Friday, October 29, 2010

WEEKEND WARRIOR CHALLENGE: Be mindful

Mindful: adj - attentive, aware or careful.

The "season" is officially upon us. Which season you ask? Oh, you know exactly what I am talking about. The HOLIDAYS. Deep breath...now sigh. It's the infamous time of year where all bikinis and bets are off. Where we come up with every excuse in the book as to why we can't exercise. It is a very dangerous time for the health-conscious and waist-watchers. It first starts with those addicting, festive, pumpkin-flavored lattes (with a sugar content similar to that of a King size Butterfinger) and then the true beginning of the madness begins: Halloween.


Halloween is that super sneaky holiday. You think it's for the kids but it's just as tempting to us adults. Those cute, bite-size, harmless treats become so irresistible. One leads to five and next thing you know, you’re shoveling your way out of a mountain of wrappers. Don’t get me wrong. I am not painting sweets to be the devil. I love candy. And so does the baby in my belly. And if I could enjoy a "Dracula Martini" I absolutely would.

So why is this a WEEKEND WARRIOR CHALLENGE? I have no doubt you have a busy Halloween weekend ahead of you. Between school functions, block parties, pumpkin patches, costume soirees, football tailgates, and trick-or-treating, you're sure to have plenty of monster-licious treats and spook-tacular cocktails everywhere you turn. My challenge to you is simple - BE MINDFUL ABOUT WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH. One of the most significant diet dangers revolves around sugar consumption which starts THIS WEEKEND.

Here’s some scary food for thought: that chocolate bar screaming your name might only take a few minutes to eat but those 500 calories take ONE HOUR AND 20 MINUTES of walking to burn off. That's comforting. Here's another frightening fact - to gain five pounds from now to the end of January, all you have to do is eat an average of 200 calories per day more than you need - an ounce of fudge here, an ounce of gravy there, a sliver of pecan pie. If you need to ‘get a grip’ on eating splurges, the winter holiday months are key to your long range planning. Don't think just because you cheated alittle that you've entirely blown it so that gives you the green light to really blow it. No need to feel guilty come Monday. Just keep things in moderation and be intentional about making good choices.

Cheers to a happy and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Grab & Go

As I threw the last items into my luggage this morning, it dawned on me that I never followed up to the make-up bag comment in the "Weekend Warrior Challenge" on conquering your toiletry chaos. In my drawer I pointed out that my everyday makeup is nicely contained in a makeup bag. All day. Everyday. Why not organized in the drawer you ask? I'm all about the Grab and Go method. In other words - when I'm in a hurry I want to be able to grab it, shove it in my bag and go knowing that I have everything I could possibly need.

I apply this same philosophy with the things in my purse. Nothing is worse than changing your purse in a hurry to match your outfit and you forget your lipstick that was buried at the bottom. To eliminate this problem, I carry two wallet cases; a pouch that holds my cash, credit cards, receipts and gift cards and the other that can hold lipstick, gum, feminine products, my checkbook, iPhone, camera or whatever else I can fit in. What I love about both of these is that I never find myself rummaging through a mess to find what I need. Whether I'm quickly changing purses or throwing the wallets into the diaper bag, I just grab em' and rest assured knowing that I didn't forget anything important.

Another area where I use the Grab and Go method is my jewelry. I travel quite a bit and I found myself wasting so much packing time trying to figure out what jewelry I wanted to wear with the outfits I packed. But then I would get there, change my outfit and then get frustrated that that the piece of jewelry I wanted was at home.


To the rescue: The Prezerve Jewelry Organizer - http://www.amazon.com/PreZerve-Jewelry-Travel-Organizer-Black/dp/B002N23SHA. It has 3 flaps of compartments that keep everything nicely organized and easy to find. Like my makeup, the jewelry stays put in the organizer even when I'm at home. This eliminates scrounging around when I'm in a rush trying to find the earring match in a messy drawer or jewelry box and allows me to grab it, pack it and run.
Can you believe I can pack 44 pairs of earrings, 9 necklaces, 10 bracelets and 2 watches in this jewelry organizer? You better believe I have the selection I need when I'm on the go.

Just imagine all the time and energy you spend each day digging around for items. Now multiply that by 365. Yikes. Now think about all the times you say, "shoot, I must have forgot that." Stop the madness. Simplify your life into things that you can just grab and go and guaranteed you won't have either of those problems.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No prep pancakes - too good to be true?

Last night we had BREAKFAST for dinner - one of my all time favorite meals growing up as a kid - so I thought this post would be fitting for today. How appropriate after I just ranted about eating healthy in my previous post right?

I grew up on Australian Toaster Biscuits, Eggo Waffles and Fruit Loops. I'll be the first to admit that I'm intimidated at the thought of cooking gourmet breakfasts. Gourmet meaning anything fancier than sliced fruit and oatmeal. As I grabbed for our staple Egg Beaters and Spray Butter at our local Vons, I was lured by the novelty of this pancake batter dispenser (a la Reddi Whip) staring back at me. My first reaction - GROSS. This has taken processed to a whole new level. I'll admit the garish mustard and ketchup colored graphics on the container (nevermind the unfortunate name itself) only served to heighten the Blaster’s aura of indecency. So I walked on. Paused, walked some more, doubled back, picked a can up and read the label. Surprisingly, initial shock aside, the ingredients in the Blaster didn’t seem to be more processed or frightening than any I’d put in homemade batter. Actually they are probably better considering I never buy Organic dry ingredients. But I still wasn't convinced so I slipped it back on the shelf, walked a few steps away, paused for a second, before finally doubling back and taking a can once and for all.
Fast forward to last night - I was scrambling the eggs with the Blaster displayed on the counter waiting its turn, when Dave walks into the kitchen skeptical as can be. His reaction; "How lazy can we get? Amazing they can take something already so easy to make, and make it easier." A valid point BUT I'm all about quick and easy especially in the kitchen.

With my spatula in hand, I was ready to "blast and serve." I was definitely a novice blaster and it showed but wow, this was EASY. I had dinner on the table in minutes. And no mess to clean up. Despite the visual imperfections, they were decent. A little sweeter than other mixes, lightly textured, tender - not spongy. For Chase (my 2 year old) to wolf down 4 of them, I knew I hit the jackpot...for one meal at least.
Would I buy them again? Maybe. They were edible. But definitely will never be as good as grandma's famous pancakes. But as a busy mom, I do like the ease of them. No clean-up and you don't need to stress about having all the ingredients on the fly. Plus if Whole Foods is endorsing the Batter Blaster, you know the ingredients are legit. They were a little harder to flip and didn't look as pretty as I would have liked but like with anything, practice makes perfect.

