Kristy, Au Naturale: “The Road to Serenity is Ahead” No Judgement Journaling

*Explicit language warning ūüėÄ in this post…

IMG_9854I don’t feel like I am alone in this when I say that I have the best of intentions when it comes to making the time to write in my journal ¬†all my journals. Mustering the courage to write my truth has always seemed too daunting a task. Faced with a blank page and SO MANY FEELINGS?

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so many journals, so little time

But… where do I start? What do I say? Somehow, my therapy via written word always finds a way of brushing itself aside with “I don’t have the time right now. Maybe later” and “Its 2:38 am, I should sleep. Ok, now its 3:02, 3:15, I’ll totally fall asleep because I’m so tired.”

Or, the all time most frequent anti-journaling monster…..distraction.

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Why should I journal anyways?? Before I got myself on the journaling wagon, I read a bunch of information about the benefits of journaling in PsychCentral.com articles, books and even Huffington post. Why bother? Here’s a few reasons:

  1. Writing can be an impressive way of challenging the mind to find words that otherwise may not be used in your everyday speech. Thus, expanding your vocabulary and your brainpower. (higher IQ levels for the win)
  2. Writing can also help boost your memory by actively beckoning the mind to remember events or ideas and then recalling them to the present.
  3. Bringing you into a state of mindfulness, journaling can create a level of self-awareness of just how deeply an issue, situation, or an emotion is felt. It helps you truthfully live in these experiences, so that you may be able to relate more appropriately to others.¬† Empathizing can be a powerful tool in emotional development. Being in the present moment, as well, can help to subdue the gravity of worries of the past, or the fiery pangs of the anxious ones to come. In essence, it’s helping you figure out your sh*&, so you can learn handy tools in dealing with your well-being going forward, and stop lamenting the worries of yesterday. (see what I did there?? I never use “lamenting” when I’m speaking to people. BRAIN BOOST POINTS)
  4. Others benefits, according to the PsychCentral.com article, can be related to problem solving, clarity of thoughts and feelings that can help you to know yourself better, and improving your interpersonal relationship communication.
  5. Sleep!!

So I touched on sleep above. Err, lack of sleep, rather.¬† Has anyone had those glorious nights where your kids are happily nuzzled cozy in their beds and sleeping all night, yet YOU can’t sleep because your mind is running around anazlying and worrying about everything and anything?

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The process of journaling has also been found to decrease the stressors that typically affect one’s ability to rest peacefully through the healing power of RELEASE. Dr. James Pennebaker authors a book titled,¬†Writing to Heal, in which he expresses the true art of unblocking emotional barriers and traumas. We can give them a voice to be heard, understood, and therefore not over analyzed¬†in our minds. He explains that writing exercises can

leave you with a stronger sense of value in the world, and the ability to accept that life can be good–even when it is sometimes bad.

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I know all this and yet…. Think of an excuse, and I’ve said it to myself to avoid journaling my thoughts and emotions that cause me stress and at their worst, keep me from sleeping. Truth is, if I just took five minutes out of my day to write that “thing” that is sucking my awareness into it down on paper, the huge monstrosity of looped thought may just exit my brain altogether. And hopefully, for good.

Here is the kicker: Journaling is also an awesome lesson in self-discipline. And with self-discipline, practice makes perfect.

I’ve admittedly been highly unsuccessful at keeping up with any journal.¬† It wasn’t that “I sucked at journaling” self judgey much? I just felt so overwhelmed with it, that I never even began to try. Frustration would set in before any therapeutic benefit could be reached.¬† The answer was that I hadn’t yet been connected to a journal that fit my personality/emotional needs.

It was through a gift from a dear friend that changed my perspective on that feeling. Suddenly, I was given a daily theme, a dated logbook with meditations, and small practical guidance to look within myself.  I found the points above were key factors in my adherence to writing behaviors. Helpful and simple tools, like this one below, are very powerful.

So, going through these insightful motions of jotting down my physical, emotional, and psychological thoughts for that day and relating them to an intention was my Aha! moment. I loved it, and looked forward to the time in bed right before I fell asleep when I could journal.

