List of July Holidays, Including Ice Cream Month!

list of july holidays and events

Happy July!

In honor of this fabulous Summer month, here is a pretty good list of holidays and things to celebrate in July.

Enjoy the list and be sure to check my Facebook page throughout the month for entertaining and fun tips.

July is:

  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National Anti-Boredom Month
  • National Blueberry Month
  • National Hot Dog Month
  • National Cell Phone Courtesy Month
  • National Culinary Arts Month
  • National Grilling Month
  • Social Wellness Month

 

Holidays:

Day                Holiday

1st                     Second Half of the Year Day

4th                    Independence Day

7th                    Chocolate Day

9th                    National Sugar Cookie Day

10th                  National Pina Colada Day

13th                  National French Fry Day

20th                 National Lollipop Day

25th                 National Dance Day

26th                 Parents’ Day

28th                 National Milk Chocolate Day

Goetze Candy: A Candy Time Machine For This #SouthernGirl

caramelcreamcandy_summerfunRunning all day in my Keds. Picking plums off the trees and finding berries in the woods behind Ms. Mattie Mae house.

These are just a few of the childhood memories this tin of Goetze candy brought to mind.

See, as a child I spent lots of summer days with my family in rural South Carolina. This meant days playing with cousins, running from house to house and going to the local church for lunch.

Lunch was a highlight of the day, because close to the church was a little store that sold candy.

Most of the kids went straight to the penny candy, but I had standards.

I would go for quality. Yep, I would be a baller and buy the 5 cent candy, lol! I couldn’t have as much, but it didn’t matter because I had caramel AND a creamy, sugary center. I would eat it that way, too. First, the caramel, then the center.

And now? I’m still eating them the same way, :-).

Goatze is 120 years old this year, so I’m sure they are a part of lots of summer memories.

In fact, they’re celebrating with free samples throughout the Southeast at some Fourth of July parades and community events, so be on the lookout when you’re out making memories this summer.

Happy Birthday Goetze  and thank you for the time machine! It made me smile.

 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary gift pack of Goetze candy. As always, all opinions and words here are my own. I value your trust and would not publish anything that I didn’t believe.

Riad Farnatchi: A Review of Our Stay While in Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco Part 1

wheretostaymarrakechmorocco_riadfarnatchiWe chose Riad Farnatchi for our couple’s trip to Marrakesh, Morocco this year. To say it was an excellent choice is an understatement.

Everything, from the service and staff to the grounds and accommodations were top-notch.

It is absolutely beautiful.

Walking to the riad you are in the midst of the old medina, a very busy and interesting experience.

However, the riad is the opposite. When you enter the doors you are transported to an oasis of Moroccan luxury and calm.

We were greeted and offered a fabulous glass of mint tea in one of the many lounge areas, while our bags were delivered to our suite.

moroccanminticedteariadfarnatchi
The mint iced tea!

After we finished our tea, a staff member gave us a tour of the grounds and then showed us to our suite.

We stayed in Suite 8, and absolutely loved it! Just… YES!

Living Room of Suite 8 Riad Farnatchi Marrakech Morocco
Living room of our suite

It is such a comfortable and luxurious space. I truly felt like I was staying with family, well-to-do family, :-).

I realized this when I was comfortable enough to walk bare feet in my room the first night and I didn’t spray everything with Lysol first.

riad farnatchi suite 8
Stairs leading to bed and sofa

Until this, I have always prepped my hotel room before getting comfortable.

bedroomriadfarnatchimarrakechmorocco
Bed area of suite

The staff made sure we were comfortable and that our accommodations were always ready for us. The first night we showered and went out to dinner. Upon return we found our bathrooms had been recleaned and restocked!

Bathroom in Riad in Marrakech Morocco
Sink area of bathroom

When we needed our clothes pressed, they handled it. This happened each night.

One night we came in at midnight and wanted a little snack. The staff gave us these Moroccan pastries and tea. Yes, at midnight, :-).

moroccan pastries in marrakech at riad farnatchi

One reason Riad Farnatchi feels so intimate is the size. There are plenty of lounge areas, a rooftop with lounge chairs and a grill, an amazing dining room, a hammam and a pool, but there are only nine suites.

pool in Marrakech Morocco at Riad Farnatchi
Pool area at night

This means you have this fabulous oasis that is not crowded, but that has the perfect amount of staff to help you and enough options for you to have plenty of peace and quiet.

I’d have to say one of my favorite perks was having my chosen breakfast (the vegetable cheese omelettes were SO. GOOD!) served whenever and wherever I wanted it. Some guests chose the lounge areas throughout the riad, but I chose my room’s patio that overlooked the pool. It felt like the perfect place to eat, enjoy my cup of Moroccan mint tea and relax before starting my day. It was also a great place to read and meditate.

moroccanbreakfastatriad
My breakfast every morning was an omelette, moroccan pancakes, fruit, yogurt, fresh-squeezed orange juice and tea.

