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Why São Paulo, Brazil Should Be On Your Bucket List

My husband and I were excited to attend our friend’s wedding this past October in São Paulo, Brazil. I’m anxious to share my first travel post about our trip. I hope I could do justice to all of my memorable experiences. Luckily, I have pictures to help. 🙂

We stayed at the Radisson Blu São Paulo, which was the official hotel for all the wedding guests. The hotel rooms were clean and spacious and our bathroom was equipped with L’Occitane products, which are a personal favorite. I have to mention, the Radisson Blu São Paulo, did a fantastic job with the daily buffet breakfast which includes an extensive offering of fresh coffee, cereals, pastries, eggs, cured meats, fresh juices and a whole lot more.

I can admit, as a vegetarian I was concerned about traveling to a country that relishes their meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was surprised to find there were quite a few highly recommended vegetarian restaurants.  In between our time attending wedding events, we had a chance to visit ‘Goa’ a fusion cuisine with Indo-Brazilian influence. They source fresh ingredients from their farm right in their very own backyard.

We even had a chance to go to the ‘Mercado Municipal’ and try countless exotic fruit sourced from all over the world including the Amazon. One delicious fruit after another, we were in heaven and wanted to purchase crates full of the delectable variety. But beware! This is a tourist hot-spot so all the fruit is marked up considerably and you are better off just taste testing.

By the way, here’s what I wore to the market that day: A simple white button down with a bright red ruffled skirt with brown flats (for comfort). I fit right in!

São Paulo is quite populated and there are many impoverished areas yet it’s easy to find people smiling, especially seen on the portraits of city walls drenched in lively graffiti at every turn. One such place is Beco do Batman, English: Batman’s Alley. Along with street art, which serve as great photo-ops, this area is host to cool art galleries, co-working spaces and amazing fine dining.

Beco Do Batman

Beco Do Batman

It was wedding day in São Paulo and we were ready to witness our friends tie the knot and celebrate Brazil style. Receptions in Brazil go on till 5AM! It seemed like an impossible task but if anyone was up to it, it was we New Yorkers. They served multiple courses throughout the night to keep us fueled and the bar kept flowing. We were such troopers; we partied hard all night and shut the place down. We still got it!

Here’s what I wore to this fabulous event. This sparkly maxi was a big hit and so comfortable to dance in:

…and here’s Mr. Sagir making a cameo.

The wedding was followed by a buddy-moon in Bahia, Brazil. For those who may not know of this new trend, a buddy-moon incorporates your friends on your honeymoon. It’s the official after-party to your wedding! Although, the reception was nothing short of fantastic! Buddy-moons are a fun way to continue the celebrations with friends.

We took a short flight from São Paulo to Bahia, then a bus and finally a boat in the dark underneath the starlit sky to a place called Barra Grande, a beach town on the Marau peninsula. On the way to the boat, we stopped at a local eatery off the highway specializing in empadas. The palm heart flavored empadas were a favorite amongst us and we even stopped to get more on our return trip. Here’s a quick video I took of the quaint eatery while we waited for our food.

Having returned for a month now, I’m missing the warmth. I don’t just mean the weather, but the familiarity of the locals. I understand more about the inviting culture after having been there and miss it so much. I’ll share more about the second half of our trip soon so stay tuned for my next post!

XO,
Puja
Trendy Chick

Chicks Picks: 


Mom’s You Can Only Do So Much…

Pack kids’ lunches.  Grade class spelling tests.  Make sure N’s book report is started.  Plan for the next Language Arts unit.  Make sure kids’ laundry is washed before Friday.  Make copies for Social Studies project.  Oh crap, I have to send out the minutes for the PTA board meeting.  Wait — did I really sign that field trip mission slip?  When is the next girls’ outing…is it this week or next?  Did I call my mom?  When do I need to have report cards done by?

Always Multi-Tasking
Always Multi-Tasking

These are my current thoughts.  I am now up at 3 AM on a Monday morning thinking of all the things I wish I would have had time to complete over the weekend.  Why am I up right now?  Why can’t I just get this noise out of my head?  Oh right — because I don’t just wear one hat, I wear like 20.  I’m (and in no particular order) a mom, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, teacher, neighbor, friend, best friend, coworker, peer, subordinate…and so on and so forth.

