Guest post provided by No nonsense
Being a mother is one of the most meaningful and rewarding roles a person can take on, but it’s also one of the hardest. Between managing the household, taking care of the kids, and other duties, most moms are practically working 24/7. It’s no wonder that maternal burnout is a real and recognized phenomenon. A recent survey by a US-based all-in-one parenting platform revealed that 93 percent of mothers in the U.S. feel burned out at least occasionally, and nearly 45 percent are burned out most of the time.
Perhaps you’ve experienced that feeling of overwhelming exhaustion at one time or another as you try to juggle your numerous responsibilities as a mother. If so, you may need to squeeze in regular breaks in your routine and adopt habits that can help boost your depleted energy and refresh your tired mind and body. Otherwise, there’s a high chance you’ll suffer from burnout and hurt your physical and mental well-being as a result. If you’re looking for ways to recharge your mommy battery, here are several ideas you may want to consider:
Practice a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night is non-negotiable if you want to revitalize your exhausted body and mind. After all, a good night’s sleep is the most powerful body recharger. It helps your body repair itself, it helps boost immunity, and it triggers the release of hormones vital to fighting stress, infection, and inflammation. That’s why you should do everything you can to achieve sufficient and high-quality sleep.
Train your kids to go to bed early and avoid staying up late watching television, using mobile devices, or doing other things that can reduce the time you spend in bed. More importantly, implement a relaxing bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Perhaps you can take a warm bath, change into comfy clothes like an oversized shirt and soft cotton leggings, and listen to relaxing music to wind down and prepare your mind and body for sleep.
Reserve One Day for Yourself
If you want your battery to last for a whole week, you probably need an entire day to yourself so that you can decompress and nourish your body and soul. Perhaps you can ask your partner, in-laws, or your parents to take care of the kids on Saturdays so you have time to get a massage, have coffee with friends, go to the salon for hair treatments, or do anything that makes you happy and relaxed. You can also stay at home, if you want, and do your chosen self-care regimen therein. Whatever you choose, commit and enjoy the experience..
While it may appear to defeat the purpose of resting and recharging, incorporating physical activities into your regular schedule can be a remarkable way to boost your energy. That’s because exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the neurochemicals that improve mood, alleviate stress, and provide an overall sense of well-being.
Instead of making you feel tired after engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity, endorphins provide a natural “high” or a burst of energy needed to carry out your mommy duties afterwards. Moreover, regular exercise can help you sleep better at night, so you’ll feel refreshed and energized the following day.
Can’t squeeze in time to work out? Consider exercising with your kids. You can take a walk in the park, play tag in the yard, swim in the public pool, or follow kid-friendly exercise videos online. You can also do stretches or squats while waiting for the washing machine to finish a cycle or watching your children play.
Engage in Creative Hobbies
Recharging doesn’t only mean resting physically. More often than not, you need to recharge mentally to do your mommy duties properly and joyfully. To avoid being psychologically drained, consider engaging in creative pursuits, like quilting, photography, or watercolor painting during your free time. One study published in the Journal of Public Health found that creative hobbies are a meaningful vehicle for improving well-being. Find a hobby you’re interested in and make time to enjoy it.
Take Regular Mommy Breaks
Taking regular breaks from your busy day is necessary for you to be able to fight fatigue and replenish your energy. Learn to listen to your body. If you feel tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, let your children watch cartoons or play video games a little longer than usual so you can take a few moments to pause and do nothing. Close your eyes, light a scented candle, and relax.
Better yet, give yourself at least 10 minutes a day to pause and recharge instead of waiting to reach your limit before taking a break. Perhaps you can make afternoon nap time for your kids mandatory if you have small children to help you get that much-needed rest. Or maybe you can introduce an engaging activity like doing puzzles or painting to keep your kids preoccupied while you try to refresh yourself.
Hopefully, these tips gave you plenty of ideas on how you can recharge and acquire more energy to care for your kids and loved ones. Whether you adopt them entirely or modify them to suit your situation is up to you. The important thing is you exert effort and make changes to your everyday routine so you could protect your well-being. That way, you can avoid burnout and enjoy motherhood to the fullest.
Family Vacation Guide to Arizona
I put in a LOT of time researching for our spring break Arizona family vacation, and am putting even more time into publishing it so you can save time and quickly copycat for your own family trip! Where to stay, what to see, how to save money here and there, I've got it all, so let's go!!! Watch our super fun highlights videos below and keep reading for links, photos, and more details!
Here's our itinerary for 1 week in Arizona. I wanted to make sure to hit our "must see" spots but leave it very relaxed and flexible. I didn't want to be driving LONG distances daily (especially with 2 kids who get car sick), or changing hotels daily, so this worked out really well for us!!
Flying - we flew all day thanks to the 6 hour layover in Atlanta (which went super fast, we did lots of fun explorations of the airport running through the long terminals with art exhibitions and riding the Plane Train), I think it was a 19 hour travel day, arriving at PHX at 10pm and going straight to the hotel, Hyatt Place Phoenix Tempe Airport. They had free parking, free airport shuttle (check the hours), pool, and a great free hot breakfast. Our room had 2 queens and a pull out sofa, the size we always look for as a family of 5 not wanting to book 2 separate rooms.
