Tips on Throwing an Olympics Viewing Party

Olympics Viewing Party TipsWatching the Olympics can be such a memorable pastime when you enjoy these exciting sporting events with your family or friends. It can be a blast to cheer on your favorite athletes and your native country in the company of others who also enjoy these momentous events and overall competition. Here are a few tips to consider if you are interested in hosting your own Olympics party with family or friends.

An Olympics Viewing Party can be as casual or as outrageous as you like. Before you go too far in your planning, first consider whom you plan to invite. Will your Olympics party be kid-friendly or adults-only? Do you want to have family AND friends or just one or the other? How many guests would you like to invite, or how many can you comfortably accommodate? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can send out your invites or start making phone calls and sending text message to get the gang together.

Cheer on Olympics face paint at partyConsider these tips on throwing an Olympics Viewing Party at your home or other special location.

•    Put up a banner with the Olympic rings, even if you just print one off your computer or have your child draw one on poster board for you.
•    Hang up your country’s flag if you haven’t already done so.
•    Decorate your home with banners and balloons and even streamers in the colors of your country or the country hosting the Olympics.
•    When it comes to your Olympics party menu, consider serving food and snacks popular in the country hosting the Olympics.
•    Set up bowls of snacks in the shape of the Olympic rings.
•    Make up a fun game where you and your guests can predict winners in each event you will be watching. Offer prizes for big wins.
•    Be sure to take photos during your Olympics party so that you and all your friends and family can remember this special occasion in years to come.

Watching the Olympics at a partyDepending on the crowd of people you pull together, you may even be able to interest your guests in having your own little Olympics competition with a few favorite sports in the backyard. For summer Olympics, you can do lots of swimming events if you have a pool, or play soccer and other sports in the yard. For winter events, you might consider making up your own game of curling, going sledding, or playing hockey or ice hockey. If your party is adults only, you might also consider hosting your own Beer Olympics! (Be sure to drink responsibly.)

What other ideas do you have for a fun Olympics party? Please share them in our comments below.

 

15 Things You Can Do to Settle a Crying Baby

babyteethAs a new parent, it isn’t always easy to figure out why our daughter is crying. I am finally starting to get the hang of her cries, knowing which one is a wet diaper or a burp, when she’s hungry, or when she’s tired. Sometimes she just wants to be held, and I don’t really think there is a special cry for that. It feels like it’s taken me forever to start figuring out these special cries, so here is a list of a few things that have worked to settle our baby when she’s been crying.

As babies get older, other factors may also come into play, like teething. Sometimes your baby may be hot or cold. Try to rule out the heavy hitters first, like wet or dirty diapers, gas pains, and hunger. If you can’t quite figure out why he or she is crying, be sure to check your baby’s temperature. Call your pediatrician if you are concerned! If your baby is just being fussy, here are 12 things you can try to cheer up your little one and stop the tears.

1.    Bounce your baby. Some babies absolutely adore bounce, and any movement for that matter.
2.    Sing to your baby. Even if you hate the sound of your own voice, your baby will love it.
3.    Take your little one for a walk around the block.
4.    If the weather is okay, step outside for a few minutes to completely change the atmosphere.
5.    Take your baby to a mirror. Some babies have an insatiable attraction to their own reflection.
6.    Raise your baby gently up and down in the air. (Absolutely never shake a baby!)
7.    Play with some of your baby’s toys with her.
8.    Show your baby something interesting, like a pet, other animals, or something out the window.
9.    Go for a short drive in the car.
10.    Play classical music for your little guy or girl.
11.    Have some simple interaction, like letting him or her hold onto your finger or thumb.
12.    Hold our baby close and dance around the room.
13.    Hum made up songs.
14.    Gently pat the baby on the back.
15.    Rock your baby off to sleep.

When all else fails you can always try the pacifier, binky, or whatever you call it. This can be just the trick when baby is crying in public.

Remember to use caution in all activities you enjoy with your baby and other children. Safety must always come first. If you are concerned about your little one, be sure to call your baby’s doctor, especially if your child has a fever or other symptoms of illness or discomfort. Also trust your parental instincts. No one knows your baby as well as you do. Sometimes it is possible to distinguish between normal cries and a cry when something is genuinely wrong, even if you don’t know all the different cries yet.

Also remember, no two babies are exactly the same, so some of these tips may work like a charm for one mom and not at all for another. Please feel free to review these tips and add your own to our comments below.

