Father’s Day is next weekend and it’s time to show the men in our life some gratitude. I’ve put together my top 5 Dad’s Day gifts that are sure to please!
FEAR! It’s almost like a swear word. We are so afraid these days of not measuring up to the Pinterest, Instagram worthy world. Afraid we don’t have enough followers. Afraid we’re not good enough. Good enough spouses, parents, moms, dads, entrepreneurs. What if I told you that your greatest success could be on the other side of that fear? What if you “acted” like you weren’t completely petrified of the unknown? I know it’s a far fetched idea and often times fear is what paralyzes us the most. However, that fear is exactly what your subconscious is telling you to do. Do you have something tugging at your heart strings? Something you keep pushing aside no matter how hard you try? To start losing that weight? To start that new business or side hustle? To start writing that book? For me it was to create this space. (I’ve got some others, but we will tackle those on another post) :). Although I had the foundation, I always felt like I was too busy or too out of the loop, or the best one…who made me an expert that people would want to hear what I had to say? I decided to look fear in the face and dive in anyway. I started this space almost 3 years ago out of the sheer purpose to bind other parents and moms going through what I had gone through. I told myself at the very least, I would have a journal, a space for my children to look back on as an archive. Fast forward 3 years later and no I am not the biggest blogger on the block, but I am now being recognized by my peers as a finalist in the Blogger Union at the South Florida Blogger Union Awards. I’m up for an award in the parenting, lifestyle, health and inspirational categories! Me? Inspirational? I chuckled…but then it dawned on me. I had done it. I faced fear head on and managed to come out on top. Now I don’t say this boast or to give myself a big high-five, I say this to inspire YOU! What speaks to YOU! What fuels YOU!
When I received the news of one of America’s greatest basketball players had passed away in a helicopter crash, I was sad. Sad for Kobe, sad for his his daughter who died too, sad for her sisters, sad for his wife and the mother of their daughters, Vanessa. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It snapped me back into shape to say, no matter how successful we are, we are not invincible. However, Kobe fought the good fight, he followed his passions and for what he believed in. At the end of the day, we all only have one life to live. I know that story made me feel grateful in this moment and I will be darned if I go down without a fight. I hope you won’t go down without a fight, with me.
If you enjoyed this article, please don’t forget to vote for me here, in the parenting, health, lifestyle and inspirational categories. I would love to be recognized in this space and continue to deliver content you all have been enjoying over the past 3 years. Thank you so much!
2020! New decade, new year, new YOU! I’ve put together my top 5 supplements I love and swear by. Whole Foods Market is having their annual supplement sale January 3rd-5th, but if you can’t make it to the store, feel free to shop through my Amazon links! Reach out if you have any questions and here’s to feeling and looking your best in 2020!!
Season’s greetings! I’ve narrowed down my top 10 holiday gifts for everyone on your list for under $50! Some of these sets can be broken up and used for significant others, teachers, parents, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teens, children, the list goes on! Hope you enjoy and happy shopping!!!
October is Breast Cancer Prevention/Awareness month! If you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been giving you daily tips with regards to safer switches. Below are my top 5 safer alternatives to limit your toxic intake!
Food Prep Containers with Lids: Research shows, plastic can leach harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates into your food and beverages and then into you! Using glass is a much safer alternative and helps with food prep for the week! Win-win!
S’well Water Bottle: Same goes for plastic water bottles! I always try to carry one around wherever I go! Keeps you hydrated and you’re not drinking any potential toxic ingredients seeping into your water!
Tulip Perfume: The word “fragrance,” is a cocktail of ingredients, masking countless carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals. Fragrance can be found in almost HALF of all personal care products! Be especially cautious when it comes to children’s products! Use the EWG app to scan products around your home to see its level of toxicity. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me where I got this perfume! It’s the perfect blend of lemon and sugar, without being overpowering and minus the harsh fragrance!
Safer Makeup: It’s perfectly legal for companies to use ingredients linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and reproductive harm in cosmetics and personal care products. With Beautycounter’s makeup you don’t have to choose between safety and performance!
LODGE Cast Iron: Some toxic compounds are used in non-stick cookware. While they keep food and stains from sticking, they stick around your body for a very long time and have been linked to cancer. I absolutely LOVE my cast iron skillet! You can literally cook anything you want in it AND it’s oven safe! It’s time to ditch the teflon and non-stick pans!
- Get to do what you’re passionate about. Life’s too short to do spend your precious time doing things you don’t enjoy. Find something that fuels your passion and do it!
- Create your own hours. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. However, it does provide you some great flexibility. You can work around your children, spouse or partner’s schedules, work from your pajamas and best of all you don’t have to put in time to take off work. However, you do have to show up every. single. day.
