Staycation at Sonesta Bee Cave


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Most of y’all heard I recently broke my ankle. I was running around my house on Thanksgiving Day and simply slipped on the floor. I knew it was sprained but was surprised to hear it actually fractured, too. Luckily my kindhearted mother came to the rescue during the first part of my recovery. Wanted to thank her for driving in to help out this week and reward my daughter for good behavior at school. Since I love the idea of family experiences instead of gifts, we booked a suite at Sonesta hotel in Bee Cave, TX. Our ‘girls just wanna have fun’ weekend was a great success!

My mother & daughter cozied up with popcorn for a movie night in our suite.

Sonesta is close to our house and right at the Hill Country Galleria so it was the perfect spot for a staycation with my Kindergartener and her grandma. This contemporary chic, yet laid-back hotel welcomes guests with unmatched style and Texas charm. We started off at their rooftop restaurant, Meridian 98.

Cocktails & a view of the Texas Hill Country — it doesn’t get any better.

We felt so safe dining outdoors at a socially-distanced table. Their patio is HUGE! Ordered a couple craft cocktails, The Beehive and The Beekeeper, and Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp. That starter is awesome…comes with fried jalapeno strips, grilled ruby red grapefruit, and a slice of honeycomb!

The sauce & unexpected combination of flavors made this appetizer unique.

The suite was on the fifth floor and was sized just right for our family getaway. Here are a couple shots of the Austin-hip yet modern-minimal bedroom:

Check out those views! Gazing out upon those rolling hills was a welcome way to wake-up.

This mama’s favorite part: the generously deep bathtub with a large picture window of greenspace. Actually, we all loved the tub — we each got a chance to enjoy it at one point or another. –What girl doesn’t relax in a nice hot bubble bath?! But some people prefer a shower and it was enormous as well.

A dream bathroom: large & luxurious!

Wether you’re local to Austin or looking for a driveable getaway in Texas, I highly recommend checking out Bee Cave and staying at the Hill Country-chic Sonesta!

DIY Garage Floor Makeover


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When we move into a new house, one of the first things I address are the garage floors. –I cannot stand a dusty garage floor! This is one of the first things I handle because if it’s not addressed early on, I know us & how we live — boxes, bins & sports gear will accumulate and the project will never get completed. With this new house, I aimed to get it done right after closing, but fell short of that goal. Still, we completed this project within a month of moving in and I’m so glad we did!

Our garage ‘”Before” — 525 square feet of unfinished of dusty concrete.

At our last house, we purchased one of those cheap do-it-yourself kits by another brand from a big-box home improvement store. The hot tire marks showed right away and after a few years, the top coat began to peel. After learning from that experience, I reached out to local professional garage floor companies for estimates. Their prices made my head spin: I got quotes ranging from $3,000 – $7,000 for epoxy coating on our two-car garage! There are so many other places where we’d prefer to put $7K of investment into our new home! So, I began looking for a product that would provide some middle ground…something with the quality of real epoxy coating but at a pricepoint we felt comfortable with.

Enter the DaiHard 100 Industrial Strength Epoxy Floor Coating Kit — an effective and economical new DIY floor finishing alternative.

DaiHard 100, from Daich Coatings, is a significant departure from water-based epoxy floor coatings which have been widely sold through retail stores for the past 15 years. Unlike weaker water-based epoxies, DaiHard is a “100% solids” epoxy formula that withstands heavy-duty forklift traffic – but at a cost similar to common water-based offerings. It comes in grey or tan…although we’re using both colors in our decor, we chose tan because that matched our light French White Oak wood floors the best.

Already such an improvement! If there’s an ugly, marked-up concrete floor in need of protection and lasting durability, this epoxy floor coating is the solution.

The DaiHard 100 kit (which is cost effectively priced below $90 on the Daich Coatings website and through The Home Depot online) includes a cleaner to loosen dirt on the floor before applying the epoxy. The kit also includes 2.7 quarts of DaiHard epoxy resin (part A of the formula) plus one quart of DaiHard epoxy hardener (part B of the formula). The two parts are combined and then applied to the surface with either a roller or squeegee application. One roller-applied coat generally covers an area of 250 square feet.

