8 Unique Dates For You and Your Teenage Daughter

Author’s Note: It’s been awhile, my friends! A lot has happened in the many months since I last blogged, not the least of which has been to pursue a freelance career. I will periodically share some of my freelance work here on AquaSeventy6. Scroll below to find the original publication. Cheers and enjoy.

8 Unique Dates For You and Your Teenage Daughter

It’s summer. She’s in her room texting her friends, Instagramming selfies or pictures of her sleeping dog. I know this because I’ve been in the living room Instagramming my feet propped on the coffee table with the opening credits of the new season of Orange Is the New Black on in the background.

I knock out of courtesy, pop my head in and ask if she remembers that she has a mom. She smiles, blows me a kiss and asks me to close the door on the way out. Burn. I, too, was a teenager once and wanted very little to do with my mom. Granted, my mom wasn’t nearly as cool and connected as I am, but I get it. As much as I preach to my friends with younger kids about the importance of being a parent first, there is a place deep down in my heart that wants needs her to like me as much as she loves me.

A couple of summers ago, I started planning some strictly mother-daughter activities. Up to that point, I did everything with both of my kids. But, by the time my son started high school, he gladly opted out of our “quick” trips to the mall.

There is something indescribably special about spending one-on-one time with each of your kids. They don’t have to share your attention, and there is way less compromise when choosing activities. Here are eight mother-daughter dates that will get your teen to emerge from her room this summer, bring you closer together and help create long-lasting memories.

1. Pretend Prom Dress Shopping

We pick out an armful of prom/special occasion dresses from the junior’s section of a department store, and I take photos of her wearing each of the gowns (no matter how they look!). We started this when she was 9, and we do it every summer.

2. Binge Watch a TV Show

We love Netflix! We curl up under a blanket on a rainy summer afternoon and stream our favorite shows. This opens up a lot of dialogue on friendships, romantic relationships, parent-child relationships, drugs and sex. TV show suggestions for a teen:Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, The Wonder Years.


3. Read a Book Together

Two summers ago we read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Last summer we read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. If reading aloud isn’t your thing, download the OverDrive app for your smart phone and check out free audiobooks from your local library. We’ve listened to books as a family on road trips such as The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

4. Listen to a Podcast

OK, this is a tricky one, considering the lure of a lot of podcasts is their no-holds-barred format. My daughter is a little older, so we listen to Gilmore Guys. But, she also loves This American Life and TED Radio Hour. There are lots of crafting, science and higher education podcasts available as well. I recommend listening to a couple of episodes of any podcast to be sure it is age-appropriate before introducing it to your daughter.

5. Get Matching Mani/Pedis (Let Her Pick the Color!)

My daughter loves to paint her nails dark, bold colors, while I tend to stick to bright pinks or neutrals. Letting her pick my nail color lets her know that I trust her and value her taste.

6. Cook a Meal Together

I let my daughter choose an interesting recipe from a cookbook or online. Together, we buy the ingredients and prepare the meal. The only rule is that it has to be something she is willing to eat (which means it’s usually some derivative of pizza!)

7. Take Photos of Her in Your Wedding Gown

I did this with my daughter when she was 9. These photos are some of my favorites ever!

8. Start a Mother-Daughter Journal

Meredith and Sophie Jacobs wrote Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms. This is a Q&A, fill-in-the-blank journal with prompts such as: “I often dream about…” and “My biggest regret….” It also has tons of blank space to write about whatever is on your minds. My daughter has opened up so much in this journal, and I feel like I know her better than ever!


I want my daughter to look back at our summers and have specific and lasting memories of me as a young(ish) and agile mom. I want her to think of me with a fondness that carries over into adulthood, to relate to me and to trust me, not only now, but also when she becomes a mom.

I want to be the Lorelai to her Rory (or the Sarah to her Amber.) BFFs 4-ever! A girl can dream right?

© 2015 Yvette Manes, as first published on Scary Mommy.