With over 50,000 plants on 140 acres, we found Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix to be THE BEST way to kick off our Arizona vacation. I reached out and they were kind enough to provide us tickets in exchange for our review, but full honesty, we were 1,000% blown away and in love with the place!!! We just couldn't get over all the different kinds of cacti, and the volunteers were so helpful!! It got quite hot by midday so I recommend going when they first open in the morning. Also, go to the butterfly exhibit when it first opens - we waited til the end of our visit around 11am and the line was too long and sadly we gave up. They have water fountains allllll over so you don't have to bother lugging water bottles around, just stop for a few sips at each fountain. Also, it's incredibly stroller friendly, great paved paths throughout! A must-visit on your trip to Phoenix!!
Before heading out of Phoenix, we stopped by the super cute Scottsdale nabe for lunch and to walk around for about an hour (couple of photos below), then hit the road to our "long stay" hotel, Verde Ranch RV Resort located 1.5 hours north in Camp Verde. We checked in, unloaded the car, and quickly hit the nearby supermarket and CVS to buy breakfast and barbecue food, and sunblock since we packed so lightly we couldn't bring any.
After researching centrally located hotels to all the hot spots we wanted to visit, I reached out to Verde Ranch RV Resort who was gracious enough to provide us with a Deluxe Cabin for 5 nights in exchange for our review. It was an ABSOLUTELY amazing resort, and very budget-friendly, that I highly recommend!!! We loved our cabin, which had a comfy pull out sofa for Kenzo, a private primary bedroom for Ryoji and myself, and a little loft for the twins! AC, shower, full kitchen (but no oven or dishwasher), picnic table and gas grill, parking spot, it was simply perfection!! Huge bonus is that it comes with linens and towels, so if you're flying like us, no worries there!
They have a great pool with hot tubs, ping pong, corn hole, a beautiful clubhouse with pool table and shuffle board, a play ground, pickle ball, and lots of events going on! There's even a new laundry room if you need. We saved a lot of money by staying here, cooking some meals, and really enjoyed having an actual "house" where we didn't have to be as stressed about kids being loud and running around. And it's pretty conveniently located as a base for endless day trips - 90 minutes to Phoenix, 40 minutes to Sedona, 2.5hrs to Grand Canyon, 10 minutes to Montezuma's Castle! So whether you have an RV to park, or want to level up with a Cabin, a glamping tent (see my tour of one on IG here), or even a super unique Conestoga Wagon (see my tour of one on IG here), definitely check out Verde Ranch RV Resort!
Day trip to Sedona (40min drive). First stop was the visitor center, they were VERY helpful with maps and suggesting the best kid-friendly hiking trails and views. Parking can be tough, go early in the day and consider utilizing their free shuttle to get around. For example, we went to Chapel of the Holy Cross and could only drive by, in heavy traffic, couldn't actually park to get out of the car. Whomp whomp. We also had trouble finding parking but eventually did at beautiful Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, where we had lunch at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill (got 10% off with a card from the visitor center) with a gorgeous view of the red rocks! Sedona is just a breathtaking area with a super cute town - I may shamefully have proclaimed "this looks like Disneyworld" LOL!!
Day trip to Grand Canyon (2.5 hr drive). We went to the south rim, as it was the closest. Parked and started at Mather Point, walked along to the next shuttle spot, took shuttle back to the car. Were there probably 2-3 hours. Some may want more time but for us, it was enough to take it all in. The paths were paved and stroller friendly, set back quite a bit from the edge with trees and what not so it felt pretty safe. Popular view points had nice rails which also helped with me so nervous about the kids falling over LOL! Though there are plenty of riskier spots, so if you have a runner, consider a stroller or leash or just never stop holding hands. It's not for the faint of heart I'll tell you that!!
On the drive home we stopped in Williams for lunch (Route 66 super kitschy town) and historic downtown Flagstaff for dinner, and caught a gorgeous sunset on the mountains!
Local day - Montezuma's Castle, Cliff Castle Casino for lunch (they have $12/hr/kid child care, bowling, Johnny Rockets and more), and hotel pool in afternoon.
This was a flex day we had nothing special planned, so we decided to go to Sedona again - we didn't get enough of it the first time! More specifically hiking at Fay Canyon and seeing the breathtaking view from Sedona Airport Overlook. Then, of course, hotel pool in the afternoon.
Checked out and headed back to Phoenix. Got early check in at Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak so we could use their River Ranch waterpark ALLLLLL DAYYYYYYyyyyyy. With a huge waterslide and lazy river, a couple of bathwater warm pools, it was heaven!! Dinner at on-site Hole in the Wall restaurant which was really delicious!!
Fly home! We had a 6am flight so ouch, it was a 3am wakeup and 17 hour travel day!
Noteworthy TIPS for this trip:
1. Stay on eastern time if going for a week or less, especially in warmer months. It'll help you wake early and get the most out of the cooler morning hours. We woke at 5 or 6am and were out hiking by 8 or 9am, and in bed around 7-8pm LOL! No shame!! Don't fight the jet lag, let it help you!
2. Find a balance of kid-focused and family / parent-focused activities. Our kids couldn't have cared less about hiking and all the spots that made mine and my husband's eyes go gaga over the natural beauty. They just wanted to go to the pool, or be on screens. You need to find a balance so everyone has something to look forward to, throughout the day and the trip.
