Tuesday, August 28, 2018

#endofsummer with prAna

*This post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are 100% my own.

It may be hot as heck here in New England this week but I still am very much planning for Fall. The crisp, cool weather, the apple picking, and the oldest kid is heading to Pre-K, YAY! When it comes to Fall clothing, I am a lover of the things I already own, taking out my sweaters and sweatshirts, boots and such... but if I am going to purchase something new, I want to make sure that I am spending my money wisely, supporting a brand that has a commitment to sustainability and an ethical supply chain. This is my fourth season working with prAna so you already know how I feel about them as a brand. The check off all the boxes when I am looking for new piece for my wardrobe.

The materials that prAna uses to make their clothing will no doubt leave you feeling good about your purchase while also feeling good about how you look. Organic cotton, recycled wool, hemp, recycled polyester, and responsible down are just some of the notable materials that prAna has lined up to create fair trade, responsible and sustainable made apparel for men and women. Respect for the planet and its people- I'm on board with that.

My Top Picks for Fall 2018
Sugar Pine DressTransform CapriMarabelle Softshell Jacket

Shop prAna today and get 15% off with code ESALF18 and don't forget to use ebates to get 4% cash back!

You can Follow prAna on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Pinterest!

Friday, August 24, 2018

We are Wasteful Creatures and it's Unsustainable

I was listening to NPR yesterday. I only caught a small portion of On Point in the car but Meghna Chakrabarti was discussing with various guests, the causes, costs and consequences of  our online shopping habits. The piece piqued my interest so I listened to the the whole show later on during naptime. I am glad that I made the time because it was a matter of fact but approachable conversation about the real issues that have come from our nation's increasing consumerism and online shopping habits.

You know how I feel about experiences over things and I try to encourage others to think about our footprints, both individually and as family units.  I feel it is something that a lot of people need to be aware of, the habits of each individual, adding up to cause massive damage to our Earth. As someone who has become increasingly more aware that things don't buy happiness and they certainly pile up in the home causing clutter and frustration, it has been a goal of mine to buy less, buy quality, shop secondhand and also be mindful about what I am donating to the Goodwill, Savers and Salvation Army (because our donations require resources). With so many people buying so much, we have fast become a society of consumers who buy just to buy, sometimes things we don't need, sometimes to fill a void, but are often wasting so much, sending it straight to the landfills.

"Things are so cheap that you just buy them and kind of don't think about it," The Atlantic's Alana Semuels said. "You kind of convince yourself that you need them. And you buy them online, they show up on your door two days later and then you have them. And if you don't use them you stick them in a drawer or you give them to Goodwill, and you don't think twice about it."

I really encourage you to listen to this piece. It's really done a great job reminding me to keep my family's footprint as small as possible, to do my best to curb my own urges to just buy crap I don't need. I have tried to think about every purchase I make, whether in person or online, to ensure that I am making the best decision for my family while also trying to make the best decision for our environment. It's a balance for sure but all it takes is a little brain+will power.

The piece hit so many interesting things:

Environmental Impact of Wastefulness
Consumption Rates
Instagram Influencers + Social Media
Shopping Addictions + Compulsive Buying
Higher Level of Donations and the effects at Goodwill
+ More


6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying
We Are All Accumulating Mountains of Things

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It's Tick Time Sponsored by Quest Diagnostics

*This post was written in partnership with Quest Diagnostics. All opinions are 100% my own.

If you know me, you know that I love my kids and my animals; wanting what is best for them just comes naturally. There are two times a year when I am on super high alert after letting them play outside, in Spring and Fall… yeah, it’s tick season. Living in New England, I have been familiar with the creatures since I was little. We joked that my Dad was a tick magnet, and to this day, when he comes to visit from North Carolina, he always manages to attract the little suckers. All joking aside, ticks are no laughing matter. An estimated 300,000 people are diagnosed with lyme disease every year but if you’re prepared, you can protect your family from ticks and spot the signs of the illness.

We live on the line of a nature preserve and it is no exaggeration when I say that animals are literally waltzing through our yard on the daily. We love seeing baby deer and gaggles of turkeys in our back yard but we also know that we are likely to see an increase in ticks with the amount of animals we see. We always do our level best to clear grasses and brush, to keep our lawn mowed and clean but it never fails, the ticks seem to always come. We are diligent about checking the dog and kids whenever they come in from playing outside but ultimately, we will always find a tick (or two) on the dog even though he’s been treated. My biggest fear as a parent, when ticks are involved, is finding to find one that’s had the time to bite and/or imbed on my child… what do I do when that happens? When Quest Diagnostics sent me the below video, I was actually really glad. I am a visual learner, especially since having kids, so to be able to get tips and tricks on spotting ticks and the signs of lyme disease, immediately prepares me for the upcoming Fall tick season.

