Tuesday, September 29, 2015:

Sneak Peek!

Heading home from a long weekend now but just a picture to share a sneak peek at our trip!!

Yes.  That's a camel...in my car!

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Thursday, September 24, 2015:

Love This

I love this idea so so much.  Someone once told me that I make my job more difficult.  I have a tendency to hold myself to high expectations when it comes to parenting (and, well, anything).  And when I fall short I tend to be really hard on myself.  Some days I can surrender and agree that the laundry will eventually get done and the house will eventually get cleaned, but each morning as I rush out for our activities, I get edgy seeing the dirty dishes, the unfolded laundry, the Cheerios (and their dusty crumbs) all over the couch and under my feet.  I feel the pressure to tackle the cleaning and I do tidy up but I feel the pang of knowing that it will be the same thing tomorrow and sometimes the "neverendingness" seems overwhelming (stole that spot-on phrase from fellow blogger "Love is Blonde").

But when I look at this quote I am reminded that this is my current life phase and these stressors, while mostly self imposed, might actually be what motivates me to do my best.
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Monday, September 21, 2015:

Have Questions About Your Child's Speech- Here's What You Need to Know

Ok parents, school is officially in full swing and if you're like me, you probably spend some time wondering how your child is adjusting.  

I tend to wonder how my sons are managing in the classroom- Have they connected with a few buddies?  Are they comfortable with their teachers?  Are they moving at the appropriate developmental pace?  Is there something I should be looking out for?

Of course I wish I could touch base with their teachers on a daily basis (and while I am sure they would be polite and entertain incessant emails, I am also sure I'd be flagged as a helicopter mom!  Which is not entirely untrue).  

Instead, I rely on the expertise of some of my (brilliant) friends.  One of which, Ashley Pagelow, happens to have her Masters and a Certificate of Clinical Competence as a Speech-Language Pathologist (MA CCC-SLP).  

What does THAT mean??  Well, essentially Ashley knows her stuff and not only went to school for her Masters in SLP, but also did a clinical fellowship to receive certification from the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.  It also means that, as my friend, she is subjected to a barrage of questions regarding my children's development, specifically as it relates to their speech (for example, should I be concerned that my son pronounces "yellow" like "lellow").

She did me a huge favor and compiled a list of "red flags" so to speak, along with some expert insights.  This info is so jam-packed with relevant intel that I needed to share it here with you guys.

Do you know someone who might benefit from this info?  Feel free to share!  And if you have questions and want to connect with Ashley, reach out to her here:

Achieving Better Communication

Don’t have questions but want to stay “in the know” on this topic, “like” and “follow” Ashley on Facebook!

Ok, now here’s the good stuff!
"All children develop at their own pace."  "Give them time, he/she will catch up."  "You shouldn't compare your child to other children."  These are all phrases we hear as parents when we question our children's development. But, when you are worried that your child is not meeting their milestones on time, hearing this from other parents is not always helpful. 

How do we know when our child is developing at his/her own pace, and when our children are struggling?  Sometimes the answer isn't always so clear and there are many factors that determine if your child will "catch up" or if they need the help of a professional.  

Like many of us have heard, every child is different.  This statement although accurate, is not very telling on if we need to seek out help for our children.  While the only way to determine if your child is truly showing signs of a speech or language delay and/or disorder is through a thorough evaluation by a speech language pathologist; I have put together some "red flags" of behaviors children exhibit that are indicative of needing intervention.  

Under 18 months
·      No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months
·      No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months or thereafter
·      No babbling by 12 months
·      Does not respond to his/her name by 12 months
·      No sharing/reciprocal interactions like pointing, sharing, reaching or waving by 12 months
·      No pointing at objects of interest by 14 months (pointing at a car driving by)
·      Does not understand simple common words like mama or milk
·      Is not using any words by 16 months
·      Does not imitate gross motor movements like clapping or stomping feet

By 18 Months
·      Does not use at least 8-10 meaningful words
·      Does not follow simple commands like “come here” “stop” “don’t” “give me the __________” or “touch your nose”
·      Does not follow your pointing with his gaze
·      Is not playing “pretend” with items (talking on toy phone, feeding a doll)
·      Does not play in proximity to other children

By Age Two
·      No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
·      Does not follow simple two-step commands such as “Get the ball and put it on the table”
·      Speech is not at least 50% understandable
·      Cannot point to pictures of items in books when asked

By Three Years
·      Is not using three and four word sentences
·      Speech is not at least 75% or more understandable
·      Child is leaving the beginnings or ends off of most words
·      Cannot accurately answer yes/no questions
·      Cannot answer simple “wh” questions like “who is that” or “where is the truck”
·      Does not play with other children
·      Is experiencing stuttering behavior for more than 6 months

