#FindtheWords With Save the Children & A $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Setting Goals Quote

As the school year begins, too many children are already falling behind. I am 1 of 30 bloggers helping #FindtheWords with @SavetheChildren to raise awareness of the need for early childhood education for all kids. I am participating in this social media campaign to highlight 30 words in 30 days—to symbolize the 30 million fewer words that children from low-income homes hear by age 3.

Save the Children provides kids in need with access to books, essential learning support and a literacy-rich environment, setting them up for success in school and a brighter future. Learn more about Save the Children’s work in the US and around the world: http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6153159/k.C8D5/USA.htm

Walking hand-in-hand with my girls into their bustling school buildings last week, we were engulfed in the happy orchestra of welcomes and hellos from teachers and friends. At 9 and 12 they have goals for the school year, whether it be acing a project or a test.

Growing up my mother encouraged me to do and be whatever I set my heart on. The importance of making, and achieving, goals was emphasized my entire life. Now that I’m a mom I try to be a voice of encouragement to my girls. Even before my girls were born I spoke to them, placing my hand on my belly and telling them how much they were loved and what a wonderful world they would experience when they they were born.

My girls are lucky to have a voice and to grow up in a household where their voice matters. They have peers and mentors, teachers and role models, all encouraging them to dream big and live big. My 7th grader is already talking about college and asking me questions about career choices. My 3rd grader is also genuinely curious about school and career and making the right decisions.

I was honored when Save the Children asked me to be part of their #FindtheWords campaign and write about goals.

Not hearing 30 million words by age 3 puts kids lower-income at a disadvantage from the start. Early childhood education is an advantage that every kid should be able to access.

Domestically, if all children had access to early childhood education, we would see a growth of $2 trillion to the annual gross domestic income within one generation

Young children who receive high-quality early education from infancy to age five do better in reading and math [Source: http://www.ounceofprevention.org/about/why-early-childhood-investments-work.php].

Early childhood education can help kids reach their goals in school and beyond.

To me, goals and hope are synonymous. Goals are the belief that you can attain bigger and better things.

Last year I traveled half-way around the world last year to the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, one of the largest slums in the world. Despite the overwhelming poverty and adversity, the teen girls I met who had never once stepped foot outside the slums still had goals. These girls dreamed of being business owners, doctors, lawyers, teachers. They did not let their meager physical surroundings define them. They were determined, not discouraged.

Don’t ever stop setting goals. For as long as we have goals, we have hope.

Save the Children Words

I’d love for YOU to participate in Save the Children’s #FindtheWords campaign and by doing so you could win a $100 gift card. Snap a picture when you see the word goals while you’re out and about, or surfing Pinterest, reading your favorite blog, book or magazine, or take a selfie that defines the meaning of goals for you and post the image or quote, etc., to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Tag your post with the hashtags #FindtheWords #goals and leave a comment here with a link to your post. (One entry per person, please!)

I’ll select a winner at random from all #FindtheWords #goals images posted to social media by midnight CST Sunday, August 17.


Kids And Pets: Friendship, Fur, and Fun

C and Z

If you know me and my family very well at all you know that our three dogs are a special and significant part of our lives. We have two awesome elder male dogs, Jack and Dapper, and one younger female dog, Zoey. Each one of our dogs is a pedigreed mutt and each one has their own distinct, and delightful, personality. For as long as I can remember, pets have been part of my life (I grew up on a farm with an entire menagerie of animals and birds) and now my kids are experiencing the joys of pets. Our dogs greeted us at the back door when we brought our girls home from the hospital and our girls have grown up living alongside their furry siblings.

Pet ownership is not something to be entered into lightly, but letting a dog into your live can teach your child some wonderful life lessons.

wishing well logo

Head over to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Wishing Well Blog for my latest guest post on the joys of owning a dog!

Four Fab Tips to Shop Your Closet

ways to shop your closet

Welcome to my annual 15 Minutes to Fabulous series! Over the next few weeks I’ll feature some fantastic guest writers. Let’s face it, give a busy woman 15 minutes of uninterrupted time and she can conquer the world…or at least 15 minutes of it! Today’s guest blogger is a fashionable friend of mine here in Nashville, Katie Rushton of Effortless Style. Please follow Katie on Twitter and Facebook and visit her blog!

We’ve all said it: “I have nothing to wear!” But our full closets say otherwise. Maybe it’s time we listened.

Your closet holds several fabulous pieces, but it’s normal to get in a rut of wearing the same combinations. If you’re ready to revamp your wardrobe without spending a fortune, check out these effortless tips:

Curate Your Closet

Let’s pretend your closet is your own personal boutique. Look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Is it easy to find the pieces you want? Try color-coding the items on hangers so you’re able to take stock of what you’ve got to work with. If you have pieces that need to be dry cleaned or mended, be sure to remove those and make a note on your week’s to-do list.

Get Inspired

Window shopping is free and it will inspire you to transform the pieces you already have in your wardrobe. Pick up the latest fashion magazine at the grocery store and take note of trends you love. You may even notice some looks you know you can pull off with pieces you own. The blouse you usually pair with jeans would look great with that skirt that’s been hanging in the back of your closet.

Become Friends with A Tailor

A great tailor can work magic on your existing wardrobe. Dresses can be re-hemmed or made into a peplum top or a skirt. Blazers can be fitted. Your flare jeans can be reinvented as straight legs. The best part? It’s very inexpensive!


Pair your favorite maxi dress with a belt and and scarf for a chic boho look. Or, pair it with a casual denim button up and a long pendant. For a more polished look, don a tailored blazer and rock a pair of elegant earrings or a statement necklace. Just by choosing a different pair of shoes, you can freshen up an ensemble you wear frequently. Hint: Reasonably priced trendy accessories are easy to find and they will make you feel like you have a brand new closet!

If you’re having trouble shopping your closet, let us help! Effortless Style offers closet audits to assess the pieces you own and maximize their fashion potential. Visit our website at EffortlessStyle.com to learn more, and make sure to check out our blog while you are there. You’ll see how effortless it is to create fresh new looks from your existing wardrobe!



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