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Unequal Headband Protection for Soccer

I’m a huge tennis fan, and with Wimbledon just starting for the year, I’m watching matches during the daytime while I work, but I have to say another sport has grabbed my attention: women’s soccer!!

Have you seen our US Women’s Soccer team kicking it out of the park (pun intended, #sorrynotsorry) in the past few weeks?

They’re in the semi-finals for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and have a monster of a game set for tomorrow night—Tuesday, 6/30—at 7pm Eastern time.  They’re going head to head against Germany.

I know there are cities with sneak previews of Magic Mike XXL starting at movie theaters, but save that entertainment for Wednesday night, because this, THIS is the stuff that you must see as it happens…the stuff that is going to make you so incredibly proud to be a woman in the good ole’ USA.  Heck, I think the men are going to enjoy it, too.

I was around for the championship game back in 1999 when the women’s team won it all (who can forget Brandi Chastain stripping down to her sports bra in a moment of ‘temporary insanity’—her words, not mine)?  Who didn’t love that huge win for women’s sports?  I know I’d love to see it all over again with this team.

women's soccer

The team message is #SheBelieves…they want girls and women to know they can accomplish their goals and dreams.

And you can bet there are lots of girls out there dreaming of this kind of opportunity…this kind of chance to leave it all on the field, so to speak.

Yes, as a parent, I know all about the potential injuries, especially head trauma, and that’s part of why I love this new headband the players are wearing to reduce the risk of head injury.  It’s actually touted as military grade head protection.  The brand, Unequal® Technologies, claims this new line of headgear will give players the confidence they need without affecting their style of play.  Even U.S. soccer veteran Ali Krieger chose to wear the headgear this month during the women’s soccer tournament in Canada.  She’s had multiple concussions and claims the protective headband is lightweight and comfortable.  Plus, in different colors and styles, it’s pretty.  I know these gals are tough, but they like to look good, too.

All I know is I support anything that makes it possible for more girls to play and be protected.

I think watching this FIFA quarterfinals match against Germany is going to create a lot more soccer fans…gals especially…and I want them to be safe while they’re scoring for the USA!

(Note to readers: The company has offered to send me one of these headbands in exchange for promotion.  I’ll be gifting it to a young female soccer player I know when it arrives.) 

 

 

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Atlanta Baby and Child Expo Wrap-up and Plans for 2016!

by Desiree Miller on June 25, 2015

Sprinkles cupcakes

Where else can you go to find incredible and unique products, enjoy sweet treats and meet up with professionals who can make your life easier?  The 2015 Atlanta Baby and Child Expo combined all this and more to give new and expectant parents a fun day of  discovery.  This video showcases many of the vendors who were part of the fun.

The annual event at the Fox Theatre Ballrooms combined more fun than ever with a dance off this year for prizes that included strollers, car seats and much, much more.  You can catch a glimpse of that fun in these videos.

Nearly 800 parents met up with vendors representing everything from area hospitals to childcare options to custom-made onesies.

And here’s great news for those who missed it and those who want to do it all again!  The event is now scheduled for April 16, 2016.  Save the date now because this event is THE highlight of the pregnancy and new mom world in Atlanta each year!

 

 

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At Home Store

(Reader note: I was provided with a gift card to purchase items to make this review possible at their request.  I was not otherwise compensated and my opinion, as always, remains my own.)

We all know how something small can totally make an old space look new again, whether it’s a great rug, decorative lamp or even a small pillow.  I’m a sucker for conversation pieces and love any item that tells a story, so to speak.  That kind of thing is what turns a house into a home…it’s what gives it character.

I’ve recently discovered a new place full of fun finds to refresh our look at the At Home store.

At Home used to be known as Garden Ridge, but underwent a name change, along with some other cosmetic and internal changes last year.  Now, it’s brighter and more organized and much more enticing than the Garden Ridge I remember, which, in my opinion, felt more like an indoor flea market than a home furnishing store.

At Home reached out to me, offering me a $100 gift card to make over one small space in my home with their smaller items (think fireplace mantel, bathroom counter, etc), and asked me to share my experience with you.  I spent almost two hours in the store, wandering around trying to decide on what I wanted to do, before finally setting my goal of updating my daughter’s room.

As you’ll see in the photos below, this was no ordinary room.  As a holiday gift two years before, we’d given her the beach feel she wanted, complete with a hanging bed like you’d find on some outdoor porches in the South. But it needed a little updating.

bedroom before updating

For the $100, we were able to buy a new turquoise comforter and two fun new wall hangings (both of which I wanted to ‘borrow’ back for other areas of my home once I saw how fun they were hanging on her walls).  It took less than ten minutes to make the changes and I think these items totally renovate the space.  It’s also brighter, more inspiring, and honestly, just more ‘her’.

Bedroom After Updates

jellyfish

beach sand sign

And this might tell you just how much I liked the store.  I not only spent the $100 they sent me for review purposes, but I spent an additional $800 on a seagrass headboard for myself, along with a new mattress for my bed that rivals the feel of another soft mattress brand.

seagrass headboard

(The headboard can be seen here. The artwork above the bed is actually an image of the sound of my daughter’s laugh from a company called Born of Sound. The pillows on the bed are from photos I took on my travels and had customized into pillows.)

