Celebrating Halloween in Vegas or Bringing a Las Vegas Halloween Theme to Your Home

Skeleton MaskLas Vegas, otherwise known as Sin City, is a land of lights, money, gambling, fancy shows, and glittered parties. If, by any chance, you would be stopping over at the city this Halloween, there are plenty of things for you. A word of caution, though; a Halloween in Vegas is one spectacular evening for adults.

There’s the Trick-or-Treat Pub Crawl where you get to whet your eager taste buds. Then, crawl next door, from Monte Carlo to Mandalay Bay and get spooked at the Frightdome at Circus Circus. If that’s not your thing, head out to the Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball at the Hard Rock Café.

Barfing Jack-O-LanternIf you’re looking to go all out and have nightmares, visit Eli Roth’s multilevel Goretorium. The director of the horror-thriller flick Hostel will surely get your creep on. For a lighter scare, zombies will be parading in the Las Vegas Halloween Parade near the Fremont Street Experience. Sounds like zombies are having the time of their lives in pop culture, eh?

Oh and by the way, word has it that Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses are performing on Hallow’s eve — now that’s something you don’t want to miss.

If you want to bring the Las Vegas Halloween scene to your home, you can start by decorating the place with plenty of lights, glitter, and shimmer. You can also create miniature versions of the grand hotels and casinos and place them around the venue. Have a mini casino, a bar, and even a boxing ring. These are what Vegas is known for. You can have a mini chapel, too, for those who want to get “married” in Vegas. Now this is for one grand Halloween party.

Thinking of starting small? Stick to the lights and the red carpet, and let everyone come in their best Vegas costume. Vegas showgirls, casino personnel, blackjacks, and of course, what’s Vegas without the occasional Elvis? Then, play some Guns N’ Roses at the venue because, since they’re playing on Halloween eve, you’d still feel like you’re in the concert. Well, somehow.

For fun activities, have a mini faux boxing match between two willing individuals and have the winner take a makeshift trophy. Of course, you have got to have a bartender and a DJ on hand so that when things get a little too dragging, you can always turn on the music.

So how about that? Are you ready to spook things up this Hallow’s eve?


Halloween Costume Ideas for Plus Size Women

Pumpkin PatchSome women might find Halloween costumes intimidating because it shows skin and, well, a whole lot of curves. But hey, what’s a little sexy without skin exposure, right? Nevertheless, there are many Halloween costume ideas for plus size women. You just need to know how to work it with a costume that accentuates your best features. Take the following ideas for flattering costumes for fuller figures.

Size Matters

Wanna go daring and do a Princess Leia in a bikini tip? Do not go for sizes that are too small for you, so you are on the safe side in avoiding wardrobe malfunctions and spill-overs. If you want to create an ample chest or cleavage, don’t get a smaller top. Get a push-up bra. Ill-fitting clothing is not just uncomfortable — it also makes you look like you’re trying too hard.

Only expose strategic places

Jack-O-LanternsYou may have cleavage to amp up your confidence, but go easy on the neckline. Make sure your chest is tastefully exposed. A few inches of cleavage is often the best way to do it. Likewise, fully covered costumes are just as sexy. Think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill or Kate Beckinsale in Underworld. Sexy without too much skin, right? In fact these are slimming Halloween costumes.

Think creative while considering your figure

Getting a Halloween costume does not necessarily mean looking fabulously sexy. There are costumes that will fit your figure perfectly. A va va voom ensemble may be as simple as a French maid or little Bo Peep. It’s how you’ll morph into character that will make your costume a lot more interesting than how it looks. Maybe that would be one reason for you to be a little more sociable, right?

Splurge on corsettes

Corsettes are specially made to create a desirable waist and an hourglass figure. You can go for costumes like those found in Moulin Rouge or Vegas themed parties. Make sure to wear stockings or leggings to make your thighs and legs shapelier!

