9 Things You'll Miss If You're Not At Moms' Night Out

Moms' Night Out is going to be such a beautiful and epic night. I'm not just saying that, either. I have been working my butt off to make sure that this really is the ultimate girls' night out for moms. And it will be.

You really don't want to miss it.

9 Things You'll Miss if You're Not There
(spoiler: you won't want to miss it!)

1. A Relaxing Evening with Fellow Mamas
Let's get real. All moms need a break from chasing the kiddos around and doing the dishes. I wish I could provide you with a whole week to relax but since I can't, I'm providing you with a few hours of fun times and relaxing vibes.

2. A Delicious Meal
The venue, Commonwealth on Queen, has put together a custom menu that I can't wait to try! The main course is a Maple Cider Chicken over Nutty Herbed Quinoa. Does that not sound crazy delicious?! There's going to be so many other yummy eats that evening, too. 

3. The Chance To Win Awesome Raffle Prizes
Man am I jealous that I can't enter to win the raffle prizes. They are awesome. Just a few of the raffle prizes include:
+ a piece of Stella & Dot Jewelry
+ two Instagram mini frames from Framebridge (they sent me one to display and it's amazing)
+ a box of party supplies from Susty Party
...and more!

4. The Opportunity to Meet Some Awesome Moms
There are 50 tickets for sale so that gives you the chance to meet 49 awesome fellow moms (and me!). You can never have too many friends, right?!

5. The Chance to Brag About Your Kid(s)
A lot of my friends don't have kids yet. So they don't understand why it's so cool that William walked at 8 months or how awesome it is when a new tooth breaks through. We fellow moms understand it all. The good and the bad.

6. Making a Pretty Craft to Take Home
I wanted a fun activity for us to do and I thought that a craft would be the must fun and appealing. I'm still bouncing around ideas for the craft but my favorite idea so far is painting wooden beads and making necklaces. Thoughts?

7. A Chance to Wear Something Other Than Yoga Pants
Dress code for the event is girls' night out. It's your chance to wear that fun party dress that's sitting in the back of your closet or rock those amazing high heels that aren't playground friendly. 

8. The Epic(est) Swag Bags. Ever.
I knew I couldn't just feed you guys, I wanted to give everyone a gift too! Just a few of the swag bag items include:
+ Lancaster Caramels from Hershey's
+ goodies from Terrace Bloom Teas
+ an adorable print I selected for you from my friend Chelcey Tate
+ samples from Weleda
...and more!

9. A Chance to Recharge and Refuel 
No kids allowed. Need I say more?

I can't explain how excited I am for Moms' Night Out. It's going to be such a beautiful and relaxing evening. If you'd like to come, you can head over to Eventbrite to purchase your ticket (which is under $100, most events like this are $100+!). Or for more info and to see a full list of sponsors (which is updated often!), click here.

P.S. Until January 1st, I am offering 20% off MNO tickets! Just use the code HAPPYNEWYEAR at checkout!

The Ultimate Last-Minute Gift Guide with Zazzle

Today I have partnered with Zazzle to provide you with the ULTIMATE last-minute gift guide. No need to dig through the mostly empty store shelves, just hop on your computer and head over to Zazzle. Choose "express shipping" and most products will still get to you by Christmas Eve or just after if you're doing Christmas a few days later with some friends or family. No need to settle, get the perfect last-minute gift for your hard to shop for sibling, that cousin you forgot about, or your bff who is coming to town at the last minute.

Tropical Pineapple Matte iPhone 6 Case
This is the perfect case for that app-obsessed pal. Help them dress up their tech with this adorable case. Zazzle also has a ton of really cool phone cases for pretty much every type of phone out there!

Your fashionable friend will not only love the style of this scarf but also the story behind it.

"It's good to follow your HEART. Zazzle has partnered with LIFE Line in support of their mission to empower Kenyan mothers of special needs children, to be self-sustaining. Each product is handmade in Kenya and product sales directly benefit the Malaika Mums, many of whom have been shunned by society because of their special needs children."

Herb Garden Throw Pillow
I purchased a throw pillow from Zazzle not too long ago and I love it. Get your garden loving pal this beautiful throw pillow for their loving room. It's even perfect for your friend who doesn't have a green thumb, it will go with any eclectic/vintage styled home.

Outlet Prank Stickers
When you saw the collage, you were probably like, "Abby, you're going crazy. Why would an outlet cover make an awesome Christmas gift?" Ha! I pranked you with prank stickers! It's like a double prank.

