Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Because School Means Sickness At Some Point


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



No sooner than I start seeing Back to School signs do I hear/see parents complain about the shopping they must do for the dreaded ‘class list’. When your kid is in elementary (particularly if they attend public school) you as a parent are tasked with supplying not only your kid but the entire class with the basics. Tissue, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes are the biggest concerns and requests. I don’t get it. I happily supply those items because I don’t MY kid coming home with the back to school seasonal cooties. Kids have the most virulent germs and what takes them a few days to have hit and recover will take us over a week. It’s awful. So, yeah, no thanks. This is why shortly after, the “Back to school” shopping, photos and general hub-ub die down you start seeing mama’s all over the web posting; “Mom down!” messages and inquiring about symptoms for some peculiar strain of virus that their child has brought into their home.
A return to school means an increase in being indoors and decrease of their immune systems as Brad who they haven’t seen all summer long brings back his virulent germs from his summer travels. Yay. Thanks Brad.

But not to worry because I’m #MomAF and have been doing this keeping a human alive thing for 14 years so I’ve got a whole arsenal at my disposal right?



sick_kit_backtoschool



Until we had Baby Ninja we never really thought twice about the Drug Facts label on most of the OTC’s we’d purchased over the years to ease whatever ailment Sweet Pea, or even ourselves, might have had.
But then when he was about a year-old Baby Ninja came down with a wicked cold/ fever. So I asked D to run out and get a fever reducer. I assumed he was going to pick up acetaminophen because that’s what I would have grabbed and is a generally KNOWN fever reducer, particularly among young children, but he didn’t. He grabbed ibuprofen. And while I was using the restroom he gave him some, and he promptly began to break out and seem to have trouble breathing. My mama heart fully stopped for a bit and I had a hard time not breaking out into a full on panic.
Apparently he has a slight allergy to ibuprofen. Who knew? Not us for sure, as the only pain/fever relief OTC I’d purchased for the kids had always been of the acetaminophen variety or something prescribed by their doctors. It was a #realmommoment for sure and one that I’ll never forget. As the daughter of medical professionals I’ve always thought I was well versed in the different ingredients of my “standard” OTC’s but I never thought about if my husband was or not.




cough_medicine_drugfacts



When Sweet Pea took a Safe Sitter class with our city one of the things they required was that they know and were aware to ask about any potential allergies the child they were watching might have as well as medication they might be on.  Trust when I say I never, thought to ask that when I babysit.

And don’t get me started on what to take when you / they have multiple symptoms. I have been known to park myself on the floor of many a medicine aisle trying to find just the right thing to treat my family but not cause them undue harm (via an allergic reaction or worse).  WHYYYY are there so many different ingredients? 
We were truly lucky that Baby Ninja only had a mild reaction and we reacted quickly, but have been vigilant about what OTC’s we keep in the house and how we use them ever since.  I also make sure to keep all meds up high and out of reach and eyesight of the toddler set, because you know if it looks any kind of interesting, they’ll be all up in it.

Pro tip: If you are ever concerned that a child has gotten into an OTC medication accidentally, call poison control immediately: 1-800-222-1222




_drugfacts_sick_kids




So mama’s and caretakers of young people, I implore y’all to take a gander at the Drug Facts label on any OTC’s you or your family might be taking. Because you never know how certain ingredients will affect you and you don’t want that late night dose of cough medicine to counteract with a mid-morning pain reliever. It could make things a little bit awkward during drop-off.

Just saying.  


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sweet Pea's Ice Cream Dream




Naturally we wanted to celebrate Sweet Pea's graduation and she wanted to do something with her friends but because  we are (as always) on a budget we were at a loss on what we could really pull off.
And then I was scrolling Pinterest late one night and came across the "ice cream party/ social" theme and my wheels started turning.  I knew we could make it cool and I quickly started pinning ideas and Sweet Pea was fully on board because ice cream. 


graduation_party

Even better for me, Dryer's/Edy's was one of the sponsors at Mom 2.0 and they handed out coupons for free gallons! Say what? Done and done. My girlfriends were kind enough to score me a few to add to my pile and by the end of it, we cleaned up. It wasn't that hard to determine which flavors to choose, the obvious choices being chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry and cookies n' cream as a "wild card".  