A lady can look good for Halloween no matter what shape or size she is. This proves she has the confidence to strut her stuff without being overly tacky. A well-fitting costume not only enhances her curves, but it also makes her look and feel good — isn’t that what we all want?


Quickie Chicken Soup When You’re by Yourself or Anytime

Chicken Noodle SoupWhenever I get a cold, I make myself homemade chicken soup. I don’t know what it is about chicken soup, especially homemade chicken soup, but I really find myself feeling better after eating it for a few days. It is probably all in my head, but I say go with whatever works. Here is my recipe for quickie chicken noodle soup when you aren’t feeling well.

Before you get started, be sure you have the following ingredients at home:

-Chicken broth (5 or 6 cans or 2 to 3 big cartons)

-Carrots (I use about a half a bag of baby carrots)

-Celery (I use about 2-3 stalks)

-Small noodles like Ditalini (I use about 2 to 3 cups)

-Chicken breast (at least 2-3 chicken breasts)

-Olive oil (2 tablespoons or so)

-Salt and pepper

Soup potNow onto the fun part! I just kind of wing it for my recipe, so feel free to tweak my steps and amounts to do what works for you.

Follow these steps to make easy chicken noodle soup in about an hour at home:

1.Put some olive oil in a stirfry pan or skillet.

2.Cut up your chicken breast into cubes.

3.Once the oil has warmed up, toss in the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4.Stir the chicken until it is white all the way through.

a.Note: Cooking the chicken this way makes it retain its shape in the soup.

5.While the chicken is cooking, pour the chicken broth into a large pot with a lid and turn it on medium-low. I like to use three big cartons of chicken broth because I plan to eat the soup for days.

6.Dice up the carrots and celery and set aside.

7.When the chicken is done, toss it into the pot with the broth.

8.Sautee the veggies in the pan with the leftover oil or add a bit more if needed.

9.Add the veggies to the broth and chicken.

10.Put the uncooked noodles directly into the pot with the broth, reduce heat, and let the simmer for a while. Keep checking for doneness.

11.When noodles are cooked all the way through, it’s time to enjoy your soup!

This recipe makes a delicious chicken noodle soup every time. If you have other tips for a yummy chicken soup recipe to help you ditch that cold, pleas share your suggestions in our comments below.


Fancy Dress Ideas for Halloween and Costume Parties

Jack-O-LanternWe’re halfway through October, and Halloween is less than two weeks away! Do you have any ideas what you’re going to wear to office Halloween parties or masquerades with your friends? Halloween parties, just like any other party, come in different levels of formality. Fancy dress ideas for Halloween and costume parties are popular choices for those who love to dress up, especially for parties with ultra formal dress codes such as masquerade balls or cocktail parties.

Period Costumes

One fancy dress idea for a costume is going for a specific period in history. Renaissance, Medieval, and Saloon clothing give you a variety to choose from. Bodices, corsets, full skirts, drop waists, and togas are some of the choices you have. Just think about which decade or era you’d most want to go back to, and start from there.

Jack-O-Lantern familyOscars

Some parties have a glamorous touch, and the most exquisite of all are patterned after the Oscars. Besides, who wouldn’t want to walk the red carpet, right? Remember Julia Roberts’ vintage Valentino, Halle Berry’s daring Ellie Saab, or Michelle Williams’ canary yellow Vera Wang gown? Can you imagine how beautiful those things would look if you were to wear them? If you aren’t bent on really getting into their shoes, you can come up with your own Oscar-worthy number — just make sure you’re as elegant as every other celebrity that graced the red carpet.

Wild West

Another idea for a fancy costume for women is to go back to the Wild West. Come in as a southern belle or a saloon gal and your partner can come in as a cowboy or better — Zorro. The basics you have to remember for a couple’s fancy dress costume in this theme is that you have to come in boots and a cowboy hat.

