Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Maintaining a Clean Home: 5 Services to Hire Out in the Arlington Area

I'm a terrible housekeeper. 

There. I said it. It is what it is. 

I will happily hammer out five SEO-friendly articles in a day. Drive the kids to Little Elm (or across state lines) for a fun activity? I'm your girl! Volunteer with various organizations and provide value and service? On it! 

But ask me to clean my shower (like my husband literally did yesterday) and I will find 500 things that need to be done before I am able (and willing) to complete this task.

Like I said. Terrible housekeeper. 

I did just do an article for Zulily, though, about 20 Spring Clean Hacks I Learned on Instagram, and I have tried them all out myself! Once. But hey- if you're a better housekeeper than I am, there are truly some great tips in the article. Please click over and read it!

But, in writing that article, I started to wonder what services could be hired out. I hate cleaning, so I sometimes hire a housekeeper. But, there are a myriad of other things I hate doing (like laundry. Because based on the amount currently sitting in my laundry room, I'm genuinely wondering if there are people living in my house who I don't know about). But guess what? There are people I can pay to wash, dry and fold those piles of clothing for me. Brilliant!

Hire someone to do your laundry, pick up your dog's poop, clean your car and more.

5 Services to Hire Out in the Arlington Area

So here we are. Five household chores that you might not want to do that you can pay someone else to do for you! You're supporting a local business, checking one item off your to-do list and just generally freeing up some time that you would have had to allocate to that task. Because time is money. And you are worth a lot more than you give yourself credit for!

Laundry service: I can't even find the time to wash most of the fitted sheets in my house, let alone figure out how to fold them! This is money well spent on my end. Having someone literally air out my dirty laundry sounds brilliant! Check out Top Drawer Laundry to have your someone else deal with your dirty laundry!

Dog Mess Cleanup: When I was younger, my mom used to pay my brothers and me to clean up the dog poop in the backyard. I hated it. Our dog wasn't even that big and yet the amount of poop he could generate was insane! Eventually she started hiring the neighbor kids because my brothers and I all refused to do the job, even if we were paid to do it. Today I would happily pay someone else to clean up dog poop because I really can't think of anything I'd rather do less than clean up poop! Try Poop911 to take this messy task off your plate. 

Mobile Car Detailing: My husband consistently detests the state of my car. I always remind him how much running around I do with the girls- and how often we find ourselves eating in the car, even though it's a bad habit. I'm trying to be better about cleaning out the car regularly and wiping down the interior. But sometimes it's just one more thing to do and I'm out of time (and energy. And desire, quite frankly). Enter mobile detailing. Let someone come to you and scrub your car until it shines! Mobile car detailing is brilliant. Try Savvy Mobile Detail to have a clean car without the having to clean it yourself bit! 

Declutter the House: What is it about kids and chaos? It is so hard to stay on top of the clutter in my house... The kids come home every day with piles of stuff (where does it even come from?!) but it takes me ages to wade through it and get rid of the stuff we simply can't keep. When we moved last summer it was a true struggle to figure out what should stay and what should go. Sometimes you just need a neutral third party to remind you of which items are worthy of a spot in your home and which ones need to find their way to the local charity drop. Try Lisa's Chaos Coordinators if you, like me, need a little help to get out from under all the stuff! If you have baby gear that you no longer need but are hoping to get some money back on some of your big ticket items, try Good Buy Gear- they will come grab your gear, sell it for you, and give you back a portion of the selling price! 

Grocery Shopping: I think I'm one of the total weirdos who actually doesn't mind grocery shopping. Don't get me wrong- no matter how many times I make my list and check it twice I always make it home without some much-needed item, but, that's just because I'm me. But I don't mind wandering the aisles at Target and then telling my husband the ridiculously-high bill included nothing but essentials (three new tops and a new throw pillow are essential, thankyouverymuch). Mostly, though, I love strolling up and down the aisles, discovering new products and new dinner short cuts. I love finding new items to add to the pantry. Also, I love going to the grocery store solo and then claiming the line at checkout was stupidly long and that's why it took so long. If anyone tells my husband that I spent an hour just sitting in the clothing section, scrolling my phone, well, then, we can't be friends. But, if you aren't like me and hate the grocery store, no worries! Try Shipt or Instacart to have your groceries come to you. 

