Be the light.



8/31 :: Plan A Spa Day

Over the last three days, we’ve shared with you ideas for spending some time with your daughter over spa-type activities, including Chocolate Facials, Manicures and Nail Art, and Moisturizing Avocado Hair Mask. Put them all together and add a few things to create a spa-type atmosphere, and wah-la… Spa Day. It has been hands down the favorite day for girls who participated in Pearls For Girls Confidence Workshops over the past two summers, and it gave us the opportunity to discuss real beauty with our girls. You can read this, this and this first so that you have some ideas about real beauty to discuss with your girl. DSC_0383 Add aroma therapy candles {my favorites for Spa Day have herbal scents, like lavender, verbena, and especially sage} and new age instrumental music {try Spa Radio and other stations on Pandora} to create the perfect spa atmosphere. DSC_0403
Add cucumber slices to decrease eye puffiness, and clean, moist clothes heated in the microwave to open pores before facials. {Be careful with the heat… warm your wet clothes slowly in the microwave, increasing the time in small increments to be sure not to burn your fingers or nose!} DSC_0405
Encourage her to wear a comfy robe and hold her hair back with a fun elastic or cotton hair band. Don’t forget the fluffy slippers, or flip flops if you are planning for a pedi! DSC_0410
Take turns applying each other’s facials, nail polish and hair mask. Remember that your openness to these activities will give her the freedom to enjoy them, too. Don’t worry if your polish isn’t perfect or your hair mask has too much green goop… none of these treatments are permanent. Criticism and disapproval will destroy her confidence and trust. What matters are the moments you are sharing and the opportunities it gives you to have meaningful conversations with her… moments for you two to connect.



And even if your polish is a bit gloppy, I would encourage you to wear it anyway… Praise her. Let her overhear you praising her efforts, her work, and the time you spent together. This might be the most important part of your time spent together… that she knows you value it, that you are grateful for it, and that you look forward to doing it again.


{our models are all girls who attended our first Confidence Workshop in 2013}



7/31 :: Moisturizing Avocado Hair Mask


Spending an hour or two with your daughter doing activities that interest her is one of the best ways to connect with her. These mini spa treatments are perfect for your tween or teen, and will have the added benefit of making her feel beautiful and pampered. We already showed you how to make a Chocolate Facial and gave you some ideas for Manicures and Nail Art. Today we’ll show you how to make her hair soft and shiny.


Moisturizing Avocado Hair Mask



1  banana
1/2 avocado
2 Tbs honey
1 egg
3 Tbs olive oil

DSC_1553 Drop into blender and mix until fluffy… DSC_1554


DSC_1555 …if not somewhat foamy. DSC_1556  Apply generously, from root to tip {despite the fact that we started from tip and progressed to root}. :) DSC_1558 Twist hair up, and smooth it down on top of your head. DSC_1564 Cover with a plastic bag and let sit for 30-45 mins.

Shampoo twice to cut through the oils; condition and style as usual. Repeat once or twice monthly for smooth, silky hair.



6/31 :: Manicures & Nail Art


image: my own

fun to do with any age… i STILL like to meet my besties over a mani, and i’m like, way old. 😉

search “nail polish ideas” or “nail art” on pinterest for a plethora of ideas… let her choose from your choices to avoid conflicts over appropriateness. you can find tools to help with her manicure like “polish markers”, glitter, sticky patterns, gems, etc at your local big box store or drug store. i bet even the dollar store has fun manicure items.

15 Interesting Nail Ideas

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__12

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__13

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__42

Creative Nail Art Designs for Valentine's Day 2014__25

{images above via pinterest}


have fun!

{and be sure to have nail polish remover on hand!}



5/31 :: Chocolate Facials

connect with your daughter

first of all, connecting over anything chocolate? how could we go wrong?!

connect with your daughter

this is my daughter {left} and her sweet friend, who had spent the night and unwittingly became fair game for a blog post. 😉 the girls found the recipe on pinterest {i traced it back to Gourmande In The Kitchen, and quickly fell in love with her whole site} she describes the ingredients and the benefits of each ingredient, as well has all the how-to’s here.