We hired a painter to put down the product but it can be easily tackled as a DIY project. Just apply to a clean surface using a standard paint roller or squeegee applicator.

The industrial strength epoxy coating locks onto interior concrete floors with exceptional adhesion capabilities, impact and abrasion resistance. We chose this product for our home because the low-odor, zero VOC epoxy delivers professional-grade, heavy-duty performance on garage floors.

Garage floor with the epoxy resin & epoxy hardener applied.
“During” …but almost done!

To add to the overall appearance of the finished floor coating, the kit includes optional decorative vinyl flakes that may be sprinkled onto the wet surface. A light and uniform layer of the broadcasted flakes will also create a slip-resistant floor. Gotta love those flakes — they are my favorite part of this look on garage floors!

Close-up of the Tan color with the vinyl flakes

Now, we have a garage that’s protected against oil stains, chemicals, salt and general wear & tear. Each kit is less than $90! We ordered three kits, but could’ve just as easily gone with only two. Just one coat completely transforms interior concrete floors.

The “After” shot! Love it.

Staying Healthy (and Sane) in Quarantine


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Sharing a few things that have helped keep our bodies & minds healthy during quarantine. Every little thing helps right now! Germ-free toothbrushes, natural hand sanitizer & some CBD to keep Mama clam…the best offense is a good defense.

CBD that helps you heal: Resilience CBD goes beyond healing and recovery from pain or anxiety; the products are also created to allow you to crush your goals. Whether it is the sports cream that helps an athlete to run longer or train harder for a marathon, or the oil that gives you peace of mind in knowing that you will be a better, happier mom in the morning after getting a great night of sleep, Resilience CBD designs their products to enhance your life.

Resilience CBD offers a variety of CBD products that address different needs for healing and performance while providing different methods for each need. Their bath bombs are my favorite! First, the Revive Bath Bomb with blends of CBD, Dead Sea salts, citrus, lemon, and spearmint essential oils to create a mineral-rich bath that uplifts, soothes, and energizes. The second is the Recover Bath Bomb, which combines CBD, menthol, Dead Sea salts, eucalyptus, and spearmint essential oils to create a mineral-rich bath that helps sore and achy muscles to recover after your toughest days.

Long-lasting Antimicrobial Toothbrushes: Have you ever noticed kid toothbrushes don’t last near as long as their adult counterparts? I’m convinced most toothbrush manufacturers create the kids version with lesser-quality bristles. I was replacing them all the time! Happy to share I’ve found a high-quality children’s toothbrush! The Youth Manual Toothbrush by Dr. Plotka’s has features that set them apart from the rest:

–Naturally Antimicrobial* Bristles – Embedded silver naturally eliminates 99.9% of bacteria that grows on the bristles between brushing sessions.
Flossing Bristles™ – Dual-layered bristle structure provides superior cleaning: the longer, thinner bristles – thin as a human hair – reach deep into grooves, under the gumline and between teeth to brush away food and plaque other brushes miss while the thicker bristles ensure complete cleaning of gum and teeth.
–Soft Long-Lasting Polyester Bristles – Get up to one extra month of use thanks to polyester bristles which bend better than the nylon bristles found in most other brushes on the market! (The ADA recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 months. Doctor Plotka’s brush will last about 4!)
–Dentist Developed – Dr. Ronald Plotka designed this innovative toothbrush as part of his thriving 40+ year Boston-based dental practice.

Hand Sanitizer That’s Natural: Tired of harsh hand sanitizer that dries out your skin? Zoey-Naturals is a new line of skin care products safe for the delicate skin of babies and children. Their English Garden Hand Sanitizer effectively kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria. It has been formulated without harsh chemicals and deeply cleanses without water. The convenient spray delivery allows you to spray your child’s hands (and yours) as well as surfaces you wish to clean. –Just spray hands thoroughly and allow to dry without wiping.

