December 20, 2016

Last Minute Toys For Kids (STEM, STEAM and Fun)



When the boys were really small, I had Christmas down.  We did holiday-themed art projects, advent calendars, Christmas stories, and went to see Santa right after Thanksgiving.  Their stockings were filled with carefully curated items, and Christmas cookies were baked.

I’m slipping.

For the last few years, Christmas seems to take us by surprise.  Now it’s as much of a Christmas tradition to have Mike and I on Amazon at 1AM three days before Christmas chanting, ‘Prime shipping!!  Filter on prime shipping!!”

So.  If you are riding the crazytown train right into Christmas, turnaround and say hi.  We’re sitting one row behind you.

Happily, Amazon does have some seriously amazing options.  We’re talking really and truly special gifts with high levels of Morning-of-Excitement, and even some toy options that were included in this year’s STEM guide (available to newsletter subscribers), but are worth talking about again. (Also check last year’s STEM guide – most of the products featured come with prime shipping options.)  Additionally, I found a few subscription-based gifts perfect for little (or teenage) engineers and artists.

Without further ado….here are a few last-minute gift options that will make it look like you’ve been planning this all along…

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December 19, 2016

Last-Minute Gifts for the Cook


If you follow me on Instagram stories at all (@elletrain) you know I love to cook and bake. My grandmother was an amazing Southern food cook and baked the most delicious desserts. My stepmother is half Italian and has always cooked and baked fabulous holiday treats and special birthday meals. My youngest brother works in the food industry and is an avid fan and tester of all Alton Brown’s recipes. My mom is an incredible cook who has hosted international dinners in her home where she’s researched traditional foods from various countries to serve to complete strangers. (#brave) I think it’s in my blood.

I didn’t use to love to cook, but being surrounded by such wonderful foodies in my life, I had no choice but to take up interest. Once you spend a little time trying out recipes and building your repertoire of kitchen tools you learn the genuine satisfaction that comes with making a delicious meal or treat. I know many of you out there probably share my interest or know someone who does. For you or them, a great kitchen tool is really a priceless gift that will be used again and again.

Here, I’ve tried to gather useful, beautiful kitchen gifts that I would absolutely love to receive this Christmas. They’re also all available with Amazon Prime shipping, so you have time to get them ordered before next weekend. From mixers to cookbooks, there’s a little something here for every price point and every cook.

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December 16, 2016

Foolproof Christmas Gifts For Girls, Guys….and Kids


Happy Holidays, you guys!!!  In honor of the season, Nordstorm asked me if I’d share my favorite gifts for the holidays.  So I did:  I rounded up the best, most foolproof gifts for girls, guys and kids.  Not only is Nordstrom’s selection totally and completely amazing….but their shipping is fast, free, and their return policy unparalleled.

So yeah:  these gifts are good.  And coupled with Nordstrom’s return policy…

Totally and completely foolproof.

I’m beyond excited to share this list with you guys – it’s been a ton of work but it’s a fun one, and (hopefully) has something for everyone.  Enjoy!!


On me (shana):

red headband |Equipment Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater (xs) | jeans | polaroid camera

On Scotti:

gift headband |Equipment Cashmere V-Neck Sweater (xs) | faux-leather leggings (m)

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December 15, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for the Golf and Tech Guy


Okay, let’s play a quick game of The Mom Edit connect the dots: Jonathan, my other half, is the younger bro of Mike, Shana’s hubby. And as Shana can attest, Jonathan is probably the most difficult person in the family to shop for. Where I might say he’s “picky shopper”…he says he’s an “educated shopper.”

Jonathan agonizes and researches every. single. purchase. he makes, down to cutting boards and trash cans. Since there’s no way I can afford the only thing he truly wants this year for Christmas: a $10,000 golf simulator (shock, gasp, faint), I got him to sit down with me and pick out a few slightly more humble (but still kick-ass) gift options.

The theme? Golf and tech.

When I first asked him to help me create a gift guide that other guys might appreciate as well he said, “I’m not sure other guys would want the same stuff as I do,” to which Shana and I replied, “uhhh, I think that’s what most guys want for Christmas,” so without further ado, here is a Jonathan approved Holiday gift guide…

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December 13, 2016

Home & Hosting Gift Guide (Plus Foodie Gifts!)

gift-idea-for host

These are another type of favorite gift to give because I have so much fun picking them out! And maybe buying them for myself! Yep, that’s a box wine cooler you see above. Holiday parties are about to get real fancy around here…I found some delicious gifts for your favorite hostess that has everything and pretty little things for home. Holiday hosting & toasting gift ideas right this way…

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December 12, 2016

Laura’s Gift Guide: For the (Semi) Social Introvert




I like to call myself a social introvert. I love entertaining my friends, but am easily as happy curling up for some Netflix binging. I seriously need half and half in my life. My 60% extrovert 40% introvert self (thanks Meyers-Briggs) constantly battles back and forth between spending time with people or holing up by myself. Just ask my super-extroverted husband and daughter.  So for my gift wish list this year my split-personality came up with gifts for both.