 

Tips to Save Money on Diapers and Related Baby Products

messybabyIt’s no secret that diapers can be costly (and so short-lived) when you really think about it. Honestly, it only seems like a matter of a week or two until you’ve completely gone through a case of diapers! So diapers are expensive, and you use them a lot, and you wish you had more of them on hand at less of a cost. This is a pretty common problem for a lot of moms and dads. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help save on the cost of diapers and other related baby products. Here are some tips to spending less money on diapers.

Try these tips to help save money on diapers:

•    Get a copy of the Sunday paper and clip coupons. You may feel like a blast from the past in the 1990’s but the truth is, a lot of people can and do save money to this day with coupons clipped from newspapers.

•    Use apps on your smartphone to find coupons or compare prices across stores. You never know what the next Android app or iPhone app will do next!

•    Sign up for Amazon Mom. You can save on diapers, wipes, and the like when you sign on for a subscription. You can also get your items shipped in two days if they are Amazon Prime eligible.

•    Look for coupons inside your diaper and wipes packaging. Sometimes you will find a little coupon packet, a single coupon, or even a redemption code or rewards points to enter online.

•    Shop at Diapers.com. A current promotion for new customers (at the time of this writing) offers you $10 off a case of diapers of your choice, and another promo code allows you to save 10% on other purchases. It’s a fantastic deal that makes the diapers super cheap compared to anywhere else you might shop. Another great benefit – you will receive your order in the next day or two with free speedy shipping!

•    Look for coupon codes and online discounts. Search sites like CouponSnapshot.com and RetailMeNot.com to find stores offering discount codes you can use to save some money the next time you buy diapers online.

These are just a few ways you can save some money on diapers, whether you shop online or in person. If you have other suggestions for getting great deals on diapers, please share your tips and ideas in our comments below!

 

10 Steps to Healthy Digestion

10 Steps to Healthy DigestionThere’s more to good health than a great diet. Check out these 10 steps to healthy digestion to ensure you take the proper actions to help your body digest all the food and beverages you consume on a daily basis.

Sit down at the table to eat. A great many of us nowadays have got into the habit of eating our meals seated in front of the television. This means that we are not giving our full attention to what we are actually eating. As a result we tend to eat faster and food is not properly digested. Make an effort to eat at the table as many times a week as your schedule allows. If you can get all the family around at the same time, even better. It’s a great way to catch up on all that’s been happening during the course of the week and a chance for any grievances to be aired. Relax, enjoy the company, and take time to eat properly. Once the meal is over, don’t rush off to do other things straight away. Allow yourself at least another five minutes so that the digestive process can begin.

Chew thoroughly and relish your food. Chew each mouthful about 20 times and savor every mouthful. Be aware of what you are eating and the different textures in your mouth. You’ll find you automatically eat slower when you are not trying to do other things at the same time. Chewing lets your stomach know that food is on its way. You need to give your stomach time to produce the digestive enzymes required to break down food. Not doing so will result in a bout of acid digestion. The herb centaurium contains bitter glycosides that stimulate the production of digestive juices in the stomach. Whether there is too much or too little stomach acid being produced, a tincture made from the herb will help even it out. This is excellent for anyone prone to acid reflux, heartburn, or hiatus hernia.

Sit up straight when you are eating to allow your stomach and intestines to do their job and make digestion easier. The lungs are one of the main excretory organs in the body. Deep breathing helps the diaphragm to relax, again easing digestion.

Don’t overeat. Stop eating before you feel full. Try not to eat heavy meals late at night. Your digestive system will struggle to cope if you eat and then expect it to slow down in an attempt to go to sleep.

Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of still water every day to hydrate the body to keep stools soft and to limit the amount of fluid that is absorbed from the colon. Don’t drink at mealtimes, though. It is best to drink more than twenty minutes before or after eating so as not to dilute the digestive juices.

Be kind to your liver, gall bladder, and pancreas, limit greasy and fatty foods, and be careful about your alcohol intake. If fats are digested effectively, you should have good bowel movements and be less likely to get a bloated stomach. Use a tincture of milk thistle, dandelion, and artichoke to help support and cleanse the liver to allow it to produce and move bile more efficiently. If you have a high level of cholesterol, add a tincture of Cynara scolymus or Globe Artichoke, a herb known for its ability to lower cholesterol levels.

Never ignore the need to pass stool or else more liquid will be absorbed and the result will be hard stools. If you eat three meals a day, then you can expect to have a bowel movement every day. If waste material is not expelled from the body, it will ferment in the intestines, the end result being wind, bloating, belching, and general discomfort.

Include lots of fiber such as wholegrain breads and cereals, brown rice, pulses, and beans in your diet to keep the intestines running as efficiently as possible.

