Practicing self-care with the kids.

One week down! How’s it going!?!  Have you reset yet? I have. But I’ve been thinking about how I want to include my kiddos in this reset mindset. Specifically in the area of self-care…for kids. 

I can hear my mom laughing right now at the thought. Simply because her generation barely acknowledges self-care as a real thing. You just do what you have to do. 

In recent years, I have been re-learning (or learning for the first time) what self-care means. It’s everywhere and I honestly can say that maybe I wasn’t the best at it. 

Correction. I suck at it. But I am trying. Stay with me here. So what do I mean by self-care for kids?

Kids do what they see the people they love do until they know better or different. That’s why I have made it a personal mission to chat with my kids about taking care of their bodies even at this early age. Not long, drawn-out discussions but teachable moments whenever the opportunity presents itself.

For example, Zara loves to linger in the bath every night. She calls it chilling. I used to rush her until I realized how much of our lives is being rushed. Who knew it would take a whole pandemic to slow us down?

So I decided to teach her how to make her baths an experience. Yes, at 7 years old. I’ve taught her to add some oils to her bath and allow her to relax a little longer. Why are we rushing anyway? 

*Full disclosure: We do nighttime baths

I want her to enjoy her “me” time (even at this young age) because hopefully, she will grow up to be an adult who demands it for herself. So instead of needing to re-learn this at 45 like me, she can start learning at 7. This “un-rushing” is even as simple as making sure we all take our time to actually moisturize our skin after a bath/shower. Not just slapping it on and going…but taking time to really nurture your skin. It sounds really hokey but if you think about it, I am sure you can admit that there are some things you rush through also. 

The same goes for my son. Allowing him to play in the water (he has toys galore) instead of hurrying him out will allow him to be accustomed to doing something simple for himself at the end of the day. And yes, he gets the drops of bath oil in his water too. You can find the oil on my Amazon List. 

I’ve also started doing night time family time stretching routines. Sometimes it’s family-friendly yoga but mostly it’s just to stretch. 15 minutes tops. They never fight me about it either. They have even reminded me on a few nights. Now, this is just week one so let’s see if it sticks but so far so good. Small steps. . I tell them the stretches help you to sleep better. We even laugh at each other as we fall and mommy busts her ass…quite often.

We do have the Peleton in our home and they have quite a lot of family-friendly classes ((floor exercises, stretches) that are anywhere between 5-30 minutes. We all enjoy it. I’m hoping we form a habit with this. And if you follow my Instagram stories, you know that my Zavi does NOT play about his workouts. 

January 2021. Forming more intentional habits and bringing the kids along this time. Nothing huge. Right now it’s enjoying bath time and stretching with the family before bed. Who knows how those habits will blossom when they are adults? 

Do you remember any self-care or habits that you learned as a kid that you do to this day?

*Remember to try the bath oil here. If you purchase from the link, I will receive a small commission that helps me continue making free content on this blog.

Zavi’s Cool Kid Loft Room

Who knew that Zavi would get the works when it came to his bedroom makeover!? Thanks to the pandemic, I had the time and some practical reasons to do the most.

So what were we going for? Zavi wanted more of a big boy room to celebrate his 5th birthday, the year of the “Kindergarten Man” so that’s what he got! I knew that I wanted to try my hand at white walls and black trim in his room to give it a new vibe. And in the end, it turned out even more awesome than I anticipated.

Lucky for us, Pardon My Fro, released home bedding this summer and reached out to us to be a major part of the room makeover. We chose the “Oliver” theme from Pardon My Fro, because how could we not! “Oliver” looks just like Zavier!

We threw in some locker furniture in a vibrant blue, a white rug from Homegoods, and new lighting and we had Zavi’s big boy room!

Since he started Kindergarten online, it was important that he had a fun virtual learning space that was still chic enough for me – because I was a whole class mom this year! In the end, we settled on a small desk that he can grow with overtime, acrylic shelves, and an acrylic chair. And I think we hit the mark.

He will be able to grow with all of his furniture but the best part is that the room is fun for him. He calls it the best chill spot in the house and he is so right because even his big sister finds herself in there with her Ipad. It’s kind of like the cool kid loft vibe in the house.  Want me to help you refresh a room in your home? Click here.

