Friday, February 14, 2020

Boston Calling, Creating a Family Experience

*I attended Boston Calling last year via a media pass. This post is about my experience and what families can expect going into this year and coming years. All opinions are mine.

When I first became a mother, I was did what a lot of us do, and I cut back on some of the outings that I most loved to do before becoming a parent. This included seeing concerts and heading to outdoor festivals. Living outside of Boston, we have a pretty great music scene and knowing that Boston Calling supports a lot of local artists, I had always wanted to go...but, KIDS. But wait, people are bringing their kids to Boston Calling? Yes. Boston Calling is actually pretty kid friendly, with a bit of preparation from savvy parents.

 Guster has a special place in my (and Boston's) heart dating back to my teenage self so I most definitely wanted to go and as a fan, my 5 year old son had started listening too. He had very loosely inquired as to when he would get to see Guster and since I'm no fool, I was like kid, you get very cranky after 7pm so I don't know when we'll get to see Guster together.  So when I heard that they were playing the 2019 festival, and at 4pm no less, I knew that I wanted to go and try to take Wes as well. But was/is Boston Calling really family friendly?

So first, I'll start by saying that in order to go to Boston Calling, or any event as a parent with children who wants to enjoy themselves, you're going to want to go prepared. I mean, I prepare myself to a trip to the grocery store so since I knew that we were going to be gone, literally all day, that I'd need to beef up the bag I was packing. Keep in mind that they do not allow backpacks, I think I got away with mine because it's more like a purse. Next time I would probably bring a bag and consider a locker inside the festival. But all that said, Boston Calling has done a good job of making the atmosphere very family friendly, especially during the day. Let's start by saying that kids 10 and under don't need a wristband. I saw kids of all ages, from people baby wearing to older kids and then of course, little guys like mine. Boston Calling is welcoming of kids but you know your children best so keep their thresholds in mind for any of the things I'll mention in the rest of the blog.

What can you expect

You can expect to take either public transportation or catch a ride share to the Harvard Athletic complex.  I usually drive and park almost anywhere I go but there is literally nowhere to park close to the grounds. We took the redline from Alewife into Harvard Square then caught a Lyft back and forth to the train. It was easy peasy. If we could do it, anyone can. There's bike parking on site if that's your style or if you're kids are older, you can walk from public transportation to the grounds. More info on this piece can be found in the BC FAQs.

You can expect to be in the weather. Whether it's raining, very cold for May or extremely hot for May (which was our experience), you're going to be outside the majority of the day. There are a few places of "shelter" but you shouldn't plan to be able to take refuge there for good portions of time as they are being used for different acts and performers. With kids of any age, they will no doubt get whiny so just be prepared to listen to it a bit (or alot depending on your kids lol) and give them time to chill in between the things you want to see.

You can expect there to be crowds. Obviously, right? With kids, you may not want to rush the stage for obvious reasons but the beauty of the layout is that there is plenty of space to sit back, a good distance from any given stage and enjoy the music. I took Wes fairly close to the stage for Guster but it was a decision I made based on the crowd, the timing (it was daylight), I had my cousin there to keep an eye out and I had made friends with the group around us who sort of took it upon themselves to create space for him. Had it been the evening, I would have hung back so that I could keep any eye out. As much as Boston Calling welcomes people of all ages, these are still outdoor concerts so you'll want to make the best decision for your crew. I have been to other festivals, like Lollapalooza, and Boston Calling does not have a drunken, druggie or messy vibe to it. Though there were crowds, I did not feel unsafe, even as it got later into the evening.

You can expect a good amount of walking. The stages are not miles away from eachother but you do have to walk to and fro depending on what acts you want to see. This is a music festival afterall... but with kids, their legs are smaller, their attention spans are somewhat shorter and you're going to want to give them time to sit, even if it's in the shade on the ground, before asking them to move on.

You can expect there to be plenty of food and beverage vendors. We had our choice of so many different types of food and drinks. My little guy chose ice cream and Sprite but I was able to choose from a variety of different meals, all of which accepted cash and credit cards when purchasing. I, as a prepared mother, had snacks like fig bars and applesauce pouces in my bag but when faced with all the awesome options, Wes wanted nothing to do with my ho hum purse food.

If you're a nursing/pumping parent, keep in mind that I checked in with the team and there is no designated area for this purpose at this time. I'd say that there may be the opportunity to use the Arena area between shows or even during as it's dark in there during shows and there are actual bathrooms in there, not portable toilets. At best, you'll be figuring this out on the fly but I'd wager that if you're adventurous with your baby, you're up for it!

