Well Equipped: Multitasking During the Holidays

As Californians who spent four winter seasons on the East Coast—still relatively recently—you would think that we’d be prepared for cold weather, or at least less whiney about it when the temps dip into the forties! The truth is, we are never prepared when it gets vaguely chilly here in the Bay Area, but we manage to scramble and layer-up pretty quickly and effectively!

No matter the weather, our family spends much of our time outdoors. We open the garage, bundle up and take the dogs for walks or shoot hoops in the driveway. There is constant foot traffic around our home and through the house with wall-to-wall wooden floors, and we happen to have a no-shoe policy indoors. For Justin and I, we like to keep our feet warm and protected with Isotoner’s 360° Surround Comfort slippers. They’re super soft and cozy, but also incredibly functional as they have 360 degrees of foot hugging memory foam so the tops and sides feel supported and protected. They are indoor-outdoor compatible, so even though I won’t be hiking in them, we can take the dogs to use the potty and still stay warm and dry!

 

 

Our home is a constantly rotating wheel of moving parts. When one child is napping, the other is coming home from preschool or heading to basketball camp, or entertaining a play date. The dogs are also a top priority, so when one is outside playing fetch, the other one is cozy and napping with one of his babies (and vice-versa). Shoes are something that I probably think of at the very last moment, so it’s crucial that the footwear is reliable. The Isotoner 360° Surround Comfort slippers are not only super comfortable but they also keep our feet warm and dry when we’re outside picking up toys or making sure the pets are taken care of. They’re a really perfect gift for nearly anyone, and I’ll be sure to grab a few pairs for my family members and momma-friends, too! A great pair of slippers is something I never remember to buy myself but always so thrilled to have, and I’m thrilled to have found a pair that suits our lifestyle so well.

 

 

Shop these styles on Isotoner.com!

 

Justin’s (http://bit.ly/2AGeKzc)

Mine (http://bit.ly/2AKKHq7)

 

Managing My Health + A Chance To Win

This post is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals. All opinions are my own.

With Thanksgiving freshly in our past and December launching the final countdown of the quickly approaching festivities, we are in full preparation mode. I will be hosting our family both on my side and Justin’s side for Christmas dinner, plus of course, planning for and appropriately accommodating Santa and his needs as well as breakfast on Christmas morning.

The beauty of working from home is having the flexibility to make my own hours. I can pick and choose when I spend time working, volunteering at the kid’s elementary school, taking Evangeline to gymnastics, scheduling doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and cooking. The problem is, there is so much to be done nearly every waking moment that I struggle to prioritize when there’s 10 items in the top tier alone. When a few unexpected situations that require my full attention pop up, everything gets derailed, and that happens often. None of these things wait for fulfilling the holiday demands, so I have to be very careful and considerate of my stress levels, as they lead to migraines and a week of feeling terrible.

I decided to work with Med-IQ to help generate awareness around migraine and chronic migraine. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company whose goal is to improve patient outcomes through education. For years I had no idea what was going on with me health-wise, I only knew that the onset was high stress. I recently wrote about migraines, and within that first post with Med-IQ, I covered information about the diagnosis of migraines including the difference between headache, migraine and chronic migraine. This included tips from neurologists Robert G. Kaniecki, MD, and Stewart J. Tepper, MD, both of whom were on a conference call with me, sharing tips as to how to best prepare for an upcoming doctor’s appointment.

Dr. Kaniecki and Dr. Tepper both discussed how it is common for migraine sufferers to be in search of the holy grail…that one thing or combination of things that will make migraine stop. The reality is that suffering from migraine is inherited and part of your brain physiology.

Here are some expert tips for managing your migraine and health during this busy, stressful, hectic time of year:

    1. Follow your treatment plan: Stick to your treatment plan, which should include medications and lifestyle management strategies to prevent and treat migraine
    2. Avoid overuse of acute headache medication: Don’t take prescription or nonprescription medication for migraine pain more than 10 days per month
    3. Keep a headache diary:  Track changes in headache frequency and/or intensity as you begin or change medications

Doctors know that the inadequate control of the immediate pain of a migraine attack can lead to chronic migraine. Inadequate pain control can lead patients to take acute medication (which treats the attack once migraine has started) too often, and overuse of acute medication (including over-the-counter medications) is a risk factor for developing chronic migraine. Doctors also know that patients are unaware or sometimes hide the fact that they often self-medicate using over-the-counter acute medication. This makes it difficult for doctors to understand the full picture of a patient’s health and what might be playing a role in headache frequency. Overuse of acute medication is defined as taking prescription or nonprescription medication 10 or more days per month. If you or someone you love takes medication for migraine more than 2 days per week, please make an appointment with the doctor to discuss the right treatment plan.