Be aware of stress and find ways to manage as it has the capacity to wreak havoc with your digestive system. To help deal with stressful situations in your everyday routine, consider the herb passiflora, which can help reduce the levels of anxiety in the body.

And last but not least: Exercise daily. This will help stimulate muscle activity and encourage the passage of food through the bowel. Yoga is an ideal choice to help increase mobility and strengthen muscles.

 

Patriotic Cocktails and Alcoholic Beverages for Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day

Stars and SodaJuly is THE month to go out and party like a rock star, patriot style. Don’t forget about May’s Memorial Day to kick off the summer and September’s Labor Day for one last hurrah. These months deserve a toast of sorts as we celebrate in memory of all things American. If you’re planning on hosting the festivities, you might as well try these recipes for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

These drinks are sure to get your mouth watering and craving for more. Here are some patriotic alcoholic drinks you can mix up for the occasion.

Camarena Firecracker
Camarena Firecracker
Ingredients:
2 oz Camarena Reposado Tequila
6 large Watermelon Chunks
1/4 Red Chili Pepper – seeded
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
Watermelon Slice Garnish

Directions:
Place watermelon chunks and red chili pepper in mixing glass. Muddle to release juice and chili pepper spice flavor. Add remaining liquids with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into large rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with watermelon slice.

America’s Sweetheart
America's Sweetheart
Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz Blue Ice American Vodka
1/2 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Pomegranate Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a mini-American flag.

Camarena Americana
Camarena Americana
Ingredients:
2 oz Camarena Reposado Tequila
1/2 cup Strawberry Simple Syrup*
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Splash of Orange Liqueur
2 tablespoons of Fresh Basil, Chopped Roughly
6 Sliced Strawberries

Directions:
Place the basil in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, pour in the tequila. Use the back of a spoon (or muddler) to mash the basil leaves into the tequila. Fill the shaker with ice and add strawberry simple syrup, lime juice, Cointreau. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a high ball glass over ice. Garnish with sliced strawberries on the rim and ribbons of basil mixed in the drink.
*Strawberry Simple Syrup Recipe:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4-5 strawberries, sliced
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool the syrup, then strain the liquid through a sieve, pressing the strawberries to extract all liquid.

Cathy Riva’s Specialty drink
Cathy Riva's Specialty Drink
Ingredients:
1 ½ parts of Sauza Blue® Silver Tequila
2 parts cranberry/ raspberry juice
8 mint leaves for garnish
1 part lemon-lime soda

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except mint leaves in a pitcher. Serve each glass with 2 mint      leaves. Serve cold or iced.

Liberty-ni
Liberty-ni
Ingredients:
2 oz ROSANGEL
2 oz Cranberry Juice
½ oz Orange Three Olives Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve cold or iced.

Star-Spangled SpritStar-Spangled Spritzz

Ingredients:
1.5 oz ROSANGEL
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Club Soda
6 medium-sized Mint Leaves

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except mint leaves in a pitcher. Serve each glass with 2 mint      leaves. Serve cold or iced.

Patrio-tequila
Patrio-tequila
Ingredients:
¼ cup Granulated Sugar
¼ cup Fresh Lime Juice
¾ cup of berries
1 ¼ cups ROSANGEL
Splash of THREE-OLIVES Cherry Vodka
Ice cubes

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve each glass with berries leaves. Serve cold or iced.

Of course, we can’t leave the kids out on our patriotic celebrations. I’m pretty sure they would want in on the fun. So here are some Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day frozen drinks for the little tots. They are all fairly simple to make, so your kids can have a hand in making them too.

Better prepare them for a brain freeze!

SlushiesSlushies
Courtesy of MomAdvice.com

Ingredients:
2 cups ice water
1 packet fruit-flavored drink mix (use your favorite flavor)
2/3 cup sugar
4 cups or 1 full tray of ice cubes

Directions:
You need a blender to prepare this recipe. Put all of the ingredients into your blender. It will be about 2/3 to 3/4′s full. Put the lid on. Process the mixture on high for a full minute. Stop the blender, use a spoon to stir it a bit. Look for unchopped ice chunks. If all the chunks are grated up, then go ahead and serve it. You may need to process it for another full minute though. Serve immediately. I usually have to spoon this out of the blender with a measuring cup because the mixture is so thick. Makes 4 – 8oz servings.