I could have easily spent a lot more than that and am tempted to go back to buy many more of the items you see below.

ship picture

I just know I need to wait until my budget will allow for another splurge session.  Sure, there are lots of things for just a few dollars, but there are just so many of them, I know I won’t walk out with just one.  They literally stock 50 thousand items!  There are thousands of ways to update your home.

cool pillows

Dr. Who Police Box, piano cd holder

baseball headboard

organizers   bar stools

Yes, there are plenty of home furnishings stores around, but what makes At Home different is you aren’t escorted around the store with a sales person pressuring you to buy this or that.  You can wander around on your own as long as you want, and pick out whatever you need.  Nobody makes a commission off your choices.

The store is filled with all kinds of cool things for just about every room in your house.  Rugs. Mirrors. Patio cushions. Kitchen gadgets. Furniture.  Oh, the furniture. It’s fun and funky and classy, too.  Just like me.  And so many of my friends.  Maybe that’s why I like the At Home store so much now.

I went to the store in Kennesaw, GA, but there are locations all over the US.  Go to http://www.athome.com/ for a link to locations.

***Edited to add a giveaway!  The folks of At Home want to give one StressFree, Baby! reader a $50 gift card.  Just enter a comment below about what you might buy with the money–or which room you’d focus on for a quick fix.  You have until midnight EST July 1st.  We’ll pick one winner at random on July 2nd.  Please also follow at least one of the At Home social media channels.  This isn’t a requirement, but, well, karma.

Instagram: https://instagram.com/athomestores

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtHomeStores?fref=ts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/athomestores/back-to-school/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/athomestores


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Atlanta, Tennis and Lexus; Lexus IS 350 F Sport Review

by Desiree Miller on June 24, 2015

lexus street view

There are a few things you discover fast when you live in Atlanta.  It gets hot here, really hot.  We like our sweet tea cold.  And our traffic is ridiculous—and not in a good way, so we want our cars to be comfortable.  And one more thing.  We love our tennis.

Recent statistics show there were 347-thousand tennis players in Atlanta last year.

That’s more than any other city in the country.  And that’s despite our insane summer heat.

Our BB&T Atlanta Open offers world-class fun as part of the ATP tour and you can bet these tennis fans love seeing the professionals play.

They also love seeing the felt-covered Lexus on display as part of its sponsorship.

This year’s model is the 2015 NX 200t F Sport AWD.  The vehicle is literally covered with the same felt they use to make tennis balls with. No joke.

felt lexus nx 200t

I wasn’t lucky enough to be able to drive IT for a week, but I did get to test drive a Lexus IS 350 F Sport as part of the Lexus sponsorship of the event.

And let me tell you, this car is ideal for tennis players in this town.

What makes it so great?  Well, there’s a list of things.

Lexus IS 350 at tennis courts First, you don’t even have to get the key (technically the key fob since this car starts with the push of a button) out of your pocket or purse to get into the car.  You can be carrying your tennis bag, shoes and cooler full of cold beverages and still get into the car just by touching the door handle.  A sensor unlocks the car door automatically.  Cool, right?  I wish I could say the trunk automatically opens, too, but that’s not the case.  There is a button in the driver console for that, along with the key fob, too.

lexus keyfob Second, the driver and front passenger seats are ventilated…that’s the Lexus term for air-conditioned.  And I have to say that’s really awesome.  They’re heated, too, and that’ll be great for winter, but right now it’s hot and I got to try the AC seats and felt like I was sitting on blocks of ice.  The first time I used it the sensation took some getting used to, but it absolutely was a welcome switch from the burning sensation I felt from sitting on to the super hot black leather.  And it only took about a minute or so to feel the cool chill.

Lexus temperature swipe The air conditioning is pretty instant, too.  And, the climate control just takes the swipe of a finger to make it work.  Or, even cooler (pun intended), you can use the enhanced Bluetooth Technology for advance voice commands that takes a simple comment like ‘It’s really hot in here’ to automatically lower the temperature four degrees.  That’s ideal in Atlanta.

lexus traffic and weather You can find your next tennis match easily with the navigation system and even check on traffic issues with the industry-first subscription-free traffic.  It offers up-to-date information for road congestion.  There’s also a weather service that tells you about changing weather conditions on the main display.

lexus trunk tennis gear The trunk is massive, so you can pack lots of tennis bags, racquets and whatever else you need.  And if you run out of room there, the back seat is a 60/40 split that will fold down, increasing the cargo capacity.

lexus 40:60 fold down seat Another advantage: the driver’s seat offers 10 different options for comfort, including lumbar support.  If you have teammates along for the ride, the back seat offers lots of legroom.  It’s considered a compact luxury sedan, but doesn’t feel compact at all.  It does feel luxurious.

