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Monday, July 31, 2023

6 Cheap And Easy 2023 Halloween Costumes For Women

Not Sponsored: With Halloween right around the corner, I had a really fun time putting together Halloween costume ideas for men in my last post. So what about the women!?! I didn't forget about you! I wouldn't do that to you!

Barbie Costume

As POPULAR as the Barbie Movie is (I predict its popularity is going to trend all the way into Christmas and next movie sequel), there will be a LOT of Barbie's out Halloween night. The diversity of Barbie is now so vast, you can practically wear anything. You don't have to be blonde. You can go classic, with a pink outfit (visit your local thrift shops such as Goodwill, Salvation Army etc). You can be a professional Barbie (doctor, teacher, scientist, lawyer, waitress, etc). What about a Halloween Barbie, where you wear black with smeared makeup? The thing is, you just need to wear some type of sash, button or something that tells people WHAT KIND OF BARBIE YOU ARE! I'm a shopping Barbie! I'm a grunge Barbie! I'm a (fill in the blank) Barbie. Have FUN with it! You can never have too many Barbie's out Halloween night. Get creative with it. Think about adding props! Take pictures with the other Barbie's you meet that night. If you have a boyfriend or husband, think about doing a couple Barbie & Ken costume. It will be fun.

Cleopatra Costume

If you want to get a head start on the upcoming Cleopatra craze (Gal Gadot is going to star as Queen Cleopatra in 2025), start working on your dramatic eye makeup looks for Halloween this year. There are already so many beautiful Cleopatra costumes out there, that one shouldn't be hard to find. You can probably purchase one second hand on eBay. I use to have two and sold one of mine on eBay, which was snapped up real quickly. Add a short bob wig or shoulder-length bobbed wig and you're good to go. I love wearing gold makeup, when I dress up. Try using gold eye shadow on your lips. Trust me, it looks beautiful. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Costume

Now these costumes are FUN!  Be a bad ass extraterrestrial superhero! There are some amazing ones to emulate such as Gamora, Nebula, Mantis etc. Throw on some boots, pants, jacket and a wig. The biggest thing will be using face paint to emulate one of the characters.

Bridgerton or Queen Charlotte Costume

Going to a fancy Halloween party? Think about really sparkling in a popular Bridgerton theme. Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte are popular Netfilx series that transform you to another time. I love period pieces. We're all so casual in our everyday life, that dressing up every now and then feels so good. If you go to eBay and search for Bridgerton Dress, then Advanced > Location > US Only. Some options by different sizes should come up (up to 3XL). The prices are not bad as well.

Grease Rise Of The Pink Ladies Costume

As with Barbie, Cleopatra etc. there was also a REVIVAL of the Pink Ladies from Grease. I never watched this series by Paramount+ (which I see has not been renewed), but Pink Ladies were always cool. I dressed up one year to emulate the late Olivia Newton John in Grease. It was fun. This outfit doesn't take much. Wear a skirt (pencil skirt, plaid or solid color, top and either saddle oxford shoes, loafers or tie ups). Buy second hand! You can find some really cute Pink Ladies jackets on eBay. Add some cat eye shades and YOU are going to RULE THE SCHOOL!

Wednesday or Morticia Addams Costume

I love the Addams Family! Netflix's series Wednesday has been widely popular, breathing new life into the character. Channel your dark side by donning a black dress, hosiery, and shoes. If your hair is long enough, sport two braids or just add two braided extensions to your hair. Then, add a prop! Either Thing (hand) or something dark and grim. Feel Wednesday is a little too young for your taste? Be Morticia! Any long black dress will do. Add a straight hair wig. Powder your face. Add red lipstick, black eyeliner and mascara! You're ready for all the ghouls and gremlins.


Prep Your Car For A New Baby With These 6 Tips

Are you and your household prepping for a new baby? Preparing for a new baby can be overwhelming, whether it’s your first, second, or you consider yourself a pro by now. In addition to preparing the home for a new baby, you’ll also want to get the car ready. The car that you plan to travel around with your new baby should be safe and secure.

Here are a few tips to prepare your vehicle for a new baby:

Image by Pam Simon from Pixabay

1- Clean And Organize

A great first step is to clean and organize your vehicle from top to bottom. Remove all removable seats and carpet protectors. Move the seats back so you can get to harder-to-reach areas. Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle so you can go through everything and decide if it should stay. Consider purchasing a few organizing bins to hold these items.

2- Give Your Car A Deep Cleaning

The next step is to give your car a deep cleaning. Vacuum up all loose debris and scrub any leftover stains. Make sure you get between seats and deep into the corners. You don’t want any loose debris left over. Scrub down all touchpoints and give the seats a good cleaning. In addition to keeping the new baby safe, you’ll enjoy starting fresh.

3- Maintain And Repair

A reliable car is a must with a new baby. Now is a good time to schedule an appointment for any necessary maintenance or repairs. Life with a new baby is busy, so this is a good time to schedule an oil change, tire rotation, or splurge on new tires. Before the new baby arrives, you might also consider replacing any damaged interior materials, like the seats or carpets.

If you already have kids, you may need to adjust the current seating to provide a clear view from the driver’s seat of the new baby. Test out a few options using the rearview mirrors to ensure you have a good view. Test out the areas in the vehicle where the sunlight may hit them the least to help protect them.

