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.)
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!
We have come to the conclusion of my 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge with Anjum Hanafi, Independent Consultant at Rodan + Fields. And I must say, I have an appreciation for my skin unlike never before. Before I tried these products, I was at war with my face: constantly fighting off breakouts, dullness, oil production, dry flaky patches, and appearance of fine lines. Due to a variety of factors (hormone changes, lack of sleep, lifestyle change, and just from general aging) I never knew what face I’d wake up to in the morning. Plus, the unpredictability of it all was aggravating my postpartum anxiety! Now, through this skin care regime, I feel like I’m working WITH my skin, feeding it what it needs, and creating a harmony of hydration and health. There are few surprises these days and I’m grateful for that.
Ok, regarding my issues I was hoping to address:
Dullness: Completely gone. I feel I’m rocking a healthy glow once more and there is a nice color in my cheeks. Even on nights where the baby wakes up THREE TIMES (and once for the toddler, too!) I don’t experience that showing up in my face the next morning.
Flakiness/Dry patches: Completely gone. The surface texture has totally evened out and I’m back to my regular homeostasis of normal-to-oily skin. The combination of oily in some places and super dry in others was confusing to me (I didn’t know what to put on my face!) and it’s nice to just reach for one go-to product that handles it all.
Old acne scars: Fading. Both the subtle pockmarks and not-so-subtle dark spots are continuing to even-out.
Fine lines: When I turned 33, I got my first wrinkle. My tall forehead wrinkles up with certain expressions and one of the lines finally just stayed there. However, –and I can’t believe it– but the roller smooths out that one pesky line. If this continues to work, I’ll keep to my personal promise of putting off the Botox until age 40.
Additionally, one product comes in the kit I received but wasn’t used in the challenge. I’m breastfeeding & it’s not recommended, so I had to hold off. BUT, it is amazing and award-winning and deserves a mention: R+F’s all new re-vamped Intensive Renewing Serum is all the rage — even featured in the April ’18 edition of Oprah’s O Magazine! The highest concentration of Vitamin A available on the market without a prescription, this powerful tiny daily-dose blue capsule packs a punch. Many Vitamin A serums on the market are too much for sensitive skin but this product is specifically formulated for even the most sensitive skin and works to visibly firm, smooth and revitalize the skin. It reduces the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles and the individual capsules ensure the product says fresh at every application.
Welcome to the middle of my 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge…I am happy to report I am seeing improvement! The area that is showing up most significantly are in the acne scars along my cheeks. To illustrate it best, I tried to take a pic that’s back-lit and from the side to show off the texture. Subtle improvement, but the results are something I’ve never been able to achieve through any facial or topical cream, prescription or otherwise. Very excited to continue ‘rolling’ as I think the surface texture of my skin will continue to even out. No difference in fine lines yet, but honestly wrinkles are the least of my skin-specific worries.The little roller has been a bit of an adventure to use. I mean, there ARE ACTUAL NEEDLES that you’re rolling across your face! The sensation kind of surprised me at first, but I quickly got used to the feeling and now look forward to ‘rolling’ at night. You move in up/down and side-to-side motions and the process only takes one minute to cover the entire face. It needs to be rinsed with warm water after each use and submerged into an effervescent tablet solution (just like dentures, teehee!) twice a week.Regarding the Active Hydration Serum (pictured above), it has been a process getting my skin used to that level of moisture. As first, my skin felt sticky after each application. It was as if the skin was absorbing it very slowly. The product never sat on my skin and looked greasy, though (which has happened before with over-the-counter night creams). After a month of use, the clear serum formula is absorbed right away – as if my skin recalibrated & now accepts the product very well. I’m really enjoying the consistency of the lightweight formula – no residue on my fingers and my skin drinks it right up. I shouldn’t call it ‘lightweight’ though, because the product is actually quite an intense moisturizer! Plus, the cool applicator tool distributes the exact right amount for each use. My internal image of skin “dullness” is gone and the pesky flaky patches have vanished. ~More updates in another month! 🙂
Any reader of this blog knows I’m an avid tester of the latest skincare products. I absolutely love to try out new serums, creams, & cleansers and then share my reviews with y’all. My neighbor Anjum knows this, too, and suggested I give Rodan + Fields a try. She is a huge advocate of this line and sells it with great success. She prompted me to use certain personalized products and commit to them for 2 months — or, the 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge. Because even with all the fun products that are sent to me for review, I still don’t exactly “love” my skin.
