Healthcare.gov Open Enrollment 2015

Good morning!  There are a million questions about Open Enrollment with the Affordable Care Act, so I thought I’d bring in an expert, my brother, Jason of My Choice Insurance, to help you navigate Obamacare and provide an easy-to-understand explanation and advice.

healthcare.gov open enrollment

I’m excited to share some information with the Itz Linz crew about choosing the right health insurance for you and your families as we’ve reached Open Enrollment with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for the second time. In the past year, my team and I have helped over 500 new clients get coverage on and off the exchange, so we have the knowledge and experience to streamline this process and lower your frustration. How do we do this? We listen to you and your needs and provide access to every single plan in your state. We maximize your coverage, decrease your overall costs and lower your risk by giving you the things that are most important to you: the doctors in your network, the lowest possible premiums, and the highest benefits available.

As a general rule of thumb, you may even be eligible for subsidies to offset the costs of your plan if your employer doesn’t offer coverage and your income falls in the following ranges:

  • Single: $46,500 or less
  • Married: $63,000 or less
  • Family of 4: 95,000 or less.

I’ll be honest, Obamacare is not a perfect system. There are many shortcomings and it remains to be seen if it’s going to be around forever, but it’s here now and for the foreseeable future, so let’s focus on maximizing the best parts of it and be honest about the challenges that certain individuals will have in obtaining affordable coverage.

jason amy wedding

Obamacare may not be perfect, but my Puerto Vallarta Wedding sure was!

The Good:

Starting this year, insurance companies could no longer deny people or change their rates based on their health or medication needs and this is GOOD NEWS! In addition, all qualified health insurance plans now cover wellness and preventive visits at 100%. This means that annual physicals, the lab and blood work associated with them, annual pap smears and mammograms, children’s school physicals and immunizations, and even colonoscopies are all covered without a copay or deductible. The health insurance companies realized that regardless of the plan chosen, if they could get people to their doctors more regularly instead of reactively when there was a problem, they could get out in front of the serious illnesses and save both lives and money in the process. This is one of the 10 essential benefits that insurance must offer today, and all 10 have an expense associated with it, so it’s natural to expect that the cost of coverage must go up, especially because the insurance companies can’t pick and choose only healthy people to cover anymore. We’ll cover this increase in costs shortly, but let’s focus on the positive aspect of the government subsidies.

When the government decided to revamp our healthcare system, they realized that covering everyone at the same premium without regard to their health would be expensive. So the government set some guidelines for how they would offset the cost of that coverage by paying premiums to the health insurance companies directly based on your estimated annual income according to the guidelines above. On a side note, even if you fall in one of these categories, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive subsidies. Every situation is different and the best advice I can give you is to call an insurance agent you trust and spend 5-10 minutes discussing your particular situation.

For most people, we look for a company that offers affordable copays that sit outside their deductible for their day-to-day needs, such as doctors visits, medications, and urgent care visits. We’ll also look at deductibles and worst-case scenario situations. One of the things we often do a little differently than others is combine a major medical policy with a supplemental health insurance policy. While most plans today have a deductible of at least $1,000 (up to a max of $6,000), the supplemental coverage pays you directly for injuries, trips to the emergency room, hospital stays, and critical illnesses. When faced with a catastrophic loss or an unexpected accident, the supplement can provide the cash exactly when needed to offset some, or even all, of your out-of-pocket expenses. In the same way you diversify your retirement funds, this is the least expensive way to manage your risk and build a complete health insurance portfolio. While none of us expect it to happen to us, we’ve all been impacted by someone that is fighting cancer, heart disease, or stroke, to name a few. Imagine if they had an extra $10,000, $20,000, or even $50,000 to help them cover their deductible, pay their monthly bills, or help make up lost income.

