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!
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.
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 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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Currently underway and officially open to the public on July 20th, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is one of my favorite shopping events of the year. This time around, I took out all the fluff and went with staples that will last for years. Picked up items mostly for my kids: winter jackets, school shoes, etc. Plus, some tall black boots for Mama!
Stuart Weitzman boots: You’ll usually find at least one Stuart Weitzman boot as part of the #NSale — I have a navy pair that I love and have been eyeing a tall black boot from this brand for years. Stuart Weitzmans start at a high price point and it’s rare to find their good styles on sale. I couldn’t decide which style to choose, so I was advised to just order both & return one. –These will sell out quick!
Patagonia Jackets: These ultra-lightweight, packable jackets are surprisingly super warm. The weight is perfect for our winters in Austin, Texas. Again, this is a staple that rarely goes on clearance. Love the basic black color, too — goes with everything. They have them in most sizes so you can outfit the whole family…we purchased these pictured below for my husband and daughter. The hubs liked that his came with a generous sleeve length to cover his long arms.
New Shoes for the Kids: We purchased the Girl’s Adidas Superstar sneakers for our rainbow-loving daughter. The classic Adidas 3-stripes are holographic & add a bit of spunk to this classic shoe. We’ll keep ’em bright & shiny for the rest of the summer and let her have them as her new preschool shoes. For my infant son, I went with the Freshly Picked oxfords. These are the only type of shoes that stay on his lil’ kicky feet. They come in a perfect neutral color that’s sure to match all of his Fall baby clothes.