4- Childproof Everything

You may have a few months until the new baby is on the move and getting into everything. But, because life with a new baby is busy, it may be worth it to childproof your vehicle before they even come. Put childproof locks on the doors. Place a few rearview mirrors on the back of the headrests so you can easily keep an eye on the new baby. Make sure there aren’t any sharp edges that the baby could touch.

Sunshades and car window tint are other excellent ways to keep your baby safe on sunnier days in North Carolina. Too much sunlight can burn a baby’s sensitive skin. It can also get into their eyes and make them uncomfortable. New babies have a harder time cooling themselves, so too much sunlight can be dangerous. Schedule your auto or home window tinting service before the baby arrives because the extra sunlight just isn’t worth it. You might also consider window tinting the baby’s nursery or any room where they spend a lot of time.

5- Fit The Child Seat

It’s never too early to choose the best car seat. This is also a good time to install the child seat and consider how well it fits in your vehicle. Leave the car seat in your vehicle until the new baby arrives. If the new baby comes early, you’ll have a safe way to get them home. While the car seat you choose is a matter of preference, it’s usually best to avoid used seats.

6- Stock The Car And Home

Stock the car with all the baby essentials you’ll need. Having spares of items can reduce how much you have to pack when leaving home. A few essentials to keep in your vehicle include extra diapers, diaper creams, baby wipes, pain relievers, and ointments. An extra pair of onesies or clothes can also be useful. We also recommend a portable garbage can so you have somewhere to throw used diapers or soiled clothes. Make sure to pack lightweight, loose clothes to keep the baby safe while they’re in the vehicle.

Some new parents may also want to put a ‘new baby’ sign in the back window. This lets other drivers know why you may be driving slower than the speed limit or taking slower turns. It may also prevent other drivers from getting too close to you.

Most expectant parents find that their to-do list is quite long. Narrow down the tasks you need to complete into smaller projects. Spend one weekend focusing on preparing your vehicle for your new baby. Don’t forget to hire a professional to block out the sun to keep your baby comfortable and safe.


6 Cheap And Easy 2023 Halloween Costumes For Men

Not Sponsored: Ok Guys! Halloween is in 92 days!!! Have you thought about what or who you will be for Halloween? Well, I'm here to help and give you a little inspiration. With the current economic situation, everyone's budget is a little tighter. But that doesn't mean, your costume has to lack. So let's get started! I'm going to tell you a cheap way, to pull it all together. Your Halloween costume will be a hit!

Oppenheimer Costume

One of the biggest movies in 2023 is about J. Robert Oppenheimer. His costume would be very easy and may I add cheap ... to put together. All you need is an old suit, white shirt, tie, hat, pipe or cigarette (definitely not promoting smoking, but I'll get to that later) and some inspirational messages. He worked on the Manhattan / Los Alamos Project in the 1940's, so that is the look you're going for. If you have an older looking suit, consider wearing it. If not, consider shopping at your local thrift store or online at eBay, in search of items (tie, hat, pipe etc) that have the look of that era. There are various views about Oppenheimer's decision to help make the atomic bomb. You can promote peace, by adding some positive messages to your costume, such as MAKE PEACE ... NOT WAR (button added to the suit or hold a sign), or NO WAR ... JUST PEACE, or a PEACE SYMBOL, or USE SCIENCE FOR GOOD, or DON'T SMOKE or THE WORLD NEEDS PEACE or LOVE, NOT WAR MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND.

Wonka Costume

The Wonka Movie featuring Timothee Chalamet, comes out in December.  For your costume, you only need some striped pants, a walking stick, neck scarf (borrow one from your wife, girlfriend, sister or mother), brown/black shoes/boots (which you probably already have), long jacket (preferably purple) and top hat. There are plenty of cheap top hats for sale on eBay. Check ebay, your local Goodwill and Salvation Army (either online or in store) for striped pants and long jackets. If you're handing out candy, consider displaying an old suitcase on a table for your trick or treater's FILLED WITH CANDY BARS. You will be the true Willy Wonka in their eyes. 

 Indiana Jones Costume

I think this is the easiest costume out the bunch! All you need are some khaki or green pants, khaki shirt (be sure to roll up your sleeves and leave a couple of buttons unbuttoned), brown/black shoes and a brown hat.  If it's cold, add a brown leather jacket to your costume. You probably have all of these things in your closet. If you do choose a whip (hahaha), let me suggest that you wrap it diagonally across your chest or attach it to the side of your belt. Please don't go snapping it at people passing you. Another option is a messenger bag. You can even fill it with some old rolled up maps. You are the archaeologist, explorer and adventurist!!!

Mission Impossible (Ethan Hunt) Costume

Another cheap and easy costume, is to dress up like Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible. All you have to do is wear ALL BLACK EVERYTHING FROM HEAD TO TOE. Sport some aviator glasses. You are Mr. Cool. Wear a badge around your neck or have a t-shirt made that says, Mission Accepted.

Ken Doll Costume

The movie that has broken all records for 2023 is Barbie. Being Ken would be a great couple costume, if your significant other would like to be Barbie. Being Ken is super easy! Buy a cheap blonde wig or use TEMPORARY blonde color for your hair. Then do a Google search for Ken Doll. Ken wore any and everything. You can definitely find something in your closet to wear (depending on the weather for Halloween in your area). You really can't go wrong with this costume. Oh! And always be sure to SMILE! Ken would have it no other way!