All Natural DIY Chocolate Face Mask from TidyMom for GourmandeintheKitchen.com

{image : gourmande in the kitchen}

supporting her attempts for an out-of-the-ordinary experience with her friend, helping them gather the ingredients and  work through the {very simple} process, photographing, and helping cleaning up afterwards earned me serious cool-mom points. plus, i am permanently attached to these memories the girls shared.

connect with your daughter

a fun way to connect, for sure.

{plus, did i mention the chocolate??}



not much tops summertime s’mores.

smores3 so when her dad casually said, i wonder if anyone’s ever made a s’mores cake?,  she decided a s’mores cake would be the perfect father’s day surprise. she found the recipe online and we gathered the ingredients and planned an afternoon in the kitchen while he was at work.


though the cake cracked a bit under the weight of the upper layers, and we struggled to keep the layers from sliding off each other, this dense, sweet cake was indeed the perfect surprise.


affirming her idea for this father’s day surprise, helping and encouraging her to plan for it, and spending the afternoon with her baking all served to nurture her self-esteem, but it also provided opportunities for us to connect. she felt encouraged by my support, excited to present her dad with this unexpected, personal surprise, and proud that she made it herself.

what surprises have you helped your daughter pull off?



3/31 :: Attend Her Functions

functioneven if it’s not your thing, even if it’s inconvenient and difficult to schedule, attend her activities as often as you can. i know it’s difficult with all you have to do, and especially with multiple children or with a busy, working spouse, but attending her activities nurtures her self-esteem. it tells her you care enough to make those sacrifices to be there for her. try to alternate with your spouse if you can. having her father present is just as important. in an article addressing dads, lela davidson wrote,

Attending your daughter’s school functions, sporting events, and social activities will make her feel loved. It can help maintain good grades and increase her enjoyment of school. Although she may ignore you at the time, she’s secretly proud to see you watching her.

if it’s still impossible to attend, there are a few things you can do that will still send a message that you wish you were.

|| o n e ||  text her beforehand and express your regret again about not being able to make it. wish her good luck.

|| t w o ||  ask someone to take pictures of her at the event and forward to you. especially if it is a one-time event, ask someone to video record  it for  you, then ask her to sit with you while you watch it so she can tell you about her experience of it.

|| t h r e e ||  if it is a one-time event, like a performance in a concert or play, or a significant birthday, presentation of award, etc, take her shopping to buy a special outfit, shoes, makeup for the event. or take her to have her hair styled or nails done at a time when you can sit there with her and visit.

|| f o u r ||  take her out after the event for dinner or ice cream to celebrate if it’s a one-time event. if it’s an ongoing activity, like a sport, take her out to celebrate a victory. ask her how she did, what suggestions her coach made, if she was successful at something she’s been working on, etc.

|| f i v e ||  make a scrapbook or photo album to commemorate the event or season. display it openly, where guests will see it and perhaps comment on it. or give it to her as a gift {and then ask her if you can keep it on the coffee-table or other highly visible place}.


i have three, very active children, and one busy spouse. attending ALL of their functions ALL of the time was impossible. when we could, we’d attend as a family, bringing both parents and siblings to the event.  but usually, we tag-teamed, with my husband going to one event and me to another. when you do this, though, it’s important to switch with your spouse so that you both get to go to each child’s function at least occasionally.

have you ever found yourself struggling to attend your daughter’s function? what creative resolution did you find? 