Fancy Couple Costumes

Fancy couple costumes can be fun to pull off. Pick a theme, say a popular movie or icon, and find ways to imitate them through your clothes. Famous ones are Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Bonnie and Clyde, James Bond and a Bond Girl, Zeus and Hera, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet, and Peter Pan and Wendy. Of course there’s the proverbial Disney princess and her prince charming — if your partner is willing to give into your childhood fantasy.

For The Men We Know and Love

Apart from ideas coming from the couple costumes, there are plenty more fancy outfits for men. A sexy number could be a Mafia costume. Think The Godfather series and you’re set. Tuxedos are always a elegant no matter what the occasion. You can say he’s pulling a James Bond or Pierce Brosnan.

There are a myriad of fancy dress ideas for both men and women this coming Hallow’s Eve. So, if you think you need a little more help choosing which one to wear for that formal party, think elegance.


Baby Bottle and Accessory Drying Racks Review

Boon Grass drying rackWhen our daughter was first born, I didn’t know what kind of drying rack to get for her bottles, pacifiers, breast pump parts, and other washable baby accessories. I did feel strongly that her items should have their own separate place to dry, and resting them on a paper towel just didn’t seem to cut it for me all the time. I invested in the Boon Grass countertop drying rack and the Sprout Drying Rack by Munchkin. I like both for different reasons and have since narrowed down my use to just one of these racks.

The Grass countertop drying rack by Boon is as simple as it gets. The design is cool and clean with a basic green and white color scheme. The individual grass blades stick up, keeping all kinds of baby items elevated with sufficient air flow at all angles. This baby items drying rack is, of course, BPA-free, and also free from phthalates and PVC. I feel like the design of this rack is so simple and neutral that it will look great in any kitchen. It is a classy design that doesn’t add clutter or overwhelm your existing kitchen counter setup.

The flat surface and geometric shape make it easy to dry items of all sizes, including bottles, nipples, all the washable breast pump parts, and even baby toys and pacifiers, often at the same time. The drying rack is a 9.5” square with a 2.5” height. The water that drips off of the baby items conveniently collects in the white tray that is under the grass blades. Simply drain this tray after all of your items have dried. Both pieces come apart easily for washing, as the grass drying rack rests neatly inside the white tray.

Munchkin Sprout Drying RackThe Munchkin Sprout Drying Rack has a unique design with an expandable rack that collapses in size and a spinner tray to allow you to rotate the drying rack a full 360 degrees to easily access all the items you are drying. This baby item drying rack has a fun design that can hold a lot of pieces with a small footprint on your countertop space. The Sprout Drying Rack by Munchkin can hold up to 12 bottles of varying sizes, plus baby spoons or silverware, breast pump parts, pacifiers, toys, and more.

The Sprout Drying Rack is also green and white in color and has a fun nature-inspired design. The white spinner tray has cute leaf shapes that also help to keep the bottles and baby accessories elevated just enough to get a decent airflow to speed drying. The tray has slots so rings and disks can rest upright for quicker drying time. This drying rack also has numerous “sprout” appendages that allow you to place both plastic and glass baby bottles and other items higher up for maximum air flow. You can place the rings on the sprout posts first and then place the bottles to maximize space when drying. This rack also has a cup to place things like baby spoons, forks, and other small items. Like the Grass rack, the Munchkin alternative also has a built-in reservoir to catch dripping water for easy drainage.

The one thing I did not love about the Munchkin drying rack is simply that it doesn’t store as easily as the Grass rack when not in use. Once put together, the cup and sprout posts do not come apart. You can twist them to make a flatter shape, but I still found it easier to store my Grass drying rack in a cabinet when not using it. Also, I tend to leave my Boon Grass drying rack out on the counter when not in use, too, simply because it is very attractive without having a ‘cluttery’ look.