3. Don't over extend yourself. Plan for down time, have a flex day or two built in in case someone gets sick, and have backups ready. Sure you could have a different national park scheduled for every day of the week, but you're going to be totally exhausted and stressed out. You can't see everything. Pick a couple of must sees and just enjoy your vacation!
4. Have a 4th grader? Print out the Every Kid Outdoors Pass and get free entrance for your whole family at all national parks!! We saved about $85 with free entrance to Grand Canyon and Montezuma's Castle!
5. Book a cabin or hotel that allows you to cook in the kitchen and grill outdoors, you can save a lot of time and money this way, not to mention it's healthier. We ate breakfast in our cabin's kitchen, had lunch out on the go, and had a combo of restaurant and home grilling dinners. Was really nice to have options!
6. Don't try to be frugal skipping a night at a hotel by doing a red eye flight with kids. If going to Asia you can't avoid it, but cross country?? Just. Say. No. Spend a whole day flying if budget doesn't allow for a direct flight, but get a good night sleep in a real bed!! Everyone will be in better moods. Trust me!!
7. Packing is difficult... it's desert which means DRASTIC change in evening and daytime temperatures. And while Phoenix could be warm, Grand Canyon could be snowing. We were there mid April and it was 40's over night and 80's during the day. By 10am we didn't need jackets or cardigans and it was mostly shorts and t-shirt weather. I will go on a limb and say spring is the BEST time of year to go. They had more snow and rain than typical this winter so we are told the flowers were blooming more than usual and they were absolutely spectacular!
8. Utilize these sites and apps to research trips & save money (* denotes affiliate link - I earn commission through purchases made):
Nearby spots we didn't have time for but you may want to consider:
Further away if you have time...
How to Save Money on Flights
If you have tons of miles, or a huge budget, you can just skip over this section. If you are trying to save money on flights, it may take some time and effort but it will pay off (pun intended). I was seeing crazy high prices, over $500 per person. But after playing around with dates extensively, I found this random combination through Frontier that gave us a really good price. I literally had to search every combination of days until it popped up, by chance, so try this yourself, or get a great travel agent!!
We ended up paying about $1300 (including the $99 annual discount club fee and 1 checked bag fee) round trip for our family of 5 from NYC to Phoenix, though we did have 1 stopover with a 6 hour layover, each way, it was worth the money saved!! There are some risks flying with budget airliners like Frontier and Spirit. The biggest concern is they have a limited schedule and no alliance with other carriers, so if you miss a flight or the flight gets canceled, you are just out of luck because it's going to be difficult to get another flight that day, or even the next day, especially if you have a big family like ours. Still, when you look at getting tickets for half the price as other carriers, sometimes it's just worth the risk, and usually it all ends up just fine (our trip was 100% smooth this time with Frontier, as well as last year with Spirit).
To save money with baggage fees, we packed very lightly, paying for 1 checked bag for the family (has to be under 40 pounds) and no "carry ons". We each carried a small backpack "personal item" with just the essentials (kids' Mifold booster seats, water bottles, snacks, tablet, book, change of clothes) - be careful here they are VERY strict with the size of your "personal item" and will charge a HUGE fee if it doesn't fit into the little box to test the size at the gate. We did not pay for assigned seats but got lucky with them assigning us in sets of 2 and 3 so no kids were seated without adults (but we did see flight attendants moving people around to get other families together, so they will try to help you but there's only so much they can do if passengers refuse to move around). If you have young children, you may want to splurge here. For us, we risked it and lucked out. We DID buy Allianz travel insurance, I think about $125 for the whole trip, worth it IMO to cover cancellations, interruptions, lost baggage, etc etc.
MORE TRAVEL IDEAS HERE!!!
Guest post provided by Shop LC.
When most of us think of diamonds, we usually think of the classic round diamond shape. Due to the difference in cut properties, every diamond reflects light differently, giving each one a unique fire and brilliance. Although the round shape is quite famous, it is not the only one. If you want something different, a variety of other shapes are available to suit your individual style and taste.
The cut of a diamond relates to how well it is cut and polished. A well-cut diamond will sparkle and shine, whereas a poorly-cut diamond will be monotonous and lackluster. The finest diamond cut is precisely proportioned, symmetrical, and beautifully polished, allowing the most light to enter and emit more reflections. In this article, we'll discuss some of the best diamond cuts available that you should consider before buying a jewelry piece.
6 Different Diamond Cuts & How to Pick the Right One?
1. Round Cut Diamond
Due to a large number of facets, the round-cut diamond is the most common shape of engagement rings. Due to its timeless appearance and beauty, it tends to develop the highest amount of sparkle. Round cut diamond is perfect for chic looks; the round has been carefully curated to produce the most sparkle among all other types. The brilliance and dispersion of a well-cut round diamond will impress any type of ring out there. Its intense glittering quality will make it appear even bigger, even though this diamond shape doesn't have the largest face-up area. If you're looking for something honest, loyal, and drawn to the culture, then this cut is what you need. It is perfect for someone who is always confident in their choices and wants to look bold.
2. Princess Cut Diamond
The princess-cut diamond is the most popular and fancy used in paper clip jewelry. They are special because of the way they are cut and shaped ( in both square and rectangular shapes). One of the modern diamond shapes, this cut combines the shimmering effect of a round diamond and the pointed edges of a square one. You'll fall in love with the unique color reflected in this type. The princess-cut diamonds show distinct colors in each of the corners, while the color of other diamonds is displayed mainly in the center. The type symbolizes the risk-takers and is best for those who enjoy being in the limelight. If you also choose to behave like leaders and love challenging the norm, then a princess-cut diamond is for you.
