navigating cold season

Ever since my biggest little started preschool, it seems like cold and flu season never ends. PS- parents who send their sick kids to school should be fired.

I digress.

We pretty much go organic/homeopathic/as natural as possible around here, and I’ve spent many (many) nights rolling through Whole Foods and Sprout looking for the next best thing.

If you’re looking for solid homeopathic remedies, but want to skip the legwork…here you go:

 

Oscillococcinum. Hubs and I take this right when we feel something coming on. Our pediatrician recommended it a few years ago and it’s always in our medicine cabinet. I may or may not be known for calling it osicoxicillum. Either way, it works. I’m a big fan of the tiny pellet doses versus swallowing a mouthful of syrup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chestal. My three year old loves this stuff. Seriously. He’ll ask if he can have medicine even when he’s not sick. I’d keep buying it for that reason alone. I’ve tried other cough syrups with some variation of atomic cherry flavor, and this honey-based (note: it’s for 2 years+) option is the clear winner. They did recently come out with a berry version, but we haven’t tried that yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coldcalm. No. This is not sponsored. I realize these are all Boiron products so far…but they work, people. This one is also dispensed as tiny little pellets. My sons thinks they’re candy … everyone wins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humidifier. One of the best ways to fend off cold/flu symptoms sans drugs. I can’t sleep without one when I’m congested, and neither can my littlest one. We have your standard-issue kid-friendly green frog variety . . . but momma needs this one:

ANTON Ultrasonic Humidifier: http://www.stadlerformusa.com/collections/humidifiers/products/anton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God bless the people who take things in life we can’t live without and make them ultra modern and super cool!

Nanogreens. I throw this into OJ and load up on organic fruits and veggies, antioxidants and super greens. We buy it at the pediatrician’s office, but you can also get it online. It’s like spinach to Popeye . . . without the filthy pipe, and it actually tastes good. It’s a little gritty, but that’s a small price to pay for a heaping serving of fruits & veggies sans the corn syrup, food coloring and sugar you find in most alternatives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOOD LUCK OUT THERE!

multi-use makeup

I’ll be real with you: I’m totally “that” woman. I’m the woman who does her makeup in the car. Mind you it’s not always while I’m the one driving, but that does happen. With two boys three and under and a hectic schedule, I’m lucky to leave the house with my clothes on straight. A well-made face would be way too much to ask for.

That being said, I’m always on the hunt for multi-use products that make applying makeup “on the fly” that much easier.

Here’s what I recently fell in love with:

M-A-C’s Mineralize Skinfinish Powder.

It’s a face powder with minerals that are slowly baked in. The line I’m in love with is perfect for summer with sparkly, toasty warm shades that just scream sun-kissed glow!

Besides, how can you go wrong with a color name like Center of the Universe?

This little powder is genius because you get the silky feel of mineral powder (without the mess) and the benefit of a bronzer without looking over the top.

PLUS, it’s layered with lighter and deeper tones, so you can do everything from swirl on an over-all color, or select from the shades to highlight or contour certain areas (which I do all the time to give my face the appearance that the svelte little cheekbones I had before I had two kids are somehow still there).

It’s $29 at M-A-C and considering it triples as a bronzer/highlighter/brush, it’s worth every penny!

 

four things you can do with your kids without spending a dime!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re short on ideas (and budget) and scrambling to keep your kids entertained these last few weeks 0f summer, here are a few quick things you can do together that cost absolutely nothing:

Scavenger hunt

Plant things around the house and engage your kids in a game of scavenger hunt. If they’re old enough to read, write down what’s hidden with clues to where the items can be found and have your kids cross off each item as they go. If your kids are too young to read, you can feed them clues and help them with cues when they’re “hot” and close to the item, or “cold” and need to head the other way.

Build a fort

When my cousins and I were little, we’d be entertained for hours by building forts from things we found around the house and have so much fun playing in whatever incredible fortress we created. From chairs and sheets, to couch cushions and pillows, there are endless things you can find around your house to make a great fort. Forts also double as the perfect reading nook, a great place to play games, and even a snuggly little den for nap time.

Role play

Imaginative play is so critical for our growing kids. It gives them opportunities to create, to problem solve, to build social skills and language skills. Instead of turning on the TV or popping in a DVD, role play with your kids to act out their favorite shows and characters. My three- and one-year-old boys love to play Jake and the Neverland Pirates. We hunt for treasure, look for Captain Hook and pretend like our living room is a giant ship. It has benefits for me, too. I love to bond with them, at their level, in their world. I feel like I learn so much about their little personalities by watching them interact on their plating field.

