BUSY MOMS: How to get more done in less time (GTD technique)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, BUSY MOM TIPS, Daily, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, New Mom Experience, TODDLER

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This is a part of BUSY MOM series of posts.
To see others, click here: BUSY MOM TIPS

All my DM girls have been asking for this post and here it is. I know many of my readers, busy moms, might love this concept too.

I have a post pending on 10 best tips for productivity and time management and a related post about my work out routine, but it all wouldn’t be complete with an in-detail account of my main time management technique, POMODORO.

BUSY MOMS: How to get more done in less time (GTD technique)

{ Glasses c/o David Kind }

Up until recently I have been struggling with fitting everything into a 24 hour day. With all the hobbies and projects, obligations and websites, desires and an active and engaged toddler, it seemed like there was no way to find extra time to be more productive, or accomplish nearly everything on my constantly growing to do list. It turns out there is. Or at least there is a way to make it a little bit more manageable. It’s a several step process most of which I will give away in my 10 Tips for Time Management post, but the biggest concept that turned my life around is right here in this article.

For those unfamiliar with time management and GTD (Get Things Done) concepts, Pomodoro is a technique where you work in increments (pomodoros) and then take a break. Usually it’s 25 minutes of work with a 5 minute break. That’s one pomodoro.  But in reality, you can adjust each pomodoro to be as long as works for you. It seems like a simple concept, but it works fabulously.

In an effort to be even more organized and efficient ( I didn’t think it was possible), I downloaded a pomodoro app to see if I can make it work for me. IMG_3305

At first it seemed counter intuitive. What? I barely have time and now you want me to take a 5 minute break out of my already jam packed schedule? That’s insane.

And then I made a change to it. Instead of actually “taking a break”, I took a break from the activity I was doing (which is the goal in pomodoro). In my eternal chase for efficiency, I HAD to do something useful during the 5 minute breaks.

So the first 5 minute break, I sat there for a few seconds, completely NOT ok with wasting even five minute of my precious time on “rest” or something silly like that. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Rest is subjective, too. I wasn’t going to go surf the Internet when there were so many important things to be done and not enough time to do it all. So after a few seconds of sitting there, lost with what I am to do on this self-imposed break, I think I went and did some personal care: brushed my teeth, washed my face, actually moisturized. All the little things that I need to be doing anyways, but never have time to do. Hmmm, It felt good!

Five minutes went by really fast and I was back to working. This wasn’t so bad. But again, I needed to have a more strict use of my extra 5 minutes to feel good about it. Prioritized use, so to say.

I had  to find something better to do during those 5 minutes. The next five minute break I lay down on the floor to do some exercises. Just because I never get time to exercise.

That’s when it dawned on me.

I could work out during the 5 minute break! Duh!

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{ Glasses c/o David Kind }

Of course!

I had been working out using Fit Star and their 12 minute a day program but I always seemed to prioritize other things over the work outs. Even with only 12 minutes.

It’s well known that it’s beneficial to do short exercises throughout the day to boost your metabolism so it seemed perfect. And it was.

In this new situation I didn’t have a choice. I HAD to take a five minute break and Fit Star had to be it.

I think that’s where it really worked for me. I am a very driven person, I don’t take time to rest or chill out. Not often. I feel BEST when I am busy, working, maximizing every second, getting things done. I become depressed when I feel like my time is wasted on something low on the priorities list. So this was perfect. For the kind of personality that I have, I needed to be FORCED to take a break from the activity I was doing. And that’s exactly what this technique did for me. Just like for a less intense person, the technique will force them to work, rather than do things they want to do.

You are also much less likely to skip out on it because it’s just 5 minutes, no biggie. When I think of a half an hour work out, I’m like “ I just don’t have time or energy for that“. But five minutes? Sure why not.

So fast forward to now and I am obsessed.

What a great way to be productive. The break gives you new energy to tackle your to do list but  too short to be distracting. Five minutes turn into 30-60 by the end of the day depending on how much you work. It’s amazing.
So nowadays after I finish two sets of fit star during my first five minute breaks, I do the 7MWO ( read work out post here), then I do some personal care stuff like shave, do my hair, floss, brush, moisturize, whatever needs to be done. And if I have any breaks left, I clean.

I haven’t tried this concept on days where I’m with Lexi all day, only on my “working ” days but I think it could be applied to those days too with some self discipline.

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As a work at home mom, this concept works really fabulously, especially at nights when I only have 3-4 hours to work after Lexi goes  to bed (if that) and need to maximize every minute of it.

