Blog, Family, Retail

A Stay-Cation-Day at the MOA

Recently we decided to spend a day at the Mall of America (MOA) as  family.

Our highlights are below. Do you notice anything missing? Like pictures? It is because we literally just HUNG OUT together. IT WAS AMAZING. But don’t get used to it. I am typically a picture-aholoic!

  1. Go on a Sunday! We decided to go to church at our 5pm service on the Saturday before. Then meant we had an enjoyable, non-rushed morning, and headed out around 10:00am for the mall!
  2. We hit up Nickelodeon Universe first thing. No. Lines. This is definitely a parenting win!
  3. Fly Over America was open, and since Max’s favorite ride at Disney is Soarin’, we just had to check it out. It cost us a whopping $66 for the family to go, however how could we say no? Overall – it was great. Double the length of Soarin’, clean, friendly, quick process. Some of the negatives were the long instruction video, the cost, and the fact that we didn’t always know what area of “America” we were seeing! Better “landmarks” or some words in the corner to let us know where we were flying, would have been nice – but we had fun guessing. All in all, it is overpriced, and the price will definitely need to come down – but it was worth it as a one-time thing.
  4. Next – some lunch! We decided on the Hard Rock Cafe – a true ‘fake tourist’ destination! The kids loved the atmosphere, and we enjoyed some good appetizers, burgers, and kids meals – complete with a Guitar Plate!
  5. Followed up by a little shopping and a treat (DQ, Slushie, Cinnabon – variety is great!) – we all headed home and took a nice nap. A perfect day with the fam.

Cheers,

H Bloomer

Advertisements
Standard
Blog, Health and Wellness, Retail, Running, Shopping

Miles of Smiles

I am now six weeks into training for the Stillwater Half Marathon and today was a long-run day. Nine miles of smiles. All my mileage goals are mapped out in my planner so I can plan activities around what needs to be accomplished. In anticipation of this longer run I set out to find a really good pair of running socks. As it goes, I had two pair of “favorites” and I effectively lost one of each of the pair in the laundry last week. I’m not above wearing mismatched socks, but figured it was an OK time to invest in some additional pairs. I’m going to need them in the remaining six weeks anyway.

So- running socks are kind of expensive. Certainly I can get a 6-pack of general sports socks, from any discount retailer, but for long distance they just don’t prevent blisters or provide the compression I find valuable. After browsing the racks at Dick’s Sporting Goods, I discovered a brand called Feetures. They promised “High Performance” and “No Blisters.” Both very appealing claims. Cute colors and a moderate advertised price of $12.99/pair. (Though there must have been a signage mistake because they actually only rang up as $8.97- bonus!) I put them to the test today.

IMG_2823

Happy to report that the fit was snug, and there was absolutely no slipping to be felt inside my shoe. The “no show” tab actually does show a little bit, but suited my needs as is because my Asics have a higher back than my Nike Free running shoes.

sock edit

Heading into the run I already had a soft callus from running earlier this week. The beginnings of a blister if you will. I didn’t feel any pain during my run today, but when I ended the blister was certainly there. Maybe their ad copy could be better written to state, “No NEW Blisters.” That would be totally accurate. All in all, I am very satisfied and would give 4.5/5 stars overall.

Now- on a totally unrelated note- today will be the last post I create as a writer for Balloons in the Sky blog. I was offered and accepted a new FT position that begins tomorrow. After nine years at my previous job and being totally comfortable in what I do every day, I am about to embark on a new adventure. I need to give it 100% of my energy and attention right now- well, what is left over after running miles of smiles anyway.

Heidi will keep this blog going so stick around for more travel, food, recommendations, and inspirations.  Thanks so much for reading! I’ll resume writing on my own blog at some point in the future and will definitely be seeking many of you out to follow. There are many talented writers I’ve gotten to know through this blog.

All my best!

A.Lockhart

IMG_2819

Image Outtake. Features socks. Cats love’m.

