Wednesday, March 29, 2017

You Don't Have To Wear A Cape To Be A Super Fit Mom...


This post was written by a contributing writer




Image Source

Getting your body back to how it used to be pre-baby is no mean feat. Some of us will quite simply never achieve it; it’s an unrealistic goal when you consider how much your body has had to adapt to grow a human inside of it. You’ve got to cut it some slack; the stretch marks, loose skin and every other bump and bash that comes with it is all just part of the package of being a mother.

However, this doesn’t mean that we have to completely give up the idea of exercise altogether. In fact, there are so many ways to incorporate it back into your daily routine that you’ll be surprised just how much you could potentially be missing out on! Remember to always check with your doctor postpartum to ensure that you are at a stage where you can begin to exercise again.

Baby-Wearing

Who needs to buy weights? Wearing your baby is the best thing that you can do to multitask; you’re working out whilst giving your baby the bonding time that they need. The great thing about this is that the weight will gradually increase over time as your baby grows. You don’t need to go out and buy more weights or invest in any more sportswear to get you to your goal. Obviously there’s a point where you can’t wear your baby anymore (although there are some http://www.becomingmamas.com/toddler-wearing-or-why-yes-i-do-still-wear-him/ who are inclined to disagree) when they reach a stage of independence that they simply don’t want to be carried around all the time, but until that time comes this is the perfect opportunity to step up your fitness.

Break-Time Activities

It’s hard to catch a break, especially as a new parent, but when you do it can be put to good use. Having a machine that you can quickly nip on to do some working out such as an elliptical machine is a great way to fit in a bit of fitness whilst still remaining in your home. You can read reviews at https://bodygearguide.com/best-rowing-machine-reviews/ for one that will fit your needs. You don’t need to go overboard with it, just a couple of minutes or as long as you can spare each day. It’ll gradually build up your fitness over time.

Out and About

Taking your kids out, whether in their stroller or having them walk, is one of the best ways that you can combine fun and fitness. Even just twenty minutes a day outside will be an amazing way to wind the kids down for the day and either tire them out for their nap or, if they’re a bit older, calm them down for the evening. This option is especially great if you can’t fit in a specific exercise regime around your existing child care routine. It’ll benefit all of you by getting outside and exploring the nature that is all around us. So many of us are stuck indoors glued to gadgets and technology when all that we need is waiting for us outside our door. You just need to go and find it!

This post is not meant to give medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any new exercise routine.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Favorite COVERGIRL Products for Spring

Spring is here! And whether you are still fighting the frigid cold or welcoming the warm, it's time to FINALLY get your spring look on.  Fashion/beauty wise, I've always enjoyed the spring and summer seasons more than the fall and winter. And, though I definitely enjoy high-end (and even luxury) cosmetic lines, I tend to use affordable drugstore products, such as those listed below by COVERGIRL, as my daily go-to's.

COVERGIRL has a TON of products that I consistently reach for.  And, since I find myself using the CG brand more than any other drugstore brand for my fresh-faced, warm-weather-friendly look, I decided to share my favorites with you all! Some are my tried-and-true and some are new favorites. The best part is these are all quality products that are priced affordably.  Meaning, I don't have to pick one favorite over the other.  I can get them all! Enjoy!

Clean Matte BB Cream  - This BB cream! It's a little bit of a new favorite but I have been using it for many months. I just recently realized it has become my go-to foundation. I like the finish on it. It's not super matte but it also doesn't appear greasy on my skin like most BB/CC creams do. It has a nice, natural finish, medium coverage, and it doesn't break out or irritate my skin.  It also doesn't oxidize into that awful orangey color like many products do when my skin is on the fairer side shade-wise.

Outlast All-Day Matte Finishing Powder - I don't often use powder.  So, I don't like to spend a lot on a product that is most likely going to expire before I have a chance to use all of it. BUT I do like to have powder on hand for touch-ups on those super humid Florida days. Just to chase away the shine.  And this product does just that and has more staying power than comparable products I've tried.

TRUBLEND FIXSTICK Eye Concealer - This concealer has become a tried-and-true.  It's quick and easy to apply and I don't have to do much blending to get the product to look natural on my skin.  Great for any busy-bee looking to apply and go.

Outlast All-Day Soft Touch Concealer - New favorite alert! I use this guy when I'm looking for something a little bit more long-wearing than the fixstick.  It conceals well without being cakey or chalky. It goes on smooth and stays that way! Again, a natural finish is key in getting that "natural beauty" look.