3. Emerald Cut Diamond
Emerald cut diamond is the preferred choice for anyone desiring a larger stone with a bit less price tag. It is well known for its length-wise straight cuts, which resemble steps. With the cuts in rectangular facets, the emerald diamond shape becomes something unique to create an elegant finish. The emerald-cut diamond beautifully showcases the diamond's originality. This type of open-style emerald cut symbolizes a big heart and clarity with nothing to hide. The inclusions present in this type make the color more apparent. Wearing a beautiful emerald-cut diamond ring reveals your classic character and taste for elegant behavior.
4. Radiant Cut Diamond
This stone's unique shape adds to its allure. While it is frequently confused as a princess cut, this intricately made cut has seventy facets. This style is considered more useful and is ideal for active people. The radiant diamond shape has the same brilliance as the round diamond shape but is more modern and unique. The ones who wear brilliant-cut diamonds are lively and sociable. This unique cut also reflects the wearer's modern and simplified thinking.
5. Marquise Cut Diamond
The cut is a football-like shape and will make a statement on your engagement band. The elongated shape, like the oval diamond, emphasizes the finger's length and appears bigger than other shapes of comparable carat weight. A marquise cut's form makes the diamond elegant, and your finger appears slimmer! The long, pointed outer shape also reflects the glamorous structure. They are also 10-25% less expensive than round diamonds of the same carat weight and look fantastic once set in modern engagement rings. Women who adore the marquise cut diamond have a rich taste and choose to stand out from the crowd. To avoid chipping and snagging, the tapered points of a marquise-cut diamond must be secured by prongs. Make certain that no prone tips are included.
6. Heart Cut Diamond
Heart-shaped diamonds are the ultimate love sign. These diamonds must be symmetrical to look perfectly on the wearer's hand. Heart-shaped gemstones are ideal for the traditional romantic. This shape is unique and rare, frequently regarded as a more special or personal stone option. This stone is less famous than the current round or princess-cut diamonds. While this stone can be used in various jewelry items to shop personal jewelry, it is most commonly found in engagement rings. It is a literal representation of romance and affection. Heart-shaped diamonds are ideal for individuals who are sentimental and passionate.
How much a diamond sparkles is directly influenced by its cut quality. An excellent-cut diamond is cut with ideal proportions, symmetry, and polish to maximize light refraction. A diamond with poor cutting appears lifeless and dull. For this reason, selecting a better cut quality will help you get a spectacular diamond. For many, selecting the ideal diamond can be challenging. We hope this article has given you a foundational understanding so you can confidently continue your diamond shopping.
My 10 year old is about to graduate from elementary school. As far as graduations go, it's generally not considered a monumental one. There will be no caps and gowns like college, high school and (some) preschools and kindergartens. But that's not to say it isn't kind of a big deal. Moving from elementary school to middle school is basically THE landmark in the transition from child to tween. It's a BIG. FREAKING. DEAL! So let's celebrate it as such!!! Let's celebrate their accomplishments, their development as a human being, and the big and exciting things that lie ahead for them!! With that in mind, here's my roundup of great elementary school graduation gifts!!! I hope you find it helpful!!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links - you don't pay more but I receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking below links to help fund the blog :)
1. A Smart Device for Communication
Getting your kid a smart phone or watch for the very first time signifies a few things. Independence for one. They don't really need one of these things until they're off on their own, navigating to and from school or activities without a trusted grownup by their side. Needing to be able to call you to coordinate pickup time and location after a study session, send a quick high from camp, etc. If you're nervous about them having access to the internet and social media, as I am, there are some great options that provide reliable cell service and GPS tracking without the extras (which can wait til high school, am I right!?? I mean, WE didn't have smart devices til high school or even college, yes, I'm aging myself)...
For our younger kids through tweens, I highly recommend the TickTalk 4 smart watch phone (affiliate link), which was sent to us to review. My son is LOVING IT, as am I, and it couldn't have come at a better time because he will likely be walking to and from middle school with a group of kids from September and I just am NOT ready for him to have a full fledged smart phone yet. There are a number of reasons I think a smart watch is a better option than a smart phone for the under 14 year old crew, and the TickTalk 4 in particular. Watch my full demo video below, and keep reading for my key points:
2. Take a trip to a National Park
I'm all about making memories to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and other occasions, and the National Park Service makes it even easier, providing FREE national park access to 4th graders (and their crew, including all children under 16 and up to 3 adults with them) through their Every Kid Outdoors Program. In our town, kids go to middle school from 5th grade, so this pass is a great way to use a national park trip as great celebration of elementary school graduation (you just print out the pass and can use it September 1 through August 31 of the year they are in or completed 4th grade)!! You can find a list of national parks and their regular admission fees here, most charge $25-35 per vehicle, so you can actually end up saving quite a lot (though parking may not be covered).
3. A new ride (on)
This gift is more geared toward kids who will be getting themselves to and from school and/or activities, but a new ride-on is a great idea!! Upgrading their "little kid" ride to a newer and *COOLER* bicycle, kick scooter, e-scooter, or even skateboard! Do make sure to check with their middle school to see what is allowed, and what the parking situation would be. And don't forget a helmet, reflectors / lights, etc - SAFETY FIRST!!