Constantly…working moms around the nation are on overdrive.  Moms are always on the go and always “on.”  I know I’m always “on” — mainly because I’m an elementary school teacher…looking out for children is a constant in my life.  I don’t think it really matters if you’re a teacher or not — the constant to-do list runs through our minds day and night (see my earlier post about achieving balance).


When I took a year off last year, I noticed that I was relieved from that element of my life — which was work.  I didn’t have a boss to report up to because I was my own boss.  I didn’t feel this constant feeling of having to “report” anywhere by a certain time or fulfill my own set of work obligations.  Now — even when I love what I do and wouldn’t imagine another career for myself, I do feel a constant loyalty to my students day in and day out…even on my evenings and weekends.  Would I trade what I do to stay home?  Never.

All at once, I take turns wearing all the other hats — and try to juggle it all at once.  Sometimes I wonder why I even try to juggle it all because it seems humanly impossible to be everywhere all at once…but I try anyways because that’s what I am.  I am the type of person, like many other amazingly strong women out there that try to do everything all at once.  I am the type that will put too much on my plate because I know that I work best under pressure and can’t stand not giving any aspect of my life my 110% all the time.  Is it healthy?  Probably not, but that hasn’t stopped me once.

Constantly, I am reminded to take a moment for myself to unwind and take a “time-out.”  A moment to just be with my own thoughts and be myself, a moment to find my zen.  To shed away all those hats for a moment to gather my own ideas and to just be.  As I get older, I do find that listening to my inner self is getting more and more important.  When I feel that anxious, robotic, out of body experience.  When I feel that I’m slipping away from myself…

Mama Challenge - Time Out Card
Mama Challenge – Time Out Card

I have found a few ways that help me gather myself and recharge.  Whether it be making a Target run to just roam around aimlessly with a Starbucks in hand.  Or to get on that treadmill and run away the feels.  Or by meeting up with some girlfriends for some “wine and whine” time.  Or even by taking the long way home from work to just sit and listen to the radio in silence.    

I have found the importance of finding your “time-outs.”  What makes you feel like you the most?  What makes you feel so content that it feels like you’re recharging your “battery?”  What could possibly help you strip away all your hats for just one moment?  

So ladies, take a moment.  Not because I’m urging you to do so, but because you feel that it’s about time!  Take that moment for yourself — just for you.  You can only give and give so much…

You’re in “time out!”

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi

Disclaimer:  No way do I feel that moms staying home to take care of their household and family don’t deserve a time out either — get out there ladies…you need that break!

Chick Picks:

Chick Chat Podcast on iTunes NOW!

Hey Chicks!  We have heard from women we know and women that we don’t that having a sister and a best friend you can talk to often is such a blessing.  We know first hand, that we can’t do this “Life” thing alone, many of us have sisters and speak daily.  To listen in on our phone calls, aka Chick Chat, look up Chicks And Salsa on iTunes for our podcasts where we discuss a variety of things from dieting, parenting, and what is trending.

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

Have a topic? Let us know!

How do I find a Podcast on my iPhone

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

If you have not yet discovered podcasts, they are a game changer and a real way to learn on the go.  I listen to them in the gym and in the car.  I have learned so much about blogging, and also listened to podcasts for kids (please check out Brains On!, a science channel for kids).

For iPhone users its easy, swipe right on your home screen and search for Podcasts.  Then type in Chicks And Salsa and our channel should pop right up.

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

Please check it out, let us know what you think!

Cheers,

Your Chicks And Salsa Team XOXO

 

Botox and the Indian Community      

Botox, everyone has thought about it, many of us are doing it, so why aren’t we talking about it?

Growing up as first generation Indian Americans, my sister and I had the impossible task of representing our Indian side, our American side, and our hybrid side with grace and full understanding.  This meant being respectful yet assertive and exploring our interests while not wandering too far outside of our parents understanding. It also meant looking and acting within certain cultural norms without compromising our opportunities here as Americans.

