Enchanted Mommy

Looking to host a party in 2023? These are America’s best cities to do it.

Moms know hosting a gathering can be an a stressful event. From the prep work, to the actually event, to the cleanup—It’s quite the undertaking. Despite this, many moms host a variety of events for friends and family, like a kid’s birthday party, Christmas, or a summer BBQ. Although you can host a knock out party just about anywhere in the U.S., are some cities better equipped to host than others? What makes a city top-notch for having company?

A recent study found the best U.S. cities for hosting, according to a variety of ranking factors that would make for an ideal hosting experience, from home amenities, hospitable rentals, and event planning resources. In total, 100 cities were analyzed across 16 ranking factors, including catering costs, home square footage, on-street parking, surrounding Airbnb rental availability, internet speeds, crime rates, grocery costs, and more!

According to the study, Charleston, South Carolina is the best U.S. city for hosting an event. With a score of 79,3, the Southern city boasted affordable groceries, a surplus of Superhost and Airbnb Plus rentals for guests, and more. Daytona Beach, Florida (78.8); Fort Myers, Florida (77.1); Greenville, South Carolina, Orlando, Florida (76.7, tie); and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (73.3) round out the top five positions.

“From a surplus of Superhost and Airbnb Plus rentals to groceries priced below the national average cost, Charleston is where rich culture meets southern hospitality – it’s a way of life,” said the company. “As one of the oldest cities in the U.S., Charleston’s history can be felt and seen in any home. Whether you find a gorgeous Federal style home or Victorian single, many homes throughout the city will charm you and your houseguests.”

For a complete list of cities, check out the list.

Why a 7th Birthday Is Special!

Celebrating birthdays with your child or children is only going to get more and more fun over the years. Why? With each birthday and corresponding age, your child is developing their likes, dislikes, opinions, and it’s easier to shower them with events and excitement. They even understand the specialness of a birthday at this point. 

What Makes a 7th So Special

Let’s talk about age seven. The number itself is usually really special – seven is one of those mystical numbers in fairy tales, stories, movies, and lore. It’s also the age when your child is probably making the jump from preschool to grade school. That’s, for sure, something to celebrate, right? 

At this point, the parties are generally longer than an hour or an hour and a half. Guests are often playmates from school, activities, or neighborhood friends. If your little one is celebrating their seventh birthday at school, there’s never a wrong time to bring in cupcakes! 

For your celebration, consider making your child’s seventh birthday party special by planning significant gifts which support the theme of a special seventh. 

  1. Something they want

A great gift is usually something special an individual wants. It’s pleasantly frivolous, typically a toy or an outrageous outfit, accessory, or otherwise. 

  1. Something they need

Did your 7-year-old recently outgrow their soccer cleats and uniform? Did they start a sport you could outfit them in? Gifting your child something they need is a great way to build gratitude, and show them they’ve got the gear to do what it takes for a sport, hobby, or interest. 

  1. Something to read

Is there some book series, set, or universe you can help introduce your child to with books? Or, alternatively, if they’re interested in puzzles, a game-book is a good route to go. 

  1. Something to watch

This one can run the gamut from a video game to a video, a movie to a TV show series. It could be an app you purchase that helps your child learn something, or it could be a more interactive show than the ones running live on streaming services or cable. 

  1. Something they can wear

Whether they’re gifted a party outfit or a new pair of light-up sketchers, something to wear is a great gift for your seven-year-old. Having a new outfit for their party or celebration could be exciting, but it could also be exciting for them to have that pair of sneakers that are just a little too expensive for everyday wear or a costume of their favorite movie character.

  1. Something to play with

Toys are also in the categories of something they want and something to watch, but something to play with is always memorable. Gift sets of ponies, play gardening gear, hot wheels, and more are the type of gifts your seven-year-old will love. Pick a set based on their budding interests.

  1. Something to remember 

At age seven, I received my first cross necklace. It was a special gift and signified a new age of independence, guided by my values and ideas. With that in mind, gifting your child something to remember —  whether it’s an important accessory like a necklace or watch, or instead an event like Monster Jam or Frozen on Ice — is the ultimate way to make an experience a magical memory.

Small Business Saturday: Support Someone’s Childhood Dream

Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers like me to shop small in the wake of big commercial holidays, offering a brick-and-mortar counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It makes shopping for presents for the kids a way to support your community.