Stars and Soda
Stars and Soda
Courtesy of Hoosierhomemade.com
Ingredients:
Cherry (red)
Blue (blue) Kool-Aid
Invisible Kool-Aid
Star ice cube trays
Hawaiian Punch Berry Blue Typhoon

Directions:
Freeze the Kool Aid and Hawaiian Punch in the star ice cube trays. Place them over cold Club Soda or clear soda like Sprite or 7-up.

Red, White and Blueberry SmoothieRed, White and Blueberry Smoothie
Courtesy of Babble.com

vegan, makes about 4 smoothies, depending on size.
Ingredients:
Red Layer:
3/4 cup frozen raspberries or strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup ice cubes
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
Blue Layer:
1 cup frozen blueberries
3/4 cup acai juice
1/4 cup ice cubes
1/4 cup fresh blueberries (or use more frozen)
White Layer:
2 frozen bananas (slice before freezing for blending ease)
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
3 Tbsp fine flaked coconut
1/2 cup ice cubes
Garnish:
fresh sliced strawberries
fresh blueberries
pinches of coconut flakes

Directions:
First chill your serving glasses in the freezer.
Cold glasses will help the layers stay separated better.
First blend up the red layer.
Place the red smoothie into a container and place in freezer until needed.
Next, blend up all the blue ingredients.
Pour it into a separate container and place in freezer.
Next, wash out your blender very well to create your white layer.
Add all the white layer ingredients and blend until frothy and smooth.
For a fluffier white layer add more ice.
Assembly:
Now you can remove the red and blue layers from the freezer, as well as your frosted glasses and begin assembling the smoothies.
Place enough red smoothie in each glass to fill 1/3 of the glass. On top of the red layer, place one thinly sliced strawberry round – this helps to separate colors.
Next, pour another 1/3 full amount of blue smoothie mix in each glass. Add 4-5 fresh blueberries on top of the blue layer.
Next, spoon the white layer smoothie into the glass until it is filled to the brim.
Garnish: Place a sprinkling of coconut, one blueberry and one strawberry slice in each glass.
Tips:
*The raspberry smoothie should blend up the thickest/heaviest. That is why it goes on the bottom. The white layer is the fluffiest on top.

Red White & Blue Citrus Spritzer
Red White & Blue Citrus SpritzerCourtesy of Babble.com

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
Citrus soda of choice

Directions:
Pile the strawberries and blueberries into the ice cube trays and fill them with water. Allow the cubes to freeze completely overnight. Fill a glass with your favorite citrus soda and plop in the cubes.

For the set of holidays this summer, make sure you always have decorations that match the occasion – stars, stripes, blues, whites, and reds. Of course, the good ol’ grill has to make its presence felt with barbecues and burgers. This is definitely going to be a cool holiday despite the rising heat of the summer.

 

 

Summertime Baby Must-Haves- Swim Diaper and Wet Bag Essentials

Summertime brings trips to the beach, to the pool, to the lake, and so many wonderful opportunities to take your little one for a swim or a quick dip. (In super supervised situations only, of course.) A few very cool baby summer essentials can make those swimming trips even better yet – like an adorable swim diaper and a wet bag to keep those wet items contained!

Kushies brand makes a lot of truly wonderful baby items, I’ve found. I really enjoy the clever and creative approach to caring for little ones and making sure they have great items for every turn in life. I received the Kushies on-the-go wet bag with bonus pouch, as well as an adorable orange swimsuit diaper, for the purpose of this review.

The baby’s swimsuit diaper is very cute in a bright orange color with a blue and white trim and tie. Every detail, even down to the green Kushies tag with footprints and seashell and starfish designs, is completely too cute for words. The orange swim diaper has a breathable mesh interior and terry crotch liner with expert stitching all the way around. The swim diaper by Kushies has gusseted legs for comfort and security. The swim diaper’s exterior is 100% nylon and the interior is 100% polyester. The diaper flaps fold and attach so easily to the Velcro on the front of the swim diaper, and the blue and white waist ties offer a secure fit and form a nice bow to keep your little one covered up in the water or on the beach.

The Kushies swimsuit diaper is machine washable and dryable, making it a great item to add to your baby’s summer fashions. This clever product is available in sizes small, medium, large, and X-Large, ranging from 6lbs to 50lbs. The Kushies swimsuit diaper retails for $11.99 and you can find it in lots of colors at www.kushiesonline.com.

When you and your little one are done swimming, just tuck your swim diaper safely away inside the Kushies on-the-go wet bag. This product is 10.5” x 13,” making it the perfect size to store baby’s swimsuit, swim diaper, dirty bibs, or soiled and rinsed outfits or cloth diapers until you can launder them at home. This wet bag is a great way to keep items separate from the rest of your diaper bag contents, segregating the mess to one contained spot.

