Dope Mom Style: Melissa Matthews


I’m Melissa-Wife, Mom and Travel Enthusiast!  Born on the beautiful island of Jamaica, and currently residing in the Garden State, New Jersey with my loving husband and beautiful daughter. I like to think that I have a superpower, a “Jill of all trades” so to speak. I’m a go-getter, will not accept a no for an answer, must work my way to the top kind of girl. To say that I’m a fan of positive vibrations is an understatement. I love to stay close to people that feel like sunshine and I’m inspired by love. I work for one of the countries top financial services firm, in Investment Banking. When I’m not making financial decisions, I let my creative side thrive through my many business ventures. I own and operate a boutique event planning company, Mpression Events. In addition, I’ve recently launched a YouTube channel for my family where we focus on travel and the Arts, giving love and light with every photo we post. 


To learn more about my family and our adventures be sure to check us out on Instagram + YouTube:www.instagram.com/makingitwiththematthewsYouTube- https://youtu.be/LAA99oXWykE

 

1. How would u describe your style?

Eclectic! That’s the one word that describes my personal style. I love to have fun with pieces that at first glance doesn’t seem to pair well together. The textures, the colors, and even patterns all gets me excited for creating a unique look. 


2. Has your style changed since becoming a mom?

Becoming a mom has certainly changed the way in which I dress and yes, ultimately my style. Pre-baby, my style was more glam than eclectic. Once I started my journey in motherhood, I found that comfort was the aim, so I started to get creative with simple but colorful pieces that would allow me to feel good but comfortable enough to handle a busy baby/toddler. 

So my new style was born out of the necessity to get dressed in 10 minutes or less because we’re running late for an appointment or because I didn’t have the time to purchase something new for an event but wanted to have an original look. 



3. What is your go-to mom uniform?

I never thought I would say this but, I simply can’t live without a pair of yoga pants, paired with a matching top. I have them in a wide assortment of style and colors for easy switch up. They are super trendy and comfortable, which is a major key for a mommy on the go. 


4. I know you and your family love to travel, do your adventures inspire your style?

In preparation for our travel adventures, we consider WHO, WHAT and WEAR! Yes, you read that right. We actually discuss what the general style climate of the destination is and we plan outfits from there. Sometimes I include a little family matching, which is always so much fun to do.

5. If you could give advice to any mom or mom to be about achieving and keeping great style what would it be?

It’s important to be your authentic self. Style comes from within and when you choose your outfits; whether they are on trend or not your aim is to feel BOLD, BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL. 

As I tell my little one, Choose what makes YOU happy and feel the most beautiful and comfortable. When I find that she is getting upset about an outfit choice, I take a step back and I ask her this question, “ what is making you upset about the outfit of choice?” If her answer proves that I am limiting her creative expression through fashion, I allow her to chose        
                                         something else that will make her feel powerful - And so should you Mom!

It’s all about choosing pieces that make you feel good while ensuring that you present yourself in the best light. 

Xo,

Melissa







The Great Adventures Of Da Bratt Pack: Earth Day Jacksonville 2018



This past weekend we got to celebrate Earth Day at The Jacksonville Landing during their 28th annual Earth Day celebration and it was a blast! Educational, fun and best of all FREE it was the perfect way to spend our Saturday as a family. Yes, you read that correctly this was a free event! Filled with educational booths, arts, and crafts, and even some amazing local shops there was something there for everyone.


The celebration included:

*Local businesses 

*FREE Kid Zone
*Kid's Entertainment 
*A Walking Tour
*Riverfront Dining


  


I'd have to say Lennox favorite part of the event had to be the arts and crafts hands down. I'm unsure if it was her love of the arts or her obsession with that shark song on kids YouTube but being able to decorate her own shark made her day.


  


Aya got her hands on the cutest and yummiest looking sweet treat bath and body products from Sweet Chrisit's. I had to opportunity to meet the amazingly talented young creator and chat it up with her incredibly sweet mom. Dope people creating dope products. You can check out their Instagram Sweet Christi's



King was all about hanging out by the water with dad he loves the beautiful relaxing view of the St Johns River. He also had a good time jumping in the bounce house that was located in the kid zone. Oh, and I can't leave out his favorite part of it all eating some famous coastal cookies.



 

They received some pretty good freebies as well. Aya and Lennox both have two new little plants to add to their collection...fingers crossed mom and dad can help keep these ones alive. The weather was dim and rainy but the smiles on their faces brighten our day. This Earth Day event is held annually so if you didn't make it out this year keep an eye out next year, you don't want to miss it!     



