Thursday, August 25, 2016

Save Your Sips with Drink Tops

Some people look at me with confusion when I tell them the name of my blog. Others wait a beat, then give a belly laugh because they get it. I hope you are the latter, but if not, it is all about maintaining your sense of self and style while being a mom. And no, I don't do this job without alcohol. I definitely do it WITH booze, but just not nearly as much as when I was painting the Lincoln Park scene red with my early-twenties antics.

I saw Drink Tops recently on Windy City Live when Jill Salzman of The Founding Moms chatted about them. I knew if Jill gave this product the thumbs up, I had to test it out. I mean, it fits with my brand, and I can't tell you the amount of times I spilled a glass of wine because a kid body slammed me. So I got in touch with Linda, the brilliant Chicago area mom who created the product, and asked for a sample to put this product to the MOM test! There are a few different types:

The MOD comes in two different sizes, basically wine or margarita. The GLOW is the same but glows in the dark for nighttime fun (avail. January 2017). WINE lets your wine breathe with a fine mesh in the middle. KIDS feature cute faces. All come in packs of 4, and range from $19.95-$24.95.

Drink Tops are a multi-use product. Here are all the brilliant ways they make beverage consumption better:
  • Prevent flies and bugs from being attracted to and entering your vino glass
  • Prevent spills when walking/running/playing sports with your beverage
  • Prevent spills when your kiddos are being obnoxious/clumsy/uncoordinated with their drinks
  • Act as a coaster to save the gorgeous end table you splurged on instead of buying groceries that week
  • Drink markers to remember which wine is yours after a few
  • Snack plate for when you get the munchies
  • Fabulous Frisbee in a "I forgot all toys for our trip to the beach" pinch
They are made from food grade silicone and feature a super simple tap and seal seal. Here, let me demo it:

(If the glass is less than 4" in diameter, the top can become you are better off erring on the side of caution and using a large glass ;) On an unrelated note, if you like my nail polish, it is Essie no place like chrome. The mirror polish trend is so hot right now.)

I think these tops are absolutely brilliant. I was up at my parent's house on Torch Lake and running down the hill to hop on the pontoon for a midday cruise and the Drink Tops stayed put. My mom even swiped one of my samples to keep for herself.

I decided to have a little fun with these for #ThirstyThursday. I set up a mom obstacle course, and decided to complete it with a glass of wine in hand. The goal? To complete each "momstacle" and celebrate with a sip of wine, and to finish the course without spilling. Remember, I am pretty much the most uncoordinated, non-athletic person I know so this was a challenge.

The Obstacles

Cook Dinner While Kids Are Starving

Run Down the Stairs Because You Heard a Blood-Curdling Scream (or Everything is Quiet, both scenarios are equally terrifying)

I'm On an Important Phone Call

Bath Time After a Birthday Party Where Someone Gave Your Kids a $hitload of Sugar

Help Me Go To The Bathroom (Includes the Bonus Round of Wipe My Bottom)

Well, I made it through all last night without a spill in sight! Drink Tops are like performance-enhancing drugs in this scenario, but legal.

Seen enough of how amazing these things are? Need them in your life stat? You are in luck, because I have an exclusive promo code for 15% off now through Labor Day! Use code CHEERS15OFF to save some dough and save your vino. Pick your products here and cheers to you!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Back to School Backyard Bash- Movie Night!

As the kids head back to school, one last end of summer bash is in order. Yes, as parents, we may be SO SAD (sarcasm) to see our kids get back into a routine and maintain a semblance of order, but one last hurrah will help them get back on track.

Every month, I receive a shipment of unique and sometimes new-to-market foods from Degustabox, a surprise food subscription box. For $19.99 (including shipping), you receive 10-15 different snacks, ingredients and treats. I love that some of these are popular in other countries but haven’t made the mainstream market here in the US.

This month’s box included Sir Kensington’s Chipotle Mayo (perfect for Parmesan Crusted Chicken with a kick), ALO drink (aloe vera juice!), Cheddar & Sour Cream Popchips (delish), Mini Cow Tails (remember those? kinda addictive), White Grape Seed Wheat Flour Blend (healthy alternative to white flour), Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries (excellent breakfast for quick mornings), Oregon Chai (hello FALL!), Loacker Rose-Shaped Hazelnut Chocolates (hide these for yourself), Vermont Mini Meat Sticks (perfect on-the-go protein), and Goya Maria Cookies (my obsession when I lived in Spain- I ate a sleeve of these every day).

For our End of Summer Bash, I decided to plan an outdoor movie night for the kids with a camping theme! We have a pocket projector from Brookstone that plugs into my iPhone (or iPad, or laptop, you get the idea) and we pop a sheet on the garage- instant movie theater. This projector is only $149 with free shipping, and there is a buy one, get one half off sale right partner up with someone and grab a great discount. They have more advanced wireless projectors as well for $399- well worth the money.

The Setting: You can put down blankets and pillows on the grass for the kids, or have them bring sleeping bags. If you have younger kids who can’t stay up late enough for the sun to set, drape a sheet over a rope to create a “tent” that they can watch the movie in!

The Snacks: S’mores! What camping adventure would be complete without this summer staple? Instead of graham crackers, I used the Goya Maria Cookies I received in my August Degustabox- they are a perfect fit for round marshmallows!

