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guilt free grab 'n go snacks

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Summer is finally here, and that means one thing – road trip season! Whether you’re packing up the family SUV or hitting the highway solo, having the right snacks on hand is key for any great adventure.But let’s be real, when hanger strikes somewhere between Point A and Point B, it’s all too easy to reach for something ultra-processed and loaded with junk. But this mom is diabetic and trying to battle the perimenopause weight gain. This summer, ditch the drive-thru and get ready to snack smarter with these better-for-you munchies that’ll keep everybody happy and hunger at bay. Make sure to hit this road this summer with these guilt free grab ‘n go snacks!

Disclosure: I was provided samples of some of these products for review purposes but all opinions are my own. 

guilt free grab 'n go snacksPopadelics – The Crispy, Crunchy Mushroom Chip You Didn’t Know You Needed

Looking for a savory, crispy snack but want to skip the greasy potato chip gut bomb? Cue Popadelics – a mind-blowingly delicious mushroom crisp that’s 100% vegan, non-GMO, and way lighter than your average chip.Made with real shiitake mushrooms, these crunchy discs of umami deliciousness come in flavors like Trippin’ Truffle Parm, Twisted Thai Chili, and Rad Rosemary + Salt. They’re so tasty, you’d never guess they’re actually good for you!

Fresh Fruit

For our family, nothing beats fresh fruit. Whether it is orange slices, chilled apples, watermelon drizzled in balsamic or mixed with mint and lemon, we are all about fruit. But if you want a super easy, tasty treat, I’m currently obsessed with fresh red grapes, bathed in lime juice, sprinkled with strawberry jello packet and dusted with sugar ( I know, the sugar is not great but it is so freaking delicious.) Then, put it in the freezer and enjoy in about an hour. They are just as tasty fresh from the cooler on a road trip.

guilt free grab 'n go snacksFrooze Balls – The Juicebox Reincarnated as a Chewy, Fruity Treat

Kids and kids-at-heart are going to go bananas for Frooze Balls. Think of them as the grown-up, portable version of your favorite juicebox from childhood – only way better.These apple-based fruit snacks are soft, chewy, and bursting with real fruit flavor in Apple, Strawberry and Orange varieties. They’ve got all the nostalgic goodness you crave, minus the artificial junk. Plus, they’re made with 6 simple ingredients or less!guilt free grab 'n go snacksOlyra Foods – Soft, Ancient Grain Breakfast Biscuits for Any Time of Day

 

While they may be billed as breakfast biscuits, there’s no rule that says you can’t enjoy Olyra Foods’ pillowy-soft baked goods as a snack! Made with nutrient-rich ancient Greek grains and real fruit, these tasty treats are the healthy fig newton of your road trip dreams.Not only are they organic, non-GMO, high in fiber and low in sugar, but Olyra Foods’ biscuits have been crafted from a generations-old family recipe. They are so yummy, even your pickiest toddler or tween will approve. 

Ritz Toasted Chips in Sweet Habanero

I am seriously addicted. But they are seriously delicious and bonus, they are toasted not fried. However, don’t mindlessly eat an entire bag like I did one night. You will certainly not feel great after doing so. Just remember, everything in moderation. 

guilt free grab 'n go snacksThe Only Bean – A Crunchy, Protein-Packed Edamame Chip to Satisfy

Edamame just got a serious upgrade with The Only Bean’s crazy-crispy (and crazy-addictive) edamame bean snacks. These light-as-air crispy puffs are bursting with plant-based protein and fiber to keep you fueled.Better yet, The Only Bean’s snacks are gluten-free, vegan, and literally made with just one ingredient – edamame! Go ahead and binge on salty, savory Sea Salt, lip-tingling Sriracha, or both. We don’t judge.guilt free grab 'n go snacks

Else Else Nutrition

Else Nutrition just launched the first Plant-Based ready to drink kid’s protein solution that tastes incredibly delicious, like nothing else on the market! Kids love the taste (even picky eaters!) and parents approve of the nutrition-packed benefits. Not going to lie, I LOVE the chocolate shakes myself. It’s also perfect for my CSID teenager. Creating a healthier and happier future starts early in a child’s development. Explore the new whole food kids’ protein drinks truly “shaking up” the industry for the better. 

Our favorite guilt free grab ‘n go snacks for our road trips

So, there you have it- a stash of road-ready bites that’ll turn your road trip snack game upside down in the best possible way. From mushroom crisps to fresh fruit to ancient grain soft-bakes and beyond, these munchies prove that eating well on the go is anything but boring.

Pack them for your next adventure and get ready to snack happy from point A to your ultimate summer destination. Your taste buds ( and your road trip partners) will thank you later! What’s your favorite road trip snack?

 

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BAB shopping app

You know what really makes me feel out of sorts? Trying to online shop like a normal, functioning human being instead of the out-of-control, gabillion browser tab-having, aimless browsing CYBER-TROLL that I really am. Enter the BAB shopping app.

There you are, just an innocent mom looking for a new sundress or sandals for an upcoming beach vacay with the family. You pull up one website to peep their spring collection. Cute prints, fair prices, you add a few picks to your cart to mull over.

Then, out of nowhere, the primal shopping maniac possesses your cursor. Next thing you know,  you spiral into a multi-hour, multi-store, multi-browser BENDER of massively disappointing proportions.