Children's Spring Looks From Old Navy



IT'S FINALLY SPRING!...OR NAH 

Ok, so one thing that is for sure.. 

everyone is experiencing some crazy weather at the moment. 
Whether you are currently basking in beautiful Spring climate 
or not so patiently waiting for it to arrive 
my girl Porsha from PorshaCarrBlog and I got you covered. 
We've collaborated to inspire you all with 6 Spring outfit ideas for the mini fashion killas in your life. 
We picked three looks each to share with you and they are all from one of our favorite places to shop, Old Navy.
 I mean isn't Old Navy on most moms top places to shop list? 
If not it will be after this. 
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 click the links and shop the look below


You really can't go wrong with this first look. When shopping for my oldest daughter I'm always looking for classic pieces with a twist. A t-shirt, denim shorts, and sneakers it doesn't get more classic than that. It's the cold-shoulders on the tee and bright embroidered graphics on the shorts that really make this outfit pop. Complete the look with these bright fashionable sunnies and rainbow sneakers because let's be honest accessories make every look that much better.





click the links and shop the look below


The key to starting my toddler daughter looks with any season is not so basic basics. This spring we stocked up on brightly colors biker shorts and matching tees. Cute, comfy, and stylish these little outfits are effortlessly perfect. I paired this matchy-matchy tee and biker short look with an adorable lemon circle bag for added color and crisp white slip-on sneakers. There is just something about white sneakers when the weather warms up that I love. The fact that they are slip-on is a plus! She's not in an age where we are practicing tying her shoe so the slip-on is comfy for her and less work for me. Let's be honest who wants to stop to tie toddler shoes every five minutes?






click the link to shop the look below


This last look, like the others, is pretty simple with classic pieces. My son has autism so when creating his looks comfort is key. Lucky for us we don't have to sacrifice comfort for style when shopping at Old Navy. Our son pretty much lives in t-shirts so this color block henley shirt is a great option for when we want to change it up a bit but not too much. Add elasticized rib-knit waistband with adjustable drawstring denim shorts, flip-flops, and aviators and you have a completely stylish yet comfortable spring look.
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Hi guys!
happy spring! spring is here and the weather is getting warmer! with warmer weather comes warmer clothing. With that said I am super excited today to bring you all 6 favorite looks for your little's for the spring season! I am even more excited that I have collaborated with one of my favorite mommy bloggers to do so. My girl Sharnique of The Dope Mom blog. The two of us have each chosen 3 of our favorite looks from Old Navy that we love. We hope you guys enjoy these looks!




 
This has got to be my favorite outfit on my list. Not only does it scream Spring but it also screams summer time too! I am totally digging the watermelon vibes. I think I might actually go grab this for Ivy. The little purse is a great accessory for bigger girls too. Click the links & shop the look below.
ShirtShortsFlip flopshandbag


I love this little look! It's so perfect for baby girls. The green and yellow floral just makes me want all the flowers. Topping it off with a flower head band & the adorable little gladiator sandals (which I need in my size) there is no going wrong with this spring fit. Click the links & shop the look below.




Now this was totally out of the norm for me. Hello! I am a girl mom I don't shop for boys. But I had fun with this nonetheless. I think any little boy would stay cool in the spring wearing this one. Very cute and super easy to rough house in. Click the links below to shop the look.



Hope You Guys Found Something You Like 

Or Something That Inspired You 

To Get Those Little Cuties Spring Ready In Their
 Old Navy Swag


Sensory Friendly Kids Clothing Ideas From Target



Shout out to all my fellow Target loving mamas! This one is for us, and if Target isn't your thing it should be after you read this. I have always loved Target, I mean how can you not? Great quality for amazing prices, you really can't go wrong. I will admit my love for Target didn't become a borderline obsession until after I became a mother. This one-stop shop carries the best brands for little ones, Cat & Jack being one of my favorites for more reasons than one. Yes, they have the cutest styles for pocket-friendly prices but they also knocked it out the park with their Design For All Adaptive Clothing Collection. What is Design for all adaptive collections you ask? An inclusive line for children with sensory issues or physical disabilities. With their comfy designs featuring no tags and flat seams, this is an autism mom's dream come true. Well, at lease this autism mom's dream come true! 

