How Huggies Snug and Dry Ultra Can Make a Difference in the Lives of Impoverished Children (sponsored)

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Click here.

I’m working with Huggies Snug and Dry Ultra to make the world a better place. Diapers are a necessity for babies. As parents, we know this. Often, we groan about the cost of diapers and the need to purchase diapers constantly. Today, I’m thankful I can afford to buy my two children Huggies Snug N Dry diapers, but I know some families are not so fortunate.

Allow me to share some scary statistics:

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“More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $23,550 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45% of children live in low-income families.” – NCCP

Think about that for a few minutes. Let it sink in.

Some of you will be upset by this. Some of you feel compassion. Others will shift blame to the parents, and think, say, or type something along the lines of “they shouldn’t have kids, then”. That feeling is ignorant to reality in America, but furthermore, it is hurtful and unproductive. This post will not be a debate about wages in the U.S., this post will be about what we can do to improve the quality of life for poor newborns and infants.

In Northern New Jersey, Child & Family Resources collects donations for a Diaper Bank. Here are some facts about diaper costs in America from Child & Family Resources:

“The Facts

  • A healthy change of diapers costs $112/month for children and $312/month for adults.
  • Full-time work at minimum wage grosses + $1,160/per month and at $10/hour grosses +$1,600. Average rent for 1 bedroom apartment is $1,045 per month, leaving only $115-$555 in disposable income for all other expenses, including taxes and diapers.
  • In 2007 Morris County had 1,316 children under 5 living in poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Safety net programs do NOT cover diapers—not Food Stamps, not WIC, not Medicare (except hospice).
  • Cloth diapers are not an option. Child care programs require disposable diapers for sanitary reasons. Cloth diapers are not readily available for adults.
  • Diaper manufacturers do not donate diapers unless you have quadruplets or more and can provide a PR opportunity.

The Impacts

On Children:

  • A normal infant uses up to 12 diapers/day; a toddler uses up to 8 diapers/day. In low-income households, a child may be in a single diaper all day or longer, increasing risk of health problems from skin diseases to hepatitis.
  • A baby crying non-stop from being in a soiled diaper for a prolonged period of time is more likely to be abused.” – Child & Family Resources

If you’re looking for a cause to donate to, or a way to make a big difference with a small contribution, donate diapers to places like Child & Family Resources. I’m nominating Northern New Jersey’s Child & Family Resources Diaper Bank for the Huggies #UltraHug grant. A single $2,000 grant from Huggies can provide almost 18 months of diapers to a family in need (or help 18 families in one month!). We’re talking about real results here – lowering the risk of infection and likelihood of abuse significantly in a helpless child. And let’s not only discuss the negatives we’re eliminating, let’s talk about the positives: a family that receives diapers from a diaper bank will have a small bit of their monthly burden relieved.

Help me spread the word about Northern New Jersey’s Diaper Bank and let’s make a difference today. You can pick up some Huggies Diapers at Walmart and drop them off at Child & Family Resources. Walmart Huggies Snug and Dry Ultra are a great choice for leak protection. If you’re having trouble remembering, just write “Huggies Walmart Ultra” on your shopping list or set an alert on your phone.

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If you do nothing else, make sure you give your little one(s) an #UltraHug today and share it on social media with the #UltraHug hashtag. Visit Walmart Huggies Snug N Dry Ultra page for more information on community grants and making a differencehttps://ooh.li/2442909

About the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

• First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug
• In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.

 

10 Things You Need For The Perfect Car Emergency Bag for Kids

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Let me be clear: this is not an emergency bag for traditional emergencies like car accidents, heart attacks, or other medical emergencies. This is an emergency bag for your kids who are still in diapers or otherwise still a walking time bomb for wardrobe disasters and epic moody meltdowns (on second thought, maybe there needs to be a guide for teenagers, too…).

1. Food Source/Snacks

Yes, sometimes snack time is an emergency. If you have an infant, always keep an unopened travel sized package of formula or ready-to-feed formula bottle – even if you’re breastfeeding – in your car’s emergency bag. What if something happens to you and your baby is hungry ASAP? Your partner or whoever takes over childcare duties will be grateful you thought ahead. If you have a toddler, keep juice boxes, a water bottle, and pre-packaged snacks in your car at all times. Who wants to deal with a cranky, hungry toddler at a crowded store? Not me!

2. Wipes

Baby wipes are essential long past the diaper stage. Make sure you keep a pack on hand in the bag at all times.