Napoleon Costume

I bet you didn't see this coming! Was this on your radar? The movie Napoleon is coming out this November. Thanksgiving to be precise. It features one of my favorite actors Joaquin Phoenix. Did you love him as the Joker? I surely did and can't wait until the next one. You can read about Napoleon's life. I bet you're saying, how in the world will this be a cheap costume!?! Don't make it hard! Wear white from neck to ankles. Put on some black tie-up shoes. Add a dark jacket. Purchase some cheap medals from eBay. Exaggerate by using a lot of them!!! Napoleon's hat is called a Bicorne! You can make one out of felt if you like. If you don't feel like doing that, there are plenty on eBay cheap. Then, be a bad, ruthless, bad ass!  I'll add the movie trailer for you below.


Friday, July 28, 2023

3 Easy Ways To Connect With Nature This Summer

Summer is the perfect season to head outside and enjoy some time in nature. Being around natural surroundings holds many health benefits, including decreased stress, improved mood, better physical health, better sleep, and a happier feeling, among many other benefits. But not everyone gets to take a summer holiday and head out, as some people still need to work. So, what can you do if you spend all day at work without enough time to enjoy the outdoors? Regardless of how tight your schedule is, here are some ways to connect with nature this summer.

1. Eat your meals on your patio

Photo by RDNE Stock Project from Pexels

You’ll still need to make time to eat despite your busy schedule. Instead of taking your breakfast or dinner indoors, head out to your patio or any outdoor space at home, including your garden or porch, and enjoy your meal. You can experience the morning breeze and sunlight caressing your skin while you eat in the morning. While it might sound like a small step, it's enough to improve your mood before the day starts. In the evening, you can enjoy the night sky or observe nocturnal animals that may visit your garden. No matter how tired you are, carrying your plate from the kitchen to your patio, porch, or garden shouldn’t take too much effort.

2. Take micro nature walks

You may not have the time to plan a long trip away from home, but that does not mean you can’t enjoy the nature and serenity close to you. For example, if you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, take a short detour when driving home from work. You can park your car and walk for a few minutes at the beach before driving back home. If you have the weekends to yourself, you can plan longer walks during the day, but remember to grab a beach hat even if you don’t expect the sunshine to be too strong. If you don’t live near the beach, you can find a nearby park, green space, or even a tree-lined street for a quick stroll during your lunch break or after work. Put a pair of flat shoes or sandals in your bag if you always go to work in heels to make your strolls much more comfortable.

3. Take most of your daily activities outside

Photo by from Pexels

Your meals are not the only thing you can take outside, as you can turn a lot of your indoor daily activities into outdoor moments. For example, head outside instead of exercising only at the gym or in your home. You can even run for a few minutes in the park before or after you go to the gym. If you love listening to music, nothing should stop you from jamming outside, especially if you have headphones. Another thing worth trying is taking all your calls outside if you spend hours on the phone daily. You can stroll in your yard or sit in your garden while on the phone. Activities like journaling, playing traditional board games, and cooking can also be done outside.


How To Stay Safe While Traveling

Photo by The World Hopper from Pexels

Staying safe while traveling is a necessity. However, often it can be a challenge.

With a few simple tips, you can keep yourself and your family safe. Here's what you should know.

Keep Secrets

You must keep your plans private. You will be safer this way. Be picky about who knows your plans.

You should only give out necessary information. Keep most things to yourself.

Additionally, you should try to avoid social media. You must limit who knows, you are not home.

This will keep your property safe.

Travel By Day

You should try to travel in the daytime When you are going to a new location. Night travel can be dangerous for you.

Sometimes you will see cheap night flights, so avoid them.

While you should always save money while traveling this is not the way. Your safety should be paramount.

If you have children with you it's even more important.

Plan Your Itinerary

It's fun to explore. However, it should be done safely.

You must avoid "bad" areas of any city. You can only do this through research.

Go online and ask questions. You will usually find good answers. You will then be guided in planning your itinerary.

Plan night activities carefully. You will stay safe with this approach.

Know Your Rights

Trouble can happen on vacation. Unfortunately, this may happen to you.

You can prepare for it. You need to find out where your country's embassy is located.

Also, you should photocopy your passport. If you have other important documents, copy them too. You may need them.

If you are injured at your hotel you can be compensated. Get a lawyer from Triumph Law. You can get more info on Triumph Law on their website.

Avoid Cash

You should avoid using cash. This makes you a target.

It's best to use your credit card. You can also use traveler's checks as well.

When you flash cash around people notice. You can keep your family and friends safe by sticking to card payments.

Additionally, you need to use ATMs during the day. You should always avoid them at night. Even if you feel a city is safe, this is still best.

You never know where danger lurks.

Transportation Safety Is Key

You must find safe transportation methods. You can research this before going on holiday.

When you make your plans, always decide how you will get around. You should find out about buses, trains, and taxis.

When you arrive, you should know how you will get to your hotel. When you look confused you are a target.

You will want to avoid this if you can.

Stay Safe

Traveling is fun. However, it must be done safely.

You should do everything you possibly can to stay safe. You must be careful how you use social media. Remember to travel by day when you can.

Additionally, you must avoid night travel and use cash when possible. Copy important documents if you can too.


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Making The Most Of Crate Training For Your Dog

Crate training is a popular tool for dog owners who want to ensure their furry friends are safely contained while they're away or when it's bedtime. When used correctly, crate training can help your pup become more adjusted and confident, but how do you get started?

Taking the time to understand the basics of crate training can make all the difference in helping foster a positive relationship between you and your pup! In this blog post, we'll cover all you need to know about setting your pooch up for success with professional dog training Woodland Hills-style.