TRUBLEND Blush (in Medium Rose) - This is THE ONLY drugstore powdered blush I use. I just have not been able to find another that has the pigment, quality, and lasting power that this one does.  Before I found this blush, I only used one by MAC Cosmetics. It was the only one I loved. I have now switched from the MAC blush as my daily go-to to this one.

Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Balm - I know I have talked about this lip balm numerous times before. And, yes, I've tried many, many lip products since being introduced to this one. And Oh Sugar! is still at the top of my list of lippy favorites. It's moisturizing, doesn't settle in the lines of your lips, and gives a beautiful touch of color- More than you'd expect from a balm. My favorite shade is a mauvy-pink called Taffy.

Full Lash Bloom Mascara  - Ok. So yes, I have three mascaras listed.  Because...well, because I like eye makeup the most. Out of the three I have listed, this one is my favorite. It's a tried-and-true so it's earned my trust. When I'm in a rush, this mascara is the one I reach for. It's a zero-mess, throw it on, and run out the door type of product. I've heard others say they had to adjust to the feel of the brush but I didn't have a huge problem with it.  Yes, it feels different than a typical bristle brush.  But I like it. It feels like it's getting every single lash the first time. For me, it feels satisfyingly effective.

 So Lashy! Blastpro Mascara - This is COVERGIRL's new, hot mascara.  And, obviously, I like it! For me, THIS wand took a little getting used to.  I expected as much, however.  Since the wand is completely different than anything I've ever used. If you're looking for a dramatic eye, this mascara is your friend. It doesn't look clumpy or give you spider lashes. It just provides a lot of volume without a lot of fuss. All good in my book.

Professional Super Thick Lash Mascara - Let's end on a classic note, shall we? This mascara isn't new and it isn't fancy. But it does just what it says it will.  I find it comparable to (the much more expensive) Volumizing Mascara by Mally Beauty.  Full lashes, classic bristle wand, and less expensive than other drugstore mascaras. I have repurchased this one so many times I've lost count.





Monday, March 20, 2017

Your First Pregnancy: What You Should Know

 This post was written by a contributing writer.



Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful, and in many cases, one of the most awaited times in a woman’s life. No matter what life has thrown at you in the past, I guarantee that you’ve never had an experience quite like bearing, delivering, and then raising a child. It goes without saying that you’ll want a safe pregnancy without any stressful complications or nasty surprises. The following is a list of all the most important things to know when you’re due to be a first-time mother. Getting informed and following up on this advice will ensure your pregnancy is one of the most enjoyable and memorable stages of your life.


Image: Flickr

Signs of Confirmation
If you’ve been going out of your way to conceive, it can be easy to let the excitement go to your head, misinterpret certain changes in your body, and generally confuse yourself. When you’re trying for a baby, you should make sure you’re clear on the signs that will indicate that you’re pregnant. The obvious way to confirm you’re pregnant is to use a home urine test with a kit you can buy over-the-counter. There are also various symptoms of first-time pregnancies which can be taken as a confirmation, such as nausea, vomiting, back pain, swollen breasts and abrupt mood swings. Making sure you’re pregnant is very important to assure a healthy term. If the home kit shows unclear results, go to your ob-gyn and have a more foolproof test.

Your Family Medical History

Once you’re sure that you’re pregnant, it’s important to talk to your mother, grandmother, aunties or all of them about their pregnancies. Knowing about any kind of genetic issues or birth abnormalities in your family history, well in advance, is crucial to assure your pregnancy is as smooth and healthy as possible. When you’re clued up about these things, it can get you prepared for any problems that may be on the horizon, and point you towards any necessary aids.

Some Tests are Non-Negotiable

There are a number of primary medical tests which pregnant women should undergo. Things like urine tests, blood sugar tests, hepatitis B tests and so on are all essential for you to determine the level of risk associated with your pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to advise you on which ones are universal for all pregnant women, and which ones are advisable based on your patient notes and family history. Ideally, you’ll take these before you actually try conceiving, but if it’s too late for that don’t put it off any longer. Make an appointment with your doctor, and take all the tests that they deem necessary.

How Much Weight Gain is Healthy?

Like a lot of other first-time mothers, you might be terrified by the thought of the amount of weight you’ll gain during your pregnancy, and eager to know how you’ll shed it once you’ve given birth. The healthy amount of weight gain is dependent on your BMI (Body Mass Index) before conception. If you’re already overweight at the time of conception, then you should take steps to avoid putting on more weight. If you’re underweight, then you should make a point to gain a few pounds. Some women also choose to look into post-pregnancy treatments like a mommy makeover - tummy tuck. Remember that your fetus needs to get the necessary nutrients to have a healthy development. Understanding your dietary needs, and then sticking to them, is another non-negotiable step.

