Back-to-School Relief?

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It's funny to hear my friends with kids discuss back-to-school time. It's as if they just walked into a spa. Such relief comes over them. Before I had kids, I was almost shocked to hear how excited people are to get their kids back in school. But, I'm slowly starting to understand. 

I suppose that's one way to look at it, but for many of us, the transition can bring on stressors that attack both parents and kids alike. I saw a meme on instagram that said "I can either have a good morning or get the kids to school on time, but I can't have both." 

I'm still new to the process. Hayden will start pre-school soon, but Huck started first grade. (I don't want to sound like that parent that can't believe her step-son is growing up so fast, but take a peek at the bottom of this post to his sweet face three years ago!!) Stress from this time of year mainly comes from the adjustment period. A new year can bring on anxiety for kids. New classes, different friends, teachers, new schedules, homework, lack of sleep, etc. Plus, if you are in our boat as a blended family, it can be an adjustment figuring out schedules and communication with two separate households. 

From what I'm learning, the best way to prevent these stressors from taking over your household is to be prepared to identify them, talk about them and hopefully prevent them. Am I paying attention to the overall vibe of my environment? Taking a mental note of what worked well in our day and what needed improving helps me. For my family, it usually comes down to these three things:

SLEEP: I wrote about overall wellness starting with sleep HERE. It's incredibly important for all of us, especially kids. The National Sleep Foundation explains most of us need more sleep than we are getting. We are sleeping considerably better with our new mattress. We also got an adjustable frame. I slept with my head slightly elevated recently because I was coming down with a cold. It helped me breath 10 times better than if I had been flat. If your child has trouble going to sleep, staying asleep or waking up in the morning, it's worth discussing with your pediatrician.* Would a melatonin supplement help? Good Day Chocolate makes chocolate bites with 1 mg. suitable for children. A good night sleep helps the morning routine, school performance, attitude...just about everything. We all know that from experience.

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ORGANIZE and MOTIVATE: Both kids know if they listen and do their chores or homework (clean up toys for Hayden and homework for Huck) they get one Good Day Chocolate MultiVitamin chocolate treat. They love the reward. It helps with routine and schedule. And I love knowing it's so good for them. I also give them a probiotic

And Joel and I need to be organized for the week ahead of time. Joel works best when he knows the schedule. He likes me to jot it down in our shared google calendar. I'm not good at remembering, but when I do, it makes life easier for him (and in turn, me). I am currently working on a space for the boys to drop bags, shoes and file folders from school. If you saw my stories recently revamping the pantry and master closet, we also got tips for this "practical closet." Stay tuned on that small redo. I wonder if it's sad how excited I am to get seriously organized? It really makes me feel good! I finally got the boys this adorable bistro table from Delta Children (so affordable, why didn't I do this earlier?). It's under $110, search "bistro table" on that link. They love that it's their own table. Huck does his homework here, too.

I know the mornings run more smoothly when I have clothes and bags laid out the night before. I never regret doing that;) This sounds like more for my daily to-do list, but if I get in the habit of it, life runs smoothly. And this isn't just for the boys, it's for me, too. When my closet is organized (my clothes are ready to go, make-up isn't in several bags, but where it should be), I get ready so much faster with less stress.

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FAMILY MANAGEMENT TIME AND SOCIALIZE: This is hard. I'll be honest. I know they want/need to play, eat dinner, have bath time and bedtime routines. As kids get older, they have after school activities, sports, etc. I'm not sure how people juggle it all and work. Hats off to you! What are your suggestions? I would imagine delegating and preparation are the most important. Right now, my priority is to be prepared for dinner and family time (even if it's brief) all happening early enough so the bedtime routine starts earlier so we're not all rushed. How many of you look at the clock and can't believe the kids finally got down and now it's almost 8:30... or 9pm. It's not enough time for them or for us! 

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These are basic points for success in many different situations, but seem particularly good to remember during this adjustment for the family. Lately, I've enjoyed adding a few extra resources if people wanna click away and glance. I like reading what teachers had to say about helping your child succeed in this article here. My mom taught school for many, many years. I know she would agree with the majority of this article. I notice getting to school on time and making sure kids are prepared for their day are on that list!

 

*Please always discuss any supplements with your doctor. Also, to find out more information on these scrumptious chocolates, go to the source: GoodDayChocolate.com

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Have a GOOD day (chocolate)!

