The Scoop

These daily sample sale sites can be a mom’s best friend but not if you never have time to look at them! Now, all you have to do is stop by Salt & Nectar for the scoop on the best of all the sales. We search the top sites and recommend our favorite product on sale that day.

Kristin’s pick: Petit Bateau, From $9 via The Mini Social

I love the sweet children’s clothes from Petit Bateau. I had a few special items for my son when he was first born, but at these prices I could of had a whole wardrobe of French outfits for him! Happy Shopping!

Sale ends Wed 12/28

Today is the last day for the scoop!

Christmas Without Consuming in California

Because the decision to say “no” to consumerism and instead be more mindful during the holidays is a universal issue faced by many families, especially during these uncertain economic times, I thought I’d follow Sarah Stewart Holland’s lead and share what my family does to stretch our budget while still embracing the Christmas spirit.

A few years ago before budgetary constraints forced me to be creative with my holiday spending (i.e., pre-baby, pre-WAHM, pre-Los Angeles mortgage days), my friends and I decided to forgo traditional gifts in favor of alternatives that better captured the meaning of Christmas and the holiday spirit. It’s funny, we came to this decision after we finally had full-time jobs that paid the bills and were no longer grad students. Despite our newfound ability to buy presents without worrying about ending up in the red, we still felt guilty about needless consumption or, if “guilt” is too strong of a word, we definitely felt turned off by the frenzy surrounding Christmas shopping. (Maybe it was a sign of our newfound maturity as adults since we were creeping closer to 30?) Either way, we made a commitment to get each other gifts that didn’t play into such consumerism. As a result, we created a much more thoughtful Christmas tradition that we’ve carried forward.

Each year, we give gifts in amounts that we can afford to charities that support causes near and dear to our friends’ hearts, we give gifts of experience (i.e., a French-themed movie and dinner night prepared at our home), or we give sentimental gifts (i.e., mixed tapes, photo albums, etc.). These are all things that are easily translatable to a holiday with kids, too. You can give your child a gift of making pancakes together. You can give you parent friends a night of free babysitting. You can buy an inexpensive massage book and experiment giving full-body massages to your spouse. Or you can scan your children’s artwork and create a coffee table book or DVD for grandma and grandpa.

Other ways families can enjoy a more manageable holiday season, include:

  • A Family Gift Exchange: Everyone selects the name of one person and only buys or makes a gift for the individual within a certain price cap (usually $25 or $50). Or children only receive presents, while adults enjoy the gift of watching the kids’ excitement.
  • A Makeup Gift Exchange: A girlfriend recently told me that she and her close girlfriends draw names and buy a beauty product priced at no more than $25 for one other person, so everyone doesn’t go broke and gets to go home with something fun that she might normally pass up at the cosmetics counter.
  • Gift Giving Done Right: Elizabeth Antonia of the littlest offers this sage advice based on a tradition established by her older sister—each family member gets four gifts: something you want, something you need, one little something, and something to read.
  • Homemade or Practical Gifts for Siblings: Design Mom shared a great idea where siblings only make each other gifts such as painted cocoa mugs, repurposing old sweaters as scarves or beanies, or mason jar snow globes. And if they’re too young to manage a creative project, she has the children pick out practical gifts for everyone like toothbrushes or band aids that feature different designs.

How do you make the holidays fun but more manageable?

~ The Other Sarah

The Scoop

These daily sample sale sites can be a mom’s best friend but not if you never have time to look at them! Now, all you have to do is stop by Salt & Nectar for the scoop on the best of all the sales. We search the top sites and recommend our favorite product on sale that day.

Alexis’s pick: Bambino Land Owl Organic Tee and Yoga pants, $17.99, Zulily.

Image via Zulily

It’s bright.  It’s unisex.  It has an OWL on it.  You just can’t go wrong with this comfy organic yoga set from Bambino Land!

Sale ends 12/24 at 6am pdt.

Check back tomorrow for the scoop!

The Goods: War Horse {Movie Review}

My Husband and I love going to the movies. Date night always consists of going to a nice dinner then a show. When we saw the preview for War Horse he looked at me and shook his head “No.”  So, I knew that War Horse the movie (directed by Steven Spielberg) would never make it into our dinner and a movie date night rotation. However, last week I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to attend a private screening of War Horse and thought, “Perfect, I’ll get to watch a movie that I wasn’t planing to see, and I get to see it three weeks before it’s released to the rest of the world!” Not too bad. Oh, and Emily Watson joined the sneak peek doing a Q&A about her experience working on the movie.

 

The movie follows the life of a horse and a young boy during World War I and all of their adventures with the different people they meet along the way. The horse brings hope into many peoples lives, as his story moves through war-torn Europe. I became instantly attached to each and every person the horse interacted with, not caring what side of the war they were on.

The War Horse is a love story between a boy and a horse, but Spielberg highlights the underlying story of how young boys truly were who were fighting on the frontline and man’s inhumanity towards each other. During the Q&A Emily Watson mentioned that everyone in Britain has a similar story and knows someone who was directly affected by the war—her own great uncle died in the trenches at the age 17. A whole generation of Europe was wiped out for nothing! I really enjoyed how Spielberg directed a great epic war movie with out showing extreme violence, blood, and gore.

