Monday, December 23, 2013

The Art of Extreme Self-care Winner

A huge thank you to everyone who visited my blog and entered the contest. I used to pick the winner and the lucky reader is:

A Personal Spiritual Journey.

Contratulations! Please shoot me an email to melania (dot) tolan (at) gmail (dot) com to claim your prize. If I don't hear from you by the end of the week I'll draw another winner.

Thanks again. Happy Holidays to everyone and we'll see you in the new year. I'll be back January 6, kicking off The Art of Extreme Self-care read-a-long, post-partum/ busy mama style. :)


PS The book is still on sale on Cheryl's website.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Art of Extreme Self-Care Giveaway!

Thank you so much for coming back. As promised I have an incredible treat for you just in time for the holidays and New Year's resolutions. But first a little background.

The first six months postpartum were very hard for me. I battled depression and anxiety everyday for what seemed like eternity. Nights dragged into an infinity of hell watching my daughter sleep so peacefully next to me in bed, while I could not turn off my brain. Sleep deprivation does nothing to help with postpartum depression, by the way. On one of these nights I pulled out my phone and went to the Kindle app, but none of the dozens of YA or romance or fantasy novels I had waiting to be read appealed to me, so I went to the Kindle store and somehow got to the Hay House book section. Not sure how it happened, those days/night are kind of a blur. But anyway, I ended up buying and downloading The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Richardson's Facebook page.

I'd seen her at an I Can Do It! event several years ago and I listen to her radio show occasionally at  This book completely changed my life. After reading it, I started taking care of myself and also got the help that I needed. Because The Art of Extreme Self-Care helped me so much, I decided to share this book with you all in two ways.

Starting in January of next year, I'm going feature a read along one chapter a month (the book has 12 chapters) and blog about how I applied the concepts in a postpartum setting.

AND I'm also going to give away a free digital copy of The Art of Extreme Self-Care to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment below and share with me how you want to improve your life in the new year. Next Monday on the 23th, I'll randomly pick a winner.

Are you in? Spread the word to your fellow goddess mamas! Also, The Art of Extreme Self-Care is on sale at Cheryl's bookstore (paperback)

Have a fabulous week, ladies, and good luck.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holidays and New Babies

Daughter helping me get the decorations out.

'Tis that time of year. Shopping, decorating, presents, parties, cards, lights, baking, cooking, wrapping, stockings, trees, wreaths, Christmas plays, events, and the madness continues until after the ball drop on New Year's Eve and the last ornament is put away.

I love this time of year and all the festivities that go with it. Always have, always will. However, last January when my daughter was born, I realized something. I love the spirit of Christmas, but I despise the commercialism associated with it. The whole Black Friday thing makes me want to scratch my skin with a razor blade. Suddenly all the Christmas decorations that showed up in September in most of the major department stores made me want to puke tinsel and mistletoe right in the middle of the isle.

Funny thing is I've actually always felt that way, but never really thought about it as I let myself get swept up in whirlwind of presents, parties, and holiday music. A few years back, I actually stopped buying actual presents for my family, unless it was an item they really wanted or needed; instead I started canning jams, salsas, jellies, and specialty sauces that I then gifted. People already have too much stuff, but you can't go wrong with a nice treat to eat.

As the holiday season approached this year I started to panic. People were going to be buying presents for my girl and not to mention I wanted to get her something special. We are still getting presents celebrating her birth, TEN months ago, and now Christmas. Not that I'm ungrateful for all the things she's received, I am very thankful, but it's overwhelming. Living in a small space doesn't help. The whole idea of a room full of wrapped gifts for one person really freaked me out. She's a baby! What does a baby understand about Christmas and getting presents?

When you have a child, everything you do changes because that child is your responsibility and you want to make sure they are raised properly even though you might not follow everything you teach. I decided right then and there that I would walk the talk. If I didn't want my girl to grow up with a consumerized version of Christmas, we needed to cut back and focus on these three things.

Simplicity. That's my new favorite word. Less is more and make what you do have quality. We decided to decorate, but be basic. A tree, our stockings, a faux bough with lights over the book cases, and some lights out on the balcony. Whatever our presents are this year they must fit inside the stockings (limit 1 or 2 items).

Fun. Christmas & the winter holidays are supposed to be fun. So we've been playing fun Christmas music and games every day, like "let's find all the snowman on the tree." At her age most of the fun is just being silly. So we dance to Jingle Bell Rock and play peek-a-boo with her Winne the Pooh & friends ornaments. I want her to have fun memories about what we did together not what she got from Santa.

Giving. Though she doesn't understand the concept of giving yet, I'm packing a bag of her outgrown clothes and toys she doesn't play with anymore to take to the women's shelter in our neighborhood. This will be a tradition, one that I hope will stay with her for a lifetime.

So far the holidays have been pretty easy and stress-free. In fact I think these are the best holidays I've enjoyed to date. Of course, having a little new person in my home has much to do with it. :)

As always thanks for stopping by, comments are welcome, and stay tuned next week for a little Christmas surprise.

Much love,