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Family Entertainment, Travel

Family Travel Guide to San Francisco’s Union Square

San Francisco has figured out how to achieve the tricky alchemy of sophistication mixed with flair and fun, making it an ideal vacation destination for a family with a varied platter of interests. From epic bay views to grassy sprawls, fine art galleries to interactive museums, and white table cloths and candles to picnic benches surrounded by the smells of hamburgers, San Francisco has something for everyone.

But, with such an expansive city to explore it can give even the savviest traveling family anxiety when deciding where to start. Union Square is a favorite home base for many families as it’s drenched in amble opportunities for shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation. Also, Union Square is within walking distance to Chinatown, the iconic cable cars, and so much more.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

The Westin St. Francis – A family friendly hotel that provides gifts for the kids at check-in and offers family rooms and complimentary cribs. This historic hotel is also a great option if your family enjoys a sprinkle of luxury. And, depending on your style preference of said luxury, The Westin has you covered, offering both classic and modern rooms.

Read more on Vagabond Family

Mind-Body-Spirit, Childbirth, Pregnancy, Parenting, Career

10 New Ways to Afford Fertility Treatments

Before the birth of her daughter, Aurora, in 2016, Heather Huhman, host of the podcast Beat Infertility and founder of content-marketing firm Come Recommended, went through seven cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), suffered four miscarriages and gave birth to stillborn twins, Eric and Alexis. As difficult and heartbreaking as the Washington, DC, woman’s journey to motherhood was, she never stopped working—she had to foot the almost-$60,000 bill for all those fertility treatments.

Heather is not an anomaly. A survey by FertilityIQ, a fertility doctor and clinic evaluation website, found that 92 percent of women undergoing fertility treatments are employed. Of those, 68 percent work a full 40 to 50 hours a week.

One big reason? More and more women are postponing pregnancy until their mid-to late 30swhile they’re furthering their careers—and this delay often makes fertility treatments necessary to start a family. But medical need isn’t the only reason working women make up the majority of fertility-care patients: The high price of help forces many women to continue earning a paycheck while trying to conceive. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reported that the average cost of one IVF treatment in the United States is $12,400, not including the extra medications a woman might need and the added fees for using an egg or sperm donor, or gestational surrogate.

Read more on Working Mother

Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

7 Family-Approved Summer Activities in Tahoe

While the spirit of many ski towns dissolves with the snow, the Tahoe area pulsates with energy all year. When the skiers and boarders skip town, usually after enjoying the snow from November to July, a fresh crop of thrill seekers and wanderlusts emerge to enjoy the hiking, biking, diving, fishing, swimming, and sightseeing in the visually rich environment.
With an overflowing platter of recreational options, this area is ideal for families yearning for adventure, but with a variety of comfort zones.
When planning your summer vacation to Tahoe, pick and choose from the following to craft an epic journey into this astounding pocket of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
 
1.    Bike Riding: If you’re looking for a scenic, safe, and leisurely family bike ride, rent your wheels at Parallel Mountain Sports in the Village at Squaw Valley (or bring your own!) and have them direct you to the path that snakes along the Truckee River all the way to the crisp waters of Lake Tahoe.
Childbirth, Pregnancy

Ride the Wave: Floating Through the Centimeters

Special thanks to Bailey Gaddis for sharing her transcendent birth story with us. Like many mothers, she was desperate for labor to start after she passed her due date. But once things got started, cervical dilation measurements played a major role along the journey: from determining if it was time for admission to the hospital to causing her doctor to decide to break her bag of water to determining that her dilation was too far advanced to get an epidural.  Read on to see how she harnessed her inner strength throughout her birth experience. You can find the full story in Bailey’s book, Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, available on Amazon. Inspired by her beautiful story? Check out her website, Your Serene Life, where you can learn about hypnobirthing and childbirth classes.

Read more on Dilation!

Parenting, Self Love

Introducing HypnoMothering

One of the most common questions I get about Feng Shui Mommy is “What’s the deal with the section on the Fourth Trimester? What the heck is the Fourth Trimester?”

The first three months of a baby’s life out of the womb are referred to by many as the “fourth trimester” – while the baby is no longer in the womb they are still helpless in so many ways and fully dependent on their mother.

These first three months out of the womb are also the first third of what is sometimes referred to as “exterior gestation.” This term comes from the belief that infants are born before their brains are fully matured (because their heads would be too large to fit through the birth path at full maturity) so, their brains finish growing when they are outside the womb.

During this “fourth trimester” the mother can no longer just take care of herself and trust that her baby will receive all he requires (as he did in the first three trimesters), she now has to be really intentional about caring for her own needs, while also of course caring for her infant who is now much more demanding than he was in the womb – it can be incredibly challenging/ overwhelming / (insert your favorite emotional adjective here)!