The on-the-go wet bag I received is very cool with a fun and trendy abstract pattern. The colors look lovely together, chocolate brown, sky blue, and a series of greens on a pale background. The pattern features circles, wheels, rounded squares, rectangles, and a distressed look here and there. The bonus mini wet bag pouch is great for smaller items and has a fun ovals and dots pattern on a chocolate brown background.

Both wet bag and bonus pouch have their own drawstring to ensure your wet items stay separate from your dry ones. The large bag has a small bead with button to ensure the bag stays closed even in the bumpiest of rides in the diaper bag. The inner texture of the bags feels a bit waxed, providing extra reinforcement against spills. I really like these bags and the great function they provide.

Kushies products are proudly made in Canada. For more information, check out www.kushiesonline.com.

 

ShrinkxHips Ultra Review- Shrink Your Hips After Pregnancy

ShrinkxHipsWho knew there could be a product that actually helps women get back to their pre-pregnancy size without dieting or exercising? ShrinkxHips Ultra by UpSpring, Ltd. is a compression belt that is designed to help women narrow their hips back to their pre-pregnancy size, if not smaller, by taking advantage of the eight-week window following childbirth. I’ve received my own ShrinkxHips Ultra belt to try for the purpose of this review and I am glad to share my results so far.

I ended up starting my trial of ShrinkxHips Ultra a little later than intended since I had a C-section at the birth of our daughter. I didn’t want to irritate the incision or cause problems with it healing, so I waited until about five weeks post-partum to try it out. The ShrinkxHips belt is very cleverly designed and easy to use, in my opinion. It has different sets of Velcro to allow you to first properly position and fasten the belt across your hips and then adjust the tightness and compression to your desired strength with two separate Velcro straps for tightening.

The idea behind ShrinkxHips is that the hormone Relaxin stays in your system for eight weeks following delivery. This is the hormone that causes your joints to become looser and more flexible, and also your hips to become wider during pregnancy. By taking advantage of the eight-week window of opportunity using this product, women have been able to shrink their hips back to their pre-pregnancy size, and sometimes even smaller, getting back into their normal jeans and non-maternity clothing much sooner than expected.

ShrinkxHipsThe ShrinkxHips belt provides constant and even pressure to the hips so you don’t really feel it all at once. In fact, I think this belt offers a nice level of support for my hips, making them feel snug and comfortable for the most part. I will admit, it is not easy to breastfeed while wearing these, but it can be done. Whenever running to the bathroom, the belt also must come off. It is easy enough to put it back on, though, and I believe it is worth doing since I’ve already seen some positive results.

I’ve measured my hips only last week when I started using this product, so I am not actually sure where they were before that. I don’t know how wide they were after our daughter was born and I’m not sure what my measurements were last year before I got pregnant. I am willing to bet I am between one and three inches from my ideal hip size – and that is one inch less than I would have been without this product! I have indeed lost an inch around my hips in the one week I’ve used this product. This was my first pregnancy so I have nothing to compare it to, so I can’t say how much my hips would have shrank back on their own by normal course of nature. I also don’t know exactly how much father I have to go, but I will be thrilled if I can get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans sometime this summer. My only worry is that I couldn’t take advantage of the full eight weeks.

The recommended wear time is up to 12 hours with the Ultra belt, but I usually try to wear mine 6 to 8 hours. I even wore it overnight once, but couldn’t get super comfortable so I may not try that again – we’ll see. So, I would say even in the short time using ShrinkxHips Ultra, not even the full recommended amount, I have shrunk my hips at least one inch from where they were a week ago!

The ShrinkxHips Ultra kit also contains a Hip-Check measuring tape and Success Chart so you can keep track of your progress. I definitely appreciate this, as I do like to see results and keep myself motivated no matter what my workouts and measurements entail.

I did a little research and a lot of people on Amazon were complaining about the edges of the ShrinkxHips belt rolling up. This actually doesn’t bother me as I prefer that over having it dig into me. I don’t really see it being an issue. One thing I will say is I do sort of have a hard time finding the perfect place to put the belt across my hips. Sometimes I fear I have it too low while others I think it may be too high. At times I do feel it squishes my still-shrinking belly, but if only I had a shrinking belt for that too! All in all, I really have no complaints. In fact, I am thrilled that my hips are an inch smaller in only one week of use, not even using for a full 8 – 12 hours per day. If this post-partum hip shrinking device works as advertised, even with a shortened time span, I will be so thrilled to have my pre-pregnancy frame back!