We’re going to cover some of the challenges in choosing the right plan in part two of this post, but in the meantime, please don’t depend on the hourly workers at Healthcare.gov that are helping you get your application completed. They are not licensed agents and are literally reading from a script. Because the premiums for insurance are fixed by law, it doesn’t cost you any extra to work with an insurance broker like me.

mychoice insurance

The bottom line is that purchasing individual health insurance today is more difficult and can be more expensive than ever before, but there are resources to help you understand your options and potentially make it more affordable. If my staff or I can help you in any way, from asking questions to getting enrolled to proactively helping you manage your renewals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. I can be contacted directly by phone at 314-828-3371, by email to Jason@mychoiceinsuranceco.com, or through the contact-us form on our website at www.MyChoiceInsuranceCo.com. Thanks for reading!

Thoughts? Questions?

Quick 10 Minutes or Less Workouts

We’re all busy with something or other, would you agree?  Sure, we may have varying degrees of busy, but most likely most people aren’t just sitting around twiddling their thumbs.  (And if you are… enjoy it while it lasts!)  The biggest challenge of being a full time working mom is TIME.  I never feel like I have enough of it – at school or at home.  Fitting in fitness is just that; I’ve got to fit it in my busy schedule.  Some days, many days, that means a quick ten minute workout.  After all, ten minutes is better than nothing.  I’m not knocking ten minute workouts whatsoever; they can be highly effective if you do the right thing.  Today, I’m sharing several quick 10 minutes or less workouts by experienced FitFluential Ambassadors.

quick workouts

There they are!  No excuses not to move during this busy holiday season.  Surely you can find ten minutes everyday.  It’s just ten minutes out of your 1,440 minute day!

When do you find the time to workout or move during the day?

Kmart Black Friday Deals

This post is sponsored by Kmart.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Black Friday shopping – who’s a fan?  You either love it or you hate it.  I used to love it when I was a teenager.  Now, with a baby, it sounds like a nightmare.  The crowds, not the deals!  In fact, I still love the deals.  I’m one of those people who like to find the best price before buying.  After all, I’m a teacher, so I need to be careful with my spending.

Planning ahead is the key to shopping smart during the holidays.

black friday deals kmart

Kmart has TWO early saving events that will help you avoid unnecessary spending this season.  Also, you can find some of the hottest brands and on-trend gifts at amazing door-buster prices this year to ultimately save more and get more.

These two early deals allow you to be flexible when and how you shop:

Kmart’s online pre-sale (Shop in your pjs? Yeah, this one’s for me!)

  • For a full five days, you can shop exclusive Black Friday doorbuster deals online
  • The online pre-sale begins at 12:00 p.m. on November 22nd and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 23rd
  • EDIT TO ADD: Kmart has extended its pre-Black Friday online member pre-sale! Shop Your Way members can shop exclusive Black Friday doorbuster deals online a full five days early, now starting at 5 a.m. on Sat, Nov. 22 through11:59 p.m. on Nov. 23.

Some of the best deals include:

  • Save $200 on a RCA 50″ LED HDTV; sale price $399.99, reg. price $599.99, plus members get $50 back in points
  • Save $10 on the Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll; sale price $29.99, reg. price $39.99
  • 50% off 7.5′ Pre-Lit Sheffield Pine Tree; sale price $129.99, reg. price $259.99
  • $10 Jaclyn Smith and Route 66 women’s sweaters, and Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez and Bongo junior’s sweaters; reg. $19.99-$21.99
  • $100 off Slumber & Slide Loft Bed; sale $149.99, reg. $249.99

Kmart’s in-store Black Friday (If you prefer to do your shopping in person, you can get a head start in-store beginning at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day through midnight on Black Friday)

Holiday doorbusters include:

  • Save $50 on a Samsung Galaxy Tab4, 8GB, 7” Tablet; sale price $149.99, reg. price $199.99, plus members get $20 back in points (begins Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m.)
  • $8.99 assorted board games; reg. price $16.99-$21.99 (begins Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m.)
  • Buy one get one for $1 on all men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear (begins Thurs., Nov. 27 through Sat., Nov. 29)
  • $40 off a 32” RCA LED HDTV; sale price $179.99, reg. price $219.99, plus members get $40 back in points (begins Fri., Nov. 28 at 6 a.m.)
  • Up to 50% off Craftsman tools (begins Fri., Nov. 28 at 6 a.m.)

