Posts in the ‘Health & Spa’ Category

Tech & Grandparents

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Petunia Pickle Bottom Stowaway iPad sleeve

iSeniors — Connecting Technology & Grandparents

My parents are amazed to see how my 6 year old son adeptly navigates his iPad and how he doesn’t shy away from letting us know when he thinks the wireless network is too slow. Living in Silicon Valley, there is so much focus on small children and technology. But what about the other end of the spectrum – grandparents? Technology has transformed the lives of my 75+ year old parents and in-laws. They are having just as much fun with technology as my son’s kindergarten class. Here are 5 great tech innovations for seniors:

1)     iPad: iPads are wonderful for older parents and grandparents who aren’t comfortable using a mouse and don’t like squinting at a computer monitor. The ease of swiping their fingers across the screen to see photographs of their grandchildren, to search for news, and to play games is amazing. Their ability to easily make the text larger with a simple finger gesture on the screen has really transformed their connection with the Internet. They also love the portability of the iPad. My parents are no longer tethered to their home office, like they were with their desktop computer, and the iPad is much easier for my mom to carry around the house and hold than a laptop. My 80 year old father-in-law rarely leaves the house without his iPad. He was able to easily set up his stock portfolio on Yahoo! Finance by himself so he can keep a close eye on his investments. He may not be ready to trade stocks online, but he loves having up-to-date information at his fingertips so he knows when to call his broker.

2)     FitBit: The only thing my mother loves more than her iPad is her FitBit One™. To say it has changed her life completely would be an understatement. Her FitBit has become her new best friend and she genuinely loves the words of encouragement and humorous messages that appear on the screen. She is so motivated to reach 10,000 steps every day, and she now has the personal trainer she never knew she wanted. She shows it off to all of her friends, and strangers too for that matter.  I helped her with the initial setup and now she can easily charge her device and view her summary metrics with ease.

3)     Wireless Access: Even if your parents or grandparents don’t have a laptop or tablet, I still recommend getting wireless Internet access in their home. I recently upgraded the wireless in my parent’s home so that my husband and I knew we would always be well connected when we were visiting. My extended family benefits from it too when they visit. Having a wireless network actually encourages the younger generations to visit their elderly relatives more often and not be in such a rush to leave. It is also nice for long term caregivers as well, as they appreciate having easy Internet access while they are caring for your loved ones.

4)     Video Cameras: The mother of a friend of mine lives over 600 miles away from his home. His feisty mother is over 80 years old and is still living on her own. He has tried to convince to move closer to him and his family, but she doesn’t like the idea one bit. Since she has had trouble walking, he wanted to be able to keep a close eye on her, even when he is far away. His solution – video. The last time he visited her, he installed cameras throughout her condominium, and he is able to watch the video footage from his computer, anytime from anywhere. There is a little peace of mind knowing that if she were to fall, he would be able to call for help. Some people may question this act as an invasion of her privacy, but she was onboard with the idea. They have also been very upfront with people who work in her home and notified them that the condo is monitored. He likes to be able to keep a close eye on the caregivers, handymen and cleaning crews that come in and out of her home. Thanks so the wonders of technology, he can.

5)     Facebook: At first my mother and mother-in-law were downright fearful of Facebook. I tried so many times to get them to sign up but they wanted nothing to do with it. I finally sat down with my mom and realized that her main concern was that she didn’t want to share anything personal with strangers. She didn’t want her ‘friends’ to know what she was making for dinner. After a few long months, I finally convinced her she could sign up for Facebook and that she didn’t need to tell anyone a thing. Just because she registered didn’t mean that people were suddenly going to know what she has picked up at the supermarket.

Facebook is actually a great way for grandparents to keep connected with their families. We set up my mom with a basic account (no photo or personal information other than her name) and had her become ‘friends’ with her children and grandchildren and a few very close family friends. Now she can easily sit on the couch, open her iPad and simply click on Facebook to see what her family is up to. My husband uploads videos of my son’s little league game and my parents, who are hundreds of miles away get to watch him hit the ball out the park too. She also can keep tabs on her other grandson’s surfing adventures and her sister’s magnificent farm and garden. She still gets a little spooked when a classmate from college that she has spoken to in 50 years asks to be her ‘friend’, but she relishes in the stories, photos and ability to stay connected.


