News: baby skin care

10 WTF Surprises of Being a New Mom That You'll Never Read in Any Book

By Gen Cohen

Like most women, I was nervous about becoming a mom and worried a lot about what it would be like. I tried to prepare myself as best I could, and while I didn't read all the baby books, I definitely asked around. Before I gave birth, I knew I might be surprised by the challenges of breastfeeding and the weird noises my newborn would make in her sleep. I heard all about the squeeze bottle I'd soon keep by the toilet. And I was warned to get my sleep in now.

But there are some things I realized soon after becoming a mom that no one ever told me and I certainly didn't find while flipping through What to Expect When You're Expecting, or even when reading articles online chronicling the "37 Most Shocking Things You Never Knew About Motherhood." Here, 10 of the real WTF surprises and pieces of advice for first time moms.

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11 Ways to Save on After-School Activities

By Gen Cohen

Going broke funding your kid's extracurricular activities? Try these 11 tips on how to spend less on after-school extracurricular activities.

 

1. Register early

Fill out your child's registration paperwork and pay the fees as early as possible. Some organizations give a discount for early registration, and registering early gives you time to prepare for the activity so that you can accommodate it into your budget without last minute surprise expenses, says Clare K. Levison, author of Frugal Isn't Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better. Another reason to get your child enrolled early: you don't have to worry about forgetting to do it in time and then having to pay a late registration fee!

2. Ask for a discount

Some activities offer a multi-child or sibling discount, but you may not get it if you don't ask. Even if you only have one child participating in the program, check if there are any other discounts for which your child or family might qualify. You never know. A program may give a small percentage off if you or your spouse are military or law enforcement, or if your child is on the honor roll at school. "It never hurts to ask for a discount because every little bit helps," Levison says.

3. Look for a coupon

Yep, you may be able to find a coupon for your child's baseball team or dance class. "Thanks to sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, there are coupons for just about everything now, including extracurricular activities," says Michael Catania, co-founder of the savings community PromotionCode.org. "Do a quick search for the activity along with the month and year (for example, Pony League Baseball, Las Vegas, August 2016 offers) to see if what discounts might be available before you register," he says. It's also a good idea to look for discount codes when shopping for uniforms, equipment and other required items. Even if it's only a 5 percent off or BOGO offer, those savings add up.

4. Volunteer or barter

Volunteering with the organization can often reduce or remove the participation fees for your child, says consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. "You can offer to help with bookkeeping, coaching, or cleaning a dance studio, or you could offer your professional skills, whether that be marketing or web design," she says. Whatever you do, it doesn't have to be too time-consuming. It could be as simple as running the concession stands once a week. Every little bit helps, so talk to the program coordinators to see if there are ways you can pitch in while also reducing your child's fees. A couple of bonuses: You get to spend more time with your child doing something he enjoys, and depending on the activity, you may even get in a mini-workout.

5. Do a trial run

It's frustrating and financially draining when your child asks to participate in something, you fork over the cash, and then she begs to quit a couple of weeks later. If you're not sure that your kid will stick with a particular activity, ask if there's a way to try it out before making a full commitment. Some organizations will let your child to attend a class or two on a trial basis. It may be at no cost, or you may have to pay a small fee. Either way, it will give you and your kid time to see if this is really an activity she wants to be involved in, without you having to pay (and possibly lose) the whole fee.

6. Think thrifty

Of course, there are some things that should only be purchased new (such as mouthguards and helmets), but for many other things, secondhand is just as good. Asking family, friends, or neighbors for hand-me-downs is a great way to score gently used items like cleats, uniforms, bats, and art supplies for free or cheap. Buying used can keep more money in your pocketbook too. Check out thrift stores, eBay, Craigslist, yard sales, consignment shops, resellers like Play it Again Sports, or swap sites like SwapMeSports.com. And don't think that buying used means your child will get beat up gear. "A lot of times people try something, decide they don't like it (see above!) and then they have a piece of equipment that's practically brand new that they don't have a use for anymore, so it ends up at a thrift store [or other resale shop]," says Levison.

7. Rent equipment

Rather than paying for instruments, which can be expensive, look into renting. You can likely find rental options locally or through an online dealer. Another possibility: your library. "Some libraries, particularly those in big cities, offer rentals of musical instruments with just your library card," Catania says. Since you obviously won't be able to keep a library rental for the full school year, this option is best when your child is undecided about which instrument she wants to play and trying out different options. Once she's found the instrument she likes, you can look into a long-term rental from a music store or online.

8. Make meals/snacks ahead of time

In addition to the costs of the activity, many families shell out extra cash on food and snacks. Think about it: When you're leaving a long day at work and then heading to this or that practice or game, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. So you load up on snacks at the concession stand or grab takeout on the way home—and increase your spending. "Usuallly we find we spend too much money when we find ourselves in a time crunch," Levison says. "So if you can plan your meals ahead, do your shopping at the beginning of the week, and plan easy but healthy meals on the nights you have activities, it can save a lot of time and money." 

9. Save on gas

Another area that many parents don't factor into their budget with extracurricular activities is the added travel expenses. "Organize carpools with other parents and take turns driving to practices, games, and performances," Woroch says. Since everyone's schedule is likely to be busy, reach out to others to try to create a game plan as early in the season as possible. When it's your turn to drive, make sure you save on gas. "Start off by finding the lowest local prices with an app like Gas Buddy—a crowd-sourced app that offers near up-to-the-minute gas prices sorted by zip code," Catania says. And most gas stations have affiliations with credit cards and grocery stores, so if you carry a card or shop at a specific store, look to see if it can help you lower your fuel expenses.

10. Skip the add-ons

Just because your child participates in an activity doesn't mean he has to have every little item the team offers for sale. "Professional photos, videos, and extra shirts are fun to have, but the costs can really add up," Levison says. So pass on things that aren't necessities. You can take your own photos or videos, and skip the team shirts for mom and dad and show your support by wearing the team colors instead. 

