Exactly three years ago, our family shared some very special news: that we were expecting our first child, a baby girl born in January of 2015. Now, at age two and a half, Alexandra August has some big changes coming up in her future… Ryan and I are expecting our second child! Alexandra will be Big Sister to a little mister! Baby BOY Wiese is due in February 2018.
After Bite, Alastin, backyard toys, beach bag, bottled water, bug bites, cleansing cloths, Hawaiian Volcanic Water, pool tote, pool toys, Summer Beauty, Summer's Eve, summertime, sunscreen, toy-lending library, Toybrary, Waiakea, wipes
This summer we’ve been spending A LOT more time outside: checking out the best playgrounds in Austin, visiting our neighborhood pools and checking out area splash pads. All those activities out in the elements require some extra supplies! It’s easy if the pool tote just stays in the trunk so it’s packed and ready to go for wherever we end up. Here are some products that are perfect for your summertime beach bag!
A Sweat-Proof SPF: ALASTIN HydraTint ProMineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 is lightweight, oil-free, absorbs quickly and has a complexion-enhancing tint to even out tone for light, comfortable coverage. Other sunscreens make skin slick and sticky. But ALASTIN HydraTint’s active ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, sop up excess oil and help create a mattifying effect on skin—so you can say good-bye to shine.
The best part is that it’s ideal to wear when you’re going to be active outdoors during the summer. It has a 40 minute water resistance rating, which helps wick off sweat and keep skin protected during a sweat sesh. Plus, since this is a mineral sunscreen, it won’t sting if it gets into your eyes. When you go out, consider this the only all-in-one skin enhancing, age defying, broad spectrum sunscreen you need. Here’s to effortless beauty—even when you sweat.
Instant Relief for Bug Bites & Stings: I was stung by a yellowjacket in my backyard last week and this stuff worked in a flash. I immediately iced the area, followed with a dab of After Bite, and the wasp sting was gone! After Bite has provided instant itch relief from bug bites and stings for over 40 years for adults and kids. The pharmacist-preferred, proprietary mix of soothing ingredients acts fast when you need it most so that bites and stings don’t ruin family fun. After Bite Kids is also available with a non-stinging sensitive cream that is gentle on kids or perfect for anyone with sensitive skin. Available at Walmart, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger, and at afterbite.com.
Rental Pool Toys: Don’t want to invest in a multitude of outdoor-appropriate toys this summer? —Toybrary to the rescue! Use your membership to Austin’s local toy-lending library to rent backyard, pool & bath toys this summer. They’ve got bikes & trikes, sit & spins, cones & parachutes, a mini Radio Flyer wagon, and lots more. Banish their summer boredom with new toys every two weeks! I picked up some fun cars & trucks, this tug boat Pictured above, and a little swing for my toddler’s dolls during our last visit. We can pop the cars and this little boat in the pool bag and we’ve got an easy enhancement for our outdoor play dates.
Hawaiian Hydration: Gotta admit: I occasionally entertain the indulgence of splurging on fancy bottled waters from across the globe. Pack a few bottles of this alkaline water all the way from Hawaii to feel a little fancy during your next day in the sun. Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water has just launched eco-friendly six and 12 packs of its award-winning alkaline water. Waiakea is not just the only certified CarbonNeutral bottled beverage in the country (helllllooo, eco-friendly), but it is also lauded for its wide variety of ethical initiatives that benefit communities both in its local Hawaii and across the globe.
Refreshing Wipes: Ever feel the need to freshen up? We’ve all had daily “not so fresh” moments, especially during the heat & humidity of summer! Whether running to a class or a meeting, post work-out with no time to shower, or even during that time of the month, Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths provide an easy and discreet way to feel confidently fresh. The cloths are lightly fragranced and quickly wipe away odor-causing bacteria. Available in scents like Aloe Love, Island Splash, Sheer Floral, and Simply Sensitive at CVS, Duane Reade, Walmart, Target, Amazon and Walgreens.
Hint: it’s not flowers. It’s not chocolates. It’s not a store-bought greeting card. Many moms are over-scheduled, burdened by the day-to-day routine, and weary wearing the hat of caregiver for the whole family. We mamas keep this ship afloat, fo’ real. While we manage it all and love doing it, sometimes it’s a little overwhelming being everything to everyone. Sure, our hearts melt at a hand-crafted creation made with love from the littles but Dadas, consider breaking from the traditional gifts this Mother’s Day:
–What service would provide a momentary vacation from her daily responsibilities at home?
