Today is my birthday. And nobody celebrates me, quite like me. A couple of days ago I started to compile a list of my favorite things and then ironically I keep getting messages wishing me a happy birthday filled with my favorite things. So, I believe the universe wants me to not only have my favorite things, but also share them with all of you. There are affiliate links in this post and I've marked them with an asterisk.
MY FAVORITE THINGS
Watching my kids play. My single most favorite thing to do is watch my kids play soccer. I'm sure this is no surprise to anyone.
Columbus Crew SC is my number one team. We have season tickets and go to as many games as possible.
Soccer Parenting Association. This website and the work they do and resources they provide for soccer parents has changed my life.
Veo* is my favorite filming platform. You will hear me from time to time make fun of other platforms and that is simply because they are rubbish and Veo is the best.
Sperry Duck Boots* are my favorite for year round wear. Even in the summer when the mornings are cooler and the grass is wet. These boots are my go to. I have two pairs.
H&M Jeans. I love all things H&M but the Mom Comfort Ultra High Ankle Jeans are my absolute favorite jeans ever.
Band Tees: My husband, son and I love live music and we never leave with out hitting up the merch booth. Today, I'm wearing Blink182, yesterday was Billy Joel.
Columbia Embers Long Down Jacket*: I have a couple of long stadium jackets and this one is my favorite one.
OSMD Sweatshirt*: I wear my Ohio Soccer Moms and Dads Apparel every chance I get. Thank you to Soccer Plus for providing the platform for our apparel sales.
Blue Light Glasses*: I spend a lot of time at the computer or on my phone either managing this site or our schedules, or watching cat videos. I have a couple of pairs of these I wear when working.
itherau migraine ice head wrap. This wrap does not require freezing. It uses some sort of science magic to stay cool. It is PERFECT for helping with migraines and dehydration after a day in the sun.
My favorite sunscreen is the e.l.f. SKIN suntouchable*. Its SPF 35 and tinted. Sold at Target and Amazon and I'm sure drug stores.
Jungle Fever Pink Hair Mask. I can't find anywhere online to buy this but I get it from my stylist (Monica) at Cactus Hair Salon in Canal Winchester.
Wigs, Clip-Ins and Halos. If you know me at all or follow my individual page you know I change my look nearly every week. Typically they are temporary changes I pull off with hair pieces. I get all of my pieces for cheap from Amazon*.
Wooden Wick Candle*. If you have never had a wood wick candle I recomend you try it out. If you have any time to sit quietly by yourself this will make the experience 10x better. I get my candles from Kroger but you can get them from Amazon or anywhere really. They make a crackling sound that reminds me of rain. Its the best white noise and with the scent, its an great experience.
Cranberry on Ice is my go to drink. I drink it at home and out, if you are at a party or bar and you don't want to drink but want to have a cocktail in your hand. Cranberry on ice with lime is the easiest and tastiest option.
I love hot drinks. Coffee or tea I prefer both black. But if its Chai - I'll take the latte
Tropical Smoothie is one of my favorite healthy restaurant options. I enjoy it but its great for my kids. Smoothie has so much nutrients in it and it helps them stay hydrated. The sandwiches are great and they have an easy to use rewards app you can even use for delivery.
Panera Bread is my other healthy on the go option. Can always find something fresh and it makes all of my kids happy. They also have an easy to use app. I've mentioned before that the Sip Club is an unbeatable deal for moms on the go.
Spaghetti and Meatballs from LaRosa's is my all time favorite meal. When we lived in Cincinnati they had "Spaghetti-a-plenty" on Monday nights and my mom would take me straight from soccer practice to LaRosa's for Spaghetti every Monday night. It is still my favorite meal.
Black Raspberry & Chip from Graeters is the best ice cream flavore ever invented - if any ice cream companies want to convince me otherwise I'm open to the challenge, but it will be hard to change my mind. In high school my husband and I would buy a pint and sit on the back of his silver Chevy Lumina eating ice cream and just talking.
Karaoke:The only thing more fun than Karaoke with a bunch of friends or strangers is soccer and Disney World. Yes Karaoke is a close 3rd to Soccer and Disney World.
