Kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat Review

Bubbles Sun HatKeeping the sun out of your baby’s eyes and off of her skin is such an important task, especially when you go places like the beach, the park, or anywhere you will be outside for a duration of time. Baby sun hats are a vital part of your child’s summer attire, and they can truly keep your infant safe from sunburn as well as bugs, the bright glare of the sun, or even a sprinkling of rain. The kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat is designed to keep your little one safe from the elements and stylish for the fun of it.

The kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat is available in a variety of patterns, colors, and sizes to suit your baby’s needs and your personal sense of style for your child. I received a Savannah Baby Sun Hat (6-12 mos.) in the “bubbles” pattern, which is a cool earthy color combination of greens, white, and shades of tan or grey atop a gorgeous chocolate background. The fabric of the hat is durable, but not soft and cuddly. Sun hats are not designed to be cuddly, though, so this 100% cotton canvas hat holds its shape and serves its purpose in keeping your little guy or girl safe from the sun and Mother Nature’s elements.

The no-fuss chin strap has a Velcro closure to help keep the hat secure on your child’s head. My little girl is only three months old, so she’s a bit too small to wear this cute sun hat, but I look forward to next spring and summer when she can enjoy wearing it on vacation before or after her uncle’s graduation and throughout the warm days of late spring and all throughout the summer.

I really like the construction of this hat – it seems to be very well stitched and shaped to comfortably fit the baby’s head. The brim of the hat is just a bit rough and frayed, intentionally, making it look adorably rugged. The hat’s interior has a strip of a liner with cute monkey faces to help it stay on your child’s head and to soften the fabric that touches his or her skin. I truly feel kokopax put great attention to detail into these cute and stylish baby sun hats.

The kokopax Savannah Baby Sun Hat retails for $19.99. For more information or to buy your own Savannah Sun Hat, check out www.kokopax.com. You can also like kokopax on facebook at facebook.com/kokopax for news related to special promotions, new product introductions, and more.


Patriotic Cocktails for Labor Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Anytime

Patriotic cocktailsFestive, patriotic cocktails and alcoholic drinks mixed and poured in true red, white, and blue style may be the finishing touch you’re missing for your party. Or they may just be a nice, relaxing end to a long week at work. If you are planning a party over the long weekend or just looking for some new mixed drink ideas to try, consider these fun and fancy patriotic cocktail recipes for your next gathering.

Before you get started on your party drink mixing, be sure you have all the components you need for an awesome bar setup. Don’t forget the lemons, limes, and maybe some strawberries and blueberries to add to the patriotic color scheme. You can also dress up your drinks with red, white, and blue straws, stirrers, or paper umbrellas.

Fruity Patriotic Alcoholic Drinks
Some of the most fun alcoholic drinks may be the fruitiest ones. Consider mixing up any of these popular and delicious party drinks for your next patriotic party.

–    Strawberry Daiquiri or Strawberry Margarita
–    Pina Colada
–    Blueberry Daiquiri or Blue Raspberry Daiquiri
–    Blue Hawaiian
–    Cranberry and Vodka
–    Jungle Juice

You should also consider making a pitcher or two of Sangria. Try white sangria or traditional sangria with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries for color instead of lemons, limes, and oranges.

Layered Patriotic Alcohol Drinks and Mixers
Layered patriotic alcohol drinks, actually layered drinks in general, can be a lot of fun to mix and drink. Here are some fun layered drinks to consider for your next Labor Day, Memorial Day, or 4th party.

–    Miami Vice – Half Pina Colada and half Strawberry Daiquiri
–    Try the above with Blueberry or Blue Raspberry Daiquiri instead!
–    Red, White, & Blue Shooter
–    Layered Fruit Drink
–    Stars and Stripes Cocktail

For additional tips on making layered shooters and drinks, check out these tips on how to make a layered shooter.

Other Patriotic Alcoholic Drinks
You can make just about any drink patriotic by sticking a mini toothpick flag into a maraschino cherry and tossing it in. Another option is to make pitchers of three different drinks – one red, one white, and one blue. You can also fill up martini glasses with drinks in any of the three patriotic colors. Use your imagination and you will think of all kinds of patriotic cocktail recipes to try for Labor Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July.

They may not be drinks, per se, but you can have a lot of fun mixing up patriotic Jello shots for your next Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Fourth of July party. Mix up a red flavor like cherry, raspberry, or strawberry, and a blue flavor like blue raspberry or grape (purple may be close enough). You can make your patriotic Jello shooters in plastic medicine cups designed for this purpose, or make them in ice cube trays or in a flat dish that you can carve them out into bite-sized cubes.

Remember, even if none of the drinks you already know suit your preferences, you can always mix up something totally brand new. Craft your own signature cocktails and then take a few moments to think up some alcoholic drink names for Labor Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. What are your favorite drinks to enjoy around the three summer holidays? Please share your favorites and any clever suggestions you have in our comments below.

