How to Cut Out Holiday Stress

I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve talked to lately that have been bracing themselves for the holiday season. I know, there are a million extra things on your to-do list but… nothing good can come from holding yourself so tightly like that! I’m a one trick pony on advice here… BREATHE!

But Lee Woodruff is the author of Perfectly Imperfect: A Life in Progress. She has some tips for us on beating the stress for the holidays… not just for Thanksgiving, but for all those typically stressful times!

1. Get organized.

2. Ask for help.

3. Reward yourself.

How to Go Deep and Find Your SELF

We can travel wide, but that of itself will not fundamentally change us. For our lives to change, we must travel deep.
~ Marianne Williamson

Last week, I wrote about being out of balance. I hear this from so many of my mommy friends, especially those of us who feel conflicted about our careers and families. But how do we regain a sense of equilibrium in a modern world that’s going well over our personal speed limits.

(Insert ironic chuckle here considering the Universe confiscated my car for at least two weeks!)

It seems I’m being called to walk the talk, to teach as I learn, as it were. I still believe that the answers lie within — where our Higher Purpose is reflected in the stillness. Inside, we are most connected to our God. But getting there requires sloughing off layers and layers or crap — literally and figuratively. I haven’t had the fortitude “to go deep” and look at all the demons along the way, to tune out all the noise, to sift through all the baggage that I’ve carried with me to this point.

Dramatic? Okay, it sounds heavy but practically speaking, that means that as the end of 2010 approaches, I’m doing inventory and tossing out everything that no longer serves me —  in my house, in my body, and in my heart. As I told my kids this weekend, “It’s time to make room for all the new gifts you’ll be getting soon.”

Me too.

As Kelli so eloquently put it, “I think that God blesses us with gifts and talents that can and should be used to His glory.” So as they tackle the playroom. I’m attacking the pantry. Who’s with me?!

What do I expect to gain by cleaning out the crusty pantry of my soul? [Read more…]

How To Make Time for Your Dreams

I had the HAPPIEST night ever on Tuesday night. We had a GNO. Like in real life! Not to knock our online GNO’s but sometimes, a girl’s just gotta be able to share the real deal: real food, real wine, and real hugs. We had, what Danielle dubbed “The Fashion Haul of All Fashion Hauls” at dotdotdash.

But in the midst of all the shopping fun, which is well documented in pics and video footage, was a very heartfelt message for us moms.

Depending on your stage of life (or even your stage of motherhood), you may find yourself having to shelve the dreams you once had for yourself. But for Alyson, owner of dotdotdash, the dream didn’t go away. With three kids, ranging in age from 11 to two, a wonderful husband, and everything she could ever want, Alyson has the perfect life. Yet she wondered, “Why don’t I feel perfect inside?”

Alyson shares the internal dialogue that inspired her to start this sweet little storefront boutique tucked in a great St. Louis neighborhood. After waking up from the new mom fog she asked herself, “Do you still really want it? Then you need to take it.” So there.

The business that a few years ago meant boxes and boxes of shirts on her dining room table has grown steadily into what you see here… a line of soft, comfortable casual wear for busy moms who need easy-going clothes. Just to drive home the message that you don’t have to spend a fortune to feel great, Alyson gave us each $100 credit to put together a mix and match outfit. Of course, with Alyson as our personal shopper, who could go wrong?

Your dream might not be your own little shop of fill-in-the-blank-here. It might be, like Heidi Howe’s, recording an album. Or, writing a book. Whatever your dream is, give it some space and time in your life. I’ll say it yet again: how can we teach our children to pursue their dreams if we do not give ourselves permission to do the same?! If you didn’t catch what Alyson said… “You hope that they [your children] find their passion within.”

Full disclosure: Alyson Garland is a dear friend. Our kids are dear friends. And, she’s my personal dresser! *wink* And may be Zen Mommy’s from now on as well! If you watch our videos regularly, almost everything I wear is from her shop in Demun.

Stop by Dotdotdash and tell them MyMommyManual sent you over. You’ll get 15% off your purchase! Thank you, Alyson for sharing the love.

And take a look-see what Kelli and Melody and Suzanne and Danyelle took home at The Fashion Haul of All Fashion Hauls. Actually, Danielle is posting a full write-up with prices and such!

Love you, fabulous St. Louis Mamas! (more pics below)

Sign up! *wink* We’ll keep reminding you to take care of YOU and your dreams! [Read more…]

My Yoga Online

I love the Yoga lifestyle, obviously since I helped co-create Yoga Parenting. I am proud and happy to say that in the last few months I have recommitted myself to an actual yoga practice as much as possible. After I had my kids and then we moved, I couldn’t found a local studio with a class schedule that worked for me and then it just slid off the priority list.

I was saying this to my friend, Maggie when she quickly replied, “You know, there are classes online.” Wha?!

Well, there go ALL MY EXCUSES. So I found myself on MY YOGA ONLINE.

Check out my elaborate set-up. Impressive, no?

1) I can watch any time… and so can YOU from your laptop, interactive-enabled TV, and even from your frickin’ PHONE!!!!

