July 2018 archive

Your Perfect Summer Staycation

We are already in the middle of July, and BOY it is a scorching summer.  Since my daughter started college this past year, she did not have the same spring break as my son. This is normally when we do our big family vacation. This summer hasn’t been a better time to plan on going.  Between Taylor working and my son’s commitments, there is just no time for a family vacation.  So, we decided it was time to plan the perfect summer staycation.

A staycation is when you take a couple days off and vacation at home or do fun things around your own city.  I’m going to give you some ideas of things to do at your home to create the perfect relaxing time no matter where you live.  However if you would like more info on the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, let me know and I can do a post on that.  The one rule you have to remember is you can’t find things to work on at your house.  It is easy to do when you see laundry needing to be done or the grass needing to be cut.  Hold off on the chores until your staycation is over. Seriously, don’t worry!  It will still be there when you’re off vacay.

Perfect summer staycation ideas

Use These amazing Fouta Towels by Crane and Canopy for around your pool. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

During the Day- The best thing to do when the weather is hot like this is to be near a water source.  I have never used our pool more than I have this year. Laying out by the pool is easy with these towels by Crane and Canopy.  The Fouta Towels are light weight, absorbent, and quick drying.  An unique thing about these towels are they are made of 100% Turkish cotton and they have a built in loop where you can hang the towel up after use.  With kids around, having a built in way to hang up towels is a very smart idea.  I bought the blue ones, but they also come in yellow and coral.

Use These amazing Fouta Towels by Crane and Canopy for around your pool. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I also enjoy reading when I have the time. I always take a book on vacation so why not read on your staycation?  I’m currently reading, “When Life Hands You Lululemons.”  It is written by Lauren Weisberger who also wrote, “The Devil Wears Prada.”  It is calming and takes you to new places and experiences.  This one is the perfect summer chick read.  Because you can lose yourself in the book and it’s not too heavy of a topic.  It’s about one of the characters from “The Devil Wears Prada,” Emily Charlton who was Miranda Priestly’s assistant.  She’s now in her 30s and living in LA with her husband.  She gets a call from an old friend in Connecticut.  See was happens as the story takes off from this point.

Use These amazing Fouta Towels by Crane and Canopy for around your pool. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

 In the Evening- Snuggle in with these lightweight quilts by Crane and Canopy.  With this luxurious bedding, you will feel like you are in a hotel and not on a staycation at your own home.  It is a good idea to have a different set of bedding for the winter and the summer.  Plus it’s an amazing opportunity to change up your decor for the seasons.  In the winter, I use more layers and heavier bedding.  In the summer, you definitely want to go with lighter weight fabrics and less layers.  You can still make your summer ensemble look beautiful while being practical at the same time.

This seafoam green chevron stitched pattern, is luxurious and lightweight.  It is 100% premium cotton and is perfect for luxe layering.  It’s silky, smooth softness will give you that chic look you’re going for.  It is 100% naturally breathable and has no toxins.  I love how their shams have the envelope enclosure to give you that tailored look.  To see a combination of their pillows, check out my winter post using the Crane and Canopy bedding with this type of shams.  I love the green, but it comes in many colors.  This may be your favorite way to relax in the evening.

Use this luxurious lightweight summer bedding by Crane and Canopy. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

To check out some of the other colors from this bedding collection go to Crane and Canopy.

Use this luxurious lightweight summer bedding by Crane and Canopy. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Another way to relax is to create a spa-like feel in your bathroom.  You don’t have to go to the hassle of making an appointment, getting dressed, and paying for expensive spa treatments to relax and have glowing skin.  You can do that in your own home with these simple tips. These are the ways you’re going to upgrade your bathroom to a calm, relaxing spa feel.  Start with a clean bathroom.  Prior to your staycation, you want to make sure the tub is clean and there isn’t any clutter to take away from this relaxing experience.  My favorite part of this is using fresh, fluffy towels from Crane and Canopy.  These classic towels are so soft.  They are great for everyday use, but make great towels for a guest bathroom when you have company. They are made from 100% Turkish cotton.  I got the white towels, but they come in grey, taupe, green, lilac, purple, and French blue.