However, trying to narrow down toppings proved to be a little more difficult than I imagined. Because OPTIONS.



But somehow we did it and got it all set up in time for the party. 


party_graduation


There were ice cream cones galore (regular, sugar and waffle cones and bowls) for guests to choose from as well as regular ice cream bowls for those who weren't that into it. 



As for toppings we went with crunchy, chewy, and chocolatey as a "theme" and it worked out well as I happily scored some clear trays I'd envisioned at the Dollar Tree! Talk about a come up! 










My husband  and brother-in-law did a particularly great jobs in creating their sundaes and made quick work of them. It was nice to see all of our hard work enjoyed by my people.





Because we're into Pinterest like that, we found a cute way to decorate ice cream sandwiches and made our own versions for a fun introductory treat for the older kids and a pre-dinner treat for the littles. 







* this post was not sponsored although I did make use of the coupons received via Dryer's/Edy's at Mom 2.0 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mixing Things Up For Back To School: BabyNinja Style


“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh ; however, all content contained wherein are my own."



Back to school in Southern California always happens during some crazy 'last chance at summer' heat-wave and leaves everyone melting and miserable. Yes, well into September, it's stupid hot here. While the rest of y'all are all about the Fall life we're still melting. Not to worry though, I've become a pro at mixing up my own closet for this transitional season and by extension that of my kids. 


boysclothes_oshkosh




As Baby Ninja is getting older, and growing at a rapid pace, but still very much having strong opinions about what he wears, I'm all about mixing and matching. With him, less is more and the more outfits I can get out of a few pieces of clothing the better. I went to OshKosh to check what they had that might be able to handle Baby Ninja's hardcore playtime activities. I've been a fan of the brand since I was a child, with their classic striped overalls being a favorite and I also enjoyed the way "oshkoshb'gosh" rolled off my tongue. It made me happy and so did their clothes. 
The current versions also make my kid happy. 

Now: 



backtoschool_oshkosh_boys

For the record D was a little skeptical about rocking shorts with long sleeves both as a layer and main tee but once I showed him how fresh the boy would look, he was all in. 


backtoschool_oshkosh




I did pretty well for the boy with two pairs of pants, two long sleeve shirts (one flannel, one cotton) and two t-shirts (one short, one long sleeve) all for roughly $50 because they were having a sale and I was able to use a coupon  (use CODE: OKBG3136 ) for 25% off my total purchase! Y'all KNOW how I feel about a double discount.  I'm jazzed because I didn't spend a million dollars on clothes as he continues to grow and he's stoked because he's got "cool space clothes" to wear to school. He's also actually looking forward to his haircut now and showing off his whole look like his sister did when she started school. 

What's even better is that what I got pairs so well with what's already in his closet and it just makes me all happy inside to know that his wardrobe is shaping up to be just as functional and fun as the rest of ours. Which, maybe is silly to some but for me, streamlining things is key. If I can make our lives simpler by purchasing pieces that pair well together and last, well then, I win. The end. 


Wear it later: 







It helps the boy likes what he picked out and it's even better that so does D. I made sure to show them how he can wear everything from Summer to Fall because for some reason my husband seems skeptical about my shopping skills for Baby Ninja. Whatevs. I knocked it out of the park if I do say so myself. 
Layers are essential as the days can go from cool, to warm, to warm-er to warm, cool, and cool-er as we get further into Fall and all these pieces make choosing outfits each morning super easy. When dealing with a four year-old, easy is best. 





It seems like we just perfected our summertime fly and now we're anticipating the start of the school year. Because Baby Ninja doesn't "officially" start back until September 1st we're in no rush and have plenty of time to prepare for Pre-K! But at least we got the clothes portion out of the way.  








Have y'all done all your back to school shopping yet? 

And because I want y'all to win like I did, so I'm giving away a $50 gift card to OshKosh to help you out with your own back to school shopping!  

Enter the form below for a chance to win!





