An Uncomplicated Life Blog: July 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DIY Acne Clearing Toner

If you suffer from acne, try this all natural DIY facial toner to clear up your breakouts


 I was gifted with great genes: I'm tall. I'm slender. I'm smart. I have straight, white teeth. I like to think I'm kinda funny, even if only on my best days. But where I tanked in the gene pool is my skin. I have had acne prone skin since I was a pre-teen. Back in those days I attempted to over-treat it and developed "combination skin", drying out any of the normal/healthy sections with aggressive acne treatments. When I was pregnant, my skin was about as bad as it was when I was a teenager! And then I got it under control after Otto was born... Until I stopped breastfeeding. Since then, my skin has been a complete horror. I don't wear makeup most days, and I've been embarrassed to go out in public. When I was pregnant and couldn't do the aggressive chemical treatments, I learned that oils and natural products actually worked BETTER! So after a bunch of research and basically becoming your personal horrible-skin-test-lab-rat, I've come up with a DIY toner that really clears out stubborn acne. Even that dreaded hormonal acne. Yassssss!

This easy DIY toner cleans and freshens to reduce acne and scaring


When I was boobie feeding lil O, I used this DIY acne clearing face wash and it did WONDERS. My skin cleared up completely in two weeks, and stayed clear until I stopped with the boobie feeds. When you wean, there's a massive hormone shift - and I even took about two full months to wean! I was also battling an extraordinarily humid Texas summer. Add the hormones and the high humidity and my skin was about the worst it's been since I hit puberty and shot up to my glorious 5'10 self. Gene pool win met gene pool fail.


Anyway, my wonderful coconut oil/baking soda/essential oil acne clearing face wash was no longer enough! I needed more. Being the {un}smelly hippie that I am, I immediately looked into some go-to, centuries old (um, at least) stand-bys: apple cider vinegar and witch hazel. I added a few of my fav, thousands of years proven essential oils.

Not so much for the benefits of the essential oils, but honestly? I think apple cider vinegar STINKS. I know people who drink it and wash their hair with it and I'm just over here like the most basic of white girls with her "cannot even" to the smell of that stuff.

But to cure some nasty, ever-lingering acne? Ooooooook, twist my arm. I'll plug my nose. And add some great oils. And hope this stuff doesn't smell as I sweat throughout our 100+ degree summer days. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't smell as you sweat!)


So! Here's how I made it. And yes (shameless plug) you should use it with my DIY face wash.

DIY Acne Clearing Toner 
- 1/2 C witch hazel
- 10 drops lemon essential oil 

Witch hazel has been used for thousands of years by Native Americans for it's gentle cleaning ability. apple cider vinegar is used for just about everything it seems, but from my research it has cleaning and anti-inflammatory properties, which is beneficial for clearing acne. In terms of the essential oils, lavender helps to calm any breakouts and irritation you may have on your face, tea tree is a natural antibacterial cleaner (bacteria is what's causing those breakouts) and lemon helps to fade any scarring you may have from past acne.

Want more information on essential oils and the products used to go with them? Check out my Products I Love page!

Mix everything together in a small bottle that you can either unscrew or pop the top and pour a small amount out of and boom! You're in business. Use a cotton ball or pad and wipe it over your face after you've washed it in the morning and the evening. Give this DIY acne clearing toner about two weeks and watch your face clear up, even if you live in a hot and humid climate like me!

Monday, July 25, 2016

School Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

If your toddler is headed off to preschool this fall, check out these school lunch ideas they'll love to eat!

 

It's surreal to be sitting down to write this post, as we're just about to wrap up our summer session of preschool. At the same time, that means the normal school year starts in a few weeks. Where did the summer go?! Anyway, I have a something to confess about this year's summer preschool session: I sent Henry with the exact same lunch. Everyday. It was pathetic! But I have a picky eater, and he's very distracted by eating with all the other kids to boot, so I reverted to his favorite (PB&J) every. single. day. Mother of the year award goes to yours truly, sorry other mamas. I promised myself I'd do better this fall, so I've rounded up some of the best school lunch ideas for toddlers.

This post rounds up 4 great, healthy lunch options to pack your child for preschool that he or she will actually eat - not just throw on the floor!


Yes, even my picky eater will eat these! And if it will pass Henry's test, your toddler (or even grade school aged kiddo) will definitely get down with them. It's real easy to search Pinterest and find things like, "grilled chicken and rice cups" and "zucchini sweet potato fritters" for toddler lunch ideas. First, who the hell has time to make that?! I work from home part time and aint nobody got that kinda time. Second, you think my picky toddler is going to eat a chicken and rice cup (and dip it in the sauce that went with the recipe) while he sits with his classmates?! Nope, he's not. But here's what he will do: He's going to throw the sauce because it looks suspect, and steal little Sally's PJ&J her mom made her.