Preparing yourself for ticks and tick bites is imperative for parents living in New England. Whether we like it or not, we will encounter them. They are able to transmit diseases to humans, some of which can be very serious. Know the symptoms: Fever, rash, body aches, fatigue, and headaches… if you are at all concerned that you or anyone in your family has been bitten by a tick, contact your doctor and also consider tick testing. Be diligent and mindful so that you and yours can enjoy a beautiful Fall day without the worry of ticks and their bites.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Yoga Mom Toolbox, A Guest Post from Jenny Ravikumar

I am so happy to welcome Jenny Ravikumar back to the blog for a very special guest post. If you don't know Jenny, she's a North Shore yogi with a beautiful spirit and stories to tell. I am happy to lend her Prim and Propah for the day, to bring some of new writing to life so please let's show her a little love!

As a single mom I often find myself trying to split my personality in two. On the one hand, I am myself: a spiritual badass who owns two businesses, rocks the crap out of having fun at life and has a hugely compassionate and empathetic heart. On side number two, I need to keep this little soul safe for the rest of his life and at times it requires this mama to do things she dislikes.

No matter if you’re one half of a parenting duo or doing this on your own, being the bad cop isn’t typically fun. When I’ve asked him to pick up his toys for the 100th time that morning, I often wish I had what my friend Rachel calls “the enforcer.” I wish I had a strong father figure who was able to swoop in after his 9-5 job and take over for a few hours so I could go to yoga.

Don’t get my wrong, I have incredible support. I call my brother, at times Rachel acts like an enforcer on the phone and we live with Papa and Mimi, so my son and I have most of the support we could need. But there are days.

And on those days, I use every tool in my box.


I would live in an ashram if I didn’t need my son, our dog or my divinely comfortable queen sized bed. Yoga is what brings me back to me, it’s the light of my soul and the practice that keeps on giving. As a practitioner for over a decade and a teacher for most of that time, yoga is there for me even when I’m not in the yoga studio.

Breathing is my go-to. This sounds ridiculous as that’s the very thing keeping us alive, but it’s the practice of breath that keeps me vibrant and alive rather than existing.

When my nugget is throwing a fit, screaming at mama and trying his best to find words that fit his frustration, I breathe. I take a moment before approaching him and use ujjai breathing to calm my body, my mind and my heart. In ujjai, you breathe in through the nose and exhale deeply through the nose. As you exhale, your mouth is closed and you’re activating the whisper muscles at the back of the throat. This produces a Darth Vadar kind of sound. Ujjai quickly calms the nervous system and brings you back to the present moment. Breathing through the screaming moments makes me instantly calmer.

Ziggy is almost three and if I take a step back while we’re in the middle of an argument or upset, I realize that a grown adult and a toddler are screaming over a few trucks left on the floor. In other words; it’s not a big deal and I need to take a deep breath as much as he does.

This is where yoga comes in for him. Once I’m calm(er); it’s his turn. A few weeks ago, while we were enjoying a quiet car ride, I suggested breathing together and he said “Mama, I’m not upset, I don’t need to breathe.” It stopped me dead in my tracks and made me realize that I also need to use breathing practices when we’re calm to show him the balance of why and when we breathe.

Aside from the breathing, the movement of the practice makes me a better mom. Personally, I’m a better mama when I move my body, have healthy food nearby, am in any body of water or if a good book is within reach.

Find what it is that lifts your soul and makes you a better mama. And then lean into it.


I have the worlds best pediatrician. I may be biased, but he is amazing. At our second birthday appointment he said; “Toddlers can be challenging. It’s not this year, it’s next that will be a bigger attitude adjustment. Give him CHOICES. Always. And it’ll be a bit easier.”

As usual, he was correct. The closer we get to three, the more I’m realizing that the terrible twos are not actually a concept anymore. My son has a loud, vibrant personality (gee, I wonder where he gets it from) and he needs to be heard. Often our bits of tension revolve around me not giving him a choice. “We are going here” doesn’t sit well with my little. However, “we are running errands today, do you want a donut or would you like apples?” We are still arriving at our destination, nothing has changed. However, it gives him the feeling of having some kind of control in his environment.

As a former educator, I often remember the staggering statistic that our children understand around 500 words by the age of two but can only speak approximately 50 of them. How frustrating must that be! He knows exactly what he needs, why and likely even how to obtain it, but cannot explain to me any of this using the limited language he has.

In our house we have choices as often as possible. Red shirt, shark shirt or happy face? Apples or strawberries? Waffles or eggs? Tub or shower?

It makes our lives a bit easier to navigate, gives him a voice and often takes the guess work out of my day.