Disclosure: The video in this post is sponsored but all opinions about BAB shopping app are my own.

Suddenly it’s 3am…you’re drunk off buying power…you have 9,428 open windows…and $2,718 worth of COMPLETELY INCONGRUOUS SHIZZ in carts across 27 different websites.

You’ve got:

  • 16 sundresses (no shoes or accessories)
  • 7 hideous candle options
  • Half of Home Goods’ dinnerware section
  • A $179 dog raincoat (you don’t own a dog)
  • 37 anti-aging serums and supplements
  • Some guy’s entire Etsy inventory of garden gnomes
  • 68 mini travel accessories from the skymall catalog

…and the free Hulu binge just logged itself out from inactivity. FML.

We’ve all been there, amirite?? Idly clicking and maniacally hitting “add to cart” one too many pairs of ripped mom jeans or seasonal throw pillows we SWORE we needed deep in the money-is-no-object delirium of 2am. We’re about to organize the shopping madness. 

Well NO MORE, my digitally unhinged sisters! That feverish shopping psychosis is about to be REINED. THE. EFF. IN!

Introducing: BAB shopping (aka Big Ass Bag) – the revolutionarily simple app that finally wrangles all your frantic online hauling into one blessedly organized place.

With BAB you can: ✨Curate collections for every niche interest or hobby (baby showers, gardening, dog mom-ing, crystals, you name it!) ✨Budget shop across dozens of sites just using one easy payment method ✨See at a glance how much you’re spending and where ✨Compile lookbooks and outfits in one clickable place ✨Share/collaborate carts with other mom friends …and more!

It’s all the indulgent, unhinged joy of window shopping from the comfort of your couch (or bathroom, no judgment) – but without the frantic CLOSING of 94 tiny browser search windows when your husband/roommate walks in.

You can leave BAB open indefinitely and it somehow makes your compulsive digital hauling seem…organized? Curated, even? A COLLECTION, not a cry for help!

And yes, it’s absolutely a place to harmlessly DUMP those 3am impulse purchases that sober-light hits and you immediately regret. BAB doesn’t judge your 11th pair of ugly Crocs this month, friend. We’ve all been there!

So for all you mompulsive online shopaholics out there – the digital black holes who leave aimless browser trails of abandoned e-carts in their wake like modern-day Ariadne’s string – get yourself BAB to rein in that feverish online spending energy!

It’s gonna change your entire digital hauling game, promise. (No more waking up at 4am like, “WHY do I have a cart full of male rompers from Banana Republic??” ever again!)

Tag your most out of control online shopping friend and tell her to getBAB-ing, you beautiful unshowered trolls! This simple app is about to be the organized chart-topping banger your life of internet aimless discography has been desperately needing.

So BAB up, haul responsibly, and stay spicy! This is the year we’re all finally getting our financial lives together…ish.

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Hey there, fellow sleep-deprived mom friend!

So, it’s that time of year again – World Sleep Day. Did you even know that was a thing? Me, neither. Then again, I’ve been a mom for 19 years, so you know, no rest for the wicked and all that. What is World Sleep Day, you ask? It’s a day dedicated to celebrating the elusive phenomenon known as sleep. But let’s be real, as moms, sleep might feel more like a distant memory than something worth celebrating. Between late-night feedings, toddler tantrums, and endless rounds of “just one more story,” and let’s not forget about waiting for teens to get home and then spending hours chatting about what’s going on with them… getting a decent night’s sleep can seem like a far-fetched dream.

Disclosure: Some of the products included in this post were gifted for review purposes but all opinions are my own. 

But fear not, my exhausted, desperately in need of a nap comadre! I’ve got some tips, tricks, and tired laughs to help you make the most of World Sleep Day. So grab your comfiest pajamas and a giant mug of coffee (wine or nightly edible, no judgment here), and let’s dive in!

1. Embrace the Nap Life

Whoever said naps are just for babies clearly never met a sleep-deprived mom. Let’s be real, naps are our love language. So, on World Sleep Day, give yourself permission to indulge in a midday siesta. Whether it’s a power nap in your fully-flat reclinable XL6 FlexiSpot Powerlift Recliner with massage and heat or a full-blown snooze fest in bed, take advantage of any opportunity to catch some z’s. Trust me, the laundry can wait – your sanity cannot. Because if you’re going to spend half your life in bed, you might as well do it in style.

2. Treat Yourself to Some Sleep Accessories

You know what they say: when in doubt, accessorize. And when it comes to sleep, the right accessories can make all the difference. Treat yourself to some cozy new pajamas, invest in a weighted silk sleep stone eye mask (it’s a game changer) or indulge in a luxurious set of PeachSkin Sheets. Because if you’re going to spend half your life in bed, you might as well do it in style. If you want to sleep in comfort ALL.YEAR.LONG. You must get yourself a muslin comfort 365 blanket. It keeps me comfortable no matter what time of the year it is and that is a life changing thing when you are pregnant, perimenopausal, menopausal or a woman in general. It was the one thing I never knew I needed but once I got one, I’m never going back. 

Bonus to sleep like a baby: Add a scrumptious and relaxing pillow mist.

3. Create a Sleep Sanctuary

Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary fit for a queen (or, you know, a tired mom). Dim the lights, set the mood with some soothing essential oils like Alevan Botanica: The Sleep Set , and banish any electronic devices from the premises (yes, even your phone). Creating a calming environment can help signal to your brain that it’s time to unwind and drift off into dreamland. 