- Endless tax benefits. Gas? Write off. New Computer? Write off. Owning a business, you do have to make some initial investments, but the best part is that you can write most of them off! Talk to your CPA for more information.
- Present for your family and the things you love most. Nothing gives me greater pleasure, than being able to take my daughter to swim and gymnastics and my son to t-ball and help him with his homework. When you go into business for yourself, you can pick up and put down the business whenever you want. It’s important to stay present in these moments. Something I’m definitely working on all the time.
- Make as little or as much $$ as you want.
- No one says you have to work yourself to the bone to achieve massive success. However, it’s important to know your worth and reach for the stars. You can’t equate the amount of “hours” you put in on the daily. You just have to have a vision and goal and seek out to make it happen!
Top 5 reasons to join Beautycounter:
- Build a business with meaning. At Beautycounter our mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. It’s not often you get to work for a company, where you can make a significant social impact and money at the same time. Our products are also highly luxurious.
- Advocate for change. Meet with members of Congress to help enforce the Personal Care Product Safety Act. As it stands the U.S. only bans 30 ingredients in personal care products. At Beautycounter, we ban 1,500. Every formula goes through a rigorous test and is screened for safety. The work our army of advocates do is incredibly important, because it affects everyone. Everyone means everyone. Fast Company recognized Beautycounter as one of the top 50 innovative companies in the U.S. and number ONE in the beauty category. Google also recognized us as the #1 trending brand of 2018! There’s no better time to jump on this fast moving train then now!!
- Change lives. One of our pillars is to educate people on the topic of safety. You can change someone’s life by arming them with information to make better and more informed decisions. People work out, eat healthy foods and then unknowingly douse themselves in products that contain harmful ingredients. It’s our job to help the one we love, make the switch to safer, Beautycounter or otherwise. Educating people with regards to changing their products from one’s that contains harmful and unnecessary ingredients like Parabens, phlatates and formaldehyde most commonly used in beauty products that is now a $60B industry!
- Community. Our incredible advocates or consultants are amazing. The network of women I’ve met along the way are not only inspiring, but are here to help. Whether you want to work the business part-time, full-time, you need ideas or just someone to vent to. I’ve made lifelong friends through this company and for that it’s been worth it!
- The amazing icing on top! As a consultant you receive 25% off everything you buy and are eligible to make up to 35% commissions on everything you sell. You’re eligible for bonuses, incentive trips, free products. Each kit comes with everything you need to get started, our hero overnight resurfacing peel, a long wear color intense lipstick and your back office training through Counter University. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Some ways I’ve been able to incorporate the business into my day to day…
- I do product drop offs to and from events and schools drop offs and pick-ups.
- I usually workout and schedule my work time after that until I have to pick up my children from school. I then pick the business back up during quiet time and occasionally at night once they fall asleep.
- I don’t have an immense social media following, but I use what I’ve got to create a small community of people that are interested in what I have to put out. Everyone out there has something they want to share with the world and equally there’s someone out there that wants to hear it. If you’re a graphic designer, a teacher or a finance person you can absolutely incorporate that into Beautycounter’s mission.
- I pick it up when I want and set it down when I want.
Top 5 Favorite Products: 15% off through April 15th!
- Countercontrol Pore Cleanser
- Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion
- Overnight Resurfacing Peel
- Rejuvenating Eye Cream
- Moisturizing Tint Skin Foundation
- The BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY!
If nothing else, support the cause by purchasing through me and using your wallet to urge congress to pass better beauty laws and text “BETTERBEAUTY” to 52886 today!
Ahh the new year! A fresh start! A clean slate! Sometimes the sheer thought could be a tad overwhelming. Every year that clock strikes midnight, it’s almost as if we’re expected to know exactly what we want to accomplish for the year, how to get there and what our “resolutions” are. I know it’s just a word, but resolution almost intimidates me. One thing I am NOT is a quitter, so if I “resolve” to do something for the next 365 days, I almost immediately don’t want to start. It sounds like a chore or something I will carry anxiety over, if I don’t deliver.
Parents today are held to such a higher standard. Whether you’re a parent who works, a stay at home or a work from home, the expectations from a social aspect are immense. What extracurriculars are you signing your child up for? What workout class are you fitting in? Meal prep. Eating organic. Gluten-free. Non-GMO. Ugh, I have a headache. Better not take a Tylenol! Lol
All I’m saying is the New Year is definitely a fresh start for a better YOU, but don’t let it replace who you really and truly are at your core. Now I’m not saying don’t set goals or have dreams, because without those, life wouldn’t really be worth living now would it? I just think it’s crucial to set realistic expectations in areas of your life you want to see improve. Even if it means drinking several more ounces of water in a day or adding in a bike ride around your neighborhood for that extra boost of cardio.