What should you bring

A lot will depend on your kids' needs and wants but there are some general things that I would suggest you bring. Wear comfortable shoes, bring hats for the whole family, sunglasses if need be and pack factory sealed snacks and water. If you require special sunscreen for sensitive skin, you'll want to pack that but I was happy to see that Boston Calling provided dispensers, much like you'd find in bathrooms, that actually had sunscreen there on site. Even the most prepared parents might pack an almost empty tube of SPF so I loved watching all the people taking advantage of the free sunscreen there.

You can bring a factory sealed water bottle or an empty one to fill at the hydration stations that Boston Calling has spread across the grounds. You'll want to stay hydrated and keep your crew hydrated no matter the weather. That's just good festival etiquette. I brought my Nalgene and just attached to my backpack strap for the day and it worked like a charm.

I bought Wes a pair of concert headphones and I'm glad I did. It was very loud for him but with the headphones, he was living the dream and I could enjoy the music without having him whining at me. We even used these same ones for Kidz Bop later in the Summer. I think these are a good bet for any parent bringing their kids to a show. I tried using the little foam ones with Wes and they just did not fly. Better safe than sorry, especially when you're spending good money on tickets.

Lockers are available if you need to bring more than you can actually carry throughout the day. Lockers will be available as a safe & secure place to store your belongings while at the festival. For your convenience, they have lockers available both inside and outside of the festival. You can reserve your locker INSIDE the festival in advance here. Lockers are $15 per day or $40 for the three day weekend.

I didn't regret bringing Wes to Boston Calling. If you're the type of parent that wants to take the time and opportunity for adventure with your music loving kid, then this is as good a festival as I've been to that creates a welcoming atmosphere for the crew. With some normal family preparation, you can head to some of your favorite acts one day with kids, then head back in evenings for headliners wit friends. With the wristbands, your flexibilty is right there, so it's what you make of it. We're headed back this year to see some awesome acts, so would love to hear about your plans to take in some Memorial Day weekend music!

Have any questions about Boston Calling? Check out their FAQ page for more info on the day. You can search for tickets here. You can follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Thursday, February 13, 2020

I Tried Social CBD *Sponsored Post

*This post was created in collaboration with Social CBD and MomsMeet. I was sent product for free but all opinions are 100% my own.

At this stage in the game, I have tried a few CBD related products. From drops to tinctures to balms + lotions and back to gummies, I have worked CBD into my wellness routine in a couple different ways. I am a big proponent of CBD and I do recommend that you try it if you're a worrier like me, or have other types of ailments that CBD might help but before I head into this review, please be aware that CBD related products are suppliements and not approved by the FDA. Personal experiences vary and I am in no way making any health claims. You want to be sure that you're purchasing your CBD products from trustworthy sources and not at your corner gas station. As with all things, use your head, do your research and trust your gut.

Social CBD sent me a nice package full of their broad spectrum CBD drops, in a multitude of flavors to try as well as some samples of other products they carry, like their muscle rub, foot renewal and gel caps. I have to say that it is now getting harder to review CBD products based on what I view to be their effectiveness as I do use cbd on a daily basis for a base level of calm. I think you'll now find my reviews to be a little bit more about the product's taste, feel, and if I felt any difference, as that seems the best way to speak to cbd products in my reviews, especially drops and oils.

So the broad spectrum drops are the showpiece in the package they sent me so I will start with these! As someone with no known food allergies, it is easy for me to try new things without being overly concerned about ingredients. That said, if you have any food allergy, you will want to take a look at any cbd or oils you're ingesting. Carrier oils can include nuts and other allergens so be diligent when looking at ingredients. The Social CBD Broad Spectrum Drops Ingredients: MCT Coconut Oil, Natural Flavors, CBD Hemp Extract, Citric Acid, Stevia.

I've been using these drops under my tongue (as instructed) for about a month and while I have noticed no difference in my worrying or demeanor, this only means that this product has seamlessly replaced another cbd oil without incident. I started with the meyer lemon flavor and I have to say that this is one of the better flavored oils that I have tried in my experiences. The carrier oil, I would assume this is the coconut oil, delivers the cbd in a soft, light oil, not a heavy olive oil type of consistency that I have found in other oils. This in and of itself is an improvement from some of the first cbd oils that I've tried.

The broad spectrum drops come in a variety of flavors so it would be easy to find a favorite to slip into your routine. It's an easy, daily application so doesn't interfere with other wellness routines. The drops are lovely but my absolute favorite thing that Social CBD sent me was the sample of the muscle rub! I LOVE THIS STUFF and have already used it all.  As someone who works out at least four times a week and has been doing races and a lot of weights, I have been sore, let's just say that. I generally use an arnica stick for sore spots but this muscle rub has that and more! I have been rubbing this into my shoulder and having my husband apply to my back when I settle onto my heating pad at night to watch my reality tv. This has a menthol rub feel to it and I am very much into it. The next product I can't wait to try is the Multi Balm Calming Stick!

