Saturday, January 26, 2019

Better Way to Fundraise

by Kris Mulkey


I found a new fundraising company and I can't wait to tell you about them. 

I remember when I was a kid going door-to-door selling cookies, popcorn, ugly candles, gift wrap, and schlepping around the Current catalog. Do you remember their products? I dreaded asking people to buy something. And I really didn't look forward to going back to everyone to deliver the products they bought. In fact, one year I didn't. I hid the ugly candles in my closet. My mom found them tucked away in my closet hidden under stuffed animals. She was furious with me and had me deliver them immediately. I can imagine all the laughs the women in the neighborhood had getting their ugly Christmas candle at Easter. Not my best moment. 

No one really wanted anything. You could see it in their faces as they scanned the product sheet. I could tell they were just looking for the cheapest thing on the list. They wanted to help me out but didn't want to waste money on something that they would immediately turn around and sell in a garage sale or just donate to Goodwill. 

So I was super excited when I recently met Lily Kanter, the founder of a new company called Boon Supply. 

Her mission is to "Power the #Doer" to make it easier for people to get involved and give back to their communities.

She and her team have put together a product list of super cool stuff and they donate 40% of every sale. So far she has connected with dozens of schools, non-profits, and individuals. 

"Boon Supply was founded to make it easy for people to get involved and give back to their communities in meaningful ways."  

The products are cool. So cool that you'll shop there even if you aren't trying to help out a fundraiser. The bonus is that 40% of your purchase will support someone. 

I use notebooks like this every day. Why not buy it here? $20 bucks.


Here are more of my favorite things.

Love this vegan wallet. The tassel is my favorite part. $22


I bought this and keep it in my backpack. No more tangled cords! $12


Love these motivational pencils. $12


I need this phone holder stat. $14


Love these motivational totes. $22


Scented Soy Pomegranate candle $24 
(So much better than the candles I hid in the closet!!)



I immediately signed Elli up to raise money for her trip to Europe. I was thinking about a college fundraiser, too. We'll see how the Europe fundraiser goes. Shop > HERE. (please!!!)


Registering a fundraiser is super simple. 

1. Go to boonsupply.com
2. Fill in your info
3. Write a short message about what you're raising money for
4. Upload a picture
5. Share the link with friends, family - all your connections

That's it. 

Think of BoonSupply when you are shopping for any product, gift, birthday present, anniversary gift, housewarming gift, Christmas, Hannukah, Valentine's Day, back-to-school shopping, office gifts....I could go on and on. Why not?! Right?

And guess what!? Elli is starting an internship with Boon Supply this month! Can't wait to see what she does. She's super excited to be working with a brand that gives back to others. 

Click here to check out their catalog.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

5 Fun Things To Do With Your Family On Spring Break

Guest post by Stephanie Bates, Military Travel Mama.




Have an Adventure

Just because you're not in college anymore doesn't mean you can't celebrate. Check out these five Spring Break ideas. It’s not too late to plan something for your family this year!

1. Go big and go on an International adventure
Have you always wanted to go to the jungle, desert, white sandy beaches, visit an international city, and amazing national parks? Consider splurging this year and go to Australia! It may be a little hectic traveling so far, but it will be the family vacation you’ll talk about forever. And you will love all their theme parks, too!

2. Shop budget flights to find your next destination
Don’t have the budget for a trip to Australia? That’s ok! Check out last minute flights and travel packages from all major airlines. There are always budget flights available for spur-of-the-moment trips. It may not be anywhere you were planning to go, but then again, you might make a discovery of your new favorite place. Be open-minded and see what you find! Maybe you’ll find yourselves on a beach in the Philippines!

3. Road trip to an amusement park, beach, or shopping area
There are so many fun amusement parks, remote beaches, and great places to shop it’s a fun option for families on a budget. Make a list of 3 fun things that are within a few hours drive from where you live. Then ask your kids and spouse to vote on what they'd like to do. Support the idea with park tickets, spending money for a shopping trip, or great beach treats. Add in a night or two in a hotel and you’ve got a super fun trip.

4. Plan a staycation and have some fun family time
Sometimes relaxing at home is what you need. Your youngsters may not always want to take a trip. Check out some local entertainment and activities in your own backyard. Play tourist in your town for the weekend! You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have. Especially if it involves a trip to a local candy store.

5. Ideas for “too cool” teenagers
Teenagers never want parents around or to be involved in their plans, but they might feel differently if you sprung to cover the cost of their activities! Work with a few other parents to pool funds to pay for bowling night, movies, dinner out, or tickets to an amusement park. They may act too cool. But they’ll appreciate the gesture and will have a ton of fun, even if they don’t show it.

Choose What Works for You

Whether you travel out of the country, just stay home, plan some teen activities, take a road trip, or seek out family entertainment at amusement parks, beaches, or elsewhere, there is ample opportunity for a spring break adventure this year on any budget! Think outside the box and try something new!



About the Author

Stephanie Bates is a travel and food blogger, wife, and mother of two great kids. She's got great tips on traveling, food, parenthood and all things related to life in the military. Check out her site Military Travel Mama.



Sunday, January 6, 2019

7 Reasons Why January is the Best Time To Join a Gym or Health Club



This is me doing a plank challenge. Two and a half years ago I thought a plank was a piece of wood (which it still is.) I had no idea there was another type of plank. And here I am today doing a plank challenge to help strengthen my core. Which is also another term I didn't really think too much about. I would have said "core" is something you find in the center of an apple. I got my exercise outdoors by hiking, biking, and swimming.

This year I'm on a mission.