I bought both of these on Amazon when I was also getting a microwave steam sterilizer to clean and sterilize all of our daughter’s bottles and things. I found having both drying racks back then was very helpful and reduced the amount of time I had to spend on that chore. Now that we have cleaned everything, we only use bottles once in a while since I am still nursing. I feel I would be fine with just one drying rack. Of the two, I would keep the Grass drying rack due to its attractive design, its simplicity, and its easy storage when not in use.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I actually came to prefer the Grass drying rack over time. It had fewer pieces to fuss with, accommodated any number of different items, and easily stashed away in the cabinet between washings and whenever guests were coming to the house. I would definitely see ourselves repurposing the Grass drying rack for other things as well, like small pieces of kitchen gadgets, cookie cutters, icing gun or cookie gun pieces, shot glasses, and more. This is a drying rack that anyone could enjoy, with or without kids and babies in the picture.

First Kid, Second Kid – How Moms Adapt and Change with the Next Baby

I’m only on my first kid, but a lot of my friends are on their second or third. It isn’t hard to see how moms get to be pros at satisfying their babies’ needs, resolving them even quicker and more efficiently as they make it to the second or third kid. Even with just one, I have learned how to do a variety of things “single handedly” (I finally get that reference, haha). Eating, laundry, feeding the dog, playing with the dog, applying makeup, putting away clean clothes and dishes, straightening the house – all of these things and more I can do while also holding my daughter.

I imagine it only gets easier with the next kid. Although, I am sure some things become more of a challenge, too. Keeping the peace in a home likely becomes more difficult, for one. I also assume going places with the kids increases in complexity in proportion to the number of kids you have. I know it takes me longer to get ready to go somewhere with one kid; try multiplying that…

Just yesterday I ran a little over three miles in my neighborhood with my five-month-old daughter in the jogging stroller. I found it to be a bit more of a workout than I was expecting, but still very manageable (or else I would have stopped after a mile or two!). In cases of twins or a second child, I can’t really imagine running with a double jogger – yikes! I guess I would finally get that upper-body strength I’ve always been lacking, that is, of course, if I can get the kids dressed and ready to go before the sun goes down.

Rather than saying something witty to finish off my post, I am going to leave you with this breastfeeding video from Luvs, the diaper company. Luvs has produced a fun video series that speaks to this first kid, second kid evolution. You should really check out all of the videos in the set. The short videos show moms getting with the program and simplifying things by the next kid, sometimes even in a comical way. They are quite enjoyable. Check out the breastfeeding video we’ve embedded on our site for your convenience:

In your experiences as a parent, what has become easier with the second baby? What has become more difficult? Also, what did you think of this breastfeeding video from Luvs? It sure was made to elicit some kind of emotion – how did it make you feel? As a media outlet, we know there’s bound to be some controversy around how people feel about breastfeeding while dining at a restaurant. We invite you to share your thoughts on that, too, or stay tuned for our upcoming post, Breastfeeding in Public – What Do You Think?.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this breastfeeding video, as well as how your parenting evolved with each new child and any tips you may have, in our comments below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Luvs. Life Love Beauty will be receiving two packs of Luvs diapers in exchange for this content. Said sponsorship did not influence our opinion or comments as shared in this article. Life Love Beauty abides by FTC guidelines and regulations.


30-Minute Meals for a Quick Dinner at Home

30-minute meals giveawayMaking dinner can become quite a chore, especially when you are working during the day or if you have a whole family to feed. Quick and easy meals can take away some of the daily stress you might face when it comes to cooking for your family. But, did you know a “quick and easy meal” doesn’t always have to start with hotdogs and end with macaroni and cheese?

In case you haven’t had the pleasure of trying them yet, you should check out my recent review on the McCormick Gourmet seasoning recipe mixes. I found these to be such a great way to make a variety of quick and easy meals at home now that I am trying to juggle life with an infant on top of all my normal routine.