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Hey y’all... sharing something too "good" to keep all to myself. No, it's not another baby (I keep getting asked) or what show I'm working on this week. But, I do get to reveal that soon! Actually headed in for wardrobe fittings in a few minutes. I'll try to share some hints in my stories if I can. SHHHh;)

This little secret is sweet goodness.

The wellness series is full of a lot of stuff I don't necessarily love doing, but know is good for me to do. Like swallowing huge supplements, downing all my water, working out, etc. I'm learning to love those things, but let's be real. So, I wanted to share a treat with you guys. Y’all asked for some of my favorite items from the Bloom Summit Health and Wellness day. I didn't forget. I've just been using some products and researching to find the ones I love the most. Now, part of what I think is cool about learning and experimenting with new products is two part: 1) I like switching things up occasionally and 2) not everything works for everyone's body. So, it's nice to throw ideas out there and see what might work well for you. 

One of the things I learned about is Good Day Chocolate. The creators are self professed “supplement geeks with a chocolate obsession.” It’s a chocolate vitamin (in the cutest packaging you’ve ever seen). Yes, it might sound confusing….a complete treat that is good for you? But, in the name of chocolate, I simply embraced the concept and have since enjoyed many a good days;) It is really hard for me to get everything I need from just food or one or two supplements. I really appreciate creative ideas to mix it all up!

I tried the “energy” chocolate first and loved the taste and gentle pick-me-up. Then, later that evening, I tired the “sleepy” version. I munched on a couple bite-sized chocolates and downed a large glass of water. I woke up refreshed. Hayden must have gotten the memo ‘cause he’s handing us the sleepy time version in the picture above! lol This mama could use a little extra sleep! He must know!

I'm interested in the turmeric supplement. Do y'all take turmeric? I looked up reasons why it's beneficial and was blown away. So, I would like to integrate these antioxidant bites into my weekly supplements.

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I did a bit more research and….this is why I like this company:

1) They support SmileTrain. (One of the founders is a plastic surgeon). 

2) Hayden and Huck beg for them (check out the kids section). Also, check my stories today on instagram. And for kids, they have a daily multi-vitamin that I love giving the boys. They are highly-tested, non GMO and made with fair trade chocolate. Your kids will remind YOU to give them their vitamins.

3) I can have a little sweet tasting something and know it’s beneficial. My go-to is one probiotic and one vitamin D in the AM. If I take one at night, it’s the sleepy time one. Since I'm trying to eat clean and drink the water right now (er...always!), it's a treat I'm adding that I don't feel guilty about. How fun to get a bite of something sweet that is packed with goodness in more ways than one? Really FUN. Great gift, too. Who wouldn’t want to receive this sweetness!? This variety pack is a fun hostess gift.

Warning for toddler moms: if your child is anything like Hayden, he likes to put any treat in his mouth, then hold it for a while in his hands, then put it back in his mouth. We’re working on this, but in the meantime, the chocolate does rub off on his little hands, so keep an eye. For more great info on this company, please visit: GoodDayChocolate.com where you can purchase (they also can be found here on Amazon and the kids' line can be found at your local Target). I have to give them a thank you shout out for sponsoring this portion of the wellness series! 

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BOTTOMS UP...drink your H2O

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Bottoms up!

However, this post is not about emptying your glass of Rose' all day! I just downed 14 oz of water from my DayBottle. (UPDATE: so many of you asked about this bottle you've seen in stories, I'm linking it here. Created by a kidney cancer survivor who needed to drink more water, this bottle easily helps you track hydration throughout the day.)

THIS POST is too simple. I really should get a big fat 'ol "F" for this. It's too easy, too on-the-nose. Everyone knows they need to drink water

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We’ve heard this our whole lives: DRINK MORE WATER. It’s basically the panacea to many ailments. Most of this wellness reminder series is simply that— great reminders. We know all of this already, but I still like new reminders. I recently overheard someone say in conversation, “Drinking water is a no-brainer, well, it’s 90% of your brain, so it’s more of a BRAINER than we think!” 

Anyhow, that joke wasn’t very funny. And I’m not trying to be funny here. Just straightforward. And bring your mid(ish)-year reminder about many of our new year’s resolutions. And if memory serves me, we all had several different resolutions, but the consistently ones were: drink more water and weight loss.