So, to Recap what we have learned:

  1. Keeping a journal is a healthy and awesome way to release emotional blockages and enhance your super smartness (which you already have a level of that for reading our blog;))
  2. You’ll need to find a journal that excites you, enticing you to make the time to use it as the tool it can be.
  3. Start slow. Pick a theme or an emotion to narrow in on in order to really understand it.
  4. Write quickly, without judgement, and in a space that can feel private and safe.
  5. Enjoy the process of opening up to yourself. You might be surprised at how in tune you become with your inner workings.

I’ll use my current theme as an example.¬† It is related to one of my favorite books, the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck The title speaks for itself. Buy it. Read it. Live it. You will thank me.

The Journal, also a gift, called “Zen as F*CK” A Journal For Practicing The Mindful Art of Not Giving A SH*T”, has me laughing like an awesomely carefree mad scientist and I am 514B7Y42PML._AC_US218_LOVING it. Each page can take less than 20 minutes. I find myself smiling when I am done, accomplished in my mindfulness task for that day.

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One of the factors that I never found in my research about writing therapy, was the amazing affect it has had on my hopefulness.¬†In the last 2-3 months since beginning this practice, albeit not daily but almost, I am slowly rediscovering who I was always meant to be. I am finding a woman who knows how to be confident in feeling happy, kind, warm, and balanced. Oh, and hilarious. Definitely hilarious. (if you can’t laugh at yourself, right?) And to think, it wasn’t that I found any old journal and started writing.¬† This all started to happened because,

          a journal helped me find my way back to me.

-Psssst, and I totally dig this new me. She’s kinda awesome.

I hope you take this time to rediscover you through the art of writing. Because chances are, you’re freaking incredible. Have an amazing voyage!

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Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, mom of 2 and homesteader in Virginia.

Friday Funnies: Sh*t Moms Say

Before we were parents, we had this editorial Stepford-wife, blissful image of what it was going to be like. The kids would be clean and organized and I would gently teach them the ways of the world in a calm and reasonable voice. They would dote on me as much as I doted on them..and all would be…well cuteness and rainbows.

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Welp, welcome to the real world, folks. This is a little compilation of some of the best moments of “I Never Thought I’d Say….” and then parenthood rolled up like…

TOP 20 CRAZIEST THINGS TO COME OUT OF OUR MOMMY MOUTHS:

  1. “Guys, poop is not finger paint”¬† <cue barf noises>

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  2. “Do NOT wrap that extension cord around your neck.” or your sister’s, or the dog’s….why do they want to strangle themselves all. the. time??

  3. “Wow, I never knew that your best friend could single handedly defeat a colossal squid…..NO, I totally BELIEVE YOU.” <serious face>

  4. “No hunting chickens with the garden hose”¬†please.¬†

  5. “Do you need a snacky-poo?” in some weird alien baby voice, who even am I??

  6. ¬†“No touching butt-holes at the dinner table”¬†because “no touching butt-holes ever” became unattainable at some point…

  7. “Oh God. Who did you just call?”

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  8. “Don’t worry about how bad my breath is, mama needs a hug!”

  9. “Did you just wash your hands in my water glass?!”

  10. “Boys! Use. Toilet paper.”

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  11. “An octopus does not have eight testicles”¬†it’s tentacles, dear.¬†
  12. “Daddy was just helping mommy stretch”¬†ahem…

  13. “GRAPES. OUT. OF. YOUR nose !”¬†and, basically replace grapes with any object roughly nostril sized – what is with this??

  14. “No lightsabers at the table!”

  15. “Did you fart or is that your sister’s diaper?”

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  16. “Don’t wave your vulva at your sister!”¬†because when you decide to use correct anatomical terms with your kids, you better stick with it.

  17. “We don’t poop in other people’s yards!”¬†oh potty training…

  18. “Good Lord kid, quit eating the money.” there goes your college fund…

  19. “No coloring on the baby”¬†or biting, or spitting, or feeding nuts to… just don’t touch the baby FFS!!