What household errands do you hire out? I love to find new ways to lessen my load at home!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Best Places to Board Your Pets in the Arlington Area

We are between pets right now. Our beloved dog, Kenzi, passed away in January of natural causes, and we (finally, mostly I) haven't been ready to welcome a new furry pet into our home just yet.

If you are facing the loss of a pet, read the article I wrote for Zulily about how to help kids cope with losing a furry friend here. 

When we did have a dog, though, this is the time of year I would start to stress about making plans for her during our summer travel. I always wanted Kenzi to have a place where she could play and be well cared for when we were off on our summer adventures.

So I've rounded up five of the best places to board dogs in the Arlington area. These spots all have plush accommodations for your beloved pets and will keep them happy and healthy until you can be with them again. 

5 great places to board your dog in the Arlington area.

Best Places to Board a Dog in the Arlington Area

1. Richter Animal Hospital and Pet Resort- The vets at this hospital at 287 & Sublett were the ones who took care of our sweet dog in her older years. The facility is very well kept, and the pet resort comes highly recommended.

2. Pet Resort in The Gardens- This central spot, located near Pioneer Parkway & Bowen, gives new clients one free night of boarding! The Pet Resort also offers doggie day care as well as dog training and bathing. Who doesn't love a one-stop shop?

3. Cozy Pup Resort- Run by an awesome teacher at Corey Academy, the Cozy Pup Resort is the spot where we will send our next furry friend when he or she needs to be boarded. My girls adore Ms. Evans, their dance teacher, and I can refer you to a number of mamas who would highly recommend your pup go stay at Cozy Pup Resort!

4. Wagtime Doggie Daycare- Situated in North Arlington near Whole Foods, this dog-loving spot will take great care of your pup when you are away. They offer daycare as well as overnight boarding and even offer punch cards to save you a bit of cash! 

5. PawPaw's Doghouse- Okay, this spot is in Mansfield. What I love about this spot is the Sweet Barks Sanctuary Senior Rescue that PawPaw's supports! Have you doggies boarded and groomed at this spot near Debbie & 1187 and know that your money is supporting rescued dogs. Learn more on their website. 

Also worth a mention is, where I have found a number of awesome dog walkers and boarders through the years!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Kids & Chlorine: The Best Swim Shampoos for Summer!

Last summer we got a pool. 

I now have endless reasons to buy all the pool toys, beach towels, swimsuits and any other pool accessory you can think of. Because I needed more reasons to shop. 

Check out my Zulily article here for must-have items for fun pool games for the summer! These games are fun in your pool, a hotel pool, a city pool, wherever.

This girl loves pool time! I just don't love the chlorine smell in her hair...

Back to shopping, though. One of the items forever on my list of items to get from the store is swim shampoo.

My middle daughter joined swim team about a year ago, and the three-times-a-week swim sessions, combined with dips in our pool, are wreaking havoc on her hair. Her hair is naturally super blond, and she likes it long. 

I've spent the past year purchasing every swim shampoo I can get my hands on, trying to find something that will keep it from turning green (because that isn't just an urban myth, it totally happens!), keep it from smelling like chlorine 24/7 and keep it from thinning out any more than it already has.

So I've made a list. Because if you have a swimmer in the family, you need an anti-chlorine shampoo in your beauty product arsenal. Here are my five favorite products I've discovered to date. If I've missed any that you love, please, please send them my way!

Five Must-Have Swim Shampoos for Kids

This product costs less than $5 and is available at most stores in the area. It smells dreamy and works well for a quick rinse after a jaunt in the pool. 

Best Natural Swim Shampoo for Toddlers/Young Kids: Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Shampoo & Wash
We use this as an all-over rinse after we've been in the pool. It worked really well for me when my kids were little and their hair was baby-fine- the no harsh chemicals really sold me on it! Now we use it as an extra rinse after we shampoo to make sure we combat chlorine build up. It's a great body wash, too, for adults and kids! 