Also, a must have for any sleep sanctuary, is Evercool®+ Cooling Sheet Set  and comforter. They’re made with the same game-changing temperature regulating technology and quality, moisture-wicking fabric as the the  Rest Kids Evercool™ Cooling Comforter I’d been using to cool off on hot nights. Only these full-sized sheets and comforter allows hopelessly hormonally challenged hot moms ( and dads) to recharge through a comfortable, cool, dry and restful sleep. Just imagine your body temperature being regulated and you being able to sleep through the night? Now, if the kids would just sleep through the night too.

4. Practice the Art of Saying No

As moms, we have a tendency to take on more than we can handle. But here’s the thing – you can’t pour from an empty cup (or in this case, a tired mom). So, on World Sleep Day (and every day thereafter), practice the fine art of saying no. You don’t have to sacrifice your every waking moment and martyr yourself in the name of motherhood. Whether it’s turning down that last-minute playdate or passing on that committee meeting, prioritize your sleep and sanity above all else.

5. Find the Humor in Sleep Deprivation

Let’s face it, sometimes all you can do is laugh. Whether it’s finding yourself wearing your shirt inside out for the third day in a row or accidentally putting the milk in the pantry instead of the fridge (guilty), finding the humor in sleep deprivation can make the endless nights feel a little less daunting. So go ahead, embrace the chaos, and laugh until you cry (or until you fall asleep standing up, whichever comes first).

6. Seek Support

Remember, you’re not alone in this sleep-deprived journey. Reach out to your fellow mom friends for support, commiseration, and maybe even a much-needed venting session. Sometimes all it takes is knowing that someone else is in the same boat to make the sleepless nights feel a little more bearable.

7. Treat Yourself to Some Self-Care

And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. Whether it’s treating yourself to a bubble bath, indulging in your favorite guilty pleasure TV show, or simply taking a few moments to breathe deeply and center yourself, make self-care a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Because a well-rested mom is a happy mom, and a happy mom is a force to be reckoned with.

Secret bedtime self-care weapon: Therabody SmartGoggles. They not only reduce stress and anxiety, they support restful sleep,  soothe headaches, relieve eye strain, lower your heart rate, increase circulation and ease facial tension.

Share Your Sleep Stories and Tips

Phew, we made it through! Now, here’s where you come in. I want to hear from you! Comment below and share your best sleep deprivation story or your top tip for getting some much-needed and deserved mom sleep this World Sleep Day. Let’s laugh, commiserate, and support each other through the sleepless nights. Together, we’ve got this!

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perimenopausal rage

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Lately, I’ve been a little sensitive, and by “sensitive,” I mean I’ve been wanting to rip my family’s heads off simply for chewing. I’ve wanted to blow up every single place I’ve ever been that has mirrors, food, or clothing. Sometimes, I’ve even cried because I accidentally called my puppy my recently, dearly departed dog’s name. But mostly, I’m really hot, and it makes me cranky. Hot for no f@cking reason – just sitting here minding my own goddamn business, and “poof,” this bitch is on fire. It’s super annoying. Thank you, perimenopausal rage.

I’ve been what I’d consider “moody,” and that’s saying something because I’m f@cking bipolar so I should know. But this is obscene and excessive, even for my dramatic ass.

This is perimenopausal rage.

My point is I thought I was literally having an “episode” (I haven’t had a bad one since my mid-20s), so I consulted my doctors. And no, I am, in fact, not losing my battle with bipolar, but I am losing my battle with estrogen, it seems. To be honest, last year I had a spell of consecutive panic attacks, which is not ordinary for me, so I consulted my OB/GYN and my GP about anxiety and/or the “pause” (menopause if you’re nasty). After checking the hormone levels, I was told it was a false alarm. But this year, when I started having “cold chills,” I again consulted my doctors to see if this was in response to my double ear infections or if midlife had finally caught me in its butchering talons. This year, it was a silent alarm. While my estrogen is normal, my FSH was on the lower end of normal, signaling that I am, in fact, probably perimenopausal insert coffin emoji

I can tell you that getting this news hit me in a way that I had not anticipated. It momentarily made me feel shhh* “old.” Suddenly, I was like, “Oh shit! DO I look as old as my high school Facebook friends? Oh.God.NO!!!!” *** (It’s my inner monologue. God and I are roll dogs; he is not shocked by my sailor vocabulary, neither is my mother.)

My point is that for one moment, I doubted myself. Is this irrefutable evidence that I am closer to old than young? Fuck, do I have to stop wearing what those “what not to wear when you’re over 40” Gen Z fashion writers tell me that I’m not supposed to? Wait! Are my kids now the.boss.of.me???? I’m freaking out.

Who showed up to the party? Mother Fuckin’ hot flash to add fire to this fire.

Uninvited guest: Perimenopausal Rage

My point is that at some time during this mid-life, one surviving ovary post hysterectomy, hormonal imbalanced world, this mom started getting very irritable with everyone. Maybe it’s normal. I’ve been overworked and overwhelmed for a good long time circa 2005. I’ve put everyone else’s feelings, wants, needs, and expectations ahead of mine. I’ve literally been juggling everyone’s everything for almost two decades, and I am so fucking tired. When’s it my turn for someone else to juggle all the things? I don’t remember signing up for this shit when I was born with a vagina.

