Why I Cried During Wonder Woman

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Now let me be clear about something, I am not the most emotional person known to mankind. I shy away from movies that feel that heavy, I steer more towards action and science fiction. You’ll never catch me curled up on the couch watching The Notebook with a glass of wine. I’m just not that kind of gal.

That being said, as I sat with my daughter in my lap in the theaters of the Wonder Woman movie, a strange feeling came over me. An unexpected feeling I really still cannot describe, it gave me the chills. I was fighting back tears. These weren’t tears of sadness though. Nope, I was fighting back tears, feeling quite ridiculous, during the fight scenes of this movie.  The scenes that I typically live for.

My five year old was fixated in awe at this strong, commanding woman while she clutched her Wonder Woman action figure tightly. She whispered in my ear, “I think Wonder Woman is the strongest ever.” I softly replied, “she is baby, isn’t she wonderful?”

I began looking around at all the other little Wonder Woman’s dressed in their hero’s costume gazing with their full hearts of joy and admiration. Then the scene of no man’s land begun. Aloof or perhaps unaware to the shock of men around her that desired to protect her and couldn’t imagine a woman wishing to be within the heart of the battle. When Diana enters into the heart of the battle alone, taking all of the gunfire without hesitation, she just commands so much power in that scene, charging towards enemy forces.  She fought every stereotype that women can’t be heroic, selfless, strong, fearless and commanding. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t dainty or sexy, it was everything it needed to be. It was powerful. Goosebumps shot up my body as tears welled up in my eyes.

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When I think back to my personal hero’s as a young girl, I don’t think I can even remember one. That isn’t to say there haven’t been many, many that should have been but there’s something magical about a mythical hero such as Diana Prince.

She didn’t “run like a girl” or “hit like a girl” like many of us were taught. She was selfless but not egotistic, just matter of fact.

Perhaps, my daughter and many others will grow up believing that we aren’t such fickle, modest and weak creatures. I’d love to see that day.

I realized that this woman is exactly what we all needed, like a sigh of relief…finally!

Finally, there’s a character that portrays women fairly amongst all other superheros.

If you think superheros are just not that important to children, think again. Ask any child that wishes to be a firefighter or a police officer, what it is that their chosen profession entails. What they’ll describe to you is a gripping tale of fighting bad guys and saving innocents, much like what they see in the movies with their heroes. It matters.

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So thank you Gal Gadot for being the woman we all needed to see. For being a part of a movie that little girls can truly relate to. When my daughter runs around the yard with her shield and sword fighting invisible bad guys instead of dressing up dollies, I know you had a little part of that.

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On a side note:

What makes Gal Gadot such an amazing fit for this role also comes from her own combat experience. She was a combat instructor in the Israeli army.  She also studied at law school and is a mother of two daughters. Not to mention her grandparents are Holocaust survivors, which if you watch the movie, is also relevant to her character.  Now how much do you love her more? You go girl, you really are Wonder Woman!

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5 Tips for Taking Better Pictures

I invested in a nice camera this year, courtesy of my refund check. I decided that I wanted to be able to capture precious moments in beautiful quality so that every time I looked at them, I could relive that memory. The problem is that having a “professional” camera doesn’t mean that you take great photos. There is a lot more to it. I am no photographer but I have been taking better photos since I began using these tips.

♥ 1. Try to fill the photo with the subject or subject’s as much as possible.

When we look at photos of your kids, we don’t really need to see the couch they are sitting on.

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 ♥ 2. Try to get your subject in softer more natural light.

Most of us know that natural light takes better pictures but did you know that better pictures are taken on cloudy days or out of direct sunlight?

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 ♥ 3. Use your flash during the day.

If you are taking a photo of someone in harsh sunlight, you’ll notice a lot of shadows in your photo. Sometimes, this is unflattering. By using your flash, you alleviate some of those harsh shadows.

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♥ 4. Don’t check your camera after every picture.

Every time you check your camera to view your shot, you could be missing out on a better moment to take the picture. Snap a few one right after the other and check them later.

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♥ 5. Go for simple backgrounds

When you’re taking a picture and there is a lot going on, it’s difficult to appreciate the picture. Capture one moment at a time.

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That’s all for today! I hope this helps you! Let me know in the comments if you have another amateur trick!

10 Things I Will Teach my Daughter

This is a little off topic from what I normally talk about but I recently read an article and it touched home for me. What was even more unsettling than the actual story were the majority of the comments on the post. It lead me to realize that nothing much is going to change until we teach our youth otherwise.

The story was about one particular school’s regulations for Prom dresses. The school’s administration decided that all female students were to bring a picture of their chosen prom dress for approval prior to the dance. The regulations were tight on this. Even a dress that looked sheer but actually wasn’t, was unacceptable. No cleavage of any kind was allowed and the dresses had to be long.