Room Details

Wall Decal: Blik Supergraphics

Chair: Crate & Barrel 

Custom Coloring Poster: Coily Encounters

Single Locker Storage: Novogratz @ Kohl’s

End Table: Novogratz on Amazon

Two-Door Accent Cabinet: Novogratz @ Wayfair

Bed: Ikea

Bean Bag: Walmart

Oliver Goodies (Not In Stock): Pardon My Fro

Five Tips To Make Small Yet Impactful Changes To A Room

Quarantine 2020 has turned a lot of us into plant baes, organization gurus, and interior designers. Myself included. It is what it is.

Being forced to live in your home for more than 4 hours at a time has a way of making you realize that you need more plants in your life and more color on your walls. It has a way of turning your trips to Homegoods into mini-vacations and a chance to become the HGTV DIY star you never knew you wanted to be.

In my defense, I’ve always had the “jushing” bug. You know. Where you sit in a room long enough and decide that you need a gallery wall NOW and need to change the bedding to a completely clean, modern vibe.

Some of us went overboard. Some of us found joy in being home and enjoying the home.

 

If that “zhuzhing” bug has been pestering but you are too overwhelmed to start, here are 5 tips to make small yet impactful changes in a room.

  • Replace your throw pillows seasonally. Consider pillow covers instead of buying whole new pillows. Look at places like Etsy or Hobby Lobby.
  • Add plants. Plants bring life into a room. I’m late to this party but now I am a believer. There are so many easy maintenance plants like Snake plants and Pothos. Hint: look at your local grocery store for plants. That’s where all of my plant babies come from. And by the way, I don’t name my plants, I can barely remember my kids’ names.
  • Update the frames on your wall. Take a look at some of your photos on the wall. Could they be updated? Perhaps even a gallery wall? I go to Homegoods and Michael’s for inexpensive frames. Try to get all of the same sizes or at least in the same color family. You can always throw a different color for fun.
  • Use coffee table books/magazines as “shelves” for your plants or even decorative pieces around your home. Differentiating heights can provide visual interest in a home.
  • Turn some of the photos on your phone into art. Enlarge those babies, make them black and white and frame them in the kitchen or hallways. Good photos should not just live on your phone.

Everyone has a different style. Some people love a lot of things and others like a clean and minimal look. I’m somewhere in between. But since we gotta be home anyway, why not enjoy our spaces.

Oh yes, before I forget, change the lighting in that room in your home that just doesn’t feel right or complete. A different light fixture or chandelier might be the thing you are missing!. You will thank me. *runs off*

PS. Need help refreshing your space? I now offer 1:1 consultations to help you work through your next home decor project.

PSS. Soon I’ll be sharing my favorite home styling items on my Amazon Store. Stay tuned!

Home With Reiko Room Refresh

Room Refresh Reveal – Slay Your Vacay Boutique

I’ve been wanting to style a space that was not my own for a while. So when Slay Your Vacay Boutique contacted me to update their store, I jumped!

The boutique offers curated fashion for plus-sized women and is headed by Michelynne Bell – she has an incredible eye for stylish vacation wear! Michelleyne is now offering private shopping appointments to clients so they can shop safely during the pandemic. The refresh needed to take all COVID precautions into consideration.

My job was to step in and take it from just an inventory space to a chic lounge where customers felt comfortable to prioritize their style, even with the craziness going on in the world right now. We all need something to get our minds off it all.

Luck would have it that this space was located in Houston which meant I was also able to go in for a few hours and create a vibe for the Fall Grand which took place on November 1st.

During our virtual consultation, Michelynne gave me a tour of the space and the items she already had.

I took into account the decor items we wanted to rededicate to the new space then create a personalized shopping list of items that needed to be purchased for the refresh.

Here’s a look at the style card created just for Slay Your Vacay Boutique. (Some slides excluded)

On install day, I styled the items with the intention of creating a chic, mature space for the ladies to enjoy while shopping by appointment. I  also wanted to make sure that the inventory was accessible.

One of my favorite moments was creating the gallery wall with black and white photos of plus-sized divas. Michelleyne did her homework perfectly with finding photos and frames and even included a surprise photo of her fabulous stylish mother. Three hours, some nails, some moving around, plants, and rugs and we had the new Slay Your Vacay Boutique. I am so proud of the space. We even created a chic sanitation station upon entry because catching COVID is not sexy or fashionable.

