}

The Diaper Dilemma

Diaper DilemmaLast time I had a baby was ten years ago and diapers seemed to be a lot simpler, as a matter of fact everything seemed to be simpler, perhaps because there were less options.  Now, a decade later, I find myself googling everything, from diapers and formula to swings and toys.  And while a lot of things change over time one thing remains the same, parents seek to do what is best for their kids.

Considering my son spent time at the NICU I started with the diapers they used there, Huggies.  They seemed to do the job for his little preemie self.  My youngest son had sensitive skin, so I mostly used Pampers with him and well my new baby boy is no different but this time around I had more options.  Once he was home I continued using Huggies, but we all know diapers can be expensive so I started looking for other options.  After all, if I’m going to pay that kind of money for underwear my baby will poop in I might as well get the most for my money.  While you can get discounts coupons for Huggies I didn’t want to constantly look for coupons and discounts to use.

I decided to try Luvs; which were doing the job well, after all I changed my boy every four hours anyway so I had no leaks or problems. Also, I could get a large box of Luvs at BJ’s Wholesale for $30 or $25 (with a club coupon). However, as my baby hit 4 months and started sleeping a little longer the diaper started looking a bit overloaded, and a little smelly. So I started looking into other options.

My first choice was Honest Company diapers, mostly because they were very cute (to be frank, the commercial was also extremely adorable) and the price is comparable to other diapers. When you add to that the fact that they are organic it help me feel good about myself as environmentally friendly person (after all I do drive a hybrid).  While my very first experience was a fail – where my baby ended up peeing right through the diaper and onto my pants – that was the only leak incident I experienced.  They offer several different designs fitting to boys and girls, something that’s great but to be totally honest the diaper was not showed off very often anyway.  Most important, the diaper held it together overnight, no smell, no leaks and pretty dry.  However, in looking to save money I chose to stick with Luvs, however the overnight smell bugged me so before I switching back to Honest I decided to look into other generic brands.

In doing so I started with BJ’s brand (Berkley Jensen), after all with a large box for $23 I didn’t have BJs Diapersmuch to lose.  To my pleasant surprise the Berkley Jensen diapers (size 2) hold great over night (6-7hrs) with no leaks and no funky pee smell.  The design isn’t as cute and the Honest Company diapers and they are not environmentally friendly, but they work and are easy in the pocket. As my boy started nearing 16 lbs I started experiencing some leakage (poop and pee) which happens to be the bane of my existence as a mom – well to be fair that’s what I say about laundry but that’s another story. Once again I decided to head out to purchase a box of diapers to hold me over until I restarted my Honest Company membership (because like I said, the price is comparable to popular diapers so if I’m going to pay full price I might as well go for premium) I noticed the size 2 diapers were up to 18lbs, so instead of changing brands again I took a chance with the size 3 BJ brand diapers.  And once again by chunky boy is sleeping through the night completely dry and no poop disasters in the day. So far it is working out, let’s see how long.  But in all honesty, should I need to go back to top brand diapers I will go with Huggies or Honest Company.  Pampers tend to be very expensive while Huggies cost less and regularly send out coupons. But Honest Company diapers have good bundles and they come to you.

Good luck moms! After all, every kid is different – they have their own sensitivities and preferences even as little as they are.  If you have any suggestions, comments, advice please share it in the comments.  Searching online and reading other mom’s experiences help me a great deal in making decisions regarding products and services, and so I’m hoping to return the favor to others.

 

Why Your Online Presence Matters

online presenceGoogled Yourself Lately? What did You Find about Your Online Presence?

Student, Educator, Small Business, Freelancer, Independent Contractor, Self-Employed, Aspiring Entrepreneur, Blogger, Hobbyist no matter who you are or what you do it seems that everyone has a website these days.  Heck, even my 10 year old has a website.  In a time where Google is a verb in the dictionary as well the authority on search engines it seems that if you want to spread the word on whatever it is you do you or whoever you are, you need to be online.  Being online means you have an online presence whether you are active on social media or have a website, your online presence matters.

Nowadays people can Google you and find all sorts of information, from public records to social media posts.  How you represent yourself online is your online presence.  This can make a difference on what you do, whether you are looking to get hired for a job or trying to make a sale. Your online presence will become your personal brand.  People will look for you and/or your brand online to see what you have to say and even more importantly what has been said about you.  Therefore to set the tone of your online presence you need to start with your Website and your Social Media accounts.

A Website has evolved from a static business card to an interactive portfolio where you display your expertise and interact with your readers/visitors through blogs and other added functionalities. In this fast moving society where information is expected with one click, your website has to look good, be up to date and be accessible through a computer as well as mobile devices.