The number of pins I saw with things on a stick was shocking too. Like, do moms really put their toddler's food on a weapon pointy skewer and send them off to preschool??! Do schools even allow that nonsense in the lunchroom? And don't get me started about all the food I saw cut into cutesy shapes with the help of cookie cutters. One post even boasted a sandwich in the shape of Hello Kitty, complete with whisker cutouts. Maybe I'm alone over here, but that's a little too Leave It To Beaver for this momma. Aint nobody got time fo dat! Especially when half of it will get eaten, a quarter of it will end up on Henry's shirt and where the rest goes is a damn mystery.

Long way of saying, I had to find simple lunch ideas that don't take too much time to prepare, and are basic enough for my toddler to manage eating them. Or, you know, about half of it. Specialty "fritters" are great to attempt on a weekend, but I'm not waking up early to fry my son some pureed veggies for his lunch! Nope, these needed to be make-the-night-before friendly, too.

Here are the best school lunch ideas for toddlers, round-up style:

Pizza Mini Quiches
Eggs are a big time favorite in this house. Momables came up with this great recipe, although I'd probably skip the pepperoni and go light on the veggies (or make sure they're super small... Or both). Henry goes to school at 9am and they eat lunch by 11am so I'm not worried about the eggs and cheese being "left out" too long, but if you are, pack them with ice.



Cracker sammies
Love Make and Takes spin on the classic sandwich! Whole wheat crackers are easy to find everywhere, and I'd probably put either cream cheese (like she did in her recipe) or peanut butter on both sides of the cracker so that it doesn't get soggy from the jam.



Yogurt-filled Raspberries
Raising Whasians had this listed as a tea party idea, but if you use Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular) I think it could totally work for a lunch idea. Fill the raspberries with yogurt and freeze. Pack them frozen, which will keep the yogurt in the berries and less messy, but they'll be thawed for lunch. Especially great for lunches while the weather is still hot!



Protein Muffins
Momables to the rescue again! Now, Henry won't eat anything green or with chocolate, but he loves banana bread and blueberry muffins. It'd be easy enough to add a few scoops of vanilla protein powder to any of these recipes to make it a "protein muffin" and even easier to make a bulk batch, then freeze them. That way you can have a go-to lunch pre-made on days you're just too tired to think about packing a toddler school lunch.



Packing lunches is a pain in the rump. Especially when you have a picky eater like me. But I've promised myself to venture out into the "world of food beyond peanut butter and jelly sammies"! These school lunch ideas for toddlers are all easy to make, even the night ahead. Here's to the
2016-17 school year and getting Henry to eat outside of his comfort zone while at preschool!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What It's Like Traveling With Two Kids Two and Under

Think flying or traveling with young children is a good idea? Think again.


The second week of June, we packed everyone up for a four day weekend in Maine, for my sister's wedding. Henry was the only "official" member of the wedding party as the ring bearer. We got a direct flight to Boston, then had a 2.5 hour drive up to rural Maine (ummm, all of Maine is pretty rural...) to get to the estate the wedding would be held at. Let me tell you, friends, that was the first and last time we will ever embark on a flight/long drive combo with two kids this young. It was pure hell. PURE HELL. Read on for the funny details on what it's like traveling with two kids two and under!

Traveling with children is hard, but when you have more than one baby, it's extra challenging!

First, just packing everything is intense. When you only have one kid, it's fairly manageable, but making sure I had two outfits for each day plus spares plus jammies plus sleep sacks plus spare sleep sacks if someone wet through their diaper at night... Whoa. I was typical Paige and made a list and checked things off as I went. Which was a great strategy! One I should have done for myself because I completely forgot to pack any panties and my wedding day jewelry. Oops.

We get to Dallas Love Field (yay for city airports! DFW is a haul and a completely miserable place) and realize we have too many kids and too many bags. So hubs strapped Otto onto his back, wore a man-diaper bag and pushed two suitcases. I had my purse (with my breast pump and parts), another diaper bag, the stroller with Henry in it, and my suitcase. We were like a walking clown show. I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my back and had pit stains just from walking from the parking garage to the bag check line.

We check the bags, get through security in about 4 minutes thanks to my husband's insane travel status, and go to the play area in Love Field. Thanks to the engineers who built that area. They were thinking! All seemed like it was going well and this would be a breeze.

Henry behaved himself for the first three hours of the flight. That last half hour? You've never heard anyone scream louder. He didn't want to put on his seat belt to land. He was done sitting. He had missed his nap by about two hours. It was game over for him, and game over for us. Finally, we get off the jail cell plane, but Henry continues to lose his sh*t. It was a real treat to have everyone stare at us while my toddler rolled on the floor screaming as we waited for our gate checked stroller.

