Atlanta Baby and Child Expo set for April 21 at Fox Theatre

by Desiree Miller on January 18, 2018

2018 abc

The 2018 Atlanta Baby and Child Expo is set for April 21st from 11am until 2:00pm, at the beautiful Fox Theatre ballrooms.

We here at StressFreeBaby.com are proud to host this event…the only baby event in Atlanta produced by people who call this city home, featuring local vendors who want to make life as a parent even more incredible.

This is THE event of the year for anyone expecting a baby, or couples who have little ones. The Atlanta Baby and Child Expo is well-known for its fun, party atmosphere.

It’s the eighth year for the annual event. You can see video of last year’s expo below.

Attendees can expect to find the ultimate in pregnancy preparation and parenting products, and will be eligible to win thousands of dollars worth of prizes.

Not a mass expo event, this elite experience is an intimate treat where you’ll find products and people who make the new role of parenting much less stressful.

This is a perfect way to spend the afternoon with your girlfriends, your mom, and especially the daddy-to-be.

You can find out more about the event by going to the website, AtlantaBabyandChildExpo.com. Tickets are available there, along with information for potential vendors.

(Participating sponsors and vendors will be listed below as we add them to our event.  More will be added in the coming weeks, so check back often!)

 

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Day One of Be Good, Do Good, Find Good

by Desiree Miller on January 5, 2018

begoodlogo

As I launch this journey to ‘focus on the good’, it occurs to me that I don’t need to look far to find good—lots of it—and that I am not on this journey alone.

It’s been less than 24 hours since I kicked the concept into gear, sharing my intentions on my blog and Facebook page, and already have a dozen people volunteering to jump in and get it rolling.

Some, like Krystyn Hall of ReallyAreYouSerious.com, are helping with logo design and website creation (she’s a badass at both, so if you’ve ever considered launching a site, start with her)…others, such as Michelle Jordan and Liz O’Keefe (who happened to work as TV reporters back at a station I was a News Director for decades ago), volunteered to jump in and contribute content. Others, including Karin Sheets and Mary Lebeau, are fellow bloggers I crossed paths with on my travels many years ago and remain in touch with, thanks to social media and their good hearts. Still more are simply friends, people who also appreciate the mission driving us here. Some are neighbors, others are people I’ve never even met ‘in real life’.

My point here: good really is all around us. Everywhere. We simply have to choose to see it.

There are people doing good each and every day, most without ever expecting to be acknowledged for their selfless efforts. It’s our goal to give them the pat on the back they deserve.

It’s also our goal to help you ‘be’ good…suggesting ways you can ‘do’ good around you…or to ‘find’ good when you need it.

We want to share all the good places, good people, and good things in the world that we can.

Feel free to jump in on the journey with us. Hey, one day, maybe we’ll create t-shirts to help spread the good.  Until then, we want you to send us ideas, write stories of your own that we can share with the world, tell us all about any good you see around you.

Help us FOCUS ON THE GOOD.

(How do you like our logo? Sweet, right? Kudos to Krystyn… and don’t worry, as soon as we can get the site published, we will–and will share all this content over there as soon as possible).

 

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coincidence

Do you believe in coincidences? Or, are you more like me, inclined to think these serendipitous events are more than chance happenings in life?

Especially after a few recent ‘coincidences’, I’m in the camp with Deepak Chopra, who points them out as ‘clues from the universe’.

In his 2003 book, Chopra explains “Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny.”

I was reminded of this as I opened an email yesterday that caught me totally by surprise.

The subject line: Karlin, your seat neighbor from London to Boston

I instantly dove deep into my brain to recall my flight home from London to Boston last month. It was one of three legs in a very long day, which started that morning in Barcelona, Spain, and ultimately ended in Atlanta, GA, on the night before Thanksgiving (honestly, it ended up being the morning of, but let’s not digress).

Anyway, I opened the email and the message inside left me in tears. Happy tears.

I’ll let you read:

Hi Desiree!

I hope that your flight to Atlanta was smooth and that you have had a fantastic holiday season. Happy New Year!

