Tuesday, April 24, 2018

5 Ways To Care For Your Skin's Overall Health

Tracking Pixel
5 Ways To Care For Skin's Overall Health

You guys have heard me talk about my skin before, but mainly in terms of how I deal with my dry skin in the winter or what I do to combat the signs of aging. And while those things are important, lately I've been more focused on my skin's overall health. For a long time, I would work out and eat certain foods in an effort to reach or maintain a set number of pounds, which I eventually realized wasn't the best way to approach it. Once I started thinking of exercise and food as ways to keep my body at its healthiest instead of just pounds, I became stronger, more energetic, and happier in general. So I figured, why not do the same for my skin? The skin is our largest organ, and it has a big job - to protect our bodies! Since I've started taking care of my skin from a whole health perspective rather than just treating its "problems," I've seen a big difference. That is why I'm so excited to be partnering with Dove today, one of my favorite brands that cares for the health of skin, to share 5 ways to care for your skin, inside and out.

1. Drink water. Water is crucial to overall skin and body health. It flushes impurities and toxins from our bodies, including the biggest organ we have - our skin. Drinking water is such an easy way to help keep your skin at its healthiest. You just have to do it! If you're not a plain water fan, add a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange.

2. Limit sun exposure. Perhaps this is a given, but I think it deserves to be mentioned, because it's incredibly important, and also because I personally have been terrible about it throughout my life. I love the sunshine. My dream day is sitting on a beach, soaking up the rays in the summertime. I was very irresponsible about protecting my skin from the sun in my 20s and 30s, and now I'm paying the price. It's never too late to take steps to prevent skin cancer and keep skin healthy though, so these days I make sure to cover up, wear SPF, and seek out shade.

3. Use a Dove Beauty Bar. Healthy skin is smooth, moisturized, and clean without feeling tight or dry. That's why I ditched my ordinary bar soaps and replaced them with a Dove Beauty Bar. A recent Dove survey found that 86% of dermatologists report that the "squeaky clean" feeling means your skin might be stripped of the moisture and nutrients it needs. I believe it! My skin often feels itchy and looks flat when I use ordinary bar soaps, which I recently learned is actually a sign of dry skin damage. Unlike basic soap bars, Dove Beauty Bar gently but effectively cleanses, providing soft, smooth skin. Once I started using it regularly, my four-year-old daughter even noticed - she told me that my skin was "the softest in the world." I'll take it! Dove is the #1 Dermatologist and Pediatrician recommended Bar, so I feel good about my whole family using it. And it's affordable. Double win! Dove Beauty Bar is sold at mass, food and drug retailers nationwide. If you're on a skin health journey like I am, I highly recommend giving it a try.

4. Manage stress. I read something a few months ago about how stress can lead to all sorts of skin problems. And while I feel like I'm constantly preaching the importance of controlling stress here at Bubby and Bean when the reality is that I'm not very good at it, I always make a conscious effort to find ways to manage it the best I can. The things that seem to make the most difference in the health of my body - and my skin - are taking breaks for myself to breathe and practice mindfulness, daily yoga, and trying to get as much quality sleep as possible.

5. Eat healthy foods. Just as consuming whole, clean foods makes a positive difference in your body as a whole, it also can improve the overall health of your skin. Diets rich in healthy fats (avocados, nuts, fish oil) and fruits and vegetables contribute to healthy skin (and may actually even help your skin look younger).

Are any of you on a skin health journey like I am? Do you have any other tips for keeping skin at its healthiest? Who else is a Dove Beauty Bar fan?

This post is sponsored by Dove Beauty Bar. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Hey, Swimsuit Season. (Yep. It's Almost Here.)

The 8 Perfect Swimsuits for Summer 2018
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8

Yes, it snowed here in Chicago last week, and here I am, clearly in denial, writing about swimsuits. Despite our complete lack of spring here (and apparently in much of the rest of the country as well) however, the swimming pool still opens next month. And summer is my favorite season, so it's nice to have something to look forward to when you have to pull your winter coat and boots from the back of your closet in mid April, know what I'm saying?

I am way into the high waisted bikini bottoms I've been seeing around for the upcoming season, as well as all of ruffles gracing suits this year. The pieces you see above are some of my favorites that I'm currently eyeing. I'm especially smitten with #6. That color is everything.

Who else is giving this winterish spring the middle finger and swimsuit shopping? Which piece above is your favorite?


Thursday, April 19, 2018

My 15 Favorite Items From Trader Joe's

The Best Items To Buy At Trader Joe's

So full disclosure, I wrote a post almost identical to this a little over a year ago, which some of you may remember. But I thought I'd share an updated version, since although most of my favorite items from my beloved Trader Joe's haven't changed, there are some new staples for me now (along with some items I featured last year that I no longer buy). TJs is my top grocery store because they not only have lots of delicious food (much of which is healthier than what I find at my regular supermarket), they're affordable. Double win. (And nope, this isn't sponsored. I just genuinely love me some TJs.)

1. Toscano Black Pepper Cheese.  Keeping this one at #1 because it is THE BEST. It was recommended to us several years ago by a Trader Joe's employee while we were shopping, and there has not been a visit to TJs since where we didn't buy it.

2. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. I use this in and for pretty much everything.

3. Raw Almond Butter. When I first saw the price for one of these jars, I put it back. But then I grabbed it again and man, am I glad I did. I eat this almost everyday. Try dipping apples into it or adding it to your morning smoothie. Delightful.

4. Thai Yellow Curry Sauce. I've told this story before, but almost 12 years ago now, I had my husband over for dinner for the first time. I made him yellow curry tofu with this sauce, and he told me he was smitten. (I also drank way too much vodka that night and he ended up holding up my hair over the toilet, but we'll save the details of that story for another time.) We still make this dish on the regular.