If you too are intrigued and want to try them out, here are some helpful hints on perfecting the Blaster pancake:

1) Once the batter settles in the pan, it will spread about an inch. Start out with less batter than you think.

2) For a sturdier pancake, pipe the batter into 3 in. mounds instead of flat, tight spirals.

3) Flipping the batter was harder than those made of conventional batters hence making the look of my pancakes anything less than desirable. When large bubbles began to rise and pop out of the slightly puffed batter, the pancake was invariably not set enough to flip or even check for flipping without some carnage.

4) Let the pancake sit for a few seconds longer than you think. This will involved tinkering with your stove top temperature. I never did find the sweet spot. Consequently burning a few.

5) It says it makes 28 - 4" pancakes. I would say realistically more like 20.

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic Wheat Flour (unbleached), Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Eggs, Organic Soybean Powder, Leavening, Sea Salt, Organic Rice Bean Extract, Propellant.
Contains - Wheat, Eggs, Soy Ingredients.
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size = 1/4 cup (2 pancakes)
Calories: 80
Fat: 0.5 grams (0 trans or Saturated)
Cholesterol: 15 mg
Sodium: 300 mg
Carbohydrates: 17 grams
Dietary Fiber: Less than 1 gram
Sugar: 5 grams
Protein: 2 grams

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beat the bulge

Piggybacking on yesterday's "Fight the Fad" post, I thought I would share how I personally beat the bulge while fighting the fads. Fad diets that is. Bear with me, this is a long one but so worth the read...

One of my favorite sayings is "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Think about it. It’s true. When you are thin, you feel amazing. You can be more active. You don’t get tired as easily. You have more confidence. You love to shop more. You want to be more social. But how we go about getting thin is what matters most.
I’ll confess – My closet is filled with size 24 jeans that I frankly couldn't get my left butt cheek into these days. Yes, I’m pregnant now but they hung unworn for quite some time beforehand. I would shimmy into them and spend far too long doing lunges around my house to loosen them up. All that work and I still couldn't breathe. We've all been there. But sadly I beat myself up mentally over the fact that they didn't fit. I felt like I was failing myself. I felt like that stupid size zero defined who I was. I'm not gonna lie - I was tempted to fall victim to some sort of quick fix to get me back into them. How easy that would have been? A Slim Fast shake for breakfast and lunch then a sensible dinner. Piece of cake. But I didn't. I just kept them in my closet as motivation. According to “The Slaves to Fashion” article in Glamour magazine, I’m not alone either. The average woman has 12 items of clothing- worth more than $450 - languishing in her closet unworn because they're either too big or too small. 52% of the ladies polled between the ages of 18-65 said they have intentionally bought clothes that were too small in the hope they will fit into them one day. You better believe that I have high hopes for this body after baby #2. Maybe I won't be a 24 ever again but at least those jeans will be a reminder of all the hard work and determination that I put in back in the day. Key word – HARD WORK. Not fad dieting. My hard work has never failed me.

Unfortunately, there's no denying that I'm not getting any younger. I have to work double as hard to see the same results. And it's draining. All you older ladies (30+) know what I’m talking about. My metabolism, against my will, is slowing down. I’m a mother without a nanny, housekeeper, or personal assistant so I don't have 5 hours to devote to working out like I wish I could. I don't have a personal trainer. I don't have a cook to prepare any special meals. So with all these things against me, how do I beat the bulge? Simply put - the best diet is no diet at all. You should eat to live, not live to eat and make exercise a priority. In theory, it's super simple. But in reality, it's not. Aside from the physical aspect of shedding pounds, you need to train yourself mentality to make it a lifestyle. Below are some daily reminders that work for me:

1) Maintaining your weight is a numbers game. Calories in - calories out. Theoretically, about 3,500 calories equals one pound of body weight. This means that you'd have to take in 3,500 fewer calories than you usually do, over a period of time, to lose one pound. By cutting or burning 500 calories a day (a total of 3,500 per week), and otherwise eating a balanced diet, you may find you lose approximately a pound a week. This rate of weight loss is considered reasonable and healthy.

2) You need to COMMIT to making fundamental changes to your overall lifestyle — including how you eat and HOW YOU EXERCISE. Making these changes requires a longer-term vision of your health and fitness goals — something that requires commitment beyond “going on a diet” to get ready for your island vacation. Fad diets are notorious for eliminating exercise as part of the weight-loss plan. Reality check - you need to get your metabolism rev'ing to burn calories. You must carve out some time in your day (even if it’s 30 min) and make it a PRIORITY to get your butt moving. You don't need a fancy gym. You don't need all the classes. Stick with the basics. If you know there just isn't any way you're gonna fit in a workout, park further from the store so you have to walk longer. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Do sit-ups and push-ups during the commercial breaks. Put it on your list and make it happen.


3) Be strict on how you order in a restaurant. Restaurant portions have become so large that they are generally 2-3 times larger than servings recommended by the American Dietetic Association. Excess has sadly become the norm in America. It's no wonder the U.S. has become the fattest country in the world. Ask for condiments on the side. Do not become part of the "Clean Plate Club." Spot the fat traps - "fried," "battered," "cheesy." Ask for grilled and light oil. Resist the temptation of the chips. If you want some bread, ask for Balsamic Vinegar instead of lathering on the butter.

4) Remember…"A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” In a study in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that cookies are 700% bigger than USDA standards. Our perception is so distorted. Practice good portion control. This doesn't mean you have to restrict yourself entirely of it. Just eat in moderation. Don't plop on the couch with the bag of whatever; put it in a bowl. Eat on a salad plate if you don't have good will power. Limit yourself to one helping. AND DON’T THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU WORKED OUT, YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT. You can’t justify your bag of M&M’s because you worked out. Remember it’s a numbers game. If you only burned 150 calories on the treadmill but then followed it up with a 250 calorie bag of candy, you might as well not even worked out.

5) Live with the mindset, “Out of sight out of mind.” Clean out the kitchen pantry and eliminate all junk food. Toss out high-calorie, high-fat foods that will tempt you to overeat - chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, candy bars, etc. And then just DON'T buy it. Simple. If you have kids, make a "Kid's Cupboard" that in your mind, doesn't exist.