Social Media has become the virtual world’s form of traditional networking and online presencesocializing. While it doesn’t replace physically socializing with others in your field or business it can expand your network significantly.  And with the increase in social media platforms since AOL introduced to us the famous “You Got Mail” phrase along with AIM instant messenger, you need to make sure you are part of the social media world that exists.  Understanding there’s an overwhelmingly large number of social media platforms out there, knowing which are the most popular and who is your target audience should determine where you invest your efforts.

Now, I’m not saying that being active on social media will make you instafamous – as young kids say these days – but it will allow you to start a conversation with others that share your interests or want your product/service.  Neither does having a website will get you to the coveted #1 spot in Google – no matter how much you dabble on SEO – but providing good continuous content can make you a reliable source online.  And remember, in the same way that word of mouth from a trusted source can get you an interview for a job or a product endorsement, having a solid website and interacting with people through social media will position you as a trusted source online within your social media circles.

So go ahead, Google yourself or business and see what comes up, then take control of your online presence.  And if you want more than free when taking control of your website, check out PixemWeb.com, a perfect solution if you are short in time and money.  I say this with confidence because I’m not only part of PixemWeb, I’m also a client!

New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Goal Setting 20153 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

We are well into January and if you haven’t already flopped your New Year’s resolutions you have probably cheated at least once. So by now you know New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work!  But don’t feel bad, you are not the problem (this is the one time when you’re probably okay with the “it’s not you it’s me” explanation).  The reason is that New Year’s resolutions set you up for failure from the start and here are 3 reasons why:

  1. New Year’s resolutions are made during a high peak emotional season.  It’s New Year’s for goodness sake! The holidays make most people highly emotional. Reminds them of things/people lost, you start thinking of what could or should be, add that financial stress and you have the set up for a perfect storm.
  1. New Year’s resolutions tend to be Extreme!  Because they are created during such emotional times resolutions tend to be set very high without a plan of action.  When there are no visible results it all seems impossible leaving you disappointed.
  1. New Year’s resolutions don’t last.  Once you feel disappointed after not being able to see results to the highly unrealistic expectation you set for yourself you will start to slack off until you drop your resolutions completely as an impossible dream.

So you see, New Year’s Resolutions are a complete waste of time, so don’t make them! HOWEVER – there’s always a but isn’t there?! – instead of making a “New Year’s Resolution” take the time to set goals for yourself for the new year. And no, it is not the same thing.  While the intentions are the same the execution of it is completely different.  I, for one, am a firm believer that the road to hell was paved with good intentions.  While you mean well by setting New Year’s resolutions what you should be doing is waiting after the tumultuous time of the holiday season is over and take a good look at your situation.  Assess where you are, where you were and where you want to be.  This gives you a bit of perspective from a realistic non emotionally charged setting that can lead you to identify action steps to accomplish your goals for the year.  Just as I gave you 3 reasons New Year’s Resolutions do not work, I can give you 3 Ways to Help You Meet Your Goals:

  1. Identify long term and short term goals you want to accomplish. After taking a good look at yourself and what you want list those things you want to accomplish this year and moving forward.  For example: Buying a Home or getting out of debt tend to be long term goals that can take more than a year. While a short term goal can be getting  more exercise.
  1. Set action steps for each goal.  Once you have identified your long term and short term goals, identify specific smaller action steps you can take for each of the goals daily,weekly and/or monthly to get closer to the goal.  So, if your goal is to buy a home, maybe every week you will save a certain amount of money to put towards a down payment.  If your goal is to get more exercise one action step can be walking more or going to the gym once a week.
  1. Make yourself accountable by making your goals visible. Whether you make your goals your desktop wallpaper or you place post-it notes on your mirror, make sure that every week you look at what you’re working towards.  I like putting an index card with my goals and weekly action steps on my mirror, this served as a reminder.  If you have a close trusted friend/partner/spouse they can also help you be accountable by reminding you of your goals when your actions or talk seem to be diverging.  Not only making your goals & action steps visible make you accountable for them but it is also encouraging to see how each of those steps you check off are getting you closer to your

Fear Not!! If you already flopped your New Year’s Resolution, you don’t have to wait until next year to start over.  Now that all the hussle and bussle of the holidays are gone you can take an honest look at yourself and start working towards what you want now. Because just like the movie title remember, Tomorrow Never Comes.  You need to start Today!

 

New York in The Fall: Barton Orchards

Snark World Adventures: Fall in New York

One of my favorite seasons is Fall and lucky for me I live in the best place to enjoy this beautiful season – New York!  Going to Barton Orchards in the fall has become a tradition with family and friends.  There we are able to catch the beautiful fall foliage on the drive up and enjoy a day of fun as we pick apples and pumpkins.