3. Cloth diaper

You may not cloth diaper, but you should keep a 1 clean cloth diaper per kid in your car’s emergency bag because 1) it can fit a baby or toddler of any size, 2) you are probably not going to remember or have time to rotate diaper inventory in your emergency survival kit. You’ll be so happy when you run out of diapers and you have the cloth, one size fits all diaper at your disposal. And, if you don’t want to keep it after, throw it out! It’s not about being eco-friendly in this case – it’s about not having human waste all over yourself and your carseats. KWIM?

4. Spare clothes

Always, always, always have a change of clothes for your kids AND yourself! That diaper shitsplosion might just make its way onto your shirt, too, and you’ll be glad you had something to change into so you don’t have to cut your trip short. I mean, getting the kids out was a feat in itself – do you really want to go home for a wardrobe change? YOU MAY NEVER MAKE IT OUTSIDE AGAIN!

5. Blanket

Kids get cold. Kids get tired. Kids want cozy, snuggly blankets to keep them comfortable.

6. Hand sanitizer

The last thing you need is to get your kids sick because you had to do three diaper changes then distribute snacks/bottles/drinks. Wash your hands, you filthy animal.

7. Disaster bags

Affectionately called “disaster bags” by my husband, Arm & Hammer makes awesome baking soda infused trash baggies for diapers and other smelly kid waste. Perfect for when you can’t find a trash can immediately but don’t want to stink up your car.

8. Tylenol/Motrin/Benadryl

You never know when a fever or allergic reaction can occur. Always have Benadryl and a pain reliever ready for use. This means having a clean syringe or spoon handy, too, to administer the medicine if need be.

9. New toy

Sometimes, your kids will have meltdowns. No, nobody wants to reward bad behavior, but you also don’t want to have “that” kid in the restaurant. Use a new toy as a weapon against meltdowns.

10. Water

Sometimes, we get dehydrated chasing these kids around. Keep a bottle of water for yourself in the car. It will keep you going and prevent you from paying $3/bottle out of sheer desperation and thirst.

The Side of Cobie Smulders Boob is Too Offensive For Morning Television (Because She’s a Mom)

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With two small children, I rarely have an opportunity to watch morning television (or television at all), but this week I took a mini-vacation to my mom’s house and as I was sipping some coffee and doing some tummy time with my 2 year old, I flipped on Good Morning America to see what was up with the morning talk show circuit. I wasn’t trolling for anything ridiculous, but what I saw made me do a double take. And then it made me very mad.

GMA was interviewing Cobie Smulders, a mom of two, star of How I Met Your Mother, and current Avengers actress. While GMA was praising Smulders for how great she looked post-baby on the cover of Women’s Health, they also censored her photo. Heavily. For side boob. (Will update tomorrow with official censored photos)

I choked on my coffee. Did I really just see that? I thought.

Two minutes later, GMA showed the photo again. And, again, it was censored. This time, much more obviously. With pixels, not just a blur.

I really can’t believe that in 2015, the side of a woman’s boob is considered too offensive for morning television, but the top of a boob is not. There’s literally nothing scandalous about Smulders Women’s Health cover. And it’s sold in stores everywhere. I’m cringing thinking about those magazine cover obstructors – you know, the plastic piece that hides everything but the name of a magazine – being used to hide Smulders image. Would the cover of Men’s Health, with a topless man, be censored this way? No, it wouldn’t. And let’s not get it twisted: this is not an attack on men. This is an attack on the way society and the media treat female nudity. And, for the record, Smulders isn’t showing anything “private”. You can see more nudity at any beach. You can even see more nudity on GMA, as long as the subject is not a mom.

Why are we continuing the horrible trend of telling women they should cover their bodies? That their body parts are something to be ashamed of, hidden – or worse, immoral. Recently, an awesome dad wrote an op-ed in the Houston Press about his 5-year old being told to cover up her shoulders. How are spaghetti straps on a kindergartener inappropriate? Why are we teaching our girls this?

This is not a religious debate – but some religious mandate women cover their bodies. The Duggar Family, of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, have infamously used the word “Nike” to tell the men in their families to avert their eyes if a women or girl is showing what they consider to be too much skin. Since the Duggar girls wear a uniform of floor length denim skirts and shoulder covering polos, I think it’s safe to say that only the face and wrist/elbow portion of the arm is ok. In Muslim countries, women must cover their head and face to varying degrees. Some must cover everything, and must see the outside world through a dark net that obstructs their eyes. In our country, where you’re supposed to be free to make your own decisions about religion, we have a very puritan, sexist attitude toward women and nudity. Male nudity = okay. Female nudity = only ok in certain situations. And, sometimes, only okay if it is titillating.