I sat down on December 30th, that time between Christmas and Hanukkah and New Years Eve, when you haven’t any idea what day of the week or if it’s time for lunch or dinner and I “resolved” to write down some areas in my life I felt needed improvement.
Below is a brief list (didn’t want to get too personal in a simple blog post), that I hope inspires you to sit down and do the same.
I used a Lilly Pulitzer planner, because there’s something about the vibrant colors and the stickers that come inside of it that gets me super excited and my creative juice flowing!
- Family: Practice patience. Goodbye to mom guilt. Try one new thing a month. Continue to strive to be present. Plan vacations ahead of time.
- Relationship: Weekly date night (eating dinner alone, a movie at home, doesn’t have to be fancy!) Plan an annual getaway just the two of us.
- Home: Continue to chip away at house projects. Purge a bag of donations/trash a month.
- Finances: Do a no spend week. Check finances daily. Save!
- Wellness: Work out 3 times a week. Meal prep. Sign up for a Disney run (I put it out there in the universe! Ah!)
- Work: Grow my team of entrepreneurs every month, to continue to serve others and give back! Write 4 blog posts a month. Plan ahead. Continue to increase sales. (I had my BEST month in November!)
- Personal Growth: Learn to say no more. Take an hour everyday just for me. Only surround myself with positivity. Be intentional. Spend less time browsing the internet. (Can’t we all? lol)
- Fun: Visit the beach more often. More girls nights. See a concert at least once this year!
I would love to hear yours! Contact me anytime!
Featured in January Issue of “Mommy Moments” in AroundWellington.com
Photo Cred: Dani Napert Photography
Our tiny humans are small. They are vulnerable. They simply don’t know any better. So it is up to us as parents, to always go with our gut and advocate for our children and the safety of their lives. I remember it like it was yesterday. Our family had recently moved to Orlando, because of a job opportunity presented to my husband. At the time, I remember how difficult it was to leave our family and friends behind for sure, but it was almost the most difficult to say goodbye to our pediatric doctor. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had interviewed him while pregnant with our first born, completely elated that we had found “the one.” It was almost as if he were a trusted member of our family, someone that would give us advice in good times and bad, when it came to the well-being of our little babies. When Reagan was first born, Dr. R (That’s what we will call him) saw us for his very first well-check, when he was running a high-fever, he was our trusted source, when it was time for vaccines, we drove a half an hour just to see our beloved doctor, because we didn’t think it would be possible to find anyone else who understood us…and then we moved.
I knew NOBODY. I couldn’t phone a girlfriend who had a baby, because well I had no friends. My bigger boy hadn’t started school yet, so it wasn’t like I could ask the others moms where they went and when he finally did start school, every doctor was more than 45 minutes away from where we lived and that was a no go with a 3 month baby in tow, who HATED the car and was already subjected to an hour and half commute daily. I remember scouring the mommy sites, local Facebook pages, doing research on every doctor in the area, when finally after countless reviews and numerous phone calls, we had decided on a practice. Upon arrival, I wanted to just curl up in a ball and cry. For whatever reason, it had this gloomy disposition in the waiting room…no one was friendly. Perhaps you could say it was the post pregnancy hormones that were kicking in, that contributed to my disappoint, but so be it. I know it didn’t do me any good to compare, but I just couldn’t help it. After going into what seemed like a weigh-in station at a vet clinic, we finally met with the doctor I had done countless amounts of research on. I wanted to like him. I really did. I try incredibly hard not to judge a book by its cover, but I just had this weird gut feeling about being there. My daughter Vera at the time suffered from a severe case of eczema on her face. I was nursing at the time and remember trying everything I could think of. Eliminating dairy, more water in my diet, lotions, body washes, keeping it dry, you name it, I did it! Dr. Y (we will call him) immediately saw little miss and said, “Oh, it’s just a simple case of baby eczema. Go to Target, get yourself some “xyz” cream and rub it on the area twice a day and it should go away (Not interested in degrading the company). I left that day sobbing in my car and oddly enough received a phone call from our previous doctor asking me how things were going and if we had managed to find a doctor. I remember in that moment wanting to head straight down I-95 and not look back, but that clearly wasn’t an option.
