Friday, May 23

Carter Turned 3!! (photo overload)



Wednesday was Carter's 3rd birthday! Tom has had the week off so we all went to a farm for the day. Carter was into it. He had his map ready and took off. This place is great. Massachusetts people--Davis Farmland is awesome. Although I'm sure the weekends are packed and there's not a lot of shade so probably a no-go for tiny babies.

On the way home we took a quick trip to Toys R Us (Carter likes nothing more than to walk up and down the aisles and to name the characters from every game/movie/show/toy ever). He is obsessed with toy review videos on YouTube (Sammy on Arcadius Kul is his favorite, closely followed by EvanTubeHD). Carter walked away with a box full of Marvel blind bags that were on clearance (and Tom got a second box for himself).

We ended the day with cake and ice cream with the grandparents (minus one special papa who was away on business--but he was at Disney racing mustangs so don't feel too bad).






this goat was only 4 days old!! Holy cuteness!!

 moon bounce action

And nothing sums up Carter's personality quite like this photo:

Happy Weekend!! xo


Beautiful Facial Oil {review + giveaway}

So I think you know how I don't like using products with chemicals in them. Pretty sure we've covered that once or several hundred times. Trusted Health asked me to try their Beautiful line of facial oils and I was all over it. Here are my thoughts:

They add your name to the bottle--cute, who doesn't like their own personalized little bottles? Here are mine:



The ingredients are as natural and simplistic as they claim--awesome. Here they are:



My skin felt AMAZING. Our spring weather has been s  l  o  w, but on the days that reached 70 I went sans foundation and just wore this oil and my skin felt great and I have to say it looked pretty great too (if you can get used to the no foundation look--I'm working on embracing it). Sometimes, even with all the best non-foundation-settling tricks, my foundation and concealer gets into those little lines I'm starting to get around my eyes and forehead in my 26th year. Not a fan of these little dudes popping up. This oil definitely helped to camouflage that and it made my skin look more like it was in its 14th year. Works for me.

I have the kind of skin that does best without all that skincare hullabalu--I don't use toner, hardly use cleanser, no crazy masks or facials for this lady. The most I do is exfoliate once a week-ish and so these oils fit perfectly into my little regimen of few ingredients and no hassle. Also, this stuff works better than any eye cream I've ever tried. I also have very sensitive skin (that gets hives from showering--I know) and these didn't cause any issues for me.

I'm sure some of you are already into OCM (oil cleansing method) and these oils would work great for that.

If this is something up your alley, enter the giveaway for the Beautiful AM Moisturizer below. There will be 3 separate winners chosen. You can also try out a free bottle if you pay S&H (check out the details below).




Additional Offers from Trusted Health
1. Try a free bottle if you pay shipping + handling:


The manufacturer is offering a free bottle of Beautiful A.M. Moisturizer (for women) or You’re the Man A.M. Moisturizer (for men), if you pay the shipping and handling cost.  You'll also get two reports with your bottle– The Poisons You Put On Your Face Everyday and Why Your Skin Care Products Have Never Worked: The Truth Revealed .  It's a total value of over $40.00. Click here to get your FREE bottle. If you're someone like me who's really into minimal ingredients, I think this is definitely worth checking out.

2. Save $5 on your first order when you like Trusted Health on Facebook

3. If you happen to not be a girl/woman/lady/ma'am, there is a men's line available called The Man, check that out here

Wednesday, April 2

Autism Awareness with Sevenly!

This week I've partnered with Sevenly + Autism Speaks to talk about autism awareness. 

If you've noticed, there have been quite a few posts recently related to charity and certain causes. I have been feeling kind of blah about blogging, and so I've been trying to blog about things I truly care about that are bigger than me. It has given me new energy to focus on blogging and it makes this time spent on the computer much more enjoyable and I actually want to spend time doing it. 

Also, if you haven't read about sweet little Charlie yet...go do it!

"Shine a Light" tee available here

So today, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day (pretty appropriate day for the post, right?). I think it's safe to say that since autism is so common now (1 in 68 children), lots of us have experience with ASD to varying extents. I want to share a story with you quickly about what made me passionate about this cause. 

In high school, I got the opportunity to be a tutor in a Life Skills class and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. All of the kids in the class were about the same age as me. Actually, the boy who I became the closest with, we'll call him Kyle (I like to keep people's privacy!), was a year older than me. One of my favorite parts of my day was going to hang out with Kyle. Even though he couldn't communicate with me verbally,  we got to know each other. 

