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Why I went to Physical Sunscreen

Go to a dermatologist or any beauty expert and you won’t be walking out without them hysterically telling you how important sun protection is. I’m no expert, but I’m not any different either: Use it daily! Apply it EVERYWHERE. No, your make up is not enough.

I used to apply sunscreen (chemical, broad spectrum) on clean skin before applying any other skin/make up products. *I DO NOT DO THIS ANYMORE* Not because it was ineffective by any means, but I now use a physical sunscreen. My face routine is now: serum/face cream, physical sunscreen, and then bb cream. What is physical sunscreen? Well, there’s no real definition for it. It essentially means that the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide physically block the UV rays from getting to the skin. Chemical, on the other hand, uses chemicals to either absorb or scatter the UV rays.

Why the change? After doing a lot of research that came after talking to my intelligent esthetician (who sadly moved to Texas) I have enlisted to prevent any pigmentation. Hence, I now use physical sunscreen on my face/neck/chest every single day! To prevent burning. To stop sun damage. Premature ageing. And halt that mean, pigmentation, in its tracks. Physical sunscreen also allows me to forget about constantly reapplying it (unless I wet my face or sweat profusely) which is the tricky part with chemical sunscreens and make up! I will often use a BB cream or foundation with chemical sunscreens on top of this, that is to say, I am not making a stand against them, but for my primary sun protection on the face and chest? Physical sunscreen.

Let’s get one thing straight though, no matter what you are using or decide to use it is SO important to use that sunscreen on a daily basis – especially since we live in the kind of ridiculous country that insists on having extreme UV. Also because without it we burn, and get skin cancer, and our immune system suffers and our beautiful skin becomes lined and spotted. Yes, we should get about 15 minutes (depending on the time of year/UV strength/your skin) of sun exposure per day for Vitamin D and general happiness, as many miserable Chicagoans will attest to in the winter. The best way to get it and not soil your lovely skin is to expose the arms, in my opinion.

~Your Beauty Chick ~ Neema

Chick Picks:

Great on-the-go sunscreen for your pursue – AND KID FRIENDLY! (This goes directly on my 18 month old daughter when we play out in the sun)
Doubles as a moisturizer – Lightweight and lovely.
Quite the superstar in the physical sunscreen world, being one of, if not the only spray versions.
My all time favorite, go-to sunscreen. Have been using it daily for 6 months now!

Who is REALLY the hero? Mom Vs. Dad

Mother’s Day — the day we give praise to all the mother’s around us…our own mother’s, our mom friends, and even those that are like mothers.  The flowers, homemade cards, and of course the school crafts all come pouring in.  This is also the perfect time to think about the ironies behind how our children view mothers.  For instance, do our children really view us as givers?  Are we just givers of endless amounts of snacks and ridiculous requests?  Let’s not mention the endless hours of sleep we are deprived of, the enormous amounts of guilt we feel,  and the thousands of unfinished cups of coffee (sadly waiting on the counter all day waiting to be enjoyed)?

I once asked my children what they thought I did all day…the answers varied.  My overly observant daughter replied (in a nice complete sentence), “I believe you clean and cook and make sure everything is perfect by the time we get back from school.”  My son, who sees the world much MUCH simpler replied, “I don’t know…what do you do?  Do you just wait by the door for us to get back home?”  

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You may be wondering why I decided to title this “Mother’s Day” tribute, “The Father, The Hero…” — let me explain.  Before I continue, I would like to lay out a disclaimer…this post in NO way is putting down father’s and saying they don’t do squat (even though, let’s be real…).

Spring Break — I was told to take it easy (by my very kind Doctor).  My husband had already planned to take a couple days off to hang out and hopefully play some golf.  Luck would have it that I’m down and the weather wasn’t golf-appropriate.  He stepped up and came to the rescue (I inserted that for those about to go all “at least your husband helps…blah blah blah” on me).  

What does a crazy mom do when she hears she’ll be “down” for a few days?  Plan.  I made sure we were stocked up on groceries (end-less snacks) for him.  I made some meals — easy heat-up meals, ready to go in the refrigerator for him.  I made sure all the laundry was done and folded (and EVEN put away) for him.  I did all this to not only help him take over, but also to ease my own stresses on being “down.”  

During my stages of bed-ridden bliss, my darling children would visit me in bed.  They would bring me sweet cards, sneak me treats, and even serenade me with a song and nicely demand a TV show.  During their visits, they would also go on about how “daddy was doing.”  

“Daddy made us lunch mommy — JUST like you!” — so he just heated up the food I prepped and then served it?  Nice.

“Daddy gave us ice cream with sprinkles AND chocolate syrup!”  — so he simply scooped out ice cream and gave into the kids’ whining for more sugar?  Wuss!

“Daddy laid out my pajamas for me!”  — so he opened a drawer AND took the nicely folded PJs out?  What a man!

Oh and my all-time favorite…

“Daddy READ us a book!”  — he can read??  Get out!

