Life[style]: April ’17 — New Pantry Products

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Trying out some newly-released pantry staples this month…

Safe Catch:  As y’all may or may not know, I was a pescetarian for about 7 years. Safe to say, I know my canned tuna — I’ve eaten A LOT over the years! Safe Catch Elite Wild Tuna is by far one of the best I’ve found. Sustainable, super-healthy, and boasts the lowest mercury content of any brand — perfect for athletes & kids and safe for pregnant women.  Safe Catch tunaNot only does this brand test every single fish used in its products to ensure they are low in mercury, the ingredients used in their new seasoned line of tuna are equally as pure and natural. Plus, each can has over 28 grams of protein to keep you fueled & full for hours.

ISO Thrive:  My husband has gotten into taking probiotics lately. He likes to supplement with probiotics not only for health benefits, but for the weight-management properties as well. I partnered with ISOThrive —a gastroenterologist-endorsed, bacterially fermented microFood ‘pre’-biotic— to try out a new type of so-called probiotic. First, I learned why those probiotic yogurts never made me feel any better—the bacteria they were touting never made it to the part of my gut where they were needed! ISO Thrive

So-called “microFood” feeds the bacteria that are already in your gut, but aren’t getting the nutrition they need. Here’s what else I learned about what microFood can do:

1. Go where probiotics can’t
Most probiotics are neutralized in our stomachs and never make it to our lower digestive tract. To heal GI issues, the whole digestive system has to be re-balanced. A daily dose of fermented microFood like ISOThrive fuels the good bacteria to tackle the organisms that cause gas, bloating, and constipation.

2. Rebalance our diets the ancient way
Most modern diets lack nutrients to feed our “good” bacteria—more particularly, a very specific type of microFood that our ancestors got by eating lots of fermented vegetables or sourdough breads made from heirloom wheat. ISOThrive adds back this bacterially fermented food to rebalance our diets and keep our bacteria happy. (And, no, the sauerkraut on your hot dog or the kimchi on your bibimbap won’t get you the the microFood you need—you’d have to eat several cups of fermented veggies every day to get the same amount of microFood in one 1/4 teaspoon of ISOThrive microFood!)

3. Prep our bodies to prevent disease
Because the modern Western diet is so deficient in specially fermented microFood, our starving “good” gut bacteria are “breaking bad”—adapting to use other energy sources (such as our gut lining), and making us sick. Fermented microFood restores this imbalance, enhancing immune function and staving off disease.

Community Coffee:  Just in time for spring entertaining, Community Coffee Company’s new Amber Sunrise Blend is perfect for coffee drinkers who prefer a lighter roast with a smooth finish (try pairing it with this recipe for crème brûlée!).Community CoffeePlus, for every dollar redeemed on specially-marked coupons, Community will donate a matching dollar to land preservation efforts along the gulf coast, one of the largest threatened ecosystems in the world. You can learn more about this important cause and their new gulf coast campaign by visiting www.communitycoffee.com/Save-the-Coast

 

 

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Day-Date Idea: iFLY Austin

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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 AustiniFLY 2Home 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?!iFLY 1Then, 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! iFLY Lindsey 1

iFLY Ryan 1It 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!

Parents of preschoolers: Making weekly dates a priority and how to fit them in your schedule

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day dates

Two years into this whole parenthood thing, I’m just getting used to the concept of “date-night.”  When you’re married & childless, any occasion, day-or-night, can be turned into a “date”…heck, your whole life outside of work is one big date!  And score! –each dinner out, movie, concert, whatever all result in getting to take your hottie home at the end of the night.  Young married life is pretty freakin’ great.  International travel.  An MBA.  Spontaneous weekend getaways.  Fancy meals at hot new restaurants.  I look back on that stage fulfilled to have gotten so much time together, just as husband and wife.