When talking about shopping for my kids most assume King, my autistic son, "don't care" and "he will wear anything". I don't know if it is because my daughters are overly opinionated and he is more laid back but this statement couldn't be less true. While he doesn't care about brands or trends, he is extremely vocal about how pieces feel. Tags and seams may not seem like that big of a deal to most but these so-called small things can turn a good morning into a full-on shit show. I've literately had to turn around and go back home because of a tag in his shirt while pulling up to his school. I know what you're thinking, just cut them out, nope not good enough he can still feel the remains of that damn tag. 

I'm going to share with you eight dope pieces you can add to your child's wardrobe from Cat & Jack's adaptive clothing collection. Don't have a sensory sensitive kid? No worries these looks can work for any child. Raising three of them on different ends of the spectrum one thing remains the same you can't go wrong with a cute comfy outfit!


click the links to shop the pieces below


1. Stripe Tankini Swim Top- This tag-less rash guard swim top is absolutely adorable with it's classic stripe design and comfy for some fun in the sun!

2. Skinny Light Wash Denim- Made out of a breathable and stretchy cotton blend material your little girl doesn't have to sacrifice style for comfort. I love the hidden wider leg openings and the elastic waistband that makes getting ready so much easier. 

3. Short Sleeve Girl Pack Graphic T-Shirt- This tee is definitely a win with its positive message and the tag-less, flat seam designs perfect to prevent any uncomfortable rubbing!

4. Swim Briefs- I mean I couldn't share the tankini without sharing the bottoms. Like everything else in this collection, these swim briefs are tags with flat seams providing great comfort. Your little one will also be protected from the sun with the UPF design. 


click the links to shop the pieces below 


5. Bodysuit- This ultra-soft cotton blend tagless bodysuit with flat seams makes for the perfect comfortable toddler staple. 

6. Swim Trunks- These colorblock swim trunks are just so dope. The adjustable elestics waistline makes finding the perfect fit a breeze while the functional fly makes it easy for him to get dress.  

7. Knit Dark Wash Denim Jogger Pants- These joggers may be my favorite pieces in the entire collection. Trendy, and comfy my son can still get that denim look even when he is just not having it with the feel of jeans that day. Oh, and the adjustable waistband makes getting dress so much easier for him. 

8. Short Sleeve Polo Shirt- Ok so maybe a lied this polo shirt may be my favorite piece sorry joggers! The pastel colors make for the perfect spring look while the hidden snaps allow him to dress with ease!




    

4 Children's Books About Autism


As many of you already know I am the mother of a handsome highly intelligent, extremely handsome, dope son who also has autism. Being that it is Autism Acceptance month I wanted to share with you all four children's books about kids with Autism. What better way to help spread acceptance than to expose our little ones to the differences some of their peers or they themselves may house. Now I will be the first to admit before my son we didn't have any books about kids with Autism and that's when I realized as a mother I had to do better at exposing them to the fact that their friends, cousins, classmates, come in all shapes, colors, and abilities.

1. My Brother Charlie- Written by Holly Robinson Peete and her daughter Ryan Elizabeth Peete.

This book tells the story of a little girl whose brother has autism.  It was one of the first books we read and helped tremendously when explaining to my daughter that her big brother has autism. The characters looked like them and the perspective was from the sibling who wasn't actually autistic so this book worked out perfectly.

2. Some Kids Have Autism - Written by Martha E. H. Rustad

This book teaches diversity and tolerance to help kids understand and appreciate children with different disabilities. We chose this one in particular because King has always been more drawn to non-fiction books. The photos of real people rather than drawings were more interesting to him.

3. Since We're Friends- Written by Celeste Shally

This book is a great resource to talk to children who have friends, peers, or siblings with autism. It helps promote understanding, flexibility, and friendship. I even read it to King to try and help him understand his friends and sisters perspective. The fact that Matt, the character with autism, is an African American boy is a bonus. He gets to see a character with autism that looks like him. Representation is extremely important.

4. Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears?- Written by Jennifer

This picture book is all about sensory overload which is a subject that can be hard to understand unless you are the one going through it. We picked this book because covering his ears was King's way of dealing, he could relate to the character on a personal level. Not only does this book share how Izzy feels but also gives solutions on how to self-regulate.