If you're looking for some amazing classic towels, try these from Crane and Canopy. yourstrulyjenn.com

Using the Crane and Canopy classic towels make your spa night very enjoyable. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Here are some other ways to elevate your bathroom to create a relaxing atmosphere.  You can use candles, bath salts, wine, and dim lighting to help you change the mood of the room.  Lighting candles around the room and dimming the lights make the ambience so relaxing and a little romantic.  Using bath bombs or bath salts can really up your spa game.  I love the way these make my skin feel.  I know I will come out feeling relaxed after a bath. Last but not least, having a glass of your favorite drink just tops off the bath.  This is a great time to finish some reading and have a little wine.  If you’re not a reader you could put on a relaxing playlist and just unwind from your day.  Whatever leaves you the most relaxed is key here.

Use Crane and Canopy classic towels in your bathroom for a spa-like retreat. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

When you are refreshed and relaxed you are better for yourself and others.  Hopefully these tips help you think about planning your own staycation.  Check out the Crane and Canopy Classic and Fouta towels if you’re looking for some new items to upgrade your outdoor living area and the bathroom.  Please leave me a comment and let me know where you’re from and what activities you do at your own home. Enjoy your staycation!

Yours Truly,



7 Ways to Stay Connected to your Child at College

When that time comes in August when you drop your child off at college you don’t drive home that night and say “yes, I’m done parenting.”  That first year is a learning curve for you and your child. Trust me when I say your child needs you more than ever their first year. Here are 7 ways you can stay connected to your child while they are at college.

7 Ways to stay connected to your child while they're at college. yourstrulyjenn.com

Whenever there are dorms, apartments, and students you are bound to run into some problems. I have heard many horror stories such as roommate issues, money problems, grades, bed bugs, mold, professors not being fair, not getting the classes you need and oh so much more. Of course you will want them to try to work things out on their own if at all possible. But, there is that ever so important issue of credit that you have spent years getting just the way you want it. So you might want to make sure you check up on things through your child’s 4-6 year endeavor. Yeah I said 4-6 years. It takes the average college student 6 years to get a 4 year degree.  Only 19% of students are finishing in 4 years these days. YIKES!  I am proud to say my daughter made Dean’s List her first year!

7 ways to stay connected with your children while they are in college. Yourstrulyjenn.com

Here are some ways I have found that you can use to contact your child without seeming too pushy or clingy. You want to be able to check in without them thinking you are always spying on them.

  1.  Use facetime to check in. I used to talk to my parents every Sunday when I was in college. We had a set day to talk and kind of check in with each other. You guys can do that too if you want to have a check in day. Of course, we didn’t have facetime back then. I love being able to see each other now. It just feels more personal when you can see the person.
  2. Send care packages on holidays and special occasions. My daughter loves care packages. It really lets them know you care and are thinking of them. Send all their faves in different seasonal themes or color combos.
  3. Give their address to family members so they can write them as well. It is always fun to get cards and letters from family; especially when you’re not expecting it. You might even send a little pizza money every once in a while.
  4. Stay in contact through social media. My kids and I text and have Snapchat streaks going. This is an easy way to send pics and text back and forth with your kids and let them know the little day to day happenings. Plus, just to see a pic of your kid makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy.
  5. Plan to attend Parent’s weekend at least the first year. Plan ahead and make hotel reservations way in advance. The school has lots of events planned and you don’t want your child to be without a parent if at all possible. It is a fun weekend and they usually have a ball game and other on campus fun for all involved.
  6. Plan trips to visit and for your child to come home. It is always good to have something to look forward to on the calendar. If you don’t do this the time will get away from you and your weekends will fill up with other activities.
  7. When you see your child, connect with them like you used to. Go shopping, have a game night, go to the movies, do facials, go to the batting cages, etc… Whatever you did before they went to college will make them feel right at home again when you get back to those same activities.