Your Gestational Age


Pregnancy, as you may already know, is divided into three stages, each consisting of three months. With each trimester, physiological changes will happen in your body, affecting your hormonal levels, your blood pressure volatility, your breathing and your metabolism. These are just the tip of the iceberg, as you’ll soon discover! It’s important to monitor these kinds of changes from the first day of the pregnancy, which will help you better understand the following stages as you move through them. Aside from that, it’s also important to note your delivery due date, which is generally calculated by the date of your last menstrual cycle. Generally, delivery will take place anywhere between 37 and 40 weeks from conception.

Bleeding can Still Occur

Typically, one of the earliest signs of pregnancy is missed periods. However, in many instances, there can still be bleeding in the initial stages of a pregnancy. This is often confused with menstrual bleeding. Bleeding during the early stages of your pregnancy occurs when an egg travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it’s implanted in the lining. This is known as implantation bleeding, or sometimes “spotting”. The best way to tell the two apart is by the color. Blood from spotting is usually a more brown or pink color, in comparison to the usual red of menstrual blood. This kind of bleeding is almost always benign, but it’s still a good idea to stay safe by telling your doctor about it.

To Eat or Not to Eat?



Image: Pixino

You probably already know that you have to take a lot of care with your diet and nutrition when you’re pregnant. Aside from regular doses of vitamins and supplements, you also need to make sure you’re getting a balanced, wholesome and nutritious diet. A lot of doctors will provide you with a handy diet chart, which will be tailored to your body’s needs. Aside from guides like this, and various online resources you can look into, make sure you’re abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and minimizing the amount of caffeine you’re taking in. These kinds of toxins can increase the risk of premature delivery, underweight babies, and various birth defects.

Exercise is Essential

Due to all the changes going on in your body, and the fatigue and dizziness you’ll be feeling in those early stages, a lot of pregnant women tend to avoid exercise a little more than they usually would. Although you may not feel entirely up to it, exercise is just as essential for your health when you’re pregnant as at any other stage in your life, if not more so. Regular exercise, even if it’s just in the form of a moderate walk around the block, is essential for first-time pregnant women. This will strengthen your muscles, stabilize your mood swings to some extent, and make it easier to endure the pain of your pregnancy. If you already have a set exercise regimen you want to stick to through your pregnancy, always talk to your doctor about it first.

It’s No Picnic

While bearing a child is an experience that can change the person you are for the better, and certainly not something that you’ll easily forget, this comes at a price. The pain of giving birth is obviously intense, but long before that, you’re going to have to go through a range of other discomforts. A lot of activities that you’ve been able to do freely will now be either banned or extremely painful to accomplish. Even standing for a long period of time in the later stages can be hard to bear. This is before we get into all the surprise bouts of vomiting and constipation. Talk to your doctor about ways you can ease these discomforts, without causing any damage to your health or the health of your baby. Most importantly, get into an attitude that will make it easier to face the pain head-on. Instead of dreading the discomforts ahead of you, try to see them as the sacrifice you’ll make for a child you’ll love unconditionally. This can make it easier to grit your teeth through.

This post was written by a contributing writer.

This post is not meant to give medical advice. Please consult a medical professional with any questions/concerns.

Mom’s Guide To Staying Sane In 2017 & Beyond

This post was written by a contributing writer.







Photo:

The life of a modern parent is more than a little frantic. Times have changed, and the challenges of juggling parenthood with a career and other commitments are tough. In truth, it can often lead to moms overlooking the importance of their own health, especially on a mental note. This is one trap that you simply cannot afford to fall into.

After all, a happier and stable mom is a better mom. For the sake of your kids, as well as yourself, taking on this advice is key. Let's start, shall we?

Lead A Healthier Lifestyle

It’s old and corny, but there really is no substitute for leading a healthy life. Taking care of the body is one of our greatest responsibilities, and not only because it sets a good example for the kids.

Healthy eating and regular exercise are naturally important features. However, it’s equally important that you give your body a chance to recover with a great night’s sleep. Seriously, being well rested can leave your mind in a far better place.

Given the other physical benefits of healthier skin and increased energy, it’s a no-brainer. Throw in a little yoga too, and you can’t go wrong.

Create A Happier Home

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you work outside of the home doesn’t matter. A happy home life will naturally make your life feel far more enjoyable. And that will bring a number of mental benefits.

You don’t necessarily need to possess a huge home to make it feel special. Simply learning to keep it clutter-free can have a telling impact on your relationships within the space. Meanwhile, embracing more natural light should encourage increased happiness throughout the home also.