Miraval

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

miraval-spa

I am just going to cut to the chase here and tell you that I absolutely loved the 4 days I spent at Miraval, a luxury wellness resort located in Tucson, Arizona. I don’t think I have ever been so relaxed in my life. It was a prefect mommy getaway.  I heard that Oprah is a big fan too and I can see why. If you just need to get away from everything and experience total tranquility and peace and yummy food and amazing spa treatments and beautiful surroundings and soft sheets and fluffy comforters – this is the spot for you.

miraval resort and spa

When you land at the airport in Tucson, there will be someone waiting for you at baggage claim with a ‘Miraval’ sign and from that instant on you will be completely taken care of. My friends and I received Miraval messenger bags, water bottles and literature to keep us occupied and the driver drove us out to the resort. Checking in was a snap and they reminded us of their ‘no cell phone’ policy which is fantastic. Yep – they don’t want to see you on your phone – no talking or texting or checking in with the family while you are supposed to be enjoying the resort amenities. It was a perfect excuse to really disconnect. (Yes – you can call the kids at night when you are back in your room!) I plopped my iPhone right into my bag and said goodbye.  I am always one to follow the rules!

One of my favorite things to do was just walk around the resort and check out all of the art work and the local foliage. But you can keep yourself busy from morning to night with all sorts of classes and activities. I started each day with a 7am stretch class and ended my days with meditation in the evenings. In between I did everything from taking a posture class to working out on the elliptical machine. You can ride horses, climb rock walls, take yoga classes, or get creative with sculpture and photo workshops. There are also a number of group session to help you heal your soul and you can even arrange one on one meetings with a range of wellness professionals.

miraval-resort

I must admit that two of my favorite things about Miraval were the meals and the spa treatments. We will start with the kitchen. Every meal is out of this world delicious. There is a buffet component to breakfast and lunch as well as specials that are served plated to your table. And dinner just gets better. If you can’t decide between entrees, they will bring you mini versions of each. And if that indecision continues through to dessert – go ahead and order one of each. Yes yes yes – it is all incredibly healthy and there is so much amazing seafood and other culinary delights, but if you aren’t looking to lose, you can certainly treat yourself too.  Rumor has it that many people choose Miraval over other high end spas because Mirval actually allows alcohol. It is nice to be able to enjoy a nice glass of wine after a long day of spa treatments…

Which takes me to the topic of the spa…It is gorgeous in a very understated way. The lovely finishes and muted colors were ideal to get you in a calm, relaxed zone. I loved that the treatment rooms were actually quite large so you didn’t feel like you were crammed into a little chamber. Of course I had to try a facial, a massage and their Hammam treatment which included lots of scrubs and clay. Miraval has a new partnership with Clarins so many of the spa experiences use Clarins products. I don’t know what else to say except that you won’t be disappointed and you won’t want to leave.

If you have any questions at all about going to Miraval – please don’t hesitate to send me an email. I can’t wait to go back….

 

Xtracycle

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Xtracycle radish family bike

 

Santa Claus brought my son an brand new, bright blue “big boy” bike. Surprise, surprise….he loves it! Seeing him out there riding around makes me excited to get a new tube for my bike tire so I can go out there and join him. It is just nice to be outside, enjoying the fresh air and getting out of the house and away from the iPad and the couch. Spring will be here before we know it so it is a perfect time to get ready for outdoor fun.

Last week a high school classmate of mine was telling me about these super cool family bikes from Xtracycle – the FreeRadical and the Radish. They are awesome. I just had to spread the word because I thought they were so cool and so great for families. They are ideal for peddling to spring picnics, trips to the farmers market and even for little cruises in the neighborhood. What I love is that the bikes are extra long so you can actually carry 2 kids, not just one. How practical and fabulous is that?! And there is still room for toys, a diaper bag, a frisbee and groceries too.

xtracycle-radish-family-bike

Here is the scoop straight from the source: “Xtracycle’s LongTail innovation is a hitchless trailer that evolves the bike rack, bike bag (or pannier or basket), bike trailer, passenger seat, and baby seat into one cargo bike or sport utility bicycle system. With a long wheelbase, balanced center of gravity, and versatile carrying capacity, your Xtracycle LongTail may open the door to car-free or car-lite transportation in your life.”

So go check their site out today and see what you think. It might be time to make a little room in your garage for one of your own. A cool ‘toy’ the whole family can enjoy.