Thoughts of a SUPER busy person

Author’s Note:  I’m so sorry it’s been so long since my last post. In the previous weeks I’ve attempted so often to sit and write, but after typing a few words I get distracted (squirrel!), usually by a phone call or by a pending chore which swirls around in my head blocking any creative inspiration. Thanks for sticking around.  Enjoy…

I found this cute notepad at Marshall’s last week and knew I had to buy it.

busyYou see, I am totally guilty of playing the “super busy” card.  When someone asks, “How’ve you been?” or “What have you been up to?” my go-to answer is almost always “I’ve been super busy!”

And, it’s true, I am super busy–not super busy saving lives, or super busy running my multi-billion dollar corporation, but super busy nonetheless.

I’m busy because I am a human person with a laundry list (which, in case you were wondering, ALWAYS includes laundry) of things that need to be done regularly and repeatedly. As I’ve grown, made friends, gotten married, bought a house, had children, adopted pets, started my own business, volunteered for a nonprofit and set future goals, that to-do list has naturally grown.

I realize that busyness has become a status symbol. If you’re busy it must mean that your life is full. To be busy equates to working hard, and working hard equates to making money, and having money means that you don’t have to answer to anyone.

For me, and I suspect for other at-home moms, busyness also means that our time is being put to an acceptable amount of use to merit the luxury of not clocking in at a “real” job (because, let’s face it, those of us who work from home don’t have real jobs, right?) For moms who do work outside of the home, being busy means that we know how to balance both work and household responsibilities (because don’t all working moms depend on maids and nannies and get take-out every night?)

Many people liken the opposite of “busyness” as “laziness”. Therefore, if we are not up to our eyeballs in commitments, then we are sitting on the couch eating Cheetos in our pajamas and bing-watching OITNB. If we are the latter, we definitely have the time to volunteer for that committee, host that Jamberry/Thirty-One/DoTerra party, AND take grandma to the eye doctor.

Busyness gives us value. More so, it gives us permission to rest. Busy people are expected–commanded, even–to take some time off.

So, am I really busy or just keeping busy to avoid seeming lazy?  I guess, it’s both. I am legitimately busy. There is never one moment in the day that I don’t have something that NEEDS to get done.  I start on A and work my way to Z, and by the time I’m done, A needs to be done again. But, at the same time, I try to keep busy out of fear that the moment I sit in front of the TV with a bag a Cheetos I will be secretly nominated as next year’s PTA President. 😐

On vacation

Hi friends!  Spring break starts tomorrow afternoon. I have closed the shop and discontinued taking new orders through March 24. I will be spending some much needed time with my family, so any emails/DMs/PMs or new order requests received during this time will be replied to after the shop reopens on March 24.

Thank you for your understanding.

I do plan to continue to post on IG, so if you haven’t already, click the icon on my sidebar and become a follower.

spring break

I’m off to make some family memories!

Hip Baby {Cotton and Fleece Burp Cloths}

Babies, babies, everywhere!

It seems like every few months a new baby is born in my family.  At this moment I am expecting 2 nieces or nephews (or one of each!), and two cousins. A friend just delivered her new baby girl and I have friends all over Facebook and Instagram announcing their surprise pregnancies….apparently 39 is the new 29!  I’d better watch out!

Even though it’s been 12 years since I had my last baby, I can remember clearly the one item I had to have on me at ALL TIMES.  Burp cloths!  I probably went through 5 or 6 burpies everyday.  I always had one (or 4) in my diaper bag, in the carseat, in the stroller, in the bouncy, in the swing, in my purse, on the changing table, in the crib, on my shoulder, and on my nightstand.  Seriously, I had them everywhere!


The last thing I wanted was to mop up baby puke with my tee shirt or sweater sleeve (although that did happen on more than one occasion.)

So when the second family baby boom started (the first was in the year 2000), I wanted to come up with a gift that was practical, useful, cute (and they wouldn’t outgrow in 4 weeks).

Check out my newest Cotton and Fleece Burp Cloths — for the hip baby!

burp7If you’re going to carry around a million burp cloths, why not make them cute??  These burp cloths are made from soft quilting cotton and the softest fleece.  burp2They are machine washable and they roll or fold up easily to fit anywhere.