Photo:

Remove Financial Stresses

Money isn’t the most important thing in this world. Having said that, financial worries are the most regular source of stress in this life. As a loving parent, they don’t simply extend to your personal finances either. You also need to think about the future of your children.

Affordable life insurance rates enable you to protect your family against the worst imaginable moment. Would it make up for your absence? No. Nonetheless, knowing that your children will be financially safe in case of your death can offer huge relief. Apart from anything else, removing those fears about the future should allow you to start enjoying the future.

Keep The Kids Protected

Once you have children, everything in your life changes. Suddenly, you have a new priority. Quite frankly, as long as they are safe and healthy, you’ll be happy too.

Modern society can be a dangerous place. You can’t keep them wrapped up forever. However, ensuring that your kids are safe online is almost as important as educating them about real world dangers. As for little ones, childproofing the home is equally vital. Likewise, protecting the property from burglaries should be on the to-do list.

Communication is crucial at all times also. Ultimately, though, keeping the kids safe won’t just help them. It will bring huge emotional benefits for you too. For the sake of your entire family, getting these elements locked down is key.

This post was written by a contributing writer. 

Have An Amazing Time On Holiday And Stay In Shape, Here’s How

This post was written by a contributing writer.



For most of us going on holiday is a chance to take a break. To put all our responsibilities, worries, and pressures of our home lives on pause as we relax and unwind. The problem is, if you see exercise and staying fit as a chore, that’ll go on the back burner whilst your away too. It’s time to change the way we think about staying in shape. It is possible to have a great time on holiday and stay in great shape, here’s how…


Just Because It’s Challenging Doesn’t Mean It’s A Chore!



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Working out, eating healthily, and generally looking after ourselves shouldn’t be a chore. If it is, you're doing it wrong. It’s important to find a regime that works for you. If you love being outdoors, invest in some great running shoes and a ball. These are easy enough to come by and will turn your workouts into an enjoyable time to look forward to rather than dread. If you need a quick fix during your busy day look into HIIT or high-intensity interval training. These short explosive bursts of energy may suit your lifestyle better than a grueling run. Change the way you think about exercise pre-holiday. That way you won’t be tempted to ditch your workouts because you’re relaxing.

Similarly don’t look at your diet as something restrictive. If you do, you’ll only have a blowout when you’re away. This leads to many of us returning from our holidays feeling out of shape and unhappy. Try eating freshly sourced local food wherever you go. If you're going to be eating out a lot stick to grilled chicken or fish and salad some nights, and treat yourselves on others. It’s all about finding the right balance.

Fun Ways to Workout Abroad


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Getting_ready_for_sunset_stand_up_paddle_boarding_(8616936712).jpg

If you’re by the sea make the most of it. From a simple swim in the morning to more extreme sports, the sea provides you with loads of keep-fit options. If you’re staying at a resort with a pool it’s even easier to get some exercise in. Alternatively, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. This is a great ab workout and loads of fun. Read some SUP paddle reviews and find out the best equipment to bring with you on holiday. You should be able to rent boards from most places too.

Holidays give you a great excuse to explore. Walking or cycling around a new place is a great way to properly experience it. Tours and train rides often don’t show you how the locals live and what real life is like in a new country. Rent a bike from your hotel or a tour operator, and get pedaling around! There’s no better way to work off delicious food and cocktails than a ride and a roam about.

Make the most of the beach too. Buy a ball and get a game of volleyball going or even have a kick around and a game of catch. There are loads of simple solutions to keeping fit abroad that don’t have to be dull. Similarly, try indulging in a quiet and meditative yoga session on the beach. The sounds of lapping waves and birds overhead should make it easy to relax. Plus yoga is great for stretching and toning.



This post was written by a contributing writer.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Your Very Own 4th Trimester Concierge with Zulily

Pregnancy is a magical and, sometimes, a difficult time for many women.  There is the first-trimester morning sickness, second-trimester fatigue, and third-trimester discomfort.  But the fourth-trimester might be the most difficult to navigate of all.  Wait... fourth-trimester?! What??

The fourth-trimester refers to the first few months after birth. A time when a mom is physically healing, bonding with her new baby, and trying to adjust to life with her new addition.  With this "trimester" comes little-to-no sleep, change in routines, the risk of PPD, change in dynamic, change in hormones...basically a WHOLE LOT of change at once.  These changes also include a woman's change in body shape.  That alone can be stressful.  Your current maternity clothes don't quite fit correctly, but there is no way you're ready for your pre-pregnancy wardrobe just yet...It can have you exclaiming "How do I even get dressed anymore?!" Zulily is here for you, girl!