2) The classes are anywhere from under 15 minutes to over an hour so on those days when I say to myself, “But I don’t have time.” My BS meter totally goes off.

3) I love that you can search by level, by length of class, by type of class, and by instructor. So @ZenMommy, they have Yin Yoga as well as Power Yoga, and Yoga at Work and even Prenatal Yoga for our busy expecting moms.

4) You can choose to stream or download all the videos.

5) I’m pretty frugal. I can’t find a good gym for $9.95/month.

Okay, now I’ll give you my cons: 1) nothing replaces going to a studio, having an instructor fine tuning your technique and also having the energy of other students around you.

*They know that too so when you sign in, Google Ads strategically gives you a list of yoga studios IN YOUR AREA!

So if you’re the type who has to go to the gym to workout versus the kind of person who can pop in a Tai Bo DVD, the same dynamic will apply for these videos.

2) I also tried Yoga Today (same pricing) and their classes are much more standardized. All the classes are 60ish minutes. I discovered that it was too easy for me to say, “I don’t really have a whole hour today.”

They also have a couple of venues for all their classes so you know you’ll be “going to” Jackson Hole or Sedona! 🙂 Not bad destinations. Whereas on My Yoga Online, each class is different. Some are outdoors, some indoors. This may bother you if you like consistency.

So My Yoga Online is my product pick of the week. Here’s the dollars and cents: you get UNLIMITED ACCESS to all streaming videos and 20% off all downloads.

$9.95/month or $89.95/year

Like Netflix for your wellbeing! I hope you’ll join me. We can compare notes… or, er… downward dogs!

I’ve spent more time on it since I wrote the first half of this review. Here are some features to note:

• Not only does it have yoga videos but you can download Yoga Music:

• There are also informative videos on back health and other related topics.

• It’s a full-blown yoga community with articles on respecting the the planet and living a healthy, balanced life, complete with recipes!

This may be my new favorite place, aside from MMM of course!

I’d love to connect with you on yoga. So when you try it, leave a comment below, will ya?

Our partners at My Yoga Online are offering My Mommy Manual fans a ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION!

So here’s the deal: TRY IT for a month. LEAVE A COMMENT here on what you like about it and we’ll pick a WINNER for the $89.95 MEMBERSHIP.

Yup, I signed up to be a My Yoga Online affiliate because I liked it enough to recommend it here.

When you see a BUY NOW button on a post, we identify our partnership with the merchant as our trusted partners. We only create relationships with suppliers we trust and for products we fully endorse. Always feel free to read our full Disclosure Policy.

How to Just Say No

This post was originally going to be titled “How to Celebrate Five”. As in 5 years of marriage. My husband and I just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary so it seemed to be the appropriate path. However, over the course of the last 2 weeks a more pressing subject has been flooding my brain, weighing it down. (I know what you’re thinking. More pressing than FIVE YEARS??!! Well, if I want the next five to be joy-filled, then yes.)

I don’t know about you all, but I have a tendency to be the Yes Girl.

Yes, I can fit your wedding shoot in after I get off work on Friday. You’ll need me the whole night? Okay then. And I won’t even charge you what I’m worth. Sure, I’ll help you move all of your personal belongings into my house and then help you move it again when you change your mind. Full time job and part time job and blogging and school. Babysitter, counselor, heavy hauler, party planner… no problem.

It’s not always bad to be willing to help and to put yourself out there. You know, helping others can be it’s own reward. But when the answer is always yes…

So, what’s the trick? When do you turn down an opportunity? When do you let the problems of others go in one ear and out the next without stepping in to help out? When do you say no?

I’ve formulated a five step program. I know, I’m really proud of me too!

[Read more…]

How to Dream BIG

You may know that I’ve signed up for the May session of Mondo Beyondo. I first heard about it from  Heidi Howes. She explained that it was all about dreaming BIG. Most of us train ourselves to have dreams that are “attainable” or “reasonable” — dreams that we think we have a fair chance of achieving. But the idea behind a “MONDO BEYONDO list” is reaching far; declaring and writing down those truly outrageous dreams that require a leap of faith.

[Read more…]

How to Find Your Passion

As part of our series on providing tips for mom entrepreneurs, I interviewed Elena Verlee, a successful mom entrepreneur herself who has started and sold several companies. Now, she is helping others get buzz for their businesses as well as coaching people on turning their passions into business ideas! Listen to Elena’s inspired tips and find YOUR passion!

Interview with Elena Verlee (AUDIO 3:48)

Share your passion with us in the comments!Elena_Verlee

You can find Elena at and @ElenaVerlee on Twitter. [Read more…]

How to Minimize Mommy Guilt

mom_guiltLast week, I wrote an article about Child Immunizations and I realized that whether it’s about tough decisions like that one or small ones (like letting them watch one more episode of Dora while we finish a conversation with a girlfriend), moms seem to be hard-wired with Mommy Guilt. It seems like from the moment we conceive these precious beings, we want to be the best moms possible and yet the internal dialogue starts almost immediately… “OMG! I had that glass of wine and I didn’t know I was pregnant!” [Read more…]