11. Just say "no" 

If your kid wants to do football, soccer and swim, you may have to give him a choice. "I think we tend to want to sign our kids up for a lot of organized activities these days, but you don't have to go overboard, especially if it's affecting your finances," Levison says. Limit your child to one activity per season, and tell him to choose the one he wants to do most. If he has an interest in something else, he can do it at home or find a community center that is more affordable than, says, private art lessons. Sure, there may be some whining (or even tears), but you have to do what's right for your financial situation. And, add Levinson, this is a good opportunity to something else that's beneficial to your child: have a conversation about budgets and the cost of activities.

 

With savings like these, you can treat you and your kiddos to rad rosmbo shades! While your kids are out playing, make sure their eyes are safe! Added bonus that our shades are unbreakable.

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Sun protection beyond the shades

By Gen Cohen

Sun protection beyond the shades

10 Safe Sunscreens For Kids (Including Some You Can Find at Your Drugstore)

Repost from PopSugar
Written by Rebecca Gruber

Slather on the lotion! If you thought the breast vs. bottle debate was polarizing, wait until you talk to fellow playground moms about sunscreen for children. Though lotions and sticks protect little ones' skin from cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays, doctors advise new mamas to use physical barriers — SPF clothing, umbrellas, and shades (like our ro•sham•bo sunglasses!) — rather than lotions on babies younger than 6 months old.

Once tots reach the 6-month mark, though, we need to keep them protected from the sun without harming them in other ways. The Environmental Working Group's recommendations for the best sunscreens for tots — products that do not contain potential hormone disruptors — is considered the definitive list of safe options. According to EWG Senior Scientist David Andrews, it's inactive ingredients like retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and oxybenzone that parents need to look out for. "By and large, the ones that do well in our database are the ones that are mineral-based products with a higher percent of zinc oxide, as well as some of the products with titanium dioxide," he said.

While parents have been getting the message about switching from chemical sunscreens for children to mineral versions, one of the group's biggest concerns is how parents are using them. "[Consumers] are looking to buy higher and higher SPF values," Andrews said. "When people use higher SPF values, we're concerned that it leads to a change in behavior and an increased time in the sun and that you apply less of it. Those products may not be as effective in blocking both UVA and UVB radiation. So we steer consumers toward SPF 30 to SPF 50 products and lower and we really think those are the sweet spot of the products that are available in the marketplace."

He went on to explain, "The active ingredients in SPF 30 and SPF 100 products may be quite similar. So we're going to be doing more over the course of the next year, investigating the inactive ingredients like the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that may be reducing redness in the skin, but may not be reducing how much hits your skin. The way the SPF test is done is in changes in skin redness."

So what's a parent to do when trying to choose a safe sunscreen for children? First, check the EWG's site and app for a list of the safest and least safe options for your family. If you don't have that at your fingertips, Andrews recommends:

  1. Steering away from SPF products over 50. SPF 30-50 products depending on the situation are OK.
  2. Seek out products that use three percent avobenzone if they are chemical sunscreens or the ones that use zinc oxide as the active ingredient in natural versions. "[They] do the best job of filtering out UVA radiation across the spectrum of UVA radiation. Seek out products that use a higher percentage of zinc oxide — typically you'll find 15 to 20 percent, or three percent avobenzone."
  3. Look at inactive ingredients on the label. If possible, avoid products that use retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and avoid products using oxybenzone.
  4. Avoid spray products — they're convenient but not the best choice. Why skip the convenience of spray lotions? "You don't get a uniform coating on the skin," Andrews says. Plus, "Given the concern about the ingredients in these products, we really don't want to coat the inside of our lungs with sunscreen."

Read through to see these 10 safe sunscreens for kids (many of which can be found at your local drugstore — not just at specialty stores).

 

1. Drugstore Find: Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick, SPF 50

One of the highest-rated drugstore brand sunscreens on the market, Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick ($10) is a mineral-based sunscreen using both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block the sun's rays. Plus, in stick form, it's easy to apply to squirmy tots and it fits nicely inside a diaper bag.

 

2. Amazon Find: Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+

Adorable Baby's zinc-oxide-based Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+ ($19) does not use any synthetic ingredients. The formula earns high UVA protection and balance of UVA protection in relation to the SPF on the EWG list.

 

3. Drugstore Find: California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+

California Baby continues to manufacture safe and effective baby products that won't harm your tots. Its California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+ ($21) is one of the highest rated on the EWG's annual list, due to its 12 percent titanium dioxide formula.

 

4. Sephora (and Online) Find: Hampton Sun Sunscreen Lotion For Baby, SPF 45

A favorite brand of jet-setting moms, Hampton Sun is now gracing the bodies of their little ones thanks to its Hampton Sun Sunscreen Lotion For Baby, SPF 45 ($28). A zinc- (12 percent) and titanium- (six percent) based formula, Hampton Sun's baby lotion receives a high EWG rating due to its good UVA protection and its balance of UVA protection in relation to the SPF.

 

5. Health Food Store Find: Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30

One of the highest-rated sunscreens on the EWG list (it has a low health concern), Badger'sKids Sunscreen Cream ($16) is certified natural, using zinc oxide (18.75 percent) as a blocker and sunflower oil as its base for easy application.

 

6. Thinksport Kid's Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

Thinkbaby, which was already known for its popular bottles and sippy cups, just received an extremely high rating from the EWG for its Thinksport Kid's Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ ($10). The zinc-oxide-based sun blocker does not contain any nanoparticles, making it safe for babies and big kids alike.

 

7. Amazon Find: Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Kids, SPF 50

A natural, chemical-free sunscreen, Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Kids, SPF 50 ($15) uses a mixture of titanium dioxide (7.5 percent) and zinc oxide (10 percent) to keep skin safe. Thehighly rated lotion is available in a travel size for families on the go.

 

8. Baby Store Find: Blue Lizard Australian Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+

Blue Lizard's Australian Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($19) is made specifically for kids' sensitive skin and uses zinc oxide (10 percent) and titanium oxide (five percent) for sun blockage. It received the EWG's good rating for its UVA protection.

 

9. Baby Store Find: TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+

TruKid Sunny Days Mineral All Natural Sunscreen ($19) is quickly becoming a favorite of parents and kids alike. The mineral-based lotion, which uses zinc oxide as its sunblock,received the EWG's highest rating for its nontoxic, nonnano, and gluten-free formula.