Ingredients: Purified Water, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Isopropyl Alcohol, Natural Menthol USP, Ilex Paraguarenis Leaf Extract, DimethylSulfone (MSM), Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Capryly Glycol, Sorbic Acid, CBD Hemp Extract, Polysorbate 20, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf oil, Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6), EDTA

Not to be cast aside is the packaging. When you are finding all manner of cbd products on the market, some of my decision making comes down to what's aesthtically pleasing and the Social CBD team has created such pretty packaging. I'm sure that doesn't mean much to some but it's a cherry on top of a nice little ice cream sundae. Oh man, now I want ice cream!

You can find all of Social CBD's products on their site and you can also find them on Instagram!

Use promo code MOMSMEET25 to save 25% on all Social products on their website. Offer ends August 31,2020.

Friday, December 13, 2019

European Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a Staple in the Propah Household

*This post was created in collaboration with Flavor Your Life and MomsMeet. All opinions are 100% my own.

I don't generally post fancy recipes on here because I am a "thrower together" on most occassions... but that said, I do cook a lot and have a healthy pantry packed with lots of good spices and flavors for the dishes that I do make. If someone were to ask me what one of my most used pantry items is, I would most definitely shout from the rooftops "OLIVE OIL"! Seriously, I use it for all sorts of dishes whether I am cooking or I want to add flavor to cold dishes and salads. MomsMeet and Flavor Your Life want you to feel the same way about European extra virgin olive oil.

For this post, I was gifted a 4-pack of delicious European Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Olitalia to use with vegetables, meat, pasta and fish... I was trying to think of a way that I could use this fancy EVOO in a recipe that I hadn't tried before. I would normally use olive oil on my roasted chickens, to sautee potatoes, brown up some garlic... you know what I'm saying. One thing I've never done, even though I absolutely love to eat it, is to make my own homemade hummus. Now that I have, I don't think I will ever go back to store bought. It's amazing. And I know the European Extra Virgin Olive Oil makes all the difference in the very simple recipe. You want to know how simple this recipe is? I can give it to you in my "throw together" way and it's super delicious... ready? Take one 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini, 1 small minced garlic clove,  2 tablespoons european extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, Salt to taste, 2 to 3 tablespoons water, and blend it all in your food processor or blender. It's really that easy. I just hit the puree button on my blender, then was basically ready to serve. I drizzled some additional olive oil on top, added some paprika, pine nuts and thyme. Voila! I had some hummus. I must try Flavor Your Life's Red Bean Hummus recipe since I am now an official maker of hummus! The quality of the olive oil is important. You want the flavor to add to the dish and compliment the ingredients, not overpower it. It's why I add the cold pressed juice of olives (olive oil)... to my olive and feta mix as well. This tuna stuffed avacodo is next on my list of cold recipes to try!

"Olitalia believes all great cooking revolves around great oil. Olitalia is the #1 brand most used by chefs in Italy and is now available for home cooking in the US. Look for Olitalia at Eataly locations and be sure to follow on Instagram."
If you're not sure where to start, Flavor Your Life has great education on their site, you can learn how to cook with olive oil. It's easier than you think! Flavor Your Life has some awesome recipes to try and experiment with, which is all the fun of cooking, learning what works and what doesn't. I recommend taking a visit to the Flavor Your Life site to learn more about european extra virgin olive oil, how you can seamless introduce it into your cooking in new ways and how it will quickly become one of your pantry staples as well... so versatile and yummy!

Visit Flavor Your Life online, on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Strange Bird Beauty, Creating a Beauty Ritual

*I received product from Strange Bird Beauty in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own and as always, thank you for supporting Prim and Propah.

I was introduced to Strange Bird Beauty this Fall and immediately fell in love with the packaging and the name. We've always used the term "strange bird" in my family, sort of as a term of endearment and embracing the ways that we don't exactly conform to the norm. So when the team at SBB offered to send me their product line, a girl doesn't say no, especially when the line is made using naturally sourced, vegan, and Leaping Bunny certified ingredients. Moreover, the brand itself dedicates itself to the idea of your beauty routine being a ritual and from the product to the storytelling, Strange Bird is an absolute hit in my book... and this says a lot, I've tried a lot of products at this point so my eye has become a lot more discerning in recent history and reviews.

The Strange Bird product line currently features the Inner Clarity Cleanser, the Inner Balance Serum and the Inner Light Moisturizer. The sweet smelling combination of these luxury products has made for an incredible skincare routine. I don't want to compare something that naturally smells so sweet, to candy, but if you like a soft but sweet and delightful scented product, then Strange Bird's Skittle-esque line is amazing. I seriously covet this set, for fear it will run out too quickly.