Image © Photoroller | Stock Free Images


Top Labor Day Events to Enjoy with Family and Friends

Labor Day events 2012Labor Day Weekend 2012 is just about here. Many people plan to go to the beach for the long holiday weekend while others may plan to host or attend Labor Day celebrations, like a Labor Day party or pool party, barbecue, or picnic. Still others may be looking for Labor Day events to attend or activities to try. If you are still wondering what to do for Labor Day weekend, you can rest assured that you aren’t the only one. Sometimes some of the best plans for a holiday weekend are the spontaneous ones. Check out these ideas for Labor Day 2012 events that you can enjoy with your family, your sweetheart, or just your friends.

Remember, some Labor Day events and activities take little to no planning, and some even take little to no money. You can plan a fun Labor Day for your whole family to enjoy, or a romantic Labor Day weekend for just you and your sweetheart. If you aren’t attached, be sure to get together with your closest pals for a fun long weekend away from work. Here are a few Labor Day events to consider this year.

Labor Day Festivals and Parades
What is Labor Day without patriotic parades and festivals? You can find a lot of great family-friendly things to do for the holiday weekend when it comes to outdoor festivals, parades, and other big celebrations. Look in your local newspaper or check the Web for locations near you that will be hosting any kid of community celebration, parade, or festival. You might find a county fair, a carnival, an outdoor dance, or other special Labor Day event as well.

Labor Day Weekend Concerts
There’s just something about outdoor concerts that make for an amazing time, whether with friends, your significant other, or family. If the holiday weekend is nice and sunny, you can really enjoy some Labor Day weekend concerts in your community or a short drive away. A lot of outdoor concert venues are connected to a restaurant or bar where you can order food and drinks to enjoy outside along with the music. You might also be able to bring your own food and drinks to certain venues, especially if you are going to enjoy concerts in the park or another public location.

Labor Day Car Shows
A car show may not immediately come to mind when you think of things to do on Labor Day weekend, but you can definitely enjoy some time with family, friends, or your sweetheart at a Labor Day car show. A quick Google search will pull up all the Labor Day car shows, and potentially one in your area or within a short drive. Some car shows taking place on Labor Day weekend include Kiwanis of Boyne City’s annual Labor Day Weekend Car Show, the 3rd Annual Maple Falls Labor Day Car Show/Rod Run, and Spirit Lake’s Labor Day Car and Motorcycle Show, to name just a few.

If you know of a local car club or hot rod club, check their website for a listing about any upcoming car shows, especially one for the Labor Day festivities.

Other Labor Day Celebrations
If you are still thinking about what to do on Labor Day weekend, you may want to check with your friends and family to find out what they are doing. You might also consider visiting a grandparent, going out for ice cream, or for a trip to the park to rollerblade, ride on the swings, or take your dog for a walk.

One of the most popular Labor Day traditions seems to be the Labor Day barbecue or the Labor Day picnic with family and friends. If you are still on the hunt for Labor Day weekend events to fill your nice, long weekend, consider hosting a barbecue or a picnic for Labor Day. You can also have a pool party, go to a water park, check out the beach for Labor Day, go on a hike, a bike ride, or even a boat ride in a nearby lake.

If your close family members can’t be with you to celebrate Labor Day, you can also set up a Skype session with them so you can chat and see each other for a few moments. This can be especially nice when there is a new baby in the family, or when family members live across the country from each other.

Labor Day Fireworks
No Labor Day celebration would be complete without fireworks in the evening! Labor Day fireworks can be a romantic activity to enjoy with your sweetheart or it can be a nice family outing for your kids to enjoy, or even your grandparents. You can also get together with your friends after the Labor Day picnic or barbecue for a fireworks display – just bring a blanket and some bug spray, and maybe a few snacks or drinks. Better yet if you can see the local fireworks from your patio, deck, or hot tub!

What are you planning to do for Labor Day 2012? Share your Labor Day ideas in our comments below!


Slick Sugar Belly Banter Milestone Stickers

Belly BanterNo doubt you’ve seen the onesie stickers to mark each of your baby’s “month birthdays.” Well, Slick Sugar takes things a step further with their own Belly Banter Milestones stickers. These circular stickers are easy to apply and easy to remove, allowing you to save them for your baby’s scrapbook, memory box, or other crafty keepsake. These onesie stickers announce some of your baby’s proudest moments for all of your family and friends to see, like crawling, sitting up, rolling over, and first steps, to name just a few.

Slick Sugar also offers sets of 15 Belly Banter onesie stickers for the month birthdays (unisex, boy, and girl), holidays, and even a set for the expecting mom. The milestones set I received for the purpose of this review includes an array of cute and clever sayings on 15 belly stickers. A few examples are: “This is how I ROLL,” “I can SIT,” “Catching some Zzzzz,” and “giggle.” The milestone stickers announce first steps, sitting, crawling, rolling over, first words, first haircut, sleeping through the night, fruits and veggies, road trip, and more.