ShrinkxHips Ultra retails for $54.99 and ShrinkxHips Basic sells for $29.99. You can get your own ShrinkxHips belt at Amazon.com, Babies R Us, Target, a pea in the pod, Destination Maternity, and Diapers.com. For more information about ShrinkxHips, check out http://www.shrinkxhips.com.

 

Great Baby Grooming Items by Japonesque Baby

Japonesque BabyWhen it comes to baby grooming gear, few things are cuter than a set of kangaroo manicure nail scissors and a matching file, at least if you ask me. I instantly fell in love with the little orange kangaroo scissor sheath with matching tethered joey baby nail file. I received this adorable baby grooming item (Safety Nail Scissors & File) along with an almost-as-cute hippopotamus Gentle Grooming Baby Brush and dolphin Safety Nail Clipper & File set. It really is hard to decide which is the cutest, but I think the kangaroo takes the cake for me.

Kangaroo Safety Nail ScissorsJaponesque Baby makes a lot of adorable baby items beyond these grooming goodies. In fact, the baby collection is just a very small subset of this online beauty retailer. Since we’re on the topic of baby grooming, you can find monkey and giraffe safety scissors, a ducky nail clipper, an alligator comb, and even a penguin nail clipper. In case you were wondering, I am still sold on my kangaroo nail scissors, thanks.

The nail scissors and file are specially designed for your baby’s delicate nails. The handles are plastic and easy to use while the stainless steel blades offer great precision and safety thanks to the rounded tips. The little nail file with the baby kangaroo (joey) is great to smooth and shape your little one’s nails, and especially for use on newborns before you should be using scissors anyway. The kangaroo case really makes this set a must-have in my opinion – I just can’t get over how cute it is!

Hippo Grooming BrushWho doesn’t want a hippo hair brush? This pink hippo Gentle Grooming Baby Brush has a clever design that lets you twist the product to hide or reveal the brush’s soft bristles. These bristles are so soft, ensuring your little one’s scalp is safe and sound while you can gently groom your baby without any pain or pulling. This item really has a clever design and for that I highly recommend it for diaper bags or just as an everyday use baby grooming item. As your little one grows, she is sure to love this cute pink hippo hair brush.

Dolphin Safety Nail ClipperLast but certainly not least, the Japonesque Safety Nail Clipper and File in blue dolphin style has a very clever and utilitarian fin – that is how you clip baby’s nails! The file is cleverly tucked on the dolphin’s belly, making this an all-in-one grooming godsend. To use this baby nail clipper, simply pull down on the dolphin’s nose to remove the covering and reveal the nail clipper. This clipper is constructed with safety and precision in mind, leaving your little one’s nails nicely trimmed and tear-free. The nail file on the dolphin’s belly makes it easy to smooth out your baby’s nails from any rough edges.

These grooming items are truly adorable and I would highly recommend them for any baby shower gift basket or wishing well. I received each of these items for the purpose of review and look forward to using them with our little girl.

For more information on Japonesque baby products including those reviewed in this article, please check out http://japonesque.com. You can order these products online at Amazon.com or Drugstore.com.

 

Overland Equipment Sierra Bag- A Diaper Bag That Grows With Your Family

Overland Diaper BagAs a new mom, I am still getting the hang of all this kid and baby stuff – products, tricks of the trade, and the best way to do things, so many things… Packing and organizing a diaper bag is something I thought would come naturally, but truth be told, it hasn’t. I received an Overland Equipment Sierra Bag in a pretty wheat (beige-tan) color for the purpose of review. This bag has a lot of functional spaces and pockets, making it a cinch to pack for your baby, toddler, or older child as you go somewhere out of the house.

First of all, the bag is a great size – you can fit all of your baby essentials as well as a snack for yourself, water bottle, and some other small items you want to take with you. The bag has two adjustable straps in a pretty chocolate brown color and enough pockets to make you smile as you dream up where you’re going to put everything. The interior of the bag is spacious and has one thin, zippered mesh pocket, also in chocolate brown. You will find plenty of room for baby or kid blankets, diapers, wipes, toys, a few changes of clothes, wet bag, and so much more. The main compartment zips securely to prevent anything from falling out and getting lost, a huge win.

Overland Diaper BagOne side of the bag’s exterior has a flap style pocket with Velcro closure, tucking away a wealth of other wonderful pockets. This flap pocket is home to a soft, fleece-lined pocket (great for your phone), another slightly smaller pocket, a rounded pocket, a pen pocket, and a zippered mesh pocket, as well as a larger slot style pocket behind the other pockets. This flap pocket also has a tethered clip that would be great for attaching you’re a pacifier, your keys, a baby toy, a change purse, or a dozen other items. This flap pocket with other hidden pockets is a great place to organize your baby items or your personal items once your little ones outgrow needing a diaper bag.