Just launched this month, Zulily now offers a 4th Trimester Concierge. With real-time help from maternity experts (also known as the Baby-Friendly Fashion Squad/BFFs), moms can get fashion advice simply by using Facebook Messenger.  So you don't have to make a phone call or meet someone in person. You can casually chat from the comfort of your home without having to worry about loud noises or a messy appearance.  The BFFs actively respond to messages every Monday through Friday from 7-8pm EST.

The Zulily experts will also be there to launch mom-friendly collections that will please those looking for a flattering, fashionable wardrobe, those looking for breast-feeding-friendly clothing, and more. The 4th Trimester Concierge team is there to help moms find a wardrobe that will not only suit their daily needs but also suit their own individual style.

The BFFs also have some general tips that can help every fourth-trimester mama.  They include being on the lookout for the following in your wardrobe:
  • Streamlined silhouettes - It's common to want to hide behind bulky clothing when a body is changing after a baby is born. Avoid chunky fabric, big prints, and super shiny styles as these can give the illusion of a bulkier frame. Instead, stick to solids and dark colored tops and dresses.
  • Functional nursing apparel (if needed) – Make sure to select products that are easy to care for and comfortable to wear. For moms who chose to nurse or pump, aim to have a few staple bra options during this time, as your bust size will most-likely fluctuate. Surplice tops, nursing tanks, and tops are great options since these garments make it easier to breastfeed in public or pump while you're back in your busy routine.
  • Adjustable apparel styles – Look for styles such as wrap dresses and tops, which are closet essentials, and flattering for most body types. As a new mom's body continues to change, these garments can easily be adjusted.
For more fashion tips from the BFF's check out Zulily's blog post here



Find Zulily's 4th Trimester concierge at Facebook.com/zulily.

And, course, you can still find great deals on just about anything you could ever want at zulily.com.




This post was written in collaboration with Zulily.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Easy Guide to Summer Lovin'

In the build up to summer, it can be so easy to forget the essentials that you are going to need as a mom - until the last minute. Leaving everything until you get to a point where you can’t spend the time researching, ordering and buying that things that you really need can be frustrating, but as long as you are a step ahead then there shouldn’t be a problem.

Protection

Every child needs protection from the sun, regardless of if they have always lived in a hot climate or not. The minimum that you should be putting on your child is Factor 30 SPF to avoid permanent skin damage caused by the sun’s rays. If you buy it during the winter months you may just find that you get it that little bit cheaper - it’s when it’s in demand that the prices creep up.


Picture Credit

Games and Activities


With the sunshine comes a whole host of games and activities that you can take outside. If you have a pool, a simple net and ball will be a great idea for games of water polo, but there are also giant-sized games activities for you to bring onto the lawn if you want to involve the whole family and keep fairly dry at the same time.

Food and Drink Ideas

Pack away the comfort food - summer is all about sticking to the light bites and barbecues. There is a great range of healthy snacks that you can bring out to help your children get their required vitamins, such as vegetable sticks and dips and frozen fruit to keep them cool. For the sleep-deprived moms, look around for the best cold brewer that you can find to give your coffee an iced twist. Just for when you know you need a kick of caffeine but can’t bring yourself to boiling anything as you feel like you’re boiling yourself in the heat. You can get the kids involved by helping them make their own kebabs to stick on the barbecue, which is great for a bonding experience and helping them pick something both tasty and healthy to enjoy.


Image Source

Clothes

As with the sunscreen, this is something that is best done a couple of seasons in advance to bag the best deals. If you know the size that your child will be in and aren’t too fussed about style and fashion changing year by year, then try and get online in the sales in the fall and see what you can find. Most of the time it’s only something casual and simple; shorts and a t-shirt for boys and a floaty dress for girls. Always make sure that they have a hat and sunglasses to hand for extra protection, as the sun can cause damage that you don’t even know is happening should they look directly into it. Even if your child’s head is full of hair, they should be wearing a hat to help limit the possibility of burning themselves - especially in a pool, where the reflections off of the water can add to the chances.

This post was written by a contributing writer.

Hello Nature: Best Bits About Camping For Kids

Pexels Courtesy of Stephen Kruso


Once upon a time, all kids would go on one form of a camping trip or another and adults weren’t always invited! Of course, we’re not about to suggest you load your kids up like pack horses and send them off into the wilderness but family camping holiday’s way more fun than you might originally think.

Every Day Is An Adventure

What’s great about camping is that the word itself actually embodies a few different things and your home away from home depends on what your family likes doing. Outdoorsy types will probably prefer to go old school, with canvas, poles and ground sheets but if this is your first rodeo, you may want to pick something a little more easy to construct like a pop-up tent. No one even said that camping needs to involve an actual tent either as many campsites have stationary caravans, self-catering chalets, mini motorhomes and even glamourous ‘glamping,' or glamorous camping yurts. Whether it’s walking, hiking, biking, sailing, playing tennis, going horse riding or even zip lining plenty of areas have a range of family friendly activities.