Best Natural Swim Shampoo for Kids & Tweens: Fairy Tales Sun & Swim Lifeguard Daily Clarifying Shampoo
We use this shampoo daily during the summer and it really helps strip my daughter's hair of all the unwanted junk that builds up. It smells super yummy and makes her hair feel clean to the touch. We sometimes pair it with the conditioner.

Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport: one of my favorite products for kids who love the water!

Best Swim Shampoo for the Family: Malibu C Swimmer's Wellness Shampoo
I have to ration this stuff in my household because my kids (and my husband!) tend to slop this stuff into their palms and it's not cheap enough for excessive use! But this has been my favorite find to-date. It actually came recommended by more than, say, 20 people on a Facebook post about swim shampoos. I love it for my hair and my girls' hair. It's been a game changer! I just have to keep it put away or it will disappear... 

Best Shampoo for the Serious Athlete: Ultra Swim Chlorine Removal Shampoo
This stuff brings me back to my own days of swimming on my high school's swim team. I was a butterfly master! My mom would buy this stuff by the truckload. I don't much care for the smell (simply because I smelled it daily for years and it makes me think of my high school's locker room), but, if you have a kiddo in the pool almost daily, this bottle of liquid gold will do the trick and mitigate the chlorine smell. 

Tried & True Tips to Keep Kids' Hair Clean When They Love to Swim!

- Have your child wear a plastic swim cap. Yes, it takes some getting used to. But it helps! I coat my daughter's hair in conditioner, braid it, and tuck it in a cap for swim practice. This has helped restore her gorgeous locks!

- Wet your child's hair before she jumps in the water. Spray it with a leave-in conditioner to help combat chlorine. 

- If possible, wash your child's hair as soon as you can after exiting the water. This will combat the green tones blondes sometimes get. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Have Kids, Will Travel: Little Rock, Arkansas!

Little Rock, Arkansas.

Located center state, Little Rock is known for being the home of former President Bill Clinton. It is also well known the Little Rock Nine.

Prior to our Spring Break trip, we had never been to Little Rock. (For a complete list travel tips during this time, please check out the article I did for Zulily here!)

We were excited to visit Arkansas, the Natural State, this year, and get to know one of Texas' neighbor states to the east.

Little Rock is about five hours from Arlington by car directly east on I 30. Little Rock has a population of about 200,000 people and is located on the south bank of the Arkansas River.

Little Rock, Arkalsas

Little Rock with Kids: Why Little Rock?

Little Rock has a surprising amount of activities for kids! The parks in the area are gorgeous and truly a ton of fun for the under 12 set. There are a variety of fun outdoor activities. Little Rock is a quick drive from DFW and there were plenty of hotels that were far less than $100 per night with a pool and breakfast included! Hot Springs is an hour away, meaning you can check out activities there, too, on your weekend away.

Little Rock with Kids: Things to Do

Little Rock Zoo: Honestly, this might be one of my favorite zoos for littles. There are three separate play areas that my kids loved, plus a fun mini train. The zoo felt very open and uncrowded. However, because of Covid, there was only a small food truck onsite, so we recommend checking on this before you go. My girls noted that there were no giraffes, but otherwise, we loved the zoo! It's inexpensive and a great way to spend an afternoon.

Gorgeous day for Little Rock Zoo!

Heifer International: Heifer International is a global organization based in Little Rock that is working to end poverty. In Little Rock, you can explore Heifer Village with hands-on experiences that teach kids about global experiences. Right now, the urban farm and village are closed, but we were still able to meet and interact with the animals for free! They alpacas were darling, as were the goats. The cow was super friendly. Even if it isn't reopened during your visit, Heifer International is worth a stop. Visit the gift shop, too- it has lots of unique goodies!

We loved seeing animals at Heifer International.