"The right book, 
in the right hands,
at the first time
can change the world"   

Black Butterfly Beautiful


Have you guys ever heard of a monthly subscription box called Black Butterfly Beautiful? We recently received two boxes in the mail and...OMG, I am in love! Black Butterfly Beautiful was created to uplift, encourage, and empower young people of color. That alone is enough to make you want to check them out. Now add the fact that it comes directly to your doorstep every month and you have yet another black mom win!  These boxes are created for both boys and girls ranging from ages 5-19. So don't worry young kings they didn't forget about you! Each month you will receive a box curated based on age, gender, and that month's theme. The Black Butterfly Beautiful boxes come filled with a book, at least one product from a black-owned business (dope) and other items that show off that black girl magic or black boy joy!



Oh, and did I mention the creator is a teen! I mean that's inspiration for my girls right there. To know that this was thought up and put together by a teenage girl that look like them, that's amazing. 

We received the March subscription box which was Africa themed and it did not disappoint. It was filled with so many goodies, from Africa shaped earrings (that Aya is obsessed with), to diverse books, to African printed headwraps. The list goes on and on and even though the boxes are geared towards kids five and up my three-year-old toddler got her hands on some goodies as well. She definitely claimed a headwrap for herself.  



I highly recommend checking out Black Butterfly Beautiful for your littles and teens. Positive black representation brought right to your doorstep......DoPe!


The Great Adventures of Da Bratt Pack: Dinosauria at Jax Zoo



Well, guys, spring break was about two weeks ago for us and boy are the kids missing it. The weather was a little crazy and we spent a few of those days rained in (check out rainy day spring break ideas here) but during the one sunny day, we were determined to go on a fun adventure. A few weeks back we won tickets to Dinosauria at Jacksonville Zoo thanks to Jax Moms Blog. If you live in or plan to visit Jacksonville I highly suggest checking them out! They are our go-to for all things family fun here in our city. From kid eats free days, to awesome events JaxMomsBlog keeps us in the know. 



While the tickets were good for a few months we figured spring break would be a great time to cash in on our winnings. This exhibit will be at the zoo from March through July 7th! Tickets for this event was actually a great price so even if we hadn’t won them we would have still made our way there. Tickets are only $3.00 for members and $4.00 for non-members. Great Price right!? 


Dressed and ready to go we headed to Dinosauria to meet the animatronic, life-like, carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs! There are about 21 species to check out altogether. So we started off your adventure inside the zoo where you enter through the iconic gates. The set up is just too much fun. The kids were getting all worked up and excited as we followed a path into a wooded swampy environment. 




Now I’m not going to lie Lennox refused to get off her grandmother lap and Aya was a little terrified as the dinos moved around and roared in the bushes, but as we continued through the path they began to ease up. They were amazed at how BIG the dinos were and had fun reading and sharing facts about each dinosaur as we passed. I highly recommend checking out this prehistoric fun exhibit before they’re extinct!   











An Interview With A King

As you all know my oldest child and only son, King is actually autistic. So figured what better way to celebrate Autism Awareness Month than to make my first post of the month all about King. In order for you all to get to know him a little better, we sat down for an interview with King.




1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite food? Pizza
3. What is your favorite treat? Anything and everything chocolate
4. What is your favorite subject in school? Math I'm really good at math
5. What is your favorite sport? Football
6. What is your favorite hobby? Video games and computer games I like them equally
7. What is your favorite movie? I don't really have one
8. What is your favorite tv show? I don't really have one of those either I like YouTube
9. What is your favorite book? Minecraft
10. What is your favorite animal? baby jaguars actually all baby animals
11. What is your favorite song? That one song hmm (starts singing) Luke Skywalking on them haters
12. What is your favorite restaurant? Any place with pizza
13. What is your favorite place to visit? My mural and nana's house
14. Where do you want to visit someday? Great Wolf Lodge
15. Where do you think you will go to college? Wait where is the closest college to my house? That's where I want to go.
16. What do you want to be when you grow up? A video game designer
17. What is something you want to learn to do? Drive
18. What are your strengths? Math I'm good at math
19. Who is your best friend? I don't really have one...wait, MOMMY!
20. What is something you wish for? Uncle Pooh to still be alive.
21. What is something you wonder about? What grandma, and nana, and my cousins are doing
22. Who is someone you miss? Grandma (side note she was just here Sunday and will be back Wednesday it's now Tuesday...this kid loves his grandparents)
23. What makes you happy? seeing grandma and nana
24. How do you feel about having autism? It's great.
25. Do you feel like you are different from other kids? Nope




Interviewing your children can be so much fun. You learn so much! I plan on doing this with the other kids on their birthdays. I can't wait to see how their answers change and how many actually stay the same.