Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bathing Suits and Ice Cream: Strange Bedfellows

Relaxing in my MiracleSuit
Low-fat frozen yogurt, sorbet, sherbet and the like all have their place, but nothing beats premium, full-fat ice cream.

This is a rare indulgence for many women, particularly since in summer, when you are crazing ice cream the most, you are usually baring more skin, and more self-conscious.

I found it particularly ironic to be at the MomTrends party where the ultra premium Adirondack Creamery  ice cream gave samples to women bloggers checking out bathing suits.

But those bathing suits, by MiracleSuit magically make you look better - 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds the tag claims.

Here’s the thing - the suit delivers. I don’t know how a bathing suit can be so comfortable and make everyone in one look so good, but when I saw another mom wearing a MiracleSuit, I thought, “I’ll have what she’s having” (thank you to When Harry Met Sally).

Of course, one spoonful of that Adirondack Creamery ice cream and you  might be making indecent moans a la Meg Ryan. The upstate New York ice cream makers keep thing simple, with just a dozen flavors and a few seasonal specialties.
Earl’s Chocolate Peanut Butter is how I roll; there’s also an amazing vanilla with toffee called Barkeater, a coffee flavored High Peak Perk and a banana chip with dark chocolate chunks. Pure heaven.

And if after indulging in a few bowls of this rich dessert, you need to go up a bathing suit size, you can feel confident that you’ll still look great in a MiracleSuit.
Note: I was not compensated for this post.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Family Travel Tips, Dog in Tow

We brought our dog on a family trip to surprise our middle daughter
Whether you are traveling by car or plane, dogs have special needs. You will have to plan extra stops if you are driving, and may need to limit food for a dog before he rides in a car or airplane.

Car Travel with Dogs
Don't let dogs sit in the front seat of the car. The safest place for a dog is in the back seat, secured with a harness.
If you are crossing state lines with a dog in the car, you need to have the pet’s health certificate; visit the vet to get a copy.  
Weather Considerations
Our dog had the whole back of the SUV to herself
Never leave a dog in a car with the windows all the way up- in summer, or even spring, a dog can quickly overheat.  The safest thing is to take the dog with you. In winter,  bring unscented baby wipes to clean your dog’s paws; rock salt and anti-freeze can harm his paws.
Airplane Travel with Dogs
Dogs over a certain size (which varies by airline) have to travel in the cargo hold. Certified therapy or guide dogs of any size can travel in the cabin, but you may need to bring certification.

Traveling in the cargo hold can be very stressful for dogs, and in winter or summer, downright dangerous. Air cargo holds are not temperature regulated. Make sure your pet has plenty of access to fresh water.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dirt Happens: Exercise, Smells and Laundry

Smiling, but sweaty, the Ultimate champions
I love to run and bike outside, but the smell of sweat - not so much. And a team of teenage girls, playing 6 games of Ultimate Frisbee in 2 days - the smell of their feet could kill you.

We chaperoned a trip to Schenectady for the state championship (which we won, thank you very much) and had 3 girls in the back sea on the way home. They played 4 game son the final day, with no chance to shower and feet that had been confined to cleats all day.  The huge sunroof on the Lexus RX450 did not sufficiently air out the car.

Then I realized we should have used Bounce Bursts. The scent boosters bring in the fresh scent of the outdoors, rather than the rank odors of sweat, mud and a soup├žon of animal excrement.

Actually, it could have been human waste- we had to use Porta potties for 2 days.

I tried the Bounce Bursts in the laundry; we had plenty. The outdoor scent comes in time released capsules, so the clothing smells fresh, even after all day play.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Exercising My Right to Drive a Convertible

My favorite ride on a recent trip to Disney
Disney is all about fantasy, so driving a Camaro SS was a dream come true at the ultimate fantasy land, Walt Disney World.

I was in Disney at the TravelingMom retreat and Chevrolet brought a bunch of shiny cars for everyone to drive. There was a 2014 Impala, the 2015 Tahoe and Suburban and the 2014 Camaro.

It poured for most of our time in Florida, so we really got to test the cars in less than ideal conditions - wet roads, mist falling. So we didn’t have the top down.  But the car handled well on curvy roads in the rain; I could imagine how much fun it would be to tool along on the California coast in this sporty car.

Where to Go

Chevy MyLink has a built in navigation system, but this Camaro was also equipped with OnStar, a remarkable concierge service for your car. You press a button, and within seconds are connected to a live phone call. All you have to do is tell the person where you are going, and directions will be either loaded into the nag system for you, or spoken aloud while you drive. Amazing.

The Camaro looks great from any angle
OnStar also offers incredible peace of mind - they provide roadside and emergency assistance, even for weather situations out of the scope of the car.  If say, the car in front of you hit black ice and had an accident, you could contact OnStar and get that person emergency help.