Homeschooling Help? Check out Stomp Rocket


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Most of us are stuck in #CoronavirusQuarantine right now…the kids are bouncing off the walls and itching to play outside. As of tomorrow, our Spring Break is over and “homeschooling” begins. We’re taking science class outside with the help of Stomp Rocket. Designed by Aeronautical Engineers, the Stomp Rocket Stunt Plane set comes with three planes that will turn makeshift ‘mommy school’ into an interactive experience.

STEM toys like Stomp Rocket make learning fun for the kids and homeschool easy on Mom.

Stomp Rocket’s line of STEM toys is 100% kid-powered and easy for kids to set up with no batteries required! Each time they run, jump & stomp they’ll learn more about the power of air, gravity, trajectory, and force while getting their energy out. You can pick them up at Target stores nationwide.

For over 25 years, Stomp Rocket has been entertaining kids and their families by stimulating active, outdoor play. The Original Stomp Rocket line includes rockets that soar up to 400 feet in the air as well as toys that are appropriate for kids as young as age 3.

Stomp Rocket has sold over 5 million toys and won numerous awards from industry experts, including most recently the 2019 Mom’s Choice Gold Award, 2019 & 2018 Creative Child Magazine Toy Toy of the Year Award, 2018 ASTRA Best Award for Outdoor Products, and was a 2017 Good Housekeeping Lab Pick.They’ve also garnered national and viral media coverage on Good Housekeeping, The Today Show, Access Hollywood, Red Tricycle, She Knows and more.

Natural Defense for Sick Season


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Ugh, we are still in winter and fighting off flu season! And with the global spread of Coronavirus looming over our minds, it’s more important than ever for us to get a proactive game plan regarding our health. Simple measures like washing hands, covering coughs, sneezing into your elbow, refraining from touching your face, and boosting your immune system BEFORE sickness sets in are easy enough to do and strong enough to help slow the spread of illness. Here are a few of my favorite natural-ingredient defenses this flu season:

Hyland’s: Hyland’s natural homeopathic products are winter must-haves for babies & kids! Help your little ones this cold season with the trusted brand for safe and gentle medicines. Their proprietary formulas are developed by pharmacists using natural active ingredients that are strong in relieving symptoms, but gentle in the way they work. With so few options available to parents for comforting little ones, Hyland’s makes it easy for parents to find a safe solution that’s just right for their child’s age and ailment so the whole family can get the rest they need.

If I medicate my children, I always try the homeopathic treatment option first.

PATCH Bandages: Applying an adhesive bandage is a quick & easy way to cover cuts from dirt and bacteria. Plus, kids love them — they’re like stickers! PATCH is the first product to be released from Nutricare, an environmentally conscious and solutions-focused brand from Australia. Their dedication to creating natural solutions to common health care items is empowering consumers to make healthier choices for their families and the world.

PATCH bandages are made from 100% organic bamboo fiber, free of plastics, latex, silicone, and harmful toxins and 100% compostable.

Highly rated on Amazon, PATCH is gaining traction with folks swapping out the old standby for the new generation of eco-friendly wound care. These are amazing for on the go and my kids love adorable Aussie panda prints!

The Power of Vitamin C: The onset of sniffle season is my family’s signal to power up our vitamin C intake. We go for gummies because the kids can’t swallow pills yet and they think they are getting a little sweet treat. America’s #1 gummy vitamin brand, Vitafusion, makes “Power C” gummies that taste so yummy while providing an excellent source of immune supporting vitamin C – as much as 10 tangerines!

Vitafusion Power C gummies contain NO high-fructose corn syrup, NO artificial sweeteners, NO gluten, NO dairy and NO synthetic (FD&C) dyes

How to Spend Winter Days Indoors with Kids


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The grey blustery days of January can keep us cooped up inside with the kids. Here are a few ways to make rainy winter days fun!