Aging is one of those unusual paradoxes where being Indian and American does not agree.  It appears that Americans embrace doing things make you feel good — from facials to chemical peels to plastic surgery to Botox. There is discussion and a sharing of experiences that is a part of the American culture.  I can’t speak to other communities and cultures but the Indian community from both the immigrant and first generation perspectives does not embrace artificial enhancement. Indo-American women will undergo a variety of procedures and services behind closed doors and lie about their genetics and diets to no end.   An acceptance of anti-aging tools that we have available to us as Indians in America has been a difficult pill to swallow for many.

Avani getting her bi annual Botox shots.I am 36 years old, I have been getting Botox for 3 years.  When I looked in the mirror after having two kids and moving homes twice, my body directly experienced the stress. My body had undergone both of those life-changing events and left me with deep wrinkles which made me feel older than I was. My friends, co-workers, and sisters were supportive when I first considered Botox (see our article here about facing judgement). We talked about it, read about it, researched it until I eventually went for it.  Some family members, on the other hand, discouraged me from doing it and hesitantly added that if I did get it, I should keep it to myself.  After seeing my results and my satisfaction, two short years later, they too went ahead and tried it out. But they have since kept their “genetic” advantages to themselves.

Before And After
Before And After

Without getting too carried away, I am grateful that I can take little steps to look the way I feel.  I am not in denial of aging or of my life circumstances; this is a personal choice and one that has left me satisfied. By not sharing ideas and privatizing our desires, we cannot lift each other up in a way that can be positive in the right context.

I hope to get the discussion started.  We are fortunate that one of our Savvy Chicks’, Avani, has a husband who is a plastic surgeon — if you have any questions please leave them in comments below and we will be happy to get you an expert’s perspective.

Cheers,

Rina

If Botox is not your thing yet, here are a few Chicks Picks from Beauty Chick, Neema (check out her take on sunscreen).


“Just Like Mommy” Fashion by Jems&A

I’ve always believed that confidence comes from within. You can’t fake it.

When my family comes together at the end of the day, we sit over dinner and discuss the things we are most proud of from the day.  It might sound self-indulgent, but we hope that in recognizing our strengths and accomplishments we can be encouraged to continue to improve.  Although it’s easy to focus on the “weight we need to lose” or the “wrinkles that are creeping in,” teaching self-acceptance can be a great confidence booster. It’s amazing, as a mother of two, to watch how much we influence the level of confidence our children have. But there is something I have learned about confidence: it is multidimensional. While self-worth comes from within, our outward selves can impact how we feel about our inward selves.  Even though confidence isn’t always driven by what you see on the outside, it can definitely influence it.  

Just Like Mom!

I have observed my almost 7-year-old daughter watch me get ready for the day.  Some days I feel like wearing yoga pants and no make up. Other days, I feel like wearing heels and a dress that make me feel good.  When in both looks, I make it a point to be body positive and self-accepting as I know she’s listening to my thoughts and watching my actions.  I’m certain I’m not alone when I admit there have been times that my daughter has emulated me in a way that I am not proud of.  I use those moments as a stiff reminder that she’s watching and I need to be sure to send the right message about self-esteem and confidence.

My daughter loves to dress up.  One of the looks she loves best is when our clothing matches. It could be as simple as matching colors, style, or even patterns.  She can tell when I am “feelin’ myself” and she has a way of emulating that momentum.  I don’t claim to have a perfect body or a beautiful face but one thing that I love the most is when I feel confident in my own skin — and I want to teach my daughter to feel the same.

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I recently stumbled across a really fun website called Jems&A.  It’s a female-owned business whose mission is to design and style children’s clothing to help kids express their creative side in what they choose to wear.  The Chicks love to support women’s businesses that also promote positivity!   Their clothes were appropriate for my daughter and consistent with my own personal style which made it easy to do some “mommy & me” matching. They have clothes for not only daily wear but also for a fun night on the town.

Making memories with my children is what I cherish most in this short life. Taking the time to focus on my relationship with my children is one of my main priorities.  It was fun to play dress-up with my daughter and incorporate laughter into our fun looks!  If you like what see here in the post, consider checking out Jems&A. If you use the code ChicksAndSalsa20, you can get 20% off an order of $50 or more.

Feel good, look good, and share that same confidence with your mini!  To read about how to discuss compassion with your mini, check out our post here.