Doing a refresh of your own? Here’s a tip for updating your walls! Go through your phone and find some of your old fave photos and print them in black and white. I usually send to print at my local CVS or Walgreens for 1 hour pick up. Blow them up and don’t be afraid to go big with 8 x 10 or larger prints..and then frame them of course. if you need some help with your space, you can read more about Home With Reiko Room Refreshes now.

 

Introducing The Kids Can Vote Too! Activity Book

Hot off the heels of our Future Voter. Campaign, the kids and I created an activity book called Kids Can Vote Too! It’s a 17-page voting-themed activity book for kids between the ages of 4 years old and 10 years old. It includes a story, 3 activity pages, and 6 coloring pages. Here’s an excerpt from the foreword…

Politics is not my love language. But empowering and preparing my children is near and dear to my heart. As I navigated through 2020 and prepared my family for a pandemic and virtual learning, I searched for literature that centered children in the discussion of voting. When I didn’t see that happening in books or many resources, I was inspired to fill that void. Not just for my children, Zavi and Zara, but for any family looking to raise well informed, future voters.

Kids Can Vote Too! is a print-at-home resource, and I’m really excited to offer it at a one time only launch price of $12.99.  The price goes up on November 4th! (BUY NOW)

*The picture below is for illustration only. This is not a hard copy book. 

Kids Can Vote Too! Activity Book

You can get an additional 10% off when you sign up for my email list. This offer expires, so hurry, hurry!

Because I’m extra like that, I also wanted to celebrate this creative milestone with a hoodie and sweatshirt for the colder months. You can grab a Kids Can Vote Too! hoodie or sweatshirt on Bonfire now for a limited time only. These will not arrive in time for the polls, so buyer beware!

 

How To Prepare For Your Elementary Child To Return To School During A Pandemic

I am the newest inductee of parents who have made the hard decision of sending their children back to school during a full-fledged pandemic. 

There were a number of reasons for this decision but the most outstanding one is that they were simply not thriving at home. The world has also forced me back to work so the idea I suppose is that everyone has to suck it up and get on with it. 

So after making the decision, I had to find ways to make this comfortable for me and for them. 

Here are a few things you can try: 

  1. Be open about the Coronavirus. Explain why it’s important to follow safety protocols. 
  2. Don’t overshare about the Coronavirus because you don’t want them to become consumed by it. 
  3. Talk to them about how important it is for them to take control of their health by washing hands and keeping that mask on at school. 
  4. Do not go into detail about what happens if they are not vigilant with washing hands because that could lead to some compulsive behaviors such as worrying, OCD, depression, etc. 
  5. If you haven’t figured out by now, there is no real way to prepare. That’s why writing a list really isn’t going to help. 

Pray. Do the best YOU can. Make a decision that’s best for you and your family. Wear a mask.  This is not normal to most of us so let’s stop trying to make it normal. There’s a balance of not living life in fear and being too cautious, find a way to a happy medium for your home, and the little ones in it.

PS. Have you heard? The kids and I created a line of t-shirts! It’s called the Future Voter. Campaign and it’s definitely something they have been excited about in the midst of the pandemic and back to school. They’re limited edition, and we are so appreciative of your support! 

Introducing the Future Voter. Campaign with Zavi & Zara

I wish I could wax poetic about current events but I got nothing. So, since I am feeling powerless and hopeless (keeping it real), I thought I would channel the opposite energy into empowering our children.

I have two of my own. They don’t know everything that is going on outside of our home but they are aware. This summer I had to have a real talk with my children about what racial injustice looks like and feels like. It was the week after George Floyd’s death, a former schoolmate, that I had to have the conversation. Specifically about protesting. Because in Houston, there was a lot of protesting happening.

They got it. More than most adults apparently but then there was this nagging teacher feeling haunting me. My years as an educator (20 plus year in the game…another story for another day), but my teacher/mommy spidey senses were tingling.

I kept watching the news and social media (as much as I could stomach) feeling like kids are being left out of the conversation. Nothing is kid centered. And while I’ve since limited my news watching thanks to my anxiety and at the behest of my therapist (get you one of those by the way), that’s how Zavi and Zara’s (my beautiful children) “Future Voter.” campaign was born.

The campaign exists to give my children the language to feel empowered even if they aren’t old enough. Children should not feel like “sitting ducks” waiting for the magical 18th birthday when they can finally do important things.

It’s just a t-shirt.