And by far, the craziest thing to come out of any of our mouths….

20. “Let’s have another baby”.¬†BAhahahhahahahahhah!!

There’s no logic to it.

 

Oh yeah, that’s why!

Happy Friday peeps!!

 

Kristy, Au Naturale: Weight Loss Journey, A Hard Life Lesson in Transformation.

I am not even sure where to begin with this post. I’ve asked myself a million times whether or not it is a good idea to post about my weight loss journey. The answer is always the same. Yes. Because it¬†ISN’T¬†about weight.

It’s about the journey.

I was always playing sports growing up, so I never really thought about weight. Being genetically predisposed to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity never ever crossed my mind. ¬†As I got older, and the metabolism started to decrease, I began to take notice. Then….. I had kids.

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After I had my first little one, Christiana and I decided to sign up for a half marathon. Super ambitious goals are the only goals!! “Sure I can run 13.1 miles 8 months postpartum. I’ll just train my ass off, lose all the baby weight, and feel FABULOUS, right?”

EHHHHHHHHH (cue game show buzzer noise)

So so so so wrong. All that training and I lost ZERO pounds or inches. ZERO. I also ended up hurting my hip flexor pretty badly during that race because…hello...cross training is necessary when training properly for long distance running.

It was then that my metabolism came crashing screetched to a halt. I was eating all the food and drinking all the beverages. And it was then that my body image started to wain. An increase in scale weight and clothing size caused a HUGE decrease in self worth for me.

<Depression enter stage left>

Depression set in pretty hard. It was soon after that I spent a majority of my days in tears, not feeling worthy of any kind of love. OK, I know what you’re thinking,

“weight shouldn’t have anything to do with that…. society….. diets… magazines….. women are predisposed to unhealthy mindsets due to having their bodies objectified and sexualized in our faces since we were little and it shouldn’t affect them….”

Yup….all that. ¬†All of the yeps. But I still hated myself for letting myself get to a place that I hated myself, perpetuating a vicious negative feedback loop.

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210 lbs, size 18 my heaviest

Fast forward to my daughter being born. With little #2, I never slept. She was up every 45 minutes of her life for the entire. first. year. I cannot get back all the wasted time on social media looking at photos like the one above and seeing someone I didn’t even recognize. It became impossible to see any happiness in my life. I was being blinded by how disgusting I thought I looked. I couldn’t see the beauty in the way my daughter is looking at me in this photo. The joy radiating from her sweet little face…

<Cue second bout of depression and self loathing>

It was then that my husband, bless that sweet man, had HAD IT!

“I want you to see what the children and I see, so I used my Christmas bonus and signed you up for the on-track class at the closest Crossfit. It’s already paid for….you’re going”

<jaw drop……anxiety sweat dripping>

Walking through the doors that day in January of 2015 changed the course of the rest of my life.

Through education, HARD WORK, team commoradory, nutrition challenges and changes (we went mostly paleo), and push from my family…. I started to feel worthy of this change. The weight loss started happening slowly, then once my diet changed, my metabolism that had been seemingly dormant for 4 years decided to wake up!

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3 months after beginning Crossfit, was down 15 lbs and SO MUCH HAPPIER already.

Suddenly, I could do stuff. Pull-ups (albeit assisted but WHO F$*&ing cares I was doing PULLUPS) pushups, deadlifts, stuff I had never even thought I’d be capable of.

Pretty soon, I found myself at a 55 lbs weight loss.  FIFTY FIVE POUNDS!

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155lbs

But….was I truly happy? Well, I went from hating my body, to becoming OBSESSED with it. I spent every moment I had thinking about workouts and how I needed to get there and see the people that had become my friends, my lifeline. I would get anxiety about every workout everyday.¬† And if I missed one, I’d have anxiety that I’d lost all the fitness I had worked so hard to get. Every day I’d miss dinner, and homework, and family time to work on this new body of mine. I looked for my self worth and validation for missing those things in every “you look amazing!”, from people that I heard. I found physical validation in others finding me attractive, since I had spent so long feeling hideous. In other words, my mental health battle had just begun.

