How To Get Your Car Winter Ready

I know it is only September 1st. However, all the pumpkin spice, Ugg wearing, sweater loving peeps are making their love for the season known. Winter is already churning at the bit to steal falls thunder!  While summer technically lasts for 3 more weeks, I find it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to winter car maintenance, especially in New England. One day it is 70 degrees and the next we have 1 foot of snow on the ground. And that is not an exaggeration! I love my car and I want to keep it running for many years to come! This is where Cars.com comes in handy!

Cars.com has an entire maintenance 101 section that has everything you need to know about winter driving. How much antifreeze do I need? What kind of antifreeze do I need (yes, there are many types)? How do I store my car for the winter? Do I need special tires? Specific windshield wipers? You get the picture! Plus, while you are on the site, they have reviews on just about any car you can imagine. Maybe look up your make and model and see how well it rates. Hopefully, it rates well or you just might be in the market for a new car. And you guessed it, they can help find you a new car too! It’s like a one-stop shop for all things cars!

Winter driving in New England is always an adventure and not always the fun kind. Let’s give your car a head start before it tackles Mother Nature in New England! Visit Cars.com to learn how to get your car winter ready!

LuLaRoe: A simply comfortable review *and giveaway

Do you have a LuLaRoe unicorn that you’ve been dying to get your hands on, only to have someone snag it first? Have you fallen in love with the Carly, Joy or Mimi yet? If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you must be living under a rock. Kidding, well not really! Maybe you don’t have a piece to call your own yet, but you NEED to get on that! I am here to give you an honest review!  I’m plus size and proud and these clothes make me feel GORGEOUS! And unique!  Good thing prints with LuLaRoe are as unique as they come and are only available in limited quantities!

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Tamara Glennon, an Independent Fashion Consultant for LuLaRoe and friend reached out to me to try two new pieces (new to me) from her collection. She provided me with the elusive ANA & the ever so popular Irma! I already had some pieces but was thrilled to add more to my closet! What started as an invite to a party on Facebook, ended with her becoming a consultant a few months later! She wanted something that would work for a mother’s schedule and the fit couldn’t be more perfect.  I asked her to answer some questions because I am fascinated by this company and the women (and men) who choose to be a part of it. Maybe it will help you understand that this company is more about selling clothes.

What is your favorite piece? That is tough because we all love the leggings. But I would have to say the Julia dress or the Amelia. Both dresses can be worn a multitude of ways, and when you put them on you instantly look put together with little to no effort.

What do you love most about the company or product? This is truly a company that loves their consultants. It is like a great big family. The owner is so humble and kind and you truly get the feeling that she has put 110% of herself into each and everyone of our successes.

What do you offer for your customers? I offer it all!  We can easily do in home parties (you bring all your friends and shop), online hostess parties, album sales, Facebook Live sales, periscope sales, vendor events and even fundraisers! Yes, LuLaRoe will match fundraiser amounts! Amazing!

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I’m a little bit feminine, a bit edgy but always stay true to my boho-chic vibe. My body type is what some would call strange. Tall, but large hips with a small waist with an even bigger bust. And my shoulders, let me just say BROAD CITY!  I am not symmetrical in anyway. The amazing thing with this company is, I can wear all their clothes, in ALL different sizes and yet they look like they were tailor made for ME! They really take fashion to a whole new level when it comes to comfort! Comfort is key for me when purchasing anything!

The sizes I am wearing are labeled in each photo! And my two other dresses (Amelia & Nicole/not shown) are are an XL.  Everything fits a bit differently and that is GOOD! It means you have more options and styles to choose from! I could fit into a size XL in the Ana. But, the 3XL fell differently on me. It flows better on me. But, when I want a more fitted style, I can search out patterns in the XL! See, the possibilities are endless! My one word of advice is, get to a party! Try on as many styles and sizes as you can! Even if you don’t like the prints. Knowing what fits and how it hugs you will help you in the long run! Plus, it will make shopping easier!

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I want you to feel as confident in yourself as you possibly can! These clothes bring so much happiness to my wardrobe and Tamara wants you to feel that way as well! That’s why she is offering a lucky winner a $60 Gift Certificate to shop with her! How amazing and generous is that? The gift certificate can be used on her Facebook albums, in-home sales or live sales!