In my opinion, women should be allowed to celebrate their bodies. Girls should be able to wear spaghetti straps to school. We shouldn’t tell women that their bodies are offensive. Ever. We shouldn’t body shame them into insecurity.

How Huggies Snug N Dry Ultra Wants #UltraHug to Help Your Community – Sponsored Post

When I heard from Huggies Diapers, I will admit I was reluctant to reply. In the past, Huggies diapers have let me down and leaked on more than one occasion. But Huggies Snug N Dry Ultra diapers have been redesigned for a better, more absorbent fit, so I decided to give Huggies a second chance and I purchased my Huggies Diapers at Walmart.

Huggies Snug N Dry recently challenged me to share a selfie with my newest squish. Between the spit up, the diapers, and the sleepless nights (and a toddler in the mix), I finally got around to taking a makeup-less, knotty-haired selfie with my sleeping 2 month old:

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And, it turned out to be not such a bad picture after all. Yes, I’m tired, and yes, I would have loved my own personal glam squad. But looking at this photo reminds me of how temporary this all is. Soon, Isla will be rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, and before I know it, she’ll be off to kindergarten. It was nice to take a moment and appreciate these crazy times.

Huggies didn’t just want a photo of *me*, though….

From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

• First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug
• In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.

The community project that’s near and dear to my heart is babywearing. In my local community, there are no babywearing groups yet, and I think a Babywearing International (BWI) chapter needs to be formed in North Jersey, and I’m currently working on establishing a BWI chapter for my community. What a BWI chapter does is provide education and fellowship for moms and dads with small children. It also helps procure a library of carriers for parents to try and/or rent before buying. Since many baby carriers are in the $100-300 range, it’s quite the investment to make and BWI helps parents make the best one for their unique lifestyle.

Babywearing is not a fad or new idea. In fact, we don’t need to look further than our own currency for evidence of babywearing’s history. The Sacagawea dollar/”golden dollar” coin features Lewis and Clark’s interpreter and guide babywearing:

2001_proof_sac_dollarBabywearing has been common practice throughout history and is still very common today, but stroller culture has dulled the practice in the United States. A BWI Chapter can help parents learn more about the benefits of babywearing and how to do it safely. I’m so excited to learn more, get certified, and share my passion and knowledge for babywearing with others.

Recently, Huggies has reinvented their Snug and Dry diapers and came up with Huggies Snug N Dry Ultra diapers, which are quilted and designed to be more absorbent and comfortable.

 

 

Jamberry Scamberry: Why The Latest MLM Preying on SAHMs Will Never Give You Financial Freedom

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In its heyday, FarmVille farmers outnumbered real farmers 60 to 1. In the past few months, I’ve received more Jamberry nail party invites on Facebook than FarmVille invites in 2010. In a word, this epidemic is ridiculous. And, quite frankly, it’s much sadder than plowing fake crops and building imaginary barns because Jamberry “consultants” are investing real money ($119+) in owning their “business” and expecting “financial freedom” in return.

Look, I admire your ambition to have “financial freedom”, and when you spam me on Facebook asking me to buy X, Y, Z product, I really feel bad for you and wish I could help you, but I’m not interested in spending $45 for you to make a $13.50 commission just to make you feel less stupid. Also, $13.50 is not “financial freedom”. It’s a cheeseburger and fries. And you need to sell 27 Jamberry nail sheets just to break even with your “start up” fees of $119. Which means you need to sell 30 to afford a meal at McDonalds. Math, people. Learn it.

Let’s do the math, shall we? Jamberry promises its consultants a minimum 30% commission on products sold. So, if you sell $1,000 worth of Jamberry products, you’ll earn $300. The nail wraps cost $15/each. That means you have to sell 67 Jamberry nail wraps in order to make $300. If “financial freedom” is your goal, that’s a lofty one. In order to make the same amount of money as a minimum wage job before taxes, you would need to sell 258 nail wraps…per month. You’d make $1,160/month if you sold 258 wraps.

Since Jamberry likes to push the buy 3 get 1 free deal, let’s assume you can sell Jamberry wraps to customers 3 at a time. This means you need to have 86 people buy 3 wraps each every month. Ask yourself: do you even know 86 people, much less 86 people willing to charge their credit card $45 for some ugly nail wraps?