 

10. Costco Find: The Honest Company Honest Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50+

After a misstep last year, The Honest Company is back with a new sunscreen that not only makes the grade with consumers, but is earning high ratings from the EWG. Their new Honest Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50+ ($14) is a zinc oxide-based product (19 percent) that provides excellent UVA protection and reportedly has better spreadability than the company's previous iteration.

 

And for what you can't protect with sunscreen, protect with our 100% UVA/B/C baby, junior, and adult sunglasses for the whole family! 

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15 Ways For Moms and Daughters to Have More Fun Together

By Dallas Stevens

15 Ways For Moms and Daughters to Have More Fun Together



With the chaos of juggling our own schedules with our kids' calendars, it's easy for your quality time to be limited to carpool conversations and the bedtime routine. Penciling in some one-on-one time with your favorite girl may require a little extra effort, but it'll pay off in spades. Here, 15 ways to stop stressing and start making memories.

1. Ice Cream Outing

Because calories don't count when you're spending time with your favorite girl!

2. Sign Up For a Mother-Daughter Cooking Class

The weeknight dinnertime rush tends to take the fun out of cooking. Bring it back by devoting a few hours to hands-on foodie fun with your little one. Look up a cooking school in your area — you may be surprised to find how many kid-friendly classes are out there.

3. Spa Day

Source: Thinkstock

Instead of trying to squeeze in a mani-pedi while your kids are at school or during your lunch hour, schedule appointments for two after school or on a weekend afternoon. It's a fun opportunity to indulge yourselves in some girl time.

Keep reading for more great mother-daughter date ideas!

4. Farmers Market Fun

Give her a lesson in where her food comes from by taking your daughter out for a one-on-one farmers market outing. Let her have a say in your selections, and encourage her to help turn your produce picks into dinner once you're back home.

5. Play Tourist in Your Own Town

We often take for granted that our own town or city has some pretty amazing sites to see. Spend an afternoon exploring with your girl. Head off to a destination that you've always wanted to check out, or take her to one of your own favorite spots that she hasn't seen yet.

6. Get Crafty

Source: Thinkstock

Sometimes staying home is the easiest and best way to bond. If she's got siblings, plan some crafty QT during their nap time or when dad or someone else can take them out for a bit.

7. Volunteer

Source: Thinkstock

Do good while having fun by signing up to volunteer for a few hours. It's a great opportunity to learn which causes speak to your daughter and spark a conversation about the importance of giving back.

8. Invite Grandma Along

Source: Thinkstock

What's better than two generations of family fun? Inviting a third along!

9. Get Active

Depending on her age, bring your daughter along for a jog in her stroller, a side-by-side power walk, a class at the gym, or whatever other fitness fun suits your fancy.

10. A Night at the Movies

Let your little chick pick the flick, and treat yourselves to a movie date.

11. The 9-5

Source: Thinkstock

If you're a working mom, make arrangements to bring your daughter in to visit your office for the day (or, depending on her age, an hour or two). Give her a better understanding of what her mom does for a living, and spark a conversation of what she could see herself doing as an adult.

12. Day Trippers

Take advantage of a sunny weekend afternoon, and take a meandering drive down a scenic stretch near your home, either with a drivable destination in mind or just an openness for adventure!

13. Plan a Picnic

Take the experience of planning and preparing a meal together, and make it even more special by enjoying it al fresco — just the two of you.

14. Ladies Who Lunch

Source: Thinkstock

This weekend, skip brunch or lunch with your gal pals, and instead take your special little lady out for a date a deux. A one-on-one meal is a great opportunity to get her to open up on what's happening at school, in her social circle, and more.

15. Explore Nature

Source: Thinkstock

There may be a chill in the air, but don't let it slow you down. Bundle up, and hit up a local nature trail, park, or boardwalk (hot cocoa in hand, perhaps?) for some outdoor exercise and conversation.

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Take a Hike: Essentials for Hikers

By Scott Morris

 

Hey, We Know Those Shades! (and we love to hike with them too!) Our sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection come in both kids' and adult sizes, like our light and flexible junior glasses!

With warmer weather just around the corner, urbanites are getting ready to take a brief break from the city and enjoy nature by going on a hike. New York has several hiking trails just a train ride away and it’s a great way to get moving in the great outdoors. Whether it’s just a day of hiking or you’re going on a longer excursion, be sure to come prepared with these handy hiking products.

Matador Freerain24 Backpack

Freerain24
Taking you through 14 states, the Appalachian Trail is the longest continuously marked footpath on Earth. For a hike this extensive, you will need Matador’s Freerain24 Backpack and an adventurous friend. Nearly 2,200 miles long, the Appalachian Trail has only been successfully completed by 15,000 people.

Are you up for the challenge? If you’re a hardcore hiker then the answer is a no-brainer. The real question is do you have Matdaor’s Freerain24 Backpack to accompany you on this arduous but rewarding journey? Made out of strong and durable fabric, it’s the ideal hiking bag to carry all of your necessities. For a hike this long pack extra clothes, plenty of water, a compass, a map, and a headlamp. If you choose to navigate with a GPS system, be aware that battery life is limited so throw a rechargeable gadget in your Freerain24 Backpack for extra precaution. Its most unique and convenient feature is this backpack’s compact design. It can fold up so small it can literally fit into the palm of a hand.

When unpacked it turns into a 24 Liter backpack with a waterproof main compartment.

– Ultra-lightweight (5.5 oz) for easy transport
– Has 24-liter capacity with multiple pockets for easy-access storage
– Made with Cordura® 30D waterproof materials and Hypalon® rolltop construction to keep gear dry
– Breathable straps with adjustable top stabilizers for improved ergonomics
– Puncture resistant

 

Stojo

Stojo
Rule number 1: Always pack water for an extra day. Whether long or short, staying hydrated is key when hiking and with Stojo you will always have a cup to quench your thirst.