Your chick,
Sonia


Top Ten Ways To Find Your Zen

With the school year underway and relaxed summer routines becoming not-so-distant memories, many of us have to try harder to carve out time for ourselves and search deeper to block out the buzzings around us.  The grind of drop-offs, work, pick-ups, activities, specials, dinner, homework…wash, rinse, repeat…gets to even the most pain-tolerant of us. 

Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. – Alan Watts

Below is a list of the top ten ways to find your zen.

Create a playlist- find the songs that put you in your element.  I listen to a variety of music so mine contains anything from classical to hip hop.  I use my headphones and tend to multi-task at home.  I also play it in the car after the kids have been dropped off.  Have you checked out Chick Radio yet? Subscribe to our channel, we update our list often.

Take a walk – I find my zen walking through the aisles of Target or Home Goods…alone.  I may not purchase anything but I enjoy the solitude and without being beholden to a shopping list and a tight time frame.  The same can be achieved walking outside, snow-shoeing (for the more adventurous), and biking.

Devour a book- Nothing takes you away and warms the soul like a good book; one that makes you lose track of time and makes you look forward to the next chunk of free time in your calendar.  This month, my book club is reading a thriller set aboard a luxury cruise line called The Woman In Cabin 10, nothing like a thriller to create an alternate reality in your mind.

Drink to it-  Not alcohol, I’m talking about a nice relaxing cup of hot tea or hot chocolate.  Perhaps milk with tumeric or cinnamon.  I have a spice blend I’ve created that I add to either black tea or warmed milk and it puts me in my zen state.  Try the chicks favorite, Frontier Organic Fair-Trade Chai!

 

Get organized!- Spend five minutes every night organizing your thoughts for the next day, crossing things off your list for the day and double checking your calendar.  Nothing takes you out of your flow than a disorganized rush in the morning.

Create a mantra- Create an affirmation that motivates and inspires you and repeat it when you wake up, right before bed and any other time you need it!  Check out our Affirmations Board on Pinterest for ways to stay calm and  stay positive.

Learn to say “yes” – Say yes to dinner with your friends, or to your child when he asks to play hide-and-seek  Those events allow you to be present and break up the routine. Also, connecting with others simply feels good.

No guilt – You know the phrase “Life’s too short…” The cliche is actually rather profound.  There’s no room for guilt.  And with that, I’ll leave you with another one of my favorite quotes “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Disconnect! – Make it a habit to set a time every day to disconnect from all electronics.  Start with five minutes and don’t be surprised if you find yourself increasing that time 🙂  You’ll cherish it.  See our post about what you are missing when you are on your phone.

Laugh!!- What better way to feel relaxed than by feeling happy?  Try something silly, learn a new dance, tell a joke.  Get in touch with your unabashed-ness of your youth when you laughed more than you worried!  If you have not already read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*$k, do yourself a favor, and pick it up!

Cheers,

Serene

Your Brainy Chick


Forget Boat Ownership – Why Boat Sharing is Perfect for Me!

I’m a Chicago gal….well mostly.  Though I was born in Missouri, I’ve spent most of my life in the Chicagoland area.  I moved to downtown when I started my undergraduate career at Depaul University in 2001.  It wasn’t long before I realized the beauty of living in this not-so-hidden Midwestern gem of a city!

From quaint storefronts, to cute coffee shops, and culinary excellence;  I knew  what would make this glorious city even more amazing is having or renting a boat.  Lake Michigan sits on the shorelines of, arguably, one of the most beautiful skylines in the US.  After getting married and doing a brief stint in the suburbs, my husband, two children and I decided to move back to Chicago.  Despite awkward questions and wonder of doing what most people don’t, it was one of the best decisions for our family.

One of the things we love the most about this city is all the green spaces, the family friendly events and the accessibility to Lake Michigan and it’s beautiful beaches.  We couldn’t help but question the possibility of boat ownership.  I feel like it rung in our ears every time we thought of it….the comments of the best days of boat ownership are the “day you buy” it and the “day you sell it.”  That’s when we discovered boat shares.