2/31 Days :: Pinterest

what, pray tell, could pinterest possibly have to do with connecting with my daughter?


my fifteen year old daughter decided that she needed to go to fashion week in NYC this fall. i believe she understood how outrageous this idea was… but i told her that if she really REALLY wanted to go, she needed to plan it… see how much travel would cost, hotel… find out the dates, and locations, and were there any closer to us… etc. basically, was this idea even feasible.

so she did what any reasonably intelligent woman would do… she got on pinterest. :)  and then shortly thereafter,

i received an invitation to a private board.


sounds swanky, doesn’t it? now, i’m not a fashionista, by any stretch. i don’t spend time on fashion blogs, or perusing fashion magazines… i don’t even look through the catalogs we get in the mail anymore. but her invitation intrigued me. so i joined. she had set up a private “fashion week” board for herself, her girlfriend, and me. her old mom. i can’t even tell you how endearing this was to me… that she would even think about including me, so i started watching the board… noticing what she and her friend were pinning. and then i started pinning. and sending her pins of outfits i that made me think about her… outfits i thought she would like.

Fashion Week

Fashion Week / by Lexi Christopher

58 Pins

it was fun, so fun. eventually, i started playing with my wardrobe… when i get dressed, if i’m particularly proud, i send her a selfie.. to which she usually responds with a compliment, or a suggestion {which i gladly accept}.

this {maybe silly} little thing has actually helped us to connect. it’s given us something to share… on the way to school, we’ll chat about something one of us pinned, or ideas for outfits to make given the clothes we already have, or even current crushy items we’d love to have.

and to be real, it’s not about pinterest.

it’s about finding some common interest to share.


it’s just that pinterest is easy, convenient and free. :) and fun… truly. maybe your daughter isn’t into fashion… what about creating a private art board? a crafting board, particular to a craft she enjoys- and then do those crafts… a travel board, and fill it with exotic, money is no concern, places you dream of visiting…. a fuzzy pet board, and pin adorable pictures of sweet animals… the ideas are limitless. {in fact, let us know if you try it in the comments below and share your idea with all of us.}

of course, you know that you can also use pinterest to find activities to do with your daughter. you can search for specific crafts, activities, or even articles that talk about activities to share with your daughter, or even ways to connect with your daughter. we also have several boards we hope you find useful.






31 Days :: Connect



one thing that we did right in parenting was to seek out the parents of children we liked :) …children who were just a step ahead of ours. we leaned on these parents, asking advise, watched the way they disciplined, the way they interacted. as my children were transitioning from a small private middle school to a large public high school, i asked one such mom, how do you stay connected? how do you keep them talking to you? 

she said,

talk right on through that distant-teenager phase. ask questions. ask open-ended questions. and do it when they are trapped-when they can’t walk away from you, like when you are in the car together.

and so i did.

i asked all sorts of questions. and when they started to show signs of that distant-teenager, i kept on asking. i asked good questions, like how was school today? but wasn’t afraid to regress to down-right silly questions, like who did you sit by at lunch? what did suzy eat? my friend has instructed me that content at that point wasn’t so important.

what was important was keeping the channels of communication open, in any way i could.

recently, my son and i were chatting. actually, he was ribbing me about talking to them all the time, asking those questions after school. and when i asked, do you really think that i cared who you sat by at lunch or what they ate? {clearly, i used this fall-back question a lot :)} he looked shocked. and when i confessed, i did that just to keep us talking to each other when i knew that was the last thing you wanted to do. his expression was priceless.

and then he smiled.

we are close, my family. my children text me randomly, and offer hugs without me making funny faces or begging. my boys will meet me for lunch when i am in their college town {that might have to do more with getting a better meal than sharing time with mom} {just kidding} {well, maybe halvesies} my daughter, the last one still in my nest, shares openly with me. i feel like she talks to me like she talks to her friends. and i love that. but it didn’t just happen. it was a direct consequence of our working to stay connected to them.

so these 31 days in october are actually directed at you, parents of girls, to share with you ways to stay connected with her. {and as always, you know these ideas will work just as well with your sons, and some even with your spouses, as they will with your daughters.} posts will usually be quick and to the point, but we will sometimes offer recipes, tutorials, stories. and we encourage you to share with us here in the comment section, or on our facebook page. look for links to previous posts in this series at the bottom of each post.





you can read last year’s 31 day series Thrive, here.