Here’s my take on it…kids don’t expect their fathers to perform and execute tasks the way us moms do.  They expect the whole “your mommy is better at this than I am so just bear with me” spiel.  They naturally expect their mothers to complete tasks effortlessly.  I asked a male friend about this and he simply replied, “you ladies are just naturally better than we are.”  

And with that — the end.

There’s a reason my children were incredibly happy when I was back — their routines were back in place.  They were happy that lunch was prepared for them by ME, they were actually content with MY dessert portions, they appreciated the way I kept their lives in order (including their never-ending laundry), and they really enjoyed MY story-times with them.  Even though my husband tried his best, there’s nothing that could replace a mother’s touch.  That unique blend of love, care, and sometimes over compulsive behavior!  A mother knows how it should be done and even when things blow up, she can effortlessly fix it without a second thought.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies…you may have a crummy day today or hopefully not.  Just know, you’ve got this — you don’t need to try to be the BEST because in your childrens’ eyes, you already are.  Simple.

Cheers to that!

Your brainy chick,

Komi

 

 

Shared Birthday Parties

Kid’s birthday parties: What they are … and where they’re headed.
When I was growing up and that special time came around, my mom would throw a heartfelt birthday party for me in my backyard. There were hot dogs, games like pin the tail on the donkey, a homemade cake, and presents that were actually opened in front of the guests. That’s all changed.


Elaborate parties……
When my eldest child turned one, I celebrated by throwing her a magnificent birthday party that she would never forget (or at least I wouldn’t). The fact that her birthday lands on St. Patrick’s Day made it even more fun! I hired the local children’s Irish dance troupe to perform. A traditional corned beef and cabbage feast was served to the adults, and there was an amazing spread for the children, which, since it was all over their faces, was mostly lost on them. For the pièce de résistance, there was a huge Shamrock cake. All of our friends in the neighborhood were invited. It was a celebration to remember!
The days of elaborate parties are over……
Fast forward 8 years, and the days of elaborate kids birthday parties are over, for the most part, at our house. I’ve changed my ways and become more “practical”. In fact, with my friends, we have started throwing “shared” birthday parties.
Even my hubby is on board……
It all started when my husband started to realize the number of birthday parties filling our weekend. He would ask (because he’s usually clueless about our weekend plans), “What are we doing this weekend?” My reply seemed to always be, “We’re going to a birthday party.” He’d reply, “Another one? I just saw those people last week. Don’t we have any other friends? We’ve got to get a life.”  You see, we have three children, and each one has around 20 kids in their class. Do the multiplication, and you’re looking at something like 60 parties per year, more than one per week every week of the year.

The goody bags……
No offense, but most of the parties were essentially the same. They were held at huge venues, gifts were collected in a box and never opened in front of the guests, and a pre-written thank you card was handed out in the goody bag as we left. Isn’t being invited to a party gift enough? And, do we have to hand out candy in a gift bag after giving the kids high fructose corn syrup fake juice (sorry), cake and ice cream to say, “Thanks for coming!” More like here’s your fattened, hyper, overtired youngster to deal with for the next two hours. He’s your problem now (thank God). I’m like thanks a lot! See you next week!  Once my child even received a basketball as part of an elaborate gift bag! A really nice one too! Actually, that was a score (no pun intended) but my kids have also received gift cards. Am I the only one who thinks this is too much? My Mom wouldn’t believe the extravagance that goes on nowadays.
What to give?……
For gifts, I either go to Amazon to buy another $40 birthday gift for a child who already has everything, or (don’t tell) I, sometimes, go to the attic where I hide away the presents my children have received that were duplicates of ones we already had, and find one to re-gift. Come on, you’ve all done it! They’re perfectly good toys! Right? Moving on . . .
A lightbulb moment……
One day, the other savvy chick and I were discussing birthday party ideas for our soon-to-be 5 year old boys. We analyzed all the possibilities and dates to have these parties when, at the same time, a light bulb went off in our heads!
Let’s throw a “joint” birthday party!……
Not the adult kind some parents need after one of these triple birthday party weekends, but one that celebrates our sons birthdays together! Since our sons were born only 4 days apart, it made total sense! We figured we were saving the rest of the class the rigmarole of another weekend dominated by another lame kid’s birthday party (the party, not the kid)!
Ok, do the math!……
On average, I shell out around $500 for each child each year. The first birthday parties were more. Hmmm……3 kids X $500 = $1,500 per year on birthday parties! Now let’s really get into tricky math and base this on 8 years of birthday celebrations! $1,500 X 8 = $12,000. Now that’s some serious cake!
I know what you’re thinking……
Before you start thinking, “Oh, I get it, they spend half the amount and receive 100% of the gifts!” WRONG. We make it clear on the invitations, “No Gifts Please”! We find most people adhere to that request.
An end to popularity contests……
Sometimes parents aren’t sure if the people they invite will come. They don’t want their child to be hurt and embarrassed so they decide not to throw a party at all. By including all the moms in the class in this planning, every kid will have a birthday and no one will feel left out.
Benefits to Shared Birthday Parties……
1) Cost savings! You can spend half the amount! Or share with a couple of people in the class and save 2/3rds on your birthday budget!
2) You get your time back on the weekends!
3) You don’t have to rush around and spend another $40 on a generic gift! (Or search through your cob webbed attic!)
4) Every kid gets a birthday party.
5) The best benefit of all is the relationships you form while planning the parties. You make friends and get to know the parents and kids better!
6) Finally, less sugar….less sugar….less sugar….. If you are a mom like me that watches your children’s sugar intake, you have just reduced the amount of cake and harmful food dyes they are going to consume this year.
The idea has caught on……..
These 2 savvy chicks were thrilled with the success of their idea. And this might shock you. Neither child complained or felt cheated! My son loved his party! So much so that we are having it again this year with 4 other kids who’s birthdays are also in the Spring; including our brainy chick’s son! My son actually shares the same birthday with a boy in his class. (May the 4th be with you!) Now two other moms with children in that class are hosting a shared birthday next month!  Don’t forget that each child still gets their own family party. That’s important. It’s when our kids can open presents and get attention from those closest to them.
In conclusion……
We haven’t done this every year for every child. Some years we still want to throw a party just for our little darling. Other times we allow our child to have a party that brings only a few friends together for a special experience, either because it’s an expensive activity, a long drive away, or it’s an all-day experience. Those are great and memorable too.
Key to Successful Shared Birthdays……
1) In order for this to work well, you need to include all the moms who’s children have birthdays the same time of the year. Depending on the class size, maybe 3-5 shared parties a year. Inclusion is the key. Offer it up so everyone has the opportunity to participate if he/she would like.
2) Be flexible! Work with the group of women on finding the venue, time and date.
3) Divide up the responsibilities! You need one person to “coordinate” the master list and start assigning responsibilities! This is best handled by the “spreadsheet” mom. You know who I’m talking about!
4) Make sure each child’s name gets into the Happy Birthday song. It’s funnier the more kids you have sharing a birthday.