If you’ve ever wanted to support a small business with more than just your dollar, you’re not alone. A new survey found that many Americans had childhood dream jobs that would lend themselves perfectly to a small business structure, whether it’s a ghost hunting business, an ice cream truck driver, or a tornado chaser! Big business doesn’t always leave room for the types of big dreams that we hear about from our kids. Unless, of course, they like pretending to work for Apple or Amazon!

According to the study, nearly 60% of people said they still think about their dream job occasionally or often. One small business owner said when they were a kid, they wanted to be a chimpanzee caretaker! The job market for babysitting monkeys isn’t the easiest to get into. Although sometimes I feel like that’s my job as a mom!

As parents, many of us ask our kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Deputy’s research confirmed what I would have suspected — a professional athlete, famous actor, and legendary musician were some of the most popular answers. In actuality, those surveyed grew up to become a history teacher, a salesman, and a deacon, respectively! This is the story for many of us, but it’s not too late to support someone else’s dreams or go after your own.

According to the insights, two-thirds of people said they don’t think it’s too late to chase their dreams and that their dream has changed since they were younger. This is where the rubber meets the road in the aspiration of becoming a small business owner. Many were able to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors only after gaining experience working for someone else. 

For some, owning a business is the dream — and for others, it’s being a mom. Whatever the job may be, participating in Small Business Saturday might at the very least be a  great way to off Thanksgiving dinner. More importantly, it supports the dreams that came true for many of owning a small business that serves its community. Don’t forget to mark Nov 26, 2022, and shop at any nearby stores as you collect your early Christmas presents. You never know— Santa himself may have started off wanting to be a small toy shop owner!

Keeping up a beauty routine as a mom

Between taking the kids to sports, staying on top of homework, cooking dinner, and wearing the many capes we superheroes put on each day, it’s no doubt that our own beauty and self-care can be put on the back burner at times. 

I wanted to know if I was the only one that goes through phases when it comes to my skincare. Of course, sometimes I’m very on top of it, but just like most things, other times life just gets in the way. I found one survey that said 30% of women never miss a day doing their skincare routine. While I strive to be that type of woman, I lean more towards the 70%. Another survey I found said that women said the most neglected parts of their bodies are their back and feet. If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is. So this got me thinking. What tips can I use myself and try to help others so we can start taking care of ourselves?

  1. Make time for yourself

We make time for literally everything else. School, extracurricular activities, PTO meetings, date night, etc. Why not carve out time on a saturday morning or after work for a much needed facial or pedicure?

  1. Your well being is just as important as your loved ones

It’s easy to feel guilty about putting your needs first. “This is time I could be putting towards the family.” “This is time I could be putting into work.” Remember, you can’t give your 100% self unless you feel you are at 100%. Sometimes, a simple night time face mask can rejuvenate you into feeling recharged. 

  1. Treat it as a priority, not a reward

Self-care shouldn’t be looked at as something to reward yourself with after a long day of mommy duty, it should be part of your “task list”. Consider it one of the most relaxing “tasks.”

What to expect when your kids call home

One of the most exciting yet terrifying moments as a parent is when it is time for one of your children to leave the house. Whether they are off to college, the military, or moving away to gain independence; it can be one of the hardest yet proudest moments for parents. 

The good news is that they are only a phone call away. But how much can we expect to hear from them? 

Chicco did a new study about how much Americans call their parents and some of the big questions they might ask. It may come as no surprise that kids will likely call their dads about car problems and home improvement, whereas moms may get questions about cooking and relationships. 

Regardless, there is no guide to how to live on your own. The closest thing to it is a call to your parents.  

So moms, according to this article, here’s what to expect. Mama knows best, as they say, and 32% of Americans turn to their moms for major life decision advice. Another big call to prepare for is cooking advice. 22% of Americans turn to their moms for cooking tips because nothing beats a home-cooked meal made with love. A valuable gift is putting together a small cookbook of your children’s favorite easy recipes. The other big calls to expect are relationship advice and childcare tips. The first time for everything is scary, definitely need some advice from an expert! You may receive occasional questions about financial needs, home care, and laundry.

Now dads, get ready to take your How-To manuals and spreadsheets out. Fatherly advice is extremely helpful and valuable, and 28% of Americans call their dads for major life decisions. The following big calls are home maintenance (24%), car issues (22%), and finances (18.5%). The least expected calls are the parenting and babysitting tips and cooking advice. 