We get our bags and in Boston, you have to ride an effing BUS to get to different terminals and the car rental. Remember, we have two parents... And two children, three small bags and three suitcases, plus a stroller. Nobody offered to help us on or off this bus. I'm pretty sure I hit a man as I wildly chucked suitcases on, not caring where they landed - only hoping I got them all before this stupid bus took off! Serves that dude right for not offering to help. Actually, I'll stop lying. I aimed the biggest suitcase right for his knee caps. Jerk.

At least he's cute, because he's definitely stressful to travel with!

The only good news was Henry had collected himself by this time. The bad news was that he fell asleep so I had to carry his 30 pound body (plus three bags and a stroller) on and off this stupid effing bus. No, I didn't chuck my toddler like I did the suitcases, although that would have made the whole process a lot faster.

We get to our rental where our SUV is waiting right in front for us (perks of a traveling husband) but the car seats aren't installed (liability on their part, totally get it). However, these aren't our car seats nor do they come with instructions. So we spend about a half hour trying to get these car seats in place. Neither of us has eaten in about eight hours by this point, because when you have two kids, one stroller, three small bags and three suitcases, aint nobody got a spare hand to eat a sandwich.

Finally, we're en route! I pull out my pump and plug it into the car with the genius device my husband ordered me. We look at each other like, well, if that was the worst of it, we're good! And then. We hit Boston traffic. Like, move every 3-4 minutes kind of traffic. If you have kids, you already know - they want that car moving. Or they cry/scream. So we listen to our toddler whine for over an hour and the baby cry for about 20 minutes (he passed out early, thank God.) We still haven't eaten.

Once we were out of the city, we grabbed some Panera drive thru because Praise Jesus, the children fell the eff to sleep and alleluia, there was a drive thru that wasn't fast food. But I tell you something, Panera is some really sub-par food, isn't it? Like, where's the flavor? Tasted like gas station food... But I was so hungry, my give-a-eff meter wasn't even operating.

Yes son, you were on one of those planes you're pointing at and you did NOT behave

Finally, we get to the house we rented. My folks were supposed to be there, pre-stocking it with food and diapers for our arrival. It was the kids bedtime when we arrived, Henry was hungry, and hubs and I were ready to drink a bottle of wine each. Except... There was nobody there. The house was dark. Hubs called my stepdad and I called my mom, like HELLO??? WHERE ARE YOU? WE'VE BEEN TRAVELING FOR 12 HOURS WITH BABIES AND WE WANT TO DIE PLEASE TELL ME YOU'RE HERE TO SAVE US! They weren't. Turns out there was a medical emergency with the mother of the groom and they didn't make it to the house to have it ready for us. I wanted to burst into tears, slam my head into a wall and drown myself in the lake the home was on all at the same time. We had two hungry boys with no way to feed them, a low supply of diapers, and it was cold AF in Maine. Awesome.

We broke in found the key to the house, got some bottles washed for Otto and fed Henry a supper of crackers. My stepdad showed up with the pack n play for Otto so we were able to get them to bed. Then we drank wine, started off into space at the lake, and twitched at how horrible and long that day had been.

If we thought that was bad, we should have just waited for the trip home. Fast forward to leaving day:

Henry developed diarrhea. Otto had questionable stools. Both boys were going through about 6 times the number of diapers they normally do. So I packed our diaper bags with plenty of wipes and diapers. We load up. Get driving on the small rural Maine roads and the kids fall asleep. Hubs and I had a pleasant conversation on the dysfunction of my family. We had four and a half hours to make the 2.5 hour trip, so we thought about stopping for lunch to let Henry play somewhere. Once we got onto I-95 (all my east coasters know the misery of this interstate) we came to a dead stop. An electronic sign said there was a wreck at mile 36. We were at mile 42. Dead. Stopped. The kids felt the car stop moving and promptly started screaming.

Uh-oh, I was naughty and screamed!

We were stopped on that freeway for an hour and a half. With screaming babies. The. Entire. Time.

Meanwhile, we're watching the GPS update our arrival time in Boston. It's getting closer and closer to our takeoff time. I look at hubs and ask, "Are we on the last flight to Dallas?" "Yup." he replies.

Excellent.

Finally the traffic gets moving again. I tell hubs to drive like a Texan so we can make this flight. If you don't know what that means/you've never been to Texas, it means to go about 25mph over posted speeds and tailgate the hell out of a$$holes who think the left lane is for driving and not passing. Oh, I can hear you judging! "You drove like that with kids in the car?!" Sure did. A) we're pros at this by now and B) you tell me what the eff we were supposed to do with two kids, no diapers and diarrhea and no cribs if we got stuck in Boston?! Judge on judgers. But that was a hell I wasn't going to make become a reality.