Each sticker is 4” and it can be easily adhered and removed to your baby’s clothing. Once you apply the sticker, be sure to snap as many adorable photos as you can muster. Capture your baby’s firsts with these stickers and your camera, and then arrange the sticker and corresponding photos in your baby book or scrapbook.

I also received an adorable yellow peace sign onesie from Slick Sugar with my own set of Belly Banter milestone stickers. These stickers would make a great gift idea for any baby shower or as a sweet little gift for no particular reason for the mom-to-be.

The Belly Banter Milestones Sticker Set and other styles in the collection retail for $14.99. For more information about Slick Sugar and Belly Banter, check out http://slicksugar.com/shop/category/belly-banter.


Rainy Labor Day Ideas and Activities to Enjoy Inside

Rainy Labor Day ideasEveryone always hopes for sunshine and warm weather on Labor Day weekend, especially when Labor Day parties, picnics, and barbecues fill up the calendar for this long holiday weekend. If the weather forecast predicts a rainy Labor Day weekend, don’t worry about it too much – there are lots of things to do on a rainy Labor Day. No matter if you are having a party, going to a picnic, or just hanging out with your sweetheart, your family, or your friends, you can find something fun to do for Labor Day inside.

Labor Day weekend can be a great time to travel, throw a party, or go to someone else’s barbecue or picnic. If rain is on the way, you don’t have to scrap your plans. You can still find lots of enjoyable things to do in the rain or inside during a rainy Labor Day.

Inside Rainy Labor Day Activity Ideas
Here are some rainy Labor Day ideas for you to try if the weather isn’t cooperating for your barbecue, picnic, or party.

•    Have a scavenger hunt inside.
•    Set up some indoor karaoke.
•    Do Labor Day crafts with the kids.
•    Run a board game marathon.
•    Have a movie marathon with only movies that are patriotic in nature.
•    Mix up red, white, and blue cocktails (if you are old enough to drink).
•    Make red, white, and blue slushies and smoothies (no matter what your age).
•    Have a video game competition.
•    Go shopping and hit up all the amazing Labor Day weekend sales.
•    Break your group into two teams and have an indoor decathlon of events. You can do puzzles, games, and other indoor activities. Best of 10 – only one winner!

These Labor Day ideas if rain’s outside should help to tide you over until the weather clears. Hopefully it won’t rain for the entire Labor Day weekend!

Rainy Labor Day Meals
If the rain is pouring down, grilling might not be your favorite option. You can find a few alternatives to the traditional holiday weekend fare by considering a few rainy Labor Day food ideas. Check out these examples of non-grilled Labor Day food for starters:

•    Meatballs and sauce in crock pots
•    Hoagies
•    Roast beef or turkey sandwiches (hot)
•    Baked ham with pineapple
•    Stir-fried veggies
•    Pork fried rice
•    Sweet and sour chicken
•    Baked ziti
•    Take-out from your local pizza shop, Chinese food place, etc.

Don’t forget delicious Labor Day desserts – brownies or Rice Krispie Treats with red, white, and blue sprinkles, themed sugar cookies, all-American chocolate chip cookies, sheet cake with strawberries and blueberries, fruit salad, and more. What are your favorite patriotic desserts?

Rainy Labor Day Picnic Ideas
If you are going on a Labor Day picnic, you might want to plan to hang out inside. Consider finding a place with shelter for your picnic, like an outdoor party tent, or have a picnic for two in your car, clubhouse, or garage. A Labor Day picnic with many guests may need to move the entire event indoors, perhaps in a basement or garage if not throughout the whole house. If the rain tapers off a bit, you can have your rainy Labor Day events move out to your deck or patio, even if there is still a little drizzle coming down.

If you still want to have a picnic in the rain, consider putting down a few water resistant tarps or setting up an outdoor party tent. You can also try a large beach umbrella or consider tailgating instead of doing the full picnic routine. Since Labor Day is a long weekend, you might also consider having a “rain date” if you can plan it far enough in advance.

To make things more festive despite the gray and gloomy weather, don’t forget to set up your red, white, and blue decorations for an inside Labor Day party. You can also ignore the weather and play outside in the rain if you feel so inclined!

What’s your rainy Labor Day plan? If you have other suggestions for Labor Day rain ideas, please share them below in our comments.


Baby and Toddler Sippy Cups and Water Bottles

Hello Kitty sippy cupIt’s pretty exciting when your child meets new milestones, whether it’s a first smile or being able to roll over, walk, or hold a bottle. When your little one graduates from baby bottles to toddler cups, sippy cups, and even kiddie water bottles, this can also be an exciting milestone. So many different colors and styles of baby cups and toddler cups are available, waiting for the moment when your babe is ready for his or her “big kid cup.”