The comments of this post included many saying: “if you don’t like it, don’t go to Prom,” “good, glad they are taking measures to teach these girls what’s appropriate, it’s a school dance, not a whorefest.”

This isn’t something new, we continue to teach our young ladies that our natural bodies are taboo. That what happens to us on a monthly basis is taboo and undesirable. That if we dress a certain way, we are welcoming male attention. Well I just do not agree with that.

♥ 1. You’re body is not an object – Let no man or woman tell you otherwise. Your body is beautiful and it belongs to you, no one else. It is not a sexual object.

♥ 2. You’re not a whore – Whore is a word that people throw around way too much. You’re a whore if you have had too many partners, you’re a whore if you love your body, you’re a whore to someone who doesn’t like you, you’re a whore if you dress provocatively. Well, I’m here to tell you, you aren’t. None of those things make you a whore.

♥ 3. Never place value on yourself based on your appearance – This is something that takes many women years to understand. Much like men are not judged on their natural looks in the world, neither should you.

♥ 4. Never compare yourself to other women – This one is difficult to do sometimes. When you see a woman that you believe is beautiful, it’s ok to admire that about her, not compete with her.

♥ 5. Getting older is not the end – As women, sometimes we believe that as we get older, we become less attractive. This can sometimes lead us to believe that we are less valuable to our men. Aging is natural, things will not always be so perky (if you know what I mean 😉 ) This doesn’t mean that you are less beautiful in any way.

♥ 6. You’re not a bitch for voicing your opinion –  Sometimes people mistaken honesty with hostility. Just remember that your voice is just as important as anyone else’s.

♥ 7. Don’t play with double standards – If you want to be treated equally to everyone else, you need to play the part. You need to work hard, be diligent and never settle. Likewise, never let your man tell you that something isn’t acceptable for you, when it clearly is for them.

♥ 8. Don’t be so quick to judge – When you see a woman breastfeeding her child and you might think it’s gross, just remember that she is feeding her baby and it’s a pain to be stuck at home all the time. Likewise, she might be feeling uncomfortable about it as well, you don’t need to encourage this. When I was younger, I remember seeing a prostitute and thinking that she was disgusting, not because she wasn’t well kept, but because of what she does. Don’t judge another woman, you’ve never walked in those shoes.

♥ 9. Sometimes, it is your fault – When you’re arguing with someone and you are dead-set that you are not to blame, just remember, sometimes you are. It’s ok to admit that.

♥ 10. Nothing about you’re body is disgusting or shameful – Whenever women are on their periods, we feel a natural urge to keep this information incredibly private. We don’t want anyone to think we are “icky.” Well stop, the earth is populated because of a woman’s fertility.

Once you have children, your body will change. It’s inevitable, your skin will sag around your stomach, things will stretch and leave you with nice “tiger stripes.” This isn’t shameful, it’s life. Life is beautiful.

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5 Reasons You Need Tea Tree Oil in Your House

It seems like, for every kind of essential oil, it has a fad moment in the beauty world. This is one oil that you should keep on hand in your home and not just for beauty purposes. Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and has so many benefits other than your typical essential oil. Plus is smells amazing.

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1. Treatment of mild-moderate acne

Mix a few drops with some aloe vera or just plan water and use on the infected areas of your face. Careful not to put this directly on open wounds, it will burn a bit. If you do, it isn’t bad for you though, it’s just uncomfortable. If you have body acne though, this stuff is amazing.

2.  Treatment of athlete’s foot

You will need a solution of 25% – 50%. The effectiveness of athlete’s foot is still debatable in the medical world. However, it is acknowledged that most people who used this solution, had a decrease of infection in 4 weeks or less. I know lot’s of people who swear by it (athlete’s mostly).

3. Treatment of lice

If you’re a mamma, you might need this on hand one day. If you mix Tea Tree oil, Lavender and water, it has been proven to repel lice, kill them and also kill their eggs.

4. Treatment of yeast infections

No one likes to talk about it, but it happens. You’ll need a tampon, the Tea Tree Oil and some lubricant. The lubricant keeps the oil from being soaked up by the tampon. Just use a few drops of the oil though. This is commonly used in other countries that are more centered on natural medicine.

5. Treatment of an ear infection

You’ll need 2 tablespoons olive oil, a few drops of Tea Tree oil and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Mix ingredients, lay on your side with the infected ear up, fill up your ear and let it sit for 5 minutes then drain into a towel.

There you have it, keep this stuff on hand. I always do. You can buy it from Trader Joe’s for around $7

** If you have very sensitive skin, you should talk to your doctor before using Tea Tree oil. It should not be used instead of seeking proper medical attention for a severe infection.