Look, I know being a woman comes with great power (conjuring up human beings, keeping them alive, raising good humans while dealing with some other woman’s supposed “good human”), and I know that is a great responsibility. But no one told me that I was going to be worked like a donkey until the moment I dropped dead. Why am I the only one who can change toilet paper rolls, do laundry, load the dishwasher, cook dinner, plan vacations, and handle the finances? I didn’t get that memo. The older I get, the more tired I get, and the smaller my threshold for this kind of shit is. As my hormones wax and wane out of balance, the less fucks I give, the less tolerance I have for stupid people, and the more irritable I get, especially dealing with randomly, self-populated hot flashes in this mother fucking surface of the sun heat.

My point is that suddenly, I am filled with rage for no apparent reason, it probably has something to do with being hot unexpectedly whenever my body decides to heat up, and I want to go ham on most living creatures within reach. I can’t change the fact that I’m going through this but I can help myself feel better doing it. Comfort is everything when your hormones are being unpredictable. I was recently gifted an amazing cooling comforter made with the same game-changing temperature regulating technology and quality, moisture-wicking fabric as the adult version, the  Rest Kids Evercool™ Cooling Comforter allows children ( and their hopelessly hormonally challenged hot moms) to recharge through a comfortable, cool, dry and restful sleep. Whenever, I get hot, I just wrap it around my head and neck and I am instantly cooled off. It’s the little blanket, I never knew I needed. It’s truly amazing.  And, it comes in adult-size too.

 

rest cooling comforter

Are you experiencing perimenopausal rage and feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone! Join our supportive community of women navigating the hormonal rollercoaster of perimenopause. Share your stories, find solace, and learn coping strategies to manage the fury. Together, we can embrace this transition with humor, empathy, and a whole lot of rage-fueled empowerment!

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Wicked the musical, Broadway, American Girl, Giveaway

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Just went to see Beauty and the Beast the musical at the Chicago Shakespeare theater a couple weeks ago and I forgot how much I adore Broadway shows. I am actually obsessed. Have you ever had a favorite t-shirt that you just couldn’t part with, no matter how many holes it had in it? I have a few that are over 30 years old that I just can’t let go of. I am a loyal hoarder, if I am anything. Maybe you have a favorite movie that you can watch or song that you can listen to over and over again? For me, it’s Wicked. If I could spend the rest of my life watching 2 things it would be the Barbie movie and the Wicked musical. This October, Wicked celebrates it’s 20th anniversary and I’m celebrating with a Wicked Giveaway!

Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with many musicals for many different reasons but there is just something about Wicked that hits my heart on a spiritual level. I’ve seen it many times and I never tire of it. Not any of it. I would willingly watch it every day for the rest of my life. That’s how much I love this musical. Guess what?

I’m a writer so I love the symbolism in Wicked. It’s not what we expected it to be and that is my favorite kind of anything. I love a good plot twist, especially if its empowering. The plot sort of picks up where all the holes in the Wizard of Oz left off. It’s sort of how the Rob Zombie Halloween series is more thorough with the backstory of Michale Myers and I am always here for understanding why the antagonist is really the hero. And yes, Elphaba is definitely an unexpected hero.

The musical “Wicked” is known for its rich symbolism. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Good and Evil: The story explores the concept of good and evil, challenging the notion that appearances alone can determine a person’s true nature. It delves into the complexities of morality, emphasizing that things are not always black and white.

2. Discrimination and Prejudice: “Wicked” addresses themes of discrimination and prejudice, drawing parallels to real-world issues. It highlights the dangers of judging individuals based on stereotypes and the importance of empathy and understanding.

3. Friendship and Loyalty: The bond between Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch) serves as a central theme. Their evolving friendship showcases the power of loyalty, forgiveness, and the ability to support each other in times of adversity.

4. Power and Corruption: The pursuit and abuse of power are depicted through the characters of the Wizard and Madame Morrible. It reflects how power can corrupt individuals and the consequences it can have on society.

5. Self-Discovery and Acceptance: The character of Elphaba goes through a journey of self-discovery, embracing her differences and learning to accept herself. It emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance and staying true to one’s beliefs.

These are just a few examples, and “Wicked” offers multiple layers of symbolism that can be interpreted in various ways, enriching the experience for its audiences. If you haven’t seen it yet, go see it. It will move you and change your perspective of the antagonist. You thought you knew but you don’t. Everything is not as it seems. Inside all of us is a little wicked trying to get out.

Wicked the musical, Broadway, American Girl, GiveawayThe Wicked Collaboration and Giveaway that you didn’t know you need. American Girl and Wicked have partnered in celebration of 20 years. Thanks to the generosity of American Girl, I will be giving one lucky winner the American Girl Elphaba and Glinda costume sets! Just enter below! Good luck!!!Wicked the musical, Broadway, American Girl, Giveaway

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ultimate spring break packing list must haves,, spring break 2022

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Spring break is right around the corner. The weather is already warming up, the sun is shining and everyone I know is planning their escape to anywhere because the pandemic has had us all stuck in our homes for far too long. But honestly, the warmer the better. Thankfully, even the Midwest gets sunshine during springtime and 50-degree weather is fine too because we Midwesterners know how to appreciate anything above 40.

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions and gynecological misadventures are all my own.