He had this cool computer (forgive me for not knowing the real term) that he could type into to let us know what he wanted, and almost every day he'd ask to go get chips out of the vending machine. The sheer joy on his face when he opened the bag instantly turned any bad day upside down. We want on walks to open his locker, walks for exercise around the hallways, worked out in the gym. Hanging out with him was the only thing that ever made me like routines. I loved watching him do his circuit on the strength training machines and was ever in awe of the way he whipped out a math worksheet before I could even get my calculator out to check the first problem.

He liked to go swimming at his family's lake house and I even got to go to a graduation party for him at school a couple of years after I graduated. 

I want to be able to connect with people in that way again. Not so much as an educator, but as someone who can hang out and enjoy life with some of the most amazing people this world has to offer. 

I have this dream of one day being a stay at home mom when Carter is in high school, and having the ability to decide that instead of going out and getting a "real" job, I will go volunteer all of my time away. Who knows if that will ever work out, but it's a pretty good dream to have (at least I think it is).

And now let me segue into something not so smoothly. Being a parent is terrifying, but I think it can be even more scary with a child with special needs. Wandering is a behavior associated with ASD. 48% of children with ASD wander from a safe environment (this is a rate about 4 times higher than children without ASD). 58% of parents said that wandering is one of the most stressful ASD behaviors. 

The good news? This week, your purchase at Sevenly provides locating devices that will help keep children with autism safe. 

Find the shirt I styled here.

Visit Sevenly's website for more information.


Thursday, March 27

Meet Charlie!


Hey friends! I want you to meet one of the most adorable little girls on the planet. Charlie is the little cutie in the bottom left of that sweet photo!

I went to high school (and elementary school too!) with her beautiful momma, Katie. Today we have a little opportunity to help them out! Charlie was born with hydranencephaly. If you've never heard of hydranencephaly, you can learn about it here. Because of Mobility Awareness Month, they have the opportunity to possibly get a van that would be able to fit Charlie's wheel chair and would open up several opportunities for them.

Here is their story:

Our beautiful daughter Charlie was born with Hydranencephaly, a rare condition in which 80-85 percent of the cerebral hemispheres in her brain are missing, it is a grim prognosis. When she was diagnosed, we were told that what makes a person human is absent in her, we were also told that she absolutely would not see her first birthday. Charlie will be four in August and is as stubborn as they come. Because of her primary diagnosis she also has Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes Insipidus, Blindess and is unable to do many seemingly simple tasks such as sitting up on her own, walking, speaking or maintaining head control for any great length of time.
 

Because of her prognosis and many daily needs her father and I decided it would be in her best interest if I were to stay home with her while he works. I am so grateful to be able to spend this time with my beautiful girl because every moment with her is so precious and I know that I won’t get it back. Unfortunately, because we only have one income, we only have one vehicle which her father needs to get back and forth from work. This makes it difficult to coordinate appointments and to arrange for transportation especially when traveling to Boston. When we can use our vehicle, our car is too small for her wheelchair which means I usually need to carry her everywhere. Needless to say, at forty pounds, Charlie is no longer easy to carry especially when I have to haul her fifteen pound diaper bag as well! Within a very short period of time, Charlie will no longer fit in a safe and appropriate car seat, making transporting her seemingly impossible.
 

We would so greatly appreciate any mode of safe transportation in order to provide Charlie with the best care, quality and longest life possible. It would mean so much more to us than simply making our life more convenient, it would open up much greater possibilities for our beautiful little girl.

If you can spare just two minutes (seriously, I did it, it only takes 2 minutes!), can you vote for them here? You can vote every 24 hours (until May 9th) if you're so inclined! Also, if you click the "answer a question" button, you'll be qualified for two votes if you get the mobility-related question correct.

I would take it very personally (in a good way!) if all my good blogging friends could take the time to do this (you know who you are!)

Thanks so much for stopping by and listening. Don't forget to vote!

And if you can't spare two minutes right now, share the link!

Monday, March 24

Let Them Be Free {human trafficking}

This week, I'm partnering with Not for Sale + Sevenly to rescue children at risk of being trafficked

I heard about Not For Sale for the first time in college. The president of Not For Sale spoke at commencement at my school the year before I graduated. I remember first really understanding what human trafficking was when I was in college. Listening to speakers, watching documentaries. It was something that really grabbed my attention. Previously, I was one of those people living in my own little bubble, forgetting that such horrors exist; thinking they only happen in far off, obscure places. But they don't. Human trafficking occurs here, in the US, in your city. And those people living in far off places...they're people just like us, and are often more vulnerable to trafficking because of dire economic circumstances. 