Josie Croll, Savvy Chick
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“Gee, it must be nice…”

A random Thursday night and I’m surrounded by a handful of talented, educated, intelligent women at the nearest Mexican restaurant, and I pause.  What did each of us go through to get here tonight?

Each of us rushed out of the house at 8:30 — after putting the kids down to bed, of course.  Each of us rushed out in a frenzy, feeling overwhelmed by the constant to-do list running through our minds.  Each of us made sure that the kids’ lunch, backpack, and outfit for the next day were prepped and ready before heading out.  Each of us parked our cars and immediately touched up our makeup — because we just didn’t have a moment to stop and take care of it before leaving the house as were already running late.  Each of us dashed into the restaurant and collapsed into the others’ arms with a sigh of relief thinking “I’m finally here!”

Motherhood is our bond — but the need for surrounding ourselves with support is the bigger quest.  You see, more often than not, we assume the person sitting across from us has it so much better OR doesn’t know what our day has been like OR has no idea what we have gone through to get here.  We just assume that no one knows what our frustrations feel like.  You know what they say about people that assume, right?

We each have a story and may not always go around showcasing it for the world to see.  We all have the same level of stresses and drama — but they come in different forms.  Oftentimes I’m told that I carry my anxiety, frenzy, drama very well; truth is, I don’t feel like airing my dirty laundry when I’m trying to have a great time.  I choose not to rain on my own magical parade of enjoying a night out.  I choose not to think about the craziness and drama when I’m out.  

Our stories stem from who we are and what we do; we tend to label ourselves.  The stay-at-home-mom, the part-time working mom, the full-time working mom.  Why can’t we just be a “mom”?  Society has us labeled and these labels come with some pretty nasty stereotypes.  I know first hand, that as much as I would like to stay away from these stereotypes, they’ve crept up on me from time to time.  The nasty stereotypes we’ve all heard like “it must be fun sitting around eating bon-bons all day” OR “the nanny mothers my kids better than my wife” OR “the mom, otherwise known as the maid.”  

So many times I hear “gee, it must be nice…” — and I cringe waiting for what is to come after.  Maybe what is to come will most likely sound like a back-handed compliment.  Why do we naturally assume the woman sitting across from us has it so much better?  It’s a societal view…what you see is what you get, right?  Truth is, if I showed up looking like how I really feel, I would be a “hot mess.”  I would be disheveled, sobbing with mascara running down my face, and most likely in my yoga pants from the day before.  

So here I am, surrounded by these amazing group of ladies, taking in the funny stories of what little “Johnny” did at school, the stupid husband anecdotes, recipe exchanges, and book reviews.  Did it matter that I folded laundry while watching Gilmore Girls reruns at 1:00 in the afternoon while the woman across from me was in a tense board meeting?  

Who cares how she got here?  Who cares if my day was worse than hers?  Does it matter if I worked harder than anyone?  NO.  Let’s just be and diminish the societal views and focus on the fact that we are here in this moment.  Who knows what each of us will have to deal with once we leave this restaurant?  All we can do is enjoy this moment and take it in, one sip at a time.

 

Cheers to that!

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi