Author Archive | Doña

Just Say, “Thank You.”: Why it’s hard to accept a compliment and why you need to practice the skill

Here are a few ways to accept a compliment:

“You look so nice today!”

“Oh, this. I got it at Goodwill –  it was only $2!”


“This is such an excellent party.”

“Well, I can’t take credit. My husband did all the cooking…”


“That was a great presentation. I learned so much!”

“Oh, no, it was awful! I made so many mistakes. I was so nervous!”

Do any of these sound like you? When someone offers you a compliment or praise, do you squirm and redirect? Do you feel embarrassed or even ashamed of the attention? Do you wonder about the person’s motivations?

When you are offered a compliment, are you uncomfortable or at a loss for what to say? These tips will help you accept a compliment with grace and ease, and help you develop your sense of self-worth.

If so, you aren’t alone. This is something many women struggle with. I have struggled with it, too. At my daughter’s last birthday party, a good friend complimented me on the delicious cupcakes I had made. “Oh,” I said, “They’re just a box mix.” That was true, they were a box mix, but it was a low sugar, gluten free mix that I’d gone to two different stores to find, and I had spent my morning before the party piping the store-bought organic frosting into fancy swirled pillows on top of each cupcake. And she was right, they were delicious.…

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You Are Allowed To Have All Of It

You are allowed to like what you like, to dislike what you don’t.

You are allowed to put yourself first. You are allowed to be selfish, even if it makes others jealous because they don’t know how to be.

You are allowed to draw the line over which someone else may not cross and then draw again it as many times as you need to.

You are allowed to choose your babies over your career, or to choose to leave your baby to feed your brain and heart.

You are allowed to be specific about your needs.

You are allowed to have needs.

You are allowed to be messy and yourself. ::

You are allowed to live by your values, even if your values don’t quite match everyone around you.

You are allowed to feel sexy and act sexy, and tell your lover exactly what you like. Even if you don’t have a perfect body, or if you have scars (inside or out).

You are allowed to make mistakes and be messy and change your mind. You are allowed to have a mind, and opinions.

You are allowed to wear a swimsuit to matter what shape your body is. You are allowed to wear strappy tops even if you have big arms or scars.…

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10 Ways to Go Screen Free and Get Your Brain Back

Do you find yourself on Facebook or Instagram, scrollingscrollingscrolling and you don’t remember the moment when you actually picked up your phone? Are you arguing with your child when it is time for them to turn off their show or game and they whine, “But you’re looking at a screen!” Do you think about things you would like to do and then immediately wonder how you will photograph them, or what caption you might write about them? Have you looked over at your partner in the middle of a conversation and noticed that he’s actually looking at something on his phone? Felt utterly lost and disconnected when your internet is down?

How to reclaim your thoughts in one day ::

If you said yes to any of these things, don’t feel bad. Everything on this list is something I’ve done personally. And also: These things are not things I even want to admit to, let alone do. I don’t want to be looking at a screen as much as I’m looking at my people. I feel addicted. I’m tired of questioning my own creativity because everything on Instagram and Pinterest looks so perfect and effortless (even though I know those photos are curated and edited. I know it, but still I buy into the image of it).…

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10 Quick Ways to Create the Most Cozy Home

When you are at home, do you feel tense and on edge? Are you so busy thinking about the things you need to do that you are unable to relax and enjoy your family? Part of the problem may be your surroundings.

Look around your home. What emotion comes up as you take in your space? Do you feel cozy, welcomed, relaxed?

If not, it is time to make some changes.

I love to come home. Even when my house isn’t tidy, it is a cozy home. It feels warm and welcoming. There are beautiful things to look at, comfortable places to sit. Before I even knew the word, I knew it was my goal to have a hygge home.

Hygge (pronounced “HOO-ga”) is a Danish word that isn’t directly translatable, but generally means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life. It is a philosophy more than a decorating scheme, and it seems to work. Denmark, where the tourism pages talk about what is hyggelig just as much as they talk about what to see and do while visiting, frequently tops the lists of the happiest countries in the world.

What does having a cozy home have to do with being a peaceful mom? 

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Five Simple Ways To Create Your Happiest Holiday Yet

The pressure to create a perfect holiday is intense, especially for moms. You want to create all the magic, but the pressure of consumer-focused advertising make you feel like nothing you do is enough, even when you are exhausted from all you are already doing. You want a more simple holiday, but you are overwhelmed.

Let me tell you a secret that I have learned: You don’t have to exhaust yourself.  You can have a simple holiday that doesn’t feel like you are missing anything. You can have more connection, more magic, more fun.

Have a happy simple holiday! Five simple ways to create your happiest holiday yet.


For many years, seeing the first signs of holiday decor (and doesn’t it seem like that happens earlier and earlier every year?) didn’t bring me any cheer.

It just made me grumpy. Twinkle lights gave me tummy jitters.

The truth is that holidays aren’t joyful for everyone. Lots of us are out there putting our best face on while sitting somewhere on the spectrum between uncomfortable and complete anguish.