You can use the pomodoro concept and apply it to everything. Define what your main goal is for the purposes of pomodoro for that moment and take 5 minute breaks from it to either do something else or rest.

So in case of SAHMs, the main job would be taking care of kids, so one could spend 25 minutes playing and interacting with them and then say “OK, mommy is going to go do so and so for 5 minutes“. It’s a short break for you to do what you need to do and your kid isn’t upset because you’re back to playing with them before they can say “Mommy!”

Since I am writing about it, I am going to try doing that with Lexi next week. We are out of the house all the time, so it only works if you stay in ( though can probably get adapted for outdoor time), that’s why I haven’t tried it yet on the SAHM side of things. But on the WAHM side, it is life changing.

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{Maxi Dress by Garnet Hill. Check out their Sale of the Day}

After a day of using the Pomodoro technique, I feel like I have had a balanced productive day, rather than a day where I got something done for one aspect of my to-dos, but nothing for others.

In fact, as I am writing this, I have 8 minutes and 45 seconds left on my 5th pomodoro of the day, after which I will have to take a break and  in my case it will be 7MWO, since I completed FitStar today already. Then the next breaks, I will get ready for bed, take a shower, etc etc.

So check out this app. I tried a few and this one is the most pleasant to use.  The app has a ticking timer so you always feel like “Tik tok, work faster! Concentrate!”, as well as a great and easy to use interface. It makes it pleasant to keep track of your pomodoros.

The feeling of being efficient is what gives me the energy to do this, work without a real break. Every day, all day. Knowing that I am getting so much done is the best feeling in the world and is so much better than taking breaks and never feeling like you have enough time or accomplished, and realizing that it’s also balanced makes it so much more rewarding. I still get to chill out when I feel like I need to. usually by Friday, I’m all “Baby, let’s just watch a show tonight and go to bed”. I still get on my computer and work half the time, but I am not chasing productivity at that time and just enjoy unproductive multitasking.

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{ Sunglasses c/o See Saw Seen Eyewear }

Of course, one pomodoro technique isn’t going to help if a person is disorganized to begin with, so that why I am working on a post about 10 time management tips for moms and 10 amazing apps that will make you an efficient mommy machine. These will include everything I have learned and tried in the years of working and the 3 years of being busier than I can ever imagine ( kids do that to you and so do new projects).

I feel I have a really good handle on things now. I spent the last two years trying everything in the world to see if it works, throwing it against the wall till it sticks. This has become my trifecta of productivity. I feel like I spend extra quality time with my daughter and my family, get work done without feeling too behind (though I know I will always BE behind until I find more ways of delegating my work or not take on new things), I take care of myself and my body and that results in  a more relaxed mommy, wife and an individual who isn’t constantly watching the clock and wondering when she can get to do all the things on her to do list, rather than playing with her kids and really being in the moment.

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{Maxi Skirt by Garnet Hill. Check out their Sale of the Day}

Having a more self-sufficient 2 year old rather than a baby is helpful, too, but that’s another story for another time.

NEXT POSTS:

10 time management tips for busy moms

10 amazing apps that will make you an efficient mommy machine.

 

 

Closing Comment Section For a Period of Time

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, EVERYTHING ELSE, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, New Mom Experience, TODDLER

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Hey, guys!

I wanted to give you a heads up that I will be closing comments on the blog for a little bit. It’s not permanent, just during this time when I need to concentrate on things that are really important.

Not that your comments aren’t important- they always are- but THAT really is the biggest problem. I want to and try to respond to most comments that need (or even those that don’t need) a response. That takes a very long time and right now time is a commodity. So I have to pick between posting regularly or responding to comments, since they take about the same amount of time as writing a post does.

Not closing comments and just not responding to them doesn’t work for my personality, I will always WANT to respond. I can’t handle things left open and people thinking I am ignoring them :) Because I never do.

If you have a question that only I can answer and Dr Google is no help, feel free to email me. Otherwise, comments will be back soon.

So again, this is just temporary. I have a ton of posts pre-written or with photos ready, but I need to make a better push to get them out.