Standard
Beauty, Blog, Health and Wellness, Retail, Uncategorized

You know that feeling when you want to know the truth, but not really know…

I’ve been wrestling with that feeling ever since discovering the SkinDeep app I wrote about in How did I not know about this until recently? In sum, it’s a free App and provides information on the health & safety ratings of more than 80,000 products sold in the U.S. cosmetics industry. I’m in my late 30’s, college educated, and professionally employed. I like to consider myself “on top of things.” Yet, it was just six months ago when I learned that the beauty industry, an industry that receives a fair share of my discretionary income, is highly unregulated.

I am an avid label reader when it comes to what goes in my body. While I was pregnant with my first child I made a zealous effort to do everything by the book. After she was born, I continued the healthy habits and made the choice to breastfeed. Within a couple of days she started breaking out in little red bumps on her skin! The pediatrician recognized right away that my baby bundle of joy had a milk protein allergy. She recommended I forego dairy in order to avoid the allergic reaction, or switch to formula. I did what a sane thrifty person would do. Every bit of dairy was purged from my diet. The result?

  • clear skin for my baby (yay!)
  • increase in my grocery bill (maybe formula would have been cheaper?)
  • the realization that “milk” is in everything (including many “non-dairy” seeming items like breads, crackers, and cereals)
  • major weight loss for me (another yay!)
  • my sinuses cleared up completely (didn’t even know they were problematic)
  • a learning that reading ingredient labels is necessary

Even though I was (and still am) totally ept at reading labels for food items, I was oblivious to the importance of understanding and reading labels for products that go on my body, or countertops, tabletops, dishes, laundry, and the likes… I mean, we live in America right? Everything is regulated. Safe…

So, back to six months ago when my world was totally rocked when I discovered this was not the case. A friend of mine sells BeautyCounter and she provided me with a bit of education. If you’ve not heard of BeautyCounter, it is a newer (premium) cosmetics line dedicated to producing products that meet rigid standards. I’m talking well above and beyond what the FDA requires. It wouldn’t take much though… seriously. Take a guess. How many chemicals do you think are banned from cosmetics in the USA?

Here’s a cute picture of my cuddly kittens to look at while you make your guess…now scroll down and see how close you were to being right.

2.7.16 Cuddly2

 

The U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. In comparison, the EU law  bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. Read more about that here.

Now I’m left to my own devices to educate myself and find out just what this means for me as a consumer. This is not just an issue for women’s health either. Men are using products with chemicals in them every day; face wash, body wash, shampoo, dish soap, laundry soap…well…some men use these products…right? Thankfully, I have a husband who actually does. Anyway-

I’ve been thinking a lot about how Valentine’s Day is coming up and a common gift is perfume. Now I’m like…how romantic…here’s your glass jar of sweet smelling toxin. I love you. Sorry if this gives you cancer someday. Ugh.

Here’s a couple of simple things I’ve allowed myself to learn. Like I said earlier, I want to know…but yet I don’t. I’m taking baby steps.

  • Fragrance free = nothing extra added to the product
  • Unscented = fragrance additive! (a scent used to mask unpleasant chemical smells)
  • Fragrances = chemical mysteries. Companies are not required by law to list all the chemicals in a product. They are protected by trade secret laws and only have to list one word: Fragrance.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is working hard to provide education on exactly what all this means for consumers. As I continue to learn information, or discover natural beauty alternatives, I plan to share. Right now I understand that fragrance-free is probably my best bet, but that I still have to read the whole label. Something I pride myself on is being very level-headed and intelligent. Not a reactionary or extremist. In college I took courses where I was asked to evaluate propaganda with a critical eye and I got A’s. I don’t want to be an alarmist. I just want to make informed choices and help others do the same! If you have any specific questions, or thoughts, I’d love to hear from you. I’m not an expert, but I sure am I motivated learner.

To your health,

A.Lockhart

Standard