We’ll explore why crates might be beneficial, discuss important tips and tricks for getting Fido acclimated to his or her new space, and share advice on how long he or she should stay inside throughout life's stages. Let’s dive into what crate etiquette looks like at its best!

Image by Karen Warfel from Pixabay

Understanding the Benefits of Crate Training for Your Dog

If you're a new pet owner, or even if you've had dogs before, the concept of crate training might seem foreign or even cruel. However, the benefits of crate training for your furry friend are numerous.

Not only does a crate provide a sense of security for your dog, but it also helps with potty training, prevents destructive behavior, and can even aid in travel. And don't worry, crate training doesn't have to be a negative experience for your dog.

With proper introductions and positive reinforcement, your pup will come to view their crate as a cozy sanctuary rather than a place of confinement.

Preparing Your Dog for Crate Training

Crate training can be a great way to teach your dog a sense of safety and comfort in their own space, but it's important to prepare them properly first.

To begin, get your canine used to being around the crate by putting some of their favorite toys or treats inside. Encourage your dog to explore inside the crate, but don't force them to stay if they are uncomfortable.

It's also helpful to begin crate training in short intervals, such as 10–15 minutes at a time, and gradually increase the amount of time your pup spends inside. Remember to never use their crate as a form of punishment and to always associate positive experiences with the space.

With patience and consistency, your furry friend will soon become crate-trained and have their own cozy corner to call home.

Establishing Rules and Boundaries

Setting rules and boundaries can be crucial for maintaining healthy relationships and achieving personal goals. These guidelines establish expectations and limits for behavior, which can prevent misunderstandings and conflict.

When creating rules, it's important to consider the priorities and values of all parties involved. Communication is also key; discussing the reasoning behind each rule can help ensure that all parties understand and agree to follow them.

While rules may sometimes feel limiting, they can actually provide a sense of security and structure. Overall, establishing rules and boundaries can help create a more well-rounded and fulfilling life experience.

Creating a Comfortable Environment in the Crate

Creating a comfortable environment in the crate is essential for the well-being of your furry friend. Not only does it provide a sense of security, but it also ensures they have a place to call their own.

Start by choosing the right size crate for your dog to allow them to stand, turn, and lie down comfortably. Next, add cozy bedding, such as a soft blanket or cushioned mat, for extra warmth and comfort.

Consider placing a few favorite toys or chew bones in the crate to keep your pooch entertained. Lastly, make sure the temperature is appropriate and there is good ventilation. With these simple steps, your fur baby will feel right at home in their crate.

Tips for Troubleshooting Common Challenges with Crate Training

Crate training can be a great way to provide your furry friend with a safe and comfortable space of their own. However, this process isn't always straightforward. If you're experiencing challenges with crate training your dog, don't give up hope just yet.

There are a few things you can try to troubleshoot common issues with this popular training method. For example, make sure you're choosing the right size crate for your dog and gradually increasing the amount of time they spend in it.

You can also try using treats and positive reinforcement to encourage them to enjoy their crate. With a little patience and persistence, you'll be able to successfully crate-train your dog in no time!

Crate training is a great way to help form strong bonds and train important commands with your dog. Professional dog trainers in Woodland Hills often recommend crate training as part of their behavior modification plans, as they understand the many benefits it provides both the owners and their furry companions.


Practical Child Safety During The Summer

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

The warmer weather is great for getting out with the family, but it can be dangerous. Child safety during the summer should be your first priority when out with the kids. Keeping them cool can be tricky, but UV protection is a massive help. Here are some more tips to keep them safe.

Keeping Them Cool At Home

Just being at home is enough for the children to feel the effects of a heatwave. Playing around the house, running in the garden, and even just sitting still can cause excess heat when the sun is strong enough. Cool air is the first line of defense in summer, so put Ambient Edge at the top of your list to call if your AC is acting up. Good airflow with AC, a cross breeze, and even a fan can make the difference between a family-friendly home or a trip to the emergency room.

Staying Cool When Out

Of course, it is much harder to keep the kids cool when on a family trip. Ice cream and cold drinks will only get you so far, and they aren't the healthiest ways to cool down. Make a note of shaded areas if you are out in the open such as at a theme park, zoo, or local park. If possible, only expose yourselves to no more than 15 minutes of sun at a time before taking cover. Carrying umbrellas and wearing hats will help keep the sun off your head and out of your eyes.

Child Safety During The Summer Includes Eyes

Further to your eyes, this is one of the most overlooked things when it comes to staying safe from the sun. UV rays can cause temporary and permanent eye damage, so you must protect your children's sensitive peepers when it's hot. Luckily, kids love wearing sunglasses, so this shouldn't be too hard. But make sure they are a good quality brand with high UV-A and UV-B protection. If your kids don't like sunglasses, hats and baseball caps are a good alternative.

UV Protection, Of Course

As mentioned, protection against UV rays is essential. And the easiest way to prevent damage such as sunburn is to apply a liberal amount of kids' sunscreen. Make sure you get every inch of skin that is exposed to the sun for the best defense. Some also come with cooling ingredients, which will help with periodic application. Factor SPF 50 and above is recommended. And why not rub some onto yourself while you're at it? You can't help the kids if you are too ill to do so.

Safety When swimming

Who doesn't love a little dip when it's hot? Every summer, families descend on beaches and local swimming pools all over the world to make the most of the sun. In the UK alone, millions of people get out to the relatively small beaches across the country. But the sun can cause issues on these very hot days. Sunscreen is excellent. But for added safety, it helps to buy long-sleeved swimming gear for younger children to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.