I felt all the looming expectations – to be happy, to enjoy every minute of time with my family, to give and get the best gifts, to be invited to and enjoy all the parties…

I knew I couldn’t live up to those expectations.…

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Four Steps to Get Your Kids Talking About Their day

Every day it goes something like this:

You wade through the pick-up line to see their smiling face waiting for you (or maybe scowling, if you have a moody tween). It has been hours since you saw them and you can’t wait to hear about what they learned and experienced while they were away from you.

“How was school today?” you ask, excited to hear all the details.


Want to connect better with your kids after school, but can't get them to talk? Four steps to get your kids talking about their day that are more effective than asking, "How was school today?"


It feels a bit like a door slamming in your face, doesn’t it? Each time you ask, you get a variation of the same. You really want to hear, but they really don’t want to tell you.

Or do they? My daughter was the queen of “Fine,” and “I don’t remember,” but I if I’ve learned that if hit her with just the right question, or give her a little quiet space while we drive, I get a gem of a story about her day. I love those little windows into her life away from me. They help me understand her better, which can only be good for our relationship.

But how do you prise out those gems when the mine is locked up with the word, “Fine,” scrolled across the front door?…

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Six ways to savor the end of summer

Someone asked me this week, “Are you sick of summer yet?” and I surprised myself by answering a hearty, “No!” For the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m holding on to the end of summer with joy.

Sure, my schedule is whack, my to-do list is stretching pretty long, and I don’t love the heat. But balancing that, I’m really enjoying the freedom to plan each day as it comes, long days, and going on adventures. We have almost four more weeks before my girl starts kindergarten, and I’m trying to pack in all the fun we can get in those days. We’re sleeping in, going swimming, having lots of art and reading time, and going on at least a few more adventures.

Summer isn't over yet! Six ways to savor the end of summer, whether you are sick of it, or holding on as long as you can.

Whether summer is wearing on you at this point or not, here are six ways you can savor the last little bit of the season.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Hit a farmer’s market

The markets are booming with amazing and delicious food right now. If you haven’t been to a market yet this summer, get to one now! Plan a meal or two around the best of the season: Corn, peaches, peppers, squash, and berries are all at their best at the end of summer.…

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5 Tips to Shop Smarter at the Farmers Market

The gorgeous and bustling farmer’s market draws you like a magnet, but as soon as you enter you feel overwhelmed. You have your shopping bag and your small bills, but you realize you have no idea what to buy. What will you cook with this stuff? What even is that vegetable?

No need to be overwhelmed! Shop smarter at the farmers market by keeping just a few tips in mind.

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Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through a link I will earn few cents from the sale at no additional cost to you. This income helps to support this blog. Thank you!

Make a Plan

Shopping without a list is always dangerous, no matter where you are. You end up with things in your cart you weren’t planning to buy, and then you get home and realize you forgot the one thing you really need for dinner. Shopping without a list at a busy market is just as dangerous. Yet making a list for a seasonal market is a skill that takes some practice. You have to have a sense for what’s in season (see below), and what you’re going to make, as well as knowing how much you need and can reasonably consume in a week.…

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Get More Done With A Better To-Do List

“You’re the one who is slave to the to-do list,” he told me one afternoon. I don’t even remember what it was we were sparring about, just that he wasn’t doing something I thought he should be doing, something that was on my list but not on his. We both want to get more done, we just have different ways of getting there.

The fact is, he mostly doesn’t keep a list at all. I’m not actually advocating that practice, but mostly that’s because I have a bad memory and I’m easily overwhelmed, and having a list to refer to helps me with both of those things.

But do I want to be a slave to that list? No! I do not. And I’m sure you don’t want to be a slave to yours either. You want to feel like you are in charge of your own time. You want to get more done, but joyfully.

Get more done and feel better about it with a better to-do list. ::

Your list should feel like a friend, a supportive guide, a path along and toward the life you want to be living. Not something you compare yourself to, or fall short at, or beat yourself up about. That is not helpful in any way.

The truth is, my list did often feel more like a big stick that I was trying not to let hit me than a friendly guide.…

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How To Decide What To Let Go

Do you feel lonely when you are surrounded by people? Are you feeling disconnected? Are you feeling that crush of wanting to do more than you can do, or having many things on your plate taking up your time and energy and resenting them?

The last few months have been a lonely time for me. I have people in my life, but I’m going too fast and feeling too busy to really see them. I want to feel deeply connected with someone but my partner and I haven’t talked in two days and I haven’t had a meaningful conversation with anyone over the age of six in a week.

In the last few months, my guy has been away from home a lot and I’ve been flying solo with the kid and the house and all of our animals. I finished radiation therapy at the end of January and it has been a long slow road back to feeling like myself. My stamina is still very low, I have to sleep a lot and my memory is terrible. I simply can’t keep on top all the things that are involved in keeping a household running solo, but how do I figure out what to let go? …

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