7 ways to stay connected with your children while they are in college. Yourstrulyjenn.com

I hope these communication tips were helpful.  They helped me when my daughter went to live on campus.  She has an apartment now and that has a whole other set of challenges. But they will get through it just like we did.  The best thing is to communicate as much as possible so you are on the same page.  If you have other ways to communicate please share them below so they can help other families getting ready to go through this in August.

Yours Truly,



Dos and Don’ts of Entertaining

Throwing a party can be so fun if you plan way in advance. If you don’t do that it can be so overwhelming and a total nightmare.  The key is to be organized and to handle the details in stages.  I love having a party planning Notebook for my go to info. I will share mine with you in a couple posts from now so you can see how I organize all my information.  That way I  have easy access to all the info I need in one place.  There are so many things that need to be done for a party, but these are my givens. Here are some standard dos and don’t guidelines that I hold firm for each party I throw.

Dos and Don'ts of Entertaining at your home. www.yourstrulyjenn.com


Iron all your linens ahead of time.

Bring the hostess a gift.

Have food ready to go as the first guests arrive.

Try to have it catered so you can mingle with guests.

Hors d’oeuvres need to be bite sized and easy to handle.

Pay attention to all the small details. They make a difference.

Think about different food options for various foodies (clean eaters, vegans etc…)

Try to have a bartender if you’re serving alcoholic beverages.

keep all your contacts in a party NB so you will be able to skip the middle man when hiring

Dos and Don'ts of Entertaining at your home. www.yourstrulyjenn.com


Don’t serve a recipe for the first time at a party where you’re entertaining guests.

Don’t start preparing the day of the party.  Start way in advance.

Don’t run out of food, ice, plates, or silverware.

Don’t talk to one guest for too long. Try to mingle with all guests so everyone feels special.

Don’t use plastic if possible.  The real thing is so much more elegant.

Don’t put all the food in one area.  It makes getting to food very difficult and people hate long lines.

Don’t try to see the party vision in your mind.  Set up the table designs ahead of time. Then take a picture and the set up on the party day will go super quick. You won’t have a thing to worry about when it gets crazy (and it will) the day of the party.

Dos and Don'ts of Entertaining at your home. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I hope these entertaining party tips were helpful.  I personally love having parties and entertaining at our home.  Some people don’t and that’s fine too.  If you do enjoy it, start out small. As you learn the tricks of the trade you can get bigger and bigger with your guest list and your budget.

Yours Truly,




Must haves for College Freshmen to Pack

Since I have a lot of friends getting ready to send their children off to college for the first time, I will be writing college related posts on Wednesdays in July. So if you have a child leaving in August you might want to check back each Wednesday this month as I will have lots of advice from how to stay in contact with your child, how to prepare your child over the summer  to leave, and some differences between dorm and apartment living. This post will discuss what must haves college freshman should pack.

College freshmen must have dorm checklist for packing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

The time has finally come for your children to gain some independence and step out on their own.  However, things will go a lot smoother if  they start this adventure with a dorm room that is well organized with the essentials. Below is a must have college checklist that will be helpful when shopping and packing.  I hope this list helps.  You should also get a list from your college’s dorm director stating what they can and cannot bring.  Each college is different.  This is the list of things my daughter took to her dorm last year.

College freshmen must have dorm checklist for packing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com


twin sheets
mattress pad
area rug
alarm clock


wash clothes
shower shoes
other make up products
shower caddy
plastic organizer for the bathroom
laundry basket
coins for laundry
toilet bowl cleaner
bathroom cleaner
Shower Curtain

School Supplies

TV/Cable Cord/Power Strip
Desk Lamp
Notebooks and school supplies
flash drive
docking station/chargers


band aids

College freshmen must have dorm checklist for packing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Don’t forget things like prescription medications, retainers, EpiPen, inhalers, topical creams or acne medicines you might take.  These are things you don’t want to be without and are sometimes forgotten last minute.

