Re-Cap: Writers Appreciation Dinner

As many of you know, the ICMB contributor team is made up of over 20 moms who live in all areas of the Iowa City community. From day one, our goal has been to give you a diverse, well-rounded view of motherhood, and these women have helped us do just that.  They have been brave enough to share their stories, to be vulnerable, and to tell you their shortcomings on this journey of parenting little (or not-so-little) ones.  They have graciously given of their time (which is NO small thing for a mama!) to help out with all things ICMB, and for that I will be forever grateful!

To show my appreciation for these lovely ladies, I decided to reach out to some of our favorite partners in the community and ask them to help me put together a night full of gifts, surprises, and (of course) yummy food for them! 

Sponsor:  The Family Dental Center

As always, our friends at The Family Dental Center was here for us, supporting these moms and helping me spoil them.  Thanks to their generous staff, I was able to purchase all of the ingredients for our delicious Italian-inspired dinner (lasagna, spinach salad, crusty warm bread, balsamic tomatoes, grilled olives with herbs….the list goes on!), as well as these adorable ICMB mason jar tumblers! (pictured below) Thank you so much to The Family Dental Center for always supporting the mission of the Iowa City Moms Blog: to connect moms and families to each other and to our community.  If you missed our Facebook live tour of their office and chat with their staff yesterday, click here to check that out!

Venue:  Little Lights Events

I guarantee you have heard us talk about Little Lights at least once or twice, but we will keep on talking about them, because it’s that amazing! The pictures do NOT even do it justice, and that’s saying a lot.  It was the PERFECT setting for this evening of friendship, food, and fun surprises.  If you are looking for somewhere to host a small/medium event (bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, family reunion or dinner, etc.), check out Little Lights’ website here

What’s Dinner Without Dessert?!

Our writers were treated to DELICIOUS treats from our friend Heather at The Pink Umbrella Bakery.  If you don’t follow The Pink Umbrella yet, be sure to do so ASAP.  Not only are her treats amazing, but she also now has an adorable little retro camper that she takes around to local festivals and fairs to share her goodies with guests. Her little sugar cookies are a FAVORITE among our team members, and we absolutely love watching her business grow and grow and grow!  Yet another local mom to support in her business endeavors!  In addition to all of the goodies pictured below, Heather also sent adorable individually wrapped Valentines-inspired cookies for each of the moms to take home with them that evening!

Giveaways Galore!

We played a super fun game with all of the amazing giveaways, letting the moms choose a number and then start choosing their gifts in that order, but with the added fun of a “steal” option.  So much fun to sit and watch them fight over these giveaways!!

The Family Dental Center treated two of our contributors to a $50 Target Card. Needless to say, that was a popular prize!

Another one of our faithful partners, Bug Soother (Simply Soothing) sent over two amazing gift baskets full of their amazing products.  For one contributor in particular, who happens to be moving to Arizona later this year, this prize was SUPER exciting and she was so happy to stock up on Bug Soother before they leave!

We had a BEAUTIFUL sweater from Noon to Midnight Style Co. on the giveaway table (if you’ve never checked them out, do it TODAY! Owner Theresa, right here in North Liberty, is on a mission to help women find affordable styles that fit their body and their lifestyle, with versatile trends that can work at noon or at midnight!) and let’s just say, the person who went home with the sweater had to hide it in her purse so the others wouldn’t snag it from her!

Our friend Mary from KEEP Collective put together a gorgeous bracelet for one lucky mama at the dinner.  With a sleek black band and a charm that says #momlife, this bracelet was another gift that had to be hidden away from potential steals!  (Watch our Instagram page later today for a peek at the bracelet…if you’re interested in making one of your own, be sure to contact Mary and let her know that ICMB sent you!)

One thing all mamas need: LEGGINGS.  Our pal Jenny from LuLaRoe treated the girls to two pairs of those buttery soft leggings that everyone is raving about. And yes, they are THAT soft!  If you’re interested in ordering from Jenny, you can find her on our ICMB Consultant Business Guide here.  We love supporting all of these mamas rocking it with their own businesses!

Another favorite legging brand? Agnes & Dora! Love, love, love their neutral styles and their wide variety of products.  Our friend Jackie with Agnes & Dora gifted our lucky writers with a $25 gift card to her shop.  If you’re interested in checking out the products she has to offer, you can find her information (and photos of her inventory) here!

If you’re a part of our Pregnancy/Infant Loss support group, you have undoubtedly heard about us talk about our dear friend Olivia, who has written a wonderful book entitled “Bearing Hope: Navigating the Desert of Waiting for a Child”.  Olivia sent over two copies of her book, as well as two of her super cute tanks and t-shirts (one says “Snuggle More” and the other says “The Struggle is Real”) for our team giveaways.  You can find Liv’s blog, and more information about her book, by clicking here.