I still have to post about:

  • Time management for WAH and SAH moms (I finally got it)
  • How I found a way to squeeze exercising into my day
  • Our favorite books from birth to now
  • Fostering love for Music
  • Personality Typing for Children
  • Disney disney disney
  • More 2nd Birthday posts
  • What I wear to work
  • Awesome products for indoor and outdoor active play
  • Lots of photos
  • Lexitwins and their playdates
  • Cooking with Lexi
  • Girls Days Out
  • Body Image 2 years postpartum
  • About rants about things that annoy me (haha)
  • Some reader questions
  • Favorite Sun and Swim Products
  • Party Planning tips I learned
  • Quick Disney guide for Toddlers ( awesome stuff there)
  • Breastfeeding Past Age 2
  • Flying with a toddler
  • Bilingual Upbringing (and how sucky it is going)
  • Multilingual Apps
  • Apps for Busy Moms
  • How the child Experts were wrong
  • So what do we do all day
  • High chair comparison
  • Best toys for 2 year olds
  • Supermom syndrome
  • more Photography for Mommies
  • Editing Tutorials
  • Some travel posts
  • Sleep post
  • Some awesome products I found
  • (and so much more).

See how this is a problem?

Seriously I have so many ideas and so much to write about. I just need to focus, get rid of distractions and get it done.

In the past month, I’ve been doing everything I can to trim out non-essentials and find ways to be more productive and find more time. I have been somewhat successful in that: delegating, sectioning my time properly, creating a balance and this is another step in getting to where I want to be, which is current. I want to write about things that matter to me now rather than those that mattered 6 months ago, just because I started a post that I never finished.

Everything is work in progress and me navigating writing a blog, running Daily Mom, being a mom to a super energetic toddler (wait till I write about personality typing), along with a few other things is just getting to the point of balance and perfection.

In fact, this is something I want to write about. About this system I created for myself that allows me to shower, brush teeth, exercise, watch shows, read parenting books, work, write, take pictures, edit them, run DM, enjoy my time Lexi, make money- all at the same time. I couldn’t do it before I created this system.

So now I’m in a groove, I am catching up and getting rid of Instagram and now this is a part of a good plan I have. I am slowly getting better and getting to where I want to be.

But I will honestly miss some of your comments. Just hang in here with me until I take yet another attempt to create more hours in a day to catch up, ok?

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This is my life!

 

Painting and Kite Flying with Friends

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO

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Last week I wrote about messy toddler painting on a big canvas.

What followed that painting session was inviting some of our friends over to join us and a sprinkler run that ensued. Pay attention to their faces as they run through the water- priceless!

Then we pulled out a kite and the kids were just amazed! They kept begging for a turn to fly the kite. We try to repeat these golf course gathering at least once a week when schedule allows and everyone is in town.

Enjoy the pictures!

Outdoor Painting

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Daily, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, PRODUCTS

PAINTING

About two months ago, I decided to explore the idea of painting on a bigger canvas than a notepad.

I brought out a big roll of paper, Crayola washable tempera paints with brushes and let Lexi explore it.

Painting on paper quickly got old and she proceeded to color all over her body. She was probably one of the most fun and creative activities that can be done with a toddler. Lexi is usually very active and prefers either doing something physical or reading. Drawing or painting wasn’t something that kept her attention for TOO long.

However taking it outside and making it messy opened a whole new world of possibilities for her. This is the activity we do virtually every day. Sometimes she gets VERY messy, other times she paints on paper, but she always gets some paint on her and around her which makes our patio the perfect place for it.

Because tempera paint isn’t supposed to be used on skin (even though we wash it off almost immediately), I bought the Crayola Finger paint to be used for this activity. It’s not a nice and bright as tempera but it certainly is good enough.

Want to be a part of Daily Mom?

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Daily, EVERYTHING ELSE, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PREGNANCY, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

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As I mentioned earlier on Facebook, we are ready to expand at Daily Mom, which means adding new team members and contributors.

If you read Daily Mom and would like to be a part of it, read on.
If you’ve never heard of it, visit the website and then read on.

Don’t mistake the goofy photos in this post for lack of seriousness. We are fun bunch, but we also take what we do seriously. Photos for this post are from a Daily Mom editors meet in 2013. I never got to post about it so at least sharing some of the photos in this post seemed semi-appropriate :) We value our team and how big Daily Mom has gotten, but we would not have been half the team we are without the humor and the craziness and all the fun we have together online and in real life. Also these are just a few of our team members, as well as some honorary ex-team members. Current staff is slightly different from the pictures below.

Stuff Lexi says…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience

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Right now has got to be the cutest age for talking. I know they get more complex and say even funnier things, but the cuteness probably overloads right at around 2-2.5 year of age.

The things she says blow my mind. The things she understand give me a better appreciation for a child’s growing brain.

It’s hard to know what they are thinking and what they know when they don’t talk. But once that talking box start up, oh my there is no stopping it.

