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How I Keep My Hair Healthy & Hair Straightener Curls Turotial

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own #GlissHairRepair #CollectiveBias

During the summer months my hair gets put to the ultimate test. Between long summer days at the pool, running out in the heat, workouts at the gym, and then the constant blow drying and curling that goes on, my hair looks a little worn out by the end of the summer. After being exposed to chlorine, environmental heat, and styling heat, and washing it everyday, the ends start to look frayed, thin, and dried out. I feel like I'm constantly on the hunt for good products that will restore my hair's natural health and make it soft and shiny again. 


One line that I have been loving lately is the new to the USA Gliss Hair Repair line made by Schwarzkopf that specifically focuses on repairing hair whether the damage is from heat, coloring, nature, or daily activity, Gliss Hair Repair has a line for whatever you're dealing with. Since my hair tends to get dry and brittle over anything else, I've been loving the Schwarzkopf Gliss Ultimate Repair Shampoo, Ultimate Repair Conditioner, and Ultimate Repair Anti Damage Mask to help strengthen my natural hair and make is more smooth and soft. I love that I can get all these products at Walmart, and there is a $5 off 2 Schwarzkopf Gliss Hair Repair items when you click this link. 


I've gotten a lot of questions over the last several months since cutting my hair on what I currently use to curl it, and then answer is my hair straightener. I've found that this is the easiest method for me currently to curl my hair, and so I thought I would show you how I do it since I've been doing my hair like this all the time lately! 


1. Comb any knots out of your hair, and then split it into two sections. 
2. Grabbing one inch sections of your hair, clamp the hair straightener onto your hair at the top closest to the root, and then rotate the striaghtener away from your face.
3. Pull the straightener all the way down the hair shaft, and then release it when you get to end of your hair.
4. Once you've finished the bottom section of your hair, use hair spray to hold it in place as needed, and then move on to the top section of your hair. 
5. Repeat the entire process on the top portion of your hair, clamping the hair close to the roots, and then rotating away from your head, and pulling it slowly down the shaft of your hair. 
6. Spray your entire head once all your curls are in place! 

This is currently my favorite way to style my hair. Since I do this about 2-3 times a week, along with other activities, my hair really goes through a lot on a daily basis, which makes me super grateful to have awesome products like Schwarzkopf Gliss Hair Repair to help keep my hair looking strong and healthy all summer long! Let me know which products you love to use on your hair in the comments below, and what your favorite summer styles are! 


Cord Blood Banking, or No?


During our pregnancy with Em it seemed like we were bombarded with decisions that we were going to have to make left and right. The first decision was whether or not we would carry on with our pregnancy, or terminate. From that first decision to carry on, we were then forced to make one decision after another, after another. We had to decided whether or not we would resuscitate Em if things went south during delivery. We had to decide where we would bury her when the time came. We had to decide whether or not to induce labor and have a very scheduled and planned delivery, or if we would just let nature take its course. We had to decide if we would have her be on life support, oxygen, feeding tubes, etc... I remember just being bombarded with questions, and then giving answers, and then signing on the dotted line to confirm these answers for what seemed like a weekly basis.

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One thing that we didn't really consider during our pregnancy was Cord Blood Banking. Cord Blood Banking is when the doctors remove and store the blood and stem cells from the umbilical cord after the baby and placenta are born, and they store that blood at a "Cord Blood Bank" for future use. The idea is that the stem cells found in the blood can be used to heal and regenerate parts of the brain or body that have been affected by a serious disease or trauma. So by saving your child's cord blood, you're basically providing a really valuable insurance for your baby should they ever get seriously ill. I learned a lot about Cord Blood Banking during Em's pregnancy, and how those cells can help to heal damaged parts of the brain, especially in instances of hydrocephalus, which is what they first initially told us Em had. I found myself on the fence about it at that point, but then when her condition worsened to holoprosencephaly and they essentially told us there was not going to be a baby coming home with us, it seemed pointless to consider Cord Blood Banking at that point.