This little guy’s excited, how about you?

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Are you a Black Friday shopper?  How about Cyber Monday?

scenes from the weekend

Hello, week before Thanksgiving!  This is a full week for me followed by just a two-day work week which I’m pretty excited about!  A break is always nice, and Thanksgiving break is especially nice due to the length and family time that will happen.  I know I’m getting ahead of myself right now, so let’s back up and recap the weekend with this scenes from the weekend post.

We’ll start with this stud muffin:

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Rocking some Jimmy Neutron hair and the most gorgeous eyes ever.

We had lots of family time this weekend.

William loves being read to by Jackson:

jackson

Look how intent William is.

William loves to be silly with Jacob:

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Jacob  had William belly laughing so hard!

Audrey, per usual, taking care of William as her real baby:

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“He’s getting SO big!” she kept saying.

Oh, and random picture of me rocking a new headband a kind reader, Lindsay, sent me.  How do you “model” a headband without looking totally ridiculous?  This is my attempt:

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Lindsay runs an Etsy shop called Bang Bands by Linny.  She has tons of different patterns and is constantly getting more.  After I browsed her selection, I asked if she could do the pink flowers, as you can see, and then plain black on the other side since the headband can be reversible.  She takes custom orders with any of the patterns displayed in her Etsy shop and the headbands can be used for working out to keep the sweat out of your eyes or as a fashion statement (like me who is trying to cover up my roots that are in dire need of a touch up!).  Lindsay is offering all Itz Linz fans a discount of FREE SHIPPING until December 31, 2014 using the code itzlinz.  Her headbands are just $12, so it’s really a great deal!

William and I spent some time at my grandparents’ house on Saturday.  Look at the smile William has while sitting on his great-grandpa, Papa’s lap:

papa

SO happy!

William always loves being with his great-grandma, Mama, too:

mama

Love.  Mama and Papa have twelve great-grandchildren so far!

Last thing from scenes from the weekend: SNOW!  Yes, it snowed here in St. Louis over the weekend.  It feels early for the first snow of the winter, but it did look pretty despite my dislike for cold weather.  Jacob and Audrey had a blast playing in the small amount that we did get, and I took William outside for less than five minutes.  During that time, Stephanie took him on his first sled ride on a teeny tiny hill.

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Has it snowed yet where you live?

Linking up with Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday and Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots! Both are fun link parties – be sure to check ‘em out!

Friday Five

Oh hello, Friday, I do love you so!  The end of the work week, the beginning of the weekend, Friday is a beautiful thing!  I’m linking up with Clare for Five Things Friday.

Let’s start with William cuteness since he always puts a smile on everyone’s face!

1.  William in the sink for a bath.

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Ok, Stephanie actually gave him this bath (and took the picture), but it still counts for cuteness!  William loves taking baths and playing with the water.  I haven’t put him the tub yet because the sink is working just fine for now.

2.  Exploring water is so much fun.

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William is interested in everything he sees whether it’s new toys, new people, or the faucet.  He’s definitely a curious little guy, and loves to explore.  He’s already got a love for learning – just like his momma!

3,  Portland Bee Balm

portland bee balm

Portland Bee Balm, an all-natural lip balm from a small business, sent me a few tubes to try, and I really like them.  I’m picky about what I put on my lips, and this stuff passes the test.  They have an unscented and an Oregon mint.  I prefer the mint because it gives my lips a little tingle, which I love.  A couple of other perks about the bee balm:

  • Natural ingredients. There are just four, carefully curated from regional, sustainable sources: certified organic extra virgin coconut and olive oil, Oregon beeswax, and Oregon organic peppermint oil (for peppermint balm only). Plus, they’re all made by hand!
  • Environmental responsibility. Portland Bee Balm started with a backyard bee hive. Today, all ingredients are from sustainable sources,and they build their own re-useable wooden displays with sustainable harvest Douglas fir.