Y’all know how much we love the Old Creamery Theater, so you know how excited we were when they gave us some tickets to their upcoming show “Making God Laugh”.  It was no irony that the person who wound up going home with the tickets was the theater major of our group!

Spring Break is coming up, and that means we need to hit up our friends at Your Tanning Bar in Coralville!  Not only do they offer the very best in spray-tanning, but they also have a super cute accessory selection to shop from while you’re there!!  They sent over a $25 gift card AND an adorable pair of earrings for their giveaway!

Have you guys heard of Covered Goods??  Their multi-use nursing cover up is a mom’s BEST FRIEND.  Not only can it be used as a nursing cover, but also an infinity scarf, a car-seat cover, AND a grocery-cart cover! Amazing!! The wonderful ladies at Covered Goods sent over two adorable prints for our giveaways.

We had SO MUCH fun playing the keep-or-steal game with the giveaways, and then I surprised them all by letting know there was MORE. Yes, more!  In addition to the giveaways that they all had to fight over, they were all going home with an incredible, incredible swag bag!!

Swag, Swag, and MORE SWAG.

First of all, I just have to say, more than one of my contributors had told me on separate occasions that the book “Mama Bear’s Manifesto” was on their to-read list.  So when I found out that the author, Leslie Klipsch, was giving us enough copies for EVERY one of them to go home with it, I could barely contain myself!  They were SO excited to see the book in their swag bags!!  If you’re looking for a good read, pick up this book TODAY.  It is all about that “mama bear” instinct, and how to use it for the good!  Author Leslie (and her sister-in-law) also have an amazing podcast called “Mama Bear Dares”.  You can find more information, and start listening to the episodes, by clicking here!

Swag bags also included a Scentsy air-freshener, courtesy of our friends at The Family Dental Center.  All of those minivans will now smell like flowers and fruit instead of old stale goldfish crackers!

New Pioneer Co-Op gave everyone an awesome reusable shopping bag, which folds up to fit in your hand.  What could be better for a mom on the go?  We LOVE New Pi, and we are excited to use the new bags when we visit next!

Another one of our favorites: The Iowa Children’s Museum.  Thanks to the ICM, each and every mama went home with a free day pass!  I for one am super excited to take my kiddos!!

Many of you have probably met Emily Jia at some of our events, as she is one of our favorite local photographers!  Emily took our most recent group photos and headshots, as well as made an amazing video of our Bloom/Moms Morning Out event last year.  Thanks to Emily, all of our writers went home with a $50 gift card for her photography services!  You can find more information about her here.

Our friends at OrderUp contributed to the swag bags with some $10 off coupons; the girls are super excited to start using those and ordering their favorite foods to their doorsteps!  I’m guessing they’re saving it for a rainy (or snowy) day; that’s what I’m planning to do anyway! Thanks to OrderUp, all of your non-delivering favorite restaurants have now been magically transformed into delivering restaurants.  If you haven’t tried OrderUp yet, check it out today!!

Simply Soothing spoiled our writers a little bit more, by sending them all home with a $10 coupon for their store (Have you been there yet? Make a day trip of it and go visit!), as well as some of their awesome lip balm!

The lovely staff of Lionne Designs (downtown Iowa City) sent over $10 gift cards for each writer to take home and shop with.  They have a lovely collection of pieces, at all different price points.  If you’re looking for a gift, or for something for yourself, be sure to check them out!

Swag bags also included gift cards from our favorite mama consultants:  $10 from Jackie at Agnes & Dora, $10 from Mary at KEEP, and $10 from Jenny at Lularoe.  Once again, if you’re looking for items from those companies, consider using these local mamas as your consultants!!



And one last surprise, this time for YOU!  A huge thank you to our swag sponsors for sending one EXTRA item, which we saved and put together a bag for ONE LUCKY READER!  To enter to win ALL of the swag items listed above, head on over to our Facebook page and comment to win!








Sara and her husband Matt (sweethearts since they were just 16) got married in 2007, and since then have welcomed four beautiful children (Sam in 2008, Cooper in 2010, Nora in 2012, and Adam James in December 2015). A born-and-raised Iowan, Sara received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (in Spanish Literature) from the University of Iowa. She's still teaching Spanish wherever and whenever she can, but her true passion is owning Iowa City Moms and building this community alongside her amazing team. Sara is also the Community Engagement Coordinator for City Mom Collective, and the owner of Cowork Collective downtown Iowa City. Common denominator in all of these jobs: community, community, community.


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