For me, understanding what was happening to me health-wise, plus learning my triggers and addressing them early, has been absolutely crucial. Of course, it’s not easy to simply stop being stressed or to put my life on hold until my stress levels are lower, but making sure to pay attention to my body is key.

I encourage you to participate in the survey, which will take you less than 10 minutes. Upon completion, you will be entered to win one of ten $100 VISA gift cards. No personal information will be kept, sold, or stored in the survey completion process. Once you complete the survey, you just need to send an email to surveymigraine@gmail.com. The ten randomly selected winners will be notified on January 5, 2018.

Much love and luck to all of you this year. May you conquer your to-do list and maybe even book an extra pampering day just for yourself.

Managing the Mess

Some days our busy life, full of many moving parts, feels like a well-oiled machine. Those days are few and far between, but they do happen and I make sure to take mental note of that wonderful feeling. Most days Justin and I are so busy tending to various different things for various different children that we are honestly two ships passing in the night.

There is a method to conquering the madness, though, and it begins with making sure our work place is clean and tidy. Our work space is of course, our home. Children and dogs spend time in each and every room in the house, so there are generally messes in every corner. It’s absolutely crucial that we maintain a level of organized chaos in our deepest sanctuary, and we’ve found several ways to make sure that happens on a daily basis. There is basic picking up of toys and clutter created by adults, kids, cats and dogs and then there is the removal of the top layer of funk, dirt and pet hair. The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser® Lift-Off® Upright Pet Vacuum is incredibly helpful in maintaining that last part, by being both a powerful upright vacuum that also includes the cleaning convenience of a lightweight, easy-release portable vacuum.

Theo and Josie, our rescue dogs, as well as Charlie and Gus, our cats, are allowed on all of the furniture. Our living room couch and armchair are almost always taken by humans, but when they aren’t, the pets seem to like resting there the most. The Pet Hair Eraser Lift-Off is safe for use on carpet, hard floors, and upholstery, and truly makes cleaning up pet hair, dirt, dander and odors easier. While these might not be my favorite tasks, both Justin and I make time to clean these areas, so it’s especially handy to have a tool that makes the chore easy! Some of our favorite features include: The Detachable, portable canister that cleans the tighter, harder to reach areas, the Hands-Free Empty canister that features a cyclonic spooling system so the hair and dirt drops easily into the trash, and the Edge-to-edge Suction and SuctionChannel Technology™ that creates a direct suction path to maximize pet hair pick up.

We try to keep our clean-up times to 20 minute increments, several times a day. Our big kids also like to get involved with these types of chores when it means they get to use the fancy vacuum, and it’s lightweight enough to actually be effective when they do. Maintaining a tidy living space sometimes feels like a futile effort, but with an organized system and tools like the The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser® Lift-Off® Upright Pet Vacuum, it’s much more manageable.

I will be participating in an hour-long, live Facebook Q&A today on the Bissell Facebook Page! Come on over and bring your good questions!

Skipping Through the Holiday Season with Born Shoes + a Fabulous Giveaway!

Right now, in this season of my life with five children including babies and toddlers, parenthood defines me. I suppose it has since I became a mother and likely will until they leave the nest, and it’s a state of being that I am absolutely privileged to experience and embrace. I have come to understand that while I can be a parent 24/7, it is essential for my sense of self that I maintain the things that I personally love and appreciate-my work, my art, and my personal style.

 

 

Over the years and drastic changes that my body has been through with five pregnancies and our lifestyle residing in a big city or beach town, there are few wardrobe consistencies with what I can trust and expect to get me through each big change: my shoes. I have worn and had the fortune of working with Born Footwear for years, and I am thrilled to partner with them this winter season to showcase a few of my favorite styles. Born Footwear is not only fashionable (a must for me) but they are well made and absolutely comfortable.