Find a store closest to you here


  





Monday, August 15, 2016

P.S. I Love You - The Anniversary Getaway

anniversary_vacay

Back in June, I talked about how good a family vacation can be and it was truly a good time and did my heart so good.  Something about checking out from the norm tends to change everyone's mood and improve all around attitudes. The same can be said for relationships. Particularly if you have children and busy schedules. Of which we have both.  We still had some time available with our timeshare so last month, D and I celebrated 6 years of marriage with a trip for two to Palm Springs. The last time the two of us went away together overnight was just before Baby Ninja was born. I think. 
So when it came time to plan our anniversary celebration I was thrilled when he suggested we head to Palm Springs for a "staycation" of sorts. I have a long history of loving the desert city and it's been on my list of places to hit up for awhile. 



We knew it was going to be hot, it is the desert, so we weren't too concerned about the fact that it was July. However, as the heatwave increased relatives inquired if we were still going and we said "for sure." We committed this time away to be with each other, so 117 degrees be damned. We're heading out. 
The drive down was smooth sailing save for some typical midday So Cal traffic and we cruised along the 10 East heading to our kid free oasis in the desert. 






People keep asking how it was and if we had a good time. And here's the thing, we could have stayed down the street and had a ball, it wasn't about where we were and what we did but that we were hanging out together.





We slept in, had real uninterrupted conversations over breakfast, lunch AND dinner. We took naps. We played Jenga and caught up on all the TV we have to wait to watch until after the kids go to bed. There was a LOT of HGTV / Food Network happening too. We slept in, drank too many margaritas and I lazed about the pool and people watched. 




In short - heaven. 





It was good for us as well. The break from the day-to-day grind of living, loving and raising a family in this current socio-economic climate can take a toll on a soul. Being able to connect in a way that we hadn't in a while was both enlightening and encouraging. 
We also ate some really good food. Because that is equally important. 



date_romper_mamastyle

We also noted how many couples we saw and loved the fact that while Palm Springs isn't exactly a "party town" it's perfect for our personalities. You can stroll the main drag and find all sorts of shops, bars and places to eat. The prices aren't ridiculously over the top and the vibe is relaxed and chill. It's basically everything Vegas is not. And at this stage in our lives, it really suits us. 



Palm Springs is for lovers, it's warm out 90% of the time, thusly forcing you to either stay indoors or brave the heat and test your relationship and patience. But if you're cooped up indoors until it cools off, you have the opportunity to spend time with your partner in a way you most likely wouldn't at home. And that's pretty much what we did. It was almost like we were back in college again until our kids called to check in and break the reverie. It was all good and totally worth it. 

Adventures and daredevil activities are dope but sometimes, you gotsta' chill. 






Have you ever been to Palm Springs? What's your favorite way to get downtime with your partner? 














Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bawse Babe Magic At BlogHer

It’s rare I get back from a conference or event and write a recap so quickly but it had to be done.
I spent the last 3 days in downtown L.A. for BlogHer 16. And it was a little insane. For starters it’s one of the biggest blogging conferences and the O.G. so it makes sense that it be larger than most. Thousands of women converged on the J.W. Marriott to meet up with other members of their tribe, network and hopefully learn a few things.
I knew it was going to be a good one when after a quick trip to Starbucks the other Amber, of Talk to Amber fame, and I sauntered back into the lobby and ran smack into Whitney from Naptural85. She smiled in our direction and we took that as an invitation and went to say hello. That she was legit sweet, and genuinely interested in us and our spaces on the ‘net was the impetus for an exhilarating weekend. It was only the beginning.


blogher_ naptural85


By the time we caught up with Xenia and Ruby it was already crackin' in a major way. 

For roughly 72 hours, I was surrounded by some of the most powerful and influential women in my industry. And that was just half of us. At every conference it feels as if there is more and more magic in the air. As if it’s building up to something greater each time we get together.



blogher_bawse_babe



The undercurrent of energy bubbling over as so many like-minded individuals talk shop and swap stories while marveling at those who are leading the way. It’s a MOMENT and I am overwhelmed every single time. But then there are also these other smaller magical moments that occur when sometimes no one and everyone is watching.