I am unbelievably grateful that the Universe sat me next to you on that flight from London to Boston in November. What you told me really stuck with me–“when you have an idea, go for it, buy the domain, don’t hesitate, don’t wait, nail it down”!

Guess what I did the next day? I bought a domain (www.thewanderingswami.com)! Not only that, I outlined an entire business plan for the business that I am now launching, piece by piece. 

Thank you for sharing your knowledge (and armrest) with me. I will always be grateful.

Wishing you all the best,

Karlin

PS. How is “Be Good, Do Good, Find Good” coming along?

Immediately, the conversation, and Karlin’s face, came rushing back. She was younger than me, probably in her mid 20’s. We talked a bit about life. I mentioned my TV job, along with my websites. As a travel lover, she embraced the website idea, and told me she shared her photographs online with family and friends, but not really with the world. I encouraged her to make the leap, and gave her my business card in case she wanted to reach out later. I honestly didn’t think I made that big an impression, so the email now—six weeks later–really hit my heart.

But here’s the crazy part.

Her last name, which I don’t remember her saying before, is Krishnaswami. It showed up in the ‘from’ portion of her email address.

The Krishna part is what jumped out at me.

Why?

Well, on a flight a few weeks after the Barcelona one, as I was making my way down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I sat next to a woman who was incredibly upset. I was in a middle seat, and she was sitting at the window. She was trying hard to hold it in, but there was no way to ignore her tears, her entire body shaking with emotion. I don’t know how anyone could witness that kind of hurt and not reach out, so I did.

I asked if there was something I could do for her. She wasn’t able to speak. I put my hand on her hand and told her she didn’t have to talk, but I wanted her to know someone cared. That she could take my hand off hers if she would prefer I leave her alone. Instead, she squeezed it. So I took it one step further, putting my arm around her in a hug of sorts. I let her know that the plane was safe, so if she was afraid of that, we’d be ok. If it was something more, she could tell me about it if she wanted me to know, and that I was a good listener. I told her I’d also been hurt deeply, and knew what it felt like to believe you were dying inside, or wish you were. To this, she gave me her eyes, and finally spoke, saying yes, that’s what was happening with her. She explained that, as she sat next to me, her partner was in the back of the plane, choosing to be apart from her. She was crushed. We talked a little more, about big things like getting therapy, and about little things, like the jewelry she was wearing. She regained composure as she shared her belief about flowers—that they were smiles from God. I told her I agreed. I asked her name. Krishna, she said. She asked me mine. I told her. She smiled wide, then said of course I would be named Desiree, the same name as her little sister’s best friend. She felt it was divine that I was seated next to her. There to help.

And by the time the flight landed, she was stronger. Perhaps even ok.

And now, a month after that last flight, this email appeared from my previous seat-mate, who turned out to also have Krishna in her name.

Two flights. To two very different parts of the world. Seated next to two very different people.

Coincidence? Much more.

And here I was, in the weeks after both flights, looking for direction of my own. Feeling a little lost, and honestly, a bit sad, about what comes next in my life. My marriage now over and family very different today than it was a year ago, I was struggling. Yes, I’d been feeling stronger and even hopeful for a few months, but as sometimes happens to the best of us, the hope started losing to loneliness, and my mind’s fear over what was ahead for me was winning my daily battle for happiness.

While on the flight to London, I had told Karlin that during my trip to Barcelona, I’d bought the domain name for a new website I wanted to create: Be Good, Do Good, Find Good. It came to me while having drinks with my sweet friend who was hosting me on the trip. It felt like an epiphany at the time. It may have been the cava she’d introduced me to (again–the irony–cava is a Spanish drink, similar to my beloved Prosecco, pronounced very much like Cabo, my destination weeks later). Karlin had even asked about it in her PS in her email.

Yet, I’d done little more than think about that site in the weeks since purchasing its domain. I knew I wanted to put more good out in the world, but wasn’t putting the work in to make it happen.

And here, thanks to what some would call coincidence– two Krishna’s in my life, I believe the universe is sending me a signal, pushing me—hard—to pursue my new destiny: to get that site up…and to spread more good in the world.

So, I’m taking the hint. Expect to see the new site in the next month.

