Giving the Boy’s Bathroom a Makeover

Bathroom Makeover

I love taking hot baths in the evening to relax after a hectic day but the only tub in our house was in the boys bathroom. I hated the boys bathroom. It really was the ugliest room in the house. I decided to turn it into a mom sanctuary but had a budget of $100 to work with. Since it will still be a boys bathroom there was little point in sinking a ton of money into it because, hello, boys! My boys have a way of breaking and trashing everything.

Still, after a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, Costco, and finally Target, I scored what I needed and almost stuck to my budget. Okay, so I went over by $20. Still, I am very happy with the end product. Click the link here to see how I did it!
~Tina

https://youtu.be/1jeyGm33Qjs

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Fabfitfun Box Review

Fabfitfun Spring

Hi everyone!  I tried something new for my Spring Fabfitfun box review this time. Please check out my video and let me know what you think. This box was pretty awesome as usual so come and see all the great products they tossed in.

Click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZS41C9v0Bc#action=share

Also if you want to order your own box just click here: http://vip.fff.me/8Ccct and use code SPRINGME to save $10 off your first box!

Meditation App~ Because Moms Get Stressed!

Meditation App Because Moms Get Stressed

If someone had told me a couple of months ago that I would not only start meditating but that I would actually like it I would have thought they were nuts. To me, meditating was sitting cross legged with your palms up saying, “Ommmm,” for long periods of time.

Well, it turns out it’s not really. I mean, you can sit that way and hum loudly if you really want too, but it’s not necessary to help you reach your Zen.

Honestly, I felt a little silly trying to meditate. I found my mind wandering off thinking about what I should cook for dinner next week and trying to remember if I signed my son’s permission slip. I needed a little help if I was going to do it right and not feel goofy doing it.

It turns out that just like everything else in life, there is an app for that. Ingrid Nilsen recommended Simply Being on her YouTube channel and I decided to download it. The app was $1.99, which wasn’t a lot of money to lose if I ended up not liking it.

That night when the boys and my husband were in the living room watching television I went to my bedroom and tried it out.  The app is extremely user friendly. There are two main controls, one for the guided speaking meditation and one for the music/sounds. You can adjust the volume for both of these. Turn the volume all the way to the bottom if you wish to have one but not the other.

There are also a variety of music/sounds to choose from.  I love the music, Acceptance, for during the day time. It’s peaceful but won’t put you to sleep. On the other hand, if falling asleep is your goal, then the music, Gentle Night, will do just that.

You can also set a timer for both the guided meditation and the music. So if you want five minutes of guidance and then an additional ten minutes of music just a few taps of the screen will set it up.

The voice doing the guided meditation is incredibly soothing. At first your mind is swirling with a million thoughts but after a minute or two of listening to her speak you stop caring about it all and honestly just let it go.

I like to lie on my bed and close my eyes when I meditate or even listen when I am taking a bath. The best part is if you are a busy mom (and what mom isn’t?) then you can set it for five minutes. Grab your phone, go hide in the bathroom, lock the door and give yourself five minutes to just breathe, let your racing heart calm down, and pull it together before you go back out there. (Can you tell I get wound a little tight sometimes?)

If you are a career mom like me, I find I even use it at work. I can carve out five minutes during my lunch break or my prep to simply be. Also, they say music soothes the savage beast.  Well I wouldn’t call my students savages, but children can definitely act beastly on occasion. I have twice whipped out my phone and plugged my desk top speaker into it and played the music only on low in my classroom on particularly rough days (spring fever has kicked in) and it actually mellowed them out.

So if you are a Type A working mom like me and seriously need to find a way to relax in short bursts, Simply Being might just work for you. It is available for iPhone and Android and for two dollars it is worth checking out!
~Tina
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The Most Comfortable Shoes Ever for Problem Feet

The Most Comfortable Shoes Ever for Problem Feet

Once upon a time I had cute feet. Well, as cute as a foot can possibly be, that is. They matched each other and were a perfect size 8. I was able to wear heels that were four inches high with no problem. In fact I used to waitress eight hour shifts in three inch heels. 

Then I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was twenty years old. Suddenly my three inch heels began to hurt after a few hours, but I persevered and wore them anyway. 

At 29 I got pregnant with my first child, and my normally size 8 feet swelled up to look like fat sausages. Even after I delivered the baby and some of the swelling went down my feet remained an 8 ½. All my pre-pregnancy shoes were boxed up and donated to good will. 

