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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Punch that Was Never Buggied



So this entire summer while my sister was visiting she has been playing this game. You know it- PUNCH BUGGIE - no backsies. For those who might not know the game lemme tell you the rules: If you are walking with someone and hapen to see a VW bug you punch the other person in the arm before they punch you and you say "Punch buggie, no backsies."

Sounds like fun right? Absolutely not! And apparently I suck at this because my sister always sees one and punches me. That is until I changed the rules. The new Shana rule is : you punch me, I punch you. Since that was implemented she does want to play anymore. Aw, boo!

But he's the irony to this stupid game. Lately whenever I leave the house I always see them! What the hell?! They are everywhere, sometimes two on one block! Where did all these damn cars come from all of a sudden? I would be winning right now! Isn't the definition of "game" something that everyone has fun at?

And you know what makes this game even worse?? Is that now there are new rules added on. Yeah, really! Here are a few from Wikipedia:


Some players consider Volkswagen's 1998 reintroduction of the New Beetle invalid for game purposes but, as older models become more rare, some players may choose to include the new Beetles. Others allow "classic" bugs to count for two punches. One author suggests similar games with station wagons, convertibles, trucks and buses.

 A 'non-physical' variation of the game, called "Beetle," simply awards the participants points for spotting Beetles driving by. Games of this type have been suggested for use in helping to engage autistic children during car rides.

If the Beetle is a convertible, it’s permissible to sweep the hand across the forehead in a downward motion playfully pressing the bangs down. Example of dialog in action: “Slug bug green!” customary punch to the shoulder “and it’s a convertible!” followed by playful sweep of the bangs in a downward motion.


What? Stupid game...

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Punishment is Harsh




So on my way back home from my fun trip to the expensive 7-11 I heard what sounded like a lawnmower running. But how could that be at 10pm right? WRONG!

Just a few doors down from my house was a young boy mowing his front yard! Aren't kids supposed to be playing games or watching tv or on the internet at night?? This one must've messed up pretty badly to not only mow the lawn at night, but to get his picture taken by a nosy neighbor and posted on a website.

Tsk tsk sonny.

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Choose Your Groceries Wisely!

So while taking a simple trip to one of my local 7-11's (we have three within proximity) I was trying to find a few simple snacks for me and the fam. What I came across was quite interesting.

While some of the chips and cookies were reasonable (1-2 bucks) I wondered over to the food section and my pretty brown eyes damn near fell out.

Ok so milk is pretty consistent with the grocery store but here are a few other items that I couldn't get over.


Top left: Franks for $4.99?!
Top right: That's right ladies, it says $7.79...for bacon. Some 7 11 bacon
Left: You might not be able to read it clearly but it does say $4.49 for cheese. 


Eeeek!


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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Laughs Feel Good

So while checking out other mom blogs I happened to come across one called BabyCross by mommy blogger Stephanie Cross. While I love her layout of the blog and her too cute photos of her daughter, I happened to come across a blog that she wrote with cartoons from Cathy Thorne which were too hilarious not to reblog about!

Here are a few that I loved and thought I'd share and there are some others in the photo album on the website! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Working Out While Pregnant


One of the biggest concerns during pregnancy is how to stay healthy. Of course eating right is a huge factor but then there is also making sure that you are getting enough exercise. Pregnancy can drain even the most energized mom, but there are ways to boost your energy levels while working out and having fun at the same time. Here are a few tips from one of my favorite websites BabyCenter.



Dancing

Dancing is a fantastic and fun exercise during pregnancy! Not only do you get the thrill of moving your body to music you love, but it will keep you flexible while toning your muscles. You can get an aerobic workout from any fast-paced dance, or stretch and maintain muscle tone when you hold positions in ballet. For maximum benefit, dance for at least 20 minutes three times a week, whether it's in your living room or in class.
 

Low-impact aerobics

Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs and helps maintain muscle tone. As long as you choose exercises that are low-impact — meaning no jumping, high kicks, leaps, fast running, and so forth — and keep one foot on the ground at all times to minimize stress on your joints, you should be able to continue your routine throughout most of your pregnancy.

