Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BlogHer '14, here I come!

As of later tonight, I leave for BlogHer '14!  I am so lucky and fortunate to be able to speak at the conference this year, so if you're in San Jose, check me out at my Geek Bar session on Analytics!

While at the conference, I'll be shacking it up with my amazing and gorgeous friend Drea from The Maiden Metallurgist.  Look forward to lots of Instagram photos during the trip!  You can find me on The Naptown Organizer Instagram page!

This year's conference will be a lot less hectic and a lot more enjoyable as I'm only attending two, BlogHer-sponsored, private parties.  I'll be posting a little more about the conference and parties after I get back home, but wanted to share a bit of info before I leave as well!

One of my favorite events from last year that I'm attending once again is the Blogger Baby Shower!  The Baby Ladies, along with Baby's First Test and Save Babies Through Screening, are hosting a fantastic, education-filled event to further their cause of increasing awareness for life-saving newborn screening procedures!  The event last year was filled with information, demonstrations, fantastic atmosphere, great friends, and some pretty amazing swag.  You can check out my post from last year's baby shower here!

See you all in San Jose!!!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

My early PiYo results {and progress photos!!!}

*This post contains links to my personal business page- because I'm addicted to this program, for sure.  Message me with any questions you all may have! 

Deep breath, y'all.

I recently decided to make a change in my life.

To be totally honest, I really have evolved as a person quite a bit since having children.  I actually have grown to a point where I deeply love my body in all of it's imperfections and tiny details, and I am so thankful for this body that has birthed and fed my two babies for years.  I wear my features proudly, no matter how different they look from a magazine model's body.


With that said, I've also been doing some things to my body that aren't so healthy lately.

Prior to Little Man's birth, I was completely vegan and did quite a bit more exercising than my days have included recently.  Unfortunately after both of our kids were born, I lapsed back into a pattern of very intermittent exercise and was eating much more unhealthy food than I should have been.

And, even more unfortunately, I'd begun to have a lot more aches and pains than I'd had in the past.  Low back pain, knee pain, wrist pain - I had it all.  I have several family members with debilitating back issues, so the back pain especially scared me quite a bit.  To make sure my body was in a place where that didn't become a consistent issue, I knew I had to get my body back into better shape with exercise and better nutrition.

A friend of mine who is a BeachBody coach suggested that I try a new program called PiYo.  I'd previously tried beachbody programs with not the best result.  Because of my knee pain, all the jumping and bouncing around in the program I tried made it physically impossible for me to finish.  I was nervous about all of that, but my friend knew about all my issues and assured me that this was the program for me.

And, man was she so right on.

Since starting the PiYo {a fusion of Pilates and Yoga} program and Shakeology {a seriously filling, meal-replacing, right-up-my-alley, superfood-filled shake that includes ingredients such as quinoa, chia, flax, acai, goji berry, green tea, spinach, kale, spirulina, and so much more - and has vegan options!} a few weeks ago, I've completely noticed a difference in my body.

I have muscles!  And this action-shot outside play moment that DH caught is only after two weeks in!!!


I've lost just under 10 lbs in around two weeks, I have zero back or knee pain while completing the program, my body is actually starting to tone already, and I can for sure say that I've been feeding my body a much healthier diet of vegetables, fruits, vegan and soy-free proteins, and a few eggs here and there.

The food lifestyle change is facilitated by a simple, easy-to-follow plan.  The exercise program is focused on stretch and strength - no bouncing around the room or slamming my knees into the ground.  Simple, uncomplicated exercises are the base of the program with a completely amped up take on yoga that lends to a seriously sweaty, sore-in-a-good-way type of workout each day.  Thankfully, the program offers modifications for every exercise, so no matter the shape you're in, you can do PiYo.

{Seriously.  I have another friend who recently had her knee replaced and is doing this program.  It's awesome!}

At this point in the game, I have some pretty fantastic goals.  I'm realistic that this is not a diet.  It is not a fad exercise program.  It is not a one-shake-fixes-all sort of a deal.  This is a complete change in my day-to-day life.  It's going to take a good amount of time, a ton of effort, and a lot of determination.  But, for the first time in a long time - I'm there both mentally and physically.

Since I've had such fantastic success so far and have realized that PiYo is going to be the program for me to turn my lifestyle back to healthy again, I have signed on as a BeachBody coach.  I'm proud of the changes I'm making both in my eating habits and in my new fitness routine, and want to keep sharing with you all!  I'll be continuing to log my journey here on the blog {complete with before/after PiYo photos once I've finished the 8 week program} and hope you all won't mind walking this journey with me!

Has anyone else considered doing PiYo?  I would love to help you all start a journey back to good health if this sounds interesting - and would love to have some other ladies complete the program with me! 

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Safety 1st Advance SE 65 Air + Convertible Car Seat Review!

*Disclosure - I was provided a car seat for review purposes, but all opinions are honest and my own!

With a quick congrats again to the winner of the Safety 1st car seat giveaway from a few posts ago, I'd love to take a few minutes today and chat about how we're liking our Safety 1st car seat!  When we initially received the car seat, I had been debating which child would be using it.  However, about ten seconds after the SE 65 Air + arrived, Little Man claimed it as his own.

