or Fomo, unfollow!

3. If there’s someone you love and that inspires you, comment and show them a lot of love!

4. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling, you’ve lost focus. Throw on your favorite song and have a dance party or go for a walk!

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5. Use that handy feature on the new iPhone and set limits to have downtime.

6. Every time you mindlessly reach for your cell phone set it down and pick up your water bottle, take a big drink.

7. Keep your phone on silent or turn off social media alerts! Do you really need to see the moment your friend from high school’s cousin posts about her trip to Santorini?

8. Take your real camera with you on trips! Your pictures will look better and you’ll be less tempted to get out of the moment by getting sucked into social media

9. Set a bedtime for your phone. Treat it like your kids and make sure it’s down before you are. Then don’t pick it up. Just like you wouldn’t wake your kids up!

10. Pick a Social Media Free weekend and marvel in all the stuff you get done!

These tips have been really helping me maintain my sanity while living my life on social media lately. I’d love to hear from you guys! What are you doing to keep a healthy relationship with social media?

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Nothing says random vacation in October like a line-up of exciting one pieces that will knock your mama socks off! I never thought I would get so excited about a swimsuit with full coverage until I had kids. Fear the one piece no more mamas, they can be sexy and functional if you look hard enough. I have handpicked and tested a few that you are guaranteed to slow-motion run down the beach in ( or at least sit poolside and sip a cocktail, I mean, PARENT.)

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#1 – Maaji Heavenly One Piece

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#2 Lovewave The Dunn Kimono 

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#3 – Nicholas x Revolve One Piece

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#4 – Maaji One Piece in Praia Arco Iris