Still, I didn’t give up the dream of wearing cute shoes. I went out and bought a bunch of practical two inch heels and carried on. 

At 35 I got pregnant again. I was less surprised this time when my 8 ½ feet suddenly grew to be a size 9. My husband refused to believe me though. He was convinced that I just wanted to buy all new shoes. 

There was no doubt that the shoes I purchased after baby number two were suddenly a lot more practical. In fact they were almost old lady looking. Basically I had abused my feet for years and now they were done with it. 

Fast forward a couple of years later and I needed multiple surgeries, metal pins, and titanium screws to piece all the little bones back together. I was in a wheel chair for four months because my bad knee wouldn’t allow me to use the roll-about scooter the doctor recommended. 

It was not a pleasant experience. Even worse, I will need another surgery down the road because the foot is becoming rather funky and disfigured looking. My foot even has a name. We refer to it as Frankenfoot. I’m sure you can see why. It is covered in scars and has lovely twists, dents and lumps. Plus, the second toe sticks up in the air because of a ripped tendon that never heeled.

Frankenfoot 2 Frankenfoot 1

 My love of shoe shopping is now a royal pain in the ass. Most shoes, no matter what size, just don’t fit Frankenfoot, especially strappy sandals. Then shoes that fit end up rubbing tender spots on the foot which makes the shoe incredibly painful to wear. 

It sometimes shocks me when I look at how much money I spent to acquire the ugliest of shoes just because they fit and didn’t cause pain. 

I have had luck with a variety of sneakers, but as a rule I don’t like sneakers. Truthfully, I kind of hate them. They are big and bulky, and when your foot is a size 9 they are even bigger and bulkier. Still, if it were up to my podiatrist, rheumatologist, and surgeon I would wear sneakers every day for the rest of my life. 

The Sketchers Store at my mall has become my go to store, because like Vans, they look like a shoe but fit like a sneaker. Recently they came out with new soles in their shoes made from memory foam! It’s like walking on clouds. Seriously, last month we spent four days at Universal Studios and I walked all day for four days straight. I give full credit to my shoes for helping me to last that long.

 Dream Shoes 1Dream Shoes 2

I took all three of these pairs with me. Click on the pictures to see enlarged photos. I wore the black Walkers or the gray thin soled sneakers all day at the theme park. Then, I switched to the Mary Jane’s for when we went out in the evening. I admit these aren’t super fancy and if we were at home I would have worn something a bit dressier but because I knew I was going to be on my feet for ten to twelve hours a day I didn’t even bother wasting suitcase space on shoes that would probably hurt.

  Dream Shoes 3Dream Shoes 4

So if you have problem feet and are looking for a dreamy soft, supportive shoe that doesn’t look like old lady shoes or aren’t the size of bricks, check these out. Plus, the best part is these shoes are all only about $55-$65 a pair, which is half the price of most Borns, Clarks, The Walking Co. and other orthopedic style shoes. Just click the links below if you want to order them. 

If you have any of these let me know what you think about them!

~Tina

**This is NOT a sponsored post. I purchased these shoes with my own money. The thoughts and opinions here are my own.**

Black Go Walkers~http://www.skechers.com/style/13756/skechers-gowalk-impress/nvw

Gray Easy Fit~http://www.skechers.com/style/22468/relaxed-fit-breathe-easy-good-life/gyaq

Mary Jane Miss Me~http://www.skechers.com/style/22473/relaxed-fit-breathe-easy-miss-me/blk
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A Mom’s Best Friend

A Mom's Best Friend

Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but about six months into motherhood that shiny ring on your finger loses some of its luster when you are suffering from sleep deprivation and covered in poop, pee and puke.

Whether you are a full time career mom, a part-time career mom, or a stay at home mom, the truth is being a mom is hard work. Is it all worth it? You bet, but that doesn’t mean your days are all sunshine and roses. Usually you days are a mix of cuddles and smiles mixed with crying, snot, cooking, cleaning, laundry, whining, and little people shouting, “Mom, mom, mom!” on a continuous loop. A few shiny baubles do very little to make your days easier.

So here is a list of mom’s real best friends. No matter how bad of a day you are having they are always there for you. They always have your back.