Citations:

Tea Tree Oil – WebMD. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-113-tea tree oil.aspx?activeingredientid=113&activeingredientname=tea tree oil

Parks, C. (2014, March 4). Tea Tree Oil For Your Body: What You Need To Know. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/tea-tree-oil-benefits_n_4818635.html

Home Remedies for Ear Infections | Top 10 Home Remedies. (2013, April 8). Retrieved March 23, 2015, from http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-ear-infection.html

THE BASICS. (2010, January 1). Retrieved March 23, 2015, from https://www.msu.edu/user/eisthen/yeast/diy.html

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10 Funny Toddler Moments

I think most parent’s could write a book titled, “Toddler Logic,” and it would be a best seller every time. I have no doubt that many of you have some moments that you are dying to tell the world about. If you do, please comment them and I will make another “Toddler Moments” post.

Here are just a few moments that we can all relate to, directly from the mouth of my own daughter and friend’s children:

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1. When they repeat your parenting rebuttals

Parent: “Why not?”

Child: “Because I said so, that how that work.”

2. Their eccentric view of the world

Child, speaking to cashier: “You have a funny face”

Child, paints picture of a man and then states: “This is my man, he poops a lot.”

3. Their wise and profound, yet confusing statements

Child: “That’s enough kisses mommy!”

Parent: “When can I give you more kisses?”

Child: “When the wind blows”

4. Their lack of empathy for other’s feelings

Child: “I need my own house. I love you when you’re at your house, but not at my house.”

5. Their unwavering self esteem

Child: “Mommy, you look pretty but I more pretty…see!”

Child: “I am so beautiful, I look like a beautiful flower” (whilst admiring herself in the mirror)

6. Their excellent work ethic

When asked to demonstrate what “working” looks like; child picks up cell phone, curls up on the couch and flips through News Feed.

7. Their complete honesty

Child: “This is my song, you can’t sing like Princess Sophia”

8. Their lack of Modesty

Parent: “Child, get your wiener off the window!”

9. Their excellent negotiation skills

Child: “It’s my birthday, I need this cookie.”

Parent: “It’s not your birthday, you birthday was in August.”

Child: “Ok…I’ll eat one green bean.”

10: Their excellent care

Whilst using a plastic “pretend” stethoscope…

Child: “Mommy, your heart is dead.”

Share this if you got a laugh out of it and be sure to comment with any other funny moments!

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Money Saving Tips of the Week for Thrifty Mom’s

So, I’m pretty cheap. Not even frugal, just cheap. But hey, I have to be and if you do to, you should check out these tips.

1. Check out your local dollar store before you head out to Target or Wal-Mart for your must-have items.

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If you’re broke like me, you regularly visit the 99 Cent Store and the Dollar Tree. These are just a few of my recent purchases. All valued at 99 cents or less.

Rules of shopping at these stores; no canned foods (often you can find them at about a dollar anyways), no makeup (because, it’s probably old even if it happens to be name brand), no vitamin’s (when it comes to vitamin’s, quality does matter) and most importantly, always check expiration dates! 

2. Keep those coupons that print at the end of your receipt!

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I don’t need another full-time job so taking on extreme couponing is not going to happen. But, I always keep these coupons because I know that I will use them. I mean it! I just bought juice, soda and iced tea for free at CVS because I keep these babies around ^^

3. Eat out for lunch, not dinner

If you happen to eat out for dinner once a week, make it a lunch instead. Lunch menu’s are usually less expensive and it’s less crowded at restaurants anyways. Steer clear of pizza lunch specials though, you never get your money’s worth.

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4. Freeze foods

This is a no-brainer for meats but did you know that you can freeze bread and fresh-cut veggies? I will often cut up onions and peppers and put them in little baggies to throw in the freezer. Frozen veggies are pretty expensive but this way, they’ll never go bad on you! My bread is always in the freezer.  You can let a few slices defrost when you need them and I promise they will be just as puffy as before you threw them in there. Or you can just do what I do and make toast sandwiches, kid’s never notice the difference.

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5. Visit the store less

When you begin freezing everything, you’ll hopefully find that you can go to the store less often. This is big because how often do we actually walk out of a store with the exact amount of items we intended to purchase? Just make a bi-weekly stop at the store (longer if you can hold out), stock up on your must haves and then eat away at your frozen items for as long as you can. Or you can just send the hubby to the store to pick up the milk, you know he’s less likely to check out the new marinades.

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6. Limit splurging

I’ve already said in another post that I limit my splurging to every 3 months. Honestly, my splurging is getting a new $10 nail polish sometimes.  Just don’t let your eyes wander in the store, be on a one-track mind. Bring a toddler with you, if you must. They’ll hardly give you time to get what you actually need. If you don’t have a toddler, borrow one from a friend.