–What hobby did she enjoy pre-kids but is kinda missing out on these days?
–What is a luxury she could use & enjoy but just simply would not buy for herself?
Yes, her heart is bursting with love for your family, but what about the refreshing power of time for herself? –Self-care isn’t selfish! A long brunch with the girls, a week of dinners delivered-in, a surprise mani-pedi appt. — these are just a few thought starters. It doesn’t even have to be fancy or expensive…a drawn bubble bath or a morning to sleep-in goes a long way. I’ve rounded up a couple more ideas below:
A Toast: Breakfast in bed is certainly a treat, but a glass of rose’ is even better! Pour, serve, and cheers to her. After the kids go down to bed, escort her out to the back patio…think about & share a few words about what she means to the family or what you love about her as a mom. Perfect for sunset-watching and porch-rocking, these new canned wines are portable, safe around the pool, and easy to pair with even the most casual of meals from the grill. The Chicago-based Backpack debuted in September and is available in two blend varieties, Cheek Rose’ and Snappy White, in four-can packs. Backpack Wine offers a unique combo of great-tasting, quality wine in an approachable, rebellious and fresh manner.
Adults-only: Ok, family time is the BEST but we all could use a little adult-interaction from time to time. –We need to talk predictions for Game of Throne’s last season with people who are actually allowed to watch the show! Child-care cards from Toybrary hold a $25 value, which can go toward daytime drop-in care during the week or Parents Night Out on Saturday evenings. Date-night? Summer blockbuster on the big screen? Appt. at the blow-dry bar? –The gift of a child-free excursion is up to her! Whether she’s thinking a couple’s candlelit dinner or lunch with the ladies, these gift cards are little tokens of your support toward her independence. Might just give her the push she needs to get out there and reconnect with an old friend or try that new restaurant in town.
In my last post, I shared how I’ve been learning to set a regular date-night for my marriage and to keep it a priority. However, instead of the usual dinner & movie, I’m really digging the idea of 1.) day-dates vs. date-night and 2.) planning active & fun excursions to keep things fresh. I plan to begin cultivating ideas & places to check out and will post ’em here! Our first foray in achieving this type of couple’s activity was at iFLY Austin. Home to our city’s only indoor skydiving tunnel, this place is legit. So legit, in fact, that when we arrived for our mid-morning “flight,” the freaking ARMY was training there. Legit soldiers were in full gear practicing for when they’ll have to jump out of planes to keep America safe. Understandably, they wouldn’t allow me to take pics. Seeing a few minutes of their training was an honor.
Once they moved out, it was time for the recreational side of indoor skydiving to begin. My group was instructed to suit-up, remove all jewelry, and find a locker for your wallets & phone. Then, we attended a short & casual training class to prepare us for the experience. Our flight instructor informed us that we’d be communicating with him via hand signals and the most important rule is to RELAX. –I can certainly try & do more of that, right?!Then, we were ready to fly! Neither of us have gone skydiving before so it was our first experience with anything like this. –SO hilarious to see each other’s reactions! With the basic level ticket price, you get two flights. For the second round, we chose to upgrade a bit…the instructor takes you on spins and way up high to the top of the tunnel. This way, even though you’re a beginner, you still get to experiment with trying some tricks!
It was an unexpected adrenaline rush that left us energized for the week. So, if you’re like me and feel like you & partner’s typical date-nights are in a bit of a rut, definitely give indoor skydiving a try. It’s the “something different” you’ve been looking for, trust me! They’re open until 9 or 10 p.m. most nights, so it can really fit into any schedule. Safe to say, we definitely bought ourselves return flights before we left. Thanks to iFLY for a truly unique day-date experience — we’ll be back!
Australian wines, date night ideas, Drop-off Childcare, eye lift, EYE-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches, Hopes End, Nerium International, new beauty products, Parents Night Out, red wine, self-care, Toybrary Austin, treat yourself, under-eye patches
Treat yo’ self, Mama!
The Eyes Have It: EYE-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches by Nerium InternationalTexas-based anti-aging skincare company Nerium International has just launched their newest product: EYE-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches. These babies are an easy & indulgent way to hydrate, smooth, firm and brighten the under-eye area. They partnered with world-class Korean chemists and product designers to pair advanced hydrators like aloe vera leaf water, echinacea, lavender, and green tea. The convenient 20-minute patches feature a special ThermoReact technology that work with your own body temperature to create an instant “eye lift.” Pop in the refrigerator before use for an extra cooling effect.