Prenatal Yoga


Prenatal yoga classes are more popular than ever. When paired with a cardiovascular exercise such as walking, yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. This age-old practice keeps you limber, tones your muscles, and improves your balance and circulation, with little, if any, impact on your joints.

Stretching

Stretching will enhance your flexibility, prevent your muscles from tightening, and make you feel looser and more relaxed. Use the following stretches after a workout as a way to cool down, or just when you need to relax. Be sure to breathe deeply and regularly as you stretch.



Swimming

Swimming is great exercise because it uses both large muscle groups (arms and legs). Though low-impact, it provides good cardiovascular benefits and allows expectant women to feel weightless despite the extra pounds added by pregnancy. It also poses a very low risk of injury.

 

Walking

Walking is one of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women because it keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. It's also a safe activity to continue throughout all nine months of pregnancy and one of the easier ways to start exercising if you haven't previously been active.





Weight Training

Weight training strengthens and tones your muscles and helps you build stamina, which you'll need during labor and delivery. One good way to do that is to perform a set number of exercises (that number varies from woman to woman, depending on her fitness level) using resistance training machines such as the ones you find in athletic clubs. Try to avoid using free weights, as you may risk injury from losing your grip on a weight and dropping it.


Liven Your Walls With Art

One of the easiest ways to bring your walls to life besides painting is with a little artwork. With a different ranges of scales and colors, art work and photography can easily brighten the dullest wall taking it from "Whoa." to "Wow!".


Here are a few easy trick to work with when trying to decide which art will work for your home.


Black and White

You can easily make any photo look classic by having it printed in black and white. Many cameras and cell phones even have it as a function in the settings. 

You can have them printed cheaply at Walgreens and not only can you get them in different sizes but you customize them with borders and lettering.






Large Print

Don't be afraid of scale. A large piece of artwork can not only fill up a wall quickly but can add a bit of simplicity as well.
Having one large artwork with a simple subject matter can draw focus to an area without being overly distracting.











Don't be afraid of patterns

In apartments where you don't have the ability (or time) to paint a new color on the wall, you can add interest by investing in artwork that has great patters and color. 






Bring the city indoors

You can never fail with a nice photo, either in color or black and white of a cityscape.

It could be the city you live in or the city you dream to visit, but with a great scaled photograph of  a lit up downtown area is sure to please.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

She Said Whaaaat About My Heels?



So today while at a mom get together we got a talking about clothes and shoes (naturally) and I brought up a memory that I thought I'd share with you all. 

During my last few weeks of working at my day job I met and had good conversations with a few other moms that happened to work on my floor. It always happened to be in the bathroom or on the way out/in but it was a pleasant four seconds of catching up on motherhood. 


One of the moms was of a baby girl who is only a few months older than my son and worked at the showroom right across from mine. Being the extremely competitive person I am I always asked what her daughter was doing to make sure I encouraged my son to do the same and be an overachieving baby. If her daughter was crawling, my son was almost crawling. If she was standing, he was standing higher. If she had 2 teeth he had 4 (trust me...there are ways..bruahahaha. I kid) 

Anyway one day this particular mom stopped me and said, "You know I have a question for you. How is it that you still wear high heels? Shouldn't they have been retired by now?" This question both perplexed me and insulted me. If there is anything that anyone knows about me is this: Momma loves her shoes. 

Firstly I did customer service and had to be a representative for my three sales associates the job definitely called for corporate attire (and it was owned by Kohler and they do not play with their image). Secondly...momma loves her shoes!! There was no notice on the back of my son's birth certificate that said that after he starts to walk that I need to donate my heels. 

Now I will admit, running after a baby in heels...it hurts! And I don't do kitten heels. I'm talking full blown four inch, "I thought you were shorter?" heels. While flats can be more comfortable I always feel like I'm falling through the floor! And to boot I have such pretty shoes! So many colors, so many prints and I'm supposed to pack them away because I'm a mom? Preposterous!

Is this why the phrase "Your momma wears combat boots!" comes from? 