Philips AVENT offers a wide array of kiddie cups and baby bottles to suit just about every need when it comes to drink ware for kids. The Philips AVENT Toddler Straw Cups (one-pack and two-pack, 9 oz. or 12 oz., ranging from $4.99 to $9.99) come in a variety of colors and designs, and they are perfectly adorable for your little ones. These 12-oz cups are designed for toddlers age 18+ months. Moms will love how the twist top keeps the straw clean and connected while kids will love how much fun it is to do the twisting. These toddler cups can be easily disassembled and are fully dishwasher safe. Perhaps the best feature is that these straw cups for kids are also leak-proof and easy to clean, not to mention easy for your child to hold and use independently. The pieces of this cup are also fully interchangeable with the complete Philips AVENT product line.

I received an adorable set of two Philips AVENT Toddler Cups Straw Cups in a beautiful bright pink color with a super cute bunny in a sailboat design. Next to the bunny’s sailboat is a teeny sailboat with a little mouse. The bottles themselves show measurements for US ounces as well as ml / cc. The straw is detachable and easy to replace, as well as bite resistant due to its silicone composition.

Philips AVENT also offers a sippy cup known as the Toddler Spout Cup (sold in one-pack and two-pack, 7 oz. and 9 oz., ranging from $4.49 to $8.99). I received a green cup with a cute bunny and kitty design, though blue and pink cups are also available. This cup holds 9 oz. and is rated for ages 12+ months. I love that the cup has two handles, making it easy for kids to drink and hold the cup. This spill-free sipper has a hard spout with a flip-top lid to ensure the parts touching your child’s mouth remain clean. This cup is also easy to clean and assemble, while also interchangeable with other Philips AVENT cups and bottles.

AVENT Drinking CupThe Toddler Natural Drinking Cup by Philips AVENT ($6.99) is the ideal way to help your little one transition from a sippy cup to an adult cup. I received a red cup, which has no spout and no straw – it is fully designed to help your child learn how to use a regular cup or glass. This 9 oz. “first grownup cup” has a lip-activated valve that releases the liquid when your child wants to drink. What a clever design! Who would have thought it possible to teach children how to drink from a regular cup without having to chance big spills or breakage with your regular cups and glasses! This product is also orthodontist recommended and it allows kids to drink from all the way around the rim of the cup, not just in one place. A plastic lid is included for good hygiene, and the cup also has handles for easy holding. True to the Philips AVENT way, this cup is also interchangeable with others in the product line.

These Philips AVENT products are BPA free, sturdy, and durable for little hands. Get yours at Babies R Us, Walmart, Target, Meijer, Fred Meyer, and Amazon.com. For more information about Philips AVENT baby products, visit www.philips.com/avent.

SIGG brand won’t leave you wishing for a cute and stylish, functional water bottle for your little one. SIGG crafts attractive, made-to-last water bottles for toddlers through adults, with an adorable collection of bottles for kids, with cute designs like the Hello Kitty SIGG water bottle I received for the purpose of this review. The lovely Hello Kitty is on the front and back of the water bottle, surrounded by a few clouds and pretty red balloons on a pale pink water bottle. The bottle’s cap is black and hot pink with a flip-top that reveals a turnable spout. Removing the lid reveals a sturdily constructed metal bottle that is eco-friendly and 100% recyclable. All materials in this SIGG bottle for kids are also BPA free.

SIGG kids’ bottles are available in a wide array of colors and designs featuring popular characters and toys like Barbie, Hot Wheels, and more. Choose from .3 and .4 L bottles, and even teen bottles and those for adults. SIGG products are Swiss-made in the highest quality using a single piece of aluminum to create a bottle without a seam that is leak-proof and durable. Be sure your entire family gets the recommended eight glasses of water per day with these fun and functional water bottles! For more information about kid bottles and other SIGG products, check out www.sigg.com and http://www.sigg.com/ch-shop/en/kids.html.


Comparative Review of Four Baby Bathtubs, Bath Seats, and Rinse Basins

Baby in BathIt’s no secret that babies are messy creatures. From the messes they make in diapers to the many times they spit up or empty their stomachs completely, moms and dads have come to expect an emergency bath here and there. Even if baby has a particularly good few days or a week, they still get to enjoy a regular bath time here and there, even from their earliest days as a newborn. That’s why it is so important to ensure you have a good baby bathtub, bath seat, sling or other piece of baby bathing equipment.

Here are four different pieces of baby bathing equipment to help you keep your infant happy and clean. Check out the pros, cons, and details of each baby bathtub, baby wash basin, and baby bath seat or sling to help you decide which one might be best suited for your little one.