  • Caffeine~ Whether you drink Starbucks, Earl Grey, or 5 Hour Energy, caffeine is your constant companion and never too far from your reach!
  • Chocolate~ When you are at your wits end sometimes you just need a little treat, a small reward to help you make it to bedtime.
  • White wine~ When chocolate just isn’t enough to help you make it to bedtime. We’ve all been there. The days when you don’t know if you should yell at the kids or just get in the car and drive away and leave them to fend for themselves.
  • Red wine~ Really, when you need it, what’s color got to do with it.
  • Nutella~ See chocolate.
  • Yoga Pants~ God truly smiled down on women when he said, “Let there be yoga pants.” A true best friend, they tell us, “Go ahead, have another glass of wine. Eat that second square of chocolate. Don’t worry, I will lift that ass up for you!”
  • Detachable Massaging Shower Head~ You know, for massaging stuff.
  • Vodka~ For the days when even wine isn’t strong enough.
  • The Lock on the Bathroom Door~ Honestly, its the only privacy you are going to get all day. Unfortunately this time will not be considered quiet time since one or more little people will be standing on the other side calling, “Mom, mom, mom.”
  • iPhone or Computer~ Mom’s don’t have friends in real life until the kids are older. Nope, for several years all of your friends are going to live inside of your computer.
  • Candy Crush, Bejeweled, or Pet Rescue Style Game~ You only get to have five lives and then the game shuts off for hours unless you beg your friends for more. Truthfully this is perfect as most moms can only play for about five minutes anyway before a child takes the device out of her hand so he can have his turn.
  • Xanax~ For when you have finally given up and have resorted to a fetal position.

So what items are your best friends? Feel free to share them below!

~Tina
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Battle of the Natural Deodorants~Cause Moms Don’t Have Time to Stink

Battle of the Natural Deodorants

If you follow my blog you know that I try to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from my home and my beauty routine. I want products that are safe but also work. If the product doesn’t work I don’t have time for it.

I have been on the hunt for an aluminum free deodorant for a while. I have tried a couple of brands but tossed them in the trash after a single day’s use. It never failed. In just a few hours after application I began to smell a bit funky. I don’t want to smell funky. I compromised with using Tom’s of Maine with Aluminum. It was free of most chemicals except the one I really wanted to be rid of, but at least I didn’t have flies buzzing around me while I used it.

Then suddenly I had two new deodorants show up. I have been an Honest customer for some time. I use a great deal of their household and personal care products. I purchase these at my own expense, though if they wanted to sponsor me by magically having free products show up on my doorstep I would happily except. So, when they sent me an email announcing their new deodorant I added one to my next bundle and couldn’t wait to get it.

While waiting for the UPS man to bring me my shipment I happened to go strolling through Sephora and what should my eyes fall upon but another all natural deodorant that I had never tried before. Since products at Sephora can be rather expensive and I wasn’t sure if I would like it I purchased a sample sized version so I could really test it out.

I have now used each brand for two days and here is what I found.

Honest HandThe Honest Deodorant comes as a liquid in a 4 ounce spray pump. It costs $8.95 to buy it on its own but the cost goes down to $6 something  if you purchase it in a “bundle.”  The bottle is made well and the pump has a good feel to it. The fragrance is Bergamot Sage. I can’t lie, the scent is earthy and a bit strong when you first apply but it does fade after a while.

This product has witch hazel in it, and I applied it onto freshly shaven underarms. It stung when I first put in on. The second day there was no sting.

As I went through my day doing household tasks and teaching I never did smell or become sweaty under my arms. Would this product keep you stink free if you were working in the garden or at a spin class, I don’t know, but for day to day wear it did its job.

My one complaint is that because it is a liquid once it dries it is gone completely and oddly I felt too dry under my arms, as in when I raised and lowered my arms the skin stuck to itself. After a lifetime of wearing solids I guess I am used to a feeling of smoothness that comes from the solid being smeared on.

Lavanilla HandLavanilla Pure Vanilla comes in two sizes, travel and full, and also comes in several scents. I only tested the pure vanilla scent. To purchase a full size solid you get 1.7 ounces for $14. There is no denying that this deodorant is twice the price for half as much.

However, for me this deodorant was the clear winner. Just like the Honest one it is free of petrochemicals, phthalates, propylene glycol, silicone, dyes, sulfates, and parabens. It is also free of the big one, aluminum.

The natural fragrance of the vanilla by far smells better than the bergamot sage. After two days use I was stink free at bedtime. For me what really made this one the winner was that it is a solid.  With just a few swipes I had my creamy silkiness under my arms that I am used too.