Bedtimes Are Later

It could be the hooting owls, the wind rustling in the trees or the orange glow of the campfire but kids are super excited about sleeping outdoors under the stars. Remember, unlike at home any electricity you might have will be limited and so the conversation will tend to flow more naturally. Despite their insistence that they want to toast one more marshmallow, and your, quite frankly, relaxed attitude to taking them back to bed even though it’s late, thanks to all that fresh air the hardiest kids will soon be getting sleepy.

Make sure that you consider carefully just how much space you’ll need, as unless you’re very lucky good weather tends not to last! So sooner or later everyone will need to sleep inside the tent. Wondering what to consider when buying gear and camping tents for your family? Look out for well-constructed tents designed for big groups or families that have separate ‘bedrooms’ as well as compartments that can be easily zippered to create different areas.

Food Is Fun Again!

When it comes to camping the menu does need to be planned out in advance, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be totally boring! Pack plenty of healthy snacks like varied nuts, trail mix, and dried fruit as well as homemade flapjacks, chocolate, cookies and chips. Don’t forget to bring plenty of fruit juice, tea, and coffee as well as bottled water especially if you’re in a national park where ranger stations and visitor lodges are spread out across the valley. It’s awesome to grill burgers, hot dogs, and pork chops out in the open but be aware that if you take a lot of perishable foods with you, you’re going to need some pretty large cooler boxes. It’s worth also thinking about the basics like pasta, rice, cereal, bread, and noodles as well as lots of canned fish, vegetables and fruit. It goes without saying that giant marshmallows are mandatory so don’t forget the graham crackers, chocolate, and cupcake bites to create ultimate smores!


This post was written by a contributing writer.

Monday, March 13, 2017

PurpleTrail Planner Review

It's been awhile since I've done a planner review! There are so many great planner companies out there, it can just be hard to find the one that's right for you.  PurpleTrail is a company that sells customizable invitations, mugs, stamps, announcements, postcards, and, yes, planners.  PurpleTrail even carries Wedding Planners for brides(and grooms)-to-be!

Options for the weekly planner include hard, soft, and binder covers, sizes 6"x 8" and 8.5"x 11", and a choice of vertical, horizontal, or vertical hourly layouts in color or grayscale. There is also the option to add your own photos to the cover designs, as well as customizing the text.  There are many planner add-ons to choose from. For the most part, if you can dream it, you can make it a planner reality with PurpleTrail.  The planner shown in the pictures is the Pomegranate and Florals 8.5"x 11" weekly planner with a hardcover and horizontal layout.  The planner also has the notes, pocket folder, and important dates add-ons. 

(MORE PICTURES OF THE PLANNER HERE.)

I LOVE the hardcover option.  For anyone who carries their planner around or can be a little rough handling their planner, this hardcover is a durable, sturdy option. It's not heavy, but it does hold its own.  It also slides along the binder easily so you won't have to worry about having trouble opening/closing/flipping through the planner. Once open, a "This Planner Belongs to" page is visible. I love these types of pages for, again, those who carry their planner with them.

The overall clean look was another feature I noticed right away.  I like that the interior of the planner has bright, vivid colors but is far from appearing busy or crowded.  I don't often decorate my monthly/weekly layouts, but for those who do, this means you can have full control over the layout decor without having to worry about clashing with illustrations printed within the planner.

The paper is thick, quality paper.  I didn't notice any bleeding through with the pens/pen-markers I use. The paper is also BRIGHT, which I prefer.  I am not a fan of paper that appears dingy or dirty. 

The monthly page separators are my favorite. Again, lots of beautiful color without being overly done.  I also like that each month has its own page dedicated to birthdays, events, and things to remember. So handy!

I really like that the add-ons seem to fit seamlessly with the planner's design.  They definitely look like they belong, instead of looking like... well an "add-on," as they do in other planner companies' planners. The notes section is a great option for those who like to combine planner and notebook. And I always love to have a pocket for loose papers that I either need to reference often or have to carry with me.

Overall, PurpleTrail's planners are high-quality, completely customizable planners. I literally did not find one flaw or anything I didn't like.  It's also one of the very few planner companies that offer such a wide variety of customizable options.  Check out their planners here!



Ultimate Skincare Advice For Super Busy Moms



Via - pixabay

As every mom will tell you, having kids has a huge impact on your appearance. It’s not just all the work that is involved or the sheer lack of sleep, either - we just don’t have the spare time available to spend looking our best.