Warmer weather means more time outside and whether you’re planning to spend your break in the nearest pool or most southern ocean, chasing your little ones around the local park or hiking some majestically breathtakingly, beautiful national park there are a few things you’re going to need, besides just your glee and good attitude. 

Below is what I consider some of my ultimate spring break packing list must-haves

Olita Lip Balms

Show your lips a little TLC too and pack a chapstick with SPF in it! OLITA offers 7 different SPF 15 lip balm. They pride themselves on being EWG-verified, organic, and reef safe. They have received several awards such as EWGs safest sunscreen in 2020 and 2021 and Parent Magazine’s safest sunscreen for kids in 202, just to name a few. Lastly, OLITA, donates 10% of every purchase to Coral Reef Alliance and is a Climate Collaborative Partner.

Aviator Nation Ninja hoodies

Aviator Nation is a 1970’s inspired California lifestyle brand. My Ninja Hoodie by Aviator Nation is by far, the most comfortable hoodie I’ve ever owned. I love it so much; I want it in every color. The single needle stitch work gives each garment a unique, one of a kind effect. All of Aviator Nation’s products go through an intense breaking-down process that gives them a vintage, lived in feel that I love because it’s broken in from day one of wearing it. Believe me, you’re going to want to live in this hoodie.

Ultimate spring break packing list must haves,, spring break 2022, voller

Voller sand shorts and top

Voller is this year’s clothing line of volleyball sports clothes for men and women that you want to know about! Voller was born out of a passion for creating beach volleyball apparel that makes every detail count. Canadian beach volleyball pro Sam Pedlow is a die-hard fan of the brand, even rocking his own Voller sand shorts design! The collection for men and women is all about featuring materials that match the robust demands of the game yet are lightweight and flexible to perform with the athlete. 

Ultimate spring break packing list must haves,, spring break 2022, attitude living sunscreen

Attitude Living Al Natural Sunscreen

Wherever you travel, don’t forget to pack sunscreen! Their mineral and hypoallergenic sunscreen is ECOLOGO™ Certified and uses natural ingredients like non-nano zinc oxide to offer broad-spectrum protection. Hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested and unscented, it is gentle on sensitive skin. Because they love nature and animals, our sunscreen is PETA Certified, vegan and cruelty-free. Tubes are also available without boxes, to avoid over packing.

Dr. Motion Compression Socks

Run outside in style this spring! Don’t sacrifice comfort for style in 2022. With Dr. Motion’s stylish outdoor compression socks, you can confidently trek up a mountain or through the forest, knowing your feet will get you wherever you need to go. Dr. Motion offers both crew and knee-high socks. Their outdoor socks are created with acrylic and TrueDry polyester blend and treated with an Ultrafresh anti-odor to ensure you are not limited in your adventures. As someone who suffers from tendonitis in my feet, these socks are a lifesaver and allow me to work and play like everyone else without worrying about being in pain or uncomfortable.

North Street Bags

North St. Bags produces handmade, stylish, and functional backpacks and bags that are ideal for a variety of uses, from school book bags, bike commuting essentials, or even diaper bags carrying children’s and parents’ needs. They are perfect for spring break, especially if you will be exploring the great outdoors, making memories at Disney World or spending a week playing at the beach. All of North St.’s bags feature EcoPak recycled sailcloth, either as the water-resistant liner or as the piece’s sole fabric. 

Ultimate spring break packing list must haves,, boost

Boost Oxygen

Boost Oxygen is portable 95% pure supplemental oxygen for all-natural respiratory support. No prescription is needed. It is used by athletes for recovery, older adults for an active lifestyle, people at high altitudes for altitude acclimation and those experiencing poor air quality. Did you know the air we breathe contains only 21% oxygen – the majority is useless 78% nitrogen. Boost provides nearly 5x the pure oxygen you breathe normally. Boost Oxygen provides easy and immediate access to supplemental oxygen.

For the athlete doing spring training, Boost Oxygen SPORT – a new innovation specifically created and designed for athletes, fitness enthusiasts and active people of all ages is currently available in Large 10-Liter canisters, which contain approximately 200 one-second inhalations.

 The human body needs oxygen to create energy to power your tissues, organs, cells, and brain, which require even more during sports performance. Without enough oxygen, you can experience shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue, and dizziness – especially during and following periods of strenuous or aerobic activity.

Ultimate spring break packing list must haves, nomatic travel pack


Nomatic Travel bag

Now that we’ve rounded up all our favorite Spring Break essentials, we just need a pack to put it in. The NOMATIC Travel Pack was designed for everyday use and for those shorter 1-3 day trips. It’s made with durable, water-resistant materials and YKK zippers. Starting at 20L and expanding to 30L, this bag is slim but expands when you need to pack more. The full perimeter zipper, magnetic water bottle pockets, RFID safe storage, and hidden pockets are just a few of the 20+ noteworthy features that make the Travel Pack the most functional travel pack ever! On top of being packed with incredible functionality, the NOMATIC Travel Pack has a sleek minimalist design and gives you confidence for your life on the move.

What are your ultimate spring break packing list must-haves? What do you and your family never leave home without on vacation?

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How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Have you ever considered moving to another country? I know I have, especially over the past 4 years. Being that my father is from another country and I spent my childhood summer’s in another country, living in another country has always been an exciting and viable option. In fact, I’ve spent my life learning languages and experiencing other cultures with my parents and now, traveling with the Big Guy and our girls, for just such an occasion. But how do you make yourself feel at home when you move abroad?