Through this challenge, we’re hoping to tackle a couple of issues I’m currently dealing with: acne scars and dullness. –Anyone in the same boat? I’m in my mid-thirties and finally the pimples I’ve dealt with my whole life are starting to subside. BUT, I’m left with subtle scarring, or slight pockmarks that show up at the right angle & in some lights. More noticeably, I have scarring that manifests as dark spots…those fade over time, but we’re talking MONTHS. My dermatologist told me the scarring could be addressed by a series of microneedling services. (Since I’m breastfeeding, there’s a lot of products and procedures I need to steer clear of for now.) Microneedling is safe, but the price tag is scary! The packages at my dermatologist’s office started around $800. Luckily R + F makes a roller than is basically the same idea but can be used on yourself in the convenience of your own home.The AMP MD Roller, Rodan + Fields micro-exfoliating roller, is designed to help the skin heal itself. As the micro-needles move across your skin (don’t worry, they don’t hurt!), signals are sent to the brain to “SEND COLLAGEN!” Collagen is what heals our wounds and gives our skin strength & elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. The micro-needles also create channels in our skin allowing any skincare products applied after to be absorbed quicker & deeper, creating results for a firmer tone, smoother texture, and a reduced appearance of lines & wrinkles!
The second skincare issue I’m hoping to rectify is dullness. This could be just a case of life with a newborn and general postpartum skin changes. I just feel like my skin is lacking luminosity. –I guess once you have that ‘pregnancy glow’ and then proceed to see it fade, you want it back, haha! Now, I haven’t been able to keep up with my facials over the last few months, so I know a contributing factor here is the lack of regular exfoliation. But Anjum tells me hydration is a major component in dealing with skin dullness. Again, since I’m breastfeeding she had to stick within certain ingredient boundaries but we found something that should work fabulously for me in their Active Hydration Serum.Active Hydration Serum (AHS) is a hydrating, oil-free serum that increases the hydration level in our skin. Often times, we apply moisturizer to our skin, thinking this will help with hydration. Moisturizers, in fact, only seal in EXISTING hydration — they do NOT add hydration to the skin! As we age, our level of skin hydration decreases, causing our skin to look dull and (dare I say it) droopy. AHS adds hydration into the skin, and when your skin is hydrated, it looks more vibrant, glowing, and smooth! AHS is formulated to benefit all skin types.
So, here begins Day 1 of our 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge! I’ll keep ya posted during the journey and share my progress. –Interested in joining me? –Want to FINALLY love your skin? Check out the products here and reach out to Anjum on Instagram or Facebook. She’s always available to answer any skincare questions or recommend the right products.
With Spring Break behind us and Summer just around the corner, it’s time for me to start thinking about eating healthy again. I’ll admit: during my pregnancy, I threw caution to the wind and ate absolutely whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I joke that my 8-pound, 12-ounce babe emerged from the womb 40% larger than his older sister did because he was so bloated on all my ice cream sandwiches and breakfast tacos. Now that I’m 6-weeks postpartum and have established a breastfeeding routine, I think it’s safe to reign it in again. I am actually really interested in health food trends and new grocery store options in this area are fascinating to me! Here are a few products new to the health food aisles that I’m trying this month:
Protein-packed Pastas: Have you tried lentil-based pasta yet? –It’s so yummy! Recently, Modern Table reformulated its entire product line. Now, each variety of nourishing noodles features dramatically improved pasta texture achieved through a blend of lentils, rice and peas containing all nine essential amino acids for long-lasting energy, good digestion and improved muscle health. Ready in 15 mins or less, they’re particularly convenient for me right now…it’s tough to cook a warm meal with a new baby in the family! Plus, all pastas are non-GMO, vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free.
Supercharged Water:Hydrive Energy Water is a new refreshing zero-calorie energy drink that’s perfect for exercise hydration. The formulas are light & flavorful with caffeine and added B vitamins. Hydrive comes in six flavors including Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Triple Berry, Citrus Burst, Kiwi Melon and Grape Fusion. My favorite one is the Citrus Burst — it tastes like a Creamsicle! As a former Diet Coke-addict turned 100% soda-free, my hubs has really enjoyed trying out this new option to rehydrate & recharge his workouts. Hydrive is available at major retailers such as Walmart, Kroger & QuikTrip for around $1.89 a bottle.
Gluten-free (& Guilt-free!) Cookies:Now this is what I like to hear when it comes to cookies: health food brand Munk Pack has launched Protein Cookies, featuring 18 grams of plant-protein per cookie. Even better, they are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, a good source of fiber, and available in four delicious flavors, including: Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia, Double Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Raisin Spice. Even better, these ready-to-eat Protein Cookies have no soy, no dairy, no cholesterol and no sugar alcohols. –Convenient, on-the-go nutrition full of better-for-you fuel!