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One thing was certain, we wanted to share our love for the city and Lake Michigan with our children.  We chose to work with Pinnacle Yachts as our first boat share.  Kudos to my husband who took all the coursework to get certified to get “behind the wheel” of the boat.

Personally speaking, some of the pros of boat sharing are:

-Lifelong memories

-Hosting

-Jumping in the Great Lake Michigan

-The Play Pen

-Being directly under the fireworks as they take off from Navy Pier

-Seeing the beauty of our city from the water day or night

-Cruising the Chicago river

-Tying up to a restaurant for some yummies to share on the boat

-Sleeping on the boat after a long day in the sun

-Joining the likes of others with shared interest of the great outdoors

-Having the option to hire a captain should the driver want to enjoy a cocktail or two with friends and family

-No Mortgage

-No Maintenance

Here are some of the cons:

-Opening and closing the boat

-Scrubbing it down

-Not having first pick on popular dates on the boat

Clearly the pros outweigh the cons and though it’s a luxury, it’s a one to look into for Summer 2018 indeed.  The costs for boat sharing vary greatly based on the type of boat, days you would like to spend on the water and amenities you need when you are out there.  If you have any more questions or would like to learn more about my experience, email me at Sonia@chicksandsalsablog.com

See you on the water!  Check out our Boat Party for Savvy Chick Vlog here.

Your Party Chick,

Sonia

 

Work-Life Balance and Motherhood

Summer 2016 — I found myself at the cusp of making a life-altering decision.  Should I take a step back from my teaching career or should I keep marching onwards?  Should I take this year off?  Should I take that time off that I always dreamt of taking?  Should I sacrifice a year of providing the second (and minimal) income for my family?  So many ifs, but no guarantees.  What if I intend on taking only a year off and it turns into ten years off?  What if I fail at staying home and running this already busy house-hold?  Again, so many ifs and no answers.  I needed that magic 8 ball more than ever!

So I took the plunge.  In early August, I firmly announced that I have finally made the decision to stay home — to take care of the house, kids, and myself.  “Finally…this will be awesome for you and all of us,” my husband replied.  Of course, I knew that we would have to knock a few things off of our list of expenses…cleaning services, take-out nights, and of course my own spending (yikes).  Running on one income wouldn’t be easy at all, but it’s now or almost never.  My kids are young and it would be nice to just be around.  I had that notion that you only live once…so why not?

Staying at home meant I could finally fulfill the one thing I always wondered…how does it feel dropping the kids off at school and brunching with my friends, running errands, working out, and even tidying up the house in peace?  Throughout my 10 years in the workforce, I always wondered how it felt to just be at home.  To have my OWN time to do my OWN things.  Things that no one would even know about!  I was giving myself a year and I needed to make it count!

So I fulfilled my wonder…I stayed home.  I was that mom — I volunteered at school and made sure breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner were all mostly home-made and prepared with ease.  I made sure that permission slips were signed on time and activities were scheduled.  I made sure that homework was done and both kids were content at drop-off and pick-up.  I was a homemaker…probably not the best, but I tried.  I worked hard to keep up with the daily chores while juggling sick kids, doctor appointments, and opposite schedules.  Did I always succeed?  NO!  But really, it was on my clock.  No one was the boss of me…and that felt amazing.

So then comes May and a possible teaching position is presented to me.  Do I go for it or do I stay home for another year?  What if I stay at home and regret not even trying for it?  Well you only live once, right?  Why not?  After all — this was the job of my dreams.  I went to graduate school knowing I wanted to be as innovative in my teaching methods as possible and this private institution allowed for that.  After a few weeks of complete uncertainty, I got the call — I got the offer!  My first reaction was disbelief…did I just accomplish this huge life-long goal of mine?  WOW.  



Then of course, came the mourning period — flashbacks of my year off would pop up out of the blue.  The times I was easily able to stay home with a sick child.  The times I was able to single-handedly run the household while my husband was out of town.  The times I was the boss of me and no one to really answer to!  Were these flashbacks strong enough to keep me back from fulfilling my dream of accepting this teaching position?  NO.  In fact, I look back and realize that while it was a great break, I was always secretly yearning to get back into the classroom.  I missed the teaching world.  I have this opportunity and the time is NOW.