Child safety during the summer should be top of your list. Staying cool at home with AC is easy. But you must also protect your kids' eyes with UV glasses and cover them up when swimming.


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The Benefits Of Shopping Through Mobile Apps

The landscape of shopping nowadays has changed significantly and while we may miss the old-style ways of shopping, shopping in-person is still very much alive and well.

However, due to technology, online shopping is reigning supreme and so is mobile shopping in particular. With more and more of us using our phones to make purchases, it makes sense that many businesses nowadays are turning to the creation and development of mobile apps.

With that being said, here are some of the benefits as a customer that you get when shopping through mobile apps.

Photo by on Unsplash

Easily accessible

Shopping through a mobile app is one that’s a lot more accessible than using a mobile browser or trying to get online via a desktop computer. It’s easy to gain access to because it’s right there on the dashboard of your mobile phone.

For those who need a user-friendly platform, mobile apps are perhaps the more access-friendly of all browsers and devices. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use application, then mobile apps are definitely worth embracing. Chances are, your favorite fashion or shopping brand has its own mobile app already.

Opportunities for exclusive deals and discounts

With a mobile app, you get the benefit of exclusive deals and discounts that you wouldn’t get when using a website or shopping in-store.

The reason for these exclusive deals and discounts is to look appealing to the business. As mobile apps are hot assets right now, the more popular the app can be with shoppers, the better.

It’s worth exploring apps like as they may be able to offer you a great deal or exclusive discounts on products during certain periods of the year.

A more personalized shopping experience

With a mobile app, there’s an opportunity for a more personalized experience than what you’d get from an online site. Mobile apps are on your phone and that means the business can monitor your activity more closely when on the app. As a result, you might get your own personal discounts and deals, as well as tailored recommendations on what to buy next.

That’s extremely helpful when you’re on a mobile shopping app that’s constantly rolling out new products or services. With a personalization feature, you get all of the recommendations and purchase suggestions without even having to look for them.

Is often usable both online and offline

With a mobile app, although you’ll need an online connection to make a purchase, that doesn’t mean you can’t make use of it when you’re offline. Some mobile apps will be able to showcase the products or services available on the app despite not having a connection to the internet.

Quicker operation than using mobile browsers

Finally, with a mobile app, you get a noticeable difference when it comes to the speed at which you can browse the application versus mobile browsers. Mobile browsers can be slow but with an app, you get an instant connection and a mostly, disruptive-free experience.

There are many benefits of shopping through mobile apps, so give it a try. 


Best Tours To Go On In Europe

Europe is a diverse continent teeming with history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a first-time visitor, going on a tour can provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of the places you visit. With a plethora of options to choose from, finding the right tour can be a challenge. This guide will help you discover some of the best tours to go on in Europe.

Image by Angela Rose from Pixabay

Explore Cities With Local Experts

There’s no better way to get to know a city than by walking its streets with a local guide. Many European cities offer tour guided walks where you’ll learn about the city’s history, architecture, and local customs. These tours often take you through the heart of the city, covering key landmarks, while also venturing into less-touristy neighbourhoods, providing an insider's perspective.

Savor the Flavors With Food And Wine Tours

Food and wine are integral to Europe’s cultural identity. From the delectable pastries of Paris to the bold wines of Tuscany, culinary tours offer a feast for the senses. These tours are often led by local chefs, sommeliers, or food enthusiasts, ensuring you get a truly authentic taste of the region.

Discover Natural Wonders

For nature lovers, there's no shortage of awe-inspiring tours across Europe. You could go whale watching in Norway, explore the stunning cliffs of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, or marvel at the Northern Lights in Iceland. These tours often include an experienced guide who can provide fascinating insights into the local ecology.

Delve Into History

Europe's rich history is etched into every corner of the continent. History buffs can embark on a guided tour of Rome’s ancient ruins, explore the poignant past of Auschwitz in Poland, or walk the medieval streets of Tallinn in Estonia. These tours provide a captivating glimpse into Europe's past, brought to life by knowledgeable guides.

Experience The Thrill Of Adventure Tours

For those who prefer an adrenaline rush, adventure tours are the way to go. You could go skiing in the Swiss Alps, kayaking along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, or hiking Spain's Camino de Santiago. These tours not only get your heart pumping but also offer an exciting way to see some of Europe’s most stunning landscapes.

Travelling Across Europe

With the convenience of Europe's well-connected transport network, you can easily travel across different countries and experience multiple tours. Whether it's exploring the romantic streets of Paris, cycling through the tulip fields of the Netherlands, or sampling tapas in Barcelona, the possibilities are endless.

Europe Awaits

From enlightening city tours and mouth-watering culinary experiences to immersive historical tours and thrilling adventure trips, Europe has something for every traveller. Regardless of your interests, these tours offer unforgettable experiences that allow you to dive deeper into Europe's rich heritage, stunning landscapes, and diverse cultures. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the best tours Europe has to offer. Safe travels!


Parents & ASD Diagnosis: Nurturing Support And Understanding

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, behavior, and social interaction in a neurotypical world. While there is a lot to be said about what defines neurotypical behaviors as a norm, there is no doubt that individuals with ASD experience challenges when it comes to understanding and expressing emotions. Many also exhibit repetitive behaviors, and can struggle with sensory sensitivities.