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Thinnest here at 152 lbs size 8

I kept getting thinner and thinner. Skipping breakfast, drinking protein shakes instead of lunch (mainly because the anxiety for the workout that day would leave me nauseated), and only having an appetite for dinner after the workout. My coaches even noticed and talked to me about my weight. They weren’t happy.

It was shortly after this that I started having panic attacks. Undiagnosed depression and anxiety had gotten the best of me. With the up and down extremes, using weight loss and working out as the only escape, it became hard to even notice that I had lost myself and the person I was. I was no longer the carefree woman my husband married. The thing that made me happiest at that point, was now my greatest source of angst and pain.

Life threw us a giant kick in the ass when my son started losing interest in school. We started having emails and notes home from his teacher that he was way behind and not able to focus in school. Essentially, we took him to the gym and came home and put him in front of his homework or the television and talked about crossfit in the kitchen.

ROCK….BOTTOM…..PARENTING………FAIL……..<cue more self loathing>

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That woke me up to just how bad my mental state had gotten. I looked for validation at the expense of everyone but me.

My supportive (you know who you beauties are) friends and family took me aside, and told me that they loved me, but it had been as if they’d lost me to crossfit and crossfit people for two years at this point. So I changed….

I refocused my awareness on healthily eating, (whatever I wanted…not following a specific limited diet) being okay with skipping workouts and only going three days a week and NEVER in the evenings. We reinstalled family dinner around the table, and no television during the weekdays. And the biggest factor was that I asked for help. That help saved my sanity, just as Crossfit had saved my health two years earlier.

This is yesterday

The scale went up, but guess what….so did my performance in the gym. I still crossfit and I still think it’s the greatest exercise for me. My husband does it now, too!

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holla at yo boy

I ended up pulling away from the obsession, and have maintained a healthier weight for my body, mind, and life balance ever since. Anxiety is something I still struggle with daily, but the self awareness actualizes true coping, instead of filling and fueling it with old habits and relationships.

My point in writing this story is to show that, while I may have felt skinny and awesome in some ways, I hadn’t truly healed myself. I live a life nowwhere I am so much happier, showing my daughter that I have a little weight to me, but it comes with greater strength. She can see all that Mommy can do. I can balance now. And I hope to inspire her to adopt this motto: Strong is the new skinny. ¬†Strength, balance, ¬†SELF LOVE, and happiness have been the end goals to this journey and will continue to be. For now, when you ask me what my weight is in the above photos, I will answer this way,

” 155# deadlift for 100 reps, 75# on the barbel for the rest of the 200 reps. And guess what, I threw that damn scale out the window……..”

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Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

18835945_10103938084553859_8628446883750688728_n Kristy is a married mom of 2, doula, massage therapist, and dedicated crossfitter with a passion of healing the human body and mind in Virginia.

Why I love bats, and why you will too.

Call me crazy, but I find myself obsessing over bats. They are my favorite mammals, other than my cat, for several reasons.

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The best reason ever is that they can eat over¬†1200 Mosquitos an hour and can consume their body weight in insects every night! That’s right. Stupid, disease carrying, biting, poopy mosquitoes. BUHBYEEEEE

They are also great pollinators! So at night when they are flying around, they are pollinating your area so that the ecosytem can be maintained. Thank you fruit bats!

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Thirdly…they freaking ECHOLOCATE! Not all species of bats do. Fruit bats, for instance don’t echolocate at all. It is said that in a light rain, they can navigate through the raindrops(I don’t care if this is true or not), but if it is then they are basically superheroes. They are the only mammals whose front limb has adapted into a wing and are capable of true flight! And boy, are they awesome to watch at dusk dive-bombing to find all those dumb mosquitos. DIE MOSQUITOS…actually, don’t cause then the bats would leave.