Valentines Day Card from Tiny Prints

Similasan Ear Relief

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Splish Splash Summer from Similasan

Are you and your family enjoying summer as much as we are? This has been one of the most relaxing summers for my family. The one thing we’ve been doing almost every single day is swimming, splashing and swimming some more.  We love it!

carl-pool

I have finally found all of my favorite swim accessories. It has taken me awhile but we now own some UV protected swim shirts that actually fit over my son’s head. You have no idea how happy we are about this. I also found some excellent extra-large pool towels that seem to be really absorbent and quick drying which is great when we go in and out of the pool all day long. I bought them in 6 different striped color combinations to make it easier for everyone to remember whose towel is whose. Between the inner tubes, floaties, goggles and pool noodles I thought we had everything we needed. The one thing I was missing was a remedy for swimmer’s ear. Now I can finally check Swimmer’s Ear Relief off my list too.

Similasan-Logo

Similasan Ear Relief product is here to help us all. For over 30 years Similasan’s homeopathic Swiss formulas are made with 100% natural active ingredients and have been providing families with symptomatic relief they can trust. Similasan is a company committed to helping people feel better.

So here is the scoop about swimmer’s ear: When children are swimming and spending time in the water they may start to complain about their ears (this can happen to adults too!). They will have the sensation of clogged, full ears that will undoubtedly make them miserable. As we all know, if our children are miserable, we will be miserable too….and nobody wants that to happen.

Similasan’s Kids Ear Relief homeopathic ear drops were created to provide soothing relief  for children aged 2 and older. The Kids Ear Relief ear drops help clear water trapped in their ears and the homeopathic ingredients help stimulate their body’s natural ability to soothe the ear, decrease the ear’s sensitivity to external factors such as water, cold, and drafts, reduce the clogged sensation in the ear, and return their ear to a water-free and comfortable condition. Your child will be happier which will make you happy too. Hopefully it won’t be long before they will be ready to strap on their goggles and jump right back in the pool.

Be sure to ask a doctor before use if your child has: ear drainage or discharge; pain, irritation, or rash in the ear; had ear surgery or dizziness.

Did you know – Similasan Ear Relief was the #1 Pharmacist Recommended ear drop formula for the 10th year in a row!

* I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour conducted by Burst Media on behalf of Similasan. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, but my opinions are my own.  I want to send a huge thank you to Similasan for supporting Sweet Peas & Stilettos and for sending me some ear drops to try out. I really appreciate it!


Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Friday, April 27th, 2012

tory-burch-orange-wood-logo-cuff     proflowers

It is that time of year again – Mother’s Day. I think moms everywhere deserve a special month, not just a single day, but I guess we will take what we can get. I have compiled the Sweet Peas & Stilettos 2012 Mother’s Day Gift Guide – a list of fun and fabulous Mother’s Day gifts in a wide range of prices. A little something for everyone… I hope you find the perfect gift for your mom, your grandmother and your mother-in-law. At the very least,I hope these ideas help inspire you to find just the perfect gift for everyone special in your family. Happy Shopping!

The Honest Company Product Review

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

the-honest-company-products

Many of you have probably read about Jessica Alba’s company, The Honest Company by now. They have been getting a lot of press lately and I must tell you – the products are fabulous! This picture shows a number of the products we have been trying at my home and I am here to fill you in on my thoughts.

1 – The packaging is close to perfect. I swear – even the cardboard box that arrives at your doorstep is cute. (I actually converted it into a recycling bin in my office because I didn’t want to part with it.) And then you open the cardboard box and you are greeted with vibrant turquoise blue happiness and a surprise ‘thank you’ note at the bottom. They have not skipped a single detail and have been incredibly thoughtful in making every aspect of interacting with, and consuming their products a delight. The colors and flowers on the individual packages are so pretty too. These are not items that you will want to hide in a cupboard under your sink. They are so fabulous you will want to proudly display them near every sink and bath in your house. If I was giving out grades here, I’d give a hands down ‘A+’ to the graphic designers and packaging team at The Honest Company. Kuddos!

2 – They smell so so so so good. I hate most scented products for the bath and end up sneezing away whenever anyone lights any sort of scented candle. Of course I love the smell of warm chocolate cookies baking in the oven – but this is not about cookies… (Maybe I am just hungry tonight for something sweet…) All of the products from The Honest Company smell incredibly clean and fresh. Not that powdery fresh – just really crisp and clear and clean smelling. The items that are in fact scented, like the tangerine dream bubble bath and sweet orange vanilla conditioner, are farmer’s market fresh. The scents are subtle but delicious. My son has been asking me why I have been putting so many bubbles in his bath lately and the answer is easy – because they smell so darn good.