Jamberry touts itself as being a cheaper, quality alternative to a traditional in salon/spa mani/pedi. However, the reason I go out for a mani/pedi is to relax. To be pampered. For me, it’s worth the $60-75 trips to the salon or spa. For women who regularly get manis and pedis, the salon is a method of relaxing and convenience – these women do not have time to fool around in the bathroom for 15 minutes with a blowdryer or mini heater and apply vinyl stickers to their fingers and toes. They just don’t. That leaves us with Jamberry’s target demographic: stay at home moms. Jamberry lures them in with the funky nail wraps and friendship of other moms, then goes in for the kill: what Jamberry really wants is not to sell vinyl nail wraps, it wants to sell you on the idea that you can be financially successful if only you would sign up and hand over $119 to push their products.

Think about it: does Jamberry need consultants? No. When’s the last time you needed a consultant to buy nail polish or products? You hear about something through word of mouth or advertising, and you try it. You might be thinking, “Well, that’s why Jamberry needs consultants – for word of mouth advertising.” And that assumption is incorrect because marketing consultants, in the real world, get paid to market a product – they do not hand over cash upfront in order to have the privilege of marketing a product. They do not pay for the products they market. They are employees – not self-employed “business owners”. Jamberry operates by scamming women into signing up to be consultants so they don’t have to pay employees or their benefits – not because they want women to become successful business owners or have financial freedom.

SO, ladies, please, stop signing up for Jamberry. Take that $119 and get your hair and nails done, or set up your own Etsy shop, or, hey, start a blog! Jamberry is not going to give you financial freedom. It’s just going to make you feel like a dope and you will lose friends over it, or at the very least change your friendships with women who are judging you for being naive, who are disappointed in the product you endorsed, or who feel awkward about being asked to spend money they don’t have to make you $13.50/sale ($45 * 30% = $13.50). I bet your friendships are worth more than $13.50 each, so lay off the Jam juice.

It’s not just me who knows Jamberry is a scam. Take a look at these other stories:

 

Three Dinners in Three Days: A Review of Plated’s Subscription Service

Want to try Plated and get 2 plates for free? Click here!

I’ll admit it: in the few minutes I scroll through Facebook every day, I was drooling over the dishes in Plated’s advertisements. It didn’t help that I was getting the feeling that my cooking and grocery shopping game was getting kind of lame. I was in a food rut. So, when plated offered 4 free plates with the purchase of 2, I decided to give it a try.

What’s Plated, you ask? Plated is a food delivery service that provides the recipe and pre-portioned ingredients to make dinner for 2 or 4 people. Plated is a subscription service, and you can choose how many meals you want delivered each week. You choose from their weekly, ever-changing menu. It’s like restaurant fun without having to actually get dressed and go out. Also, you have to prep and cook everything by yourself. And, also, it’s not like a restaurant at all.

So, I’m going to share my Plated experience with you. If you want to jump to the “bottom line” review, click here. It started on April 1, 2015 (no, this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke). I signed up, paid $24 for 6 meals (3 meals for 2 people – bargain!), and then nothing happened. That whole choose your own meals thing? Yeah, it didn’t happen. I went to My Account and looked at my orders. I saw that three meals were selected randomly, and quite honestly I wasn’t really a fan of any of the selections. I used the help box and messaged Plated:

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After looking at the menu, I decided to swap the pasta dish for the beef lettuce wraps. Why didn’t I ask to switch all three? Well, I realized that the dishes I was drooling over were premium dishes (not included in the trial) and cost $30 per plate (so, dinner for me & my husband would be $60. If we wanted to include my toddler in this meal, we would have to purchase an additional 2 meals…making the total at home dinner for one night $120. Um, yes, you just read that correctly.)

Two days later, on Friday, April 3, my Plated box arrived. With fucking spaghetti.

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I did not reach out to Plated to correct the mistake, because I thought, “Maybe this is pasta fate. Maybe the universe is telling me that carbs are okay on Saturdays.” And I gladly accepted. Who doesn’t like fresh spaghetti?

So, three recipes:

  • Day 1: Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snow Peas
  • Day 2: Fresh Spaghetti with Pan Roasted Artichokes, Garlic, and Lemon
  • Day 3: Pan-Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Spinach-Feta Twice-Baked Potatoes

And I’ll guide you through what really happened with my Plated experience.