Don’t make a rookie mistake of not packing enough water. It can be a matter of life and death. Seriously! It cannot be stressed enough how important hydration is during any physical activity, but especially during hiking when water supply is limited. The hike you assumed would only take two hours can sometimes take four, a miscalculation that is common for a novice hiker. Bring water and lots of it. Save a ton of room in your bag by packing Stojo’s collapsible pocket cup. Made from mostly silicone and recyclable materials, this leak-proof cup has a unique design that allows it to “collapse” into a 1.75-inch disc that can fit right in your pocket. When opened up the cup can stand at 5 inches tall, about the same size of a standard coffee cup. Stojo is also devoted to making an environmental impact when you use 1 Stojo cup you are saving 500 disposable cups a year from piling up in landfills.

The Stoja Collapsible Cup is loaded with features:
– Available in 6 vibrant colors.
– Works for hot or cold beverages.
– BPA-free with no phthalates, glue or lead.
– Food-grade rated silicone cup and stopper.
– Dishwasher and microwave safe.

 

Ro·Sham·Bo Baby Sunglasses with UVA and UVB Protection

RoShamBo (1)

It was a tough hike but you have finally made it to your destination. As the sun slowly drowns into the horizon and the sky fades into pinks and purples you realize a sunset is the perfect reward. Set your bag down and view Mother Nature’s masterpiece through Ro Sham Bo Sunglasses.

No one goes outside planning to get sunburned. While surrounded by beautiful scenery you may forget that the sun’s rays are relentlessly cascading down on every part of your body. Hiking may expose you to long hours in the sun. Protecting your skin by wearing protective and lightweight clothing, a hat and sunscreen is great but most people forget the importance of sunglasses. Ro·Sham·Bo sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection totally blocks out 100% of those harmful rays. Even during winter hikes sunglasses are ideal. They can prevent snow blindness which is when snow reflects light that can be discomforting to the eye. Available in 8 vivid colors, these shades are durable and lightweight. Due to their flexible design they are virtually indestructible. Bend, twist and stretch your pair of shades without breaking them. Made exclusively in Italy, Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's eyewear is stylish and offers guaranteed protection against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Make sure your little one has a pair too, their baby corneas will need the protection as well.

 

Matador Pocket Blanket

PocketBlanket (2)

Overnight backpacking in the Grand Canyon can be a little overwhelming with the extra planning and extra packing. It will be all worth it once you are cuddled up in your Matador Blanket gazing at the night skies.

With its dark skies and clean air, the Grand Canyon is one of the best places to star gaze in the United States. Every year in June they throw a Star Party where thousands of people gather to gaze at planets, star clusters and galaxies. Nights can be cool, even in the summer so make sure to wrap up in a warm Matador Pocket Blanket. This ultra-compact pocket blanket can be as small as a deck of cards when folded but when unpacked pans out to about 63” x 44″. Keep yourself nice and toasty during an overnight hike or lay it out on the ground for everyone to use. Puncture resistant, you won’t have to worry about twigs or rocks poking any holes in your blanket. Storage and portability is super convenient just fold it back up and stick it in your backpack or pocket. It will be ready to use the next time it gets chilly or you need to take a rest stop during your hike.

 

Leisure Leash

LeisureLeash

Take your furry friend on your next hiking adventure with Leisure Leash. Your dog will love the physical activity and will keep you motivated along the way.

Dogs are the best hiking buddies you could ever ask for. They are loyal, trustworthy and can alert you if anything is near by. Staying hands free is optimal while backpacking, but after a certain point your four-legged friend may want to roam freely. Holding your dog’s leash, especially while hiking can be inconvenient but with Leisure Leash your trusty companion can carry his or her own leash. This new leash system allows quality time to be more enjoyable and easier for both you and your dog. It’s a two-part system that is equipped with a slip collar and a leash. Simply clip the leash to itself and wrap it around the collar and slip it around your dog’s neck. Comfortable and lightweight, your dog won’t even notice his leash has become a second collar. Leisure Leash is versatile, use it for short-leash heeling, medium-leash running and off-leash training.  Innovative and simple to use, the Leisure Leash ranges from 22” to 27” but extensions are available for additional lengths if necessary.

 

Matador Camera Base Layer

CameraBaseLayer

Dream it. Live it. Frame it! What’s a walk of a lifetime without snapping a few pictures? With Matador’s Camera Base Layer you will always be ready to take the best shots. While hiking in Yosemite National Park, you will inevitably come across some of the most surreal landscapes in the United States.

From Glacier Point to Yosemite Falls, Mother Nature is ready for her close up. For photography enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals, the ultra-lite Matador Camera Base Layer bag is designed to easily slip out your camera to capture precious moments on the next vacation, camping trip or day hike! Accessible and comfortable to hike with you can carry it around your neck or sling it over your shoulder. Remove your camera from the bag in less than a second for full access to all buttons and controls to capture all of Yosemite’s iconic scenery. The one-size-fits-all roll-top design can house DLSR and Mirco 4/3 camera lenses making the Camera Base Layer versatile with every camera model and size. Yosemite is a photographers dream don’t miss out on the beautiful sunsets and scenic pictures.

 

Sydney Paige Backpack

SydneyPaigeBackpack

Known as one of the most dangerous hikes, the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii is only for experienced and physically fit hikers. With steep volcanic slopes and narrow paths a high quality Sydney Paige backpack will be able to endure this challenging hike.

Compared to mountain biking or rock climbing, hiking can seem like piece of cake. Putting one foot in front of the other may be second nature to you but on an insanely hard hike you will need to be in top-notch shape. You’ll want to be strategic with what you bring when it comes to the Kalalau Trail. A Sydney Paige backpack is perfect to travel light but big enough to carry your necessities. With one large main compartment, a drawstring and a magnetic closure you can fit shoes, clothes, water bottles and more. The Guidi Laptop Rucksack has one front and two side accessory pockets with metal zippers and padded back and shoulder straps for added comfort. Created by a mompreneur who wanted to show her kids that anyone could change the world, Sydney Paige will give a child in need a backpack for each one sold.