The bee balm actually hydrates my lips instead of just leaving a film on them like other balms do.  And they’re just three bucks a tube which is totally reasonable.

4.  Playing with new toys and discovering new things.

playing

I just brought up this toy from the basement as it used to be my nephew, Jackson’s.  You know this kind of toy; you have to do something different to make the Sesame Street characters pop up: twist, push, slide, and turn.  This toy is great because it helps William learn about cause and effect.  (If I do this, then this will happen.)  He loves pushing them close and has figured out how to push the green button to make Elmo pop up.

5.  Three sleeping babes.

sleeping babes

Last night I babysat my nephew and niece, Jacob and Audrey for a couple hours.  I’m not going to lie, I feel pretty good when I’m able to handle all three at the same time and get them all to bed!  Five minutes after Jacob (the last one) went to sleep, I went in and snapped a photo with my flash on.  Risky move, but I wanted proof.  Haha.  It all worked, and they stayed asleep.  Score!  Major props to you mommas of multiple children!

Alright, enough from me, time to start this Friday and get on with the weekend!

What do you want to share today? Weekend plans?

Tips for Recovering from a C-Section

After my “healthy pregnancy for healthy birth and healthy baby” post and sharing several mommas’ birth stories, one kind reader asked about ladies who have c-sections and the recovery that follows.  Since I’m unable to speak to that, I asked my friend Sarah to guest post on Tips for Recovering from a C-Section.  Sarah is a fellow FitFluential Ambassador, rock star twin momma, and amazing woman who understands how to balance a healthy, busy life!

tips for recovering from a c-section

Good morning!  I’m Sarah from Creating Better Tomorrow and I’m so happy to take over Linz’s blog for the day and share some insight into my recovery from a C-Section.   My husband and I welcomed twins (yes, two little bundles of joy!), Micah and Jonah, into our family on August 6, 2014 via a scheduled c-section.

Before we get going with some tips on recovery, let me say these are just my own tid bits I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a doctor or medical professional.  Also, please know that I was EXTREMELY lucky and blessed with a super surgery and fast recovery, BUT remember every surgery is major surgery and every recovery is individual.  On that note, here are some things I think you might find helpful if you are recovering from a c-section.

csection1

Listen to your body – no matter how many tips you read here, in books, hear from friends on recovery, this surgery was your own surgery…and though it sounds easy, this is definitely my #1 tip to recovery.  You know what your body is telling you, don’t forget in the excitement of the new baby to listen to it!

Going to the bathroom – yep, I’m going there… I had a bit of warning on this (and, honestly, I had no trouble in this area, but I am the exception) but many do not.  Going #2 after surgery won’t be fun.  Take the stool softeners they give you and I would recommend stocking up on some to have at home when you arrive with the babies.  Don’t get laxatives; stool softeners do the trick.  And be prepared for the nurses to ask you every visit if you’ve gone #1 or #2, how often, if it hurt, and how much. :)  Modesty out the window here, gals!

Get up and move as soon as you can BUT listen to your body (see first tip!).  Walking helps to get the blood flowing so your body can get healing, but know that you’ll just want to take short trips ALWAYS with someone.  I started just walking around my room.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER after surgery.  I’d even recommend having someone remind you to keep drinking while in the hospital and at home because, trust me, you will be so busy and tired you might easily forget! (My hubby was like a constant water boy, but it kept him occupied and made him feel like he was helping me even when he didn’t know what to do.)

Eat nutritious foods when you are hungry, don’t worry about calories or weight loss – focus on whole foods that nourish your body as it heals.