 

Whether I am chasing kids around a playground or running errands with a baby or hosting a holiday party, I can count on Born Footwear to have a style that suits the occasion. This year, I fell in love with the AVALA, a suede boot that I’ve been able to pair with a dress + leggings and even denim jeans, the GALLINARA, a beautiful and trendy over-the-knee style that I love wearing with my favorite blue jeans, and the WINEMA, a super cute bootie that has a bit of detail around the ankle making them look a bit polished but casual and cute as well. Each pair is made with five layers including a leather upper and rubber soles, designed for comfort-and they truly are. Born Footwear is made with a handcrafted construction that offers a unique stitching around the toe up to the heel that is sewn by hand and allows the shoe to flex and move with the foot for a natural feel.

The holiday season often allows me to have a little fun with my outfits by getting dressed up. I can easily pair the black suede Avala for a dressier look if I’m attending a holiday party, and the Gallinara is perfect for hosting a more casual family gathering at home. The Winema is my go-to for outdoorsy things like Christmas Tree picking with the family and I love how comfortable they are even walking around in the dirt!

Even though I can expect my days as a working mother to be filled with all kinds of different events and adventures, not to mention the chaos of the holiday season, I have embraced the fact that I won’t have full control over each day and situation. Knowing that I have the consistency of relying on a great pair of shoes makes my our adventures much easier and more comfortable!

I am happy to offer a $500 holiday shopping spree giveaway to one of you, to either add to your own wardrobe or your holiday list!

Please follow the instructions below-and good luck!

Momma’s Gone City & Børn Shoes Give the Gift of Comfort

 

 

Kindness Matters Most

It took awhile for us to narrow our family motto, the single core value that not only brings us together as a family but also connects and bonds us to our pets, our peers and acquaintances and even strangers. There are a lot of things that we treasure as a family, but kindness truly trumps the rest and encompasses everything. The most genuine values are the least fussy and the most effective.

We preach kindness, whether it comes to animals and pets or the opposing teams during sports and even friends at school that don’t always act with love in their hearts. It is an honor to partner with iconic oral care brand (and Shyba Family staple) Crest as they team up with the movie WONDER, in theaters November 17th, to establish smiles as a universal act of kindness.

If there’s one thing that I promote with my family, in my own everyday life, and even on social media-kindness is truly one of the most important things you can practice. I have been deliberate about making sure to smile at people everywhere I go, and it’s pretty remarkable how much of a difference it makes in my own life, but also as I see the positive gestures spreading.

The new movie Wonder-in theaters November 17th– tells a beautiful story, but most importantly it’s message is about diversity and inclusion, both of which begin with understanding, kindness, and smiles. In order to help create a kinder world, Crest invites you to join their powerful new campaign to amplify the power of smiles. Let’s join forces to #ChooseSmiles & #ChooseKind every day.

Lead With Love

This post was developed in collaboration with P&G as part of their Love Over Bias campaign. 

The last couple of summers, my daughter Zoe elected to sign up for a baseball camp organized by our local World Series champion major league baseball team. This particular team, like lots of MLB teams, are heroes to so many children and adults, and so when the opportunity came up to participate, both my oldest son and daughter wanted to play.

Zoe played on an all-girls softball team for a few seasons now, and she loves it. She has also grown up watching her brother play baseball and her parents are avid fans, so the love for the game has been instilled in her at an early age. So, when she signed up, it didn’t matter to her that it would be mostly boys playing-she’s used to being around boys, and she knows that the game of professional baseball is all men. That did not deter her. She is strong and fearless, but when the boys began to “boo” her from the dugout while she was at bat, she came home upset and discouraged. Gender bias, as subtle as it can be, is woven throughout the fabric of our society and it starts with us as parents to inform and make the difference with our children.

On November 1 P&G launched “Love Over Bias,” the newest installment of its hallmark “Thank You, Mom” series. The film imagines what the world could be like if we all saw each other through a mom’s eyes.

I am personally a sucker for these beautiful videos- last year’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign video still makes me cry whenever I see it. It’s important that those with big voices draw attention to unfair and unnecessary biases, in hopes of making a difference. As parents, we know that teaching and guiding our children to overcome adversity is one of the greatest things we can do for them. I wished every boy on that baseball field could see my daughter the same way I do – a strong baseball player that can hold her own amongst all the boys!

Though she was momentarily deterred from playing on the nearly all-boys team from their jeering, Zoe persevered and not only finished the camp, but went back the following year to clean up in achievement awards for her age group!

I am sure you’ll enjoy this video as much as I did as a mother, and be encouraged to share it using the hashtag #LoveOverBias with your own communities. The message is a strong and important one, and I am more than happy to support it!  I hope you will, too.