Central High School: In 1957, Central High School in Little Rock was at the center of the Civil Rights Movement when nine black students began attending the school, which had formerly been all white. Today, it is a National Historic Site with lots to see and learn. The high school itself is still an active high school with a diverse student body, so, if you wish to tour inside, you need to make a reservation ahead of time. However, you can walk the perimeter, visit the gas station that was the headquarters for media and visit the building across the street, which houses a small museum dedicated to Central High School and the Little Rock Nine. 

Julius Breckling Riverfront Park & Junction Bridge: This might be one of the coolest parks we have ever been to. This park, which, in warm months, also features a splash pad, is built into natural rock formations to truly be one-of-a-kind. The girls loved climbing through all the tunnels and playing on the monkey bars placed on the underside of a large rock. We also walked Junction Bridge, which gave us gorgeous views of the Arkansas River and downtown. The adjacent Riverfront Market also often has live events, so check the schedule to optimize your time here!

Playing at Riverfront Park

Big Dam Bridge: The Big Dam Bridge is a pedestrian and bikes only bridge that lights up at night. We walked along the bridge at dusk and loved it! The views are stunning, the breeze felt incredible and there were lots of people around, making it feel very safe. It was an enjoyable evening stroll. There were dozens of spiders on the bridge, as well, and we loved trying to find ones bigger than quarters... I made the girls stop counting when they hit 20 because that was 20 too many for me!

Burns Park: This North Little Rock Park has lots to do for all ages! We loved the playground onsite, next to the disc golf area. There is also a small amusement park in the park, perfect for kids younger than 10. You can camp at this park, as well as golf and more. It is definitely worth a visit!

The play area we loved at Burns Park.

The Old Mill: Honestly, this is a place to stop just for magical pictures. We went on St. Patrick's Day and spent an hour roaming around this magical-feeling spot that was featured in the opening scenes of the classic Gone With The Wind. It is a recreation of an 1880's water-powered grist mill and it is a neat place to visit on your Little Rock vacation! 

Other places on our list we didn't make it to this trip:

William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum: This is closed currently because of Covid. 

Museum of Discovery: This was closed because of damage sustained during the February freeze.

Big Rock Fun Park: We left this for the last day of our trip and I didn't check the weather first. Whoops. Had some unhappy girls that day! 

Little Rock with Kids: Where to Eat

All Aboard Restaurant and Grill: If you bring kids to Little Rock, visit this restaurant! Not only to they have delicious burgers (I had a meatless burger and it was so yummy!), but they deliver your meal to your table on a train that circles above your head and then delivers your food on a tray that drops down to your table. It is every bit as cool as it sounds, and even my 11 year old, who is too tween-y for everything, said "That was so cool!" Great spot to dine with kids. 

Dinner at All Aboard Restaurant and Grill was so good!

Purple Cow: This old-timey diner has lots of food choices to please everyone in your dining party plus delicious milkshakes. You can even add alcohol to yours, if that's the kind of day you've had...

Loblolly Creamery: We actually stumbled upon this place accidentally, and I'm so glad that we did! I had the best Vegan ice cream I have ever had, hands down. You can't eat inside the store right now but there are benches out front. We even ordered macarons and devoured them, too. If you need a sweet treat, don't skip this spot! Next door is a cute urban market with lots of local food and drink to take back to Texas with you.

Overall, we recommend a trip to Little Rock! There is a Buc cee's on the way, and you can stop at Crater of Diamonds on the way back to Texas and dig for gems. At about five hours by car, you will enjoy your weekend away with the kids- and so will your wallet!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Have Kids, Will Travel: Hot Springs, Arkansas!

Before deciding to visit Hot Springs, Arkansas, for Spring Break, I knew nothing about Hot Springs.

I mean, I knew it was a quick drive from DFW. It took us about five hours by car to arrive in Hot Springs from Arlington. I knew the city had, well, Hot Springs. But aside from those two facts, I didn't know anything about the Hot Springs area of Arkansas.

Have Kids, Will Travel: Hot Springs, Arkansas!

So... Let me start this latest edition of Have Kids, Will Travel from the EA crew by giving you some information about Hot Springs!

Hot Springs with Kids: Facts

- Hot Springs is located in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and has a population of about 40,000 people.