Dress up

Let your kids loose in yours and daddy’s closet and have them pick out a couple grown-up outfits to wear. You can always put on some music, mark a makeshift runway and have a fashion show, too. Of course, another bonus is that the pictures are always priceless!

summer: unplugged.

This summer I have one goal: Unplug. I tried it over the holidays with the kids’ toys  (read: our analog christmas), but I’m thinking it’s time to go big.

From iPhones to iPads, to the constant (freaking) buzzing of the TV in the background… I just want to shut it all off.

I’ve surrendered my iPhone to the kitchen drawer (or my husband’s pocket) on more than one occasion
(OK, like nightly).
I can go days without my iPad.
I’d probably spontaneously combust if I went days without my iMac… but I think that’s worth testing.
I can definitely live without the TV on.
It’s just a matter of pulling all of those things together.
I think.

Here’s my plan:

  • TV off during the day. We actually pretty much already do this (Except for when my husband pretends like he forgot. Then I have to pretend not to be a nag).  In the morning we listen to music, in the afternoon it’s play time or outside time… or anything else but TV time. 

It started with me just being ultra-conscientious about what my kids were watching in the day and that evolved to the realization that there really is no need for the TV to be on at all. A little nudge from Simplicity Parenting didn’t hurt, either (review coming soon). Listen, I’m human. There will exceptions (like feeding my Housewives addiction when the kids are napping). 

  • iPhone lock down. Here’s the hard one, especially since my business isn’t 9-5. 

I’m learning to surrender the iPhone. It’s way too tempting to flip through your phone as you walk by it on the counter. Or roll through your social media accounts to see what’s happening in the virtual world. When work is done, I’m going to do my damnedest to put my phone away. Every night.

Away- like in a drawer (my favorite place) or a cabinet, or a fire-proof safe. Or, have my husband stash it somewhere I can’t reach it.

Yes, my willpower is that bad. Trust me.

  • Kids: unplugged. This summer we’re going old school. 

I’ve already kick-started this by introducing more imaginative, active play and activities in their day-to-day. From puzzles to blocks, fort-building and role playing… it’s amazing what kids can do with their imagination and toys that don’t have batteries or do half the thinking for them.

Now it’s just a matter of getting my husband on board.

Stay tuned…

 

ysl lip stain

Technically, it’s Yves Saint Laurent ’Rouge Pur Couture - Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain.

They’re YSL, so they can get away with that (more about why I love them here).

Just about every makeup manufacturer in the world has tried to perfect a long-wearing lipstick… and every single one I’ve tried so far has left me high and dry.

Enter YSL’s makeup masterpiece: Rouge Pur Couture - Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not just a long-wearing lip stain (score!), but it’s a legitimate gloss. That might not seem like a feat, but these two worlds just haven’t co-existed before (not successfully, at least). You had your lip stains (and your tortured lips) and you had your lip gloss.

A girl didn’t have a legitimate all-in-one.

It goes on light and has a super glassy finish. Super glassy. The gloss wears pretty solid and holds its shine.

But the best part is, when the shine ultimately dulls (nobody’s perfect), you’re left with a great stain.

Like an “Is she wearing lipstick or are her lips just blessed?” stain.

 

 

 

 

 

It comes in 18 shades and will run you $32.

The best part (well, besides the whole awesome glossy lips thing) is that it’s formulated with no: Parabens, Sulfates, Petrochemicals, no GMOs, etc.

Another reason to love YSL…

olioboard + office = love

Olioboard. It’s like Pinterest with an interactive moodboard and an opp to shop for whatever you want, right then and there.

And I’m in love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s pretty well-curated now, but I’m excited to see where Olioboard goes once it gets more products and more momentum.

So far, it’s totally dangerous.

You can see all the products in a given mood board, click through to them for details, descriptions and retailers.

I’ll even flag your item if a product s new or on sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s part play, part creative and at least one part shopping since I’m totally buying this Union Jack (holla!) mirror.

Now…

Union Jack Mirror Via Dwell: http://dwell.co.uk/110461/Union-jack-mirror

 

diy mason jar centerpieces

These mason jar centerpieces are a super easy DIY project and they make a big impact on your table. My SILs helped us make these for our son’s baptism and they were the perfect fit for these gorgeous blue hydrangeas that I wanted to use for bold pops of color.