The cutest things here are always said after a nap or in the morning. It’s like a chatterbox. The second her eye open she starts telling me stories: things she saw in her dream (I assume), things she wants to do, things she wants me to do, things she is reminiscing about.

I try my best to remember and then email them to myself when I can. I often forget. We would be at the playground, my phone would be dead, I will try to remember all the funny/cute things she said but by the time we are home, I only remember a few of the sayings.

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So here is what I’ve got from the last week or two.

  • Waking up…
    “I got dinosaur bone in my hand. Oh-oh! Now it’s in my bed”
  • While breastfeeding and choking on breastmilk….
    “Oops choked on mommy’s boobie!”
  • I am looking for a phone because she asked to call daddy…
    “Mama say can’t find phone. Silly momma. Phone is in the offa (office)”
  • Hears our cat meowing while trying to fall asleep…
    “Mama hav to pet kitten. Kitten get happy. “
  • Before bedtime, talking about Lavanila diaper rash cream that we call “butt cream”…
    “Put butt cream on. Make peepee happy”
  • After I come back with a new haircut (without saying anything to her about it)…
    Mommy cut hair. Mommy hair is nice and shiny.” (we were really surprised at the use of the word “shiny” because we have never used it in that capacity and in general it’s not a word we use a lot)
  • Struggling with something…
    “Cant do it now now (right now)! Only mommy can do it” She says that a lot and in such a cute voice, it’s one of my favorite phrases.

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  • Reading Dr Seuss about how borfin goes shlump every night…
    ” Mommy hab to fix shlump like this. Hab to go to one more store to buy borfin. Momma Hab to go store and buy more borfin!!!!”
  • Don’t worry, Momma, I’m doctor. Got to find a band-aid.
  • Lexi “wrote” her first song. At first we thought she was just singing random things, but then the next day she repeated it word for word refining to better sentences. Then the next day she did it again. When finally we realized, she came up with a song. A real song that she can sing over and over again without changing words. It goes like this:
    “I like for car.
    I like for bus.
    I like mommy and daddy and Yaya.
    I like mommy pick up and kiiiiiiiiiiiss heeeeeeeer cheeeeeeeeek”
    She does the last “her cheek” with the sweetest smile on her face. I seriously laugh every time she does it.
  • So after about a week or so singing that song, she came up with new words for it.
    “I like cucumber I like strawberry
    I like water I like milk.
    And mommy too.
    And daddy.
    I like mommy pick me up and and kiss ooooon heeeeeeer cheeeeeeeeeek.”

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  • While riding a bike to the playground…
    “Birdie in the tree fall down. You ok. I gotcha!”
  • Then at the playground, seeing a bird…
    Birdie fly really high up in the sky, looking for food and mommy. Mommy says time to go bedtime. Birdie say no, go paygound.
  • While I am cleaning up, she asks to play. I tell her that I am cleaning up and need to finish. She answers:
    “Mama, you make house really pretty”
  • Seeing our cat run out into the backyard…
    “Kitten you all dirty? Have to clean up.
    First gotta go around….
    Kitten come here. You all dirty. Momma come get kitten – kitten run”
  • When she asks for something we don’t have at home (usually food), we often say “Sweetie, we are out. We will go to the store and buy more”. She quickly caught onto that and is using it every time something is missing…
    “Hab to buy new one. Hab to go to the store to buy new one.”
  • Daniel Tiger has an episode about not giving up and trying until you get better. She really took to this lesson and instead of freaking out when she can’t do something, she now sings “Try Try Try and Try it again. Till you get BETTE..” and then finishes it with “HEEEEER”. Really the song just has “Betteeee-er” in a long note, but she thinks BETTE and HER (-ER) are two different words and sings them that way. It’s so hilarious!
  • I think she was on my phone and it ran out of battery, or maybe she saw my phone lying around and picked it up, I can’t remember for sure. But she starts calling me..
    “Momma, momma!!!” I come over and ask what the matter is. She  says in a singsongy voice “Grown ups come back…” and then adds “And fix my phone”.