So, beyond the support I offer for the fourth trimester in Feng Shui Mommy I am now certified to teach HypnoMothering!

HypnoMothering is a 2.5 hour class for moms to be, new mothers, and moms of young children. Developed by two hypnotherapists, each a mother of twins, this fun, practical class teaches mothers easy and fast self-hypnosis techniques to make the most of limited sleep, keep calm and balanced on challenging days, and find focus and mindfulness amidst the myriad of feelings that mothers face.

Find out more here 🙂

Pregnancy

How to Become The Queen of Quickies

*Excerpt of Feng Shui Mommy on New Spirit Journal

Exercise does not have to be held together by laces, sweat-wicking spandex, and a Jillian Michaels playlist you found in a fitness magazine. Toning and stretching your muscles and livening up your heart rate can happen anyplace, anytime. Of the suggestions below, some are a few of the endorphin-eliciting quickies I partook in while my uterus was packing a baby, and some are ideas from the human-making babes I’ve worked with. I encourage you to try these, then work out your creative nature by thinking up new ways to get in a quickie.

• Squats: While you’re doing dishes, scrolling through your phone, or engaging in any other stationary activity, squat into it. A squat is an excellent way to prep your birthing muscles and get comfortable assuming the most effective birthing position, which is . . .  a squat. Play around with the squat until you find a position that you feel secure in while it’s causing your gluts and thighs to tighten. No need to assume a full squat; bending your knees a bit and lowering your tush a few inches is effective. Squat for as long as you feel comfortable, and upgrade the benefits by dropping some Kegels into the mix.

Read more on New Spirit Journal! 

Parenting, Reviews and Giveaways, Sponsored Posts

The Cloth Dying Process That Could Change Your Baby’s Life

Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by Panchhi a company offering high quality 100% organic cotton muslin baby products and only uses natural printing (no chemical dyes!) I don’t post many of these because I only accept sponsored post opportunities from companies offering services or products I already use, and have an ideology I can get behind.

 

A baby’s skin is continually developing in the first year of life, making it susceptible to infection – premature babies have even more sensitive skin, as it did not have enough time to properly develop in the womb and needs extra attention while it plays catch up. What touches this silky skin matters and deserves intention and attention.

Extra Tip: To inoculate your baby with healthy bacteria, rub their bare skin on yours. This is one reason why skin-to-skin is so widely encouraged.

Luckily, with companies like Panchhi coming into the textile-selling scene (companies that are conscious of both the sensitivity of baby’s skin and our environment) it’s easier to find products we don’t hesitate to wrap our children in.

100% organic cotton muslin is a favorite textile for many skin savvy parents (as it’s gentle on the skin, and helps to prevent overheating and sweating), but what about the dye that creates those cute little images and catchy sayings? Does the composition of that dye matter?

It sure does.

Recent research has found that by-product polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in certain colors of printing ink used in children’s clothing. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency classify PCBs as a “probable human carcinogen” and The National Toxicology Program has found that PCBs are “reasonably likely to cause cancer in humans.” In addition, people exposed to high levels of PCBs have experienced irritation in the lungs, skin, nose, and eyes. PCBs have also been found to disrupt hormone function and the immune system.

So yeah, not a friendly group of 209 chemicals that share a common structure.

Because the presence of the PCBs in dyes isn’t intentional, it’s tricky to know what clothing companies to avoid – but we do know which companies to seek out – those that use natural printing.

Panchhi practices the ancient art of natural printing, where colors are extracted from sustainably harvested plants and herbs – no harsh chemical dyes are used on their organic products.

 

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Common herbs used for natural printing are Haritaki, Maddar, Pomegranate, Turmeric, and Indigo. (Panchhi utilizes these herbs for printing but takes it a step further by treating all their products with sea salt and dipping them in aloe vera to enhance the wellness properties and fastness of the prints.)

While these plants don’t offer the same palate found in clothing that utilizes chemical dyes, they offer an array of soothing colors made of Ayurvedic (an alternative form of medicine that focuses on the mind-body connection) herbs believed to produce a positive aura and calm in the wearer of the clothing. And, if your baby is the one wearing that positive aura and calm inducing clothing, you’re in for a good day.

 

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Here’s a further breakdown of the potential powers of these herbs:

Haritaki – Believed to help in detoxification, rejuvenation and in increasing positive energy and awareness.

Maddar – Believed to heal various skin ailments, jaundice, irregular menstrual cycles and kidney dysfunctions.

Pomegranate – Believed to relieve constipation, inflammation, body pain, along with boosting memory, fighting infections and promoting a healthier heart.

Turmeric – Believed to have healing properties for skin problems, cough, cold and fever.