Sydney Paige’s mission to break the cycle of poverty involves:
– Donating the same high quality backpack as purchased.
– Filling each donated backpack with a full set of age-appropriate school supplies, food, clothing, and hygiene kits.
– Letting customers choose which non-profit company receives their matching bag and supplies.

 

Matador Droplet

Droplet

It’s always a smart idea to pack extra clothes while hiking. Climate changes go change with little to no warning. Depending on the season you pack a set of warmer or lighter clothes with Matador Droplet.

How many times has the weatherman predicted a perfect forecast only to be proven completely wrong? Like that one time he promised sunshine and blues skies but instead it rained for 6 hours straight. Don’t be caught unprepared if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Weather can be unpredictable especially when you are heading into the backcountry. Pack a change of clothes for emergencies or unexpected climate changes in your Matador Droplet. Whether it gets hot, cold or you decide to take a dip in the lake, this handy bag can carry it call. Light and versatile this bag is also waterproof guaranteeing your goods will stay dry. It’s large enough to carry a whole outfit and also other essentials like first-aid supplies, rain gear, an insulated jacket or extra socks. The Matador Droplet Wet Bag can fold up to fit right in the palm of your hand. It’s compact design fits perfectly on a droplet shaped silicon keychain making portability convenient and simple.

 

DryFins

DryFins

Stop Trail Chafing 2016! Painful chafing while hiking can be a guy’s worst nightmare. Next time you are about to go backpacking wear DryFins so you won’t have to cut your adventure short.

Guys don’t like to talk about it but with DryFins they won’t ever have to. Jump into a refreshing lake and swim freely after a long hike without worrying about chaffing afterwards. Designed for guys by guys, this brand was exclusively designed for active males who love to swim, fish or hike. Unlike traditional swim trunks, these top quality board shorts have a quick dry liner designed to eliminate irritation from chafe, rash and burn. The signature DryFins is a comfortable cut board short with a super-soft outer shell that looks great wet or dry. Two deep pockets can hold sunglasses, snacks, a flashlight or any other hiking goodies you may need. Available in men and boy sizes you can choose from a classic red or blue and coming soon, green. Say goodbye to the uncomfortable chafe waddle with DryFins.

 

Matador Surface

Surface
Fishing while on a backpacking trip is the perfect way to take in the beauty and peacefulness nature has to offer. Lay down your Matador Surface at the dock and catch a giant trophy fish.

Backcountry lakes and fishing go together like a fish in water. Lay down your fishing tackle box and fishing poles on a Matador Surface and prepare for an epic day of fishing. Made from ultra composite material, this portable work surface covers a large of space of about 53” x 36.” Equipped with a “hardware trap” you can put hooks, bait, sinkers, bobbers and extra line inside. It’s a hiking essential you would never think you needed until you lose track of your needle nose plier. You can also use it at home for home repairs or when working on your car. It’s gas, oil, grease resistant and 100% waterproof. Printed on an easy pack-folding pattern, the Matador Surface can is compact and thin. It can fit comfortably in a toolbox or in your Matador Freerain24 Backpack. Like the majority of Matador’s products this portable work surface also folds down right down the middle into the size of your palm.

Matador Surface also includes:
– Metric and standard ruler markings
– A precision laser etched mm rule
– Protractor
– Angle Marking detents
– Bottle openers

 

ECOlunchbox

ECOlunchbox

For long hikes with steep terrains make sure to avoid food that will make you fizzle out such as chips, sodas and sweets. With ECOlunchbox you can pack tasty and energy boosting snacks to keep you going until the end.

Whether you are hiking for 2 miles or 20, you will need food that gives you plenty of energy. Some high-energy snacks are trail mix, dried fruit, sunflower seeds or chocolate covered soy nuts if you have a sweet tooth. With ECOlunchbox you can pack simple yet nutritious foods to avoid cramps, nausea or even dizziness while you are hiking. This reusable lunchbox is made entirely from non-toxic materials such as stainless steel, cotton and plastic-free silicone. ECOlunchbox is a socially and environmentally aware company that is on a “Plastic-free” mission to keep the planet as green as possible. Their lunchboxes are specially designed to healthy for people and the planet. Store your food in the most efficient and healthy way with awarding winning ECOlunchbox.

ECOlunchbox also has a line of plastic-free lunch bags and snack containers.
– Dishwasher safe
– 100% Non-toxic
– Stainless steel
– Reusable
– Waste-free
– BPA-free
– Phthalate-free

 

Allison Izu Sunrise Sweat Pants

AlizonIzuPants

Hiking trips don’t stop fashionista’s from looking fierce even if they hot and sweaty. Throw on some of Allison Izu’s Sunrise Sweat Pants with your hiking boots and look like the ultimate outdoors babe.

You’re tired, hungry and drenched in sweat but who cares because yourSunrise Skinny Sweat Pants fit exactly the way they should on your petite frame. Perfect for early mornings in the backcountry and made especially for petite women, these sweat pants are casual and fashionable. For women with a bold and daring sense of style choose Allison Izu’s zebra inspired animal print. If you lean more towards minimalist fashion than their dark grey sweat pants will fit into your wardrobe perfectly. Allison Izu Song spotted a huge problem in the fashion industry while she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. The majority of women’s fashion was designed for tall women leaving petite women at a huge disadvantage. She decided to fix this problem by creating, Allizon Izu a luxurious line specifically for women 5’6” and shorter. Made in Hawaii, you can say goodbye to long pants that drag across the floor and sleeves that swallow your arms whole. Customers will love the quality of fabrics, trims, constructions and variety.

 

Play Again Now

PlayAgainNow

With hiking season quickly approaching you may be training extra hard to reach your fitness goals on time. PlayAgainNow is a daily nutritional supplement drink aiding in muscle recovery that you can feel in just 7 to 14 days. This daily sports nutrition drink supplement is designed to combat soreness and stiffness and can be consumed by athletes or active people of any age or fitness level.