While the thought of moving to another country is exciting it can also be quite a scary thing to do; leaving behind friends, family and everything you’ve known.  But be brave, it will be worth it. Inevitably, when you first arrive in a new country, you will feel overwhelmed and it’s common for people to feel homesick. Before you start worrying that you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life, you need to give yourself time to adjust. Everyone goes through this. 

To be honest, it takes a couple years to feel completely at home in a new place. Think of it as a new opportunity for adventure. It always takes time to get used to a new place, but it’s especially tough when you are in a new country with a totally different culture. However, there are some simple things you can do to make yourself feel at home. 

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Get Your Home Sorted

Before you do anything else, you should get your home sorted. If you don’t feel comfortable in your own home, you will struggle to feel at home in a new country. Make an effort to create a cozy, welcoming home for you and your family. You can fill it with some things to remind you of home but you should also buy new things to celebrate the transition. Once you start feeling comfortable in your own home, you then have a safe space to come back to and you can start exploring the new country.  

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Learn About The Culture

When you first arrive in a new country, you will still feel like a tourist and everything will feel a bit unfamiliar to you. The best way to settle in is to make an effort to learn about the culture. Be open to new things. Seeing a lot of the local tourist attractions and going to museums is a good place to start. You should also be adventurous with the food that you eat, as well. Go out and find lots of local places to eat, and instead of cooking your favorites from home, look up some recipes and start using local ingredients. Try to engage with local holidays as much as possible too. When you start engaging with the culture, you will feel more like a local. You’ll stop feeling like a visitor and start feeling like you’re home.

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Consider Applying For Citizenship

Even though you are a permanent citizen and you have the right visas in place, it can still feel like you are just a visitor. If you want to put your roots down and you plan to stay for the long haul, you should consider applying for citizenship. If you get in touch with an immigration lawyer, they will be able to advise you about the process. It’s easier to become a citizen in some countries than it is in others, so consider how long the process is before deciding whether it’s right for you. If you do become a citizen, you will feel much more at home. 

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Host Visitors From Back Home

Having people visit you from back home will really help if you are feeling homesick. It also gives you a good opportunity to show people your new life and the home that you have created for yourself. After these visits, your new lifestyle will feel more permanent and being able to share it with your family puts a more positive spin on things. 

It’s important to give it time when you move to a new country because the transition takes time. If it didn’t, that would just be weird. Don’t let fear of change stop you from trying new things. If you don’t like it, you can always move back home but a life of untaken chances and unrealized dreams will definitely end in regret. Be brave. Follow these simple steps and go for it! You’ll feel like a local in no time. 

What would be your best tip for how to make yourself feel at home when you move abroad?

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Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

This post is made possible with support from the Meg Foundation. All opinions and tips to get past your fear of needles today are my own. 

There’s a lot going on in the world. It’s been a crazy year. None of us ever imagined we’d live through a global pandemic in our lifetime. The biggest concern for most of us before 2020 was a laundry list of first-world problems. Life in 2019 could be hard, but not 2020 pandemic hard. Suddenly, for most of us, nothing made sense, and when that happened, the unknown brought with it new stresses and anxieties. 

Right now, the only answer to stopping the pandemic is herd immunity. That term kind of makes me want to moo, right? All kidding aside, I’m thrilled that science has given us a way to save ourselves and those we love, but getting vaccinated brings with it a new set of anxieties and stresses for some.

The fear of needles is real and nothing to be afraid of.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

Don’t like shots? The thought of a needle freaks you out? You’re not alone. 25% of adults have a fear of needles. Don’t be embarrassed. I got so many shots as a kid with chronic health issues that I get sweaty palms just thinking about it even now. I worked through my fear of needles by making a plan and moving through my fears. Please don’t let needle anxiety stop you from being safe from Covid-19.

The Meg Foundation has resources to help you get through needle fears. Everyone can benefit from learning these techniques, but for people with needle anxiety, the techniques are life-changing. The first thing is to make a plan because action is the enemy of anxiety; the more concrete the plan the better you will feel.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

Here are a few simple tips from Hack the Vax to get past your fear and get vaccinated.

Be an advocate for yourself

If you are nervous about getting your vaccine, don’t be afraid to say so. Lots of people have a fear of needles. Those administering the shots are aware of this. Letting people know what you need is the only way they will know (this goes for everything in life, not just vaccinations). You’re not being difficult, you’re advocating for yourself. You are a self-aware bad B. People don’t mind giving you what you need but you’re going to have to tell them.

Block the pain

Getting vaccinated doesn’t have to be painful. Over-the-counter anesthetics like Lidocaine cream are great for a little pre-vaccination numbing at the injection site. To be honest, when I was vaccinated recently ( both times) I didn’t feel a thing. I usually get the flu shot every year and I do feel that but with the Pfizer vaccine, I honestly felt no pain or even the standard pinch when a shot is injected.

Take deep breaths

You probably remember the power of breathing techniques from giving birth. I never put much stock into breathing techniques, until I experienced a unmedicated, Pitocin induced birth. That made me a believer and anyone who has used it, knows it works. Don’t overthink it. Just take a few slow, deep breaths before and during the injection. Using a meditation app for a minute before also helps me in stressful situations to just slow down and get through the moment.