Day 1

Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snow Peas

IMG_0158So, it started with the ingredients. All the ingredients were organized by recipe. Anything that wasn’t in the recipe bag itself was clearly marked with what the ingredient was and which recipe the ingredient was to be used for. As I started the recipe, I thought, “Wow, this is brilliant. It would be super easy for someone who doesn’t know how to cook at all.” I began getting excited about this dish. Could I really make restaurant worthy food without the headache of planning a meal and shopping for everything? Let’s face it, even with a list I forget things at the grocery store. I was really hoping Plated would solve all my dinner dilemmas.

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So, I followed the instructions. I prepped all the ingredients. I sliced the scallions and separated those suckers by color. I cut up ginger into 1/4″ round coins. I cut a lime in half. The entire time, I was thinking, “Couldn’t Plated have done this for me? Is it really necessary that I sit here in the kitchen, cutting up produce? Wasn’t the point of this service that it would make things easier? Why am I still doing all this nonsense?”

IMG_0163As I moved on to the next step, stirring up the butter with miso paste, I thought, “Maybe this is worth it. This miso butter thing smells really good.” Because it did. It smelled fantastic. I won’t bore you with the details for Day 1. I’ll cut to the chase: my Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snow Peas, despite my best efforts, came out looking nothing like the pictures. And despite smelling really amazing and exotic during prep (fresh lime, miso butter, sesame oil, etc.), it was disappointingly bland and truly uninspiring. I ate it, because it wouldn’t kill me and after spending 45+ minutes in the kitchen during my toddler and newborn’s evening nap I knew I would not get another opportunity to go fiddle around in the kitchen that evening. But, I really felt duped. I felt like I had been mislead with the fancy French word for parchment paper, and for $12.50 a serving, I could have ordered some truly delicious takeout.

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Day 2

Fresh Spaghetti with Pan Roasted Artichokes, Garlic, and Lemon

I’m not even going to get into the details. This smelled disgusting while cooking (the olive oil, the roasting artichokes? I don’t really know what could possibly make it smell so disgusting, but it truly was gross.) and the instructions were, well, wrong. It said that a sauce would start to form with the pan roasted tomatoes, but from what I know of tomatoes and sauce, the wrong type of tomatoes were provided. Interestingly, this dish came out very close to what the picture showed, but, it was gross. And when I eat carbs, I want those carbs to be delicious. THIS WAS NOT DELICIOUS.

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Day 3

Pan-Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Spinach-Feta Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ok, so day 3. I was not looking forward to making another Plated dish, at all. I was epically disappointed with the first two nights, and I just wanted to get these ingredients out of my fridge so I could go grocery shopping the next day. (Yes, I was looking forward to grocery shopping!)

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Like the night before, this recipe included white wine, and given the past two days of Plated experiences, I decided maybe I should just drink this wine instead. And I can only caution you with similar minds that this is a horrible, terrible, awful idea. Because this is what happened to my face after taking a sip of Plated’s “white wine”:

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No, those pictures are not flattering. And, no, that was NOT white wine. I’m pretty sure it’s white wine vinegar, and why Plated did not specify that in the recipe or on the package is beyond me.

So, I gladly poured that shit in the pan as directed.

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After the allotted cooking time (according to Plated 6-7 minutes on each side for chicken), I noticed that my chicken felt jiggly – like it was still raw. Plated doesn’t tell you to make sure the chicken is cooked, but I did anyway:

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That, people, is raw chicken. And I honestly think that Plated’s obligation to tell customers these recipes take 30-45 minutes is what compelled the company to lie about the cooking time. I mean, if someone ate this, they could get seriously ill. Not cool, Plated. Not cool at all.

Since all of my ingredients were drying out now, thanks to an extended and unanticipated longer cook time, I had to do something. I could not contain my inner Paula Deen. I had to add butter and cover.

IMG_0385Which I’m pretty sure saved the day.

The twice baked potatoes? Yeah. Not baked twice at all. The Plated instructions specifically tell you to use the microwave for 5-7 minutes (turning once in the middle) or you could bake the potatoes for an hour – but WHO has time for that when Plated lied and said it would take 45 minutes for dinner and you’re starving? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

But, apparently I did have time to double the microwave time because the potatoes were also still raw. Ew, ew, ew.

By the time I was done making this meal, I was so hungry. Maybe that’s why I didn’t dislike this Plated dish. It was not bad, but, it’s chicken and potatoes. Can you really screw that up? And, if you add spinach and feta to anything it’s going to taste good. You can even make quinoa delicious with spinach and feta. And we all know quinoa is gross.