However, if you can free up a tiny amount of time each day, it is possible to keep one particular area of your body looking great, no matter what. Great skin and a fantastic complexion can make all the difference to your appearance, and it doesn’t take much to keep yourself looking fresh, young, and healthy.

Here are some excellent tips and guidelines for looking after your skin, even when you are so busy with being a mom that you don’t think you have the time. Let’s get started with some of the basics.

Remove the guilt

When you are a mom, it’s actually a critical time for your skin. The sheer pressure of looking after kids does take its toll, and without a skincare routine, you could do lasting damage. As pointed out at https://www.sentelabs.com/product/bio-complete-serum/, fine lines and wrinkles are an inevitable result of aging, and the aging process tends to happen much faster when you have a demanding young family to care for! So, don’t feel guilty about spending a small amount of time each day looking after yourself - you won’t regret it.


Via - pixabay

Know your skin type

First of all, make sure you know what sort of skin type you have. Is it dry, or oily? Or, perhaps, is it a combination of both? Do you have sensitive skin, or do you suffer from irritations? You might be surprised at how few women know their skin type, and the results can have a significant impact on their appearance. It is essential to use the right products for your type, or your skin will never improve - and maybe even get far worse as you get older.

Keep it simple


Skin care doesn’t have to be an elaborate, long, drawn out process. Once you know your skin type and have found suitable products you can start developing your daily routine. And the truth is that as long as you can stick to it, it won’t take you longer than a few minutes out of your day.


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Keep it playful

Don’t be afraid of getting your kids involved with your skin care. If you can make the process playful by letting them help you put on a face mask, or just smear your face with moisturizer, they will love it - and you will benefit! It’s a chance to bond and spend time together as well!

Use your sleeping hours

Finally, why not let your skin do all the work for you when you go to bed at night? According to http://www.beautyworldnews.com/, a good cleanse before you go to sleep and an intensive, overnight moisturizer can work a serious amount of magic while you sleep. So, even if you don’t get your optimum eight hours, at least you will still look refreshed, even if you don’t feel it.

Do you have more tips to add? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

This post was written by a contributing writer. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Schooled Through Sport

When you are a parent, you quickly come to realize how much children will grab hold of an interest and become obsessive. It can get to the point where you wonder if they need to broaden their interests a little. Just for once, you’d love to come home and see them watching a nature documentary rather than the same soccer game you know they’ve seen thousands of time. Just once! 

In truth, there is nothing to worry about. Kids are like that; obsessive, easily intrigued. When they latch onto an interest, they want to devour it. That’s a good thing. In fact, if they are into sport, there are countless advantages. Some of those are obvious, and some less so - but in each case, there is something to encourage. If you need convincing, let’s go through them, sport by sport: 

Baseball - Bet You Didn’t Think You Were Raising A Mathlete! 


Sourced From: PixaBay

The National Pastime. The great American game. And every other cliche that you could possibly throw at one of the most popular activities (both playing and watching) in the USA. Surprisingly, there are plenty of beneficial aspects to this game.

You may not think your kid is a maths whiz until you sit watching a game with them. Suddenly, they point out that the guy at the plate has a .343 batting average. Better yet, you’re informed, it’s .385 against righthanded pitchers. 

How did they know that? Because baseball creates stats nerds. So, get your kid all the gear they need to play. For mitts, a brand such as Nokona is a great option and you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to bats, so shop around to find something that feels good in your child’s hands. Then you can encourage their math development and their fitness as a result of trying it out for themselves.

Soccer: The Truly Global Game 

Once every four years, there is a soccer World Cup, and every odd-numbered year (more math!) there’s a Copa America. Sure, often these matches are in Europe so they are played at awkward times. Say, do you know of a school subject where timezones and continents are of major importance?


Sourced From: PixaBay

A kid who has a fascination for soccer will, incredibly naturally, develop an interest and knowledge of geography. You may not realize it until they point out that most of the Brazilian national team have played for Portuguese clubs - after all, they speak Portuguese. Would your child pick up that information so easily if they hadn’t been interested in soccer? Possibly, but it definitely helps. 

Martial Arts: A Language All of Their Own


Sourced From: PixaBay

Martial arts such as judo and karate provide a way for your child to learn principles of self-control and respect. Along the way, they also encourage an interest in language. 

Think of the terminology of these disciplines. “Karate” means “empty hand”; “dojo” means “place of the way”; “sensei” means “teacher”. These are all terms that will become part of their common vocabulary - and just like that, your child knows a few words of Japanese, a language as useful as it is beautiful. 