On my next trip to Sephora I have every intention of buying a full sized version of this and putting the travel size one away for my next vacation.

If you want to learn more about these products just click on the pictures to be redirected. I hope this review helped you!

~Tina
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Are You Stuck in a Mommy Style Rut?

Are You Stuck in a Mommy Style Rut

I distinctly remember having a conversation with my friend Suzie back in September about how I felt like Tina the person didn’t seem to exist anymore, only Tina the mom, Tina the cook, Tina the maid, Tina the teacher. I love my family, I love doing things for my family, I even love being a teacher, but somewhere there had to be more, there had to be something to look forward to, something just for me. I thought I was speaking selfishly until she nodded her head up and down and said she knew exactly what I was talking about, which made me feel better since I wasn’t sure I knew exactly what I was talking about. I knew I was feeling something but it was hard to put it into words. Was it my hormones? Was it a mid-life crisis? Was I just depressed? Was I stuck in a mommy rut?

So, for the past few months I have been on a mission to reclaim me. Initially it started with something as simple as buying myself some Boxycharm and Fabfitfun subscription boxes to try out new products and spoil myself a little. Then it led to getting my bottom layers cut off of my hair so I could start to grow it long like it used to be. Next came subscribing to a few new magazines that were about restoring and finding yourself again.

One day in mid-November I was searching for spoilers on Google for the December Boxycharm box when up popped a link to YouTube videos with people unboxing their boxes. I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to get in my next box so I clicked the link. This one little action opened up the world of YouTubers to me. Initially I was just watching unboxing videos and seeing if there were any other subscriptions I might want to join. Then, I saw a video for recreating a smoky eye, or a review of the best concealers at the drugstore.

In the months that have followed since I have discovered several awesome YouTubers that I actually look forward to watching. Most of these women are in their mid-twenties, which oddly I like, because they are still excited with life. Remember your twenties? Back when you went out to eat several times a week. Back when your “baby” had four legs and fur. Back when you didn’t feel the need to justify the expense of buying new clothes or shoes or paying for a night out at the movies. Back when you could pack a bag on a moment’s notice and go out of town for a three day weekend.

I have tried watching several mom vloggers on YouTube and honestly, I just don’t enjoy them as much. They post vids on healthy meals, grocery shopping hauls, buying organic, school issues, and I find these videos are just too close to my real life. I like the escapism that comes from watching a vlog on YouTube. The videos are usually 5-15 minutes long, which I can usually watch on my iPhone while folding a basket of laundry or putting my make-up on in the morning.

Plus, you wouldn’t think that someone in their 40’s would be inspired or learn something from someone in their 20’s but I really have. I have become much more adventurous with make-up, a lot more knowledgeable, tried new products I had never heard of, and this month when I went shopping for a new summer wardrobe to take to Florida I bought items I wouldn’t usually buy, but I did buy them and I love them.

Here is a list of some great YouTube Beauty Channels you might want to check out. None of them are endorsing this post. I have never contacted any of them, but I eagerly await their new videos.

Essie Button

Lily Pebbles

Ingrid Nilsen

Amelia Liana

Tanya Burr

Vivianna Does Makeup

Jessica Murphy

Fleur DeForce

Many of these ladies have a secondary vlog on YouTube as well showing their personal life, their favorite shops, their fur babies, and more, which you can connect to from the pages I posted above. Also, many of them are British or living in England which also helps me to vicariously fill a life long dream of mine.

Anyway, check them out and let me know if you liked any of them!
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Vaccinations Don’t Cause Autism~But there are a Thousand Toxic Substances the Just Might

Vaccinations Don't Cause Autism

Intro~ I am not a scientist or a doctor. I am a mom of 14 years and person who has been educating children for 24 years. I worry about my children as well as my students. I want their futures to be filled with endless possibilities and good health. I have observed greater health challenges to my students over the years in increasing numbers. I have spent a great deal of time researching the environment and what is surrounding our children. I wanted to get real facts, not pseudo science or jump on band wagon trends that are meaningless. I also learned that the more I learned the more I needed to learn as information is constantly changing and updating. 

I am not an expert, but I have some knowledge that I really want to share because I want all children to be safe and healthy.