- The center of Hot Springs is the oldest federal reserve, and this year Hot Springs National Park celebrates 100 years as a National Park.

- Hot Springs is famous for Bathhouse Row, a street lined with bathhouses that rose to notoriety in the 1920s as a place to go and soak up the ambiance from the natural hot springs that could, it was believed at the time, cure a number of ailments. These bathhouses were particularly popular with baseball players of the era, who tended to drink heavily and thought the hot springs could "boil" the bad out of them!

Bathhouse Row's history. 

Hot Springs with Kids: Things to Do

If you're headed to Hot Springs with kids, here are your best bets for activities with your kids in tow!

Mid-America Science Museum- This science museum is a fun spot for kids of all ages to spend an afternoon. There are lots of exhibits displaying rocks and gemstones that can be found in Arkansas. There is a play area for small kids and a fun water feature my kids enjoyed. The outside space is phenomenal... There is a dino hike and a climbing structure that had my kids running and jumping endlessly. The admission price is super reasonable but check your calendar before you go- this spot is closed Monday through Wednesday.

Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo- This spot is a MUST when you visit Hot Springs. Whether gators are your thing or not, your kids will thank you for letting them get up close with alligators! Pet goats, bunnies, alligators and more, as well as feed the alligators and small birds for an additional price. You need to plan an hour to an hour and half for this stop, but, seriously, if you are headed to Hot Springs with kids, don't skip this place! The staff is super friendly and personable and "holding an alligator" was my girls' favorite part of our trip.

Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo in Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

Bathhouse Row- Take a walk down memory lane when you stroll down Bathhouse Row! Read up on the history of these bathhouses before you wander down the street and look at the gorgeous buildings because the history is so interesting! The other side of the street is lined with yummy places to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping. Lamar Bathhouse is now a place where you can stop and buy a few souvenirs, and Superior Bathhouse is now a brewery! 

Bathhouse Row.

Hot Springs Mountain Tower- Hike 1.5 miles up the trails from Bathhouse Row to escape 216 feet into the air! The Hot Springs Mountain Tower will give you gorgeous views of the parks and water bodies in the surrounding area. 

Spots that are on our list to check out on our next visit:

Hot Springs with Kids: Grab a Bite (Where to Eat)

If the kids are hungry (aren't they always?!), grab a bite of one of these two spots right off Bathhouse Row. Both are local and super yummy! Then grab dessert or ice cream. Because dessert or ice cream!

Superior Bathhouse- Honestly, we ate here because this spot was a bathhouse and is now a brewery! It is the only brewery in the country that uses water from the surrounding hot springs. The food was super yummy, the beer was delicious and the building is really cool and old-timey.

Superior Bathhouse & Brewery

The Trough- This fun spot has inexpensive, great-tasting food and plenty of games (pool, shuffleboard) to keep your kids occupied until the food arrives. This spot also has a lot of live music to entertain you as you dine. 

Fat-Bottomed Girls Cupcakes- This spot has been featured on Food Network and sells cupcakes, ice cream and frosting shots! There is a fun attached gift shop with lots of sassy trinkets. I wish every cupcake shop sold frosting shots. Because honestly- frosting is the only reason I even eat cupcakes!

Sweet Treats from Fat-Bottomed Girls Cupcakes in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

What are you favorite spots in Hot Springs that we missed? I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Mother's Day Gifts for Mom: A Local Guide

Looking for a unique gift this Mother's Day?

I did a whole round-up on Zulily of unique gifts- some that don't cost a thing!

But if DIY gifts aren't your thing (I'm right there with you most years!), I've rounded up a few spots to shop for some unique treasures in the Arlington area that will allow you to find a unique gift for the mama in your life this Mother's Day!

Fun Shops to Find Unique Gifts in the Arlington Area

1. Anything Goes- Cute collegiate gifts, funky homewares, pretty jewelry- this Pantego shop has a wide variety of giftable items to choose from. 

2. Gracie Lane- This Cooper Street spot is actually a collection of shops that carry everything from clothes to dishes and candles to baby items. Support a variety of local vendors by shopping here!

