Monday, July 31, 2017

A Mom's Guide To Making Your Kitchen Child-Friendly

Written by a contributing writer

Every parent knows that their home can be a dangerous place for young children. Potential hazards lurk around every corner, and it can be easy for your child to hurt themselves if you’re not careful.

Pretty much every room in your house poses a potential threat, but none more so than your kitchen. There are loads of harmful objects and things in this room that make it very tricky to stay calm when your young child is in there.

Which is why I’ve created a small guide to help you make your kitchen more child-friendly! By reading this, you should be able to have your children in the kitchen without freaking out every five seconds.

(Pexels: http://bit.ly/2uQ2E0b)

Lock All The Cabinets

Kids are nosy, let’s just throw that out there right away. They’re always going around exploring things and just generally doing things they shouldn’t be doing out of curiosity. When they start exploring in the kitchen, it can lead to all sorts of dangerous situations. All it takes is for them to open a cabinet or drawer and get their hands on a dangerous utensil. What you should do is fit all the cabinets with childproof locks. You can get things that fit around the handles and prevent kids from opening them. It’ll make your kitchen a lot safer, that’s for certain.

Get A Safe High Chair


If you have a kitchen table where your children like to eat, this can pose a potential threat. It’s easy for your child to get out of their seat and wander towards something dangerous when you’re preparing their food. So, what you could do is ensure you find a safe, high chair for them to stay in. The best high chair will keep your child comfortable and make it impossible for them to get out or reach for something that can hurt them. It keeps them safe while you’re preparing food so you don’t have to worry about them as much.

Move Dangerous Objects Up High

It’s a good idea to keep anything dangerous as far away from your children as possible. I’m talking about things that you don’t put in the cabinets so they can’t be locked away. A set of knives for example, or your microwave/toaster. Keep them in places that your children can’t get to or reach with ease. The best way to do this is to move them to higher ground and put them right at the back of the kitchen counter. This makes it almost impossible for your children to reach them and you’ll keep your children safe and free from harm.


(Pexels: http://bit.ly/2tWk9ib)

Turn Things Off At The Mains

If you have anything that’s plugged into a socket or powered by electricity, you need to turn it off at the mains. This prevents your children from accidentally turning something on, such as your oven. If your controls are located within their reach, it’s so easy for them to crawl over and turn a few dials which heat up your oven. Obviously, this is very dangerous and needs to be prevented. So, if you keep it turned off at the mains, they won’t be able to accidentally do this.

Hopefully, you can use this guide to make your kitchen a safer place for young children. As such, you can stress less whenever you’re in there.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Cruelty-Free Drugstore Makeup & Why I'm Making the Effort

Yes! I finally started making the effort to find and use affordable cruelty-free makeup. Now, before we get too far into this, does this mean I will never, ever again buy products that are not cruelty-free? No.  At least not right now.  I may someday get to that point.  But for now, I'm taking my dip into being a more conscious beauty consumer slowly.  Because, to be honest, it's a little overwhelming at first! At least it was for me.  I don't really know anyone personally who shops ONLY cruelty-free products.  So I had to do a ton of research to figure out what brands were cruelty-free and which weren't.





How My Purchases Have Changed

So what exactly AM I doing if I'm not completely cutting out all non-cruelty-free brands? I'm making more of an effort.  I'm making more of an effort to seek out cruelty-free products, educate myself on brand animal testing policies, and to choose to purchase comparable cruelty-free products over their non-cruelty-free counterparts.

Why Now?

So one of the most frequent questions I've received since starting this is "Why now?" Basically, what pushed me to finally make the cruelty-free effort? And, as silly as it may sound, it was a Facebook video. You may have seen it.  It wasn't anything particularly gruesome or graphic (because I don't watch those) but it showed Beagles who had been rescued from animal testing...being taught to walk. Full grown dogs looking very scared and not knowing how to walk out of their carriers. For some reason, it hit home.  I guess I never realized companies test on dogs. I knew they tested on animals of the rodent family (not that that is ok either), but for some reason seeing dogs being victims of animal testing...It just hit home.

And if I'm really honest, I've always had the two thoughts on animal testing for cosmetics. 1. It's just dumb and lazy. Testing on animals to get the perfect lipstick formula? Let's get over ourselves. Plus science and technology have given us so many new and more effective ways to test product safety. Stop simply doing it the way "it's always been done" because you are either too cheap or too lazy to train and/or hire employees who are educated in these cruelty-free testing techniques. And 2. What in the world are you putting in your products that make them so unsafe to put on a person without first testing on an animal? Do I want those ingredients on my skin at all?!

How to Find Cruelty-Free Brands

And finally HOW I found cruelty-free brands. The two main sources I used were Cruelty-Free Kitty and an app called Cruelty Cutter.  Cruelty-Free Kitty is pretty good about keeping their information up-to-date. They also delve in a little deeper to  HOW brands are or are not cruelty-free. For example, many brands do not test on animals during the production of their products.  But, because they sell in China (where animal testing is required by law), their finished products are tested on animals before being sold in China. My message to those brands is please pull out of China!  Obviously, many brands know animal testing is, at the very least, bad PR. And that China is a HUGE market.  But there are many brands that refuse to sell in China and do well.  And if enough large brands refuse to sell in China because of their outdated animal testing law, then it may send a message to the country that it's time to get with the times and use the many other ways we now have to test product safety.

While Cruelty-Free Kitty was great for doing research while at home, Cruelty Cutter was my go-to while I was shopping in-store and needed to quickly know right then and there if a product was cruelty-free or not.  With this app, you are able to scan product barcodes to find out their animal testing status.

Cruelty-Free Drugstore Makeup I Love

It has taken months of testing, searching, and purchasing products for me to come up with this list.  I'm sure that, with time, it will only grow.  I was happy to find brands that I already used like Milani and Physician's Formula were cruelty-free.  And that affordable brands like Wet 'N' Wild, ELF, and NYX are also on that list. My thought was "Whew! So maybe this won't be as difficult as I originally thought." For some reason, I always had this thought in my head that cruelty-free brands were less accessible and more expensive. I'm not sure why and I'm not sure if I was alone in that thinking! But, it turns out, there are several affordable, easy-to-find, cruelty-free drugstore brands.  I've listed some of my favorite cruelty-free makeup finds below. Take a look and try them out for yourself!

Primer
So far I've found two primers that I like. The NYX Hydra Touch Primer gives my skin a very dewy look (and may be more of a "winter primer" for my combination/oily skin) but is one I would recommend for drier skin. It feels light going on and never had a heavy, "I'm clogging my pores," feeling. My makeup sat on top of it nicely as well.

The NYX Tea Tree Balance Skin Elixir was better suited for my skin in this summertime humidity. Again, it felt light and smoothed out my makeup look.