If you also want to ‘Be Good, Do Good, Find Good’ let me know and I’ll put you to work with me. I promise, it’ll be good. Great even.

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orange sunset

There are certain spots on the planet that offer something rare, unique from the rest of the world, and the Hacienda Encantada Resort and Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is one of them.

It’s the kind of place where you can fade into the stunning scenery…sit and watch the waves crash on the rocks for hours, staring off into the distance at Land’s End and the famous Arch, and, sometimes, if you’re lucky, spot a whale swimming by…and you can do all of this from your waterfront balcony.

It really doesn’t get any better than that in my book.

But it does, as you can see in the video above. This resort not only offers rooms that are truly luxury suites, complete with a spacious bathroom, a whirlpool and a sitting area. It also features a kitchenette, in case you want to make your own meals, or skip that and try some of the restaurants all within walking distance on the property.

hacienda encantada light

There are several pools where you can cool off after soaking up the sun, from the infinity pool with swim up bar right on the water, offering views of the Sea of Cortez in the background, or the family pool on higher ground, or the El Encanto de la Hacienda, an area new to the resort, opening in May, 2016. It is an exclusive section with its own infinity pool, jacuzzi, restaurants, among many amenities more. As with the rest of the resort, it shows off traditional Mexican architecture and Mexican artwork, including hand-made Talavera tile mural and Spanish colonial fountains.

hacienda wedding venue

If you want to host a special event, say, a wedding, for example, there’s a new venue called La Vista de la Hacienda. It features magnificent views of the Sea of Cortez and can be transformed to host banquets and more.

If you want something more private than the traditional resort feel, there are now new 2-Bedroom Villas. You still get the comforts of staying in a resort, but also have a private common area with luxury amenities such as grills, fire pits, jacuzzis and infinity pool.

sunrise

You can buy into the all-inclusive meal package if you’d prefer to dine around the resort each day, or pay by meal. I highly recommend the specialty restaurant, Barolo, which offers incredible Italian cuisine. Beyond that, there’s also il Forno, which is another restaurant specialized on Pizza Alla Legna. I was able to watch a football game being televised and projected onto the side of one of the resort buildings—picture football two stories tall…all while eating delicious pizza and warming up by a fire pit beside me. Of course, Las Marias still offers some of the best views you can imagine while dining anywhere. And, the all-inclusive options can also be used at several restaurants while visiting the Golden Zone of Cabo, an easy shuttle ride away.

sailing

If you want to take part in excursions, most will pick you up by shuttle for that, too. I took the luxury sailboat trip past the Arch and Lover’s Beach, was able to see Hacienda Encantada from the water, and ultimately anchored and went snorkeling for part of our journey. Plus, they offered drinks (yes, cocktails!), appetizers and lunch that were quite delicious as part of our trip.

arch

You truly don’t have to leave the resort to enjoy the area. Hacienda Encantada is ideally situated to offer views that you’ll never tire of seeing. My suggestion, though: take the time to climb up to the cross on the property. It is truly one of the most beautiful spots on earth. It is a short walk to this point on the property and well worth the journey. I enjoyed walking up to catch the sunrise each day. I’m sure it’s just as beautiful at sunset.

That’s the beauty of being at Land’s End. You are fortunate enough to catch both sunrise and sunset each day, if you’re just willing to stop everything else and enjoy nature’s stunning display of art.

whale tail

sunset at the arch

 

 

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Button Lets You Talk Through Child’s Toys: The Chappet

by Desiree Miller on December 16, 2017

chappet button on bear

(Note to readers: I was compensated for the review of this device. As always, my opinion remains my own and I would not recommend a product to you that I would not buy for my own family.)

We’ve all heard of toys that talk, but how about one YOU can speak through?

That’s what Chappet allows. It’s a large button you can attach to your child’s favorite stuffed animal. The button acts like a speaker as you talk through it using a phone app.

Chappet

Technically, Chappet is a Bluetooth speaker encased in a two-inch wide yellow button and is controlled by a smartphone app. It lets you interact with your children through their stuffed animals.

chappet button

Chappet also supports more than 1,000 prerecorded phrases, features 20 pre-recorded songs and stories, and its auto chat function can mimic the words a child shares with it in conversation, allowing them to interact with their favorite toy differently than ever before.