Popcorn and a movie! Watching one of the classics on Disney+ is one of our go-tos for weekends when we’re kept inside. We pop fresh popcorn in our silicone popcorn popper and cuddle up on the couch. Colonel Popper is durable, safe, and eco-friendly. You can eat fresh microwave popcorn right out of the colorful bowl you pop it in! Bring the theater home and use any corn kernels and ANY oil. (Have you noticed almost every microwave popcorn on the market is made with Palm Oil?!) Gone are the days of buying unhealthy microwave popcorn bags with harmful chemicals! This cruelty-free option makes up to 14 cups of popcorn, plenty for your kids and family. We can make popcorn our own way at a fraction of the cost. The silicone construction is dishwasher safe, too.

We use our own olive oil and herbs/spices to craft gourmet popcorn at home.

Arts & Crafts! Painting will keep my 5-year-old busy for an hour! But, Mama does not like the mess it creates. These paint sticks give such bold & vibrant color without the fuss and wetness of traditional paints. She loves them! Chunkies Paint Sticks are 12 classic colors with thick barrels that are just the right size for little hands. Their paint is quick-drying and dries instantly when you lay it on paper so there’s no mess at all. My daughter gets to “paint” on her own — no brush or water required!

Painting is a great way for a 5-year-old to convey big emotions…looks like someone is wishing for sunshine!

Books! We read books to our children every night. On days when the weather keeps us indoors, we read books to them as a morning activity, too. They will even sit and flip through books on their own…it’s so cute! Here are a couple new stories we’v added to our collection: Three Paws by Karen Struck follows Boots the grizzly bear cub who faces new struggles after permanently injuring his paw. Rooted in friendship and acceptance, Boots’ journey of learning new skills as he navigates his disability is perfect for young children, whether they are learning to survive their own challenge or simply to understand the differences of others.

We treasure adding beautiful hardcover books to our collection. It’s one “toy” I never feel guilty about giving them too much of!

In Little Hands Help authors Mike Morrison Ph.D. and Mackenzie Morrison offer an educational and heartfelt message about allowing children to contribute to any family routine with colorful illustrations and relatable situations throughout. Intended for little ones as they enter their preschool and kindergarten years—a critical development period when the foundations of conscience begin to develop—Little Hands Help teaches children to use their inner voice to speak up about wanting to be more involved in family life.

Unboxing the Same K-beauty Products as the Stars


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One of our favorite K-Beauty resources, Beautytap, has received some national attention, y’all! They were chosen to gift presenters, nominees, and winners of the 71st Emmy Awards with their products backstage in the official Giving Suite! Does that mean I’m using the same skincare as Presenter Gwyneth Paltrow and Winner Michelle Williams?! As you might recall, I’ve reviewed their Afterglow Ampoule in the past— its U.S. launch was HUGE and they’ve since come out with a broader line of K-Beauty-based products. Here’s all the deets:

Beautytap, the premier destination for Korean beauty education, advice, content, community, and premium luxury beauty products, was hand-selected to participate in the Giving Suite at the Emmy’s. In honor of its recognition as a leader in ingredients, science, and effectiveness in high-end skincare, they gave all the celebs its award-winning AZN Afterglow Ampoule, a serum for anyone suffering from age-related dryness, dark spots, dullness, and loss of firmness and elasticity.

Afterglow Ampoule

Backstage Creations compiles the gift bags for the celebrity presenters and performers attending the Emmy Awards. (Now THAT would be fun job, right?!?) In addition to A-listers choosing from a collection of luxury gifts, the lounge serves as a Giving Suite as celebrities who participate will help raise funds to support the Television Academy Foundation.

Beautytap is also set to launch two new luxury beauty products in just a few days: the new AZN Hydrogel Afterglow Lip Mask, which visibly reduces the appearance of lines on the lip and around the lip area, and the AZN Labs Hydrogel Eye Patches, that diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. All three luxury products are infused with AZN Lab’s award-winning astaxanthin-based formula with powerful antioxidant properties for more youthful skin and a Hollywood glam look and feel.