Our family is incredibly passionate about healthier alternatives. I wouldn’t call myself a crunchy mama, but if there is a healthier option for a lotion or a protein bar, you bet your bottom dollar I’m paying the extra 50 cents. I liken it to preventative medicine in an effort to not have to medicate an existing condition. I caved and bought the cream, because in all honesty I was DESPERATE! However, deep down in my heart, I knew that this lotion in particular was full of ingredients that I not only couldn’t read, but were potentially harmful to my little growing baby. I went home opened the bottle, put the cream on and by the next morning the situation had not gotten better, it got worse! Now while it could have been a number of contributing factors, in that moment I was mad at myself. Mad that I hadn’t said to that doctor that what he was “prescribing” was in fact no good and it didn’t take years of medical practice to recognize that, mad that I even gave it the slightest chance to help my poor daughter who was suffering from cracked, red skin on her precious milky face. I marched right back to the store, returned it and vowed that from that day forward, I would always be an advocate for my children. That mother’s know best. That I would be darned if some old school doctor who probably got his graduate degree long before studies were released about the harmful effects of products and foods currently on the market were no longer acceptable would tell me what my daughter needed most. That I would have a voice and the courage to say, “No Sir!” A month later, that said doctor wanted to prescribe yet another magic cream, that he thought would help my daughter with another skin issue she had. That my friends was the last time I went to his practice. I vowed to find another doctor that held on to the same values that my husband and I practiced. As luck would have it, we were able to move back home to our original doctor 7 months later. Now while maybe not everyone is so lucky, my advice is this. Don’t EVER let someone tell you their opinion doctor or otherwise and allow it be the end all be all. YOU have a voice, USE it! Whether that means getting a second opinion, changing doctors or just standing up for what’s right in the world. Our little ones rely on us to be their advocates in this life and that my friends, is something I will always do for my babies, no matter the circumstance.
To work or not to work? That is the question most moms ponder. Really, there’s no right answer. It’s what works best for you and your family. I vividly remember as a young girl thinking that I would most definitely, (if afforded the chance), stay home to raise our children the way my husband and I saw fit. Then as I grew older, I decided that I needed to establish myself, my career, after all I worked my butt off to get a degree and was still paying off student loans! I was the prodigal latchkey kid, while my mom went off to work during the women’s equal rights movement, to afford us the life we so deserved.
So, when the time came for us to conceive, I thought to myself, well I can’t very well give up everything I’ve worked so tirelessly for. So, I worked day in and day out all throughout my nine months of pregnancy, waddling my way to the bathroom from my desk, covering breaking news, working crazy hours and figuring out schedules between our families. The plan was for me to go back to work part-time (that way I still had my identity, HA!), working weekends, so that my mom, mother-in-law and husband would fill in for me on their days off. Everyone was on board, yet when the day finally came where I locked eyes with my blue-eyed baby boy, I thought to myself how in the world could I leave? How could I burden my family to take care of our baby on their days off, after reporting to a full-time job? Daycare wouldn’t work, because my paycheck would have gone straight to the people that would have been watching after him.
I remember the day my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home. I was partially relieved, partially worried, partially petrified. Would I ever be able to get back to my passion? Back to writing? Back to reporting? Producing? Back to being ME. I didn’t have an answer at the time. The only thing I knew was certain was that I had this little tiny human being who needed me more than anyone. He needed me more than I needed to fulfill my dreams. More than my place of employment needed me…they would surely find someone to fill my shoes, right? Several people had said if I had the chance to stay home then to take it. It’s just a moment in your life and you have the rest of it to work.
A very dear friend of mine, whom I remember calling me in near tears while she was on maternity leave could’t understand the life of a stay at home mom. Literally wondering what on earth it was I did all day long? How isolated she felt. How she couldn’t wait to get back into the swing of things and get back to working. Here’s where it gets tricky. Momming is HARD! It is full of GUILT, no matter how you slice it. When I first had my son, I too felt alone, isolated, completely intimidated by the idea of having to make sure to keep another human being alive! What happened to all of those cute Instagram pictures of babies all dressed up in their monthly onesies? I felt robbed and I felt guilty.
Heck, I feel guilty every single time I make a purchase outside of groceries. I feel guilty that my husband bears the burden of having to work to support our family. I feel guilty when I raise my voice at my kids, because we’re in each other’s face all day long. After speaking to several moms who work, their guilt stems from not spending enough time with their kids, not making enough “mom friends,” not having enough patience…feeling judged. Truth is no matter what, we are judged. That’s life. So what it boils down to is to DO YOU!