Babies R Us Bath Sling

This product retails for less than $8 and it certainly has gotten its fair share of use in our home. We received this item as a gift at our baby shower and it has held up at home and on vacation. The bath sling reminds me of a hammock or other comfortable, flexible piece of furniture that has some ‘give’ to it. We have used this bath sling seat from Babies R Us since day one with our baby girl, and it has served us well.

You can buy the sea creature bath sling at Babies R Us or online at Babiesrus.com.

Pros of Babies R Us Bath Sling

-Very portable – fits in just about any crack or crevice in a fully packed car

-Comfortable for young babies

-Fairly secure, even for newborns without head control

-Extremely affordable

-Cute sea creature designs

-Made of breathable mesh

-Can use for up to the first year of life

Cons of Babies R Us Bath Sling

-Still need access to a bathtub or shower stall

-Still need a basin of some sort to fill with water and baby soap

-Baby will inevitably pee or poop on this and it is a bit of a pain to take the fabric off the sling frame for washing.

Different Options in Baby Thermometers – Summer Infant 3-in 1 Family Thermometer and EXERGEN Temporal Artery Thermometer

Summer Infant Dr. Mom 3-in-1 Family ThermometerA baby thermometer is an essential healthcare item for your little one, even if it is the kind of thermometer that can read temperatures for everyone in the house. Pediatricians typically want you to use a rectal thermometer for babies, although underarm thermometers and ear thermometers have also been popular. Pediatric doctors seem to agree that the rectal temperature gives the most precise reading when it comes to checking your child for fevers. Depending on how high the grade of fever, sometimes every moment counts, so be sure to follow your doctor’s advice when taking your little one’s temperature.

Many different types of baby thermometers are available on the shelves of baby superstores and online at places like Amazon, Baby Supermall, Drugstore.com, and others. A good three-in-one thermometer like the Summer Infant Dr. Mom 3-in-1 Family Thermometer is a great option to keep the whole family in check. This thermometer is suitable for use on babies from birth on up, and it has three different ways to record a temperature. This thermometer has five-second rectal, six-second oral, and seven-second underarm thermometer heads.

A cool fever alert glow feature notifies you without delay if your little one has a fever. The screen actually turns red and shows the temperature reading; otherwise it remains green. The clever design of this green and white, compact thermometer allows the different thermometer heads to stay inside a storage compartment on the back of the unit.

When using the Summer Infant Dr. Mom 3-in-1 Family Thermometer, you might be as impressed as I was when you see that the device knows which thermometer head you have attached. When you take someone’s temperature, you will hear an audible beep letting you know the reading is complete. The device’s memory also stores up to the past 10 temp readings. Also, users can choose between Fahrenheit and Celsius, depending on their preferences.

The Summer Infant Dr. Mom 3-in-1 Family Thermometer calls for two “AAA” batteries, which are included. You can find this product at your favorite baby stores and Target, as well as Amazon.com, Diapers.com, and other popular online retailers. For more information, check out www.summerinfant.com.

A new technology allows you to scan someone’s temperature quickly and easily with no mess and no fuss. The EXERGEN Temporal Artery Thermometer registers an accurate temperature with a simple swipe of the forehead. This product is made in the USA and requires no probe covers since it reads your temp right from the forehead. This device is especially convenient for use on sleeping children or someone with an ear infection, but the temporal artery temp scanner is also a snap to use on yourself.

The EXERGEN Temporal Artery Thermometer also reads both degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius, and comes with a 9-volt battery. It also has a protective cap to keep dust, hair, and other debris from collecting on the sensor. A combination of red LED lights and a beep sound indicate that the temperature has been properly scanned. Impressively, this device takes 1,000 temperature readings per second so it can select the most accurate. This product also features a patented arterial heat balance.

As a little bit of background, the temporal artery connects to the carotid artery, which means there is a direct connection to the heart as well. The temporal artery has a constant blood flow, making it suitable for accurate temperature measurement. The forehead is a comfortable, convenient, and safe place to scan your family’s temperatures. According to product documentation, the temporal scanner will pick up on a changing temperature much sooner than a rectal thermometer, with a lag time of 60 to 90 minutes on infants up to one year of age and even a difference of several hours on adults.

To use the EXERGEN Temporal Artery Thermometer, simply press and hold the button, lightly swipe across the forehead, release the button, and read the temperature. In my experience, this seems to be almost too easy, so sometimes I worry a bit whether I’ve correctly captured my temperature. I also wonder what the margin of error might be if one person holds the button just a bit longer or a bit shorter than the next, but the device’s quick start guide covers all of these concerns in its troubleshooting section.

All in all, the temporal artery thermometer has been a great aid in quickly reading our temperatures, giving us a great indication of whether we are running a bit hot, cold, or just right. To be honest, my husband and I both love this device and look forward to using it for its ease of use and immediate results.

