Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Blow Out:How One Item Change Everything

I've had a love/hate relationship with doing my hair for as long as I can remember. 
I don't mind getting my hair done. As in, having someone else handle the washing, blow drying, pressing + styling, braiding, weaving or what have you. Just so long as someone else is doing the heavy lifting so to speak. 

Matter of fact, I didn't even really learn how to blow dry my own hair properly until a few years ago. It wasn't until I started getting weaves + braids more and more that I was forced to learn how to do it, not only in a timely manner, but so that it was actually dry all the way through. 
Because of that, I've had the same blow-dryer for an embarrassing number of years. Seriously. I mean, there's nothing wrong with having the same trusty appliance/equipment for years so long as it works properly. Mine did not.
Some mysterious piece broke off on the attachment so it stopped staying on. The bulky handle and awkward comb attachment made it hard to get a good rhythm going. It was bad enough that I had to use it to do my own hair, but then add Sweet Pea and all her hair into the mix and I used to dread wash day more often than not. 

Then I was cruising Instagram or SnapChat, who knows, and I saw Felicia of ThisThatBeauty post something about a handle-less dryer from Red by Kiss. I was blown away by the notion of a handle-less dryer. What is that like? How does that even work? I had so many questions. While I was intrigued, I filed it away on Pinterest and in the back of my mind and kept it pushing. In the grand scheme of things it seemed like an unnecessary expense at the time.
I was wrong y'all. So very wrong. After suffering through with the old dryer for so long I finally broke down and bought a new one last month. A late night Amazon cruise proved to be fruitful and I found the same dryer I'd previously seen for the low price of $15 (give or take) and I quickly swooped it up. It arrived two days later (thanks Prime!) and I had no choice but to take my crochet braids out and wash and blow dry my own hair. 
Y'all, it was kind of a magical experience. 
I mean, it's just hair washing right? But the shampoo & conditioner smelled great and left my hair all soft, silky and easy to de-tangle. And the blow-dryer? Oh. My. Word. Blow drying my hair has never been such a treat. It took me roughly thirty minutes to blow out my hair. That's it. The attachments stuck on quickly and easily and it was so much easier to hold without a bulky handle! It was a little weird at first to get used to maneuvering without the handle to fall back on but once I got the hang of it - I was just like: 


Yaasss, y'all. All the praise dance breaks. It was that amazing. Who knew such a small thing could bring me so much joy? Game changer for sure. Such a small item as well as investment and it more than paid for itself in terms of being worth it. 
Do I love doing my own hair all of sudden? Nope, not really. But, I no longer dread wash day and put it off.

How do you feel about your blow-dryer? 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sometimes Your Valentine Can Be Too Sweet

* I was compensated by the CHPA's Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs, but all opinions are my own. 

Whenever I'm asked what I notice first about people one of my immediate responses is teeth/ smile. I can't help. I'm a sucker for nice teeth. I think it stems from years of having braces and being overly concerned about my oral hygiene. 
Even after I got my braces off I was hyper diligent about keeping my teeth clean and wearing my retainers. 
My Freshman R.A used to tease me in college because I was perpetually rushing off to brush my teeth after meals. Chalk it up to having had pizza stuck in my braces one too many times and no one saying anything (thanks high school friends!) I made it a point to always have my toothbrush on or around me. It was definitely a running joke but laugh all they wanted, my teeth stayed straight and healthy. 
Fast forward a few years of not having my parents remind me to make dental and orthodontia appointments and I was soon victim to tooth decay in the form of several cavities. So much so that I had to have a root canal. Oh my word. Not anything I ever wanted to repeat. 

