Boston Auto Show Review

It was the Biggest Auto Show in New England… and the perfect place to browse hundreds of the newest vehicles!  I was lucky enough to have a private tour alongside She Buys Cars BEFORE the doors opened to the public. Located at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in the Seaport District, the New England International Auto Show is the premier showcase of  imported and domestic vehicles. Efficiency and more eco-friendly options were certainly the theme I noticed among manufacturers! Of course, technological advances couldn’t be missed either! You must check it out next year! Below, I highlighted just some of the things I found interesting and thought were worth mentioning.

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  • 2015 & 2016 were not great years for the car industry. Manufacturers are already feeling the pressure for 2017, which is a huge benefit for consumers. In the market for a car, now is the time to buy!
  • The industry is trying to stay ahead of safety standards. Many cars on the market have features that were once considered a luxury, are now standard! Talk about getting more bang for your buck!
  • Nissan Rogue was the #1 selling crossover for December 2016. Nissan is innovating from the ground up. Plus, they sold a limited edition Rogue One (Star Wars), only 5,000 available. What a cool concept for the Star Wars & car lover!
  • Chevy Volt was the first car to have a hybrid plug-in capability 6 years ago. Was a cool fact I didn’t know!
  • Prius Prime– This hybrid gas plug-in is even more gorgeous in person. This car will be the future. The features are amazing  and I know what my next car will be! With 640 miles EPA total driving range and 133 EPA-estimated MPGe , this car will save you money as well as limit the footprint we leave on the environment.
  • Scotty Reiss, founder of She Buys Cars is like a walking dictionary on vehicles. It didn’t matter the make, model or year, she provided us with a one-on-one tour of the event and knew anything and everything about these cars. If you are in the market for a car, you must visit She Buys Cars. They will give you a non-biased opinion based on your needs and wants. I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the day the most! So informative!

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While there is so much more I could write on all the amazing cars I saw, above were just some tidbits of information that really stuck with me. As a hybrid driver, I was pleasantly surprised to see more manufacturers offering hybrid options. My favorite car of the day without a doubt was the Toyota Prius Prime. I can’t wait to hopefully get my hands on one of those bad boys. Well done Toyota. Well done. What is your favorite car for 2017?  I would love to hear all about it!

Namaste~
Joy

 

 

Why I Set Intentions AND Not Resolutions

2017 has reared it’s head and people are shouting out to the world what they “resolve” to fix this year. I’ve written about this very notion before (see here) and I stand by my initial thoughts. I don’t do resolutions, never have and never will. A resolution to me, seems to be a means to end. And end to something bad or a flaw. Like I need to fix something that was broken or change immediately (or else). I don’t think I need to change and I certainly don’t think I am broken. Change is good, but not when it comes with baggage…

I totally get the idea that a new year should bring change, hope or a fresh slate. That sounds positive, whereas to me a resolution has a negative connotation attached to it. Instead of thinking onto 2017 in terms of what you resolve to fix, why don’t you think of 2017 as an opportunity to CREATE something positive in your life? Listen, if the word “resolution” doesn’t get your panties in a twist like it does mine, then by all means RESOLVE away! Who am I to judge? I however, don’t like anything that feels negative or daunting to me.

This year I am setting intentions and not resolutions. Maybe you can set an intention for the life you are actively CREATING?  Change your intentions whenever you see fit. Commit yourself to being PRESENT in this world, for each moment can bring something different to your life.  Resolutions, opportunities, intentions, goals, wishes, whatever you call your deepest desires, don’t fall victim to them. Don’t let them hold you hostage. Change them without warning. Grow through, what you go through. Not being free to express yourself without judgement (even from within) is damaging enough.

If you made a resolution this year, I wish you the very best. For me, my intentions are clear.

In 2017,
I intend to live with intent;
I intend to love my body more
I intend to laugh louder
I intend to hug longer
I intend to try new things
I intend to express my emotions without fear of judgement
I intend to create
I intend to love deeper
I intend to breathe
I intend to embrace my life, for it is the only one I am ever going to get….

Don’t fear failing, fear having never tried at all.
Namaste~
Joy

AllerMates: Why Is It So Important To Wear An Allergy ID?