Distract yourself

If you want to rely on something more than just deep breaths to get you through, focus on something that makes you feel happy or relaxed. To clear my head, I always listen to music. However, watching kittens on YouTube or just scroll through your social media feeds is enough to take your mind off the task at hand…or arm, I should say. I’ve done this a lot with my girls throughout their childhood. Distraction is a great way to refocus those overwhelming feeling of stress and anxiety that needles might bring. For me, when I am stressed, I talk, so I chatted with all the other people getting vaccinated.

Bring a support person

Phone a friend or family member and either bring them with you physically ( schedule your vaccinations together) or Facetime them during your vaccination appointment. Maybe it feels a bit awkward as an adult to be virtually hanging out with a friend in a room full of people but if it relaxes you enough to not feel as overwhelmed, it is totally worth a few minutes of talking to your phone in a room full of strangers. A bestie, spouse or sibling is a great support person for getting out of your head and engrossed in conversation. The Big Guy and I got both vaccinations together, sitting side by side.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

The Big Guy and I got both of our vaccinations, and even though there was trepidation about getting the shot, I’m so glad that I did it. Getting everyone vaccinated is a step towards keeping the whole country safe and being able to hug our loved ones once again. Making a plan and working through your fears of needles to get vaccinated not only keeps you safe, in my eyes, but it also makes you a superhero because not only are you protecting yourself from getting coronavirus, you are protecting everyone you know and love. You are part of the solution to this devastating problem that is ravaging the world with no discrimination, rhyme, or reason. 

Don’t let your fear stand between you and your safety. Think, plan, and go get your shot and pass on these techniques because you never know when someone else is feeling nervous, too.

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Wayfair, settee, Quinceanera, Sweet 16

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

It’s funny how changing something as simple as a throw pillow, a blanket or a chair can change the whole vibe of a room. Don’t even get me started on a paint color or art. When we bought our current home, it was a fixer-upper but we saw the potential because it “had good bones” as my Father-in-law would say. It wasn’t going to be instant gratification; it wasn’t our dream home but it had a charm and was in the perfect neighborhood for a young family. So we bought it.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written in partnership with Wayfair, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

We’ve grown with the house. As we’ve renovated and changed every single thing in this house in the past 9 years, we’ve also changed in every single way except for one, we are still that oversharing, possibly co-dependent family who does everything together. We laugh, cry, scream and shout together. We lift each other up and face change head on, just like this old house. We’ve got good bones.

Latina, Latinas, Stereotypes, DEvious maids, Latinos, racism, business, motherhood, raising daughters

This house has welcomed friends and family for dinners and holidays, it’s hosted several Halloween and Ugly sweater parties. Echoed the sounds of newest additions to the family and enveloped the cries of pain and sorrow of loss. It’s witnessed love in more ways than I ever thought possible. With its meager structure, it’s brought us through a pandemic. Now, it will see our daughters turn 15. In fact, our Bella turned 15 during the first week of the pandemic. Out Gabs will turn 15 next spring.

15-years-old is the age a Latina girl becomes a young woman in the Latino culture. It is the same age that the Catholic church recognizes children as adults. Being a Quinceañera is something all little Latina girls look forward to from the day they attend their first Quinces party and realize that someday, they will get to wear the big dress and crown and be the princess in not just their parents’ eyes but to everyone. She will be celebrated in a way that most girls may never get the chance to be.

We had such a beautiful celebration planned for Bella. It was as big and grand as any wedding and years in the planning. Friends and family for all over the country were planning to come. Bella, who is a shy and humble introvert, was ecstatic to celebrate this Latina rite of passage. I wasn’t able to have my own Quinceañera because my parents couldn’t afford to throw that party 3 times, and they had 3 girls so it’s something I’ve always dreamed of giving my girls. 

She had the dress, crown and shoes. Months of practicing professionally created choreography by her world-renowned ballet teacher with her damas and chambelanes. Decorations, food, outfits and even a special settee for our princess, to serve as her throne for the night. Months of organizing and planning, saving and working towards goals all to be taken away by a global pandemic.

Then the pandemic hit and snatched it away from her on her actual birthday, 1 day before her the biggest party of her life, the CoVid pandemic caused the country to come to a screeching halt. She was inconsolable. I didn’t even know how to reason it with her. How do you reason with a 15-year-old who just lost something she was looking forward to for years? Think of trying to reason with a bride who just lost her wedding the night before the wedding because the world had other plans.

We tried to reschedule for August but, as we all know, the pandemic was not done (still isn’t). Family and friends sent her well-wishes and tried to cheer her up. But the dress still hangs in the corner and all the decorations are boxed up in our theater room. Champagne flutes and Mexican candy for 200 are collecting dust next to the decorations and atop all of it there are two crowns and a last doll, as a constant reminder of what never was. But the settee, the one that was to hold her in her big dress on her big day, now sits in our dining room and is where she sits to do virtual school. It’s where she often naps when she’s feeling down. It’s where her and her sister sit, cut up, laugh and plan their TikToks.

Wayfair, settee

This settee is more than just a place to sit, it’s a place to reflect and feel your feelings. It not only changed the room in this old house, it occasionally changes the moods of my daughters. Most importantly, next June, it will hold my Bella on the day we celebrate her and her sister, Gabs, in a post-pandemic double quinceañera celebration like you’ve never seen. I guess now, I’ll have to order another one so each princess has her own thrown. When they move out someday, I will send these settees with them so they can always remember their big day and the family who loves them more than they can even imagine.