There were many tears in the audience, so I wouldn’t recommend watching it on opening day, Christmas. While War Horse is PG-13, I think it would be okay for children 8 and up. If you like Spielberg, war movies, and horses, War Horse needs to be on the top of your movie list. I even liked the movie, and I typically do not enjoy war movies or stories about horses.

I was a guest of Moms and the City for the free War Horse screening. You can watch the Q&A with Emily Watson on YouTube.

~ Kristin Strange

The Scoop

These daily sample sale sites can be a mom’s best friend (especially during the holidays) but not if you never have time to look at them! So, we hope we’ve made holiday shopping easier on you and your wallet by searching the top sites and recommending our favorite products on sale that day. We hope you enjoy the last week of this feature, which will wrap up (pun intended) just in time for Christmas. 

Sarah’s pick: Absorba Fleece Sleeper, $10.99, ideeli.

In my experience, it is very difficult to find long-sleeved fleece sleeper sacks, which is one of our baby essentials in the winter months. Plus, Absorba is one of my favorite brands that holds up to lots and lots of wear. For $11, all these factors make these a must buy!

Sale ends Thursday 12/21 at 6am pdt

Check back tomorrow for the scoop!

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway: Collagen Firming and Toning Body Kit

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Salt & Nectar gave to thee….

Image by Elizabeth Grant

…magic goop to make your skin appear dimple free. The Elizabeth Grant Collagen Firming and Toning Body Kit includes a serum, lotion, and massage tool to target the appearance of cellulite.

Each person can enter a maximum of four times. We will use Random.org to select a winner.

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This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to winner Bridget Leet!

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Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling us how you stay fit.

Extra Entries:

1. Follow us on Twitter and tweet about the Giveaway. Come back here and leave us a separate comment telling us you did so.

2. Subscribe to Salt & Nectar and tell us you did so in the comment section (again, a separate comment).

3. Like us on Facebook and tell us you did so in the comment section (again, a separate comment).

The contest will run from today until Wednesday, December 21th, at 12 PM PST.

No purchase is necessary. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older only.

Check back tomorrow for the winner.

Christmas without Consuming: A Love Letter to Christmas

I’m not sure when I first fell in love with Christmas.

I loved it as a child in the way children love it. I loved the presents and the anticipation. I loved Santa and surveying my loot on Christmas afternoon. The Christmas morning I awoke to Barbie’s dream house is one I will never forget. The year I received Barbie AND all her Rockers still holds a special place in my heart. In fact, Barbie seems to play an intimate roll in all my favorite holiday memories but that’s probably another post in and of itself. The most important part is that the magic of receiving is something I understood very early.

Sarah and the Rockers

However, as I got older, I also remember that aspect of Christmas losing its luster. In high school, I remember being jealous of the presents some of my friends received. Or – God save me – being disappointed when my parents hadn’t bought me that trendy pair of jeans or entire Estee Lauder make up line.

It wasn’t until I got married that I really started seeing things differently. Suddenly, Christmas belonged to me. I wasn’t celebrating someone else’s Christmas. I was creating my own. It was then I realized even the best present couldn’t compete with sneaking around with my parents to crown the best holiday lights in our neighborhood or standing in front of the tree at Rockefeller Center with my husband.

Don’t get me wrong. Last year I unwrapped an iPad on Christmas morning and it was awesome. I squealed with delight and cradled my new toy like a baby. I don’t want to give the impression to my family and friends that I don’t like presents. I LOVE presents. I think I’ve just learned that the magic of the season doesn’t happen with the first tearing of wrapping paper.

I fall in love with Christmas in a million little ways before Santa ever leaves the North Pole. It happens when I pull Griffin’s baby first Christmas ornament out of the box for the first time that year or when I see Ralphie Parker’s face light up when he unwraps his Red Ryder BB Gun. It happens when I take that first sip of eggnog or get the first Christmas card in the mail. And if it snows? Forget it. My feet won’t hit the ground the rest of the year.

What I’ve had to learn this year is that these fantastic moments don’t have to cost money either. There’s magic in the email Christmas cards and homemade gifts. I don’t have to fly to New York to feel that holiday buzz. I feel it every morning Griffin asks if he can do “the calendars” (we might have three advent calendars) or when I turn the corner and see our house lit up with lights.

Watching the Christmas Parade

Maybe this journey is just part of growing up but I would love for my children to see the all the magic of the season – not just what happens on Christmas morning. It’s hard though. As a parent, I want to give Griffin and Amos the same toy-soaked bacchanalia I always had. Even in the midst of Christmas without Consuming, I’ve had to remind myself that Griffin won’t be disappointed if he gets a plain race car instead of a Lightening McQueen one. I don’t want to take away from them the special joy of seeing that Santa has brought you everything you asked for.

I just hope they understand that there is joy to be found beyond that.

~ Sarah Stewart Holland