I have a wonderful guest writer today on my blog!  Iris Shamus Wife, mother to three awesome kids and founder/CEO of AllerMates. Based in New York, Iris and her team create helpful content, answer emails, ship their products and obsess every day about keeping kids safe. Please read below to learn why wearing allergy/medical ID is so important! I have had AllerMates products for my son since he was diagnosed with food allergies many years ago. I truly love them! I know you will too! 

I started AllerMates after an incident with my food allergic son’s preschool. One of his buddies, who had multiple food allergies including a dairy allergy, was given a dairy snack by his teacher. He had a severe allergic reaction, and I started to think about how easily that could have been my son.  I set out to look for something I could slap on him to help remind his teachers and caregivers of his health concerns.

To be honest at the time I was completely unfamiliar with medical alert accessories. I think I sort of associated them with elderly people who were at risk of heart attacks or something! Who knew that I would become such an advocate of medical alert IDs… although I was determined to create a much more modern version of one that my son would think was “cool” and fun to wear!

But first, what is a medical ID?
Medical IDs are pieces of jewelry that could one day save your life. Adults typically wear metal bracelets with their allergies, prescribed medications and medical conditions engraved on the surface. However, these metal bracelets aren’t always too kid-friendly, so if your kiddo has a food allergy or health condition, try a kid-friendly medical alert bracelet or dog tag.

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At AllerMates, we refer to our bracelets as allergy bracelets or health bracelets as opposed to medical alert bracelets, since most of our products are designed for kids. In fact, we like to think of ourselves as pioneers in the industry considering that no one used the term “allergy bracelets” until AllerMates came around!

 Why are they so important?
As parents or caretakers, it’s tough to imagine that your kid will ever be in an emergency medical situation, however, it’s important to be prepared for them. More than 95% of emergency responders state that they check for a medical ID when they’re called for emergencies. And they’re not the only ones. Teachers, day care workers, camp counselors and other caretakers are also trained to look for allergy bracelets or necklaces on kids. If your child is ever involved in a medical emergency, having allergy bracelets or necklace that identifies his or her health concerns is essential in preventing a tragedy.

To be honest, when I created the original AllerMates bracelet, I was more concerned with having a communication tool to teachers and caregivers to help PREVENT an incident. Some medical alert accessories have the information inscribed on the BACK of the accessory and I thought, why not have a fun visual for all to see? Why are we hiding this critical information instead of making it bright and noticeable?

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If you have a kid with a food allergy, you’re probably all too familiar with the stress that comes along with sending kids to birthday parties and play dates. What if your child accidentally eats a food with his or her allergen? Because kids’ medical alert bracelets and dog tags are so brightly colored and noticeable, caretakers will immediately recognize that they need to look out for allergens when serving your child. Think of these bracelets and dog tags as a way to ease your concerns and give you a little peace of mind.

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Living proof that my dream came true and that kids could actually be excited to wear their allergy bracelets. Here is Britney Spears’ stylish son photographed with his AllerMates bracelets.

When should you wear a medical ID?

Kids should keep their medical alert jewelry on at all times. Why can’t kids take it off at home? Let’s say Uncle Bill, who just so happens to stop by over the weekend, doesn’t remember that your son has a peanut allergy, and feeds him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every. Parent’s. Nightmare. Avoid this situation by keeping the medical alert jewelry on at all times so that caretakers are always informed of your child’s health concerns.

What options are there for kids?
Luckily, there are tons of options that parents will love and kids will love wearing! AllerMates makes medical alert bracelets for a variety of kids’ health concerns, as well as dog tags and charms. If your kiddo has multiple allergies or health conditions, you can purchase the charms and attach them to a multi-charm bracelet. That way, kids don’t have to wear multiple allergy bracelets to keep caretakers informed of their many health concerns.

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With all of these fun options for kids, there’s no excuse to NOT wear medical alert jewelry!