While many associated autism with Rain Man, in reality ASD is a full spectrum. As a result, many individuals receive a diagnosis late in life due to the subtle nature of their unique ASD symptoms. Yet, even though symptoms may be less noticeable, it doesn’t mean people do not face challenges in their day-to-day life.

Late ASD diagnosis can bring new challenges for both the individual and their family. Many individuals explain that their loved ones are unwilling to adapt or be supportive of their diagnosis. Additionally, without early identification and intervention, children growing with ASD face difficulties when it comes to developing essential social and communication skills. This can lead to emotional and/or academic struggles in the long term. Besides, undiagnosed individuals also claim they experience high feelings of isolation, anxiety, and low self-esteem as they do not understand why they are different from their peers.

Consequently, it is important to remind parents that they can play a crucial role in the ASD diagnosis.

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

Educate yourself

Ultimately, nobody knows how to be a parent. That’s why parenting books are so popular, encouraging parents to develop soft parenting techniques and targeted communication.

But it can also be a good idea for new parents to educate themselves to the different development stages of children. Being familiar with essential development stages can help you recognize any deviation or “anomalies” in your child’s behavior. For instance, early signs of ASD can include delayed speech, limited eye contact, repetitive actions, and a preference for solitary play. This is crucial because another example of a common concern is autism concentration. How does autism affect concentration or how does it affect the quality of children's lives is a key question for many parents and educators. Many children with autism experience overwhelming sensory input, which can make it difficult for them to focus on tasks. By understanding these challenges, parents can better support their children by creating environments that reduce sensory distractions and enhance their ability to concentrate.

Verify your suspicions

Noticing development issues that may look like ASD does not mean your child has autism. But you can go ahead and validate your observation through tailored screening tools, such as the M-CHAT-R test. This modified screening tool is revised to help identify potential signs of ASD among young children aged between 16 and 30 months.

The screening tool is a questionnaire that can be filled up by parents or carers about the child’s behavior. While it is important to note that this does not give a definite answer, it can provide guidance towards seeking a diagnosis.

Share the news with family and friends

When parents receive an ASD diagnosis for their child, they can feel awkward sharing the news with their social circle. Nevertheless, it is crucial to be open and discuss the diagnosis honestly with your relatives. This fosters further acceptance by educating others to the neurodevelopmental condition.

Additionally, it is essential to create a supportive environment for your child. This will ensure that your child’s needs are respected, giving them a safe space during overwhelming situations and advocating for accommodations that will enhance their development journey.

Parents play a pivotal role in advocating for their child’s well-being and ensuring they can receive an early and accurate ASD diagnosis. While this is not to say that parents should bear the responsibility of a late diagnosis, building awareness and knowledge of what to expect from neurotypical development can drive early diagnoses and support.


4 Key Essentials for a Productive Day at School For Children

A productive day at school is essential for every child's growth and development. It lays the foundation for a successful academic journey and instills valuable life skills. As children navigate through their formative years, it becomes crucial to equip them with the necessary tools to make the most out of their time at school.

In this comprehensive guide, you will explore key essentials that can help make your child's day productive. From establishing a nurturing morning routine to cultivating a conducive learning environment, we will cover everything you need to know to support your child's educational journey.

Let's dive in!


1. A Nutritious Breakfast

The old saying goes, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," and it holds for children as well. A nutritious breakfast provides the necessary fuel for their growing bodies and minds. Ensure your child starts their day with a balanced meal with whole grains, proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

A healthy breakfast boosts energy levels, enhances concentration, and improves memory, setting the foundation for a successful day at school.

2. Organized Backpack

Encourage your child to pack their backpack the night before school. Having all necessary back to school supplies like crayons, sketches, notebooks, textbooks, and completed homework ensures a smooth start to the day and minimizes the chances of forgetting essential materials. A planner or timetable can help them keep track of classes and extracurricular activities, enabling effective time management.

If shopping for supplies, consider exploring online options for convenience and a wide selection. Online shopping provides the ease of browsing various items, comparing prices, and having them delivered right to your doorstep, making the preparation process even more efficient.

3. Comfortable Clothing

Comfortable clothing is an absolute necessity for a productive day at school. Children who wear clothing that fits well and feels comfortable can focus better on their studies and activities without unnecessary distractions. Loose and breathable fabrics allow for ease of movement and prevent discomfort during physical activities.

Additionally, weather-appropriate attire ensures that children stay cozy in winter and cool in summer. By prioritizing comfort in clothing choices, parents can contribute to their child's overall well-being and create an optimal environment for learning and socializing at school.

4. Physical Activity

Physical activity is essential for children as it contributes to their health and well-being. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthens muscles and bones, and improves cardiovascular fitness. Physical activities also boost energy levels, enhance mood, and reduce stress and anxiety. Moreover, it promotes better sleep patterns, improving cognitive functions and concentration during school hours.

It also encourages social interaction, teamwork, and discipline, as children participate in sports or group activities. Establishing a habit of being physically active from a young age sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and fostering a balanced and productive life.

Wrapping Up

Remember, a productive day at school is not just about acing tests but also about fostering a love for learning and personal growth. By incorporating these strategies into your child's daily routine, you can give them the best chance to thrive academically and in life.

So, embrace these essential practices, and witness your child soar to new heights in their academic journey.


Monday, July 24, 2023

Protect And Guard Your Sense With These 8 Effective Strategies

Photo by Ilya Shishikhin on Unsplash

In life, you have to ensure that you look after the fundamental aspects of your being. It’s so easy to forget about certain things or to neglect areas of your health. We have so many responsibilities and so many things going on that it can be difficult to stay on top of everything. A lot of us will only really look into pains and aches when there’s a significant issue. We’re often too worried to head to professionals and will not let them check us out.