The other side of the Sierra bag has a wide and deep slot style pocket that will fit lots of different items, such as your baby’s snacks for easy access or bibs, hats, and socks, or other items you need to quickly be able to reach. You can also keep a checkbook, a note tablet, and other personal items here for fast accessibility.

The other ends of the bag each have a bottle pocket that is perfect for your baby’s bottles, sippy cups, or a water bottle for yourself.  These pockets are relatively deep and certainly wide enough to house just about any kind of bottle, thermos, or container.

The fabric of this bag is sturdy and durable, made with 840D junior ballistic nylon and 1680D ballistic nylon for the exterior and 210D ripstop nylon inside. I haven’t had any spills yet, but the bag itself feels as though it would easily withstand rain, snow, and even spilt milk.

The bag has a leather patch that says OverLand Equipment Since 1981, ironically the year I was born. I can see why this company is still in business producing quality products for individuals and families of all ages and sizes. I see this Sierra bag as a multi-purpose diaper bag, allowing you to use it for your baby or young child, but not being tied to that. You can easily pack this bag up for a picnic in the park, a trip to the gym or yoga class, or even as your go-to tote bag for anytime you’re on the go.

The Sierra bag by Overland Equipment is available in wheat, blackberry, or denim and retails for $85. It measures 11.75″ x 19.75″ x 5.5″. You can get your own at OverlandEquipment.com, Amazon.com, and a number of other retailers. For more information about Overland Equipment or the Sierra bag, check out www.overlandequipment.com.

 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Hair Edition

Information courtesy of Gocha Hawkins, www.GochaSalon.com.

Pregnant Women by StabPregnancy is one of the happiest experiences of a woman’s life. Positively glowing from the inside out, pregnant women emanate warmth that can only be described as radiance. However, they don’t always feel that way. Along with pregnancy come a myriad of changes to the body, and hair is no exception. Here, Gocha Hawkins, celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist and owner of Gocha Salon, shares common hair issues from her clientele as well as flattering hairstyles for any mom-to-be.

Texture Test

When pregnant, many women find that their hair takes on a different texture. With estrogen levels at a high, shinier, glossy hair is a beneficial side effect. However, once women give birth, their hair retains its normal texture and can thin out considerably. As Gocha explains, “I’ve had clients who had curly hair their entire lives, and while pregnant, their hair straightened out. I’ve also seen the same in reverse. The goal is to get a cut that flatters all textures and face shapes, so that as hair changes, the style still works.” Similarly, many women experience different levels of hair moisture; if your hair shifts from oily to dry or vice versa, switch your shampoo and conditioner routine appropriately

Smiling pregnant brunette with flowers by StabThe Long & Short of It

When pregnant, weight gain is virtually unavoidable, and bloating is common. As your face shape will most likely be altered during the duration of your pregnancy, it’s smart to stick to a look that will look great regardless of any bodily changes. “When hair is particularly long or short, face shape is more prominent. Many of my clients come in asking me for styles that are slimming, and I always advise them to go with a medium length cut. A short bob that ends at the chin or slightly longer shoulder-length style are most universally attractive,” says Gocha.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Though everyone has their own preference, there are certainly some cuts that are more flexible and allow more variety during pregnancy. For example, if you’re a girl that loves her bangs, just make sure to keep them tailored and long during pregnancy, suggests Gocha. “A long bang with soft lines and a side part are the best ways to hide any additional weight.” Additionally, Gocha recommends stocking up on volumizing products that can add height to your style and focus the eye away from a rounder face, like Kourtney Kardashian.

Sleek but Simple

Find styles that are easy to do while you’re experiencing discomfort, but are also chic. For example, Beyonce and Natalie Portman opted for a side ponytail often throughout their pregnancies. Gocha explains, “Messy up-dos and side ponytails are very on trend. Create volume at your crown to make your face appear slimmer, and don’t worry about a little messiness; face framing tendrils will only thin out your features. Loose waves, mirroring Halle Berry’s and Kate Hudson’s go-to looks while pregnant, are also a great option as they capture the eye and are easy to handle.” Slick-backed looks tend to highlight facial shape changes and are considerably less flattering. “If opting for an up-do, take a cue from Jessica Alba and Alicia Keys and add some height.”