Welcome help from friends, family, neighbors, anyone!  Whether you have one baby, two babies, more, and whether it is via c-section or naturally – welcome help!  You need to focus on recovering and the babies.  So see that tip above about eating nutritious foods?  Try to organize folks beforehand (or you could do some freezer meals too, we did both) to bring you food and don’t be afraid to mention you prefer healthy, wholesome foods. :)

Wear a belly binder - I bought my own belly binder before surgery to take with us but I also asked for one at the hospital.  I can’t imagine not having them both.  I wore one as soon as I could get out of bed, and then for the next couple of weeks post-surgery.  It helps to keep your stomach held in where the stitches might feel as though they are ripping open (they aren’t, I promise!).  This is the #1 c-section item I’d tell any friend to buy!!!  And make SURE when you go to sneeze you put a pillow on incision area and hold firmly; it will help immensely, but again, wear that belly binder!!

Skin to skin as soon as possible with mom and dad.  Though I know some hospitals delay skin to skin and nursing with c-sections, ours did not by more than 30 minutes.  And even during that time, Daniel had the boys on his chest.  I found when I was overwhelmed at any point during recovery (heck even now on rough days) laying the boys on my bare chest was the best thing for us al.  It truly does wonders, God has this amazing plan where those babies just know you from your skin, scent, temperature…so get that baby on you or daddy as soon as possible – it will help with mental, emotional, and physical recovery for you and baby!

csection2

Pray when you don’t know what else to do!  My recovery physically was quite easy and quick but my recovery mentally and emotionally at times was a bit tougher, and as with anything when I don’t know what to do I pray.  I truly believe that prayer heals…so I’ll end with this final tip – pray!

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I have gathered a few other bloggers posts on c-section births and what to share those with you too for some more insight into recovery and postpartum life:

Pop on over to Creating Better Tomorrow where you can find much more about our journey to pregnancy and infertility, journey throughout pregnancy, and much much more.  And feel free to send me any questions via email creatingbettertomorrow@gmail.com.

Big thanks to Sarah for sharing her knowledge and experience with us! She just wrote a Preparing For A C-Section post that some of you pretty ladies may be interested in.

Mommas who have had a C-Section: anything else you would add to this list? Do you have any other questions?

 

2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, & a dessert

I should have added “2 smiles” to today’s post title.

yaya nov14

Happy baby.  Happy Yaya.  Love.

For today’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday with Peas and Crayons, I intended on showing you a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as I usually do.  However, after scrolling through my food photos from the past few days and trying to decide what to showcase, I noticed my lunch photos were lacking.  Since I pump during my lunch at work, I pretty much scarf down my food, so I don’t put much effort into making it look pretty.  Hence, the no lunch picture thing.  Instead, what I do have for you today, is 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, and a dessert (most importantly).

Breakfast #1 is another eggwich.

eggwich

This was a good one, too.  Two eggs cooked in coconut oil, a toasted whole wheat bagel thin, cream cheese, jelly, spinach, and avocado.  Fresh strawberries on the side.  I.love.eggwiches.

Breakfast #2 is Love Grown Foods Power O’s strawberry cereal with fresh strawberries and raspberries.

lgf cereal

I was in the mood for cereal and LGF Power O’s actually pack some nutrition, which is rare for cereal.  In one cup, there is 120 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.  It’s made with navy beans, garbanzo beans, and lentils, but you’d never know you’re eating beans for breakfast!  Power O’s come in four flavors: original, chocolate, strawberry, and honey.  Thanks to this cool lady for introducing them to me!

Dinner #1 is a taco salad.

taco salad

My sister invited me over for dinner on Monday night for taco night – one of my favorite dinners.  Plenty of chips and queso eaten, as well.  After dinner and after taking ridiculously cute 7 month pictures of William, Stephanie helped me switch my iPhone 4S to the new iPhone 6. AMAZING!  Such a difference!  I’m excited to learn more about the newest feature so I can actually utilize everything the phone has to offer.