So after I came out of my shock, I took a look at what she was wearing...and then it all made sense. Now just as a disclaimer, I do not like to judge people. You can do whatever you want, live however you want, dress however you want. It's your life, go for it. But...when someone starts to judge me it kind of puts things in a different perspective. Now I'm not saying she was daudy, but she definitely looked...comfortable. Nice loose shirt, loong simple skirt all capped off with a nice pair of what looked like orthopedic shoes. Maybe she had a bad back or bad knees, but these shoes definitely looked like...well....grandma shoes!

Do you remember what grandma shoes look like? No? Well here is a subtle reminder:

BAM!


What? You don't like tan? Well then here you go...

And just looking at this ad makes me feel old...

I'm sorry but NO ONE looks forward to wearing grandma shoes...not even grandma's! Not even in this poem. If leaving the heels behind determines how much into Mommyhood I'm getting then I'm losing and I've never like losing so much!! And let it be said, I am not knocking the elderly or women who like to dress like the elderly. I'm merely stating that you will not see my ass in ANY of the shoes above. Ever. Ever ever ever.

Wow, all this talk about shoes makes me want to buy a new pair! Anyone want to go shopping??
 (Mariah Carey's shoe room and my dream closet. I don't like Mariah Carey anymore but I love this room)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sex: The Stress Buster

With finals, work, doctor appointments, potty training, and school and just being a mom can cause a lot of pressure and stress. What better stress reliever than with the good old power of sex!

According to an article on About.com, they give examples how sex can help even the most stressed out mom. They list many scientific research about sex, stating that sex and physical intimacy led women to feel less stressed and be in a better mood the next day. Additionally they note that sex can lead to less of a stress response during challenging situations, such as when about to take test.

Aside from these scientific findings, sex has some obvious stress management components. In addition to effectively taking your mind off of your worries for a decent period of time, sex provides some of these other stress management benefits:
  • Sense of Touch: Studies show that massage can be a great stress reliever. In fact, we need touch for our emotional health; studies also show that babies who are not touched enough can fail to thrive, and touch continues to be important into adulthood.
  • Social Support: People who have a supportive social outlet tend to manage stress better, live longer, and enjoy increased overall health. The type of emotional intimacy that sex can help supply is good for you!
  • Endorphins: Sexual activity releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones. 
  • Physical Workout: Depending on your level of enthusiasm, you can burn a lot of calories during sex, and gain the stress management benefits of exercise as well.
  • Deep Breathing: This deep, relaxed type of breathing relaxes your body, oxygenates your blood and reduces the stress you feel.

Orgasms Good For Your Health



We all know that sex is good but we might have underestimated HOW good it actually is for us. As per this article on About.com they examples of research that has been done that lists the many benefits of orgasms and why we should put them on our "Things To Do" list, no pun intended. Ok...pun intended

  • A UK study which looked at the relationship between having frequent orgasms (two or more per week) and mortality in men. At a ten year follow up the researcher found that men who had frequent orgasms had a significantly lower risk of death than men who did not have frequent orgasms. 
  • Several studies have hypothesized that hormones released during arousal and orgasm, specifically oxytocin and DHEA, may also have protective effects against cancer and heart disease. 
  • Research has also pointed to the sedative and relaxing effect of oxytocin and other endorphins released during orgasm, which may explain why people use masturbation as a way to get to sleep, and why sex is a great way to deal with stress.
It’s also worth pointing out that orgasm and sex play in general can be a wonderful form of exercise. Frequent sex and orgasms can bring with it the benefit of other good cardio workouts. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Make Your Kid's Room City Savvy

Living in an apartment in the city can be not only costly but you are more than likely subjected to limited space for your family. So how can you make a room stand out without spending crazy amounts of money? Here are some tips how to make a modern kids room creatively and without breaking the break.