Be sure to visit our website, www.allermates.com, and sign up for our newsletter to always stay in-the-know with allergy news!

xo, Iris

The Magic of Edaville’s Festival of Lights

The magic of the holiday season is something as a parent I never take for granted. Witnessing Christmas through the eyes of a child, especially your own is just, magical! I was so blessed to be given the opportunity to attend Edaville’s Festival of Lights this holiday season (as well as a lucky winner from my giveaway). I had been to Edaville before the renovation of Thomasland began, but never attended a Festival of Lights. On this visit I was able to see all the amazing improvements and additions to the park since my last visit 3 years ago. My family and I also had an amazing time enjoying the lights, visiting Santa, having fun on the rides, sipping on hot cocoa (and eating fried Oreos) and ended it all with a magical train ride through the cranberry bogs.

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Edaville USA’s Festival of lights has been a tradition for over 70 years. Generation after generation returns to the park to recreate priceless family memories. Young and old alike enjoy the park from the train ride to the Ferris Wheel and don’t forget the newest addition troublesome trucks! There is something for everyone!

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I was so surprised with Thomasland. I really thought the rides were going to be aimed at the wee-little ones. While little ones can ride, they really are fun for any age. The Troublesome Trucks Runway Coaster was our favorite! And I love that they allow passengers to ride it twice in a row! Cranky’s Crane Drop was our next favorite. We literally laughed and giggled the whole ride. Can’t forget about the famous ferris wheel! Be sure to ride the ferris wheel once it is dark. You get an spectacular panoramic view of the park all lit up. Last but not least, you can’t leave without a ride on the train; pulled by Thomas himself! 

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IMG_0760I was so pleased with our visit. There were plenty of quiet areas to take a break. As you are aware, Landon and I don’t handle crowds or loud noise well. Sensory Processing and anxiety like to wreck havoc during amusement park visits. Having a quiet corner to regroup and refresh is key for us. Also, we asked about food allergies in the Dockside Diner and they had all the information we needed to make an informed decision on what we could eat. They even had pre-packaged nut free cookies as well! We are so thrilled that they offer alternatives and took our inquiry seriously.

I could seriously go on and on about this park. It really is a hidden gem in New England. It has a hometown feel. I can’t wait to hopefully go back this Spring and tell you about all the new rides they were building! A water ride, a ride in the dark and bumper boats are just some of the rides we saw being built. Dino Land was closed on our visit, so I can’t wait to see that too! If you are looking for some fun this holiday season and what perhaps might turn into an annual tradition: Visit Edaville!

They are open daily from now until January 1st 2016 (closed Christmas)
Weekdays 4-9pm
Weekends 3-9:30pm
General Admission $29 Children under 2 Free

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Moisturize naturally with Block Island Organics

I was so excited to be given another opportunity to test and review a product from Block Island Organics. They are a local company whose goal is to provide affordable and safe skin care to everyone. Last summer I rreviewed their sunblock, which was AH-MAY-ZING!  It came in handy on our trip to Disney a few weeks ago! So needless to say when they contacted me about reviewing their new Natural Face Moisturizer SPF 30, I didn’t hesitate. If you are conscientious  about what you put on your face like I am, then look no further! It is a great 2-in-1 antioxidant rich product that offers both daily skin hydration and transparent broad spectrum SPF 30 sun protection. Perfect for the fair maidens like myself!

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Our moisturizer features organic and natural ingredients like aloe, shea butter, green tea, sunflower seed and pomegranate.  As with all of our products, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, dyes and artificial fragrances.  We also don’t do animal testing and use vegan-based formulas.

I thought what a better way to test out this product was to go out for a run along the beach. It’s sunny and super windy and I always come back red-faced from windburn and the sun’s rays. I even have the pictures to prove it. I no longer leave the house for a run without this product on my face. The colder temps are coming and with that brings outdoor sports enthusiasts! This would be perfect for a day on the slopes or those outdoor hikes. But of course, it is positively perfect for everyday use; Naturally!

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No moisturizer: Red-faced from the sun and wind

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Moisturizer: Who is the fairest one of all? ME!

Block Island Organics can be found online at both their online store and Amazon. They are offering my readers a 25% coupon when you purchase from their website and use code joymarie. The coupon code is good from December 15th-December 23rd 2015. What a great stocking stuffer for a friend or perhaps yourself!

