The week in review : Spring Break Hangover


Coming off the week of spring break can suck. No one has sympathy for you, because let’s face it…you just came back from 10 days of vacation in paradise and you’re tan. While I was gone for the week, I never once opened my email. Probably not the best decision, but hey, I wanted to relax. Of course, that left me in a response panic mode upon return. Not to mention my house was void of groceries, my daughter fractured her wrist, I sprained my ankle, and we decided to get a new vehicle, so I needed to go test drive a few to figure out what I wanted, stat (and in the meantime, take mine in, because it was ill. Again.)

marco island

I spent some a crapload time in the car browsing the internets. Some interesting things I came across during that time and in the past week I thought worth sharing…

Food processor vs. blender: which is better? Andrea discusses. I found this particularily interesting because I’ve had a Cusinart since 1999 and could not live without it. But I’m dying for a Vitamix. I guess I am justified in still wanting my Vitamix and still loving my Cuisinart.

With the Maryland free-range parenting family in the news again, I have to ask…when did this shift in parenting take place? We all certainly were not raised in a hyper aware, helicopter society. I thought this author addressed it pretty accurately

If anything that the whole Belle Gibson debacle should have taught us, its that the internet is full of shit. And that includes Food Babe.

This book. Read it. Its great summer fiction. But its well written, so you don’t feel like youre reading fluff.

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sunset in marco

Last week we went to the gulf coast of Southern Florida for Spring Break. Like all vacations, it went by way too fast and was all sorts of wonderful.

sunset jump

Vacation always recharges my batteries. Especially a warm one after a long, cold winter and a season of extreme busy-ness. But this vacation was different. This vacation relaxed every ounce of my being. This time, we decided to vacation with another family. We rented a home together and spent 7 days living together. Heading in, all parties were confident it would go well, but there’s always that chance that you’ll get on each other’s nerves or your kids will get on each other’s nerves.

naples beach

None of that happened. Living with our friends was wonderful. Our 6 kids got on beautifully.

pool games

Vacation time is so important to us. Not just because its a vacation from reality and responsibility, but because the kids get a chance to see mom and dad relaxed and having fun. And we get a chance to provide our kids with some pretty awesome experiences, like deep sea fishing and boating in the gulf (and swimming feet from a dolphin and manatee!). They were taken by the beauty of it all, just as we were.

Elliott catching a sting ray

Elliott catching a sting ray

fishing houses

Keewaydin Island

Keewaydin Island

There were dolphins swimming just feet from us in the water!

There were dolphins swimming just feet from us in the water!

As we were driving through Indiana, North to Wisconsin, my husband stared at me and said, “stop it. I can literally see the stress creeping back into your face. That stress has been completely gone all week. Don’t let it back.”

Sigh. Vacation.

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Tween skin issues


Teen (or tween, rather) acne. Its something no parent wishes on their child. Growing up, neither my husband nor I suffered from acne in the true sense. As a teen, I can attest to suffering from breakouts. But it was nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing a little Clearasil didn’t clear up.

When our oldest child hit his tweens, his skin sailed right through, continuing on its flawless path. So with our twins in tow, we didn’t give much thought to them entering their tweens.

And then our son started breaking out. Only it wasn’t just a few…it was more than a few. And some were cystic.

At first, I tried treating it with an OTC benzoyl peroxide. But that wasn’t doing anything. So off we went to the dermatologist. She prescribed us a cream, but frankly, at age 11, I was a bit hesitant to put it onto his skin. Afterall, the skin is a gateway to your body. Much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. I did research this cream and while it seemed relatively harmless, I was still not entirely comfortable with it. I started applying it (because I didn’t want him to get scarring) and immediately started researching more natural options. And then, one evening while watching some crap on TV, I saw a commercial for the anti-acne light therapy mask and sat up. What the what? I jotted it down on a pad of paper and several days later, went looking for it online.

I was skeptical. I figured it would be another one of those BS things. But low and behold…the reviews were legit. It was FDA approved for treating acne. And I could get it at Target. And a few weeks into the Rx cream and it hadn’t done a darn thing. So…sold!