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Obviously the doctors were far wrong about the type of life that Em would lead, and thankfully there hasn't seemed to be much "brain damage" that would require the use of stem cells, but it's something I think about often. Now that she's here, she is far more susceptible to having seizures, which could damage parts of the brain, and I wonder what we would do in those instances. I don't often "what if" a lot of situations, but sometimes I wish I had given Cord Blood Banking a little more thought in regards to Em.

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CBR or Cord Blood Registry is a foundation dedicated to advancing the real life clinical applications of newborn stem cells. They Partner with researchers on FDA- regulated clinical trials to advance newborn stem cell research and connect families to these trials if they qualify. CBR’s commitment to parents and their babies is to provide the best service and quality in the collection, processing, and storage of newborn stem cells, so that families are confident entrusting their precious cells to their care.

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While Cord Blood Banking isn't something that we chose with our kids, it is something that I would give more thought to in a future pregnancy, especially if we found out we were having another special needs child. I love CBR and their mission, what they stand for, and their transparency with parents so that they are involved and informed in the entire process. Have you done Cord Blood Banking for any of your pregnancies? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

What to Buy a Three-Year-Old Who Can't Walk

Em's third birthday is right around the corner. I'm typically pretty awful at getting gifts for her because while she is three, she can't do a lot of things that other three-year-olds are doing, and so it's hard to find the balance of things that will challenge her, but not too much that she gets mad, and things that are "fun", but also not completely lame and make us feel embarrassed for gifting it to her in the first place. 

One of my favorite "special needs mommy bloggers" is Ellen over at Love That Max. Her son has cerebral palsy and she just shares so many stories that I can totally relate to. Each year around Christmas time she puts together really awesome and comprehensive gift guides full of things that other special needs children (including her own) may love. Since Em's birthday is coming up I spent last night going through the last seven years of her gift guides pulling things here and there that she may like, and figured I'd share for anyone else who is purchasing gifts for an immobile preschool aged child. 

1. Roody Inflateable Hopping Horse: We got Em a gift similar to this on her birthday last year, but it was a ride on bike for inside the house. She loved sitting on the bike and playing with toys or watching a show, but she grew too quickly and her knees hit the handlebars and it's now really uncomfortable for her to fit on. I think she would love this as a replacement!

2. Magformers: These toys are all the rage right now. I'm still looking for a good brand that has a good price to magnet ratio, but I think these would be perfect for Em to work with her hands and I think her and Jay would both love building with them.  

3. A Mini Trampoline: I know some of you are thinking "why the 'h' do you want a trampoline for a kid who can't walk?!" But Em has used this several times at PT and since she has killer arm strength she actually does pretty well on it. She's strong enough to hold herself up, and it's great for her legs too!

4. Rainfall Rattle: I mostly just think this would be a really calming and fun sensory toy for her to play with. 

5. Play Tunnel: Jay is the type of kid who at the age of almost five, would think that crawling through one of these tunnels would be a rare form of scary torture, but Em is such a thrill seeker, and I think she would absolutely love this!  

6. Hungry Hungry Hippos: It's hard to include Em in a lot of board games still, but I love that this one doesn't involve moving pieces around a board. All she has to do is hit the lever again, and again, and I can totally see this being the one game that her and Jay can play together without it ending in an all out brawl. 

7. A Cozy Coupe Car: Out of all the things on this list, this is for sure the big gift that we're getting Em this year of her birthday (and likely the only thing), but she has been in these cars so many times, and she absolutely loves them. I think that this would be an awesome way for her to "ride" something in the driveway while Jay rides his bike, meaning we can all be outside and happy together as a family. 