3. Hank and Ellie- Hank and Ellie is another Pantego stop that features tons of fresh finds for every momma on your shopping list. Watch their Facebook page for specials and women's shopping nights.

4. Painted Tree Mansfield- Painted Tree is a spot where I've found lots of unique items. I bought a custom hall tree from this store, as well as multiple one-of-a-kind pictures to hang on my wall. I've also bought my fair share of clothing from here. I dare you to go in and NOT find something to buy!

5. Aria Grace Mansfield- Aria Grace is your spot if you've found an adorable shirt/bag/hat/etc. for Mom but want to go the extra mile and make it personal with embroidery or screenprinting! Add Mom's initials to a darling makeup bag or a fun hat for the beach this summer. Aria Grace also has tons of cute tshirts and trinkets in store. 

6. AndiMac Candy Shack- Got a mama with a sweet tooth (like this mama right here!)? Treat her to all kinds of sweet confections and delicious treats from AndiMac Candy Shack in downtown Mansfield. 

Does mom need a spa day? How about a gift card for a massage or other spa services at Sanford Inn & Spa? Or a gift certificate for a date night with her SO at Urban Alchemy for wine or coffee? 

Where are you shopping for treats for mom this Mother's Day?

Friday, March 19, 2021

Get Your Sweat On: Fun Spots to Workout in the Arlington Area!

I'm a runner.

Not a fast runner or a professional runner, but a runner. I love to log miles all over Arlington and beyond. I'm training for the Cowtown Half (I was *supposed* to run the full this year even though I swore I would never run another full... I think the Universe is sending me a message!), and I'm following Peloton's Road to 26.2 (and adapting it to the half). I love that the program integrates weight training into the plan.

But I've decided to look into other workout options in the area. I love to run- but I need to add weights. I realize that weight training will make me a stronger and better runner. So I've rounded up some awesome workouts in the Arlington area that offer more than just cardio and weight machines!

Check out my article for Zulily here about ways to workout at home! 

Great spots in Arlington, Texas, to get your heart pumping!

Unique Workouts in the Arlington Area

 1. TexasFitt- This local spot offers onsite childcare during select hours as well as classes and personal training. There are yoga classes, classes just for women and a few just for seniors, as well as a Butt & Gut class that is calling my name...

2. Momentum Fitness- Momentum offers private training as well as small group sessions and boot camps. Yoga is also offered onsite. 

3. CrossFit Power Method- CrossFit is one of those workouts that totally intimidates me. It looks downright tough and exhausting, but I can only imagine how accomplished you must feel at the end of a grueling workout! One of these days...

4. PureBarre- Barre workouts are low-impact but so powerful! I tried a class here when they first opened and fell in love. If I didn't live 30 minutes from this spot I would absolutely have a membership. This workout is intense! 

5. The Epic Grand Prairie- I wish I lived closer to The Epic- you'd find me there every day for sure! Group fit classes, CrossFit, Aquatic workouts. This spot offers something to all fitness levels and has something for everyone. I love swimming laps- being near a pool like this would be great!

6. Fit4Mom Arlington/Mansfield- If you are a mom of young kids, you need to join Fit4Mom. Not only will you meet a bunch of awesome moms (like you!), you'll get in a great workout WITH your kids! Seriously. I loved this group when I was the mom of little ones. Workout and socialize with your kids!

7. Camp Gladiator- CG is an outdoor workout with friends. Bring your own yoga mat and free weights and your trainer will whip you into shape with an hour-long bootcamp workout. 

8. OrangeTheory Fitness- This spot in the Highlands puts you through an hour of HIIT (high intensity interval training) to get your heart pumping and blood flowing. This workout is aimed at getting your metabolism going!

9. HotWorx- Workout in an infrared sauna 24 hours a day. Do a 15-minute HIIT session solo or a 30-minute isometric session at this new Viridian-area spot.

10. Premier Yoga & Fitness- This Mansfield spot offers everything from Zumba to barre and yoga to HIIT. You won't get bored with workouts at this spot because the schedule has such a variety of activities to choose from! 

Have fun and get fit at these local workout hot spots.