Fruit Sangria Tea! Yes, Please…

fruit sangria tea loose leafThis fruit sangria tea by Adagio is officially on my “life’s simple pleasures” list. I picked it up during a stroll through Fresh Market one evening, when all I thought I needed was trail mix, gelato and grapes.

But isn’t that how it works? You walk in with a short list and before you know it your cart is full of needs, wants and stuff that looks just too good to pass up. Fruit sangria tea definitely falls under wants and “stuff too good to pass.”

Just think about this. It’s a loose leaf tea mix with rose hips, apples, hibiscus, orange peels and more. How can that mix not be a happy potion?!

I sweeten mine a little with honey, but if you don’t have a wicked sweet tooth, skip it. Either way, if you love sangria and good tea, try this.

Now, I’m off to enjoy my tea, :-).

Our Opera Date Night – Romeo & Juliet

Opera carolina first timer tips and reviewTonight I spent date night being mesmerized by the beauty of opera. We saw Romeo & Juliet, and everything, from the set, to the lighting, to the costumes and music was gorgeous!

As a first timer, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all it’s not in English, so you’re dependent on subtitles and visual clues. And while I have an appreciation for classical music, it’s not in my everyday playlist.

That being said, I really enjoyed it! I will definitely go again, and this time I’ll even be open to an unfamiliar story. It was just that pretty and an awesome choice for date night, :-).

If you’re interested in seeing an opera in the Charlotte area, check out Opera Carolina. A few things to note:

  • Most men wear suits and women dresses/skirts/slacks (in that order). The dresses and skirts range from business attire to cocktail dresses. There were a few evening gowns, but not many. There were also a few people in Saturday night casual wear (jeans, sweaters, etc.) and it was fine. You could wear any of the above.
  • Eat before you get there, because you can get snacks during intermission, but it’s not going to make up for not eating dinner.
  • Opera lengths vary, but plan to be there 2-3 hours. Romeo & Juliet was about three hours.
  • Go with an open mind and enjoy everything! It’s a beautiful experience.

Enjoy, Towanda

 

Tickets to the show were complimentary, but that has no bearing on my opinions and experiences in this post. I value each of you and will not post something I don’t believe. It’s against the Towanda code, :-).

Remembering to be Kind, Compassionate and Forgiving

KindnessCompassion

Yogi’s green chai tea with almond cashew milk

 

For my spiritual time this morning I randomly opened my bible to Ephesians 4. It talks about living as children of light, and one verse stood out to me…

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

After reading this I smiled, took it as my goal for the day and went on with the rest of my morning routine. About an hour later as I was driving to work, a car cut in front of me, barely missing my bumper. Before I realized it, my compassion and kindness had taken a backseat to anger.

Well, so much for goals. I took a deep breath, actually a few deep breaths, and decided to start over.

Later in the morning I prepared a cup of tea, and look at the message on the tag! It totally reiterated my goal.

I love when these types of “coincidences” happen. It reminds me that it is not a coincidence at all; it is God speaking to me, :-).

My Latest Project: Mom of Girls!

Mom of Girls logoI am so excited about my latest site, Mom of Girls!

Here’s a brief excerpt from the about page to give you a glimpse into the awesomeness that will be here, :-)

“As a mom of three girls my goal is to raise awesome daughters that are smart, confident, happy, socially-conscious, spiritually-aware, healthy and beautiful. I want them to know they are loved, worth the best, and have endless options. They are not defined by a society that will try to stereotype them, limit them and make them feel that they are never enough.

On this site I will share resources that I find to help with this mission. You’ll find helpful tips and, in the near future, interviews with various experts like pediatricians, psychologists, health professionals and other moms. I’ll also share some of the things we do to encourage mommy-daughter bonding, fun projects and more.”

What this means is that towandalong.com will be more about work/life balance, travel and generally things that I enjoy. Most of my parenting-related content will live on Mom of Girls.

Thanks so much for your support so far, and I hope you continue to find value in both sites.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

6 Things Working Moms Can Do To Start The School Year Right

workingmomadvicebacktoschoolplanningBack-to-school season is in full swing, and parents are busy buying supplies and clothes, while mentally preparing for the demands of the year.

Here are six things parents can do during back-to-school season to get a good start for the school year.

Meet the teacher and return your parent homework quickly. Open house is an ideal time to meet the teacher. Also, be diligent about checking your child’s backpack each evening and return any forms to school immediately. As a working parent, your availability to volunteer in class may be limited, but responding quickly to teacher’s requests can go a long way, too. Just think, does the teacher really want to follow-up with over 20 parents when things aren’t returned?