You can choose from countless prints.  If you don’t see something you like, let me know what you are looking for. I can visit my fabric sources and find the right print for your hip baby.

Burp cloths measure approximately 8″ x 16″.

These burpies have been a hit with the new mommies in my life!  They make a great baby shower or new mommy present and I can even make other layette items to match.

burp5 burp6Click on my Shop tab above to place a custom order, or email me with any questions about prints or customization.

Burp3 Burp1


40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

Today is Ash Wednesday.  I’ve kind of strayed away from Lent over the last few years. I can’t remember the last time I received ashes or gave anything up. I went through some difficult times and reasoned with myself that I had sacrificed enough for one year.

But, today I woke up feeling differently.  I want to actively participate in the Lenten Season again.  Not just by fasting or giving up my favorite treat, but by doing something to better my life and the lives of those around me.

I already actively volunteer with a great charity, so taking on additional volunteer duties would only be a hindrance to my home, work and the charity that depends on the little free time that I do have.

I started researching other ways to challenge myself this Lent and discovered the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge by White House Black Shutters.  This challenge is about removing 40 bags of unwanted, unneeded, unused and unnecessary items from our homes. It’s about decluttering, donating to the less fortunate and making our lives simpler– and it coincides with the 40 days of Lent.


White House Black Shutters has been hosting this challenge since 2011 and has it all broken down for you.  From a printable, to suggestions of where and how to declutter, and even what to do with all the stuff.  This is EXACTLY what I need.

Ash Wednesday is the perfect time to start this challenge! To me, going through my clutter is a reminder of all that God has blessed me with.  To see piles of unused or unwanted items makes my heart ache and that guilt will help me fight the urge to shop impulsively and unnecessarily. To give items to others who need them will make my heart full. To have an orderly home will bring me peace.

It’s a roller coaster of emotions, but in the end, if I complete the challenge, it will make for a happier, healthier home.

Want to join me in the challenge?  Pop on over to White House Black Shutters for all the details!

Missing: Reward!

Saturday I spent the day volunteering at the 3rd Annual A Magic Cure Benefit at the Ritz Ybor (a historic theater built in 1917, which to my contemporaries is best known as the dance club Masquerade from the mid-90s) hosted by Lawrence A. Martucci Benefit Corp.  Many of you may already know that I am the Marketing Chair of this fabulous charity. We are 100% volunteer based and raise money to help fund research on pediatric cancer PREVENTION.  It’s pretty rad.

Somehow, in the 14 hours from set-up, to showtime, to take-down, I lost my MOST FAVORITIST SWEATER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER AND EVER.

MISSINGSWEATERI wasn’t sure that I had even brought it down from the car, but I must have hung it up with my change of clothes in the ladies bathroom and left it there. I contacted the theater, as well as my fellow committee members, and no one has seen my precious missing sweater.  Boo.

The only other thing I can think of is that I dropped it on the way from the parking garage to the theater, in which case a hundred-year-old hobo with 3 teeth is rocking my sweet threads.  I guess that makes me feel a little better.

If you see my missing sweater, please contact me. Your reward is a shout out and a bag of peanut M&Ms.

FULL DISCLAIMER: Missing sweater cost me $3 on clearance at Target.  But– this does not diminish its awesomeness.  In fact, I believe it increases its overall value.

Ikat Pillow Love

I love working with decor weight fabrics.  They are so sturdy and durable…seriously, my favorite stuff!  I got a chance to make some pillow covers this week with some lovely home dec prints and I just wanted to share them with you!


Both of my clients chose these amazing ikat prints!

The multi-color set will brighten up any room! They are perfect for leather couches or a solid red, blue, ecru or gold sofa.

This print would look fabulous as a set of curtain panels or a table runner. ❤

This navy ikat is great for when you want to decorate with a darker hue but would like to give it a little pop!

pillow5-1This print would also make a beautiful set of curtain panels, and thick enough to filter light out of your bedroom.

If you are interested in a custom pillow cover in these or your choice of fabrics, click on the shop tab and send me a message!