Going to college is a huge responsibility, but it is also a lot of fun.  For some of you this is your first taste of freedom and a chance to show your parents how well you can do on your own.  The best piece of advice I could give you is to take what your parents have taught you and be the person you’ve always wanted to be.  There are no preconceived stereotypes because no one knows you. So take the confidence you may have lacked in high school and go out there and make friends, study hard, earn great grades, and this just might be the best experience of your life.

Yours Truly,


Ten Habits of A Healthy Marriage

If there was ever a person that was obsessed with shoes it is my son. He loves tennis shoes.  He knows everything about them and when they are dropping new releases.  He keeps all the boxes and takes very good care of them.  Someone that is obsessed with shoes is going to make sure he takes care of them more than someone who isn’t. The same thing goes for a happy marriage. You can work at this with your significant other to have a great marriage. Now of course if you are married to the right person it naturally helps and makes things easier. In honor of my 23rd anniversary on July 8th, I thought I would share 10 habits I feel helps couples have a healthier marriage.  This is what helps us stay balanced between family and work.  I hope they can help you too.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

1. Share in the daily grind. If you take pleasure in your daily activities such as your jobs and raising a family, you will feel like you’re living life in the moment. You are making memories in the everyday happenings of your life.  You can’t just count the lavish vacations and the holidays.  Life with your spouse and family are made up of mainly the everyday occurrences.  Get used to enjoying the small things and make the most of the everyday events that mean so much.  Time really flies and before you know it your children are out of the house and you’re wondering how you spent your time.

2. Have something to look forward to. You could have a monthly group get together that you look forward to such as your supper club, monthly game night etc. Or you could have something a little more in depth like your upcoming retirement, a planned vacation or purchasing a vacation home together on the beach. No matter what the level; have something that you look forward to doing with your spouse. The anticipation of an upcoming event is the best feeling.  That excitement gives you an amazing feeling to hold onto.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

3. Go on date nights. Have set date nights planned out with your spouse. Take turns planning them and try to think about what activities would make the other person happy.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Trying to make the other person feel loved and thought about.

4. Speak your spouse’s love language. One of my favorite books is 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. To see my top ten favorite books you can check that post out here. Take the time to find out your spouse’s love language. It is a quick read and it can help you understand your spouse better to know what makes them feel loved and valued.

5. Play up each other’s strengths. Don’t push each other’s buttons or play on their weaknesses. Lean on your spouse and praise them for what they do well. Everyone likes to be complimented. Raise each other up and tell them when they do good things that make your life easier and better.

6. Put in the commitment. Invest time and effort to your marriage. Spend quality time together. If you travel for work, then make time to spend together when you return. Do whatever it takes to show your spouse that you value him/her and they are your priority.

7. Pursue your passions. Do something for yourself. Don’t lose who you are. Go out with your friends and continue to do your hobbies.  Losing yourself is the worst thing you can do in a marriage.  You want to still be an individual so you can bring something to the table in your marriage.  Be a strong person.  That is probably one of the qualities your spouse loved about you in the first place.

8. Have open communication. Communicating with your spouse can really bring you closer together along with problem solving.  Being able to problem solve is key.  If you can talk and resolve your problems you are set.

9. Be best friends. My husband is my best friend. He is the first one I want to tell good news to and the first person I run to if I have a problem. I truly have the best time with my husband. I want to be with him all the time. Even after 23 years I get excited when he comes home from work and wish he didn’t have to leave in the morning. You should love your spouse a little more than the day before.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

10. Set a good example. My parents set a great example for me as a married couple and I hope I’m setting a good example for my children. We’ve been happily married 23 years and I hope my children will find a spouse that loves them just as much as my husband loves me.

Here are my 10 habits of a happy marriage. 23 years and counting. Yourstrulyjenn.com

If you are engaged or a newlywed congratulations.  I am very excited for you.  Marriage is amazing, but it is not to be taken lightly.  So many people today get caught up in planning this amazing wedding that they forget that a marriage follows that big party. The marriage is what it truly is about. Think about the things that made you fall in love in the first place and start there.

Yours Truly,