Here is the private outdoor space off of the bedroom.

marrakechmoroccosuitepatio

 

And the beautiful supply of Molton Brown toiletries.

moltonbrownproductsatriadmarrakechmoroccoI used the eucalyptus shower gel every day. Yes, EVERY. DAY.

A few things to remember when you book your stay at Riad Farnatchi:

Make sure you contact Riad Farnatchi and let them know when you’re landing. They will arrange ground transportation for you to and from the airport. This is VERY. IMPORTANT! I am sure we would still be looking for it if we had to find it ourselves, :-). Because the alleys get narrow in the medina, at a point you will need to get out and walk. The first time you do this, you will want a staff member from the riad guiding you.

Have dinner at the riad one night. This is the one thing we didn’t do and I am still kicking myself. The other guests  raved about it and it looked amazing. Next time, we’re doing this!

Each suite has its own decor and they are all nice. My friends stayed in Suite 6 and they loved having a private rooftop area. I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of the superior suites.

Let the staff help you book your excursions and ask their opinion on restaurants, etc. They were extremely helpful in booking our day trip and hot air balloon excursion. They are knowledgeable and have developed great relationships with vendors. This is an advantage.

When you check out you will feel like you are leaving family. The managers and staff are extremely friendly and great at their jobs. As such, you will feel like you’ve made lifelong friends.

Enjoy your stay and if you have questions, feel free to ask me! I’ll be happy to offer more insight.

 

Towanda

How To Manage The Demands of Work and Family

howtomanageworkandfamilyschedule

Dear Tee,

What is one way you manage the scheduling demands of work and family?

Funny you should ask. A few weeks ago there was an article  that discussed how the world’s most successful women make the most of their time. Until this article, I had no idea my balancing act had a name.

It’s called the split shift.

Instead of working a straight 8-5, I have informally adapted the split. Here’s a typical day.

Before I go into the office I check my email and revise my to-do list for the day. Then I do family stuff (help the kids get ready for school, make breakfast, take them to the bus stop). When I know they are ready for their day, I am ready to move on with my day. I work until 4:30ish, then I dedicate the evening to family and working out. Once the kids are in bed (usually by 9 p.m.) I finish any work I didn’t get done during the day.

This working split shift accomplishes three important things.

First, it allows me to be fully present where I am, without worrying about the other. I’m not at work concerned about my kids, and I’m not with my family thinking about work.

Secondly, it allows me to be a happy working mom. I’m sure it’s possible, but I would struggle emotionally if there were no flexibility in my schedule. I am way more productive because I have some control over how I spend the hours of my day.

Third, I can work in a way that fits my personality. Some people do their best work at 7 in the morning. I am not one of them. My best time to be productive begins around 8:30ish. That being said, I don’t need a lunch break in the middle of the day, so I typically eat at my desk. Mini breaks throughout the day work much better for me.

I hope this helps you with your journey of family, work and life!

 

This post is part of the “Ask Tee” advice column. Have a question about managing work, family and fun? Send it my way! 

20 Healthy Food Donations for Your Community Bank

BestHealthyFoodBankDonationsDonating healthy food to your community food pantry is a great idea. It is especially important over the summer months when children that get free lunch in school may not have access to healthy meals.

Here are twenty healthy food donation choices that are non-perishable and pretty tasty:

  • Fruit cups in fruit juice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned fish in water (tuna, salmon)
  • Canned chicken breast
  • Canned vegetables (low sodium)
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Cereal (Cheerios, Rice Krispies)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • 100% juice boxes
  • Bags of beans (pinto, kidney, etc.)
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Corn pasta (great for gluten-free diets)
  • Raisins
  • Dried fruits (cranberries, mangoes)
  • Mixed nuts
  • Granola bars
  • Soup (low sodium)

Along with food, many food pantries accept household items. Here are some items that may be in high demand at your local bank:

  • Dish detergent
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Shampoo
  • Grocery store gift cards
  • Toilet tissue
  • Paper towels

If you’d like to consider other options here are five general guidelines for donating food.

Choose non-perishable food. Most food banks prefer non-perishable food because there is less likelihood of food expiring on the shelf. Also, many locations do not have refrigeration.

Only donate unopened food that is in commercial packaging. The safety of donations is imperative.

Shop for things that are in non-breakable containers. Think plastic, cans and boxes. This makes it easier to stock and it cuts down on the likelihood of someone getting cut by broken glass.