Audible* I have been listening to most of my reading for the past couple of years, just beacause I need to read but don't have the time. I also LOVE podcasts on True Crime, Soccer and Armchair Expert.
IG Reels is my guilty pleasure. Cat videos, little kids doing skill moves and tattoo videos an I become useless for the foreseeable future.
Books: My favorite of all times is Oryx & Crake* by Margaret Atwood (really the entire Mad Adam series is a must read). I just read and enjoyed The Curious Human Knee* by Han Yu. I'm currently reading The Hate You Give* by Angie Thomas.
Disney World. I don't think I have to explain this one but I might be a Disney Adult. If you have never ridden the carousel after dark with a 3 year old, or the tea cups with your 4 year old, or waved goodbye to Mickey with your little girl on your hip or watched your 5 year old meet and hug pluto and not let go right away - then you might not know what I'm talking about. But if you have walked down Main Street USA holding the hand of the love of your life then, you know.
Bowling: I met my husband, when we were in high school, at the bowling alley near our house. I was also on my high school's first ever Varsity Bowling Team (Seton High School, Cincinnati). I am not a good bowler but I really enjoy bowling with my family.
Movies: My favorite movie of all time is McFarland USA* and my second favorite but maybe my actual favorite is UP!* -- It was the first movie I ever took my oldest son to see at the Movie Theater. He was little and didn't sit through the entire movie but now my 5 year old likes to cuddle up with me and watch it over and over.
TV Shows: It took me a long time to come around to it by Ted Lasso is the best and my favorite.
Music is like air. Live music, vinyl records, streaming my favorite and new artists or just catching a glimpse of my kids playing or loving music is magical.
Hilton Properties are my favorite hotel brand. Soccer has made me a platinum member and I haven't found a better rewards program for soccer stays.
Southwest is my favorite airlines. Its affordable, I don't have to pay for bags and if I ever have to cancel or change they make it easy.
Turo is a game changer. I dread renting a car. I would prefer to uber everywhere over renting a car. This year we found Turo carsharing and it has been a game changer. Its easier than going to the rental desks, less expensive and honestly the cars are better.
Matthew Mangine Jr. Foundation / One Shot Foundation is an incredible grassroots nonprofit (Cincinnati/NKY); advocating for safer sports and providing access lifesaving information, training and equipment including CPR and AEDs.
Final Third Foundation is a Columbus based nonprofit connecting the dots in our soccer community. They have done incredible work to make soccer more accessible and soccer players academically more successful with literacy and mentor programs. They are good stewards of their environmental and financial resources and successfully put decision makers in the right rooms together to make real change for soccer players and the community.
Nationwide Children's Hospital has supported our family in countless ways. From emergencies to continued care the Speech Pathology, Neurology, Sports Medicine, Hematology-Oncology, Cardiology, ENT, Audiology, Surgery and Anesthesia have all been amazing.
Epilepsy Foundation provides funding for advocacy, education and research supporting caregivers and those living with Epilepsy.
To celebrate my birthday my husband and kids took me to see "Next Goal Wins" its a super cute and funny movie about the American Samoa mens national team. It has all of the elements of a movie I would like: redemption, underdogs, soccer and an antihero coming to a better understanding of the human condition. Today, my mom and sister took our family out to lunch and this afternoon we are putting up Christmas decorations. This is more or less how I spend every birthday (minus last year when we had an amazing Karaoke party to celebrate my 40th).
I don't know what is harder, getting older or watching my kids get older? A couple of years ago a very wise coach said to me, "You only get 12 years of soccer with your kids, 16 if you are lucky." As my oldest approaches 12th grade, these words are really becoming reality. I AM lucky because I have 4 more players potentially coming up behind him. I hopefully, still have another 12 years of youth soccer ahead of me. But this exercise of looking at my favorite things -- all of which are only my favorite things because of my kids, the amazing people I get to share them with or how they help me experience life and create memories -- was a great way to reflect on what is important.
Thank you to everyone who made this year special and supported Ohio Soccer Moms and Dads and our family.