Connected Car

Chevy MyLink has an easy to use touchscreen, with Sirius XM radio and bluetooth integration with your phone.

Eyes on the Road

Everyone else is looking at you, but you want to make sure that you keep your eyes on the road.  It’s easy with this car, which has color heads up display. There are also audio controls on the leather steering wheel, so you won’t get distracted playing with the touchscreen.

Midlife Crisis

The money shot; the Camaro with the top down
If you drive this car with little kids, there are rear child seat latch anchors.  And up to teen years, a couple of kids will fit comfortably in the back seat. 

But if you are tall, and/or have large children, they will not enjoy the rather cramped rear seat. I like to drive with my seat pretty far forward, but still, my rear seat passengers were happy to get out of the car.

However, the Camaro does offer creature comforts like heated front leather seats, remote keyless entry, parking assist and power outlets.

The Camaro starts at $41,885; extras including special headlights, racing stripe, automatic transmission, remote start and the navigation system brought the price up to $46,650. It gets 15 mpg in the city, 24 on the highway.

Note: Chevrolet provided the Camaro for my test drive. Opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Summer Hair - Whether Traveling or at Home

When I travel, I sometimes try out new products, figuring the people I meet will never see me again.This is also why I am the family photographer, hiding behind the lens with frizzy hair or flaking eye shadow.

But I put a new hair product to the ultimate test last week - three days in the rain and Florida humidity. I had just gotten a sample of SheaMoisture's Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair High Shine Glosser, a silicone free styling product that promised smooth hair and controlled frizz.

My curls were even subjected to a test drive in a convertible, and a couple of turns on Disney’s newest ride, the MineTrain roller coaster.

Like all  SheaMoisture products, this is organic and paraben free. Tahitian Noni is an antioxidant, and Vitamin C is added to keep hair healthy. Monoi Oil repairs damaged hair, and keratin smooths it.

Not only that, it is sold at drugstores and is reasonably priced.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Every Mother Counts: Counting Your Blessings

My sister, on right, and me, before the More half marathon
My kids never really got why I was so excited on THEIR birthdays. But the day each of my 3 kids was born is extra special to me because on those days, I became a mother.
Ok, technically I was already a mother after the first child, but still - your child’s day of birth is a very powerful day.
That’s why the Every Mother Counts organization resonates with so many moms. Christy Turlington Burn’s maternal health organization is a sobering reminder that every day, 800 women die giving birth. That works out to one woman every two minutes.
Post run - still smiling
I was thinking of this statistic as I ran the More half marathon in Central Park. The race is a celebration of the power of women. My sister and I ran together and we got a sister chant going. Not every runner was a mother, but we all cheered as moms high-fived their kids on the race route.
One of the reasons I run now is that all three of my daughters run and we sometimes run together. My middle daughter and I are trying to get into the NYC marathon.
The day I first became a mother, I was exhausted, thrilled, overwhelmed,  ecstatic, excited. I want every mom to have such an empowering experience (well, maybe not the exhaustion) so I pledged the "Take 2 minutes to Take 2 actions."

These were simple action to accomlishs: running 2 miles using the Charity Miles app, (so that half marathon was a bit longer…) donating $2 to Every Mother Counts, asking two friends to participate.
This Mother's Day, count your blessings as a mom., and help those who were denied the chance.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Get Happy - Giveaway of a New Plush Toy, The Happy's

Stuffed animals have a place in most homes, but kids often want the ‘real’ thing. But  allergies, lifestyle, or apartment rules on pets can limit the ability to get a furry friend.

Enter the new line of plush interactives, The Happy’s™. These battery operated puppies and kittens run around on hardwood floors or tile (they don’t move so well on carpet) and may get your pet-deprived kids chasing after them.

The Happy’s are also easily trained - each cat or dog comes with a treat that makes the pet do a trick. Your pet may chase, wiggle its butt or pounce - and if you have a friend or a sister with a different Happy’s, your pet will do the other one's trick with the second treat. Unlike real animals, the cats and dogs don’t mind playing with each other, or their toys.

You can also expand the play with a Chase & Play ball. The toy doesn’t fetch, but it does chase after its ball. And again, kids are often motivated to run around after the pet. We tested this out with a tired puppy and she chased after the motorized fur ball.

The Happy’s are a new line from Cepia, makers of ZhuZhu Pets.

Unlike needing to buy kibble and treats, you only have to feed these pets batteries. And no vet bills or fleas!

Want to try out The Happy’s™? You can get them at Toys ‘R Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Justice and Radio Shack. 

Or leave your name and email below for a chance to win one of your own.

Note: this is a sponsored giveaway