So, while typing and doing a bit of research here, I got super thirsty. As I said, I downed water. I think part of my issue is that I forget, then I get tired and and busy and distracted. I need a pick me up.  I instinctively reach for caffeine. And THAT IS MY DOWNFALL.

I appreciate my yoga teachers telling me all the benefits of water and why it's so important for me drink it. As I'm doing my last down dog of the class recently, I hear the lecture coming. I roll my eyes back so far, it's as if gravity is going to make them stick there. But, alas, I rise up once again and it is on my mind. 

For better or worse, the thoughts that get me thinking are more vanity based. Does this happen to you sometimes? I'm thinking, "Duh, we ALL know we need to drink water to make our digestive system work. Are you really saying this OUT LOUD. I mean, we're paying $20 a class to be here, we clearly on the "body-wellness" path, so tell us something I don't hear everyday." And then she did.

She reminded me of things like this:

Calorie control

Water simply helps people feel full, and as a result consume fewer calories. Timing can help, too. Drink 16oz. before meals. And cold water helps metabolism.

Fuels Muscle/Gives us Energy

When the muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired. So for extra energy, try drinking water to push through that final set of squats. And water in general can give us all more energy! If only I had the energy of my two year old! 

Clearer skin

Part of the detoxification benefits of drinking water, it helps flush out toxins that can clog our pores and cause acne. The jury is still out on if it scientifically helps with wrinkles, but I'll tell you this much, it doesn't hurt!

Improves Brain Function

I don't know if it's just from being tired a lot of the time, but I will take all the help I can get to improve my brain function! Like I said earlier, our brain is mainly water and needs enough of it to function properly. I don't know the science behind it, but it makes sense.

Relieves Constipation In Many Cases

Pretty self explanatory, but worth mentioning. If problems persist, see your doctor, but this is a good place to start.

extra credit: 

IT’S FREE!

Even if you splurge for bottled water, it’s cheaper than Starbucks or wine!

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You might remember my post with Dr Oz reminding us all to immediately drink 2 glasses of water upon rising. I do that about 40% of the time if I’m being honest. UGH! Coffee calls my name in the morning. SO Loudly!!!

BUT, bottoms UP. It’s time. If you haven’t been consistent, let’s start this challenge and get ‘er done. If you don’t love the taste—er— non taste of water, there are fun things you can do. Add mint! Add fruit. I add Usana’s Booster C and it gives me just enough flavor (and Vitamin C). This morning, I added the probiotic powder. I’m challenging myself to drink 64 oz every single day this week. I’ll report in my stories. Will you do it with me? Maybe we’ll go longer, but let’s start with a week. WE CAN DO THIS.

Tag me in any stories or posts…. What’s a hashtag we can all use? #bottomsupH2o? too long? thoughts? ha! And once again, if you want the  DAYBOTTLE, it's under $15. I'd love to know if it helps you drink more water.

Breathe. Exhale. Repeat.

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Hi y'all,

Thanks to all of you that read the Wellness Post yesterday. Today, I am focusing on breath. Most likely, this is not new information, but sometimes reminding myself of the benefits help motivate me to practice deep breathing exercises. Recently, my husband and I were asked what our top three goals were for improving ourselves. I like this question. What's going to make me a better partner in our marriage? One of my answers was to reduce stress and lower my anxiety. I can then be a more present partner and mother. Deep breathing is one way to get there.  DISCLAIMER: I'm not a doctor or a life coach or anything like that....I'm just another girl with a blog sharing what is working for me.

3 REASONS TO STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING:

LOWERS ANXIETY

"When you undergo physical pain or stressful situations, your body instinctively reacts in accordance with its fight-or-flight mechanism and your adrenal glands release the stress hormone, cortisol, which leads to increased heartbeat, muscles constriction, eye dilation, an increase in breath rate and a decrease in breath duration.

Medical professionals are unanimous in the assertion that elevated cortisol levels pose a serious threat to our health. Breathing exercises can help to reverse or mitigate the body’s natural reaction to stressful situations, markedly decreasing the rate at which cortisol is released into your system." - UnbeatableMind.com

RELEASES TOXINS AND STRENGTHENS YOUR CORE

"Good breathing habits help the lymphatic system function properly, which encourages the release of harmful toxins. This cleanses the body and allows it to direct its energy to more productive functions." LivingthenourishedLife.com I know when I practice the correct way of deep breathing, it's a great core strengthener, too. Releasing toxins and bringing in oxygen is one of the best steps to an overall healthier life. 