Namaste~ Joy

 

Top 5 Toys For Sensory Kids

I have put together a list of my Top 5 toys for sensory kids. Why? Because it’s that time of year!  If you have a sensational kid you might have noticed they sometimes don’t play with certain toys. Whether it’s the sound it makes, they way it feels or even how it looks, they are turned off.  I remember getting so frustrated around Landon’s birthday and holidays when he was little because he rarely would play with anything we bought. Once we learned what his preferences were, toy shopping wasn’t so bad.  While every toy doesn’t have to have an educational component to it, I do tend to choose ones that encourage creativity, problem solving and that require him to use his tactile sense.

My TOP 5 TOYS for Sensory Kids

Legos– Great for any age!  You can start with the Duplo set and move along to the standard size Lego as they age. While each set builds a specific design, you can custom create just about anything you want with Legos. Landon and I have built castles, upside down houses, double-decker boats and more all using our own imagination! Blocks of any material can work as well, but we are a Lego family! Great for kids who need to work on their fine motor skills among other things! My favorite gift to give any child!

Photo Credit: Amazon

Playdoh: Landon is 8 years old and stills plays with playdoh occasionally. Now that he is older he prefers modeling clay (same type of concept)- but this is great for working with their hands. It helps develop fine motor skills and creativity. You don’t even have to buy a special set. Grab a few tubs of playdoh, and look in your own cupboard for cool tools to use. Cookies cutters, frosting spreader, rolling-pin and other everyday items around the house. Create!

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Books: While books in any form are amazing for kids, I find that touch and feel,  pop up books and books with sound are our favorite. I love Usborne look inside books. They have all sorts of topics for different ages. Starting with a simple book on barnyard animals to space facts or Egyptian mythology. At 8 years old, he still loves a good lift up book.

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Puzzles: I love Melissa and Doug for this category. They have so many puzzles to choose from. Chunky block puzzles for the toddler all the way up to 100+ piece for the older child and everything in between. They have even have puzzles where you open doors and puzzles that make noise. This is great for kiddos needing to work on their fine motor skills and those who like toys with sound!

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Magnatiles: I love these translucent color tiles that kids use to create endless 3D and 2D designs. They hold together by the power of magnification. They even come with pre-designed templates for kids to follow to build a specific design. Following the templates helps with the skill of following step by step directions!

magnatilesThere are a ton of great gifts for our sensational kids but these are just some of our favorites. Landon goes back to these year after year. And these gifts are great for any kiddo in your life! All these toys I found on Amazon- and offer free shipping, what’s better than that!  Happy Shopping!

 

Namaste~

Sensitive Santa Programs Are A Breath Of Fresh Air For Special Needs Parents

The holidays are just around the corner. Menu’s are being planned, family is coming to town and gifts are being purchased. If you have children, then I am sure planning a visit to Santa is in the works too! For some, a visit to the jolly-old-elf is no biggie, while for others it can be overwhelming. This is especially true for those with special needs children. The lines, the noise and the crowds are sometimes just to intense for a sensory kiddo, just like my Landon.  Heck, I don’t even like lines, waiting and loud noises…

If you share my same sentiments, then you are in luck!   Starting this Sunday November 22nd, over 120 Simon malls will be offering the Caring Santa Program. This program is  made possible thanks to Autism Speaks and their association between Noeer Corporation and AbilityPath. This program allows families of children with special needs to enjoy their experience with Santa in a more controlled and welcoming environment, usually before the mall opens. As a mom to a sensational kid, I am so thankful to these companies for providing this program for the special needs community.
If you think this event would be something that would benefit you and your family, I urge you to register for the Caring Santa program at your local Simon mall. Most time slots will be 2 hours before the mall opens to the public on November 22nd or December 6th. For my local friends, Emerald Square Mall will be offering their Caring Santa program on December 6th from 830-1030am, with some time slots already filling up. It is FREE to register- and you must have a reservation to take part in this program.

To learn more abut the Caring Santa Program and to see other malls participating click here. It was only about a few years ago that I found out abut this amazing program and boy would it have came in handy during Landon’s early visits with Santa! If you can’t find a sensory-friendly event near you, I urge you to contact your local mall to request one for next year. You never know if your request will be heard unless you try!

Merry Holidays

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Landon, Christmas 2008