When I had my own kids it suddenly dawned on me that oral hygiene was more than just brushing daily. I had to think about what she was eating and how that was affecting her teeth. And when I first learned about bottle rot? Where a baby's teeth or gums can rot because they fall asleep w/ the bottle nipple in their mouth and then they end up w/ silver teeth as toddlers because of tooth decay? Omigosh no! So yeah - early brushing and all that for Sweet Pea. But my personal fears of the dentist held me back from taking her so it wasn't until she was about 4.5 that she went to have a formal check-up. Terrible, I know. I was young okay? Judge your mom.
While she had a bit of sweet tooth thanks to our fabulous family genes - she never really had an issue with cavaties thank goodness. But that wasn't the case for most of her friends, roughly 20% of children ages 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. 

The upside is I know that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in kids age 6-11 and  among adolescents age 12-19 so even though we were a little late getting her to the dentist - we were sort of okay? 

Like most mom's I try to tow the line on moderation when it comes to sweet treats for my kids. I don't want to be so strict they binge whenever and wherever they can but I don't want my 5 year-old walking around with silver teeth either.  So when it comes to holidays I still keep a watchful eye over how much they consume. And it's not just the chocolates they might get - it's the cupcakes, cookies, juice and suckers they get at their class parties, 
So because I'm full of random facts here are some useful tidbits to help you and your family in your quest for clean teeth: 
·   Fluoride is an anti-cavity active ingredient available in over-the-counter (OTC) products that helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.
·  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using a smear of fluoridated toothpaste at tooth eruption
·  Children under the age of 6 should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and be supervised in order to develop good brushing and rinsing habits and to minimize product swallowing.

·  Parents and caregivers should help a child brushing his or her teeth until mastery is obtained, usually around age 8. 

Now I say all this to say - go forth and enjoy your sweet treats and let the little ones get busy too.  Just remember to make them brush their teeth after!  

How well do your kids brush their teeth? 

Let's Hear It For The Girls:Why You Should Celebrate GALentine's Day

Valentine's day is just around the corner and as always I'm sort of scrambling with trying to remember all the details that come with being a mom during a holiday. There a ton of last minute minutia that I'm tasked with. Some of it is my own doing and some of it is lack of planning on their part with a whole lot of "ooh that would be fun" thrown in for good measure.  
Some of that includes the idea of hosting a Galentine's party , picking up or making a "little something" for my girlfriends just to say I love them. 


Oh yes, the whole Valentine's spirit isn't just limited to Bae and the kids. We gotta show love to the ladies who love us just as much as the people we share a bathroom with. 
My ladies hold me down year round and while we don't always get birthday or Christmas presents for one another, we show love whenever, wherever and however we can. 
Some of my love languages are acts of service and quality time so, the concept of celebrating how much I love the other people who love and hold me down makes total sense. 
And I truly believe it's something all women should embrace and start to celebrate more!


Here are five reasons why:

1) It's a good reason to get the girls together and get out of the house. Ladies night is always a great idea and GALentine's can be a fun excuse. Dance the night away or namaste to start your day with some yoga. 

2) For those without significant others it's nice for them to be able to celebrate the 'holiday' too! I mean, at one point, haven't we all gone out with our girlfriends on Valentine's because we didn't have a date? I know I have on several occasions. Same thing. Just a day or two early.

3) It doesn't have to be big. Seriously. Get together for coffee, go to a movie, do dinner, take a class of some kind,whatever, just make the time. It's not about what you do, but who you're doing it with that makes it fun right? 

4) Pinterest makes me do it! There are so many good ideas in there for cute cards, crafts and treats that it's hard not to get excited about every single holiday! Why not put all those quick DIY's to try to use? Make that pink & white snack or those bath bombs you've been wanting to try and gift away! 

5) Champagne!!! Duh. Champagne & cupcakes, Rose & donuts, Pizza & Prosecco all good reasons to grab some girlfriends and get your grub and gab on. What better reason for a chat fest? 

Life is short - make sure your people know how much they mean to you. 

Sometimes we take our friends for granted in the same manner that we do our families. We assume they'll always be around and available but if nothing else the last year has shown me that you never know what can happen and it's worth it to drag your butt all the way across town and go see your homegirl you haven't seen in person in months. Celebrate the love of your ladies like you do your lover. 