The truth is that there are plenty of things that can be done in order to keep ourselves healthy. Looking after our senses and main faculties is right near the top of the list of priorities. If you can get this right, you’ll have the right foundations in order to live a healthier life. Here are just a few things we can all do to look after our senses:

Look After Your Vision As Much As Possible

Vision is obviously a crucial part of your senses and your overall well-being. It’s very easy to damage your eyes and leave yourself with lasting issues. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that can block, harmful rays and limit screen time. Regular checkups will also help out and taking adequate nutrients will also do you favors. Always be sure to rest your eyes every now and again.

Don't Ignore Your Ear Health

Just like your eyes, your ears can go through an awful lot. It’s up to you to make sure that you are aware of the dangers of excessive noise exposure. Wearing earplugs and keeping certain volumes at safe levels can really help out in preventing damage. It’s wise to also look at debunking hearing loss myths as this will help to educate you more throughout your life.

Preserve Your Taste And Savor Life

Your sense of taste is obviously very important in this life. The way to maintain this is to maintain good oral hygiene. If you brush and floss regularly, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. Be sure to also avoid sugary and acidic foods. Regularly stimulate your taste receptors and lower the number of cigarettes you indulge in - if you are a smoker, of course.

Keep Your Nose In The Right Condition

In order to protect your sense of smell, you must avoid exposure to harmful chemicals and other pollutants. Be sure to keep your home and other indoor spaces well-ventilated in order to reduce exposure to many air pollutants. Smelling pleasant sense and engaging in aromatherapy can do wonders for your sense of smell. Like with most areas of your life, you should consult a doctor if you ever run into trouble regarding your nose or your ability to smell.

Shield Your Touch And Tactile Sense

Your sense of touch isn't something that you think about all of the time, but it's something that you should consider. Moisturize your skin regularly in order to prevent cracking and dryness. Avoid extreme temperatures and wear gloves when handling harsh chemicals. Be sure to wear gloves when engaging in rougher activities, too. Regularly inspect your skin and speak to a doctor if you detect any issues. Massages can be great for stimulating touch receptors.

Consider Your Interoception And Self-Awareness

The sense of internal awareness is something that can play a crucial part in your life. If you're able to understand body signals, you will live a happy life overall. We're talking about the likes of hunger, thirst, and fatigue. You can protect and enhance this by practicing mindfulness. You can also take part in body-scan exercises. Make sure you have a balanced diet and exercise regularly while listening to your body. It's amazing just how interoception can have a huge impact on your physical and mental well-being.

Never Let Your Imagination And Creativity Fade

Imagination and creativity really do enrich your life. Allow yourself time to think about all kinds of amazing ideas. Engage in activities that will stimulate your creativity such as drawing, music, and writing. Remove yourself from social media when you can and indulge in thought-provoking stimuli.

Nurture Your Spatial Awareness And Balance

Regular physical activity can help out with balance and spatial awareness. Strengthening your core muscles will also help with this kind of thing. You'll be able to prevent all kinds of falls and injuries. Keep your surroundings lit up and free of clutter in order to minimize the risk of accidents over time. 


Bumble And Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Review

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I get commission for purchases made through the links in this post.

Not Sponsored: I've been using Bumble And Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil (Macy's, Selfridges, Nordstrom) now for several years. As a repeat buyer, it must be really good. When one thinks of hair oil, many times the word heavy comes to mind. That is NOT the case with this hair oil. It's a lightweight oil, that offers a multitude of benefits. It's a lightweight oil of 6 blends: Grapeseed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Macademia Nut Oil, and Argan Oil. Isn't that a nice blend? When I was researching various types of hair oil, some would offer only one type of oil. This gives you a combination. All of these oils absorb quickly into your hair. My dry hair absolutely loves it. When my hair need serious treatment, I apply it at night and wrap my hair. I use it daily, after showering, before styling my hair. I have dry, coarse hair. But what's great about this oil, is that it can be used on all hair types. Whether you have straight, coily, kinky, dry etc. it should work for you. My mom has a different texture of hair than mine, and she uses it once a week. I need it everyday. HaHaHa So how much you'll use and how often you use this oil will be dependent on your hair type. What I do know is your hair will feel soft, silky, and moisturized. Some other EXTRA benefits is that it has UV Filters, which help protect hair against the drying effects of the SUN. Don't we all need that!?! Lately, I feel the sun is drying everything out (hair, skin, my poor outdoor plants) HaHaHa. This oil reduces frizz. I can contest to that, because of the high humidity we have in New Orleans. This oil detangles your hair and provides heat protection. So as you can see, it does a lot of things. This oil has won Allure's Best of Beauty Award. It has received a number of accolades from users. The only negative thing I have to say, is the price. It is expensive. At least, expensive for me, because I need it everyday. HaHaHa If you don't need it everyday its more economical. I just haven't found anything better. So, I try to purchase it via ULTA and use my points as a discount. There are more products in Bumble and Bumble's Invisible Oil Collection: Shampoo, Conditioner, Hot Oil Concentrate, Hair Mask, Finishing Spray and even Primer. 

supersweet(run & buy it) sweet(really good,buy it) bittersweet(ok, issues)not sweet(not good,don't buy this stuff) 
Bumble And Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil is Supersweet


Literacy In The Digital Age: Balancing Screen Time With Reading And Writing

Understanding the shift in literacy dynamics is crucial in the current digital era. The advent of technology has notably influenced the ways individuals consume and interact with information. Reading and writing practices are evolving, as are the skills required to be a literate individual.