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ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiences

This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.

2020 has been a crazy year. Things have happened to all of us that we never could have imagined. As an adult, it’s been trying. It’s hard to get your bearings when the world feels like it’s on fire. I can only imagine how hard this must be on our children; struggling to make sense of everything and trying to function in this new normal. It’s not normal for any of us. 

I’ve stayed vigilant these past 9 months since the pandemic began, trying to keep our lives right side up. It takes effort, work, ingenuity, and creativity. I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to help my daughters avoid the pitfalls of ACEs because I suffered them myself and know the effect they can have on a child.  Hopefully, our vigilance as parents being safe nurturing caregivers will help our girls fair better should the pandemic be traumatic.

READ ALSO: Sending Kids Back to School during a Pandemic

 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are negative childhood experiences that impact children and can have long-lasting effects. There are 10 ACEs, and they fall into 3 categories: 1) Abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual); 2) Neglect (physical or emotional); and 3) Household dysfunction (mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, incarcerated relative, substance abuse). Thankfully, ACEs can be prevented or mitigated when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. 

There are a lot of traumatic things that can happen in a child’s life—including death, pandemics, or natural disasters—over which we have no control, but ACEs can be prevented either directly with help from another person, or indirectly through policy, education, or society changes such as paid family leave or prison sentencing laws. 

Luckily, I had adults in my life who helped me navigate those ACEs in my life and get through them. Since then, my goal has always been to be an advocate for children and to pay forward the kindness that was given to me by the three people who saved my life without ever knowing it, even more so this holiday season.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

This is not something difficult. I’m not special. But being there for a kid when they need it most can make a huge difference in their life as it did for me.  We all have the capability to be kind to others, to help others in need, especially children. Experiencing an adverse childhood experience can be traumatic and can set the tone for the quality of life going forward. Having a support system in place can mean the difference between moving through and past hard things in life or getting stuck or even regressing. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiences

This year, coronavirus has taught me a lot of invaluable life lessons. The most important is how important it is to be able to ask for and give help when needed. But kids can’t always do that. Just the way toddlers can’t always verbalize what they feel because of their lack of vocabulary, bigger kids and teens still have difficulty expressing their emotions, especially during a pandemic. It’s hard to turn to the adults in your life for help when they are crumbling under the enormous weight of an international health crisis. We’re all trying our best but sometimes, as parents, just like our kids, we have to be willing to ask for and accept help. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiencesThe most important thing is to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for our own children and the children around us. This is the foundation upon which their entire lives will be built. This foundation is not only essential to lifelong health and happiness but could even prevent ACEs from happening in the first place. 

For my own children, I check in daily; sometimes hourly. A big part of being there for them is being present in a time when, honestly, a lot of us just want to check out. Another thing I did was put both of my girls into virtual therapy. I am diabetic (underlying condition) so we have only left the house a handful of times in the past 9 months. The girls are doing school virtually. I’m doing grad school virtually. I’m working virtually. We’ve been wearing masks and quarantining for a long time. There have been no family visits. No friends to talk to in-person or at birthday parties. There was no family Thanksgiving celebration. Our world is pretty much the 4 of us who live in this house and as much as we love one another, it is a lot. I didn’t spend all these years doing everything so my girls didn’t experience ACEs just for the aftermath of a global pandemic to mess everything up so I’ve learned to pivot. I know my limits, and I’m not too proud to ask for help.

Therapy helps my daughters talk to someone other than me and express any anxieties or fears they might have and don’t want or can’t talk to me about. It’s a pressure release. I’ve also encouraged the girls to video chat with friends and family and encouraged my husband to initiate his own conversations with them. I want them to feel connected even when we’re physically not and feel heard when the world is so noisy. 

I’ve noticed my daughters’ friends also experiencing these same issues as my girls. I’ve always been the mom who the kids know they can talk to about anything. I’m the mom who isn’t afraid to go to school and speak up for the kid getting bullied. I’m the mom who if I see your child struggling or reaching out for attention, I will tell you. I know it might not be popular with my daughters, but if I see a child talking about depression or suicide (needing help), I will and have reached out to their parents or school officials. I can’t ignore it when it can mean the difference between life and death. The thing is you never know what kind of desperation is behind a social media post (especially during coronavirus), and I just don’t feel comfortable taking that chance. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s a small way that I can provide kindness and advocate on behalf of the children in my life.

READ ALSO: Surviving Child Abuse

Being there for children is free. It only takes a willingness to help, time, and genuine concern. This pandemic holiday season, I am going to make sure to send personalized cards to the kids in our lives to let them know they are not alone and we are here to support them. I am also going to take some time to personally call and check in on some of them. I’ll also be checking their social media accounts including the fake accounts their parents know nothing about. The holidays are always a hard time of year for some, but I think this year is hard probably for most. 

My gift to the children in my life this year is to be one of their three if they need me, like the three people who were there for me when I needed them most. If I can help a child get through these uncertain times by being part of an unconditional support system and providing some stability, that would be a gift to me.

We’ve all had our three (or more) people in our lives who’ve been there to help us when we needed them most. This holiday season, let’s all pay it forward. Who were the three people who helped create a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship or environment when you were growing up? What will you do to be one of a child’s three this holiday season?

 

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