6) Do not drink your calories. This will save you hundreds of calories. Water is always best but the flavored waters have zero calories as do unsweetened teas. Remember fruit juices, regular sodas, beer, cocktails and wine can add more than 100 extra calories to your meal depending on the quantity and the drink of choice. Did you know a restaurant margarita can pack 750 calories? Ouch.

7) Don't grocery shop hungry, stick to your list & make sure you shop primarily in the perimeter aisles of your store. If you're hungry and veer from your list, you're more apt to buy what you don't need. The center aisles are filled with processed, sugary foods. The first 5 ingredients make up the food, the rest are additives that add extra sugar and calories. Your body gets all the nutrients, sugars and fats it needs from the daily requirements of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy and whole grains. All of these items are located around the perimeter of most grocery stores.

8) Read food labels. This is a proven tool to lose weight. It's extremely important to look how many servings there are in one little bag of candy. Sure you may see there are 200 calories but then look below. How many servings are there? If there are 4, there are actually 800 calories (200x4) in that measly bag. Just think - you just wasted 800 calories out of your 1,600 calorie limit for the day on sugar. Also take note of the fat and carbohydrate amounts, specifically the sugar/high fructose corn syrup. Sugar is a FAT trap.

9) Plan ahead for what food is to come. This doesn’t mean you have to plan your meals out for the week. For most, this is so unrealistic. Take each day as it comes and make wise choices as you go. If you know you're going to a party that evening with appetizers, cocktails, a steak dinner and yummy delicate desserts, then be conscious about the calories you consume earlier in the day. This doesn't mean it's ok to sip strictly on Diet Coke all day. That will only cause you to overeat later which will consequently cause you to consume more calories than if you ate smaller portions throughout the day. Eat soup for lunch instead of your staple chicken salad sandwich & chips. Munch on an apple instead of taking your 4:00 PM vending machine trip.

10) Get off the scale. Go off how your clothes feel. If you’re including a weight training routine into your overall weight loss program, you will be gaining muscle weight as you lose fat weight. Muscle weighs more than fat so don’t get discouraged. Remember, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, and the more fat you burn doing the same old same daily things. Also, many people fail to realize that their weight fluctuates throughout the day due to water and food intake. Therefore, weighing yourself at different times of the day can also inaccurately show weight gain. If you are addicted to the scale, weigh in only ONCE per week. This will eliminate the numbers game and keep you mentally sane.

Ok so there you have it. This may seem like a lot, but it's not hard - just a commitment. Just remember, "if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." You owe it to yourself. Stop giving into the ever failing yo-yo diets and make a change. Eat right, exercise and make small changes to how you live life. Over time it will come natural.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fight the FAD

For as much of a health nut as I am, I can't believe it's taken me this long to blog about the topic of health & fitness. I definitely will not have any problem giving you my two cents on the topic throughout the life of this blog. Bear with me on this one - I can already tell it could be a long one.
I get asked all the time how I maintain my petite frame. It could be part genetics although my family isn't made of skinny-minnies. I honestly think it's my will power. I've made it a lifestyle. I am a purist when it comes to maintaining your body. This doesn't mean I eat super "clean" and am a Vegan. When I say purist I mean I have very little tolerance for people that actually believe in any quick fix miracle diets. Specifically - FAD DIETS. Low carb, detox diet, HcG diet, cabbage soup diet, juice diet, grapefruit diet, Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Flat Belly Diet, Master Cleanse. I even put diet pills in this same bucket - carb blockers, fat blockers, metabolic boosters. There are a million gimmicks out there. There is definitely truth to what many of these products are advertising. We as consumers probably do eat too much fat, too many carbs, too many processed foods that slow our metabolism. We lead stressed lives that make our systems unbalanced and turn out bodies into fat storing blobs of low energy but will the latest fad solve your problems? Deep down in my heart I know the answer to this is a big fat NO but I do recognize that rapid results with minimal effort is extremely alluring to people, especially in a society trained to want things NOW. “Effort,” of course, is relative. Obsessing over lists of prohibited foods, denying yourself entire food groups, or subsisting on maple syrup and lemon juice would probably strike a lot of people as anything but “easy and effortless.” Yet every day, thousands of people choose to go on these diets. Are you one of them? Hopefully not for long.

Before I get hot on why y'all should fight the fad, below are some revealing statistics:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at any given time 2/3 (or 66%) of all American adults are on a diet to either lose weight or prevent weight gain. Of those, 29% are men and 44% women. Yet only 5% of these dieters will be successful at keeping the weight that they lost off.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that each day Americans spend an average of $109 million on dieting or diet related products, including tapes, videos, supplements, books, foods, and medications – or over $34 billion a year.

Yet, for all of the money spent on diets and diet products, another set of statistics shows Americans overall aren’t losing weight. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, overweight and obesity has reached epidemic levels, afflicting 6 out of every 10 adults, and is the second leading cause of preventable death, resulting in 300,000 deaths per year.

So if Americans are dieting more, why do we keep getting fatter? With all of the claims that fad diets make around “losing weight and keeping it off” you’d think everyone would look like a fitness model. So what’s going on?

