Family

REVIEW: Behnaz Pure Rose Fragrance

Just received something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile–Behnaz Pure Rose Fragrance.  This water-based perfume (with no alcohol) is perfect for those who are looking for cleaner and non-toxic alternatives to traditional perfumes (especially mothers of small children).  Don’t get me wrong–I’m still a fan of traditional fragrances but, at this time (given the fact that my children are still so young), I would prefer to wear something less strong.

The Pure Rose is made primarily of distilled water and roses.  Because of this, you should not expect this fragrance to be strongly-scented, long-lasting or leave a “trail”.  Only you and someone in cuddle proximity will be able to smell this perfume.  I love that it’s made of real roses with no synthetic imitations–what has turned me off about ordinary rose perfumes is that they generally smell syrupy sweet or too citrus-y.  On my skin, it initially smelled a little powdery but then settled into a true rose scent.  Also, the texture is very watery but that is to be expected given its composition.  Another thing that I like about this perfume is that the packaging has the bottled date (expiration is six months).  This underscores the freshness and authenticity of the product.

The market has been long overdue for this type of product and moms of small children looking for cleaner and non-toxic fragrance options can rejoice!

Flu Season Tips

FluSeason

We are in the middle of flu season and since I just read an article that states that 1 in 10 American deaths have been caused by the flu this season, I thought I’d share some tips that have been helpful for our family.  Although nothing is a cure-all, I believe these things, at the very least, help to minimize cold/flu symptoms when we do fall under the weather.  (Disclaimer:  Since I am not a medical professional, you should only try these ideas if they are compatible with your doctor’s recommendations.)

(1)  Yogurt–Since giving my kids yogurt on a daily basis, I have noticed a significant change in the number of times they get colds/flus.  Yogurt helps to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut, which is where many (if not most) illnesses start to form in your body. Foods don’t make you indestructible but they are a good preventative measure against illness and help strengthen your immune system.  For those who can’t get your kids to eat yogurt, look for drinkable options at the grocery store and mix them into your kids’ milk with breakfast.

(2)  Soup–Same reason as (1).  Chicken soup really does work.  Wonderful alternatives are miso soup and bone broth.

(3)  Essential Oils–My favorite oils during flu season are eucalyptus and peppermint.  In addition to deterring bugs/mosquitoes during the spring/summer, these oils also have anti-viral/bacterial properties and make great bathroom air fresheners, aromatherapy, vapor rubs, etc.  The oils also have a calming effect.

(4)  Air CirculationStagnant air leads to illnesses spreading at rapid rates so make sure your home is well-ventilated and there is ample air circulation.  For us, we always keep our ceiling fans and air purifiers on high.  And, when the weather and air quality are nice outside, we’ll also open our windows.

(5)  Don’t Touch Your Face–This has always been hard for me to do but I find that it really does make a difference.  Your eyes, nose, and mouth are prime entry points for viruses and bacteria.  Parents, remind your kids about this, too!

(6)  Avoid Crowds in Tight Spaces–Places where many people are gathered in tight areas should be avoided during flu season for obvious reasons.  Such places include subways, buses, planes, trains, etc.

(7)  Hot baths and Showers–Take a hot bath and/or shower at night before bedtime.  Not only is it relaxing, but it also washes away all the dirt, grime, allergens, pollutants, cold/flu viruses/bacteria that are on your person (everything that settles on your hair and skin as you’re out and about during the day).

(8)  Stay Home–We don’t live in a bubble but because we have small children, I try to be mindful of when and where we take them during flu season.  Do we really want to go to a birthday party where half the kids have snotty noses and are coughing every two minutes?  No, thanks (our kids have their entire lives to socialize)!

(9)  Wash Clothes and Linens in Hot Water and Dry in High Heat–This is a big one.  Many of us don’t realize how dirty our clothes, towels, and bed linens are, especially during flu season.  In college, I discovered that not everyone uses a fresh/clean towel with each bath/shower and that some people reuse their towels (mind blown).  No offense to those of you who reuse your towels but during flu season, changing towels after each use is a must.  In our home, we also change our bed linens every week.  Wash everything in hot water (rinse cold; this, of course, does not apply to delicate items). It doesn’t matter how much detergent you use (a little goes a long way) but the water must be HOT.  After washing, dry everything in high heat.  Studies show that drying your items in high heat will help rid your clothes of lingering viruses and bacteria.

(10)  WASH YOUR HANDS–And oldie but goodie rule of thumb.  According to the CDC, 80% of diseases are spread by hands 😨.  If you dislike dry hands from washing, stock up on lotions, creams, and oils (take your pick).  Parents, repeat this mantra to your kids over and over.  It’s far better than getting yourself or others sick!

Pack Your Bags

So, we arrived in Seoul a couple days ago.  (For all my blog followers:  We’ll be living in Seoul for the next couple years due to Derrick’s job.)  The flight was brutal (6-hour delay–when you’re traveling with two toddlers, that feels like a lifetime!).  We’ve been living in hotels for the past two weeks (thankfully, we’re moving into our apartment tomorrow!) and these eBags packing cubes are fantastic.  

Up until this past trip, my usual method of packing has been rolling up all of our clothes and putting them into clear trash bags.  The reason I’ve done it this way is because I have a theory–the more TSA/luggage handlers can see (at arm’s length), the less likely they are to touch/manhandle your things (goodness knows where their disgusting gloves have been!).  And, being the germaphobe that I am, I refuse to use the dressers in hotels–we keep everything in our suitcases (with the exception of our toiletries).  The problem with this is that every time we grab something out of the suitcases, things get unrolled and jumbled up.  If you’re on a 2-day trip, that’s not a big deal.  But any longer than that (and if you’re a family of four), the disorganization becomes ridiculous. 