We’ve had to make some serious adjustments to our lifestyle since I’ve become a stay at home mom. Going out to fancy lunches and dinners regularly? Gone. Buying something cute at the mall just because? Gone. Spontaneous vacations just to get away? Gone. See my point? Where my working moms feel like although they have to work all day, they come back to a clean home, that hasn’t been ravaged by toddlers all day, they have quality over quantity time with their little ones, they’re able to get dressed for the day, eat lunch with adults, have adult conversations that don’t involve potty training or weaning. They pee solo and have time to listen to their music on their way to work. They may even sneak in a quick trip to the gym or the nail salon. They don’t spend their days feeling like a short order cook, chauffer and maid, who has to change diaper after diaper.
Finally, I tried the part-time work thing. It was nice at first, but what I found was that I wasn’t able to give enough energy into one thing versus the other. I’m the type who devotes 150% to everything I do and for whatever reason juggling the two wasn’t my forte. I made the decision to be 150% mom, when we got pregnant with our second. I have my days when I wonder if I’m cut out to be the stay at home type. Am I fulfilling the kids’ days? Are they better off at school? Am I enough? I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself and that yes, I AM ENOUGH. I tell my husband all the time that I used to be somebody! That my lowest point was the day I had to clean up after our son who had pooped his pants in public, followed by my daughter’s tantrum in the middle of Whole Foods and topped off with our dog that decided to poop, eat it and throw up. TMI? Those are the days that working doesn’t seem so bad after all. Hearing my mom say how she used to hug her desk when she got to work.
However, I now know that I AM somebody. I am this single most important somebody to our beautiful babies and husband, that this is my highest point in life. To be able to raise our children and see them grow in front of our very eyes. I’m convinced that after a long day of Legos and laundry and cleaning up toys and the throw up, that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and that I have made the ultimate sacrifice for my family and hopefully someday they will thank me for it. That I am so thankful and forever grateful to my husband to even have the choice. So no matter if you sacrifice yourself and your lifestyle to stay home or you sacrifice your time to give your family the life they truly deserve by going to work, you’re ultimately doing the right thing.
I wrote this article back in March of 2017. Fast-forward TWO WEEKS later, I decided in April to go into business for myself after an opportunity sort of fell into my lap, which I will be forever grateful for. To be able to give my family, my children and my children’s children the financial freedom they so deserve. With my little boy now in school full-time and toddler who likes to sleep (thank goodness!!), I am now able to forge my passion for writing, blogging, delivering news and videos on important life-changing topics. Sure, the days are long and often hard, but maybe that’s just life and maybe just maybe we need to embrace it and celebrate the small wins.
Sunscreens have become a tricky thing in the world of skincare. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, with a complete lack of regulation, making it incredibly difficult to know what sort of things to look for and ingredients to stay away from. There are two types of sunscreens currently on the market…chemical and mineral. According to The Environmental Working Group, sunscreens with a chemical makeup usually have a combination of ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate, these are extremely dangerous, because they contribute to hormone disruption. Not only are they endocrine disruptors that act as estrogen, but they attribute to lower sperm cell counts and endometriosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found about 96-percent of the U.S. population to have Oxybenzone in our makeup. Additionally, chemical sunscreens contain Vitamin-A, also referred to as Retinyl Palmitate, which essentially causes even more harm than anything else, by speeding up the growth of cancerous cells, tumors and lesions. Mineral Sunscreens are usually a makeup of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, which is considered a much more favorable choice. However there are a number of other things to keep in mind when making a sunscreen choice this summer and beyond, (because the sun does shine each and everyday!)
- Stay away from high SPF levels. Not only are they misleading, there’s a law in the works proposing companies to avoid labeling anything higher than 50+, but they’re waste of your money! You end up thinking the higher SPF has you covered, but it’s false!
- At all costs avoid spray sunscreens. You’re more likely to inhale the sunscreen than wear it on your body. Most of the time it ends up on the person next to you and as a result you are sunburned!
- Try to cover up with hats and long sleeves whenever possible, choose a shady spot and try to avoid the hottest times of the day to venture outside.
Unfortunately, three fourths of the sunscreens EWG tested came back positive for the toxic ingredients mentioned and Melanoma rates have actually tripled over the past 35-years. On the plus side, a law passed back in 2011 which prohibits the sale of sunscreens that make “waterproof” or “sweatproof” claims and must disclose cancer warnings on the bottle. Now we just have to wait for a proposed law from 2014 set forth by former President Obama called the Sunscreen Innovation Act to go into effect that would encourage a stricter FDA processes for reviewing and approving new ingredients. Although there are new broad spectrum testing standards in effect, EWG states that about half of the suncreens sold here would never be on the market in Europe, a place with a much more advanced policy on UVA protection. It’s important to get your daily Vitamin-D doses, just do it as safely as possible!
If you need help choosing the right sunscreen for you, I would love to help!