What is a fad diet?
Fad diets promise dramatic results in a short amount of time. They have usually received extensive media attention that has caused a cultural buzz claiming this is the next BEST thing. Sadly their marketing uses far too many too good to be true phrases like “melt off pounds instantly,” “lose fat fast,” “lose weight when you sleep,” “eat all you want and lose weight!” etc. Give me a break. They usually always promote extreme calorie restriction or eliminating entire food groups which if you knew anything about losing weight, you'd know that's counter-productive and unsustainable to healthy long-term weight loss.
But why do the commericals and even our friends swear they work?
Nearly everyone knows a friend that swears their latest diet is working or reads in a magazine that a certain diet is shedding pounds off Britney Spears. And often, you’ll even notice that the person on the diet does appear to have lost weight. The dirty little secret of fad diets is that most of them do cause people to lose weight — and sometimes that weight loss will appear to be dramatic, depending on how extreme the diet actually is. For example, people who switch to low-carb diets like Atkins will often see a dramatic drop in scale weight within a few days, and may even find their clothing a little less snug than before they started the diet. Many people will mistake this drop in scale weight as a reduction in body fat. However, much of this weight loss comes from water. Put the carbs back in, and the water weight returns.
Many fad diets will result in some loss of body fat, since you typically will be reducing calories. However, these diets can also wreck havoc on your metabolism and endocrine system and cause rapid fat gain once you go off the diet. This is the reason that only 5% of people who go on diets will actually keep off the weight or fat they lost.
Sadly just the mention of a diet by someone you know or trust gives it credibility and legitimacy. If you hear more than one person talking about it, that only tends to strengthen that confidence. And because many of these diets do initially produce dramatic (but usually temporary and short-term) results, the fad diet will look like it’s effective. More often than not, if you go back to that person three months later, they’ll already be buzzing about the newest, next-best-diet that they are getting ready to “go on.” I'm sorry to say that this friend is a yo-yo dieter and you should steer clear of her dieting advice.
In a nut shell - Fad diets do not work. Period. You can't sustain them and ultimately in the end, you gain the weight back and then some. That's motivating huh? Save your money on the bars. Stop believing that the increased heart rate from that little pill is good for you. Don't justify that the headache you feel is normal. Stop spending your energy on things that are proven to fail you. Healthy living should be a lifestyle, not a fad. Fad diets that shed pounds in the blink of any eye, limit foods, restrict nutrients and skip meals actually have a negative impact on weight management. To keep your metabolism speeding along, consider having 4 or 5 smaller meals and smart snacks throughout the day. In addition to providing consistent energy and maintaining your metabolism, you may be more likely to resist those "snack attacks" that pack on those unwanted pounds.
Alright enough for today. I could go on for hours. If you want to learn how I beat the bulge without the quick fix gimmicks, check back tomorrow...

Friday, October 22, 2010

WEEKEND WARRIOR CHALLENGE: Design on a dime

I'm always thinking about what's next to do around the house. Fortunately I have a very helpful husband who for the most part willingly embraces my "honey do" lists with a smile. And ladies, if you don't have a honey-do list for your husband, he is getting off way too easy in the home department. The one area however that's all me is the decorating. He likes to think he has a say but what man really does??? :) Last week I was dead set on getting a new bedroom set. After 7 years of the same ol' same ol' I was sick and tired of it. Oh my gosh, I'm kinda embarrassed that I just admitted that. 7 years of the same bedding? We kinda take the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" to the extreme. I set out on a mission during Chase's nap (my luxury when my husband is working from home). I had 3 hours to tear through as many home stores as I could. I like to make sure I know what's out there before I settle on the one. And you better believe that when I get in the 'mode,' I WILL find something.

So at the end of my time being here, there and everywhere, I ended up finding a bedding set at my old faithful - TJ MAXX. Why do I bother ever going anywhere else? I completely revamped my room for a total of $198. Bedspread, sheets, and 8 decorative pillows. Side designer note: don't skimp on the decorative pillows. They finish off the look.

If you've never been in a TJ Maxx, especially a TJ Maxx Home Goods, I encourage you to seek one out. You will be like a kid in a candy shop in their home section. They have awesome decorative accessories for every room in your house - pillows, candles, mirrors, frames, lamps, rugs, baskets, towels, flowers, vases, etc. They even have furniture, tableware, holiday decorations, clothing and a kid's section at great prices too!

(Pictured above - candle holders (had): Crate & Barrel; lamps (had): Pottery Barn; Frame on nightstand (had): Target; Picture on wall (had): Cost Plus World Market; Bedding: TJ Maxx; Decorative pillows: TJ Maxx; Flower (had): Target)

Ok so why is this a WEEKEND WARRIOR CHALLENGE? There's got to be some room in your house that needs a little pick me up. Maybe a new rug? How about new bathroom towels? I'm not telling you to go out and spend a ton of money. I'm encouraging you to design on a dime. Get creative. Add a pop of color. Rearrange some things in your house. Change out your candles. Get a picture on that bare wall.


(Pictured above - Mirror: Crate & Barrel; Candle holders: TJ Maxx; Flowers: Michaels; Lamp: Target; Decorative pillows: TJ Maxx; Rug: Target)

As you can see, I'm a huge fan of TJ Maxx and Target. You can't go wrong with Ikea prices either. Cost Plus World Market is also at the top of my list - they have great selection and prices too. I'll sometimes find stuff in Pier 1 Imports. Marshalls is ok but don't waste your time at Ross. They are always so disorganized you'll get frustrated before you even begin. When I want to splurge a little more, Crate & Barrel & Z Gallerie are staples. I don't do a lot of shopping online for home goods. I have to see it and feel it and I hate wasting money on shipping.

Now that you know where to go, have fun DESIGNING ON A DIME! And remember, it's hip to be a Bargainista. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Splurge vs. Steal: TOOTHPASTE

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, 50% of people say that a smile is the first feature they notice about someone. Sadly 80% of people are not happy with their smile. I however am part of the other 20%. I spent six long, embarrassing years in braces during my fragile junior high/early high school years so you better believe I like to show off my pearly whites. But I can't give the braces all the credit. Like most things in my life, I am anal about my brushing habits. I went to the Dentist on Tuesday and heard nothing but rave reviews about how white and clean my teeth were. What's my secret? ULTRABRITE ADVANCED WHITENING TOOTHPASTE. A major STEAL.

You've probably never noticed Ultrabrite on the shelf at the store. It's usually on the very bottom shelf next to the fire red Close-Up gel due to it's ridiculously low price. Naturally people would overlook a $.97 toothpaste but in Ultrabrite's defense, it's owned and manufactured by COLGATE. Go figure. Colgate's Total Advanced Whitening is Ultrabrite's expensive twin at $4.24. But we love Colgate because they spend millions on advertising which sucks us into believing they are better. Ugh - consumerism at it's finest.

In additon to my Ultrabrite testimony, Consumer Reports a few yeas ago rated Ultrabrite the top whitening toothpaste which gave it the recognition it deserves. Sooooo now that you know Consumer Reports gives it 2 thumbs up will you stop splurging on the high priced, overly marketed toothpastes? Maybe you will, maybe you won't but I'll leave you with this...You can buy 4 tubes of Ultrabrite to 1 tube of Colgate. That alone should make you smile. :)
*Note: Ultrabrite can be found at Target & Walmart.