We made it to Boston JUST in time. We hauled a$$ to our gate. We got the babies changed! I picked up some food for us to eat on the flight! Everything was on time! "Phew!" we thought the worst is behind us. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOPE.

It was about an hour or so into the flight. I'm holding Otto, trying to coo him to sleep. Hubs is entertaining Henry, who has his own seat now that he's two. All of a sudden, hubs looks at me and says, "oh sh*t, he just threw up!" "What?!" I ask. I had just gotten Otto to pass out. I look over and there is vomit EVERYWHERE. And it's real vomit too - not baby vomit. Real, adult-level spew. Everywhere. He had turned to the window to puke. It dripped down the wall and got on other people's things too.

Yup.

A flight attendant brought us some paper towels and cleaner. The woman behind us was so kind and helped us clean things up. She said she had a 4 year old who did the same thing, but did it when they were landing so it couldn't get cleaned up for a half hour. That would have been a real treat!

I may have screamed, but I didn't puke like big brother!

The remainder of the flight was spent riding out horrible turbulence, catching a two year old's on-and-off vomit in a plastic bag and changing diarrhea diapers. That is, when we could get out of our seats, because they kept having everyone sit down due to the turbulence. I'll tell you what though, that flight attendant was a saint. She kept giving us new vomit bags for Henry, and brought me wine and hubs beer. But she didn't just serve it to me - she put a lid on it with a straw so that it wouldn't spill with the turbulence. She was a mom who understood what we were dealing with and said, "Here. You need this. It's on the house."

Finally we landed in Dallas to an insanely crowded airport. I guess huge storms had rolled through (thus the turbulence) and most flights were on a significant delay. It was 10pm. I think our flight attendant must have signaled to our captain like look bro, you gotta land this flight because I have two parents who are about 36 seconds from losing their sh*t in aisle 5 and I'm running out of alcohol to pacify them with!

So, you know. It *could* have been worse. We could have been stuck circling Dallas for hours or we could have been re-routed to another city. I would have definitely lost it then! But those pro's at Southwest Airlines are effing champs. I remember they kept my hubs' flight on time when we had a hurricane and I was on the brink of insanity after having two kids by myself for a week. They rose to the challenge and landed that plane in a hurricane to get hubs home to help me and they rose to the challenge and landed that plane during a hail storm to get two half-insane parents home with their sick kid. Cheers to you and your excellent staff, Southwest.

That, dear friends, is what it's like traveling with two kids two and under. Lots of cries. Lots of poop. Lots of vomit. A few tantrums and a screaming baby or two. After we got back to our home, hubs and I looked at each other and said, "NEVER AGAIN OMG THAT WAS THE WORST EVER." But hey, my sister was a beautiful bride!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Beating Motherhood Anxiety

Anxiety in new moms is at an all time high. Use these tools, like the Owlet Baby Monitor, to get you through it!


Thanks to Owlet Baby Monitors for sponsoring this post and for providing me with a monitor to test out. All thoughts, words and images are my own. 

Otto has been a pretty easy birth to recover from and baby to add to our family. I got the exact birth I wanted with him, I was able to breastfeed him, and with the exception of one sleep regression, he's been sleeping through the night since he was nine weeks old! Pretty much the exact opposite of Henry, who was a handful from pregnancy to birth and through his first year. However, just because  Otto is a dream baby doesn't mean there aren't moments of "baby blues" and anxiety for me. It's so common now for new moms to experience extreme anxiety, I want to share my story with it. If you're a new mom, know that you can beat motherhood anxiety!

If you're suffering from motherhood anxiety or postpartum depression, you need to read this!

Like I said, Otto is a peach of a baby. We were smart this time around and got him on a schedule right at the start, and lo and behold - it worked. Unlike Henry who was unscheduled and therefore didn't sleep through the night until he was a year old, Otto was a champ and got on the three naps a day and 10 hours at night plan before he was a full two months old. I was able to have a VABC and breastfeed him, which kept my baby-endorphins flowing well after his birth, and combated any PPD (postpartum depression) that could have developed.

Recently, I decided to wean Otto. Around 4 months of age, he'd only take a bottle so I was constantly bound to my pump. I'd have to plan errand running and my day around pump sessions. I spent over two hours a day pumping! Perhaps if he was my first I could have kept going for a while longer, but when you have two kids, especially two kids two and under, that's just not feasible. I made my goal of BFing him for (over) 6 months. Yay! But I was so ready to be done. The day I packed my pump away I noticed something strange happen: I started to have anxiety.