Before you FREAK OUT and go all “count Dracula” horror movie about bats, yes I know they can be freaky looking. They sleep upside down for goodness sake! But take some time to consider that, yes while vampire bats do exists, they do not “suck blood”. They lap it up. Ok ok ok, calm down!¬†I know that isn’t any better. But unless you’re in South America where some bats have been seen to be lapping up blood from a cow or goat here and there, you’re fine. (sorry South American cows)

Ok now that I’ve convinced you of their awesomeness, lets look at how to attract bats to your property.

Bat houses

Make the bats feel welcomed! Build a bat house using plywood or cedar. The rough surface will make it easier for¬†bats¬†to climb in and out of the house. Keep the roughest side of the wood to the inside of the house.¬†Bat¬†houses work best if they’re at least 2 feet tall, 1 foot wide, and 3 inches deep. Keep the temperature between 85-100 degrees F, as bats prefer a warmer climate. To ensure this, place the bat house in a location facing the sun for the afternoon hours.¬† NO TREES as they are more susceptible to predators in a tree as well as too much shade.¬† To give ample enough room for the bats to drop before they take flight, put your bat house at least 15 feet up in the air. An east or west facing chimney is an ideal place.

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Cool, right?

Food and Water

Now that you’ve invited them home, give them food and a water source. Bird baths work well as ponds. Planting night blooming flowers can attract nocturnal garden insects, which, in turn, attracts bats! Marigolds, Dahlias, and Thyme are all good plant examples!

Screw you wasps

Make sure you check your house regularly so that you are not just making a home for bees, wasps, or hornets. Also check your house for holes before you put up your bat house! Seal and fill them as best you can. Bats can fit into a hole the size of a quarter, and we want to prevent cohabitation! After all, this roommate stays up ALL NIGHT!

Rabies

Yes, bats can carry rabies. But you’re more likely to have an encounter with a nasty raccoon or skunk than a bat. After all, they are way better at avoiding you with their echolocation than you are with your human eyes and ears. Plus, the benefit way outweighs the risk in my opinion, knowing that less than 1% of the bat population actually carry rabies.¬†2014-wildlife-us

Ok, so have I convinced you yet? Bats…do it…you’ll thank me later when you can enjoy your back porch without the Zika virus. Plus look how cute they can be!

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Momday Faves: Part Deux

To continue a “few of my favorite things” on these Momday Faves list….

Kristy’s turn:

Mommy Hooks

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Does this look like you running errands or enjoying a day out with kids in tow…one in a baby wearing device, one holding hands, and one in a stroller? Trying to run errands, go to the farmers market, store, zoo,shopping mall, anything can be overwhelming when the “stuff” piles up.

“mommy hold this” twice from each kid….plus picking up that package from post office and the flowers that I told you to buy for yourself a few posts ago…..

Heres your solution…The Stroller Hook!

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This one, by Toogli, is one that I like but there are several comparable brands to choose from here: Hook Options

This lovely thing clips ALL YOUR BAGS into your cart, stroller, backpack, wherever you want it! Its a heavy-duty carabiner that saved my life with two kids, a diaper bag, a baby wearing device, all the coats, shopping bags, etc!

Home Meal Delivery 

I am way into things arriving on my porch, ready to be made! Taking my kids to the store ended up getting extremely expensive for a family of four who eats wants to eat a paleo diet. We found Sunbasket.com and have LOVED every box we’ve gotten. They have very healthy options, and it saves us the time and money of getting all the ingredients at the store. Most of you know Blue Apron, but Sun Basket offers organic, free range, and different options for different dietary restrictions.

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For the price point, we’ve found Sunbasket to be the most convenient and the most excellent. As cross fitters, we need to focus on the fuel we put into our bodies daily. ¬†With our schedules as they are, we wouldn’t eat as healthy as we do without Sunbasket. ¬†Give it a shot!

And finally, a HUGE thank you to all of you who promoted our blog and got us to 50 followers. Keep sharing the good news and we will keep posting fun/informative/inspirational/random stuff!!