Random dental facts:

- The average woman smiles about 62 times a day. A man? Only 8.
- Kids laugh around 400 times a day. Grown-ups just 15.
- People who smile in school yearbooks are more likely to have successful careers and marriages than poker faced peers.
- Americans buy 14 million gallons of toothpaste every year.
- Total annual consumer spending on toothpaste is $1.8 billion dollars.
- 38.5 total days an average American spends brushing their teeth over their lifetime.
- 94% of Americans say they brush nightly; 81% say they do it first thing in the morning.
- Change out your toothbrush when there are signs of showing wear, or every three (3) months.
- Dentists recommend that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
- Always brush your tongue to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath. Brushing the roof of your mouth may also help eliminate a bad breath problem.
- Even after you brush your teeth, some bacteria will remain. That bacteria can set up a colony and begin damaging your teeth within 24 hours - which is why dentists recommend brushing twice a day to consistently interrupt their growth.
- A correct brushing must have a duration of 2 to 3 minutes.
- Soft bristled brushes with a smaller head are preferred so they can better reach all areas of your mouth. Electric toothbrushes like a Sonicare are best.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last & final PRIMER update

My mom just called from Tacoma, WA and was excited to report that she found the Jane MaxLash 2 Mascara & Primer at RITE-AID!!! Unfortunately in CA, I searched two Rite-Aids by my house and still came up short. The Jane Cosmetic website shows that the two stores I went to should be a Retailer of Jane products too. Weird. I'm also not convinced that all Walmarts carry the Jane line either. Had I known this would be this hard, I would have not got you so excited about it. Sorry.

Click on this link and you should be able to find a Store nearest you that carries the Jane MaxLash - http://www.janecosmetics.com/index.php/store.html

If you still can't find it and you are set on trying out the Jane MaxLash over the alternatives I provided in my 1st Primer update (L'oreal or Revlon), you can purchase it on the Jane website - http://www.janecosmetics.com/index.php/products-1/maxlash2r-waterproof.html - for $12.30 ($6.35 + $5.95 shipping). Which is close to the same as what the L'oreal and Revlon retail for in the drugstores.

FASHION TREND: The skinny on jeans

I am a jean girl. Seven For All Mankind are still - hands down - my all time favorite. I love their versatility. They look equally great with a hot stiletto or a Converse sneaker. I think at one point, I had like 20+ pairs of jeans (Heavens not all 7's). Of course however I had my 4 favorites that I wore over and over again. They began to feel like sweatpants they were so soft. But now that I'm a big girl and my mom doesn't pay for my shopping sprees anymore (tear), I got a little more realistic on how much I am willing to spend on a pair of jeans. I found this awesome brand, VIGOSS, in the BP section at Nordstrom. They have a fabulous selection of different styles and washes and you can't beat $58.00 for a pair of jeans these days. I think I even saw online that some are on sale RIGHT now for $27.90-$35.90. Get on that!! http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/vigoss?origin=brandindex

Sadly since we've moved to Southern California I don't get to wear my jeans as much as I would like. And after having my first child and now being pregnant again, I have a limited selection that actually fit anymore. I'm not gonna lie - I've done a terrible job over the last few years staying up-to-the-minute with the latest jean trends. I can't seem to part with the flare/boot-cut look. Do I care? Not one bit but there's no denying that the skinny jean tops the charts these days. I however am not one that has jumped on the skinny jean bandwagon. What was that...Did I hear a gasp??? Yep in my massive collection of jeans, I don't own one pair of skinny jeans. They look awful on my 5'4" athletic build. The last thing I need is the nickname "Stumpy" in my 30's. Plus my husband hates flats. And beside the knee-high boot, the flat is the next hip alternative to pair with the skinny jean. Looks like I'm SOL.
If you too aren't too hot on the whole skinny jean craze, here are a few other 2010 fall/winter chic denim alternatives:

1) STRAIGHT SLOUCH JEAN: 1/2 boyfriend jean, 1/2 mom jean, the new straight slouchy style is perfect for all you ladies who want a slightly more tailored pair of blues that still feel like you've had them your whole life.

Above, from left: Madewell Skinny Boyfriend Jeans, $98.50, See by ChloƩ Slung-Loose Jeans, $320, Levi's Boyfriend Skinny Jean, $68, A.P.C. Pioneer Jeans, $310.

2) REVAMPED 70's STYLE JEAN: A more streamlined '70s-inspired style that ranges from crisp trouser cuts to a more modified boot-cut. Ok so maybe I am kinda still in style. :)
Above, from left: Banana Republic Dark Wash Boot-Cut Jeans, $59.50, Balmain fall 2010 runway look, Gap 1969 Sexy Boot Jeans, $59.50.

3) CROPPED 50's STYLE JEAN: In slim straight cuts, dark washes, and with zippered ankles, the new mid-century pedal-pusher jean is pretty much what Betty Draper wanted to wear but never could.

Above, from left: Isabel Marant fall 2010 runway photom, Isabel Marant fall 2010 campaign photo; BDBG Cigarette Jeans, $54, MiH Paris Jeans, $228, J. Crew Ankle Stretch Toothpick Jeans, $125.

If you're wondering what color denim - anything goes this winter. 80's acid washed, super light blue/almost white wash, faded, colored (grey, black, purple), patch work, dark indigo washes. Go with the one you like!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

QUICK TIP: Yummy guacamole in minutes

I was recently with some girlfriends that had never heard of the quick and easy Guacamole packet. I was literally tongue -tied so I thought I would blog about this in case you too are missing out. If you're a "Foodie" and prefer to have all fresh ingredients from the local Farmer's Market, this may not be the Quick Tip you are looking for but trust me, in a pinch this too could become your best friend. Now I know summer is over but who doesn't love chips and guacamole any time of the year? It seems like everyone I talk to has some A-mazing guacamole recipe. But who honestly has all those ingredients laying around? Especially when you get a random knock on the door from the neighbors that just popped by to say hi. Of course you are going to invite them in and then stress the entire time that you have nothing to serve them. Fret no more. The Guac packet to the rescue.

All you need is a few avocados (and yes they are available year round) and the packet. I believe the best ratio is 2 avocados to 1 packet of mix. Peel, pit and mash the avocados, mix it together with the dry packet and ta-da - you have yourself some tasty guac in minutes! I personally like the "McCormick - Great Guacamole" in mild. I've taste tested a few other brands and I promise you, McCormick's is top shelf. Listen to me...do NOT buy Lawrys. I know for certain you can find McCormick at Von's/Safeway for like $1.00 which is soooo much cheaper than buying a tomato, an onion, a lime, some cilantro, maybe some chile peppers, and the expensive spices to boot - cumin, cayenne, garlic. And besides saving money, you save TIME with the packet. Do you realize that a majority of those special ingredients need to be "finely chopped?" No thanks.