Shouts of, "It's MY NEW BLUE SEAT!" were likely heard 'round our whole neighborhood.

Let's just say he was smitten.

After pulling the seat out of the box, I was also a bit enamored.  The SE 65 Air + had all the features I look for in a convertible car seat, including that it can be used in a large weight range {5-65 lbs, with a rear facing range of 5-40 lbs and a forward facing range of 22-65 lbs}.  I also LOVE the fact that the harness is a no re-thread harness, which means when your child grows in size, you just pull a lever on the back of the headrest and both the straps and headrest move up - instead of having to take the seat out of the car, take the whole seat apart, and put the straps through different holes.  DH also loves that fact, so there isn't any frustrated muttering when the seat needs adjusted every few months.


{Side note: if you are a soon-to-be parent looking for a car seat, BUY one with the NO RE-THREAD HARNESS, like the SE 65 Air +.  You'll thank me for this later.}

No, really.  Whoever installs the seats in your house will also thank me for the lack of frustrated muttering as well!

I also love that the seat comes with a cup holder.  For whatever reason, some car seat companies make seats without standard cup holders and for the life of me I will never understand why.  There is always a toy, removed shoe, baggie of crackers - whatever - in our kids' hands that needs a place to live while in the car.

As far as safety goes, Safety 1st does a few pretty special things with the SE 65 Air + seat.  Aside from the reinforced steel seat frame, LATCH use ability, and 10 position headrest/4 position recline features, the SE 65 Air + features some fantastic additional safety features that go above and beyond the norm.

Safety 1st borrowed ideas from the auto racing industry when creating their Air Protect advanced head cushion system {which protects baby's head side to side during a collision} and their GCell HX patented foam with hexagonal shapes inside the seat to promote superior body safety during a side impact crash.  Even though there are currently no regulations on side impact safety testing, the Safety 1st company put features into place to protect your child on their own accord!


DH did have a little trouble installing the seat, but that was mainly due to our user error and the fact that he installed it with the LATCH system, which I didn't see that until after he'd finished.  Due to the new car seat requirements, since Little Man is 40+ lbs, I very gently reminded him that it needed to go in with the seat belt.  There was a twidge of frustrated muttering, but the install was very fast!

After the seat was installed, Little Man happily climbed on up and in.  And fell asleep.

Clearly a satisfied customer here.
It's really nice as well that when Little Man is all slumped down and sleeping, his head is still supported enough that it's not bouncing around as the car moves.

Overall, I think it's a great seat that offers the same conveniences as some of the higher priced convertible seats in it's category, yet with a much more reasonable price of $189.  We've been using the seat for a few weeks now with only good experiences thus far, and will continue to do so happily!

If you're looking for more information, check out the seat at the Safety 1st product site or learn more about the Indiana-local Dorel Group company here!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Early Education Musings - Tot School Edition!

I mentioned Little Man's learning style in a previous post, but since it has become pretty blazingly apparent in the past few months, I wanted to chat about it a little more in detail.

Ever since he was a baby, Little Man has had the tendency of really hanging back and observing a situation before jumping in.  That habit became very clear when we began to take music, sports, swimming, and science classes in recent months.  When he does this, he isn't always participating in a group, playing the game that everyone else is, or even really watching what other children/instructors are doing at times.

As a parent - I have to tell you - it's a little frustrating.  While in some classes {like Kindermusik} he just needed some time to warm up and then he would be having an absolute blast a few minutes later, in some other classes {like soccer or t-ball}, he would observe for a while and then completely disengage from any participation with the activity.

I spent a ton of time wondering and thinking about if we were wasting our money sending him to classes, if I should just give up for now, if I should continue paying for some of the classes {like sports-ing, not my favorite either!} that he totally disconnected from.

An then I spent a little more time thinking about who Little Man is.

After a few internet searches {like here & here}, I'm realizing further and further the type of learner that is my beautiful, sweet son.  {I've looked a bit for Little Lady as well, but it's still really early for her patterns to imagine just yet!}


Above all, Little Man is a verbal/linguistic/auditory learner for sure.

No matter what we're doing, he always wants an explanation about it.  Little Man goes beyond the toddler curiosity and straight into an interest to really understand each topic and concept we discuss.  Instead of throwing himself into activities and learning as he goes, Little Man really delves into the who, what, where, when, how, and why of each tiny point.

We basically don't stop speaking the entire day long.

Don't get me wrong, though - it's an awesome thing.  It's both awesome in the fact that I'm an incredibly verbal person and can relate easily to his learning style but also because it's already so apparent that this is the way Little Man learns.

As a parent who plans to homeschool in the future, my job and my teaching style are already becoming very clear in regards to my child even at the very ripe age of three years old.  Obviously, children go through phases and I'll continue to adjust accordingly, but for now this is really working for us.  And I am for sure using that knowledge to help facilitate the most beneficial toddler learning as well as seamless toddler living right now!

Have you looked into the learning style of your children?  How do your children prefer to learn?

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