5. Thai Vegetable Gyoza. My favorite food in the entire world is Tibetan Momos, and these veggie potstickers, while not as delicious as the real thing, are pretty damn similar. We steam them, then light pan fry, and serve with Bragg Amino Acids. So good.

6. Chile Lime Seasoning Blend. As the cool kids say, this stuff is extra. 

7. Organic Broccoli Slaw. This stuff is killer on top of bowls, steamed and served like pasta, added to tacos, etc. Endless possibilities. 

8. Triple Ginger Snaps.  Made with fresh ginger, candied ginger, and ground ginger, theses are the perfect not-too-sweet sweet treats.

9. Handcrafted Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos. Beans, cheese, and taquitos. Enough said.

10. Speculoos Cookie Butter. I feel like including this is almost cliche because it's everybody's TJ favorite, but it's really really really good, so I couldn't leave it out.

11. Paneer Tikka Masala with Spinach Basmati Rice. I wish the portion was larger, but it genuinely tastes like it's from an Indiana restaurant. So good.

12. Everything But The Bagel Seasoning. There is very little that this seasoning can't make better.

13. Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches. Definitely not good for you, but the best ice cream sandwiches I've ever had. For real.

14. Oven-Baked Cheese Bites. These bites are 100% cheese. All cheese. Mmmm.

15.  Triple Ginger Brew. This is only available around the holidays, which for whatever reason is the only time I seem to drink soda, so it works out pretty well for me. Think ginger ale with bite.

If you have any favorites I missed, please share them! I'm always on the look out for new Trader Joe's goodies I haven't tried.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun
This post is sponsored by Pooparoos Supriseroos, but all opinions are my own.

I remember naively looking forward to potty training with my daughter (who is now four). I happily envisioned an eager toddler excited to be a big kid and go pee pee on the potty, full of congratulatory high fives and elated farewells to diapers. Sure, there would be an occasional accident, but it couldn't be that hard, right? Ha. Hahaha. Potty training reality for us (as with most things for us as new parents) turned out to be much different than imagined, especially in terms of my daughter's enthusiasm about the experience. She had no interest in using the potty, and even as a two year old, clearly viewed it as a chore and waste of her time. We tried all sorts of different methods, but in the end, only one thing resulted in success - making it fun. Perhaps this seems common sense, but it was harder than we thought to find ways to creatively incorporate fun into the process. And while all kids are different, now that we're beginning to toilet train our two year old son, we have a much clearer picture of specific ways to encourage him to use the potty and to see it as an enjoyable experience. Today I'd thought I'd share some of the things that worked for our first born that are now working for our toddler as well.

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

1. Read toilet training books. When we were training our daughter, we read several books everyday that focus - in fun ways - on getting little ones to understand and get excited about moving on from diapers. We're now doing the same for our son, and he absolutely loves it. With him, we've also been reading them to him while he sits on the potty, which provides extra motivation for him to try to go just like the kids in the books.

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

2. Have potty movie time. I remember reading somewhere that providing screen time while your toddler is toilet training can actually create a stumbling block, but for us, it's been a big part of our success. With our daughter, the first time she actually went on the toilet (after trying many other things), was while she was sitting on her toddler toilet watching a movie. We did have her get up and take breaks every few minutes, but ultimately, she was sitting long enough that she finally had to go, and, well, just went. For her, she was able to look at this time as something special (getting to watch a movie) rather than a chore (having to sit on the potty until she had to go), and that made it fun. It also enabled her to experience what it actually felt like to go on a toilet instead of in a diaper, which is the first step of the toilet training process (and something kids are sometimes initially scared about).

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

3. Keep a sticker chart. I wish we'd done this from the beginning with our daughter (we didn't do it until we'd already been trying for a couple of weeks), because it made a massive difference in how she viewed toilet training. As soon as she realized that she got a sticker on her chart every time she went #1 in the potty, and both a sticker and a small treat every time she went #2, she looked at it has a game as which she wanted to excel rather than a chore. We started a chart immediately with our son, and he thinks earning his stickers is the most fun thing in the world.

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun
5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

4. Play with silly pooping toys. Yep, you read that right! I can't tell you how much I wish we'd had Pooparoos Supriseroos for our daughter, because they've genuinely been one of the best ways to get our son excited about using the toilet. (And even though our daughter has been potty trained for over two years now, she loves them too because they're hilarious and adorable.) These cute little toilet toys each contain a precious surprise Pooparoos figure that comes with different "foods" and a serving tray. The kids feed them, then squeeze them to help them go on the potty. It's kind of genius, really. There are eight of them all together which makes them so fun for the kids to collect, and each one is random, so opening the package is a surprise (which is my daughter's favorite part). My son loves to make his pal go on the potty, and then he pretends (and sometimes even succeeds!) to go on his potty as well. They're such funny, lighthearted toys whether your little one is potty training or not. (You grab some of your very own right here or at your local Walmart.)

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

5. Get siblings involved. My son wants to do everything his big sister does, and she loves helping out with him. It was actually initially her idea to make a game out of going on the potty, and it ended up being kind of brilliant. She'll explain "potty race time!" and they'll both run to the bathroom. It makes our toddler giggle (and motivates him to go because his sister is going), and makes our daughter feel likes she's doing something important (which she is!).

So there you have it - the ways we make potty training fun for our little ones (and more enjoyable for us, as well). If you have any tips or ideas I left out that work for you, I'd love to hear them. Solidarity, friends. We're in this together!