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  • So one day, we were out of some food she wanted, I think it was almond milk and when I told her we were out, she ran up to me and exclaimed:
    ” Momma, go to the store!” Then realized her mistake in the fact that daddy usually goes grocery shopping so that he could shop without someone destroying the whole store and mommy stays with Lexi, and she goes to correct herself:
    “No momma, daddy go to the store to buy new one. Only daddy can go to the store.”
  • Early on, she picked up on the song “Old McDonald”, especially words “Something here, something there, something everywhere”. So one day she applied it to boobies, while asking to nurse. She went pinting “Boobie here, boobie there, boobie everywhere” Spreading her arms wide when saying “everywhere”. That in itself was cute enough.
  • Then recently she was asking for Daniel Tiger and I said we didn’t have it or I didn’t know where it was ( I don’t remember why), so she goes pointing:
    “Daniel Tiger here, Daniel Tiger there, Daniel Tiger everywhere!”…then she pauses and announces “Like boobie!”
  • She often details what she wants to do after she wakes up. It usually goes something like this:
    “After nap, go to the gym. After gym, go to new gym. After new gym, go to the lidaberry (library)” and so on and so forth. But the thing is she actually plans it out, tells me exactly where she wants to go. Like I tell her we will be going to the beach after her nap, she will add “After go to the beach, go to the pooo-yo (pool)!” So then I might add “We’ll have to eat first!” So she will amend “After nap, go to eat. After eat, go beach, after beach, go poo-yo”
  • She has been obsessed with traffic lights (“taffa wight”). So every time we ride in the car, she screams out
    “Mommy, got to find a Taffa Wight. Wed means GO, Geen means TOP, Orange means Warning! Momma, Taffa Wight coming up! Hab to find a WED Taffa Wight”
  • Looking at a messy carpet ( crumbs, pieces of paper, cat hair), runs up to the robot vacuum, pointing at it…
    “Momma, have to put on and make vacuum ALL THIS MESS!”

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There are a million more things she says that make me go “Aaaaaawwww” on daily basis. I am hoping to continue writing them down, as this was incredibly amazing to write at this moment. In a few years, I’ll be bawling reading these.

I love my new hair!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, LIFE, PHOTO, Real Life Photos

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This is the FIRST haircut I have been in love with in the last 3 years.
I’ve always been a fan of long blonde hair and yet every few years is go short and sometimes darker.

Last week I went into the salon to cut off my damaged ends and in the spirit of trying new things, convinced my stylist to go dark and short.

Obviously not too dark and not too short but enough to feel new. And with bangs.

For the past few days I’ve been slowly falling even more in love with it. The styling is easy and fun, the bangs help with the accessorizing the face part and the dark color brings out my features and freckles.

These are just the IPhone shots I took while travelling, but I really love how they came out! Something tells me this hair is here to stay… At least until I want something new.

At the beach (photo post)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, PHOTO, TODDLER

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For the next two weeks, I will be mostly posting some photo stories I haven’t had a chance to share. I want to start writing more about our lives accompanied by pictures, but I will start making an effort in a few weeks. Since I will be travelling on and off for the next 2 weeks, I’ll try to mostly queue up photo stories without much writing.

I’ve been DYING to write about the books we read and our whole “reading story” from the beginning, as well as about Lexi’s exposure to music, but these are HUGE posts that take me weeks to assemble.

Also, we are about to roll out something super exciting at Daily Mom, so we are all working hard on that.

Ok, so for today we have photos from two of the beach trips.

The first one with my mom and the second one with my friends who were visiting for Lexi’s Birthday. The second set is taken by MMWorks.

Lexi’s flowery one piece swimsuit is by Submarine Kids

Morning and Evening Bike Rides

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, GET FIT, Health and Fitness, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, TODDLER

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A while ago when Lexi was 1.5 years old, we decided that it was time to start biking as a family. Prior to that time, we weren’t so sure that Lexi would even sit in a bike seat, since getting her to sit in a stroller was pretty challenging as it is.

So after looking around for bike seats, I narrowed it down to one seat that I felt was absolutely perfect for Lexi, Yepp Mini. It was a front facing bike seat made of a softer material and had the potential of actually helping her enjoy the bike ride versus sitting in the back and not seeing much but our backs. It was sort of like using a carrier when she was little- she would absolutely refuse to be back carried or be rear-facing. It had to be front facing at all times. So pretty excited about the prospect of actually being able to go on bike rides with Lexi, we got the seat, installed it and took off for a first ride.

It was PERFECT! I cannot recommend the seat enough! Even though she hated any other mode of transportation, riding a bike was fun for her. She was facing the world and the wind and seeing the sights and it was fast and exciting. I really feel it was the seat that made a huge difference in how she perceives biking.

We Heart Lexis

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, Fashion and Outfits, LIFE

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This morning when my daily Zulily email came through, I saw that they are having a RUUM sale. Being one of my favorite and really inexpensive brands, I thought I would give you guys a heads up and post some pics of the two Lexis in their RUUM outfits for Vday this year. Both the heart sweater and the heart t-shirt are available on zulily for 17.99 and 6.99. Aren’t they cute?