Life Love Beauty recently hosted the McCormick Elevating Everyday Meals contest, where we asked our readers to share their favorite 30-minute meals. We received many great submissions, including the following:

•    Chicken diced and sprinkled with olive oil, parsley flakes and sea salt and pepper
•    Ham steak and then rice or quinoa for a side
•    Tacos
•    Cream of chicken over rice, cornbread, and veggies
•    Hot Southern chili
•    Roast beef hash
•    Grilled sandwiches and soup
•    Sautéed shrimp and rice
•    Steak and onion sandwiches
•    Hamburgers or hotdogs on the grill
•    Spaghetti
•    Stir fry made from leftovers
•    Roast chicken with roast sage potatoes
•    Roast asparagus and tomatoes in broth as a quick soup
•    Garlic and White Wine Chicken Scaloppine
•    Pepper steak
•    French toast and bacon or sausage links
•    OLD BAY Baked Crusted Salmon
•    Baked chicken with rice and cheese
•    Pasta

McCormick Elevating Everyday Meals GiveawayWe are proud to announce the winner of our Elevating Everyday Meals Giveaway – Tim, with his entry: “I like to make what I call cupboard clearing casseroles. I take a random meat that seems to not have any alternate uses, then I just grab stuff from the cupboard (rice, beans, pasta, vegetables, cream of mushroom, etc) and mix it all together, sprinkle some cheese on top and bake it. It rarely turns out poorly, no matter what you put in. One time I even through some Craisins in one and the salty/sweet contrast made it really good.”

If you have any other 30-minute meals (or even quicker ones) that you would like to share, please leave a comment with your tips below.


Newborn Halloween Costume Ideas

Newborn costumesBabies are already super cute, even without a little costume to wear. Halloween brings a lot of fun and festivities, though, so it’s no wonder that you might want to dress up your baby. Newborn Halloween costumes can be a cute and creative way to share the holiday with your new baby son or daughter. Just think of the adorable pictures you can snap for your family members. The grandparents are going to love them!

Whether you are hosting guests, going to a family Halloween party, or just giving out candy to trick-or-treaters, a newborn costume for Halloween can be the cutest addition to your little one’s wardrobe. If you are looking for a newborn Halloween costume for your new baby, consider these ideas for baby costumes that you can easily make or buy. Keep your budget in mind as well as your craftiness for best results.

Cute Newborn Halloween Costumes
Baby animals can be almost as cute as newborn babies. Consider these cute newborn costumes for Halloween:

–    Baby lamb, baby bunny, kitten, or puppy costume
–    Baby monkey costume
–    Teddy bear costume
–    Piggy costume
–    Frog costume
–    Butterfly or flower newborn Halloween costume

For very little babies, you might want to search for newborn bunting costumes or snuggle sack. These often have a pouch instead of legs at the bottom. You can find cute costumes like a little mermaid, peas in a pod, a cute owl, a butterfly, and so many more.

Funny Newborn Halloween Costumes
Use your sense of humor to choose a funny newborn Halloween costume for your new baby:

–    Superhero Halloween costume for babies
–    Chicken or turkey costume
–    Pink elephant baby costume
–    Lobster or crab baby costume
–    Little devil costume (or angel and devil costumes for twins)
–    Jailbird costume

Creative Newborn Halloween Costumes
If none of the costumes on the market strike your fancy, or if you can’t find the costume you want in the size you need, consider making your own newborn Halloween costume. Here are a few tips on creating a Halloween outfit for your baby:

–    Dress your little one all in the same color, and attach ears to a baby hat to make your baby into a bunny, kitty, or puppy. Add a tail if you so desire.
–    Make a cow outfit with a white infant sweat suit or onesie and black felt cut into randomly shaped spots. Glue the spots onto the onesie, and create ears using the same type of fabric, black felt, and a white hat.
–    If you are good at sewing, go to a fabric store and get a pattern and the appropriate material and supplies. Sewing your own costumes can be so rewarding.
–    Dress just like your baby and he or she can be your “mini me.”
–    Dress like a kangaroo and get your newborn a kangaroo costume as well – and use your Baby Bjorn carrier or other infant carrier to complete the costume!