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December 12, 2016

It’s PJ and Loungewear Week: My Favs



Hey there, holiday-loving Mamas!  We’re pretty excited about this week.  This week has been declared PJs & Loungewear Week (by, uh, us),  so every day this week, someone from the TME team will be posting about their favorite loungewear, sweatpants, leggings, or jammies.

I mean….pretty dresses and high heels are great and everything, but WE KNOW WHAT YOU WEAR THE MOST, MAMAS.  WE KNOW.

So.  Whether you are visiting the in-laws for the holidays and just want something cozy and cute to wear in the mornings (without worrying about wardrobe malfunctions), or you need something bright and cheery for Christmas morning photo ops…by the end of the week, consider yourself Shopping. Enabled.

It’s all for the greater good, of course.  Because what makes a better gift than jammies or sweatpants?


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December 11, 2016

12 Gifts For Your Most Stressed Out Friends


This year especially, we can all use a little more comfort and joy as we wrap up a tumultuous 2016. As a hardcore Type-A stress puppy, I feel pretty confident that any of these gifts can bring some moments of zen to your most frazzled friends.

I found the most gorgeously soft blanket, cozy microwaveable(!) slippers, a beefcake “activity book” and more to bring on the good kind of winter chill.

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December 9, 2016

Baby Gifts for the Design-Minded


Lucky me… I got to round up adorable baby gifts! It can sometimes be tricky shopping for the itty bitty ones at the holidays though. You want to get something fun for them, but depending on how tiny they are, they may not be super into toys yet. Sometimes for the littles you’re essentially gifting to the parents, so you want something lovely and cute.

I tried to include a good mix of toys and special items to help ya out this year when shopping for the 0-2 year old loves in your life. Check them out here…

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December 8, 2016

Living The Sweat Life: Gift Ideas and Inspiration




I’m feeling really good these days.  Really, really good.  It’s funny, at my last visit to my Oncologist, I told her I was aging backwards.  Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds, considering that I started chemo as a hot young new mom, and finished months later as a feeble, gray-faced, bald old lady.

At least that how you feel, post-chemo.  The three years since my last treatment have been about me finding myself again.  I’ll never again be that young mom who walked naively into her first (and only) mammogram, but neither am I ready for the fast-forwarding of life that the chemo seems to do.

One thing that has played a major role in my long-term recovery has been Pilates.  During chemo I relied mostly on yoga and running, but at some point – after it was all over – I started to realize how broken my poor body was.  I still had a small diastasis from pregnancy (something I didn’t really have time to address before the cancer nonsense started), and the mastectomy left my shoulders rounded and my chest tight.  I was literally curling up, curling inward, with no core muscles to speak of, and terrible posture that I was unable to correct on my own.  I would see pictures of me taken from the side or from behind and I’d just…cringe.  Something needed to change.

Ultimately, that something was Pilates.  Pilates has been more like physical therapy than a workout.  But unlike physical therapy, there’s no graduation day.  You know you’ve made a major healing step when the workouts get harder.  I spent the first year (at Belly Pilates, if you are on the mainline) rarely working up a sweat.  Instead, it was a frustrating mix of finding (and reconnecting) to my core muscles – including my pelvic floor – trying to figure out how to breathe, and fixing some basic posture problems.  Oddly enough, despite the lack of sweat, my bum and arms never looked better.

Once we moved into Philadelphia, I had to find a new studio.  Pilates is a rather….picky sort of workout.  Most studios require a few private lessons before they allow you into group classes (this philosophy protects both you and the equipment).  I wandered on in to Urban Front Pilates, and was set up for lessons with Sue.  Sue is a mom of three (including twins!!), has a dance background, and could see my “cheats” from a mile away.

She lets me get away with exactly nothing.

As a result of working with Sue once a week, I’ve never felt better.  My core is stronger than it’s ever been (even before kids), Mike refers to my bum as a work of art [snort], and my posture?  Well.  We’re still working on that.  But it’s improved dramatically.

The fact that my guys, Mike and my little ones, have allowed me – no, encouraged me –  to get healthy, to take time (and money, let’s be real) to focus on my own health has been the greatest gift I could ever ask for.  Any mama knows how hard it is to create time and space for yourself, and the fact that they’ve never once made me feel guilty…well.  That’s been everything.  So if there’s one silver lining to All That Cancer Nonsense, it’s that Mike and I have both started making our health a priority.

Now if only we could get his ski boots fixed…..

(BTW – huge thanks for the comments on my earlier article – I’m calling that guy in the Poconos stat.)

Keep reading for some seriously fun pics from my latest Pilates session with Sue, as well as a little round-up of items (for girls and guys) that would not only make perfect gifts, but serve as some serious inspiration to live The Sweat Life in 2017.

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