Indigo – Believed to be helpful for people who get excessively hot and sweat a lot. In addition, it is believed to have healing properties for respiratory problems and is used in many parts of India to treat mosquito bites, fast healing of bruises and relieve pain. Indigo is also believed to help calm down, relax and sleep peacefully.

Yes, please.

P.S. I’ve noticed that all the organic cotton products I’ve bought for my son over the years always outlive his non-organic cotton items, making up for the higher price tag of the soft stuff.

 

Quotes from friends of mine who have used Panchhi products:

“I have a more neutral and natural aesthetic which is why I loved the muted colors and soft tones of Panchhi products – they don’t overwhelm the senses.”

“I could tell a marketed difference in my daughter’s sleep when she started using the Panchhi sleep sack – she would fidget less and wake up happier.”

“My son loves the big cozy Panchhi towel, he uses it as a cape and refuses to take it off hours after his bath. And, unlike many other towels we’ve tried, this one doesn’t leave a residue on his skin.”

“I’m super picky about the washcloths I use on my newborn, usually finding them to be too rough or too “syntheticy.” The Panchhi wash cloths are soft and effective and don’t make me feel like I’m rubbing chemicals into my baby’s skin every time I wash her off.”

Parenting, Reviews and Giveaways

Review: Back to School With Bigfoot

My son is already having concerns about re-entering the equally fascinating and intimidating world of school. He’s such a little guy that it seems hard for him to find the words to express his nerves but this book gave him an outlet to explore his feelings in a fun and non-threatening way. The book makes the point that no matter who you are it can be scary going back to school, but this entry can be even more challenging when you feel like you are different, which so many of us do. This book is fun, humorous, and relatable, offering a safe space for parents and children to examine the emotions attached to a new school year.

Check it out here

Parenting

10 Organization Hacks Pros Use in Their Own Homes to Keep Them Looking Tidy Every Day

*I offered a hack for this piece.

Purge, purge, purge

“You do not want to waste time organizing items you don’t need to keep,” says Eileen Roth, author of Organizing For Dummiesand owner of Everything in its Place. So the very first thing you need to do is decide what you can get rid of. She suggests asking yourself: 1) Will I use it again? If you haven’t used (or worn) it in over a year, then let it go. 2) Is the sentiment worth it? Can you take a digital picture of the item and let it go or will you cry because the sentimental value is that high?

Do a sweep three times a day

“It’s essential to my sanity to do a stuff sweep every morning, afternoon, and evening,” says Bailey Gaddis, a certified professional organizer and author of Feng Shui Mommy. This sweep consists of going through every room in the home and returning all objects to their designated homes. “I have a preschooler, so I usually carry a basket with me for easy collection and transport for smaller items. Each sweep takes about ten minutes (for my entire home) and I always feel lighter after it’s complete.”

Read more on Reader’s Digest

Childbirth, Pregnancy

The Story Behind Feng Shui Mommy

The Story behind Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.

Daniela GS:
Good morning Bailey and welcome! I’m looking forward to getting to know more about you and your book Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.

Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht, HBCE:
Good morning! Thanks so much Daniela. I look forward to diving in.

Daniela GS:
First off, how would you best describe your book?

Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht, HBCE:
It’s a holistic guide for women who want to feel informed and empowered to craft their own journey through pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. The book supports the woman through all four trimesters (the fourth being the first three months of baby’s life outside of the womb) and has a mind, body, and spirit section in each trimester with chapters that help to nourish that aspect of her self. It’s also designed to help a woman regardless of what type of birth she will have – women who want an unmedicated birth, or need medications or a c-section are all supported in the book.

Read more on Dreaming of Baby

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Introducing Birth Transformed

An issue I’ve had with many childbirth courses is that they don’t leave much room for women to process their emotions, fears, doubts, and more. It’s for this reason that Taryn Longo and I created the online Birth Transformed childbirth preparation course with the goal of helping pregnant women feel safe, supported, and informed through pregnancy and childbirth so they can release their fears and find their own voice of wisdom.

Check it out 🙂 http://birthtransformed.teachable.com/p/birthtransformed

Course Description:

Birth Transformed is a comprehensive approach to pregnancy and birth that empowers you from the outside in, meaning it equips you (and your partner) with powerful and necessary information to prepare for what is ahead. But, rather than leaving it solely up to you to assimilate the information on your own, and navigate what comes up for you in this process, Birth Transformed supports you in continuing to unravel the layers of your experience, then works with you to move into, face, and transform your fears, challenges and blocks, finding your wisdom along the way.

As the you move through your time with Birth Transformed, you will learn all the “traditional” strategies you can use to navigate birth (e.g., breath work, birth positions, pressure points, knowledge of the phases of birth, and more), but will also be supported in exploring the deeper layers of birth and motherhood, and how these layers will impact your experience.