A Taste of Something New: try a glass of Hopes EndHopes End is a wine inspired by the true story of thousands of 19th century free settlers who journeyed to start a better life, and instead arrived in dismal Port Misery, South Australia. The Angove Family were among them. Dr. William T. Angove, a young doctor, found his livelihood mixing elixirs, and soon, wine—the perfect antidote to adversity. Hopes End Red Blend 2015 is a wine that stays true to its origins while satisfying a palate that seeks the unexpected. The wine begins in the sunny, sandy loam over limestone soils of South Australia, and ends with intensely flavored, darkly intriguing wine. Carefully selected parcels of Shiraz, Grenache, Malbec and Petit Verdot were picked in the cool dawn at perfect ripeness. Each lot was assessed and unified by our winemaker to create a luscious, berry- driven profile that’s intriguing and indulgent. Find Hopes End soon at Kroger and Targets in Texas.
No Sitter? No Problem: Parents Night Out at Toybrary Austin
Parents, meet your built-in babysitting solution. Treat yourself to a night out — you deserve it! Sitters can get expensive and sometimes it’s hard to trust a new person alone at home with your child. Wanted to share a fun & different childcare option in case anyone is stuck without a babysitter on #datenight… Every Saturday, locally-owned & operated Toybrary Austin will watch your little one from 5:00-8:00 p.m. while you go participate in grown-up activities. Just bring snacks or dinner, a water bottle, diapers, a change of clothes, and a lovey if your child needs it. For children ages 1-5. Sign up: email@example.com or 512-765-4174.
They’ve just opened a plethora of presents under the tree and were drug to more holiday events than they can count. As much as we try to make them feel special and not forgotten after the Christmas chaos, winter birthdays aren’t the best. Everyone’s coming down from that yule-tide high and ready to just #NetflixandChill. After those packed schedules that come with the holiday season, people are beginning to settle back into their regular routine and at this point, are frankly partied-out.
Personally, my summer birthday was awesome: close enough to the end of the school year to keep in touch with friends on event details, yet everyone was already bored & eager to gather for something fun, and there were boundless ideas for celebrating in the summer sun…I vividly remember amazing birthdays spent at the wave pool, the water park, and more.But what to do when the dreary days of January & February have most of us ready to hit the fast forward button to Easter? My little one has an early January birthday and last year I kept it low-key for her first birthday celebration. Admittedly, that approach was due to me feeling like I was still getting my shit together has a new mom and couldn’t fathom adding party planning into the mix. So we went for something small and intimate, no guest list to manage, no decorations to fuss over. I have a little twinge of mom-guilt over it, but we ended up skipping the traditional 1st bday party in lieu of a morning of simply doing an activity she loved. We chose to spend a couple hours at Little Land Play Gym before a Tex-Mex lunch with my parents joining us. A true Texas babe, her first birthday dessert was an avocado tres leches cake from Dos Chivos.This year, I am kinda taking the opposite approach… Thankfully it is now in my capacity to take it up a few notches for her second birthday. We’re throwing our little one a Texas “2”-Step themed party. To kick things off, we are hosting local children’s music artist “Mr. Will” Dupuy for a live performance at our home. Y’all, he’s soooooo good: his kids songs sung with a Texas-country twang, laid back cowboy style, and jokes for the parents that go over the little one’s heads make for a kids concert that all attendees will enjoy. My daughter Alexandra has one of his branded t-shirts and whenever she sees it, she starts singing Wheels on the Bus…it’s super cute BUT…imagine how she’s going to flip her lid when she sees him live and in concert right from her living room!Lunch will be catered by Austin’s famous Franklin Barbecue. –Have y’all tried their brisket? Some swear it’s the absolute best in Texas. This Eastside joint is a favorite of President Obama, celebrities, and famous chefs. However, due to their 2-hour wait (like at least 2 hours standing outside in line, with no guarantee that there will be any left for you when it’s your turn to order), we’ve never tasted its deliciousness in the 5 years we’ve lived here. There is a workaround, though: Pre-Orders. Place your large catering order online in advance and walk right up to pick it up at the designated time your choose. –Score!