I thought this one might turn into a baby-ice-cube at night

It started in the middle of the night. I woke up and my mind was racing. I was convinced the house was too cold and Otto was freezing in his crib (even though I was sweating with hormones from weaning!) Not as in, "oh, the baby might be cold I should go check on him" but rather "OMG, he's probably frozen to death in his crib, I can't go and look at him because he'll be frozen and what will I do with a frozen child?!" I thought for sure he'd stop breathing, since he can roll over and prefers to sleep on his belly now. I even would start to cry, convinced he'll get bullied in school. School! That's a good five years down the road. I would stay up crying and obsessing over how he *might* be bullied and what I could do about it. At 3am. When he was a mere six months old. That my friends, is postpartum anxiety. Irrational thoughts and fears that you can't immediately shake off as irrational; you worry and stress and think about it until you almost can't stand it. Motherhood anxiety is no joke.

I'm going to blame this late bout of postpartum anxiety on the weaning. I've been a ball of hormones, my face has broken out, my hair is falling out in clumps, I'm sleeping four or so hours at night but never longer than for 45 minutes at a time, I'm hot then I'm cold then I'm hot again, but worst of all I'm obsessing over strange things, like if my child will freeze to death in his crib at night. Did I mention our house is kept at 72 degrees? Freezing isn't possible.

Owlet can take a huge load off my motherhood anxiety with their awesome baby monitor. It fits on Otto's foot and ensures he's breathing and has a heartbeat. There's an app on my phone I can look at to ensure everything is on track, and also a docking station I can keep right beside me to warn me of anything that may be amiss (in case my phone needs to update overnight, etc). How cool is that?!


Having a baby takes a tremendous toll on you, both physically (um, duh) and mentally. You give birth and all of a sudden this little being relies solely on you for everything, even it's life. It's completely normal given the hormone changes after birth and the weight of motherhood to have a good dose of anxiety. You worry about the baby's well being, you worry about if he or she is comfortable or if that pink bottom is going to turn into a full out diaper rash. But if your thoughts start to get really bizarre and you're not able to stop thinking about it, please speak to your OBGYN and get screened for PPD or postpartum anxiety. There are treatments and help for you, and they really do help make you a happier mama! And a happy mama is a happy baby and happy family.

It's now been about two weeks since I've fully weaned Otto. My face is calming back down. I'm starting to sleep a bit more, in part because I don't have to worry if Otto is turning into a human ice cube thanks to Owlet Baby Care. My hair is still falling out in clumps, but the good news is that hair grows back. I think my hormones are starting to level off, which is making my mood more even-keeled and I can acknowledge an irrational thought as irrational and move on much quicker than I could initially. I'm slowly coming back from "the dark side" and beating my motherhood anxiety.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Currently

Sometimes it's good just to take some time, or a blog post, and dedicate it to what's going on in life. There's no groundbreaking, life-altering announcements in here... Just what I'm up to, currently:

Loving:
Henry at age 2! Whoever labeled this age as "the terrible two's" was on drugs. It's awesome! He talks and laughs and is helpful with his brother. No fewer than 20 times a day he says, "I love you mommy!" and runs to me with his arms open to hug me and give me a kiss on the lips. What a little peach! Two is an awesome age. 


A photo posted by Boymom Blogger | Paige Leitch (@anuncomplicatedlifeblog) on
 
Drinking:
Literally, I'm currently drinking coffee and have a 28oz cup of ice water with 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil in it on the side. After 5pm, that will switch to wine. It's over 100 today, so I'm thinking a crisp white is in order. And this lovely cycle of coffee in the a.m., water all day, and wine in the p.m. will continue all summer. Allllllll summer.

Spending my time on:
My photography! Hubs got me a DSLR for Mother's Day and I've since been learning to shoot in manual mode. I'm switching all my Instagram photos over to DSLR quality and it's making a huuuuuge difference in my aesthetic. Cheers to learning new skills, right? Kinda sad I didn't invest in one sooner. I *thought* the iPhone 6 plus would suffice, but the image quality difference is astounding. If you're on the fence about a DSLR, pull the plug and get one already. 


A photo posted by Boymom Blogger | Paige Leitch (@anuncomplicatedlifeblog) on
 
Missing:
Orange Is The New Black - we finished the season last week. Holyschmoly, it's a heavy season folks! Remember how last season they all escaped and were splashing in the lake? Everyone was happy? Yeah, not this season. I won't give any spoilers for those who haven't finished it yet, but does anyone else find it eerie how this season seemed to have predicted the racial tension our country is currently facing? Like, how did the writers know this season would be so timely? Crazy. 