Then comes baby in a baby carriage!  #Blessed, but married life as you know it won’t be the same for at least 20+ years.  I’ve talked about Fearless Mom before but just as a quick refresh, it’s a moms lecture series with small group breakouts that meets weekly on Wed. mornings.  It’s a ministry of Lake Hills Church here in Austin and it’s been a place of comfort, learning, and camaraderie for me as a mom.  I’ve absorbed so much parenting truth.  Things like:

  • Marriage:  how the parenting pendulum swings between wife and mom
  • 20/20 Parenting:  discipline for the next 20 years, rather than the next 20 mins
  • Mom Guilt:  be aware and intentional with your thoughts – YOU are enough
  • Social Media:  Wherever you are, be all there. #putdownthephone

All. of. this.  Seriously, I’ve loved it so much!  If you’re not in Austin, you can follow along at home.  Anyway, one of the lessons of the past couple sessions has been to set a date night and keep it regularly.  –But it’s hard, y’all!  Here are the reasons why we’ve never been able to keep a regular weekly date night:

  • Babysitters are expensive.  No lie, I had a professional nanny who babysits on her off hours quote me “$15-$17/hr. for one child under the age of 5.” –Ugh, our ‘one child under the age of 5’ goes to bed by 7:30.  The sitter may be super-qualified, but I just can’t allow myself to pay someone $17/hr. to sit at the house while my little one sleeps.  I need to find some good minimum wage-level high schoolers in the neighborhood, for real.
  • Movies are pricey, too.  Many of the cinemas around where we live are these new luxury-style set-ups where you choose an assigned seat in a comfy leather armchair and have servers wait on you throughout the show.  Plus, all those bigger recliners with tables and wide aisles for food service = less space available in each theatre.  Anytime we get an itch to go to the movies on a whim, it’s like NO –tickets sold out a week ago.
  • I’m tired, honey.  Frankly, I’m tired all the time.  But I’m especially sleepy after like 9 p.m.  And honestly, on a Friday night with a glass of red wine in his system, so is the husband…I’ll catch him crashed out on the couch by 9:30 at night.  Also, no one enjoys looking down at their watch during a date.  If I do happen to get a second wind and want to party ’til midnight, the child’s still waking up at the same early bird hour that she always does the next day.  Um, where are the babysitters for the morning after?

But still, the notion of prioritizing your marriage during parenthood remains so important.  At Fearless Mom, I’ve heard it put like this:  Connect daily.  Date weekly.  Retreat annually.  So, dating doesn’t need to happen at night, right?  Here are some alternative date-night periods where we’ve carved in some couple-time:

  • During Preschool:  Our little one goes to a half-day program twice a week at the local church.  They call it Preschool, but it’s more of a Mother’s Day Out.  It’s rare, but if the hubs is open for lunch, I’ll throw out the idea of a lunch-date…he loves to eat out, so it’s not a hard sell.  Sometimes we’ll drive to the East side to check out the latest buzzed about restaurant that just opened.  But really, any meal out that we can eat together, hot & uninterrupted, is “date” enough for us!
  • When the Grandparents are Around:  Whether they’re visiting us or if we’re home for the holidays, we try to find an opportunity to sneak off for a moment to ourselves.  Just get in the car and find something to do outside the realm of parenthood!  Usually, it’s just us going see a movie or grab a drink with a friend.  BUT If you can get Grandma to sign-off for the overnight shift, this is an ideal chance for a one-night staycation at a hotel.  It’s amazing with the illusion of a real vacation can do for tired parents’ souls.
  • Daytime:  This is our key window!  I’m all about the day-dates vs. date-night.  Saturday mid-day is a great time for your weekly date.  Babysitters are less likely to be booked up, and the littles are awake & energetic so they’ll be earning that hourly rate 😉 Plus, there are opportunities for fun, active, outdoorsy dates.  Something to spice-up that married dating game besides the usual dinner & a movie, ya know?  We recently went on an indoor skydiving day-date that I can’t wait to tell y’all more about.  Blog post on our experience at iFLY coming soon!

3 Things to Do for YOU, Starting this Weekend

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Treat yo’ self, Mama!

The Eyes Have It:  EYE-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches by Nerium Internationaleye-vTexas-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 EndhopesendHopes 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 Austinparents-night-out-at-toybrary

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: info@toybraryaustin.com or 512-765-4174.