This post was written by a contributing writer.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kiehl's Kiss for the Cure

This post is one of my favorite types of posts to write. It's a post where I not only get to share one of my new favorite beauty products, but I also get to spread the word about a great cause in doing so.

Kiehl's has partnered with Bright Pink, the only national non-profit dedicated to the prevention and early detection of ovarian and breast cancer in young women.  In addition to donating $50,000 to Bright Pink, Kiehl's has released a limited edition duo of their new Butterstick Lip Treatments; Kiss for the Cure Butterstick Lip Treatment Duo.

Kiehl's will donate 100% of the profits (up to $25,000) from Kiss for the Cure sales to Bright Pink. In addition, they will donate another $25,000 to Bright Pink in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Best of all, every set sold educates 12 women on breast cancer prevention and early detection.

The duo itself is Ah-Mazing.  Butterstick describes this product perfectly. It goes on like buttah. It's smooth, moisturizing, and the Simply Rose color is perfectly pigmented.  It's a must-have for those warm spring and summer days when a full lipstick is just too much.

It has quickly become my new daily go-to lip product. My hair doesn't stick to it, it doesn't clump or settle in lines, and it adds a little color to my lips while giving them a smooth feeling and appearance.

The Untinted Butterstick is perfect for applying over a drying lip stain or under a lip color that lacks the moisture that you want.

They both contain sunscreen (SPF 25) to protect the lips of those who spend their days outdoors or, like me, simply live in an area where the sun is incredibly strong.

The way I see it, buying this product is a win-win. You get two quality, low maintenance lip products and your purchase will benefit Bright Pink and educate women on early detection and prevention of breast and ovarian cancer. Great products, great cause.

The Kiss For the Cure Butterstick Lip Treatment Duo is available online at Kiehls.com and in stores for a limited time this month.

For more information on Kiss For the Cure click here.

For more on Bright Pink click here.








Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Healthy Food Swaps

We all can find it difficult to stay fit and healthy. When you lead a busy life and have a family to feed, sometimes convenience can take precedence over careful thought out meals. It’s just not always realistic to have the time, ingredients, or energy, to whip up a nutritious and well-rounded meal for your family. Far from making excuses, it’s about tweaking your go-to foods when you’re in a rush, to make they a healthier version. Take a look at some simple swaps below that you can try when you next reach for that take out menu…

Breakfast


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Breakfast time can be a pretty rushed event, especially if you have children who need to get ready for school! It’s convenient for time-strapped moms to reach for breakfast cereal, pour it into a bowl, add milk, and be done. Just swap out those sugar-coated cereals for a healthier alternative. Check the labels and read up on sugar content. Getting too much of it is really harmful to your children. Instead, put some whole grain cereals like porridge or shredded wholegrain wheat cereals into a bowl, just be sure there’s no added sugar. If your children are used to eating sugary cereals the new swap may seem a bit bland to them at first, but persevere and give their tastebuds a little time to adjust.

In terms of what you drink at breakfast, try to avoid sugary fruit juices. As boring as it sounds, water is a really good thing to swap juice for. It’s hydrating and regular drinking can even improve the appearance of skin. Similarly try to limit the cups of coffee you drink, learn more about gourmet coffee and see if that’s a better option for you. Another great tip is to swap sugar for fruit. If you’re children find their porridge or natural yogurt bland, don’t be tempted to add sugar. Instead, use a natural sweetener. Bananas are a particularly great sweetener and can top lots of cereals.

Lunches


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It can be difficult to know what to eat for a healthy lunch. Most of us over or under eat at this time of day. If you normally have a tuna melt panini, try making a tuna sandwich using wholemeal bread, and cut down on the mayo. Alternatively, use your usual sandwich fillings to make a salad instead. BBQ chicken, egg, bacon, etc all work in a salad too.

If you have snacks at lunch try and swap them for healthier versions. A muffin can be replaced by an oat muffin. A growing trend is to replace sweet snacks with vegetable alternatives. Try vegetable crisps, sweet potato brownies, and even zucchini in a muffin! It sounds odd, but it adds the sweetness and moisture you need, without the sugar.

Dinner


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If pizza is your meal to eat when in a rush, try some simple tweaks to make it healthier. If you don’t have time to make your own, choose vegetable toppings instead of meat or cheese ones. Also, make sure you chose a thin crust option over a deep pan. If you do have the time, make your own with either a cauliflower crust or a light supermarket version.

For dessert swap ice cream for… ice cream! Just don’t get the store bought variety. Instead, blend frozen bananas yourself for a healthy alternative.

This post was written by a contributing writer.