This beverage contains hyaluronic acid (HA) and MSM, which acts as a shock absorber and lubricant for muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. After challenging yourself at the gym make sure to recover your muscles with Play Again Now. This drink is caffeine free, gluten free and contains zero calories and carbs.

repost from http://www.downtownmagazinenyc.com/take-hike-essentials-hikers/

 

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Connecting with Autism Spectrum Kids

By Scott Morris

Connecting With ASD Children (from Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine)
Autism_Awareness_Ribbon

Communicating and connecting with someone who has Autism can be difficult. If you have a loved on or a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder you might notice they have difficulty making eye contact, or they may withdraw into themselves or they might seem uninterested in relating to family members. As a parent these symptoms can be frustrating and heartbreaking but there are ways you can remove boundaries that this disorder has created. As part of Autism awareness month we want to help you break down the barriers of ASD.

How common is ASD? According to the CDC approximately 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder. From a study performed by the CDC about 1 in 6 children in the United Stated had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy and autism. ASD is also more common in boys.

Although ASD has no cure, there is still hope through treatment. Doctors and other health experts have learned the key on how to deal and communicate with kids with Autism.

BayCare recommends we should:

  • Be patient. Many children with ASD take longer to process information. Try slowing down your conversation to his or her speed.
  • Teach your child how to express anger without being too aggressive. Children with ASD should know they shouldn’t have to hold in their anger.
  • Be persistent yet resilient. Don’t get upset if your child does not respond to you as you’d like. Many children with ASD have trouble both showing and controlling their responses.
  • Be polite. Children with ASD respond best to positive reinforcement, so make sure to reward good behavior.
  • Ignore irritating attention-getting behavior. ASD children may act badly at times to get you to focus on them. The best way to prevent bad behavior is by ignoring it.
  • Interact through physical activity. ASD children tend to have short attention spans, especially when it comes to communicating. By letting your child run around and play outside it allows them to relax and feel calmer.
  • Be affectionate. Children with ASD just like other children need a hug every once in awhile. Often times children with ASD they have trouble showing their feelings, but they still need to know you love them.

Upcoming events for Autism: 

Tampa Bay Autism Speaks Walk 

The Tampa Bay chapter of Autism Speaks will hold this event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. Proceeds will support Autism Speaks’ mission: To fund research and family and adult services.

 

Ro.Sham.Bo.Baby 

These adorable sunglasses for kids, like these black toddler Wayfarer sunglasses, come in a variety of colors and sizes. Designed to care for your baby or toddler’s eyes, a portion of the proceeds of these stylish specs goes to the Autism Research Institute.

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Best Baby Carriers!

By Scott Morris

Check out this best baby carrier review to find the best baby carrier for your newborn!

Reposted from Lucie's List

People have been wearing babies for centuries. We could learn a thing or two from our ancestors.

American women went away from babywearing a couple of generations ago when doctors preached that a baby who received too much love, touch, and attention would be “spoilt.”

Now we know better: babies desperately want to hear the sound of your voice and the beating of your heart. They also have a very good sense of smell; just the scent of mommy or daddy is enough to calm their nerves. In fact, one study showed that infants who were carried/worn during the day cried and fussed 43% less (overall) and 51% less in the evening hours (4 pm to midnight)1. Yes, please! Sign me up for that.

The Tula Baby Carrier

The Tula Baby Carrier

Babywearing is also a practical logistical solution: wearing your baby allows you to go about your day like a normal person.

In the early days (before your baby can sit unassisted), babywearing is the only practical way to do things like grocery shopping, where you really need your hands free to push a cart. Things like getting the mail, walking the dog, going through airport security and boarding a plane, doing housework, or navigating through a crowded street market becomes infinitely easier with a baby carrier.

Nay, downright enjoyable!

ErgoBaby Carrier

Ergobaby Carrier

 Your Lifestyle

As with strollers, there is no one carrier that is perfect for every situation, so my advice is to decidehow you will primarily use the carrier, then go from there. Meaning… will you use it for shorter periods of time, for doing things around the house, taking short walks around the neighborhood – OR – will you use it for longer periods of time, like going on long walks or hikes. Or both.

Speaking of lifestyle, excuse me while I grossly overgeneralize and stereotype people, but I really have noticed that there are two very different types of moms out there: the walkers and the drivers.

The walker is a mom who lives in a city or walkable suburb. They walk to neighborhood parks and cafes and take public transportation sometimes (or a lot). Perhaps they also go hiking, visit street markets/festivals, and generally have more of a metropolitan lifestyle. These moms greatly benefit from longer-term babywearing. (I just described all of my mommy friends in San Francisco.)

The driver is a mom who lives in the suburbs and rarely gets from A to B on foot. This mom mostly drives everywhere and her baby/toddler tends to spend most time away from home in her car seat or stroller. Perhaps this mom also has a long commute from work and doesn’t tend to leave the house again once she arrives home. These moms will be just fine with a “small baby” carrier and probably won’t need/use one after 6 months or so. (I just described all of my mommy friends in Atlanta and Tampa.)

After living in both environments, I can tell you that the needs of these two groups are very different (sorry for overgeneralizing, but it’s kinda true). (Yes, I know you can fall somewhere in the middle, just humor me.) 

Picking an Infant Carrier

Infant carriers are smaller and meant to be worn anywhere from 0-4 to 0-9 months, at which point you would switch to a larger “soft structured carrier,” which will take you well into toddlerhood.

Nesting Days

Nesting Days Newborn Carrier

You could also skip the infant carrier and go straight to a soft structured carrier to save some money – with the understanding that young babies (0-6 months) tend to get swallowed up in most SSCs.

Furthermore, many of the soft structured carriers (Ergo, for example), require the purchase of a newborn adapter in order to use it with a young baby (0-6 months). The newborn adapter is often about the same price as some of the infant carriers below, so…. you’re better off just getting an infant carrier that’s appropriate for young infants. Your choice.

Lucie's List (Meg Collins)2. Best Baby CarriersFollow On

1. Original Baby Bjorn ~ $56+

Yes, she’s wearing socks on her hands. Sue me, it was cold…

For me, this is hands-down the easiest carrier to take on and off, especially if you leave it in its semi-intact position after taking it off. In the Bjorn, your baby can face in or out, which is fab. It can also be used very early on for newbs without needing a special newborn adapter. Lucie loved facing out in the Bjorn so she could watch the world go by.