Concealer
I'm not going to lie. I was surprised at how amazing many of Wet 'N' Wild's products are. Like many other more affordable drugstore brands, I tried Wet 'N' Wild in high school, wasn't super into really any of their products except the eyeshadow, and never really looked back. I've tried Wet 'N' Wild a few times in between and liked some of their products. But I never really expected for it to become one of my go-to brands. After trying the products listed in this post, it is.  The Wet 'N' Wild MegaGlo line is awesome. And the MegaGlo Correction Concealer is now my everyday concealer. It's smooth with a pretty good amount of coverage, blends out easily, and doesn't crack, break apart throughout the day, or settle in my pores/fine lines.

Physicians Formula's Super CC Color-Correction + Care CC Concealer SPF 30 has been a go-to of mine for awhile. It's light, blends out really well, and looks great even without foundation. The only problem is this concealer can be hard to find and isn't really carried in stores near me anymore.

Blush/Cheek
Wet 'N' Wild is dominating the space on my cheeks right now! I love both the MegaGlo Blush stick and the MegaGlo Cheek & Lip Tint, although I do not recommend using them on your lips. But on the cheeks - yes! They go on smooth and blend into the skin for a natural flush. They also aren't oily or greasy. And they do not make me break out.







Face/Foundation
Let's talk about ELF for a minute. ELF is one of those brands that's extremely hit or miss for me. Either I love their product or I hate it - there is very little in-between.  But, because they are so inexpensive, I am willing to take a chance on them. Afterall, their Oil Free Flawless Finish Foundation is my new go-to and it's only $6. I love the packaging (it has a pump!) and the finish really is pretty close to flawless. It also doesn't break me out in the slightest.

The Physician's Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Cream SPF 30 and Super CC+ Color-Correction + Care Cream SPF 30 are two products I had in my collection that I loved even before looking into cruelty-free options. I usually prefer the CC cream over the BB cream. It doesn't feel heavier but has better coverage. Both are must-haves for those who don't want to wear a full foundation but also don't want to go completely bare.

Lips
You all know Perfectly Posh was going to show up somewhere on this list. And it is with their MelonDrama Caffeinated Lip Balm. I love their lip balms. They are moisturizing, light, and taste yummy.

I'm having a little bit of a hard time finding cruelty-free tinted lip balms that I love. ELF's Beautifully Bare Satin Lipstick is the closest I've come to finding one. Now, these aren't tinted lip balms. They are much more pigmented and much more like a moisturizing lipstick. But I still like them for a night out or special event. They are a little too much for me for my everyday look.

Mascara & Eyeliner
Whew! Finding a cruelty-free mascara that I actually loved...was hard! So many of them either do a whole-lotta-nothing or flake and smudge like crazy. WHY.

But I did find two from, yes, Wet 'N' Wild that I absolutely love. Now while I wouldn't recommend Wet 'N' Wild's more affordable, solid colored mascaras (the ones that are like $2-$3), I absolutely recommend the Max Volume Plus Waterproof Mascara and the Max Fanatic Mascara. Both give pretty dramatic results, have a drier formula ( = less mess), and mascara wands the minimize clumping.

One other mascara I've found that is more of my "everyday mascara," is the
Hard Candy Ginormous Lash Volumizing Mascara
. Hard Candy is a brand I literally have not tried since the 90's (when they had the oh-so-trendy powder blue nail polish that came with a cute plastic ring! Ah, the 90's.)  Not because I never wanted to.  But, in all honesty, because I didn't know they were still around. The only place that carries Hard Candy makeup by me is Walmart. And the section is so small it maybe has 10 products.  But this mascara has an easy to apply, mess-free formula, great wand, and doesn't flake all over my face.

Now, I've said for years that Milani's Eyeliners are pretty close to MAC's Khol liners (smooth, no hassle application without melting all over my face). But I recently found out that Milani is cruelty-free. So, I picked up the Stay Put Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil and have been using it since.

Eyeshadow
When I decided to try to find cruelty-free makeup items to use regularly, I really didn't change my go-to eyeshadow.  Because my go-to eyeshadow is Kat Von D's Metal palette, which is cruelty-free. So as far as eyeshadow goes, that is the palette I use the most. BUT I did want to give you a cruelty-free drugstore option that I know is a good one. And that is Milani's Bella Eyes® Gel Powder Eyeshadow. They're not chalky, have great pigment, and stay put.  Also pictured is a Wet 'N' Wild Eyeshadow Brush. You can sometimes find these at the Dollar Tree (yes, for $1) and they are soooo worth the price. Are they the BEST brushes I've owned? No. But they're also not of poor quality either.



It's Gonna Be a 'No' for Me Dawg

So in my testing, I came across some products that just did not work for me. They may work for others and there are even a few on this list that beauty gurus swear by. But I was just not into these.

ELF BB Cream with SPF 20
I wanted to like this so bad. I actually did like how this looked on my skin. But it felt heavy and left me with a breakout.

ELF 3-in-1 Mascara
Messy formula. No payoff. Didn't look like I had any mascara on.

ELF Volume Plumping Mascara
Again, messy formula. No volume.

Wet 'N' Wild Photo Focus Foundation
Doesn't break me out but settles into my pores (an issue I usually don't have). It may be better when used with a primer. I am holding on to it to try again since so many love this foundation but I prefer the ELF Flawless Finish much more to this foundation.

Do you have any cruelty-free makeup brands/products you recommend?



Making The Home More Comfortable For The Family

Written by a contributing writer



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For the modern family, the home space is something to be appreciated and enjoyed. If you get to the point with your family where it seems as though not everyone is quite enjoying the space, you might want to think about making some changes. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to that end and most of them are not all that disruptive. However, at other times you will need to make bigger changes and the benefit there is that bigger changes almost always lead to bigger results. Let’s have a look at some key checks you can carry out if you want to make your family more comfortable at home.


Is It The Right Home?

First of all, you do want to be certain that you are actually set up in the right home. This might sound elementary, but it is amazing how often people completely overlook this essential step. If you do not feel comfortable as a unit, but there is nothing obviously wrong, it could be that you just haven’t found your true home yet. Therefore, you should first look into trying to find a home where everyone can feel happy. When you do this, you might find that moving actually causes some disruption to the family unit, if only temporarily. Minimize this by making the move itself as hassle-free as possible. Get help from some local movers, move on a weekend when you have lots of time free, and make the most of it. This might be the best thing you've ever done for your family’s comfort.


Is The Space Ample?

For everyone to be plenty comfortable, you will want to make sure that you have plenty of space for everyone to spread out as much as they need to. Having a good balance of personal space in a communal area is what everyone needs, no matter their age, so make sure you are providing for that essential need as best as you can. If you think you need more space, you could look into moving things around in the main communal areas. It can be surprising what a difference shifting furniture around can really make. Just make sure that you do not move the furniture in a way that has everyone feeling disconnected from one another, as this is bound to be much worse.


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Are You Warm?

If there is anything which subtly works to improve or worsen a feeling of comfort, it is the temperature being off. You want to be able to be fairly cool in summer and warm in winter and if you can achieve that then your family will be much happier as a result. Of course, this could be a simple case of knowing how to regulate the temperature in the home. But you may feel it is necessary to splash out on a new boiler or temperature regulator. Whatever it takes to keep your family happy and comfortable in the home, it is almost certainly worth it.