Wearing:
All of the tank tops and all of the shorts and none of the makeup. It's hot. Really hot. Too hot for makeup beyond mascara and lipstick, if I think to put it on.

Laughing about:
How I thought LBL would be a problem only during pregnancy... The good news is that things have improved drastically, but lets just say this week I found a new reason to include Poise® liners in my purse again. This is what having kids does to you, my friends, nothing to be embarrassed about! Those little babies make you "pee yourself" lightly, over and over. Remember when I talked about being scared to sneeze? Yeeeeeah. Oh well, at least babies are cute and at least it's easy enough to pick up a box at Sam's Club® when I'm doing my weekly bulk shopping trip. If you have a family and you don't have a wholesale membership, you're spending too much money on things!


Watching:
Ahhh, currently in between shows! OITNB wrapped up, GoT wrapped up, Vice Principals doesn't start for a few more weeks (who else is exited Kenny Powers is back?!), Southern Charm wrapped a few weeks ago and I've fallen out of love with the Real Housewives series. If you have any rec's (please don't tell me Gilmore Girls - hate that show!) please tell me about them!

Mentally preoccupied with:
Preparing for FALL! I know. So basic. What can I say, it's my favorite time of year that houses my favorite holiday! I went to Michael's Craft Store to get some paint for a craft I'm doing in the nursery and saw they've already put out a ton of fall decorations. I got SO excited! Hubs would kill me if I decorated this early (I mean, we're only halfway done with summer...) but a girl can plan, right? Right. Orange and black sparkles, I'm ready for you my love. So ready.


Favorite workout:
I've stepped it up, y'all! While I was breastfeeding, I could only do yoga/barre/walking workouts. Well I wrapped up BFing last week (more on that coming Monday), and therefore I've 'ramped up the workouts. There's something at my gym called C9 which is cardio and weights, but you use heavier weights and pretty much spend the 45 minute class going from heavier lifting to cardio bursts. I'm so ready to lose these last stubborn 5 pounds of baby weight! I don't know who these women are who lose tons of weight breastfeeding, but I certainly wasn't one of them.


A photo posted by Boymom Blogger | Paige Leitch (@anuncomplicatedlifeblog) on
 
Reading:
Ummmm... Outside of a few blogs and my monthly Southern Living magazine... Not much. Reading for me is like working out is for other people: I claim to have no time for it, but really - it's just not my priority. Like, lets get serious, I *could* find time to read, just like others *could* find time to workout. But. Nope. Not right now. And probably not until my kids go to school full time, which will be in another 5+ years. Hey, at least I'm honest.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Focusing On Hair Health

This post is sponsored by Nexxus New York Salon Care, a product of Unilever, as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central

It's easy to concentrate on physical fitness, but what about the health of our hair?


If there's one thing I've said time and time again on this blog, it's that things like hair and makeup fall by the wayside after you have kids. It's not that they have to - it's that I no longer can prioritize fitness and makeup and great hair. I usually can only squeeze time for one of these things in per day, and guess what I choose, EVERY time? Yup, physical fitness. I'd take a yoga class over a shower with an awesome blow out any (and every) day of the week. Until I get so grossed out by myself, I realize I need to focus on my hair health, too!

Your hair needs health attention too - just like your physical health! Check this post out for tips on having and maintaining healthy, shiny hair

After one exceptionally vigorous yoga class, I found myself super sweaty. So of course I had planned to run errands after that class, and had zero time to shower. "Oh well!" I thought. "The only thing that bothers me is when I'm soaking wet and have to go into overly-air conditioned retail spaces... I'll live!" Get this: I'm minding my business, going about filling my cart in a very cold mass retail store, when I roll up to the check out line. The woman in front of me gave me a side eye, wrinkled her nose, and walked out to a different lane! That's when I knew. It's high time I focus some more attention to my hair, hygiene and makeup again! I'm rocking this whole "mom fitness" thing, but hair health has fallen by the wayside in a big way.

I like to tout that I don't care much what others think, and generally I don't... But that was more than a little embarrassing. What, like she's never had to run errands after a workout? C'mon lady, when you're a mom you have at least 30 hours of work to do and only 24 hours to get it done! You gotta do what you gotta do, right?