However, this is not Sweden’s finest piece of engineering… the downside for the parent is the ouch-factor: think of carrying a heavy backpack on the front of your body. This carrier exerts a great deal of pressure on the lower back and the straps tend to dig into your shoulders. This results in a condition I call “Bjorn back” or “Baby back” (you may also be stricken with Baby wrist, Baby hips and knees, or Baby shoulder — none of which are pleasant). The BabyBjorn Miracle is slightly easier on the back, but for that price? I think you can do better.

People also love to hate on the Bjorn because it’s a dreaded “crotch dangler” [drink!], which means the baby is not in an ergonomically correct position and, in theory, could develop hip dysplasia. With casual use, I don’t think this is a real issue. However, for baby’s sake, I would not wear it heavily. Speak to your doctor if you have concerns.

bjorn

Having just talked all that smack, I have to admit I LOVE the Bjorn for its easy on/off, around the house convenience. Need to throw it on to unload the dishwasher, get the mail, or tend to another child? YEP! For 0-4 months or so, this is a very handy carrier indeed. Closeted, crotch-dangling mothers around America agree. But after baby hits the 15 lb mark? Forget it, your back will be DYING. It absolutely pains me to see moms or dads carrying around older infants or even young toddlers in a goddang Bjorn. Ouch, people! It makes me want to have an impromptu baby carrier intervention.

I’m not sure I would buy one new, but if you can borrow one from a friend for the first few months, you’ll be glad you did. It’s all about options! BabyBjorn introduced a new carrier, the Baby Carrier One, named so to be “the only carrier you’ll need from birth through toddlerhood.” This is a pricey (but pretty nice!) carrier that behaves more like a traditional soft structured carrier, like the Ergo, but with the convenience of easy in and out that Bjorn is known for. Read our complete review of the BabyBjorn One.


2. Moby Wrap Original ~ $48

The Moby is the bizzaro Bjorn: difficult to get on, but a pleasure to wear. The closeness and comfort that you have with a Moby is like no other, mainly because you are literally wrapping baby to your body so you move together as one unit.

moby baby carrier

The Moby is a single, long piece of stretchy fabric that you tie around you and your baby and, like grits, is an acquired taste. It takes a bit of practice to tie it correctly, but once you do, you’ll be in love. Unlike the Bjorn, it’s great for wearing for long durations because it doesn’t cause back fatigue. Seriously though, I would never have figured out how to tie it if I had just read the manual.

I made an instructional video here:

Just remember: it takes some practice and patience. If you lack both of these qualities, see #3. The Moby is totally perfect for your 0-6 month old baby and at ~$45, it’s very affordable.

  • A lesser known, but similar wrap is the Boba Wrap. Many moms like it better because it’s more stretchy and less bulky (and cheaper!).
  • Ergobaby released the Ergobaby Wrap in March of 2014. This wrap has a built-in pocket to store all the fabric so it doesn’t drag on the ground. It’s about $80 though; almost double the price of the others. So unless someone else is buying… see my review here.

3. Baby K’tan (pronounced Ka-TAHN) ~ $50

The K’tan is the Moby without all of the intricate tying – the best of both worlds if you ask me. Your baby can face in or out (yay!), and can be carried on your hip when they get older. Unlike most other carriers, the K’tan is not one-size-fits-all. It is sized to fit the wearer (you), not your babe. Therefore, you may not be able to share it with your partner if there is a great size difference (which there usually is). This is the biggest downside.

For a video on how the K’tan compares to something like the Moby, click here.

The Baby K'Tan baby carrier

The Baby K’tan

And like the Moby, the price is right at ~$49. Score!

Notes:

  • Pay close attention to the sizing recommendations. If you are at all in-between sizes, get the smaller one. The material is quite stretchy.
  • It comes with an extra piece of fabric that you can tie around to give you extra support (more like a Moby) if you feel like you need it. Some people forget about this piece then complain it isn’t secure enough. It’s there – use it.

4. Nesting Days ~ $89+

The Nesting Days carrier is different because you wear it around your tummy, like a shaper, which makes it very secure, comfortable, and totally hands free. This carrier also gives much needed tummy support after giving birth, especially for C-section moms.


Snug as a bug

The creator of Nesting Days, Julie Arvan, is a nurse and postpartum doula who also worked in the apparel industry. With the Nesting Days carrier, she brought together the best of both worlds. The fabric’s are soft, stretchy, and completely machine washable.

This has become my go-to gift for new moms and the friends who received one can’t stop raving about it. See our demonstration video here.

Nesting Days is ‘made-to-order’ in small batches in San Francisco. Immediate delivery is $99. Pre-orders that ship in 4 to 6 weeks are $89. Sizing is based on your pre-pregnancy dress size. They run a little small, so size up when you order. Wrong size?  Nesting Days sends you the right size in a few days, and a pre-paid envelope for the return.  Made for newborns 5-18 pounds. You’re going to love going skin-to-skin!

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Beach/Pool Product Review From San Diego Family Magazine!

By Scott Morris

Beach/Pool Product Review

beach

Beach and Pool Products! Headed to the beach, pool or waterpark this summer? Check out these cool new products to make your trip easy and fun.

 

shark

 

Sharkbanz
$59; Sharkbanz.com

Sharkbanz is a new wearable that uses patented magnetic technology to interfere with sharks’ sensitive electroreceptors and deter attacks. Simple to use, store, and durably built for surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and general beach-going. Sharkbanz use no chemicals, batteries or electricity to deter sharks. The wearer just straps it on any time they’re about to head into the ocean, and they comfortably fit on children. “Easy to put on, stays on well and so far we have not had any problems with sharks so it works great!” says Gavin.

 

carryall

 

The Freezable Carryall Lunch Bag
$19.99; PackIt.com

This stylish tote is a great option for all your lunch needs. Whether it’s a big pasta salad or a hearty meal to bring to an outdoor event, this bag has the room to fit it all. The front storage pouch provides extra room for utensils or any other personal items. "I love that you can just pull it out of the freezer, throw your lunch, drinks and snacks in and head to the beach!" says Laura.