I received one Summer Infant Dr. Mom 3-in-1 Family Thermometer and one EXERGEN Temporal Artery Thermometer for the purpose of this review. I truly appreciate each product for its own offerings and I like having both thermometers at my disposal, especially with a new baby in the family. I would highly recommend either or both of these products, depending on your family’s needs.


Things To Keep You Busy During The Summer

After a few days off from school (whether you teach or attend), days can mass into a blur of nothingness due to lack of routine and daily assignments. Friends and family may be off on their own vacations or adventures. Even working a part time job can leave you with more free time than you can handle. Let the following list of ideas inspire you to make your own summer adventures.

Camping in the MountainsThings To Do With A Car (And A Bit Of Money)

If you have a vehicle or access to public transportation (and aren’t totally broke) the following things can fill up your calendar in no time!

Find an outdoor adventure. Take a car ride to the nearest area that lets you experience the great outdoors. Float a river. Take a hike or nature walk. Go camping. If you aren’t super keen on surviving in the wild on your own, consider staying at a campground that offers activities with guides.

Go to an amusement park, zoo, or museum. Find a friend or family to go to local attractions. Look online or in local newspapers and magazines for discount coupons.

Visit a friend. Take some time off work to visit a friend. Make a day trip if the friend is local or just a few hours away. If you have the time and money, visit a friend who’s moved further away in another state or country.

Go to a concert. Many bands and solo artists take the summer to tour. There should be a plethora of gigs you could attend. Remember to drink lots of water if it’s outside!


Things To Do Without A Car

Even if you are unable to drive or access public transportation, there are many things available to keep you busy, especially walking or riding a bike to get there!

Take a walk Whether you live in a place with sidewalks or not, a walk can be a nice way to wind the day down or relax. It’s a simple way to keep active without the need of any special workout equipment or clothes.Colorful Tubes of Paint

Take a walk with a friend. Spend some quality time or make an adventure out of a walk. Even if you don’t have a person to physically walk with, call one up on your cell phone.

Lay out in the sun. Whether you are working on your tan or not, take some time (and some SPF) to soak up the sun and Vitamin D. Enjoy the warm weather before it’s gone!

Crafts. Even if you don’t have a wealth of art supplies, you can find something to craft in some way. Make a collage from magazines or remake an over-sized tee. If you don’t have paint, use sharpies to redecorate planters or plastic bins. (If you are a kid, you might want to ask a parent before you take a marker to anything!)

Reorganize your closet/room/house/apartment. Not all things to keep you busy have to be fun. Although this might not be your top choice. Imagine how easy it will be to find your favorite sweater or pair of boots in the fall! Organize by colors, seasons, or style. If you find items you simply don’t need any more find a shop where you can sell them or donate them to a clothing drive.

Learn a new recipe. The website supercook.com allows you to enter each ingredient that you have available in your kitchen or a combination of items you enjoy cooking with. Unless you have a super stocked kitchen, you may need to occasionally purchase something new. Although you may have tried a recipe before, this is an easy way to find recipes that you are interested in.

Things to Stay Active

An excess of free time leaves you with no excuse for not taking advantage of the the time or the summer weather for getting in shape or shedding a few pounds!

Boy with Swim GogglesTake a swim. If you have a swimming pool, this one’s a no brainer, but if you don’t this might be more difficult to figure out how. Find a public pool to use or make your own. Even a kiddie pool is nice to sit in for a cool down. If you have your own pool, find new ways to make it fun. Reinvent your favorite game on the ground by playing it in the pool. In the past, I’ve played volleyball, baseball, and rugby. Even if there’s just two of you, there’s a way you can get around it. My younger brother and I used ‘ghost players’ on the bases so we could bat and run each inning.

Train for the Olympics. So I might just be caught up in all the excitement of the games, but I think that this is a great way to inspire anyone to get in better shape and have a regular workout routine. I’m definitely jealous of all the fit Olympians. If they can take hours of their days and years of their lives to train for their event, I can at the very least take some time out of my week for an intensive workout.

Run outside. Beat the heat and wake up early to get a run in before the sun is at its hottest. Enjoy the scenery around you. Use ends of blocks or other landmarks as markers to sprint towards. Other runners can also serve as a boost for you to keep running past instead of taking your walking break when you really want it.

Organize pickup games. If you have a great yard or live close enough to a school or park that’ll let you play, invite a few friends or past teammates for a pickup game of your choice. With any luck, by the end of the summer you’ll have enough players for a proper game of the sport of your choice!


Things To Do When Away from Home

Although you may be adding an amazing experience to your resume, it’s difficult to make friends in a new place and for just a few months. It’s difficult to keep in touch with friends when you are in different places and cannot hang out in the flesh.

Organize an unofficial book club. There are always some summer reading hits. Pick an individual book or a series to read at the same time as a friend. Either videochat to discuss your thoughts or send e-mails back and forth for each chapter.