I also felt that vaccines were getting falsely blamed. I teach in a district that has a huge population of foreign born and we service immigrants from around the world. Some days I feel like I teach at the United Nations. My classroom is filled with faces that are  many shades of brown, black, tan and ivory. The children of my classroom are beautiful. Some also come from third world countries that aren’t always as medically advanced. When my children were born the issue of their being vaccinated wasn’t an issue for me at all. I knew that I could carry home to my babies any number of potential illnesses and I wanted them protected. ~

Jonus SalkIn the 1950’s Jonas Salk was a hero. His vaccine changed the lives of people around the world. Huge crowds of people all over the US wait in lines to protect their children from the ravages of polio. Similar scenes played out over the course of history as different vaccines became available and people were desperate to protect their children. polio-vaccine-line-1956-chicago

Forward to 2015 and many Americans today have no memory of what a real “outbreak” looks like. Ebola came to the US with a big fanfare and quickly left with little more than a whisper. Many people were left asking, “That’s it! What was the big deal?”

In October of 2009 I was one of many parents standing in a line that lasted four hours to get the H1N1 vaccine shots for my children and for myself since I have a compromised immune system. Just a few nights before I had sat in front of the news and cried as they showed the beautiful faces of perfectly healthy children, who had been fine one minute and then fighting for their lives just a few hours later, before finally succumbing to the deadly flu virus. One little face had haunted me the most, a little blond hair boy with bright blue eyes, who reminded me of my own sweet little boy who was only two at the time.

But even H1N1 at the end of the day didn’t turn out to be big pandemic that people were expecting. So again people blamed the CDC and WHO of being the little boy who cried wolf. Still, in just 2009 there were 274,304 hospitalizations from H1N1 and 12,469 deaths attributed to the virus. That number might not seem that impressive to you, unless your loved one was on the list.

autismo-autismeBut back to my original argument, vaccines don’t cause autism. A simple statement of truth is that vaccines have been around for generations. Autism was first identified in 1943, and it was extremely rare, only eleven confirmed cases at the time.

If you look at the history of how long people have been getting their shots and consider those numbers globally, and then look at the history of the number of people affected by autism, the numbers just don’t add up.

Autism is a condition that has come to the national forefront only in the last two decades.  As a young teacher in the early 90’s I had never heard of autism, but I was very familiar with Down syndrome, Aspersers, fetal alcohol syndrome, and other cognitive impairments. In 1993, however, autism was unknown to me and my fellow teachers, yet every person I knew in 1993 had been vaccinated, as well as the children who attended my public elementary school. If they weren’t vaccinated they were excluded from school until they returned with proof of their shots.

In the past 25 years something has happened to our environment that has caused the number of cases of documented autism to skyrocket. Part of that may be better and earlier diagnosing of the condition, but that alone can’t explain why the numbers are now staggeringly high.

What has changed in the past two to three decades that has the power to reach everyone in this country, young and old, rich and poor, urban, suburban, and rural?

If you really stop to look at it, the biggest change to happen to the US and other first and second world countries is chemicals.

In 1976, President Ford signed into law the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA. At the time there were fewer than 62,000 registered chemicals in the US and the country was fresh off the DDT scare. The law was passed to protect people from existing chemicals and regulate the safety of future ones.

To say the law failed is an understatement. Lobbyists and Chemical companies spend millions to find every loop hole and to make sure those loop holes don’t get closed. Today there are 84,000 registered chemicals in the products we use. Do you know how many chemicals the US has banned? In all this time it has only banned 11. Australia and the European Union have banned more than 1,100 in just personal care products alone.

The US doesn’t require testing to be done on chemicals. If a certain product does make people sick the FDA can’t demand a recall, only suggest one, and the EPA has no recall power at all. These are the agencies that are in charge of keeping us safe! Agencies with essentially no real power at all.

Many of the products that are around today have little in common to the original formulas that came out decades ago. Detergents, shampoos, fabric softeners, and cleaning products that have been around for generations are all different. Every time a product comes out with the claim, “Cleans even better,” or “New and Improved” what it really means is they just added new chemicals to the product. Do the clothes look brighter? Yes. Is my floor shinier? Yes. Is my hair softer? Yes. Is my body wash creamier? Yes, but what is the cost to our health, to our reproductive systems, to our hormones, and most importantly to our children?

As adults we come into contact with toxic substances every day, but our body mass helps to protect us. Think of medication. All meds are based on body weight, this is why you have adult and child sized doses. But a child takes the same bubble bath that an adult takes. A child uses the same amount of shampoo, the same amount of sunscreen. Children are actually exposed to greater amounts of cleaners because they spend so much time playing on the floor and on surfaces that adults don’t use.