 

mad hippie

 

Mad Hippie Facial SPF
$24.99; MadHippie.com

Chemical-free and all natural 30+ facial SPF utilizes zinc oxide—the safest and most natural physical blocking agent available. Combined with naturally photoprotective oils, red raspberry seed oil, avocado oil and carrot seed oil, plus vitamin C + E + Ferulic acid, this hydrating blend offers broad-range antioxidant protection from photo-aging. "Nice and thick and not greasy at all," says Michelle. "Rubs in really well so I feel my kids are completely protected for a day at the pool."

 

 

glasses

Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's waterproof baby sunglasses
$20; roshambobaby.com
Designed specifically for babies and children’s use, abuse and love of putting things in their mouths, Ro·Sham·Bo's waterproof baby sunglasses, like these bright blue baby sunglasses, are so durable that they can be bent, stretched, pulled, stepped on (they have even been run over and survived!) and bounce right back to shape. Ro·Sham·Bo Baby shades come in baby, junior and adult sizes. They block 100% of UVA/B rays, have a shatter resistant lens and are small parts tested, so safe for babies. Full lens and damage replacement is guaranteed if lens or frames break or get damaged. "Genius! Indestructible children's sunglasses! They look great and I can throw them in our beach bag and go," says Suzanne.

 

chair

 

Nautica® Beach Chair and Umbrella
$39.99-$49.99; BedBathandBeyond.com

This stylish, lightweight beach collection from Nautica is perfect for staying cool and relaxed when at the shore. Features a 5-position beach chair and 7-foot beach umbrella. "Durable, different colors and designs to choose from and easy to carry as a backpack," says Robyn. "Perfect chair and shade for the beach or a soccer game."

 

speaker

 

Swimmer Jr Speaker
$39.99; PolkAudio.com

At the approximate size of a racquet ball, the Swimmer Jr. by Polk BOOM is Bluetooth speaker that delivers surprisingly loud, high quality sound. It is also waterproof so your teens and tots won’t have to worry about dropping it in the pool while you’re on vacation this summer- plus, it will make shower time a lot more fun. Features a celebrated flexible tail design that can be hung, looped or attached to any object such as a backpack, a belt loop, bike handlebar, etc. All you have to do is link the speaker to your smartphone via Bluetooth and the kids will be jamming in no time. "My son attaches it to his backpack so he always has a speaker with him," says Tracy.



plate

 

The Great Plate
$15; GreatPlate.net

The Great Plate is an innovative plate and cup holder in one. It is the perfect companion for every occasion, from slumber parties to popcorn and movie nights. Easily allows kids to hold both their snacks and beverage comfortably, keeping inevitable spills at bay. BPA-free, dishwasher/microwave safe, reusable and recyclable. Sold in a set of four in bright, cheerful colors. "Great for outdoor snack use and they float!" says Craig.

 

 

chill

 

Chill Factor™ Drink Bottle
$18.99; http://thechillfactor.com/drink-bottle

Stay hydrated when playing outdoors during the summer with the Chill Factor™ Drink Bottle, a color changing water bottle for both kids and adults! Simply place the water bag in the freezer prior to use, and when ready to hit the park, the trail, or the beach, pour in water or any room temperature drink. Use your hands to squeeze the water bottle and in seconds, your drink will be chilled, staying cold for up to two hours. When cool, the new hyper color function shows you how cool your bottle is. "My kids love this," says Tracy. "And they are easy to grab and take to the pool."

 

spray

 

Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 8 oz. Airless Pump
$33.99; BeyondCoastal.com

Beyond Coastal's top-rated 100% natural sunscreen provides shelter from UVA rays with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. SPF 30 effectively blocks 97% of UVB rays, which cause sunburn.  This ultimate skin care is moisturizing, water resistant and hydrates skin with aloe vera, shea butter, and vitamin C. "Easy to apply and stay on whether the kids are in the pool or at the beach," says Laura.

 

trotter

Super Soft® Water Trotter
$129.99; BedBathandBeyond.com

The kids will jump for joy with this adorable Super Soft Water Trotter pool toy. They'll have so much fun racing around the pool with this ride-on horse, featuring built-in safety handles to help kids keep their balance. Perfect for the horse crazy kid. Vinyl coated for durability. Recommended for ages 5 years and up. "This is my kids favorite pool toy!" says Ramona. "Everyone loves to play with it, regardless of age."

 

shore

Shore Jr Sandals
$39.99; us.Hi-Tec.com

Going on an adventure in the sun? Need to splash through some water? The Hi-Tec Shore JR is the perfect sandal for every kid. This sandal is constructed with a soft synthetic upper for comfort, durability and breathability. A shock cord and adjustable heel strap ensure a customized and secure fit. The EVA midsole absorbs impact for all-day comfort and a rubber outsole provides grip on any terrain, making the Shore Jr. the ultimate kid's summer sandal. Adult shoe selections also available. "Perfect for the beach or tidepooling," says Erin.

 

derby

Derby Duck
$59.99; DerbyDuckFun.com

Taking the form as a classic yellow rubber ducky with sunglasses, this 72-inch-long stylish inflatable duck is made with durable, heavy-duty vinyl and has a recessed seating area that's comfortable for lounging. It has two built-in handles on its sides, giving passengers plenty of stability as well as a convenient cup holder to keep drinks cool and fresh. The Derby Duck pool float can hold multiple people, making it the perfect way to combine relaxation and recreation in every backyard swimming pool. This Derby Duck is the perfect item to have at every pool party during the summer! For ages 6 and up. "I love the built-in cup holders," says Craig. "Great for lounging around in the pool on a hot day."

 

 

 

 

aloe

Too Cool Key West Aloe
$10; KeyWestAloe.com

Summer weather can damage and diminish skin by drying out precious moisture and nutrients. But adding back what you lose with a little spritz of hydration may be the remedy to your woes. Infused with hydrating properties from 80% of Aloe Vera and the protection of Red Algae, skin will soak up the moisture and keep it locked in for the months ahead. "Feels refreshing on my skin after a day in the sun," says Tammy.

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