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So, if you want to know if Plated is worth it, my honest opinion is noI think it’s worth mentioning that I was not paid, compensated, or asked to review Plated, as many bloggers have been. And, that’s important because I made my decision to try Plated based on the opinions of others, who may have been influenced to give a positive review. Or those people are drunk. Drunk people will eat anything and think it’s good. PLATED IS FOR DRUNKS!

Everyone has different taste in food, true. If you really don’t know how to cook at all, I don’t know if Plated can help you because the instructions were not great and definitely not detailed enough for a first-time cook. However, if you know your way around the kitchen a little bit, but just want to try something that’s not frozen or pre-made, go for it. If you think Dominos is good pizza, you’ll probably love Plated. I, personally, am a pizza snob who thinks Dominos is garbage, but to each their own (actually, no, I’m totally judging you and your intelligence based on your taste in food. Wrong? Possibly. Satisfying? Absolutely).

Needless to say, I cancelled my Plated subscription.

The Neutrogena Naturals #WipeForWater Challenge – Sponsored

IMG_0079Yesterday, I received my latest VoxBox from Influenster containing a package of Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes. In my box was a little card explaining the #WipeForWater challenge, and I’m so excited to get started.

What’s #WipeForWater? Well, in the spirit of Earth Month (April, people!), Neutrogena & Influenster have paired up to conserve water. I’ve been challenged to wash my face without water for a whole week. Yes, you read that right! Instead of using soap and water, I’ll be using my Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes all week long. I’ll update you on this journey as the week goes on, but today is day 1!

You can check out my updates on Instagram @cassandraroth or Twitter @bottlesoup. See you there! :)

What If We Stopped Calling Every Disagreement a “Mommy War”?

mommywarThe “mommy wars”: we’ve all heard of those. Even the childless know about the “mommy wars”, but in case you’ve been living in a cardboard box for the last decade or so, the “mommy wars” are, in short, what any strong disagreement or difference of opinion is called among adult women who have children. And quite frankly, it’s ridiculous.

Let’s not get it twisted: the fact that all women (who happen to have children (you know, “moms”)) don’t agree on everything is not ridiculous. What’s ridiculous is that society expects all “moms” to feel the same, act the same, and think the same. It’s just not realistic, and it’s absolutely unfair. Furthermore, it’s definitely sexist beyond belief. And I have a huge problem with all of it.

While, in theory, it would be great for women with children to get along and form an unbreakable, unified support group for each other, it’s just never going to happen. Why? Well, because the only thing every mom has in common is that she has children. That’s it. That’s the only unifier. We don’t expect all persons with penises to unanimously agree on all things. We don’t expect all persons with brown hair to like purple. We don’t expect all persons who live in the same town to eat the same cereal for breakfast (or even eat cereal at all). Although having children and being responsible for children is a huge, life changing acquisition, there is very little to do with motherhood and child rearing that is one size fits all.

Think of your “mommy” friends: among your small group, you likely do things much differently. From your birth story to your dietary choices, you most likely do not agree 100% (or even 79%) with your fellow mom friends. So, why does society keep insisting we all circle together and sing Kumbaya? It’s not going to happen. Ever.

What would happen if instead of calling every disagreement a “mommy war”, we just settled into the fact that we are adults first, mommies second. In fact, we are only mommies to those we birthed or adopted; we are not societies mommies. We are not responsible for being “mommies” to the world, or even to our “mommy” friends.

We smugly shake our heads at the backward attitudes of “Mad Men,” but at this particular moment in our history, some combination of overzealous parenting, savvy marketing and glorification of hearth and home have coaxed the public into viewing female parents as a strange breed apart from regular people. You might feel like the same person deep inside, but what the world apparently sees is a woman lugging around a giant umbilical cord.” – Heather Havrilesky, “Our ‘Mommy’ Problem”, NYTimes

It’s time we stopped grouping adult, female parents into an isolated group of glitter, goop, and Graco. Most “moms” are so much more than their parenting ideals, so let’s start treating each other that way. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a “traditional” role. It doesn’t mean you have to put down the glitter glue. It just means we shouldn’t expect that from every mom – Pinterest be damned. Let’s rejoice in the beauty of our diverse opinions. Let’s celebrate the fact that our lives are not cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all creations. Because one size fits all truly fits no one well. So, let’s all disagree. Let’s get upset. Let’s hate each other. Let us be, unapologetically, who we are. And let’s stop being passive aggressive about it; let’s be honest. I’m a mom, but I’m not your mom. So, pardon me if I don’t act like your moral compass.