One tip I do recommend is squeezing a little lemon or lime juice in the dip so it keeps it from turning brown too quickly. But don't use too much - you don't want it to taste more like citrus than avocado. Another trick is keeping the seed/pit in the dip. Not sure why that helps but it does. If for some reason you don't devour the dip in one sitting, put a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the guacamole and press it down so it's touching the top of the dip. Air causes oxidation so the more you cover the longer it will stay green. But remember, discoloration doesn't mean it's no longer edible. It just looks nasty. Guacamole dip can last up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Dig in and enjoy!!!!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Become a LIST LOVER!

As I made my list last night for today, I thought this would be the perfect blog for a Monday. Everyone sets out each week hoping to reign in their crazy, busy schedules. Some rely on their Outlook reminders. Others look to their Personal Assistant. If you're like me, you make lists. I'm not talking about big lofty bucket lists (i.e. things you want to accomplish before you die). I'm referring to the daily lists that keep you on track to be productive and less stressed.

I grew up in a household of sticky notes. My mom would post them everywhere - "Don't forget..." "Remember to..." They drove me crazy. They were too all over the place. In hindsight, those pesky notes made me appreciate the benefit of writing things down. Once I moved out of the house, I missed my mom's daily reminders but I knew that wasn't the method that was going to work for my demanding schedule. I'll never forget what my golf coach at the University of Washington said to me; "Golf is #1, School is #2 and everything else is a DISTANT 3rd." I remember thinking who was she to tell me how I could prioritize my life? I knew that if I had good time management, I could handle anything and everything that was thrown at me. So I started making lists. I had a list for everything. I even had a Printer make my own special lists. I became an obsessive list maker. And against my coach's will, I had time to have much more than school and golf in my life.

Over the years I've refined my list making techniques that work for me. If your lists are working great for you, then I encourage you to keep doing what you are doing. If you're struggling with staying committed to your lists, I'm hopeful my tips will motivate you.

1) Take 15 minutes at the end of your day to make your list for the following day: There are 1,440 minutes in one day. This is a realistic goal. Nobody is that busy. The theory behind writing your list the night before is this - it allows you to review the current day’s list. You see what tasks you've done and which ones you've neglected. The uncompleted tasks should roll over onto your new list – the next day’s task list. If you have one particular item that keeps rolling over day after day, this is a great visual to show you that it's not really a priority. You need to do some soul searching to figure out 1) why you put the pressure on yourself to want to do it and 2) what is causing you to skip over that time and time again?

2) HAND WRITE your lists: Yes, the old school way. I encourage you not to use a fancy task manager software or an app on your I-Phone. There's something about physically handwriting it that connects you personally to it. You don't need a fancy pad of paper. Just find something that works for you. I personally like to make check boxes before each task so I get the satisfaction of checking it off the list. I also do not encourage writing on the back of the page. Keep everything visible on the front so you won't miss anything.

3) Write your list in PENCIL: The eraser is my best friend. I can't stand scratching something out. It makes my skin crawl. I promise you - if your list is messy, your day is bound to be messy. You want to embrace your list, not scream at it.

4) List out everything that comes to mind: Even the obvious. Calls you need to make. Emails you must respond to. Work out. Pick up. Drop off. Gas. Laundry. Don't just assume you'll remember. You'll catch yourself at the end of the day saying, "shoot I forgot to do that." Always put the exact time certain things need to happen so they are constantly staring you in the face throughout the day. You may find, as I did, in the beginning you'll be overzealous – scheduling more tasks than you can possibly handle. Think about the things that absolutely need to get done TODAY. Not next week or even things that could wait for the weekend. It's ok to have multiple lists going at once. At this current time I have a: grocery list, Target list, Costco list, Honey-Do List (a must!), Appointments to make list, and weekend to do list. And it's only Monday. When I know I have some time in my day to fit in these errands I will prioritize them into the daily list.

5) Prioritize your list: After you know what your day ahead has in store, either rewrite your list in order or just number them in order of how your day should realistically unfold. If you work out first thing in the morning, start the list with WORK OUT. Even if you do it everyday and you don't think you need to be reminded. It's so gratifying at the end of the day to look back at ALL the things you accomplished in your day. If you're planning on getting out of the house a few minutes early to get GAS before you DROP THE KIDS OFF AT SCHOOL @ 8:00, list or number that next. If you see it on the list next, you will be more apt to get out of the house early like you planned. If you know you need to do LAUNDRY and WRITE THANK YOU CARDS TO SHARON & CINDY while the kids are at school, list that during the appropriate time. You will be more motivated to stay focused on the tasks and not get sidetracked on checking Facebook or doing a task that could be done over the weekend. Now I know that things randomly come up and you get pulled in all different directions especially when you have kids but just try to visualize how you would ideally like your day to go and stick with it as much as possible.

6) Carry your list with you: I religiously carry my list in my back pocket. I never forget what's next. And I'm able to check off the tasks as I go. One task done, on to the next one! Nothing is more satisfying. I’ve been doing this for years and I still get a little burst of pleasure every time.

Phew, list making 101 is complete. Again this is what works for me. Making lists shows me how to set boundaries, take control of MY day and manage MY time. You can rest assured that if you become a list lover will not have to worry about forgetting something important. And you will have a strong sense of energy and excitement - confident that your day is going to be a productive one.

