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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
In Little Hands Helpauthors 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
–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…
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!
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. 🙂
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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
I do love the fresh start that a new year brings. Besides the mental & emotional refocus, I (like so many) set a resolution that targets my physical self. My motivation? We have the opportunity to go to Hawaii not once, but twice this summer. I want to feel fab in my bathing suit and feel as healthy as ever on the beach. My New Year’s mantra? Three words: Peace, Happiness, Energy. Here are some products helping me get there:
Hi-tech facials: I’m a big fan of facials because they are so relaxing & peaceful AND you come out glowing & hydrated! It’s like a two-for-one: you get the chance to unwind while your skin is being cared for and treated. In Austin, Ideal Image‘s new Parmer location offers professional-grade facials using customized Elemis skincare products. I recently tried one out and the tools they used were so hi-tech! Really, I felt like their technology is at the forefront of the latest & greatest offerings within the ‘beauty’ category. Everything from ultrasonic devices, LED light therapy, and crazy-unique masks were utilized to help what I wanted to address with my skin. Here is a pic of me with one of the interesting masks on…the ingredients for it had to be mixed right before use and turned into a sort-of semi-solid foam on my face…wild! These facials and Elemis products are only available at the new location, 6301 W. Parmer Lane Unit #507, Austin, TX 78729.
CDB products: I’ve been intrigued by the uses & benefits to CBD oil for several months now and am excited to see more & more products including it! I’ve tried some sublingual drops but am really eager to try out these bath bombs by CBD Living. They contain 60 mg of nano-CBD, are vegan-friendly and use only natural fragrances for that post-workout soak. For sore muscles & body aches, the Freeze roll-on includes 120 mg of full-spectrum nano-CBD, as well as cooling menthol and tea tree oil for immediate soothing and extended pain relief.
Scalp Soothers: This time of year, my scalp can get itchy…actually, not just my scalp but my skin all over gets itchy. I think it’s a combination of winter dryness and our tap water where we live. Apparently the water here has one of the highest levels of Chloramine in it. For some, that can cause itchy skin after a shower. This line of products has helped. After two decades of research and development and eight years of success overseas – Kamedis (pronounced KaMEDis) has brought back its clinically proven, dermatologist-endorsed botanical skin care products to the U.S.
What is your New Year’s Resolution? Any products or mantras helping you reach your goals? Please share!
Wanted to share some highlights from our recent family photo shoot… Ryan and I still look at each other in amazement that we have two kids! Alexandra turned 4 earlier this month and Knox turns 1 in just a couple weeks.
Today my daughter & I were invited to attend the Grand Opening celebration for the Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids new location in Northwest Hills – Austin. They had raffle drawings for free haircuts for a year & a free glamour birthday party package, balloons, face-painting, food & drinks and more. Here’s a shot of my little one getting her “rainbow princess” face paint and in the background you can see the pretty fairytale frocks the girls get to play dress-up in at birthday parties.If all that rainbow-bling weren’t enough to send my tot into heartsparkle over-drive, they also paint their nails. Of course she chose purple glitter polish. Oh, AND it was done while she sat in a Frozen-themed Jeep. –She couldn’t stop smiling! 🙂 We also squeezed in my daughter’s second-ever haircut in the middle of all the fun. There are no corners cut when providing these kids’ their haircuts — they do a nice wash in the shampoo bowl, wet cut, blow-dry, a dry-cut for touch-ups, and then the stylist even put a tiny little braid in her hair afterward.See, the Sharkey’s name carries a lot of weight because they are so good with kids, and especially special-needs kids, too. They do lots of little things that the kids love, like playing on-demand their choice of favorite Netflix show at each cutting station! And for the older boys, there’s Xbox too.In the past, many families in my neighborhood would travel all the way to Cedar Park to visit our area’s only other Sharkey’s for their kids’ haircuts. In fact, my daughter’s very first haircut (which was right around her 3rd birthday) was at that location. We were thrilled to hear there was a brand new one opening up much closer to us at the intersection of 360 & 2222. Sharkey’s salons already hold a special place in my heart, but this new spot exceeded my expectations. The facility is clean & bright, the staff was talented & positive, the owner was kind & thoughtful and the new location is perfect for us!