It was super timely when Nexxus New York Salon Care reached out to partner with me on hair health! Their products contain premium, salon quality ingredients that leave hair looking fluid, enriched and beautiful. "Perfect!" I thought. Just what my poor, over worked, {often sweaty} hair needs. Speaking of needs, this system is fully customizeable to meet whatever your hair fitness needs are, whether you have damaged, dry hair or in need of a volume boost. I was totally impressed with their products! The Emergencee shampoo and conditioner nourished my color-treated hair but was weightless so that my fine hair had some volume, especially combined with the Mousse+ Volumizing foam! And the Dry Shampoo is perfect for second day styling. And third day... I'm not the only one who does third day styling, right? Check out more about their system on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

I don't think any strangers in any retailer will walk away from me with hair like that, do you?! This look was actually super easy. I used the Nexxus New York Salon care products pictured above, blew dry my hair and did a quick curl with a wand. When I say quick, I mean I ran the wand through my hair and was done in 7 mins. Yes, I timed it. Busy mamas, this look is achievable!


Look, I totally get it. When you're a mom, it's so hard to find enough time to grab a quick workout and bite to eat, much less do a full routine on your hair and have perfect makeup, too. I'm right there with you! But it's time to start to focus on your hair health ladies! And it was definitely time for me to hone in on it. While I love focusing on my physical fitness and showing my boys that their mama is strong and in shape, I can't let other parts of me go completely. Thanks to Nexxus New York Salon Care, it's super easy to customize just what you need for your hair type. If you can devote time to your fitness routine, you can surely spare 5 mins to focus on your hair health!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Essential Oil Safety

Essential Oils aren't safe simply because they're all natural - they're medicine and should be treated as such!

 

I was chatting with a friend about blogging and essential oils. We were talking about another blogger who has crushed it with her blog and selling oils - she's created an e course and many e books and a whole email list and freebies to get people to sign up, blah blah blah. It's a brilliant business model and I'm sure she makes six figures. I also happened to notice there was a Facebook group on essential oil safety she was admin'ing. I'm always interested in learning more about oils, so I signed right up to be included in that group. And y'all. I have to say. These people were completely, utterly insane. They took essential oil safety to the next level. Like, to the moon next level. Laugh out loud, take a screen shot and send it to your friends to laugh out loud next level.

Essential oils are derived from plants and are all natural, but that doesn't mean all of them are safe to use!

I don't mean to laugh at essential oil safety. It's important to know what you're diffusing, ingesting and/or putting on your body! There could be drug interactions. Not all oils are safe for kids. Just because it's "natural" (ps - that word doesn't mean anything anymore) doesn't mean there are no consequences for using it!

For example, we know that citrus oils shouldn't be used topically if you're going in the sun. My friend Lindsay shared her experience with just cutting a lime and the sun. {Spoiler alert - her husband got seriously sunburned!} And that was just the juice, not the concentrated oil. If you grew up in the 90's, do you remember putting lemon in your hair to bleach it? Me too. Use care when using citrus oils!

That's just one example. There are many others using all the various essential oils.

Let's go back to this Facebook group though. So I joined and started to see their threads pop up in my feed. One of the first threads I see is about thieves essential oil, one of my all time favorites. I diffuse it regularly in the playroom and I myself ingest it. It's worked wonders for myself and my children to help keep us healthy! Imagine my shock when I saw a woman complain that her babysitter diffuses it around her kids, and that she asked her sitter to stop because it's so "dangerous" to diffuse around children. What the heck, I thought?!


I read the thread in it's entirety. Y'all, you'd have thought this stuff was poison! People had unkind things to say about that poor babysitter and one of the group admins laid out how every single component of the oil was dangerous for a child under 10. I sat back and thought, "Ok, either I'm completely clueless and I've been endangering my kids unintentionally, or there's something up with this group..." I reached out to my oil gurus and then started my own research immediately.

But you know when you just get a gut feeling that you're dealing with crazies? 

Yes! There are some components in thieves essential oil that *could* be dangerous to a child if not used properly. For topical application, it always needs to be diluted and it's recommended to only be applied on the feet (because there's thicker skin on the feet). Also, most sources don't recommend topical application until 2 years of age. I didn't apply it to Henry's feet until about 22 months, so phew! Still good there. Now, diffusing: *some* children might experience slowed respiratory function from the eucalyptus and rosemary oils in the blend. However, if it's diffuesed properly (just a few drops for all the water in the diffuser) and not aimed directly at the child, it shouldn't be a problem. More importantly, if you've already diffused it around your children and there were no issues, then there are no issues. You're in the clear!

It's kinda like how some kids are allergic to amoxicillin and others aren't. Once you've given the antibiotic and have not had a reaction, you know you're good to go with that drug. Essential oils are very much the same way: If you've done your research and know what side effects to look for and don't experience any, you're clear and free to use that oil without worry.


So, that stupid "essential oils and safety" Facebook group: You know how that idiot Food Babe (I'd link her site but I blocked her because she's THAT stupid) says that every chemical is bad for you (nevermiding that we as people are made up of atoms and chemical compounds...)? And David Avocado Wolfe probably thinks cancer can be cured with coconut oil and time spent in nature? Well this group deems all oil to be unsafe if at any time in the history of ever there was a negative reaction in one person.