Make a friend. One of the best ways to get through the year is to have another parent ally. This parent is a great resource if you forget something, accidentally delete an email, or just need to bounce an idea for a different perspective.

Create your child’s bio for the teacher. Trust me, the teacher will be happy to have a cheat sheet on your child’s personality, needs and more. Yes, you probably have something similar in your parent homework, but creating a bio gives you an opportunity to make a good impression, you can print it on color paper to help it stand out, and you’re not stuck to one format.

Monitor what goes right and wrong the first week, then tweak your system accordingly. The first week is for learning. What time will the bus really come? Are lunches working out?

Spend at least 10 minutes each evening with your child chatting about the day. It’s a great time to start this ritual. You’ll be setting a baseline for behavior and have a better point of reference if things change throughout the year.

Open a line of communication. Emails are great for this. Did your child come home happy the first few days? Tell the teacher. Say something nice about the teacher? Share that, too. Opening a line of pleasant communication can come in handy later in the year.

Happy School Year!

Moroccan Travel: Goats Can Climb Trees

moroccogoatsintree_argannearEssaouiraWhen we traveled to Morocco in June, I had no idea it was the perfect month to see goats climbing trees. But yes, those are goats… chillin’… in a tree.

This is an argan tree (yep, like the oil) and goats like the fruit and leaves of the tree. So, in true animal fashion, they climb the tree to get it! I must say, I love their ability to go after what they want.

If you look closely you’ll see a farmer near the tree. Argan fruit ripens in June and July and goats eat the fruit, but they can’t digest the nut in the middle, and the nut is used to make oil. So, once the nut has passed through their digestive system, the shell is easier to crack and farmers collect the nuts to produce argan oil.

Don’t worry, this is one way to get the nut, but there are other ways, too. Women cooperatives in the region also harvest the nut and produce the oils. I visited one of these coops and will post more on my experience there soon.

As for my goat surprise, two things have happened. One, I now think about the goats any time I use a beauty or haircare product with argan oil and two, I love that I saw this in person, :-).

Shea Moisture’s Skin Products I Love

shea moisture black soap and body oil reviewDuring a stroll through my happy place, aka Target, this black soap caught my attention. I was familiar with Shea Moisture’s hair products, but hadn’t tried their body products. Since it was reasonably priced and labeled for “acne prone and troubled skin” I threw it in my basket and kept strolling. After all, you can never buy just one thing in Target, :-).

Fast forward a few years and it has become a staple in my bathroom, and my travel bag. I started using it only on my face, but it has graduated to the only soap that stays in the shower. It was also the gateway product to Shea Moisture’s coconut & hibiscus bath, body & massage oil.

I love this oil.

It goes on great and it smells DIVINE! According to the label it is also for firming & toning, but it’s awesome for any reason. I typically use it after my shower to lock in moisture.

Next time you’re strolling, at a minimum smell the oil. And if you pick it up let me know what you think.

Sincerely, Towanda

Girls Spa Party Goodie Bag Ideas

Girls Spa Birthday party goodie bagLittle girls hanging at the spa for a birthday party is one of the cutest things you will ever see. If it’s a spa that caters to children that is even better. This year my baby let me plan her party so I booked Glitzy Pritzy spa and they had a blast.

I’ll share more on the party later, but this is the goodie bag that I made for her guests. It was the perfect addition to a fabulous girly party.

I wanted the goodie bag to do three things:

  1. Encourage creativity (because girls should always remember it’s okay to like mani/pedis, but their minds count so much more).
  2. Give them a little glitz to take home.
  3. Have something sweet …because girls are sugar & spice and everything nice, :-).

Here are the supplies for this Girls Spa Birthday Party Goodie Bag:

  • favor bags
  • gift tissue paper
  • journals or notebooks
  • mechanical pencils
  • kids’ nail polish
  • candy ( I did two wrapped candies and one lollipop)
  • stickers
  • thank you note from birthday girl

girl spa birthday party goodie bag ideasAssembly was very easy.

First I attached the thank you note to the inside cover of the journal with a foam sticker.

girl spa birthday party goodie bag ideasNext, I cut the tissue paper in half to help it fit better in the bags. Then I took one piece of tissue paper and used it to wrap one journal, pencil, nail polish and candy pack. This was placed in the bag.

girlspabirthdaypartygoodiebagideasThere are lots of other things you can add to your spa party favor bag. Some ideas are:

  • flip flops (for extra oomph you can add a small pack of ribbons and stickers and let the girls decorate their pair)
  • toe separators
  • kid-friendly toiletries like Disney-inspired lotions and creams
  • lip balm
  • sleep mask
  • nail stickers

Good luck with your party!