Use bold colors

This kids room from Freshome is littered with great ideas for modern kids room. They note that colors like sage green, yellow, red, and chocolate brown can be paired with neutrals white, black or tan to give a modern take on kid’s d├ęcor. By using gender friendly colors like this mandarin orange paint with accents of pink keeps it girly without going over the top. Typically using large scale furniture can make a space look and feel smaller but if you only use only a few key pieces they will stand out without dominating the space.
Get the look:
  • Buy large bookshelves that are multi-functional
  • Invest in a sleek comfy chair

Mix old with new
This kids room from Ohdeedoh showcases a blend of old and new, using modern and simple colors by using the pea green and white and loft bed and adding vintage toys and accents.
Smart Deals on Looks the Kids will Love only at Target.com
Get the look:
Skydiver Robots Shade
Barbie Marilyn Shade


Opt for alternatives to picture frames

By using simple furniture with storage and adding accents to the wall you not only increase the height of the wall but you add an element of originality!

0004|Performics|Baby|Banner|200x200|20070430|20120430|Get the look:
  • Invest in a crib with storage at bottom or one that turns into a toddler bed.
  • Buy cool wall decals. There are some available at Toys R Us that are a great price!



Air & Water Show Fun!

(It was so hot out it melted the cheese on my sammich. Whoa)

There was so much fun at the Air ans Water Show this year. Although I have lived in Chicago for almost 5 years this was not only my first time but I shared this virgin experience with my sister and with my mini bear!

I think by far my favorite was the Blue Angels. They were awesome! Here is a glimpse of what they did.



I totally suggest it for next year if you happen to be in Chicago.



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finding an Apartment in the City


Having had lived in almost 6 apartments since I've lived in Chicago, apartment hunting can be both fun and a pain in the ass! Between finding the right apartment for the right price in the right neighborhood, you also have to go and see about 5,000 apartments and make sure you have all the requirements needed to get in smoothly. And this is just to RENT! So what methods are the best ones to use to find an apartment and move as seamlessly as possible? Here are a few tips that I have learned that might be of some help.

Make a list. 
Whether you are upgrading to a bigger or downgrading to a smaller apartment, write down what it is that you want from your place. Want a two bedroom with a dishwasher, close to parks for $1000 write it down! I have a good friend who believes that if you write something that you really want down on paper that it makes it more likely that it's going to happen. 

Find a neighborhood that inspires you. 
It is easy to find an apartment is a less popular neighborhood with cheaper rent but that shouldn't stop you from looking in your ideal neighborhood first. If you have an area in mind that will be good for you and your family look around their first and see if there are any apartments that are available. A lot of times buildings are privately owned and you might be able to either work down the price or get first dibs if you talk to management.

Utililze Craigslist and other apartment finding websites.
With postings going up almost every minute of the day there are many options to searching for an apartment on Craigslist. Another benefit to looking on CL is that you can narrow your searches down to prices, apartment size and area. When we were looking for an apartment we went to Apartment People and not only did they look for places with the requirements that we wanted but they also drove us to them, baby and all. There is also sites like Rent.com and ApartmentFinder.com.

Don't be afraid to sublet.
If you are trying to find something quick or am having a hard time deciding on the perfect neighborhood, check to see if someone is subletting their apartment. Many times someone is either moving out of state or the owner had someone who needed to break their lease and they want someone to live out the rest of the year. In those case you not only get to see what the area is like for a few months before you decide to resign you can also get in pretty quickly. 

Research, research, research.
Want to know where the closest grocery store is?  Curious about local schools and day-cares? Want to see how safe your neighborhood is? It's all in the research. There are many websites that can help you find the information that you need to make sure you are moving to the best neighborhood for you and the kids. WalkScore is a great website that shows you all the places that are close to address you wish to live at and how walkable it is. It's scary to think of how dangerous your area is but it's better to know than to not know. There is also Family Watchdog which is meant to keep you aware of local offenders.


Go for a nice walk.
Sometimes apartments are listed on the internet or in newspapers and just have simple for rent signs. Most likely there are people who just put out the sign and haven't even had a chance to post the listing yet so you will have the advantage of seeing the apartment before anyone else. Additionally, if you are neighborly and just walk through the neighborhood there is a chance that you will meet locals and they might know of something or have a place themselves for rent. 

Happy Hunting!