Of course, the performance of the Lexus is a given.  It’s sporty, yet stylish.  It’s classy and still fun to drive.  The engine is a powerful and refined v6.  And it has a whole lot more power than my tennis serve.

(Reader note: I was loaned the Lexus for a week to test drive for the sake of this review.  The particular model I drove has a base price of $42,300 and $50,525 once the options and delivery fees were added.  It gets 21MPG/19 in the city and 26 on the highway.  This vehicle, shown in pictures above, is Atomic Silver.)

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Inside Out the movie storyboard

By now you probably know the Disney Pixar Movie ‘Inside Out’ is based on what’s going on inside your head, but what would cause a writer to come up with a concept like this about your feelings?  Well, his kids, of course.

Actually, in this case, Pete Docter, the film’s Director, wondered about one child in particular, his daughter, who up until around age 11 was easy-going and mostly pleasant to be around.  According to the movie’s Producer, Jonas Rivera, Pete’s daughter would sometimes hang out in the office and was always ‘bubbly’, with a smile or laugh that made others equally happy.  But after age 11, things changed in this girl, as happens around this age with all girls.  She withdrew into her headphones, her face down in a phone more times than not.  Pete wondered what was going on in his daughter’s head, and thus, a movie idea was born.

Inside Out the movie

They decided to run with this idea and look at the mind, emotions, and how they all work together.  They had to do a little research to make it work, and as you’ll hear in the video below, got conflicting answers on some of their questions, including how many emotions we each experience.  It turns out there could have been many more than five characters for this animated film.

As you can see in the storyboard photo above of their plot development, the writers started with six characters, or six emotions.  They ultimately dropped the character Surprise, believing it was too similar to Fear.  Find out more in the video below.

I watched the movie with my children (as an invited guest for the sake of a review) and loved it.  Having three kids who have already passed this stage where joy isn’t the dominant emotion, it was refreshing to see a message that matches what I’ve told them all their lives–YOU HAVE TO FEEL WHAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FEEL IT.  There’s no point in pretending or ‘sticking your head in the sand’ when you’re not happy.  You have to feel the sad times to appreciate and truly enjoy the happy times.  I loved this film for validating that parenting advice and, in my opinion, reminding me my role isn’t to make them happy every minute.   My 20 year old son watched it with me and said he had tears twice in the movie.  My 9 year old daughter said it made her emotional, too.  It will make you laugh, too, or ‘bring you joy’, but I hope it also sparks a conversation with your children about the happiest–and saddest–times in their life.  Those are the kinds of talks I need to have more often with my kids.

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Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; The Food, Fun, and Products

May 27, 2015

Chewbacca, Boba Fett, even Darth Maul. It doesn’t matter who your favorite Star Wars character is, odds are you can meet him (or her) at the Star Wars Weekend celebrations at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. The weekends are an annual celebration that start in mid-may and end in mid-June. Star Wars fans will absolutely love these festivities. And even borderline fans are bound to have a good time with the food and other fun you can find during these celebrations. For me, the parade is the coolest part of […]

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What is CoolSculpting and Why Should You Consider It for Stubborn Spots?

May 27, 2015

(Disclaimer: I was provided with complimentary CoolSculpting treatment to be able to accurately write this review. I am not otherwise being compensated and, as always, my opinion remains my own.  The shot above is of me before the procedure.  That gut and those rolls are what I’m hoping to eliminate.) Last summer while snorkeling in Costa Rica, an octopus latched on to my arm with his little suctions and wouldn’t let go until I peeled him off, dropping him back into the ocean.  That’s exactly how the CoolSculpting suctions felt […]

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May 21st and My Dad

May 21, 2015

  May 21st. The date my whole world shifted. It’s been eight years now of marking this date with dread in my stomach, hurt in my heart. Eight years since the day my dad was told he was dying.  And there wasn’t anything he could really do to stop it. He couldn’t be cured. The doctors told him he might have six months if he didn’t do anything. Maybe a year with chemo. He met their diagnosis with denial. Nope, he said, he’d make it a few more years because […]

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DIY Home Surveillance Camera to Keep an Eye on the Kids and Dogs

May 20, 2015

(Note to readers: I know these dogs look innocent enough pretending to sleep on the couch. They’re not. The Panasonic Home Security Camera I was sent to review was the perfect solution for these problematic pets. I was given the device for the sake of the review but not otherwise compensated for this post.) Bronco, Rooney and Casper terrorize my home daily, and they don’t even have to break in to leave their trail of disaster. They are our dogs.  Pets.  Adopted when nobody else wanted them.  And forgive me, […]

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Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Disney World: Video Review

May 17, 2015

Relaxing on my balcony, 14 stories up, I gazed to my left and then to my right, watching simultaneous fireworks shows on display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekend and the Wishes fireworks show at The Magic Kingdom.  The weather was perfect…not too hot, with a gentle breeze blowing.  The view below wasn’t bad either, the adult pool directly below, bordered by palm trees, and the kid’s area off to my right. A video posted by Desiree Miller (@desmiller) on May 17, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT   This […]

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