Do you celebrate GALentine's day or nah?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why I Took My Teenager to Victoria's Secret and It Wasn't Weird

Picture this: California circa 1993ish, an introverted teenage girl with some emerging body issues trapped inside a communal dressing room at Loehman's full of women of all ages and sizes in varying states of undress. Surrounded by mirrors. And having to try things on with the ugliest 'support' bras ever. It was horrifying. Add to that the mortification that comes with a sales woman measuring you in THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE while shouting out your size to your mother across the aisle. I wanted to crawl inside myself.  
I also spent a good portion of my youth in stark white scratchy underwear and were it not for the fast talking sass mouthed friend of my mother, who knows how long it would have been before I ventured out into the world of colors and patterns. Eventually I began buying my own underwear and it was no longer so that wasn't an issue but my mother still purchased my bras. Therefore I was subject to where and when she was willing to purchase. Clearly, bra shopping is still as touchy subject.

So when it was time to take my own daughter bra shopping I opted for a more pleasant and personal experience. I wanted to take her to a place that was familiar to her, welcoming and offered more than a "section" in which to shop. Naturally, we went to Victoria's Secret. I did ask her where she wanted to go and that's what she wanted so off we went. I admit it was a liiiiitle bizarre to walk into a store I used to spend quite a deal of money in, and now be in there with my daughter.  
But here's where it gets weird, when the topic came up in conversation, people had thoughts and opinions about where I take my daughter shopping. I had several friends who have girls of their own exclaim they would /could never see themselves doing that with their own daughter. Slow down there sister, your daughter is three. Of course you can't. When Sweet Pea was three, I couldn't imagine buying her makeup, taking her bra shopping or getting ready for freshman homecoming but here we are. Naturally, I wanted to be offended initially, but I also realize where the sentiment is coming from. It's hard to imagine your baby as a young woman but there has to come a time when we make that recognition. So we bought some bras and underwear. And nothing scandalous has happened since. It's not like it was full blown lingerie. We're talking respectable cotton drawers and the like. I'm still the daughter of a woman raised in the Midwest so even though I'm #straightwestcoastin  and a somewhat "cool mom", I still hear my grandmother and mother's admonitions on modesty in my head and trust, when I say she too hears those same little pearls of wisdom.

Sometime in the last few years my Sweet Pea has gone from snaggle toothed child, to pre-teen to full blown teenager. And it astounds me as well as makes me smile. Parenting in this new age is wild. It's challenging when they ask tough questions or we have to make the hard decisions but it can be ever so rewarding. When she and I are able to hang out and just be, whether that's shopping or getting our hair and nails done (which I realize reads as being very stereotypical but it works) baking or trying out new dessert spots it makes things easier at home and keeps our lines of communication open. It also gives me insight as to what's going on in her life and how she's feeling. We can talk about "things" without any pressure or judgement. It also helps I can ask questions while perusing clothing racks and not have to put face to face pressure on her. I remember being a teen and squirming under what felt like intense scrutiny from my mom, so I try to be a little more chill about it. In some ways, it also fosters her own sense of independence, I let her pick out things she likes (but still have final approval) and leave her to her own devices so that she begins to trust herself a little bit more and lean on her own judgement. I want her to feel good about herself and how she looks both in her clothes and out. If nothing else I just want her to be comfortable in her own skin and feel good about / in what she wears. That includes underwear.

I realize by meeting her where she is on some things allows her the room to feel like she is seen and heard. Which I remember wanting to feel when I was her age. I practice a lot of empathy when it comes to her and these tumultuous teenage years. I remember those feelings all too well, and have the angst journaled for proof) Until she does some way out teenage shit. Then I have to go full on #housewifethuglife on her. It is what it is.  
But in the meantime in-between time, we get to have these types of experiences as we navigate this new territory. It may seem odd to some but it's what I would have appreciated when I was that age and hey, Victoria Secret beats a communal dressing room any day of the week.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

When the Weather Wrecks Your Skin

* I was compensated by the CHPA's Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs, but all opinions are my own.
Y'all, this winter is no joke. So normally I can be seen using my joking about California and our lack of seasons (#westcoastwinterstruggle) but lately, we've been Like below 60 degrees cold, rain and hail. Hail, y'all. And because it's been a WHILE since we've experienced any type of real weather and as a result, my moisturizing game is all off. 

For some reason, my skin has been ridiculously dry lately. It's so bizarre because I STAY moisturizing. I pretty much douse myself in all the butters, oils and lotions each morning after my shower.  But this current season has been different it seems like no matter what I do, I can't stop the dry skin from creeping in. My husband doesn't seem to notice and thinks my legs are still soft and smooth and while my skin isn't thirsty dry, it's just dull and dry looking. That bugs met. My saving grace is that because it's pretty chilly out I am in pants pretty much everyday. Which could also be contributing to my dryness on some level. But like I said, I've never had this struggle before so I don't know. Bizarre yo. 

My husband has his own set of issues and because of that I am on him to keep himself moisturized in a myriad of ways as well. Having had eczema as a kid and never really treating it, seven years married and he makes it seem like he's still "new" to the ways of lotions and creams. It still bemuses me. 

Luckily for me he's willing to indulge me in my daily requests for him to slather up before he heads out and he's found a few creams that work to help reduce itching of his eczema which ultimately reduces his scratching and helps his skin clear up! It makes us all happy. The trick is getting him to remember to use it consistently. But, when he out now! You cant' tell him nothin' when his skin is rash free and feeling good. 

My teenager is also experiencing a bit of "winter skin" dryness but her struggle is the area around her face. Consistent nose blowing when she has a cold coupled with lack of hydration and remembering to use her face cream leaves her with a lackluster foundation. It's also important to me that her face cream have a little SPF in it as she's still exposed to the elements while walking through campus and in various activities. Just because it's winter doesn't mean the sun is any less harsh. Her lips also get awfully dry so she tends to get laced with an assortment of balms, glosses and salves for the holidays so she's set for a good long while. Now let's hope she stays consistent with their application. 

For more tips on how to treat winter skin issues that you or your family may be experiencing check HERE

Do you have any secret remedies for combating dry skin? 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekend Mama Style: Casual Leather + Kicks

So in case you haven't heard, capsule wardrobes are all the rage. The concept of a seasonal capsule wardrobe (the idea of taking a set number of pieces and wearing only them for a season) has been around for quite some time but it's completely taken off this last year. I remember discovering the 30x30 Remix Challenge by Kendi Everyday in the early days of style blogging around 2010 and it amazed me she could pull off wearing only 30 items from her closet for 30 days.
Like what? Where do they do that at?

Since then, the approach to capsule creation has evolved while the fundamental tenets remain the same: Choose a limited number of pieces from your closet that are relevant seasonally, you can include shoes and accessories or not and basically where only those pieces for the 'season'. 
Being that we don't really have "seasons" in California and global warming has totally messed things up, I shied away from the idea. Then in September, spurred on by Amiyrah I went ahead and did a live show on what I'd be wearing for this 'faux Fall' season we were currently in. 

One of my goals with the items I chose was to actually wear more of my favorite pieces that seem to get lost in my closet until they are out of season. Or sometimes out of style.  I've curated a pretty decent wardrobe and I'm making more of an effort to work more 'avant garde' pieces into my wardrobe. And not really avant garde but the things I'm still working out how to work in to my daily life.

Like my faux leather leggings. Back in 2013 I was unsure if a suburban mom could really pull them off and if so, when and where would I really be rocking them? 
Fast forward three years and they were still sitting in my closet not getting a whole lot of play. I mean, they made a cameo here and there on a night out w/ the hubs or girlfriends but never really in every day wear type situation. Not past that first year anyway.
But I was determined to change that this season. I've low-key been waiting for it to get cooler so I could rock them. Particularly since I had an idea of an outfit in my head and I was hoping it would turn out as cute in real life as it did in my mind.

I can't front. I was thrilled. Even though my hair was dirty and needed to be washed. Even though it was still a bit warm outside for October, it was cool enough for me to pull of the whole look. 

Don't you love when an outfit comes together in just the right way? It didn't feel like I was doin too much for a Saturday afternoon, and I was hella comfortable. So much so that I was plotting on how I could put a spin on it with a different vest + top combo. 

But can we just talk about my sneakers for a minute? I'm OB-SESSED. For serious. I can wear them several days in a row and my feet don't get hot or tired in them like they do in other shoes. I'm ridiculously excited about this and have spent many happy hours running about town in them. Big up to Nike for making cute kicks. 

What's sitting in your closet that could use dusting off and remixing? Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Medicinal Menagerie

* I was compensated by the CHPA's Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs, but all opinions are my own.

Cancer sucks right? But part of my personality is to find the levity in all situations. so back when my mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer my brother and I joked that she should try medical marijuana to help her with pain. She was not amused and did not opt to try it out, even though we told her how Melissa Etheridge swore by humidifying with it. 
Fast forward a few years and my sister in love Mimi was also diagnosed with breast cancer, however, since then, California made marijuana legal, first medicinally and now recreation-ally and now there are bud shops all over so cal.

We did a ton of research and learned a lot about the soothing affects cannabis can have on cancer patients like Mimi so we asked if she wanted to get some and she said yeah.  But unlike some of her other family members she didn't want to smoke it. Instead she opted for hard and gummy candies. And later on, topical ointments.  They seemed to help ease her pain and appease her nausea so while we're huge advocates for those in need, we also want our kids to be safe if exposed to this new type of candy confusion. 

Living in California has afforded us some unique opportunities. Like that of voting on /for marijuana to be legalized. Which it now is after all these years. However in recent years the medical marijuana market has seen a huge boon. Not only in sales of the actual flower but in other ways to ingest the THC and get similar affects. Edibles have become a huge portion of that market. A popular way form of edibles are those in that look similar to favorite candies like gummy worms and peach rings. 

In my house it's also a huge concern to make it a point to let Baby Ninja know that Granna and Papa's medicines are NOT candy or even Vitamins no matter how much they may resemble their own. My father's recent stroke has only increased his pill intake and because his reach is limited he keeps them out "on display" making them a prime point of interest for Baby Ninja. Same thing goes for my mother-in-love, when she sleeps over she brings her meds with her and the tiny tin she keeps them is of definite interest to little hands. 

Did you know that approximately 60,000 kids go to the ER every year due to accidentally ingesting medicine. That's the equivalent of 4 bus loads of kids every single day. That sounds insane right?
Not only do we have to worry about candy confusion with OTC's, we now have to think about whether or not relatives might have edibles laying around. 

I don't judge anyone who gets down with a little weed, gummy or magical brownie. It's not my right to do so. Particularly if it's used for pain management. However, I do ask that if that's what you choose to do, just remember to be safe about it. Make sure your edibles are stashed way out of reach (and eye sight) of younger kids who may not know the difference.
Also - talk to your teenagers. This is something we've had to do with Sweet Pea, let her know that its not the 80's and people may not offer you a joint in the school parking lot, but they may offer you some 'candy' that is laced and you might not even know it. Don't randomly pick up candy at your aunt and uncles house's. It's not like when you were a kid and could go willy nilly into Auntie's purse and grab something. You never know what she might have in there.

If you think your kids or teen may have gotten into some questionable contraband, do not hesitate to call Poison Control and have the number stored in your phone (800-222-1222)   in case you happen to be at a family member's house when it happens. Shoot it doesn't even have to be YOUR kid, it could just be a family member! It's just better to be safe than sorry in this case. I worry about this because at family functions kids are often left to their own devices, playing with cousins while the adults socialize and who knows what that great uncle of yours has lying around ya know? 
So better safe than sorry right?

Have you ever had any experience with candy confusion? 


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