3 – Light but effective products. It is one thing for the products to be pretty and for everything to smell yummy, but do they actually work? Yes! The face and body lotion is so sheer – perfect for an infant and his 40 year old mother alike. The conditioner, the hand soap, everything I have tried, I have honestly loved. When I first saw that they had dish soap, I thought it would be good for baby bottles and sippy cups. I have to tell you it has actually worked on all of my pots and pans too.

4 – Giving back in an honest way. At the heart and soul of The Honest Company is a foundation of giving back. “That’s why with every product you purchase, The Honest Company donates product, money, time, and effort to addressing critical health & social issues affecting children and families.” It doesn’t get better than that.

I want to thank the team at The Honest Company for their generosity in sending me some of their products to try out. I can honestly tell you it has been a sheer delight to use them.

Burke Williams Spa

Monday, March 19th, 2012

burke-williams-spa

I recently endured the stress of applying to a number of private schools. (Technically it was my 5 year old son who was applying – but I did all of the work.) For those of you who have lived the process – you can sympathize with me how it brings back flashbacks to high school and those darn college essays. I was a bit of a wreck I must admit… A lot of the stress was self inflicted I know. But of course all of us moms talk and ask each other way too many questions so we spin and spin and stress and stress. I reminded myself that it was a huge financial decision (along with obviously being a personal one impacting my one and only child) so I felt that my stress was legitimate. By the end of the process my body was tied up in knots, my back ached and my shoulders and neck were so so so tight. I tried to remind myself that “it’s only kindergarten” but that did not work at all.  Luckily, I easily convinced myself that the only way to make myself feel better was to enjoy a day at the spa. Luckily, Burke Williams was just a phone call away.

I had visited Burke Williams twice before, once a long long time ago in Santa Monica and just a few years ago in Santana Row (San Jose). I was thrilled to have an excuse to go back to Santana Row. Burke Williams is a great spa for people who have a little extra time to enjoy the steam rooms, soaking tubs and sauna. All of these extras are including in the price of your treatment. I am a sucker for steam rooms. I just love them! So needless to say I sat in there for as long as I could endure as my private school stress just melted right out of my pores.

Then it was time for my massage and this time I opted for hot stones. I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to Trisha who did an amazing job working out my knots and getting me to such a relaxed state that I almost fell asleep on the table (literally!). It was a perfect combination of a really relaxing massage with just the right mix of warm rocks woven in throughout. In my very relaxed state I walked down Santana Row and enjoyed a late lunch at the Left Bank, an authentic Parisian-style brasserie. I must admit it was an all around perfect day of peace, quite and relaxation. I think you deserve one too!

 

burke-williams-spa-logo

And in case you were wondering…my son got his acceptance letters last week – yeah! I think I need to celebrate with another trip to Burke Williams. This time I’ll try a facial and pedicure.

I also want to thank Burke Williams and Trisha for their generosity in treating me to this fabulous trip to the spa. I needed it!

Mommy Makeover Tips

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

about-plastic-surgery

Mommy Makeover Tips – brought to you by AboutPlasticSurgery.com

Many new mothers experience a number of negative physical effects after pregnancy, and begin to look for ways to restore their bodies. As we all know, the process of pregnancy and childbirth are extremely stressful on the body, and not all of the stress is physically reversible by natural means. This is why there are a number of plastic surgery options that can be used as portions of what is commonly referred to as a “mommy makeover.” For details on a number of these procedures, you may want to look into AboutPlasticSurgery.com.  For now, however, here are a few tips on different surgeries, as well as some information on how to ensure swift recoveries.

To begin with, many new mothers struggle to lose all of the weight that they gain during the pregnancy. Of course, much of this weight comes off naturally with childbirth and in the weeks after it; however, if you as a new mother are having trouble dropping all of the excess pounds, you may want to consider liposuction, which can help you to quickly drop weight and get back to a starting point that you are comfortable with.

Once the weight is lost, a number of women also struggle with excess skin remaining, and giving off a false, “flabby” appearance. Fortunately, you do not have to be stuck with this excess skin, if you are experiencing this problem. A tummy tuck procedure can help to cut away the extra skin, and give your belly area the tighter, more in-shape look that it had before the pregnancy began.

Finally, a number of women also experience drastic changes in the size and shape of their breasts following pregnancy and childbirth. This is generally more noticeable in some women than others; however, there are procedures that can help. A variety of breast augmentations, including enlargements and re-shaping techniques, can help new mothers to regain the breasts they had before pregnancy.