Dinner #2 was grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, sauteed green beans, and grilled vegetables over a bed of fresh spinach.

dinner

This was eaten at my parents’ house, and my mom so beautifully plated this for my picture.  Major props to her on her food styling, eh?

Dessert is banana bread and salted caramel ice cream.

dessert

I know this momma would be all over this ice cream! ;-)  It was Breyer’s brand, and while it was good, I must say that I like Edy’s soft churned better.  But hey, it’s in the house, and I’ll be sure to polish it off over the next several days.  And it paired so nicely with Martha Stewart’s Banana Bread.  I’ve followed this recipe multiple times, and each time it’s a winner.  If I’m gifting the bread, I add chocolate chips (I baked a loaf for William’s teachers at school!), but since this loaf was for me, I added raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon.  It was faaaaantastic!

What have you been eating for breakfast, dinner, and dessert lately?  Have you tried Love Grown Food’s Power O’s before?

7 month old baby William

7 month old baby William happened yesterday – WOAH!  Growing baby!  He continues to change on a daily basis and is constantly exploring the world.  William has always been incredibly alert, but now he recognizes people, places, objects, sights, and sounds.  And… he’s cute as ever, as always!  I mean, just look at these rolls:

william 7months

photo by Stephanie Cotta Photography

Height & Weight: William is between 17 – 18 pounds, from my crude measurements.  Not sure about his height, maybe I’ll attempt that measurement today.

Eating: Yes, we finally started food!  William ate oatmeal only twice a day for two weeks, before I introduced him to peas.  Since then, he’s also had sweet potato.  We are taking the food thing very, very slowly.  I want to make his food (although my mom and my sister has made his peas and sweet potatoes) which is part of the reason I’m not introducing him to new foods every few days.  That’s alright.  “Food before one is just for fun,” as the saying goes.  He’s learning how to eat off a spoon, but the primary source of nutrition is still from breastmilk.

When I do feed him, I wait about an hour after nursing him.  I read that somewhere and the reasoning, from what I understand, is as to not interfere with breastfeeding.  You don’t want your baby super hungry, but you also don’t want them to overeat.  Finding that magical time can be challenging, especially in the evening when William is tired from his busy day.  Just like adults, sometimes he eats more, and sometimes he eats less.  He does seem to be enjoying food though!  (Just like his momma and daddy!)

william 7months1

Sleeping (naps): On average, William takes three naps while I’m away at work though the times and length varies. I think he is going through a growth spurt or teething or something because his naps have been all off lately.  On Sunday, the day of his play dates, he didn’t nap until noon (well, he took a twenty minute snooze around eight) and he slept for two and a half hours!  He woke once to nurse and then went right back to sleep.

Sleeping (at night): I try to put William down between 7 – 8, though depending when his last nap is plays a roll.  Sometimes it’s a bit before, but I do try hard not to make it after.  Little man is still not sleeping through the night, but that’s ok.  He sleeps on his side or his belly, but he’s still figuring out how to sleep on his belly.  Sometimes he will roll to his belly when he’s sleeping and wake up crying because he hasn’t quite figured out how to turn his head to be able to lay down.  I help him with that and pat his bottom to help him go back to sleep.  Other times, he just needs to be rolled over to his back, and then he turns to his side again.

Clothing: Six month and six to nine month clothing.  And I’m switching him to size three diapers thanks to a million blowouts we’ve had recently.  Size two still fits him.. just not when he poops, so I’m using the rest of my size twos during the day and sleeping him in size threes.

New this month: William has TWO teeth now which makes his gummy smile even cuter! (But I wonder if another is on it’s way?)  He sits up like a champ, and he’s totally on the move.  He rolls and scoots like it’s his job and I know crawling will come any day now.

baby on the move

(He started in the middle of the blanket by his toys.)