Namaste~ Joy
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Escape Reality And Explore The Renaissance

It’s fall, and fall in New England wouldn’t be complete without King Richard’s Faire, the oldest renaissance faire in New England. Here, you will be immersed from head-to-toe in a 80-acre forest that is set to resemble a 16th century marketplace. The family and I had a great time exploring the artisans, watching the shows and interacting with each strolling character as they passed by. The are knights, mimes, mud beggars, wenches and members of the royal family walking amongst you. You truly feel as though you have stepped into another time. If you have a child who enjoys history museums, this will surely delight. My son, loves to learn about different places and times in history. He felt as if he went back in time and really enjoyed himself.

 

I thought at first, King Richard’s Faire might not be a good fit for my son due to his Sensory Processing and Anxiety. Think loud noises, smells and crowds. But, if you scope out the map ahead of time, find a quiet spot to rest and try not and fit everything in, chances are you will have a plan for success. It was loud, but not in an obnoxious way. The wind and trees seemed to dull out some of the crowd noise and we found a great spot to take a break under some pine trees. We let him dictate the shows he wanted to see, which worked out perfect. He chose the Great Cats of The World Show, The Royal Parade and the Challenge of Champions. 

Honestly, the Great Cats of the World Show is worth the ticket alone! We sat in the 2nd row right and got to see a Black Panther 10 feet in front of us. And the white Bengal Tiger was just as impressive. The Geoffroy Cat was small but mighty (and adorable to say the least). The knights put on a great show. There was horseback riding, jousting and tricks with their lances among other things. And our knight (blue & white) won the challenge! My son picked the right spot to sit in! The Royal Parade is the perfect chance to see all the roaming characters in one place! It’s also the prefect time to grab a bite to eat and find a table and watch as they make their way around the village!

 

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Let’s talk food. We split a bloomin’ onion, chicken fingers & fries platter and some fudge! It was all delicious. The food was exactly like what I expected, with a slight edge over regular carnival food.  I did notice they offered gluten free options as well as lactose intolerant! As a mom to a food allergy kid, I found this to be a refreshing surprise! I can’t forget about the massive ice cream cone and homemade pickle served from a barrel! Delicious! It does get a bit busy around the traditional lunch time, so if you can wait to eat later that will save you from having to really search out for a table.

Listen, we could have stayed longer. Explored more. Played more games. Ate more. Shopped more. But, we had about 1 hour drive and it was getting late in the day. There really is so much to do and see there. I find this event is more suitable for kids 7 and over. The games were fun, but some I think would be better for the older set versus the younger! Same with the shows. While some kids younger than 7 would find the shows enjoyable, I think the majority of older kids would be able to sit for them longer and really get something out of them! Landon was the perfect age! He is almost 9 and like I said, in love with history.

If you are looking for a quintessential fall New England event to enjoy, get yourselves to King Richard’s Faire.

I am so grateful at the opportunity to receive free admission to this years event in return for a review. And guess what? I have 4 tickets to give away and are good for any of these dates: October 8, 10, 15, 22 and 23. I only wish to be able to attend next year and cross off everything we missed off our list! My son is already talking about his outfit that he wants to wear! A knight who fights for freedom and love! What is better than that? I have my eye on a flower crown!

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Namaste~

Joy

Reduce Your Child’s Stress With SELF-REG By Dr. Stuart Shanker

If you are a parent, chances are there are times when things can get pretty stressful with this parenting gig. Whether it is you or your child, sometimes our emotional responses are not what we would say is appropriate! Fear not, there is something that can help alleviate the stress! SELF-REG is a new book written by Dr. Stuart Shanker, that aims to help parents and caregivers (and their children) break the stress cycle and successfully engage in life. This book resonated with me more than I thought it would. And, I think it could do the same for you.

13512009_1369642833052803_7513924312647813087_nAt the start of the book, you learn about the discovery of the limbic system, often referred to as the “emotional brain” and how it’s connected to our emotions. Each one of our memories is stored here and is associated with an emotional response, whether it be good or bad. Now I know why I am still afraid of the dentist at 33 years old! The ability for our emotional response to be rational and precise, largely is affected by one’s stress level. Each person has an individual level of stress that their limbic system values as a threat. When a threat is seen, our ability to control our responses is lessened.

“Self-control is important but not the central organizing feature of a strong, healthy mind and life success. Self-regulation is.” Dr. Stuart Shanker 

Right from the beginning of the book I felt at ease about my son and I. As most are aware, we both have been diagnosed with Anxiety Disorders and Sensory Processing Disorder. We are usually playing out a “fight or flight” scenario in our minds weekly, even when nothing seems to really be bothering us. When we are anxious, we tend to be more emotional. Overly happy or terribly sad and agitated. It all seemed to make sense. Dr. Stuart Shanker explained it in a way that was easy to understand. I always knew our anxiety was something that we couldn’t control, but it is always nice to hear that we are not alone.