Let me just say that This. Mask. Is. Legit.

Seriously…my husband, my child, and myself are all in awe by how well his skin responded (I’d show before and after photos, but he specifically said no). Aside from a few pesky blackheads and some small, occasional pimples around his hairline, his skin is amazing.
acne mask

The product does not use harmful UV lights. Rather, it uses blue and red light to penetrate deeply to kill acne-causing bacteria, reduce inflammation, heal breakouts and even skin tone. Each treatment lasts 15 minutes and shuts off automatically. Unfortunately, the mask only lasts for 30 treatments. But given the cost of prescription creams and even harsh OTC treatments, its a cost effective method. When we first started treatment, he was using it nightly after showering. Once he was about 15 days in, he went down to every other evening and that seems to be working great.

I am not in any way affiliated with this product or being compensated. As the mom of a teen and 2 tweens, I just wanted to share an awesome non-harmful solution that worked for us!

And I’ll be back next week to share my own skin solution…the road I’ve traveled this last year to better skin!

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The Scare.


The dreaded breast cancer scare.

Everyone knows someone it has happened to, and no one wants it to happen to them.

Mine happened back in late fall.

In late September, I went in, whistling, for my 2nd annual mammogram. The first one was easy peasy and was followed up with a happy letter, telling me to come back in a year, and this second one? Just as easy. I went on my merry way, enjoying the rest of my day.

And then one day in LATE NOVEMBER (was the radiologist on an extended vacation?), I opened the mail, thinking I would find a letter similar to the one from last year, only to have my heart end up in my stomach as I read a letter than summoned me back to the hospital for additional scans of my left breast because they found something that was “probably benign, probably not cancer, but…”

Can I just pause for a moment and ask, A) when the hell did these types of letters start coming in the mail? I thought bad suspect news always came in the version of a phone call? and comment that B) That’s not exactly wording to ease one’s mind when sent via USPS.

I called my OB/GYN’s office and the nurse assured me that there should be no cause for alarm…that should it be serious, I would have received an ominous phone call and they would want me to come back NOW. So I tried not to panic. My friends assured me this is a normal thing….that people get called back all the time.

But you know what? A tiny part of me thinks about it every. single. day and wonders and panics just a little bit -and will continue to for the next 19 days, until I get my mammogram and ultrasound.

I will take being scared any day over having the actual thing. If anything, this has taught me the importance of being diligent with annual screens. Its also made me focus on clean, healthy living even more than I was in years past.

Ladies…be sure to get your baseline mammograms done and follow up with annual scans!


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Let’s talk about Botox and fillers.

Why is the perception of women who get Botox or fillers as that of vanity? Whereas women who spend money on creams and lotions as an attempt to keep their skin looking young, not? Why is it cute to embrace wrinkles and frowned upon to do something about it? Why is there such a negative social stigma to (delicately) fighting the signs of aging? Why is it ok to buy the best push up bra, but there’s that stigma attached to having the girls lifted and re-inflated after nursing several children?

As a part of my beauty regimen, I get my eyebrows waxed and my hair colored regularly so that I look and feel good. And I work hard to keep my body fit. To keep it healthy. And frankly, to keep it looking good. And while my skin finally looks great (the adult acne is gone and I’ve gotten rid of some dark spots), I don’t feel great about myself, especially in photos, because I don’t love the deep laugh lines or the permanent 11′s that have made themselves at home on my face. I just can’t find peace with them.

I am not looking for an appearance that is ridiculous. I don’t want to look “young”…I am just not ready to look old! I am not looking to get so much Botox or fillers that you cannot see my facial expressions. I am not looking to look even remotely like Joan Rivers or the freaky cat lady or Dr. Frampf Grant. I just want to feel good about myself.

Vain? I don’t think I am vain in the sense that people use the word. But sure…I care about how I look. And when I look good, I feel good. So I guess I am vain in that sense. Besides, it would be nice to not look like I have Bitchy Resting Face 24/7. And I am not saying I will go forth and hit the needle. I just wanted to know why so many people say that creams and serums are ok, but draw the line at that?

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