Such a thing happened on Saturday, I was sitting alone eating lunch waiting for Amber to return and Luvvie and Alyssa walked by on their way to get food, dropped their stuff and came back and sat down and then slowly a trickle dope ass women began to develop around us and it was sort awesome how it happened and of course photos had to be taken to document such a fortuitous occurrence because when magic is happening it must be acknowledged.






At one point I was chatting with Denene Miller of My BrownBaby, Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvie and Erika Kendal of Black Girls Guide toWeight Loss  (when I tell you I run with and know bawse ass women BELIEVE me) and had them ALL hollerin, and Luvvie looks at me and says, “When is YOUR book coming out? Cuz I want to read THAT.”

Wait – whut?



luvvie_c2c_blogher


The woman who’s writing I admire and makes me HOLLER daily with her everyday banter, just told me she wants to read a tome authored by me because I told her a true life story (well several- I have a few) and she fell over laughing? The woman who has a book coming out in 4 short weeks? Did she just….? Yes, Universe.
THAT was a highlight for me.
And then a few hours later I was hugging Marie Denee of TheCurvy Fashionista and fangirling over EveylnFromInternets and CeedotCee . It was a moment for sure. AND THEN – I crashed a dinner and met Mario Van Peebles because L.A. and what is even life?


blogher_blackgirls


I was working as a volunteer mic wrangler for a few sessions and it gave me a better appreciation of the staff that put on the conference as well as perspective on why/how things end up happening the way they do. But that is a whole other post and will come later. Because WOW. 





The entire #perosquad was in attendance and it was a beautiful thing to catch up in person with my girls I ‘see’ online every day. I miss them and value their thoughts and friendship and we don’t get to see each other for long stretches all the time so when we get together it’s ON.

There are so many moments of awesome and inspiration hanging out with the experts among us that I can’t properly do them justice by articulating them via text. 



blogher_dj



You kinda had to be there.  And I hope that you will be. Next year I mean.


If this is your industry and you have been watching various stories unfold on social media I highly recommend getting to yourself to one of these events. It’s not all shenanigans all the time but it is magical and something we all can use a lot more of.   


Have you ever been to BlogHer? What was your experience? 






Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summertime Fly: Mini Style

Having a boy is kind of weird for me. I'm not a super girly girl type of mom requiring Sweet Pea to wear frilly dresses and bows in her hair but we had our fair share of pink for 9 years.
Then Baby Ninja blew onto the scene and my whole world was rocked. What do boys wear? How far can I go when it comes to style and trends?





And let me just tell you, boys clothes have come a LONG way trend wise even in just the last 4years. I was adamant about not having any cheesy characters or too many cartoonish type ensembles and for the most part we've done pretty well. Baby Ninja dresses like - well most 4 yr. olds that I've known. But lately, I've sort of felt like he could step his game up a bit ya know? I see other kids that are just #instagramkid fly and being that I'm a fashion loving mama it only seems right my kid looks cute.




However, he is still Baby Ninja and will always and forever be about that busy body guaranteed to get dirty and destroy all the 'cute' stuff faster than I can wash it. So I tend to wait until they are at the point of no return before purchasing 




The other day I finally had the opportunity to run into Carter's and check out what they had this season. Lucky for me, there was also a killer 4th of July sale happening and I scored big time in the clearance section. Mainly because most of the stuff I liked in Baby Ninja's size was sold out on the main racks. Not that I minded, y'all know how I feel about paying full price, particularly when it comes to clothing for my little ninja, who is not quite a baby anymore.  








Not to brag but I scored big time. Everything I purchased was on super sale and worked with what we already had at home. I just had to get the hubs on board with my "wild card" picks. The dinosaur shorts and the palm print polo were both well received and once I showed him the different ways Baby Nina can show off his summer time fly, he was thoroughly impressed. I felt like I won. A good day of shopping has that effect on me. Even when the haul isn't for me.  I'm pretty excited about the boy's new clothes and so is he. Now, we just have to find someplace to go and hope he doesn't destroy them before we get there!


Where do y'all like to shop for kids clothes?













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