Preparing the Family Car for a Long Journey

Written by a contributing writer



Flickr

For many families with young children, taking a road trip is often deemed the best type of holiday. After all, it removes the thought of scary flights while also making it easier for the parents to keep things under control.

There are dozens of great road trip ideas for families to enjoy. However, if you are going to take this type of holiday, it’s imperative that the car is in great condition. After all, the vehicle plays an integral role in this vacation! Here are the things you need to consider before you jump behind the wheel and embark on a long road trip with the family.


Double-checking the ride


Good car safety is imperative for all drivers but especially parents of young children. You can never afford to forget its importance. Nevertheless, it feels even more pertinent when dealing with long road trips. Before making any long journey, you should be sure to check the car’s fluid levels. Moreover, you could benefit from having specialist tires, especially if you have a 4x4.Many families have 4x4 cars and they are undoubtedly better than a compact car when taking a long road trip with multiple people. Ensuring you have the right tires and wheels, such as the ones offered by Mickey Thompson, is vital. Road safety should be a priority at all times. The long journey is simply a great reminder. Be sure that your car is ready for the journey and you should be just fine.


Wikimedia

The journey

While keeping the car safe is important at all times, there are some items that feel increasingly important when you take a long road trip. After all, the last thing you want is to encounter a problem while hundreds of miles from home. Having a kit of essentials on board is imperative, especially on these long trips. You will also be traveling unfamiliar routes, so investing in a satellite navigation system could make life a lot easier too. Installing a Bluetooth device can allow you to use the phone without encountering any distractions. If you are renting a car instead, you may also want to opt for a model that boasts cruise control. Believe us, it could make a huge difference during those hours on the freeway.


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Keeping the kids entertained

Finally, you’ve got to appreciate that long car journeys can be difficult for kids. If you aren’t careful, they could get bored very quickly. Believe us, the last thing you need is to hear “are we there yet?” every few minutes. In today’s modern world, there are plenty of gadgets to keep the kids entertained. The portable DVD player was once the ultimate godsend and, considering how cheap you can get them these days, they could still be vital for your road trip. These days, however, more kids are using smartphones, tablets, and portable game consoles like the PlayStation Vita or the Nintendo DS to keep themselves entertained during long road trips. Keeping the kids entertained through the journey will make it more comfortable for them, and for you. And if the drive is more relaxing, the entire holiday should feel better too.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kid-Friendly Recipe: Egg in a Basket

Contributing post from Education.com


Looking for an extra-easy recipe to help get your youngster comfortable in the kitchen? The Egg in a Basket, a traditional British breakfast component, is a simple snack that kids and parents can cook together!


What You Need:

  • Egg
  • Slice of bread
  • Skillet
  • Round cookie cutter or drinking glass
  • Spatula
  • Bowl
  • Butter knife
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Optional: salt, pepper

What You Do:
Tell your child that a fried egg inside a hole in toast is known as “Egg in a Basket” or "Egg in a Nest" in England. It’s also sometimes called “Toad in a Hole,” although a complete “Toad in a Hole” dish usually includes sausages as well. When this project is finished, ask your child what he/she would name it!
Let your child use the round cookie cutter or open end of a drinking glass to cut a hole in the middle of the bread. Help him/her carefully remove the inner piece. When it's extracted, one of you can eat it!
Help your child crack the egg into the bowl without breaking the yolk.

Your turn: heat up the skillet over medium heat. Let your child drop a tablespoon of butter into the pan. Pour the oil into the heated pan.

The rest of the butter can be spread on both sides of the bread. Gently place the bread in the pan.
Help your child carefully pour the egg into the hole in the bread. You and your child can decide if you want to break the yolka nd if you want to sprinkle salt and pepper on the egg.
Give the egg a moment to set, then carefully flip the egg and bread over with a spatula and fry the other side for just a minute.
Serve on a plate. What does your child think it looks like? A toad peeking out of a hole, an egg in a nest or basket, or something else entirely? Either way, it’s sure to taste delicious—enjoy!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Home Things Worth Shelling Out For As A Parent

Written by a contributing writer




Picture Credit

When you’re a parent, it’s the little things that mean a lot since those little things are often the things that bring everyday comforts into your life. Whether it’s something to lift your mood, help you relax, or just help you to have a bit of adult time when your little ones have gone to bed, you shouldn’t feel bad about treating yourself at any point - it can do a lot to help keep your mental health on a good streak as well as resetting you for the day ahead. So what’s actually worth spending your money on as a parent in order to get to where you need to be?

Subscription Box Membership

These have become all the rage over the past several years and there are subscription boxes available for almost anything that you can think of. Whether it’s beauty products, stationery, tea or flowers, there are boxes available to order each month which can definitely lift your mood. If you keep the subscription rolling, it’ll just be a nice surprise through the door every four weeks. For the amount that you get, they are usually quite cheap; although it’s a treat for you, it’s also a promotion for the companies that invest in them to get their products out to the masses, so it’s win-win for both you and them.


A Good Bed To Sleep On

There is a lot to be said for a good bed to catch a great night’s sleep on. However, it’s not so much the frame of the bed that you need to be concerned about - but more so the mattress. If you can’t remember the last time that you replaced your mattress, then it’s probably worth changing it; the recommended lifespan of one is just eight years in order to keep it firm enough to benefit your posture. There are different types of mattress for you to choose from, from memory foam to spring to air bed to standard foam; the choice goes on for quite a while, so it’s imperative that you are making an informed decision on what’s going to be right for you - as it may affect your budget quite dramatically. After all, who can put a price on a good night’s sleep?


Little Home Perks

It’s the little things around the home that often bring the most joy when the children aren’t there. From getting your favorite quotes printed, framed, and hung up on the walls, to bringing around a certain vibrancy within rooms from the flowers that are sprouting from plants. Not only is it bringing your house together, but these are the small things which genuinely do mean a lot in terms of your happiness. In fact, plants can do a great deal to ensure that your mental health is in tip top form, which is especially important when you are a parent. Cushions and throws not only serve for a purpose of comfort, but they can also help in other ways; they can double up as seats and a rug for a teddy-bear’s picnic and brilliant pieces of apparatus for a fort or den to make on a rainy day.


A Supply Of Bombs - For The Bath!

If you have a bath, you’ll know just how relaxing one can be when you’ve finished a hard day. There’s nothing better than sinking into one to remove your aches and pains, but even better is having the right things there to ensure that you are doing everything that you can to give yourself the best experiencebest experience within the timeframe that you’ve got - often quite limited when you’re a parent. Certain essential oils can be vital to helping your body repair itself and they can often be found within most reputable bath bombs and melts that are available to purchase both online and in store.


A Wipeable Scribble Pad


Whether this is through painting one of your walls with chalk paint for your little ones to express their creative side or having a whiteboard available for you to jot down your shopping on, these can be such a great tool to have within the home. They’re brilliant for being able to write down things like numbers, the alphabet, or anything else that you are learning.  They are also great for quick educational reviews. Not only that, but drawing together and being able to use it as an outlet for emotions can be invaluable, especially for those who can’t properly voice what’s on their mind yet. Although it seems like just a bit of fun to the majority of people, these are platforms for us all to be able to express ourselves and note down what we need to are invaluable at certain times.