Hydrogel Eye Patches, launching online Oct. 26th

The AZN Labs anti-aging gel patches have 24K gold and 6,000X the potency of Vitamin C to help lift and firm the delicate eye area in just ten minutes. This luxurious eye treatment gives skin a warm, dewy glow and minimizes dark circles for a revitalized, youthful suppleness under the eyes.

Hydrogel Eye Patches, unboxed


Mother’s Day Gift Guide


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Here’s a roundup of three gift ideas for Mother’s Day… I personally use and love each of them!

Clean Beauty: This Spring, Care Skincare launched The Everything Multi-Level Moisturizer. This multi-functional formula nourishes, hydrates and repairs the skin, providing the benefits of a serum in the comfort of a cream. Key ingredients in The Everything Multi-Level Moisturizer include: Hyaluronic Acid, collagen peptides, fermented black tea, turmeric, Vitamin C and antioxidants.

Care. products are developed by a team of world-class experts who formulate highly effective skincare that addresses the skin’s most important needs in a straightforward, simple way. They sell directly to consumers, avoiding retail markups and costs. The most expensive thing about Care Skincare products is each best-in-class formula, crafted with high quality ingredients. All products in the Care Skincare line were developed by a team of world-class experts using high quality ingredients that strictly adhere to the brand’s clearly communicated standards for “Clean Beauty.”

Coastal Coaster: It’s May — time to get ready for warm weather and sunshine! What better way to do so than updating your living space to set this bright and breezy mood? Sometimes it’s the smallest details that have the biggest impact. Take in the scents of summer with candles by Mer|Sea. Their #1 bestselling Saltaire Splash Coaster Candle delivers a spicy mineral aroma reminiscent of the salty air. In addition to scenting your living space with a cool and scented aroma, the candle comes with a stunning polished agate coaster adding a natural element to any room.

CBD starter kit: Cannaisseur Brands is re-launching its topically applied terpene-rich CBD Essentials product line with new branding, logo and packaging. The brand was founded by CBD industry expert and advocate Aryn Sieber, who consults with physicians and patients nationwide on the responsible use and medicinal benefits of cannabis. Sieber became a sought-after professional leader in the industry after using cannabis during his own battle with Stage IV cancer. CBD Essentials topically applied products are lab-formulated, third-party tested, and batch numbered to ensure quality and consistency. All CBD Essentials products feature Sieber’s award-winning flower and meet the federal requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill, which mandates that all CBD-infused products are derived from dried Cannabis Sativa L. plant material that contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be legal in the United States.

I’ve blogged about CBD products before, but if you’re new to the concept, here’s a great summary: CBD is non-psychoactive. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells in the human body that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. Ligands or bonding molecules for these receptor proteins include endocannabinoids which are naturally produced in the body. Terpenes refer to a class of compounds found in nearly every plant species including cannabis. They have been shown to influence many biological activities—including reduction of inflammation, reduced sensitivity to pain, and reduced anxiety. Terpenes and cannabinoids share a common biochemical precursor, giving them the ability to bind with different biological substances in the body, including receptors and enzymes.

Real-world testing has shown CBD to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and to act as an antibacterial, antitumoral and antimicrobial. Studies also have shown that CBD can balance oil production in the skin. Furthermore, because the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is critically responsible for the life cycle of basal skin cells, some treatments encourage the ECS with topically applied CBD in an effort to help regulate the production of healthy skin. (It is important to note that therapeutic statements for CBD products are not yet evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)

Baby’s First Haircut


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Baby Knox turned one earlier this month and it was high-time to get his very first haircut! I’ve blogged before about how great Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids – Northwest Hills is with kids, so we went back there for lil’ man’s first trim. Here is his “Before” shot:Knox Haircut 1