Easy Newborn Halloween Costumes
If craftiness isn’t exactly your thing, don’t worry. You can still dress your baby up for Halloween in a cute newborn costume. Consider these ideas for baby Halloween costumes:

–    Favorite sports team onesie or outfit
–    Newborn pumpkin costume from a store like Target or Kohls
–    Ballerina with a pink tutu, pink onesie, and cute shoes
–    Superhero onesie
–    Navy sailor – white bucket hat and white shirt and pants
–    Animal hat and similar colored clothing

Cheap Newborn Halloween Costumes
You can also find cheap newborn costume ideas, such as the skeleton onesie, pumpkin onesie or romper with stem hat, or ballerina – a simple pink onesie with a matching tutu! You can also find cheap costumes for newborns online for less than $20, with baby rompers and headbands or other accessories. Look for Minnie Mouse, an adorable bumblebee, and other cute costumes for little girls.

What other ideas do you have for newborn Halloween costumes? Share your suggestions or mention your favorite idea from the costume ideas listed above.


Gourmet Meals Made Simple with McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and GiveawayI’ve always loved to cook, from homemade Stromboli and hand-rolled meatballs to lasagna, stirfry, and more. Now that I have a newborn, my cooking time is drastically diminished. If I can get 30 minutes to myself to throw something together, it’s like hitting the jackpot. Seriously, it is a wonder we haven’t had cereal for dinner yet. I can wholeheartedly thank McCormick for at least four of my recent meals, and two more to come, which took only minutes to prepare and gave us that gourmet dinner experience without the fuss.

First, let me say I am a longtime fan and patron of McCormick products. I make all my stirfry dinners with McCormick’s Italian spice grinder. I make roast beef au jus with the au jus packet, and I make pulled pork with McCormick’s pulled pork packet. I use their cream of tartar, vanilla, almond extract, food coloring, and other ingredients for my cookies and desserts. I would be deceiving you if I pretended to be surprised by the deliciousness of this new offering from this rock star spice and seasoning company, when I am already well aware of how their ingredients knock my meals and baked goods out of the park every time.

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and Giveaway

With that being said, I AM pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to mix up dinners in only minutes with a newborn at home, often requiring only fresh meat and the secondary ingredients that I already keep in the house. Furthermore, I am in love with one of these seasoning packets in particular, which my husband and I both enjoyed the most out of all that we tried. Even washing the dishes later that night, our home smelled just like an Italian restaurant. I mean, I know I am a good cook and all, but that was quite unexpected for a meal that probably took all of about 15 minutes to throw together. Even my mom, who tried the Sweet Basil & Oregano Bruschetta Chicken as leftovers the next day, loved it, and she now wants her own seasoning packets to use at her house.

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and GiveawaySo far, I have prepared four meals with the McCormick Gourmet seasoning packets – Sweet Basil & Oregano Bruschetta Chicken (our favorite, husband even had seconds), Smoked Sausage & Pepper Creole Jambalaya (I used chicken sausage instead of turkey sausage), Bourbon Spiced Pork (my mom and I LOVED this for lunch one day while she was babysitting my daughter so I could work), and Herbes de Provence Roasted Chicken & Potatoes (it was good, but we preferred the bruschetta chicken).

I love how easy it is to elevate your everyday meals with these great seasonings and meal ideas from McCormick. In most cases, it would take just as long to make macaroni and cheese and hotdogs as it would to whip up one of these bad boys, so adding these spice packets into your routine should be a no-brainer. You

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and Giveaway

can enjoy a more exquisite meal, and no one has to know it only took you 15 or 20 minutes to prepare (plus cooking time in some cases).

I received six packets of McCormick seasonings along with a wonderful McCormick Elevating Everyday Meals prize pack that included a fancy apron to protect my clothes while cooking, a dinner conversation game to make mealtime more fun, a Red Box certificate so we can enjoy dinner and a movie at home, and of course, wine glasses to celebrate my hard work (a-hem) in the kitchen. All items were for the purpose of this review and promotion of a giveaway that we are hosting on Life Love Beauty.