Send postcards. Try to find hilarious postcards in your city, town, or the surrounding areas. Take time to find (or make up) a funny story to send to your friends and family.

Call or video chat home. Your family and friends would love to hear from you and see your smiling face! Reconnect with them and describe the place where you are staying if they are unfamiliar with the area.

Discover a new TV series. You might find yourself with a lot of free time in which tv watching can certainly kill. Find a tv show to catch up on or discover a new one. Borrow, buy, or rent a DVD set of a series you find interesting. Even better get one that a friend has always been raving about so you finally get the reason why.


Baby Basics Nursing Pad Case and Washable Nursing Pads by Kushies

Kushies Nursing PadsThe Kushies brand offers a lot of really cool products for moms, babies, and kids. As a new mom, I have come to appreciate many of the convenient and clever products this brand provides, such as swim diapers and now the reusable nursing pads and a cute and convenient carrying case for them so you never have to worry about where they’ve gotten shuffled off to…. These products by Kushies make it easier for a new mom to get used to breastfeeding and keeping her clothes safe in the process.

In addition to nursing pads and products, Kushies is the leading online retailer of washable diapers, and also sells layette, bibs, and countless other products for babies and toddlers. I received one pack of six washable nursing pads and one Baby Basics Nursing Pad Case for the purpose of this review. The case is an adorable white zip pouch with light pink polka dots. It is cylindrical once expanded, but easily folds down to a small circle when not in use. This clever case makes it easy to store both wet and dry nursing pads separately, thanks to the convenient double-sided pouch. Each side zippers separately and the interior compartments feature a waterproof liner.

Kushies DiapersThis cute case is the perfect size to toss into your diaper bag, purse, or carryon bag, and it is discreet enough that the world doesn’t have to know you’ve got your nursing pads tucked inside. The exterior of the case is soft and smooth while the interior is also smooth despite being waterproof. The zippers zip almost the entire way around the case, probably just about as far as you can go without disconnecting completely. Kushies nursing pads fit neatly inside the case, making it ideal for travel as well as home use.

Also, there’s some more good news for busy moms. You can simply toss this case in the washer and dryer on low when you are ready to wash it. No need to hand-wash this product separately, so feel free to throw it in with your baby clothes or socks and undies.

Meanwhile, the Washable Nursing Pads by Kushies are decidedly well-made and very soft to the touch. They each feature precise stitching around the outside perimeter and a single seam on each side of the pad. Kushies reusable nursing pads are 100% cotton flannel, featuring four layers of ultra soft fabric. The washable nursing pads are contoured to fit the shape of the breast for a discreet look underneath your favorite tops or dresses. These products are also machine washable and dry-able.

Something I’ve noticed with all washable nursing pads that I’ve tried so far, no matter what brand, is that they seem to stick to your nipple following a feeding or pumping session. This can be very minimally uncomfortable until you separate the two, but it really isn’t a big deal once you know it’s coming. I have found certain brands of disposable nursing pads also seem to stick.

I really like these reusable nursing pads and the way they fit inside my bras. I haven’t decided yet if I prefer the disposable nursing pads or the washable ones. I like that the disposable ones don’t leak as much, whereas the washable cotton nursing pads seem to become saturated and leak through to my bra every once in a while. I do love that there are no sticky peeling papers to remove from the washable nursing pads.

At any rate, I am definitely a fan of both Kushies nursing products – the washable nursing pads and the adorable case to keep them in. To learn more about where to buy, visit www.kushiesonline.com and for general information and special offers, check out Kushies on Facebook at facebook.com/kushiesbaby.

By the way – Life Love Beauty readers can enjoy 10% off their purchases by using the code lifelovebeauty2012 on any order from www.kushiesonline.com.


A Sweet Place for Tummy Time and Lots of Fun Indoors or Outside – Oilo Play Blanket Review

Oilo Play BlanketThis designer play blanket features a soft, sateen fabric on one side and a durable, cotton duck surface on the other, similar in feel to a soft cotton canvas. Stylish and great for snuggling, this blanket is 40×50-inches and comes in an array of colors and gorgeous patterns so you can choose your favorite or one that best suits your baby. I received the Modern Berries Play Blanket in Spring Green from Oilo for the purpose of this review. When it arrived, it looked so pretty and stylish in the box that I almost hated to take it out – but I am so glad that I did.

Baby plays with Oilo BlanketThe play blanket is exquisitely made, featuring a two-inch flange around the edges of the blanket and a lovely blend of stripes on one side and the modern berries, like polka dots from afar, on the other. The spring green pattern is absolutely stunning and looks beautiful for any baby or tot to enjoy. I really like the pattern and the colors, a limey green and white, which together look modern, fun, and perfect for any setting. Another thing I love about this Oilo Play Blanket is that it is big enough for baby and mom or dad (or grandma / grandpa) to sit together as well.