Not only are these chemicals in our cleansers and hygiene products but they are in our food. We have all heard about how you can’t buy rainbow colored crackers in Europe, and that soda is made using cane sugar, and use of GMO crops has been limited thus far. I have heard more than one person grumble about how products are better in Europe and if companies can make healthier versions of their food for over there, why can’t they do it here?

That is a great question. If crackers can be colored using natural ingredients in the UK, why can’t the same natural ingredients be used in America. Why does American yogurt get colored using Red #5 and Blue #2 but British yogurt remain in its natural uncolored state? Personally I view it as an insult to American children that food, especially processed snack foods, must always be made into primary colors.

Children in Europe just might be benefitting from their countries stricter chemical laws. According to the Washington Time’s, autism rates in Europe have reached a plateau. Studies from 2010 have shown that the rates of new cases of autism in Europe have remained the same as 2004, where as  the US rates of new cases of autism in that same time span have continued to grow. The study does not focus on chemicals as the cause of autism, but then again, it is nearly impossible to find a study on chemicals and autism because the sheer numbers of chemicals is overwhelming. People are exposed to so many chemicals it is impossible to study a single chemical and its affects in isolation, which is essential to having concrete results.

This is why all the studies that have been done in the past few decades come out with results that say “it seems to suggest that this chemical causes cancer,” or “results show a correlation between chemical A and this illness.”

So what is a parent supposed to do? How do we protect our children from 84,000 registered chemicals?

The truth is you can’t do anything about the world beyond your front door. Even if people ban together and start to demand change from the government it will still be years and years before change is reflected in the environment surrounding us.

The only change you do have control over is what happens inside your own home and how you choose to spend your money. Nothing changes the way a company behaves faster than the spending patterns of the American consumer.

When it comes to food, buy as much organic and non-GMO as you can afford too. Once upon a time you could only do this at Whole Foods, but today Kroger, Costco, Meijer, and even Target have lines of organic foods available for a lot less than what it costs at Whole Foods. I’m not knocking Whole Foods, they were the front runner in the organic industry and we owe them a debt of gratitude, but the truth is you average person really can’t afford to shop there.

Also, always buy hormone free diary products and as much hormone free meat as you can afford to. Children’s bodies are entering puberty earlier than ever before because milk, cheese, and meats are loaded with growth hormones to make the animals produce more milk and meat. This is an example of chemicals being used where we can actually see the visible results right in front of us.

When it comes to cleaning stick with plant based cleaners as much as possible. Many great companies are out there working hard to produce amazing products that work and keep us safe. For laundry care, search out detergents that are formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane free. Also, only purchase products that are fragrance free or scented with essential oils.

In personal care products avoid: SLS (sodium lauryl  sulfate), parabens, pthalates, fragrance, dyes, sodium chlorides, formaldehyde, MEA (monoethanolamine), DEA (diethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine) and fragrance. There are many studies you can Google to show a correlation between these chemicals and endocrine illnesses, hormonal imbalances, and reproductive complications as well as others.

After reading all of this some of you may be feeling overwhelmed and clueless where to start and what to do next. Below you will find links to websites to help you get started in the next direction, as well as companies I find to be trustworthy.

Books to Read:

Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavin

Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World by Phillip Landrigan

The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba

Safer and Greener Products:

Earth Friendly Products at http://www.ecos.com/

Method at http://methodhome.com/

The Honest Company at http://www.honest.com

Tom’s of Maine at http://www.tomsofmainestore.com/

Burt’s Bees at http://www.burtsbees.com

Babyganics at http://babyganics.com

 I hope you find this information useful but more importantly I hope you don’t just take my word for it. Purchase the books listed above or click on the many references I cited below and find out for yourself. If you have more to add please share it in the comments. If you are too busy to do your own research but want to have a safer environment in your home then check out the websites I listed.  Most of these products are sold in stores as well as online. Many can be purchased at Target and I personally buy my Ecos laundry detergent and Honest Shampoo and Body Wash at Costco for much cheaper than what they sell it for elsewhere.