PRIMER UPDATE

I apologize to y'all that went on a hunt trying to find the "Jane - MaxLash 2 Mascara & Primer" I raved about in my mascara post. Can I tell you how happy it makes me that you're 1) actually reading my blog and 2) taking me up on my advice! I felt so bad after I received a few "I can't find the Primer" emails that I set out on a wild goose chase, with Chase (my 2 year old) in tow. Unfortunately I discovered that Walgreens has stopped carrying Jane products. After a quick stop at Rite-Aid, CVS Pharmacy, Target and Wal-mart, I am sad to say that Walmart is the only retailer that carries Jane products. Good news is that it's actually CHEAPER at Walmart ($4.24). But what isn't cheaper at Walmart?? I snagged the last one on the shelf today so that tells me others LOVE this product as much as I do. If for some reason you refuse to walk into Walmart or just don't have one close to you, there are a few other alternatives at your local drugstores. L'oreal has the "Double Extend" and Revlon has the "Lash Fantasy - Total Definition." Depending on the store, these both retail anywhere from $10-$13. Not as great of savings but still far less than the $24 you're gonna spend on one tube of designer mascara. I have tried both the L'oreal and Revlon in the past but for the results and the price, it's worth a drive to Walmart for the "Jane MaxLash 2."
Side note for all my Walmart haters: Yes, it's a massive retailer that has the potential to put out small mom and pop stores. Yes, it carries some crap. Yes, their staff is usually no help. Yes, it's usually overly crowded with people that have no concept of personal space. And yes, it's not "cool" to say you shop at Walmart. BUT - hands down, they have the best prices. And in my household, saving money is cool. Sure if you buy the Walmart brand you're gonna get what you pay for but they do carry most all name brand products at a greater discount than places like Target or a drugstore. Diapers, DVD's, toothpaste, batteries - guaranteed you'll come out money ahead. Their home section is less than desirable but they do have an awesome ribbon section which is over 1/2 the cost than Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics. Maybe when you go pick up the MaxLash 2 Primer, you'll browse around and see that it's not all that bad.

Friday, October 15, 2010

WEEKEND WARRIOR CHALLENGE: Conquering the toiletry chaos

Is your morning routine, or lack thereof, making you start your day off on the wrong foot? Are you digging through drawers of 'stuff' to find what you are looking for? Are you constantly late? If you answered yes to even one of those questions, you could benefit from this Weekend Warrior challenge. I know everyone is "busy" but there has got to be at least one hour you can carve out of your weekend to conquer your bathroom chaos. Trust me. You do it once and maintain it (*key word - MAINTAIN), and you can kiss goodbye the morning outbursts of frustration. Ok so let's get your mind right and tackle this...

First, take ONE drawer at a time. Or better yet, one section of the huge pile that has taken over your vanity top. If you try to take on too much at one time, you'll get frustrated and want to give up. Grab the garbage can and start to weed out the stuff you don't ever use. Like those stupid samples you just can't seem to toss but have never used. What's up with having such a hard time throwing away something that was FREE? Or what about the multiple lotion bottles that you never finished but somehow can't part with. As if you're going to reach for those crusty pumps. If you hesitate on any one item, TOSS it. Or maybe you have multiples of things. Reality check - you only need one hairdryer, one straightener, one curling iron. Donate or toss the extras.

Now that you have only the essentials, visually place all like items together. Perfume, body sprays, and lotions together. Medicines. Make-up. The items you use during your daily routine (i.e. deodorant, lotion, vitamin, hair product, etc) I know that goes against clumping 'like items' together but this is important to streamline your routine and the amount of time it takes you to get ready. By putting your items in clumps it shows you what you're working with and you can easily assess how much room you need for each group.

Now's the fun part - Depending on the space you have to work with, start putting your items AWAY in places that make sense. Not just organized on the counter. Clumps of items on the counter make my head spin. But that's coming from someone with OCD tendencies. I don't believe a drawer or closet can be truly organized without the help of some type of organizer. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. I personally HATE those little ones that clip together. They are always too small. I encourage you to get creative and think outside the box. Don’t just shop in the bathroom aisle for bathroom products. Look in the office aisle, kitchen section or outdoor area.
My personal favorite drawer organizer is actually a $3.00 "Antonius basket insert" from Ikea. Love that store. And their prices. FYI - the quality of their products are so much better than what they used to be. I apologize that I have no clue what section I found it in but it was the organizing piece for a stacked shelving unit. Talk about thinking outside the box! I love it because it's a durable plastic that I can wipe down. It's all one unit. It has different size compartments to fit just about anything. It works for me.

My make-up drawer. Note: The make-up bag to the right. What's in there? My everyday make-up. Why do I do that? Stay tuned. That's an entirely different post.

My "everyday" drawer. My go-to drawer to find everything to complete my daily, get ready routine.
Alright, now that you know that I use Pro-Activ and wear Arrid deodorant, it's your turn. Go out and find the drawer organizer that works for you and get that bathroom under control.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Question: What's one item of make-up I couldn't live without?

Duh. MASCARA. It's the one thing that I apply if I have to run out of the house super quick. If you follow me long enough you will learn that I am not going to pretend to be someone I am not. I don't buy super high end designer things. I don't enjoy buying one item when I know for the same price I could probably buy 5 somewhere else. I am very basic when it comes most things. I am a minimalist. Maybe too much of a minimalist. I don't buy what I don't need. I shop around for the "deal." I don't believe that name brand is better...although sometimes you do get what you pay for.

I am not going to act like I am some expert on applying makeup cause I'm not but I do know that mascara frames out your eyes and makes them POP! So what exactly do I look for in a good mascara?

First, no clumps! A mascara that clumps your eyelashes all together does not look natural and to be honest - looks cheap. And, the worst part is all day little pieces of mascara will fall in your eyes which can be very painful, especially if you wear contacts.

Second, length and volume. A mascara that not only coats your lashes but adds a little length and volume to them will add some drama to your overall look.

Third, separation. You want your mascara to separates your lashes and make them feathery looking.

I know you are dying to know how I get such amazing lashes. Well my go-to combination for the past few years has been Jane's MaxLash2 Mascara & Primer followed by Maybelline's Great Lash Volume Collection. Note that I only use the PRIMER part of the MaxLash. There are other brands out there that just sell a tube of primer but I love this particular primer. I am a BIG fan of using a PRIMER first. Yes, it's an extra step but oh so worth it. The Primer gives you intense volume, lengthens and conditions with Vitamin B. It prepares and coats your lashes for smoother mascara application (no clumping!). It is best to apply the primer then wait 10-30 seconds for the primer to dry before applying the mascara. This will keep the color of your mascara from looking diluted (i.e. gray instead of black).
Then I apply Maybelline's Great Lash Volume Collection in Blackest Black. I go back and forth depending on the season as to if I wear Waterproof or not. This mascara tops every beauty editor's list. It's the most popular mascara in the United States. Statistics show that one tube of Maybelline's Great Lash mascara is sold every 1.6 seconds in the US. I'm not one to fall into having the must haves or favorites but this one truly lives up to it's reviews.




Wah-la...lovely clump free, volume infused, feathery looking lashes all for $9.78!! Wait. What??? Yep, the MaxLash retails at Walgreens for $4.99 and the Great Lash for $4.79. Do you realize that's a $14.22 savings over the $24.00 tube of Dior's Mascara which was rated #1 on the Best of Sephora's List? What a joke. And sadly with the Dior tube you're not getting the Primer which personally is the SECRET to amazing lashes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Did you know??