–His hair looks so shaggy, teehee! (Was I in denial about how bad a cut was needed here?) It’s hard to realize when the babies actually need a haircut, when it’s their first time ever, right? Next step was to put on his cape & assess how much I wanted to cut off…Knox Haircut 3

The stylist combed through his hair and made her suggestions but always checked with me first…which is a huge relief knowing no major changes will be done without mama’s approval!Knox Haircut 4

His sides were the biggest issue — he was born with hair that came down over his ears! I can’t believe his long it had gotten…note the little toy they gave him to hold & chew as a distraction. 🙂
Knox Haircut 7

They were cleaned up first and WOW what a difference! It was crazy to see it all trimmed up. This is the point in the process where I realized he’s beginning to not look so baby-like anymore! Here’s what it looked like mid-way through:Knox haircut 11

Tackling the back was next and that was the hardest part. –He was squirming like active baby boys do. Plus, he’s just too young to follow a “stay still” direction from me. The stylist suggested I hold him at this stage and it worked pretty well.Knox Haircut 12

Between the bright Cars-themed chair, the little shark toy, and his sweet & knowledgable stylist, he came out A-OK and looking a little older (sniff, sniff) than when we came in. Another milestone in the books — yay for baby’s first haircut! Thank you, Sharkey’s!Knox Haircut 10

Wake, Pray, Slay with these morning-routine helpers


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In addition to making a commitment to certain lifestyle changes like regular workouts, going back to work, and guided mediation (which I wrote all about in my latest for Austin Moms Blog), I am also trying to be intentional about my morning routine in particular. I skip an alarm altogether and sleep as long as possible –until about 7 a.m.– when woken by my baby boy. –I’m starting to see that I really should to start waking up around 6 to get my day going the right way! Ugh. But until then, at the suggestion of motivational speaker Ed Mylett, one thing crazy thing I’ve started doing is taking a cold shower in the mornings. Actually, it’s just 30 seconds of cold water at the end, but he says it activates your body and helps you feel alive. –I’ve been doing it for about a week now and I can attest that it works — definitely an effective wake up call! Here are some other new additions to my morning routine:

  1. Glow-Giving Serum: Beautytap, the premier destination for Korean beauty education, advice, content, community, and premium luxury beauty products, has just unveiled Afterglow Ampoule, the first release from its luxury product line: AZN Labs. The “Seoul” of this line was designed with three core concepts in mind: ingredients, science, and effectiveness. Afterglow Ampoule represents the perfect combination of J-Beauty & K-Beauty, thanks to the use of traditional floral ingredients found in the best K-beauty products, and the careful use of Astaxanthin, a vibrant red keto-carotenoid naturally created in rainwater microalgae and containing 6,000% the potency of Vitamin C. Astaxanthin is traditionally used in Japanese beauty products for its anti-aging properties.AZN Labs
  2. Local honey with CBD: Grassroots Harvest, an Austin-based company that makes all kinds of high-end CBD products, sent me their newest offering: honey infused with CBD! Grassroots Harvest offers high-quality, sustainably sourced solutions that are crafted in small batches.  This little honey pot contains of 100% organic hemp-derived CBD and raw Central Texas honey. For anyone in the area, I love the added bonus of it being local honey, too! #allergies –Adding this as the sweetener to my morning coffee gives me an anxiety-free start to the day.Grassroots Harvest
  3. Breakfast Bars that are actually good: Ideally, the convenience of a grab-n-go breakfast bar would be perfect for my busy mornings. But here’s the catch: I just can’t choke ’em down — I don’t like most of them on the market. These new bars by Dang Foods are different: not too sweet, not too crumbly, not a candy bar in disguise. Dang Bars are low carb, Keto-approved, and plant-based. With cocoa butter, coconut, almond butter and chia seeds, this low carb bar fits the ideal macros for the Keto diet: 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% net carbs. Now, I’m not personally following the Keto diet but can definitely appreciate the healthful aspects of it. I am happy to have found a bar that is actually tasty & satisfying as an on-the-go breakfast solution.Dang breakfast bars