By Four to Five Years
·      Is not 90-100% understandable to strangers despite age appropriate articulation errors (may not be able to say r, sh, ch, l, or th yet)
·      Is not consistently using 4+ word, complex sentences
·      Is not asking a variety of questions to gain information (who, what, where, why and when)
·      Is having difficulty with grammar or pronoun use
·      Cannot tell a simple story on topic
·      Cannot follow simple two-step directions
·      Has difficulty answering simple who, what, where and why questions
·      Is not yet able to name a few letters, numbers, and rhyming words

Overall Warning Signs
·      ANY loss of speech or babbling or social skills at ANY age
·      Never gestures or imitates
·      Does not appear to understand speech, or appears to be unable to hear

·      Never develops words beyond repeating others over and over
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Friday, September 18, 2015:

It's Not WHAT Products You Use, It's That You Use Them

The other day I was at a children's activity engaging in snippets of conversation with my friends.  The blog came up and I was asked if I had decided to buy one of the products I had recently sampled.  The truth is, I have my trusted routine and I've seen great improvement in my skin.  So as the old adage goes, "if it ain't broke...".

Sometimes if I'm really blown away by a product, I'll add it into my rotation, but it takes a lot for me to swap something out.

That's not to say that some of the products I review aren't worth the buy!  It's just that I've found my "dream team" and outside of a few days I set aside for sampling, I usually stick to those guys.

What this conversation ultimately came down to was that you need to find the products that work for you- the ones that motivate you to stick to a regimen and inspire you to prioritize your skin.

My general qualification requirements include science-backed evidence for efficacy but I'm also a sucker for yummy scents  for example, Darphin Age-Defying Dermabrasion and Jane Iredale Hydration Spray.  I look forward to two nights of exfoliating with my Darphin scrub because a) it works great and b) it smells so lovely!  And Jane Iredale's Hydration Spray is such a refreshing spritz that I spray over my makeup to set it in and use throughout the day for a little pick-me-up.

But the truth is, sometimes it's not necessarily important that you are using a specific brand, instead, it's important that you are using SOMETHING.

For me, as a woman in my 30's, some essentials include effective eye makeup remover, face cleanser (I prefer cream based but will occasionally use something a little more drying), regular exfoliation (scrub 2-3 times a week), a daily toner, a regular retinol cream (2 times a week), a hard working serum, an insulating hydration cream and the major player, a powerful daytime SPF.

That's what you should have in your skincare inventory and you should use it!

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being partial to med-spa quality products- they tend to have higher levels of powerful ingredients that you won't find at the drug store, but at the end of the day, it's more about making it a habit to take care of your skin on a daily basis- do this, and you will see results.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015:

Today I Asked My Son What We Should Blog About.....

He asked me to type, L-I-A-M :)  And he added the below.  #takeyourkidstowork

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015:

Fall is in the Air- And so Are My Favorite Scents!

Back in April while on an amazing trip to Napa, I stumbled across a little perfume store in Mt. Helena!  I took a sniff of this Melograno Selvatico, loved it, but practiced some refrain.  It was a deep musky scent that is perfect for the cooler months but since spring was just around the corner, I passed it up.  Until we walked passed the store a second time.  I couldn't get enough of this perfume and while I'm not sure I believe the history of this perfume (a concoction based on the ancient Medici family's very own flight of perfumes), I was still intrigued and went ahead and bought it.

Well spring and summer came and went and while I'd use it from time to time, it always seemed a bit over powering and out of place.  Until now!  With the fall chill in the air, I feel like it's the perfect comment to a cozy fall sweater!  Now, if only your screen could offer scent strips for testing 😏
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Monday, September 14, 2015:

Just a Quick Product Review Teaser

I'm super excited to have the opportunity to test out some amazing new Boppy Products!!  For you moms in the know, you probably recognize that name from your nursing pillow or maybe the adorable crib sheets.  But this brand is now venturing out into my neck of the skincare woods and I can't wait to be one of the first to try out the goods ;)

Stay tuned for my thoughts next week!!
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Friday, September 11, 2015:

Always Remember

America the beautiful.
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Thursday, September 10, 2015:

50% off Bliss Products!!

Flash sale for all of my Bliss beauty lovers!!  Stock up for fall and use by 9/11.

Here's the code!!  50BLISS.  Shop Now!
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015:

Officially Back to School!!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015:

Mom's Back to School Beauty Routine

Bring on the Back to School crazies!!  It's always a little chaotic around here as we settle into our school year routine, so carving out time for myself seems even MORE challenging than before!  But I do try to take time to prioritize me- even if it's just a little skincare loving in the morning!

After I wake up, take a shower, and wash my face, I jump right into my morning routine!  I need some heavy lifters to help me feel put together in the morning!  Here's a quick peek at what I am loving these days!  I'll do a deeper dive on these products soon!