Diamond SIGG Travel Water Bottle
SIGG water bottles are sturdy and great for traveling or adventuring (is that a word?). And the diamond design on this bottle makes it perfect for your pal who also appreciates diamonds.

Macaroni and Cheese Apron
How could I not put this on the list? I mean it's the funniest and cutest thing ever. It's perfect for the foodie in your life! Or for me if anyone wants to buy it for me.....

Awesome-Sauce Mug
This mug is....well, awesome-sauce. It's adorable and funny at the same time! It's perfect for the bff whose catchphrase is "awesome-sauce!"

Enchanted World Map
How cute is this poster?? It's perfect for the little princess in your life (or for your friend who is having a little girl in 2016!). Or if you want it for yourself, no judgement here.

Take a look around Zazzle and let me know which products you love! Be sure to check out their awesome last-minute gift sales!

*This post was sponsored by Zazzle. I was compensated for this blog post, all opinions, as usual, are my own.

Inspirers | Sara Berkes

This is part of my Inspirers series, interviews with women who are inspiring and rocking what they are doing! For more information on the series, click here. Be sure to add Little City Adventures to your Bloglovin' feed so you don't miss any of the Inspirers interviews.

You guessed it, Sara is another awesome boss I met through the Being Boss Facebook group. See? It's an awesome group! Sara is a fantastic graphic designer and overall cool lady. This interview is great for all creative entrepreneurs but especially for those in the design fields. Head on over to her site and send her some love!

Q1: Tell us a little bit about your blog/brand/business.

I'm Sara. I'm a whiskey drinking, cat loving, fabric hoarding, clothes making, Canadian graphic designer and design strategist. I work with small business owners with big ideas, helping you make the visual experiences your prospects and clients have with your businesses absolutely amazing—because amazing experiences are memorable ones, and clients and prospects who remember you? Will buy from you. When I'm not designing or strategizing, I can be found reading way too many books at once, watching endless amounts of cat (and other cute animal) videos, doing yoga, or sewing up a clothing storm.

Q2: What can we find when we visit your website/blog?

When you visit my website, you can find information on what I do and who I do it for, case studies on work I've done for clients, and an email opt-in for something educational, actionable, useful, and FREE that I'll be launching within the next few months.

Q3: What does your normal workday look like?

I hate when people answer this way, but it's true: no day is the same. My favourite days though, look like waking up around 9:30 (I am pretty much useless before this time), checking my email and social media in bed for a spell, heading to a solid yoga flow or blend class, coming home and cooking up a massive brunch (given it's usually 12 by the time I'm home and if I don't eat enough I get mega hangry), and then tackling some creative client work. On my favourite day, I'd be finishing up work around 6, answering any emails that have come through, and making my to-do list for the next day. Then I'd make a good dinner and get down to some sewing or socializing with friends in the evening. Before bed, I'd pull out one of my many books on the go, eventually hitting the hay round 11:30.

Q4: How would you describe the process you go through when working with clients?

Very process-heavy (if a process-heavy process makes any sense). I'm always tweaking, but in general, I've found a pretty solid method that gets me and my clients the results we need the majority of the time. It's step-by-step, it's collaborative, and it involves plenty of research.

Q5: What is your education background and how do you (or don't you) use it in your job today?

I have a BA with Honours in English and Creative Writing and an AA in Graphic Design / Branding. I use all my education in my work—in my life, really. Going through the process of a BA taught me to do research, to communicate effectively, to edit, and edit again, and edit again. It also taught me how to present my ideas clearly, and how to approach multiple viewpoints and opinions. In my AA degree, I learned the ins and outs of design theory, design history, and the technicalities of design. I learned the terms, the programs, and how to take a lot of criticism, over and over again. Having my BA going into my design program was invaluable—and the skills I already had in editing, and communication, and research, and presenting, and approaching differing opinions definitely helped me to become a good designer.

Q6: Where do you find design inspiration?

All over the place! I have plenty of books, I see great graphic design out and about in my life, I love Pinterest and Instagram, and I find I'm often inspired by other areas and disciplines: nature, architecture, fashion, textiles, science... everything out there is inspiration.

Q7: How do you decide which projects to say yes to and which projects to work with?

Part of it is whether the clients in question have the budget I require and the kind of project I actually work on and have the skills to complete; part of it is whether their aesthetic taste matches my aesthetic values; and part of it is a gut feeling when we communicate. Any time I've ignored that gut feeling that a client and I are just speaking a language a point or two off from one another, I've regretted it. Communication is so, so important when working with someone as closely as I work with my clients, and if we just can't understand one another, the experience will be awful for both of us.