See how it works in this video:

Through the app, you have four interaction options:

Voice Chat: Through Chappet, parents pretend they are the stuffed animal to chat with their child. Imagine being in the kitchen and your child is in the living room. You will have a blast seeing and hearing your child’s reactions to the chats with his or her stuffed animal.

Text Chat: Chappet reads aloud what you type in a charming voice. You can be next to your child to teach him or her letters and numbers, or simply “chat” with your child through his or her favorite stuffed animal.

Tap Chat: Chappet allows you to speak pre-recorded sentences. You can choose from a list of more than 1,000 phrases across numerous categories that suit a variety of every day scenarios, and 20 pre-recorded songs and stories. You can also add new phrases via text with your own voice, and original songs and stories too!

Auto Chat: Chappet responds to your child’s voice by making affirmative sounds of agreement or mimicking phases. Your child will laugh out loud when he or she finds their best friend is mimicking him or her.

 

You can also set up reminders through Chappet for daily things such as meal, snack, or nap times.

Its creators say it can also be a great tool to help parents with potty training, allowing them to program their own phrases that use specific words their children respond to or use related to potty training.

The 2-inch-wide button makes it safe for children. It can be sewn on or tightly attached with a string around the stuffed animal’s neck like a necklace.

There are no batteries. Chappet is rechargeable.

You can buy it exclusively on Amazon.com for $54.99. The free app is available on the Apple Store and Google Play. You can find out more at Chappet.com.

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Day Stay Options at Resorts: Hotels By Day Review

December 7, 2017

  When you have a long layover, or just want a quick getaway in your own town, give a day stay at a local resort some consideration. It’s an option I’ve tried twice now, for very different reasons, and in both cases, was so glad I did. In the first case, I was in Los Angeles for the day, staying at a very affordable hotel that lacked any great bells and whistles, but I was flying in on a late night flight and didn’t think it was worth paying more […]

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Braves Legend Daly Murphy Opens Murph’s Restaurant

December 5, 2017

He’s a legendary Braves ball player, member of the Humanitarian Hall of Fame, and now, owner of a restaurant that hits it out of the ballpark when it comes to mixing great taste and good fun in Atlanta. It’s called Murph’s, and Daly Murphy serves up a home run with this new eatery, located just across the walking bridge from the new Suntrust Braves stadium. I stopped in on a recent afternoon and was met by the big ball player for lunch. Nope, I’m no celebrity…nor were the tables full […]

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VOLKSWAGEN 2017 GOLF ALLTRACK TSI S: Review

November 17, 2017

It was supposed to be a quick run down to the beach. Just my oldest daughter and me. Our goal: a getaway from it all for just a few days. Relaxation. A couple hours tasting some of the best oyster combinations you could think up at the Annual Oyster Cook-off. And some quality girl time. The Volkswagen 2017 Golf was our ticket to freedom this weekend. In tornado red. Maybe not the best choice in colors, thinking we were looking forward to fabulous weather all weekend. But, we were headed […]

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New Life: A Movie About Love That You’ll Love, #Giveaway

November 17, 2017

18 minutes. That’s all it took for the movie “New Life” to move me to tears. There were laughs before that. But the intensity of the love the two main characters share, and the message of the movie, will move you most. Where there is love, there is life. Sometimes, there is love well beyond life, or into the next life. “NEW LIFE” is produced and co­written by Erin Bethea and Drew Waters as the premiere feature of their production company Argentum Entertainment. In the story, these two childhood sweethearts, […]

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Garden Lights Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Gardens: What’s New?

November 16, 2017

There are some Atlanta holiday traditions you just shouldn’t miss, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Lights, Holiday Nights is among them. Here’s a video of this year’s highlights (just click on the arrow to play): The seventh annual display will wow you, especially with the new “Nature’s Wonders” light show. It’s a high-tech display of thousands of vertical strings of lights synchronized with music and sound effects to create the illusion of nature’s phenomena, including ocean waves, thunderstorms, snowfalls, rainbows, sunrises/sunsets, meteor showers and more. I witnessed this light […]

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