References:

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families www.saferchemical.org/resources/tsca.html

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org

Consumer Product Safety Commission www.cpsc.gov/businfo/8002.pdf

Food and Drug Administration www.safecosmetics.org/downloads/FDA-regulatory-short-comings_Cosmetics_Jul2010.pdf

FDA vs EU http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=346

Top 10 Chemicals Most Likely to Cause Autism and Learning Disabilities by Robyn O’Brien http://www.robynobrien.com/_blog/Inspiring_Ideas/post/Top_10_Chemicals_Most_Likely_to_Cause_Autism_and_Learning_Disabilities/

Autism rates rise in U.S., plateau in U.K. by Cheryl Wetzstein http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/16/rate-of-autism-rises-in-us-hits-plateau-in-uk/?page=all

What’s in My Carry-On Bag?

How to Pack Your Carry On Bag

Most of our vacations are car trips. We go on several car trips a year. With all that traveling I have gotten very good at packing but this time we are flying and I can’t lie, it was a bit of a challenge to down size to just the essentials, yet still have the things I like. For some reason that I can’t explain, though, I love packing. Maybe it is the promise of a new adventure, but I look forward too packing and spend weeks making lists.

This post will cover the contents of my carry-on. It is important to note that this is my carry-on and I am only putting my things in it. Both boys will have their own carry-ons that holds their electronics, toys, wet wipes, and etc.

DSC_7323The first thing I did was find a great bag. I found this big boy on a clearance rack at Kohl’s. After I found my carry-on I also selected a tiny cross body bag. Every time we go on vacation I make the mistake of taking a large purse. On the one hand it seems very practical to do so, but what ends up happening is both boys and even Bill end up asking me to put everything in my purse. The next thing I know I am lugging 20 pounds on my back while everyone else is walking around burden free.

I have decided that I am going to enjoy being at Universal Studios as much as everyone else. This little cross body is big enough to hold my iPhone, the room key card, some cash, and an ID. In the side pocket I slipped some deodorant wipes, tissues, and hand wipes. That is all I plan to carry around the park. Bill will have to carry his own camera, Casey will have to carry his own bottle of water, and AJ will have to tie his North Face fleece he refuses to leave behind around his waist!

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The next thing in my carry-on is my quart sized bag of liquids. I actually purchased this one from the travel department in Target instead of using a Ziploc bag. It is a little more durable than the Ziploc and I like the fact that I can wash it out and reuse it in the future.

I watched several YouTube videos to make sure I was following the TSA rules when it came to liquids. What I learned is if it pours, squirts, or sprays, it needs to be in your quart sized bag, plus no container is allowed to be bigger than 3 ounces.

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I am taking items that I can’t live without. Make-up items include Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Pore Minimizing. This product is amazing. Just a few dabs and your face looks like someone spent hours photo shopping. Next is Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Champagne. My favorite concealer is Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in light pale, and my foundation is L’Oreal True Match in classic ivory n2.

I have several skin care items. My facial cleanser is by First Aid Beauty. I love how this product removes everything, even eye make-up. I love my Olay Regenerist Serum but the bottle was too large. I used a GoTubb to take just the amount I will need. The last skin care item is my Roc Retinol Daily Moisture with SPF 30.

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For hair, I have a sample sized container of Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo. I have talked about this product several times on my blog and on Facebook. I use it daily. It gives lift and volume to clean hair and maintains your style even on three day old hair. I don’t usually use hairspray in the winter, but during the summer months a touch helps to reduce frizz. Since I am going to Florida I figured I better take it to be on the safe side. This is Bed Head’s Mini Masterpiece. In another GoTubb is a product I have been using forever, Bed Head’s Small Talk, to add thickness and hold the style.

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For those of you wondering where is my shampoo and conditioner, I poured large amounts into 3 ounce GoToobs and slipped them into Casey’s carry-on bag. Casey and I both use Honest Shampoo and Body Wash because of sensitive skin issues, and I also use Honest Conditioner. If you are interested in purchasing GoTubbs and GoToobs I will post a link at the bottom.

The last item in my liquids bag is eye drops, both my Restasis and Systane Ultra High Performance.

Make-Up Case

The next thing in my carry-on is my make-up bag. I was torn between two eye shadow palettes and finally decided to just being both of them. The first is my Naked 3 by Urban Decay. Not only is it a fabulous pallet but it has a great mirror in it. The second pallet is a Tarte one that came in the Sweet Indulgences collection that came out at Christmas time. Both pallets are filled with soft pinks, purples, taupes, and cinnamon shades. I was able to pick just one blush, and that is Tarte Amazonian 12 Hour Blush in the shade Pampered, which was also in the Sweet Indulgences collection. I love Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Powder in fair-light neutral. It seems to melt into your skin and just disappear.