30 million people are currently enslaved around the world. Modern-day slavery is currently growing. While most people are aware of sex trafficking, slave labor and debt bondage are also types of modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world (tied with arms dealing and only preceded by drug dealing). {Source} {Check the US Dept of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet if you're interested in additional information}

find this shirt and similar styles here

So what can you do about it?
  • Take a look at the t-shirts for sale  at Sevenly. Purchases this week will go to support Not For Sale and the work they are doing to fight modern-day slavery.
  • Download the app Free2Work (it's available for both iPhone and Android). This app allows you to scan barcodes of clothing so that you can be aware of the origin of the products and materials used by manufactures. It will help you figure out which manufactures are committed to addressing human trafficking.
  • Buy fair trade. Yes, it's a little more expensive. But is the cost of unsafe work conditions and meager pay  worth the 30 cents you'll save by purchasing a cheaper brand?

 

Not For Sale works to fight modern-day slavery. They provide direct services to victims of human trafficking and people vulnerable to exploitation, and attack the root causes through education, skill development and job creation.

Sunday, March 23

Recent Essentials: Carter + Amy

Carter recently had a huge growth spurt and had no. clothes. I've been procrastinating because we're at that awkward moment where it isn't winter, but it isn't spring either. I wanted to wait for warm weather to revamp his closet, but the high waters just weren't cutting it. The number of times he tried to pull his pant legs down over his ankles was starting to become hilarious.

I love that he's at the age now where he can pick out his own clothes. These are a few recent things Carter's acquired. Since it is still in the 40s here he's rocking his Toms with socks. New fashion statement? Not something I would wear, but I'm all about letting him make his own outfit decisions. Now that he's this little person with an opinion, I think he needs opportunities to express it.

Carter Approved

Tiny Toms (ours are from Zulily) >> Sweatpants from H&M >> Angry Birds hat from H&M
V Necks--this one is from Nordstrom >> These Nikes are at Kohl's >> Vans at Kohl's

A few things have been making my days easier recently. I am in a complete funk where I feel like I can not go on if we don't have a day above 50. I am waiting (not so patiently) for it.  I know, you really wanted to come over here and hear me complain about the weather. I'm done, promise.                                                         
Amy Approved

>>I love Lea Michele. My favorites so far are Cannonball, Battlefield and Thousand Needles. 

>>This perfume just makes me feel happy. But I'm too cheap to buy it so I just buy little samples here and there online! 

>>My Breville juicer. The love of my life besides Tom and Carter. It's been making it way easier to get my veggies in. How hard is it to eat healthy when it's cold and cloudy?! Extremely. 

>> I'm wearing this Zoya nail polish right now. 

>>Yes, the Plasma Car is on my "approved" list. It keeps Carter occupied for a large portion of the day, it doesn't scratch our hardwood floors, and I may or may not whip around the house on it when Carter's otherwise engaged. It is so much fun! 

(not pictured) is my new best friend.

*Here's to surviving this dragging cold weather. I'm going to go down some vitamin D, see you tomorrow!*

Wednesday, March 12

On Gendercide in China {and something you can do about it}

Today I'm teaming up with Sevenly and the charity All Girls Allowed to talk about Gendercide in China.

Up until this point, I knew gendercide was widespread in China, but when I heard the following statistic: 1.1 million girls are lost every year due to sex-selective abortion, abandonment, or infanticide it really stuck with me. It is one of those topics that was in the back of my mind, lingering, I need to do something about this. But I didn't really know where to start.

Sevenly contacted me not long ago to ask if I'd like to participate in this campaign and I'm so glad they did.

Parents go to extreme measures (like sex-selective abortion, abandonment, and infanticide) because of the strict One-Child Policy in China as well as a strong cultural preference for boys.  Even if participating in this blog campaign is a super small step in the right direction, it's a good place to start.
If you'd like to participate in this campaign take a look at the fashion-friendly tees on Sevenly's site.

Find the Beauty Tee here (it's the one below). There are also other styles on Sevenly.org



Your purchase saves the life of a baby girl in China at risk of being discarded or killed. 
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope you'll consider purchasing from Sevenly.

I'm so happy I can use this blog as a platform for things as I believe in, as well as to share unfortunate things that happen to me at Walmart (stay tuned--it's a good one). It's a nice little juxtaposition we have going on here.

**More about the charity: All Girls Allowed provides food, clothing, and medical aid to at-risk baby girls. They also work with mothers to keep and care for their baby girls, and seek to restore the value of girls in the community.



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