Digital literacy, a term often thrown around in discussions about modern education, now stands beside traditional literacy in its importance. Striking a balance between screen time and classic reading and writing skills has become a pressing concern for educators, parents, and students. 

The Shift To Digital Literacy

Traditional literacy skills, including reading and writing, form the bedrock of our educational systems. But with the advent of the digital age, these foundational skills aren't sufficient on their own. Digital literacy, encompassing the ability to comprehend and utilize information from numerous digital sources, has emerged as an essential addition. This newer form of literacy necessitates competencies like typing, online research, and digital communication.

Yet this shift doesn't mean we should cast aside traditional literacy skills. Rather, there is a need to strike a balance between digital literacy and traditional literacy. These two forms of literacy aren't mutually exclusive but complementary, both playing a critical role in comprehensive literacy in the 21st century.

Benefits Of Balanced Literacy

Achieving a balance between traditional and digital literacy offers a range of benefits. It allows individuals to function efficiently in a technologically advanced world while retaining fundamental literacy skills.

Furthermore, it fosters the development of a more comprehensive worldview and promotes critical thinking, as individuals exposed to diverse sources of information are more likely to have an enriched understanding of the world around them.

The Role Of Educators And Parents

In the shift towards balanced literacy, educators and parents play pivotal roles. Educators can incorporate digital tools into their classrooms in a way that complements, rather than replaces, traditional reading and writing. This exposure to various literacy forms aids in developing well-rounded, versatile students.

On the other hand, parents can play their part by setting boundaries on screen time and promoting offline, traditional literacy activities. It's imperative to teach a child to write and read, fostering their engagement in these exercises to nurture a love for traditional literacy alongside the digital skills they acquire in school. This joint effort helps to ensure a smooth transition towards balanced literacy in the digital age.

Balancing Screen Time And Traditional Literacy

As mentioned, while embracing digital literacy, it's vital to maintain a balanced routine. Below are six tried and tested ways to harmonize screen time with good old-fashioned reading and writing.

1. Set Clear Boundaries For Screen Time

First and foremost, establish clear rules around when and how long screens can be used. Using screens as a pacifier might be tempting, but remember, moderation is key. Be consistent and hold firm to these limits. This consistency ensures that screens don't consume too much of a child's day, freeing time for traditional literacy activities.

2. Use Technology To Enhance Traditional Literacy

Using technology to boost traditional literacy can be a game changer in balancing screen time and reading for kids. It's about tapping into e-books, audiobooks, or literacy-focused apps to offer a modern approach to reading and writing. This clever use of technology can make literacy activities more engaging, reducing the allure of passive screen time.

Additionally, integrating educational content within screen time is key. Choosing programs, games, or apps that foster learning can turn screen time into a productive activity. This way, kids can boost their reading and writing skills even while on their devices.

3. Make Reading A Daily Habit

Making reading a daily habit is crucial to promote a balance between screen time and reading for kids. It's all about reserving a set time each day, perhaps before bed, to dive into a good book. This practice nurtures a passion for reading, expands vocabulary, and enhances cognitive skills.

Additionally, crafting a reading-friendly environment can lure kids away from screens. A comfortable reading corner, filled with an array of books, can be enticing. It provides a haven where kids can enjoy reading, encouraging a healthy balance between the digital and traditional literacy worlds.

4. Involve Kids in Real-Life Literacy Activities

Make literacy an integral part of everyday life. Get your kids involved in activities that promote reading and writing. For example, let them help with the grocery list or have them write 'thank you' notes. These practical experiences build literacy skills and demonstrate their real-world applications.

5. Encourage Creative Writing

Screen time can be balanced by fostering your child's creative writing skills. Encourage them to write daily, maybe through keeping a journal or creating their own stories. This practice helps enhance their vocabulary and grammar skills and fuels their imagination, providing a productive alternative to screen time.

6. Role Model Good Habits

Bear in mind kids often mirror adults' behavior. By visibly enjoying a balance between screen time and traditional literacy activities, you're setting a valuable example. Let them see you absorbed in a book or busy writing in a journal, demonstrating that this balance is not only feasible but also enjoyable.

Creating A Future Of Balanced Literacy

Literacy in the digital age demands a careful blend of traditional and digital literacy skills. It's a dynamic process requiring continuous efforts from educators, parents, and learners.

A balanced literacy approach prepares individuals for a digitally advanced future and preserves the importance of foundational reading and writing skills. It's a delicate but necessary dance, one that promises a future of informed and versatile individuals.


Sunday, July 23, 2023

Williams Sonoma | Halloween 2023 Sweet Treats

Not Sponsored: This post just might make you have a sweet tooth. If you're looking for specialty Halloween dessert treats, look no further than Williams Sonoma. They've just come out with their Halloween 2023 Food Collection and it is awesome. I've ordered some delicious things from them in the past (1, 2) and they were mummy ... ahem, I mean YUMMY! I think I'm going to order another chocolate, caramel coated apple set this year. I love the idea of Halloween macarons. Those pumpkin paws and caramels are calling my name! HaHaHa And Halloween dipped & decorated strawberries!?! I could go for those as well. I'm in Halloween mode, so look for many more posts focusing on the holiday. Be sure to check out my 2023 Pottery Barn Halloween blog post for some great decorating ideas.

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