Which is insanity. We're all different people. We're all going to react to different essential oils differently. They said fennel oil was absolutely not safe to increase milk supply in breastfeeding moms when fennel is used in mother's milk tea and it's in organic, homeopathic gripe water for infants (helps calm their tummies).  But it's "not safe" for breastfeeding? C'mon. What science is being used there?!

Here's the bottom line: There isn't a blanket statement that says one oil is or is not safe for your use, or for your kids use or for whatever you may need it for. Just like a doctor would never say, "Yes, hormonal birth control pills are safe for all to use whenever!" because that doesn't take into account what other medications you may be on, your lifestyle (smokers and the pill, not a good combo, btw) or your birth control needs. You have to be your own advocate and take your own situation into account when deciding what oils to use.

I'm really glad I stumbled across this group though. It reminded me that I need to do my own research from a number of sources before I go applying essential oils anywhere. One source isn't good enough either - get as much comprehensive information as you can. And if a certain source is always for or against something (and rather passionate about it), probably best to avoid that as a legitimate source of information. Passionate claims are a key indicator of biased info, whether it's for or against something! Basically, practice common sense when thinking about essential oil safety.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Eating Local on Independence Day with Ozarka

Eating local has become wide spread and popular throughout the country. This July 4th, we're enjoying all things Texas!


This post is sponsored by Ozarka. All opinions, messaging and images are my own.

I've mentioned before that we're transplants to Texas. I'll be real honest with you: Before we moved here, I kinda laughed at Texas. From Minneapolis, it was one of those states that "thought it was so great" and what was with the cowboy hats and boots, right?! Not even a year into living here, I figured out why Texans love Texas so much. From the kind people to the wonderful weather to the AMAZING food, Texans really have something to boast about. This Independence Day, we got the opportunity to cookout like many other Americans, but also to add a little Texas pride into our July 4th holiday!

Eating locally is one of the hottest trends

Our plans include heading out to our community 4th of July parade. I bought the boys some American pride apparel and little flags to wave. We'll see how long we last! Last year it was 104 by 10am, and this year it's looking to be about the same. I'll be packing plenty of Ozarka® Natural Spring Water to chug as we go. Did you know their water is bottled from three real Texas springs? Yup. Check one of our local flavors for Independence Day!

After the parade, we'll head home and enjoy some AC. They boys will take a nap, which gives me some time to prepare an early dinner. Like most Americans, we love to cookout on national holidays, no matter how hot it is! Hubs will man the grill, the boys will swim in our classy blow up pool (Otto likes to kick it in the bumbo since he's not quite solid at sitting up yet, and laugh at big bro who points out every single plane that flies overhead) and I'll keep one eye on the boys, one eye on getting the table set, and one eye on my cold glass of wine. When you're a mom, you grow as many eyes as you need. It's amazing.



I wanted to do something a little different this July 4th, so I came up with this locally inspired take on the classic American burger: The Texas BBQ Burger!

- 1lb local grass fed beef (Texas beef is SO good!)
- Spice Kings "The Juicy Steak" rub
- Snow's BBQ Sauce
- buns, toasted
- tomato slices
- pickles
- lettuce leaves
- Yellowbird hot sauce if you dare!

Form your burger patties and sprinkle with Spice Kings rub. Grill meat; when you have about 2-3 minutes left, smear a healthy amount of Snow's BBQ sauce on the burgers. This sauce was voted best in Texas by Texas Monthly Magazine y'all, so you know it's good! Then remove the burgers and let sit for about 5 mins to allow the juices to set in the meat (never eat meat directly off the grill - always let it rest!). Dress up your burger with your desired fixin's and if you're really in the mood for the heat of Texas, add a few drops of Yellowbird's jalapeno hot sauce! You can always cool it down with a nice Texas craft brew. That's how we roll in our house, anyway.



Pair your Texas BBQ Burger with other local flavors. Chips and salsa/queso are a huge crowd favorite in our house, especially these locally made Paqui chips. You gotta keep an eye on Henry; he'll rob all the chips off your plate if you let him! That apple didn't fall far from his mama's tree, because I'd pull something like that too... If it were socially acceptable adult behavior.


I'm so happy to see local eating become a big, widespread thing across the county. In Texas, we have so many great flavors to enjoy and experiment with! The beef is the best in the country and spicy food is taken to new heights here. Thank goodness we have Ozarka spring water to drink to cool us down! Happy Independence Day y'all! I hope your day is bursting with local flavor too.