Q8: Do you find it more difficult to design for your own brand vs. for clients?

Absolutely. I find I look at my clients businesses and brands objectively—I'm a third party observer, I'm not tied up in the emotions and history of their brand and business the way they are. And those emotions and history often get in the way of looking at things from the perspective of an audience, objective values, and functional design. And I've struggled with my own brand time and again trying to step away and be objective instead of tying so much of myself into it—I still haven't mastered it for myself. I don't know if I ever will because I'll always be coming at it from the experience of being in it.

Q9: What tips do you have for new creative entrepreneurs? What items do they need for their brand?

Get to know your audience. The visual identity of your business isn't about you—it's about them. Sometimes you and them overlap—this is often the case with personal brands. But sometimes? You completely don't. And it's important to know which camp you fall into. Because if you don't know, and you design for the wrong camp, you'll struggle with connecting with your audience.

If you can, along with hiring a designer, hire a copywriter, or take a class in copywriting, or at the least get yourself a copyeditor so everything reads correctly. Professional photography goes a very long way—it's worth it. If you don't know anything about marketing, learn something. A brand is not just design—it's everything holistically working together to build a perception of what your business values and who it exists for in the eyes of your audience. Design is just a facet of that. It's an important one, but it's not the only one.

Click To Tweet: "Check out @SaraBerke's tips for new creative entrepreneurs & more! via @abbybarstow."

Q10: What are you currently working? Any fun new projects you can tell us about?

The full website reveal for one of my favourite clients, Ayurvedic Yoga Coach and Vedic Astrologer Danielle Bertoia recently went live, and it's one of my favourite projects to date. She's a dream to work with, and so much fun to design for. We're currently working on the materials for her signature DIY program Learn Your Light, and I can honestly say (because one of the sweet benefits of being a designer is you get to read all the course materials ahead of time) she packs an unbelievable amount of value into the materials. If you're at all interested in the world of Ayurveda, you should hop on the list to be notified when it launches.

For more from Sara, follow her on social media:

Moms' Night Out Tickets On Sale + A Giveaway!

Tickets are currently on sale for my epic Moms' Night Out event. In case you haven't read my nine thousand social media posts about the event, Moms' Night Out (MNO) is going to be a beautiful and relaxing evening out for mamas. Basically, it's the ultimate girls' night out but for moms. 

The event on Saturday, February 6, 2016, from 6:30-9pm and will take place at Commonwealth on Queen in Lancaster City, PA. It will include:

+ a delicious plated dinner
+ a fun craft
+ a photo area
+ tons of raffle prizes (each one is worth a minimum of $30, most items are worth way more)
+ EPIC swag bags (worth over $100)
+ a dessert buffet
+ and networking with fellow moms

To learn more about the event sponsors, click here.

Tickets cost $87 and just the swag bags alone are worth more than that. It's such a good deal, you guys.

But I also know that $87 is a lot of money. So if you really  want to come, but you're not sure that it's in your budget, I am giving away TWO tickets to MNO. That's one ticket for you and one for your bestie! It's a perfect Christmas gift! The giveaway runs from today through December 12th, so you'd know if you've won before Christmas and whether or not you need to buy your bff a Christmas gift. Be sure to come back to the giveaway every day it's running because a few of the entry options can be done once each day! 

Good luck! I can't wait to meet you at Moms' Night Out!

If you're too excited to wait, you can go ahead and purchase your ticket here.

Recipe | Coconut Date Nut Cookies

The cookie version of the usually mess Coconut Date-Nut Ball, a perfect Christmas treat!  http://www.littlecityadventures.com/2015/11/recipe-coconut-date-nut-cookies.html

When I worked at the bakery, before having William, my boss would have us make coconut date-nut balls. I rolled so many of those in shredded coconut, I can still feel the stickiness on my hands. I wanted to create a less messy version so instead of no-bake cookie balls, we have beautiful baked cookies.

If you want some more Christmas ideas, you should totally check out my

Christmas Planning Guide

. It even comes with a free workbook which has links to some of my favorite cookie recipes.

If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to take a photo of your version using #littlecitykitchen or #littlecitychristmas so I can check them out!

I almost forget to mention, my grandma told me again the other day, "Those Coconut Cookies you made are THE BEST cookies that I have EVER had!!!"

Coconut Date Nut Cookie