Step One: PCS Nutrient Toner.  I love this stuff!  It smells like pumpkin- so perfect for the season!!  It helps open up a lot of the congestion I get on my forehead and around my chin.  

Step Two: SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex.  This stuff is serious!  No fluffy floral scents in this bottle.  It has a sticky texture and an "organic" smell- is that the growth factors??  I don't even care.  While the application isn't super luxurious, one pump of this stuff infuses my skin with the highest level of growth factors- helping to improve texture and resiliency while diminishing the appearance of wrinkles.

Step Three: SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex.  My major problem area is around my eyes- I think I smile too much! I rely on this stuff to keep my eyes moisturized and supple to prevent new wrinkles and to help diminish dark circles and puffiness!

Step Four: Obagi Medical Hydrate Facial Moisturizer.  I love the creamy richness of this deeply hydrating moisturizer.  It's a perfect sealant for all of my other products and helps keep moisture in my skin.  I have a feeling I'll appreciate it that much more once the cold weather hits!!

Step Five: SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50. This sunscreen is like no other.  It's super liquidy (just a warning in the event you take it home and wonder if it's supposed to be so runny).  It goes on super smoothly and I can almost feel the barrier protection it provides from the sun.
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Thursday, September 3, 2015:

Fresh Off of an Upstate New York Trip!

So if you follow along closely, you might notice that one of my favorite places in the world is upstate NY (especially as we approach fall- think warm days and cool nights, sleeping with the windows open and breathing in that fresh upstate air!).

I recently was visiting family for five days and it was so nice (you know, minus trying to get my boys back on their regular schedules).

An essential stop when I am upstate is Spa One- this is truly my happy place.  I can leave the kids behind with family and step away from the chaos for a bit while an expert aesthetician (Christine or Marika) helps to restore my skin with the latest med-spa technology.  It's more than a facial for me, it's an experience and a chance to dedicate time specifically to ME without the distractions that crop up throughout my day.  And I know that I am doing something good for myself- it's not just pampering, it an important opportunity to take care of my skin and my mental health.

From the second I walk into the med spa, I am able to turn everything off.  I sit and read literature about the latest skincare breakthroughs, watch as a monitor scrolls through impressive before and after photos, and decompress in the quiet waiting area, gearing up for skincare bliss!

If you haven't been, give it a try- So worth it!!

After my pampering I was due for some product updates and I cannot wait to share my thoughts on some of the latest topicals out there!  Including a Pumpkin toner- is there anything more perfect for the season??

Stay tuned....
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Back to Beauty- My Rodan + Fields REDEFINE Experience

Recently I wrote about my Rodan + Fields Micro-Dermabrasion Paste and how I really liked the texture and the shine that was left behind!  I used this as part of my morning routine and loved feeling like I walked out of the house with dewy, fresh skin!

I also had a chance to experiment with two evening products from the REDEFINE line- The Night Renewing Serum and the Lip Renewing Serum.  Here's what I thought-

R+F Night Renewing Serum- these cool little blue ampules look straight out of a skincare fairytale- "Try this secret potion on your skin and you will never age!" Um, ok! You gently tug off the top of the little blue capsule and apply to your entire face.  The serum has a sturdy thickness which makes me think this could be a really good winter serum (my skin always benefits from a little extra hydration in the colder months).  While I only used the serum twice (so can't really talk about the long term effects), I really like the way it made my skin feel just after applying.  Very soft and well-hydrated.

R+F Lip Renewing Serum- I LOVE that this tiny little ampule is dedicated to lip care!  Outside of lip balms and lip SPFs, there isn't a ton out there for lip care as it relates to anti-aging.  This thick serum spread smoothly over my lips and I also let a bit run along and outside of my lip line to further moisturize the areas that are prone to wrinkling.  Lips were dewy soft and I loved that I had a bit of shine on my lips as I went to bed that night.

Are you interested in trying some of these products?  Reach out to my friend, Allie- She will hook you up!!
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015:

Oh The Parenting Irony

I am sitting here this morning filling out paperwork for my children to attend enrichment classes, swimming and gymnastics, confirming school activities and synching up activity calendars, updating the dry erase board and reorganizing schedules.... all in an effort to help them build skills, independence and intellectual curiosity.

However, in order to do these tasks, I have had them plugged into the t.v. for the last hour and a half. Hey, you gotta give a little to gain a lot, right??
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015:

A Day at the Races!

Sorry I missed you yesterday!!  But if there is ever a good excuse, is a day at the races not one of them??

We took the boys to Satatoga and they had a blast!!  We lasted way longer than I expected (11:30a-3:00p) and even powered through naps to get in a few more runs!

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