McCormick Gourmet Recipe Mixes Review and GiveawayOne winner will receive an incredible prize pack from McCormick, too. Simply post a comment on this page or on our Facebook page with your favorite meal idea that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. If you are leaving a comment on this page, be sure to double-check your email address so we have a means of contacting you. We can’t wait to hear about your easy meals in under 30 minutes. To be eligible for the giveaway, please enter your comments by Thursday, September 27 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Good luck, everyone, and happy cooking!

Ricotta Pasta Toss

Ricotta Pasta Toss RecipeThis dish is my new favorite. It is a very easy and simple dish that goes with most items already in your kitchen. I was lucky enough to have some ricotta leftover after making a vegetable lasagna that I went to find inspiration for a new meal to use it in.

Between what I saw online and what I had in my fridge and cabinets I created my own delicious recipe! It goes great with bread or breadsticks and can work with any variety of pasta and vegetable combinations. This is sure to be a new staple in my diet!

What you’ll need:

– Ricotta

– Pasta (I used shells and mini penne on two different occasions.)

– Butter

– Milk

– Vegetables (I used zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and red pepper.)

– Lemon Pepper Seasoning

– Olive Oil

– Salt

Ricotta Pasta Toss Recipe


Slice vegetables up. After the water for pasta is boiling, fry the vegetables all together in a pan with a little olive oil, lemon pepper seasoning, and salt. Stir occasionally. Cook pasta as directed.

Measure out enough ricotta cheese to cover your pasta and vegetables. Add a bit of butter and milk (If you have it on hand you could use heavy cream or an egg if you don’t mind consuming raw egg.) to your cheese to make it creamy and easy to coat your pasta dish. Add this to the dish before serving and mix well.

Ricotta Pasta Toss Recipe



Recovery Tips Following a C-Section

Sleeping woman by NetrisC-sections account for roughly one-third of all births in the United States these days. Some are planned while others are emergency c-sections. Whatever the case, it may help to have some recovery tips in mind when it comes to healing from your c-section. Of course, everyone responds differently to pain and each person’s body is different from the next. C-section recovery will certainly vary from one person to the next, but there are still a few important things you can do to help yourself heal if you know you are going to have a c-section.

Newborn baby by MelkingNo matter if you have a high or a low tolerance for pain, a c-section is considered major abdominal surgery. Even if you are the most active, on-the-go person, you must not overdo it. Your laundry and your dishes can wait. Your husband, parents, friends, siblings, or neighbors may want to help you with things around the house, run out to do your grocery shopping, cook you meals… let them. You need to take it easy and rest up so you can be the best mom you can be for your precious new baby.

Shannon Smith, a PR consultant and mother of a soon-to-be one-year-old, recommends the following advice when it comes to recovering from your c-section:

•Ice, ice and more ice. “I actually found an ice pouch at CVS that was shaped like a bag of pees and found that to be the perfect size,” advises Smith.

•Take a warm bath as soon as you’re given the green light. “The warm water really helps the healing process by getting your blood circulating by the incision, plus it feels so good and is a great way to relax,” she says.

•Walk as much as you can, as long as you can, but don’t push it. “I found that being active right away definitely helped get me back on my feet,” she recalls. “Even with a c-section, I lost all the baby weight within a couple of weeks. (Of course I would say that good genes, a lot of luck, and breastfeeding really helped.)”

•Stay on top of your pain medication. “Don’t wait until you ache,” Smith cautions. “Take your medication every four hours (or however it’s prescribed) so you can stay ahead of the pain. The 800 mg ibuprofen really helped.”

The C-Panty After Cesarean Underwear (Incision Care) may be another way to help your body recover from a c-section, especially in caring for your tender midsection. C-Panty is designed to help with swelling, scarring, sensitivity, tenderness, and slimming post partum. This post-surgery undergarment has a tummy cut and a non-binding, fluted waist to avoid putting pressure on your incision and surrounding areas. It essentially eliminates the elastic waistband found with most traditional underwear.  C-Panty also provides moderate support and compression to help control swelling and tummy shaping.