Television Subscription

Don’t have it in your head that this is for lazy parents; it can be a life saver at certain times, even if you’re not much of a television-watcher. Subscriptions to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime can offer you more movies, television shows, and box sets than you will have ever seen before. And while it’s a good excuse to sit down and spend the day in silence with your eyes glued to the screen, there are also benefits in the documentaries that are available to view, or the new release films that you may watch inorder to be able to join in the conversation with your friends. But, more important, you will have at your fingertips a bargaining tool like no other: the shows that you know your kids love and adore. Not only are these great for using as treats, but when your child is sick and nothing else can comfort them, having all of these shows available to you without having to do much more than click a button can seem like an act from the gods. You can usually get a free trial if you haven’t signed up before and if it’s not for you then the subscription service can be easily canceled should you wish to quit.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fitting In Fitness: How Do Your Schedule Your Workouts?

Written by a contributing writer



If you ask someone why they don’t go to the gym, you’ll get a range of answers. Some will say it’s because they don’t like the prices; others will shrug off the idea they should be exercising at all. Overwhelmingly, however, you will find the following line trotted out as a reason for why they don’t go: “I just don’t have the time!”

In the modern, busy, relentless world, that’s probably not an excuse - it’s a reality. This is especially true if you’re a mom, constantly running from one playdate to the next while trying to juggle your work life and everything else that needs to happen for life to function as normal. Can you find time in the middle of all that just to work out? Probably not.

Yet somehow, people do manage it, eschewing at home fitness ideas in preference for the ritualistic trip to the gym. If you’re struggling to balance the books in terms of time, it might help you to learn just how they manage it…


They… Pick The Right Gym


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What are your kids going to be doing while you’re at the gym? Well, if you pick the right establishment, then they could be having the time of their lives. It’s becoming more standard now for gyms to have on-site child care facilities, meaning you can leave your kids to their fun while you go and work up a sweat. Older children might even be tempted to come with you into your workout, especially if you’re going to be swimming. There doesn’t have to be a straight choice between ensuring your kids are taken care of and getting your workout in - you just need the right place, that lets you do both!


They… Make Use Of The Whole Clock



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We know that a day is technically 24 hours, but we tend to be consumed with other things for much of it. Eight hours for work, one hour for travel, seven hours for sleep (if it’s a good night…) - so where can you fit the gym into that?

Many people have found the answer by using the likes of 24hrlocator.com to find a gym that’s open at all times. That way, if you have a restless night, wake up early, or just like the idea of going for your workout when the gym will be quieter, you have got the option for unusual opening hours. Make the most of the entire clock to fit everything you need to do in - it’s almost too simple when you think about it, isn’t it?

They… Keep Workouts Short



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Science is proving that there’s no need to go and slog it out for hours on end during your workout. Short, sharp, tough exercises done for a shorter amount of time are just as beneficial to health and fitness as longer options, as confirmed by washingtonpost.com.

By cutting down the amount of time you actually spend exercising, you’ll find a lot more flex in your day planner. To make sure you’re doing everything you should be in your shortened routine, it’s worth a session with a gym instructor for a few pointers. With those established, you can stick to short bursts of activity that nevertheless keep you fit - and allow you to keep the rest of your life running as well.

*This post is not meant to give medical advice.  Please consult a health/medical professional before changing your fitness routine.

10 Things You Need For Naturally Beautiful Skin

Written by a contributing writer


Sometimes, you only need to look at a person’s skin to be able to tell how they’re feeling. Our skin says a lot about us and there isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t wish for glowing, beautiful skin every day. When you look in the mirror and see your skin in a great condition, it’s a massive confidence booster. Having clear and smooth skin also makes it easier to apply makeup. There are lots of things that can affect the way your skin looks. Here are ten things you need to keep in mind when you’re rooting for clear skin.


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Hydration

We’re told to stay hydrated throughout the day over and over again, but it’s often a simple suggestion that many of us ignore. Being thirsty is one of the first signs of dehydration, so if you get to that point at any time during the day, you may have already done your skin damage. Your skin is one of the first places in your body to lose moisture during dehydration, so if you’re finding that your skin is particularly dry, you may need to be drinking more. Once you’ve replaced the moisture over time, you’ll find that your skin stays smoother for longer.


Your Diet

It’s true when they say, you are what you eat. If your skin looks dull and patchy, you may need to alter your diet. If you’re eating processed meals every day, it’s time to pick up the recipe book and have a go at making home cooked meals with organic ingredients. You can learn about food safety and preparation with a few online searches if you aren’t used to cooking for yourself. It’s also important to have a lot of foods that are rich in antioxidants, like berries, grapes, and pomegranates.


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Smoothies

One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the fruits and vegetables you need to maintain healthy skin is to eat the rainbow. Having a variety of different colored fruit and vegetables in your diet means you can be sure you’re getting a good range of vitamins. However, who has the time to sit down and eat a plate full of rainbow colored food every day? So, the easiest way to make it convenient for yourself is to throw it all in a smoothie. You can do it before you go to work every day and sit at your desk sipping your smoothie as you work. You’ll also find it will make you more alert and give you a good energy boost to get through the day.

Avoid Too Much Sun

We all need some time in the sun every day to ensure we’ve got a healthy dose of vitamin D in our bodies. But, too much sun and you may risk damaging your skin. The sun can make skin prematurely age with sun spots and wrinkles. If you are spending time in the sun, make sure you use a high-level sunscreen and nourishing lotion in the evening to protect your skin and lock in the moisture.

Beware of Chemicals

Do you know what chemicals are present in the products you use on your skin? Whether it’s makeup, fake tan, shower gel, or even cleaning products for domestic use, you’re constantly placing products on your skin throughout the day. Skin is quick to absorb anything that touches it, so it’s important you know the ingredients of the products you’re using. If you find that you’re not happy with what your products contain, consider switching to natural products instead. You can buy natural makeup and you can even make homemade surface cleaners with essential oils and white vinegar.


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Plants

We’re so used to indoor pollution that we barely notice it anymore. There may be bleach in your bathroom, cleaning products on your floor, emissions from your machines or fireplaces. There’s often more pollution inside than there is outside. So, to counteract all of that, it’s a good idea to have some indoor plants. Plants encourage oxygen circulation so your home plants could act as a natural air filter.

Vitamin C

You’ve probably already heard that collagen can make the skin look naturally youthful and supple. However, many people don’t know that long-time exposure to vitamin C can help the body to produce eight times the normal amount of natural collagen. So, stock up on oranges, lemons, and limes. A good dose of vitamin C will also boost your immune system which saves your body from getting ill and your skin from losing its color.


Flickr

Sugar

Want to be able to look in the mirror and see a fresh, glowing face? It’s time to cut out the sugar or at least lower your sugar intake at least a little. Sugar will rob your skin of everything it needs to stay as youthful as possible for as long as possible. This includes the body’s natural collagen and elastin. Studies have also found that the less sugar in a woman’s diet, the less likely she is to produce facial wrinkles earlier in life.