Regardless of what your kids are calling to talk about, whether a real-life problem or to say hello, 68% of Americans call their parents a fair amount—only 62% of parents expect a call. If you have a daughter(s), you can expect calls more often than if you have a son(s). No matter how you put it, parenting comes with challenges, and one important thing to remember is communication.

Just because they may be moving out, it does not mean your role as a parent stops. You have spent 18 years providing all the best life advice to prepare them for the real world. Find ways to communicate with your children while giving them the freedom to navigate their own life and be there for them to fall back on for advice, love, and guidance.

Brunch, please! These are the best cities for your next Sunday Funday.

Ecaterina Tanase

Calling all mommas! The verdict is in: you are required to phone your sitter and call up your girlfriends for a Sunday Funday. 

I know, I know. We all love our children dearly and want to spend our weekends with them. From soccer practice, to playdates, your Saturday and Sundays can be brimming with too many activities for you to take an afternoon for yourself. 

The thing is, moms do deserve time reserved for themselves on those busy Sunday afternoons, and it’s okay to call in some back up while you call up your girlfriends. 

That’s why I wanted to share this list of the best cities for a Sunday Funday to inspire you to take some time, grab some wine, and head out on the town. 

The team at Fashion Nova (you know, that clothing company you’ve probably seen all over social media) recently crunched the numbers on Sunday Funday hotspots across the country. First, they determined what makes the best Sunday, like best cocktails, most brunch spots, and affordability. Then, they weighted each factor on a 50 point scale to determine the best cities for your next Sunday Funday. 

Fashion Nova

So if you are in or near one of these top 10 cities, send this article to your besties so you can explore all of what Sunday has to offer. Your after work hours don’t always have to be so busy, girl! Sometimes we gotta be selfish on a Sunday so we can be refreshed for another busy week giving it all to our kids. 

Have fun! 

Are you one of America’s shopaholics? This new survey may have an answer.

Would you consider yourself a shopaholic mommy? Let’s face it, overspending is so easy to do when you’ve got littles ones to purchase for, and your budget can get a little blurred.

Bella Ella Boutique, an online boutique that sells women’s apparel, recently asked people across the country to disclose their spending habits to determine where people are doing the most shopping. 

After all, the past two years have been stressful for everyone—and retail therapy might be the way some are coping with pandemic blues. “Whether it’s coping with a stressful situation or celebrating an exciting, new opportunity, there’s something extremely empowering about buying a brand new outfit that perfectly matches your aesthetic,” says Bella Ella Boutique. 

To find out which states are spending the most on shopping, the researchers asked over 2100 people to disclose how much they spend annually on clothes and accessories, then compared that to the median annual income in their respective state. 

According to the survey, Louisiana is home to the most shopaholics. The average person spends over 8% of their annual income solely on fashion purchases in the Creole state, which adds up to roughly $2,276 each year reserved for the trendiest clothes. 

Following behind Louisiana at No. 2 is Texas, where residents spend more than 7% of their income on clothes and accessories—Go big or go home! Alabama, Nevada, and Nebraska rounded out the top five. 

Is your state included in the list? You can check out the full report here

Single Mom Seeks Love—and a Co-Parent?

Let’s get real, shall we? Being a single mom is hard work. I’m talking back-pain-at-33 hard work. And don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter! She is kind and curious and never fails to make me laugh—40 pounds of magic with a crooked front tooth and dimples I want to build a home in. 

But sometimes—when we’ve had grilled cheese for dinner yet again because I was too tired to cook after work, or when she’s sick and my cool hand on her fevered forehead doesn’t feel like enough, or when I forget to wash her tiny soccer jersey in time for her to stumble back and forth across a muddy field—I wish I didn’t have to do it alone, that there was someone else to say, “look at what we’re building together.”

Dating, though, seems harder than my hardest day as a mom. I’ve been out of the game for a while, but I’m pretty sure a single mom with stretch marks isn’t anyone’s dream girl. Finding a sitter I can trust to watch my baby girl is next to impossible; I was 15 once, and I know exactly just how many boys “helped me watch the kids” when I scored a neighborhood babysitting job.  And honestly, spending money and precious time on two hours of excruciating small talk with  Brad, Chad, or Kevin just doesn’t rev my engine, if you know what I mean. It all feels next to impossible.