Life[style]: Feb. ’17 — Surviving the Season of Cedar Fever

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2017 is predicted to be one of the worst years ever for cedar. Only a week into the season, cedar pollen counts reached the second highest level in record history:  21,952 grains/cubic meter. Since then, cedar counts have been medium-to-high almost daily, leaving thousands of Austinites living in state of constant misery.

Thing is, we haven’t seen the worst of it yet:  I recently heard mid-February referred to as the Cedar-pocalypse. This is when cedar pollen –an aggressive allergen that many of us have been battling since December– will hit their absolute highest counts. When the male Mountain Cedar trees (technically Ashe Junipers) look like they’re on fire from the ‘smoky’ clouds of pollen billowing from their branches.

This is one of the prices we pay to live in wonderful Austin, Texas, right? I consulted local acupuncturist David Jones, for some easy things we can do right now to provide some relief. January through March in Austin has some of the best weather in the country. Try these three tactics so you can get out there and enjoy it. 

Experiment with Natural Remedies:  If you’ve had enough of the allergy shots & pills, this herbal product is one solution to try in battling cedar season. Fight the effects of cedar fever (sneezing, swollen sinuses, watery eyes) naturally by starting to use Herbalogic’s Easy Breather every day. Take one to two 500 mg capsules of Easy Breather a couple of times a day and supplement with herb drops as needed. You should feel instant relief. It combines ingredients long used in Chinese herbal traditions to promote clear sinuses and soothe occasional upper respiratory and eye irritation. Unlike formulas that cause nasal dryness or thirst, Easy Breather includes herbs to moisturize sinus passages and upper respiratory membranes.easy-breatherThe company is based in Austin and has grown 40% year-over-year. Their products are sold online and can be found in more than 500 retail outlets, including Wheatsville Co-op, People’s Pharmacy, Whole Foods Market and HEB. 

Focus on Your Feet:  We LOVE hiking Austin’s miles of greenbelt trails this time of year, and we refuse to let pesky cedar pollen stop us! Before you walk back into your home, be sure to wipe down shoes, jackets and even your hair – just because you can’t see the pollen doesn’t mean it’s not there. Upon entering, leave the shoes outside if you can and switch into fresh socks. Gold Toe socks are the perfect accessory to any adventure — big or small. “PowerSox“is Gold Toe’s new athletic line and the socks are perfect for all our outdoor fitness activities! powersoxThe boot socks, woven with merino wool & contour cushioning, are essential for anyone that loves a good hike as much as we do. For that trail run, bike ride, or rock climbing session, the no-show athletic socks have mesh panels to ensure breathability, while “AquaFX technology” works to keep feet dry.

Become a Clean Freak: Take extra showers and make it a habit to wash-up immediately after spending time outdoors. A hot shower can provide some sinus relief while getting rid of pollen on your body or hair. Clean your house (or have it professionally cleaned) at least once a week. Helpful tip: if you’ve been hit with cedar fever, get someone else to do the vacuuming. The dust-up can irritate your nose, which can be a nightmare if you’re already suffering. Most importantly:  WASH YOUR PILLOWCASES! If you normally wash sheets once a week, up it to 2 or 3 times a week, even if it’s just the pillowcases. You hair is like a magnet for cedar pollen and once your head hits the pillow each night, our poor noses are left to roll around in allergens all night. mollys-sudsY’all know I’m always looking out for a natural alternative if I’m using a product that often…Molly’s Suds is a great option to try over conventional laundry detergent. It’s perfect for those with allergies and sensitive skin. You can count the number of ingredients on both hands; it does not contain the long list of harsh chemicals found in conventional brands. Molly’s Suds can be found at retailers like Amazon, Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Products to Kick-Start your New Year’s Resolution

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Happy New Year!  How’s everyone doing with their New Year’s resolutions?  I’m committed to feeling fit, healthy & energized this year and wanted to share a few products that are helping me along the way:

  • Breakfast with Back to the Roots cereals:  It’s a new year, start it clean. For this Cali-based organic food start-up, there is nothing more personal or important than what we eat and put in our bodies 3x a day. They’re’re passionate about “Undoing Food” and creating sustainable, delicious products to help kids and families reconnect with their food and how it’s grown. These organic cereals are found online or at Whole Foods and boast just 3-4 ingredients each…simple, natural & healthy way to start my day!cereal
  • Coffee with NextSugar:  There’s a new sugar alternative on the market that is finally delivering the solution that so many people (including health researchers & medical professionals) have been waiting for: NextSugar. NextSugar is the world’s first low glycemic, non-GMO and Kosher natural cane sugar that has a sweetness intensity and profile of conventional sugar, but with a groundbreaking advantage: its unique composition naturally and safely blocks up to 50% of the sugar from being absorbed by the body. AND it’s suitable for any traditional use of sugar, such as baking, cooking and sweetening.

next-sugar

  • Organic deodorant & lip balm from Green Goo:  This new year, start fresh by making a few healthy swaps with your daily body care products! This organic skincare line provides pure, natural and healing ingredients to nourish skin. Green Goo believes in using only the highest-quality, natural, beneficial ingredients the earth has to offer… food for your skin!

green-goo

  • New black jeans from SlimSation:  Never underestimate the power of great fitting, ankle-cut black pants. The goal isn’t only to look on-trend, but to look fit at the same time. SlimSation is a women’s clothing brand offering the highest form of comfort. Their ankle pants, skirts, and jeans are all made with a flexible tummy control panel. These panels work to contour your waist, slim your tummy, and shape your hips, all while keeping you comfy. They move with you, keeping your figure looking great throughout the day, whether you’re working, playing, or running errands. Plus, the secret slimming panel can’t be seen, but the effects of it are unmissable. pants

Making Winter Birthdays Special for Kids

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frist-bday-cakeThey’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.little-land-pic-1But 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.little-land-pic-2This 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!mr-will-picLunch 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.

 

How to Choose Toys Toddlers Won’t Get Tired of: Tips from a Toy-Buying Expert

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Any other new moms suddenly have toys on the brain?  Interacting with toys is now a daily part of our lives and it’s my mission to figure out some best-buys in the playfulness department.  So, I consulted Toybrary Austin owner (and thus, toy connoisseur) Liza Wilson to get her feedback on which toys are top-notch.  –We’re talking best types of toys and the best brands to buy!  Before she opened Austin’s local toy-lending library, she was a teacher, working with ages 2 through high school.  Although preschool is her happy place, she’s experienced in public, private, and Montessori schools and believes play and learning go hand-in-hand.

Why does my daughter seem to go weeks, even months, only playing with a handful of her toys while the rest sit ignored?  “Children’s brains are evolving very rapidly between the ages of 0-3. It’s their full time job to learn! They need lots of new stimulation on an ongoing basis. Once a child has ‘conquered’ a toy, it’s time to expose them to something new. If they are not playing with a toy, it’s likely because it has become boring to them and they no longer need to explore whatever the concept is. The toys that she plays with are the ones that are helping her learn.”toybrary-1

What are some quick tips & tricks moms can do to boost engagement, imagination, and self-guidance in the playroom?  “One of the most effective practices is to rotate toys. Put the majority of your child’s toys in the garage or another unused space, and just pull out a few at a time for your kids to play with. This keeps a cycle of seemingly new items available to them. Research shows that kids cannot focus on more than 7 toys at one time. If there are more than 7 available, the rest will get ignored (causing piles of clutter). Even with only 7, these eventually become commonplace and it’s time for kids to move on to a new stimulus. That’s definitely the right time to pull out new toys and either get rid of the ones they are bored with, or put them away to try again later.”