Color Conflict

“Even though there are a myriad of concerns regarding hair during pregnancy, the most common question that I get from clients, by far, is in regards to hair coloring. And my response is always the same: what does your doctor say? I find it’s very important for women to be honest with their physicians about what they are planning; sometimes, temporary options are the answer,” says Gocha. “Additionally, make sure that your stylist knows you’re pregnant so that he or she can limit how much of a chemical is allowed to make contact with your scalp during the process.”

“Pregnancy is a time of true joy and wonder, and nothing should hinder that! Taking advantage of your natural beauty and style are what is most attractive during this time, and if you follow the advice above, your hair will be sure to wow throughout your entire nine months,” says Gocha.

For more tips and tricks from Gocha Hawkins, follow @GochaSalon on Twitter, “Like” Gocha Salon on Facebook, and visit the salon’s website at GochaSalon.com.

Images used with permission from StockFreeImages.com.

 

Easy Tips and Shortcuts to Improve Your Life in Little Ways

Over time I have found simpler ways to do things in life, especially when it comes to working smarter and not harder. I am thrilled to share some easy tips to improve your life in simple ways, from housework to personal relationships and everything in-between. Check out these cool shortcuts to help improve your life.

No matter what your age or shoe size, at least a few of these tips should change your life in very small ways….

Cleaning Shortcuts

  • Easily remove tea stains from your favorite mugs with just a little bit of baking soda on a wet scrubby sponge.
  • Remove ink on clothing or fabric with hairspray.
  • Soak up grease or melted butter from clothing with baby powder.
  • Remove foundation or concealer makeup from clothing with shaving cream and a toothbrush.
  • Remove red sauce with your favorite dish soap.
  • Remove lily pollen with tape and pure sunlight.

Cooking Shortcuts

  • Substitute olive oil for butter when making healthier dishes like stir-fry.
  • Line your pans with tin foil to reduce cleanup efforts.
  • When possible, make two nights’ meals and freeze one for later. (This works well with meatloaf, meatballs, lasagnas, chicken parmesan, and other favorite dishes.
  • If you don’t have oil, you can use applesauce.
  • Familiarize yourself with other food substitutions so you don’t have to run to the store every time.

Helpful Health and Eating Shortcuts

  • Use shaving cream or regular conditioner when shaving to avoid nicks and cuts.
  • Always keep a small first aid kit in your car, or at the very least, a band-aid in your wallet.
  • When eating corn on the cob, use your lower teeth, going across one row at a time to avoid getting any stuck in your teeth.
  • Try not to eat a big meal or any junk food right before going to bed or taking a nap.
  • Avoid chocolate before a big event if you are worried about acne. (This may not work for everyone but it works for some, despite popular medical opinion!)

Personal Life Shortcuts

  • Always strive to return phone calls, text messages, and emails.
  • Take turns making decisions about what to do, where to go, etc.
  • Choose your battles; remember that life is short and in the long run, some things don’t really matter at all. Those that do are worth fighting for, but a healthy relationship has more than one dimension to it.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff and never worry over something that’s out of your hands.
  • Actually listen to someone when they’re talking, just don’t hear their voice going in the background.
  • Spend as much time with your grandparents as you can while you still have them. Do the same with your parents.

These are just a small collection of points that may help to improve small facets of your life or perspective. Keep these in mind and please feel free to add your own suggestions and favorite tips to our comments below.

The Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver Makes a Great Father’s Day Gift

If you are in the midst of making a few new beauty resolutions, why not also resolve to give the man in your life a better chance at good skincare? With the gift of a Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver, you can show your man how much you care while making it possible for him to enjoy smooth facial skin.

Offering a close, smooth shave, the Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver delivers a quality shave that doesn’t irritate or damage facial skin. Not only does the man receive a great shaving experience, but you receive a smoother cheek to nuzzle on those cold nights ahead this winter.

The Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver features an ergonomic design, a 3-position pop-up trimmer, and a fuel gauge for the battery so you know how much shaving time you have left. Its pivoting neck and three titanium coated foils deliver a smooth, comfortable shave with fewer passes than less technologically advanced shavers can produce.

With its rechargeable capability, this shaver offers 20 days of shaving (approximately 60 minutes of shaving time) before your man needs to recharge it. Although the battery needs two hours to complete a full recharging session, it is possible to get a quick charge in only five minutes so that you can get in a single shave right away. One of the nicest features about this shaver is that it can be used with or without the cord.

Whether you are looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift for your dad, grandfather, husband, or father-in-law, the Remington Pivot and Flex Personal Shaver is a great option. I received one for the purposes of this review and my husband couldn’t wait to try it out!