Why I Will Never Apologize For My Stance on Whiny SAHMs

whinysahmsOn October 11, 2013, I wrote a controversial post entitled “Why Stay at Home Moms Need to STFU (And, BTW, I Am One).” In the (roughly) 18 months since I published that post, I have been routinely bombarded with comments, emails, and social media responses to that article. Some sing my praises while others outright bully me, but regardless of the sentiment I’ve read each and every response, and in most cases I’ve responded directly to the feedback. Many, many disgruntled moms have tried, in vain, to shame me, make me apologize, or otherwise convince me that my opinion is completely wrong. I think it’s time I wrote a follow up post, but spoiler alert: this isn’t an apology. And, I’ve consistently reaffirmed the fact that I will never apologize for that article.

LUXURY

Let’s go over a few things, shall we? In my experience with angry responses, it seems that most moms were ticked off by the fact that I referred to staying at home with your children as a “luxury”. You’ll be happy to know that a recent op-ed in the New York Times echoed your grumpy sentiments. In her article, “A Stay-at-Home Parent is Not a ‘Luxury’,” Allison B. Carter wrote, “So in some ways, yes, we are lucky that I can stay home. But a luxury is a nonessential item. An indulgence. What I do is essential, and certainly not self-indulgent.” Carter goes on to list all the “luxuries” she does without in order to stay at home. This argument is so fucking annoying it’s not funny. Guess what? Staying at home is nonessential. That’s why daycares, nannies, and sitters exist. If you’re truly broke and sad about it, you can work opposite shifts. The argument that your presence at home is absolutely essential and irreplaceable is idiotic, but furthermore the luxury I refer to in my post is the fact that you get to spend all your time with your kids, and that is absolutely nonessential. That is absolutely an indulgence. And if you don’t feel like having the precious, precious ability to be the sole caregiver of your children is something luxurious and indulgent, then you’re doing it wrong. AND BEFORE YOU WRITE A NASTY COMMENT…YES, everyone has bad days, bad weeks, bad months, etc. But – if at your core, you wake up angry and resentful more days than you wake up happy and excited to spend another day with your kids, then you should not be at home. And you should stop making excuses for why you’re staying home. Your sanity is worth something; even if it’s just an extra $56 after daycare and the illusion of professional significance.

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RELATIONSHIPS

Look, I’m not here to be your marriage counselor, but since it comes up in a lot of responses, I’ll bite. You should not be disrespected or demeaned in your relationship; you should not disrespect or demean your partner, either. My point about handing the kids off the second your spouse/partner walks through the door is this: it’s completely inconsiderate. If you’re at home all day with one child or seven, you want a break. I get it. I understand it. It’s rational. However, assuming that the minute your partner walks through the door your “job” is over is completely ridiculous. Please tell me how your partner worked all day, and has to do it all over again the next day, but also must clock in for a second shift the second he/she gets home. If you really feel like being a stay at home parent is a “job”, then why oh why is it okay for your partner to do double duty, but you only have 1 responsibility? Again, before you go ape shit on me, I said in my original post and I will say it again: This does not mean your partner shouldn’t be involved. This does not mean your partner shouldn’t be equally involved as a parent. This does not mean you never get to take a shower or go to the gym or take a break. It just means you need to be a little bit more considerate of your partner and accept the fact that stress happens outside the house, too. SAHMs are not the only ones who have it “tough”, ok? Communicate with your partner. If your partner needs an hour to unwind when they get home, give it to them. If you’re really going nuts, hire a sitter or recruit grandma/grandpa to help you, but chances are you can deal for a few more minutes until your partner is recharged and ready to relieve you.

LANGUAGE

I can’t believe I even need to address this on the Internet, to an audience of adults, but…my blog is not for children! It’s not meant to be read by toddlers or preteens; it’s made for adults. If I want to swear like a sailor, I will do so. That does not make me, or anyone else using colorful language, a bad person or a bad parent. And, to every bitch attacking my use of profanity, the answer is NO. No, I do not talk to my children that way. No, I do not talk to my husband that way. No, I do not speak to strangers in public that way. But here, on my blog, I’ll curse up a fucking storm if I’d like to, because I can. Because I want to. And mostly for effect. Get over it, prissy pants.