Stress Relief

We carry stress throughout our entire bodies, including our skin. When you’re going through a particularly stressful time, it may be written all over your skin. To ensure your stress doesn’t lead to acne or dry skin patches, it’s important you find ways of releasing it. For you, this may be exercise, painting, time off work, reading, or many other pastimes that can lead to stress relief. Doing something you enjoy will help you to clear your mind and focus on other things.

Sleep

During your sleep cycles, your skin has a chance to repair itself and rejuvenate. If you aren’t giving your body the opportunity to sleep for long enough, you may be robbing your skin of the chance to naturally heal itself. If you’re finding it difficult to sleep, you may be riddled with discoloration and black circles that get you down. Ask around for some good tips to encourage sleep, so you don’t miss out on what your body needs.

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

Get Out To Enrich Your Life

Written by a contributing writer


Image Source


Although it can be one of the most exciting times in your life, becoming a new parent is also quite isolating. The friends that you had pre-baby often aren’t on the same wavelength as you, especially when it comes to going out and prioritizing your day. Those who have chosen to stay at home with their child/children may be missing the general chatter of work-life and it can be hard to reach out to somebody to indicate that you just want a familiar voice to listen to. However, there are ways to overcome this feeling - and some may just help you to make some new friends on the journey.


Get Out To … Exercise

Exercising isn’t usually something that’s at the forefront of most new parents’ minds, especially as they’re just trying to establish some form of routine with their baby. However, when the time comes that you want to venture outside a little more, you need to look at the options that are available to you. There are both mothers and fathers who run with a jogging stroller, and it may be easier than you think to partner up with somebody who’s willing once you’ve seen a couple of them. You can learn more about jogging strollers and what you will need to do in order to run with one effectively, but they’re pretty simple to get the hang of. Holding on to the determination to regularly exercise can be hard when so much is going on. But the more exercise that you’re doing with your child, the better example you’re setting for them - and the more endorphins you are releasing to yourself.

Photo Link

Get Out To … Baby Groups

If you’re not already part of a baby group, have a look around online for the nearest one that’s operating near you. The best place to ask is Facebook, as there will always be people willing to give you recommendations should you put out a status. The more that you go and get out to places like this, the more interaction time it gives your child with other children. This is so important for their development and the skills that they will be picking up on before they go off to school. Not only that, but it gives you a much-needed break to catch up with other moms and talk to an adult - if only for an hour!


Get Out To … Meet-Ups

The great thing about the internet is that it has provided a great community for parents to come together. Whether it’s on a dedicated forum such as NetMums, or even through a group on Facebook or Twitter, there will always be somebody out there who’s going through the same as you. Even logging on at a horrific time of the morning during night feed, you will almost always be able to speak to somebody who can offer words of advice or wisdom. Occasionally, these groups will plan meetups for all of the parents who are part of them to meet in person. If it’s happening near to you, tell a friend or family member where and when you’re going and set off to meet your friends.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Reduce Pregnancy Tiredness With These Sleep Happy Tips

Written by a contributing writer


Pregnancy is really hard work! You’re growing a life inside you and that can be exhausting. But if your pregnancy is making it difficult to sleep, then you’re going to find you’re too tired to do much at all. There are plenty of reasons why your little one could be keeping you up at night. Here are a few tips to help you get the sleep you need while pregnant:

Reflux

Indigestion and reflux are quite common in pregnancy. There are some antacids that are safe to take, but many moms-to-be don’t like the idea of taking any kind of medication while they are pregnant. There are a few tricks you can try to reduce the instances of indigestion -

Get to know what turns your tummy and avoid it. Generally speaking, plain, white foods are pretty safe and spices and cured meats might give you a little heartburn.

Eat a little earlier in the evening, so you’ve taken care of digesting before lying down.

Try a ginger biscuit or ginger gum if you start to feel a little nauseous.


Kicking

After twenty weeks, your little one will be squirming about more and more. That can really hurt at times! If your baby seems to be a night owl, why not (if you can) try to sleep more in the day? There will be plenty of things that will soothe your baby, like music, or hearing your voice. Try these before bed so you can get to sleep before they start kicking.



Picture source



Sleep Haven

Creating the perfect sleep haven can help you drift off to sleep a little easier. Choose a comfortable mattress that isn’t too soft. Add a support pillow to prop between your legs. You could also use a bed bollard pillow to stop you rolling onto your back. Pick high-quality cal king sheet sets that feel good on the skin. Invest in a set of blackout blinds so you can sleep in the day without being disturbed. Make sure you have fresh air in your bedroom every day to help you sleep better at night.


Picture source


Exercise

As you get bigger, you’ll find moving about will get trickier and trickier. And exercise will soon be impossible as you struggle to carry the extra weight of the baby. However, if you can keep up those walks around the block and your prenatal exercise classes, your body will thank you for it. Plus, exercise is one of the main ingredients for a good night of sleep. Swimming can be ideal if you’re finding ankles and hips are struggling a bit now.

Hot, hot, hot

When you’re pregnant, you can suddenly find yourself sweating and overheating for no reason at all. When this happens at night, all you want to do is throw off the covers and get the windows open! Start the night by cooling the room before you go to bed. A few degrees lower than the rest of the house offers you the night-long comfort you need. You can always snuggle down into your sheets for a little warmth. Sleep well.

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

What To Look For In Your Next Family Holiday

Written by a contributing writer


When they’re good, family vacations can be the highlight of your whole year. But after investing so much time and money into the week or fortnight away, the pressure to get it right is telling. With this in mind, taking the necessary precautions is essential. Frankly, getting your priorities in order should be top of the agenda.

Organizing a family vacation does vary from other trips, which is why you must focus on the most important factors. Keep the following items as high priorities and the adventure should be everything you hoped for and more.


Credit:


#1. Great Family Activities

First and foremost, the holiday is a time to see and experience new things. However, as a family trip, you should also look for ideas that will bring you closer together and help you appreciate what truly matters in life.

Your family holiday is a great chance to separate yourself from the daily reliance on technology for entertainment. Amish Country attractions are the perfect example of gaining enjoyment in a more natural manner. Some of the lessons learned here can be utilized to improve your quality of life back home too.

Meanwhile, the natural beauty of the world will often take your breath away more than any theme park ever could. Not that a day trip to one of those won’t work wonders too. Find the right balance for the perfect mix of family fun and it will become the trip of a lifetime.


#2. Family Comfort

When you travel in an adult only group, it’s possible to accept a few problems. With kids involved, though, it’s vital that you enjoy a sense of comfort. While your accommodation doesn’t need to boast five-star luxury, it should at least be safe and clean.

It’s not all about the accommodation, though. Think about the travel aspects too. Whether it’s arranging a road trip or finding ways to make long-haul flights more bearable doesn’t matter. A comfortable journey doesn’t only benefit the kids, it benefits the adults too. After all, nothing can drain your enthusiasm like knowing you have a nightmare return journey ahead.


Credit:

On another note, it’s important not to make assumptions about the local amenities. Packing the necessary clothing, lotions, and other products are vital. Otherwise, you could end up wasting hours trying to hunt them down.