SELF-REG: 5 Core Steps for Transforming Behavior

  1. Read the signs and reframe the behavior
  2. Identify the stressors
  3. Reduce the stressors
  4. Become aware of when you’re overstressed
  5. Figure out what helps you calm, rest and recover

How simple do these steps sound?  While it may take time to learn ALL the signs and stressors, you can start putting these to use immediately. Think about a time when your child was acting fresh or rude. Was there something bothering them? Was there a large crowd, noise, light bothering them? Were they not feeling their best? I ran these steps in my head a few times and was able to determine a few stressors of my son’s that I wasn’t aware of before. We can help our kids navigate their emotions on a healthier level with these steps. Society sometimes tells us that having emotions is a bad thing. That we need to keep them bottled up and repress them. With these steps, kids (and adults alike) will also learn the importance of emotional openness and safety. Holding our emotions in can actually lead to more stress in our lives.

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I highly suggest this book for anyone who has a tough time recognizing their child’s behavior.  These steps for transforming behavior are not to control our children. It is to help them understand “why this” behavior and to help them self-regulate. It is never too early or late to start learning this technique. And remember, these steps can help us understand our own signs and stressors. A little understanding can go a long way, especially when we can understand ourselves on a deeper level. We not only become better parents, but better people for it.

I was given an advance digital copy to facilitate my own opinion. You have a chance to win a hardcopy of SELF-REG by entering the giveaway below. I hope you enter~there is much to learn from this book!
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The Great Escape Room: A Brain Busting Experience

A few weeks ago, a small group of us Rhody Bloggers got to try out The Great Escape Room in Providence and boy was it AH-MAY-ZING! However, it does do a little something to your ego if you do NOT escape! Kidding, but we were shy of escaping by about 5 minutes!  I thought I was pretty clever, but boy were the clues wicked tricky! I think that’s what made it so enjoyable. It wasn’t your average clue. You had to think and really use your mind! They were out-of-the-box clever and challenging! I think I can safely speak for the bloggers in attendance and say it was a great experience, one we will surely take part in again.IMG_3473

Picture this,  you are locked in a room. You have 1 hour to solve a bunch of clues in order to solve a bigger puzzle that unlocks the doors to said room. Problem is, you don’t know what you are solving or looking for. It is a riddle? Is it a numeric code? Are you looking for words? Are you looking for numbers? At the beginning, it was quite confusing. You just start tearing the room apart piece by piece. Literally. Our in room guide Andy (who was so great),  kept telling us to just make a mess and search anything and everything.  So we did! We started finding clues (can’t tell you what) and started to put them in the right order (or so we thought). Nothing is as it seems and yet everything was. Don’t over-think. That’s a hint I can give you!

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This is great activity for the whole family, a bunch of friends, team building and even private parties! The location is perfect for anyone looking for some fun in Providence. After you ESCAPE, you are surrounded by tons or yummy restaurants and cool shops. Perfect summer afternoon in the city.  This could be a great rainy day activity this summer as well!  Tickets are $28 with a $1.80 processing fee. They also offer Student and Military discounts and 10% off a group of 10 or more.

The Great Escape Room Providence is a real-life room escape game based on the popular computer and mobile phone escape games. Escape the room games are the newest craze sweeping the nation! After entering a room with your team, the door is locked behind you. 60 minutes are on the clock! You must work together in order to find clues and solve puzzles that will lead you to your escape. It is part scavenger hunt and part puzzle game. 

Are you ready to become a Master Sleuth?  Get ready to Escape The Room!

 

PB & J Sandwiches Made NUT-FREE

A good old fashioned PB & J sandwich used to evoke many pleasant memories from my childhood. However, PB & anything now evokes a queasy feeling in stomach that only be described as fear and anxiety. This simple, yet tasty combo can send my boy into anaphylaxis shock. When more than half his lunchroom brings this sandwich to school, needless to say I worry. He has had a nut allergy since he was barely a year old. Not a day goes by without thinking about all the possible outcomes. It is just something we have gotten used to. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, and I am thankful his reactions have been few and far between.

As his mom, and former lover of peanut butter it is now ridden from my diet. I do crave that PB & J sandwich on a hot summers day at the beach or late at night for quick snack! There are many products on the market nowadays. This is great for the food allergy community, but not all of them are quite good! Sorry, but it’s the truth! I was happy to find alternatives that actually tasted good! I have narrowed down my favorites for making a tasty, nut-free PB & J sandwich!