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DSC_7342Eyeliners were another case of me not being able to make up my mind. Since this is a family fun vacation I am leaving at home all black eyeliners and liquid eye liners. Since Bill and I won’t be having a date night on this vacation it just seemed unnecessary. Instead I am taking my Urban Decay Naked 3 double sided liner in Darkside and Blackheart. I am also taking a Tarte liner in Plum and another in Charcoal. I only needed one mascara, and that is Lights, Camera, Lashes by Tarte. I admit it, I love Tarte products. They just really work for me.

Getting close to the end, the next couple of products are Benefit’s Browzings in medium, Mica Beauty Cosmetics Eye Primer, and my mini traveling brushes. I also have a sample pack of Yes to Cucumbers facial clothes and Secret Deodorant. The last items in the bag are tweezers, nail clippers, and an eyelash curler.

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For on the plane or pool side I have my Kindle. I have downloaded several new books I am excited to read. I also have this darling little umbrella that folds up to almost nothing.

On my Kindle:

  • The American Heiress by Dorothy Eden
  • The Truth About Faking by Leigh Talbert Moore
  • The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot

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I have one outfit in my carry-on. For the record my luggage has never been lost during a flight, but I have this irrational fear that it just might. So in a worst case scenario I have a clean pair of black jeans and a fresh t-shirt to wear the next day. I discovered these cool bendable ties called Gear Ties that I used to wrap up my iPhone cord and my Kindle cord. I even bought Bill a set of these in navy blue for Christmas. This way we will know whose cords are whose.

That’s it. I admit, its a bit heavy but I will have everything I need for a great trip!

Happy Travels,

~Tina

Carrying Bag AClick here to purchase Gear Ties~ Gear Ties at Amazon

Click here to purchase GoTubbs~ GoTubbs at Amazon

Click here to purchase GoToobs~ GoToobs at Amazon

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Cherry Vanilla Scones

Cherry Vanilla Scones

Thanks to a deep love of Duran Duran that I developed in the 7th grade, and all things Jane Austen, I am a serious Anglophile. For years I dreamed that when I grew up I was gong to run away and live the remainder of my days in merry ole England, marry Simon le Bon, and live happily ever after nibbling on tea and crumpets, attend polo matches and watch the annual regatta on the English Channel. Remember that movie Oxford Blues with Rob Lowe? To me that was living the dream.

I never moved to England, Simon le Bon married a super model, but I am still very much an Anglophile. So over the years I have learned several great recipes for making scones.

I especially love this recipe because the scones keep for days in an air tight container. I really like to make a batch of these on Sunday and then have them for breakfast the next couple of days, or as an evening treat with a steaming cup of tea.

Ingredients:DSC_7168

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold butter cut into pieces
  • 1 jar (10 ounces) maraschino cherries drained and the cherries cut into halves and fourths
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  You can grease or use parchment paper to prepare two baking sheets.

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In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Wisk dry ingredients to make sure they are all blended.

 

Here is where you have several options. You can cut the cold butter in the old fashioned way, or using an electric mixer if you have one. I prefer to use a food processor. It is by far the fastest and easiest way to do it. Put about 2/3 of the flour mix into the processor and all the butter chunks. Pulse for about 20 seconds. Add the remaining flour and pulse again for about another 20 seconds. The butter will all but disappear into the flour.

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Pour all of the flour and butter mix back into your mixing bowl. Add the milk, cherries, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir initially with a spatula but you will need to finish the dough with your hands. The dough is rather sticky so make sure you take your rings off!

Once the dough begins to form a ball I like to dump it onto a piece of parchment paper to finish the blending. You can also use a floured surface to form the dough but be careful not to incorporate too much extra flour into the dough.

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Cut the ball of dough into two halves. Then turn each half into a round pizza shape less than an inch thick. Cut each circle into 8 wedges.

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Transfer your wedges onto your prepared baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until they are golden on the edges. My oven took 14 minutes to produce raised and golden scones.

After the scones have cooled it is time to glaze. Mix the remaining milk, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Then lightly brush the glaze over the scones. This recipe makes 16 scones in all.

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Store in an air tight container and they will last for several days.

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Enjoy,

~Tina

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