#3. Good Weather


Pleasant climate conditions are something we look for on most holidays. However, the importance of this factor is amplified tenfold on a family trip. Firstly, kids are going to struggle in the wind and rain more than any adult. Secondly, keeping youngsters entertained in poor conditions will be very difficult too.

If a deal seems too good to be true, it may be worth checking the climate at that time of year. Should there be an issue here, you’ll be saving yourself time, money, and hassle. And if the weather is going to be good, then it provides reassurance.

Of course, the bulk of your holiday enjoyment is dictated by how your interactions. Still, establishing those positive foundations can only boost your chances of enjoying the trip of a lifetime. Frankly, that's the least you deserve.
 

The Best Gifts for Kids That Love Tech

Written by a contributing writer


You will find it difficult to locate a child that does not love tech, no matter whether they realize it or not. So many toys on the market today are centered around technology. There are many benefits associated with this as well, as your child will develop key skills that will assist them later in life. So, if you are looking for a tech-based gift for your kid’s next birthday, what are your options? We have put together some of the best:


Image Source

Kids Drone – There really is only one place to begin the list, and this is with a kids drone, one of the most popular toys on the market at present. A lot of people assume that drones are merely a nuisance, especially as there have been articles about interference with planes and such. But you can rest assured that this is the last thing that is going to happen with a child’s done! In fact, there are many benefits associated with flying a drone. So this is the type of toy that can really aid your child’s development. Flying a drone is a great way to stimulate mental functions and problem-solving skills, as well as sparking an interest in education and how things work, boosting morale, improving your child’s ability to operate in a team, and building competitiveness and discipline.


Digital Microscope – A digital microscope is another fun, tech-based gift for kids that also has an education backdrop. It is amazing what you can see with a microscope, and this will make your children fascinated. They will love collecting various samples to examine, and you will probably have a laugh at some of the objects they choose to look at. There are a number of different handheld digital microscopes that are available today, and you can plug them into a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. Most give you the option of capturing photographs and videos as well.


Selfie Stick Microphone – If your little one sees herself as the next Ariana Grande, this is a gift they are guaranteed to love. With a selfie stick microphone, your child is able to sing like a star while creating his or her own music video. They can then edit the video afterward. This is something that is guaranteed to provide your little one with endless hours of entertainment.


Circuit Maze Board Game – You can get circuit maze board games that teach your children all about circuits and how electricity works. They have a whole host of different challenges for kids to enjoy and, of course, it’s something that will benefit them educationally too, as they will need to learn how to solve each puzzle by moving different pieces around. This can boost their concentration skills, as well as their problem-solving skills, and it is a nice tech alternative that does not involve screen time.


Personal Robot – Let’s face it, what kid wouldn’t love to own their very own robot that responds to their own instructions? There are many different robots on the market today, but be warned; most of them take a long time to build!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#zulilyPictureDay Contest & First Day of School Photo Tips and Tricks

zulily.com
It's a little early to be talking about "Back-To-School" time.  Well, it may be early for some.  Others may be itching for that time to roll around.  However, here is something that will make going back to school a bit more exciting!

Zulily has launched a contest called #zulilyPictureDay.  From now until July 16, 2017, on zulily.com and in the zulily app, everyone is invited to submit a unique story (100 words or less) about their favorite school and let zulily know why they should outfit their school with back-to-school photos. On August 11th, eight finalists will be featured in an interactive Facebook Live series that highlights each of the finalists' unique school stories. Viewers will have a chance to vote and help choose the winning school.

So, what's the prize if you win? A $500 shopping credit on zulily.com! And your school will receive a zulily Studio team visit. The Studio team (including professional photographers) will show everyone what they do each day and they will have a few surprises for students and teachers.

Just for entering the #zulilyPictureDay contest, each person who submits a nomination will receive $10 off on a $75 for a limited time. 

Now for the photo tips we could all use.  These tips come from Jana Krinsky, Head Editorial Studio Manager of zulily.  She says:
 
For kids Kindergarten to 4th Grade

"Give your memories some context. Try posing them in a familiar setting with elements that define that time in your child's life. Use the photo as a way to tell a story to their future selves.

Squish the Bug! Sometimes it's hard for kids to understand why standing in one place for a photo is important. In our studio, we draw a little bug on a piece of masking tape and place that tape precisely where we want the child to stand. When the time comes, we don't demand the kid stands still, we just play a game! 'Can you jump on the bug?' 'Can you squish him?' Every time the model starts to wander off we say 'jump back to the bug,' 'Quick! Squish him before he gets away!'

Simon Says. Games are the best way to keep your kids involved and present during your photoshoot. Rather than ordering them to stand up straight and smile, play a game of Simon Says! Mix in fun commands with your desired poses so as not to give away your new trick… 'Simon says put your hands in your pocket!'"


Tips for Photographing Tweens

"Get them moving. Whether it’s a hair flip, throwing a football or flipping through a notebook, movement can capture the perfect candid (and what is more Instagram worthy than that?)

Give them something to do. A task. An Act. Three steps. Often times, standing still and smiling can get really old, really quick. For a more entertaining, enjoyable photoshoot introduce some sort of task and the photos will come effortlessly.

Big laughs, close crops.
More than capturing a moment, we want our pictures to capture the essence of our subject’s personality. Laughter is a beautiful way to bring out those genuine features and we recommend getting up close so you don’t miss a thing! "










This post was written in partnership with zulily.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The City Of Saint Louis Is The Gateway To The West

Written by a contributing writer


If you’re preparing to make the best out of holiday season then look no further. Proudly standing tall as an independent city and boasting a large importance in Missouri, St. Louis is the largest port in the state. It’s also the largest metropolitan area in Missouri; hence you can revel in the unique vibe of such a busy place with lots to do and people to meet. The basics are, beer and baseball, and if you’re willing to open your mind up to what St. Louis has to offer in those regards, you’ll find the culture to be right up your street. One mustn't forget, however, that the world famous Mississippi River runs through the city like an exposed artery. The icon Gateway Arch is what gave it the nickname, ‘The Gateway City’ because it’s the first sign you’re leaving the East Coast. Style and class have all graced their presence among the people with iconic music artists like the late great, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, and, the one and only, Miles Davis playing in concerts. If that hasn’t persuaded you to book a flight already, maybe this will.


Source - GSenkow

Where speed demons roam
‘You wanna drag?’ The term immortalized by so many muscle car movies, but here at the Gateway Motorsports Park, they’re not messing around. If you’ve ever wanted to drive a professional dragster, now is your chance. It takes nerves of steel and a willingness to go above and beyond your comfort zone. You’ll make mincemeat of the quarter mile by engulfing the track in under 10 seconds and hitting speeds of up to 140mph. All participants will get a thorough safety instruction, a proper understanding of the track, and the courtesy of a demo run. You’ll wear the proper safety gear, such as a fireproof racing suit, gloves, helmet, and racing style shoes with extra grip.