31 days thrive

you can read my 2011 31 day series, 31 Days To Nurture Her Self-Esteem, here.

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No parent wants to believe it, so it may be really, really hard to see, but its importance cannot be overstated. Determining if your child is a bully is the first step in preventing her bullying, which not only protects her future victims, but also eliminates the negative consequences her bullying will have on her own life.

Bullying is a learned behavior. As a bully bullies, she gets something out of it… a sense of power, control, dominance. And each successful bully experience reinforces that behavior, so the idea that a bully will “outgrow” bullying is ludicrous. In fact, because the act of bullying reinforces itself, the behavior becomes stronger as the person gets older and often leads to hazing, sexual harassment, aggression and cyberbullying. Research shows that bullies harbor an excess of anger, are opinionated and judgmental, and are at greater risk of suicide. Children who develop a pattern of aggression often perpetuate family violence as adults, and their bullying eventually surfaces in dating, family and workplace relationships. In fact, bullying has been considered a “gateway” to criminal behavior, as many child bullies end up in the juvenile justice system or jail.

The first step in preventing your child from bullying is recognizing that he or she may be a bully.

Seeing your child’s behavior as bullying is difficult. It’s a hard idea to swallow in the first place, but also… Child bullies are often charming towards adults. They often display behavior that adults see as confidence, humor, intelligence. It’s especially easy to excuse bullying behavior as leadership when children are young {watch for subsequent article in this mini series, “The Difference Between a Bully and a Leader”}.

Watch how your child treats others.

Monitor your child’s social media and email accounts.

Notice how other children behave around your child. Do they avoid her?

Does she demonstrate empathy towards other, or does she seem to enjoy when others are hurt?



The following are  seven behaviors that may indicate your child is a bully.

She Is Aggressive

Dominance and power are the driving forces of a bully’s behavior. Aggressive or violent behavior is how she achieves dominance and power. Also, does she enjoy teasing others? And does she pick on siblings?

She Blames Others

Does she blame others for her problems and not take responsibility for her own actions?

She Gets Easily Frustrated

Does she have a hard time losing, and does she become easily frustrated when not winning during games?

She Is Overly Competitive

Does she resort to emotional, verbal and physical attacks- a win at all cost attitude – in order to win?

She Is Exclusive With Her Friendship

And is obsessed with social status and popularity. Does she refuse to play or hang out with some kids, calling them “losers” or other derogatory names?  She is demonstrating that her own popularity is her priority.

Her Friends Are Mean

or not nice. Kids often become friends with bullies to maintain their popularity and to avoid being bullied themselves. We tend to take on traits of those we spend time with, so be aware of who your child spends her time.

She Gets In Trouble At School

Often times, bullies get in trouble at school for fighting and acting out in class.


If after observing your child’s behavior and giving thoughtful consideration, you are suspicious {but not sure} that your child is a bully, find a teacher that you trust and schedule an appointment with her to discuss your child’s behavior. She might be able to offer insight about your child and her behavior at school or when not under your watchful eye. She might also be able to make suggestions or give you references for help for your child in your community.


Stand up to bullying

{image courtesy: jssnpcc cssp}

Please join Pearls for Girls for this summer mini series, No Bullies Here. The first post in this series can be found by clicking on the link:

What Is Bullying, and Why Do Bullies Bully?

In our next post we will describe the difference between a leader and a bully. You can read previous posts on bullying from our Thrive series by clicking on the links:

No Bullies Here 

 What’s Really Going On With Our Girls

Girls Don’t Bully… Do They?



Dear Parents

Bullying and The Witness

It Gets Better

You can also read other posts on bullying, which gave rise to Pearls For Girls, on Finding Serendipity.

Self Esteem and Bullying


Self-Esteem and The Bullied

Self-Esteem and The Bully

Self-Esteem and The Witness

How Girls Bully and Suggestions to Stop It




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