The cleanser is gentle and something I found so interesting is that you can use it on wet or dry skin. Have I never tried something on my dry skin before? I haven't... which leads me to believe that I am not as wordly as I would think I am lol? Sigh. I do find that this product is on the pricier side, for a cleanser. Do I love that it's supercharged with quartz and I know that a lot of good energy was put into each tube? Heck yes I do. Do I also have two small children that have been known to squeeze a tube of Mama's skincare products out into a bath? Yes. When I am out of this phase of life, I would most certainly consider this cleanser as a purchase, because it really is a beautiful formulation, cleans my skin and leaves it looking glowing.

The serum is probably my favorite product of the trio. I felt like my skin bounced back from a rough day with a couple of uses of this delightful daily serum. Like was it possible for my skin to be tighter? I'm not sure but it sure seems that way. I used this after the cleanser and before the moisturizer, in a daily routine after my shower. It takes almost no time to absorb so you can move right on in your routine. It's infused with amethyst and oak, which speaks to me and serum like this, I would definitely plunk more money down for. This too is on the pricier side, but supporting small, indie beauty brands means spending money on the ingredients, the people and the effort it takes to create the products.

The Strange Bird Moisturizer has really been great, especially with the change in weather here in New England. You know when your skin just feels thirsty? That's been me lately. When I put on the Inner Light Moisurizer, it was almost as if my skin breathed a sigh of relief. It's light and absorbs fairly quickly, which I love especially on days where I want to apply makeup after. Soft and with that sweet smell consisten through the product line, this completes the trio perfectly. Again, this line is higher in price than some other products that I have tried and reviewed, but I do think that if you have the budget, the Strange Bird line is worth every penny.

So it's probably pretty clear that the Strange Bird line is a new favorite. Everything thing from the packaging, the thought exercises included in my shipment, the stickers! to the product themselves is so well thought out and mindful, which I love and appreciate. I really do appreciate indie beauty makers for their passion, the love of what they're doing and the variety that they are bringing to the market. Shopping small, in this way, makes me feel good. You know that every order that comes through, makes someone do a happy dance on the other end of it.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

It's Bathtime with cbdMD

*This post was created in collaboration with cbdMD and MomsMeet. I was sent product for free but all opinions are 100% my own.

At this stage in the game, I have tried a few CBD related products. From drops to tinctures to balms + lotions and back to gummies, I have worked CBD into my wellness routine in a couple different ways. I am a big proponent of CBD and I do recommend that you try it if you're an anxious person like me, or have other types of ailments that CBD might help but before I head into this review, please be aware that CBD related products are suppliments and not approved by the FDA. Personal experiences vary and I am in no way making any health claims. You want to be sure that you're purchasing your CBD products from trustworthy sources and not at your corner gas station. As with all things, use your head, do your research and trust your gut.

cbdMD sent me a cool little relaxation kit with their CBD bath bombs and cbd Oils, premium and PM Sleep Aid. cbdMD as a brand states their committment to a very strict process, holding their hemp growth and testing to the highest standards. You can learn about their process here. From poking around on the internet, I saw a lot of positive feedback for the brand itself so was excited to try their offerings.

The bath bombs are legit da bomb. I have to say that after my Monday evening HIIT class, a bath with one of these CBD bombs is ultra relaxing. Each bath bomb contains the following ingredients: Cannabidiol (CBD), Baking Soda, Citric Acid, Epsom Salt, Distilled Water, Essential Oils and Fragrances, and Food Coloring. I generally avoid fragrance as a rule but really did want to try these and I will most definitely treat myself to a bath bomb after a tough workout or a long day with the kids.

The oils I feel are generally on par with the other oils that I have tried in the past. I don't need help falling asleep as a rule but when I did try the PM formula, I was completely relaxed as I hit the hay. I don't know that I would take this all the time, as I do take a daily dose of CBD in oil or gummy form, so would limit it only for that reason. I do know many people who have a hard time sleeping and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them giving the cbdMD blend a try to see if it helps. From cbdMD: CBD PM blends cbdMD’s non-GMO, vegan, and THC-free CBD with melatonin – a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle – along with traditional ingredients such as chamomile flower, valerian root, and cascade hops. This powerful combination helps induce calm while promoting a more restful night’s sleep.

I know that from my personal experience, I have noticed CBD products helping me. The products from cbdMD are up to my standards and I would most definitely consider included the bath bombs especially into my routine. At a $9.99 price point, I find this very attainable and a treat on a bi monthly basis. Pricing on the other CBD products vary but I don't find them to be overpriced based on my research and experience with other products on the market. cbdMD also has a topical and a pet line that I would love to try, especially for my old pup who I'd like to keep calm and more comfortable as he's aging.

Use promo code MOMSMEET to save 15% on your cbdMD order at Offer ends March 31, 2020. Free shipping on all orders.