But I found this study on the best cities for single parents looking for love, and y’all, it’s a gold mine. Do you want tips on where you’re most likely to find another single parent for a night on the town? The cities with the most affordable dinners for two? Hourly babysitter rates by city? It’s all there, making dating less of a burden for busy moms and dads. My own hometown of Birmingham, AL is ranked #9, which means I’m getting back out there, stretch marks and all. Ugh, but what will I wear?!  

My 2021 DIY Outdoor Entertainment Space Project

It’s official: Summer is here! And I’m spending way too much time and money trying to get the most vibey back patio in the neighborhood this summer.

It’s my favorite time of the year again. The weather’s warm, the kids are out of school, and the mouth-watering smell of a backyard barbecue is just around the corner. As our first season post-pandemic—or at least, post-vaccine—I’m determined to make this the best summer yet. And that starts with creating the perfect space to bring friends and family together. 

With this in mind, I set my sights on turning the backyard into a beautiful space for entertaining guests. I’ve been slowly adding furniture and outdoor decor to my space, and trying to save money by buying secondhand through Facebook Marketplace. I’ve spent so much time and money making my outdoor space look presentable, it’s crazy! But I recently read that 40% of Americans have spent thousands of dollars landscaping their yards, so at least I’m not alone.

Read on for more on the DIY projects I used to turn my outdoor space into a fun and idyllic gathering place!

The first project that I tackled was a simple, single post pergola. Though easy to assemble, this is a DIY project that will have guests swooning over its graceful appearance and beauty. And even better– it costs a fraction of what pergolas sell for in-stores! You can even use repurposed or reclaimed wood to bring the cost down more. 

The pergola took me a total of three days to complete. I spent two days gathering materials, reading instructions and building the frame. The third day, I took to decorating my new staple piece. I decided to use the pergola as a structure for climbing plants, and took to my local Lowe’s to buy a beautiful morning glory vine. Over time, the vines will overtake the pergola and create a stunning screen for shade and privacy.

Now that I had a gorgeous staple-piece, I switched my focus to seating. My yard already had a patio with several chairs and a table, but I wanted something with a bit more character. So, I built this outdoor bench. I never would have thought that cinder blocks, some wood and fun-colored paint would turn into such a hit, but they sure did! Guests and neighbors alike often ask where they could find such a bench, and the look on their face is priceless when I tell them how easy and affordable it is to do it yourself.

My final addition to the outdoor space was a rustic fire pit. The kids love s’mores– almost as much as us adults do! So, this project was a given. 

These three DIY projects transformed my yard into the perfect space for a summer full of fun, relaxation, good food and many reunions.

How Moms can Achieve a Work/Life Balance During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed virtually all parts of our work lives. Most of us working moms are now working remotely from home, many of us have had to pivot in our projects, and regardless of which industry we are in, personal safety and health take precedent more than ever. However, an all-too-familiar struggle for working moms persists in the fight for a work/life balance. 

The burden to help children and families navigate COVID-19 has disproportionately fallen on working mothers. Research from Syracuse University showed that over 80% of individuals taking time off from work for childcare due to COVID-19 were women. 

We all want the best for our children, but finding the right balance can be frustrating and hard. Disproportionate time away from our work could put us years behind in our professional trajectory.

Still, there are some practices we can all aspire to in order to achieve a work-life balance. 

First, share your goals with those around you.  At home, clearly communicate boundaries to your children, and ask your partner or other family members for help. At work, communicate your increased demands with your team. I was recently surprised to learn that nearly half of business industry workers reported feeling failures in maintaining family relationships due to their work. Still, on the plus side, this means that plenty of people on your work team will be able to empathize with you and work with your hectic schedule. 

Next, it’s important to set yourself up for success. If possible try to set up a space for your remote work separate from where you work as a mother. This will signal to your own brain and to those around you that you are either in work mode or mom mode, not both. 

Finally, take some time for yourself. For me, taking time to workout in the morning before my work has started or my children are awake is the best way to get in a good state of mind. It’s during alone time that I am able to set goals for work/life balance and check in on myself. 

Certainly, finding balance during this difficult time is no easy feat. But, if there’s one group of people who can find a way to juggle it all, it’s working moms. Good luck ladies!