Make individual treats in the oven if you don’t have a fire pit. Place 1 layer of Goya Maria Cookies on a cookie sheet, add a square of chocolate and a marshmallow to each. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes until the marshmallows are gooey and browned. Top with another cookie and serve immediately.

photo: NYAM food

The Show: There are a number of great family-friendly camping-themed movies to choose from.
The Parent Trap (G)
The Great Outdoors (PG)
Heavyweights (PG)
The Muppet Movie (G)

Pretty simple evening, and the kids will stay entertained while you organize your calendar for the upcoming school year and crack open a bottle of wine. Yep, our job never ends but at least we can create a fun atmosphere for our work!

If you are interested in subscribing to Degustabox, check it out here! It is well worth the $19.99, and the value of the contents always is greater then the price. Enjoy!

Disclosure: I received a Degustabox for review purposes; all opinions are honest and my own.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How to Look Younger Naturally

When I hit 35, everything seemed to change with my body and looks. My metabolism said sayonara, and the skin on my face stopped that whole youthful glow thing. The chicken pox scars on my forehead (of which I am so super self-conscious) became more pronounced as my skin started to lose collagen. I am not in full freak out mode, but all of these factors at once are taking some time to get used to.

There are so many anti-aging options out there it is tough to determine which are most effective and safe. I want to age gracefully and totally get that aging is in fact a privilege not afforded to all. I just want to make sure that I am doing everything I can for my appearance without looking like someone I am not. So many women look like extras in the musical CATS! with the amount of plumping they do above their top lip. I still want to be able to SMILE!

I am not ready to join the Botox train at 35- not totally ruling it out for the future, I just don’t have the desire to hit that at this point. I was intrigued when I received an invite to the Elite Wellness Open House in Highland Park. They are one of the most comprehensive wellness centers in the country.

How had I never heard of them?? Their top of the line non-invasive therapies are the perfect way to naturally encourage your skin to keep that youthful appearance. They are connected to the Bystol Performance Center, which is Chicagoland’s #1 personal and sports training center.

I tried a few of Elite’s numerous services: Cosmetic Acupuncture, Cupping, Facial Cryotherapy, and Full Body Cryotherapy.

Cosmetic Acupuncture & Cupping- Ally, one of the acupuncturists at Elite, performed these services. She first applied facial acupuncture needles (which are smaller than body needles) to my face. My main areas of concern were the fine lines/wrinkles that were starting to develop, my forehead scars, and a massive blemish that was Mt. St. Helen-ing it up on my cheek. She strategically applied the needles to hit the base of this blemish/follicle. She also applied needles at various parts around my body to unblock energy and increase blood flow. One or two of the needles “zinged,” but no real pain. After removing the facial needles, she used one of the cupping instruments on my face.

Why do it: Acupuncture promotes natural healing, breaks down blockages in body, blood flows to site of needle and fills in fine lines. Cupping lifts the skin, promotes blood flow and relaxes facial muscles.

Cryofacial Toning- I then moved on to Hanna, the cryofacialist. The combo of cosmetic acupuncture and cryofacials are recommended for maximum anti-aging results. For 30 minutes, she used a tube that blows extremely cold air at localized sections of my face.  She also used some essential oils.

Why do it: Pores appear smaller, inflammation and puffiness is reduced or eliminated. Encourages collagen regeneration.

Full Body Cryotherapy- Hanna helped me gear up for the -244 degree cryotherapy chamber. I popped on socks, slippers, leg warmers and gloves and hopped in. The benefits are achieved in 90 seconds, and you can stay in up to 3 minutes. I lasted 2 since the chill was starting to get to me. It wasn’t nearly as cold as I expected since it is a dry cold, and you rotate constantly throughout the session.

Why do it: Blood vessels in your skin’s surface and muscle tissues contract, driving blood towards your core. Your body’s natural filtration system works to remove toxins from the blood, and the filtered blood flows back to your extremities once you exit the chamber. Results are reduced pain, inflammation and increased energy.

My results:

Let’s start with the face. My Mt. St. Helens-esque pimple went away a couple days after the acupuncture and never turned into a full-blown mess. The combo of cupping and acupuncture on my forehead made my scars appear almost even with the rest of my skin. This effect won’t last permanently with just one session, but I definitely appreciated the temporary effects. I did receive a slight bruise on my cheek from acupuncture which is normal.

As for the cryofacial, my pores definitely appeared smaller and my skin was more taut. Days and weeks later, my skin remained clear and seemed a bit fuller/less saggy.

The full body cryotherapy left me relaxed- honestly I just wanted to take a nap. I think it affects everyone differently. Some feel invigorated and ready to take on the world. I did feel more calm and less anxious, which in my world is everything!

The recommendation for maximum anti-aging benefits is 10 consecutive appointments and maintenance every few months thereafter depending upon the therapist's recommendation. I loved the fact that this is all natural and non-invasive, and the specialists work with you to determine an effective schedule for your personal needs. I don’t think there is a miracle cure that will immediately turn back the years, but this is the closest I have found to doing it in a natural, realistic and gradual way.

Want to give this a try? Grab some friends and head to their Ladies Night on Thursday September 29th at 6pm for a FREE event! Complimentary services include:

Full Body Cryotherapy (3 minutes)
Cryofacial Toning (20 minutes)
Mini Acupuncture Sessions (15 minutes)
Chair Massage (10 minutes)
Celeb Makeup Artist Makeovers by Cos Bar (20 minutes)
Golf Swing Assessment (15 minutes)
Fight or Flight Stress Removal (10 minutes)

Goody Bag (first 50 guests) and Raffle Items

Grab a ticket here and call Elite at 847-748-8804 to reserve your comp service. They are located at 1200 Old Skokie Valley Road in Highland Park, right next to Tesla Motors (hey…grab a Tesla while you are there too!!).

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary services at Elite for review purposes. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.