FOCUSING THE MIND

"Increased oxygen flow to the brain allows it to function at its optimal levels, which in turn aids decision making and ability to focus on tasks. Studies have shown that breathing exercises have beneficial impacts on the brain’s state of awareness – increasing retention and concentration." UnbeatableMind. Ahhh... is this why I feel more motivated mentally after an hour of yoga?

There are many more benefits, these are just the ones that are helping me right now. I'd also like to include this link from the New York Times with simple images reminding us great ways to take a moment and take a breath. 


I really appreciate hearing from you guys. Please know, I do read the DMs on social as often as I can and I take note of what you all are saying. Sometimes it's positive ideas for me to hear and sometimes it's sharing info about your lives. 

Lately, I've heard from a few of you about health issues. I would love to be able to send you a link on amazon to fix those issues! OR magically take them away. I cannot. What can I do? I can pray. I can encourage and I can listen to you (read your comments). I can remind you to breathe. 

Happy Tuesday, folks! Take time to take a long, deep breath. See you tomorrow. 

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalms 46

 

HAVE YOU BEEN GOOD TO YOURSELF LATELY?

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MID-YEAR CHECK IN with ourselves!! Earlier this year, I wrote a Soap Digest column and a blog post about goals and resolutions I hoped to achieve for 2018. I literally cannot believe it, but we're halfway through the year. So, logic tells me it's time to check in and see where we are in this whole "wellness" let's-make-ourselves-better idea. 

Truth be told, mentally I'm still living in the month of March. I keep thinking I have time to figure things out for the year. But, you know, that's okay. Sometimes that's just how life goes.

And that's what this check-in is about. What did you wanna accomplish this year? Are you actively working on said accomplishments? Today is a good day to get started all over again. Let's keep our minds positive and as focused as possible.

I'm gonna break down a few ideas in various posts over the next week or so about overall wellness. Today, I wanted to start with something simple, but powerful. Simple, yet so often confusing for me. VITAMINS AND SUPPPLEMENTS.  I got to interview the brainiacs behind the science of Usana. This is in no way a sponsored segment or post. I just truly wanted some questions answered. So, it makes sense that they will discuss Usana products since I asked their scientists for answers. The important thing here is that we're getting what we need from whatever good food, vitamins and supplements we might be taking.

q&a

  • What are the most important supplements to take? I know some people don’t want to start off with the subscription of daily packed vitamins and supplements, so if they were just buying them individually, what are the top three they should not live without?
    • First, everyone should be taking the CellSentials—our two foundational products—with carefully balanced levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and patent-ending USANA’s InCelligence Technology that activate your cells’ natural ability to protect and renew themselves.*  
    • Second, USANA’s Probiotic. The human digestive system is a delicate balance of both “good” and “bad” bacteria. USANA Probiotics have been shown to support healthy digestion and sound immune function.* 
    • USANA’s Vitamin D.  Many people are deficient in this important vitamin. And there are many reasons why it is easy to become deficient- it is difficult to get enough from the foods that you eat, you don’t get enough from sunlight because most of your time is spent indoors, you use a sunscreen, you have naturally darker skin, or you have aging skin that is not as efficient in making vitamin D. 

 

  • For pre-natal, during pregnancy and post-natal supplements, should I not mix other products? For instance, if I’m taking the BabyCare prenatals or Prenatal CellSentials (and assuming I have a decent diet), is that enough by itself?
    • Every individual is unique; therefore, everyone’s supplemental needs are going to be different. For example, the amount of calcium needed increases during pregnancy and some women don’t get enough calcium through diet alone. If you're concerned about your calcium intake, ask your doctor about ways to increase your intake. Your doctor is a great resourcefor any questions you have for pre and post pregnancy health. 

 

  • Is there such a thing as mixing too many supplements together? For instance, if I’m taking the Prenatal CellSentials, can I add the Magnecal? What is okay to add with a supplement/vitamin like CellSentials?
    • It’s important to remember that supplements are designed to complement a healthy diet, not replace it. USANA’s supplements are designed to provide advanced levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are difficult to obtain from diet alone – levels that individuals can use every day to promote a lifetime of good health. So you don’t want to just take supplements to take them. It would be ideal to know what you need, what you may be deficient in and add that to your nutritional routine. However, it’s always best to contact your doctor with any questions you have about your health. 

