Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Trimester Fatigue

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child. I was exhausted. I mean exhausted! It was all I could do to keep my eyes open during the day. I literally would get up about 15 minutes before having to leave for work, change clothes, brush my teeth and hair and start the morning commute with breakfast on the go. During each of my 15 minute breaks and my lunch hour, I would nap. Didn't quite matter where so long as I had my travel alarm clock with me to wake me on time. Upon arriving home from work, I generally just crawled into bed. Sometimes I don't think I even got undressed. Definitely not a time in my life when I looked my best, I'm sure; but I was a tired little chicken!

Does this sound like you? Just can't stay awake to save your life? During the first trimester of pregnancy, it's not unusual to feel excessively tired. Even though you don't look pregnant yet, your body is doing a tremendous amount of work! All those little cells are dividing and multiplying; the entire framework for your little one's body is being created. Add to that the fact that you may be experiencing morning sickness, and you've got the perfect recipe for fatigue.

So what's a tired pregnant girl to do? SLEEP! Yep, you heard me, you have permission to sleep. Your body needs the extra energy to get you through this busy time. If you only have a short amount of time, set an alarm on your cell phone or an alarm clock and catch a few zzzz's. It will help you avoid fatigue and increase your ability to function throughout the day. When it comes to sleeping at night, go to bed earlier if you're able to. Retiring an hour or two earlier than normal may put a kink in your schedule now, but it can make a real difference in how you feel the next day.

In the end, rest assured (no pun intended!) that this feeling of exhaustion won't last forever. Typically, by the end of your first trimester, you'll begin to feel more energetic. That's not to say that you won't have days throughout your pregnancy that you just feel like you want to crawl into bed and never get out, but for now go count some sheep and dream of all the joy you'll share with your new little one!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baby, It's Hot Out There

When I was pregnant with my first child, it was through a blazing hot summer. I remember spending many hours under the one ceiling fan in the house, sucking on 7-Up ice cubes (one of my cravings during that pregnancy), and trying in vain to feel cooler. Recently, I was out running errands and came across at least five pregnant women...VERY pregnant women. Gosh, my heart went out to them! It's hard enough to keep cool when you're not pregnant, much less when you're walking around feeling like you really are cooking a little bun in an oven!

Right now you're body is working very hard at creating that beautiful new life inside of you, so the massive amounts of energy that it takes to cool your body, too (and keep it that way), can easily leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, and even the victim of heat exhaustion. Even worse, when you are feeling the extreme effects of the heat, so is your baby. That's why, when it's so hot outside AND you're pregnant, it's especially important to find ways to keep cool.

So, what can you do to keep cool? Well, first thing's first. Stay hydrated! Yes, you already feel like you have to pee every 40 minutes and the thought of consuming more liquids is a bit terrifying; but, believe me, it's the right thing to do. First, because your body needs it to replace the fluids that you're losing from sweating. Second, because it's just plain good for you; and, third, dehydration actually increases the body's core body temperature.

The next thing you can do to stay cool is to actually try to not do anything. Be still; try to be active as little as possible during the hottest parts of the day. Do your errands early in the day. Wait until night to do that load of laundry. And, during the afternoon, take a rest near a fan lie down and watch a movie, or catch up on your journaling. Just promise yourself to do so guilt-free! Remember, by taking it easy in the heat, you're actually doing the right thing for your body and your baby.

Third, lower your core body temperature by taking a cool shower or bath. No time for that? Try placing a cold washcloth on the back of your neck. You can even use paper towels if you're away from home and need a quick cool down. Another easy trick that was, and still is, one of my favorites is to sit with your feet in a tub of cool water. You see, our bodies are curious things. When we're cold, the body's reaction is to conserve heat in our core by reducing circulation to our extremities. That's the reason our hands and feet are usually the first to feel the effects of the cold. When we're hot and the body is trying to cool itself, the opposite happens with those extremities. Think about how great it feels to go wading in a cool pond or stream on a hot day. Soaking your feet in a tub of cool water will give you the same feeling. It's amazing how much cooler you'll feel all over if you focus some of that cooling on the right places.