Now, I know random things like Cedar Fever, toddler tantrums (these have officially started for us!), and last-minute guest cancellations can possibly put a damper on the day, but I’m hoping we fondly remember her epic second birthday party. I’m unabashedly looking forward to a pretty fantastic morning of music and BBQ. However we choose to celebrate birthdays, wether it be small & intimate or over-the-top, I hope my little one grows up knowing how valued she is each and every day of the year.
It’s that time of year: with every kiss under the mistletoe comes a little cough…where holiday gatherings inevitably bring along the sniffles…when those quick gift runs result in a sneeze session. Unfortunately the holiday season is also known as cold & flu season. While a trip to the doctor might be needed when you come down with something nasty, I wanted to share a few “stay healthy” tips & tricks to help survive the season symptom-free.
Indulge in a little Self-care: A relaxing escape, an expert massage service is a tool to keep you sane amidst the inevitable chaos of Christmas. A professional one-hour massage is the perfect way to de-stress and for your first visit, Hand and Stone offers them for just $49.95! Hand & Stone is a 275-plus unit massage and facial spa franchise with a mission to bring massage and facial services to the masses. Is there one in your ‘hood? With locations in 29 states and Canada, they make it super-easy to squeeze in an appointment time that works with your packed schedule. Do it! This is the best gift you could give yourself as we lead up to the busy holiday season.
Change out those Toothbrushes: Has anyone ever told ya to switch out your toothbrush whenever you catch a cold? –Not sure if there is any scientific evidence behind that advice but I think there is something to it! Regardless, no one can deny the importance of oral health and its connection to our overall well-being. Besides the obvious benefits of oral hygiene, did you know a clean mouth means warding off potential non-oral health problems, like heart attack, stroke and even preterm labor? As the ADA reports, a healthy mouth means a healthy body.The HartFelt 360 Toothbrush is the world’s first 360 degree toothbrush and revolutionizes your brushing experience with unparalleled cleaning power.
- Cleans more than twice the amount of plaque than a standard manual toothbrush
- Effective without the use of toothpaste! (Perfect for my tiny tot…her doc has advised holding off on toothpaste until after age 2)
- Ensures proper brushing
Be Prepared: Stock up that medicine cabinet now, because there’s nothing worse than being sick during the holidays. Fortunately, for those of us under the weather, there’s Chloraseptic, the #1 sore throat relief brand. Have their throat lozenges on hand when you travel, too. The air on airplanes is very dry – which can cause a sore, scratchy throat. These berry-flavored lozenges are a yummy, fast-acting method to soothe coughs & keep your throat feeling great.
Stay Hydrated!: As the days become shorter and the temperatures drop below freezing, it’s only natural to daydream about a tropical vacation. But when traveling isn’t possible, INVO Coconut Water “Tropical” can transport you to the beach without ever leaving your home or office.INVO Tropical is packed with 5 essential electrolytes, low in sugar and 99% fat free. With a great source of vitamins C and B, INVO’s cold pasteurization process locks in all the nutrients, giving that freshly cracked coconut experience, just as nature intended. It is never frozen, never heated and has nothing artificial added, making it a healthy beverage choice to experience the tropics without the guilt.
I got up this morning to a gloomy rainy day in Austin, tired from staying up late to watch election results and pre-coffee cleaning of an epic poop-splosion by the toddler (it went all directions: both up her back and down into her toes, dripped from the crib onto the carpet…so yeah, I woke up with bells on.) However, this was a cringe-worthy wake-up-call for the history books: the outcome of Election 2016 was finalized. Donald Trump is President. For me, the news was shocking, sobering, imminently grave, and unshakably disappointing. Note: Republican friends, ya don’t have to stop reading here…this post is not about Hillary, it’s about Jesus.This selfie snap = my mood driving from home this morning: angry Mozart on blast and wearing head-to-toe black, almost as if in mourning for the future of our nation. Well, the Lord has a way of speaking to our hearts at exactly when we need to hear Him, amen? I’m thankful the Pastors at the church where I attend a weekly parenting lecture series decided to be dynamic and timely and go off book to take a minute addressing what was weighing on all our hearts. Before we began our regularly scheduled “Fearless Mom” lesson, the leaders took a few minutes to advise us mamas on how to talk to our kids about the election.The full video of their 17-minute message is linked above, but from my notes, I wanted to share some Scripture-based takeaways that helped me begin to Keep Calm and Carry On:
- 1 Chronicles 28:20 — Tell your kids to be courageous (and model that behavior!)