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Momday Faves

You know that feeling when you discover a new {item, gadget, service, app…} that revolutionizes your day-to-day mom life? That howdidIeverlivewithoutthis?? moment? Well these are a few of Christiana and Annie’s faves we’d like to share with you lovelies! If you’re on a strict budget…. stop reading now. You’re gonna want one all of these…

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First up, Christiana’s Faves:

Not being able to finish your coffee while it’s hot is the subject of more parenthood-memes than I have legos in my house. Enter: Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mugember

This mug is my Monday morning hallelujah. No matter how many diaper changes, lost shoes, or forgotten hidden homework assignments try to derail my morning, I have hot coffee from first sip to last drop. All. Morning. Long.

Shout color catchers

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After my boys’ royal-blue shark towels turned nearly half of their summer wardrobes into a similar shade of blue in the wash, I lamented the catastrophe to a family member who looked at me like I had five heads and asked “Did you not¬†use a color catcher?!”

Say whaaaat?? Yes, color-catchers are a real, actual “holy-cow-where-have-these-been-my-whole-life” thing. One tiny sheet literally ‘catches’ loose colors and prevents them from running onto other items in the same load. End result: wash colors and whites and everything (even shark towels!) together with no fear. ¬†No separating, no worries. WIN.

The Endless Reader Apps

Although we are all on-board with American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice to limit screen time, those “limited” moments of distracted-child bliss are priceless. These apps, no joke, are at least partially responsible for having taught my kids their alphabet, sight word reading and basic numbers/math. They are fun enough that kids think they’re getting away with something, but 100% child-brain enriching.

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Annie’s turn:

Robotic Vacuum 

Our household contains not only one heavy-shedding dog (Chesapeake Bay Retriever) but also 3 heavy-shedding long-haired women. In addition to that, there is the usual dust, dropped cheerios, crushed goldfish, lint, etc… of a busy household. This miracle worker (ours is named Wall-E) is programmed to come on at 9 am when we’re (usually) out of the house and takes care of nearly ALL of it. The few days it has been unplugged or put away for some reason, there are actual rabbit-sized dust bunnies that build up in our house and this little guy keeps our floors – even the corners and UNDER FURNITURE – spick and span. Plus…

Our dog weighs 90 pounds, so can’t partake in this fun, so sad!

These are the highest rated models on Consumer Reports – we have a 2 year old version of the cheapest one that both my children have ridden around and it’s still trucking!

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Melissa and Doug Water Wow On the Go

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These little board books come with a “paint brush” that you fill with plain-old water. When the kids apply it to the magical board-pages, the colors show up as if they did, truly, perfectly-in-the-lines paint them. My kids will do these for an hour straight. Perfect for the car when you don’t want them to be watching the iPad for the¬†entire 3 hour road trip, or just for those moments when you’re like “how is it an HOUR until naptime, if I have to clean up another mess I’ll just burn the house down!”. No mess, no problem.

I buy the three packs, in a pinch, the pages can be blow-dried for rapid cycling tantrum-aversion.

 

 

 

Nerium Hydrogel Patches and Eye Serum

These little babies should be given out at EVERY baby shower. And bridal shower. And just, everyone needs these. They will take your most brutal “baby-woke-up-7-times” or “we-had-too-much-fun-on-date-night” under-eye bags and virtually eliminate them in 25 minutes flat. And hey – for the dads out there, this is so popular with men it’s dubbed “man-makeup” because 5 minutes of serum can take years off. This is me on left, a family friend on right, same lighting, same camera, no make-up, NO EDITING, (yes, slightly different angle because I’m a doctor not a professional photographer):

And in case you’re wondering if it’s a short-term gimmicky-result… these are one of the few rapid treatments that also improve your results progressively with time. The other name for the serum? Unicorn tears. Nuff said.

Ok, now you have to share your favorites in the comments and share.

Bonus, if we get up to 50 followers from this wonderful sharing by the end of the week, Annie will send a free sample of this magical eye serum to 1 lucky follower!

Now go get your Monday on!