7. Be smarter about your driving

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Get off that gas pedal. Firstly; if you speed often, you will inevitably get a ticket and that defeats the whole purpose for being thrifty. Secondly, the less RPM’s you run in your car, the more gas you’ll save.

When you fill up, fill the dang thing all the way up. Don’t just throw $20 in it. Just find a well priced station and plan ahead. It’s no shock that when you put your car in the garage on E and you’re running late in the morning to go to work and you’re running out the door, your car will still be on E! Then you’re just at the mercy of that expensive gas station down the street which apparently pumps liquid gold into your car.

8. Avoid over priced photo sessions at department stores and photo studios

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So this one is important because Easter is right around the corner and everyone is making their appointments for their little ones to get their photo’s done at JC Penny’s. That half-priced sitting fee sounds appealing until you are forced to purchase a ridiculous photo package or leave empty-handed. Instead, ask around on Facebook. Are there any new photographers that you know that are looking for some more faces to put in their portfolio’s? You’ll probably get a digital copy of all the photo’s anyways.

Plus, you can ditch the cheesy backdrops, your kids are too cute for that anyways.

9. Remove “over-draft” protection from your account

We have all bought a $37 gallon of milk before thanks to over-draft protection. Just remove it, you might be a bit embarrassed in the store when your card declines but you’ll be much happier to know that you didn’t just make this fatal error.

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10. Get an Interest Checking Account!

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I have an AMAZING online Checking Account through Ally Bank that gets me .10% on my checking account. No minimum balance and no monthly fee! I can withdraw money from any ATM and they will cover the fee.

.10% might not seem like a lot of money, but I’ll take that over nothing thank you very much!

Hope you enjoyed it!

Does Sunscreen Block Vitamin D?

When every mom I knew was slathering their children in thick pasty sunscreen for a two hour visit at the park, all I remember was my mom telling me, too much sunscreen would block their Vitamin D absorption.

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Realistically though, parent’s nowadays are more informed about the effects of the sun, unlike our parent’s were. But do some parent’s take unnecessary precautions against the devastating sun’s rays? Is it possible that the media has hyped up the effects of exposure to the sun?

To investigate this, I turned to the National Institute of Health to get some answers. In a study where individuals of good health were asked to use different thickness’ of sunscreen periodically throughout the day over a 2-3 day period, their Vitamin D production was measured at the end of each day. Their levels were also tested 3 days after the experiment.

The results found that Vitamin D production increased dramatically with the individuals who used thinner layers of sunscreen. According to the US National Library of Health and Medicine,

“When the amount of sunscreen and SPF advised by the World Health Organization are used, vitamin D production may be abolished.”

Now I’m not saying that everyone should go throw out their sunscreen, clearly SPF helps to reduce and prevent skin cancer. But Vitamin D promotes healthy calcium absorption, it contributes to cell regeneration and can help to reduce inflammation. It can also help to improve mood and a variety of other health benefits.

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So what can we do to get the healthy balance between getting our recommended Vitamin D intake and avoiding premature aging and skin cancer? According to Harvard Medical School, there are a lot more factors contributing to Vitamin D deficiency than just sun exposure. Factors like; the latitude on which you live, air pollution, the color of your skin, the temperature of your skin, your weight, age and even the health of your kidneys.  This study also goes onto to indicate that many people actually do not use enough sunscreen to actually create a dramatic difference with their Vitamin D production.

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According to a study done in Spain by Professor Antony Young, applying sunscreen in SPF 15+ or greater is recommended for adults. He conducted a similar study to National Institute’s, except he asked the participants to use SPF 15. He concluded that using SPF 15 or greater and reapplying every few hours based on how quickly you burn, is the best method of decreasing risk of skin cancer whilst still allowing Vitamin D production.

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The point of sunscreen is to block UVB rays but not the necessarily to block UVA rays which can have positive qualities. Although, even that is controversial.

The bottom line is; when protecting children from the sun, always check with your pediatrician. But; just remember, using sunscreen is always recommended but perhaps talk to your doctor before globing SPF 90 sunscreen every day. Also, don’t buy into every news story you hear on the subject. Go straight for the facts.

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Citations

Bakke, B. (2012, August 16). The relation between sunscreen layer thickness and vitamin D production after ultraviolet B exposure: A randomized clinical trial. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22512875

Teen, J. (2013, July 19). Does sunscreen block vitamin D? Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/beauty/does-sunscreen-block-vitamin-d-20130618-2odov.html

Simon, M.D., H. (2011, August 30). 9 things that can undermine your vitamin D level – Harvard Health. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/9-things-that-can-undermine-your-vitamin-d-level

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