Well, color-coded packing cubes to the rescue.  With the four of us, each person was assigned a color.  And with the see-through mesh, it makes it easy to see the contents of each cube.  These things were a godsend–they helped keep us well-organized and, hopefully, will help you, too! 

Solace

  
The sun rises with your smile
Holding you longer a little while
In my dreams your laugh echoes

All while you play with your Duplos
Bright light in a chaotic world

Next to you I am curled 
Fiercely protective of you I am

Mama bear to my little lamb
All my hopes and dreams for you 

Spectacular, if you only knew
But for now, nap your little nap

(Wish I could freeze time with a snap)
For soon, you’ll be a tall, handsome chap

And I’ll be a little, old sap.

Traveling with Baby Must-Haves (International)

Our trip to Tokyo was fantastic.  With that said, we did learn a lot in terms of what to pack for future international trips.  Domestic travel with a baby is easier (traveling with a baby is never EASY) because you can almost always stop by a local Target at your destination to pick up any items you didn’t pack and/or forgot to pack.  Unless you are traveling to see family and/or friends (which usually makes it easier to access baby items as things will probably be ready for you upon your arrival), international travel (especially if your destination is one where you don’t speak the language) can be tough on finding the right baby supplies for your little one.  Here are my must-haves for international travel:

(1)  Cell Phone Case with an Attached Clip–A cell phone case with an attached clip may not seem very useful when you’re at home but when traveling with a baby, anything that can facilitate being hands-free is a winner.  Since I usually don’t wear outfits with pockets, my case allowed me to attach the phone onto the stroller (and that’s how I carried my phone during the entire trip).  Having the clip also made my phone very accessible for taking photos and pulling up any necessary apps (like currency converter, Google Maps, etc.).

(2)  Travel Stroller–Unless I am mistaken, the only travel stroller on the market that is able to be compacted into a carry-on small enough to fit into plane overhead compartments is the Babyzen YOYO Travel Stroller.  This was a LIFESAVER.  Light enough to be carried with one hand and yet sturdy enough to hold a child of up to 50 pounds.  Many people would argue that it’s easier to check a stroller with your other large pieces of luggage rather than lug it around as a carry-on.  I would agree with that if you have a non-stop flight, are traveling extremely light, and are unafraid of your luggage getting lost during transit.  Since I prefer to have one layover per flight (easier to grab a bite to eat, use the restrooms, stretch your legs, etc.) and have had my luggage lost a couple times during previous trips, I was unwilling to risk any mishaps by checking our stroller.  Plus, it felt great to be able to put Max in it right way after holding him during our entire flight (each way).

(3)  Organized Diaper Bag–I’ve tried several diaper bags and, by far, the Skip Hop “Chelsea” Diaper Bag is the best for traveling.  With the usual baby stuff compartments, this bag also has two zippered compartments (one small and one large–perfect for things like your wallet, house keys, passport, flight itinerary, etc.).  An added bonus: handles AND a crossbody strap.  Need I say more?

(4)  Baby Toiletries–In general, diapers and baby powder/cream are easily accessible in most places (especially if you’re traveling to another developed country) via full service drugstores (ones that have pharmacies).  So, packing just enough of these items (plus a few extras) for the flight should be enough until you reach your destination.  However, for things like baby shampoo, baby soap and/or body wash, it’s best to pack more than you’ll need for the entire trip.  This will minimize your baby having any allergic reactions to other cleansing products.  Plus, using (and smelling) familiar products will likely be a comfort to him/her in an unfamiliar environment.

(5)  Double Amount of Formula and/or Baby Food–If you’re breastfeeding, you can cross this off your list.  I initially wanted to pack just enough baby food for our flight but after doing some research on Japanese brand formulas and packaged baby food, I discovered that a couple brands had recalls due to radiation contamination.  That was enough for us to pack enough formula and baby food for the entire trip.  Packing your own ensures that your little one will avoid any food allergies.  For travel, I’m a big fan of packaged food brands like Plum Organics and Ella’s Kitchen (as they’re disposable, easy to feed, and don’t spoil as easily as homemade food).

(6)  Pacifiers–Max does not use pacifiers on a regular basis because I’m afraid they’ll make his teeth come in crooked.  However, pacifiers work wonders on a plane!  They serve two purposes:  help to calm your baby and lessen the pain in his/her ears during flight.  Enough said.

(7)  Washable Toys–Bring several toys that are easy to pack and easily wiped and/or rinsed clean.  This one’s self-explanatory.

(8)  Baby Wipes–You can never have enough baby wipes.  Ever.

(9)  Anti-bacterial Surface Wipes–These wipes come in handy for wiping down public changing tables, toilet seats, airplane seats/headrests/tray tables, etc.  You get the idea.

(10)  Extra Change of Clothes–Self-explanatory

(11)  Inflatable Baby TubThis was also a lifesaver during our trip.  In addition, be sure to pack a plastic cup to use as a rinsing cup.

(12)  Tissues–What would you do without them?

And last, but certainly not least, a kid-friendly hotel.  What does that mean?  That means that your hotel must, at bare minimum, be able to provide a safe and clean crib.

American Dream

grandpa

Happy Birthday to the man who started it all, my grandfather.  This photo was taken when he first came to America with nothing more than a dream (he was about my age).  He taught himself to speak English, pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, and is the epitome of the American Dream.  I am so very proud to have come from this man.