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Tour Your City Without Looking Like a Tourist



When I was a kid I remember walking in Manhattan with my parents and brother and looking at how beautiful the buildings were. It was that same night that my mom said something I'll never forget: "Stop looking around like that or people are going to think you're a tourist!". Didn't even make sense to me. First off I was a kid and second I was born and raised in NY, why would people think I'm a tourist just because I'm enjoying the buildings? Ever since I have had a hard time participating in touristy things (thanks a lot mom!) as there is the underlined fear of crossing the thin line of city fun to full blown tourist.

I do have my regrets for letting this affect me. Had I have seen more sites when I still lived in New York I would've been able to enjoy the rooftops of the World Trade before September 11 occurred. Well you live and you learn, right? Now that I live in Chicago I want to appreciate and take advantage of the city it's landmarks, but how can I do so without looking like a damn tourist? Over the years I have devised some very helpful ways to work this out so whether you are visiting a new city or if you want to explore the one you live in, you can do so like a pro.

Do your homework. 
Visit the city website or resource websites like Metromix, Yelp(or the Moms in the City calendar) and see what events will be taking place for you to take advantage of.

Travel in small groups. 
There is no point in taking up the whole sidewalk, train car or bus with a huge group of people.. If you happen to be traveling with a lot of people it would be best if you travel in smaller groups so that you can have a more intimate experience. Try to travel in increments of 4 or 5 and for fun give each group a separate location to explore then share photos at the end of the night.


Don't carry maps!
Not only are they bulky but they are outdated! Depending on your cell phone you can easily access Google Maps and figure out anywhere you need to go at the push of a few buttons. Leave the maps at the gas station.


Visit tourist attractions on weekdays. 
By visiting attractions during the weekday you won't not be overrun by mobs of people and there are usually great deals such as half price off fares during the week.

Visit local staples.
Everyone knows of and has visited famous skyscrapers and restaurants but there are many local venues that are unique and that would be worth checking out. Try visiting local coffee shops, hole in the wall restaurants and independent clothing stores. You are almost guaranteed not to find a duplicate any where else!

Go to bars and hot spots on non-busy days. 
City bars and clubs are always busy on the weekends but generally are a low-key hangout spot on days like Tuesdays or Wednesdays. By visiting a bar on a slow day you can not only almost guarantee that you will get a place to sit but you won't have to scream or yell to have conversations.

Take advantage of free city events. 
One of the best concerts I've ever seen was at the Taste of Chicago and I got to watch Stevie Wonder play for three hours...for free! There are many events that cities host for free such as music concerts,  movies in the park, free days at the museum to street fests. Of course this works well with the first trick of doing your homework to see what events will be taking place on the days that you want to hit the town.

Join Meetup Groups.
Not only can you join groups on Meetup for free but you can get to know moms from any different areas and they all just want to get out of the house and have a good time too. If there is a place that you've always wanted to check out but can't get one of your friends to go with you can list it as an "Idea" on the groups site. There is bound to be a mom or two in the group who will tag along. And if you can't find someone from one group, join another! The best part about it is that you have options and what girl doesn't love variety??

Have fun!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Top Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitos at Bay


A few days ago me and the Mr. went for what we thought was a nice romantic walk in the park and instead were the unfortunate victims of skin rape by about one million bugs. Last night we had a nice dinner with a couple of friend on their porch and while they had some tiki lanterns meant to keep away bugs, the crafty suckers (no pun intended) crept their way through and went for my taste chocolaty skin!

While I want to save my skin from gross bumps and lumps from stupid mosquito bites, I don't want to layer thick and gooey sprays on my arms and legs to do so. Instead I did some research on how we can natually keep those blood sucking bastards off of us and our babies.
  • Keep away still water
  • Don't wear tons of perfume or sweet smelling lotions
  • Apparently Avon's Skin So Soft helps keeps away bugs, but only for a short period of time
  • Eating a lot of garlic, taking garlic capsules or rubbing garlic on your skin works in the same way as Vitamin B-1. Of course, you might also repel friends and family
  • Consume the vitamin B-1 is supposed to help
  • There are a number of herbs that help keep away mosquito such as Aloe Vera, lavender, peppermint, and cloves.
  • Citronella oil is a great natural way to repel bugs by either burning it or putting it directly on your skin.
  • You should considering wearing light colors as mosquitoes seem to be attracted to the color black.