You can use mason jars to tie your theme together throughout your event, beyond centerpieces, too. In addition to placing them on the tables and stuffing them with these beautiful florals, we also used them on the appetizer and desert tables. For the desert tables, we loaded them with white chocolate pretzels that I’d made the night before.

step 1: shop

Always my favorite step! You can buy mason jars online, or at Michael’s where they’ll often have a sale. I grabbed large quart jars for the centerpieces and pint-sized mason jars for the accent tables. If you don’t have it already, you’ll want to buy ribbon that matches your theme and twine.

step 2: set up

Lay out your supplies, fire up your hot glue gun and prep the jars (make sure they’re clean and dry). The lid on each jar has a cap. Pop that out. If you have a place to stash them, keep those little caps for future projects.

step 3: decorate

This one’s all up to you, but for the project here— were lined the inside of the rim of the lid with ribbon using the hot glue gun. We also tied the jars with twine to get them more of a vintage feel. Lastly, we hole-punched and tied on these adorable tags that I found on Etsy (perfect for our baby christening theme!).

step 4: stuff

We loaded these with gorgeous blue hydrangeas. The following day was Mother’s Day and since we were hosting brunch, we actually kept the jars, pulled off the tags, and stuffed them full of gorgeous hot pink and red spring flowers (since I have two boys, I revel in every opportunity to tap my girly side!).

 

imaginative play: build more forts

Some of my fondest childhood memories are when my cousins and I used to strip our houses of all of its sheets, chairs, couch cushions, blankets — whatever we could get our hands on — and make elaborate forts.

There were no videogames, no iPods (not even a Walkman just yet), no batteries required… just us, our imaginations and the crazy adventures we drummed up along the way. That’s the genius of being a kid: Your imagination is endless. 

The other day, as my three-year-old son was doing a barrel roll off of my couch and onto a pile of cushions, it hit me: He needs more forts in his life. He has enough “passive” toys to entertain an army of preschoolers. What he needs is more opportunity for imaginative play, that he shapes and creates. And what I need is to unplug, roll up my sleeves and engage with him along the way (secretly, I need more forts too!).

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Apparently, my very awesome friend, Robin Laatz, knew I needed more forts in my life, too. I was on Facebook today and saw this ridiculously cool Fort Kit giveaway in honor of her upcoming KidsFest (aptly tagged: A Celebration of the Imagination!) Robin is a friend, a colleague, a client & I knew she was full of amazing ideas… but I had no idea she was also psychic!

Here’s to less TV, play without “on” switches… and more forts!

 

 

back away from the desk! …and other quick time-out tips

Lately, in my quest for a little more balance, I’ve become acutely aware of how much time I spend tied to my desk all day. It’s not unusual (enter: Tom Jones) for me to sit there, locked into email and writing and editing and… before I know it, it’s been 5 hours and I haven’t even stopped to pee.

That got me to thinking… everyone needs little breaks throughout the day. Whether you’re tied to a desk or spend your days chasing your kids, we all have those moments where we need a major mommy time out!

I wrote about this recently at allParenting.

My favorite tip?

Back away from the desk

If you work at a desk all day, make sure you try and move every 20 minutes. You don’t have to leave your office. Just stand up, stretch and step away from the computer… if even for a minute. Keeping mobile not only helps with circulation, it also helps clear your mind for a minute so you can get some perspective and refocus.

For more tips, you can read the full article I wrote here!

review: the eyes have it! YSL Touche Éclat highlighter rocks

This concealer & highlighter                                                                        by Yves Saint Laurent is worth every penny!

 

Between having dark circles from allergies & two kids under three years old (beauty sleep is underrated, right?), I’m always searching for beauty products that will mask my sleepy eyes.

Enter YSL’s Touche Éclat. This magic little wand is a highlighter, concealer and camouflages fine lines.

YSL says you can “capture 8 hours of sleep with the click of a pen” (I would click just about anything to actually capture 8 hours of sleep!). After trying it, I’d say they’re on to something.

While it’s not always easy to plunk down $40 on a single beauty product, I’d say this one’s worth the investment.  I’ve tried so many under-eye concealers that actually end up settling chalky, look completely unnatural or actually end up making fine lines more obvious.

With a few clicks and the right application (in a V under my eye, from the inside corner to the outside of my lower eyelid and under my brow), I look bright-eyed without looking overly made up.

Now maybe people will stop telling me that I look tired. Seriously. Who can have a baby kicking them in the face all night, a toddler up at 6 a.m. like an alarm clock, run a business and not look tired?

Dear YSL– have I told you lately that I love you?

 

 

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