What types of toys typically generate the most interest at Toybrary?  “It’s funny, there are always new and fascinating toys on the market, but the old standards remain the most popular: dinosaurs, dolls, cars & trucks, pretend kitchen items, costumes, and all animals. The slide, bikes, trikes, and push carts are also enormously popular. Toys don’t need to light up or make any noise for the kids to love them. In fact, it’s much better on everyone’s mental health if they don’t!”toybrary-3

What are the signs of a high-quality toy?
Wooden toys are almost always the highest quality toys, for several reasons:

  • They are easy on the earth. Plastic never goes away and fills our landfills.
  • Because they are wooden, they are naturally simpler. We want toys to provide a stimulus for kids to be creative, not passive. Eliminating the lights and noise causes kids to be much more interactive with toys, which means their brains are working a lot harder. In other words, instead of the plastic cow “mooing” at the kiddo, he/she should be working on learning to make all kinds of animal sounds on his/her own. This is learning.

Another sign of a high quality toy is that it has multiple uses/teaches multiple lessons. In other words, it promotes “open-ended” play. Blocks are a great example. Many toys focus on just one skill, like pushing a button. With open-ended toys, there is no limit to how many different ways they can be used. Kids can build a tower, a castle, a farm, a house, etc. with blocks. Because of this, blocks are interesting and stimulating for years!”toybrary-2

What are some of your favorite toy brands?  “I love the European toys the most (especially Haba & Janod). –This is not to be snobby! It’s because they are generally truly more child friendly. The colors aren’t just yellow, red, and blue like they are often are in the U.S. They use beautiful oranges and purples as well. The toys are sturdy, well made, long-lasting, beautiful, and classic. You don’t find sexy or violent toys coming from Germany or France. That being said, Plan Toys, KidKraft, EverEarth, and Manhattan Toy are great American companies, and I love Green Toys as well. Their toys are simple, durable, attractive, and long lasting!”

ATX Moms:  Try before you buy!  Check out these brands and more at Liza’s toy wonderland, Toybrary.  Plus, there are options to stay and play, drop-in childcare, and educational activities like excellent classes for kids and useful parent workshops.  There’s always a new carefully selected speaker or special event going on there to add to your calendar!

Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

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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.360-toothbrushThe 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.chloraseptic

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.coconut-waterINVO 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.

 

Alternative Christmas Gift Idea for Families with Kids: Memberships & Season Passes

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That Hatchimal on their Christmas list gone out of stock?  Tired of kids with their eyeballs glued to a video game?  Or (in our case), does your toddler actually play with the box more than the toy inside?  Consider giving the gift of shared experiences this year!  –Not only shared experiences, but a gift the whole family can use year ’round.  I’m talking about the gift of memberships:  wether it be season passes to a local amusement park or an annual family admission package to their local zoo; memberships are a unique way to ensure you give the gift that keeps on giving.  Here are a couple GREAT options local to Austin:

  1.  Thinkery:  thinkery-2Austin’s official children’s museum is a wealth of opportunity for fun & learning for families with kids of all ages & stages.  They put on a slew of summer camps, reserve a “Baby Bloomers” morning just for the littlest crawlers, host a number of special events throughout the year, etc.  As my “Community Placement” with Junior League of Austin, I volunteered there a couple years ago to help with summer camps and kinda feel in love with the place.  Their exhibits are rooted in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education — it’s almost as if you can see the little cogs spinning in their minds as they interact & play.  The Family Membership is $99/year and grants general admission for a family of four at each visit BUT there are a number of pricing options to suit each family’s needs, including monthly giving.thinkery-1
  2. Toybrary:  A library is to books as Toybrary is to toys. –Super-cool concept, right!?  Toybrary is a toy-lending library and kids’ birthday party venue that also offers drop-in childcare.  Parents and children can stay & play and then check-out their favorite pieces to take home for awhile.  toybrary-1Here’s the dollar-by-dollar breakdown:  the average family in the U.S. spends $740 a year on toys if they have one child, and $1,200 a year on toys if they have two children. (PRWeb.com)  With Toybrary memberships at $40 per month & a year’s membership adding up to $420, the savings most families see is over $300 per year!  If you go once a week, and check out 3 toys each time, the kids get to use 12 toys per month.  But don’t forget, families can visit and exchange toys as often as they like.Toybrary 2.jpg