4. Locker Gear & Decor
For many kids, getting a locker is one of the biggest and most exciting aspects of going from elementary school to middle school, so gifting fun locker gear and decor is a great idea!! Better yet, make a fun day out of giving them a budget and going together to go shopping specifically for locker gear (Five Below is always a fun stop), or easier, order all their locker decor on Amazon (affiliate link) - we're talking mirrors and other magnetic decor, perhaps a deoderizer, etc. You can even get magnetic LED locker lights and mini wireless magnetic chandeliers, how stinkin' cool!?? Note: you should check with the school for any guidelines about what is and isn't allowed.
5. Subscription Box
Subscription boxes are the gifts that keep on giving, and there is one for just about every age, gender, interest, and need you can think of!! Clothing for kids and teens with KidPik (sizes 2T-16, get up to 7.5% cash back with Rakuten extension) or Stitch Fix (sizes 2T-18, and adults; up to $9 cash back with Rakuten), and find just about any subscription box from beauty to gaming to science through CrateJoy (3% cash back with Rakuten).
6. New or upgraded homework zone
Middle school brings our kiddos into the next level of homework, studying, writing papers, etc. While most kids are not excited for this, upgrading their homework zone to make it more cozy, ergonomic, and decorated specifically for them can certainly help!! Consider an ergonomic office chair, gaming chair, or even a saddle chair like this.
For both kids and adults, the feet should be flat on the floor with the knees at 90 degree angle, and screens should be viewable straight forward without having to look up or down. There are lots of adjustable gadgets such as this one that can help prevent neck damage and bad posture by raising a tablet, laptop book, or phone to a better height for your kiddo (or for you too, mom and dad!!). NO ONE should be holding a phone or book at desk level looking down at it for hours on end. NOT. HEALTHY!! Find a way to raise it up and save your neck :)
A gorgeous framed cork board such as this one can help them change up their wall decor often with ease and less damage, or go for a gorgeous canvas print, and don't forget some headphones!
7. First computer, laptop, TV, or gaming system.
Many parents limit the use of screens for toddlers and kids, for good reasons (I am not one of those parents but I applaud those who do)! If you haven't indulged yet, giving your child their first computer, laptop, TV, or gaming system to celebrate their graduation from elementary school can be a fun way to celebrate their growing up and your trust in them. There are many parental controls you can install to monitor or limit screen time, in-game conversations, downloads, etc. Be sure to check out parental programs such as Bark (for iOS products), Kidas and Google Family Link.
8. Personalized walk down memory lane
I love collages and personalized gifts, and what better way to celebrate your kid's jump from the first half to the second half of their "childhood" than to give them a book of memories with highlights from their baby, toddler, and elementary school days, or even a photo collage of their first 10-11 birthday/school photos! Canvaspop has lots of great options!
I hope this roundup gave you lots of great ideas! I'd love to hear what you have gifted your kids and tweens in the past (or are planning to gift) - sharing is caring, leave a comment below!!
I've been working from home for a few years now, like many of you, so I wanted to share some of my favorite items (some purchased, some provided for review), as well as some on my must-buy-soon wish list! I'm calling this my roundup of products for a healthier home office, but these would also be great additions to your out-of-home office, or even in your house or apartment, for a healthier mind, body, and spirit.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Responsival. Below you'll find affiliate links. As a Renpho, Thrasio, & Amazon Associate, I receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking these links. Ya girl's gotta fund her family's travels somehow - thank youuuuu for understanding ;)
So, let's get to the list!!
1. Cubii compact seated elliptical machine
Have you seen Cubii before?? IMO it's the best under desk exercise equipment on the market. Hands down. They have a few models, I was sent the Cubii Total Body+ which is a tiny elliptical machine that you use while sitting down!! It also has resistance bands included!! You download their free app and can access tons of workout videos, classes, and it'll track your workouts, of course. It's really easy to set up and use, and it's honestly an amazing full body workout - great to use under your desk, while working (or taking a quick TikTok break), or while watching TV. Don't believe me?? Watch my demo video below - I'm out of breath with burning thigh / calf / butt muscles in just a few minutes! Cubii FTW!!!
2. Sitting to Standing Desk
It may come as a shock but sitting at your desk for hours upon hours is NOT good for our health (read about it on this Mayo Clinic post).
But you're in luck because there are several ways to do less sitting, even while working! TechOrbits makes a great electrical standing desk that adjusts height from 28" to 48" to quickly and easily go from a great sitting desk to an amazing standing work space!!
Alternatively, if you can't or don't want to upgrade your entire desk, you could add something like this TechOrbits standing desk converter that sits atop your desk or table.
While you're at it, why not use a stool that allows you to sit at a regular desk or perch at your standing desk, like this BonVIVO standing desk chair that adjusts from 26 to 33 inches, with 10 degree tilt and 360 degree swivel.
3. Blue Light Blocking Glasses + Bulbs
Blue light from screens and lighting can cause eye strain, difficulty falling asleep, and other health issues, so consider investing in some blue light blocking technology! It can be as easy as having a special blue light blocking coating added to your next pair of prescription glasses - Warby Parker has some great ones! And if you don't need corrective lenses, you can get a cute non-prescriptive pair. Check out NY Mag's 2023 list: "The 6 Very Best Blue-Light Blocking Glasses here"! You may even consider adding a floor or desk lamp with this blue light blocking Amber bulb to use when working after dark.
4. Air Purifier
Whether you're sensitive to odors, mold, dust and other impurities in the air, or you just want to make sure your home and office are as clean and healthy as possible, a good air purifier is a must. You can get a nice budget-friendly HEPA air purifier like this one by VEVA, or go for a super smart one with all the bells and whistles that is super pretty to boot, like the CleanForce Rainbow that shows you exactly how clean your air is, automatically adjusts air refresh speed, and lets you control everything from an app (watch my demo above)!
5. Humidifier / Diffuser
Keeping your air clean is one thing, keeping it at the right humidity level to prevent mold growth while keeping your skin and mucous membranes healthy is another! I love this HuPro smart humidifer, watch my demo video above! It shows you the current humidity and will will run for 30 hours on a single (top loading) tank to maintain the desired humidity level you set. It has a remote, 360 degree nozzle, and has a built-in aroma therapy tray, so it'll work as an essential oil diffuser as well!! Hello 2 birds 1 stone!! If you want a separate essential oil diffuser, why not get one that also acts as room decor? This one that looks like potted flowers is just so cute!
6. Ergonomic Mouse, Keyboard & Chair
According to this article on Business.com, "repetitive strain injuries take a long time to develop, they also typically take a long time to treat". So do yourself a favor and invest in ergnomic office gear to help you avoid such injuries in the first place!! We're talking:
7. Eye Massager
If you suffer from eye strain, migraines, or stress, this heated eye massager from Renpho is a must. It folds in half for easy storage in your office desk drawer, bedside table, or carry-on bag. It has gentle rolling and squeezing pressure, warms up, plays relaxing music, ahhhhh it's really a nice way to take a little meditative break from work (or set the timer and lay down with it for a nap!). You can find it on Amazon or get 10% off with my affiliate code USJP10 on their website!
8. Under Desk Foot Massager
I dunno if this one is for "health" per se, maybe mental health?? I received this Cloud Massage Shiatsu heated food & calf massager to review over 2 years ago and it is like, my #1 must-have under my desk while working. I literally use it a minimum of 3 times a day. It feels SO good!!! You can use it on your feet (it rolls, squeezes, vibrates, and warms) or you can change the angle and lay down to massage your calves!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Get itttttttt!!!
9. Standing Desk Treadmill
Besides getting in some extra steps and cardio, using a treadmill while working may actually lead to increased productivity!! This is a great under desk treadmill by UREVO (above right image), you can even stand it against the wall when not using it. Or if space is limited, go for this extra short treadmill by Egofit (above left image).
10. Smart Watch
Whether you go for the latest Apple Watch, FitBit, a more budget-friendly smart fitness tracking watch alternative, these can do wonders for helping you both in and out of the office. They can keep track of your steps, send you reminders that you've been sedentary too long and it's time to get up and move, lead you through meditative breathing, measure your blood pressure and pulse ox, let you know how well you are sleeping, give suggestions on a better evening routine and bedtime, and so much more!!
I hope you found this roundup helpful!! If you did, or if you have any great items to suggest, I'd love for you to leave a comment below!!
MY PERSONAL REVIEW:
We were provided tickets to check out the Gazillion Bubble Show in NYC in exchange for our promotion and let me just say, myself and my kids (even my jaded 10 year old) were BLOWN AWAY (pun intended).
They rotate the bubble artists and we had Guinness Record holding Anna Yang at our show. She was just amazing! Like a bubble magician! HOW could she do all of this stuff, like blowing tiny bubbles into a larger bubble, or reaching into a big bubble and pulling a gas filled bubble out of it!?? LIKE... HOW!?!?! It was just jaw dropping super fun and amazing show.
There were several opportunities for kids to volunteer to go up to stage (one of my 3 got chosen and she's just over the moon!), and volunteers all got rewarded with bubbles and bubble machines which was a fun extra bonus! It's a great show for those visiting NYC and for those who live in or nearby and come into the city frequently.
It's a convenient location in midtown so we took the bus from NJ and it was a 15 minute walk from Port Authority, check out my highlights video of our most recent "Saturday in the City" where we went to both Gazillion Bubble Show and Japan Parade - so much fun! I love our city!!
Get your Gazillion Bubble Show tickets for as low as $49* (Reg. $79)!! Read on for more info and to get your discounted tickets today!!
Celebrating 15 years in NYC, Gazillion Bubble Show is the unpoppable international hit for the whole family! Bubble lovers of all ages are delighted with an incredibubble experience, awashed with a bubble tide, and perhaps even find themselves inside a bubble. Mind-blowing bubble magic, spectacular laser lighting effects and momentary soapy masterpieces will make you smile, laugh, and feel like a kid again. You have to experience it to bubblieve it!
3 WAYS TO BUY YOUR TICKETS:
ABOUT DOG MAN THE MUSICAL:
A Hilarious Heartfelt Family Adventure Based On The Worldwide Bestselling Series!
With the head of a dog and the body of a policeman, Dog Man loves to fight crime and chew on the furniture. But while trying his best to be a good boy, can he save the city from Flippy the cyborg fish and his army of Beasty Buildings? Can he catch Petey, the world\'s most evil cat, who has cloned himself to exact revenge on the doggy do-gooder? And will George and Harold finish their show before lunchtime?? Find out in this epic musical adventure featuring the hilarity and heart of Dav Pilkey's beloved characters.
NY Times Critic's Pick
Best buds George and Harold have been creating comics for years, but now that they're in 5th grade, they figure it's time to level up and write a musical based on their favorite character, Dog Man, the crime-biting sensation who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO!!?How hard could it be?
SAVE UP TO $30 ON SELECT TICKETS MARCH 4 - APRIL 2!
$51 Discount: Mon 7pm, Fri 7pm, Sat 430pm
$61 Discount: Sat 11am & 2pm, Sun 12pm & 3pm
New World Stages Box Office, 340 West 50th St Btw 8th & 9th Ave NYC
3 WAYS TO FETCH YOUR TICKETS:
1. ONLINE: Visit TelechargeOffers.com & enter code: DMGEN23
2. CALL: 212-947-8844 & mention code: DMGEN23
3. IN PERSON: Visit New World Stages Box Office, 340 West 50th St Btw 8th & 9th Ave NYC
"You have to love a family show that makes adults laugh, too." -New York Times
"This show is perfect for everyone." -Newsday
"Dog Man should be every kid's best friend." -Theater Life
"Epic musical adventure." -New York Family
"Non-stop enjoyment from beginning to end." -Plays To See
"Hamilton was a game-changer for Broadway shows. It was new, fresh, different, brilliant, etc. I put Dog Man in the same category. What a great way to introduce young people to the stage with something to which they can relate." -Craig, DOG MAN fan on Twitter
*Offer valid on select performances 3/4/23 - 4/2/23. All tickets subject to a $2 facility fee. Normal service charges apply to phone & internet orders only. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability & prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Performance schedule subject to change. Code valid for purchases made through 4/2/23. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.
Travel with kids, especially with babies and toddlers can be hard. It's not so much vacation as it is parenting in a new location, am I right?! But one great family travel hack is renting your baby gear on location, and nobody makes it easier than BabyQuip Baby Gear Rental, who provided our rentals free in exchange for our honest review.
Watch my video below for a quick overview of how it works, and read on for more details and my coupon code to get $20 off your next baby gear rental!!
If you travel with young children, if you own a vacation home that you rent out as an AirBNB or VRBO host, or if you occasionally have family visit with babies or toddlers, then you have GOT to know about BabyQuip Baby Gear Rentals, who I just collaborated with on a rental for family who brought their 1 year old to visit us from Japan.
We haven’t had little ones in our home for several years now, so to have a toddler coming to stay with us for 2 weeks was a bit overwhelming!! I considered searching on Facebook to borrow or buy used items from random people, but it’s stressful and very time consuming and I was nervous about the condition items would be in.
Thankfully BabyQuip makes the whole process SO easy!! You search for providers on their website or on their app, can see how many rentals they’ve completed and see reviews from previous customers. Each provider has their own list of gear and prices, there are discounts for longer rental periods, and some even had discounts for twins and multiples. Their quality providers deliver and set up clean, safe, and insured baby gear right to your door!
Most providers have free self-pickup and return or a nominal fee to drop it off and pick it up from your home, hotel, or vacation rental location. They’ll even come in and set it up for you if needed!
We rented from Teresa who is quite popular up here in Northern NJ. She was so easy to communicate with and everything was dropped off nicely protected on our door step, where she picked it up from at the end of our 2 week rental. We got a pack ’n play and an infant car seat from her, both were in perfect condition.
Using BabyQuip made everything so easy - no worries about having to buy or sell or store all this stuff. It’s really a great option for people like us who very occasionally host family for a visit, or as an add-on option for Air bnb or verb hosts, or when you yourself are traveling and the hotel or rental home doesn’t have any baby gear. You can rent anything from cribs and high chairs to car seats, strollers, baby gates, and even toys!! Less to pack is a WIN for me!!
You don’t have to take my word for it either, they have over 30,000 5 star reviews, with over 1200 quality providers serving 900 locations!
If you find yourself in need of baby gear rentals, check out BabyQuip!
And don’t forget to use code JAPANFAM20 for $20 off your rental over $100!!
Guest post provided by Hue.
Deciding what to wear to your child’s school functions can be challenging as there are often no clear-cut rules, unlike ordinary events. There’s also the added pressure of wanting to leave a good impression or show your best self to teachers, administrators, and other parents without going overboard. After all, you’re representing your child, so the least you can do is appear presentable and wear outfits appropriate for the occasion.
Perhaps you often struggle with trying to figure out what to wear for different school functions. Or maybe you’re searching for outfit inspiration to make dressing up more fun and less stressful this school year. Either way, read on. This piece will offer pointers and outfit ideas that you can wear to various school functions, from sporting events to fundraisers.
Supporting your athletic child while sitting on the bleachers naturally requires a casual ensemble. However, it doesn’t mean you should just wear sweatpants, workout clothes, and similar pieces that you typically wear while lounging at home. What you need are comfortable yet dressier options that make you look and feel good.
You can wear a white sweater dress under an oversized beige knit sweater paired with quality black leggings and white leather sneakers. Finish the look with a black crossbody bag for a chic yet relaxed appearance. You can also put on an off-white hoodie, an army green puffer vest, dark wash skinny jeans or denim leggings, and low-top trainers. Accessorize with a dark navy beanie to complete the look.
You never know what can happen during parent-teacher conferences. Besides meeting with your child’s teachers, you might also explore students’ exhibits and booths, mingle with other parents, or take a tour of the campus. As such, you need an outfit that allows you to sit, stand, and move around comfortably, not to mention something stylish so you can walk with a spring in your step.
When in doubt, your best bet is to go for a fit-and-flare dress in a neutral hue, as this style can help you create an elegant and feminine vibe. Wear it with a cardigan and pointy flats or low heels that complement the color of your dress to tie everything together. If you want to wear pants, consider selecting dressier types like cigarette or stove pipe pants. Pair them with an asymmetrical top, a stylish blouse, or a white button-down shirt. As for shoes, closed-toe pumps, kitten-heel sandals, and strappy heels are great options.
If you’ve signed up to chaperone your kid’s school trip, you need something that’s not only fashionable but also comfy and functional. That’s because there’s a great chance you’ll spend considerable time on your feet managing and keeping an eye on playful children. When selecting clothes, remember to consider the weather and the itinerary.
Stay comfy and warm with a chunky sweater, jeans, and ankle boots with padded insoles during the cooler months. For warmer days, you can wear a short-sleeve button-up shirt, a dark-colored t-shirt, or a linen tunic. You can pair them with denim leggings and comfy rubber sandals or espadrilles for a cute summer vibe. Whatever pieces you choose, make sure they’re suitable for academic environments. That means tank tops and shorts are a no-no, even if the weather is hot and humid.
You may also need to bring additional layers to keep you comfortable throughout the day. Consider packing a shawl or a lightweight jacket that you can readily use to stay warm when visiting museums, auditoriums, and similar places that are usually chilly.
Plays, Recitals, or Talent Shows
Attending school plays, recitals, talent shows, and similar functions where your child will go on stage and perform is a remarkable opportunity to show them that you value their skills and talents. When planning a suitable outfit, you may want to avoid overly casual pieces, like graphic tees and distressed jeans. Instead, look for dressier options that suit the venue.
If the show is in the school auditorium or local hall, you can opt for a smart casual outfit—something neat and polished but not too formal. For instance, you can wear a black blazer over a printed blouse and go for dark-wash, well-fitted jeans and black heels to achieve a relaxed yet sophisticated look.
When attending school shows in formal venues, try to dress up a little bit more, especially during the evenings. A black wrap dress paired with black heels is a great option, as it flatters the figure and makes you look taller. Add a splash of color to your ensemble with statement earrings or bracelets. You can also wear a stylish blouse with a pencil skirt in a dark shade and pointed-toe heels. Complete your elegant look with a well-made handbag that complements your outfit.
School fundraisers are important events where you can meet the school administrators, stakeholders, and other important people. So, make sure to dress up in a way that makes you feel confident and empowered. Consider a well-fitted black or dark gray dress with a classic cut and stylish black heels. You can also opt for a printed dress, but try to stick to delicate and subtle prints on a neutral-colored background. Moreover, keep your accessories simple and classy to create a polished and put-together appearance.
Hopefully, this piece gave you plenty of ideas on how you can dress up for various school functions. Ultimately, the key is to keep your outfits simple and classy, even if the event requires more casual attire. Remember, what you wear can affect people’s perception of you and, indirectly, how they see your child. Thus, you may want to make an effort to ensure that what you wear always reflects your best self.
Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical is running Off-Broadway in NYC through April 30 (unless the show gets extended AGAIN, which it might, cuz it's THAT GOOD!!!), and if you like ANY of the following , you're going to absolutely love it:
I had only ever seen episode 1 of Stranger Things before, so to know that I'm not very familiar with the suuuuuper popular Netflix series is important. Despite this, I still utterly enjoyed this musical. Literally laughing out loud throughout. It's hilarious!!! Jokes related to the show, jokes related to the 80's, jokes related to teenage angst and puppy love and silly dancing and omg it's just so so so so good you guys!!
Watch my video below for a sneak peak into the really cool theater, which is decorated in such a fun way with Christmas lights and 80's paraphernalia! It's small and intimate, meaning NO BAD SEATS (they actually even have bean bag chairs on the floor if you want to go that route)! The cast even had a little "dance party" for us after they took their bows - you can really tell they love their roles and their jobs!!!
Many wonder if this show is appropriate for kids and I'll say, if you are comfortable with your kids watching the Netflix show, then yes, it'll be fine. The only potentially inappropriate things I noticed were cursing and silly scenes eluding to making out / sex, but nothing was graphic or gory, just 100% pure silly camp. There were several tweens and teens at the matinee I attended, and while my own kids (7, 7, 10) probably wouldn't have gotten half the jokes, they would have enjoyed it, for sure!!
In a nut shell - great original songs, beautiful singing, non-stop laughter (from the lyrics to the spoken dialogue to the slapstick comedic movements, dances etc). I mean, come on, Will was a frickin' PUPPET (see photo above), the boys had choreographed bike ride using just the handlebars, and the mom had a whole song about her alter ego being Wynona. So. damn. gooooooood.
Grab your tickets NOW!!!
Located at Playhouse 46 in NYC's Theater District (steps from Times Square and Hell's Kitchen)
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)