Make sure your containers have expiration dates. This is important for the food pantry and for the person/family that receives it.

If you have produce and are interested in donating, call ahead. Some food pantries will accept produce if they can distribute it before the expiration timeframe. However, not all pantries have the capacity or system in place to handle produce.

 

Thanks for donating your resources and let me know if there are other things that should be added to the list!

Towanda

Maintaining Natural Hair on Vacation

MaintainingNaturalHairOnVacationMaintaining my favorite natural hairstyles on vacation has gotten so much easier since I found this soft bonnet attachment.

This bonnet connects to most hair dryers, including those at hotels, meaning I have a packable, portable hood dryer!

Yes, a portable hood dryer.

Now I don’t need to stand in the mirror trying to use the hotel’s handheld dryer to get the same effect. I simply slide the attachment over the hair dryer, sit and relax.

This really comes in handy when I need to freshen up my two-strand twistout after a day at the beach, but I don’t have a full day to let it air dry.

I sit under this for 15 minutes, add an hour of air drying and I’m set. This also works for cornrow sets.

I purchased mine at Sally’s Beauty Supply for less than $10, but you can always check your local beauty stores.

A couple of other things:

  • If you have summer vacation plans that include a beach or a pool, I strongly suggest this. Even if you don’t want it for your style, it’s a great way to add a little oomph to your conditioning treatment at the end of the day.
  • This soft bonnet attachment folds up neatly and takes up very little space in luggage.
  • Do not use the dryer on high! The instructions say only use low heat, but I have used medium with no problems. However, I would probably stick with low if I were using it for more than 15 minutes.
  • This is great for travel, but I wouldn’t recommend it for regular home use in place of your hard-cover hood dryer. It’s an inflatable hood, and not a hard plastic.
  • The attachment is elasticized, so it should fit most dryers. So far I have tried it on three different dryers and it worked fine. However, there is no guarantee that it will fit every dryer. Considering the price I still think it’s worth it.

Enjoy your vacation and hopefully fabulous hair!

 

 

Help For Managing Kids’ Birthday Party Invitations

how to prepare for kids birthday party invite*Welcome to the “Ask Tee” advice column! I’m excited about this new feature and look forward to hearing from you. Have a question about managing work, family and fun? Send it my way! Now for the first question…

 

Dear Tee,

Managing my kids’ schedule is difficult enough, but throw in a friend’s birthday party and I’m running around at the last minute buying a gift and hunting for the invite. I’d like to not be so frazzled every time. Any advice?

Signed, My Kids’ Social Life Is Better Than Mine

 

Dear My Kids’ Social Life Is Better Than Mine,

Kids’ birthday party invites don’t have to cause panic. First, add the details to your calendar as soon as you see the invite and RSVP. Dealing with this immediately will save you time and energy later. Trust me, the “touch it once and be done” advice works.

As for gifts, be prepared. I swear by my gift closet. You don’t need an extra closet; get a medium or large plastic tote and use it as your gift bin. The gift bin is where you can store potential gifts and supplies. The key is to stock your bin as you see gift ideas, BEFORE you need them. I choose things that are general – games, kiddie cosmetic sets, Crayola items, books, etc.

I find really nice gifts on clearance racks at Target and Wal-Mart, especially after holidays. If you take 15 minutes after Christmas and Valentine’s Day you can have enough for a few parties, maybe all year.

You can do the same thing for cards and gift bags. Go to the dollar store and stock up on greeting cards for the year. Many sell them 2 for $1 and cards don’t expire. It’s best to buy gender-neutral cards, but I typically mix it up. Pick up gift bags while you’re there.

Keep all of the supplies in the bin and you won’t have to run around when the next invite comes in. You can shop at home!

As a backup I keep a few gift cards, too. You can pick up the multi-packs in most grocery stores and I have never seen a kid that didn’t like the idea of picking out their own gift. This works for adults, too, :-).

Knowing that you have a gift and the information in your calendar will encourage you to relax a little and get into the party mood. Enjoy your next party!

Towanda

Queenocracy is now TowandaLong.com

TowandaLongworkingmomsharesworklifebalancetipsAround the web and in real life I’m Towanda, @TowandaL, or Tee. Some of you remember that Queenocracy is my blog name, but I’ve decided you shouldn’t have to remember a different name.

So, I’m rebranding this blog.

The content will still cover work life balance, parenting, travel, career, family fun and more. I’ll still be sharing the ways I manage motherhood, career and life.

And I’m super excited about some new things I have planned for the coming months. REALLY. EXCITED!

Thank you so much for all of your support; it is very much appreciated. I would love your feedback over the next few months as I transition! Please let me know what you think and again,

THANK YOU!!!

Much love,

Towanda