William likes: Everything and everyone.  William is still the happiest baby and people constantly tell me that.  It’s not just his pictures; he really is that happy!  That’s not to say he doesn’t fuss and cry occasionally, but I know how lucky I am to have such a good, happy baby!  He loves going for toys, whether they’re hanging above him or a few feet away, he finds a way to grab them and then put them in his mouth.  William LOVES attention.  Whether you’re singing, talking, laughing, playing, reading, whatever it is, as long as you’re paying attention to him, he’s happy.  Our Parents As Teachers lady even commented on how social he is!  William loves hearing himself, too.  He “talks,” babbles, coos, and belly laughs so hard he gives himself the hiccups!

William dislikes: Being tired is really the only thing he dislikes!

Really and truly the happiest baby.

william 7months bath

And the most beautiful.  But I’m biased. ;-)

Jimmy Neutron hair

Hey there and happy Monday!  I thought for today’s Marvelous in my Monday post, we’d recap scenes from the weekend.  I assure you there will be plenty of William cuteness!

Friday day: William’s teacher at school texted me this adorable picture of him.

7months school

I love seeing how happy he is at school!

Friday night: We stayed in which was much welcomed after a busy week!  Well, we actually ran out to the grocery store, and then we stayed in.  William and I took some selfies (available for your viewing on Instagram) in our jammies, and when he went to sleep, I did two big loads of laundry.  Exciting Friday night, I know!

Saturday morning: William had a play date with his buddy Leo!

leo nov14

Aren’t they the cutest?!  The boys are a month apart, almost exactly.

Saturday day: William and I headed to Whole Foods Market.  I bought nutritional yeast, wheat germ, and black beans from the bulk section.  The oatmeal that I feed William is from there, so I picked up another box.  (It’s Earth’s Best organic whole grain oatmeal.)  I also picked up some Happy Family Puffs, but haven’t given them to William yet.  I chose the banana puffs and green puffs.  I know it’s important for him to start learning how to pick up small items for his fine motor skills, but I’m waiting to let him try until I talk to his doctor just to double check.  (I know, I know, I’m sure it will be fine.  First time mom here, and I want the confirmation.)  Also, the puffs obviously contain different ingredients than what William has had before which is also why I’m a little apprehensive.  He’s only had breastmilk, oatmeal, peas, and sweet potatoes…  Moms, are there any brands of puffs you particularly like?  Happy Family puffs are organic which I like.

While I was at Whole Foods Market, I spotted this:

whole foods

I was pretty excited about it, not going to lie!  (See my review HERE.)

Saturday day also included a walk outside because it was in the fifties which is warm for November.  I want to get in as many walks as I can before this polar vortex hits St. Louis.  Then, William and I went to Target and Old Navy and picked up a couple of pairs of long pants and long sleeve onesies for him for the rest of fall and the upcoming winter.  Baby clothes are the cutest and I had to restrain myself from buying everything.

Just look at this stud:

7months hair

William’s cheeks have been red lately and I’m not sure if it’s from the cold weather or from teething.  I bought some Aquaphor to put on it, but I was wondering if you mommas had any other suggestions?

Saturday night: Another night in which I’m not complaining about!  I started this blog post, watched an episode of Parenthood, and got to bed by nine.  Since William is still nowhere near sleeping through the night, an early bedtime for me is a must!

sleep 7months

And sneaking in his room to take photos of him when he’s sleeping is also a must.

Sunday morning: One of my neighbors who I grew up with, Michael, was in town for the weekend, so he brought his baby, Ben, over for a play date!

ben

Ben is fourteen months old, so it was fun to see what’s to come! He’s walking all over the place and is such a blonde hair blue eyed cutie!