For all of the procedures listed above, the most important aspect of the process, and of the recovery, is to deal specifically with your surgeon. No two surgeries are exactly the same, and your doctor will be able to provide you with the specific recovery techniques that you need to ensure that you remain healthy and pleased with the results. In general, you will want to be sure that you stay inactive for an appropriate length of time, and that you refrain from touching or affecting the surgically altered parts of your body. With proper care and attention following the right surgical procedure, you can be back to your pre-pregnancy body quite quickly.

Note: This post was brought to you by Aboutplasticsurgery.com

Las Vegas Family Vacation

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

mandarin-oriental-las-vegas

Never in a million years did I ever think I would say that Las Vegas was a fabulous place for a family vacation. My memories of Las Vegas include leather pants and leopard print and lots of things my 4 year old does not need to know about. So when some new family friends invited us to join them in Vegas for the weekend, I was cautiously optimistic. But I must say it was the best 48 hours we’ve had in a long long time. Vegas was fabulous!

When we landed in Las Vegas we quickly settled into our room at the Mandarin Oriental. It is a gorgeous hotel, very low key and has none of that icky smoky smell you get at most hotels. My son loved pressing all of the magic buttons to open and close the curtains. Once we were able to peel him away from that great toy, we went over to Serendipity for a yummy family dinner. I had the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Yum!

On Saturday we enjoyed the hotel pool and then the moms went off for an afternoon of shopping (Chanel and Louis Vuitton around every corner – love that!) while the dads spent a few hours with the kids – the M&M store, the lions at MGM, the Ferrari store at the Wynn, and of course a trip through ‘the castle’ and a happy meal at the McDonalds at ‘the pyramid’. The hotel was able to arrange for Mary Poppins to come take care of our boys why the adults enjoyed an incredible dinner at StripSteak – Michael Mina’s amazing restaurant. In lieu of bread and butter they serve crispy French fries with dipping sauce. Need I say more? The husbands went out for a night (and morning of gambling) and we went back to get a good night sleep with the kids.

We wrapped up the weekend at the hotel. The boys enjoyed a few hours splashing at the pool while my friend and I went to the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental spa. Between the steam room, and bubbling pools and perfectly relaxing facial – it was a blissful end to an amazing 48 hours. A huge thank you to our new friends Colleen, Andrew and Cooper for a perfect 48 hours.


Expedia.com

Skincare for moms & babies

Monday, September 12th, 2011

When I travel abroad the first think I shop for is shoes. The second item on my list is always cosmetics. I love to see what sorts of make-up, lotions, perfumes and cleansers women all over the world are using. My bathroom is full of sun block from Thailand, lotion from the Caribbean, and nail polish from London.

Plagentra baby picture

Some of the best Korean skincare products for moms and babies are now available in the US so you don’t need to fly around the world to try out some wonderful cleansers and lotions. Plagentra is a market leader in Korea and was voted the 2011 best luxury skincare brand by the Korean Government’s Department of Ministry of Women and Family. Plagentra also ranked #1 in stretch marks in the 2011 Korea Satisfaction Consumer Index, and in 2010 was the #1 ranked brand in Korea for moms and babies. Needless to say – Korean women love the product so I think it is worth giving it a try.

Plagentra-cleanser

I have been using the Plagentra cleanser the last few nights and it has done an amazing job with my large pores. This fragrance free foam cleanser is made up of fine micro beads that gently remove make-up, dirt, dead skin and oils. It leaves your skin feeling and looking incredibly clean, fresh and renewed.

 

ato-plagentra-cream

I have also tried the Ato Plagentra cream which is a moisturizer made especially for dry, sensitive skin. Ato Plagentra cream is specially formulated to form a protective barrier to lock in skins natural moisture. With no steroids, colorants, alcohol or perfumes, this cream helps nurture skin while relieving irritated skin. I am incredibly sensitive to perfumes and this cream left my skin feeling soft without leaving a noticeable scent.

For over 10 years CA Pharm has been committed to developing effective & gentle skincare products for moms and babies. Their safe & effective formulations focus on solving common skin problems, such as stretch marks and eczema. Please visit www.myplagentra.com to see their complete line of products.

Note: CA Pharm is a sponsor of Sweet Peas & Stilettos. They supplied me samples and compensated me for my time to write this post.