Yes but it’s the message. Kids believe (to a certain extent) what their parents or families believe. It’s just the law of nature. So if they have the language to empower themselves, chances are they will be excited to put the words into practice when it’s time. I’m a teacher, that’s what I do…find teachable moments. This shitshow of an election…I mean this hotly debated election seems like the perfect time to introduce empowering language to our little ones.
The message is simple. Vote. And until you can legally, rock a t-shirt that says you will. Call it a form of protest.

Or just a really cool shirt.

The Future Voter. Campaign launches officially on Wednesday, October 7th, 2020.

Now, for some housekeeping:

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a t-shirt or mask! We also have onesies in our store.

PS. Presently, all Future Voter. Campaign apparel is supplied through Bonfire.com. Here is an important note about shipping:

“All of the apparel sold on Bonfire is custom made and printed to order, so our fulfillment times may take longer than your average online retailer that has inventory ready to ship. Domestic orders arrive 7-14 business days from the date the Campaign ends, not from the date of purchase. For example, if you ordered on 1/1 and the Campaign ends on 1/10, your order is guaranteed to arrive between 1/22 – 1/31. Specific date ranges will be provided in a confirmation email once an order is complete.”

We have chosen the shortest possible campaign durations in order to limit the waiting time for your items. This is our first launch, and we’ll be adapting as needed in order to provide the best customer experience. Please feel free to pop us an email at hello@reikofoster.com with any customer feedback.

 

The Purge

2020 – No goals. Just more effort. I’ve been trying to do less complaining (which is not my thing) and put more effort into the life I want to curate with myself. I was laying around the first week of January and out of the blue decided to clean out old clothes out of my closet. It wasn’t super random. It was an effort to minimize the amount of laundry I was doing DAILY so that I could reclaim my time! (That never gets old!)

For some reason on a random Tuesday night, I decided at 9 pm that I wanted to go through the clothes that my family of four has either outgrown or honestly just don’t need in an effort to minimize the scale of laundry I was doing. I would spend literally entire weekends washing and folding clothes. What started out as a quick run-through of clothes turned into a 4-day event. I was on a roll. I got rid of t-shirts that I don’t ever wear. (I don’t even like wearing t-shirts so why did I have over 50 of them clogging up my drawers?

Then it became a mission. I purged old sheets, old towels, missing socks, too little clothes, random dolls laying around the house. I couldn’t stop. I needed order. I needed less. The entire time I was purging old pillowcases, sets upon sets of “extra” sheets, I couldn’t figure out why I needed most of it. Why did I have over 60 towels in the house? What started as a revamp of my laundering practices turned into a mission to downsize my personal wardrobe by half and to add visual space to my home.

4 days, 7 donation bags, 4 heavy trash bags later, I finished. I stood in the center of each room and smiled at the closets that are now all perfectly curated and not overstuffed with clothes hanging in between crevices. I peeked into the linen closets which now only held 4 sets of towel sets, (one for each person in the house) and a guest set. There weren’t any bulging sheet sets that were balled up in the corner because there wasn’t any space.

That’s when I realized that I may very well be heading toward the life of a minimalist. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t something that I had been contemplating. It was literally just a feeling. A feeling that there was too much in the way. Literally and metaphorically. And I had to get it out of the way.

It’s been freeing. My house feels lighter. It’s February now and I can honestly say that I don’t regret a single thing that I got rid of during the purge. The more I purged, the more I started to realize that I was holding on to things (maybe from conditioning to have more) so that I can say that I had it “just in case.” Just in case of what though?

This random act of getting rid of things that no longer serve me or my family or legacy wasn’t so random after all. It has really been the catalyst for me to move things out of the way that no longer serve me. In the end, it was all just stuff. Usually, when I have purged in the past, it was always with the mentality to make room for “new” stuff. For some reason, this isn’t that. Will I buy more clothes? Of course. I’m not going all “granola” all of a sudden.

But now when I do buy something, it will be for the purpose of enjoying what I do have and not waiting for something special or an emergency to use it. Have you ever just felt like there’s just too much stuff weighing you down? I would love to hear about it. It can’t be just me.

Oh and that laundry, my new laundry strategy has already allowed me to enjoy an entire weekend without more than 15 minutes of folding. It’s been life-changing. I realized in this process that my thoughts about lifestyle are changing. It’s no longer just about buying that “new thing” or having the latest. It’s about having free time to invest in yourself and your family. That’s the real PLUG! Now let’s see what epiphany the new month brings!