Sunday afternoon: My friends’ babies, Dylan and Leo, came over for a play date!

dylan leo nov14

We had no idea how to pose three babies, and it was quite comical trying to get them all to look at us, much less smile!  Kait kept calling William “Jimmy Neutron” because of his hair.  She googled a picture, and William is WAY cuter (obviously. Jimmy Neutron is a cartoon.), but they both do have the hair that sticks up in the front.  When I wash William’s face in the morning, I get his hair wet and spike it up, and then it dries like it.  And I love it.

Later in the day, William and I visited my grandparents, did some laundry, played, napped, and hung out before heading to my parents for Sunday night dinner.  We always have fun!

family selfie

How many people can fit into a selfie at once?

The cousins:

cousins nov14

Audrey, as usual, was happy as ever that she got to take care of her Baby William.

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What were you up to this weekend?

Avocado and Olive Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Hair.  We all want something different, am I right?  If we have curly hair, we wish for straight hair.  If we have straight hair, we long for curly hair.  My hair is naturally wavy, so I have to work for both straight and curly hair; it’s a blessing and a curse since I have to style it some how, but I do have the possibility of either which is nice.  And when I don’t feel like styling it, I have no problem throwing it into a ponytail, a bun, or rocking a headband or hat.  Hair products.  There are a million of them, if not more, for every hair type, hair color, hair length, hair style, etc.  Recently, Whole Foods Market Galleria reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing 2 Chic Avocado and Olive Oil Shampoo and Conditioner that they carry in their Whole Body department.

Whole Foods Market believes the quality of the items and ingredients people apply to their bodies topically is as important as the foods and nutritional supplements they ingest.  With this in mind, they created a strict set of quality standards that all products must meet before they hit their shelves. (A complete list of standards can be found here.)

2chic shampoo conditioner

As I mentioned, I have naturally wavy hair which means I have to style it with heat frequently.  Because of this, my hair tends to be dry, so I do always look for products that will add moisture without weighing my hair down.  I was eager to try the 2 Chic Avocado and Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Shampoo and Conditioner because it claims to:

  • Conquers dry, damaged hair
  • Replenishes hair that feels dull, lifeless, and brittle
  • Deep-conditions for deep luster
  • Leaves hair smooth and supple
  • Silkens hair with softness and shine
  • Nourishes with vitamins and omega fatty acids
  • Helps prevent splits and breaks
  • Cleanses without stripping color
  • Lauryl and laureth sulfate free

Sign me up!  My hair could definitely reap all those benefits, so shortly after picking up the products at Whole Foods Market Galleria, I hopped in the shower and lathered up.  I always comb through my hair with conditioner in it because it’s bad to brush wet hair.  Since my hair is thick and long, it can get pretty tangled.  When the 2 Chic conditioner was in, I combed through my hair as I normally would before rinsing.  To be honest, my hair didn’t comb through very easily.  Some conditioners allow the comb to slide right through, and I had to work a little harder with this one.  I wanted to see the product all the way through before drawing any conclusions.  I didn’t use any additional product in my hair because I was curious to how my hair would be using this shampoo and conditioner.

The verdict?

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LOVE!  Truthfully, I am very impressed.  After blow drying and flat ironing my hair, I didn’t even need to use serum for my flyaways because I didn’t have any!  My hair is incredibly soft and it feels moisturized and healthy.  The scent of the shampoo and conditioner is mild, and my hair smells clean.  The cleanse is gentle and I’ve been running my hands through my hair all day because of how soft it is.

How about another bonus point?  It’s reasonably priced, too!  Hair products can be crazy expensive, as can items at Whole Foods Market.  WFM is selling 2 Chic Shampoo and Conditioners for $8.99 each, but get this: This weekend, they are on sale 2 for $10 in WFM stores throughout the US.  Now that’s a steal!

Have you ever tried 2 Chic Shampoo and Conditioner?  What do you look for in hair products?

Disclaimer: Whole Foods Market Galleria provided me with the product in exchange for my honest review.  No compensation was provided; all thoughts and opinions are my own.