Credit - Max Pixel

The old and the new

If you’re a move with the times kind of person, perhaps Asian cuisine will tickle your taste buds. One of the best organic food menus in the city, this restaurant combines fresh, crunchy vegetables with rich sauces and succulent meat. It takes pride in blending Asian cuisines such as Chinese, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Laos, and American soul food. In Lonas Lil Eats, a must-try is the lime-ginger peanut salad. You can add in grilled chicken, pulled turkey, or spicy tofu. The dishes will leave you full, but not bloated.

While exploring St. Louis and finding new experiences, rest assured that an appetite will find you. You won’t have to look far in return, however, as there are many restaurants and bars offering traditional cuisine and innovative contemporary menus. The city has a long history of Cajun culture, which always brings a fun, spicy flare. Try the Broadway Oyster Bar, where Cajun herbs and spices marry seafood like shrimp, prawns, crayfish, and lobster. The shrimp and grits dish is a favorite among the locals as it reminds them of meals by the river when they were young.


Laura plantation tour

Finish off the day by walking through the sugar plantation on the bank of the Mississippi River. Just an hour away from New Orleans, your admission gets you an hour-long tour, delving into the rich history of the Creole culture. The main house that once houses many Laura plantation generations is still standing. The fields were mainly used as a means of service for the markets in Louisiana. You’ll see how many Creole people over the 200-hundred year history lived and made a living.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 Must Have Perfectly Posh Items

Disclaimer: I'm still obsessed with Perfectly Posh. My love has only grown deeper. This is not sponsored.  I am not a consultant.

I've been using Perfectly Posh for a few months now and I am still amazed with the high the quality of these products. Plus Perfectly Posh is cruelty-free, made in the USA, and natural based.

So, let's get to it. Here are my top 6 favorite Posh items.
I use 1, 3, and 6 daily.  I use 2, 4, and 5 weekly.



1. GOOD AS GOLD - $14

I use for anti-aging and getting rid of dark circles and puffiness.

I normally can't wear eye creams (they clog my pores creating bunches of white dots under my eyes), but this Skin Stick is different. I love how it feels on. I put it all over my eyelids and undereye area. No stinging or irritating my eyes! I put it on at night and wake up with brighter, smoother, less puffy undereyes.

2. ENVY THIS - $20

I use for a brighter complexion and more even skintone.

Before I met Good as Gold, this face mask was my #1 for awhile. I still love it. It's an anti-aging mask that doesn't break out my skin. It tightens and brightens my complexion while slightly moisturizing and evening out my skin tone. I've never used a mask quite like this one. This is the product that made me fall in love with Posh. I see a visible difference in my skin after one use.

3. IMPISH EYES - $16

I use for getting rid of undereye puffiness during the day.

In the past, I used a product similar to this one by a drugstore brand. I saw slight results and eventually stopped using it because it made my concealer crease. Impish Eyes is priced about the same as my previous product, but I see more noticeable results, the texture is more creamy (instead of sticky/tacky), and it sits well under my makeup.

4. CACKLE SPACKLE - $19 

I use for a detoxing, deep clean and smoother complexion.

This charcoal mask has a little bit of grit to it and is a better quality mask than many other charcoal masks I've tried. (I like this one so much more than the origins charcoal mask).

5. SMASHING GOOD PUMPKIN - $15

I use to treat and prevent acne breakouts

This mask is retired but still available while supplies last (I am buying a backup bottle soon). It contains salicylic acid, witch hazel, kaolin, pumpkin powder, and tea tree oil - all of which can fight and prevent acne. It's another one-of-a-kind mask (or at least one I haven't ever come across before) and has become my secret weapon when it comes to preventing breakouts. (Because why do I still get acne?!)

6. CAFFEINATED LIP BALM IN MELONDRAMA - $5

I use it to moisturize and bring natural color to my lips.

A lot of lip balms dry my lips out with repeated use. Not this one! My lips actually look smoother after using this almost daily. I also naturally have 0 color in my lips. The caffeine in this lip balm seems to bring a natural flush to my otherwise colorless lips!

The Secret To Fit & Healthy Is About Effortless Changes

Written by a contributing writer


If you’ve tried to lose weight in the past, you may know about the usual yo-yo effect. It’s hard to stick to a program of diet and workout to see results. But that’s nothing compared to putting back the weight because the drastic changes you’ve made were not sustainable in the long term. Unfortunately, it is a common mistake. Most people want to see rapid results, and consequently, employ very harsh weight loss methods. They make huge changes that make them more likely to give in to cravings over time. The key to successful weight loss is not in maintaining big efforts, but in introducing changes in your lifestyle in the most effortless way possible.


Effortless


The 3 Golden Rules

When it comes to weight loss, the rules are simple, and they are described in the article http://www.challengemagazine.com/health/3-tips-for-losing-weight-quickly-and-safely/. It sounds straightforward, but there is no miracle about weight loss. You need to introduce exercise in your life. Indeed, you can’t sculpt your body if you don’t work on your muscles. Exercise needs to be combined with an approved diet program, which means that you need to follow a plan designed by a qualified nutritionist in order to help your body to size down healthily. Finally, water is your best friend, as hunger is too often confused with thirst. Drinking water regularly keeps your stomach full, your body hydrated and make sure that you only eat when you need it.

Introduce Exercise Naturally
However, just because the rules are simple, it doesn’t mean that they are easy to follow. Indeed, introducing exercise into your everyday routine demands time and dedication. So maybe it can be helpful to find ways that don’t include a gym membership, especially if you’re a busy mom and struggling to find enough time to take care of yourself. In a recent article, http://www.floridamommydiaries.com/2017/07/10-ways-moms-can-stay-fit.html, we’ve addressed the need to make fitness part of your everyday life with easy tips. You can start with an evening walk during the warm months of the year. It may not sound like much, but it’s a way of keeping active and healthy. Or if you’re driving somewhere, you can choose to park at a medium/long distance from where your destination. Doing this forces you to walk, and makes it probably easier for you to find a parking space!

Sticking To Your Diet Plans



Motivation

It can be difficult to stick to a diet plan, even if it is an approved plan. You will still be missing out on foods you love, such as sweet treats for instance. Therefore it’s important that you design a motivational program to avoid giving in to temptation. You could write down the reasons why you want to lose weight and read them aloud each day as a reminder. Eating slowing and sitting down is very helpful to help you feel full and satisfied with your meal. Focus on enjoying your meal instead of thinking of everything you can’t eat!


Water Can Be Fun



Flavored water

Last, but not least, you need to drink water and tons of it! But water can rapidly become a little dull. So why not spice it up with plenty of natural flavors? A strawberry-cucumber water, for instance, is sweet and tangy through the summer and hugely refreshing. Or if you’re one for savory tastes, why not combine tomato cubes and basil for a Caprese drink? Your imagination is the limit!

*This post is not meant to give medical advice.  Please consult a health/medical professional before changing your diet or exercise routine. 

Let Your Imagination Run Wild & Create An Incredible Playroom

Written by a contributing writer



If you are lucky enough to have a spare / rarely used room in your home, you may be considering turning it into a playroom. Your children may already have beautiful bedrooms, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t benefit from a dedicated play space. Whether your little ones are of school age or are still in diapers, a playroom could be an ideal addition to your home.