The interior of C-Panty has a silicone panel where the c-section incision is located to increase the moisture in that area while helping with scarring and related symptoms. This garment also has a full-cut rear and the entire piece is made of smooth, stretchy fabric. For more information on C-Panty and related products, check out www.cpanty.com or www.upspringbaby.com.

Having someone available to cook you and your husband dinner when you get home can be a lifesaver, at least from all the takeout you might otherwise eat. Try to avoid bending – crouch instead, only if necessary. Also limit climbing stairs or other challenging activities. Always follow your doctor’s orders!

But healing from the surgery isn’t the only consideration following a c-section. You may need help caring for other children that you have, for pets, or for your garden or other responsibilities. Another thing to consider is bonding with your new baby.

“The researchers [in this study] suggest that vaginal birth stimulates the more rapid release of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a medical doctor and nutritionist. “Oxytocin is released during active labor and delivery. It’s been shown to be a factor in mother-child bonding. Some research has linked C-section delivery with higher rates of post partum depression and this may be due to the discrepancies in oxytocin release.

“For increasing bonding and treating post partum depression, I recommend magnesium (400 mg twice a day in a magnesium citrate powder form… dissolved in water it can be sipped throughout the day) and zinc (10 mg) and a homeopathic remedy called Ignatia 30C, 4 pellets three times a day for a week.”

Dean advises that magnesium and zinc can also aid surgical recovery, in addition to good nutrition, fiber, and getting out of bed as soon as realistically possible.

About the Experts:

Shannon Smith is a public relations professional and mother of a soon-to-be one-year old. She shared her personal experience in recovering from a c-section.

Carolyn Dean, MD, ND is a medical doctor and nutritionist with over 25 years of experience. She’s authored 22 books, including “Future Health Now Encyclopedia,” “The Complete Natural Guide to Women’s Health,”  “Hormone Balance,” “Menopause Naturally,” “365 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power: Tips, Exercise, Advice,” “The Yeast Connection,” “IBS for Dummies,” and “The Magnesium Miracle.”

Images courtesy of http://www.stockfreeimages.com/


Creative Labor Day Gift Ideas

Creative Labor Day Gift IdeasWhen you go to someone’s home for a Labor Day party or picnic, it can be nice to bring along a special gift for the host and hostess. Depending on the person, you can choose something sweet and simple or you can consider a wide array of more creative Labor Day gift ideas. Whatever you decide, the sentiment is sure to be appreciated. Here are a number of creative Labor Day gifts to consider for your friends and family.

Before selecting the perfect Labor Day gift, be sure to consider your budget. You can find nice Labor Day gifts at just about any price point, so the sooner you start thinking about what to bring, the better chance you have of finding a great gift that fits into your desired budget.

Consider these creative Labor Day gift ideas:

•    A nice bottle of wine
•    Bottle of scotch
•    Box of chocolates
•    Craft beers
•    Fruit basket
•    Salty snack basket
•    Flowers in the colors of red, white, and blue
•    Grill charms (to mark whose burger or meat is whose)
•    Wine charms (likewise)
•    Scented candle (think apple pie or something festive!)

Instead of an actual Labor Day gift, you might also consider bringing something to help take away a bit of the cost burden for the family hosting the party. You can offer to bring pies, cookies, or another dessert item. You might also offer to bring a fruit salad, veggie tray, or meat and cheese platter to help prepare for guests’ arrival. If you are close with the family hosting the party, offer to arrive early to help prepare and set up. Sometimes this simple act goes far beyond the idea of a host or hostess gift.

It isn’t always necessary to bring a present for the host or hostess when you go to a party, but it is definitely a classy gesture that they are sure to appreciate. If your budget can swing it, try to take a nice creative Labor Day gift with you to the party this year.