CaughtAtBartonsThanks to my kindred spirit and awesome friend Janet, I was introduced to Barton Orchards about five years ago, and since then it has become one of my fall traditions.  Every year during Columbus weekend I enjoy the beautiful scenic drive from The Bronx to 63 Apple Tree Lane in Poughquag for some apple and pumpkin picking along with great food, awesome fudge and many other fun activities.

My favorite part of going in October is the haunted house, Rotten Core Manor. Every year my son complains as we wait to go into Rotten Core Manor saying he doesn’t want to go because it’s too scary and every year as we exit the haunted house he convincingly exclaims that it wasn’t so scary this time.  In addition to the haunted house there’s plenty of good food to go around.  When you go be sure to pick up some apple cider donuts, while the line can get very long it is absolutely worth the wait.   If you’re a chocolate lover as myself be sure to stock up on their fudge, although this year I waited until the end of the day to get my fix and to my terrible disappointment all the dark chocolate fudge was gone.  So if I may dare make a suggestion I failed to follow, get there at least by 11am (or earlier if you are an early riser) get your donuts and fudge take them to the car and then feel free to lose yourself within acres of land in the company of family and friends.

For the kids – and adults – the corn maze is ears of fun, kids get a themed story and they have clues to find each station as they take CornMazeturns leading the way within the 5-acre maze. A note to parents, be sure to take the flag with you just in case your fearless young leaders get you going in circles and someone ends up needing to use the bathroom in the middle of the journey – don’t ask but it wasn’t me, honest!

RaceTrackAs if you don’t get enough of a workout running around the corn maze there’s a Fun Park complete with giant slides, bouncy houses, baseball and football pitch, pedal kart race track, and more.  Once we’ve made our way from the haunted house, the corn maze and the fun park that’s when we begin apple picking followed by pumpkin picking and ending with the hay ride back to the beginning.  Oh and did I mention there are also barnyard animals, gemstone mining, wood carving, face painting and live music!

One of my goals is to continue to explore and learn more about New York and as I do, I will do my best to share about my experiences through this blog.  But one thing is certain, Barton Orchards is my Columbus weekend destination for years to come. Even the drive through The Bronx River Parkway North to Sprain Brook Parkway North to Taconic State Parkway offers a colorful view of the fall foliage worth taking pictures as you go along – that is if you’re not the one driving.  I particularly enjoy crossing the New Croton Reservoir Bridge with its bright red color in a background of greens, yellow and orange changing leaves.

For more information about visiting Barton Orchards visit their website http://www.bartonorchards.com.
To keep track of the autumnal landscape in New York visit The New York Fall Foliage Report
And of course for more about New York State visit ILoveNY.com

Until the next Snark World Adventure!

The FLUFFY Movie Coming in July 2014

FLUFFY MovieThanks to Advance Screenings and GoFobo I had the chance to experience The Fluffy Movie at the Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 (247 W. 42 St. NY) before it opens in theaters.  Normally I would not be one to go to a movie theater to see a comedy performance but this is the next best thing to seeing Gabriel Iglesias aka Fluffy perform live – which is by the way something I’ve not yet have the pleasure to do.  So when given the chance to obtain screening tickets I jumped on it (and just an FYI I have turned down/released screening tickets before even if Free, my time is more valuable than money).

The movie opens as giving a glimpse of his early life and with that the laughter begins.  Gabriel Iglesias “Fluffy” is as real as real can get and touches on so many subjects that we all can relate to.  If you’ve seen any of his shows you already know how he can find the humor on anything from annoying teenage hygiene to difficult struggles with weight, not to forget his good ol’ pal MARTIIINNNN!!!  The Fluffy Movie was particularly touching for me given the rough subjects of single mothers, raising boys and step parenting, which he presented hilariously light hearted. The Fluffy Movie did not lack anything in comedic value, the girl next to me was making funnier laughing sounds than me – if that’s even possible – considering we were in a public theater.  Even as we left the theater I heard people talking about it and laughing as they repeated repeated parts of the movie.

Now, as every good counselor one opens with all the positives before presenting the areas of grow so here goes.  I was hoping for a little more movie, but that was just me. Maybe some clips from some of the many experiences on the road mixed with some comic reenactments.  But that is just a matter of opinion based on the expectation that I personally have when I hear or see the word “movie” on something.  That said, I would definitely recommend it.  It is not often we can go see Fluffy perform, so make it dinner and The Fluffy Movie come this July.

For a clip of the upcoming movie check out YouTube The FLUFFY Movie.