 

Lunchbox Ready: Just thaw & enjoy! Perfect for lunch, after school snack or trips. Really anytime is the right time to enjoy! 

Dr. Praegar’s Sunwiches: Sunflower seed butter with grape or strawberry jelly! Only 200 calories, 4grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein! These crustless wonders pack a nutritious bite, made with ingredients you can recognize! Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.14.39 PM

Annie’s Homegrown Pea B&J Pockets: Featuring 9g whole grains, these crustless sandwiches are layered with real strawberry fruit spread and golden pea butter made from a legume variety that’s cousin to the green peas you scooted off your plate as a kid.

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Make Your Own Sandwich: These nut free butters are the real deal. Pair it with your favorite bread and jelly or add some bananas and marshmallow fluff! Or just eat if right from a spoon! I won’t judge! 

Don’t Go Nuts Organic Chocolate soy butter: Their bestseller! Almost 2X more protein & fiber and 1/3 the sugar per serving as chocolate-flavored hazelnut spreads!  It features organic cocoa. Way better than Nutella!

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 WOWBUTTER Creamy Soynut butter: 1200mg OMEGA-3 essential oils for good health; peanut butter has 0mg! Best thing about this product is that it comes in CRUNCHY as well! It tastes like peanut butter- but better!

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Even if you don’t have an allergy, these are great to have in the house for your kids to bring to school or playdates. Allergy parents truly appreciate when other moms & dads go out of their way to make their kiddo feel safe around food!

Food should bring people together, not tear them apart!

Celebrate Spring at Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

If you are local to Rhode Island, or luckily enough to live over the border in neighboring Massachusetts, you need to get to the Wicked Tulips Flower Farm, the only u-pick tulip farm in New England! They are located in Johnston, RI diagonally across from Dame Orchards! Picture this, you’re frolicking through a field of perfect tulips of every size and color while your favorite melody plays in the background, with not a care in the world.  Wait, you don’t have that fantasy in your head? It must be just me then! But, I bet you like flowers! I knew this place would be for you! I’ll do the frolicking and you can do the picking! I already picked enough flowers to last me for weeks anyways!

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm is a US Grown, pesticide free, bee friendly and unique farm! With over 250,000 tulips planted in more colors, shapes and sizes than you could dream of, this is surely something that everyone can enjoy! Think of the family pictures! Get your “selfie” face ready! Once you enter you will see their show garden (no picking here) and you can view all their varieties and pre-order them for fall delivery at the bulb tent (white tents). Beyond the show garden is the picking garden where you can walk up and down the rows and choose as many tulips as you desire for $1/stem. They have buckets for your convenience. Once your done bring your tulips and bucket to the wrapping station where you will wrap up your tulips in paper for the ride home. There is staff able to assist if you need help!

I am a huge supporter of an organic lifestyle! I am so happy that Wicked Tulips Flower Farm offers organic tulips and is a bee friendly farm! This was the biggest reason I decided to check them out. Just because we are not eating the flowers, choosing organic and bee friendly products is better in the long run. Bees, flying insects such as butterflies/dragonflies and some birds are in danger due to the overuse of pesticides in farming. This includes your little flower farm you have created in your backyard.  These creatures collect pollen, eat seeds and drink the water that is contaminated with pesticide runoff. Even if you don’t use pesticides in your garden, chances are the bulbs and seeds you planted might have them hidden in there. Please try and buy organic bulbs for your garden and support local farmers like Wicked Tulips who choose to leave the “junk” out of their products!

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Things to know before you go:

  • You need a ticket. If you visit during the weekend you must pre-purchase your tickets online. No tickets will be sold at the door on weekends. Children 3 and under are free. 4-15 $2.50 and 16 plus $5.00. They are already sold out for Mother’s Day weekend. However, you do not need a ticket for the weekday (it is less crowded as well).
  • Hours: The u-pick field is open 7 days a week. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 6pm. Wednesdays and Fridays 10am-7:30pm. Weekends-Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 7:30pm.
  • Purchase bulbs: You can purchase bulbs for next fall. They are locally grown bulbs and pesticide free! You can order online or at the farm.
  • Cash/Card: Cash or card is accepted, however cash is preferred!
  • Photography is allowed and they love seeing all the photos on social media! But please no tripods!

Go tiptoe through those tulips and have a wonderful time!
Namaste~