So now comes the balance.  How do I maintain the juggling act of keeping up with all the duties I enjoyed fulfilling when I was home all while achieving my career goals?  With every step forward, I would have to let go of some of them.  It’s all about trying to attain that balance and learning from what works and what doesn’t.  We will be entering a new set of routines — early morning lunch preps (for the kids AND me), school drop offs and pickups, after-school activities, homework, dinner along with my own work now — all while trying squeezing in some ME time.  

All I can do now is to hope for the best and keep the momentum up.  I’m in my late thirties and finally achieved my lifelong career goal.  I spent the last year setting up the foundation and routines of running this household somewhat efficiently…now I just need to keep it up.  Now is the time to make it all count and all I can do is to take it one day at a time.  I have to keep in mind that you only live once.

Here’s to keeping it real,

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi

Chick Picks:

How To Get #HairGoals

3 months postpartum and I was losing hair in ridiculous amounts. When I say ridiculous amounts I mean constant never-ending shedding all day long. 4 months postpartum and I could tell the thickness of my hair was not what it use to be – my ponytail was skinnier, I could see bits of receding in places around my hairline. I CRIED.

After doing some research, I found out that postpartum hair loss is completely normal, and happens to most women but in different severities. It has to do with all the crazy hormones trying to go back to normal in your body (Like we don’t go through enough, right?)

Even after reading that it was normal – I was devastated and seriously thought my hair would never be the same. Fast forward to 8 months after delivering – and I saw fly always all around my head. IT WAS GROWING!! (Insert happy dance!!)

 

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I started taking things into my own hands to help my hair grow faster and better. No chemicals, no expensive medications, just a few nourishing techniques I learned while obsessing over how to get my hair back.

Please hear me — this is just what I did to grow my hair quickly. Don’t feel pressured to have to try all these things all at once. It’s like a buffet — pick a few that work for you!

No-poo

Sigh. Yeah, you heard me. For years now I had heard about no-poo, and thought it was nuts. But I was desperate and tried it. Why not? Buy a little bit of high-quality baking soda, and use a little vinegar, add my favorite essential oil (lavender oil), clean all the buildup off my hair and scalp. RESULTS: LOVE! My hair had never looked as good, ever. I did the no-poo for about 4 months, before I went back to a natural shampoo.

The Inversion Method (Major game changer!)

What’s the Inversion Method? For one week per month, once a day, you wet your fingertips with some hair-appropriate oil (I did a mix of almond oil and castor oil), flip your head over and give your scalp a good 5-minute massage with your fingertips. Like, a really good massage. The massage paired with your head being upside down MAJORLY increases blood flow to the scalp and triggers an increase in hair growth. You should only do this once a week per month (one week on, three weeks off). Your scalp quickly gets accustomed to it if you do it too often. I’ve read that this method can grow hair 4 inches in one week – I’m not sure I saw that kind of growth but I DEFINITELY saw a difference.

Biotin

This one’s an easy one, peeps. I started taking Biotin. Pairing this with all the other crazy hair things I was doing makes it hard to for me to say how effective it is, but since taking it my nails have become rock hard. So I know it’s doing something!

Eat Healthy!

This is usually a no brainer, but there are certain foods that provide the exact vitamins that your body needs. I’m a vegetarian so I did the plant version of everything but I will list the beneficial non-vegetarian options as well

Fatty acids: Avocados, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts were my go-to. Non-vegetarian: Salmon

Antioxidant, beta-carotene, vitamin A: Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Cantaloupe

Protein & Iron: Eggs for me! Non-Vegetarian: chicken, pork, and beef.

Vitamin C & Folate: Spinach, kale, broccoli, and leafy greens. I would make a smoothie!

Zinc & Biotin: Lentils, soybeans, kidney beans

Vitamin B5 & D: Greek Yogurt

Vitamin C: Blueberries, strawberries, and kiwi – Also added this to my smoothie!

Chlorine, UV, and Wind Protection:  This ones pretty obvious — Throw on a hat if you can! If you’re in the pool a lot, wet your hair before going into the pool and if possible add a conditioner to help prevent it from stripping in the chlorine.  Also check out my previous post on physical sunscreen to learn more about my recommendations on UV protection.