Every fiber in my being wants to be able to create logic in his mind. I want to help him connect the dots and help me to understand his emotions, his body and his day to day thinking. As such, we try and talk as much as possible. I ask him about his emotions, we talk about feelings as much as we talk about shapes, colors and the world around us. I’ve spoken to him this way since before he could communicate back to me. I am constantly talking in order to help him understand his world and continue to express himself and his wants/needs.

This morning was a prime example. He didn’t want to put the blanket away. I put away all our toys, helped him get dressed, made breakfast and cleaned his plate. Some of that is generally his responsibility. I told him that because mama took some of his jobs, it was now his responsibility to pick up the blanket. He flipped out: for an hour.

Eventually, I sat down on the floor and stared into his teary eyes. I got him to slowly begin to explain that he didn’t want to put it away because he didn’t want to leave the house. It was painstaking and exhausting, but after we took some breaths together, I realized he just wanted to be heard. By me continuing to scream “put the blanket away” - he was further enraged. All he needed in that moment was to be heard.

Knowing Their Love Language 

These little beams of light we brought into the world are a bucket of feelings. They have wants, needs, desires and questions just the same as all of us. And it is our job to listen.

One of my favorite things to do with him is when we both take an essential oil and place it over our belly or our hearts. And then we cuddle.

Each child has a love language, just the same as any adult. I know his is quality time and physical touch. He would love nothing more than to sit next to me and watch TV as we talk about the episode or simply breathe together.

Being in yoga makes me a better mom, but it doesn’t mean that’s where your strength lies. Perhaps it’s reading, working out, a single glass of red wine, a good book, dark chocolate, alone time, time alone with your spouse or time spent in nature. Find what it is that fills your cup and continue to rely on those tools.

Lean into them and then remember : You are already an amazing mama; don’t ever forget that.


Jenny Ravikumar is an e-500 hour RYT with yoga alliance. She is a single mama, studio owner and non-profit founder who runs multiple yoga teacher trainings and mentorships each year. Join her online at www.jennyravikumar.com or in person at Barefoot Yoga Shala in Middleton, MA.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Our Choices Matter, Plan Against Pain

*This post was created in partnership with Moms Meet and Plan Against Pain. All opinions are my own.

Our choices matter. Of course they do. As a Mom, what I do day in and day out, affects both my life and the lives of my family, the people that I support in my role as “household manager”. As a daughter of nurses, I have always been keenly aware of how important it is to take our health into our own hands and be proactive. I have strived to instill that in my husband as well as take my young children for the checkups, explaining the importance of being healthy. Something that I had not thought about up until recently, was the best way to manage pain for myself or how to appropriately encourage others to do the same. I was just introduced to Plan Against Pain and boy, I wish I had created a pain management plan before both of my births because truly, we were just winging it. In retrospect, I am extremely fortunate that my pain management solutions worked for me and my growing family. Moving forward, I will have a plan in place.

Every human experiences pain differently. We are all genetically different, have different cultural beliefs as well as different perspectives of pain in our minds-- simply put, we’re different. When we think about pain control, it’s important to note that it’s not just for your comfort but also to speed up healing, avoid complications and  to keep any post-op pain from becoming a more serious, long-term issue. With the seriousness of the opioid epidemic across the country, I find the Plan Against Pain site to be a valuable tool in being prepared for pain and then perhaps not taking as many opioid pills to manage it if possible. I have had multiple surgeries in my day (I played a lot of rugby in college and broke almost as many bones) and with each one, I didn’t discuss pain management, I just sort of let my doctor decide what was best. I think it’s important to empower ourselves and others to be active in our healthcare choices, right down to what we’re being prescribed (or not prescribed) for proper management of postsurgical pain or any pain for that matter.

As a woman, it is especially important to me that we encourage one another to speak to medical professionals without guilt and to ask the questions that we have, whether we view them as stupid or worry about being judged. Did you know that 44% of mothers who had C-sections were not satisfied with how their pain was managed after childbirth? That’s a pretty high percentage and, having been a new mom, pain and caring for a newborn are not the best mix. Imagine if while giving advice to our pregnant friends and family about which bottles and strollers are the best, we also offer advice on the best way to approach the topic of pain management after a planned or emergency C-section? I’m pretty sure that I could most certainly bring it up at a girls brunch out!

Pain shouldn’t just be “here’s a pill”- there should be a plan and per Plan Against Pain, pain management should be multimodal, using different types of treatments to alleviate pain. Of course, treatment plans are going to be different for everyone but just starting the conversation with your doctor is a super important step. I think the most important thing I want to convey is that asking your doctor questions is not a waste of their time. Asking your doctor to explain things in more detail is not a waste of their time. Your health and well being are of the utmost importance. Having a plan to keep you well is always a good choice.

Find great information on pain management, tool kits, statistics and more on Plan Against Pain.