Giving your kids somewhere to store their toys and play in, aside from their bedrooms encourages them to play more with each other and share toys, it will also help you to keep your home tidier as every toy will have a place.

For kids, a playroom is the ultimate luxury. Want to create a beautiful play space for your kids? Take note of the tips and ideas below and let your imagination run wild when it comes to the design of the space. The more fun, interesting, and unique the space is, the better.


Minimalism is key


Picture link


Just because playrooms are full of toys doesn’t mean that they should be cluttered spaces. If you want to ensure that your children’s playroom is a nice space to spend time in, it’s vital that you focus on creating a minimalist vibe. The key to ensuring that your children’s playroom is clutter-free is storage space - the more storage space the room has, the better. Built-in storage is the best option, but if this isn’t a possibility, then there are various other storage ideas you could take advantage of. The most important thing is that your children’s playroom has enough storage space to keep it neat and tidy and free of clutter.

Incorporate a blackboard


Kids love to express themselves through art, so why not turn an entire wall into a canvas for them? Instead of having a small blackboard on an easel, use chalkboard paint to create a blackboard wall. Pop a small shelf up next to it complete with chalks and an eraser, so that your kids can doodle to their heart's content. You could opt to buy a large chalkboard instead of using chalk paint, but paint will be the more cost effective option.

Create zones


Photo from Pixabay


All the best playrooms have zones within them. To design a space your children will love, consider splitting the room into different zones. For instance, to create a quiet reading corner consider looking at a teepee for babies or children (depending on your kid's ages), floor cushions, blankets, and a bookshelf. For their art zone, create a space that is like an art studio, complete with an easel, table, and all the craft supplies that your kids could possibly want. For their play zone, consider creating a mini play town complete with a kitchen and play food, a shop front with play money, and a school with a blackboard. To make the most of the space that your children have to play in, creativity is key.


It’s the little things

When it comes to making your children’s playroom an incredible space, remember that often it’s the little things that make all the difference. The more imaginative and creative you can be, the better, as all the best playrooms are the ones that are wonderfully imaginative and unique. If you’ve chosen a theme for the space, don’t let that get in the way of your creativity, find ways to use that theme to create the most incredible place for your kids to play. To add a little magic to the room, accessories like pretty bunting, strings of fairy lights, glow-in-the-dark stars, wall stencils, and glitter paints are all it takes. Kids love spaces that feel magical, and often, it’s the little things that allow you to achieve a magic vibe.

There you have it, a guide to using your imagination and designing your children the most amazing playroom.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

10 Ways Moms Can Stay Fit & Healthy...Without a Gym Membership

Written by a contributing writer



OK, we know that everybody wants to be in shape, but if you’re a new parent, how on earth do you do it? There are so many tasks to take on that it seems unlikely that you’ll be able to find a spare hour to visit the gym for a strenuous workout. Also, let’s not forget that gym memberships can be expensive. If you’re spending all that money, you’ll need to be going the gym, but then...there’s no time. But don’t give up on your fitness goals just yet, because there are plenty of other ways you can stay fit and healthy, even without a gym membership. Here’s how.


Source: Pexels.com

An Evening Walk

We’re in the middle of summer, so why would you want to spend your time inside a gym anyway? OK, the view of a setting sun isn’t the only reason why it’s better to take an evening walk than doing a thorough workout at the gym. It’s about getting up and active during a time when you might be doing nothing at all. It’ll burn off some of those calories and help you unwind after a long day. If more people walked, the world would be a happier, fitter place.


Parking Hack

Speaking of walking, there’s another time when you should be doing it, too: when you drive somewhere. “Huh?”, I hear you ask? That’s right - just because you’re driving somewhere doesn’t mean you have to drive right to the door of wherever you’re going. Instead, park 10 or so minutes away and then walk the rest of the way. Straight away, you’ll have added twenty minutes of exercise to your day, and what will you have lost? Only sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.


From the Comfort of your Home

Your home can be your own gym, even without the fancy equipment that gyms usually have. All you need to do is watch a workout online, join along, and work up a sweat. Whether you’re planning to shift that baby weight or trying to become a super fit version of yourself, an online workout routine will enable you to fit all the benefits of gym memberships into your daily life, and at a time that suits you, too.


Family Adventures

It’s usually the kids who take up the time that you could be spending working out, so why not make them part of the exercise process? It all comes down to how you spend your time. If you’re looking for something to do with the children, forget sitting at home with a movie: go on an adventure instead. Wherever you live, you’ll surely have the great outdoors within easy driving distance, so pack up the car with supplies and hit the hiking trails. Bonus: your kids will love it, and be all tuckered out when you return home. A relaxing evening awaits!


Yoga Positions On Demand

We don’t want to make you choose between staying fit and catching up with all your favorite television shows and movies. Why choose, when you don’t have to? It comes down to how you’re watching the shows. Lying down on the sofa is fine for a while, but mix it up by adopting yoga positions while you’re watching. If you needed an excuse to binge watch Netflix series, then “I’m getting fit at the same time” might just be it.


Cut Facebook, Eat Better

We all know that a big part of having a healthy lifestyle is connected with one we eat. If we’re only eating junk, then there’s only so much that being active can do. Unfortunately, people do tend to eat junk - simple because it’s quick and convenient. But what if you cut out Facebook? One study conducted in 2016 found that Facebook users were spending 50 minutes of their day on the website. If you delete the social media site from your favorites, you’ll have the time to make a healthy, nutritious meal each night. Easy!


A New Family Member

Look at getting a family pet: a dog, to be precise. They can be a lot of hard work, of course, but they can also bring bags of love and other benefits to the family household. One of these benefits is that it helps keep the whole family active. Those two walks a day, long Sunday afternoon strolls...it all adds up to create an active lifestyle. There are a lot of considerations to bear in mind before you get any pet, however, so think carefully before adopting!


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Get the Garden in Shape

Physical activity can be beneficial to other areas of your life, too. For example, have you ever tried to get your garden in shape? You’ll use muscles you had forgotten even existed. As well as getting fit, you’ll discover that there are plenty of benefits to being on your hands and knees in the garden. To take it one step further, look at adding a vegetable patch to your garden. Fresh foods are awesomely delicious and good for you!


Join a Sports Team

Hey, your children are joining sports teams left, right, and center...why aren’t you? People tend to think it’s only for children, but there are plenty of opportunities to join a sports team as an adult - and they have plenty of benefits, too. You’ll get fit, of course. You’ll also meet other parents and have pride in what you’re trying to achieve.


Avoid Long Sitting Sessions

OK, the last tip is a pretty simple one: are you sitting down for too long? Stand up. Seriously. The dangers of sitting for long stretches at a time are just being explored, but the general view is that it’s causing more damage than you might think. If you have a job - or general lifestyle - that involves sitting down for long periods, mix it up and find ways to incorporate standing and walking into your daily routine. Do this and all the other tips above, and you’ll be on your way to a fit and healthy lifestyle in no time!


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