These are just somethings that really helped my hair! My hair if feeling the same as before and even a bit thicker than before having my baby girl. I just cut off 7-inches of my hair just to try something new so it is the perfect time for me to do a before and after in a few months to show you guys how much my hair has grown!

Think hair-growing thoughts! #hairgoals

Love,

Neema

Chick Picks:

Teaching Children Compassion

If my children grow up to be compassionate, my job as a mother will have been a success.

Confidence is important too, but without compassion, it might not have the catalyst to be channeled in the best way.  Yes, if I had to choose one trait I’d wish to instill in my children, it would be compassion.

Sadly, it’s easy to normalize the violence and craziness that has become our new normal.  It’s scarily easy to be desensitized to the tragedy-filled headlines we’ve become accustomed to reading.  In our hyper-connectivity, we can’t shut out the bad.

Sometimes leading by example doesn’t cut the mustard and we can use the help of visual aids.  To that end, I did some research on children’s books that help drive home the message of compassion.  We all want a safe and beautiful world in which to raise our children but we only have the power to control our own environment, and that starts at home.

Enemy Pie (Inclusion)

First impressions may not be what they seem.  When a new boy moves into the neighborhood, a father devises a plan to facilitate an unlikely friendship by using a recipe called “Enemy Pie”.  As he instructs his son, one of the steps is to spend a whole day playing with the enemy.   The book endearingly examples the struggles and benefits of making new friends, and the surprise outcomes that arise from preconceived notions.

 

 

Pete the Cat: Rock on Mom and Dad (Gratitude)

I love love love the message of this book!  How many times do moms and dads go un-thanked and seemingly unappreciated?  Pete is determined to show his gratitude to his parents, whom he recognizes do so much for him, and ultimately learns it’s not the size or type of gift, but the gratitude that comes from deep within that matters.

 

 

Maddi’s Fridge (Poverty/Hunger)

Two friends enjoy each other’s company.  They go to school together and play together, yet one has a very different home life.  She doesn’t always have the energy to keep up with her friend because she doesn’t have enough food to eat.  This book so artfully and beautifully raises awareness about poverty and child hunger.  Maddi’s friend is thoughtful enough to pack extra food in her lunch to feed her friend but they sometimes spoil before lunchtime.  So she and her mother brainstorm ways in which to help Maddi and her family.  This is a thought-provoking book to help you and your child form a discussion on possible ways to help curb hunger in your community.

The Earth Book (Environment)

What better way to teach compassion than by empowering your little one with the tools they need to keep the planet green and clean? This book cleverly showcases different ways and tips with which even the youngest member in your family can help.  Caring for the planet teaches compassion that can be transferred to other aspects of life

 

 

It’s Okay to Be Different (Diversity)

Geared towards the younger child, this book creatively    showcases a myriad of differences, from missing teeth, to facial features, to skin color, that make us uniquely us.  More importantly, the book emphasizes that those differences are okay!  We’re not all made to look alike or like the same things.  Part of the learning process is in accepting those differences in us and in other.

 

 

The Name Jar (Acceptance, Inclusion)

When Unhei moves to the States from Korea, she understandably has some anxiety.  Will the other kids like her? Will she fit in?  Rather than introduce herself by her Korean name, she tells the students that she’ll have a western name picked out by the following week.  So, her classmates help by contributing their suggested names into a name jar for Unhei to pick from.  In a turn of events, one classmate comes to visit her neighborhood and overhears Unhei using her real name.  He then hides the name jar to encourage Unhei to use her Korean name and share it’s special meaning with the class, which she ultimately does.  This book celebrates diversity, multiculturalism,  and accepting our own uniqueness.

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun (Bullying)

Kids can say mean things and it’s hard to be the object of teasing.  Lucy is confident and proud of her differences (she likes spaghetti and ketchup in a hot dog bun!), despite Ralph’s comments.  The tables are turned when one day, Ralph needs help and Lucy is there to the rescue.  It’s a wonderful book to launch pad discussions about modeling kind behavior and staying true to ones values even in the face of opposition.

 

 

I hope you love this list as much as my family did!

Your Brainy Chick,

Serene