- David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”
- 1 Timothy 2:1-4 — Honor the office and pray for those with the position to succeed
- I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
- Hebrews 13:8 — In an uncertain era, we cling to the truth
- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
And finally, allow me to throw in the verse that will be my personal prayer for Trump: Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
May God Bless America.
In honor of Adele’s sold out performances tonight & Saturday here in Austin, I wanted to share my experience seeing her in concert earlier this October. Back in June (as my birthday gift!), my husband got us tickets to Adele’s Montreal stop of her world tour in Quebec, Canada. He’s got a love affair with that city and figured it would make a perfect getaway weekend for the two of us. Well, about two weeks before our trip, an important work commitment arose and after looking at all the options, we decided he just couldn’t make it work. But no worries, because last minute he arranged for my good girl friend Marissa to fly up & meet me for the show! Us girls had a short, whirlwind trip to Montreal…I landed the afternoon of the event and we packed a lot into those few hours we had to spare. After meeting up downtown, we beelined to the perfect gourmet bistro for a fancy French-inspired lunch, complete with foie gras and rose’! Then, she treated us to massages at the most unique spa concept: a historic river ferry turned into a luxurious floating day spa in the Montreal harbor called Bota Bota. It was a delightfully different way to unwind from our flights, take in the city skyline, and do something relaxing before the big show.We arrived to the venue a mere seconds before showtime but it was perfect timing! Our seats were pretty high up but very close to the main stage. And of course the sound, lighting, visuals, etc. were all stunning. One thing I appreciated was that her face was up on the big screen the whole time…you could see up close how she sang each note & the emotion she put into every lyric. No costume changes, just the right amount of pageantry, nothing superficial, perfectly classic timeless Adele.She performed for a full two-hours and showed us lots of personality in between sets! Adele is very very funny, y’all! We were cracking up — she was talking about how she’s trying to keep up with her work-outs on this tour but then she discovered Shake Shack during her pervious stop in NYC and those cheeseburgers did her in, haha! Wonder if she’ll make a stop to one of our two Shake Shack locations while she’s in town?All the big chart-topping hits were sung, there was a short acoustic set, a couple covers, and best of all: she told us the back stories. She writes most of her own music and she really exposed herself emotionally by going in deep: where she was living, at what point she was at in her career, where she stood in her love life, all of the nitty gritty & many times sad feelings that inspired her writing. –Ah, Queen Adele crying, cold & wet, living and writing her songs in a dank, dark English basement…say it ain’t so!A few insights: she told us that no, contrary to the tabloid reports, she is not pregnant. She apologized for going away for so long but warned that she will go away yet again…that she needs & wants to be connected to her family and to live a real life and have real feelings in order to produce art that speaks to us.My favorite song of the night was Sweetest Devotion. During the intro, Adele described how deep & different is the love for her son and talked about how motherhood changed her. She was quite the prolific songwriter afterward, always writing, writing, writing pieces about her son. Her producers cut a lot of it, but this one song stood out and it was thankfully included on her album, 25. Well after hearing all that background, the song took on a new, more intense meaning for me personally and it was quite incredible to hear it performed live…ALL THE FEELS, let me tell ya. Hearing her words & viewing them from the lens of myself as a new mother, both Marissa and I were moved to tears…it was a special moment for us mamas.
Austin-area kids are invited to rock their hearts out at The Domain’s the third annual Hush Hush Music Bash, a free music festival for kids on Saturday, October 8, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Baby Alexandra & I went last year and had an absolute blast! Such cool family event and a nice ACL-alternative.
KB Whirly will kick off the bash at 3 p.m. Known for his earthy, folksy, bluesy and always upbeat music, KB incorporates storytelling, improvisational song writing and interactive music making in his one-man band. Next, The Que Pastas will hit the stage at 4 p.m. This local kindie (kid+indie=kindie) band’s uplifting, highly interactive and ridiculously funny performance is sure to thrill the kids. At 5 p.m., Sonia De Los Santos’ musical stories will inspire messages of joyful community music making and cultural bridge building. Performing songs about history, art and culture, El Tule Band will perform at 6 p.m., finishing off a night that will have kids begging for more.
In addition to getting down and funky at the main concert, kids will enjoy hands-on activities, giveaways and more, all on the lawn outside iPic Theaters.
For more info, check out the Facebook event page. See y’all there, Mamas!