8. An Educube: These little cube chairs while expensive for what they are, really are awesome. They have two levels of support, depending on which way you have the seat, and they provide just enough side support that the child feels safe, and still easily included in other activities with kids. This would be awesome to use at a small kid's table for coloring, play-dough, board games, etc... 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks for Women Under $50

My next installment in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale posts are picks for women under $50! There are so many great deals here from shoes and athletic wear, to jeans and skirts, and even dresses! Be sure to shop them all using the widget below. When you click on each item, it will take you directly to the item on Nordstrom's site! Be sure to shop early because a lot of items are selling out! Some of my personal favorite picks from the selection below are the Adidas leggings, the rain boots, and the cozy burnt orange tops! I can already tell I'm going to be living in all the burnt orange things this fall.



Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks for Toddler Girls Under $40

If you missed my blog post from five seconds ago, I'm going through all of the Nordstrom Sale right now and finding you guys all the best picks for your entire family. My goal is to keep all the items under $50, and I'm so excited about all the finds I found for toddler girls under $40! So many cute items, I think my wallet is going to be in trouble, especially since Em desperately needs new warm weather clothes for the upcoming fall and winter months! You can shop all my picks by clicking directly on the images in the widget below!



Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks for Boys 5+ Under $50

I don't know if you've heard, but the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has started and this is the first year that I'm really getting in on it. I never saw the appeal in spending more money on kids clothes until recently when I've found that my kids are staying in the same size for a year or two at a time, and all of a sudden it seems to make more sense to spend more money on higher quality of clothes that will last daily wear for 12 months, then clothes that will last 6 months of daily wear and end up in a landfill. Clearly there is balance in all things, and my kids don't have luxury, high-end wardrobes, but I do think things like pants and sweaters are worth spending a little more money on since they're the things that seem to get the most wear.

I've scoured the anniversary sale for all the best deals I could find, and thought that I would share with you the best deals for school-age boys (5+) under $50. If you're going to be shopping the anniversary sale this year, I'd love to know what you're going to be getting. Let me know in the comments below. You can also click the images in the widget below, and it will take you directly to the items. Happy shopping, and be sure to check back for more sale shopping guides throughout the day!



I Want Everyone To Know How Smart She Is

It's 10 o' clock on Saturday night and I'm supposed to be writing a draft for a post I have to have submitted to a brand for review by Tuesday, but all I want to do is sit here and write about how smart Em is. She truly is just so smart and I find myself amazed by it every single day. She actively participates in all of the conversations that we have going around our house. She understands the games that Jay tries to play with her. She laughs and smiles when she watches Moana, and cries and gets scared during The Brave Little Toaster. She has likes and dislikes. She is cute and sweet, but also fiery and sassy. 

The time Derek did her hair while I was running a race. 

A few days ago Derek and I wanted to see if she knew how to raise her eyebrows. We were at the dinner table and kept showing her how to do it, and then she would open her eyes wide and nod her head trying to get herself to do it. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen. 

Today when Derek got home from a business trip we were working on eyebrows again with her (this isn't some sort of weird OT/PT thing, Derek and I just think it's funny), and she took her two pointer fingers and physically pushed her eyebrows up and down, and smiled at us. I'm amazed by how she was able to problem solve the situation. The thought process of, "Well I can't make them go up and down on their own, but I can use my fingers to make them go up and down!"

Later that same day Em was in my bedroom and I had just gotten a bunch of new pink envelopes to ship my Lipsense stuff in. She had taken the envelopes out of the package and started throwing them everywhere. When I asked her, "What are you doing?", she responded, "I got mail!" with the biggest smile on her face. 

These little exchanges happen all the time. Things that seem so simple to most parents, but they mean everything to Derek and I. I love that she knows what sound a puppy makes. I love that she knows which house in the neighborhood is ours, and that she says "house!" when we drive past it. I love that she knows where the goats are on the side of the road and that she calls out to them when we drive by. I love that she can count to ten, and that she calls fifteen, "five-teen." I only ever wanted her to know that she was here, and that she's loved, and yet we're constantly given so much more.