JUSTIFICATION

If you don’t like my opinion, that’s okay. You won’t hurt my feelings. I know what I wrote is controversial. But you do not need to justify your feelings to me, a stranger on the Internet. If you’re truly comfortable and confident with your role or your opposing feelings, GOOD FOR YOU. But if I’ve hit a nerve please be honest with yourself. Being honest with yourself will make you a happier person. And happy people make better parents. (In case you’re wondering, I’m a very happy person.)

TIME MANAGEMENT

Please don’t feel the need to justify why you “have no time” to me. I have the same 24 hours in a day that you do, and I manage to get a lot done most days. Some days, I manage to get nothing done. But guess what? No one is keeping score. So, manage your time in order to get things done that are a priority to you, and stop making excuses for why you can’t/won’t accomplish something. Your children are not excuses. They do sleep at night, and some nap during the day. It does not take 24 hours to do the dishes, run the vacuum, straighten up toys, or throw in a load of laundry. In fact, it maybe takes less than 2 hours to do all of those things, and even less time if you stay organized.

SAHMs DO NOTHING

I really wish most of you would be honest. I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat myself: be honest. I know thousands of you are on BabyCenter, TheBump or CafeMom for hours a day, chatting with other SAHMs and complaining about how exhausted you are. I also know thousands of you are writing me angry comments and you seemingly have plenty of time for that nonsense so, yeah. Sometimes, SAHMs do nothing. Sometimes, people do nothing at work. You’re not fooling anyone by pretending you’ve spent the day doing important shit and haven’t had a single second to just do nothing. It’s all in your head. Adjust your perspective.

So, to recap:

  • If you resent staying at home with your kids, stop doing it. Yes, it’s that simple. Get a part-time job. Get a full-time job! Go back to school. DO something. Whining and telling me your husband won’t “let” you is RIDICULOUS. You are an adult. Act like it and take control of your own life, because NEWSFLASH: your children will grow up and realize you absolutely hated being at home with them, and in a lot of cases they think you resent them. And that’s awful.
  • If you don’t like my opinion, go about your life. Yup. Self-explanatory. Sure, I’ll still entertain the hate mail. But, really, I thought you didn’t have free time for anything…?
  • If you want to get more things done, be honest. Get a planner. Write down what you want to accomplish today, and check things off as you go. Or do it the opposite: write down everything you’ve accomplished today, even if it’s a diaper change or 12. Writing it down will help you see what you’ve done and what else you can do – it will get you on track. If you don’t “have time” to write anything down, then you definitely don’t have time to be nasty to me, so save it.
  • Enjoy staying at home. Just relax. Take a deep breath. Remember that instead of being at home with your little munchkins, you could be in an office or a store getting treated like crap by someone who does not give a shit about you. Instead, you’re knee deep in diapers courtesy of your built-in fan club. Embrace it. Those tiny terrorists love you. They need you. You are their everything. Find joy and peace in that.

8 Places to Buy Stylish Nursing Clothes

nursingclothespin

If you’re exclusively breast feeding or pumping, wardrobe can be a huge issue you overlooked during pregnancy. Tired of the whole nursing tank and button up shirt or cardigan combo, I sought out some stylish, comfortable nursing clothes options and decided to share those options with you. Yes, some are a bit pricey, but there are others that have great sales and bargains. Here are my favorites:

1. Milk Nursingwear

Milk has a great selection of tops, dresses, sleepwear, nursing bras, and other nursing essentials. Milk Nursingwear even has a gift registry option, so if you’re expecting you’ll definitely want to register here. The nursing clothes you find here are great for day or night.

2. Mamas & Papas

Very cute selection of nursing tops and dresses! Mamas & Papas has a variety of mom & baby geared goods so definitely check out the rest of their inventory.

3. A Mother’s Boutique

The website itself is nothing fancy, but the nursing attire is fabulous. I’m particularly fond of their sleep and loungewear, which AMB seems to carry more of than any other nursing clothing website.

4. Belly Moms

So many adorable dresses just in time for spring and summer!

5. Au Lait

There’s no way around it: Au Lait is very pricey. However, if you need something for a special occasion, Au Lait probably has it.

6. JoJo Maman Bebe

This store is located in the UK, but the but the style is fit for USA. I love the maxi dresses they carry!

7. ASOS

ASOS was a favorite of mine for maternity wear, and I was delighted to discover their nursing clothing. Great sales, great quality, and great customer service.

8. Boob Design

THEY HAVE HOODIES. Need I say more? Amazing. Now I can take my toddler to the park and not worry about my layering attire in order to effectively nurse my newborn.

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