That a light switch in your home can contain as many germs as a trash can. Yuck. How often do you think to wipe those down? Ummm. Never.

To eliminate the spread of germs around your house, I suggest grabbing a handful of Disinfectant Wipes - one of my fave must-have cleaning products - and go around your house once a week and wipe down the switch plates. While you are at it, wipe down the doorknobs as well. I know you're thinking, "I can barely find time to shower, how the heck am I gonna be able to squeeze in cleaning my light switches?" Seems lofty but wouldn't you rather take 5 minutes than be in bed sick with the flu for 10 days?

Being the Costco fanatic that I am, I prefer the "Kirkland Signature - Household Surface Wipes" over the "Clorox Disinfectant Wipes." Having tried both the Kirkland Signature & the Clorox brand, I can attest that name brand doesn't mean better in this situation. Besides the fact that they smell better, Kirkland Signature is a MUCH better value. Clorox retails for $3.99 for a canister of 35 wipes compared to $6.99 (with $3.00 off coupon) for 3 canisters each containing 55 wipes. If I do the math correctly that's $0.114 per Clorox wipe vs. $0.042 per Kirkland Signature wipe. That's less than 1/2 the cost!! Who doesn't love a good savings these days?!? Ok, ok, I know you are wondering how in the world I would know that. In my pre-mommy life back in WA state, I owned a cleaning company (along with being a Realtor & High School Girl's Golf Coach) therefore I know my cleaning product prices. Shouldn't every good business owner know where their money is spent?? In addition to the smell and cost, Kirkland Signature wipes are larger in size so you actually use less. Again, another weird fact - Kirkland Signature wipe dimensions are 8" by 10" where the Clorox wipes measure 8" by 7".


Sadly, this post confirms that my little head is filled with random information. But you learned something didn't you? Again, I challenge you to take a few minutes to wipe down the light switches in your homes. It will be an extra precaution to keep you and your family much healthier. And if you get on a roll, they are good for wiping down phones, toilet seats, kitchen counters, kids toys, changing tables, etc. I even use them on my wood furniture to dust but I advise you to do a test beforehand.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Question: What would you recommend for a dresser top diaper organizer?

The first thing to remember is that the changing table isn't solely for diaper changing. It's the place where you might lather your baby with lotion after a bath, where you put his/her clothes on, where you apply medicine, where you could possibly cut their toenails. The changing table is a place where you will want all the essentials handy. Being the Type A person that I am, I need my essentials to not only be handy but ORGANIZED. I personally am not a fan of a basket. I think a basket screams chaos. I like compartments. I don't like to dig around. I like things to have a place. And for that I recommend the "Prince Lionheart - Dresser Top Diaper Depot." This organizer is lightweight, takes up limited space on the dresser top and is clear in color which matches with ANY nursery theme. It's also inexpensive in price but not cheap in quality. The Diaper Depot includes 2 roomy diaper compartments that will hold up to 16-20 disposable diapers. What I love about the 2 separate compartments is that I can put day-time diapers on one side and the night-time diapers on the other. Genius. It also includes a large flat area for the baby wipes (either regular wipes or the Prince Lionheart wipe warmer unit). It also has 2 removable side bins that will hold all the necessities; lotion, diaper rash creme, thermometer, nail clippers, Q-tips, etc. Nothing is worse that fumbling around looking for something while your naked child is about to roll off the changing table. Eliminate this problem with the Dresser Top Diaper Depot. It's simple, easy to clean and will keep your changing area clutter-free which will save you time and an unpleasant changing experience.


The "Prince Lionheart - Dresser Top Diaper Depot" can be purchased at Babies"R"Us or Target for $14.99 http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2394461
or Walmart for $12.48 http://www.walmart.com/ip/Prince-Lionheart-Dresser-Top-Diaper-Depot-Organizer/4457084 . Note that not every store will carry them in stock. Prices may vary.
Hope this helps!! Best of luck on your search.
Hailey

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Question: My husband who takes my son to preschool just got a new sportscar & refuses to drive around with a "clunky carseat." Any recommendations?

I understand your husband's concern - he doesn't want to roll around town in this flashy new sports car with a clunky, colorful Graco. Understandable. What he needs is something sleek. Something that says luxury. Something that blends into the backseat. You need to look into the RECARO series. Big advocate of this brand. Recaro is known the world over for its specialty seats - found in planes, high performance vehicles, and boats. The company is close to celebrating its 100th birthday - and their reputation in the industry has never been better.

For your particular needs of your preschooler, I would highly recommend the ProBOOSTER. The ProBOOSTER features a lightweight, ergonomic design, while incorporating premium comfort and safety features exclusive to Recaro. As advocates for Side Impact Protection in child safety seats, Recaro designed the ProSERIES collection to protect the five main vulnerable areas of a child's body - the head, neck, face, torso and pelvis. This particular seat has a forward facing weight range of 30-120 lbs. with a height range of 37-61 inches. Do some research online to price compare first but from what I found most sites (diapers.com, amazon.com, etc.) retail the ProBOOSTER for $129.00. This seat comes in 3 colors; Blue Opal, Midnight (black) and Misty (gray).

Standout Features:
-Side Impact Protection designed to protect your little one's head, neck, face, torso and pelvis
-In line with the highest booster car seat capacity of 120 lbs
-QuickLift head restraint easily adjusts to 11 different positions
-Maximum comfort seat cushion made with real "PUR" automotive comfort foam
-Lightweight for quick and easy transfer from one vehicle to another

Benefits for You: The ProBOOSTER's ergonomic design makes it lightweight and easy to transfer from one car to another. The belt-positioning booster features an easily adjustable recline to ensure proper positioning of the car seat in your vehicle. Use the color-coded seat belt guides to give your child the safest and most comfortable fit of the vehicle seat belt.

Benefits for your child: Your toddler will experience premium comfort while riding in the Recaro ProBOOSTER with its SoftTouch seat cushion, made of real "PUR" automotive comfort foam and the CoolMesh air ventilation system. The QuickLift head restraint easily adjusts to 11 different positions to accommodate growing tots from 37-61 inches. The ProBOOSTER is part of the ProSERIES - designed to protect the five main vulnerable areas of a child's body - the head, neck, face, torso and pelvis.

Hope this helps!! Best of luck on your search.
Hailey