This blanket makes a great tummy time blanket, and we have enjoyed using it frequently with our three-month-old. Our little one happened to spit up on the blanket the very first time we used it (of course). So I am also happy to report that it was easy to launder the blanket and the blanket held up perfectly in the wash. We line dried it according to packaging instructions and the play blanket is just as good as new.

Even celebrities love the Oilo brand. Christina Applegate and Rachel Zoe did their nurseries in Oilo, and Oilo was also featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during last year’s Mother’s Day Show. It’s no wonder this brand and its stylish offerings are getting noticed by high profile people and by the media. These products are so pretty and modern that they just make you feel good having them in your home.

Oilo StudioYou can order your own Oilo Play Blanket for your little one or as a gorgeous gift for your next baby shower. This blanket retails for $65, a reasonable price to pay for quality and stylishness that will last far beyond the years until your child outgrows a play blanket. For more information about this and other Oilo products, check out www.oilostudio.com. You can also get product and company news and special promotions by liking Oilo on Facebook at facebook.com/oilo.


Expert Shares Tips to Prepare for Surgery How the ‘Herbal Martha Stewart’ Got Ready for Her Hip Replacement

Surgery saves the day by YanzWhile they’re the place we go for healing, all hospitals have the potential to be a hotbed for contagious infections.

But there are precautionary measures patients can take, both to reduce the need for a hospital stay and to condition the body to ward off infection and minimize pain when surgery is necessary, says Letha Hadady, a nationally-recognized herbal expert and author of Naturally Pain Free, just published by Sourcebooks (www.AsianHealthSecrets.com). Letha has been documenting in real time her recent hip replacement, preparation and recovery, in a video blog on her global website.

Cardiovascular Suture by Plandsman“We are fast approaching a time when antibiotics will be outdated because infectious bacteria – Superbugs – have become resistant,” she says. “We have to protect ourselves with the gifts of nature that germs cannot adapt to – foods, minerals, herbal remedies and other natural products that build our defenses.”

There are 600,000 knee-replacement and 300,000 hip-replacement surgeries performed each year in the United States, a number that has doubled in the past 10 years and continues to grow, Hadady says. As a health expert cited by NBC News, AP Radio, Newsday, the Daily News, the San Francisco Chronicle and Barbara Walters, she says she is concerned about the risks, pain and fear as many people face both major and minor surgeries.

“These surgeries are only going to become more frequent as the baby boomer generation ages. People 50 and older with osteoarthritis are most likely to need hip- and knee-placements,” she says. “But plenty of younger people are affected, too. Runners, dancers, tennis players, soldiers – even high school students who suffer sports injuries. It could be you on the operating table!”

Hadady offers these tips to naturally condition the body before surgery:

Herbal strength: A few weeks in advance of her operation, Hadady ramped up her intake of herbal supplements. A key herb was Yunnan Paiyao, a traditional  medicine used in Chinese hospitals and by their soldiers to prevent excessive bleeding. Other herbs can be taken to help build up resistance to bacteria.

A calm and focused mind: Stress increases inflammation and is a burden on internal organs. A calm, centered mind — attained through techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and mineral baths – can help the body weather the trauma of surgery, she says.

Knowledge is power: While researching “Naturally Pain Free,” Letha tried alternative treatments for arthritis ranging from traditional Asian remedies to cutting-edge stem cell injections. Before her operation, Hadady asked questions and researched her hospital, doctors, the procedure, and insurance coverage. This allowed her to better prepare for the operation and gave her peace of mind.

Follow hospital recommendations: In addition to alternative therapies, it’s important to heed the advice of one’s doctors, before and after a procedure, she says. With her supplements, Hadady restricted her vitamin C intake, which thins blood, and she received an antibiotic ointment to ward off MRSA — an antibiotic-resistant superbug that can cause life-threatening infections.

Diet and exercise: “This may seem obvious, but it’s a message we cannot emphasis enough for overall health,” she says. One reason why replacement procedures are so prominent is due to the “sitting lifestyle” so many now have. Muscle atrophy from too much sitting can be a cause for joint-replacement, she says. “Sitting is the new smoking!”

About Letha Hadady

Letha Hadady has been called the “Martha Stewart of herbs” for her expertise in traditional Asian and alternative health. The author of five books, including her latest “Naturally Pain Free,” Letha has appeared widely on TV–including CNN, Today, The View — talk radio, and the internet. Letha is an adjunct faculty member for New York Open Center, and The Renfield Center for Nursing Education, Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. She has led stress-management workshops and acted as a natural product consultant for Sony Entertainment Inc., Dreyfus, Ogilvy & Mather, and Consumer Eyes, Inc. in New York.

Images courtesy of StockFreeImages.