 

  • After discussing Proglucamune with Dr. OZ, I was asked many times if it’s ok to take it on top of your one a day vitamin. For example, if someone is already on a regular vitamin routine, can they incorporate Proglucamune in the morning and at night safely?    
    • First, please note that Proglucamune is intended to be taken by healthy adults, 18 years and older. Proglucamune is not intended to replace your one-a-day vitamin supplement. This supplement is designed to be taken every day to  support healthy immune function.* But again, It’s always best to contact your doctor for any questions you have about your health to discover what the best suits your nutritional needs. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 


What I got out of this quick Q&A is this: we need to take our balanced "one a day." Ideally, find one with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Make sure it includes enough Vitamin D. Also, add in a probiotic and an immune booster.  What I really liked and now added to my never-ending to-do list? Make a wellness appointment with your doctor and write down what you are taking or thinking about taking. Don't just take supplements just to take them, as they said above. Perhaps I need levels to be checked to see if I need more of one thing or another. And I imagine, this changes periodically. 

The products below are the ones I am taking currently. I do switch it up sometimes, but right now, this is it! Hope at the very least, it gets us all thinking about our health from the inside out. What are your top health concerns right now? If you have additional questions, please let me know. I'd like to circle back around with this with a few doctors.

1. Biomega  2. Proglucamune  3.Usana Booster C (I put this in my water when I work out or am feeling sluggish or jet lagged, etc).  4. Vita-Oxidants and Minerals  5.Probiotic (I TRY HARD to remember to put this in my water in the morning or at night) 6. Hepasil (I don't take this everyday, but several times a week. It helps with overall detoxification). 

What I will say about this overall combination, it helps keep my digestive system going and moving properly (keeps me regular;) And I do notice a difference in my energy when I am consistent. So, whatever program you are on, consistency is a big part of it. Oh, and drink water. That will be another post;) Yesterday I was terrible about it and can feel the difference today!! 

xoxo

AAJ

ps- as a part of this "wellness series," what other questions or themes are you interested in? email or leave a comment below! 

 

 

 

 

You can't have a bad day in POLKA DOTS.

TRUTH. No bad days in polka dots. I think Anna Kendrick said this. I must agree. I wore this top last Saturday to Bloom Summit and it was a good day.

 actresses Christine Lakin, Virgina Williams, Vanessa Ray, me;) Photo by: @Ographr 

actresses Christine Lakin, Virgina Williams, Vanessa Ray, me;) Photo by: @Ographr 

The summit, produced by @NewBloomMedia@beautymomme expert Saarah Samadani, kicked off the morning with a plethora of wellness tips and new products. I'm learning about tricks of the health trade. And you know I'll be sharing my favorites tips and products with you. There were so many new things to wrap my mind around, especially in weight management. With all the inner beauty talk and focus on wellness, it made me reflect on my "SMART" GOALS in this post. Am I accomplishing them? Well, some of them I am! And many I need to revisit and refocus. 

Loved getting to visit with the ladies at the event, even for a moment. All of us have kids the same age (with the exception of the darling Vanessa Ray...you know her from BLUE BLOODS or PRETTY LITTLE LIARS but soap fans will remember AS THE WORLD TURNS!). 

After the event, we headed to San Diego to meet my sister and the day got even better.

I felt very "bright and cherry" in my white sunnies, polka dots and blue pants. Was it too much? ha! Maybe, but whatever- I went with it. The converse grounded the outfit, right? This polka dot top really makes me smile. Love the tiny ruffle on the sleeve. If this one isn't the perfect one for you, here are other fun options. Just click on an image to go to the item at the store's site:

FYI: the blue pants linked are not the same ones I'm wearing. I'm wearing the ones I wore in this post at Hayden's first birthday! But, they sold out quickly. I enjoy a pop of color, so here are some other options of brands I wear:

Non-sequitur, but I asked in the last post about good book recommendations...? Just compiling a list. I'll share! Thanks to those that have dm'd or commented with their suggestions.

xoxo

AAJ

 Photo: @Ographr

Photo: @Ographr

 Alex Basowski, Amy Davidson, me;) Photo: Alex's iPhone 

Alex Basowski, Amy Davidson, me;) Photo: Alex's iPhone