At Birth Transformed, we’re not just here to pass information on to you, but to love you through this journey, and be your mentor in finding and honoring your optimal path into and through motherhood.

Find out more at BirthTransformed.com

Childbirth, Pregnancy

How to Know When You’re Ready to Have a Baby

Have you been keeping yourself up at night, hemming and hawing over whether you should toss the birth control and get your sex on?
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(Yeah, me too.)
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To help us out, I wrote down all the advice I offer clients who come to me with that whopper of a question, “Am I ready to have a baby?”
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While there’s no crystal ball (or all-knowing in-law) to tell you the perfect time to hop on the path to conception, there are key life elements that should ideally be healthy before you create a human, or adopt.
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1. Physical Health – If your health is tenuous it could be difficult to conceive, carry a baby to full term, and then care for the baby when they arrive. To ensure your body is primed for parenthood visit your primary care physician, cut out alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and drugs, and adopt a nourishing diet and exercise regime. 
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2. Financial Health – If you look at your financial reserves and feel a sense of stability and security wash over you, you’re likely in a good financial spot to have a baby. Having a child fills your life with enough pockets of uncertainty – don’t let your finances be one of them.
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3. Emotional Health – Even the most emotionally stable women amongst us are often thrown into an emotional tumbler when they have a baby – ensure you’re at a balanced emotional starting point before conceiving by visiting a therapist to take a look at how your emotional health is doing, and figure out ways to get it to the health status of “thriving.”
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4. Romantic Health – If you’ll be tackling parenthood with a partner it’s important to have a robust base of trust, open communication, respect, and overall love with that baby-making-teammate. Have a “relationship overview” talk before becoming pregnant where you look into and discuss every nook and cranny of your relationship, so you can figure out what might need some work, and then dedicate yourselves to putting in that work before conceiving. 
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And finally, it’s essential to feel like you actually want to have a baby. Many people have a child because society tells them they should, and they check off that box even though it’s something they didn’t want. So, check in with your heart and intuition to make sure you have a burning desire to have a fertilized egg latch on to your uterus. 
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So, what’s your answer?
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Mine is that I’m still working on it – I have the burning desire but still need to boost the health of a few of the fore-mentioned areas.
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Keep me posted!
Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Self Love

Hypnosis for Children

I’ve had the pleasure of many amazing clients under the age of 18 (many of them under the age of 12) come through my hypnotherapy practice in the past few years, and after seeing similar issues come up over and over again (in my own child as well!) I decided to make a set of short hypnosis tracks to support children with the trickiest issues such as sleep, fears and phobias, potty training and bed wetting, and much more.

All recordings are under 10 minutes and follow a very specific formula geared towards offering children a clear, gentle, and effective experience.

If you’re interested, check them out here. (P.S. The page takes a few seconds to load.)

Here is a complimentary sample for you to check out 🙂

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Self Love

Serena Williams’ Photo Backlash Is A Sad Reminder That Pregnancy Body Shaming Still Exists

Fact: Pregnancy is related to sex and the naked female body. So, why are women being shamed for connecting to their innate sexiness and showing off their bare bellies?

Serena Williams recently appeared pregnant and nearly nude on the cover of Vanity Fair. Her beautiful image made me proud to be a woman, causing words like empowerment, courage, and goddess to float through my mind. But for others, words like “disgusting” and “trashy” floated from their minds and onto the internet, contributing to a disappointing trend of body-shaming pregnant woman who publicly display their pregnant form.

It’s not just celebrities who are being told to put their bare bellies away. When I was eight months pregnant, I went to the beach in a two-piece, trying to survive the triple digit temperature of the day. As soon as I plunked down into a beach chair, a woman rolled up to me and said, “Ma’am, please cover your belly. There are children at this beach.” I didn’t cover my belly.

I also recently received a tearful call from a pregnant girlfriend who had received negative comments from her in-law’s friends telling her the exposed-belly photos she had been posting on Facebook were “shameful.” She took them down.

Read more on Babble

Camping, Travel

The 7 Hiking Trails You Should Know in Ojai, California

When the downtown district of Ojai, California fills with shoppers, art enthusiasts, spa goers, and Los Angelenos looking to get out of the city for a few days, the hiking trails scattered in and around Ojai allow explorers to escape jockeying for a parking spot, swiping their credit card, and caring whether their vintage jeans are garnering envy.

If you’re such an explorer, head to Ojai to fill your schedule with swimming holes, wild flowers, water falls, nature-carved rock sculptures, an occasional skinny-dipper sighting, and so much more. You could spend a lifetime traversing these trails and not see it all. Here are the seven hikes that need to be on your radar next time you and your hiking boots tromp into town.

Read more on TripSavvy