Finally, if you think you may be suffering from heat exhaustion - signs may include headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and a faint or rapid pulse - contact your health care provider immediately.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is Your Skin Ready for Summer?

Happy First Day of Summer! 

You may have been having summer-like weather already or you may live in an area where "summer" is just around the corner, but, either way, is your skin ready?

Warmer weather means more of your beautiful skin showing and, of course, you want it to look it's best. While you may have prepared for summer in the past by simply getting a pedicure and a bikini wax, now that you're pregnant, you may be finding your skin has a host of other needs - dry and itchy skin, the dreaded stretch marks, not to mention the fact that you may have trouble even reaching your precious toes to get them ready for sandal season! Don't despair, though, here are some tips get you glowing and beach ready in no time!

Every great work of art has to start with a great foundation, right? Your skin is no different. Now that your shedding the long sleeves and trading your pants for skirts or shorts, you may be noticing that the skin you're revealing is less than glowing. If you're skin is anything like mine was during pregnancy, it's super dry and itchy, too. A great exfoliator is the place to start to rid yourself of all the dull, dry skin and begin revealing your skin's true beauty. Be sure to use it from head to toe for an all over glow. Exfoliating once a week should be enough to keep your skin looking great throughout the summer. Just be sure you're using one that you find comfortable. A good exfoliator shouldn't feel too rough or hurt to use.

Now that you've revealed your most beautiful skin, you want to keep it that way, right? To do so, you'll need a daily moisturizer that keeps your skin hydrated and healthy. Depending on your preference, this could be in the form of a lotion, balm, or body oil (check out our great selection!). Again, apply it all over to keep your skin looking great. The added bonus of keeping your skin properly moisturized, too, is that it lessens your likelihood of developing stretch marks. Despite claims by many products on the market, there is nothing that will actually prevent them, but, by keeping your skin hydrated, your contributing to your skin's elasticity which will help it to stretch without leaving those telltale marks.

And, your toes? You may not be able to reach them, but that doesn't mean you should ignore them. Splurge on a visit to the nail salon for a pedicure or simply enlist the aide of your partner or a friend to get your toes painted to perfection. If you're having them done at home, we suggest Zoya polish, too. It's free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates) and camphor; plus it's long-wearing and that's a bonus when reaching your toes is an issue!

Finally, now that you've got the beautiful, glowing skin you deserve, show it off in a terrific swimsuit. Swimsuit shopping may have been your least favorite thing to do before you were pregnant but it doesn't have to be now that you are.'s editor has found some of the most flattering suits that will fit any budget. Best of all, they're gorgeous, too; just like you!

PS. Be sure you're using sunscreen, too! An spf of at least 15 should be sufficient on days that you're just running errands but, if you're going to be out in the sun for a prolonged period of time, grab a great beach hat and be sure to go for a higher number so you don't burn.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: The 30-Day Challenge

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: The 30-Day ChallengeFather's Day is fast approaching.  Like many other families across America, you may be looking at items such as ties, grilling tools, and automotive equipment to fill the need of a gift this year.  But why not slip a little something extra into the gift for a dad with daughters?

A follow up companion to the national bestseller Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Meeker, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: The 30-Day Challenge is a great book for any dad with girls in the house.  It's full of practical activities meant to strengthen the bonds between father and daughter and is great for dads and daughters of any age.

And don't worry if your daughter is just a wee one.  It's never too early to begin creating the bond between a girl and the first man she'll fall in love with.  Activities can be adapted to be more simple or more involved depending on the age, comfort level, and available time.

P.S.  Don't have girls or have a mix in your home?  Don't worry!  Dr. Meeker has another fabulous book all about boys.  Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons will take readers on a journey from boyhood to manhood.

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Raspberry Picking is a Lot Like Pregnancy

This blog was originally posted a few years back. As I watch the finches in my backyard skitter in and out of my own raspberry bushes, it made me think of this, though; and I thought it was worth a repost.  Enjoy!

OK, I'll admit that, even for the most intelligent person, the title of this blog may sound a bit confusing. It all started with a trip to the local u-pick farm...

Every year I go to a local farm to pick raspberries. I started out taking my children because I was of the mindset that it's a good idea to take them out and have them experience that sort of thing. Over the years, the whining in the fields and the whining that even precedes the trip has reached a fevered pitch. I remind them that, just like the story of the Little Red Hen, if they don't help, they don't get to partake in the bounty. The response I normally get is, "But, I don't even like raspberries, so who cares?" I've given up on every making them into champion raspberry pickers so this year I went alone.

The farm I go to is only about a mile from where I grew up. It's a great place, and one would never guess that a booming metropolis is a mere 15 minutes away. It was a warm day but more tolerable than the 90+ degree weather we had the week prior. I got my buckets, was told what area of the farm was open to picking that day and set out on my journey. I settled on a row to head down and began. For the first several feet, the pickings were miserable. Little, itty bitty berries that were either not ripe yet or overripe and there weren't even very many of those. "Great," I thought, "this is what it's going to be like. I'll work and work and still not get anything to shout about."

As I progressed down the row, conditions began to get slightly better. My experience was still not ideal but it was at least getting better. There were people all around in different rows and that was about all I could hear - voices of men, women, and children in at least three different languages. I continued to pick as I imagined who these people were; what their personal stories were.

As I persistently made my way down the row, my bucket slowly filling up, the berries became more prolific and closer to the perfection I was looking for. If you've ever picked raspberries, you know, too, that sometimes the best berries aren't in plain sight. So, being an experienced raspberry picker, I was, at times, head first halfway into the vines searching out the best of what they had to offer. I thought, "I must be a real sight," but then realized that I didn't hear voices anymore. Instead, I could hear the swallows and finches calling to each other. There were two hawks circling and calling. There was a tractor somewhere in the distance. The geese at the neighboring farm were honking. I breathed deep and could smell the sweet scent of hay. It was peaceful and I suddenly felt very centered and present and in tune with what was going on around me.

It was then that it occurred to me that this was lot like pregnancy. You start out with a thought in your head of how great and perfect the journey will be like only to find that maybe it's not what you expected. The beginning is not fully packed with rewards and it seems there are outside voices around you constantly. But, as you move through the journey, it begins to get better and, the further you go, the more the outside noise slips away. You begin to hear your own inner voice and become in tune with yourself. You become present. At then end, you can look back on the journey and see how far you've really come and, as a special prize, there's a baby.

I was just getting close to finishing up my picking, listening to a finch making a little "pip" next to me occasionally, when I turned and looked at where I had started. Wow! I had made more progress than I had thought and had a great bounty to show for it (nearly 10 pounds!). It was then, that I got my prize. I pulled my head out of some vines, straightened up and, just as I was reaching forward to grab a few berries, saw them right smack in front of me...babies! My finch friend had apparently been waiting for me to move along so she could feed her nestful of four brand new baby birds! The afternoon really couldn't have ended any better.

I took a few quick photos and grabbed my buckets to begin the walk back to the car. As I got closer, the voices around me began to rise in volume again and drown out the songs of the birds and the rumble of the tractor. I got in the car and began driving home. Yes, raspberry picking is a lot like pregnancy. A journey that is not without effort but a journey that is sweet and full of wonderful surprises.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beautiful Burp Rags

If you're a mom, you've used them.  If you're going to be a mom, you need them!  Burp rags are almost as much of a necessity as diapers.  And the best burp rags we ever used with our own children were, well, diapers.  Cloth diapers are made to be soft and absorbent, so they're fabulous for wiping chubby cheeks and all the other body parts that seem to get spewed on.

But plain old cloth diapers can be boring.  What's a trendy momma to do?  As always, we've got you covered!  Our lovely new burp rags are the answer!  They start out as pre-washed 100% cotton diapers and, after we glam 'em up with super soft fabric flowers, you've got burp rags so beautiful everyone will want to use them! 

Flower colors currently available are pastel pink, hot pink, burgundy, gray, lavender, white, brown, and navy.  Grab one for $7 or get a trio for $18.  Hoping for a color you didn't see listed?  More colors are coming soon; just let us know what you're after and we'll move that color up the list so it's ready for you right away!

PS. These are currently available as an exclusive on our Facebook page.  Please like us and message us your order there or through the Contact page on our website!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby Food for Thought

At em we spend a lot of time thinking about what goes on the bodies of customers. It's only natural considering that's what we specialize in. Today, though, we want to talk about what goes in. Specifically, what goes in your baby. When the time comes to begin feeding baby more than just breast or bottle, we know that many families are concerned about finding the very best for their little ones.

Of course, there are plenty of options when you're at the grocery store. There are multiple brands, choices between regular or organic, decisions about which type of cereal to choose. When my youngest was a baby, it was much easier. There was basically just one brand and about the only decision was whether he liked peas or carrots better (for the record, it was peas; lots and lots of peas).  Unfortunately, the other consideration is cost. Good gravy, baby food is expensive! If you want to buy organic, be prepared to pay upwards to a dollar or more for a single jar! As babe gets a little bigger and is eating a couple at one sitting, that really starts adding up! The solution? Make your own! I know it sounds difficult. It sounds time consuming. It sounds messy. Trust me, it doesn't have to be! 

First, there's cereal. Many people believe that cereal is the only option for a first food. In my own personal experience, that's not always true (but I'm not a pediatrician so please understand this is only my personal experience and should be taken only as that).  My own children at a combination of cereal and fruit and veggie purees as their first foods.  But, I digress... cereal.

The beauty of making your own is that YOU get to choose the ingredients. If you want to do rice cereal, for example, you have the option of choosing what kind of rice it is - white, brown, basmati, jasmine, organic, etc.  So, how do you make it? It's a piece of (rice)cake!  Just grind up your chosen grain.  A coffee or spice grinder is perfect for this as it will grind your grain to a nice powder. Once you have your powder, just store it in an airtight container. To turn your magical powder into cereal for baby, just add 1/4 cup of cereal powder to 1 cup boiling water, stirring constantly, and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. If desired, you can then stir in breastmilk, formula, juice, or a fruit or veggie puree.  See? Easy!! And, you're not limited to rice. You can do the same with barley, oatmeal (don't use the instant "quick" oatmeal; only use the old-fashioned oats), uncooked pasta, or quinoa.  Just be sure you cook the cereal. Your powder is from an uncooked grain, after all, and that's hard for baby to digest.

This is a great example of brown rice from grain to powder to cereal from They've got TONS more great information on their site, too!

Moving on from cereal, fruits and veggies are always fun to introduce to baby. I would write a bunch about it here, but instead, I'm providing you with a video from Abbey at Everyday Champagne. In less than 5 minutes, she shows you how to make roughly 28 ounces of homemade baby food for around $3. That's an amazing savings, and she does it all in a tiny little corner of her kitchen! 

See what I mean? Easy! And you don't have to use flash frozen veggies if you don't want to. Pick up something delicious and seasonal at your local farmer's market. Pick something delicious from your own garden. Just be sure it has been cooked first (in the case of most veggies and apples) and is soft enough to go into the blender. Personally, I'm thinking carrots and green beans from our garden or blueberries from the local U-Pick farm.  Yum!!

So go pull out your blender from the back of the pantry. Pick up some extra ice cube trays at the dollar store. And start with the baby food makin'!  Don't forget to share your success stories with us, too!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reformulation, Sodium Benzoate, and YOU

You may have heard the recent uproar over the reformulation of a certain competitor's products.  Now, I don't like to bash other companies because I think it's just uncalled for.  Name calling is not a way to do business, in my opinion, and turns us all into nasty sounding people.  That being said, I felt like I had to say something in response to all the drama that is unfolding around this "scandal".  If you want to read more about this company and what has happened, I would Google "calendula cream" and "[name of a sunny west coast state where movie stars live] Baby".  That should get you more than enough to read.

The general story that is unfolding is that this company, which has purported to produce natural products for babies, reformulated their famous calendula cream as well as added sodium benzoate as a preservative to many of their other products.  After releasing the new formulation and not announcing it as such, they began to receive many complaints with many people reporting rashes, hives, etc.  Apparently, and this comes just from what I have read online from consumer comments, the initial response to these complaints was to flat out deny that there was any reformulation.  Consumers were told that it was the same product.  Complaints, and photos of skin reactions I'm told, were posted on the company's Facebook wall en mass and the company eventually made a statement and came clean.  However, all complaints, responses, and the company statement have since been deleted.  

As a maker of natural products, especially ones that are used on pregnant moms and babies, I find this whole scenario sad. It is true that many companies will reformulate (or formulate in the first place) based on costs. It's expensive to create products that are truly natural and/or organic.  And, when production costs are higher, that means we have to charge more for a product when it's on a retail shelf just to break even. The end result is typically companies that make excellent products that you've never heard of.  It's hard to compete with a product that appears similar and is half the cost.  In the end, though, you get what you pay for. 

Speaking to the actual ingredient that is getting so much attention in all this mess, sodium benzoate, let me ask you this... does it sound natural?  In reading a list of comments left on a blog about all of this, one commenter said she found the ingredient listed on the Seventh Generation Baby Wipes that she uses.  Upon inquiring to the company about it, she was told:
 You ask a great question. The concern with Sodium Benzoate is when it is in the presence of ascorbic acid, which we don’t use in any of our products. This concern came to light in sodas and soft drinks because they use both ingredients. We are using sodium benzoate as a preservative for our baby wipes and is the most responsible, natural option that we can find.
Sodium benzoate naturally occurs in several fruits like apples, plums and cranberries. A few sweet spices contain small amounts of sodium benzoate, including cloves and cinnamon.
That's a nice statement and, to most, would do much to ease a worried mind.  After all, it appears it's only an issue if it's in soda, right?  I'm sure that plenty of other "natural" companies like 7th Gen will tell you that, too (and I apologize for using their name outright but felt it was appropriate since I was quoting their response to a consumer).  However, it is NOT entirely true. Benzoic acid is a naturally occurring substance BUT sodium benzoate, the ingredient in question, is a chemical that is synthesized in a lab. So, no, sodium benzoate does NOT occur in several fruits and a few sweet spices as the 7th Gen representative stated.  It is NOT the natural preservative that they want you to think it is.  And, don't even get me started on the sodium laureth sulfates that many of these natural companies' products contain!

Anyway, it's frustrating to see this kind of thing happen in our industry because it creates a veil of suspicion around all of us that create truly natural products. For my company, I determined long ago to only use ingredients my great grandmother would recognize. So, no, our products are not on the shelves at Target or Whole Foods or Motherhood Maternity.  And, while it would be nice if they were, our guiding light is not the almighty dollar.  It is YOU.  We have never received a complaint about any of our products, and we're very proud of that. Our products may be harder to find and may cost a bit more, but we believe YOU, and your family, are worth it!  For the record, here's the ingredient list in our baby balm, which is a miracle worker on diaper rash, too!
sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, shea butter, beeswax, lavender oil, vitamin E oil
Yep, that's it. Good for baby; good for Mother Nature. Yes, we know it's more expensive than others that are out there, but we're confident that, if you try it, you'll find it really is pretty spectacular. Order some today and refer to this blog in the Notes to Seller section when checking out. When you do, we'll refund $5 of your purchase price now through February 15, 2012.