I'm on a journey as thousands of other people are to live a healthier and happier lifestyle which means exercising regularly and eating better. I don't want to be a bodybuilder. I just want to be less giggly so my clothes fit better. And I'm not looking for a diet. I'm looking for a lifestyle change. Something that is sustainable. Something I can manage every week and maintain without too much torture. And I like to eat. So I need a nutrition program that is more than eating lettuce and celery. I want real food. And an occasional glass of wine.


Sound familiar?


So why are the media so negative?? I’ve been reading all these articles about why you shouldn’t join a gym in January. That you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment and you won’t keep your resolution to get in shape beyond the end of the month. 


Full disclosure......I currently work for a chain of health clubs based in California. In the 2.5 years that I have I worked at In-Shape Health Clubs I have learned so much about what motivates people to work out. So even though I have all this insight and knowledge, I am just like you. I have the same issues with time constraints, willpower, diet, and motivation. I too decided this is my year. Only for me, I started my journey on November 15th. That was my day. I am now on a diet program with Jumpstart MD and am regularly working out 3-4 times a week. I am seeing the change already - and it's so motivating! I know I will reach my goal because I have made up my mind to do so. There are temptations all around me. But I'm staying strong. I'm doing this for myself. And it is so rewarding!!


1. Join a gym, health club, studio, Bootcamp or exercise program – find something that interests you. If you’re not sure what you like to do, then give some different things a try. Almost every single program out there allows a free trial. My biggest tip is to make sure it is convenient to get to (less than 10 minutes away). And has childcare if you have young kids.


2. Join now– all of the clubs and programs are offering great deals in January. You’ll get the lowest dues, or additional perks because they know that so many people have set resolutions for January. So, take advantage of their offers. Don’t wait. Don’t let the rain or snow be an excuse. Get off the couch and go now. Seize the day!


3. Ask for advice – every fitness company has people on staff to help you set goals and develop a program. They want you to succeed. And they’ve been trained to help you. All you have to do is ask.


4. Find a buddy – I work best when I have someone to work out with and to hold me accountable. We all have those days when we want to skip our workout. Your buddy will keep you going. And you’ll keep them going. Plus, it’s way more fun. All the laughs together help your core, too!


5. Buy some new workout gear - nothing makes a workout like a new pair of leggings and a cute top (for us gals.) I love the compression leggings (keeps everything tucked in!) I'm a huge fan of the clothes at GAPFIT, Old Navy and Target. You don't have to break the bank on cute stuff. And don't forget the shoes! Invest in a good pair of sneaks. I love my Nike's. Just find a pair that works for you. 


6. Step outside your comfort zone and try new things – you may be shocked to find out that you really enjoy doing something that you’ve never tried. My favorite thing in the club is the Les Mills BODYPUMP class. I always thought that dance/cardio classes were my thing. Not anymore. I love the weight/resistance training classes.


7. Set goals and track your progress – there is nothing more personally motivating then tracking your results and seeing your measurements and/or weight change. Find the tracker that works for you. There are a lot of apps and fitness trackers out there. I’ve been tracking my diet and exercise with an app called CARB MANAGER. I like it because I can track food, water, activity – and be part of a chat group if I want.


Finally, if you have set your mind to do it than you will succeed. Keep the faith. And remember slow and steady wins the race. Give yourself 3-6 months to start seeing real results.


Stay strong and good luck!


ps. Keep me posted on your goals and progress!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Bacon Recipe

by Kris Mulkey (recipe inspired by Ina Garten)

I'm always looking for new side dish recipes that are tasty and easy. Who doesn't want that? We all have busy lives and want yummy food on the table fast. After a long day we're tired, hungry and really just want to sit down and relax. Am I right?

So last Saturday I was watching the Food Network. Three of my favorite shows were on - the Barefoot Contessa, Trisha Yearwood and the Pioneer Woman. I always get great tips and recipe ideas from these shows so I was excited when Ina said she was making Shaved Brussels Sprouts. 


I realize that sounds strange. Who on earth gets excited about Brussels Sprouts? Well, I do!

We eat them all the time because they are so easy to make. I usually just roast them in the oven with some EVOO and seasoning and they always come out nice and crispy and super tasty. 

Ina's recipe calls for the sprouts to be shredded in the food processor (which I have. yay.)  But I also know you can buy them shredded at Whole Foods. So, this just got real. This could turn into a weeknight favorite! 

Plus, the other ingredients are fridge staples in my house: Butter, shallots, and bacon. 

Her version called for Pancetta. I didn't have that. But I did have bacon. And let me tell you it is delicious with bacon. (But what isn't delicious with bacon! Bacon makes everything better.)  

This new recipe may be my new favorite for Brussels Sprouts. The veggies are tender. The bacon is crispy. And the splash of balsamic gives it a nice subtle tang! 

And, to make it even better, it's really fast and easy to make.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Bacon Recipe

3 T Olive Oil
3 slices of bacon, sliced into small pieces
2 T unsalted butter
3 large shallots diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
2 packages fresh Brussels sprouts trimmed and shaved (sliced thin in a food processor or by hand)
1 1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper
1 T Balsamic Vinegar

1. Cook bacon pieces in 1 T olive oil in a large saute pan until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel.
2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to the same saute pan. Add the shallots and cook 5-7 minutes until they are starting to brown. 
3. Add the Brussels Sprouts to the pan with the shallots. Season with the salt and pepper. Saute 5-7 minutes until bright green and crisp-tender. Add the bacon. Cook one more minute. 
4. Take off the heat. Drizzle the Balsamic over the cooked Brussels Sprouts, season to taste. Serve hot!

*Recipe inspired by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa